Sunday, December 24, 2023

WoAF - Session 56 - Video Recap

This video was created almost entirely by a Generative AI from a company named Visla.  I pointed it to Session 56 on my blog, and it created the summary, and the voice over, and I was able to edit it to include the correct images from the blog, and add slightly smoother transitions in only a few minutes.  This shows the direction that Generative AI is heading, and how quickly it is getting there.  I am quite impressed. Even though the video is not really quite as thrilling as I had hoped, I imagine it will be truly incredible in a year or two from now.  In the meantime, please enjoy the recap of Session 56!  

Friday, December 08, 2023

WoAF - Game Session 56

Jacob Grant
Jacob pushed himself up against the wall, his purple bubble suit clinging tightly to his body, its shimmering fabric barely concealing the wounds he had sustained in the fierce firefight. Within a few moments Vallnam, ever the diligent comrade, knelt beside Ling, her skilled hands tending to Jacob's injuries with a mix of expertise and urgency.  She noted to herself that the purple bubbles on the suit had clustered over the injury, extended tiny purple veins into the wounds, and appeared to be healing them.  She was surprised, and guessed that the suits, whatever they were, had far more abilities than they had initially guessed.  She puzzled briefly over where they had obtained the mysterious gifts, but her memory on this subject was peculiarly blank.  It made her wonder for a moment, but she quickly put aside such thoughts as she focused on Jacob. 

Meanwhile, Major Hanna Schiller, the indomitable space-pilot of the Moon-Nazi UFO Squadron, stood tall, her blazing eyes sweeping across the chaotic aftermath of the battle. She took stock of her remaining soldiers, their resolve undeterred, and assessed the state of their equipment amidst the crackling sparks and smoldering debris that filled the air. The once-imposing Robot Control Center of General Hertling now lay in smoldering ruins, a testament to the ferocity with which it had been struck.

Yet, amidst the carnage and destruction, a seething anger burned within Hanna. The audacity of General Hertling and Admiral Ludendorf, the Highest and most respected Command Officers of Eisenhelm, conspiring with her devilish rival, the renowned space-pilot Mellita Reich!  How dare they attempt to flee the Eisenhelm in its time of greatest peril!  And no less, in the enigmatic spacecraft she had spent months clandestinely mastering! Such brazen treason ignited a primal fury within her, causing her emotions to boil over with a vengeful and deadly wrath. How dare the leaders she had trusted and fought alongside of, and believed in, turn their backs on their sworn duty?!  The villainy! This thought alone was enough to make her spit blood in rage. No, those three traitors deserved a merciless and painful death. Their vile names would be forever cursed by Eisenhelm's survivors, and their treason recorded on the metallic history-plates for all time!

Hanna's steely gaze alighted briefly on Jacob, who was struggling at the moment with a hacking cough. She regretted that he had briefly dispelled her experience-hardened mistrust of men, stirring a flicker of genuine interest in him.  After all, he had been the first man who seemed to be a real man that she'd ever met, given that Eisenhelm was filled to the brim with power-lusting apes, venomous snakes, or worthless sycophants.  However, that fleeting sentiment, which had been snuffed out by the arrival of his comrade-in-arms, Ling Brisbane, was swiftly replaced with a bitter disdain. With a venomous glare, she redirected her attention towards Ling, the enigmatic Moon Princess of the Modroni, an alien race completely erased from everyone's collective memory, their existence completely forgotten by our heroes.

The control room trembled as another moon quake rumbled from beneath Eisenhelm.  Hanna's violent reverie was abruptly interrupted. Her eyes locked onto Ling, her mind fixated on a singular objective—the location of the coveted Master Key, the one device that held the power to unlock any door within Eisenhelm's hidden depths. Hanna yearned for its possession, for with it she could infiltrate any corner of the vast complex, and from the right position she could gain complete mastery over the entire base. Recalling Jacob's revelation that there were UFOs being repaired in the sealed-off Hangar B, situated 1,200 feet to the west of their current position, a glimmer of opportunity sparked within her thoughts. Despite the destruction caused by the explosion triggered by her Commandos to seal off the outer tunnel, there remained an enigmatic white tunnel system that connected the Robot Control Center to the clandestine Hangar—the dwelling place of the mysterious Shadow Hawk, an interstellar vessel of unknown origin.  It was Shadow Hawk that was the key to her destiny, just as control of Eisenhelm must be hers.  With both she could command the moon, the Earth, and the stars!  She lusted for it all.

