25-06-2005

Final Destination: The Secret of Larson's Folly

When the game begins you find yourself standing in a barren crater; above you is a dark sky dotted with stars. (If you are playing the demo, which starts somewhere else, this won't make sense but hang on well catch up with you in a minute.) Ahead of you is a path leading somewhere; behind you is the ship that brought you to this place.
It is worth taking a minute to remember why you are here. The people on your home planet want to leave it to explore the galaxy, but doing that requires a ship that can travel faster than light. After centuries of work scientists developed just such a ship, but there was a problem: the ship required an incredibly powerful power plant of a type no longer made. Only one of these plants still existed, a leftover from centuries ago. This power plant was placed on a faster-than-light ship so that you could go to the home star system of the people who used to make these power plants, in the hope that you could talk them into making more.
The plan sounded good until you reached your destination and discovered that the planet you were trying to reach had been destroyed a couple centuries ago by a terrible disaster: only rubble was left. All you could find was a small, long-abandoned base, and you decided to land on it to see what you could discover.

Walk ahead out of the crater and down the canyon; you'll see a small research base. If you step into the entrance of this base and turn right you'll see a small panel on the wall. Click on it: those small panels are important because they tell you what is going on. Youll see them all throughout the game.
Whenever you click on a panel it will first appear blank, with two buttons - a red one and a green one. If you select the green one nothing happens. If you select the red one some text will appear. The red button brings up the main menu for the panel; the green button returns you to the main menu after you have looked at something else on the panel. All the small panels work the same way.
The very first time you look at a panel (and only the first time) it will try to connect to a system and will fail. You will get a number of errors; these are normal, and you can't do anything about them. The panel is telling you that the base is in bad shape: a lot has been destroyed and a lot of information has been lost. You will have to make due the best you can, keeping in mind at all times the fact that the systems on the base are damaged and may not behave the way you expect.
After reading the error message and clicking on the text to continue, you will be brought to the main menu of the panel. Here you will be presented with a number of menu items; begin by clicking on the first one and working your way down. (When you have finished reading the text that appears, click on the green button to return to the main menu.) As you read these messages you will get a glimpse at the events that happened a year before the planet was destroyed.
When you click on a menu option on a panel in the game you may see some small yellow text near the bottom of the panel; these are related links, and clicking on them brings up a brief description of something in the message you just read. These should be read: sometimes they reveal important clues.

After reading everything this panel has to offer you can close the panel and move on. Before doing so, though, note the name of the panel, located right under the phrase 'Larson's Folly Spatial Mechanics Laboratory'. The first panel is named 'Entrance Airlock'; remember that name, as it is important later on. You will want to jot down the names of all the panels you come across because occasionally you will be told that something you did made a message appear on a panel you've already seen; if you didn't write down the names you won't be able to find the panel and read the new message.
Go ahead and close the panel, which you can do by simply hitting the escape key.

If you walk down the hall three steps and turn right you will see a small cafeteria. (In the demo you can't go very far inside it but you can go far enough in to see the panel on the cafeteria entrance wall.) Go up to the panel and read its contents: it tells you about a man named Arnold Brandon, and his opinion on what happened at the base.
To read Brandon's note, click on the first menu item, entitled Cafeteria Closed, and then click on the yellow link entitled 'Arnold Brandon' near the bottom of the panel. When you do this the first time the system will try to load something, and you will get a message saying that a new document was found and placed on a certain panel. You will see these messages from time to time; take note of them so you can visit the panels they mention.
After clicking on the 'Press here to continue' link you will see a short description on Arnold Brandon. When you click on the green button to return to the main menu, though, you will see a new menu item. Read it. It will tell you a little bit about a person named Flora, whom Arnold did not like.

