The colony’s productivity, formerly the highest of any Richter colony site, has dropped 19% in the last month with no reasonable explanation provided. In the same period, the colony medic, Dr. Henry Holzer, has died; the administration has been vague regarding cause, though it has been intimated that he committed suicide. Over the objections of colony administrator James Kingsley, Richter Dynamics has sent a team of corporate troubleshooters to investigate these two issues and make recommendations to revive productivity.
The centre of Jojo's chest shows a smooth, pearlescent cut surface.
Kiara can't see anything that she could use to make some kind of EMP device. She does note that they have cutting torches, incinerators, and a handgun.
Scanning the walls, Virgil sees several ventilation outlets, all but one has a metal grille affixed to the front. They're not in the ceiling but high up in the wall. The metal ventilation ducting hangs from the ceiling. Virgil finds a side table and stands on it to try and reach the open vent. He notices some of the white substance on the edge of the vent.
"How are you feeling now, Jojo?" asks Sam, taking care not to touch the crystal with her hand. "Do you have feelings?"
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Jojo looks down at the damage to his chest. He is able to stand now that the shard has been cut in half.
"I do have some feeling but I have to maintain most of my power to holding this contaminant at bay. What you did bought me some time but I must remove the rest of this foreign object from my systems or I will be compromised as was Administrator Kingsley."
Looking over at the ARM robot blocking their path, he continues. "Is anyone able to do a hard shut down on that thing?"
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“Bullets ricocheting about will bring security down in a shot. Can’t you cut a cable or something?”
“I think Kingsley went this way.”
"That would require getting uncomfortably close," says Sam. "What about the using the incinerators?"
“Bringing security here might not be a bad idea,” Kiara replies to Virgil as she eyes the ARM. “But you’re right, being sprayed with ricochets wouldn’t be ideal.”
“Are we all gonna chase after Kingsley through the ducts? Sam, I agree, we could burn out the ARM and get out that way.”
“If you’re happy to have him loose about the facility, popping up anywhere and converting one random individual at a time until the whole place is overrun by them then go ahead, Ms Khan.
Kiara clutches her pad to her chest defensively.
"You want to play the action hero? Be my guest. I think I'd be better suited to running tests on that spike Sam's taken out of Jojo and find out what we're up against. I'll need better facilities for that than those in here."
Isabella talks in a low, soothing voice to Nicole but she continues to rock and sob.
Moses hefts his incinerator, 'Um, we can't really stand around here all day. The Doctor says he needs...um, medical attention? Will I torch this robot?'
Sam grips her own incinerator. "You mean, will we torch it?" she says. "I think we should, and I haven't heard anyone tell us not to, so..."
Virgil takes the handgun from Kiara and then jumps up and wriggles into the ducting, it is pretty dark but a little light comes in through joints in the vents and through some of the ventilation outlets. He can't hear anything over the noise of his own body crashing against the metal panels. Initially he finds it fairly easy to follow the trail of white viscous fluid, but as he gets deeper into the ducting he finds it becoming a tighter squeeze and harder to make out the fluid in the limited illumination.
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