How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

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locarno24
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How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:25 am

Have got a group of local minions to try Paranoia as a bit of an antidote to more serious and self-important RPGs.

I think the slightly Wile. E. Coyote style of classic/zap type games will appeal to them. However, the challenge has been thrown down because they don't really believe it can be that lethal.

As a result, to prove a point, I'm coming up with the simplest-sounding mission I can think of, and would like some assistance in making the process interesting*.

THE MISSION:

Go up to the first floor and change a lightbulb.


I'm not making that up. That's it. It's a normal lightbulb, not supplied by R&D. This takes place in a normal INFRARED workplace (food vats), and the first floor where the light bulb has gone is a communal barracks, also INFRARED clearance. The players are from this building pre-promotion and genuinely know their way around (it's not very big, anyway).

There are no squads of commies, prior sabotage or similar involved (whatever the players may claim in their debriefing). It's only a troubleshooter mission because they're not doing anything else. The whole activity is almost (but not quite) below Friend Computer's notice.


The map - so far as one is needed:

Transtube station (IR)---- Access Corridor(IR)----Communal Barracks(IR)--Lift(IR)
-------------------------------- Stairs to Corridor(IR)----Food Vat Plant (IR)-------Lift(IR)---Office/Briefing Room(R)



As ever with Paranoia, it's not okay just to kill the troubleshooters, but merely to create a situation where they can kill themselves. They have to (in some way) actively participate in their own demise.

Initial ideas

Equipment Issue:
a) It's just a works office, not a standard briefing room.
b) As a result, no PLC branch office, just an automated store cupboard in the corner of the office.
c) As all Paranoia players know, the word 'automated' never ends well.

Getting into the room:
a) The lift is out of order.
b) Sensitive maintenance is being done on the transtube by Power Services, so it and the adjacent corridor have been temporarily changed to GREEN clearance. Work will be finished and the increased restriction removed by the time the current shift of INFRARED workers get off-shift tonight, but that doesn't help you now.
c) This leaves either breaking into and climing up the non-functioning lift shaft (Alert! Saboteurs Detected!) or climbing up the side of the food vat plant wall and trying to find a way through the ceiling (Suspended over the food vats. Plop!).

The room itself:
a) The light's broken. It's pitch dark. Someone will be shot.
b) It's an INFRARED barracks. From the persepctive of any INFRAREDs off-shift, a squad of high-clearance troubleshooters just broke into their quarters after knocking out the lights. It's clearly a raid. They wouldn't have anything...sensitive...stashed anywhere to panic about, would they?

The light fitting:
a) The light bulb blew because of a short circuit (the same one that knocked out the lift, if anyone's interested. Power services assure us they're on the case once they're done with the transtube).
b) The short circuit is still there.
c) Troubleshooters are conduct high-voltage electricity remarkably well.

Now, I'm hoping for some suitably fiendish suggestions from everyone else to add to the mix; the more clones the players lose in this one, the better. I want them volunteering for Armed Forces and IntSec special ops missions as a 'safer alternative' to more nice, simple housekeeping...




* In the traditional Paranoia sense of "How interesting. My previous clone appears to have been vapourised."
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Danforth » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:58 am

In making a simple mission, are you intentionally omitting Secret Society notes for each character? I always, always use these even for new players - the very fact of having one official and one unofficial goal to achieve is a good primer for what to expect in the rest of the game, and by setting players against each other before the mission even starts, you save yourself some work having to develop intra-team rivalries mid-game.

More generally, my favourite bit of your mission description is the INFRAREDs who believe they are being raided. Might have to steal that for my own adventures :)
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Allen Varney » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:17 pm

I strongly recommend that you hunt down a copy of the 2006 rules supplement/mission collection Service, Service! It contains Dan Curtis Johnson's "The Lightbulb Mission," which covers exactly the subject you propose.

As for how your mission may play out, I'll point you to Moto42's account from March 2009, "Carrying a glass of water across the hall."
-- Allen Varney
PARANOIA (2004 edition) writer and designer
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locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:41 am

Oh, secret societies will be there, mostly consisting of the classic "watch out! such and such may be part of society X and as such may be going to try and murder you! Get them first!".

As for how your mission may play out, I'll point you to Moto42's account from March 2009, "Carrying a glass of water across the hall."
Intriguing. Will have to have a look. Ditto for Service, Service! if I can find it at short notice.

If not, any good suggestions for increasing the lethality of the mission? I'm thinking some sort of paperwork, maybe. I remember seeing the facilities team in our office scrawling on a risk assessment sheet before swapping out the big fluorescent tubes - forms always allow for either immediate or delayed treason-related deaths...

Hmm.....can't think of any way to kill someone off in the lift lobby, yet, though. Any suggestions?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Allen Varney » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:48 pm

locarno24 wrote:Hmm.....can't think of any way to kill someone off in the lift lobby, yet, though. Any suggestions?
A CPU "Yellowpants" efficiency auditor stands in the lobby, waiting to survey one lucky Troubleshooter on the effects of a broken elevator on his current Happiness Level. The quick ten-minute survey will only make one Troubleshooter horribly late and likely to incur a treason point and Official Reprimand. Now, which Troubleshooter will it be?
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:09 pm

Thanks for your assistance.

