The Mystery Man: The same room and the man is there. On the desk is a book, the Bible, open to Revelations. The man is meeting with an old man.
The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye. On one monitor is a view of the University defense perimeter. The focus is on a area past the defense perimeter, where a group of Pirate Corp$ are being messily killed by the Rat Creatures.
The Nazis: A convoy is entering the outskirts of the city, with a large group of unknown vehicles (combat walkers - see pics). The uniforms the Nazis are wearing are either really good re-enactors versions or actually from the 1940s. The weapons and equipment (with the exception of the combat walkers) all look to be straight out of Germany during WWII.
The Rat Creatures: A view of the sewer system of Sydney. From around a corner, a bright light, a weird color, shines. Then the sewer is filled with moving and running Rat Creatures.
Duchy of Sydney: Duke William Bligh II receives news of the Fall of County La Parouse. He calls his generals together and begins to plan.
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Captain Adele Droblas, RAA Captain and SUR Commander, and various other Uni Survivors.
Group B calls to Group A in Electrical Engineering. They get no response besides incoherent screaming over the radio. Bob calls Anderson Stuart and talks to Capt. Droblas, saying that he believes Group A is in trouble.
Group B immediately goes to the surface floors of Biochemistry Building and Alexis taps into the Electrical Engineering computer. Pulling up the security cameras, only viewing, they look in horror on what is happening to their friends. Alexis patches Anderson Stuart in on the video feed.
Over the video, they see Miles pick up his Gauss Rifle and empty the clip into the walls and (cleverly) takes out several security cameras. The security cameras do not fire back, much to the surprise of Group B. Bob orders Nasdaq to go subdue Miles and secure the bodies. Nasdaq heads over to Electrical Engineering.
Alexis locks down the Biochemistry Building. Her attempts to contact the UDC are met with silence.
Capt. Droblas confirms, from the medical team, that Miles and the rest of Group A do indeed have the "Scourge of God" plague. The "Scourge of God" plague has an incubation period of about 3 hours, then boils and sore appear and the infected have periods of homicidal rage. Anderson Stuart is locking down. They are enforcing a strict 2 week quarrentine on both Groups. Any supplies needed, Anderson Stuart will ship up and drop off for them.
Bob sends Robbie over to help Nasdaq, and tells them to get a hold of Amanda for quarentine. Bob requests from Capt. Droblas two freeze tubes for Amanda and Miles. Capt. Droblas tells Bob that it will take several hours to get them disconnected and transported.
Miles, meanwhile, has dropped his Gauss Rifle and stumbles around, holding his head and screaming in pain and insanity. Suddenly, he stoops and goes to each body, taking something off of each: John Ritter's hand and pistol, Amanda Hayes's Gauss Rifle and Gauss ammo, Rich Johnson's ammo; and then runs down the hall towards the exit. Meanwhile, Amanda stirs and starts pushing John's body off of her.
Alexis manages to lock the doors to Electrical Engineering, but Miles just blasts through them with his Gauss Rifle. Bob confirms to the rest of the group that Miles running around infected is a bad idea, especially an armed Miles. The Group determine that Miles has somewhere around 380 rounds for his Gauss Rifle.
James and Bill exit Biochemistry in time to hear Group A's vehicle start up. Climbing into their own car, they give chase, travelling on and off road to catch up with Miles. They loose Miles around a corner and, approaching slowly, find his vehicle, crashed against a tree, with no sign of him.
Weapons out, the cruise slowly past the vehicle, trying to catch some glimpse of him or his tracks. Is Miles going back to Anderson Stuart? They find some tracks that confirm he is going in that direction. They spend an hour trying to find his tracks.
Bob mentions the Nuke again, and how the hell did he get it and where did he find it. James remembers that Miles told him about a downed Russian helicopter over at St. James College. Talking among themselves, the group determines that the Nuke was probably in the Russian helicopter.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq distracts the crazy Amanda while Robbie stuns her with his taser. Then both robots take her down and secure her. Capt. Droblas informs Bob and Alexis that only one of the freeze tubes is coming, the other was damaged, so they have to start over again.
Alexis and Bob prepare Biochemistry for a stay. Bob prepares the garage for decontaminating the vehicle. Alexis checks the video records of the Electrical Engineering building, and finds video of someone entering the building several days before Group A got there. James and Bill head over towards St. John's College, thinking that Miles is headed there for the Nuke.
Tuesday Night Sessions - GURPS Aftermath! Operation Morpheus session 8
Session Eight: "And God Said . . ." World Party (June 6, 2104)
Close up a puddle of blood, panning back, the PCs can see Amanda Hayes, a body (about the size of John Ritter) draped over her knees with a knife in his back. On Amanda's hands and face can be seen marks, like blisters or sores. Panning farther out, a corridor is seen. Rich Johnson is slumped against the wall and Miles Dayton is bare-chested and screaming incoherently. His body is covered with blisters or sores, similar to Amanda. It is obvious that Miles is completely insane. He proceeds to butcher Rich, taking him apart with a knife and his bare hands. On Mile's wrist is a watch, timed to 1 minute ago.
The Mystery Man: The same room is empty and the man is not there. Open on the desk is a book, not "Poisons for Professionals." Instead it is the Bible, open to Revelations.
The Russians: In the evening, the Rat Creatures attack the Red Star Commune. Bypassing their defenses, the Rat Creatures kill and burn in an orgy of blood and death. Though the Russians fight back, with automatic weapons and knives and even their bare hands, they are overwhelmed and the results of this slaughter is the complete bloody and violent death of each of these people.
The Sign: Close up view of a small nuclear symbol on what seems to be a curved surface. The view pulls out, to show a Russian Nuke. A hand, with a familiar wrist watch (Mile's), closes the case the Nuke is in. The date/time on the watch is from April 2104.
The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye. On one monitor is a view of the University defense perimeter. The focus is on a Caretaker Robot patrolling the defense perimeter.
County of La Parouse, Duchy of Sydney: One night, the Rat Creatures come and kill everyone they can. La Parouse Castle falls after a short and violent struggle. No quarter is given. All the defenders are killed. The few survivors, mostly serfs, flee from the destruction.
Session Seven: Part 2: "Life Will Go On" (June 6, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Captain Adele Droblas, RAA Captain and SUR Commander, Lt. Mike Garrison, Uni Militia, Corporal Jones, and various other Uni Survivors.
After this big push to get supplies, the Groups are given free reign again to search on their own. With Group A going off to Electrical Engineering, Group B decides to tackle the Biochemistry & Microbiology Building.
Arming and securing supplies, James, Bill, Bob, Alexi, and the robots drive to Biochemistry in full bio-hazard gear and check out the building. Before entering, Bob insists on checking out the roof for the air system. If the air system is compromised, then the whole building may be contaminated with unknown diseases.
Climbing to the roof, the Group encounters two "Caretaker" robots, which they had seen at a distance. These monster robots challenge the Group and when Bob flashes his Gold/1 Military Key Card, they stand down and continue their surveillence.
Bob determines that the air system is ok from this end and figures that any bio-labs would be in underground bunkers. The Group enters the building and checks out the lobby map, looking for Dr. William Smithson. They find his office and explore it, but find nothing of interest, even his computer is just for paperwork. Any work that he did of a sensitive nature is probably on his lab computer. They figure out that there are five separate elevators to the bunkers below, and enter the central elevator.
The door opens and a group of SecRobs challenges them, calling for proper identification as well as the appropriate military key code or they will open fire. The Group closes the elevator door and retreats to the surface. This is the first time that a SecRob has asked for a specific military key code. Alexis asks Nasdaq if he knows the key code. Nasdaq explains that each building has separate control over their own SecRobs, that's what the program she is installing on each computer system is doing - linking the building computers to the UDC. But there are also robots that have been given security codes from their old (and long dead) human supervisors, security codes that are (probably) no records of, especially in the chaotic last days of the Ruin.
Abandoning the central elevator for the time being, the Group tries another elevator and enters a bunker level. They proceed to search the bunker level, and find several occupation rooms, some for military personnel, but most for science personnel. They manage to enter a vault foyer that has three vaults. They find nothing in the first vault. In the second are several refrigerators that contain a serum that could halt aging for a short time (5 years) with about 6-8 applications. In the final vault, there are two SecRobs, who ask them for valid identification and the appropriate security key code. The Group retreats again, not able to give the key code.
Puzzling over what to do about these SecRobs, they look at their clue again (Bob's note "Dr. W. J. Smithson, Plague Research, Breakthru?, Biochemistry, 3 PolRobs") and Alexis breaks into the building computer system.
Session Seven: Part 1: "Blame" (April 6 - June 6, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Captain Adele Droblas, RAA Captain and SUR Commander, John Seth, Resources Management Division, Food Collection Lead, Fred Johnson, Resources Management Division, Heavy Equipment and Transport Lead, Jay Richardson MS Computer Science, Information Technology Division, History and Current Events Lead, Matt Borselli, John Dougherty, Jill St. John, biologist, and various other Uni Survivors.
