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Previous Thread:

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2531177/

Archive:

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Joker%20Quest

Equipment FAQ:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TNhH719QKQM6zQdxEjW2_XhtaR5kZVWn4sVHxJzwbQQ/edit

Oblivion's Husk (Updated with SIGNS OF THE RIGHTEOUS):

https://pastebin.com/5Bs9QgfY

Player List:

http://pastebin.com/rRSM6LgW

Episode Guide (All credit to Watashiwa & an unknown Anon):

http://pastebin.com/xuZNynTM

Yui IF scene (Adult content):

http://pastebin.com/8CSEVSXB

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JokerQuestOP

Recap: No evil dooms us hopelessly, except the evil we love.
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>>2781768

Fire.

The world is fire.

Limned in sickly green light, the Armory Guardian storms forward. Sensor-clusters flare with unholy light, washed in plumes of missile smoke. Corospant crackles across the seething nimbus of the titanic construct's shield, distortion buzzing across your sensors - Great manipulator-limbs raised in threat-position, spined knuckles unclenching to reveal twin Fusion Annihilators, cycling up to charge. Motes of hellish radiance dance and swirl, power conduits humming with charge as concentric circles of red light radiate forth - You can feel the gathering potential, as if the world has drawn, and held, a single breath.

The Red Joker made this. He made this.

Why? Another trial, another test? Some last defense?

Something so large should be cumbersome, lumbering as it ambulates on piston-driven limbs. A quadruped bulk, with a raised torso - like a centaur - and great steel-shod fists. But this thing does not move with the start-stop rhythm of a machine intelligence, or the halting, stilted rhythm of an automata - It roars.

Shut down.

Shut d-

It's like shouting into a hurricane, as the first missiles hurtle towards you. Your Triskelion Launchers buck, as a staggered flight of three missiles kick to life, spinning twisting white ropes of rocket-smoke up to meet the incoming barrage-

The first impact-burst draws the next missile, and the next, expanding into an immense fireball fed by all nine.

"Joker, hang *on*-"

Vocal communication is pointless. You can't make yourself heard over the Armory Guardian's howl, blitzing all channels with binary fury. Daegal's voice is a Dirac blurt, sparks seething and crackling across his form as he hefts ADAMANT in one hand - the great shield almost dragging against the ground - and ULTIMATUM in the other...

A muffled - "Go!" - and his Familiars take flight. Vectoring on gravimetric suspensors, furious light ignites in their eyes, and they soar forward, talons outstretched and sparking with charge. They pass through the St. Elmo's fire glow of the Armory Guardian's shield, raking at the thing's vast head in vicious slashing tracks. The charge from one great fist disperses, as the Guardian's talons lash out - It swats aside one Familiar, so hard the drone comes crashing down-

To be ground into the floor beneath one great hooved foot.

But it's bought you a moment. You're sprinting forward, as the roiling fireball of the explosion dies away - The Sinistral disengages, as you reach for GOLGOTHA's killing edge. Your Assault Shroud fans afterimages into the air, like card sleights-

(Continued)
>>
>>2781770

The Armory Guardian's sponsons deploy-

> FATALISM activated

You twist to the side, as the Longinus Railgun fires. The silvery blur of the hypervelocity slug leaves a rippling track as it streaks past you. Launched at incredible velocity, it slams into the charred hulk of a burned-out Armory Guardian, impacting directly centerline. It makes a splintering sound, like a sledgehammer being taken to glass, the kinetic impact enough to make the fallen machine rock back on burned-out gyros-

Lucky. Lucky again, Joker.

Unbidden, the Vitae Booster in your chest kicks in. You feel a hot surge, like molten lead, through your limbs - Your legs coiling beneath you, as you surge forward. GOLGOTHA's pitch-black blade carves the air, red sparks sheeting across the great axe as it hacks through the armor and engineering of one leg. The neutronium blade drives through the carved metal, shearing through cables and rods and pistons - the tendons and hamstrings of the Armory Guardian - in a great, jagged wound. Armor crumples beneath that hideous blow, coolant spewing from the wound like blood - The Armory Guardian's targeting pulse sounds like a wail as it lurches back, hydraulics chattering like fast percussion, the thing's wrath blitzing the air with ultrasound.

The behemoth's sudden reversal wrong-foots Kazuya. He's cleared half the distance, winding back to swing, when the Guardian's railgun swivels towards him, charging coils flickering with sullen lethality. Instinctively, he hunches behind ADAMANT's bulk - almost lost behind the great shield - as the Longinus Rifle *fires*. He makes a startled, strangled sound when the round smashes into the shield's unyielding face, hard enough to gouge a long scar. He doesn't fall - Instead, his armored boots, sliding and scraping - skid across the tiles underfoot, ripping them up with a rending *shriek* as he's bodily pushed *back*, his mace still sparking and seething in his free hand.

GOLGOTHA does nearly as much damage on the way out, as it rips free from the Armory Guardian's legs. You twist the axe's smile in the mouth of the wound, feeling things give way - the Guardian staggers a step, drags you with it before your myomer muscles wrench your weapon out, the Vitae Booster swirling darkly as renewed strength pulses up your reinforced spine, jagging through power conduits and connectors.

> VITAE BOOSTER: SIGMA CHARGE activated.

It limps. One leg sparks as it drags before it, slouching to the left - But you hear charge capacitors cycle, as it brings both Railguns to bear on your form, new warheads trickling into missile racks. The swirling emerald barrier of the Guardian's Phase Shield is still up, one great fist raised as the Fusion Annihilator continues to gather power-

"Damn it-"

(Continued)
>>
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>>2781771

As Kazuya's remaining Familiar spirals around the Guardian - Like a vulture circling prey - your greaves come to life, the twin drones clamped in place taking flight. They rocket into the air, surging towards the mechanical leviathan; Scythe-wings ignite, as heat-blades deploy from the slots, flashing towards the Fusion Annihilator's humming shape, slicing at power conduits and capacitors, raking at feed lines and rotators-

Daegal locks the mace to his armor, with a snap of magnetic force. His Vector Trap disgorges his Seeker Gun, the gravitic accelerators within the delicate bone grip cycling up to power. It seems small, almost puny, against the apex predator-machine you face - But he brings it up anyway, the integrated screen projecting a tiny holographic image as it seeks a target lock.

The Blutsauger's hollow heart snarls to life, liquid ice shooting through your veins. It makes a low, ominous sound as it comes to power, feedback pulsing a subsonic ache through your endosteel bones. Eerie light flickers, in all the myriad shades of nightmare - Twisting streamers of smoke-light uncoiling from the great crevasse you've gouged in the Armory Guardian's carapace, drawn to you like iron fillings to a magnet. Your Vitae Booster crackles with a weird, negative electricity as it gorges itself, leeching vitality from the thing's furnace heart-

The Armory Guardian's howl sends distortion jagging across all frequencies, as it rears up. The flickering arc of the Guardian's halo - hovering overhead, stately and distant - expands outwards, like a rippling bow-wave of power. As it passes above you, you feel phantom aches - pins-and-needles, your artificial nervous system reacting to the backwash of power - flow through jointed steel and electrodrivers, a portent of nothing good. The photonic halo begins to waver, becoming a sine-wave, oscillations of amplitude rising and falling in peaks and troughs. There is a sense of gathering charge, like the instant before a lightning-strike...

HP: 110.52%
VITAE BOOSTER: 121% (QUICKENING ACTIVE)
ASSAULT SHROUD: 96%
METER: 51%
ENCROACHMENT: 18%

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2781771
Rush under it and rip off a limb with the Crisis Arm's new ability, perhaps?
>>
>>2781772
EXCEC_REND once the attack fires.

Use the Crisis Arm's new ability to pull the lower portion of the damaged leg. If we are lucky, we should be able to rip it off, now that Golgotha has done a good job at cutting.

Fire boosted missiles into the joints of its remaining leg, then abruption jet between its legs to face its backside and fire a volley of boosted vulcans and shrike blades at anything that seems important.

Follow up with Rubicante and Cagnazzo at its arms.
>>
>>2781778
>>2781782

(You're going to close the distance and try to rip the leg off?)
>>
>>2781783
Alternatively, we could increase distance, brace for impact with a charged Sinistral and then fire the railgun at it.
>>
>>2781782

Get in close. Missile spam until you can sweep the leg.
>>
>>2781778
>>2781782
>>2781822

Positive ions begin to build, in the swirling darkness above you. Faint sparks leap and judder across your armor, as the air spits and crackles. The vast halo shudders as it oscillates, reverberating in time to some unseen signal. GOLGOTHA locks to your back, the neutronium axe clanking solidly into place as you break into a sprint, the Assault Shroud’s illusions swirling in your wake – the Sinistral coming up, hard-light field hissing and spitting, as the missile pod locks in place on your right arm-

The Vitae Booster flares, a nightmare swirl of red. Rockets spear outwards, one after another, chambers rotating, spraying missiles the way your Vulcans spray plasma rounds. Your frame judders, as each rocket kicks off the launcher – they don’t spiral or arc. They hurl forward, die-straight, on plumes of arterial flame. The first munitions are aimed high – they slam into the Armory Guardian’s torso, mantling it in rippling explosions, as you correct: the detonations stitch a furious line across the Guardian’s pitted carapace, blasting chunks of armor free.

Something *racks*, on the Guardian’s surface. Smaller weapons, pintle-mounted. Anti-personnel-

There is a whooping shriek.

You hurl yourself flat, your armor skidding and scraping against the ground, scouring deep gouges across the red paint. The Sinistral’s burning wedge wrenches up, shielding you as the floor, as the walls, explode. You hear thousands of individual impacts, as a fountain spray of tiny, impossibly fast projectiles vomit across the distance overhead, smashing soot and dust and tiles out of abrupt holes. Even the burned-out hulk of the behemoth behind you – like the reminder of someone else’s war – isn’t spared: shots rip the air around you, cast sparks from the pillars, blow steel chips from the floor. Your afterimages disintegrate, shredded by the sheer volume of fire as you roll to the side, slipping and skidding-

Flechette weapon. The sound you’re hearing is the hiss-rattle of shrapnel barbs, tearing through anything in the way.

Your Assault Shroud stiffens around you, as the second flechette blaster discharges-

> EXEC_REND

You wrench yourself to your feet, with a scream of servoes. Alien code flickers and buzzes across your field of vision, the Helix Gauntlet bleeding violet light as the Vitae Booster goes cold in your chest, sapped of power in a single huge surge.

-blink-

The razor-rounds, screaming like a billion angry hornets, pass through and around the fold of space you have abruptly become. Unchecked by any object, the shots screamed on, ripping a long, broad blizzard of stone chips out of the already-battered walls.

(Continued)
>>
>>2781929

“Oh *shit*-!” Kazuya sees you sprinting forward, sees the deluge of fire rip through you. He’s advancing, the hideous light glittering off his gilded armor, sparking off the ADAMANT’s massive bulk. The Seeker Gun – reconfigured into something long-barreled, something lethal, a haze of holographic images swirling around the sight – is drawn up to rest on the right-angled corner of his shield, as he fires around it.