The final body count (between 4 Players) was:
2 Summary Terminations For Treason (Friend Computer)
2 Death By Laserfire (INFRARED PURGE member)
2 Death By Laserfire (???? - Darkened Room)
1 Death By Laserfire (GREEN-Clearance Intsec Goon)
1 High-Velocity Vivisection (Lift Security Grill)
1 High-Velocity Impact (Food Vat Workshop Floor)
1 Dissolution in Acid (Food Vat)
1 Explosive Decompression (Damaged Secure Storage Locker Ventilation System)
1 Massive Blunt Trauma (Damaged Secure Storage Locker Door)
1 Electrocution (Light Socket)
1 Drug Overdose (Inappropriately Prescribed Pills)
1 Buried Alive (Transbot Platform Concrete Pump)
1 Multiple Shrapnel Wounds (Briefing Tape Announcing "This Message Will Now Self-Destruct")

On the other hand, the upstairs light now works, so I feel things went well. 8)
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Mytholder » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:24 am

locarno24 wrote:On the other hand, the upstairs light now works, so I feel things went well. 8)
They actually made it? Commendation points and a bonus can of Bouncy Bubble Beverage all round!
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:27 am

Ah, but what flavour?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Allen Varney » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:31 pm

I hope you get a chance to write up the mission in all its high-fatality glory and post it somewhere. A good Actual Play post does more than anything else to help spread PARANOIA.
-- Allen Varney
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locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:42 pm

May take a while to get it all typed up, but will post it up here gradually. One good thing is that I have access to most of the conversations, only slightly misrepresented, from the team's notes. The advantages of a loyalty officer who can actually write shorthand!

Will try and post them up room-by-room as things went (increasingly) wrong.


How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Room 1 - Briefing Room

Briefing
So – our intrepid troubleshooters assembled in the plant office – the outer area of it, at least. The actual office of Crikey-O-ECK-3, their permenantly stressed food vat plant floor manager, was - of course – ORANGE clearance and they wouldn’t dream of trespassing. There was (naturally) a degree of excitement for the first mission; what sort of vital operation would Crikey-O have been given for them? Would there be transit-car chases alongside IntSec’s finest? Nail-biting laser fights with communists back to back with the Armed Forces? Exploring beyond the very boundaries of reality itself with R&D?

On entering the briefing room (a rather grandiose term for a RED-carpeted waiting area with half a dozen cracked plastic chairs and a sideboard), it became immediately apparent this wasn’t going to be the glorious mission they were hoping for. First and foremost, the Tech Services stamp on the sealed mission folder wasn’t promising. Second, Crikey-O hadn’t even bothered to turn up. There was a box on a sideboard with a blinking RED light that YEW-R identified as an answerphone with a recorded message. There are a lot of banging and clanking noises on the background of the recording.

[BEEP]...Which means that...hang on, was that the start of the recording? Oh, bootsmoke. Never used this troubleshooter stuff before. Never mind, stay calm, try again…look, you lot. I’m not going to make it to the briefing, hence the recording. One of the vats is playing up. Sorry to invoke your troubleshooter code and pull you out of work but I need a spare pair of hands. The light in the back end of INFRARED barracks two – that’s the middle one – has gone. One of the INFRARED’s reported it when they came down here at the start of the shift. It sounds like the bulb has blown. Grab a replacement out of the stores cupboard, pop upstairs and replace it, okay? The bulbs are all standard, so you can’t get the wrong one. I know it’s a bit trivial, and I’m sorry to invoke all the security clearance stuff like the briefing room and the self-destructing tape and the mission alert and all that, but a troubleshooter mission alert is all I can do without getting back to the office and I just don’t have time for that. It’s got to be done before the shift swap-over or it could impact worker happiness! How am I doing for recording time? Oh – your door access code is 4653. Make sure you don’t...[BEEP]

[RECORDING COMPLETE. MISSION IS A GO. THIS RECORDING WILL NOW SELF-DESTRUCT]

“Change a lightbulb? Is that it?” Yew-R asked. Don-R pointedly recorded the dissatisfied-sounding and potentially seditious comment.

Ga-R and Com-R, somewhat faster at seeing what was coming next, both instead dived for cover out behind the briefing room’s door. As a result, the ‘self-destruct’ that killed Yew-R and wounded Don-R fortunately didn’t hurt them much. There was a delay of a second or so before a pneumatic ‘pthonk’ sound could be heard in the corridor and Yew-R-DED-2 staggered out of the nearest Clone-O-Matic booth, surrounded by a mist of coolants, facing the slightly smug troubleshooters in the corridor.

“It blew up!”
“In fairness, it did say it was going to self-destruct.”
“Yeah, but a frag grenade?”
“Yup. So…storage cupboard?”

