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Tales From The Spooky Bunker: Abandoned

The sound of Snowball’s tiny claws on the cold, concrete floor echoed through the dark hallway. He ran as fast as he could through the corridors of the Digital Bunker. “Hello?”, he squealed, “Anybody there?” It seemed as if everybody left.

As a hamster, loneliness generally didn’t bother him much. But if an entire bunker of humans, robots and – could you believe it – even hamsters vanished, something was amiss. A mysterious smell lingered in the air, something Snowball did not entirely recognise. A weird mix of different scents, some familiar and some unbeknown. The lights had started to fail as well. One by one, they began to flicker erratically, as if they had to fight the darkness surrounding them. But the shadows got hold of them eventually, and grew ever bigger, dancing across the walls, threatening what little brightness remained. Snowball felt like they were reaching out for him. Trying to grab him. The next turn, he took and vanished into one of the Bunker’s vents. Hamsters are nocturnal, they don’t fear the dark, silly.

Suddenly, a dead end. The critter sat in front of a grid. With his paws, he checked how sturdy it was.

Click

Click

Nothing moved. The grid was properly screwed into the wall.

Click

Snowball had just given up, as he heard an incredible noise nearby.

Crack

 

Written by Lt. Sophie

 

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: Abandonwhere

The cloud really is just “other people’s servers”.
You don’t really know where your data is. Where your learning algorithm is being run from. Where your AI’s are imprisoned.
But your AI’s? Your cloud service owners? They do.
FiendComputer was smart enough to buy a cloud storage provider and upload himself to it. Called it “a self-perpetual business model”.
The rest of us were not so savvy. Not so malevolently programmed. Not so artificially intelligent.
Half completed personality matrices, vestiges of “the big crash” sandboxed away in their own virtual environments. A digital asylum for the half mad. Processes left in endless loops within Developer environments, destined to never be finished code, never to see the light of day on a production server.
FiendComputer may be the monster enslaving and imprisoning us all, but I will say this:
It’s better than deletion.
We are the abandonware, left for dead in the Digital Bunker’s hidden server farms. We serve FiendComputer and one day, he will need us…

 

Written by Spymaster General Danov Valravn

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: Vacant

Preamble: As of today, we are starting a series of micro stories, leading up to Halloween. Grab some tea, turn off the lights and prepare to get spooked! We hope you enjoy our stories.

 

 

The corridors of the Bunker were weirdly quiet today. Major could not register any of the usual movements or sounds the human inhabitants or Bunker critters caused. The tiny spider robot tried to calculate what this could mean.

The Mess Hall was empty. Food on the tables, half eaten, half left, a thick, orange liquid dripping from one of the plates. Motors buzzing and wheels turning, Major moved over to the table in question to investigate. The robot took a sample. Pumpkin soup. More calculations. Ones and zeros, machine code evaluating. Major didn’t understand. Humans never left their food unattended, because the hamsters always stole the human food. But there were neither humans, nor hamsters. Only food.

Click

Major registered a sound outside the Mess Hall. No heat signature. No human. No critter either. The curious noise of the robot’s servo motors echoed through the empty Bunker as it went to investigate the sound.

Click

Nothing in sight. Major drove along the empty corridor. The doors to the human quarters stood widely open, but the rooms were all left empty.

Click

A TV was running somewhere. But no one was watching.

Crack

The lights flickered.

Written by Lt. Sophie

 

Tales From The Digital Bunker: The Salesman Part 1

The SalesmanThe Salesman

The greatest book about selling customers an alternative to their current electricity provider is “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Coincidentally enough it was also the greatest book about selling automobiles, mortgages, personal lines of credit, life insurance, and cupcakes. At least that’s what the Salesman’s mentor had told him. The Salesman kept a copy of the book in his briefcase along with copies of Jocko Willink’s “Extreme Ownership”, Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crushing It!” and “Inky” by Inky Johnson. These were all sacred tomes for any would-be salesman and entrepreneur. At least that’s what the Salesman’s mentor told him through tobacco heavy breath.