The Seeker Gun doesn’t howl or shriek. It whispers, as Daegal accelerates from a stride to a bounding jog. Silver needles – so fast they blur – streak across the distance, each burst curving, arching at impossible angles. The shots slam into the side of the Armory Guardian’s faceplate, leaving hissing scars, shattering optics and sensory interfaces – A heartbeat before the Familiars swoop in for another pass-

As if rocked by a punch, the beast swings round – Vast limps chewing up the ground as it drags it dark tonnage about. The thing’s staring optics pulse with yellow light, as it unleashes a barrage of rockets – Daegal fires once, then again, silver darts shearing through the first two missiles that hurtle towards him – But there are eight more, burning through the air, riding twisting double-helixes of jetair and flame. You see him square his shoulders, bringing his shield up like a pavise-

When they hit, he vanishes in a veil of grit and flame. The overlapping detonations make the ground shake, as the flechette blasters discharge again – the hail of barbs catches a Familiar, and dismantles it with extraordinary violence. There is a shriek like a dying eagle, as it simply comes apart in midair, like a mechanism being dismantled – It veers away, trailing smoke, smashing into the ground with a splintering impact that is as terrible as it is final.

But he’s bought you time.

(Continued)
>>
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>>2781966

Swiveled to face him, the Armory Guardian’s wounded leg is exposed – Your Assault Shroud swirls around you, a ragged cloak, as a volley of Shrike Blades spear free. They rip through the air, slicing out with their killing edges: the thrumming blades spear into raw myomer, even as glancing hits splinter against the jagged edges of the metal-

Your fists come up. Your Vulcans spit death. Your first plasma rounds slam into the Armory Guardian’s shield, making the surface ripple – the streaking red tracers that follow, fed by your Vitae Booster, rake across the field’s surface, not quite penetrating. But you can see that you’re *close*, you’re almost through, gravimetric energies swirling around your Crisis Arm.

A flicker, at the corner of your vision – A brilliant flash, overhead-

Instinct alone saves you.

(Continued)
>>
>>2781993

You see it coming. It is impossible – should not be possible – but you see it coming anyway.

There is a single, hair-thin line of radiance. A sound like a knife-point drawn down a sheet of glass. A crackling spit of energy-

Lightning blasts your world away.

It comes from above. A single crackling bolt, so brilliant it has no color at all. It lances down from the halo overhead, beyond the swirling storm of the Armory Guardian’s shield envelope. You wrench aside, but-

-too fast-

Your feet leave the ground. Gyros span. You go blind and deaf, as the disruption blast white-outs your sensors. There is a blank moment of nothing, the ragged edges of the shockwave flinging you through the air-

And you crash back down, singed, smoking, your HUD dissolving into snarls of static, of white noise.

So that’s how it feels.

So that’s how it feels to be struck by lightning.

A shadow falls over you. The Armory Guardian’s vast form, damaged leg raised. It is larger than your entire body – You have a moment to see, vividly the damage you’ve done to the limb: One of your missiles must’ve hit a fuel line, or your Shrike Blades must’ve ruptured something, because flames and smoke boil from the great rent. But it’s still raised, like a great hammer, ready to crush you out of existence.

And you swear that it hesitates – just for a moment.
Just long enough for you to see it coming.

With a piston-driven screech, the vast limb comes hurtling down.

HP: 82.88%
VITAE BOOSTER: 52%
ASSAULT SHROUD: 61%
METER: 46%
ENCROACHMENT: 10%

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2781783
Abruption Jet away or catch the limb with the Crisis Arm.
>>
>>2782028
Abruption jet away, fire a volley of chain mines immediately afterwards, then tell Kazuya to distract it while we get even more distance and use the railgun.
>>
>>2782041
>>2782045
no, not catch the limb; knock it away.
>>
>>2782045
>>2782076
If we do this, follow up with a Vitae-boosted Pllasma Caster blast into its underbelly. Then move away to give Daegal a chance to strike, fire more rockets at the charging FA (if that hasn't been completely wrecked yet).

Once we're at a distance, signal Daegal to retreat and fire a charged Phalanx Mine if the anti-energy shield is still up. If the Guardian switches to anti-kinetic, start blasting away with Rubicante.
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>>2782110
>Vitae-boosted Pllasma Caster blast into its underbelly
We just lost vulcan shots to its anti-energy shield.
Why would you suggest this directly afterwards?
>>
>>2782045

The claw-foot slams down.

You have a moment-

Your Abruption Jets fire, and you cross the floor on your back. The sudden discharge shakes you mercilessly, dragging you across the entire distance – Tiles of armor plating rip away from your form, warnings of internal damage flaring across your display. Cooling system rupture – Damage to your Interceptor controller – but you get your feet under you, your heels leaving a trail of skidding sparks.

Enough of this.

A low hum, as the field changes frequencies-

A torrent of glowing rounds slams into the Armory Guardian from the side. The thing’s structure distorts under the deluge, buckling and crackling like paper in rain. Staggering forward, like a man walking into a gale, Daegal keeps the trigger of his Machine Cannon depressed, panning it across the beast’s vast bulk. The barrels keen as they rotate to a blur, shell casings piling at his feet. He’s shouting, a wordless roar of defiance, as he fights to keep the enormous weapon from ripping itself out of his hands, the jumping lick of muzzleflash illuminating the chamber in staccato flashes of light-

Somewhere amid the barrage, you glimpse the remaining two Familiars clamped onto the Guardian’s frame, plasma cutters flaring as they carve – inch by incremental inch – through the thing’s hull…

The shield flickers. Just for a moment, but you see it.

He’s too close-

(Continued)
>>
>>2782120
Point. Guess I keep visualizing it at a hollow sphere that won't stop us from firing energy if we're inside it.

Anything else we can use to hit it from up-close?
>>
>>2782140
>Damage to your Interceptor controller
That thing still exists?
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>>2782159

(Yes. You've run out of Interceptors, but you still have the control unit.)
>>
>>2782140

The Armory Guardian swivels. The leviathan’s fist opens, like a flower blossoming.

The Fusion Annihilator fires.

You’ve fired the Annihilator a dozen times. A hundred. You know, vividly, what it can do to someone on the receiving end. Daegal freezes, as if riveted in place – the dual-phase shield node on his back bleeding ghostly white energy into the fuming air-

The blast is savage. A light flash. A searing beam. Vast capacitors discharge, and spew forth a singular, terrible radiance. The spear of radiance engulfs him, a column of energy brighter than the sun – You hear the ffzzzzzztttt of static across the Dirac channel, hear him scream as he bathes in raw flame, the tatters of his Assault Shroud hailing down like burning leaves.

But the Guardian’s shield is down, and – As the Vector Trap disgorges the Longinus Rifle, the railgun’s components locking in place – you have the shot.

The railgun round is so *fast*, it outruns its own sonic boom. Even with the firing harness, even with the suspensor rig, the weapon itself recoils in your grasp – the shock reverberating through your form. The slug, launched at incredible velocity, smashes with crippling force into the Armory Guardian’s already-wounded leg. It tears *through*, slamming into the leviathan’s right hip, cracking the scarred armor protecting its side with a shriek of rending metal. Support struts punch through the bulky plating, as heat flares in your vision – reactor damage. Plasma bleeds from the abrupt rent, and the Fusion Annihilator’s blast stutters out – Talons clenching back into a mechanical fist-

(Continued)
>>
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>>2782206

Ash drifts through the air – the ground burned into sludged black glass, utterly razed. The Armory Guardian’s splayed claw-feet crunch into the ground to avoid falling, as it lists violently to one side – steam hissing from coolant vanes, flicking through shattered optics. Daegal lies where he’s fallen, sprawled – His orichalcum armor glowing from the heat, charred, the shield node fizzing weakly at his back, emitting motes of sickly corposant light-

There is a ratcheting series of clicks. Armored shutters retract, withdrawing to reveal countless emitters, studding the Guardian’s surface like spines. But that is merely a detail, your autoreactive talons digging into the ground, locking you in place as you raise the Chain Mine’s launcher. The Vitae Booster hums with fresh charge, diminishing to a cold absence, as you hoist the weapon.

-And fire.

The Chain Mine spears forward. The implosion warhead rockets towards the leviathan, the thing’s engines growling – lurching, a high strangled note rising as that hull swings from left to right, a sound like a gurgle of pain and rage as it slews around slightly – fighting to deploy treads, as if it means to flinch away from the incoming munition…

Ice-white beams stream forth. Pencil-thin, white as ice, flashing from the rows of emitters. They slice the air – One slashes just above your head, shearing straight through the burnt-out corpses of fallen Players. Stone grinds, as four tonnes of pillar – sliced through – slams into the flaking ground, with a splintering roar. Five beams intersect the Chain Mine at once, chopping and sectioning it as cleanly as an anatomical diagram.

The warhead shears apart. The rays slice furrowed lines around you -

Translucently shimmering blue-white energy slashes past. A chunk of your pauldron and arm, cut cleanly through, crashes to the ground – the edges of the cut still smoking.

(Continued)
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>>2782271

J-Jesus…” Daegal’s voice is a soft, almost inaudible crackle over the Dirac channel – He twitches like a half-crushed spider, trying to rise, failing. His gauntlet rakes across chips of glass, the ground transfigured by the furious alchemy of the Annihilator blast.

“How much more-”

“How much more can it-”

Treads deploy. They bite into the ground, the torturous groan of shifting mechanisms giving way to the drone of the leviathan’s engine. The Armory Guardian’s arm lowers – expended fusion cartridges clattering to the ground, discarded. But then there is a low hum, a hum that builds to a roar.

Light becomes solid. The air becomes hard.

A flash of radiance sears forth, sweeping from emitters – a solid plane. Four meters. Eight. Ten. Fifteen. It locks in, shining like ice against velvet, electric blue and blazing with disruptor energy. The tip of the great blade, wreathed in coruscating fire, scores the ground – metal disintegrating, smoke coiling upwards like incense.

A baleful light streams from the behemoth’s central optic, a visor locking down, deploying. Actinic energies flicker across that charred shell, as that head – half of it scarred, charred black, moving with the fluid grace of target lock – swings towards you.

Unbidden, the Vitae Booster roils in your chest, fed by the ruin in the air. Heat races through your limbs, stinging with strength.

> VITAE BOOSTER: SIGMA CHARGE activated

HP: 100.22%
VITAE BOOSTER: 72% (QUICKENING ACTIVE)
ASSAULT SHROUD: 74%
METER: 60%
ENCROACHMENT: 6%

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2782329

(Gentlemen, I need to rest for now - But I'll continue as soon as I have the opportunity. Good night, and God bless.)
>>
>>2782329
How many fucking guns does this thing have
>>
>>2782329
>A flash of radiance sears forth, sweeping from emitters – a solid plane.
Are those point defense lasers that are figuratively creating a plane of energy or are those emitters that are literally creating a hard light construct that is working as a shield?

I would like to fire a volley of missiles or the chain mines over the shield if it's just a shield emitter and not a set of point defense lasers.
>>
>>2782363

(It's a hard-light construct that is a fifteen-meter long blade.)
>>
>>2782359
A portion of the things we could have unlocked.
This means there could be a flechette gun hidden in our arsenal.
Also, this means it might have a tau gun.
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>>2782329
It's probably going to charge at us now. Switch to Omen for the precog and start Vitae-charging the FS to blast its head off.
Don't stop moving
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>>2782366
Good idea.
Don't forget to fire a shroud clone if it comes too close.

Keep using Vitae Booster to accelerate our movement after the Quickening wears off.

Can we needle it with occasional missiles while we charge the Fusion Annihilator? I assume we can charge with one arm and fire the missiles with the other.
>>
>>2782359
One of the old Jokers made it, remember. One that actually worked, and was functionally a walking Weapons Museum.

