Pseudo, who had been at the back of the party before they charged into the vat room, had been held back by a whistle coming from within its radiation cloak. Experiencing a mixture of excitement and curiosity Pseudo found that its recovered snallygaster egg had hatched. Discarding the shell and wrapping the snallygasterling in its cloak, Pseudo wheeled into the room as the lights flickered out and the party tried to pull themselves together.
Tai, who had been knocked unconscious by his fall from the ceiling, began to stir on the far side of the room. Not yet able to stir himself completely, he looked over at the remains of the turret that had antagonized him. The nearest vat of frothing nanomachines spilled out over the side and onto part of the turret. Tai watched in helpless horror as it reassembled itself and began to pull itself toward him. The animated metal piece attached itself to Tai’s forehead and optic nerve, and Tai found that he was not injured by this former enemy but enhanced by it. He looked at the room through six new pairs of eyes, finding that if he focused on one spot, a rudimentary laser sight appeared at that point of contact.
Fim had been tinkering with his hand blasters. When he fired at one of the raptor constructs at point-blank range, Fim pulled his hands from outside of his force field a second sooner than usual. This made the laser disperse through the force field and radiate outward. Fim mused on this, deducing that if he fired from inside the field and risked personal harm he might be able to attack a number of enemies if surrounded.
ONE stared down the hallway through with the reptilian orb had escaped. ONE recognized this as a nemesis, of sorts, and the rage evoked by the sight of the creature threatened to pull him apart. ONE restrained his rage and considered the ramifications of voluntarily embracing it as a form of controlled demolition.
Roberto’s adaption to the Nodes had been a violent one. His occasional mutations appeared more frequently as of late and this came to a head when, in a flash of purple light, Roberto stood, alive and restored to his humanity in the center of the room. This lasted long enough for the others to notice before another flash of light occurred and Roberto was back to his former, undead self.
Fim noticed that the door through which the prototype soldier had been thrown had stopped being hit from the opposite side. He took this as a possible indication that she may be less inclined to beat on him, and so he hacked the door lock and proceeded down the hallway into a scavenged armory. He passed over some odds and ends that the rest of the group recovered, and then sent Roberto down another hallway and through a door he knew led to the room that contained the countless numbers of soldier prototypes. Roberto found the object of his amazonian affection standing among what appeared to be a legion of her sisters.
Not hearing the sounds of battle from inside, the rest of the party entered. The woman tensed up at the sight of Fim, who had been the target of her aggression in their earlier encounter. After a few moments of silence, she turned to face the tubes again and ruminated that she did not know what was wrong with their occupants. In a surprising show of diplomacy, Fim asked to be let near the console so that he could investigate. After stating that she did not trust him because the facility, and this army were created in reaction to Fim’s kind, the woman conceded. Fim tinkered with the system, discovering that the army had simply been put into stasis and was awaiting activation from within the bunker that never came. Curious at her mention of his kind, Fim attempted to investigate his species via the computer, but was only able to find the destination of the army following activation: a city-sized, perfectly spherical gray area on the satellite map, some 200 miles east.
Fim told the prototype soldier that her clones were fine, to which she responded that they were not like her. He asked her name and if she knew what her purpose was, or whether the army would attack him if he awoke them. She called herself Fathiyya, and got defensive at the inquiry regarding awaking the army, saying that the bunker was not safe in its current state. Fim requested that she attempt to reason with them if he awoke them, and upon trying to run the executable file to release the army of prototype soldiers, found himself on the wrong side of an instance lock placed by an outside force.
As Fim considered this, Tai and Pseudo bombarded the woman with questions about herself while she fended off the advances of Roberto. ONE requested that he be let near the computer in order to investigate his own personal history. Oddly curious about herself, Fathiyya was sympathetic to ONE’s plight. ONE was able to discern was that the bunker had been functional for 175 years and shut down 150 years ago. In a subcategory containing project SAUR, responsible for the instance lock on the prototype solider army, ONE found project ION, instituted 153 years ago, shut down 151 years ago, and manually reactivated in the past week.
Pseudo’s snallygasterling at last refused to be stifled. Pseudo tried to feed it some of its dome rations, not considering that they had been intended for Nodes and Node Hosts. While unusual noises were nothing new from Pseudo, the others distinctly sensed another presence in their midst. Tai chastised Pseudo for its recklessness while Fim tried to make a case for experimenting on it. Eventually the party decided to address this later.
Somewhat out of options, Fim left Fathiyya to her own devices and returned to the vat room to investigate the nanomachines. After some rudimentary examinations he sealed the vats as a preventative measure for further spills, and waited for the remainder of the crew to arrive to investigate the unexplored hallway, glowing with orange light and radiating heat.
When the party at last descended into the depths of the bunker, they found a sprawling, multi-level slag works built towards an unknown end. Tai scouted the area in the hopes of finding their enemy, but instead found a huge door purportedly leading to the surface and a series of machines and conveyor belts not currently in use. Avoiding the pools of molten lead that dotted the floor of the area, he returned back to the entryway. ONE sensed the residual energies of his opposite coming from an observation deck, which was able to travel through the area via a series of tracks in the ceiling. Confident that he could track their foe, he grabbed a piece of its telltale rubble and activate the foot pedal to send the observation deck forward.
After reading a particularly large pool of lead, the deck stuttered to a halt, and the malevolent orb came into view. Massive cable tendrils disassembled machinery from lower levels, affixing pipes to the underside of the observation deck as the party looked on. After disappearing for a few moments, the orb tossed dozens of anvils topside and then blasted them with a fiery green beam. The anvils, crackling with a green energy, affixed themselves to one another to form a huge anvil snake that grated against itself as it moved, emitting a sound like a cacophonous roar. The party noticed pilot lights igniting beneath the floor of the death as the snake slivered into attack position.