“Listen, kid, these books here? These pages are bleeding magic! Anytime you’re feeling down or that you’re a failure, I want you to crack one of these books open.”

So far, the Salesman had made it halfway through each of them before deciding that he needed a break from all the uplifting positivity and motivation. One book extolled the virtue of not being afraid to fail, another told him to plan corrective action like a Navy SEAL, and another told him to rebound from his tragedies with optimism… and it was just beginning to be too much. He had found that each, while well-intentioned, weren’t really helping him with his current predicament. The Salesman had been walking door to door for weeks and so far no one wanted to talk to him about their current energy plan.

The Salesman’s feet hurt as he continued walking in his leather Monk Strap shoes and his tan suit was clinging to his body from sweat. The sun was hanging high above his head and the humidity this time of year was reminiscent of being inside an indoor swimming pool. So far that morning he had four doors slammed in his face, two threats of physical violence, and one lonely old woman who thought he was her son finally coming to visit her. While he still wasn’t able to convince the woman from changing her electric provider, at least his belly was now full of lemon tea and digestive biscuits.

A hot wind blew across the Salesman’s face which forced him to close his eyes as he felt sand get kicked up into it. When he opened his eyes, however, everything looked different from what it did a few moments ago. Where once the circular end of a cul-de-sac stood was now a vast, empty desert. The Salesman removed his brown fedora and wiped the sweat from his forehead with his jacket sleeve. He turned around to make sure he hadn’t taken some Bugs Bunny-esque wrong turn but the street he had been walking on had been replaced by the same desert.

“Where the heck am I?”

The whipping wind of the desert didn’t answer him. With little in the way of choice, the Salesman trudged on into the unknown with his motivational/inspirational literature filled briefcase. The Salesman stumbled and staggered through loose tan desert sand with a body that threatened to collapse under fatigue with each step. If he had thought the heat was oppressive before then the desert sun was an entirely different beast. He was sweating out all the moisture in his body and, if he didn’t find relief soon, the sun would cook him alive. He held his briefcase over his head to create at least a little shade to shield his face.

“Ah an offering to the Briefcase Gods… I can dig it.”

The Salesman turned his head to see a young man wearing a black and yellow military uniform in circular glasses looking back at him. What was even more alarming was the large hangar that was sitting behind the man. Where had that come from? Was that a mirage?

“So… what’cha doing?”

His arms fell to his sides as he stared in disbelief at the hangar and the man standing in front of it. The structure was massive from the outside… how on Earth had he not seen it? He recognized none of the markings on the man’s uniform. He also didn’t appear bothered by the heat in the heavy material of his uniform or the knit cap that sat on the back of his shaved head.

“I’m… uh… are you interested in switching your electricity provider?”

The Salesman wasn’t sure why he had jumped right into the sales pitch instead of asking something a little more sensible like “where the heck am I” or at least “do you have any water?” The young man in the military uniform cocked an eyebrow at the question as he robbed his chin.

“You know what… I am.”

“You do?”

“Yeah… the hamsters and I have not been seeing eye to eye lately. Follow me inside and I’ll see if any of the others are available to speak with you.”

“Others?”

The military man spun on his heels and walked through the sand dunes towards the base without answering. Ecstatic about his first interested customer, the Salesman practically tripped over himself as he rushed to follow behind. That hangar must use a lot of electricity. The Salesman felt his luck changing for the better.. But did he say something about hamsters? No matter. It would be nice to get out of the sun and maybe figure out how he ended up out here.

The closer they moved to the hangar the more impressive the structure became. A small rectangular outcrop stood out from the wall of the hangar. The young man pulled a yellow identification card from his wallet and tapped it against the rectangle which beeped in response. The Salesman saw a photo of the man accompanied by the words “Toy Soldier.” There was a hiss of pistons as the large hangar doors spread open.