After closing the panel and turning around, you will see a large security door with red glass embedded in it directly across from the cafeteria. There is a small panel in the middle of this door. Go up to the door and browse through the panel.
By this point you will have learned several things: the people of Larson's Folly knew that their planet was going to be destroyed, they had a plan for escaping the planet, and they started work on it - but no one was sure if the plan would work, and some people had very different ideas about what they should be doing. On top of this there was a definite conflict between Flora and Arnold. Its not clear at this point how things turned out you need to find out more.
If you close that panel and explore a little further you will find two more rooms: a circular room with a brass railing and a room with an odd-looking machine made partly of blue glass. The circular room houses the base's AI supercomputer, named Charlie; the blue section is Charlies electronics and the two glass sections are his computing matrix. The other room holds the base's zero-point energy plant, which can power the base - if you can get it started.
By the entrance to each of these two rooms is a small panel that looks exactly like the two panels you have already seen. Go ahead and read the contents of these panels; they provide a little more information about what happened on this planet before the shockwave hit.
In the computer room you will find a small panel with two buttons, which currently does nothing. In order to get it to work you need to turn on the power plant. That is puzzle #1: activating the zero-point energy plant.

To activate the zero-point energy plant, go inside the room with the power plant and click on the large panel in the room. When it comes up you will see three buttons in its lower-right-hand corner: a green one, a blue one, and a red one. Click on the red one. (The green button displays the most recent error message; the blue button displays the help system; and the red button either loads the menus or returns you to the main menu.) You will see a lot of options; if you click on them you will see still more options. There is a lot here and it can take some time to work through it.
If you click on Attempt Startup / Startup / Restart Reactor, the reactor will try to start but it will fail with an error message.

What you have to do is resolve that error message by changing the related setting on the panel and then try it again; it will get a little further and then crash with another error message. After you have resolved all the messages the plant will start and you will have the electricity you need to get downstairs and continue with the game.

Here are the settings you need to start the reactor:

Settings / Self-Diagnostic:

Electronics Check: ON
Ion Beam Check: ON
Artilect Check: OFF
Data Core Check: OFF
Grid Safety Check: OFF
Energy Storage Check: ON
Spatial Displacement Check: ON
Emergency Systems Check: ON
Settings / Initial Spatial Rupture: ON
Settings / Initial Energy Confinement:
Energy Confinement: OFF
(Second option with strange text): RU
Settings / Large Scale Production:
Enable Scalar Production: ENABLED
Production Level: 3
Settings / Reaction Stabilization: YES
Settings / Grid Deployment
Upload Power to Grid: YES
Grid Type: DYNAMIC
Reaction Settings: ACTIVE
Emergency Systems / Emergency Settings:
Power Options: No Systems
Warning Siren: ON
Sensitivity: LOW
Warning System: ON

Once these settings are entered you will be able to restart the reactor. When you do this the reactor's color will change from blue to red, indicating that the plant is on. You can now try to use the panel in the round computer room to go downstairs; the green button will now light up.
If you are in the demo, the game will end at this point. If you are not in the demo then the elevator will take you downstairs, where you will be faced with Puzzle #2: Charlie.
 

You now have the power plant running and can go downstairs, where you find a locked door with a panel beside it. If you look at the panel beside it you see that it has an error message: you clearly aren't going to be able to do anything with that panel. If you want to get through that door you will have to find another way
There is another panel in the room. This panel, which is at the base of the towering computer matrices, is an interface to the artificial intelligence system Charlie. Charlie isn't doing so well these days: when the base was hit by the stellar shockwave he was severely damaged and is now almost incoherent. What you have to do is talk to him and see if you can get him to do anything - like open the door. You won't be able to use the rest of the panel until you can get Charlie to cooperate with you.

You can talk to Charlie by pressing the button furthest to the right on his computer panel (the red one). Each time he displays some text on the screen you are given some options to choose from. Sometimes the options may be corrupted and the conversation terminated. You can always restart Charlie and begin the conversation again by pressing the red button twice, or simply by closing the panel and re-opening it.
The sequence of choices you need to select is as follows:

Light
Knowledge
Ch #12 E19
Yes

Charlie will tell you that he cannot open the door for you but he can grant you access to another portion of the panel. This brings you to the next puzzle: opening the security door.
 