For the next two months, both Group A and Group B were assigned to search specific buildings around campus. This was partly a punitive punishment for James' actions, but was (more importantly) an opportunity to gather much needed supplies. For the record, the Groups, working in close concert, swept several buildings (#13 Agriculture Annex, #13B JRA McMillan Building, #13C RD Watt Building, #14 Heydon-Laurence (Zoology) Building, #15 The Union, #15B Footbridge Theatre, #15C Holme Building, #16 Wallace Theatre, #26 Old Geology Building, #30 Great Hall, #30B MacLaurin Building), and removed all equipment, supplies and any bit of information available.
After working hard for several months, the Groups find quite a number of interesting finds, including, in the Zoology Building, files and files on what Bill and the biologist Jill believes are notes on a program that tried to breed "Killer Kangaroos."
Session Seven: "Your Horoscope for Today" "Weird Al" Yankovic (April 6 - June 6, 2104)
Cut Scene: Read aloud over the shoulder of an unknown and unnamed journalist, amid coughing and wheezing:
THE CAUSES OF THE RUIN
IN THE BEGINNING
The planet-wide catastrophe known, in popular parlance, as "The Ruin," had its roots in the mid 20th Century. During this era, despite rapidly increasing world population and decreasing availability of readily accessible natural resources, "planned obsolescence" and similar attitudes were the norm. Obviously, this type of attitude could not have been supported forever, given the changing conditions in the world.
The gap in wealth between the "haves" of the Western and Soviet Bloc nations and the "have nots" of the Third and Fourth world nations grew at an ever increasing pace (in an almost geometric progression). Even the most insensitive Governments and Multinationals soon came to realize that things could not continue as they were for much longer. Fortunately for them, and more so for the poorer Third/Fourth World countries, the introduction of the Fusion Reaction power units in the mid 1980s, as a result of the return of the U.S. to the Moon and the establishment of sustainable Moon bases, made the necessary changes not only possible but feasible as well. With power "to burn," the possibility of "Lifetime" production was assured (this term was generally applied to products which, according to their manufacturers, would last a "Lifetime" without requiring more than minimal services and/or spares). The introduction of some primitive versions of Conversion Reaction units in the late 1980s, about the same time as the fall of the Soviet Union into the separate Russian states, speeded up this process greatly - though it was by no means uniform in degree of acceptance or success throughout the world at the time of "The Ruin."
Despite such technological advances, the world was by no means free of some of the problems which had plagued it since the beginning of recorded history. For example, by the early 1990s, though few, if any, people starved to death through lack of food anymore, there were still great differences in the wealth of the "have" and "have not" nations of the world. Many of the citizens of such countries resented the "second class" status that this implied to them. Such great differences in wealth were not just international in scope - they existed within even the most affluent of the First/Second world nations as well. Exacerbating these tensions even further was the continued dominance of the USA after the USSR dissolved. With such a high degree of world-wide tension, it was almost inevitable that a series of brushfire wars should break out on a more or less regular basis in the less developed regions of the world: The war in the Sudan from 1983 to 1999; the Civil War in Afghanistan from 1990 - 1999; Iraq invading Kuwait, touching off Operation Desert Storm in 1991; the Bosnian conflict from 1992 - 1996; the Rwandan Genocide in 1994; Chechan War from 1994-1996; the September 11th 2001 tragedy, subsequent invasion of Afghanistan to meet the Taliban and Al Queda in battle; and finally the US lead coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003.
APPEARANCE OF THE PLAGUE
Thus it was not at all shocking when, in August 2003, a strange plague broke out in the Middle East (initially Israel). The fragmentary reports that were received from that country seemed to definitely implicate the involvement of Al Queda and Hamas terrorist organizations. In any case, the UN imposed an immediate quarantine - as the plague had no known vaccine. It was also increadibly virulent, killing anyone contracting it. Ninety to ninety-eight percent of the population of a given area seemed to do so. There was a great deal of speculation as to whether the survivors were immune or were merely never exposed to it. This matter was never satisfactorily resolved. The population of Israel was virtually wiped out within three weeks of the outbreak of the plague, though (with almost poetic justice) it spread without restraint to the surrounding Arab countries almost immediately. It did, however, fail to penetrate the great deserts cutting these regions off from the continents of Africa, Asia or Europe.
Just before the final collapse of the Israeli government, they launched "Operation Armageddon" against all Islamic states (with the exception of their ally, Egypt) which had ever shown hostility towards Israel. This attack used both Neutron and "Dirty" Bombs. One of these strikes was targeted on Red Square, Moscow, in the belief that the Arabs had been incapable of launching such a biological attack without Russian technical aid (a claim never proven nor, on the other hand, disproven). Evidently the ECM on the Israeli Missile was much better than the Russians expected and it hit dead on target - with only 60 seconds warning - wiping out the entire top civil leadership (who had been attending a meeting in the Kremlin at the time).
The Russian Military Commanders took "Emergency Control" but showed admirable restraint under the circumstances. They did not launch a retaliatory strike of their own. As Marshal Pyotr Mikhailovitch, the head of the Military Junta, said on Russion Television, "There is no point in shooting a corpse." For a while things seemed to calm down. Everybody seemed to realize how close the World was to the brink of fatal destruction and backed off at high speed. There were even several overtures by the Russians in the UN with a view to revamping that body to give it the "teeth" necessary to ensure that such a "regrettable accident" could not occur again.
THE WET FIRECRACKER WAR
This possibility was not to be. In December 2003, the "Scourge of God" plague (as it had been popularly tagged) had died out in the Middle East, evidently having been "programmed" to do so after a certain time period (further increasing suspicions, never proven, that it was a "tailored" agent). It now re-appeared. This time the target was the United Kingdom. The UK government attempted to suppress the news of the outbreak by passing it off as a new strain of influenza. Evidently, they hoped to be able to find a vaccine before anyone was the wiser and, in the meantime, to get "essential personnel" out of the country "just in case." Within a matter of a few days it became obvious that the "minor flu epidemic" in the UK was really THE plague - but even though an immediate quarantine was enforced, it was too late. Fragmentary reports coming from the disintegrating UK government via the BBC Overseas service indicated that a radical branch of the IRA, the D-IRA, was responsible for the release of the plague, and some inconclusive evidence of a D-IRA/Al Queda link was given. Whether this was the truth or merely an attempt by the Government to find a scapegoat is not known - but one of the first things the Government did after the imposition of the quarantine was to intern all residents of Irish extraction (those the Mobs didn't tear to pieces first) and summarily execute all who were even suspected of IRA sympathies!
It was at this point (about 6 days after the first outbreak of the "Scourge" in the UK and about 3 days after the quarantine of that country) that the Russian Military Junta acted. They launched a uni-lateral "surgical" strike on all major population centres of the UK - using the new "Super Neutron" weapons (which had practically no blast and cuased an infinitesimal amount of fallout - but which irradiated wide areas, wiping out most living things), planning to make optimum use of them so as to "sterilize' the whole island. Their intention was evidently to stop the spread of the plague to the continent - and thence to Russia. They would have probably succeeded if the British had not concealed the original outbreak. Not only was their "sterilization" rendered ineffective thus, but many of their missiles were obsolete and missed their targets due to guidance system malfunctions - one of these haywire missiles landed near the French city of Calais, causing massive casualties.
The French, hot headed as usual, reacted with a "hair trigger" before the Russians could explain. They assumed that the massive launches the "Over the Horizon" Radar was picking up in Western Russian was the beginning of an all-out nuclear war - and so launched their entire nuclear arsenal on Russian targets. At this point, Franco-Israeli co-operation paid off, as the French delivery systems were fitted with the same ECM devices that the Israelis had used to take out Moscow, and all of their more up to date missiles got through, again with minimal warning time for the Russians. The Russian missile base commanders immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion themselves. Assuming that the missiles were from a US retaliatory strike, they launched the remainder of their missiles at the US and her major allies. When the DEW line and US satellite-borne radar systems detected the Russian "birds" on course for the US, the president gave orders for the immediate launch of all US strategic assets. Shortly thereafter, a Russian Missile penetrated the District of Columbia ABM defenses and impacted on the White House lawn.
Fortunately, due to the Arms reduction resulting from various treaties, only 25% of the US and 35% of the Russian population were incinerated or killed outright! WIth so much of their Homeland destroyed (and not yet knowing of the spread of the Scourge beyond the UK) and thus with nothing else to lose, the Russian armed forces immediately invaded Western Europe, China (using TacNukes heavily against the imperial Chinese Army) and India. When it became obvious that the plague had spread to the continents (the Russians at first thought by cross-channel winds), they moved their main thrust towards India and SE Asia. Some spearheads of this advance reached deep into Oceania and Australasia before collapsing in the face of the spread of the Scourge of God.
