Space Quest:Exodus/Chapter 09

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Chapter 9: The One Where Nothing Much Happens

"As we join our heroes, we find them staring down a horde of oversized rodent thugs ready to pound the snot out of them and/or rob them blind, not necessarily in that order. Let's hope someone remembered to bring the plague antidote."

MP-X301 grabs the dead rat, with the aim of throwing it outside the pod past Roy and striking an intimidating pose in hopes of confusing and scaring the remainder of the rats.

Unfortunately, as he hefts the rat up he quickly loses his grip, causing the rat corpse to drop to the floor with a squishy thud. He settles instead for half-pushing, half-rolling it between Roy's legs and out into the open.

Upon seeing their fellow rat's corpse roll unceremoniously out from between Roy's legs, the rats all begin his hiss violently. A few of the rats closest to the pod sidle slowly around Roy's position, but make no move to close in... yet.

Roy reacts by slowly backing up to be inside the pod. He gently bumps into MP-X301 at the doorway, who lets him pass, then continues inside until he is no longer the decoy on legs. Ah'Choo, hoping to make nice, moves closer to the door and looks around MP-X301 at the rats.

"Uh, ignore him..." She gestures at MP-X301. "...he's malfunctioning. We don't mean any harm, really..."

Ah'Choo looks through her inventory and decides on a can of beans. Cowering behind a droid half her size, she rolls the can out into the open. The rats closest to the pod glance down at it for a moment, then look back at her, apparently unimpressed.

"Er, they're quite good, really." She gives an apologetic look.

MP-X301, deciding to capitalize on the rats not attacking, has a sudden idea.

He pulls out the Scepter of Ultimate Knowledge and cries out, "BEHOLD! The Mighty Scepter of Ultimate Knowledge, signet of the Ruler of the Packrats! All bow before the wielder thereof! THIS I OFFER as a GESTURE of PEACE. HOWEVER, deny this offering, and the INSULT given will be too grave to bear, and your crushed bones will be given as an offering to the Scepter for your disrespect!"

He then sets the scepter down outside the pod and folds his arms, with the rifle one out in an authoritative fashion.

As MP-X301 produces the scepter, the rats' eyes visibly light up. The rat closest to the pod slowly, warily approaches the object, which rests beside the dead rat. The rat picks up the scepter, then turns around and holds it aloft, jumping up and down and squeaking excitedly. The other rats begin to squeak and chitter amongst themselves as well. For the moment, it seems, they are more concerned with their new, shiny prize than they are with the Party.

Roy whispers with incredulity, "What, what are you doing, MP?"

MP-X30 whispers back, "Distracting them, what else? Let's get out of here before they find the 'Made in Hong Kong'."

Ah'Choo adds her own whisper. "Besides, there must be more Packrats, maybe this will convince them to leave us alone."

"You... but... I warn ya, if all this fail... ach!"

"Going Scottish on us, Mr. Sarien?" MP-X301 quips quietly.

Ah'Choo sticks her head around the side of the pod door again.

"Ah. Almighty Rat of the Scepter, I beg your forgiveness, because I... ah, need to be at the temple services... ah, very quickly. I mean you no harm, and give you the utmost respect, and hope you enjoy the beans..."

Ah'Choo then tries to run for it. As she bolts out of the pod she is forced to dash in front of the scepter-bearing rat, causing her to pass directly through the fields of vision of the entire Packrat mob. The rats suddenly realize that they've allowed themselves to be distracted and begin squeaking and hissing up a storm!

Several of the rats in back begin slowly advancing towards the pod. The entire group looks ready to pounce at any time. Ah'Choo manages to reach a point at the far right side of the scrap pile unscathed and turns and shakes her head sadly.

"No, seriously, we don't want to hurt you!" She sighs. "Grozit."

MP-X301 tries to grab the distracted and not-paying attention scepter-bearing rat by the scruff of the neck to hold him as a hostage. However, as he gropes awkwardly at the rat near the door, he only manages to flail his arm around in a particularly silly manner. The rat doesn't seem to notice.