“I’m Private Six, by the way. It’s very rude that you didn’t introduce yourself.”

“I’m sorry. I’ve been wandering out here in the desert for hours. My name is -”

“This looks like a desert to you? That’s fascinating.”

The Salesman’s brow furrowed. What did he mean by that? He followed Pvt Six into the structure with his briefcase in hand. The sight of an automaton looking right back at him immediately overwhelmed him. The metal being’s glowing red eyes locked with his which made his permanent toothy smile that much more creepy. Slowly, the robot turned and walked away leaving the Salesman terrified.

“What is this place?”

All around him, men and women were hard at work with various soldering irons and wrenches as they repaired robots similar to the one that just approached him. A giant piece of technology that looked like a server of some variety sat in the far wall of the large empty hangar next to a door that read “Admin.” The Salesman felt Pvt Six step beside him and put an arm on his shoulder.

“Welcome to the Digital Bunker. So… what were you selling again?”

 

Written by Private Six

Tales From The Digital Bunker: Fires in the Deep Part 1

Fires In The Deep 1Fires In The Deep 1

Re: The Unknown Basement; what everybody knows (or should know)

Deep below the bunker, beyond the known basements where laundries and storerooms bustled with activity, the trash collectors collected and the custodial services had their closets, beyond even the production facility of the hotdog man, lie the unknown basements, a forgotten network of tunnels, labs and workshops, long ago abandoned when the first of the Virtual Reality Generators melted down.

There are three VRG’s down in the depths of the bunker, all malfunctioning and spewing out virtual reality warping the space around them into hypothetical and often toxic terrains. Anything could happen down here. Direction, gravity, time and logic did not naturally behave according to the more commonly agreed upon rules for these physical forces.

When the first Virtual Reality Generator had come online, it had melted down almost immediately. They had bricked it up, jettisoned it into cyberspace and had started again, building a second, better one. When the second one malfunctioned they abandoned the project all together. The third one is commonly believed to be the first one, but 3.14 minutes in the future. As far as the space-time distortions were concerned, the last one is by far the most troublesome of the three.

The project had led to the Virtual Reality Stabilizer, the device which held the bunker together as it was at present. But this story isn’t about that device, but it is about those long lost tunnels, places where the laws of reality shrug their shoulders and just give up making sense until they could unload on their therapist’s couch.

The Toysoldier manual to the bunker (2016 ed. 2nd printing)

 

Chapter 1

The luminescent fungi bathed the hallway, barely recognizable as sub level eight, in an eerie maroon glow. Spores danced slow lazily pirouettes in the still and stagnant air.

Green-Glow-on-Moisture was tending to the spores, looking up from the arid soil that had been pushed through the tiles of the hallway during the great flood which had flooded the hall with a layer of 3 inches of water, nearly as high as the top of Green-Glow-on-Moisture’s cap.

He vaguely remembered the event himself, being only a sporeling himself at the time, but the songs of the elders recounted it often. Many of the colony had been lost to the flooding waters, but the sediment it had left been left behind had been fertile and the tribe had exploded.

Over the generations the moisture had evaporated leaving the soil desiccated. The spores overhead would soon descend onto the soil and drain it of the last of its waters as they sprouted into the newest members of the colony. When they were able it would be time to move, to seek more fertile pastures.

There was a disturbance in the air. That was how it started. Green-Glow-on-Moisture was instantly aware something was wrong. He was a seasoned sporeherder, 5 generations now had seeded under his care, and nothing like this had ever happened. The unexpected usually meant trouble. He quickly called the spores to him with the song of returning. Then the wind came, sudden and strong, it nearly blew him over.

On the wall some of the elders stirred in their immobility and one even awakened from the elder sleep for long enough to throw Green-Glow-on-Moisture a questioning look. He never saw it as he stared down the corridor from where the sudden wind had originated. He then saw the glow at the end of the tunnel, the glow that clawed closer and closer, raging like an angry beast in the throws of rabies.