At this point some piteous whining from inside the shattered room reminded them that Don-R-KBB-1 was still in the wrecked room, bleeding quite heavily. Com-R fed him pills until he shut up again. They discovered to their disgust that the surviving briefing folders were, in fact, empty, having been spat out automatically by the secure printer with no actual contents, and headed off down the corridor.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:16 am

Room 2 - Supply Cupboard
The supply cupboard was a secure storeroom – cupboard was something of a misnomer as it held all the spares for the entire food vat plant. As a result, it was RED clearance and only senior employees like our trusty (if somewhat singed) troubleshooters were allowed access. Yew-R tapped in the code and the door swung open. There was a bit of debate between the team as to who should go in and find the lightbulb. In the end, Com-R-ADE decided to volunteer, based on Ga-R’s cunningly worded argument (“there’s three of us and we’ve all got laser pistols”) and headed into the room.

At this point, entirely by not-at-all-suspicious accident, Yew-R tripped and ended up falling in the corridor, knocking the door to the store cupboard closed. Don-R shrugged, claiming he saw nothing untoward. It turned out that the two of them had connected their secret society briefings that an actual commie was somewhere in their group with Com-R-ADE’s slightly unfortunate name and decided to eliminate him. Naturally, the door clicked closed. Com-R tried the code on the internal panel but to no avail. Ga-R tried to communicate with him through the door, but as you might imagine this was somewhat difficult, between the thick door and the sound of the security bolts re-engaging.

why won’t it work?"
“Can’t hear you! Speak up!”
Why won’t it work?
“Huh?”
I said why won’t it work?!?!?!
“All right, all right, don’t shout, stay happy!”
I am happy! I’m perfectly happy! I’m the happiness officer, aren’t I? Unfortunately, at the moment I am both very happy and yet simultaneously stuck in this storeroom! Why can’t I open the damn door?

[STOREROOM LOCK SEALED. SWITCHING OFF VENTILATION. BEGINNING CHANGEOVER TO HIGH PRESSURE INERT STORAGE ATMOSPHERE.]

…That can’t be good.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:54 am

Attracting the attention of Yew-R, Ga-R sought an explanation.
“Of course it won’t work from inside. It’s an access code, not an exit code, isn’t it?”
“So use it on the panel outside!”
“All right, team leader.” Yew-R sullenly hit the code in again, annoyed that Ga-R-ETH-1 wasn’t playing along with the plan to get Com-R-ADE killed.
[NON-VALID CODE]
“Huh?” He re-typed it.
[NON-VALID CODE]

“Err…”
“I can’t help but notice, Equipment Guy, that where I expected to hear the sound of security bolts sliding open there appears to be a repeated error message.”
“…Yeah…I think that may have been a one-use code.”
“Which we’ve used.”
Get me out!
“Yeah.”
“Without getting the lightbulb.”
“Yeah…hmm….”
“We do need that lightbulb.”
“I…err…”
“Now.”
“Could we go and get a new code from Crikey-O?”
Choking to death here!
“He’s not there, remember?”
“Well…we…”
“Yes?”
“…In the best interests of Alpha Complex and the clear and present threat to both our team-mate and the INFRARED workers happiness…”
“I’m not going to like this, am I?”
“...We could break in...”

There is the sound of feverish pencil-scribbling coming from Don-R. Isn’t it nice to have a dedicated Loyalty Officer?

“So…and I have trouble believing I’m asking this…How?”
Yew-R-DED spends a minute or so examining the door, and spots a workable solution.
“Got it. You can’t normally break in because the door is solid armour plate, and if you laser the bolts on this side, the bolts on the other side keeps it closed and vice versa. But we have someone on both sides of the door...”
Ack…can’t…breathe…chest…feels…like…it’s…being…crushed…
“…Although possibly not for much longer.” Yew-R concluded.
“Well, go on, then.”
“No. I’m not going to destroy computer property! That’s treason!”
“How about being the direct and provable cause of unhappiness?”
“Why aren’t you doing it?”
“You are the Equipment Guy. You have the technical know-how to rectify this situation with the absolute minimum of collateral damage to valuable infrastructure. I’d just be firing randomly. It’s my job as Team Leader to defer to the people best qualified in any specialist area. Are you refusing the call of duty?”

More scribbling noises. This discussion goes on for some time, with Com-R-ADE getting steadily worse as the pressure in the room went up and less and less of it was breathable air. Eventually Ga-R-ETH’s calm, reasoned arguments and significantly higher Violence stat prevailed.

“Com-R? Can you hear me?”
Ess…ust…bleedn…frm….nose…now
“You need to laser the bolts on your side.”
Say…wen..
“On three. One, two, three!”
There are several laser discharges from both Yew-R and (more muffled) Com-R’s lasers. The bolts are shot away thanks to an impressive display of marksmanship. At which point, free to rotate and propelled by several atmospheres of pressure, the door swung round at immense speed on the single remaining hinge and flattened Ga-R-ETH-1 into the wall like a pancake. Simultaneously, the massive overpressure built up in the storeroom being released so suddenly caused Com-R-ADE-1 to burst like a pot of beef stew with a firecracker dropped in it, a shower of broken glass and lose screws, tool blades and other shrapnel shredding what was left of him to ribbons.

