The Noble Project

The Telepathic Mutant
Destroying the source of the zombies

Write-up pending

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Special Postal Assistants
Expanding the postal route

La Pine

The Party returns to the sleepy town and apprises them of the recent events in Bend. They offer their services to Postmaster via a letter endorsed by Adele Thompson.

About a week goes by and a letter returns offering the party positions as Special Postal Assistants on temporary assignment. They are not to wear any official markings until such a time as they are officially sworn in, but they should retain the letter as proof of their station. The letter goes on to describe their first task: A postal representative, Jayson Warton from Cottage Grove was sent into the northeast region above Bend to find any settlements willing to join the postal route. He is feared dead. Reported settlements are Sisters, Prineville, and Warm Springs. The party is to establish contact with the settlements, encourage them to join the postal route and inquire about Jayson Warton. The letter is signed by the postal inspector Gordon Krantz and marked with official stamps of the US Postal Service.

Sisters

The Party heads straight to Sisters and manages an invitation into the fortified town center by dropping Gus Torgland’s name. They find Gus recovering from his wounds received during the Twin Pines Shootout. He treats them well and introduces them to Bill Kezner who in turn agrees to present their offer to join the postal route before the town elders. The elders turn down the proposal.

Redmond

No one actually enters the town, but find shelter in Carp’s Salvage outside the walls. Carp’s huge warehouses are full of scavenged items. Old Hoffman Carp relates that no one has been seen in Warm Springs since the Ruin, let alone a settlement. The Party trades for some much needed ammunition and heads off to Prineville. Carp confirms that Jayson Warton came through Redmond and Carp’s Salvage is now a postal office.

Prineville

The Party endures some inclement weather and reaches the small farm community. Poorly equipped to defend themselves, these farmers fall prey to frequent bandit raids during the harvest season. Most residents are leery of the Party. Only Donald Fry comes forward to talk and nominally accepts the offer to join the postal route though he does not know anyone to contact outside of Prineville. He seems eager to trade for arms and other defensive items.

Madras

The Party arrives in Madras just south of Warm Springs. They find the fortified settlement abandoned with minor signs of struggle. They bed down for the night only to be awoken by gun shots in the nearby ruins. A cautious investigation finds a lone survivor steadfastly defending his garage from attackers. The Party takes up the fight only to find the attackers are “zombies” (as C.W. calls them). Again unscathed, the Party returns to the town center to find their equipment in shambles as they didn’t lock the gate when they left. A zombie horde surprises the Party. Only minor wounds are sustained and no one seems to have been bitten.

The following day the Party sets out to find the source of the zombies. Tracks in the area seem to indicate a large concentration of walking-dead in an auditorium and a high school gymnasium. Additional tracks crisscross the area, with only a small radio station building standing out as a destination.

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Twin Pines Middle School
Resting after dispersing the Bend bandits

Bend Ruins – Twin Pines Middle School

The Party spends a week on the campus. Bandit activity has all but died down in the Bend Ruins area. A through search of the campus turns up some useful items. While exploring the Bend Ruins, they encounter Jeremiah and Smokey who live in the hills west of Bend. After outfitting themselves, the Party stashes some equipment in the gymnasium spotlight nest and heads back to La Pine.

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Finding Civilization
Striking out from the Pine Mountain Observatory

Write-up pending

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Waking Up
Waking up to find the world is a very different place

May 27th, 2020

The players wake up in their pods, but no staff members are present. Dawn is very uncomfortable being naked in front of the other male participants. Hours go by and no one arrives. The men decide to find help, but are trapped in the level by a locked stairwell. Lucky offers to scale the elevator shaft to the next higher level. Instead they all decide to go as a group.

On the floor above, a scuffle ensues with the Orderly-bots as the party exits the elevator shaft. After a short brawl, a bearded man in a lab coat exit from the stairwell and quickly ends the conflict by issuing orders to the robots. He explains that he is there to help them. He further warns against cryogenic recovery symptoms they should expect shortly. In time, everyone succumbs to lightheadedness and fainting spells as the reactive drugs wear off. The man and Orderly-bots aid them to nearby beds.

Later in the day, Ben Packard arrives with a woman and two teenagers; introducing them as his family. Cautiously, he explains that the year is 2020 and the world they knew is far behind. Tensions in the Middle East escalated into a nuclear war, but the impact was felt worldwide as the fallout clouded the sky for all nations. The United States, China and Russia we’re dragged into the fight by regional allies and the globe felt the burn of radiation on March 24th 2006.

Doctor Noble panicked at world events and impulsively reset the awakening times for all of his patients. Perhaps in some twisted moment of clarity he saw them as the last hope for mankind. The good doctor then killed his staff and himself leaving the sleepers to their own fate.

