We'd spent nearly half an hour making our way into Round Mountain with Cain chattering the entire time. He started off with the tour guide shtick. That must have been something preloaded into his database. After we traversed the isolation gap, he started to sound sort of pathetic. He seemed prepared to be shut down (nearly wrote "die" there) but he wasn't pleading or anything. Seems like a catch-22, if he was pleading it would have seemed pathetic, but he was resigned, so it still seemed pathetic.
I guess it got less pathetic when we realized he was trying to cook us. He had waited until we were a good 15 or 20 minutes in to turn up the heat so that if we tried to turn back, we'd collapse of heat exhaustion before we got out. Seemed a rather sad attempt to stop us.
We were only a couple rooms away when Cain toasted Kelly's HERF gun. It was in an RF lab with some huge antennas and coils. He must have given the gun a taste of its own medicine. Kelly picked up some new scars from the chemical burns but was able to toss the gun before it caught fire.
Cain had made some references to chess on our way in. I thought they seemed rather pompous until I saw what he meant by his "queen". It was a mass of identical cube robots, each armed with a small sawblade, and it could move in any direction it pleased. Between Mark's explosives and a number of compressed gas cylinders, we were able to destroy enough of the robots to reduce the "swarm" to a few pesky bugs without anyone being cut to ribbons.
Finally, we got to Cain's lab. He asked for a "swift death" and even told us how to shut down his systems. It seemed almost anti-climactic, like his parting shot was taking away the satisfaction of tearing the place apart. Then again, given the amount of equipment there, that would have taken us quite some time.
We made our way back out into the sunlight to the blasted remains of our ride. Sam thought he spotted something off in the distance and, climbing the slope for a better look, we realized that it was a string of lights coming on. I never thought the simple sight of some street lights in the distance would bring us so much joy. If only Alvin were here to see this.
--Alan Collins, 1LT USA
26 May 2010
DATE: 26 MAY 2010 - 1927
PROJECT: CONFORMAL AI NEURAL NETWORK
SOURCE: CAINN SYSTEM CONSOLE
WARNING: Failure QCUs 1, 2, 3, 4 -
Excessive heat. Temperature out of specifications.
Check cooling system.
Error: Interface failure. Closing database.
Database shutting down.... Done.
Shutting down system....
Alert! The system is shutting down NOW.
Stopping services............................ Done.
Unmounting filesystems.......... Done.
Halting system... Done.
'Why are you furious? And why are you downcast?
If you do right, won't you be accepted? But if
you do not do right, sin is crouching at the
door. Its desire is for you, but you must
-----CONSOLE CONNECTION LOST-----