Pthonk! Pthonk! Psshtt!

Aaaaaarggg! Never want to go through that again!” Announces Com-R-ADE-2. Ga-R-ETH-2 concurs wholeheartedly.
“Yew-R-DED-2, before we get distracted,” He adds, “Go in and get a lightbulb. Make sure it’s not broken or damaged, too.”
“It’s your own fault.” Reprimands Don-R-KBB-1, feeling slightly smug at being the last prime clone left. “When you even consider something as treasonous as damaging computer flibble, you can’t be surprised when you end up suffering as a result.”
“Did you just say ‘flibble’?” Ga-R asks.
“No. What makes you wurble that? I blobby-bibble-ibble the ooble-flobble…I feel…obble-hozzie…happening…aardvark…” There is a thump sound.

“What the?”
“I think Don-R’s pills have worn off. He should have taken his second dose of during the time whilst I was in the vault.”
“Yeah, but…what did you give him? I mean, I thought you just gave him painkillers!”
“I thought so too, but obviously not.”
“Obviously not…you do know what you’re doing with that dispensing kit, don’t you?”
“I’ve…done the emergency chemical medication course…”
“So have I. So have the rest of us. INFRAREDS do that course! Scrubbots do that course!”
“S’all…obbly….flibble…Wooo! Argle hibby blom!”
“Oh, shut up, Don-R. "
“Don’t be like that! It’s just withdrawal. I’m sure another dose will set him right.”

It didn’t.

Pthonk! Psshtt! Thump!

“Oh. That’s better.” Announced Don-R-KBB-2. “ My brain felt like it was dissolving there, and now I’m just fine. This clone thing is great! Why is my right leg twitching uncontrollably, by the way?”
“Massive psychological trauma. It’ll stop once your motor functions figure out your brain isn’t dissolving anymore.”
“Excellent! In the interim, could someone help me stand up, please?”
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby Allen Varney » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:52 pm

All seems to be proceeding splendidly, citizen. The opening of the vault door was particularly well-taken. Have a commendation point and please continue.
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:01 am

Room 3 - Lift Lobby

Proudly carrying their assigned lightbulb, and moving with a sense of purpose towards their objective (an activity which the less well informed might mistake for running like hell away from a broken-open PLC storage cupboard where an alarm had just started ringing), our heroes made it out into the hallway, intending to take the lift up to the INFRARED barracks.

“Out of order? Hmm… Stairs it is, gentlemen.” Ga-R pointed at the factory entrance.
“Could be worse.” Commented Don-R
Don’t say that out loud!” Ga-R hissed. “And Yew-R? We’re going to have to go through a functioning factory floor. Watch yourself! Everyone else, watch out for him, too!”
“Nice to know you care, Team Leader.”
“I care about the fact that I’m not going back for another damn lightbulb! Move!”
Och! Hello? Afore ye go, culd I get a wee bit o yer tayme?
“Who’s the hell's that?”

‘That’ turned out to be Jock-Y-AYE-2.

Sorra ta be interruptin' yer work. Ay’ve go this survey ta be doin’ on the local workforce. It be entirely voluntary. Thas a noo flaver o’ algae crisps an we wanna see how it goes daen wi tha masses…”
“We…we’re kind of in a rush. Troubleshooter mission and...”
Ah, t’won’t take but a mo. It be entirely voluntary. Ye’ll get a free pack o’ algae crisps as a thank-ye.”
“We…”
Really be helpin us. We’d be glad ta get volunteers - it be entirely voluntary, yer see. We’d be verra appreciative o yer efforts.” The troubleshooters register that Jock is meaningfully glancing down at his YELLOW coat every time he mentions the words ‘entirely voluntary’. They get the hint.

Thank ye.” Says Jock-Y, handing each troubleshooter a tiny taster bag. “Dig in.”
“What is the new flavour?” Asks Com-R, curious, as the others take a mouthful.
Haggis.” Comes the reply, moments before a set of resounding crunches.










Aye. Most o tha other volunteers reacted like that, too. I dinnae think we hae tha flavour quite right yet...”






Still…nae fash. Best make tha best o it. If ye could see yer way ta fillin’ out a quick survey each? Only three pages.”
“Blargle…flibble…obgungloo…”
Wha be tha matter wi yer Loyalty Officer?”
“Pills overdose earlier. I think your algae crisps are setting him off again. Still want him to fill out the survey?”
Eh. No skin off o my nose…”

And so, having filled each filled out a survey form at length (one rather more fully if less comprehensibly than the others), committing themselves to participating in further flavour surveys as required, each of the troubleshooters was furnished with another small bag of haggis-flavoured algae crisps and sent on their way.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:03 am

Room 4 - Food Vat Plant Floor

Surrounded by INFRARED workers, vast open vats of theoretically edible goo, functioning industrial machinery – this area could have been a deathtrap for our increasingly desperate troubleshooters. Bursting into the room, clustered up in a tight defensive formation around the precious lightbulb, lasers drawn and covering every direction, the troubleshooters were most put out to find a nice, safe, stable walkway – with safety rails – running across the whole length of the plant floor.