Ben and Kristin were sent by the University to check on the facility. When they arrived they found the entire facility staff dead and the pods soundly sleeping. Both are deeply religious and seeing it as a sign from God, they decided to remain as guardians to the sleeping people. In the ensuing 14 years they lived in ignorance of the outside world, knowing only that all communication had been cut off everywhere and that the bombs had dropped. They survived. In that time they have created a family, fought off scavengers and witnessed two pods awaken prior to Sleep Group Five.

The party reaction is calm, most likely driven by disbelief and skepticism. The Packards offer them a tour of the facility and the outside world to witness how much it has changed. They offer no concrete proof of their claims, knowing the group will not believe them. A lone survivor that came to the facility ten years ago leads the party around the area. Trees around the facility are tens of feet taller than before and small plots of vegetables grow in the courtyard where a lawn once was. Lucky attributes it to Hollywood special effects. The others are not so sure. While walking them around, Harvey Wagner tells a more visceral tale of events. He has seen the outside world and it is mad. No one is safe alone and everyone out there will eat you as much as look at you. He calls the Packards saints and vowed to protect them for nursing them back to health. He’s helped them fend off bandits and helps them care for the facility. He ends the tour at a small makeshift gravesite outside the compound where he points out the graves of Doctor Noble, his staff and Sleep Group Two. Part of the facility lost power when lightning struck the solar panels a few years back.

The Packards tell the party they are welcome to stay at the facility, but supplies are low. If they choose to brave the outside world they equip to survive in the outside world. The party chooses to leave the complex.

Over the next few days the Packards outfit them for cold weather and dangerous encounters, as well as providing each a few days of fresh food. Harvey gives them a crash course in survival techniques and reinforces the need to stay alert and trust no one. Most take his advice earnestly, except Lucky who still doesn’t believe any of the stories of the Fall of Man. Harvey asks each of them to vow not to speak of the facility to any outsiders so the Packards can continue their work.

The party heads down the hill into the high country desert.

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The Noble Project
Volunteering for a cryogenic sleep study

The Noble Project: PART I

January 2005
Each player receives a letter from the University of Oregon indicating that he has been selected from the thousands of other applicants to take part in a groundbreaking study in extended cryogenic stasis. Participants will be put into a suspended animation for exactly one year as part of the final study being conducted before government approval for non-military use. Each Sleeper will receive $100,000 compensation for taking part in the study and must agree to regular medical exams for the year following the study and annual check-ups for three years.

University of Oregon

June 2005
The players, known as Sleep Group Five arrive in Eugene Oregon by way of a chartered jet. A limousine bus transports them to the campus to meet with the director of the Cryogenics Lab, Lawrence Lipton. He has a short half hour meeting with the individuals to sign all the remaining paperwork. That night everyone attends a dinner with Mr. Lipton and two senior medical staff assigned to the study, Dr. Martha Chance and Dr. Kenneth Lauretta. Four sleep groups have already been cryogenically suspended. Sleep Group Five consists of six members: Tay Aycastle, Brad Severns, Joseph Perez, Colin Wu, Neils Benjaminson and Dawn Glass.

“Lucky” Severns has at least three cocktails before the food arrives and leaves the table at least once to grab a smoke (which draws cross looks from Dr. Chance). He is reminiscent of a middle-aged Sam Elliot. He seems amiable enough, especially after a few cocktails, and has no end of stories to recount about the numerous injuries he has suffered as a Hollywood stuntman. Everyone present has seen one of his movies.

Tay Aycastle is a good Christian man from the south. He is extremely athletic and though it takes some prodding to find this out, he confesses that he is a former Bronze medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Pentathlon. His southern drawl can be hard to understand at times, but he’s a pleasant fellow.

Joe Perez looks like he just drove in from Miami Beach. By all appearances he’s Hispanic immigrant, but his blue eyes belie some mixed family roots. The puka shell necklace and surfer attire cast him as a beach bum or possibly an extreme sports athlete. Turns out, he’s an ex-Marine Medic turned EMT and movie buff.

Colin Wu introduces himself as a software entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. He’s a tall Asian man who comes off as a bit reserved. He’s generally not very forthcoming in conversation, but any talk about technology catches his attention and garners some response. For a former dot-com VP, he’s in very good physical shape.

Neils Benjaminson is an older gentleman from the mid-west. He’s a well over six feet tall and has grandfatherly warmth about him. He takes part in just abut every conversation without hesitation. Most people cannot help but like this guy and are glad he’s not trying to sell them a car, because they’d have bought it by now. His laugh is infectious even if his jokes are corny.

Dawn Glass is a recent communications graduate from Phoenix. She’s fairly reserved in the table conversations and she exudes a youthful innocence in her manners. Her blond hair and blue eyes are disarming, but she is smart on a broad range of topics. She seems most comfortable around Neils and Dr. Chance.

The dinner is pleasant and composed mainly of light conversation. At the end of the meal Dr. Chance gives a small speech about how excited she is that each participant chose to volunteer for the study and that she personally guarantees their safety throughout the study for any who harbor doubts. She cites numerous prior studies for the military and a spotless track record.

