Your room, surprisingly, is quite possibly one of the best you’ve ever slept in. So much so, in fact, that when you opened the door, you did a double take before promptly exiting the room and rubbing at your eyes before checking for illusory wards (they’re on the ‘window’, somewhat obviously, considering where you are) because this had to be some sort of trick.To your surprise--and grudging pleasure--it was in fact completely real. You can only imagine how much this must have cost, but you imagine it must have bought at least a little loyalty from most of the other staff if their rooms were equally nice as this. Those he hadn’t carted out of their lives like…You sigh. Lamenting isn’t going to do anything to help you now, the more sensible part of your mind muses. No, but it’ll sure make you feel better, snipes another, more bitter segment. Eventually you shrug, sighing as you do. The bed’s there, and it looks inviting. Not really any more that you need at this point besides a good wash to remove the day’s accumulated grime. Fortunately, an en suite bathroom provides with just such a place to do so in relative comfort--the hot water, at least, seems to be working just fine, even if there is no heating to speak of so far.You lay down on the mattress, which is heavenly soft, like sleeping on a goddamn cloud, but as you place your head down on the equally divine pillow, you wonder how on earth you’re going to get to sleep with all this shit on your mi--…You blink, bleary-eyed and groggy. Consciousness beckons and, ever reluctant, you answer her siren song. Grumbling, you reach for the drawer at your side table where a half-finished bottle of brandy lies in wait. You hate the stuff, and the acrid taste of the drink never fails to pull you awake. Curiously, though, the drawer it’s hidden in is being unusually stubborn today. Grumbling, you crack open an eye and--Oh.Yeah.Grumbling with a little more intensity, you pick yourself up out of bed and trudge into the bathroom. You’d not paid much attention last night--or at least, you assume it was night time, anyway--but there’s a keen-edged shaving razor and a bottle of cream. Both are an almost exact replica of the stuff you make use of in your own home. You aren’t sure if that’s reassuring or creepy.(Cont.)
>>3020018A thought springs to mind as you run a thumb over the blade, and you set it down to check the wardrobes and cupboards to find that they too are filled with articles of clothing to your particular tastes, including a few that aren’t but seem to be more practical for, say, a romp in an underground jungle cave system, and, no doubt all exactly in your size, too. You wonder a little if Arnold’s theory about Grim being short on funding is perhaps not quite accurate after all if he had enough to splurge this much on you, never mind the hundreds of others who live here.Or maybe he didn’t, and this was a way of saying ‘sorry I dragged you out of your home.’ You scoff at the thought. More likely it’s a way of attempting to buy your loyalty.So far, no one’s knocked at your door, so once you dress yourself, you head out and decide to go grab yourself some breakfast. You’d not admit it to anyone who asks, but you’re looking forward to seeing what’s on the menu because the food, at least, has been nothing short of fantastic. As you lock up your room--not that there’d be a whole lot worth pinching, even without considering the difficulty one might face trying to escape alone from an isolated facility in the middle of the freezing Antarctic--you ponder on how you’ll spend your morning. You’ve already spotted Naru, Diedrich and Arnold on their way down, the latter of whom reminds you immediately of your story-swapping session last evening. It ended on a sombre note; his brother, while still, thankfully, alive, ended up having his wounded arm and leg amputated--Lesser Vampires, he tells you, have wickedly filthy teeth.The reminder gets you pondering on one of many potential fates you may suffer whilst here. Will you, too, one day end up sacrificing an extremity or limb to protect some shmo in the middle of nowhere who won’t know or appreciate your efforts to keep him and his family alive and well? Already, your mood sours, even as you crowd into the large elevator. As the door shuts, a bright and chipper voice suddenly starts to chirp inside your head. You feel, more than see, the way others as used to this phenomenon as you are jump and start.“Hi and good morning, everyone!” Desdemona Fox bubbles, “Just a public service announcement: our brilliant boys and girls in Warding finally figured out the kink in their heating runes. We should have central heating up and running by no later than this afternoon. No more running around pinching each other’s coats! Speak to you again when it’s up! Dez out.”(Cont.)
>>3020019The news brings a chorus of cheers. Even you can’t help but feel a little uplifted by the good news. Running around in a thick coat all the time in what is ostensibly your home for the foreseeable future would get old quick.The elevator doors open, and the canned mass of humanity all but stampedes out, jostling and bustling in a way that reminds you almost of home. Deftly, you weave your way through the press and find yourself among the first to grab a tray and stack it with as much as you’re able.All that needs doing now is finally deciding what to do with yourself.>Go harass one of the people you know (Naru/Diedrich/Arnold)>Come to think, you never got the chance to check out the lower level. Maybe that’ll be worth a morning.>Maybe a trip to the Leisure Centre might do you some good. Arnold suggested swimming...
And I realised I fuct up last thread in forgetting links and shit.Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrostyZippoArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Paranormal%20Agent%20QuestFirst Thread, which still isn't archived correctly: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2907129/
>>3020021>Go harass one of the people you know (Naru/Diedrich/Arnold)Might as well go be social with the folks we'll be going out in the field with; try to get all four of us together if we can.
>>3020021>>Go harass one of the people you know (Naru/Diedrich/Arnold)
>>3020021>>Go harass one of the people you know (Naru/Diedrich/Arnold)I'm also down with totally not harassing all three of our new friends together.
>>3020021>>Come to think, you never got the chance to check out the lower level. Maybe that’ll be worth a morning.Want to see more of the base first.
>>3020021Well, grouchiness loves company, or so the saying goes. More or less. So you lie in wait at the very end of the queue with your own breakfast: toast, eggs, a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice. Arnold shows up first, which only surprises you a little. Guy probably muscles through; there don’t seem to be many others quite as large and imposing as the scarred Brit.“Hey,” you greet.“Wot’s O’clock,” he returns. You think.“Going to ambush the others. Get everyone to socialise and play nice.”He makes a face, “The short Japanese bird, sure. She’s got fire, she does, but the ‘un too?”You think he’s referring to Diedrich. Still not sure what you make of him, but if you’ve got him nailed down--and you think you do--then he’s going to be prickly, but no less human than the rest of you.“Yeah, him too,” you tell him with a nod, “If that grumpy old man’s dead set on getting us to work together, I thought it might be a good idea for everyone to try and get to know each other.”He grunts, sour-faced, but doesn’t protest overmuch as you grab hold of Naru, who’s leaving with a… very full tray. You cock an eyebrow down at her.“What?” she asks, defensive, “A girl’s gotta eat.”“Y’can say that again,” Arnold comments, looking almost impressed.“Right, right,” you mutter, “Doesn’t matter. You do you.”“Yeah, I will. So what’s up with you and the big lummox here waiting to ambush me on my way to eat?”“Lummox?” Arnold sounds almost offended, “What even is that?”You and Naru share a look before you shake your head at the big Brit, “Don’t worry about it. Come on, I think I see Diedrich.”“The German guy? Oh, this ought to be good,” Naru chuckles, glancing back at Arnold.The man in question stops as he beholds you all, blocking his way.“What is it?” he asks, sounding like he’s trying not to sound as wary as he probably feels.“Yer bein’ nicked,” Arnold says in typical gruff fashion.“I thought we could all share a few nice little moments and get to know one another,” you tell the German. He blinks, before turning his nose up at you. Here we go, you think.“W-why would I need to? Is it not enough that I assist you in combat, as only proper?”You can hear Arnold grinding his teeth behind you. Clearly, he didn’t catch the brief stutter, which in itself is curious enough. Actually, now that you mention it...>1d100 (TN 40+)
Rolled 81 (1d100)>>3020248
Rolled 51 (1d100)>>3020248
Rolled 8 (1d100)>>3020248
>>3020248Maybe it’s fatigue or the unfamiliar surroundings and people, or some combination of all three, but Diedrich is an open book to you in his current state. The way his gaze flits about like a startled rodent, the sudden but subtle hunching of his shoulders and the way his elbows tighten in a fraction. You weren’t quite certain before, but no longer.The man is terrified.Why, you aren’t sure, yet, and you’d be surprised if you could pry it from him in the time it will take you all to clean your plates. Your private suspicions regarding the man start to flare up again, though you’re starting to wonder now if maybe you’re just being paranoid.>Call him out on his nervousness.>Fine, if he’s feeling that against it he’s probably not going to be much for conversation anyway. Leave him to his own devices.>You really don’t feel up to conjuring up conspiracy theories at this time of the day. Leave it be and rope him into joining you anyway.