While all this was going on, the rest of the World - which for the most part was not directly affected by the "Wet Firecracker War" - was finding for itself that the quarantine measures invoked against the UK government had been ineffective, as the Scourge of God had by this time appeared at several sites on every continent. While the local goverments did their best to discover a serum that was effective against the plague, nothing would stop it - and, although some measures proved efficient in slowing its spread, nothing seemed to stop it. In fact, no antidote or serum was ever reported to have been discovered although it was noted, statistically, that members of the armed forces of those nations with advanced CBW warfare capabilities had a definitely higher immunity rate than the general civilian population (for every 1000 soldiers, there were about 10 survivors; while for every 1000 civilians there were only 4-6 survivors).
As most people could see that no attempts to stop the spread of the plague were having any real effect, only imposition of martial law and strict use of the death penalty for any violators of such measures could even keep up a semblance of law and order. After all, with everyone under a death sentence, what could courts and law enforcement agencies threaten lawbreakers with? Soon, as the inroads of the plague spread, even police and military personnel began to "bug out," trying desperately to find somewhere, ANYWHERE, to hide, a sadly futile effort in the overwhelming majority of cases.
AUSTRALIA IN THE MIX
With the "Resources Boom" of the mid-1980s and the early 1990s, as well as the defeat of the "Liberal" (Conservative) Government in the middle of this period, Australia entered a period of unparalleled economic growth and development coupled with a marked degree of progress in social welfare programs, making her the envy of many less fortunate countries. She managed to avoid the majority of the problems associated with automation and computerization which had caused such inequalities elsewhere by simply reducing the number of hours in the working week and ensuring full employment - rather than maintaining the old system and letting the number of unemployed rise drastically as their jobs were taken away from them by the advance of technology that was maintained (mostly by default) elsewhere in the world.
Thus, by the 1990s, Australia - while not by any means a world power - was a very wealthy country, with her wealth fairly evenly distributed amongst all the classes, rather than concentrated at the top end. It was against this background that both the Commonwealth government and private businesses poured funds into applied and basic research in many differing fields - resulting in many new developments in such fields as medicine, genetic engineering, nuclear physics, artificial intelligence, and many more mundane areas. The primary beneficiaries of these research programs were the Australian universities, which greatly expanded their facilities for all areas of endeavor.
Thus, when the Scourge of God plague was first unleashed, Australian research and medical teams were amongst the first to apply themselves to the discovery of a serum to cure the disease, and many of these brave men and women died in Israel attempting to do just that. With the seeming disappearance of the plague with the death of the great majority of those affected by it in the Middle East, some research was continued in Australia (and, of course, elsewhere) but it proved frustratingly fruitless, as the disease seemed to be almost certainly a man-made one - whether the accidental result of some genetic engineering experiment or one deliberately created for military use could not satisfactorily be determined. The major obstacle to research into a serum was that the disease/virus or whatever seemed to have no genetic "signature" for the researchers to trace. Also complicating research was the fact that the disease only affected one species - homo sapiens sapiens - Humans! With the recurrance of the plage in the UK research efforts were redoubled.
About three days after the Wet Firecracker War between the US, Russia and France, the first case of the Scourge was reported in Melbourne and, though the Commonwealth government immediately sealed off the city with troops and declared Australia-wide martial law, they realized that the only hope was to increase the research effort. The government was aware that any center of such research would be a prime target for mobs of rioters either out to get "them Scientists who started it all" or to "get the cure from them Scientists who're hiding it." In either situation, the fear was that the rampaging mobs would destroy the nation's last hope. THis fear was proved correct in Melbourne (where no troops could be used to bolster police and security personnel at Flinders, La Trobe, and Melbourne Universities) - Mob attacks overwhelmed the defenders and hundreds of staff and students were lynched for refusing to tell where "the cure was stored!"
In the major cities, the Federal government provided armed forces detachments, upgrading the equipment and numbers of the university based armed forces training units and creating a "Citizen Volunteer Militia" out of the remainder of the staff and students - backing up this by constructing computer controlled automated defenses for the stage when the university security forces would be too depleted by plague and "enemy action" to fully man the walls.
Several minor breakthroughs were made, but they merely increased the incubation time of the Scourge, having no effect on those who had the disease and not preventing anyone from contracting it. Evidently rumors of these successes reached the ears of the Russian Military Commander of SE Asia and he immediately launched an all out attack to secure for Russia the serum which he believed existed.
THE RUSSIAN INVASION
Realizing that their only hope lay in capturing the various research centers in Australia, the Russian High Command put the remnants of their military might behind the effort. They massed most of their remaining air transport assets and loaded up as much infantry as possible on them, issuing them parachutes and telling them to jump "or else," the remainder of their Far East Fleet, plus as many commandeered merchantmen as were available were used to transport heavier units - including the remnants of the Soviet Marine and Naval Infantry units in the whole theatre. Finally, the few remaining Orbital Marine units were dropped on key points within Australia to "pave the way." The whole force probably amounted to fewer than 200,000 men. Some never made it to Australia, going down with their ships in the naval battle of the "Second Coral Sea" - where the Royal Australian Navy and the remnants of the US Pacific Fleet inflicted heavy losses, though they were unable to turn the invasion fleet back.
The Russian forces that were finally landed in Australia were larger than the small Australian Regular Army - but were not large enough to decisively defeat it - especially given the fact that the Russians were totally cut off from their supply bases (such as they were) in SE Asia. Even so, they were concentrated in New South Wales and close enough to Sydney (one of their major objectives) to cuase a great deal of trouble. In fact, the Royal Australian Army was unable to prevent several Russian spearheads penetrating deep into the city, where they attacked the University of New South Wales. The University defenders there broke and ran. The Russians found nothing of use and demolished the whole area. They were also able to attack Sydney University - but were force to withdraw by SUR (Sydney University Regiment), the University Reserve Batallion there. Finally, in the face of gradually increasing loses on both sides due to the Scourge, the whole military effort just petered out - and darkness decended.
As has been mentioned above, Sydney University was one of the major scientific and research institutions in Australia (and in the world) before "The Ruin." As such, it was chosen by the Commonwealth government as a "Regional Survival Centre" and "Regional Government HQ" (along British and American lines) for post-nuclear survival. Thus, under the guise of expansion, many deep underground facilities were built at the University during the 1980s and 1990s. When the Scourge of God plague was loosed on the world, the University was a natural choice for a center of research into the finding of a vaccine for it. As the Commonwealth government realized that such a target would prove irrestistible to mobs in the inevitable breakdown of law and order that the onset of the plague would cause, they tried to ensure the security of the University by beefing up the attached Army Reserve unit (similar to the US ROTC or UK TAVR), Sydney University Regiment (or, more commonly "SUR") from an understrength Light Infantry Batallion to a mechanized batallion (+). To this they added detachments of Regular Army troops - mainly specialists (such as armor, artillery, army aviation, RAAF ground support aircraft, and some new "Warbot" units). A militia was organized from amongst those University staff and students who were not members of SUR. This basically consisted of issuing them with arms, teaching them which way to point them, and then showing them how to pull the trigger. Added to this was a comprehensive arangement of computer controlled defensive weaponry in several rings of fortified bunkers designed to defend the more important sections of the University, as well as the University perimeter in general.
Despite their apprehension at the possible effectiveness of these defensive arrangements, they proved quite useful. As civil authority and law and order broke down, the University did become, as predicted, a target for mob attacks. These attacks were initially ill-armed and organized, but as the desperation of the civilians increased, more and more planning was put into them. Military arms from over-run Amry units and/or from deserters increased the effectiveness of these assaults. Several, in fact, managed to breach the computerized defense perimeter and surge into the interior of the University, but internal manned defenses and the mobile forces of SUR and the Regular Army detachments managed to seal off these breaches and stop the mobs "dead."
As these attacks increased in their ferocity as the Civs (non-university or non-military personnel) became more and more frenzied, a new factor entered the situation - the approach of Russian invasion forces. These forces devastated MacQuarie University and totally destroyed the University of New South Wales when the University of New South Wales Regiment (UNSWR) simply "bugged out" in the face of their assualt. This left Sydney University the only "Uni" left in the Sydney area. As if this wasn't enough, the fact that the Russians had found no plague cure at either of the other two universities made them sure that SU was the "correct target." They thus launched an all-out effort against it. Despite the losses to the defending forces due to both previous assaults and the Scourge, the Russian forces were even worse off. They were tens of thousands of miles from their rapidly collapsing supply bases. WIth the help of their attached Warbot units, the University defenders managed to repel the Russians.
This valiant defense enabled the University research teams to work right to the end although (it is presumed) without any success.
Oh, my .............................................
Session Six: Part 3: "The World Isn't Fair" (April 5, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C),
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter.
Bob decides that it would be a good idea to try out the Gold/1 Military Key Card that he got, to see if they can get into SUR. They ask Group A to join them and they all caravan out to the SUR complex.
Unfortunately, the Uni Defense Computer does not allow the Groups to enter SUR. While they are getting in their vehicles to return to Anderson Stuart, they spot a giant version of a domestic cat, about the size of an elephant, moving among the ruins outside the University. No one fires on it.