Despite lots of suspicious creaking noises, whirrs and bangs from the machinery, and the troubleshooters looking desperately back and forth for errant flailing cranes, toxic waste spills, and similar, there was a disappointing lack of lethal threats. Not that they (rather sensibly) believed that for one moment, threatening any hapless INFRARED not to dare come close, operate any of the food vat machinery, or even move, on pain of repeated laser-fire. About ten minutes later, still waiting for the other shoe to drop, they emerged from the other end of the factory, at the bottom of the stairwell up to the transtube platform.

“Everyone okay?”
“Fine!”
“Fine!”
“Og-Blibble!”
“I swear, if you two feed him any more of those damn crisps…”
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:08 am

Room 5 - Transtube Platform Stairs

Making their way upstairs, feeling rather more relaxed now, our troubleshooters reach the top of the winding staircase (what would be about the ‘second-and-a-half-th’ floor were the food vat plant not a large open industrial space – and turn the corner onto the transtube platform. Just wander down the platform and go into the barracks through the main door. What could possibly…

…There’s a line of heavily armed guards, and the sounds of jackhammers drifting down the platform from somewhere out of sight.

“No access.” One of the GREEN Intsec jackbooted thugs marches forwards to where Ga-R is goggling at the sight of over two dozen well-armed troopers.
“Eh?” Ga-R asked. “What’s going on?”
“Security lockdown, troubleshooter.”
Why?”
“The transtube station systems are being maintained. We’ve got a GREEN team of maintenance specialists waiting to fix the control relays once the jackhammerbots finish taking up the platform. Sensitive stuff, so Power Services declared the platform temporarily designated GREEN until they finish.” There’s a pause as the troubleshooters wrap their heads round this latest problem.


“Okaaay…and the platoon of IntSec troopers?”
“We…were assigned later.” The IntSec trooper is quiet for a couple of seconds, then leans closer to Ga-R. “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I spent enough time as a troubleshooter myself. I lost at least three of my clones because someone was too much of a jobs-worth to pass on a simple warning. I’m trying hard not to be that guy.”
“Appreciated. What’s the warning?”
“There’s some sort of mutant commie traitor strike team in the area. Details are sketchy, but they’re very, very well armed. Be careful.”
What?!?!

There are suspicious looks at me at this point – after all, I’d promised, if you recall, that this adventure would be hordes-of-rampaging-commies-free.

“Yeah, tell me about it. Our commander said they apparently shot their way into a secure storage vault – now I’m no R&D egghead but I know enough about guns to know you’d need something like a plasma weapon to get through the armour of those doors. They’re clearly targeting sensitive facilities in the area, so we’ve been deployed to make sure the security lockdown on the platform stays solid whilst the control systems are exposed. Watch your backs – they’re still out there, somewhere.”

“Did anyone…err…say where this vault was?” Asked Com-R.
“A PLC storage locker somewhere in the complex, I think. There must have been a major fight there; the first IntSec responders found the place literally covered in blood. Why?”
The team’s aforementioned suspicious looks have now changed to angry glares, and have shifted to Yew-R, who is trying (and failing) to look innocuous. The IntSec trooper is (fortunately) too nervous to spot this.

“No…reason…just trying to figure out what direction the mutant commie traitors might be attacking us from.”
“Yeah. I know the feeling. If you see any sign of where they are, let me know. The name’s Heeby-G-BEE-5. We’ve got reserves heading in from IntSec HQ – once they arrive and we’ve got enough manpower here to set up a strongpoint, we might be able to send you some reinforcements if you stumble onto them. From the sounds of it, you’ll need all of the backup you can get.”
“Um…thanks…I think…”

“Err…” Ga-R has remembered why they’re there. “We need to get into the INFRARED barracks.”
“You’ll have to go around, lads. Technically, you’re not even allowed out of the stairwell. With the state things are in, I’m not compromising our defensive perimeter for anyone not in white.”
“But…”
Seriously. Not. Getting. Past. Heavily armed commie strike force, remember? Please leave. Now.”
The team became increasingly aware of rather a lot of automatic weaponry being pointed in their direction.

Somewhat disheartened, the team begins trudging back down the stairs, laser sights playing over their backs as they did so.

“Right. This would seem to be a problem.” Ga-R announced, looking at a local map on the wall of the stairs.
“Yes, we noticed.” Com-R replied. “Did you have a solution?”
“Wait for the heavy mob on the platform to finish up and go?” The team leader offered, hopefully.
“How long’s that going to take, though? When people start using words like ‘strongpoint’, they’re settling in for the long haul. We’re on a deadline” Don-R pointed out.
“We can’t go in that way.” Yew-R pointed at the transbot platform on the map. “And we can’t go that way.” He pointed at the out-of-service lift. “Is there an option number three?”
“Would some happiness pills help?” Com-R asked, hopefully.
“Not unless you can persuade the Intsec goons to take them.”

