Once the initial shock and wariness brought on by the appearance of Tag had passed, preliminary conversations had, and the one wound that was endured in the firefight tended too, the explorers turned once again to salvage. Any and everything that was thought to have trade value was examined and packed away. Though once again, as was pointed out by Melvin ‘Tag’ Taggart in their initial meeting, the fledgling explorers passed on the foodstuffs, being mildly irradiated as it was.
In the course of these explorations of the shattered ‘interior’ of the house, it occurred to Quin, the crossbow wielding member of the team, that in a lot of the old movies that they had to watch on Vault Movie Night, Farmhouses like this often had a storm cellar or root cellar. Certainly the one in that Wizard of Oz movie did. He went out to walk the house full circle, just to see. Finding a suspect looking unexplained mound of earth and grasses butted up against one side of the house, they cast about for some digging tools, scrabbling a bit by hand in the meantime. Success! There was a grown over cellar entrance!
They checked for traps as best they could, not really having the skills to do so, and not really sure what to look for. But sure it was still a wise thing to do. Who knows, they may be right! As was beginning to become a theme, after some discussion, they ordered Mr. Handy to take the lead. He did so with his usual mindless obedience, throwing open the doors. When nothing happened, Mr. Handy was ordered down the packed earthen ramp, into the depths of the cellar.
There being, a short while later, no explosion or gouts of flame, the team joined by Tag, ventured down to see what their robotic lackey had found. The answer? A Vault! Well, more accurately, a Vault-Tec Home Bunker door. They pressed the power switch on the inactive keypad, more out of curiosity than expectation, and were shocked to see it power up. Random numbers were tried, others looked for where the code might be hidden in the dirt floored and walled ‘anteroom’ of the Bunker.
At this point in time, with everyone down in the rather small space before the bunker, Mr. Handy spoke. ‘Oh. Hey! I’m back! Vere am I now? Vat is happenink?’ It’s head, for lack of a better term, begins to swivel, its lenses spinning into focus on various faces. ‘Oh, oh. It’s you! Good to see you’s again! What has happened while I was away? Vere are ve now? Is it safe, are dere moor bugs?’ Mr. Handy lives up to his name during all of this, becoming very touchy. This does nothing to ease the sudden tension.
The gathered humans collectively withdraw, as much as is possible in these confines. Quin and Steve begin answering Mr. Handys questions, and countering with ones of their own, all while Clint and Tag look on, then begin asking questions of their own, Tag going so far as to draw and ready his rifle, though he does not point it aggressively at the robot. His ‘What the Hell is Going On with That Thing?’ brings everyone up short. For a moment. ‘Oh, oh! Who is zis? Who are Zeze?’ the unit says, its head and cameras buzzing more still.
New introductions are made. Mr. Handy reciprocates, introducing himself as Czaba. Clint remarks over the Ruskie sounding accent(‘No, no, Bosnian’, the unit chimes in), and begins to conjecture that the unit is a foreign spy, much to its protests. Still, even with the concern and suspicion, it is filled in on events it missed! It all seems too much for Tag, who lets it be known that he’s out, and will keep a watch up top. Back to the business at hand, opening the Bunker door. Disturbingly enough, it becomes clear that ‘Czaba’ is a shoulder hoverer. Moving in close to see what Quin and Steve are doing. ‘Czaba’ is asked if he can help in any way, gathers some information and says ‘I vill be back!’ Mr. Handy says ‘Ready.’ in his standard voice, and is quickly ordered to shut down. It complies. It is decided to try to take it’s flamethrower offline ‘just in case’. ‘Czaba’ comes back online partway through the procedure, protesting and slamming the access panel shut. Things get quite heated, and a little comedic, with a real “Who’s on First” feel to the proceedings. Which move back up to the surface, then back down into the cellar in short order. It is soon established that ‘Czaba’ is a foreign national riding satellite uplinks to take operational control of Mr. Handy when the links are right. With that thought settling in to their minds, they get back to business. Steve elects to take another look around the main house to see if he can find anything that might pass as a code. Disturbingly enough, it becomes clear that ‘Czaba’ is a shoulder hoverer. Moving in close to see what Quin and Clint are doing, and chiming in with the default codes he found while offline. None of these work.
Upstairs, Tag is going through the fridge box when Steve arrives. ‘Here, you should take these, if nothing else. They’ll prove useful.’ He says, tossing two bottles of Nuka Cola to Steve. Then it’s to the business of searching for codes. drawers and cupboards are ransacked, yielding some useful odds and ends. A couple of promising dates are found and cataloged in the kitchen. Then it’s on to the family room, where Steve finds, among the brickabrack, a dated Wedding Photo!
The wedding date does the trick. They are in! They pass quickly through the decontamination chamber into the bunker proper, and are confronted with a dimly lit room.(emergency lights only) Moving in, they call out…. No one answers. Quickly enough, between the emergency lights, Czaba’s mini spot, and the Pip-Boy lights, they see three bodies, and one very old, destroyed bot, apparently a Mr. Handy precursor.
With some investigation, it becomes clear that the father of this little family went a little stir crazy, resorted to drugs to get through the confinement, and shot his family and the family robot while in the depths of withdrawl, the wife and daughter having hidden his stash in an attempt to clean him up. All agree it is a horrible tragedy. Czaba in particular seems touched by it. The little bunker is gone though, looted for supplies, and it is decided to remain for the night. Czaba insists on a burial for the family, and takes the lead in preparing the grave. Sadly, as what little ceremony there might be is about to begin, Mr. Handy states: ‘Ready.’ Czaba is gone.