Our Last Best Hope is Technobabble

Tonight, we played Our Last Best Hope by Mark Diaz Truman of Magpie Games, a game about saving the world. We start by identifying the crisis that threatens the world and brought us together to save it. It all started with the ads everywhere, ads for “perfecting” you, made by Replicators Inc. “You. Perfected.” But in reality, Replicators are extracting your consciousness and replacing it with hive mind drones that never misbehave. In order to save humanity, we have to infiltrate Replicator’s headquarters and restore people’s consciousnesses to them. We are Marcus Victor, a robot engineer and telenovela model; Lt. Buzz, a soldier and exercise fanatic; Prof. Jules Binion, a string theory scientist and heartbreaker; and Dr. Grace Pollack, networking engineer and bit torrent enthusiast. Our assets: schematics of the drone brains, EMP grenades, hover bikes, and a handheld hacking device. Our mission is complicated when we learn that the system holding the consciousnesses is rigged to self-destruct if compromised.

Our Last Best Hope cover: two heads in silhouette leaning against other. The heads are filled with stellar imagery.
Image courtesy of Magpie Games.

Victor and Grace go to the university library to research techniques that will allow us to bypass the rigged security measures, but are accosted by a technologically mutated cat that they must defeat by hacking into and locking the cat’s technological systems. Back at our garage, Buzz and Jules prepare to infiltrate Replicator HQ by trading insults and loading the hover bikes with our equipment but are interrupted by killer robot soldiers. Replicators are on to us, but Buzz grenades the bulk of them and crushes the stragglers between his muscular thighs. Suck it Robots! Grace and Jules begin working out the details of our plan to bypass the Replicator self-destruct mechanisms by building a multidimensional manifold out of crystalline xenon folded into an impossible shape and rigged to a multivalent synergistic network through which the consciousnesses can be safely removed from the system without triggering the trap. Replicator spotter probes catch sight of their plans and must be disabled before they return to their HQ, which the two do employing science and superior hacking skillz.

Buzz and Victor try to seduce a Better Business Bureau employee in order to get the dirt on our corporate target but are interrupted when Victor’s grandmother, now replaced by a hive mind drone, attempts to kill them with machine guns. Buzz does not hesitate to use grenades in these small quarters. The bureaucrat is not seduced. Afterward they follow directions to 123 Fake Street to find a barren lot, but manage to activate the secret entranceway into Replicator’s underground headquarters below the lot. The feral techno-dogs that roam the lot are no match for Victor’s robotics expertise. Back at the lab, Victor and Buzz begin telling the team about their find, when Jules pushes Victor to reveal how he’d worked security for Replicators Inc in the past, for the good of the mission. When Victor reveals that he knows about Buzz’s use of steroids, Buzz dramatically leaves to fight a duel to the death with an MMA fighting master, a fight that ends as advertised with the master still alive. After Buzz leaves for his fight, the lab catches fire but Victor and Jules quickly put it out using the backwash from the hover bike engines.

The team returns to Replicator HQ with a hover bike laden with their elaborate equipment and impossible science device and trip a booby trap in the hallway leading to the freight elevator. The walls begin closing in, but once again, their handheld hacking device and superior skillz overcome the threat. When they meet a maintenance worker on the service elevator, they have a lot of explaining to do and seem to be making progress when the overloaded elevator overheats and sets off a toxic gas release from the fire suppression systems. They cut open the ceiling and climb aboard the hover bike as Victor sends his pet mouse to release the elevator brakes. The elevator crashes to the basement floor, but the crew glide down slowly on the back of their hover bike.

Now comes the end game. The elevator crash has sent electrical cables arcing across our path, so Victor sacrifices himself by grabbing the lines to allow us to pass with our equipment intact. As we cut into the consciousness vault, a technovirus infects our technology and turns it against us. Jules is personally infected by the virus and gets covered in circuitry as he hacks it so that it consumes itself rather than spreading. That leaves Grace alone to complete our mission and save the world. She implements the plan and it comes off! The consciousnesses are released through the multivalent synergistic networks to return to their original bodies and eject the hive mind invaders. But our crystalline xenon manifold turns in on itself, creating a spacetime anomaly that Grace cannot escape and she is lost. The world is safe but our team is no more.