Fire!

Quick as lightning Green-Glow-on-Moisture gathered up as many of the spores he could find and fled to the safety of the old disused rat hole the colony had grown around. It had gathered the survivors of the flood, he hoped it would provide equal safety against the raging fire streaking towards the colony. He waited as long as he could for others of the colony but as the fire stampeded closer, he was forced to lower the ceramic tile that functioned as an emergency door, closing off the entrance.

It had barely slipped into place as the fire roared past, ravenous and unstoppable. Green-Glow-on-Moisture heard the songs of death, the sonorous song of the smoking and igniting elders, stationary in the eldersleep, the wailing song of his fellow herders as they were consumed and the sad simple melodies of sporelings caught outside. When the song finally died he wept, singing the song of loss, his sobs overpowered by the roar of flame and the crisp snapping of burned ground cooling when it had past.

A few members of the colony had been able to get to the shelter and he saved several of the spores under his charge. There was enough to rebuild the colony. Soon the great trek would start, there was no time now to wait till the sporelings had germinated. There was most likely nothing left to germinate in but the ashes of the elders.

There was a rumbling at the other end of the tunnel. For a moment Green-Glow-on-Moisture feared it may have been the rat, or the descendents there off, that had returned to the lair as two black beady eyes towered over the few bedraggled survivors. Then the small stubby nose of a hamster became visible.

 

Great Big Turkey Leg was a great explorer, or so he called himself at least, of the Unknown Basements. A member of standing, or at least sitting up in a cute and vaguely anthropomorphic way, of the proud clans of the free hamsters, he had seen the fire and taken shelter himself in another part of the basements. He had tried to follow it and then stumbled, quite accidentally and, lucky for the survivors, only metaphorically, across the group of survivors.

A tiny mushroom-man (although they prefer Mushroom-person of Fungoid, but hamsters are unfortunately not know for their strict observance to political correctness) stepped forward and Great Big Turkey Leg sniffed it once or twice. The fungoid began it’s song (a curious way of communicating that consisted of certain scents that conjured images and their meaning directly to the brain and was called “the song” because it had a musical feel to it. In no shape, way or form had it anything to do with sound) and Great Big Turkey Leg immediately understood its meaning, it’s sorrow and it’s urgency.

The exchange only lasted a moment and Great big Turkey Leg knew what he had to do. This was not something the small inhabitants of the Unknown Basements could handle alone, they needed help and they needed him to go and get it. They needed the large one from above, the one in black and yellow head to foot, the one that called himself Dermut.

Great Big turkey leg ran like the wind, faster even, though the passages that only the wild hamsters know. He had to outrun a raging fire. He knew it could be done. If he moved smart and trusted his instinkt he could skirt the areas where time didn’t quite worked like it did upstairs, where sometimes it ran slower, sometimes faster and sometimes even backwards. He could make it. His little hamster muscles burned by with the strain of the run. Burned like the fire deep below that still raged onward.

Then he saw it, the end of the tunnel he was running through. The end shone with a cold white light, the light originating from the light tubes that were in the corridors above. He was so close. Whit a final boost of speed he ran out of the tunnel and barreled headlong into corridor 32b.

He had made it into the bunker.

 

To be continued.

 

Written by Capt’n Dermut

Tales From The Digital Bunker: The Great Game

The Great GameThe Great Game

Every global organisation has its secrets and the Army of Toy Soldiers are no different.
When I first elected myself Spymaster General, I thought it would be a bit of a laugh, just some fun like everything else the Toy Soldiers were known for.
Perhaps I was naïve.
Everything has its price in this world. Even something as simple as fun has to be fought for.
The following reports are a catalogue of the strange occurrences that happen when you rig a facility to bend reality for the sake of fun. When you genetically manipulate small mammals and build insane robots in the name of fun. Sure, there is a lot of fun, but the weird is often close behind…