Best to assume that it has all of the guns.

>>2782366
Good call, but I would say that while we charge the Fusion Annihilator, we parry the charge with Golgotha in our other hand.

It's weapon is 15 meters long and we're fighting in a relatively small room, pure avoidance is only going to get us so far. Better if we give the impression that we're going to try to play keep-away, and then do something to throw it off balance so that we can get a clean shot with the FA into it's centre mass.

Golgotha seems ideal for that, given that the thing is a massive fuck off axe with retarded weight that we can swing as though it was made of paper.

So:
>Start charging Fusion Annihilator immediately
>Activate Golgotha and begin a sideways dodge as soon as it gives any sign of charging
>When it (inevitably) corners/catches us, parry the swing with Golgotha
>Bring the Fusion Annihilator to bear and use it to deliver point blank annihilation into the thing's torso.
>Disengage with Shroud Clone

If it tries some tricky shit, like launching missiles to box us in, try to cut them down with vulcan fire.
>>
>>2783394

(Note that Golgotha is a two-handed weapon. It precludes use of the Fusion Annihilator when you're wielding it.)
>>
I just have to comment, did you know you've been running this quest for six years? That's fucking INSANE. Good on you for sticking it out.
>>
I swear, I'll catch up so I can participate in the most recent threads. Until then, hope ya'll have fun.
>>
>>2783394
>>2784106
Could we use the boosted Crisis Arm to use its momentum against itself?
Grab the blade with gravity and hurl it into the direction it was already travelling.

Kinda afraid that it would break and reform under the strain, though.

If the move works, we'll have a clean shot at its backside.

...or maybe we should just keep to dodging and avoid lethal melees against fifteen meter long hard-light blades wielded by humanoid tanks.
>>
>>2785300

(It's an energy blade.)
>>
>>2781768
Is that Lord Buckethead?
>>
>>2784106
Well, fuck. Right. Lessee. I really want us to have a way to deflect/block that sword if the Guardian does get close enough to us to use it, since I'm not happy with accepting that we'll be able to dodge this charge entirely.

We don't have enough Vitae to use EXEC_REND again, and that could be predictable since we already demonstrated it once.

Could we wait until it begins the charge and then use EXEC_DISRUPT to disable the sword and render the maneuver toothless? That'd negate the problem outright and leave it floundering and unable to stop for a moment. Issue is that it leaves us worryingly low on Vitae. On the other hand, that should buy us enough time to charge the Fusion Annihilator if we start right away.

So:
>Start charging Fusion Annihilator immediately
>Begin a sideways dodge as soon as it starts it's charge, utilise Abruption Jets
>Use EXEC_DISRUPT while it's in mid-charge, as late as safely possible
>If it works, close distance in an arc and punch it with the full charged FA
>If it doesn't work, keep moving and don't get hit by the giant doomsword
>Disengage with Shroud Clone regardless of all else.
>>
Whoa. Ground floor on a new thread.

what happened to the cobalt booster? Can someone give a short version of the new changes?
>>
>>2785947
>what happened to the cobalt booster? Can someone give a short version of the new changes?
Short: We found an armory and replaced the damaged cobalt booster with a new vitae booster.
Details are in the armory guide. All booster-enhanced weapons are now enhanced in a different way.

Which reminds me, does Omen have a booster enhancement?
>>
>>2785841
>Could we wait until it begins the charge and then use EXEC_DISRUPT to disable the sword and render the maneuver toothless?
It's unlikely that a hard-light projection would count as a piece of equipment.

Maybe a SWARM that attacks its sensors specifically could help.
>>
>>2785971
You think so? It seems like exactly the sort of thing that EXEC_DISRUPT would shut down.
>>
>>2785964
IIRC, no it doesn't. We can always boost ourselves and swing it, but we would only bring out the sword for the dodge bonus anyway.

>>2785841
This, but I'd like to suggest that we specifically focus the beam and bring out Omen in the off hand.

I just caught up on this, and I don't know what the fuck to feel about the whole thing. So many of our friends are dead. Hecate's still dead. Fuck.
>>
>>2786015
It's been a ride, yeah.

Hell of a ride.
>>
>>2781768
God I thought this quest is dead. I need to get up to speed ASAP! You can’t imagine how happy I’m seeing you here!
>>
>>2786015
I caught up a couple of months ago, when the previous thread had just fallen off the page.

Reading it all in one go sucked the life out of me, it was a marathon of misery and most of it is because of that moronic namefag. While it's been a nonstop downward spiral, and every victory followed by an even worse defeat, everyone getting murdered at the academy was just... emotionally exhausting. I thought Nara Dreamland was bad but holy shit. When, /if/ we come back and Kazuya dies from his wounds, or if the other players failed to evacuate...

Of all the things that bother me though, is the fact that the players never went ahead with killing bell zephyr and the other smilers they knew the identity of. Even when they figured out that the plot was advancing with or without the Joker's involvement, that our story was not the main focus of the world at large, they still decided to stay on the sidelines doing school stuff. The way they ended up dying in was great but it lacked catharsis. In the end they just fell like the enemies they were, no villainous monologues or last attempt at justifying themselves, everyone was just so focused on murdering the shit out of the other.

It honestly bothered me a lot while I was reading and for a time after while it was all still fresh in memory. How the fuck were those kids able to pretend to be human with all the absolutely insane, awful shit they were doing? Every time we found out what the Smilers were doing I thought "alright it can't possibly get worse", but all the way up until the final battle their actions just became more insane and deranged. The were Monsters, in every meaning of the word. That players refused to see this and lied to themselves that it could be stopped with a few conversations over coffee was frustrating to no end.

Lastly, what on earth did those idiots expect to find in their promised land? They hated each other, they didn't trust each other and these are the people you're going to share paradise with? Well they are all dead and good fucking riddance, but I really would have liked to find out what they believed their goal was that made all of this worth it. How they had twisted their atrocities in their minds to be acceptable.
>>
>>2786191
>How the fuck were those kids able to pretend to be human with all the absolutely insane, awful shit they were doing?
Same way Joker and most every other Player who's alive did? You seem to have forgotten that almost every named character in the story is a murderer in some capacity.

>is the fact that the players never went ahead with killing bell zephyr and the other smilers they knew the identity of
It's precisely because Joker got to know them personally that killing them is hard. Even if they are antagonists, the readers wish to know more about them and you're stupid for thinking most would readily vote for killing characters they've grown invested in unless there's no other choice.

>no villainous monologues or last attempt at justifying themselves
Why would they? The nature of the Red and the tone of the Quest itself does not support stuff like that. People in JQ generally fight with unbending conviction and belief that they are either right or recognize they are wrong and do not desire sympathy. They don't need to justify their choices to other because they are mature enough to know where they stand and that the enemy will not show mercy regardless of what they say.

>The were Monsters, in every meaning of the word.
Alura, Kraken, Naoya and Pazuzu were the ones doing most of the truly heinous shit consciously. The rest were little more than brainwashed pawns or victims of circumstance who were guiled into believing they had no better choice. That doesn't really excuse their actions, but Joker is arguably a worse person than some of them.

>That players refused to see this and lied to themselves that it could be stopped with a few conversations over coffee was frustrating to no end.
Perhaps not. But it gave us opportunities to learn about them, their motivations and how the inner structure of the Smilers is composed.
>>
>>2786191
Bell Zypher wasn't a monster, she was just in a really shitty situation because of Rust Kaiser.
Rust Kaiser was barely functional, effectively catatonic.
Bomber Enfer was 100% mercenary
Kraken was a blatant sociopath
Alura was a megalomaniac sadist
Bardiel was an emotional wreck with an inferiority complex the size of a small moon
White Joker is White Joker, he's as damaged as Red Joker.
Oh and whatsisface, Bardiel's friend, Calcite thingamajig. I can't remember what his deal was beyond being really mad at Joker for killing Bardiel.
All of the minor Smilers were just the lost and the discontent, persuaded to the wrong side by the promise of power and Paradise.

Point is, none of them were successfully pretending to be human at all. Everyone is varying degrees of outright broken, they were just desperately holding it together for the sake of the plan, which was, quite literally, all they had left. It was a cult, no more, no less.

None of them had anything to say in the final battle because everybody went into it knowing that there could be no backing down. It was kill or be killed. The time for words has long since passed, and everybody had set their convictions on the table. I think it would have cheapened it, had they started spouting pithy monologues.

I was actually a supporter for taking out Bell Zypher early on, shortly after we found out her identity, but I can understand why people voted the other way. For starters, it did seem like there was a real chance we could have saved her from herself, which also would have taken Rust Kaiser out of the equation without a fight, which... Would have been nice. Even beyond that, I guess people were in-character enough that they really, really wanted to keep up the illusion of humanity.

All in all, Joker Quest has been really, really dark, but it's been extremely well-written dark, with excellent character drama.
>>
I'm glad I'm not the only one who's coming into JQ as a new player. There's definitely some thoughts I've had about this story after pouring through it in 8 days.

It's been 6 years of questing to follow along an ever downward spiral of events in Anon-kun's life over the course of maybe a couple of months. For him, it was been 6 years since he went through his 1000 years of hell in a single night, surviving in the very same realm we find ourselves in now.

Although it is physically impossible to read this entire quest in a single night, I tried my damnedest. In it, I think I learned the tiniest fraction of why Anon-kun is the Red Joker he is, now hear me out.

The first time we as players joined him as he killed another player was a dramatic affair, a gladiatorial contest with an audience and everything. We were faced with a foe with the intention of killing us, so we killed them first. That was the mantra Anon-kun's 1000 years taught him, that the world is out to kill him and he has to do everything he can to survive. So the players, too, did everything they could to keep the Red Joker alive during the 6 years of playing.

They also tried to maintain Joker's humanity, and we all suffered as we watched his psychopathic tendencies clash with that idea. Human mistakes with imperfect information were made. The ancient history of death and murder and slaughter is set in stone.

Now, us players have been handed this legacy and, in a small way, we have a choice. The same way the Red Joker suit was passed down to Anon-kun, JQ has been passed down to us 6 years later.

Will we repeat the same mistakes? Or will we fall into the same traps as all the rest before us?

And here we are with a follower, our friend, our Gold Joker in the making with all our abilities. All of this can be seen as training, and remember how we became the RJ. The previous pulled us out of this hell, and gave us the blade to kill him and take his place.

Should we continue the cycle? Is our time as the Red Joker up? Have we already burned the world down with our actions?

I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
>>
>>2786261
>>2786339
Just airing grievances I've been sitting on for half a year with no outlet.

This is damn well written and I love it but fuck me if it doesn't make you feel awful at every twist and turn.

I'm talking about the inner circle, the upper echelon and not the smiler mooks of course. I agree that Joker might very well be one of the worse players, but I must argue that no matter your reasons or circumstance, actively participating in, or presiding over, the smilers plans makes you an unforgivable monster. The shit alura was doing, creating players by stuffing them with black Joker blood, splicing them with correctors (even their own friend!), Causing a tear in reality and hurting innocents, sacrificial mass slaughter, and this sentence is getting too long.

You call enfer just a mercenary but don't forget that he took his turn before the lift off to slaughter people for fun. Remember when Joker checked through that guy's memories and saw enfer tagging out. It was implied that they all did that. One last hurrah, for fun and because they could.

Unconscionable.