>>3020290>>You really don’t feel up to conjuring up conspiracy theories at this time of the day. Leave it be and rope him into joining you anyway.Note the weakness, either point it out or use it later. Now we have bonding to do.
>>3020290>You really don’t feel up to conjuring up conspiracy theories at this time of the day. Leave it be and rope him into joining you anyway.
Writing the next update now. Will probably be the last one of the night (or morning) as I ended up starting later than I originally wanted. XCOM 2 is a hell of a drug.
>>3020290>>You really don’t feel up to conjuring up conspiracy theories at this time of the day. Leave it be and rope him into joining you anyway.
>>3020290You make a note of the display and file it away for the future in the back of your mind. You’re pretty well certain now that he’s just feeling way too out of his depth and wholly unwilling to admit that to people who were, up the day beforehand--or even a few days ago--his enemy. Pride and fear. An interesting combination, to be sure.“Come on, don’t be like that. I’m sure a big, strong German soldier like you has an awful lot to teach us, right?” you say, giving him one of your best charming grins whilst injecting yourself with a touch of charm magic with a quick, concealed gesture. Partly to get Diedrich to ease up a fraction, but mostly to confirm your other suspicion about him. This one much less sinister, but about as puzzling.You can all see the internal struggle occurring within Diedrich’s head as he mulls his options over. Eventually, you see him relax, as your little charm was intended to do, and he nods. Hesitantly, at first, but he repeats the gesture a moment later a little more decisively.“Fine,” he sniffs, affecting the cold, arrogant persona again. You fight to keep a smirk from your face as he saunters past you and leads the way to an empty table.“Bloody jackboot ‘Heil ‘itler-in’ little nonce in…” Arnold grumbles under his breath as, reluctantly, he follows the blond soldier. Naru starts as well, but not before giving you a pointed look.“What was that about?”“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” you say with an easy smile.“Uh huh,” she nods, still squinting up at you in an accusing manner, “You know, I may have been Navy, but I could still kick your ass for that. Should, too.”“As I said: I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.”Naru’s squint lasts a few moments longer. Reminds you a little of a few women you’ve known back home. None of them were ah, Asian, though, or quite as short as she is, and they’d definitely never masqueraded as a sailor.(Cont.)
>>3020445Not that you’d known, anyway.“Hrm,” she grunts, dissatisfied but clearly as unwilling to start a fight over this as you are. You simply give her a boyish smirk and follow your two larger companions to the designated table. The two men sit diagonally opposite one another, and the sight makes you sigh. Still, you’d more or less expected this from almost the very first moment you’d all met one another just yesterday before you…Happy thoughts, Adam, you think to yourself. Or happier thoughts, at the very least.Sufficiently relaxed, you slide in next to Arnold while Naru takes the spot next to Diedrich, giving him a measured look like she’s sizing him up. You have to admit, you’d almost consider paying to see the result of such a fight, but that’s not what you’re here to do. You’re here to do something you consider yourself fairly good at: talking bullshit. And if you can get the others to start playing to your tune as well so they can all start being friends and maybe help you keep your attractive head on top of your shoulders when the shit starts to fly, then all the better.It's just a matter of picking the right approach...>All of them served their nations in some form or another. Play up that angle and see if they have anything else in common through that.>Start off with a tale from your own side of things; get them to feel as though you’re opening up and they may start to do the same.>Try to prompt one of the others to start (Specify Naru/Diedrich/Arnold).
>>3020447>Start off with a tale from your own side of things; get them to feel as though you’re opening up and they may start to do the same.Talk to them about all the times we made money swindling people playing cards.Then ask if any of them feel up for a game or two.
>>3020447>Start off with a tale from your own side of things; get them to feel as though you’re opening up and they may start to do the same.
>>3020447>>Try to prompt one of the others to start (Specify Naru/Diedrich/Arnold).Naru
>>3020447>>Start off with a tale from your own side of things; get them to feel as though you’re opening up and they may start to do the same.
>>3020447>Start off with a tale from your own side of things; get them to feel as though you’re opening up and they may start to do the same.Something from our life of being a crook and a swindler and as anon suggested offer a game of cards. If we're confident we can also bet that they won't be able to call us on our bullshit.
Fuck, I was hoping that I'd be back early and awake enough to shunt out an update, but that hasn't happened. Sorry guys. I'll call the vote here as it seems we've more or less decided on the course of action and I'll have the next post up as soon as I'm out of bed tomorrow morning.
>>3020447“Right,” you say to your assembled team, “Seeing how this was all my brilliant idea, I’ll kick things off, shall I?”No one complains, and you take a slice of toast and add a generous helping of eggs before beginning.Now, any good con worth his salt will say that the trick to pulling it all off is about earning the trust of your mark in a short and timely manner. In truth, they’re lying. Sure, there’s an element of it, but the real key: confidence. Hell, it’s there in the damn title. At least, in part. Nevermind the mark, you need to be able to convince yourself that whatever crap you’re peddling is worth the time and money you’re about to swindle off of them. It’s more or less the same with cards, and your uncanny knack for illusioncraft only makes it easier; which is why you took to it so damn quick. The Ace of Hearts in your opponent’s hand? Bam. It’s now a Two of Clubs. That King of Spades? Presto, it’s a Five of Diamonds. And of course that’s not limited to just your opponent’s hands.This isn’t cards, but the game is more or less the same; the only stakes, however, is their thought that maybe your ass is worth keeping safe. You’re pretty sure you’ve got Arnie onboard, and you think with a little couple of nudges, Naru can get on the program too. Diedrich, though, is as much of a wildcard as a scared, entirely un-magical and inflexible German soldier can be. You’re not sure how an absolutely normal person (relatively speaking, anyway) got in and you’ll be banging your head against a brick wall with Grim about that later for sure, but until then…“So, I guess I should probably begin from my early days,” you start, “I grew up in Queens, NYC--the Big Apple itself. Lost my mom at a young age and my dad later on in my youth. Growing up without family, you start to get into bad habits,” you chuckle, and note Arnold’s mouth twitch a fraction in a vague approximation of a grin, “I ain’t gonna lie, folks: I was the dirtiest kind of crook. Only lines I never crossed were blackmail and murder.”“We are working alongside a criminal?” Diedrich wonders aloud, and you can already see disgust has replaced whatever anxiety he has, at least in this moment.“Yesiree, my fine, German friend,” you confirm, “Thievery and breaking and entering were all good acquaintances of mine, but my real forte--my bread and butter--was cards. I can deal with the best, and I always come out on top against the rest,” Naru rolls her eyes, but she’s still paying attention.“Yer win a lot then?” Arnold asks. You give him a patient smile.“Do you even need to ask? Now, don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I was swimming in cash. Tends to raise a lot of questions if you keep spending big, so I learned early on to switch up my appearance with a little glamour, and when the draft came into effect I got a lot of mileage out of that little magic trick.”(Cont)
>>3024199“You lie, cheat and steal,” Diedrich lists off in growing disbelief, “and now you tell us that you are a coward as well.”“Not a coward, friend,” you say, pointing at him with a finger, “You think a coward would have stuck around for...” you exhale a shaky breath as the memories resurface, “well, you know...”Diedrich considers for a moment before conceding with a curt nod.“I ain’t afraid of fighting, lady and gentlemen,” you tell them, “But getting myself involved in a war--taking myself from the life I’ve gained for myself to… to take orders from some loud-mouthed asshole, to dig a hole wherever he tells me to, to shoot some guy I’ve never met just because he tells me to... ” you shake your head, “No. No, that didn’t sit right with me.”The German now looks thoroughly confused, “You do not love your country?”“I was born and raised there, and it made me the man I am today. Times were hard now and then, but that’s life.”“You didn’t answer my question.”“I’m proud of my country,” you respond, “I don’t know if that meets your requirements, but it’s how I feel.”“But you are not willing to fight for it?”“Sure I am,” you say, “And the moment foreign boots touch our soil I’ll be right there with the rest of them with a warcry on my lips and hellfire in my hands, but our boys ain’t fighting for the homeland over in Europe. No, they’re fighting for someone else’s.”Diedrich’s puzzlement does not dissipate. He shakes his head as if to clear it and says, “When I joined the Wehrmacaht; when I was handed my weapon and my uniform, it was the proudest day of my entire life. My father--I have never seen him smile so brightly. My mother, she was worried for me, of course, but she smiled too. My young brothers,” he pauses, smiling at the memory, “They worshipped me. I was a part of something glorious. Something worth doing!”You hear Arnold scoff, but Diedrich carries on. You let him; this is easily the most insight you’ve gotten as to how the man ticks and you’ll be damned if you let it slide away now.“When war came, I fought in Poland for the first time. It was louder, noisier, and… more savage than I had believed it would be...” his voice wavers and he swallows, “But I kept heart. I knew that this momentary discomfort on my part would help secure a better life for my friends and family back home in Dresden.”You decide not to ask him how exactly that might be. Or point out how this ‘better life’ would come at the cost of thousands of other lives. Arnold seems like he is, though, prompting you to rest a hand on his shoulder and give him a small, subtle shake of your head. He’ll have his moment to antagonise the German, but not now.(Cont.)