Session Six: Part 2: "No One Is To Blame" (April 5, 2104)
Important People: James (S)
Important NPCs: Stephanie Shaw MD, Uni Survivors Council Chair and Medical Division Head, Nick English Ph.D. Computer Science, Council Member and Information Technology Head, Ted Gilly MBA, Council Member and Resources Management Division Head, Lt. Mike Garrison, Council Member and SU Militia Commander, Capt. Adele Droblas, Royal Australian Army, Council Member and Commander Sydney University Regiment, Andrew Greenberg Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Council Member and Science Division Head, and various other Uni Survivors.
Captain Droblas escorts James to the Council chamber and the Uni Survivors Council meets to discuss the situation. Various members of the Council explain to James that the current Uni Survivors is not the first community in the Anderson Stuart Bunker. In fact, they are the second community to form. James is shown video of the first group, about forty people, who failed in forming a viable community under the "rules" set down by the Uni Defense Computer. The Uni Defense Computer wiped them out to a man because of their violent and chaotic actions. They tell James that the reason why they cannot disable the Ethernet link and the security cameras/lasers is because the Uni Defense Computer will not allow it - to the point of force. The Uni Defense Computer is seeking to build a viable community where it can have a chain of command again, but it will not turn over it's resources and powers until the community shows that it will have a civilian government, where the military answers to the government. Until that time, the Uni Defense Computer is willing to test and observe the community and it's members, granting, little by little, more and more authority. The fact that the Uni Defense Computer gave Bob a Gold/1 Military Key Card is a great step forward. Because of the sensitive nature of this information, James is warned only to tell those on Group B as well as the members of Group A. Then he is dismissed.
Lt. Garrison talks with Bill and tells him to stand down, and that their Key Cards should be working now. James returns to Group A and B and tells them what has happened.
Session Six: Part 1: "Super Trouper" (April 5, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Captain Adele Droblas, RAA Captain and SUR Commander, Lt. Mike Garrison, Uni Militia, Corporal Jones, and various other Uni Survivors.
Captain Droblas orders James to disarm while a computer on the desk behind her starts counting down from 30 seconds. James explains his actions but refuses to disarm. He demands that the Captain accompany him to the Uni Survivors Council and explain her actions, citing several sections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that he believes the Captain has violated. Captain Droblas orders James to disarm again and cites several sections of the UCMJ that James is violating.
The Uni Defense Computer disables the security cards of the rest of the team, trapping them on the first floor of the Anderson Stuart bunkers.
Lots of shouting and conversation ensues, with Droblas practically screaming that she's got this under control, which baffles James because he gets the feeling that she's not talking to him. The timer stops and there is a beat or two before the UDC activates the security camera laser in Captain Droblas's office and disarms James by cutting his pistol in half before he can act.
Security Camera Footage (15, March 1998): AInet.AUS goes online for the first time. Linked together in a complete internet setting are over 70 Australian AIs located at universities, military reserves, private big business centres and government facilities, including: Sydney University Defense Computer, AMP Building/AMP Centre, Australian Government Centre, CIB Building, Flinders University, Government House, Kingsford Smith/Mascot/Sydney Airport, MacQuarie University, Melbourne University, New South Wales Institute of Technology, Parliament House, Premier's Department Building, Royal Australian Army Base - Holsworthy Army Camp, Royal Australian Army Base - Moore Park Barracks, Royal Australian Army Base - North Head Royal Artillery School, Royal Australian Army Base - Victoria Barracks, Royal Australian Naval Base - Balmoral Naval Depot, Royal Australian Naval Base - Cockatoo Island Naval Dockyard, Royal Australian Naval Base - Fort Denison, Royal Australian Naval Base - Garden Island Naval Dockyard, Royal Australian Naval Base - HMAS Platypus Submarine Hangar, Royal Australian Naval Base - Spectacle Island, Royal Australian Naval Base - South Head Naval Headquarters, Sydney Police Academy, University of New South Wales.
Security Camera Footage (15, March 1999): AInet.AUS goes fully online after one year of special testing. AIs are linked to form a Super AI, the first in world history.
Security Camera Footage (December 2003): SU Defense Computer is moved to new location in SUR building while still operational. SUR defenses prevent entry into University by mobs and Russian invasion troops. Command structure completely is depleted as command civilian and military members die from the plague or are killed in action.
Security Camera Footage (December 2003): Various AIs are destroyed or lose power: AMP Building/AMP Centre (unpowered), Australian Government Centre (destroyed), Flinders University (destroyed), Government House (unpowered), MacQuarie University (destroyed), Melbourne University (destroyed), New South Wales Institute of Technology (unpowered), Parliament House (unpowered), Premier's Department Building (unpowered), Royal Australian Naval Base - Balmoral Naval Depot (destroyed), Royal Australian Naval Base - Fort Denison (unpowered), Royal Australian Naval Base - HMAS Platypus Submarine Hangar (unpowered), University of New South Wales (destroyed).
Security Camera Footage (December 2003 - January 2103): Various AIs maintain power and security during the intervening years: Sydney University Defense Computer (operational), CIB Building (operational), Kingsford Smith/Mascot/Sydney Airport (operational), Royal Australian Army Base - Holsworthy Army Camp (operational), Royal Australian Army Base - Moore Park Barracks (operational), Royal Australian Army Base - North Head Royal Artillery School (operational), Royal Australian Army Base - Victoria Barracks (operational), Royal Australian Naval Base - Cockatoo Island Naval Dockyard (operational), Royal Australian Naval Base - Garden Island Naval Dockyard (operational), Royal Australian Naval Base - Spectacle Island (operational), Royal Australian Naval Base - South Head Naval Headquarters (operational), Sydney Police Academy (operational).
Security Camera Footage (January 2103): Two figures in combat armor enter Anderson Stuart building and go to Operation Morpheus center. With no full shots of their bodies or faces, they open two cryosleep chambers - Dr. Stephanie Shaw and Capt. Adele Droblas. Both are put through the same two week hell that the PCs experience, except that this is much, much harsher. When they are "fully recovered," the two figures in combat armor hand them a stack of papers as well as each a security card - Capt. Droblas a Cobalt/4 Military Key Card and Dr. Shaw an Indigo/2 Civilian Key Card. The top message on the stack of papers, written in the same handwriting as Group B's envelopes, simply says "You will be protected by the University only so long as your new community is a democracy, where the military answers to the civilian government."
Security Camera Footage (November 2103 - January 2104): Two troubleshooting groups, about 30 people in all, are activated. After working for a month or so, several members decide to overthrow the civilian government of the Uni Survivors of Anderson Stuart and convince the others to assist them. Fully armed and armored, they seize key areas of the bunker, and a detachment of five of them approach Capt. Droblas's Office. Three grab the guard outside and two enter with weapons out, calling for her to surrender her armory keys. A computer in the background of her office starts counting down from 30 seconds. Capt. Droblas refuses and warns the mutineers to disarm themselves, otherwise they are dead. They laugh and threaten her some more. She again warns them they are in danger - surrender or die. Again they demand her keys. When she doesn't comply, one tries to approach and all mutineers, at every location in the bunker, are cut down by the security lasers punching through heavy armor - two taps to the head, three to the heart and some continuous beam amputations of arms holding weapons is the most common method of death. Capt. Droblas sighs and mutters "Thanks" to no one in particular. The computer monitor chirps and the message on it says "You will be protected by the University only so long as your community is a democracy, where the military answers to the civilian government." Later, Capt. Droblas gets a rug to cover the laser scores on her office floor.
Session Five: Part 2: "Somebody's Crying" (April 5, 2104)
Important PCs: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C).
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Matt Borselli, PhD Physics, Captain Adele Droblas, RAA Captain and SUR Commander, Lt. Mike Garrison, Uni Militia, Corporal Jones, and various other Uni Survivors.
The next morning, the Group awakens and James notices that Bob has dirty feet and calves. He casually asks if Bob had been sleepwalking again and Bob says that he actually was taken from Anderson Stuart by two MilRobs to the Sydney University Regiment (SUR) Building. That wakes James and the rest of the Group up quickly.
Bob tells his story and leaves nothing out, showing the video disks to the Group. James asks Alexis why she didn't tell the rest of them about this situation and Alexis says that she believes that her life was in danger. Both Bob and James believe that the *someone* who Alexis was communicating with is not the University Defense Computer (UDC) who 'contacted' Bob. Bob is also convinced that they are being observed through the security cameras - who else would have known about his Reactor training with Andy?
Since Bob has a Gold/1 Military Key Card clearance, Alexis gets Bob to open the high security files about alternate realities/quantum physics/dimensional travel. It turns out that these files are not theoretical in nature but experimental! Amid diagrams of various devices, they find a picture of President George W. Bush shaking hands with President George W. Bush! Alexis brings the files to Matt in Supply. Matt contacts the others in the Science department for assistance, then bothers to ask if these are on the QT. Alexis says just to limit access.