I'm glad they are all dead, I'm sad it didn't happen sooner, and I'm incredibly upset that Joker was unable to stop the tragedies and atrocities. That's how it goes though, when your are only the main character in your own life.

The pretending to be human bit, that applies to everyone. Argent prominence's group at least tried. Natsuki and others expressed their woes and felt like utter shit and carried terrible burdens. Smilers really didn't show any signs of remorse, or many feelings far removed from spite or hate. Many independents probably did, more probably didn't. It just really, really irked me that they had the gall to lead normal lives as is the red world was separated and didn't count. Wasn't real.

I'm not sure how else to explain it. But you see where I'm coming from?
>>
>>2786458
>Just airing grievances I've been sitting on for half a year with no outlet.
There is a /qst general thread that almost everyone knows about.
>>
>>2786441
>Should we continue the cycle? Is our time as the Red Joker up?

I want to
1 find out the truth and history of the abyss, the red world and the black world
2 destroy them, utterly, no matter the cost.
3 save Mio, even if it means a mercy kill. I wish there will be a way to heal her heart and mind.
4 finally mourn all those who are dead
5 lay down and rest, knowing that for once in our life no one will try to kill us.

Joker is a stone cold survivor who strikes first and strikes hard, destroying anything that poses a threat. As long as he has the will to live, I see him trying to end the source of his misery, the world itself.

Also as a side note, say that we succeed. Wouldn't it be funny if we only destroy the red world they manifests in our home town? Jqop said there is one everywhere people gather.
>>
>>2786487
There is so much to wrap up, I agree. I don't want to pass the torch to our friend after carrying him out of this hell, but it would be thematically appropriate for our Red Joker's story to end similar to the old one - barely surviving a war between the Big 5, watching his actions create a cataclysm in his city, and going on one final journey to save us.

.. I just realized we're the Shirou as the old RJ is Kiritsugu. We didn't ask for this legacy, for these ideals, but dammit we're going to keep them as we try to save everyone. I don't think there will be a happy ending for us unless we get extremely luck or play it very smart.
>>
>>2786458
>Argent prominence's group at least tried.
Because they had genuine comrades and a group that was held together by shared ideals and hopes. Smilers had none of that. They were an apocalyptic cult composed of mostly bitter orphan youths who were turned into players when their minds were most malleable and immediately guided on the wrong path.
They were denied the opportunity to actually think for themselves and grow from the traumas like other players did.

>It just really, really irked me that they had the gall to lead normal lives as is the red world was separated and didn't count. Wasn't real.
Honestly, it's a very standard coping mechanism and likely how the majority of scrub Players who don't get drunk on power act anyway.
>>
>>2786511
>I don't think there will be a happy ending for us unless we get extremely luck or play it very smart.
>play it very smart
Um. we didn't play it smartly. the shit has already hit the fan. Now we're just trying to survive in the debris. And I can't help but get the feeling that we are already repeating the cycle step by step in the same exact sequence. An old joker (Anon) leading an unfortunate soul (Kazuya) out of hell and saves him at the cost of his own life upon reaching the Real.
>>
>>2786713

It's funny, but this Quest makes me think of a masculine version of Shoujo Starlight Revue, especially the early one on one duels.
>>
>>2785446

(I just Google'd that, and I think it might be. It was unintentional, however.)

You hear the deep, grinding rumble of the Armory Guardian’s engines, the clatter of its treads, the fug of smoke that roils around it. The eerie flicker of the leviathan’s personal storm, swirling around it like an aura, fighting to cohere. The shield-sphere set in the behemoth’s chest roils, dull tics of lightning playing across the thing’s surface-

The sudden howl of a raging engine shatters the eerie quiet, treads crunching over the splintered and broken bodies of fallen Players, kicking up divots of metal fragments and steel splinters. The forward mantle of its hull shatters through the canopy of a burned-out war machine, ripping right down through it, charred carapace fracturing as it rolls off the moving armor. Overhead, the Guardian’s photonic halo continues its sine-wave oscillation, as the leviathan thunders towards you-

“Move! Move!” Daegal is staggering forward – Even over the Dirac channel, his voice is high with panic, jarred by the violence of his motion. “Joker, it’s heading-

Plumes of smoke trail in the Armory Guardian’s wake, as it clatters towards you – It seems intent on running you down, crushing you in the floor. Baleful yellow light shines from the construct’s optics, the other half smashed and mangled from gunfire and raking claws and impacts.

Does it know what you are? Is that why it’s hunting you so intently?

You snap to the right, turning faster than it can. You break into an all-out sprint, the Sigma Charge sending molten strength surging through you. Treads bite into the ground, spraying up plumes of debris, as it turns to intercept you – With a shriek of grinding metal, an acrid belch of smoke, it accelerates, the distance narrowing…

>>2785300
>>2782378
>>2782366

OMEN flares to life in your right hand. The VECTOR TRAP’s hypersphere swells, the schematics of the Fusion Annihilator wrenching themselves into place, like an intricate mosaic – solidifying, cohering, into the Annihilator’s blunt bulk. There is a sense-memory, like the death of stars – The charging ring beginning to rotate, the Sinistral’s hard-light wedge seething against your arm, cutting a path through the smoke.

-A flicker of warning-

You hurl yourself sideways. The pillar closest to you explodes, as parallel bursts of Vulcan fire rip into it. The layered cannons roar, as the Guardian’s Vulcans blaze to life – the cannon bolts rake past you, rake across you, as you wrench the Sinistral up to guard. Impacts splinter across the barrier, ricocheting bolts scouring your armor, superheated blasts of sickly green energy flash-charring ugly gouges across the red-

A glancing shot erupts against the side of your helmet, hard enough to make you stagger, hard enough for your flash-compensators to kick in.

So that’s how it feels to be on the receiving end.

(Continued)
>>
>>2788011

Behind you – the shriek of flechette blasters, firing again. The rain of barbs detonate all around you, in razorbursts – ultra-sharp splinters slicing off your armor, like raking nails. Warnings flare on your HUD, as a well-placed round digs into the myomer beneath your greaves – Acutators whine, spooling as they fight to compensate for the damage…

Not yet.

OMEN glows, tachyon-green in your fist. You angle the humming wedge of your shield to soak up the impacts, the Sinistral humming as it absorbs punishment.

Two charges.

Not-

A ghost-echo of the future, a premonition of now-

The Guardian’s vast blade swings in. It carves the air, slicing through the space between it and yourself. It is directly in line with your eyes, filling your vision. It moves so fast, it screams white at the edges, the air rippling as the ozone sheath whips and heats it.

But you’re fast, too. You’re so much faster.

You don’t dodge. You *leap*.

Your talons gouge footholds into the ground, the death-heat of the SIGMA CHARGE flaring through you. The hissing, spitting blade whips past, and carves into the wall. Architecture is eviscerated, as the seething edge rips deep into the stone – You clear it by inches, a hideous tearing shriek echoing through the chamber as you land, skidding.

Our from beneath the shadow of the blade. Across the floor. Past the Guardian’s outstretched arm.

And then – just for a moment – you are in line with the body of the beast. Just for a moment, in line with the blunt bullet of the head. It bristles with sensor nodes, visual receptors, optic-finders – redundant systems, so it can target and fire and function in the very depths of hell.

So it can see *exactly* what you’re about to do to it.

(Continued)
>>
>>2788022

Three charges.

You skid across the floor, your heels digging in. Arresting your slide, as missiles blaze from your Triskelion launchers. Eight missiles roar, twisting through the intervening distance, the air becoming a tangled web of vapor trails-

And in a stuttering flash – bright, actinic – the Armory Guardian’s point-defense system flares to life. Lasers scythe through the air, in die-straight lines – they slice your missiles apart, the air blossoming with fire and rocket exhaust as you empty your magazines.

A shout, from close by. Daegal – off the floor, running. You can hear his armor grinding, smoke coiling up from the superheated metal as his internal components cook. He has ULTIMATUM in his hand, the black stone of the head sparking with charge. Before the Guardian can wrench the blade free, he swings the maul down, two-handed, like a baseball bat-

Focusing coils shatter. Arcs of energy crack through the air. The burning light of the actinic blade becomes a flare of internal heat, a bluish static discharge. Shearing force flickers out, collapsing in a cascade of sparks. Something explodes, panels blowing out in a swirl of trailing flame. There is a sound of ringing steel, of unwinding gears.

“RRRRRAAGGGGHHHHHHHH-“

Daegal swings again – the right leg, behind the knee joint. The mace whistles, as it hurtles towards the exposed mechanisms, contrails of lightning trailing from the maul’s head-

The Armory Guardian brings it’s fist around, and clenched iron knuckles smash him away. You hear the whuff of Daegal’s static-laden exhalation, as if every breath he’s ever taken has exploded from his lungs, all at once. A second bolt of photon lightning jags down from above, and smites him out of the air – He hits the ground, rolling and tumbling and skidding, the mace bouncing from his hand, only to slam so hard into the wall he leaves a crater.

But when it’s focused on him-
Four charges.

Fire.

(Continued)
>>
>>2788037

There is an oscillating shriek of energy, of pressure.

There is a flash. A tiny dot of the purest light, incandescently bright. Like a rod of molten glass, shimmering with internal radiance. All that heat – all that fury – blasts forth, the flaming edge of a huge, expanding blast…

Your fusion capacitors pulse with furious heat, the Fusion Annihilator’s beam shearing out. It bangs, painfully, as it connects. The impact shakes the Armory Guardian, all four hundred tonnes of it. It rocks – actually rocks – lifted off the ground, skidding sideways beneath the furious energies. Huge chunks of armor plating blast apart, spinning high into the air – vile smoke pouring up and out of the damaged section, as the leviathan shudders, stalled by the body-blow. You can hear the high whine of the reactor cycling up, beneath the annihilating light, fighting to bring the shield up, fighting to resist imminent annihilation-

The Armory Guardian’s shield explodes. The collapsing wash of energies lashes out, in bright, flickering arcs – grounding themselves on the metal pillars, sparks hailing down from above in a furious rain. You can actually see metal *distorting* out of shape, gouged pits spreading across the hull, crumpling inwards, as it turns into the deluge of fire, like a man leaning into a gale. The faceplate beings to melt, the metal glowing hot under the ceaseless torrent of all-consuming energy-

And then internal blast comes, sudden and bright, hot and vast. The Guardian ruptures, that vast outline twisting – like a paper silhouette, ripped down the middle. It sways, as that chrome faceplate cracks, crazing, shattering, blowing out in a burst of sickly green light-

It’s still moving,

A strange, mewling, sobbing sound – like a death-rattle – comes up from the leviathan. Flames ripple and flicker off its bodywork, as it rolls backwards – the charging coils of your Annihilator glowing white-hot, steam hissing from your cooling array. The Guardian’s drive-unit issues a low, thudding growl – crippled, colossal limb-joints twitching as if palsied, reactor shielding stripped away. The thing’s innards glow with furnace-heat, on the verge of shutdown or cataclysmic eruption.

With a terrible inevitability, you hear the thing’s ramjets spin up. The entire form locks forward, a hunched position – Molten metal rains down, as air sucks into the dying leviathan’s intakes, that armored bulk seeming to *swell*, about to rupture from within. It tilts towards you, huge chunks of steel crunching down in showers of flame and sparks, streaming choking black smoke-

Hellish light flares, in the jagged, blank hollow behind that splintered faceplate. Afterburners light, roaring with scorching white heat.

And with everything it has left, it accelerates towards you.