Jacob looked at her with questioning eyebrows, his puppy-dog eyes attempting to rekindle that feeling which was lost amid the warfare.  No dice. Hanna's brief glace had no discernable emotion.  Her eyes appeared as icy blue wells, as fathomless and remote as her ambitions.  He tried to convey to her that he loved her deeply, and wished only to embrace her.  The hacking cough, however, was not helping matters.  Yet, he figured if he could persuade her of the sincerity of his love, then things might go well enough for them to get to the UFOs and flee the moon before Eisenhelm quaked itself into a final oblivion.  But the look in her eyes said it all.  In her insatiable lust for power Hanna would step on the him like a bug at her first opportunity.  Hanna's attention at that moment shifted back to her current nemesis, Ling, and the connection between her and Jacob was severed without hesitation.  Hanna no longer had the slightest interest in Jacob, whatsoever.  He coughed up a lung, and slumped miserably as Ling fretted over his bandages.

The treacherous Major considered taking the elevator down the one flight to the white tunnel, her Germanic mind seeking her next plan of action with precision and cold determination.  She turned to Vallnam.

"Jacob promised me verking UFO's in zee Hanger B. Is zis Correct?" she interrogated.

Valnam turned on his helmet radio and tuned to the technician team's frequency. "Rudolf, come in Rudolf."

"Ja?  Rudolf here, mine Leader!" came the static-laden reply.  

"How go the repairs?  Are any of the UFOs space worthy?" he asked, his German stilted by his recent encounter with the Elkron Tarot.  The words came slowly.  His pronunciation probably sounded far too American.

There was pause.

"One is complete.  Vee are ninety-five percent finished with zee other one," said Rudolf.  "No more can be repaired, I regret to say."

"How long for the second ship?"

"Ten minutes," replied Rudolf.

Hanna barked into her radio, "Doctor Hoffman, are you there?"

"Ja, Major Schiller, I am in zee Pillbox.  Zee Obliterator has frozen in place, and is not moving at all.  Vee are safe!"

"Good. Can you get the Doom Spheres from the tunnel up into the pillbox?"

"Ja, Major, we constructed them with zee ability to hover on micro-jets. They are down at zee end of zee tunnel now.  I will bring them up.  It should only take a few minutes."

Hanna looked around the destroyed control center. Smoke filled the air, and sparks were still flying from computer panels in every direction.  She scanned the various exits.  There were still several that she was unsure of.  She sent two of the Commandos to the doorway on the northwest wall to investigate.  It turned out there was a kitchen and pantry there, they reported.  She ordered them to grab provisions, and turned her attention elsewhere. 

Valnam strolled over the large red button on one of the purple computer panels that he had seen earlier but bypassed in all the action.  It was covered by a thin glass dome.  He looked at it.  Underneath the button were words written in German.  The power of understanding languages had been disrupted.  He couldn't understand the meaning.

"Hanna," said Valnam, "would you have any idea what this button is for?"

She walked over and gave it a glance. "It says 'In case of emergency'," she replied, taking note that the man was apparently unable to read German.  She said nothing.  Revenge would come.  But not yet.  She had too few men with her, and the weapons these three interlopers carried were quite capable of mowing her few remaining Commandos down in a flash.  No, she'd bide her time and pretend she noticed nothing unusual at all.

"Well, this seems like as much of an emergency as anything that could happen," answered Valnam, stumbling over his words.  "Why don't you go ahead?"

"You are an idiot," she answered sharply.  "It is probably a self-destruct. Do not touch it.  Do not even get close to it," she barked.

"Why would you want to self-destruct in case of emergency?  That doesn't make any sense," he replied.

She looked at him like one might glare at a moronic child.  "Do I need to remind you of the Obliterator Robot out in the tunnel?  That is how we deal with emergencies in Eisenmelm!  Do you understand?"

"What if it gives you control over something like that, though?" answered Valnam, unphased by her aggressive demeanor.