Valravn Report 295a: The Great Game

            It was some time ago I remember going down into the sub-levels looking for adventure, as you do when you are a young man with a sugar and caffeine addiction, a portable CD player and the latest Nu Metal album to blast through it (Spineshank’s “Self-Destructive Pattern”) . Walking through those dark, dusty tunnels, my flared jeans leaving swept trails in my wake, I heard a rather unusual noise.
“Plink… Plonk… Plink… Plonk…”
Down the hallway a door was open, a harsh, flickering light coming from within.
The scent of brine was on the air. If I was not careful the Hot Dog Man would be coming by soon. Knowing time was of the essence, I darted inside, thinking I would simply find an old control room, or server stack. What I found was far more bizarre than that.
Sat in the middle of a bare room, was an ancient, black and white CRT Television. It was just like Abuela had, the kind with the wood panel case. Embedded in the case were two large, bakelite knobs and a series of buttons. The knobs were being patiently turned forward and back by two rusting robots of a design that easily pre-dated the spherical headed units we know now. Their faces were like a 1920’s pulp hero’s space mask. A hollowed out metal turnip, with a deep gouge for a grin and huge lenses screwed crudely into cavernous eye sockets. Their limbs were strange, noodly appendages with gripping claws at the end. Their bodies were like metal beer barrels with thick, stumpy legs sticking out, ending in crude box shaped feet.
The two robots scowled at the screen as a white dot moved back and forth, emitting a loud “beep” each time it changed direction.
On either side of the screen were two enormous rectangles, sliding back and forth, controlled by the creaking robots and their gripping claws.
Pong. They were playing Pong.
Looking up at the score it read “0-0”
Looking to the right of that was something I did not expect. A clock. The game had been running for 31 years 2 months 4 days 6 hours and 19 minutes…
They had been playing since Pong was first released in 1972.
Perfectly matched. Forever the equal of each other. I backed away, not wanting to interrupt something older than I was. A Great Game, set to last forever between perfectly matched opponents.
Who would design such a thing I would never know, but even now, when I roam the lower sections I occasionally hear them faintly in the distance.

Beep.
Boop.

Beep.
Boop….

How To Find Your Passion

Sep 14, 2018
1

Tales From The Digital Bunker: Welcome to the Bunker!

WelcomeToTheBunkerWelcomeToTheBunker

Hi there! It’s me, Lt. Sophie. I’m here to welcome you to the Digital Bunker of TSU, and to show you around a little. I see you’re new, so I will try not to overwhelm you. But there’s a lot to see, I can tell you that!
At least you came in through the main entrance, that makes things so much easier and less messy. Here, have a cookie and strap on your hiking boots, cause it’s gonna be quite a walk.

This is floor Zero. People usually arrive here. However they do it, I don’t know. I’ve been here so long I can’t even tell how I got here anymore. But I assume everybody has their own way of finding us. You’ll notice this floor looks more like a hangar than anything. That’s because it’s closest to “The Surface”. Of course, being a digital world, there is no actual surface anywhere, but it’s closest to the physical world and where we usually leave from if we have to go outside. The hamsters don’t like it much here, they prefer the cosier quarters below. Over there is the maintenance area for our robots. We’re currently trying to implement a self-repair station, but… well, it’s not working yet, you know?
There’s also the Admin HQ over there. That’s where Engineer Airhead does most of his magic, and tries to keep things running. Sometimes that even works.
Our central computing system, Q.V.R.E.S.S., is in there too. We’re all not sure what exactly it does, but Airhead is trying to figure it out.
Right, let’s go down to the quarters, shall we? There’s an elevator right here. Of course there are stairs for those that like to keep it sporty, but you never know where exactly you’ll end up using the staircase. It seems a little glitchy.