The following morning both doctors make the trek to the Pine Mountain facility with the group. Two small prop planes take them to a remote airstrip in the central Oregon desert. From there it’s a bumpy ride to Pine Mountain along dirt roads.

The facility is a repurposed observatory at Pine Mountain Observatory. The facility is state-of-the-art and the accommodations rival most five star hotels. The facility was primarily an observatory that was expanded to include the cryogenics lab. The only indication of this is the modern structure just down the hill from the telescope building. The bulk of the facility is underground, with only the commons and office housed above ground. The facility is powered by a subterranean hydrogen fuel cell fed by an underground spring and by solar panels.

Sleep Group Five has a few days to get acclimated to the facility and surrounds. On the night of their last waking day, there is a dinner hosted by the staff in honor of the participants in Sleep Group Five. This is their first and last real chance to get to know each other before the study begins. The evening meal highlights the variety of volunteers.

Doctor Noble

The UO study is being conducted with six sleep groups, this group is the fifth. Each group is being put into suspension one month apart. Cryogenic sleep testing has been funded by the military for years and only now is it being deregulated for civilian purposes. Similar studies are being conducted at other facilities around the country, but the Pine Mountain facility is the first to begin operation. These studies represent the first long term stasis of civilians and is considered safe by the medical community.

Sleep Group Five meet Doctor Richard Noble at the Pine Mountain Facility. He invites them all into his private office for a conversation. His office is plush and well appointed. Framed pictures of his family are spread across his desk. Numerous plaques and awards cover the walls. Six comfortable leather chairs await the group. He is a distinguished man in his early fifties and beams as he describes the importance of this study; calling the volunteers pioneers. He is convinced that each their names will be written into the history books as such and no lesser title will suffice. He believes that cryogenics is the first form of time travel and we are only beginning to comprehend possibilities it will afford humanity. Doctor Noble explains how each participant was personally selected by him to take part in the study. He did not leave that decision to anyone else or random chance. His speech goes on for a good twenty minutes with the good doctor walking animatedly behind his desk. In the end he opens an expensive bottle of cognac and toasts to a pioneering spirit.

The Cryogenic Facility

The participants are offered ample free time to explore the observatory and surrounding areas. There are plenty of hiking trails for nature walks. A full assortment of board games and movies are available in the ground floor lounge. Satellite TV is running constantly with the latest sports and news. News of escalating unrest in the Middle East dominates the headlines. Governments in the region risk rebellion while tensions mount with their neighbors. Nuclear weapons are rumored to be in the hands of many of their wealthy oil-rich nations.

Three times a day they group is poked and prodded during numerous medical exams. They are told to refrain from alcohol and tobacco or face expulsion from the study; Lucky winces at the notion of this temperance. Many of the other volunteers pass the time playing cards or reading in the lounge areas.

The facility staff consists of Doctor Richard Noble, Doctors Martha Chance and Kenneth Lauretta. Each pod is assigned one medical technician; Navek Shih is the technician assigned to Sleep Group Five. She is very friendly and often spends what free time she has in lounge area getting to know the group. The other medical technicians are less approachable. Sleep Group One’s tech Roman Hirsch is a bit callous compared to the others. Navek chastises him for calling the sleepers “popsicles”. The other lab assistants are engaged in varying degrees of prep work for their groups. They are Bill Royer, Janet Paulsen, Clarence Ho and Marilyn Sheets. In general the staff is friendly, but Dr. Noble is hardly ever seen as he spends most of his time in conferences in his office. In addition to the human staff is a Sec-Med robot on each Cryochamber level. These act as mobile crash carts with limited medical diagnostic equipment and restraining capabilities. They have built in defibrillator and intubation devices. The robots are humanoid bipeds, although they lack the cosmetic enhancements of household servant bots that made to appear more human.

Sleep Day

The two days prior to suspension, the group ingests a nasty tasting pink goo in place of meals. They are also given a series of inoculations with a broad range of antibiotics.

On the morning of their suspension they are asked to remove all jewelry and ingest some white goo that tastes nastier than the pink goo. After an hour of relaxation exercises they are led across the hall and into the Cryochamber by Navek. The chamber is bright and clean with six gleaming tubes that remind one of an MRI machine. Only one member of the sleep group is in the chamber at a time. She asks everyone to remove their clothes before entering their respective tube. The soft bedding contours to their bodies while soothing music plays in the room. Navek gives each a friendly wink and a smile as she affixes an oxygen mask. Doctors Chance and Lauretta are focused on the equipment read outs, but Martha give everyone a thumbs-up as the room dims. The glass cover slides quietly over the beds and silence takes the room. After a time Doctor Chance’s voice breaks the silence as she quietly reminds the participants to relax and breathe deeply.

She asks them to count with her;
Ten, the air tastes faintly of roses…
Nine, eyes grow heavy as light slowly fades…
Eight, muscles feel utterly relaxed…
Seven, darkness and warmth take over as they drift into slumber.

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