"This is General Hertling's Headquarters.  He is the Commander of Robot Force. I don't know anything about Robots, how they operate, what their protocols are, or what capabilities they have.  If the emergency button summons robots, I wouldn't have any idea how to control them.  Leave the button alone!" she said with a tone of finality.

"Fair enough," said Valnam, finding her argument reasonable enough. With that he went back to Jacob and took a look.  He wasn't doing so well, and he was coughing quite badly.  While it was true that the purple bubble suit was healing him, it was doing so all too slowly.  As a Warlock Vallnam had studied medical healing in the past, and by now he was quite competent.  He pulled out his medi-kit and bent down.  He opened a foil packet that contained a white ointment and spread it on Jacob's wounds.  It possessed a healing property that had been discovered during the Ultra-War, and it was quite effective.  Jacob looked up.  His breathing calmed, the pain lessened considerably, and even the cough dissipated. 

At that moment they heard a loud grinding noise, and a strange humming sound coming from the southwest doorway.  It came from the large room which they'd cleared out with a hand grenade during the battle.  One of Hanna's Commandos peered around the lintel into the room, and reported over the radio.

"Major Schiller," he said curtly, "there is something moving on the far side of zee room."

She ordered her men to gather together and face the open doorway.  Vallnam was still with Jacob and Ling, between the doorway and the now sealed Inner Sanctum.  Hanna walked cautiously forward, and peered into the darkness of the barracks.  There were several doorways leading out of the room, which itself was quite large.  On the far side there was an entrance into a dark corridor, covered by thin clear plastic strips, like the kind you might find in a warehouse, or medical facility.

Vallnam handed Hanna his XL-2600 Torchlight.  "Do not turn the dial more than halfway, and don't look down the barrel," he advised.

She took the device and marveled at its design.  It was very different than any flashlight of Eisenhelm, which were characteristically heavy, bulky, dark green and had a simple on / off switch.  This was sleek, with burnished chrome, an oval shaped glass lens, and elegant dial that set its power level.  This, she thought, could not have been made by the engineers of Eisnhelm!  Impossible! But then again, neither could the white corridor tunnels, nor Shadow Hawk.  

She tried to connect the dots.  Jacob, Ling and Vallnam, with their unique purple bubble suits, and strangely sleek equipment must be a part of the same organization that created the white tunnels and Shadow Hawk, she speculated.  Perhaps, they were a Japanese contingent that secretly joined the Nazi mission to the moon in 1943, and had remained a hidden force side-by-side with Eisenhelm all this time?  Yet, Vallnam and Jacob were obviously not Japanese. Jacob had led her to believe they were members of an elite SS unit of Eisenhelm.  One she had never heard of, but had access to knowledge and equipment she had never been made aware of. She had originally accepted this at face value because she had no other plausible explanation for their strange look, or presence on the base, and given the civil war suddenly breaking out, it would be logical for such a secret unit to show up during such an emergency. But now it was clear that Vallnam didn't really understand German.  Things stopped making sense, and her mind began to reel, and so she put the question aside.  Something was making noise in the darkened bunker and she wasn't taking any chances.  She turned the dial to thirty-percent and shined a tight beam into the room.  It was a bright blue beam that illuminated a circle of light about 3 feet wide very brightly.

She moved the beam around the room, illuminating everything in one quick sweep. Beyond the plastic strips she saw a hulking figure standing perfectly still.

"Halt!  Identify yourself," barked Hanna.

 A large, bulky black robot stepped through the plastic sheets and walked three feet into the room.

"I - AM - GORTAURUS," it said.


It halted.  "I - AM - GORTAURUS."

"Alright, Gortaurus," replied Hanna.  "Vhat vas your last command?"

"GUARD - THE - CORRIDOR," it replied in its metallic staccato voice.  "NONE - SHALL - PASS."

She looked it over.  It did not appear to be brandishing weapons, but the entire construct gave the impression it was a short, barrel-shaped humanoid tank.  She'd never seen anything like it.  One of Hertling's secret projects, no doubt!

"Ok, Gortaurus, you may resume guarding zee corridor," said Hanna, not wishing to open a new can of worms.  Her goal was to get the Doom Spheres, and usher her people towards Shadow Hawk, and nothing more.  

