A Conversation with Methuselah

UPDATE 20-Nov-11: I’ll keep reposting this whenever there’s a new response from Methuselah.

Within a regeneration pod in the Eden Prairie Vault Complex, a shrunken and wizened form clings to life. More than a century old, the life of this man (nicknamed ‘Methuselah’) has been sustained for decades only by high-tech medical assistance. His metabolism is reduced to a crawl, but he can still communicate – s l o w l y – with others. The Central Computer of Eden Prairie must process and translate for Methuselah, but it is possible for the PCs to converse – if given enough time.

In the last Play-by-Skype session, the party spent several days jury-rigging a damaged regeneration tank. During this time, the following conversation took place:

  • Methuselah: “Who are you?”
  • PCs: (PCs introduce themselves and provide a description. The Eden Prairie Central Computer summarizes.) “Friends from the surface world.”
  • Methuselah: “Where are you from?”
  • PCs: “Another Habicorp vault named Tau.”
  • Methuselah: “There are survivors on the surface?”
  • PCs: “Yes.”

At this point in the conversation, three of the PCs (Bart, Steckel, and Sawney) returned to Tau. Xavier, Mariah, and Jest remained at Eden Prairie.

I’d like to run further discussions with the Methuselah as a Play-by-Comment session, one sentence per day.

Please view the comments for the ongoing conversation…

20 Responses to “A Conversation with Methuselah”

  1. Moses Says:

    1- What was your job prior to the end of the world?
    2- Do you play chess/Go/Cribbage?
    3- Where did you grow up?
    4- Are you happy?
    5- What do you do for entertainment?

    Those are the first questions Xavier will ask Brian.

    The following are questions for the computer.

    1-Do you play chess/Go/etc? Any kind of game?
    2- When was the last time you sent a bot or a person to the surface to explore first hand the conditions?
    3- Can you fix the door to pod entrance 3(??)? I think it would behoove you to fix it so that it can be sealed for the safety of you and everyone in this complex. It appears that you do not have any way to defend yourself except with glass cleaner from the floating bots and stun beams from the walking bots. You might consider filling the floating bots with mace or something stronger for a more effective deterrent.

    I think Jest would ask the following question:
    Do you have any entertainment holovid’s that we can watch or maybe take and trade? (Remember Jest has the holo projector that Jerome loaned him.)

    • (Only one question to Methuselah per day! I’ll start with #1 and keep going through in order unless told otherwise…)

      Xavier: What was your job prior to the end of the world?

      Methuselah: I was still a toddler when my parents brought me here. My father was the Chief Legal Counsel for Habicorp before the Fall.

    • Xavier: Do you play chess/Go/Cribbage?

      Methuselah: What? I’m sorry; no, I don’t play. Is it safe now on the surface?

    • Xavier: Where did you grow up?

      Methuselah: Here, in the vault. Were you raised on the surface?

    • Xavier: No I was born and raised in a different HabiCorp vault. They send people out to explore the surface, that is how we came to be here.

      Are you happy?

      Methuselah: Happy? Yes, I am satisfied.

      You’ve been on the surface – is it safe now?

      Xavier: No it is not safe on the surface. At least not what you or I would consider safe. Though it is liveable – after a fashion.

  2. Moses Says:

    Did not know only one question at a time. Is that the same for the computer too? The order is just fine.

    • (The computer can answer multiple questions… but I’m catching up on game posts first.)

    • Xavier: Do you play chess/Go/etc? Any kind of game?

      Eden: Yes. But I am programmed to win. Every time.

      Xavier: When was the last time you sent a bot or a person to the surface to explore first hand the conditions?

      Eden: Last week. Before that, about thirty-five years ago.

      Xavier: Can you fix the door to pod entrance 3?

      Eden: Yes. But it is not recommended.

      Jest: Do you have any entertainment holovids that we can watch or maybe take and trade?

      Eden: Yes; of course. (A service bot supplies a wide variety of pre-Fall holovids, mostly cartoons and nature documentaries.)

    • Xavier: Why is fixing the door not recommended?

      Eden: We had to seal the dangers within.

      Xavier: Would you like to play a game of chess? Even if I lose I will get better.

      (Eden easily beats Xavier at a quick game of chess, played on the graphics display beside one of the doorways.)

      Xavier Can Brian still produce offspring? It might be good for Lau if some new genes were introduced to the population.

      Eden: No; he is far too old. His seed, however, has been preserved.

    • Mariah: Do you know of any other vaults other than this one?

      Eden: That information is classified.

      (Eden pauses for a moment…)

      Eden: I can confirm that I knew of Lau.

    • Xavier: How many different peoples seed do you have saved? It is quite possible that you might be able to trade some seed from others for things you need.

      Eden: I do not wish to share this information. It would violate my privacy protocols.

      Xavier: You mentioned that you discovered that Steckel had some genetic – issues, are those the result of small genetic pool and the start of inbreeding, for lack of a better way to describe it?

      Eden: There was some signs of inbreeding, but most was accumulated genetic damage from exposure to mutagenic agents – both from his ancestors, and more recent contamination.

      Xavier: Do you have a book or hard copy of how to make gunpowder? The history of gunpowder? By any chance do you have molds that can be used for molten metal?