In order to progress further in the game you must find a way to get past the security door in the computer lab. Charlie was unable to open it for you but he did grant you access to another portion of his computer panel.
The first thing to do is click the blue button. A menu will come up offering you two options: Door Control and Power Control. Click on Door Control. You will see that the door is locked. Click on the red 'LOCKED' text. The door will go through a bootup sequence and fail to unlock the door, but it will put it in override mode - and that is very important.
Next, go to Power Control. Select an area from the list. You will see that you can add more power to it, remove power from it, or remove it from the grid altogether. On top of that, if you add more power to an item its temperature rises.
In order to get the door open you have to melt it by overheating it: once it is melted it will no longer block the passageway. To melt the door, select each item on the drop-down list one at a time and remove it from the grid. (You won't be able to remove the wormhole device.) Next, go to the door, add it to the grid, and begin adding power to it. You'll have to add power in nine-unit increments: if you add too much power at once you will get an error.
Once you exceed 80 units of power on the door it will melt, allowing you to go through. Before walking through the door, though, you will need to add power back to a few systems and add them back onto the grid so that you can use them. The systems are:

Comm Lab: 8 units of power
Heat Lab: 25 units of power

If you do not repower these items to this level they will not be usable.

After you melt the door you can explore a little bit more of the base, but you run into a problem. The panel by the entrance to the base had a message that stated that there was a passageway connecting the wormhole laboratory to the communications center - the blue room at the end of the frozen hallway. However, that passageway was blocked by a holographic door. Your next mission becomes this: where is this door and how do you open it?
 

At this point in the game you are faced with an obstacle. The panel by the entrance to the base stated that there was a hallway connecting the communications room to the wormhole laboratory, but it also said that the doorway was sealed by a holographic door. Where is this door and how can you open it?
Opening the door is simple. The panel upstairs by the computer lab stated that anything that is added to the power grid and then depowered by Charlie will no longer run. All you have to do is find the holographic door, add it to the electrical grid, and then cut the power to the communications room; the holographic door will then lose its power supply and the doorway will be revealed.
To do this, go up to the giant wall panel in the communications room and click on the first button. A lot of things will appear, including a menu in the upper-left-hand corner entitled 'Control System Menu'. Click on the second item on the list, and then click it again. Each time you click it the text changes.
Click it over and over until you see the phrase 'Holographic Door'. There is an number after it: 1020-1030. Write that down - you'll need it.
Next, click on the Electrical menu item. Here you can enter coordinates to add something to the grid. The problem is that you have numeric coordinates and your only options for coordinates are colors.
If you are not playing the hardest difficulty level, the panel by the computer room upstairs stated that the numeric codes were being switched over to a color sequence. All you have to do is find out how the numeric codes translate into colors and you'll be set. The panel that mentions the switch also gives hints concerning the color translation. The colors can be translated as follows:

Red: 10
Yellow: 20
Blue: 30
Green: 40
Orange: 50
Grey: 60

To add the holographic door to the panel, then, the sequence you want is Red-Yellow-Red-Blue, with the other 5 blocks padded with grey squares. Enter that coordinate and click the 'Enter Coordinates' button; you will see that the holographic door is now on the panel.
Finally, go back to the panel in the computer room where you melted the door and remove the communications room from the grid. The holographic door will now appear to the right of the wall panel in the communications room.
Don't forget to add the communications room back onto the grid (Red-Yellow-Green-Green followed by five grey squares) and power it up to 8; if you don't you won't be able to use it again and you will need it later on in the game. You will also need to add the energy storage room back onto the grid (Red-Blue-Blue-Yellow followed by five grey squares) and power it up to 25; on the Artilect panel, the energy storage room is labeled the 'Heat Lab'.

As you walk down the hallway to the wormhole transporter room you quickly find your next obstacle: the wormhole transporter room is pitch black and you can't see anything in it. You need a way to shine some light in the darkness, and that is your next puzzle.

You have made your way downstairs, gotten past the security door, and revealed the holographic door. Your next task is to turn on the lights in the wormhole transporter room (which is located at the end of the hallway in that large dark space up ahead) so you can explore it and see what their is to see. This task is complicated by the fact that the wiring in that part of the base is dead: the lights should be on but they're not. What can be done?
First, though, note the two panels that are on the wall in the room here - one on the wall beside the wormhole transporter room and one on the wall beside the way you just came. Read all the notes on these panels carefully: they reveal some important plot information, as well as some critical hints.