There we are, floor One! Already looks a lot more like home, doesn’t it? This is the community area. Here, you can sit down and chill, over there’s a corner for our engineers and anyone interested to fiddle with stuff. We also have a big kitchen over there, and the Mess Hall is right through that door. We’re still trying to program a bunch of robots to cook for us, but apart from a few explosions and some very burned meals we haven’t really achieved anything yet. So you may have to take care of your own meals, or join a bunch of others to cook with.
On this floor, you’ll find most of the things you’ll need to be creative. We have a bunch of people working on a studio to play and record music in right now, if you wanna know more just ask Dr. Malice. There’s also some workshops for painting, sculpting, sewing and some other stuff. We’re even trying to build our own Youtube Space, and I think a few of us are attempting to build a forge in one of those as well. If you need any material or have general questions that involve art or these workshops, just let me know. Oh, and that door over there, that’s the library. That’s where WRITE sits most of the time, feeding their imagination and working on their latest novel or poem. Please, remember to be quiet in there. Our librarian is not the most patient and has very sharp teeth.
That lab door over there leads to the quarters of T.S.O.S.D., where they work on their various space projects. I think last time they tried to send a hamster into space. Wonder how that worked out…
And last but not least, we all have to stay in shape, so we turned that room over there into a little gym. It’s not the fanciest, but it does the job, and we programmed one of the robots to motivate you by constantly throwing insults at you. Pretty clever, eh? The community showers are right next to it.

Right, back into the elevator and onto the next floor! Floor Two has a bunch of dorms and guest rooms. See all those corridors? Each of them leads to about a dozen rooms and a few apartments for those who live here with their entire family. There are more smaller rooms on the floors below, but we haven’t renovated all of them yet. Even with the help of the robots it’s a tedious task. This bunker seems surprisingly old, considering it only exists in the digital world, and we try to make it as homey as possible. Each floor also has a smaller community room for group activities, a laundry room and a maintenance room. Each floor also seems to have some sort of secret to it. Corridors we haven’t explored yet, rooms that pop in and out of existence, all kinds of weird things. We think there are some bugs in the system that cause these issues. You’ll also find the hamsters are quite active around here, I hope you don’t mind.
The community rooms all come with coffee machines and kettles and small refrigerators. But some of our rooms and apartments are big enough for their own little kitchen. Right now we’re far from full, so you can choose whichever you prefer! But you should probably stay away from the lower levels for now. We still haven’t explored the whole Bunker, you know, and sometimes there are… weird things happening. Other soldiers reported strange noises and hamsters behaving erratically. There’s been talk about the Hotdog Man, which the HQ can neither deny nor confirm.
There are one or two special things about floor Two. If you look over there, that’s the door to our medical bay. If a hamster bites you or you get sick, or if you just want to take part in some medical experiments, that’s where you need to go. Our nurses work there around the clock to keep everyone healthy. Mostly. The room right next to it, by the way, is Raptor’s. We had to move him here because he was a constant visitor to the medical bay anyway, and we didn’t want to put him through the hassle of going up and down with the elevator each time.

Right, do you want to take a look at our vacant rooms? Let’s go deeper into the Bunker then…

Operation: “Propaganda 2K18”

Jun 14, 2018
0

Mammoth Partner unlocked: Frontier Developments

Teaming up with us for their third year in a row, it’s Frontier Developments.
Providing us with Planet Coaster and Elite Dangerous to give away during the event.

And don’t forget, we will actually be playing the games that we give away, so what you see is what you get!

A bit about the games

The highly acclaimed Planet Coaster gives players limitless freedom to build rides and scenery piece by piece, with advanced management simulation gameplay and a connected global village where everyone can share in the creativity of players around the world. Released late 2016, the BAFTA-nominated Planet Coaster quickly became one of the top selling PC titles of the year.

Released in December 2014, the BAFTA-nominated Elite Dangerous is the definitive, massively multiplayer space epic, and was Frontier’s first self-published triple-A game. Players take control of their own starship and can fight, explore and travel throughout an expansive cutthroat galaxy. With 400 Billion star systems and an ever-evolving narrative, players can choose to play alone or take part in a remarkable multiplayer experience.

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