MP-X301 decides to swing himself up on top of the pod instead. With a mighty (wimpy) thrust from his hoverlifts he hops upwards, grabs the upper edge of the pod, and hauls himself up. He finds himself hovering above the roof of the pod.

Angered and confused by all the sudden movement, the rats begin to move in on the murderous intruders (who nonetheless gave them a very nice shiny trinket that they're quite grateful for). Realizing that the Vulgar is trying to escape, two of the rats scamper after Ah'Choo. One of them closes in for the kill!

Chapter 9.15: The Fur Hits the Fan

"As we join our heroes, we find them about to face down a murderous pack of deadly rodents. Again."

The rat dashes up to Ah'Choo, snarling, and proceeds to hop up and sock her in the stomach, hard.

"Ouch!" Ah'Choo rubs her stomach and glares at the rat.

Two of the rats closest to the pod door scamper forward, intent on bringing rodent justice to the floating metal fellow who so callously slaughtered one of their own.

One Packrat performs an impressive upward leap, bringing it level with MP-X301 just long enough to take a swing at him. Unfortunately, having misjudged the vertical aspects slightly, the rat's tiny pink fist whiffs harmlessly through the space between MP-X301 and the pod roof. Unbalanced from its unexpected miss, the rat crashes back down to the ground in a faceplant worthy of an amateur skateboarder.

Seeing its compadre bite it so badly, the second rat decides to do the same. The rat hunches down on all fours then leaps upwards at MP-X301 like a pouncing lion!

With a loud, metallic *CHOMP!*, the rat's large incisors sink deeply into the side of MP-X301's hoverdeck, sending sparks flying. It holds on for a moment then releases its grip, falling down onto the roof of the pod alongside its would-be lunch. MP-X301 yells at the rat.

"If I had legs, I'd kick your butt to Xenon. In the meantime, BITE ME!"

The rest of the rats slowly move closer to the fracas, but stay out of arm's reach, for the moment.

In Matrix-style bullet-time slow motion, Roy sighs, then jogs up to the nearest rat and, before it can recover from its faceplant, punts it like an all-star football kicker. The rat is sent skidding across the ground like an errant turtle shell, squealing at the top of its lungs. It collides - hard - with another rat, sending the unfortunate victim sailing through the air. As the poor rodent crashes to the ground some ways away, the original rat continues to rocket along the ground, plowing headlong into the scrap heap on the far side of the clearing.

Roy draws one of the grenades he took from the dead Sarien earlier and pushes a second sigh, with a smile crossing his lips.

Ah'Choo, still a bit winded from the sucker punch to the gut, decides to put some space between herself and the rats before laying down the offensive. She backs off, wheezing, "All right, I'm afraid I'll have to retaliate for that, Mr. Rat... in a moment..."

MP-X301 steps back (quite a feat for a robot without legs) and lets off a shot at the rat who just violated his rear end. Sadly he misses... the errant laser bolt strikes a scrap pile some distance away.

Furious at having their friend kicked around like a hackey-sack, another pair of rats charge towards Roy, intent on teaching him a lesson. One of the rats lands a solid punch to his solar plexus (whatever that is).


The other rat winds up and attempts to pull off an odd sort of punch/grab combo move on Roy, but misses, and instead falls down onto its rear end.


The rat on the roof of the pod snarls at MP-X301, then lunges forward to bite the poor little robot again. This time its teeth sink deeply into MP-X301's internals, causing major damage. MP-X301 sparks badly.

"Major sys-ys-ys-tem damage!"

The two Packrats molesting Ah'Choo begin to chase after her, their eyes narrowed in anger.

Roy backpedals to the front section of the pod, yells, "Watch out, MP!", yanks out the pin of his grenade, and chucks it with all his might at the rat just outside the door.

The bad news: The grenade bounces off to the side. The good news: In its new position, it still manages to catch two of the rats as it explodes into a hailstorm of red-hot flying shrapnel. The worse news: Both rats survive and now look noticeably more pissed off than before.