HP: 78.45%
VITAE BOOSTER: 98%
ASSAULT SHROUD: 32%
METER: 56%
ENCROACHMENT: 2%

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2788047

(My apologies, I should add - SIGMA CHARGE ACTIVE.)
>>
>>2788047
EXEC_REND through it, turn around and fire two Railgun slugs into its back and as many missiles as we can.
>>
>>2788047

EXEC_REND through it and take cover! It's about to explode!
>>
>>2788054
This, but instead of turning to fire, just accelerate away from it as soon as possible.

It's going to explode, innit, so we want distance.
>>
>>2788094
>>2788099
Don't forget to warn Kazuya to stay the fuck away.
>>
>>2788047
DODGE

Wrap it with the Assault Shroud once it's reached the end of its path, to block its sensors and limit the impeding explosion.
>>
>>2788054
>>2788094
>>2788123

It’s coming for you. Directly for you. Fire, gouting from the rents in the hull, licking along the dying leviathan in leaping arcs of hungry flame. Molten strength stings through your limbs, as you hurl yourself full-length to avoid the impact. Your Assault Shroud ignites, burning afterimages scattering in your wake like dying leaves.

Daegal, to his immense regret, has just managed to haul himself up – to take a single tottering step forward-

“Holy shit-”

You slam into him, a body-tackle. Your arms vise around his sides, as you keep going – Abruption jets flinging you forward, with a burst of force as blunt as a grunt of pain-

The Armory Guardian – huge, streaming smoke and flame – slams into the vaulted wall. The sound is catastrophic, cataclysmic, a meteor ploughing into a doomed planet. Huge chunks of machinery crash down, in showers of molten metal and fire. A massive pylon breaks free of its ceiling mount and comes crashing down, barely missing you – the shockwave shaking the ground, the crash of pillars toppling kicking up sparks, a hail of burning stone.

> Don't forget to warn Kazuya to stay the fuck away.

Fortress mode.

“Wha-“

Fortress mode, *now*

And then the real shockwave comes. You feel it punch into your spine. You feel it hammer the deck, the very core of the great, doomed structure you’re in. With aching slowness, tessellated hexagons lock together around you, like the teeth of a fractal dragon, shutting out the burning hellscape-

When the Armory Guardian tears into the wall, the vast fireball rips upwards and outwards, a mushroom cloud. The expanding blast, a rolling wave, lashes between the pillars – Macerated, burning chunks of twice-dead Players hurled in every direction. Collapsing wreckage hits the chamber floor with a numbing crash, energy crackling and sparking around twisted energy sections, as burning rubble cascades down.

The leviathan is atomized. A huge chunk of reactor shielding spins out like a ricochet, the final pieces spraying outwards in a burst of lethal shrapnel, dipping and burning. The heat, the terrible light of the blast – it overloads the resolution of your optics. They white out, fizzling, as Fortress Mode’s sphere seals around you, shutting you in a ruddy, armored gloom. The shockwave rattles you like a die in a cup, the thundering roar of the Armory Guardian’s demise overwhelming all sound.

It feels like an earthquake. Even through Daegal’s barrier, the light falling in is twitching orange.

“Oh *Jesus*. Oh Jesus fuck-

(Continued)
>>
>>2788167

There are sounds in the half-light. Girders collapsing. The crackle of flames. Brittle noises, hollow bangs and thumping blasts, the sound of ammunition cooking off.

And then a sickly green glow joins the half-light, as your Essence emitters. Whirling emerald motes fall into your armor, like smoke precipitating, condensing down into light. Embers fade, along your arms and legs – A blizzard of stars, drawn into you like iron fillings to a magnet. The fiery glow sheathes you, orange mingling with the green, as if the inferno has found a way past the Assault Shroud, somehow-

> TIER THREE WEAPONRY UNLOCKED
> PHOTONIC HALO
> PROCESSING…

In the gloom, Kazuya’s optics flicker, frantic, blue. Hair-thin filaments – faintly amber – weave themselves across the gaps in his armor, stitching systems and ruptured myomer back together. He doesn’t seem to notice – To his perspective, he’s been in a car crash, over and over again.

“Is – Is it over?” he says, shakily. “What…What the hell was that thing-?”

A pause. Then, faintly...

"Anon - Y'know, this has been fun, but...If there's more of this, I think I really want to go home now..."

Even without features, you sense - faintly - the ghost of a smile.

[ ] "Something the Red Joker made, probably."
[ ] "I'm not sure, but it's dead now."
[ ] "Cheer up - We're still alive. I think."
[ ] "Come on. Where's your sense of adventure?"
[ ] "Well, *someone* must've heard that. Up you get."
[ ] "Me too, Kazuya. Me too."
[ ] "What, you didn't recognize it? It's another Red Comet."
[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2788193
>[ ] "Something the Red Joker made, probably."
>[ ] "What, you didn't recognize it? It's another Red Comet."
"Shame we couldn't take it over or something. Having a ride like that would've been great."
>[ ] "Well, *someone* must've heard that. Up you get."
>>
>>2788193
>[ ] "Something the Red Joker made, probably."
"Gauging by its equipment and intelligence, it was the pet of a former Red Joker."
[ ] "What, you didn't recognize it? It's another Red Comet."

[ ] "Come on. Where's your sense of adventure?"
"Have I told you of the time I lost three limbs and still won the fight?"
>>
>>2788211

(Gentlemen, I'm afraid I have to turn in for now. I'll continue as soon as I have the opportunity.)
>>
>>2788193
>[X] "Cheer up - We're still alive. I think."
>[X] "Something the Red Joker made, probably."
>>
>>2788193
>[ ] "What, you didn't recognize it? It's another Red Comet. except it's a giant Robot instead of a giant car."
>[ ] *incredulous stare* At a time and in a place like this? This is adventuring in a nutshell Kazuya. You can't quit halfway into an adventure. I certainly couldn't when I came here on my first time.
>[ ] Alright enough dawdling. *someone* must've heard that. Up you get."
>>
>>2788193
> Smile back
[ ] "Me too, Kazuya. Me too."
Alright was anyone else really enjoying that ride of a bossfight? If the old Red Jokers' creations are that tough, then I can't imagine how ridiculously powerful they themselves must've been.

But they too died.
>>
>>2788193
+1 >>2788211
>>
>>2788666
>Alright was anyone else really enjoying that ride of a bossfight? If the old Red Jokers' creations are that tough, then I can't imagine how ridiculously powerful they themselves must've been.

I was, but that reminds me...In the obsidian husk upgrade it notes that only jokers that were truly noteworthy (For one reason or another) made an impression on the red jokers armor, locking away their own signature ability.

Vertigo Trisarigon (Or whatever his name was) asked us why we aren't making our own weapons.

The last time I saw the upgrade sheet, I saw we apparently have a unique melee and a unique ranged weapon that we can unlock.

We've gone through 156 threads so far, on 157 and we don't even have our *MAIN* weapons unlocked. Considering how good the weapons we have so far are, I'm wondering what monsters could possibly be behind either of those doors.

Hell, if an old joker built this thing, we should be able to tinker like this too. It's probably been sitting In the EVOL section for *years* without us even realizing it.

Is it worth It though is the question. Do we trust the box? I'm curious to see what other people are thinking for upgrades next level. If not grabbing one of our Unique's then either Impact reduction for defense and physical strength/speed, or maybe reconstruction for the HP bonus and another form of regeneration, passive or otherwise.
>>
>>2790169
I feel like the ability create our own weapons is not something we'll be able to get. Fiddly crafting mechanics are really hard to balance and require too much time to flesh out.
>>
>>2790169
We will never get anywhere with upgrades at this died. I want to continue with our main weapons though
>>
>>2790169
It all comes down to time and essence, both of which we've been lacking for the majority of the quest, especially now that we're in endgame. Well, some of that is our fault too, it took us a long ass time to even decide to farm corrector hives, people got greedy and kept spending essence on shiny upgrades from the Hollow Sun.
Besides, while level up upgrades can give us some unique stuff, I don't think those could be considered something unique to us, the player, since they came from the armor itself, if that makes sense. The only ways for us to "produce" equipment and upgrades is through the Hollow Sun and now through the Athame as well. Makes you wonder if we're possibly the first RJ to take on corruption, since the armor is supposed to be stupidly resistant if not immune to it, and if you look at it from a certain point of view, the pseudo-organic thing we've got going on with lachryma that integrated all the "upgrades" we used to have with the armor could be considered a modification of the RJ armor, at least until it's time to pass it on to the next generation.

With that said though, what do you guys think could end up being RJ's "signature ability" for Oblivion's Husk? Purely hypothetical of course, which of our upgrades do you think has been the most useful so far? I'd say Abruption Jets, Assault Shroud and the Jetpack. Would be a laugh if we get strong enough to leave an imprint on the armor and it ends up being Scylla or the dumb Interceptors lmao
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>>2790173
I could see it honestly, but likely not this late in the game admittedly.

>>2790176
When you say main weapons do you mean the focus tree? It certainly is an option, pushing the Vulcans to their limit and getting swole meter weapons in the process.

And unlocking the forgotten TiER 5

>>2790189
Catching up, I wished the anons had been more proactive and actively hunted down the smilers more, and like you said went and planted more void anchors earlier and faster.

Honestly our RJ hasn't had any *one* thing that makes him stand out in terms of relics or inbuilt weapons. He's been a jack of all trades that uses a dizzying amount of options to win against his opponents. Honestly I don't think a bag of tricks by definition can count as a 'signature trick' in any capacity so that leaves just one thing that comes to mind.

How brokenly, terrifyingly relentless we have become. We were forged in hell, unmade by the screams and the violence and made again in something comparable to a person by the salvation of the Old Joker. Our entire core was formed around the words he gave us then, 'Just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach daylight' and we've lived that way ever since, ever forward.

'Ad Lucem'. Our will to live against impossible odds. Take what *should* be a fatal blow and instead defy death to continue the fight once more. Resets once you regain a set amount of health (major or full restoration)

Always forward, eh Joker?
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>>2790189
Honestly, I'd say the Crisis Arm is probably the closest to being our signature weapon. It's based on our original pre-RJ weapon and we do tend use it quite often if only because of how brutally satisfying it is to punch right through enemies or send them flying through walls..
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>>2788209
>>2788211
>>2788219
>>2788392
>>2788666

>[X] "Cheer up - We're still alive. I think."
>[X] "Well, *someone* must've heard that. Up you get."

He groans, but - reluctantly - makes to stand. The bronzed digits of your Crisis Arm close on his wrist, and pull him - inexorably, as if he'd rather not - to his feet.

"Yeah," Kazuya says, with feeling. "Yeah."

> [X] "Shame we couldn't take it over or something. Having a ride like that would've been great."

"Why walk when we can ride in style, right?" A hollow, mechanical chuckle...But it's a chuckle all the same. That's a good sign, some of his humor is returning. "You know, Anon...Before this, I've never been in an accident, ever. No offense, but...This time, let *me* do the driving, all right?"

...What's that supposed to mean?

> [X] "Come on. Where's your sense of adventure?"
> [X] "Have I told you of the time I lost three limbs and still won the fight?"

"I - I think I'm all adventured out, Joker," he says, only half-joking now. "I just..."

Daegal shakes his head. "Three limbs, huh? What, did you...I don't know, headbutt him to death after that?"

He holds up a gleaming hand, to forestall any explanation. "No, don't tell me. I...Shit. I don't think I'll ever sleep again, after this." Then, almost to himself - "...If I ever get the chance, anyway."

