Key & Compass presents:
LASH -- Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup
by Paul O'Brian

LASH -- Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2000 by Paul O'Brian. At the 2000 XYZZY Awards, LASH was a finalist in four categories (Best Game, Best Individual PC, Best Setting, and Best Story). On the 2011 edition of the Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time list, LASH tied for 16th place.

In this historical drama and treasure hunt set in 2062, you have rented a robot called a MULE that you can control remotely to salvage artifacts from an abandoned irradiated plantation near Macon, Georgia. Before the Second American Civil War, the site was the home of notable historian Thomas Percy and his wife, Lisa, a pioneer in the field of mental imaging. The original plantation owner was Nicholas Duke, who aided the Confederate army in the First American Civil War.

Content warning: Graphic violence, very offensive language.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 11 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


Map 1: Abandoned plantation (2062)

Fields SmallRuin Back ofHouse Post CrushedRuin VegetableGarden Bottomof Well Insidehouse BareCabin Portico Sand Lot Barn Foot ofDriveway EmptyBuilding sw se d u

Map 2: Abandoned house (2062)

Roof Attic GuestBedroom UpstairsHallway LowerLanding UpstairsBathroom Office MasterBedroom Back ofHouse SmallRoom BackPorch UndertheStairs Library EntranceHallway EmptyRoom Parlor DiningRoom Portico WineCellar Kitchen Bathroom d d nw sw out nw d u sw u u d u in ne se

Map 3: Simulated plantation (c.1853 ±10 years)

Fields Inside theSlavePrivy SlavePrivy Back ofHouse WhippingPost WhitePrivy Inside theWhitePrivy VegetableGarden Insidehouse SlaveQuarters Portico Sandlot (lockedbarn) Foot ofDriveway (lockedcarriagehouse) in out sw se out in

Map 4: Simulated house (c.1853 ±10 years)

Roof Attic GuestBedroom UpstairsHallway LowerLanding UpstairsBathroom Office MasterBedroom Back ofHouse Parson'sRoom BackPorch UndertheStairs Library EntranceHallway WarmingRoom Parlor DiningRoom Portico Cellar Kitchen RootCellar u u d u in ne se d d nw sw out nw d u sw


Would you like to restore a saved session?

> n


> help. (Read all the help info in the menus.)

> connect

Please type your last name at the prompt and press <Enter>.


Foot of Driveway

> x me. x you. i. x shovel.

> x platform. (Goal: Put all treasure here, then AIRLIFT when done.)

> x driveway. n.


Let's do a clockwise tour of the grounds, shall we, before entering the house?

> x plantation house. x door. open door. (locked)

> x brick. x dirt.

> w.

Vegetable Garden

> x border. x snow.

> ne.

Small Ruin

> x planks. x pit.

> dig. g. look. x jar. take jar.

> out. n.


> x fence. se.


> x post. e.

Crushed Ruin

> x tree. x building.

To move the tree out of the way, you must push when it's rolling away from you to increase its momentum; never push when it's rolling towards you.

> push tree. z.

> push tree. z.

> push tree. z.

> push tree. z.

> push tree. (success!)

> x bench. move bench. x pit.

> dig. g. look.

> x dirty bottle. take it. clean it.

> dig. g. g. g. look.

> x brown marble. take it.

> dig. look. take swirl and blue. x swirl. x blue.

> dig. dig. look. x diamond ring. take it.

> out. w. s.

Sand Lot

> open barn door. e.


> x papers. search papers. read scrap. (equations)

> search papers. read second. (from "I, Robot")

> search papers. read third.

> search papers. (nothing else legible)

> x mark. x rocks. x stains. x stalls. x hayloft.

> w. s.

Empty Building

> x shelves. x stains. n. n.

Bare Cabin

> x walls. x door.

> s. nw. w.

Back of House

> x staircase. x porch. x well.

> d.

Bottom of Well

> x case. take it. open it.

> x harmonica. (has 10 holes)

> x lining. take harmonica and lining.

> x old paper. read it. ("D E A D")

> u. s.

Back Porch

> x graffiti. read it. ("We clame this place. FODDER")

> x plain door. x back door. x rail.

> w.