"NONE - SHALL - PASS," it repeated.

"Vee have no plan to pass this way," she said as she began backing out of the doorway.

"WHO - ARE - YOU?" inquired Gortaurus.

"I am Major Hanna Schiller of zee Ludendorf Space Force," she announced proudly.

"DO - YOU - HAVE - AUTHORIZATION - TO - ACCESS - SECTOR - C3-DZ-A1?" it demanded.

"I am not allowed in zee corridor, but vee are not going there," she replied.  It stood still.

Hanna stared at it for a few moments.  It didn't move.  

"Doctor Hoffman," she spoke quietly into her helmet mic. "vhat is zee status with my Doom Spheres?"

As she waited, she stepped back away from the door.  The Commando next to her glared at the robot.

"Vhat zee hell is that?" he asked nervously.

"I don't know, but I keep seeing more surprises zee more this day progresses," she replied dryly.

"Vhat ze hell is Hertlng up to?" he asked rhetorically, as she passed him, backing away into the main control room.

She was imagining Hertling with Mellita and that fat slob, Ludendorf, all smirking as they fastened themselves into their seats inside Shadow Hawk.  Smirking.  The three of them having a little laugh as Eisenhelm burned into molten slag as they flee Eisenhelm.  SMIRKING!  It was the SMIRKING that drove her crazy with hatred.

"I have not seen anything like this. It's almost like a miniature Obliterator... that talks!" she said, trying to clear her mind.

"I - AM - GORTAURUS!" announced the robot again.  "WHAT - IS - THE - STATUS?"

Unnerved, Hanna shouted back.  "Continue guarding the corridor."


She stared it it, unsure what to say.  It seemed to her that it was potentially dangerous, despite the fact she saw no obvious weapons.  But then, with something like this, who know what its weaponry might look like?  She hesitated.

"WHY - IS - THERE - SMOKE - IN - C3-DZ-A1?" it demanded.

"Because it's not very well ventilated," said Jacob as he shuffled over to the door to take a look.  Between the salve, and the bubble suit, he was no able to walk, slowly, without too much pain.  He took a glance around the doorframe.  "What the hell is that?"

"WHAT - IS - THE - STATUS?" demanded Gortaurus.

Hanna thought it seemed too intelligent for her liking, but she said nothing. 

"Status is: small fire. Under control," Hanna replied to the robot.  "Continue with your last command," she concluded.


"Yes," said Jacob, "the fire is contained."

"Confirmed.  The fire is contained," added Hanna.


"I repeat," barked Hanna, "continue with your last command."

On Gortaurus was a panel situated on his left breast-plate, on which a yellow light began to blink.

"Gortaurus, what was your last command?" asked Jacob, hoping to refocus its attention on the preferred behavior.  No such luck.
"GUARD - THE - CORRIDOR.  NONE - SHALL - PASS," stated Gortaurus.

"Hmm..." replied Jacob, momentarily at a loss as to what else to try.

"ROBOT - N - APPROACH," commanded Gortaurus.

The party glanced around nervously.


Out from behind Gortaurus, from within the dark corridor, emerged a dog-sized thing with a strangely configured white metallic skin. Where the light shone on it, it was bright and reflective, but dark black wherever shadows crossed its outer casing. It's outer surface was rough, and its edges indeterminant.  What type of metal it was composed of was a mystery, but its surface featured long curved lines and two small panels with blinking lights on them.  Overall, it seemed dog-shaped, though quite abstracted.  On the top of its body was a wedge shaped head that appeared to be covered with some kind of sensor array that blinked with tiny red lights.

"A mechanical hound," whispered Jacob.

Hanna backed further into the control room, pressed the button next to the double sliding doors, and they slid shut. She pressed the button twice, and as anyone in Eisenhelm would expect, there was a klack-kang sound as bolts slid into place, sealing the door shut.  She sighed with relief.

They heard a buzz, which began to grow louder.  The door began vibrating.  Hanna took out her Luger and shot the door's control panel.  It exploded into a shower of sparks, and would not be used again.

"Doctor Hoffman, vhere are my Doom Spheres?" she barked into her mic.

"It is a delicate matter to get them up into zee Pillbox, Major.  I am verking on it."