> [X] "Me too, Kazuya. Me too."

The Assault Shroud's interlocking hexagons slide apart, dissolving into a gritty swirl of nanomaterial particles. Drawn to Daegal's form, they swarm - gathering themselves into a tattered black cloak, woefully patchwork now. He's limping slightly, his armor smeared with soot and ash, occasionally sparks shooting from his shoulder-joint as his limbs articulate - But it's the devastation ahead that dazes him.

Utterly gutted, the Armory Guardian's furance heart continues to burn - eerie green flame lapping up across the walls, a vertical lake of fire. It pools on the chamber floor, as you pick your way through piled and burning rubble - a sight that feels oddly familiar, somehow.

This ruin. This destruction. He must have seen this landscape, too.

And so the Red Joker's past becomes your future, and all of time becomes one.

Ahead of you, beyond the strewn wreckage, there is the beginnings of a low hum. The atmosphere is thick with exhaust fumes, the vile fug of burning metal - but as the last of the Armory Guardian's stored Essence dissipates, mechanisms chatter to life.

"Holy fucking shit," Kazuya says, his optics glowing faintly. A dense heat-haze ripples off the shattered hulk of the fallen leviathan - a huge stack of black material the size of a tank, swollen with leaping orange flames. "You...I can't believe we killed it. I didn't think it could even die-"

(Continued)
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>>2790315

> [X] "What, you didn't recognize it? It's another Red Comet."

"...Yeah, I think I got that. Just - I thought...I thought you drove these things. They aren't...They aren't supposed to move on their *own*. I mean - Joker, we walked past three of those things. If I'd known they could come to life like this-"

Daegal actually sounds betrayed, as he falls silent at last.

"Hell of a thing," Kazuya mutters, almost to himself. "-Hell of a thing."

> [X] "Something the Red Joker made, probably."

He stares. For a long, quiet moment, he just stares.

At the Guardian. At the twisted, tortured metal of the chamber. At the ground, covered in the ancient dead and in flickering flame.

"But - It was trying to kill you," Daegal says, slowly. "Not me - I was just in the way. It...Joker, it was really trying to kill *you*. If the Re - Uh. If the other guy made this..."

His voice trails off, the rest left unspoken.

> PROCESSING...

The hum builds. The chamber's light shifts, subtly, as the ornate fresco of the far wall - miraculously untouched, amid all the destruction - deforms. It parts down the middle, revealing not light but the absence of it.

A deeper darkness. A darkness so profound, you might as well be blind.

Beyond, there is a path. A long, winding road of burnished steel. Railings line the span - the chamber beyond is vast and cylindrical, soaring up into the darkness and dropping away into the darkness far below.

The walls are etched with lines, with script. Hundreds of thousands of lines of writing, covering every inch of the interior walls, in perfect, uniform rows. The railed metal path turns at irregular intervals, set at perfect right-angles to each other. It is wide enough for three men to walk side-by-side, but that is the barest comfort: It is utterly black on both sides, black and airless. Just that stark road, extending forward into infinity.

Daegal inches forward, cautious now. It's a sidle, almost a crab-walk, as his gauntlet grips the railing - As he sets foot on the path. It looks treacherously smooth, unsupported, but he lets out a little grunt of surprise as he straightens. "It's...I don't think we can fall off," he says, slowly. His boot comes down on the surface, which doesn't even sway. "-You think it's safe...?"

What does it matter?

(Continued)
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>>2790326

You lead the way.

The immense space is starlight-dark, midnight-silent. The hallway behind you dwindles, from a yawning archway to a distant hollow, to a pinprick. Every now and then, a sound breathes through the black space, a sound that might almost be the wind.

The wind, or the crush of acid breakers against a coast of black sand.

"Oh," Kazuya says, struck with a sudden realization. "-We're descending. D, did you notice that? Joker, we're heading down-"

It is not a straight path at all, but a ramp. The incline is so subtle, so infinitesimal, you barely noticed it.

The sound is coming from far, far below.

Silver threads criss-cross your vision. There are other paths, distantly glimpsed - stairs, gantries, railings. Other means, perhaps, to the same end. But they are forever out of reach, almost tauntingly so - More than once, you get the strangest sense that you are not alone here. That others are descending, too.

Something, circling without ever taking hold.

Down. Further. Your progress becomes trancelike, one foot in front of the other. There is a sense of disorientation, of only the vaguest suggestion of continuity. It feels like the atmosphere is changing, too, or perhaps gravity - there is an odd absence of sound, like tinnitus. Even through your armor, it feels distorted.

(Continued)
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>>2790331

The path terminates in a platform, an extrusion from the burnished metal of the road. It is large, ragged, uneven - Like a tumor, like a battleship's hull crudely welded into a newer structure, a patchwork of steel plates and black iron. Where it extends out and over the void, it seems to sag, slumping at an acute angle, dangling above the darkness below.

> PROCESSING...

There are steps. Steps, leading forward - And finally, the gloom has a *depth*. It has a texture to it, a rippling texture, a faint sheen that coats the platform.

And there are cages.

Suspended on oil-dark chains, extending forever upwards. Battered, somehow rusty, smeared with that same tarry black residue. They surround a central plinth, a plinth of the same rough, hammered iron - remarkable only in how it bears a single, distinctive depression.

A depression, for instance, that could hold a single marble cube, small enough to fit into your hands.

"Oh, hell," Kazuya says. He's looking over the edge - Jointed digits gripping the railing, in a white-knuckled grasp. "Joker, that's-"

Lachryma. Vast amounts of it. An ocean of it.

You are reminded of the battle in the depths of the original Hive, the great rig greedily leeching the ink-black substance from uncountable distances below. But that was a world away.

Here and now - You're this much closer to the source.

In your clenched fist, the Joker's Memory begins to glow. It revebrates, faint light radiating through the staggered grooves running along the sides. It seems to *swell*, the dimensions uncertain, the crimson radiance filtering through the bars of the cages.

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
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>>2790342
Tell Kazuya to be ready for anything and insert the cube into the depression.
>>
Think we should inform him about lachryma before we socket The Joker's Memory?
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>>2790342
Oh shit.
Lachryma. Athame. The Memory.

All three things were most likely connected.
Worst case, if we slot in the memory, we might be having an encounter that Old Joker intended to fight with high degrees of Athame attunement.

But it's not like we can just turn around now, can we?

>>2790361
Good idea. Warn Kazuya about lachryma and its connection to the black Joker.
Also, inform him that his armor is immune to the corruption, while our armor used to be immune. It might be valuable information for what is to come.
Then tell him to prepare for us blanking out. As usual when we slot weird things into weird mechanisms.

Then jam it in. Things will go so fucking wrong.
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(Gentlemen, I must turn in for the night, but I'll continue as soon as I have the opportunity.)
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>>2790342
>[ ] This is a test. A gauntlet meant to test the Red Joker.
>[ ] word of advice. don’t fall off the edge
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>>2790481
>>[ ] This is a test. A gauntlet meant to test the Red Joker.
Oh yeah, right, forgot that part.

The tank was testing us. The question is whether it was just gatekeeping an even worse encounter or whether it was gatekeeping something that isn't terribly deadly.
>>
By the way, are armor is proccessing the Armory Guardian's essence. Is that finished? If no, should we wait till hit happened before socketing? I just found it odd that it takes that long.
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>>2790539
I imagine it's more of a narrative thing. It'll only become available when JQOP wants it to come into play for maximum impact. After all, it's the first addition to our main power set in what, over a hundred threads?
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>>2790539
>>2790567
Somehow I didn't get it until these posts.
I thought our presence was being processed by some kind of external system.
>>
Can we plug in the Nihl Sphere?
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>>2791987
>A depression, for instance, that could hold a single marble cube, small enough to fit into your hands.
> Can we plug in the Nihl Sphere?
>that could hold a single marble cube,
>Nihl Sphere
>Cube
>Sphere
anon. pls.
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>>2792155
To be fair, that does sound like the results might be interesting.
>>
There is a shit ton of lachryma there, see if we can use it to repair the scrander or some of our other broken shit. We don't know what's at the bottom, this is the most amount of Lachryma we've seen in ages.

We finished that scene with 2% encroachment, 78% health and not enough anything. Use draw forthe, direct it to repair the scrander, the sinistral and our other damaged gear before healing ourself with it; if it can't repair or resupply, it can at leadt heal.

Extend a Scylla head into the ocean to physically touch it. Be prepared to sever the head if its too much. MAKE SURE TO TELL DAEGAL FIRST SO HE CAN BE READY AND NOT SURPRISED IF SOMETHING HAPPENS. Then the memory.
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>>2793936
I think we're better off having as little encroachment while inserting the memory.
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>>2794024
Why? We're on less than half health and the memory has never done anything encroachment related. Even if we fully maxed our health, our encroachment would still be massively beneath it by a gap of 80%

Why would Encroachment affect the memory and we have a congaline of monsters outside ready to rip us a new asshole. We don't know when we'll access this much Lachryma again.

JQ has always encouraged out of the box thinking like this, what was the point of the Athame if we don't use it?
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>>2794078
While I could see drawing about 50% HP worth of lacryma to heal ourself, I must hesitation in drawing lacryma from an *OCEAN* of the stuff. What if we end up drawing too much and turn into something that'll flip on Kazuya? It could be a good way to heal ourselves, or it could be an interesting way to get a bad end. I'll remain neutral on it.

Just some thoughts on the Jokers Memory as a plot point though, In checking to see what happened last time we opened the Jokers memory. I think the first time we tried to use the jokers memory Naoya had showed up to kill us, maybe because he thought he could open the black right then and there with the memory, or maybe It was just a convenient place to corner us.

I think we were meant to go back into hell that second time we showed up at RJ's grave. We could've come in here and torn the place up. We had Cybelle's regeneration back then, and a lovely 260% HP, we likely could have come here and gotten all of these Joker goodies earlier, and how handy would that have been for the Diadem, or for the White Joker fight? The Oblivion Husk has one entry that is closed to us you know, guess who that is? It's gotta be the Old Man. We could have had his upgrade passed down to us, potentially.

Doesn't it seem strange that all of these Red Jokers died down here? Thinking about it, how could they be down here when we have the armor, since the armor is passed on to the victor and what are the chances of so many RJ's dying in hell and then passing it on to someone who could sucessfully leave hell?

My theory is that this place is just that, hell. When players die, an echo of themselves is sent down to suffer and die again. Players can last for thousands of years, create untold relics and cities in their stay, but eventually everyone dies. When they die, they just become nourishment for this place, and this place and the Black Joker are almost one and the same. This entire place is the sins of the red, made manifest. Every instance of bloodshed, of human greed that led them here empowering a single being. Black Joker is the sins of the past come to collect.

That's just my thoughts anyway.
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>>2794229
>Doesn't it seem strange that all of these Red Jokers died down here? Thinking about it, how could they be down here when we have the armor, since the armor is passed on to the victor and what are the chances of so many RJ's dying in hell and then passing it on to someone who could sucessfully leave hell?

Not exactly. if you go way way back in the beginning of the quest, anon went to an unmarked grave which was heavily hinted to be the person who was the previous red joker.