>>3024200“I love my country,” Diedrich declares, fixing you with a steady, level stare, “I would bleed for it and, if necessary, I would die for it. I...” he hesitates, struggling with the English or the concept, “do not understand how you cannot feel this same way for the country that gave you everything; that--as you said yourself--made you who you are.”“Okay, going to stop you there, Diedrich,” you say with a genial smile, “My homeland--my home city--made me who I am, sure, but it sure as hell didn’t give me anything. Every dollar and cent and dime I ever made, I damn well had to earn. Not strictly legally, mind, but I worked no less hard for my cash than any other Joe did at their office.”He looks like he’d disagree vehemently on that point. As far as the law says, it’s a perfectly valid viewpoint. The other two look like they agree with him. Good. Let them find some more common ground; mutual distaste, you’ve found, is just as good a way of cementing or creating a bond as mutual interest. It sounds counter-intuitive, but as long as they can--and they will--learn to separate the admittedly questionable methods of your past from the man you are, things will turn out gravy.Diedrich has fallen into pondering silence, so you finish your session off with a little tale of how you infiltrated a ball for wealthy bankers, charmed a rather ravishing young heiress and was away with an absurd amount of valuables before anyone was any the wiser, which earns a few chuckles. No one likes bankers. Not even Germans or Brits, it seems.Naru and Arnold go through their own backgrounds; you already know a good chunk of both, so you spend much of your time pretending to listen whilst observing Diedrich. He pokes and prods Arnold a few times, who gives as good as he gets, in fairness to the man, but is otherwise quiet and--aside from when he’s ribbing your British teammate--actually somewhat respectful. You catch his eyes glazing over in inattention a few times when Naru is speaking, but whether there’s anything there or if he’s genuinely just that bored is up in the air.Finally, though, all eyes turn to him.“What?” he asks.“Do rules not apply to you as well where you grew up?” Arnold growls, “We all shared. So now it’s your turn.”>The man’s right, Diedrich. Time to pay the piper.>You know what, you’ve gleamed all you think you need for the time being. Let the man off easy.>Maybe he needs another burst of confidence. Give him another little nudge with a light Charm (TN 45+)
>>3024205>The man’s right, Diedrich. Time to pay the piper.
>>3024205>>The man’s right, Diedrich. Time to pay the piper.
Aight. Calling the vote and writan.
>>3024205You don’t know what planet your German teammate is living on, but in this world, when everyone else shares, so do you.“Man’s right, Diedrich,” you say with a slow nod, “Time to pay the piper.”His gaze flits about, but if the man is looking for an exit, he’s going to be disappointed. Eventually, he sighs, heavy and leaden.“My past is… not especially interesting,” he tries.“So?” Naru asks, cocking an eyebrow. Arnold hums, sharing the sentiment.“All right, fine.”He tells you a story of a, by all accounts, fairly average German household. The boy grew up during the worst of the Depression with a father who, after fighting in the Great War as a young man himself, found himself desperately scraping for work. With twins on the way, and the parents ever despairing at the future they would leave for their children, it didn’t take much for them to subscribe to the views of a charismatic up-and-coming figure already making a name for himself in German politics.“My father took me to a rally, one day. Being as young as I was, I didn’t really understand what the fuss was about, of course,” he actually smiles a little, “There must have been hundreds of us; dozens of his own men; the Sturmabteilung,” he pauses, “Er, Brownshirts, I suppose that would translate to in your language.”You already know, what with your own knowledge of the language, but you figure Naru and Arnold likely appreciate the effort.“Anyway, I remember him getting up onto a little podium and addressing us, and...” he pauses again, looking down at his cooling breakfast, his gaze far away as he drifts back to his youth, “I remember his voice most clearly. I still hear it even years later, like he is standing right beside me. He was so… passionate. He spoke of his dream of a united, strong Germany. One that each of us would be proud to call our home. It was…” he shakes his head as he trails off, “It was intoxicating, even to one as young as I was.”“Sounds t’me like some sort of bleedin’ religious meetin’ more than a rally,” Arnold grunts. “Do not joke,” Diedrich says, but, surprisingly, there is no venom in his voice, “I know what you English--and you Americans--say of him, but he is the man who rekindled the spirit of my people. He delivered on almost every one of his promises--we are strong and large and mighty again, and the few who disagree will come to see that, in time, his is the correct path for our country to take.”(Cont.)
>>3025366“An’ what about those’ve us [outside yer borders who don’t agree?” Arnold queries, his gruff voice low and icy.You can see this heading into uncomfortable territory so you decide to interject, “Well, none of that matters in here. I’m sure all of you remember the spiel, yes? ‘Leave it outside’, and all that?”Naru shrugs, though she’s not the one you’re worried about--she only ever sailed against the Japanese.Arnold and Diedrich, however, hold each other’s gaze for an uncomfortably long time, and you frown, starting to wonder if this was actually a good idea after all. You keep on top of international news enough to know that Germany is well into an extensive and heavy bombing campaign of Arnold’s homeland, and for all you know, the big guy’s already lost friends to Diedrich’s fellows in the German military.The tension is palpable as the big man inhales through the nose and folds his arms, his jaw set. Diedrich, for his part, looks no less ready for a fight than Arnold does, placing his arms slowly at his side and hunching ever so slightly in that subtle way people do when they’re bracing for aggression. You glance back to Arnold. Surely he’s not stupid enough to start something here, of all places....right?>No, you know what. These guys are supposed to be your team. Tell them to knock this shit off or you’ll take it up with the old man himself.>Signal to Naru for her to help you intervene. She should know a curse or two for handling a situation like this.>Hold off for now. Maybe this is just posturing and it’ll play out all right? You hope...
>>3025369>No, you know what. These guys are supposed to be your team. Tell them to knock this shit off or you’ll take it up with the old man himself.
>>3025369>>>No, you know what. These guys are supposed to be your team. Tell them to knock this shit off or you’ll take it up with the old man himself.
>>3025369>No, you know what. These guys are supposed to be your team. Tell them to knock this shit off or you’ll take it up with the old man himself.Surely a base like this would have an area for sparring and some boxing gloves or something. Suggest them to settle their differences there if they really want to fight each other.
Finally got some time to myself. Calling the vote and doing that writing thing.