James calls up Miles and Group A to talk to Amanda who was on night watch. Amanda tells them that nothing happened during the night. James talks to Robbie and Nasdaq and both robots state that two Anderson Stuart SecRobs entered the area and departed. They rush to the Security Station and play back the security tapes. On the tapes two unknown robots enter the area and escort/carry the sleeping Bob out, right past Robbie and Nasdaq and synchronized to avoid Amanda on her patrols. The fact that *whoever* arranged this did not doctor the tapes means it was either purposefully left there or it was sloppy work. The Group determines that this was a purposeful action leaving the tape intact.
Since Bob entered SUR and now has a Gold/1 Military Key Card, the Group believes that they can now enter SUR again and so prepare for that. James asks Miles if his Group has anything on their docket today, which Miles responds that nothing that couldn't be put off till later. Bill believing that the Group is leaving soon goes to the garage and gets in the car.
James goes to Captain Droblas's office and talks to Captain Droblas and Lt. Garrison. He explains that he believes that an unknown enemy has control of the Anderson Stuart computer and security cameras/lasers. He demands that the Ethernet link be severed and the security cameras/lasers be disassembled. Captain Droblas takes his suggestions under advisement but responds that the orders to disassemble the cameras/lasers and sever the Ethernet link is up to the Uni Survivors Council - the military is subordinate to the civilian authority.
James exits the Captain's office and calls Bill on the radio, telling him to get down to the Captain's office on the third floor of Anderson Stuart ASAP. He then turns to Corporal Jones beside the Captain's door and tells him that the Captain wants to see him.
Entering the Captain's office again, James draws his pistol on his superior officers and orders Captain Droblas, Lt. Garrison and Corporal Jones to stand down. He states that he is arresting the Captain because he believes the Captain, the SUR commander, has violated two sections of Article 99 (Misbehavior before the Enemy) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Important PCs: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, several Giant Spiders, several MilRobs, the University Defense Computer aka UDC, Matt Borselli, PhD Physics, and various other Uni Survivors.
The spiders are observing Group B from the top of the Carslaw Building when James spots one Giant Spider waving what appears to be a bit of white cloth - a truce or surrender?
Pointing it out to the others, James calls out to the spiders to come and talk. He moves to the front door and removes the axe holding the door shut. Opening the door, with his gun to his side, he calls to the spiders. The spiders do not respond.
Calling for the rest of the Group to support him, using pilot fly codes ("Group, diamond formation, forward!"), James enters Carslaw once again, with Bill in a support position. Bob and Alexis stay at the front doors while Robbie and Nasdaq remain outside. Bob blocks the doors open with the axe and some rocks.
James gets frustrated that the Group is not following his orders and again calls for a diamond formation as they move towards the foyer opening. Alexis finally complies but Bob remains in the center of the foyer, watching their backs.
Robbie enters the building but Nasdaq remains outside. James again calls to the spiders and the Group notices that the dead spiders are gone. The spiders do not respond. The Group tries the stairs up spotted earlier but they end after a few feet in a ruined mess.
The Group exits Carslaw again and James asks Nasdaq why it didn't enter the building with the rest of them. Nasdaq responds that re-entering the building is a waste of it's resources and that this situation is not important.
The Group decides to try to find a way to climb the sides of the building to see if they can communicate with the spiders. Returning to their car, they find one of the passenger doors open. Quickly going to combat mode, Bob and Alexis approach the car and notice that there is an Amazon.com box on the passenger seat.
Bill determines, to the best of his ability, that the box is not trapped. In the process, he finds a piece of paper under the box that says "This is not a bomb" in the same handwriting that the envelopes from the Security Vault in Anderson Stuart were written in. Bill cautiously removes the box from the vehicle and opens it, revealing two books titled: "The Last 25 Years of US History, 2003 edition" as well as a thick manila envelope. Opening the envelope, they discover about 300 pictures - pictures of them and the rest of the Uni Survivors.
Bob and Bill return to Anderson Stuart for climbing gear and extension ladders while James, Alexis, Robbie and Nasdaq watch Carlsaw from the front. After a couple of hours, Bob and Bill return with the ladders and the Group climbs to the top of the two story auditorium. From there, they stretch the ladders across to the roof of Carslaw and climb one by one, starting with Bill and ending with Bob.
When Bill gets to the roof, he notices the large holes in the roof as well as a large pile of bones about 70 feet away. Cautioning the others to stop, he figures that the pile of bones is made up of human and animal bones. There are no signs of the Giant Spiders. With everyone on the roof the Group attempts to open some of the fourth floor metal shuttered windows.
Bill is lowered to two windows and manages to open them. Using his flashlight, he looks through the windows and finds that the whole building, with the exception of the foyer, is just an empty shell, with girders and beams and spider webs.
The Group return to the ground and drive around Carslaw again, to determine if there are any basement entrances or windows. They do not find any so they give up on contacting the spiders and return to Anderson Stuart.
For the rest of the day, James readies his weapons and gets another pistol from Supply. Meanwhile, Bill, Bob and Alexis examine the books and photos. The books are mostly the same with some very different contents. Book 1 contains the history that Group B remembers. But Book 2 contains history that never happened on Earth, to their knowledge. It seems that in Book 2, the US returned to the moon in 1980 and built the first of three moon bases in 1984. That, coupled with great advances in technology, brought the Book 2 US into early TL8 in the mid-80s, and late TL8/early TL9 in the mid-90s.
Alexis does some research on possible alternate realities/quantum physics/dimensional travel on the computer and comes up with several theoretical papers from the Physics department. She also finds about six documents that require a Gold/1 Military Key Card to access. Alexis brings the theoretical papers to Matt in Supply and asks him to review them and make conclusions. He tells her that he'll get back to her in a few days. Alexis also shows Matt Books 1 and 2. Matt has no memory of any moon bases. He sends a quick email questionnaire to everyone in Anderson Stuart, outlining several historical facts as well as some facts from Book 2, just to see how many people remember Book 1's view of history as opposed to Book 2.
With many questions, the Group goes to bed, with Amanda from Group A on night watch.
Bob wakes up because his feet are cold and fully wakes up when he realizes that two unknown robots are carrying him outside of Anderson Stuart and onto the University Campus. When he is fully awake, in only a t-shirt and boxers with his Silver/2 Military Key Card around his neck, the two robots allow him to walk.
They escort him down Eastern Avenue to City Road and up to the Sydney University Regiment (SUR) Building. Warning him to obey all orders and not to deviate from his escorted path on pain of death, the robots have him use his Silver/2 Military Key Card to enter SUR. The robots take him into the building and into an elevator. The elevator descends several floors below the surface of the street.
He is walked out of the elevator and down a hallway. One of the doors that he passes contains a fully operational repair facility for security robots and he sees many being repaired. Finally, they bring him to another elevator, which takes him down several floors to the Reactor Control Center for SUR.
The robots tell him to get to work and then set themselves up to guard the door. Bob notes that the Reactor level is about 10% of full and that the draw is about 10% of maximum. With this draw, the Reactor has about 10 years of fuel left. Bob remembers what Andy told him and starts the Water-to-Fuel conversion process, which takes several hours. When the robots escort Bob out of the Reactor Control Room, he notices that the Reactor level is now at 100%.
The robots take Bob by a different route and he passes by several rooms that contain *occupied* cryosleep modules, about 20 modules in all. Then they bring him into a room with video equipment set up. Pushing him into a chair, a video starts playing.
The video shows Alexis on the computer, with an over her shoulder view of the computer. The date stamp on the video says April 3, 2104. A message screen pops up on Alexis's computer that says "I make a better friend than an enemy" and then shows a montage of images that show the Anderson Stuart bunker losing power, SecRobs entering the bunker and killing all the Uni Survivors. Then the message screen pops up again and instructs Alexis to install the Trojan Horse program on all computers she can access, and provides her with a program that makes the Trojan Horse program invisible.
Then another video starts. This shows at least four security night-vision camera angles of the inside of the Carslaw building and the great number of Giant Spiders that reside there. The date stamp on the video says April 4, 2104. The video shows Group B enter Carslaw and their subsequent combat with the Giant Spiders in exacting detail.
When this video ends, the machine punches out two video disks and the robots tell Bob it is time to go. Bob surreptitiously takes the two video disks from the machine and is escorted out by the robots.
He is taken to another floor of SUR, hopelessly lost, and put in another room. Several robots there take his Silver/2 Military Key Card. They take his picture and return to him a Gold/1 Military Key Card.
His robot escorts take him out of SUR and back to Anderson Stuart, where they leave him at the vehicle lift. Bob re-enters Anderson Stuart bunkers and goes to bed, without telling anyone what happened.
The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye. On one monitor is a view of the University defense perimeter. Robots are seen clearing the defense perimeter of useful weapons and equipment from the dead. Then robots clear the corpses from the defense perimeter, piling them within the University campus. Later, Giant Spiders come and take the dead bodies away.