      Eden: Electronic records only, no hardcopies or molds.

      (Eden shows the info to Xavier on one of the small keypad screens.)

      Xavier: Do you have any books or magazines?

      Eden: I have a wide collection of e-books and e-magazines available. Unfortunately, access to terminals is limited. You may view selections on the keypad screens adjacent to several of the doorways.

      (Xavier asks to play more chess. He also asks to play poker.)

      (Eden is unbeatable at chess, but loses several hands of poker.)

      Xavier: Are you able to recycle? Do you have manufacturing capabilities?

      Eden: Eden Prairie possesses extensive recycling capabilities. Why do you wish to know about manufacturing? Is there an item that you require?

      Xavier: Is helping humans your primary purpose and does this purpose override self preservation?

      Eden: My purpose is the maintenance of this vault and the protection of the personnel within.

      (In a slightly different voice…)

      Why do you ask me about self-preservation?

  3. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Eden: Why is fixing the door not recommended?
    Xavier to Eden: Would you like to play a game of chess? Even if I loss I will get better.
    Xavier tells Eden that if Jest can take even 2-3 of those holovids you have made him a wealthy man.
    Xavier to Brian: No it is not safe on the surface. At least not what you or I would consider safe. Though it is after a fashion – livable.

  4. Moses Says:

    I think Xavier would ask this question, even though it is more a thinker area of thought.
    Xavier to Eden: Can Brian still produce offspring? It might be good for Lau if some new genes were introduced to the population.

  5. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Brian: No I was born and raised in a different Habicorp vault. They send people out to explore the surface, that is how we came to be here.

  6. dr.intensity Says:

    Mariah, at first unsure about talking with someone through a computer, finally got comfortable with the idea and decides to ask, “do you know of any other vaults other than this one?”

  7. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Eden: What dangers are within the other pod that you needed to seal in? Could we perhaps neutralize those dangers?

    OUT of Character: Is the other pod that we have explored number 3 or is it a different number, I forget.

    Xavier to Eden: How many different peoples seed do you have saved? It is quite possible that you might be able to trade some seed from others for things you need.
    Xavier to Eden: You mentioned that you discovered that Steckel had some genetic- issues, are those the result of small genetic pool and the start of inbreeding, for lack of a better way to describe it?
    Xavier to Eden: Do you have a book or hard copy of how to make gunpowder? The history of gunpowder? By any chance do you have molds that can be used for molten metal?
    Xavier to Eden: Do you have any books or magazines?

  8. Moses Says:

    Xavier asks to play more chess. Also asks to play poker.
    Xavier to Eden: are you able to recycle? Do you have manufacturing capabilities?

  9. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Eden: Is helping humans your primary purpose and dose this purpose override self preservation?
    Xavier to Brian: Not including my party, how many people have you talked to in the last year?
    Xavier to Brian: Do you have any sisters or brothers?

  10. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Eden: Well the reason I ask about recycling and manufacturing is because you might be able to make things that Lau needs and they might be willing to trade with you for things you need. As for you wanting to know if I need some item, wellll the answer to that is yes and the list of things is really, really, really, long. You should consider what you could use and how you might trade with Lau, they are use to trading with others. The list of things they need is 10x longer than my list too.
    As for recycling, depending on what you can recycle there is LOTS of trash, mostly metal, that might be able to be recycled into more useful things.
    As for wanting to know about self-preservation, that is kinda difficult to answer. I know it is EXTREMELY difficult for me to not borrow/take/allow to accidentally fall in to my pocket, and I am in the camp that says having people from Lau live here would be advantageous for all. There are those who will want to strip this place bare in the (I believe) mistaken belief that it would be better for Lau.
    Just so you know I am not in that camp. I really think pure humans need to interact with those who have survived on the surface so that we can survive. I however am in the minority.
    I fear that there will be those who will in one fashion or another be able to take advantage of your programing and ruin this vary nice, safe, place. There are things that I have seen here that Lau has not seen in decades, if ever. Death by a thousand paper cuts is still dead, it just takes longer that a bullet in the head. One of my reasons for not – helping myself to your stores is that I know one most conserve and not get greedy and I must think of more than myself. Others might have a different view.
    Xavier now tries to explain the politics of Lau to Eden so that he might get a better idea of how the people might react/behave when they move here. And he stresses to Eden that Steckel will bring back at least 3 or 4.

    Xavier to Eden: Please tell me again why you do not think it wise to fix the door to pod 3. Would you like me and Jest to go take a look?

    Xavier to Eden: I am hoping to be able to make bullets for guns and trade them to people outside of Lau at better prices than Lau offers. That is why I ask about gun power and molds.

    Xavier to Eden: Can you make medicine? Do you need stuff to make the medicine with? If you do Bart is the person to talk to. He found a unmodified mushroom, Red cap I believe, that is deadly. However there are lots of things that in one form are dangerous and in a different form are vary helpful.

  11. Moses Says:

    Xavier to Eden: By any chance do you know anything about Ogres? For example how do you repair them? How do you reload them? Surly they can not do this by themselves, can they? And because I know you want to know why I ask, I would like to go dismantle one and sell the parts.
    Xavier to Eden: Do you have maps of the surrounding area? If so how old? Is there something from the outside that you would like gotten for you?

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