Ah'Choo, feeling a bit more recovered, fires off a stun blast at the touchy-feely rat still intent on beating the tar out of her.

"Here we are, Mr. Rat!"

The shot hits dead-on, but seems to have no effect. The rat grins... and then begins to convulse as blue sparks arc across its fur. After a moment the rat falls face-down, limp as soggy spaghetti.

"Sorry about that, Mr. Rat!"

Ah'Choo backs off again to keep away from the other rat's paws.

MP-X30 successfully shoots at the rat in front of him, then yells, "MASSIVE SYSTEM FAILURE! SHUTTING DOWN!"

As the rat atop the pod cringes from a new laser wound to the shoulder, MP-X301 floats off to the side, turns off his hoverlifts, and plummets off the roof, straight down onto the rat below.

"SHUT DOOOWWwwwnnnnnn...."

The rat below, still holding the scepter and watching the fight with interest, is knocked down by the impact and pinned to the floor under the droid's weight. It drops the scepter, which rolls a short distance away.

The rat on top of the pod screeches angrily down at MP-X301, but, instead of giving chase, sits down hard and cradles its wound, whimpering softly.

The two rats near the pod, blood-covered shrapnel shards sticking out of their skin, glare at Roy. One of the rats dashes inside to confront him. The other rat scurries over to its trapped comrade and begins trying to lift MP-X301's body off to the side.

The rat inside the pod attempts to bite a chunk out of Roy's ankle, but misses, instead tearing a hole in the pilot seat's cushion. Ah'Choo's stunned rat continues to slack off, while the other one scampers towards her at top speed.

Roy glares at the ankle-biting rat and makes a valiant attempt to kick the rat in the groin, but misses, instead booting the swivel-base of the pilot's chair. He decides to pull out his last grenade.

Ah'Choo fires her stun gun at the other rat near her.

"Your turn, Mr. Rat #2."

Again, Ah'Choo's aim is dead on. The second rat convulses much like the first before seizing up and falling over backwards into a heap. She moves a bit closer to the stunned rat.

The rat who was attempting to pull MP-X301 off its friend suddenly falls backward as the droid springs back to life. It hisses angrily, but is too busy picking itself up off the ground to do anything else.

MP-X301 snatches up the scepter and waves it before the group of rats near him.

"The scepter has punished you for your lack of respect!"

The rats watching the entire spectacle begin to hiss and snarl. Apparently, they aren't impressed. MP-X301 chucks the scepter as far past the rats as possible, then turns and runs toward Ah'Choo.

The scepter falls to the ground with a clunk amidst the rat pack. The rats within reach of it immediately jump on it like a priceless treasure, clawing and punching each other in a desperate bid to claim the new prize.

The rat atop the pod continues to howl in pain, apparently having lost any interest in getting itself hurt again. The rat near the pod door, having just recovered its footing, chases off after MP-X301, but is slowed down by having to step over the body of its unconscious comrade. The rat inside the pod tries to take a bite out of Roy again, but this time manages to bury its teeth in one of the (non-functional) control panels.

Far off to the south a pair of rat legs sticking out of a trash pile kick wildly in the air. The two rats close to Ah'Choo do little more than groan slightly.

Three of the rats are now engaged in a high-stakes wrestling match for possession of their new trinket. The final two rats jump up and down angrily, yelling at their scepter-obsessed friends and pointing adamantly at the fleeing MP-X301, with limited success.

Roy, slightly annoyed, points his laser pistol, gangsta style, at the rat who's currently bothering him and attempts to end its iron diet. The rat looks up from trying to pry itself out of the control panel and finds itself staring straight down Roy's gun barrel. It has just enough time to let out a whimper before the laser bolt lances out through its forehead. The rat immediately ceases its struggle and is still.

Roy runs for cover in the corner of the pod. "It's not today that the great Phoenix Dark shall get killed by a bunch of rats!"

Ah'Choo thinks for a second about employing her Neck Pinch, but, regretting that she missed the Rec Room showings of "The Secret of NIMH" and "An American Tail", decides she needs to just slug the stunned rat at her feet and be done with it. With a warm, fuzzy feeling of justified revenge, Ah'Choo punches the still-twitching rat in the gut, hard. It groans, then stops moving completely.