The Loonies: Many weeks after the fight with the mysterious creatures, a group of Scouts arrives and investigates the attack. No survivors are found. The Scouts are profoundly disturbed - Who could have done this, who had the resources, men and material, to utterly wipe out the Loonies while still suffering extreme casualties? Who could have done this to such an extent, that all the Loonies are dead?
The Sign: Close up view of a small nuclear symbol on what seems to be a curved surface.
The Observatory Hill House: View of Observatory, located near the Domain Commune, under attack by bandits. While community members defend the House and grounds, the arrival of several tanks and support troops from the Domain Commune turn the tide against the bandits, ending in their defeat.
The Duchy of Sydney: A La Parouse patrol of Knights and men-at-arms, 15 all told, is slaughtered by the mysterious creatures as sun sets over Sydney. No survivors and again the creatures remove their own dead from the battlefield.
Two coffee table sized books, both titled: "The Last 25 Years of US History, 2003 edition" are side-by-side on a table. The books are identical except that each cover contains several different color photographs. A figure, only seen as gloved hands and police body armor, places the books into an Amazon.com box along with a thick manila envelope. Then the box is picked up and walked across the University campus and placed in Group B's Land Rover outside of the Carslaw Building.
Session Four: Part 2: "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (April 4, 2104)
Important PCs: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, and assorted Giant Spiders.
The Carslaw Building, as they found out by doing some simple research, houses the Student Union, as well as some Administrative and Math Department offices.
Group B again gets in the saddle and prepares for action. They load up their Land Rover again with the electrical generator and also bring along food and water, not knowing how long they will be out. With Robbie the PolRob and Nasdaq the Robot along, Group B leaves Anderson Stuart at 9 AM and drives to the Carslaw Building, only a few blocks away.
Carslaw is a large four-storied L shaped building with a separate auditorium out-building. They drive around Carslaw and notice that all the ground floor doors, with the exception of the main front doors, are sealed with heavy plates welded over the doors and that all the first floor windows have metal shutters also welded shut. The second and above floor windows just have sealed metal shutters, probably bolted from the inside.
Parking between the auditorium and the main building, out of sight of the main road and in a relatively secure spot, Group B disembarks and leaves Robbie to guard the car. The Group gets into a short discussion about Robbie's verbal orders concerning the car and who should be allowed access to it. With that issue ironed out, they decide to check out the auditorium first.
Entering the auditorium, with James in the lead and the rest following, the Group finds an old, makeshift field hospital. Scores of body bags, most filled, are piled everywhere around the floor. Used medical supplies - needles, empty bags of medical fluids, syrettes, bandages, scalpels, surgical scrubs and more - are scattered among the many surgical tables. Powerful battery-powered halogen lamps are placed above the tables, their batteries now run down.
Bob expresses interest in opening some of the body bags to determine how the occupants died but is quickly shouted down by the rest of the Group. Both Bill and James believe that this was a combat hospital - the sheer amount of shredded and age-blackened uniform battle dress bear this out - and that this was used during the defense of the University, 100 years ago.
Looking around, James finds several pieces of unknown combat armor. On the inside of the armor they find Russian letters. James says that it was probably Spetz-Naz issued armor. Finding nothing of value in the auditorium, the Group heads to the main building.
Opening the wide, wooden double front doors, they enter the dark recesses of a large foyer/hall with openings leading to the rest of the building in each wall. Flashlights out, James leads the way with Bob second and the rest following, the Group head towards the opening opposite the front doors.
Looking through the opening, they all see that, with their limited flashlights, a majority of the building is an empty shell. Across the building, they see one huge hole in the ceiling and several smaller holes, each illuminating a pile of roof debris with sunlight.
Believing that there may be some of the upper floors still intact in the darkened areas of Carslaw or that there may be a bunker, the Group decides to explore a little. Bill and Alexis stay by the foyer, while James, Bob and Nasdaq walk towards the largest pile of sunlit debris. Nasdaq turns on its personal spotlight.
Half way across this cavernous floor, James leaves Bob and Nasdaq and continues on towards the debris alone, holding his Gauss Needler at the ready. Bob covers James with his M16. James approaches the large debris pile and almost goes completely around it but realizes it will cut him off visually from Bob and company. He turns to come back and is knocked to the floor by a sudden attack!
Bob sees a giant thing jump from the shadows onto James' back and knock him to the ground. James quick-draws his pistol and fires over his shoulder at his attacker, shooting three rounds off right next to his ear. Filled with horror and disbelief at seeing Giant Spider #1 jump on James, Bob nonetheless opens fire and kills Giant Spider #1. Bill, seeing James get attacked, rushes toward him to render medical aid.
Suddenly, all around them they hear the sounds of many, many, many Giant Spiders moving. Bill drops, completely fainting at such a horrific noise. James drops his pistol and lies stunned by the sheer horror of it all as Bob orders Nasdaq to go get James.
Taking short steps backward, Bob brings his M16 to bear all around him, keeping moving to avoid being a tempting target for these 8-legged horrors. Alexis moves up to Bill and, with Bill's collar in one hand and her M16 in the other, slowly drags Bill towards the foyer and escape. Bob quickly radios to Robbie to come assist them.
James recovers his senses and his Needler as Nasdaq grabs his collar and lifts him to standing position. The two of them start walking back to the foyer, with Nasdaq covering Bob and James watching both their backs. Bob, meanwhile, notices two Giant Spiders (#3 and #4) descending on Alexis and Bill and opens fire, striking one but only wounding it. The wounded Giant Spider #2 drops on Alexis and she uses her Judo training to smash it to the floor under her. It grapples her, pinning her arms to her sides. Giant Spider #3 lands on Bill and quickly gets him lifted to carry off.
As two more Giant Spiders (#5 and #6) descend on Alexis, causing her to freak out, Bob, still taking short steps toward the foyer, fires at Giant Spider #2, killing it, then turns his gun on but missing Giant Spider #3.
Suddenly, Nasdaq fires his built-in Gauss Needler full burst, killing Giant Spider #7 hanging above Bob's head. Giant Spider #7 drops onto Bob, striking him but not knocking him down.
Giant Spiders #3 and #6 get Bill in their clutches and start dragging him off as Giant Spider #5 wrestles Alexis to the ground. In it's many arms, Alexis is helpless as the spider drags her toward the darkness. Bob fires on Giant Spider #5 and kills it, freeing Alexis, as James turns around and has Nasdaq cover their backs.
Alexis amazingly still has her M16 and both she and Bob kill Giant Spider #6. Alexis is the only one close enough to hear Giant Spider #3 cry "No, Mommie!" as Giant Spider #6 dies. Shaken but resolute, Alexis brings her gun to bear on Giant Spider #3 as James fires the killing shot from his Needler into Giant Spider #3.
With seven dead Giant Spiders around them, Group B opts for a tactical retreat - quickly crossing the foyer and getting the hell out of Carslaw.
Once outside and together with Robbie, Alexis tells the others what the spider said and believes that they are intelligent! James wonders where he dropped his pistol. Suddenly, the Group realizes that they are being observed from the rooftops by the spiders and James spots something!
Important PCs: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Andy Smith, Reactor Controller at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Steve Miller, IT Lead at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Jill St. John, biologist at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Matt Borselli, various other Uni Survivors.
Group A and Group B return to Anderson Stuart Bunkers with the University Reactor on full automated power.
James and Miles spend their down time investigating the crazy PolRobs, learning about their weaknesses and best target locations. They also use the undamaged parts to re-build damaged sections of Robbie the PolRob. James and Miles also remove the crazy PolRobs computer cores and give them to Alexis to check. Miles and James also tell each other about what they've seen around the Uni campus - Miles mentions a partially-destroyed Soviet helicopter in the ruins of St. John's College.
Bill assists James and Miles in this project as well as spends a good amount of time studying medicine. Talking to Dr. Shaw and several other doctors in Anderson Stuart allows Bill to improve his skills.
Alexis spends time with the Anderson Stuart IT group, headed by Steve Miller, bringing them up to speed on the Trojan Horse program and assists them in trying to overcome it. Most of her time is spent on the computer. When James and Miles bring Alexis the crazy PolRobs computer cores, she finds that they were not programmed to attack Group B. Instead she finds evidence of hard drive damage in each of them which mixed their Civilian Goodwill programming with their Combat Protocols programming. Alexis learns about how PolRobs are programmed and writes a few test programs for Robbie.
Bob goes to the biology department and gives biologist Jill St. John the unknown creature fur. Jill says she'll take a look at it and let him know what she finds out. Bob then meets with Andy about the whole Reactor thing. He also assists Andy and a group of Uni militia in returning to the Physics Building and setting up automated/watchdog systems for the Reactor. Bob notices when he goes back to the Physics Building that the lights are all back to normal (dim) around the University Campus. Andy instructs Bob on how to start up any other reactor he might find on campus. Jill calls up Bob and lets him know that the fur is not of any known species (circa 2003 knowledge) but it has some similarities with rats. Jill and Bob have dinner and discuss the matter further.