Small Room

Nothing here.

> e. s.

Entrance Hallway

> unlock front door. open it.

> nw.


> x shelves. x fireplace. s.


> x corpse. x jacket. x bracelet. x sofa. x fireplace.

> take jacket. (oops)

> take jacket. take bracelet. take bones.

> e. se.

Dining Room

> x table. read graffiti. x chandelier. x outlines.

> x fireplace. x bellows. take it.

> n.

Empty Room

> x fireplace. x stairs. d.


> x hooks. x fireplace. w.

Wine Cellar

> x bottles. x racks.

> search bottles. x floor.

> x loose block. move it.

> x wine bottle. take it. read label. ("Chateau d'Yquem 1811")

> e. s.


> x toilet. x tub. x sink.

> n. u. w. u.

Upstairs Hallway

> nw.

Guest Bedroom

> x bed. x door. x fireplace. e. sw.


> x desk. x cabinet. x fireplace.

> x safe. (handle, model name, grille)

> x handle. read safe. ("A TONE-LOCK safe, from Wilson Security")

To unlock the safe, you need to play the musical notes D, E, A, and D on the harmonica. Since the MULE is a robot that can't blow anything, it must use the bellows to provide the air. Note that each of the ten holes can produce two different notes when air is blown into or sucked out from them.

> point bellows at hole 1. open it. (low D)

> point bellows at hole 5. close it. (E)

> point bellows at hole 6. open it. (high A)

> point bellows at desk. close it.

> point bellows at hole 4. open it. (D)

> open safe. x sheaf. take it. read it.

> e. e.

Master Bedroom

> x door. x keypad. x fireplace.

> x bed. x mattress. look under mattress.

> take book. x it. ("Journal of Lisa Percy")

> read book.

This opens a menu of ten dated entries, and you should read them all.

The 11/28/46 entry tells you how to calculate the code for this door. Your fact sheet states that the house was built in 1843, and that Nicholas Duke died in 1864. Multiplied together, that makes 3,435,352.

> ne.

Upstairs Bathroom

> x toilet. x sink. x shower. sw.

Master Bedroom

> type 3435352

> open door. n. u.


> x books. x computers. (water damaged)

> x cabinets. x cube. x booth. x controls.

> x trap door. open it. u.


> x houses. x Macon. d.


> enter booth. x controls. x readouts.

> push button.

AtticEarly Morning

> x you. (Now a young brown woman in simple clothes.)

> x crib. (Master Matthew's)

> x buggy. (Mistress Elizabeth died giving birth to Matthew.)

Footsteps are mounting the stairs quickly. While there are places you can hide temporarily, you cannot escape discovery forever, so just wait. Eventually, your master arrives very angry, accuses you of attempted theft, drags you to the kitchen, strips you, ties you to a hook, and whips you.

> z. (Repeat waiting until you're found.)


> x Master. (Nicholas has a whip, ring, and gun. His face knows only rage and lust.)

> x whip. (Master throws brine on you from a ceramic jar.)

> x ring.

Master unties you, throws the rope into the fire, then starts ordering you with simple commands. He's calling you the N-word, but otherwise, his commands are quite similar to typical interactive fiction commands.

> take gown. wear gown.

He then pulls you to the fields to pick cotton, ordering the overseer to watch you. You get a burlap sack to put the harvest in.


If you like, you can try to talk to the overseer, but you won't like what he says. If you try to attack him or leave, you will be punished yet again. I suggest compliance for this part.

> x overseer. x slaves. x plant. x sack.

> pick cotton. g. g.

Your MULE now suggests commanding it to WORK UNTIL SUNSET.

> work until sunset.


> sw.

Slave Privy

> enter line. (No: you don't need to use the privy.)

> e. s. s.

Entrance Hallway

> x alcove door. (easy to overlook)

You should be able to hear Momma nearby. Go to her. I'll assume she's in the Warming Room or Dining Room. She moves randomly in the evening, so I can't predict exactly where she is.

When Momma sees you, she apologizes that she couldn't help you and begs you to stay out of trouble.

> ne. s.

Dining Room

You can follow Momma around as she finishes her evening chores which are randomized, or head back to the Slave Quarters straight away. This walkthrough will go there now.