>>3025369A surge of indignant anger races through you at the idea these two idiots might actually go at it when--for all you knew--you might be sent out to fight alongside one another before the end of the day. One way or another, this ends here.Tightly, you say, “You know what? I’ve endured this low, tense, macho bullshit puppet show long enough. You’re both very tough, very strong men, I get that. You were also on two opposite ends of a pretty bitter war; again, I get that,” you look each man dead in the eye in turn before continuing, “Now, I’m going to tell you something, gentlemen, and I’m only going to tell it to you once: knock this shit off. Any issues you two have with each other, you settle it in the ring. Go as many times as you need to in order to work it off, but if this thing you two have going on,” you motion to each of them, “ends today, or I take it up the food chain to the old man himself.”Diedrich’s expression freezes, while Arnold actually pales a fraction. You suppress a grimace; hating that the mere mention of Grim proved so disturbingly effective.“So, do I have your cooperation?” you ask them, “Or do I start asking where the old man’s office is found?”Neither of them say anything for a moment, and in that brief span of time, you wonder if maybe your threat actually fell on deaf ears. After a moment, they both sit up a little straighter, nod to one another ever so slightly in the way that only two men who openly disdain each other can, and turn back to face you. Naru leans forward in her chair, face alight with curiosity and expectation.“As you wish,” Diedrich says, evenly.“We’ll play nice,” Arnold says.(Cont.)
>>3030622“You don’t have to like each other,” you tell them, “God knows I didn’t like most of the guys I worked with back in the City on some marks, but I don’t think I need to tell either of you that if Naru and I are worrying about you being at each other’s throats all the damn time, it’s going to get one or all of us very dead very quick, so cut it out.”“A fair assessment,” Diedrich acknowledges, following a sniff.“Wot, ‘e said,” Arnold jerks his head in the German’s direction.“Great,” you say, a wide grin spreading across your face, “So, Diedry--”“My name is--” he interrupts.“I know what your name is, mister. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell the class about?”Truth be told, you think you have everything you needed from him at this point. He’s clearly extremely proud of his country, which is fair enough--no reason a man can’t love the land he hails from. But you think he’s also way out of his depth, and keenly aware of the fact. The man has no resistance to magic whatsoever; meaning his training is lacking, or he just doesn’t have a spark of it in him. This in turn means that either Grim’s spiel to you upon your shanghai-ing was bullshit, or he doesn’t or didn’t know, which you find unlikely.Well, whatever it is, time to decide what you’d like to do with yourself before your breakfast goes well and truly cold. >This has been more productive than you thought it might be on your part--call it quits here and go find something else to do.>Keep the gang together; there must be something more you can discuss before everyone goes their separate ways to do… whatever it is they planned on doing this morning.
>>3030626>This has been more productive than you thought it might be on your part--call it quits here and go find something else to do.leave them to grumble and move on. Also, did we explore the lower levels yet?
>>3030626>This has been more productive than you thought it might be on your part--call it quits here and go find something else to do.Let em stew on it a bit.
>>3030626>This has been more productive than you thought it might be on your part--call it quits here and go find something else to do.
>>3030626>>>This has been more productive than you thought it might be on your part--call it quits here and go find something else to do.
You finally tuck into your breakfast and an uncomfortable--but not awkward--silence descends as the others follow suit. You don’t especially mind at this time; you’ll take uncomfortable over tense any day of the week. And the lack of small talk, while regrettable, is also forgivable, seeing how the others left their own breakfast just as long as you did.You finish up, give them a brief farewell for now, making sure to give the two feuding men one final warning before getting up from your table, depositing your now thoroughly cleaned-up tray with the various others, and exiting the canteen.You suppose now you have some more free time to continue exploring the rest of the facility. As far as you know, you never got around to checking out the lower level, so you hop on over to the elevator and check out the sign to get an idea of what there is to see down there. Research and Development; interesting. Library; quaint, but possibly useful. Maintenance and Engineering; dirty, but always handy, you guess. Archives; hm.>R&D sounds intriguing. Check that out first.>The Library should be nice and quiet, and maybe you’ll find something you can read while you aren’t out putting yourself in mortal peril.>Maintenance and Engineering could be an interesting visit. Having a few grease monkeys to call upon could come in handy someday.>Archives? Worth a check at the very least. Maybe there’s even some history there that will help you figure all this out.
>>3031752>Archives? Worth a check at the very least. Maybe there’s even some history there that will help you figure all this out.
>>3031752>>Archives? Worth a check at the very least. Maybe there’s even some history there that will help you figure all this out.
>>3031752>>R&D sounds intriguing. Check that out first.Any weird Diesel powered suits?
>>3031752>R&D sounds intriguing. Check that out first.
Sorry gents, no update tonight. I ended up working two shifts for both jobs with one starting literally half an hour after the other and it just dragged on. I'll call the vote here, and the update will go up as soon as I'm up and hopefully not feeling like canned shit tomorrow morning. As a way of apologising, here's some more cool art by Pixelfag. I bet you can't guess who the subject is.
>>3031752The Archives sounds like it could potentially yield something of interest. Maybe even some history of this organisation or what specifically has gone on that requires such a force. And then there’s this ‘Sleeper’ thing. Try as you might, it lingers in the back of your mind like a malignant tumor. So far, you’ve not lost out on sleep over it yet, but you’ve a nasty feeling that this is going to change in the near future. Grim might as well have stated out loud that it’s some kind of important with the stonewall front he gave you; likely the bad sort given your current trend in luck.You hit the button for the lower floor and follow the signage through the steel hallways, past the Library and R&D, and into a longer corridor, through which sits the Archives on one side and what looks like Engineering and Maintenance on the other. Curiously, there seems to be another bend at the end of this particular passageway. You don’t recall anything on the signs--could be an error, or it could be something worth checking out.Later, though. You’re already opening the door and it’d feel like wasted effort to suddenly change tack no--“Good morning,”You have to fight real damn hard not to jump out of your skin at the low, sibilant voice that greets you as you enter the dimly-lit archives.“I have startled you,” the man, wearing a tan turban and rather resplendent silk robes, is unmistakably of the Middle East with his dusky skin and raven hair, though the accent is a bit of a giveaway, too. Chocolate eyes regard you with curiosity, and his lip twitches for a brief instant, signalling faint amusement, “I apologise. I meant not to do so. I merely wished to step out for a coffee.”Once you think you can speak without your voice cracking like a boy’s, you nod, stiff, “Yeah, well… no damage done, right?”He cocks his head at you, “You are a newcomer, yes? American?”You nod slowly, “Yes and yes. How’d you figure?”“I am aware of the various goings-on in this place,” he tells you as if it’s a simple matter of fact, “It helps with the record-keeping.”“Ah, right,” you nod, pretending to understand. Might as well just accept that this organisation is evidently run by weirdos and/or psychopaths. The thought is confirmed, at least, to your own mind, mere moments later when you realise that he carries a bleached, polished skull in one hand with a blazing candle upon its crown. Deeefinitely weird.The man catches you staring and chuckles, “You do not need to concern yourself with him, friend. He is mine to worry about.”“I’ll take your word for that,” you reply, glancing down at the creepy object one last time. The man extends an arm, which you regard curiously. He furrows his brow in puzzlement.“Do not your people shake another’s hand when greeting a stranger?”You feel immensely foolish for a moment and take the proffered limb and give it a pump before you can be more embarrassed.“Adam Bauer,” you introduce yourself.(Cont.)
>>3035756“Rahim,” he tells you, “I have learned my full name is somewhat difficult to remember for many hailing from your side of our Earth, so just Rahim will do, please.”“As you say, Rahim,” you nod. “So, you keep records?”“I am the Archivist, so yes. This is my purpose here,” he nods, then glances back into the chamber. Looking past him, you can see shelves stacked almost three times the size of a man. All of them are filled with files of varying thickness. You could probably spend days in here with the contents and not read even a fraction of what must be contained in here.Rahim looks back to you, another twitch of a mustachioed lip and a twinkle of amusement in his eyes, “But you are not here for me, I think.”“Just getting to know the place,” you admit, “Thought I might as well start here.”“Well, by all means, peruse at your leisure,” Rahim gestures, stepping out of your way, “We have files on just about every case handled directly by us, including a few that have we have not. In addition to this, we have our bestiary--every fact known to us regarding the curious and frightening things that exist in this world, and dossiers on people of interest.”“People of interest?” you arch an eyebrow of your own.“Leaders of the nations we seek funding from, famous figures we believe are connected to the world we run around in, rogue mages,” he shrugs, “People of interest.”“Right,” you say, wondering briefly if you’d find your own name in there if you dug deep enough, “Any history?”He clucks his tongue, dissatisfied, “Try the library for such articles. Why Mr Grim decided to place such documents in a place one might mistake them for mere fiction is beyond my reasoning, but it is not my place to question,” he sighs, and then steps past you and out the door, “If you will excuse me then, Mr Bauer, I will be getting myself a drink. Please, feel free to browse, but do be so kind as to replace whatever you might remove in its original spot?”“Sure.”“Thank you. Farewell for the time being, then,” he bows his head to you, and then makes his way down the corridor, one hand tucked away in the folds of his robes while the other continues to hold that weird goddamn skull. There is almost certainly a story there, but you don’t feel particularly up to hearing it right now.>You’ve seen the place (and its polite, if rather ‘off’ custodian), time to move onto (Specifiy One: Library, Maintenance/Engineering, R&D)>’Persons of Interest’? Curiouser and curiouser.>The Bestiary sounds like it could yield some interesting information. It’d be useful to know the specifics and talents of whatever you might have to go up against in the future.>Check out some past cases. Maybe it might make for some entertaining reading.