I think many of the previous jokers found the Joker Trials in Hell and attempted to pass it, only to bail out at some point or actually passed the trial at a great cost. We had a previous successor build a Red Comet to act as a gatekeeper to the trials when you look at the mass player corpses in the hallway before encountering the gatekeeper (Red Comet). And yet our immediate predecessor gifted the armor to us and died (either in Hell or just after helping us escape Hell) with no mention of the Joker Trials in hell during many of our flashbacks.
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>>2793936
might as well support this option. I'll link it to the update.
>>2790342
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>>2794254
>Not exactly. if you go way way back in the beginning of the quest, anon went to an unmarked grave which was heavily hinted to be the person who was the previous red joker.


Where we met Kotone right? I know, that's where we went to use the Jokers Memory, and it might be where we end up when we leave hell. We'll likely get some answers about what's going on here next update in any case.
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>>2794229
>We had Cybelle's regeneration back then, and a lovely 260% HP
Don't forget that Athame actually increased our dexterity massively and also gave us a strength boost.
We also didn't have shit like the Inertia Field, iirc.

Then again, we did have Cybele and the Carnifex... Fucking Naoya.
What I wish we could get is another relic that works in a similar vein to the Carnifex and makes some use of our pre-existing adaptions (like the fact that our armor is now built to be ejected to expose the musculature during hypertrophy) to it.
Just so that we can come back strong and kill Naoya with the same adaptions that his stealing of the Carnifex made useless.

Anyway, I vote to DRAW FORTH a trickle of Lachryma, but have Kazuya pull us away if we lose control.
We should have enough time to wait for the encroachment to dissipate afterwards, while we explain to Kazuya in detail what we know about lachryma and the corruption and shit.

Anyway, I don't think the Red Jokers died down here.
From what I can see, there was a single Red Joker down here - the old man. He left the armory guardian, owned Golgotha (or maybe he found it somewhere) and made the Memory as well as the Athame.
However, the armory gives me the feeling that there was at least another Joker - the guy who built all of these weapons. If that's true, then the Armory Guardian might be from someone else. Or it might have been someone more like Daegal or Argent Prominence.
It's all very confusing. All I know is that it's implausible that any Jokers have died down here or that all of them were involved in this. There's some stuff that repeats often in the Red, but it doesn't look like a setting where everything is fated to always be exactly the same.
>>
With how many player weapons and relics are powertools adapted for combat to various degrees, I think that the red a and black are simply ancient or time distorted civilizations that wiped each other out.

The game might just be a sort of perpetual, last ditch effort to win or repopulate. I think that the game was an attempt to rebuild at first but not designed for humans. Human minds are not compatible with the armours, the lack of sleep etc and at some point, enough people snapped. I think that it's all some cruel monkey see, monkey do ladder experiment where the original purpose was lost. With no instructions, no goals and no respite humans revert to basic instinctual behaviour- survival and destroying threats. There's always someone with a crazy harebrained scheme for power or control. Preying on the lost and scared is easy if you play to their need for community and foster the us vs them mentality.

I'm pretty sure why the game exists as it does. I don't believe for a second it was created to be the way it is.
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>>2794447
Ah, rereading my post I didn't mean to imply that I thought that hell was full of dead jokers, just that it seems awfully odd that there are so many different RJ specific gets in here, which made me think perhaps this is where players end up after dying in the red.

And for the record, we did actually have the Inertia field, and MAXIMUM JOKER, and we still had Dictum, not to mention we had the Nil sphere maxed out by then, we totally could have handled this. Nothing gained in wishing about what could've been, not that It'll stop me.
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>>2795529
I think it's just a sign that while the White Joker is made from the Red World, the Red Joker is made from the Black World. Either using their technology or an armoured frame made from it. But, there's a lot of reasons to think it's heavily Joker associated with it;

>Signs of the Righteous being present
>The original Golgotha being there
>The old Red Joker ended up there for some reason
>THe fact the core of the Red Joker is some kind of Lachryma hybrid
>The fact the Red Joker is described as being only able to destroy and the Black seems to be a garbage heap and associated with rot and breaking down
>The Armory and the specially made Armory Guardian present there.
>The name and nature of Oblivion's Husk, the most important RJ ability.

Also, I think Encroachment isn't really anything to do with lachryma and just refers to things that distort your identity.
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>>2790342
>>2793936
I am also in favour of this option
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Does anyone have fan art of Jokers weapons ? Specifically Golgotha?
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>>2795982
There's two drawings, one chibi-like thing by an SBer and another actually good one by someone else.
None of them for anything beyond the Joker himself, though.
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>>2795982
This is what I think of when I picture Golgatha. Maybe a bit more metallic.
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>>2798144
I always pictured this
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>>2790345
>>2790361
>>2790379
>>2790481
>>2791987
>>2792155
>>2793936
>>2795750

"Jesus," Kazuya mutters, peering over the edge. "...How far do you think that goes?"

You're not sure. A kilometre, at least - Maybe further. Distances are hard to judge, here - All you can see is the rippling surface of the ocean of Lachryma, tiny waves beating against the platform's supports. If you listen, if you look, you can glimpse patterns forming - fragments pictures of people, of events, drifting like oil over water.

It's too far to reach, with SCYLLA...But you're not sure what might happen if you make contact-

Unbidden, the shutters of the Helix Gauntle iris open. The glow of the Nihl Sphere is the faintest light - barely a glimmer - but the hungry mire drinks it in, eagerly. The sea of black oil roils, nauseatingly - Small flecks of orange light, like distant fireflies, dance under the high roof.

Blood, you remember Megumi saying. It's the Black Joker's blood.

The sea begins to bubble. It begins to boil. It ripples, as if a vast stone has been flung into the ocean's depths. And there is a sound, the beginnings of a sound - A frantic ticking, like a million million locusts clattering their wing-cases, a droning stridulation that grows louder with each passing moment. Though you cannot feel, the buzzing - like white noise - makes the air thick and sour, as black smoke coils upwards from far, far below-

No. Not smoke. The rising cloud is composed of tiny black motes, swirling and seething - It reminds you of a vast swarm of insects, mandibles chattering, as they ascend towards the distant light.

There is a keening, a sharp need, that fills the polluted air around you-

And Daegal's arm clamps down on your, hard enough to jar you from your reverie.

"Stop this," Kazuya says, urgently. "Whatever you're doing, stop it - Joker, the whole place is reacting...!"

The violet glow fades. The shutters of the Helix Gauntlet iris shut, sealing away the Nihl Sphere - And slowly, reluctantly, like a hive half-roused from slumber, the tremors subside.

(Continued)
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>>2801671

For one hushed moment, there is a terrible silence – A silence so total, so complete, is swells to fill all the space that remains.

A beat.

Another.

And Daegal – a little stiffly – releases your arm at last. He eyes the drop with even more suspicion, now, wary of what lies below. “It’s – I’m not sure what that is, but…But I think it’s *alive*,” he says, low, as if afraid of being overheard. “You saw that – Tell me you saw that.”

His jointed fingers reach for the Immolator, as if he’s expecting something to lurch to the attack – His stance absolutely radiating unease. If you could see Kazuya’s face, it’d be ghost-white.

You can tell – right now – that he wants nothing more than to leave this place as far behind as possible. The thought of facing the reavers is something Daegal can – barely – face, something he can understand. This is something else entirely.

Instead, you step forward with the Joker’s Memory in your grasp. You don’t think that Akira truly understood what he’d stolen – or what it might have been intended for. As you approach, Daegal takes a cautious step back: You can feel the magnet tug of the pedestal, like a compass needle towards true north.

You hear Kazuya draw a breath he doesn’t need, as he glances down at the black mire below. Nothing – It doesn’t react to the approach of the Joker’s Memory, not the way it did to the Nihl Sphere. You pause, balancing the polyhedron on your hand – Nothing happens. Still. Inert.

And then – with infinite care – you set it down on the stone. There is a click, as it slides into the socket as if meant for it.

Nothing.

“…Is that it?” Daegal says – Disappointment mingling with relief. “I don’t think-“

And suddenly, the base of the Joker’s Memory is suffused with red light. It spreads up the grooves, growing brighter as it goes, almost white at the tip. There is a crackle, the sound of things sliding smoothly – And the Memory seems to fold, somehow. It is shorter, longer, sections gliding through each other as if suddenly insubstantial-

Slowly, the four corner-sections seem to almost ripple.

And then it blooms, a flower opening stony petals, spreading back with a series of mechanical clicks to reveal a column of light within, a light that shines brighter, brighter, a tiny newborn sun in the heart of the vast chamber, flooding it with cold light. It shines, brilliantly, across the distant walls – illuminating the endless lines of script, seemingly making them coil and chitter as the sound of scuttling insects grow louder, louder…

There is a rumble. The platform begins to shake, the burnished steel paths trembling in time. It makes for a high, weird resonance, a song that no human throat could ever manage–

(Continued)
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>>2801694

“Joker-!” Kazuya’s voice rises in a shout, as the ocean of Lachryma begins to flow upwards, in utter defiance of gravity. It rises, twisting and contorting in new configurations, in high arches and curves, in a myriad of die-straight lines and trembling peaks – Forming, for the moment, angular shapes and almost-skeletal structures…Before more of the substance rushes in to fill the gaps, rising, twisting…

The light of the Joker’s Memory continues to shine across the vast ocean, like a beacon. The tides are rising up, expanding – becoming more regular, becoming more *solid*, shifting from tarry black liquid to something that flows like quicksilver. It is continuously rotating, reconfiguring, seeming to expand outwards constantly without ever actually reaching the confining walls of the chamber-

A machine. It’s forming a machine.

And it is vast.

It is huge, a mechanism of insane intricacy – Chattering gears and cogs condensing, hammers and pistons forming. Lachryma is woven into a lunatic conglomeration of counterweights, cables, valves, intermeshing and intertwining. Your sensors prickle, as static – or something like it, some invisible, harnessed force – bristles the atmosphere.

The sudden, inexplicable life is deeply, deeply alarming. Three-dimensional shapes form, like a time-lapse photo of industry – the great platform vibrates underfoot, shuddering with the impacts, and you see now that the lopsided, half-completed structure was crafted with a singular purpose in mind…

-To interface with the grand construct that is now emerging.

They enmesh like the teeth of gears. Like the pieces of a puzzle, like two hands clasping.

A pulse like sheet lightning flares, pale arcs of ghostly force rippling from battered metal to frozen Lachryma, then back again. The half-real construct shivers and fluxes, as if in torment…

There is a brittle clang, like the tolling of a doleful bell. Suspended between the solidity of the platform and the fluid, shifting substance of the impossible structure, the door of the central cage swings open. Frost crackles across the bars of the cage, as it hangs open, almost inviting.

You can feel the ground tremble underfoot. Great mechanisms have woken, stirring to life. The light throbbing from the Joker’s Memory grows steadily brighter, as the machine hum in the tower grows louder still…

"Oh," Daegal says, low, almost to himself. "I...I get it. I think - I think I understand, now." His helm is tilted to the side, as if listening to a voice only he can hear. Or perhaps he's listening to the revelations forced into his head by the Vitruvian Device.

"Joker - It's a forge."

"This place...It's where impossible things are made."

(Continued)
>>
>>2801708

He points – Straight ahead, at the empty cage, as the glow fills the air. As it grows brighter, brighter.

A breeze begins to rise, as the humming all around you increases.

GOLGOTHA’s vast bulk, mag-locked to your back, feels heavy with portent.

Shakily, now-

“That – That thing over there. It’s-“

It’s how you control it.

