Well, someone sent him an old Cray drive pack and enclosure! Fantastic! Only a few problems:
The sound-foam inside had decayed into moving-part-hating dust...
And it was full of spiders...
And also wasps.
No, really. We're utterly, utterly doomed.
I especially enjoy how the URLs in the footnotes are blue and underlined, despite being unclickable.
To put an enticing pull-quotes in here, I'd have to actually re-type them. Forgive me if I don't bother. TL/DR: He couldn't get any of the drive electronics working, and instead built a custom stepper-motor robot to move the read-heads in sub-track increments, then pulled off 8+ analog scans of each track, saved that raw data, and plans to re-digitize it all in software, deciding which streams are the tracks and which are inter-track noise statistically. After that comes the task of trying to turn a set of concentric rings of bits back into a file system.