> w. s. e. n.

Slave QuartersNight

If necessary, wait until Momma gets here. Then ask Momma about anything you can think of; this is all optional.

> x Momma.

> ask her about Matthew.

> ask her about Elizabeth.

> ask her about Nicholas.

> ask her about herself.

> ask her about daddy. (Killed before you were born.)

> ask her about ring.

> ask her about gun. (mentions crazy Nat Turner)

> ask her about Nat Turner. (killed white folks)

> ask her about God.

> ask her about kitchen. hug her.

> ask her about barn. (none of our business)

> ask her about cotton.

> ask her about library. (or attic, parlor)

> ask her about crib. ask her about buggy.

> ask her about slavery. ask her about chair.

When you're finished talking to Momma, return to the Parson's Room.

> s. nw. w. s. w.

Parson's Room

Through the wall, you overhear a discussion between your Masters about you and your whipping. After you hear them go upstairs, it should be safe to explore the ground floor and basement, if you're quiet enough.

Incidentally, this isn't the only place to overhear them from, but it's surely the safest.

> z. (Continue waiting until you hear "shuffling feet" as they leave for upstairs.)

> z. e. s. nw.


> x desk. x bookcases. x books. x chair. (which?)

> x armchair. x leather chair.

> x desk chair. x Matthew's chair.

> s.


> x piano. x couch. x sofa. x table.

> x sideboard. open it. x dishes. close sideboard.

> x mirror. look in it. (You're no older than sixteen.)

> x picture. (of Mistress Elizabeth)

> x chair. x first chair. x second chair.

> e. se.

Dining Room

> x table. x sideboard. x mirror.

> x chandelier. x candles.

> n. d.


> x iron hook. x wire. x stool. x jar.

> s.

Root Cellar

> x ice. x food. x drain.

> n. w.


> x meat. x racks. x floor.

> e. u. w. u.

Upstairs Hallway

> listen. (nothing)

> sw.

Guest Bedroom

> x bed. x desk. x fireplace.

> open door. n.

Master Matthew's Bedroom

Matthew greets you, but warns you about his father catching you in the house. As with Momma, you can ask him about many topics.

> x Matthew.

> ask him about candle. ask him about book.

> ask him about Harvard. ask him about sketchbook.

> ask him about whipping. ask him about Nicholas.

> ask him about slaves. ask him about Momma.

> ask him about Luke. ask him about himself.

> ask him about cotton. ask him about God.

> ask him about barn. ask him about overseer.

> ask him about house. ask him about Elizabeth.

> ask him about gun. ask him about ring.

> ask him about escape. ask him about meat.

> ask him about lamp. ask him about you.

> x sketchbook. x tan book. read tan book. (gibberish)

> x bed. x washstand. x pitcher. x bowl. x dresser.

After several turns without conversation, or because it's just too late at night, Matthew puts down his book, puts out the candle, and bids you goodnight.

> e. e.

Master's Bedroom

There are many ways how this story can go from here. If you successfully kill Nicholas (his gun is hiding under the miscellaneous clothes in his dresser) or if he wakes up angry, things can go very badly for you.

I apologize for this, but to get to the best ending for Linda, you need to get to the Underground Railroad, and the first step in getting there is to have Nicholas sexually assault you.

> x wardrobe. x suits.

> x master. kiss him. (He should wake up lustful.)

> out. (He won't let you.)

> scream.

Matthew runs in, followed by Momma. Momma reveals that Nicholas is your true father and that Matthew is your half-brother. Momma escorts you back to the slave quarters.

Slave Quarters

> z.

Matthew arrives and tells you that you can't stay. He plans to contact the Underground Railroad and find an escape plan for you.

> z.

Momma reveals she knows that Parson Gillom is a conductor. She then whispers instructions to a male slave, who runs off on his errand.

> z.

Momma tells you get some dry clothes and food for the trip, then go to the fields and give a low whistle when you're ready to go.

> z.

Matthew gives you his leather satchel.

> thank Matthew.

He wishes you luck then leaves before Nicholas finds him there.

> x satchel.