"I don't think vee have any more time," she responded.  She had only four Commandos out of nine who had survived the battle, one wounded, along with Dr. Hoffman, and her prisoner, and the three Doom Spheres, each of which took up the space of two people, being five feet each in circumference.  There was also Jacob, Vallnam and Ling.  She thought about the elevator that led down one story to the white tunnel system.  She recalled that the last time she went through that way the tunnel led directly to the secret Shadow Hawk nexus.  Up one level from there was the Shadow Hawk Hanger control room.  Down one level was the entrance to the hanger itself.  But the elevator could only hold three people at a time.  So to get everyone down would take five trips, and the elevator would take approximately twenty seconds per trip.  So if all went well, it would take approximately sixty seconds to vacate Hertling's smoldering Robot Command Center.  If all went well. Piece of cake.

"Doctor Hoffman," barked Hanna, "you and Otto take one of zee Doom Spheres down to zee tunnel below, and scout ahead."

"Vhat of zee other Doom Spheres, Major?" asked the Doctor, looking at her as if she had told him to abandon his children.

"Vee vill leave them behind, dumkoff!  Vee do not have zee time for them!" she shouted.

Doctor Hoffman looked crestfallen. At Hanna's command one of the Commandos ushered him to the elevator.  Hoffman fumbled with the control box, and ordered one of the Doom Spheres forward.  The deadly machines operated by remote control, and had no intelligence of their own. In fact, the idea of autonomous robots was an idea that the Moon-Nazi greatly feared.  Only a lunatic like Hertling would dare to manufacture such monstrosities.  Hoffman put the other two Doom Sphere's on stand by, and they settled into position and went into low power mode.  The Commando, whose name happened to be Otto "One Shot" Fischer, was the specialist marksman of the team.  He fumbled at the elevator door struggling fit two men inside with a Doom Sphere.  Neither Otto nor Karl wanted to climb on top of the deadly machine. They fumbled around a trying to adjust, but it was hopeless.  Either one of them would have to climb on top of it, or only one man and the Doom Sphere could go down.  As the elevator door closed, Doctor Hoffman could be seen unceremoniously perched on top of the black orb, his face frozen in an expression of anxiety.

Hanna, however, was no longer paying attention to them. The entire party had spun around and was staring at the doorway on the other side of which was Gortaurus and N.  The door had begun to rattle, and now a glowing red circle appeared on the center of the double-doors. 

"That's not good," stated Jacob.

"Vhat weapons do you three have?" asked Hanna nervously.

"Did I, um, get my XL-2600 back?" asked Vallnam.

Hanna turned to glare at him.  "No, I have not given it back to you," she replied as if he were an idiot.

"Can I have my Torch back, please?" asked Vallnam coolly.

"As soon as vee get out of this room," she replied, frustrated by his subtle insinuation that she was a common thief.

"I will hold you to that, Frauline," he replied with his usual calm reserve.

Meanwhile, the red circle grew in size, and the center glowed with an orange light.  Even across the room they could feel the heat coming off its surface. The center of the glowing circle turned white, and the metal began to melt.

"Fan out and take angles on the door," ordered Jacob.  Vallnam and Ling withdrew their weapons and took positions behind two of the smoking computer banks.

"That is a very good idea," said Hanna as she glanced toward the elevator.  The door was closed, her three Commandos stood next to it, machineguns at the ready. "Why don't you three go ahead and fan out."  She was not interested in having a firefight with a new and unfathomable Robot Force.  Let Jacob and his team take them on if they wished.  Her goal was to get herself and her people out of there, and over to Shadow Hawk so she could eviscerate Hertling, Ludendorf and the never-to-be-sufficiently-reviled Mellita!

The double-doors turned white hot and melted into a glowing viscous slag that spread out across the floor.  Everyone scrambled into a defensive position behind some smoldering piece of equipment or other, and trained their weapons on the breach.  When the hole was large enough, the metallic canine entered on indestructible treads, its burnished armor gleaming white, or jet black depending on how the light hit it.  It looked, as far as Jacob was concerned, small, but exceedingly formidable.  Robot N rolled into the room, sparks flying as its treads carried it over the red-hot slag.  Everyone trained their guns on it and paused, waiting to see what it would do.

And that is where we left things this game.