“Do we know for definite” asked Ga-R hesitantly, “that the lift doesn’t work?”
“There was an out-of-order message.” Pointed out Yew-R.
“Messages say a lot of things. They said this task was going to be trivial, for example.”
“We could try, I guess.” The Equipment Guy reluctantly agreed.
“You guys seriously want to get into a lift that you know is broken?” Com-R asked, incredulously.
“If you’d rather try sneaking past a firing line of excessively twitchy Internal Security troopers into a restricted GREEN area, go right ahead. This way it’s only probable death.” Replied Ga-R.
Don-R-KBB-2 had his head in his hands. “I love the fact that we’ve reached a situation where ‘probable death’ is an improvement.”
Ga-R-ETH-2 shrugged. “What he said.” He gestured at the food vat plant door. “Come on, let’s go...”
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3036
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:56 am

Room 6 - Food Vat Floor (Again)

Rather disheartened, the troubleshooter team began making their way back across the plant – noticing that the INFRARED workers are increasingly hiding behind any solid object they can find at the sound of footsteps, before the team even reach them, and staying put until they’re well out of sight. Clearly rumoured warnings about armed commies are beginning to circulate amongst the workforce as well.

“Everyone okay?” Ga-R-ETH-2 was taking no chances, the aim of his laser sweeping from side to side across the walkway.
“At the moment.” Yew-R-DED replied, from the middle of the defensive huddle, the vital lightbulb clutched to his chest.
“Probably the wrong moment to ask” began Don-R, “but does anyone else hear a sort of violent bubbling noise?”

At this point, a faint vibration could be felt through the walkway. With an increasingly nervous expression, Don-R looked over the edge.
“The INFRAREDs are all hiding.” He noted.
“Yes, they’re all hiding from us.” The team’s Equipment Guy responded.
“No. I mean…if they’re cowering in cover, who’s running the plant machinery?”

Ga-R and Com-R, once again demonstrating superior skills at figuring out the blatantly obvious just before it’s too late, had already sprinted off down the walkway as fast as they could. Yew-R-DED, who was learning fast from the ‘if you see someone running, follow them and then ask why’ school, ran after them.

The…it’s hard to describe exactly what it was – Spill? Explosion? – shredded a gearbox the size of a small car, flinging gears everywhere, and vented a spray of boiling grey food vat slime thrown by an over-running motor and jammed vent valve directly at the walkway. Don-R-KBB-2 attempted to dodge, but unfortunately tripped over his own bootlaces and fell flat on his face (there may have been quite a few perversity points spent here). There was a scream as he was broiled alive by the acidic raw slime.

Pthonk! Psshtt!

“You lot are going to get it good and proper at debriefing.” Announced Don-R-KBB-3, through gritted teeth.
Ga-R-ETH-2 grinned, before the section of walkway he was on (whose supports had been weakened by the flying gears) gave out. The lower floor of the factory was some way down – rather too far, as it turns out, one failed Violence roll later.

Pthonk! Psshtt!
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3036
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:36 pm

Room 7 - Lift (Again)

Greetin’s to ye, lads, culd I get a wee moment o…I’ve done ye before. How come yer back so quick?” Jock-Y looked at the troubleshooters quizzically.
“Station’s closed.” Ga-R-ETH-3 answered, still working his newly-replaced jaw and shoulder.
Och, tha’s a kick in the teeth. Did they say for how long?
“No. Sorry.” The Team Leader replied.

The lift did indeed have an ‘out-of-order’ notice pinned to it, as Ga-R-ETH had seen the first time. On closer inspection, however, the control panel seemed functional. Com-R prodded the ‘call’ button experimentally.

[DING]

The door slid open, revealing a perfectly normal looking lift interior.
“Well, get in, then.” Said Ga-R
“You get in. You’re the team leader. Aren’t you supposed to be heroically leading from the front?” Com-R replied.
The two of them turned to Yew-R.
“Don’t look at me. I’m carrying the lightbulb, remember?”

This time, Don-R lost the argument and ended up ‘volunteering’ to check inside the lift. Much to the surprise of the team, the floor unaccountably failed to collapse under him, nor was he crushed, sliced or burned. He checked the ‘door open’ button on the internal panel and found he could re-open the door from inside without difficulty.

“Try the barracks floor button.”
“You lot get in first. I’m not getting split off from the rest of the team; how could I carry out my duty as Loyalty Officer if I did?”

After a little more cajoling, the rest of the team packed into the lift. Don-R-KBB hit the button for the barracks floor.
Nothing else happened.

For some time, nothing continued to happen.

[DING-DING-DING-DAH, DING-DING-DING-DAH, DING-DING-DING-DAH-DING]

“Hello?” Asked Ga-R, answering his PDC.
<Hello?> It was the voice of Crikey-O. <I felt I should let you know that I was just nearly killed when the ceiling collapsed in here and half a ton of scrap metal landed in the maintenance crawlspace. Along with a corpse that, I have to say, looks rather a lot like you. Care to comment, Ga-R-ETH-2?>
“Ga-R-ETH-3, actually…”
<Three? Weren’t you a prime clone this morning? What’s going on up there?> Crickey-O was starting to sound nervous.
“It’s all right, it’s under control. Internal Security are here.”
<IntSec?> The voice squalked. <What the hell are you lot…>

The lift door slid closed, cutting off the call.