>>3035758>Check out some past cases. Maybe it might make for some entertaining reading
>>3035758>Check out some past cases. Maybe it might make for some entertaining reading.
>>3035758>>Check out some past cases. Maybe it might make for some entertaining reading.Let's see how far back this organization goes before we hit the Forbidden Section. American Civil War? Revolutionary Wars? The Crusades? The Trojan War?
>>3035758>>Check out some past cases. Maybe it might make for some entertaining reading.
>>3035758Something about past cases draws you; maybe it’s that you think some might make for interesting reading material, or maybe it’s that you might gleam a little information--specifically how long this entire operation has been going on for. Maybe you believe you’ll even find something else that’ll catch your eye. What, you don’t know, but it pulls you all the way to a corner of the Archives labelled--conveniently enough--’Past Cases’.You eye up the shelves and all the contents, and find…Well, this is curious.The history, if it is indeed all there, goes back only as far as the American Civil War. You aren’t sure if that means Grim’s pet project was founded back then or if it was a more recent formation, as he’s inferred previously. It could certainly warrant further investigation, though. But where to start? Shrugging after a brief moment spent pondering, you pick one folder at random, titled ‘Operation Mountain Banquet.’A quick study of the files within make you wonder if the person who came up with the name was a sadist or just had the most morbidly black sense of humour. The file stated that a notorious criminal had vanished in the Appalachian mountain ranges. Lawmen who attempted to track the man down similarly disappeared, and a second group was dispatched, with similar results. It was only when a specially selected team of eight individuals (all wielding some manner of magic, you note) took up the trail that they discovered that all the men in the area had been set upon and, presumably, devoured by a Wendigo.You shudder at an attached sketch of a legless torso, entrails hanging freely held up by two gangly, emaciated arms and an obscenely distended jaw lined with what looks like hundreds of small teeth that remind you somewhat of a few photos you’ve seen of sharks. The monster ‘stands’ at twice the height of a man and, according to the report, moves deceptively fast and is strong enough to tear a tree from the earth. Definitely not something you’d like to meet on a dark and cold night in the middle of the woods.The After-Action Report states that the creature ambushed the team as they paused for rest, killing half of them before a Pyrokinetic managed to light it up and burn it almost to ash. Once that was done it was a simple, if tedious, process of locating the creature’s lair and discovering the bones of the dead men to wrap things up.You can’t help but pull a face as you finish up. Grisly. Even if they did catch and kill the beast responsible.Replacing the folder, you take a step back and hum, resting your hands on your hips and rapping your fingers along your sides as you scour for anything else that catches your eye.>Browse the earliest cases.>Scour the middle files.>Check up on the more recent additions.>1d100 (No TN)
Rolled 74 (1d100)>>3036614>Check up on the more recent additions.
Rolled 87 (1d100)>>3036614>>Browse the earliest cases.
Rolled 84 (1d100)>>3036614>Scour the middle files.
>>3036614>Scour the middle files.
>>3036614>Check up on the more recent additions.
Checking up on the most recent additions it is. Writing now. Sure you've worked this out by now, too, but we'll also just carry on with this thread until next Friday again. May end up just making that the thing that happens as my schedule IRL is all over the place. Also, so you're forewarned, there'll be a weeklong hiatus from the 23rd-30th of this month as I'm picking up a week of 14 hour night shifts in that time period.
>>3037962>a week of 14 hour night shiftsHoly crap
>>3037973Oh that ain't nothing. My brother's tackling Winter Wonderland immediately next month which is 7 weeks of 16 hour shifts for 6 days a week. Literally the only reason he's doing it is because he'll walk away from it with just shy of £7k AFTER tax.>>3036614You decide to check out some of the more recent files, selecting one dated 1933. Opening the file reveals a tale of a daemonic summoning…Holy shit.So, ‘Operation Deathly Door’; Cairo, Egypt: a rich French tourist secretly murdered half the patrons and a few of the staff of a hotel he was staying at and used the desecrated remains to paint a grand summoning circle, the likes of which simply have not ever been seen. The photos of the scene, post-operation are… hell, you feel like you can smell the acrid copper stink even now.Telepaths around the world felt the tear in reality and a swarm of imps poured through to start massacring first the fool who brought them in, and then the rest of the hotel guests and staff. Fortunately, the file notes that a team was already in the area following a previous operation (referring to something titled ‘Operation Twilight Crown’, hm) which were swiftly dispatched to the scene.A curiosity presents itself as you read on. The agents are all named: Jurian Van Der Schree, Monique Bell, Jin Sun-Il, Nathaniel Arkwright--huh, he’s older than he looks, then--Cillian Brooke. All of them, save one: M.B. Intrigued, you flip through the rest of the file to search for the reason why one would have his record of participation down to a mere initial as opposed to his (or her) fellows. No answer is forthcoming, so, with a dissatisfied hum, you return to your original place.The team made entry in the dead of night and had to fight an assuredly hellish battle to clear every inch of the hotel. Agents Van Der Schree and Brooke were lost in the initial fighting, their bodies never recovered. You feel a shiver creep along your spine. You’d never seen Imps in person, but you knew that their brand of Hellfire was supposed to burn and burn and burn. There was no putting out such a blaze without specialist charms, something you doubt they’d have had access to a great many of if they wanted to keep the damage limited to the hotel.(Cont.)
>>3038042You continue reading: the team pressed on, despite the losses, and eventually managed to fight their way to the open portal, where agent Bell distracted not one, but two Reavers to give this M.B. person and the other two the opportunity to close the portal permanently. Bell was, of course, lost in the attempt, though she delayed the inevitable long enough for Sun-Il to assist in dispatching one before he too was killed. The last few lines state that with Nathaniel and M.B. offing the the last Reaver, the few remaining Imps fled back to their own domain, and a relief team arrived in short order to assist in finally securing the hotel. A personal note by Nathaniel at the very end of the report remarks that M.B. conducted himself well for an ‘auxiliary’ and also requested he never be called upon ever again.Auxiliary?Does this mean there are--or were--voluntary agents? Because that’s what that last line seems to infer. The knowledge sours you more than a little, but you doubt they must have kept the practice going, else this whole place would likely be a lot more empty.You stop feeling sorry for yourself and decide to ponder a little more on the mystery of the unnamed man in the report. Curiosity stoked, you bring out four more files and check for similar circumstances. Nope. Every participating person--whether an agent or innocent caught up in whatever craziness went down--is named in full. You replace the folders and check another four. Same again.Why would this one man be treated differently? There is not a thing to indicate a precedent for it. It just seems to… be.Grumbling, you set the folder back in its place. You’d come for some light reading material and maybe a few answers, and instead now had more questions. Frustration sets in once more at your lot in life and you spend a few moments willing yourself to calm down. Taking it out on old reports won’t get you anywhere. It’d also look juvenile in the extreme.>Check out a few more past cases.>Go to the Bestiary section; maybe some cold hard, if chilling facts will distract you.>Maybe the People of Interest files may yield more information?>You think you’ve done enough reading. Time to go.