The Forge is a thing of halves – One solid, certain, the other fluid and ever-shifting. The Joker’s Memory remembered that shape – that configuration – and somehow, once again, it has brought it into being.

Daegal’s optics blink-click, just once.

“Anon-“ he says, now. “If you go in there-“

[ ] “I have to, Kazuya.”
[ ] “Watch over me.”
[ ] “I’ll survive. Somehow, somehow…I always do.”
[ ] “The Red Joker did it. I’ll find a way to manage.”
[ ] "Why hide this? Why didn't he tell me?"
[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>2801721
>“I have to, Kazuya.”
>“The Red Joker did it. I’ll find a way to manage.”
>>
>>2801721
>[ ] “Watch over me.”
>[ ] “I’ll survive. Somehow, somehow…I always do.”
>[ ] "Why hide this? Why didn't he tell me?"

"We need to make use of this. He was planning something and we are the only ones who can finish it."
>>
(Gentlemen, my apologies - It's been a long week, and I've been ill these past few days. I need to rest for now, but I'll get a post up at the first opportunity.)
>>
>>2801726
Seconding.
>>
>>2801721
>[ ] “I have to, Kazuya.”
>[ ] “Watch over me.”
>>
>>2801732
Rest well, OP! These past posts have been awesome!
>>
General discussion time; favorite characters? Favorite fights? Favorite weapons? Best girl?

What are your thoughts, anon?
>>
>>2801753
>favorite characters?
Kazuya, Volt Regios
>Favorite fights?
Against Bishamon, Ixion and our first encounter with Rust Kaiser
>Favorite weapons?
Crisis Arm and R&C
>Best girl?
Hecate or Kotone

Also, I'll be honest and say that Mio is worst girl and I'm entirely happy with how her plotline ended up.
>>
>>2801721
>Free
Cometh the man cometh the hour daegal
Every step we have taken brought us here now we get the answers we need. And there is no way in Hell I leave before we do
>>
>>2801721
Also Joker op sama, what does the processing mean after we broke the guardian. Is it like the time we got
signs of the righteous?
>>
>>2801753
Favorite fight was first encounter with Enfer.
Favorite weapon is Fusion Annihilator
First girl best girl. Hectate.
>>
You know, I kind of wish we get to have to have a fight while we are on our bike.
Also catched up from more than 156 threads, I really love your writing JQOP, especially how morbid your descriptions are everytime.
>>
>>2802537
normally I'm not into mecha fights but the flowery prose makes it all the more entertaining.
>>
>>2802537
It's like love craft got into mech destruction porn and decided to share it with the world, and I mean that in the best possible way. Every goddamn thing about his writing style is just so fucking visceral and raw, you fucking *feel* every hit. It's amazing.
>>
>>2786487
>>2786511
Why do you guys keep acting like we're obliged to act like and be like the old Red Jokers?

Most Red Jokers are mass murdering lachryma abusing psychopaths who got it by murderhoboing the last one. The old RJ was a man who saved our life after failing Kirktsugu style but we didn't fail and we don't have to die or retire.

I don't get why everyone thinks the old RJ set this all up. I'm starting to think he didn't imprint on the RJ armor and doesn't have an Oblivions Husk because he never reached here; otherwise, there'd be no robo. Hellebore probably lied about newrlt everything too. Maybe the numbers before each bit of OH refer to the latest user. So if we're 0, no 1 is the prior Joker and thus Golgotha's user is 2 after him? It would explain why his gear is the most recent found at the site. It doesn't quite explain how the symbols fron SOR are still burned onto the mimic bodoed though.

We are a survivor and we'll always survive, no matter what.

Somewhat related, I'm getting really worried about Kaz. It's only been a few fights but his lack of regen is reallt starting to auck. We jave to be able to do something to help him.
>>
>>2803702
Kazuya has a limited sort of regen that brings him back up to a certain threshold. He'll be fine for a while yet.
>>
>>2801753
>Favorite characters
Akira, Haze Joker Kazuya Utopia Ruler, Volt Regios, Enfer and Kraken as favorite Villains
>Favorite fights
The 6v6 Although that might be because I got to consume the 20ish threads at once as an archive fag Cagematch with Kraken, the 5v1 ambush that lead to Kazuya's awakening, The Raid, Second Enfer fight... hell, there's too many.
>Favorite weapons
Cobalt booster, Carnifex and Rubicante and Cagnazzo
>Best girl
She's dead.

>>2801788
Reading through the archives I kept waiting for her to grow a spine, when she never did and fell to WJ's bullshit I felt legitimately betrayed.

>>2802537
>>2802772
Hear hear.
>>
>>2801732
Just want to thank you for not only making this, but also sticking with it for over six years now. This has been really fun.
>>
>>2803724

What 'bullshit'? We actually did that! Naoya in all his appearances ran rings around us, he just doesn't appear to be the best at fighting. Look at his plan, he covered all angles except killing us AND STILL ESCAPED WITH MIO. Literally the only reason why we're not being tortured forever is because Alura got tricksy.
>>
>>2803728
>Look at his plan, he covered all angles except killing us AND STILL ESCAPED WITH MIO.
Except he didn't. He had no way to plan to deal with Mio being possessed by Hellebore and all he really achieved in the end is keeping Mio from joining our side. Nothing actually indicated he actually "got" her. She just ragequit out of reality and fucked off into some other dimension and he's stuck trying to find her.
>>
>>2803728
I know, we fucked up hard, that doesn't mean Naoya isn't an absolute bastard for pulling Mio's strings like that. It seemed like the playerbase up the that point (myself included) mostly just wanted the best for Mio, and he turned her into a black joker avatar.

>he just doesn't appear to be the best at fighting.

I have to disagree there. He spent (at least from his perspective) ONE THOUSAND years down In hell apparently on the same night we did, and our Joker compared Naoya's movements to his own. He dealt absurd damage and outplayed us early in the fight. He stole the Carnifex. He's extremely fast, faster than Mirage sylpheed and Imago's superfiend, likely only slower than Phantom Edge was, while also possibly having the toughest armor of anyone outside maybe Rust Kaisar. Joker OP genuinely thought we were going to die that fight to attrition, but we managed to pull out a draw.

He already cucked us out of killing Kraken, I wouldn't be surprised (but I would be pissed) to find out he offed Pazuzu while we were down here.
>>
>>2803738
>Except he didn't. He had no way to plan to deal with Mio being possessed by Hellebore and all he really achieved in the end is keeping Mio from joining our side. Nothing actually indicated he actually "got" her. She just ragequit out of reality and fucked off into some other dimension and he's stuck trying to find her.

Huh. I guess I need to reread the chapter then, because that's not how I remembered It.
>>
>>2803739
What seems strange is that he didn't intervene in that fight. He was very clearly watching us, but chose to do nothing. If he had helped Kraken, we would have lost. But instead, he killed him and let the rig be taken. He just doesn't seem to be on the same page as Pazuzu.
>>
>>2803750
>He just doesn't seem to be on the same page as Pazuzu.
Nigga, it took you until now to figure that out? It was pretty fucking explicit from the start that Naoya is pursuing his own goals and his alliance with Pazuzu is fairly tenuous.
>>
>>2803739

The only reason he was winning was because he could read our thoughts. Once we got around that we started kicking his ass and nearly killed him. Where the hell are you getting him being faster than Mirage Slypheed? Mirage could hit us a dozen times for every one we sent out. Same thing with the armor, but it doesn't matter since he ejected it with the Carnifex.
>>
What is with you anons and building up our enemies? Mio hates WJ and us now, so he failed to turn her on side and he got stuck in that rotten black church like we were (this is after beating the shit out of him despite him having a more advanced Player armor than us). Pazuzu lost everything and was stuck in a black hole last we saw him after we spent the entire time kicking his ass. Both of their plans failed. At the least, 2 mainfold towers were destroyed but realistically, probably more were. Yes, it sucked that we lost Akira but that was due to our own tactical fuck ups, not because Pazuzu was any good. Well, that and fucking Phantom Edge being godtier I mean holy shit.

The only people left to deal with are Vovoid, WJ (because he still has the Carnifex and the Beam Magnum and we gotta get those back, despite whatever lachryma deformed monstrosity he'll have become), Spiral Coil and the Black Joker. I think this device will help us. Also, I'm curious; do you guys think Spiral Coil is Vovoid or White Joker? He was the last person we were in the Black with before the old RJ came across us and said hi, it'd be interesting if he became one of those two.
>>
Also lads, I just want to say Encroachment doesn't seem to be so much a Lachryma thing as a distorted Essence thing. It happens when we take in strange essence sources, distort our understanding of reality or try to adapt strange materials like Lachryma or the Daegal armor. I also think we should try to be more comfortable with extreme close range combat now given the upgrades to our Booster, our now even MORE enhanced speed, Blutsauger, Golgotha and the Scyalla. We're a fucking blender at this point. For this reason, I think giving the rifle bits to Daegal, if we can, would be a good idea/call but I'm not sure if that's actually viable.
>>
>>2804894
>(this is after beating the shit out of him despite him having a more advanced Player armor than us)
Well, we didn't quite give him such a solid beatdown. At the end there we were stuck in a tug-of-war it was looking to be not in our favor before the fight got interrupted.
>>
JQOP is dead
Post Red Joker's themes
https://youtu.be/O1Sx7B5WnDo when riding the bike.
Next time we summon the Red Comet again, can we scream it's name while we're driving the bike?
>>
Which of these songs is the better RJ theme

1.https://youtu.be/OuSSXOQ-1bI
Or
2.https://youtu.be/KfwteoZCvoY
>>
>>2804894
You forgot Trisagion or however that fuck is spelled.

I'm sure he'll make a reappearance.

>>2805933
>>2805970
This one is good for the fighting and eldritch nature of the Red:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjIVkl34Vig

What is lacks is the despair inherent in being Joker.

We also need an uplifting but subtly disturbing theme for female characters.
>>
>>2805933
>Post Red Joker's themes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqG9i1WTins

... not a combat theme. Just a social messup one.
>>
>>2805933
>Post Red Joker's themes

I also really like some of the tracks from Tokumei Sentai Go-busters

Specifically 16, unmei no hajimari. Its sad up until that turning point - and I think this is a soundtrack song that's cut out for specific clips in the show - but...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvm74Gu8whI&t=0s&index=8&list=PLEE8779FC487FB410

Anyway. the good version starts here, 3:11 or so.

https://youtu.be/Hvm74Gu8whI?list=PLEE8779FC487FB410&t=190
>>
If this really is a forge, my vote is to toss in the Tempest Scrander and see if we can fix it. Maybe we can throw in the old Cobalt Booster too. And if the [PROCESSING] is us about to level up we should up our assimilation with the Athame and see if we can feed it the Scrander and maybe Omen if we can't fix it. Hell, Fixing the Scrander with Omen and maybe getting time-fracturing teleportation flight would be fucking awesome.
>>
>>2807573
>Athame related upgrades
How about no.
>>
>>2805933
First Arc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wRHBLwpASw
Second Arc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6V9GNvVhc
Not sure about the rest

Potentially applicable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyK8A3gsVBM
>>
>>2805933
Still loving this one the most:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWaKqtXFLPc

The Red Song intro part sounds just like a Frost Cestus wandering through hell.
>>
>>2807573
Thinking about it, we might be getting our old Frost Cestus gauntlet back here. The reason I say that is before the misericorde was the joker killing tool it was, It was our gauntlet. That would be a hell of a thing if we got that back wouldn't it?




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