“Shouldn’t we be moving?” Don-R asked.
“Broken lift.” Ga-R pointed out. “Kind of a vain hope it was going to work. Can we at least find out what’s wrong?”
Yew-R plugged his PDC into the wall panel and – after a few false starts – found out that a short circuit in the factory’s power supply had blown the motors. The rest of the system was intact but the lift car wasn’t going anywhere.

Spotting a hatch in the roof, Com-R pointed it out. “Can’t we just go up the lift shaft?”
Yew-R shrugged and pulled the ‘Maintenance Access’ lever. It fell out of the mounting, and the lights in the lift car went dead.

“I can’t see!”
“Yes, thank you, we noticed.”
“Turn the lights back on!”
“Find the light switch.”
“There is no light switch. This is a lift.”
“Well, open the door then.”
“I will, when I find the button.”
There was a sudden flash of light and a Bzap! sound.
“What was that?”
“Everyone okay?”
“I’m okay.”
“I’m okay.”

“Don-R? You didn’t answer.”
“Don-R?”

Bzap!

“Don-R?”
“Okay, this is freaky. I think that was laser-fire.”
“I know.”
“Don-R? Yew-R? Either of you?”

At this point there was a faint ‘Pthonk! Pthonk! Psshtt! [DING]’ and the lift door hissed open after the ‘door open’ button on the outside was pressed, revealing two troubleshooters nervously brandishing laser pistols and two freshly lasered corpses. Don-R-KBB-4 was incandescent.

Which of you two shot me!?!?!
“How could we shoot you? We couldn’t see!” Protested Ga-R
“Then who shot me?”
“Someone with a laser that’s been fired! Therefore not me!” The team leader shrugged, pointedly showing the ammo count on his laser’s barrel. Com-R did the same. Both showed a full six lights. Yew-R’s pistol shows two expended.
“Hey! One of you two must have swapped your gun with mine!”
“Oh, come on!” Said Com-R.
“What? You think I shot myself? Fairly extreme way of getting an alibi, isn’t it?” Yew-R-DED-3 answered.
“Not for a fanatical commie traitor assassin…” Said Don-R, pencil scribbling.

“At least the hatch is open.” Said Yew-R, pointing. He reached over to pick up the lightbulb from his steadily cooling corpse.
“Oh no!” Don-R interjected. “You lot are all suspect! It falls to me, as Loyalty Officer, to hang onto this vital item, since I can’t trust any of you!” With that, he snatched the lightbulb off Yew-R and pocketed it.
“Can we at least head upstairs now?” Asked Ga-R with a sigh.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3036
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:40 pm

Lift Shaft

The process of climbing upstairs was fairly easy – there was, it turned out, a convenient ladder set in the shaft wall for Power Services technicians to use when doing repairs. It was, of course, dark, as power outage had hit here as well, but there was just about enough emergency lighting in the shaft that our increasingly annoyed troubleshooters didn’t have a problem climbing the ladder. The problems started once they reached the upstairs doors.

“Well, open them, then.” Ga-R instructed Yew-R, who’d ended up in the lead. “The sight of your mood-lit backside is not appealing enough to make me want to wait here indefinitely…”
“Errr...”
“That must be the third or fourth time you’ve said that on this mission and it’s yet to be anything good. What's the problem now?”
“You know how the power’s gone in the lift shaft?”
There were a few muttered swearwords.
“You can’t open it?” asked Ga-R.
“Doesn’t look like it. The button’s not doing anything, anyway.” Answered the Equipment Guy.
“Can you fix it?”
“No idea where the problem is.”
“Laser it.”
“The button?”
“The door! You’re a troubleshooter! You have trouble! Shoot it!” Yelled the Team Leader.

After a bit of persuading, Yew-R opens up with his laser, and with four neat bursts, cuts a (roughly) square access point, the edges of which cooled steadily with a few pings and plinks while he waited.

[BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP]
[WARNING ALERT WARNING ALERT]

“What now?”

[WEAPONS FIRE DETECTED]
[INTRUDERS IN LIFT SHAFT]
[AUTOMATED DEFENCE TURRETS ACTIVATING]


“..Did that just say?”
“Uh huh.”
There was a fair amount of wincing and gritted teeth.

[POWER OFF-LINE]
[DEFENSE TURRETS NON-FUNCTIONAL]

“Phew.”

[PRESUMED SYSTEM SABOTAGE IN PROGRESS]
[PRIORITY INTSEC ALERT]

“Erk!”
“I think we should start going through the gap.”
“The edges are still red-hot!”

[ACTIVATING EMERGENCY RESERVE DEFENSES]

“I think we should start going through the gap right now.”
Unsurprisingly, the rest of the troubleshooters agreed, and despite the odd yelp as they touched hot metal, they started filing through as fast as they could. Sadly, it was not quite fast enough.

[RELEASING SECURITY GRID]

Clunk.