>>3038044>Go to the Bestiary section; maybe some cold hard, if chilling facts will distract you.
>>3038044>Maybe the People of Interest files may yield more information?>Maybe that M.B. is not a human. Someone like that would probably be amongst persons of interest.
>>3038044>>Go to the Bestiary section; maybe some cold hard, if chilling facts will distract you.Can we find Dragons? Unicorns?I at least hope the good paranormal creatures aren't completely wiped out.
>>3038044>Maybe the People of Interest files may yield more information?
>>3038044>>Go to the Bestiary section; maybe some cold hard, if chilling facts will distract you.
>>3038044You set the file away and do nothing but stare for a few moments, thoroughly perplexed and none too happy about it. You could keep browsing for more information, but somehow, you doubt that answer to your mystery will come soon through that method--it’s not like you have a whole week to sit idly by and just read all these. So you pull away and head to the section marked ‘Bestiary’, hoping that maybe reading up on some cold, hard and quite likely chilling facts about the various weird and wonderful creatures that exist in the world will distract you from your musings.It is exactly as you’d imagine it might be: full of documents on all the various creatures they don’t teach you about in school, from Gremlins all the way to Dragons. Dragons? Huh, you didn’t know any of them were still even around. A quick check of the folder informs you that three such beings are, in fact, still alive today: two relatively benign breeds--a Drake and a Chinese Shenlong who both roam the world--and a much more territorial old Wyrm deep within the Himalayas.Interesting. You’d wanted to see a dragon as a young boy and had been pretty deeply disappointed when your old man had told you there weren’t any left. You suppose that even the best of men could be wrong now and then. Maybe you’ll get your chance after all, someday.Putting aside your gleeful, squealing inner child for now, you return to the rest of the folders, split into two sub-categories: Passive and Malign. It’s not a little disconcerting to see that the number of folders under ‘Malign’ number at least five times that of those in ‘Passive’.>Some good cheer might do you good. Read a few under ‘Passive’.>Fuck it. It may serve you in the future to know a little more about the nasty gribblies you’ll potentially see. ‘Malign’ it is.
>>3041029>>Some good cheer might do you good. Read a few under ‘Passive’.
>>3041029>Some good cheer might do you good. Read a few under ‘Passive’.
>>3041029>>>Some good cheer might do you good. Read a few under ‘Passive’.
>>3041029>Some good cheer might do you good. Read a few under ‘Passive’.Potential allies?
>>3041834At the very most, I can see us having a temporary alliance with whatever assorted nature spirits there are, but I honestly don't see us riding into battle atop the back of a unicorn or pegasus.
I'm also interested in Persons of Interest.Do they have a file on the Ghost of Sir Francis Drake, and the drum that summons him and his ghost ships; or maybe the secret location of the mountain where King Arthur is sleeping?
Calling the vote and writing.
>>3041029You think you’ve seen enough frightening stuff for one day, maybe reading up on some of the more friendly (or at least, less violent) creatures you could possibly encounter in the world might cheer you up a little. You start browsing.The first result is, curiously enough, the Kelpie. Often taking the form of an amphibious horse, these creatures are, despite their legends, one of the friendliest things one might encounter. Unfortunately, the file also states that they’re one of the stupidest, and their whole legend is based on these well-meaning but entirely dim-witted creatures attempting to corral humans to visit their underwater homes in their excitement at having a playmate, entirely uncomprehending at the idea that--unlike them--you can’t breathe underwater. Advice given is to keep well away from deep water sources, push back gently against attempts to drive you towards the water, and… scratch just above their ears?Huh.You replace the file and select another. A Nekomata? What’s a--ah, a Japanese cat spirit. This multi-tailed creature appears more concerned with its own entertainment than causing any real damage. The worst it may do is play a trick on weary travellers but they’re stated to be mostly harmless. Some are known to take human form now and then, often as a part of whatever mischief they get up to. Signs to watch for are two swishing tails and other cat-like features. Advice given if finding oneself on the receiving end of a prank is to distract it with a story… or a ball of yarn?Seriously?Feeling a little disappointed, you replace that folder and dig another out. The Russian Indrik; body of a bull, head of a horse and a horn like a rhinoceros. Ferociously protective of its young but otherwise passive and indifferent to strangers unless threatened, where it either gores the offender with its horn or vanishes into a snowy mist. A handful of legendary Siberian mages have been known to ride these creatures in the distant past. Advice given is just to leave it be. Seems sensible.A sudden mental image arises, unbidden, of yourself and your fellows riding unicorns. You fail entirely to suppress a chuckle and put the folder back.You go through a swathe of others; Manohara--harpies, effectively, albeit more brightly coloured and ones who can lift well over ten times their own weight. Yaksha--generally benevolent, if mischievous ogres of the Southeast Asian forests. Eachy--English water devil; despite a horrifically ugly appearance, often tend to washed-up sailors or wounded travellers they encounter near their habitats. Loveland Frog--American Frog-humanoid; very shy and able to camouflage itself like a chamaeleon. Abada--a smaller, African Bicorn that excretes a universal antidote from its two crooked horns.(Cont.)
>>3043976Aaaaand Unicorn. Despite the legends, it does not actually hold any special bias towards virgins. Its tears can heal wounds and their sighting usually portends good luck for the home of whoever spots it. You’ve got no idea how that’s supposed to work, and neither do the folks who wrote this up, apparently, as they’ve got nothing further on the phenomenon. Typically friendly creatures, and while they don’t go out of their way to meet travellers, they will assist those who seem injured or weary. Similarly, they’ve been known to escort lost children back to their homes.Wow, a literal horse saint. What a curious day.You get through one titled Wurdulac, a Russian Vampire that can also, terrifyingly enough, transform itself into a wolf. Unusually, however, this particular breed shuns all human contact, and sightings outside the deep Russian wilderness are extremely rare. You can’t think of any reason why such a species might exist and why they would choose to sate themselves on animal blood instead of human, but at least it seemed you’d have nothing to fear from one, should you ever stumble across it.You get up from your sitting position and stretch your stiffening limbs out, noticing as you do that Rahim is standing over you, looking not a little amused.“What’s going on?” you say, by way of a greeting.“Nothing,” he tells you, “I am merely surprised to see you still here.”“It’s not been that long,” you pause, “Has it?”“My friend, I have had time to go and make the walk to get my drink, return and finish said drink, and catch up on an hour’s work. I had assumed you had found whatever it was you were looking for and simply left. It was only as I sought to return this,” he raises a manilla folder in his free hand--he is still carrying that freaky skull around--and motions deeper into the Archives with it, “that I noticed you sitting here like a dutiful student.”“Oh,” you blink.“Indeed.”“What time is it, if you don’t mind me asking?”“Time for you to be considering your next meal, I would think.”As if on cue, your stomach grouses, a vocal testament to… wow, you actually are pretty hungry. Jesus, have you really spent that long in here? The glitter of levity grows stronger in Rahim’s dark eyes at the noise and he chuckles softly.“I would suggest you go and eat, Mr Bauer. There is nothing here that will not still be here once you have done so.”>Maybe you’re right. Go get some food and return.>Maybe you’re right. Go get some food and decide on something else to do.>Just a few more minutes won’t hurt: read a few more of these files.>A few more minutes can’t hurt, but maybe a different topic is in order: check out some dossiers on these ‘People of Interest’.
>>3043978>A few more minutes can’t hurt, but maybe a different topic is in order: check out some dossiers on these ‘People of Interest’.>Ask Rahim for recommendations
>>3043978>Maybe you’re right. Go get some food and return.
>>3043978>>Maybe you’re right. Go get some food and return.
Calling the vote here and writing.