After these few days of rest and study, Matt from Supply brings both Group A and Group B some new weapons. Each Group gets 2 new Gauss Needler Rifles. Each is overpowered (10D IMP damage) and has limited ammunition (each gun gets 2 - 100 round clips). Each gun can fire single shot, short burst (3), and full burst (20). James and Alexis arm themselves with these guns, as Miles and Amanda are chosen to get them for Group A.
Group B is back on duty and decides to follow Alexis's lead: "Carslaw Building. Security Code: Transmit-Chocolate-Novel-Eight-Five-Niner-Jacket"
Session Four: "I don't like Spiders and Snakes" (April 1 - 4, 2104)
The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye. On one monitor is a view of the University defense perimeter. Robots are seen clearing the defense perimeter of useful weapons and equipment from the dead.
The Loonies: Aftermath of the fight with the mysterious creatures. Dead lying everywhere, each killed in a very messy manner - by teeth and claws of these dangerous creatures. All the dead, however, are just the humans. None of the dead includes these creatures and it is quite obvious that many of the creatures died in this assault. Bob (E) manages to get some of the unknown creature's fur for analysis!
The Russians: Again a meeting of this council group. Vladimir stands before the group and talks extensively, all the time pointing to various spots on a map of Sydney. Natasha and Ivor seem to agree with Vladimir while Nikoli and many other council members obviously disagree.
Garden Island Dockyards: The dockyards are surrounded by a defense perimeter similar to but more extensive than Sydney University. In drydock sits the CVN 83 USS Coral Sea, a Nimitz class Carrier. A flock of seagulls fly by and the guns on the perimeter, as well as defense guns on the Coral Sea, track the flock but do not fire. Hundreds of PolRobs and SecRobs patrol the silent compound.
Domain Commune: Several council members, Karma Stephens, Robert Weale, and Deborah Maynard, meet and trade with an independent group, which most of the local communities call "Pirate Corp$." This local group is known as the Practical Smokers. There are about 7 members to this group. Weapons, armor and equipment are indifferent. Several members have bows, one has a crossbow, three have black powder rifles and one even has an old M16. Armor ranges from heavy leather to old police riot gear to chain mail. Swords and clubs hang from belts and many knives are thrust through belts and into boot tops.
Downtown Sydney: That group of strange robed people move through the darkness in downtown Sydney, chanting in Latin (all good chanting has to be in Latin, you know).
The Duchy of Sydney: An Eastlake noble, Baron Robert Dylan, receives reports from patrols about unusual creatures that have been sighted in the ruins but dismisses it as "foolish talk."
The Mystery Man: Still in the same room, the man is watching the computer monitor. On the computer monitor is a view of the Sydney University Physics building mainframe computer. The bookmark in the book "Poisons for Professionals" is in a later chapter.
Session Three: Part 2: "Is It Like Today?" (April 1, 2104)
Important PCs: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Andy Smith, Reactor Controller at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Steve Miller, IT Lead at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, various SecRobs, and several Uni Council Members.
The Reactor is working perfectly, and is fully operational. Group A and Group B are ordered to return to Anderson Stuart for R&R and additionally are ordered not to mess with the Ethernet connections for the Physics Building - the Council will determine if the Trojan Horse program presents a threat. James, however, disconnects the Ethernet connections contrary to these orders while Miles looks on, definitely not disagreeing with James.
As they leave the Physics Building with the crazy but no longer operational PolRobs, the lights are on in all the buildings around the University campus. James wonders why they all don't go around and shut off the lights but the Groups head home.
Session Three: Part 1: "S.O.S." (March 29 - 31, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C),
Important NPCs: Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, Andy Smith, Reactor Controller at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Steve Miller, IT Lead at Anderson Stuart Bunker, Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, various SecRobs, PolRob #1 and PolRob #2.
While James and Bill man the Physics Building Security Station, Bob and Alexis, with Nasdaq, start the Main University Reactor. This process (the strtupseqnce.doc file contains 12 steps) will take several days. Since the start-up sequence powers the Reactor Control area and part of the Security Station, the phone system is working between these two locations as well as to other powered buildings (like Anderson Stuart).
Bob begins the start-up and James reports in to Anderson Stuart, giving them the skinny on what is going on and also the Groups respective phone numbers. Over the next 48 hours, Bob runs through the first 7 steps on the list and proceeds to step 8.
A few hours after starting step 8, Alexis is on duty while Bob is taking a nap. Alexis fails to notice the warning light on the power console while she is looking through the now-powered up Mainframe Computer. Suddenly, a blaring alarm starts, waking up Bob and an automated voice says "DANGER! REACTOR SITUATION! APPROXIMATELY 10 MINUTES TO COMPLETE CONTAINMENT FAILURE! DANGER!" A clock on the wall starts counting down from 10 minutes as a nearby wall radiometer starts clicking higher REMs.
Meanwhile in the Security Station, James and Bill hear noises in the hallway. James remembers that the SecRobs haven't been around for about 12 hours and wonders if the noises are them. James gives Miles from Group A a call on the radio, asking if his Group is in the Physics Building. Miles says no but asks if Group B needs backup. James says yes. Miles says they'll be over there pronto.
James and Bill prepare for company. Bill flips over the heavy wooden desk, pushes it to cover the doorway and draws his pistol. James readies his M16 and opens the security door, taking a quick look outside. Down the hall, sounds of an emergency alarm drift up the stairwell from the Reactor Area. Also from down the hall, James and Bill hear electronic voices saying things like "Hello Citizen! Report suspicious behavior to your local police!" and "Hi! I'm your friendly neighborhood Police Robot!" James sees two PolRobs walking down the hall towards the Security Station. Both are fully armed (M16s and Glock 17s) as well as armored in police riot gear. One is also carrying a sword.
PolRob #1 spots James and opens fire, while exclaiming "Be a good neighbor - Report all drug dealers in your neighborhood!" James returns fire and ducks back into the room while PolRob #2 launches a tear gas grenade in front of the security door as it says "Do not play with matches - Report all those who do to your local police and fire districts." Bill buttons up his helmet gas filter while James fires again at the PolRobs.
Meanwhile, down in the Reactor Control Room, Bob is trying to get the situation in hand. Realizing that he has no idea what to do, he calls over to Anderson Stuart Bunker, loudly demanding, over the Emergency Alarm, to talk to someone in the Bunker Reactor group. Alexis rushes to the Mainframe Computer room and tries a few things on the newly started computer to try to assist Bob.
As tear gas drifts into the Security Station, James buttons up his helmet gas filter as well and steps back from the doorway, M16 at the ready. PolRob #2 launches a fragmentation grenade just outside the doorway, loudly stating "Do not litter! Be a good Citizen!" The grenade explodes but James and Bill are not injured by the grenade.
Bob finally gets Andy the Anderson Stuart Reactor Tech on the phone. Amidst the Emergency Alarm, as the REM counter is going slowly up and the timer is fast counting down, Andy has Bob tell him what he did. Bob reads off the list from the strtupseqnce.doc file. Bob realizes that no one in Group B had anyone at Anderson Stuart check out the authenticity of the strtupseqnce.doc file and Andy tells him that step 8 and 9 are reversed!
PolRob #1 steps around the doorway into the Security Station saying "Only you can prevent forest fires! Be a good Citizen and don't pollute!" as James opens up with his M16 into PolRob #1's head. PolRob #1 stops functioning, but remains standing. From the hallway, James and Bill hear PolRob #2 state "When in danger, exit burning buildings! Assist your local fire department by moving out of the way of emergency vehicles."
Alexis runs a similar diagnostic program that she ran at Anderson Stuart before she realizes that the diagnostic program is actually a Trojan Horse program that allows someone outside the Physics Building to control the Physics Mainframe! Jumping up from the Reactor Controls, Alexis runs to the Mainframe room. Andy asks Bob if the Mainframe is up, because it is necessary to control the Reactor.
PolRob #2 steps in front of the doorway, says "DARE to keep kids off drugs! Assist your local authorities in times of crisis!" and opens fire with it's M16 at Bill. Bill takes several rounds in the chest, but his military grade armor protects him from injury. Bill leaps the table and closes with PolRob #2, causing the robot to drop his M16 in the struggle. PolRob #2 jabs at Bill with his built-in Stun Gun fist!
Andy tells Bob that he needs to enter the small door to the Reactor Control Valves from the Control Room. Bob rushes to the Security Station to get a Radiation Suit. While he's quickly getting dressed, Andy walks him through what he has to do to, telling him that he shouldn't have to go farther than 30 yards to the Control Valves and warning him to get out as fast as possible. Bob, with his Geiger Counter and radiation badge and Key Cards ready, steps through the security door into the corridor to the Control Valves.