So how do we get the lights on? Well, there is a solution. All throughout the base there are little emergency lights - sometimes on the ceiling, sometimes on the floor, always covered by a little metal mesh. What you need to do is kick on these emergency lights, and then only way to do that is to trigger a fatal error in the bootup sequence of the zero-point energy plant - a fatal error so large that the plant thinks it is in trouble and enters emergency mode.
However, there is no way you can melt down the power plant while the safety override switch is enabled. What you need to do is disable the safety override; once this is done you can adjust the settings at the zero-point energy plant and trigger the emergency mode.

The safety override setting can be found on the computer panel in the energy storage room - the room with all the brass pipes. If you click on the middle button (the blue one) you will see 'Safety Override' in yellow. The safety override is currently enabled, and pushing all the different buttons on the panel does not allow you to change it.
The panel provides a hint as to how it can be changed: if you click on the green button it says, deep in the corrupted text, that the variance exceeds surge peak and the safety override has been disabled. What you need to do is somehow get the variance to exceed the surge peak, as that will disable the safety override.
To do this:

1. Change Programmed Default to Level 1
2. Click H2
3. Click C3. The surge peak will drop to 240.
4. Click H3.
5. Click C2. The variance will rise to 250.
6. Click Engage.

The panel will then say that the safety override has been disabled.

Melting down the power plant is tricky: the panel that allows you to configure the power plant settings (the power plant control system panel) does give some hints, in the sense that one should not do certain things or else it may damage the reactor, but it still takes some experimentation. Here are the required settings:

Settings / Self-Diagnostic: Everything must be set to OFF except for the electronics check, which must be set to ON.

Settings / Initial Spatial Rupture: OFF

Settings / Initial Energy Confinement: ON
Second option with strange text: 2

Settings / Large Scale Production:

Enable Scalar Production: ENABLED, Level 7

Settings / Reaction Stabilization: NO

Settings / Grid Deployment: NO, DYNAMIC

Reaction Settings: ACTIVE

Emergency Systems / Emergency Settings:

Power Options: No Systems
Warning Siren: ON
Sensitivity: LOW
Warning System: ON

If you ignite the reactor with these settings the reactor will encounter a host of errors, get caught in a cascading failure, and then melt down. The lights will go off, the emergency lights will come on, and you will be able to walk into the wormhole transporter room - where you will encounter your next obstacle.
 

Once you are inside the wormhole transporter room you will discover that the floor is covered in ice - a thick sheet of ice. You will need to melt this ice and drain the water out of the room before you can proceed any farther.

To drain the ice, go to the energy storage room panel and click on the button the farthest to the right (the red button). Here you can create a cooling system pipe route and an atmosphere system pipe route. The cooling system is responsible for taking the superheated air away from the energy storage room; the atmosphere system is responsible for circulating the air inside the base.
What you want to do is take the superheated air from the energy storage room, pipe it into the atmosphere system, and then pipe that hot air into the wormhole transporter room. The game provides hints as to how to do this; the answer is:

COOLING SYSTEM PIPE ROUTE: [END]-[END]-[87]-[34]-[OUT]

ATMOSPHERE SYSTEM PIPE ROUTE: [END]-[72]-[87]-[34]-[OUT]

The text that displays when you press the green button on the energy storage panel explains why this works. [OUT] must be the first item in a sequence, and the start of the sequence is marked by a < character to the right of each pipe route - the routes are read from right to left. The strings must end with [END]. [34] is the heat exchange sequence, which is required to obtain the heat; [87] is the energy storage room, which is where the heat originates; [72] is the wormhole transporter room. The fact that [87] and [34] are in the same position in the command string allows the heat to transfer from one system to another; the atmosphere system then pipes the heat to [72], the wormhole transporter room, where it melts the ice.
After you click 'Engage' you will be told that the ice has melted, but this just leaves a sea of water in its place. You need to drain the water out of there, and to do this you need to use the atmosphere system - the water will drain into the air vents and out of the room.
The pipe route you need to do this is:

ATMOSPHERE SYSTEM PIPE ROUTE: [END]-[46]-[72]-[17]-[OUT]

Once again, [END] and [OUT] are required. [17] is the drainage code, which tells the panel you are trying to drain something. [72] is the code for the wormhole transporter room, which is the room you are trying to drain. [46] is the code for the sewer, which is where the water should end up.
If you hit 'Engage' with this sequence you will then be able to enter the wormhole transporter room, where you will be greeted with your next obstacle...