Oh, no!
Com-R-ADE-2, who’d been following up the rear of the team saw a momentary flicker of movement as a heavy, sharpened metal grid suddenly dropped from the ceiling of the lift shaft.

There was a 'whoosh' noise, a 'shunk' and the sound of lots of fist-sized chunks of person bouncing off the lift shaft walls and floor. The rest of the team, getting to their feet, looked around in the near-darkness of the INFRARED barracks.
They’d made it.

Pthonk! Psshtt!

Sort of...
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3036
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: How Many Clones Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Postby locarno24 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:13 am

INFRARED barracks

No sooner had our intrepid troubleshooters pulled themselves upright (or in the case of Com-R-ADE-3, staggered out of a Clone-Deliveromatic booth, necking a packet of Calmer-Karma pills), than another laser bolt cracked past them with an echoing Bzap!

A voice could be heard yelling from the other end of the room.
“Troubleshooters! They must have knocked out the lights! It’s a raid! Hide the stuff, number three! We’ll hold them off!”
There was a couple of momentary blurred silouhettes at the door to the lit half of the barracks as two INFRAREDs disappeared through it.

Bzap!

Everyone dived for cover behind the Clone-O-Matic booth.

“Why are they shooting at us?”
“More to the point, why have they got lasers at all?
“Can we discuss this after we shoot back?”

There is a frenzied exchange of laser-fire across the mostly-dark barracks with what turns out to be three more INFRAREDs. One is gunned down quickly by a surprisingly accurate shot from Com-R, but the others are in good cover and seem to be wearing something providing much better protection than it should.

The exchange of fire was abruptly interrupted by an explosion when Yew-R-DED-3’s laser exploded. It had, you will recall, fired two rounds in the lift (in unknown hands) and then been used four more times to cut the breach in the doors. Catastrophic malfunction was, at this point, merely a matter of time.

Unarmed and clutching his ruined right hand, Yew-R dove for the corpse of the other INFRARED, hoping to grab the laser lying on the floor. Unfortunately, due to sufficiently awful roll that the perversity points stacked against him didn’t matter in the slightest, he got about half-way before being shot in the head.

Bzap!
Pthonk!

Not coming out!” Came the muffled voice of Yew-R-DED-4 from inside the booth. “Tell me when they’re dead!
“They’re dead!”
Bzap! Bzap!
Don’t believe you!

At this point, Don-R (who has been staying pressed as far back behind the booth as he can) looks up, and notices a wall bracket light above him.

“Guys. I think this is it – that’s the light!
Com-R and Ga-R continue to exchange fire with the INFRAREDs but indicated that Don-R should swap the lightbulb, as, as well as completing the mission, more light might help them aim and hence allow the team to get out alive.

“Right.” He reached up for the bulb. There was a hissing, crackling sound as the short circuit in the light bracket (which had blown the bulb in the first place) earthed through him. Seconds later, Don-R-KBB-4, extra crispy, thumps to the ground.

“Yew-R!” Yelled Ga-R.
What?
Get out of the booth now!
Psshtt ! Pthonk! Psshtt!
Yew-R-DED-4 and Don-R-KBB-5 staggered out of the booth in sequence, the latter within moments of squashing the former. Nearly gunned down by laser-fire as they did so, they dove for cover behind a nearby bunk.
“Where’s the lightbulb?” Asked Com-R
“Probably on my corpse!” Don-R replied over the sound of the ongoing laser fight. “Watch out, there’s a loose power cable on that light somewhere.”
Really? What gave it away?” Much more carefully than Don-R, Com-R unscrewed the defective lightbulb and fitted the new one. He flicked the light on triumphantly – and was shot (fortunately not fatally) for his trouble.

“Tad-Aaarrg!

“This is getting ridiculous!” Ga-R muttered under his breath. “We’re pinned down.”
“I may,” Yew-R shouted over a hail of laser bolts, “have a plan.”
“No.”
“You haven’t heard it yet.” Yew-R protested. “It’s a good one.”
Ga-R was about to reply when he was hit and wounded as well.
Ow! Oh for…alright, what is it?”
Yew-R responsed by pulling out his PDC.
“Heeby G-BEE-5! We’re engaging the commie rear-guard! They’re inside the INFARED barracks! They’re sabotaged the lift and we’re pinned down in here! There are citizens trapped in here! If you’ve got those reinforcements, we need support now!”
<I read you, guys!> Came a crackly reply. <Command is sending over some sort of heavy unit now! I’ll get them to redirect to you! Hold on!>
The call clicked off. Don-R had turned to face Yew-R, the loyalty officer staring down at the PDC despite the gunfight going on around him with a suspicious expression on his face.
“What exactly” he asked, “is a ’heavy unit?”

The barracks ceiling collapsed in as something huge slammed into it from above with a whine of jets. A vast, black, vaguely humanoid thing was suddenly standing in the centre of the firefight. On each shoulder was the IntSec logo and the word KILLBOT.

[KILLBOT PROTOTYPE ONLINE] Came a deafening voice.
[PRIMARY ORDERS CONFIRMED] It announced. [SECURE THE AREA. TERMINATE COMMIES]
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.

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