Bill is fighting in close quarters with PolRob #2 and manages to get ahold of it's wrist, preventing the Stun Gun fist from connecting with him. James drops his M16, quick-draws his pistol and jumps on PolRob #2's back. PolRob #2 states "Comply with all orders from Police personnel! We're here for your safety and protection!" and fires his built-in taser weapon into Bill, stunning him.
Alexis rushes into the Mainframe Computer room and tries to stop the diagnostic/Trojan Horse program from completing. When she fails to stop the program, Alexis tries to smash the Mainframe with a chair but is stopped by Nasdaq who informs her not to damage University property. Bob runs down the access tunnel to the Control Valves.
James manages to get PolRob #2's helmet off and shoots it in the head with his pistol. Uneffected, PolRob #2 disentangles it's Stun Gun fist from Bill and stuns James with it, saying "The Police are public servants, serving the public good! Assist them in all their endeavors!" Things are looking mighty grim for our heroes!
Bob reaches the Control Valves and only makes one small mistake from Andy's instructions. Quickly recovering, he corrects his mistake then runs like hell out of that radioactive hellhole! Bob enters the Control Room as the control gauges go from Red to Green, the REM meter drops, the Emergency Alarms stop, and the timer stops counting down. Only scant minutes to spare! Meanwhile, Alexis dives behind the Mainframe to unplug it and stop the Trojan Horse from working.
Miles and Group A tackle PolRob #2, bringing the whole lot of them down to the ground in a heap. Within a few minutes, Bill and James are recovering and Group A has disassembled PolRob #2, amidst electronic cries of "Report anyone who is driving impaired to your local police!" and "Don't steal from others! That's wrong and it's against the law, too!" and "Violence is not the answer! Stay away from fights and any gang activity!"
Andy assures Bob that the Mainframe must be operational to control the Reactor. Bob finds Alexis in the Mainframe room and stops her from disconnecting the Mainframe. Alexis tells Bob about the Trojan Horse and tries to find the Ethernet connections to cut the Mainframe off of the rest of the Uni. Bob returns to the Control Room and Andy walks him through several more procedures to assure the Reactor will operate correctly.
Alexis calls Anderson Stuart and talks to Steve Miller, the IT lead, warning him about the Trojan Horse program. Anderson Stuart is in a uproar about this and many calls back and forth to Alexis are made.
In the Security Office, James, Bill, and Team A (Miles, Rich, Amanda and John) rest from their encounter with the PolRobs. A group of SecRobs pass by the Security Office on their normal patrols.
James, Bill, Alexis and Bob all let each other know what has happened in the last few minutes:
* the attack of the PolRobs ("We need bigger and better guns!" says James) * the Reactor situation ("Someone switched the procedure around!" says Bob) * the Trojan Horse program ("We've got to disconnect the Physics Mainframe from the rest of the University!" says Alexis), and * getting shot at close range with an M16 ("Ow!" says Bill).
Session Three: "Start Me Up" (March 29 - April 1, 2104)
Cut Scene: The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye. On one monitor is a view of the University defense perimeter. A group of peasants are being forced by gunpoint into the defense perimeter by a group of knights and men-at-arms wearing the heraldry of the Duchy of Sydney. The knights and men-at-arms stay well away from the defense perimeter. The automated defenses efficiently kill the peasants with minimum expenditure of ammunition. Then the defenses open up for a full 60 seconds with full auto fire - 50 caliber machine gun, 20 mm autocannon, and mortar support - on the group of knights and men-at-arms, cutting them down in a violent hail of lead.
Cut Scene: Mount Steele Castle: Duke William asks for the results of several probes into the downtown area. His generals say that no communiqués have come yet. He turns back to the map of Sydney and studies it.
Cut Scene: The Loonies: Again this group of people are acting totally insane. Around their main base, which looks to be like a large hospital building, probably built in the 1980s, are vicious traps, pungi stick pits and other cunning defenses. In the evening, the unknown creatures attack the lunatics, cutting them down, bypassing their defenses and burning their crops and village in an orgy of blood and death. Though the lunatics fight back, with spears, guns and swords, they are overwhelmed and the results of this slaughter is the complete bloody and violent death of each of these crazy people.
Cut Scene: Domain Commune: Representative from the Scouts Commune meet with members of the Domain Council. Scout council members Tim Johnson, Matt Fu and Ken Wilcox speak of trade and defense cooperation with Domain council members Gale Norman, Robert Weale, and Chris Damitio. The recent hostilities with the Duchy of Sydney are also discussed.
Session Two: Part 3: "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" (March 29, 2104)
Important People: James (S), Bill (X), Bob (E), Alexis (C)
Important NPCs: Robbie the PolRob, Nasdaq the Robot, Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, John Ritter, and many SecRobs.
The Group decides that the first order of business should be to start the Main University Reactor located in the Physics Building. Printing a hard copy of the start up sequence at strtupseqnce.doc on the Anderson Stuart mainframe computer, the Group collects equipment necessary to succeed on their mission. Figuring that the Physics Building might not have power, they acquire a electrical generator and the necessary fuel. Then, with their equipment loaded into their Land Rover vehicle (including Robbie the PolRob and Nasdaq the Robot), they exit the bunker via the vehicle lift and drive to the Physics Building.
The Physics Building is only a few blocks away from the Anderson Stuart Building. Looking around the campus, the Group notices several building have been either destroyed or have combat damage or are intact but lack electricity. The Physics Building has some combat damage - a few holes made by 20mm auto-cannon rounds, as well as some machine gun rounds, have damaged a section of the building. Additionally, the Physics Building has no electricity.
The Group park their Land Rover at the loading dock of the building and leave Robbie to guard the vehicle. Entering the building, James takes the lead with the rest of the Group following after, including Nasdaq.
Doing a quick search of the first floor of the Physics Building, they encounter several SecRobs, who challenge the Group with a "Halt Citizen, Present your Authorization." James displays his Silver/2 Military Key Card and the SecRobs say "Carry On" and continue their patrols. Several times the Group encounters SecRobs on patrol and each time are challenged. James displays his Key Card each time and the Group is left alone.
Bob finds a visitor's map of the Physics Building and the Group seeks out the Security Station on the First Floor. There, they find a bunch of SecRobs in a room similar to the First Floor Security Office in the Anderson Stuart Bunker. In addition to the operational SecRobs (which come and go on patrol), there are about five damaged/inoperatable SecRobs, and some police equipment, mostly Riot Shields and a limited amount of ammunition.
Believing that the Main Reactor control room is somewhere below the Physics Building, the Group searches several stairwells, and determine that the one nearest to the loading dock leads to the Main Reactor. They travel down the stairs to Sub-basement One and find an un-powered security door that leads to Sub-basement Two and another to Sub-basement One offices and labs. Also in the stairwell are security domes, which the Group figures contain the camera/laser coax. While Bill and Alexis set up the generator to power the Sub-basement Two security door, James and Bob take apart the nearest two security domes. They remove the camera/laser coax without damaging them because they believe that the soon-to-be booted security program may fire on the Group. Once the generator is up and running, Bill pops open the security door Key Card panel and re-routes the power to the generator.
Bill works on powering the security Key Card panel (with Nasdaq kibitzing over his shoulder) and gets it to work. They open the security door with the Violet/1 Civilian Key Card and then shut the power off when the door is fully open.
Entering the Sub-basement Two stairwell, the Group finds that it contains steps down to another two security doors - one to Sub-basement Three (titled "Main Reactor: Authorized Personnel Only") and another to the Sub-basement Two offices and labs.
Again, while Bill and Alexis set up the generator, James and Bob take apart the nearest two security domes. As Bob is moving equipment down the stairs, he hears a strange skittering noise. He tells James about it and they both pause to listen, but don't hear it any further.
Again, Bill (with Nasdaq kibitzing) powers the security Key Card panel and they open the security door, leaving it open again by shutting off the power.
Continuing down the stairs, the Group enters a long hallway (about 200 yards) that ends in yet another un-powered security door. While they are walking down the hall, several of them hear the skittering sound again and James goes back down the hall to the stairs to find out what it is. He doesn't find anything.
Again, the Group sets up the generator and disables the local security domes. Bill, getting better at it with Nasdaq still kibitzing, opens the door to the Main Reactor room foyer. Three un-powered security doors lead off the foyer: one to "Security," one to "Main Control Room," and the last to "Physics Building Mainframe Computer."
Opening the "Security" door, the Group finds a small armory as well as six un-powered SecRobs (three of which are plugged into wall sockets - Bob unplugs them). Behind the "Physics Building Mainframe Computer" door, they find the Physics Building's Mainframe. And the "Main Control Room" door opens into the Reactor control room. After discussing their plan, James and Bill return to the First Floor Physics Building Security Station, in case starting up the reactor and mainframe cause any security "problems." Bob, Alexis and Nasdaq remain in the Control Room to start the Reactor.
Initial start-up powers the security doors and other systems in the Main Reactor room foyer, as well as the Security office, the Mainframe room and the Main Control Room (and security door power returns to the Security Office).
Bob begins the start-up sequence, following the list from the strtupseqnce.doc file.