Momma holds you one last time and sings to you before letting you go, telling you to be brave and careful.

> save.

> s. w. n. u.

Upstairs Hallway

You overhear the tail end of an argument between the men, ending with Nicholas evicting Matthew and throwing his ring away. If you were to go inside the white privy now, you would see Matthew throw the ring away into one of the holes.

However, instead, you're going to grab things and move quickly, avoiding Nicholas entirely.

> e.

Master's Bedroom

> take suit. w. d. ne. d. w.


> take meat. put meat, shirt, pants in satchel.

> e. u. w. s. w.

Vegetable Garden

> take vegetables. put vegetables in satchel.

> ne. n.


> whistle.

Parson Gillom approves of your satchel, clothes, meat, and vegetables.

*** I have bought a ticket on the Underground Railroad ***


The MULE will start complaining about your orders.

> status. out. look in cube.

> x circuitry. (You find the core.)

> take core. x it.

> d. s. w. d.

Entrance Hallway

> x stairs. open small door. in.

Under the Stairs

> x picture. read it. take it.

> out. s. s.

Foot of Driveway

> put all on platform.

> save.

You may order an AIRLIFT or a SHUTDOWN, but it's best to tell the MULE to leave.

> w. (The MULE orders an airlift before leaving.)

*** Transmission ends. Thank you. ***

> item

> credits



Found dead:



After you win the game, type CREDITS to open the Endpages menu:

LASH was written and programmed by Paul O'Brian.

This story was created using the Inform programming language and compiler, both of which were created by Graham Nelson. Inform compiles code for a virtual machine called the z-machine, which was created by Infocom, Inc. for their revolutionary text adventures. For more information on Inform, check out Graham's Inform homepage at

The current homepage for Inform 6 is now at You can still use Inform 6 if you like, but the Inform programming language has evolved quite a lot since LASH was released. For Inform 7, please see:

I owe the deepest debt of gratitude to my brilliant group of beta-testers: Suzanne Britton, Adam Cadre, Irene Callaci, Michael Kinyon, and Magnus Olsson. Collectively, they have saved me from embarrassment hundreds of times over. Any bugs remaining in the work are entirely my own fault.

I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following people:

LASH is dedicated to my dad, who gave me both SF and IF.

Releases 1-7 of LASH were compiled between 1/5/2000 and 3/6/2000, and made available to beta testers only.

Release 8 was the first public release of LASH, and it was uploaded to the IF archive on 3/22/2000.

Release 9 was a stopgap release, uploaded to the IF archive on 3/29/2000. It fixed a couple of fairly large problems in Release 8.

Release 10 was uploaded to the IF archive on 4/14/2000, and fixed all bugs that had been reported to me by that date.

Release 11 is the most current release. It was uploaded to the IF archive on 8/7/2000. It fixes all bugs that have been reported to me by that date, and can be considered stable. It'll also probably be the last release for a while, that is unless I receive word of a horrible bug that my new fixes caused, or that has been lurking out there but hasn't yet bitten. I will create updates as necessary.

LASH is freeware, meaning that it may be freely distributed as long as it is unaltered and no profit is made from its distribution.

If you enjoyed LASH, or even if you didn't, or (especially) if you've found a bug, I would love to hear your feedback. As of this writing (August 2000) I can be reached at email redacted. In addition, although LASH is freeware, I'm certainly not averse to receiving donations from readers -- contact me at the above address if you'd like to contribute the cost of a movie ticket or paperback book to my life.

A fair bit of research went into LASH, and I unfortunately wasn't organized enough to keep close track of the books I was using until fairly late in the process, when it occurred to me that I might want to include a bibliography. Nonetheless, for those readers (if any) who are interested in learning more about the history of slavery in the United States, I offer the following list of books and articles, all of which have been important to one facet or another of LASH's creation:

Blockson, Charles. The Underground Railroad. New York: Prentice Hall, 1987. This book provided a great deal of inspiration for Linda's preparations to flee, and also indirectly inspired a few things about Lisa Percy's narrative.

Gates, Henry Louis Jr., ed. The Classic Slave Narratives. New York: Mentor, 1987. All four slave narratives in this book, and especially those of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, were absolutely instrumental to me during the design phase of LASH.