>>3046216Huh, that's weird. Could have sworn I put my trip on.>>3043978You decide that the man is quite right. So, you stretch yourself out again and give the man a grateful nod.“Thanks for letting me use the Archives,” you tell him.He shrugs, “They are here to be read by inquiring minds, I welcome any opportunity to bring enlightenment to an individual, irrespective of what form it may take.”Well, some of it certainly was enlightening. Curious way of putting it, though. You glance down at the skull. Did he replace the candle? You could almost swear that it’s hardly melted at all. Glancing up so that you aren’t caught staring, you give the man another nod and a polite smile and thank him again for his time--and the notification. You then step past him and exit out the door…...almost to collide with a rather flustered Desdemona Fox.“Oh, sorry! Sorry! I didn’t hurt you at all, did I?” she panics, brushing you down with her arms. You blink, utterly bemused. You’d rather think that, if anyone had hurt themselves in such a collision, it would assuredly have been her.“I’m fine, Desdemona--”“Please, just Des, or Dee,” she tells you, all bright and sunshine smiles. Then her worry overtakes her again, “Have you seen JJ at all? He usually comes and finds me so we can get lunch together, but he’s late--unusually late.”“He’s a young kid, right?” you cock an eyebrow down at her, “They all go through the same sort of stages, he’s probably just off… I dunno, brooding.” Or he’s found a dirty magazine, not that you say that to her. The poor girl would probably be mortified to think that her adoptive ward is doing such a thing.“No, not JJ, he’s a good boy! He’s always on time. I’ve looked everywhere upstairs--he’s not in his room, he’s not in anyone else’s and I can’t find him at all on the main floor.”“Aren’t you a telepath?” you inquire, “Can’t you just… I don’t know, scan for him specifically?”She looks at you completely agape, “And intrude into everyone else’s minds just like that? I can’t do something that selfish, sir!”That’s… interesting to know. You’d always assumed a telepath would be capable of such a feat--particularly one of such alleged power as the woman in front of you. Actually, you suppose, she is, just not apparently without touching the thoughts of everyone else in the facility. You aren’t sure if that makes her one of the most selfless people you’ve met or one of the most stupid.She grasps one of your hands in both of hers, a pleading look on her face, “Oh, please, sir, help me find him! What if he’s hurt somewhere or ill or, or...”>Calm down, Des, I’ll help you look.>Sorry, Des, I’ve got other things to do right now.
>>3046234>Calm down, Des, I’ll help you look.
>>3046234>>Calm down, Des, I’ll help you look.
>>3046234>Sorry, Des, I’ve got other things to do right now.
>>3046234>Calm down, Des, I’ll help you look.We'll have to handle the situation and give advice if it is the dirty mag thing. By that I mean Stop Des from seeing.
Vote called, writing now.
>>3046234Something in the way she looks gives you pause. The first time you saw her, she was quite easily the sunniest person in the room by a wiiiide margin. Each time you’ve heard her voice, you’ve gotten the distinct impression that this is a lady who enjoys life, and seeing her face creased with worry like this? Yeah, you don’t think you care much for it. The fact that she is quite pretty undoubtedly moves you--you’ve always had a weakness for a beautiful woman. Hell, it’s this same Achilles Heel that’s landed you where you are now.Well, let history not say that you weren’t at least consistent.“All right, Des, calm down,” you soothe, gesturing with both arms, “I’ll help you look. We’ll find him. Word of honour.”She practically throws herself around you, squeezing you in a tight hug that allows you to feel her slender figure a little better than she likely realises.“Thank you, thankyouthankyouthankyou!” she squeals in relief, “I don’t know what I’d do if I found him hurt or-or…”“Des,” you intone, injecting a little sharpness into your voice as you pat her on the back as you gently extricate yourself from her embrace, “I asked you to calm down. He’s around, I’m sure, and I’d be real damn surprised if he was actually in any danger.” “Yo-you think so?” she sniffles in a way you find mighty damn cute, like you’re looking at a small, fuzzy animal. Clearly, though, the woman is a worrier. Not inherently a bad thing, but now you're wondering if maybe JJ just wanted a bit of space for a few minutes.“Yeah, I do. Come on, now,” you pat her back again, “Where have you checked already?”“I just got down,” the red-haired telepath tells you, “I was just deciding where to start when you came out of the Archives.”“Well, he’s definitely not in there,” you confirm, then pause, “Though I was fairly absorbed.”She cocks her head up at you in puzzlement.“Just some light reading,” you say, “I’ll pop back in and double-check.”“Sure,” she nods, her bright smile returning.“There she is,” you grin at her, “We’ll--”>Split up; start at opposite ends of this floor and work our way to meet in the middle.>Stick together; searching some of these places might go quicker with two of us working them over.
>>3047747>Split up; start at opposite ends of this floor and work our way to meet in the middle.
>>3047747>Stick together; searching some of these places might go quicker with two of us working them over.
>>3047747>Split up and search for clues
>>3047747>>Split up; start at opposite ends of this floor and work our way to meet in the middle.
>>3047747“--split up; start at opposite ends and we’ll gradually work our way in and meet up in the middle.”“All right,” Des nods, clearly eager to get started, “thank you, really.”“Enough with the thanks,” you tell her, but you’re grinning as you say it, “We’ll find him, don’t worry.”“Yeah, we will,” she affirms, more for herself than anything else, you feel, “I’ll head back the way I came, then, start right at the Library.”“Sure, I guess I’ll be heading the other way, then,” you think it’s Engineering and Maintenance. A quick check down the corridor for signage tells you that this is indeed the case. Des whirls around immediately and races back the way she came.“If I find him, I’ll let you know the usual method!” she calls back at you. It takes a moment to realise what she means by ‘usual method’. Your stomach grumbles in protest as you turn about yourself and start walking in the opposite direction.You decide not to pop back into the Archives; you’ll be coming back this way, anyway. May as well do it then. Instead, you head further down, remembering the mysterious little unmarked turn. Part of it is because, well, you told Des you’d start at the end and, well, this should certainly lead to one. The rest of it, though, is also to assuage your own curiosity. You passed by everything else that was marked down. What could require the secrecy?You get your answer as you round the corner, finding a tall, imposing black door that looks as though it was carved from pure obsidian. Humming, you approach the door, noting the big, weighty lock that screams ‘do not open without express permission.’ You try the brass doorknob and turn. Nothing, as expected.Hmm.>Gee, I wonder if JJ could be in here. Try to pick the lock (TN ??)>This is clearly a mystery for another time, and you’ve got a kid to find. Head back.
>>3049040>Not likely that JJ could've passed that door. Leave this for another time.
>>3049040>This is clearly a mystery for another time, and you’ve got a kid to find. Head back.
>>3049040>>This is clearly a mystery for another time, and you’ve got a kid to find. Head back.
So news update. That week I mentioned I'd be away from the 23rd to the 30th? That's not happening. Instead, it's going to be 12 hour long day shifts from 8 to 8, and from the 18th to the 26th. So we'll be going on break from then until the 28th as I'll likely need a day to recover, but if I'm up for a thread before then, well, I'll throw up a post on Twatter.On a completely different topic: wrrrrriting now.
>>3049040You check the lock one last time, frowning down at it, before deciding that, yeah, there’s really no conceivable way JJ could have gotten through this, unless he was hiding some seriously scary lock-picking talents to go with his supposed summoning savantism. The door is yet one more mystery, to be sure, but one you can go about pondering on once you’ve found the missing boy.With that being the case, you turn around and head back, popping through into Maintenance and Engineering. Immediately, you are overwhelmed by the reek of machine oil, sweat and a hideous rattling din of machinery that reminds you of the Engineering deck of that warship you found yourself on temporarily, the… hell, what was it… Phoenix? Yeah, that was it.You’re greeted by several gruff-looking men, all universally coated in oil and grime and wearing dirty grey-blue overalls. One, a slightly shorter man who has perhaps the largest nose you’ve ever seen on a person, greets you with a cautious but curious nod.“What’s up?” he has to shout over the noise, “You lost or something?”“No, no, just looking for someone,” you raise your own voice.“What?” he shouts back.“I said I’m looking for someone!” you put a little more effort into making yourself heard.“You’re loo-- oh, right! Who are you looking for?”“A kid named JJ! About yea high,” you motion with a hand, “young, black.”He gives you a quizzical look before turning around to his fellows, “You boys seen a kid come through here at all?” A series of shaking heads and clueless looks are all the answer you need, but the guy turns back to you anyway.“Sorry, doesn’t look like it.”“It’s fine. I’ll just keep looking,” you say. You stick around anyway; JJ could well have crept past them, and you manoeuvre yourself through a few more grease monkeys who all give you curious stares but don’t impede your path in any shape or form through a maze of steel working which you doubted you’d ever understand the function of, even if you had a whole year to learn. You give the place as good a combing as you can before the deafening workings of the various mechanisms helping to keep the place alive and well drive you back towards the entrance. The first time you met the kid, he didn’t strike you as deaf in addition to being mute, so unless he somehow enjoys the awful clatter and clang and hum, you think it’s safe to say that he’s somewhere else.Your ears are still ringing a little as you leave, and you can’t help but wonder what kind of man willingly subjects himself to that kind of torment day in and day out. Shaking your head, half in disbelief and half in some kind of effort to get rid of the ringing, you carry on…>Double check the Archives. You’re pretty sure it’s empty, but you WERE kind of distracted, and Rahim was away for a while…>You can skirt back to the Archives once you check inside R&D.