In the wormhole transporter room there is a giant security door that is firmly shut. Now that you can access the panel you need to open the door and see what is on the other side.
To open the door, go up to the panel that is right in front of the murky glass in the wormhole transporter room. When you open the panel all you will see at first is a label that says 'Boot Panel Interface'. If you click on it the panel will begin to boot up and will then crash with some errors.
To get past this, click 'Boot Panel Interface' and wait until the panel says 'Attempting to load panel from backup'. While it says this move the mouse of 'Boot Panel Interface'; the text will change to say 'Cancel Backup Restore'. Click on it immediately when it says this; it will cancel the bootup sequence and allow you to access the rest of the panel.

Before you can open the door you have to enter the authorization code. The authorization code is stored upstairs, on a panel in the secured laboratory. When you melted down the power plant you also shattered the glass on the door that was securing the secured laboratory; you can now enter the secured laboratory, walk around, and - most importantly - read the items on the panel that is inside the laboratory beside the secured door. The code you want is at the bottom of message #4; it is:

4030-4030-1010 (GREEN-BLUE-GREEN-BLUE-RED-RED)

At first it looks like this is too short to be entered as an authorization code; it just needs two grey blocks at the beginning and one at the end. The code you will enter is:

GREY-GREY-GREEN-BLUE-GREEN-BLUE-RED-RED-GREY

After you enter this code and press 'Attempt Code' you will be granted secure access to the panel and can then open the door.

After you open the door, walk inside the small room that you can now access. You will see a wormhole transporter, but nothing happens when you walk through it - you just appear on the other side. It obviously isn't turned on. You will also see a small panel on the wall; read it. It will answer a lot of questions, not the least of which is what happened to the people who once lived on Larson's Folly.
One item of great importance on the panel is a coordinate that is appended to the end of message #1. That coordinate is:

1030-4030-2020-3040 (RED-BLUE-GREEN-BLUE-YELLOW-YELLOW-BLUE-GREEN)

This coordinate must be entered into the communications system so that the wormhole can get a lock on that coordinate. Go to the communications wall panel and click the middle black button. Select the 'Destination' menu item and then enter the coordinate. You will have 1 too few color blocks; make the last color block grey and then select 'Enter Coordinates'. You will be told that there is no longer a planet at that location and a new location will be requested.
Click on the first black button at the bottom of the communications panel. It will attempt to load something and then return a core dump. Press the first black button again; this time, at the very end of the core dump, it will say 'No planet found in quadrant 1.' Click the button three more times. On the last time it will say this:

Planet found in quadrant 4.
Planet Coordinate: 1030-4030-3020-1040

The coordinate translates into:

RED-BLUE-GREEN-BLUE-BLUE-YELLOW-RED-GREEN

The communications system was able to find the planet after scanning quadrant 4 and returned the up-to-date coordinate you needed. Enter this coordinate into the Destination of the middle black button, padding its last color block with a grey square; it will say that the coordinate found and it is ready to lock onto the planet.
Now you can go back to the wormhole transporter panel and click 'Engage Wormhole'. It won't work: you will get a settings synchronization error. This happens when the power settings on this panel do not match the power settings on the energy storage panel. You cannot change the power settings on the wormhole transporter panel so you must change them on the energy storage panel.
To get the settings correct, go to the energy storage panel and adjust the settings; you'll want to use Level 2. The settings you need to match are:

Frequency: 2000 (Level 2 default)
Port: 1749 (Level 2 default)
Power drain level: 1000 (Level 2 default + press H1 + press C3)
Surge peak: 1160 (Level 2 default + press H2 + press C1)
Acceptable variance: 200 (Level 2 default + press H3 + press C2)

Press Engage, then go back to the wormhole transporter puzzle and attempt the wormhole creation again. This time you will get a startup sequence and the wormhole will be ignited. You can now walk back into the small room and through the transporter - and the game will end.
 

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