Johnson, Charles, Patricia Smith, and the WGBH Series Research Team. Africans In America. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1998. Though somewhat overwritten at times, this book is a fantastic resource simply for the amount of source material it pulls together, and for the way it constructs a highly readable narrative out of individual incidents in the history of American slavery. In addition, it contains twelve outstanding short stories by Charles Johnson, one of which is written in the second person voice and would make a wonderful piece of short IF. The PBS series to which this book is a companion shares both its faults and its strengths -- Angela Bassett ladles on unnecessary drama in her narration, but the amount and quality of source material here is shockingly good.

Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, From Slavery to the Present. New York: Vintage, 1985. The chapters on slavery were the direct source for all of the fieldwork scenes in LASH.

Locke, Alain. "The Negro Spirituals." In The New Negro. Edited by Alain Locke. New York: Atheneum, 1925. Illuminating thoughts on the role of one particular type of music in slave life.

McCutcheon, Marc. The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life In The 1800s. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1993. A scattershot effort which was helpful in bits and pieces for some of the sim's linguistic mortar.

McLaurin, Melton A. Celia, A Slave. New York: Avon Books, 1991. I actually didn't read this one until I was in the beta-testing stage, so it didn't influence LASH as strongly as the others in this list, but it does provide an excellent example of how a vivid personal history may be pieced together by combining historical records with intelligent speculation.

Walker, Margaret. Jubilee. New York: Bantam, 1967. This book is actually a novel, but served as the author's doctoral dissertation in history -- it's that well-researched. It was an invaluable aid in writing the rhythms of slave speech, as well as capturing the feel of an antebellum plantation.

White, Deborah Gray. Ar'n't I A Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South. Revised edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1999. A classic historical study which laid the foundation for all subsequent treatments of female slaves. The Introduction to the revised edition is particularly brilliant in its examination of the changes undergone by both feminism and ethnic studies since the book's first release in 1985, and how the author's perspective on the work has both changed and stayed the same.


I'm splitting the endings by viewpoint character because after you reach an ending with Linda, the game continues with the MULE who has its own ending.

Linda's endings:

If Linda kills anyone or burns down the house, she forfeits all chance of getting onto the Underground Railroad. If Linda is not killed as well, she is now on the run for her life.

The MULE's endings:

Linda's ending directly affects the details of the MULE's ending:


Within their sections, items are listed in the order you first see them in this walkthrough, whether you ever acquire them or not.

Your MULE's items

Put everything you pick up onto the platform at the foot of the driveway. After you've finished using them, of course.

hole 1hole 2hole 3hole 4hole 5
close bellowslow Clow Elow GCE
open bellowslow Dlow GBDF
hole 6hole 7hole 8hole 9hole 10
close bellowsGhigh Chigh Ehigh Gvery high C
open bellowshigh Ahigh Bhigh Dhigh Fvery high A
Linda's items


The MULE's response to SCORE or STATUS is:

Status report: MULE last-name

Date: 9/22/2062
Time: time
Location: room-name

[Either] All systems functioning normally. [or] My mental capacities have been unexpectedly expanded by my experience in Dr. Percy's dream simulator. I have gained a degree of independence, both from the restrictions of my basic programming and from commands issued to me. I have not yet decided how to exercise this independence. [as appropriate]

According to my estimation, the objects I have collected have a total value of approximately number dollars American.

However, Linda's response to SCORE or STATUS is:

What does status mean to me now? My status is that of slave. All I carry, even my body itself, belongs to someone else. All my toil is not for my own advancement, but for the gain of another.

For a detailed breakdown on how much everything was worth, use the ITEM command. This is my summary, from worst to best, in hundreds of dollars American:

I'm not sure if $727,000 is the maximum possible salvage value, but it is the maximum that I acquired.

However, in the event that Linda is sold and you order either an airlift or shutdown, you are also awarded a bonus for stopping a rogue MULE, and your grand total is a cool 1 million dollars.

Also, if you order a shutdown without reason (eg: before the MULE uses the booth), you are penalized a whopping $999,000, and your total is now very much in the negative.

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