>>3049685>You can skirt back to the Archives once you check inside R&D.Who knows, JJ might be in the middle of drafting up a summoning circle.
>>3049685>You can skirt back to the Archives once you check inside R&D.
>>3049685>>You can skirt back to the Archives once you check inside R&D.
Did we check the bathrooms?
>>3049685Your next destination is R&D, and a brisk walk sees you before the entrance. You open the door--“-ahahahaha! Yes! Yes! I love being right all the time!”...and are treated to a cackling and bespectacled bleach blonde madwoman who stands before what you can only assume is some kind of experiment. The experiment in question is one you can only guess at, but the effects are… well, they’re something to see.There is what appears to be a vest made of some kind of metal that appears to be just… floating. In mid-air. Sparks of what you can only assume to be electricity flicker around it. In that instant, you forget why you’re here, focusing too much on this fresh weirdness before your eyes.“You see, Morgan?” the woman, unmistakably American, whirls around to face a similarly bespectacled man who has the distinct look of one who finds life perpetually exhausting.“Yes, Professor, I do.” “You see what I have done? What this means?!”“Yes, Professor.”“And you petty mortals doubted,” she scoffs, “With this, man will no longer need mere craft to be able to ascend.”“And how do you propose to sort out the static discharge that will quite literally fry anyone who actually wears it?” Morgan queries. The Professor turns to face him, looking like he’s just told her that his dog has made a mess on her rug.She slaps him upside the head. For his part, the man appears to have expected such a reaction, for he makes none of his own in response.“Spoilsport,” the woman mutters.“As I recall, that was part of the job description,” the unmistakably British man tells her, a wry look upon his rather unremarkable features, “Someone has to keep you in the realm of reality.”“Pah,” the woman scoffs again, “What has reality truly done but limit and confound?”“Well, seeing how we all live in it--”“Rhetorical question, Morgan!” the woman throws up her arms in exasperation. Then she notices you staring.“What? What is it? Who are you? Wait, are you the handyman the old man sent me? Well it’s about damn time.”That snaps you out of your stupefied daze, “Wh-no, I just--”“Well don’t just stand there gawping, like you’ve never seen a levitating article of clothing before, follow me and help me move this equipment!” she spins on her heel and beckons for you to follow, completely ignoring your admittedly paltry denial. Morgan, however, seems more observant, or more patient, probably both, regarding you with curiosity.“Apologies,” he says, “Professor Lieberman is, ah...”“Yeah,” you nod, “I think I can work it out.”>Ask Morgan if he’s seen JJ at all.>Go follow the Professor. Maybe having this impromptu tour will give you a chance to better search for the kid.
>>3050432>Ask Morgan if he’s seen JJ at all.
>>3050432>>Ask Morgan if he’s seen JJ at all.
>>3050432>Ask Morgan if he’s seen JJ at all.Also, electrically powered propulsion attached to surge protected batteries. Like a suped up fan on a small toy boat.
>>3050432“Hey, uh, Doctor Morgan?”“Just Morgan, I’m no Doctor. Not really,” he says, waving an arm, “And don’t worry about following the Professor, she’ll come to realise soon that you aren’t who she believes you to be.”“Right. So, anyway, I came here looking for a kid called JJ--”“Oh, Miss Fox’s little ward?”“Yeah,” you feel a moment’s surprise before remembering that he’s likely been here a lot longer than you have, and likely known both Des and JJ a fair amount longer, “He’s gone missing and Des is a few minutes from some kind of fit, she’s worrying so much.”“Oh,” he blinks, “I see. Well, rest assured then, your journey is at an end, because the young man in question is here.”“Really?”“I’m not of a great mind to lie to those offering someone a helping hand,” he says to you with a wry grin, “The boy’s been down here a few times over the last week; came to us with a rather unique little idea which… well, you’ll see for yourself.”He turns and beckons for you to follow, heading off in an entirely different direction to who you can only assume is the Head of R&D. It would certainly fit the bill based on what you’ve observed about significant figures in this place so far.You pass several suites full of equipment as you go, the functions of which you can only guess at. Glass bottles full of bubbling, frothing chemicals, complex computing machines that tower over you and the men and women who hover by them, taking readings and scribbling down findings. The place is as much a hive of activity as the command centre and, for a moment, you feel almost like you’re home again, surrounded by so many people and so much noise.Morgan leads you through a set of doors, deeper into the facility. You hear Professor Lieberman shriek for attention, probably having noticed that you were not, in fact, following her, but you put the lady from your mind. Angry woman later. Little boy for worried woman now.You ponder on the nature of the pair’s relationship as Morgan leads you on. That they care about each other is all too apparent by this point; and you wonder how that came to be. Zafi mentioned that he just came back with the redhead one day, ‘glued to her arm’ as you remember her putting it. You make a mental note to ask about that, one day.In the meantime, you occupy yourself by glancing about the various projects you catch fleeting glimpses of as you pass on through. Most appear technical in nature, but there’s a few involving certain artifacts that wouldn’t look all that out of place in a museum, too. Eventually you come to a rather bulky looking steel door--the kind you’d see keeping guard over a bank vault. Morgan throws a lever and, with a great, hiss and rattling clank, the door opens.(Cont.)
>>3052457The chamber you now find yourself in is a large, pure white space, roughly the length of a baseball field. JJ stands at one end tossing something the size of a pocket watch up and down lightly in one hand, while a small crew of whitecoats stand at the other end with a small stand full of what you assume is some kind of observational equipment. You note, with some curiosity, that there’s a painted ‘X’ barely a stone’s throw from where JJ stands in place.“All right, son,” a greying, middle-aged whitecoat calls to the young boy, “Just as you suggested, now. Toss it gently onto the marker.”JJ nods and turns. He doesn’t seem to have gotten himself into any kind of trouble; no injuries that you can see. It seems pretty obvious that Des’ worry is entirely misplaced, and not a little cute; JJ has clearly been keeping this under wraps, either because he thinks it might worry Des even more or some other reason, you don’t know. You suspect, however, that you’ll know the answer to that particular question any moment now.A quick flick of the boy’s wrist, and the object in hand sails towards the marked spot. It lands dead centre, and you notice JJ grin in satisfaction…...right before the other thing happens...There’s a flash of blinding, hellish red light, there and gone so quick that, if not for the brief imprint left on your vision, you’d have thought it a quirk of your imagination. An iota of a moment you think you hear the roar of a gargantuan fiend before it’s silenced as whatever magic wrought here cuts it off.The results speak for themselves, and through your own awe, you hear pencils scritch-scratch against paper.“Well, now,” Morgan muses at your side, sounding very impressed, “Isn’t that something to behold?”On the mark stands a filing cabinet. Ordinary and unassuming in stature or purpose. There is, however, no mistaking the circle painted on its flank; the runes inscribed. JJ is positively beside himself--jumping up and down on the spot in jubilation, his face split by a wide, giddy and triumphant smile. There was no ritual. No incantation. Just a toss, and perhaps a faint spark of power...Well, now, indeed...>And on this, we'll be ending the thread. Thanks to all of you who read and participated. I'll throw this one up on the archive and I'll see you all again, hopefully, on the 28th. Ta ta for now!
>>3052458Did JJ just summon Hell's own list of sinners or something?