Snips and the Wasters XV – Office Space

Continuation from last session.

After a rest to digest the losses, young Wispa decided to bring Old Man Vishum’s body back home. So she and the Watch Dog Alfred moved out. The others stayed and tried to puzzle out how best to proceed. They decided to climb up through the broken ceiling and go from there, because there were some doors visible up on the third level.

Filing Fail

Dante heard something in the room north of there, and most stepped back while Messy opened it up. Inside was a narrow room with filing cabinets full of old paper, and six scrawny bots that were trying to get the papers in some kind of bizarre “order”.

Messy took cover against the wall and Chastity prepared a baton to trip them up, should they come out. They came out, of course, but the tripping attempt failed. While Chastity moved back, Corvin stepped forward and physically threw bot after bot down into the hole to crash. Messy followed his inspiring example but, because he was way less bulky, used clever Parkour tricks to gain the necessary leverage.

The others held back with the shooting to avoid danger to their friends, until the last of the filing bots was in melee with Corvin – a slippery bot that escaped grasp again and again, until Corvin stepped back and the firing squad took him down. Then Snips looked down into the hole and found that one of the fallen filing clerks was still functional, so she executed him with one well-placed shot.

Cubicle Labyrinth

They checked the paperwork and found it uninteresting, so they moved on, to find a series of tiny rooms cramped with office supplies and a crazy course of doorways snaking through them. The next room was piles over piles of paperwork, which buried even the two doors out: One west, one south. They dug through the paper and checked west, to find a dead end. South was a suspicious trap that Snips failed to trick with a box as bait: Both her and the box were sprayed with glue. But no more danger threatened, so she had time to escape the sticky substance.

They went through cramped cubicles until they finally found interesting stuff: A storeroom full of valuable tech-items, more treasure than they could ever hope to carry!

Serious Downsizing

The group sifted through the loot and also discovered two doors out, one south, one east. Then disaster struck: Gas! Someone had triggered a gas grenade. It turned out to be poison gas: Snips and Dante made it back out into the cubicles to cough it out of their system, then they turned around and found that they were alone: Young Chastity had suffocated in the gas, even big, strong Corvin lay dead among the valuables, and, hard to believe, Messy had retched his last. The man who had held out where no one should survive, through fire and massive explosions, who had out-skated monsters and mini-gun wielding combat droids, had lost limbs and eyes, but always got back up and never given up on his penchant for reckless behaviour … he was finally down for good, not with a big bad bang like expected, but with a hiss and a cough.

Now only two strong, the party had no chance at all to bring back the loot, so they decided to drag their fallen friends and the valuables up to the north and stash them, their weapons, and their cyberwear in the dead end room, for later, to return on another day. They hid the door behind a big fresh pile of paperwork again, and moved on to finally accomplish the mission.

Electricity

To the south, they heard some big mass moving, and decided that no, they were not equipped for big mass. To the east, empty. To the south: A power generator, and a hatch to climb down into the 2nd level. They moved very slowly, checking for traps every step of the way. Then they stood at the power generator and weighed their options. On the one hand, no power, no signal. On the other hand, this was not the mission itself, it was only half the deal. They could destroy that and call it a day, but sooner or later it would be found out that they had taken a shortcut.

So they figured that they could give it one last attempt to find the actual comm-link. Only two rooms on this floor were unexplored. One with a big boy in it — not to risk that. But one more, at the south of the broken room. They went there, found the door locked, and picked it.

Rise of the Proletariat

Bad luck: The room held fully eight labour bots – not scrawny little filing bots like the north, but tough and strong machines, ready to break some shit. Dante and Snips decided that this was too much, so they quickly retreated two doors away and tried to lock that door. Fail! The work bots followed them quickly, so they moved all through the office space, back, back, back, always piling whatever was handy against the door, with the goal to quickly damage the power generator and flee down the hatch. And always the bots smashed the doors to follow.

Dante chose to release the big bot, on the off chance that he and the work bots would fight each other. They did not, but rather, united. And the big bot turned out to be a minigun-wielding dreadnaught, like the one that had shot up Pretty Boy.

In the last room, Snips opened the hatch while Dante shot at the generator. She quickly dropped down through it and found another small room, with three doors to choose from! Dante wanted to try something else, but his time ran out, the big guy broke down the door. He jumped down the hatch after Snips.

Clocking Out

The big boy upstairs was unable to shoot down, but the worker bots would come, so Snips picked the door to the east — presumably the shortest way out — and opened it up. Only to face seven active guard bots, dog-like, with shotgun turrets on their backs.

They slammed the door as the hounds started shooting, and tried the north door as the first work bot dropped down the hatch. Locked! And no time.

They tried the west door – dead end! No windows! No exits. As the second bot dropped in and the seven hounds broke through their door, Dante and Snips shut themselves into the last room. They exchanged a look. This was the endgame.

Dante had one last idea for a big gambit: A flashbang grenade, to stun the bots and dare a desperate bid for freedom.

Fired

They detonated the flashbang right into the faces of the teeming mass of enemies, and bought one move. They raced through the opposition and tried the door: LOCKED!

Snips and Dante both fired at the door lock as the recovering bots swarmed them. Shots hit them, and workbots bent their limbs to the breaking point, as their bullets destroyed the lock. Then Dante fell – and Snips, badly mangled, raced out, slamming the door behind her. She trampled down the stairs as the swarm of bots pushed through after her, servoes hissing. She ran like a rabbit, through the front room and past the dead resting there, past the grenade launcher and the bot zappa that were lying spent. With seconds between her and the bots, she dashed out, ran, and hid under rubble.

To the pub

After everything had cooled down she shot up the two healing hypos she carried, and got back from death’s door. It was too much … she had to get out of there, but she was not prepared to give up all the treasure. It was not acceptable to have so many good people die for nothing.

She sneaked back to the cart and the loot stashed on that. She dumped all the superfluous weight, including her body armor, but kept the sniper rifle and ten shots. Then she loaded up as much loot as possible without compromising her speed. She toppled the cart among the rubble so it covered the rest of the loot — and ran.

She moved west, through block after block, and dodged what she could. The closest shave was meeting a group of 12 on their way east — not unlike their own hopeful group, back, before the eternity that was the last two days. They saw her, but she veered off into a dark alley and stayed there, bruised, bloodied and beaten, looking like a bag lady, not like anyone worth robbing.

The 12 moved on and left her alone. When they were gone, she went on running. And made it.

As the sole survivors, it will fall to Wispa and Snips to rebuild a crew and go out to get the stash. Like back then, long ago, at their humble beginnings. But this time, guarded not by a starving dog, but by no less than 16 bots, powered up and ready for war.

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Image: Kate Sade, Unsplash.

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