She clears her throat. "Pleasant nocturnal mental imagery, Mr. Rat #2."

She heads off south into a currently rat-free area of the clearing. The rat chasing MP-X301 growls and appears to be preparing to pounce, but a quick laser blast to the torso from MP-X301 stops the rat dead in its tracks. Its momentum carries it forward as it falls to the ground with a dull thud.

"Hasta la Entrails, baby!" MP-X301 moves off towards Ah'Choo. To the east, the rat that Ah'Choo *didn't* beat the snot out of finally shakes off the effects of the stunray. Groggy, it hauls itself upright and begins to stumble awkwardly in her direction.

The rats fighting for the scepter are really getting into it now. One of them appears to have latched onto it and is now using it to bludgeon the others. Just as the rat with the scepter looks like it might be clubbing its way to victory, a grenade pitched by Roy comes sailing overhead and lands directly in between them all. An instant later a sizable explosion showers the immediate area with shrapnel and rat intestines.

The scepter is thrown upward by the blast, sailing up and over one of the nearby trash piles and out of sight. Roy smiles some more.

Ah'Choo fires off another shot at the groggy rat chasing her.

"I am afraid that you need to be put down for another nap, Mr. Rat #1."

She again connects. This time, however, the rat manages to shake off the stun, but the scorched hole in its lower abdomen doesn't say much for its endurance.

"Grozit, that was a bit less effective than I hoped."

Ah'Choo moves off yet again and finally notices MP-X301.

"Ah, hello!"

MP-X301 fires at another rat coming after him, then blurts out, "Sys... tem dam... dam... dam... dam... age, Ma'am, but I am mostly functioning proper... ty."

His finely-honed rifle skills (well, okay, MEDIOCRE rifle skills) serve him well, as a blood-red laser lances out and pierces the heart of the Packrat. A look of shock is frozen on its face as it slumps to the ground. MP-X301 then moves farther away from the mobile rat still headed towards Ah'Choo.

Watching several of its fellows get blown away, and with most of the rest either dead, almost dead, or unconscious, the lone healthy rat blinks, then turns tail and scrabbles away at an impressive speed. It dives into a nearby pile of scrap like it was diving into a pond and vanishes into the scrap pile's surface.

Seeing this, the rat atop the pod realizes that maybe its injuries aren't really THAT serious after all and immediately jumps to its feet. It scurries across the roof of the pod and claws its way into the scrap and out of sight.

The lone remaining rat, groggy and seriously wounded, looks around itself for any means of escape. Not finding any, it begins to desperately hobble away from MP-X301 and Ah'Choo at a snail's pace, panic-stricken.

Roy marches out of the pod and stands triumphantly over the rat that MP-X301 knocked out. With a downright malicious grin, even for a Sarien, he lifts up his booted foot and brings it swiftly, forcefully down onto the rat's head, crushing its skull like an overripe melon. Blood and bits of brain matter splatter everywhere, as Roy chuckles satisfactorily.

Over yonder MP-X301 is feeling the effects of his massive damage.

"Ma'am... assistance, please..."

"Oh dear! Hold on there, MP..." Ah'Choo goes over, pulls out a Repair Kit, and sets to work on MP-X301's damage. Within a few minutes she manages to repair all of his chewed bits into fully-functional order again.

"Thank you, Ma'am... the diodes in my left arm were really hurting me, too."

The last remaining rat, having finally reached the relative safety of a nearby junk pile, crawls into the space behind a piece of sheet metal and vanishes.

Roy stares over the battlefield with a permanent smile on his lips.

MP-X301 heads back over and starts giving several of the rats a quick pat down. Unfortunately the rats lack pockets, and don't have any other immediately-apparent means for carrying anything except their own hands, which are all bare. Whatever valuables these critters might have had, they didn't bother to carry them along when they went assailing.

Ah'Choo heads back towards the pod herself, looks out over the rat carnage, and heaves a sigh.