Sunday, March 6, 2016

Atomic Robo: The Plot Thickens, and Get Salty

We played Atomic Robo yesterday, despite our best efforts. I say that because everyone at the table was just on fire with the clever jokes, and I don't even mean that sarcastically. People were really funny (sadly, a lot of it you needed to be there for), and the giggle loop was very much in effect (I was trying to find a clip from Coupling that explains it, but I can't, so just trust me, it's very funny). Anyway, we did make some progress in the story, but this episode is likely to be kind of short, interspersed as it was with masturbation jokes and Grease references.

We open a few weeks after the team found and tagged Boris, the giant predatory dinosaur. Effy is in her lab, running some tissue samples on the big guy. She finds, though, that a bunch of them have been contaminated and are useless. Very strange.

Marsha is in the jungle, stalking Boris. She's convinced he's up to something nefarious, stomping through the trees and eating herds of animals, the big asshole. She notes, though, that he's got scratches on his flank. She sneaks up and peers closer (in no danger because she can camouflage herself), and smells antiseptic on the scrapes. It looks like someone took tissue samples...but who? She heads back to base to try and find out.

Jesse is in the motor pool, working on the Dinambulance. She realizes that someone has adjusted the seat settings, someone much smaller than her (but that's a lot of people, since she's a dilophosaurus). She realizes someone took the Dinambulance out of the motor pool, but who could even drive it?

Reggie, meanwhile, is in the ocean just off the coast, supervising a weigh-in for an upcoming boxing match (he's retired, but still part of the circuit). He hears some dolphins talking smack about him, and one of them - a muscular fellow named Batroc - challenges him to a bout. Reggie handily beats him, and the other cetaceans back off, and Reggie heads back to base.

The characters meet up in the lab, where Otto is there calibrating himself (see, this is how it starts). Jesse and Marsha report their findings, and they figure, hell, we have these cameras for security. Let's check 'em out.

The cameras show the motor pool, but then they go down. When they come back on, the Dinambulance is gone. It comes back, the door opens, and water pours out, but before they can see who or what steps out, the feed goes out again.

Effy takes some samples from the floor around the Dinambulance; Jesse's fastidious cleaning makes it hard, but she manages. She finds traces of sea salt. Very curious.

The characters head to the security room to talk to the head of surveillance, Petaluna Petals. She's infused with the DNA of a creeper vine, and if she sits anywhere for any length of time, the vines grow around her. Marsha and Reggie zip to the security room, Reggie using the series of water-filled tubes that allow him to zip around the facility. When they get there, they find Petaluna in her seat, watching monitors, the room covered in vines as usual. But Marsha notices that one section of vines - near a control panel - is brittle and weaker, as though dehydrated.

They ask her to call up the footage from the appropriate day, and they find that the outage starts at the control room and goes to the motor pool, and then back. So someone started in the control room - but who? Petaluna has an alibi, she was sunning herself in the sun-lamp room at the time. How did this person get in?

The characters realize that Reggie's tubes allow this kind of access, and Reggie, as a gentleman, doesn't allow cameras in them (modesty, people!). He checks the tubes' interior and finds traces of grease. Analysis shows it's biological, but genetically engineered - who has that kind of tech (besides Tesladyne, of course)? Meanwhile, Jesse checks the settings in the Dinambulance and realizes that who- or whatever drove it was smaller than her, but had arms even shorter, proportionally, than hers! What could that have been!

A dolphin, they realize. But then how did it work the pedals? Jesse theorizes that two dolphins together might have done. Reggie decides this mystery is involved enough that they need to consult an expert.

They head to the brain-room and hook up Sherlock Holmes' brain (which, you'll recall, taught Reggie the art of bartitsu). They sprinkle some cocaine on his lobes and he talks them through the problem. Sure, this could be multiple dolphins...but a dolphin with legs makes even more sense! Then the dolphin would worse the pedals. So there is the question...where are the dolphin's pants?

(Tune in next time, when I promise this will get even more ridiculous.)