It is a tale as old as time. The Knight and the Beast squaring off, engaging in mortal combat. The latter seeks to protect its immense treasure, or to expel an intruder, the former yearns for glory or for riches. Be it as may, a confrontation between the two becomes unavoidable. And thus they fight, the Beast tapping into its superior strength and cunning, and the Knight, struggling as he can with his meager tools to surpass the intrinsic limitations of human nature. In some stories, the Knight wins. In some other stories, the Knight's victory becomes the first step in the road to his undoing. But this is not a fairy tale. The Beast is much, much bigger than anything the Knight has ever fought, shrouded in ancestral power that makes her all but invincible. And the Knight is a scoundrel through and through, a man who has invoked the hatred of all those around him. Is such a man even worthy to be called a Knight anymore? He does not know, and yet he cannot bring himself to back down. What, then, should be said about the Beast? Can anyone be blamed for holding on to what's theirs? Should anyone be accused of being unable to let go of what defines them?"You got some nerve, asshole. But this is as far as you go," the Beast growled, reprimanding the Knight as harshly as she could. And yet her enemy couldn't help but smirk. "You're wrong. I have already won."The Knight's serene answer was like a single snowball thrown in the direction of the passionate hatred the Beast was burning with. Definitely not something anyone can extinguish the fire with, but more than enough to be noticed and heard. And thus, a few seconds later, his mortal rival heard an unmistakable noise coming from behind the Knight. The ruffian had indeed succeeded. The Beast's words turned into an howl of hatred so deep it would have shaken the Earth, had they stood on firm ground. "WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? WHY, [######]? YOU HAVE DOOMED US ALL, YOU SON OF A BITCH!""It's nothing someone as narrow-minded as you can understand," the Knight once again seraphically replied. "After all, [#############]".In any other circumstance, the Knight would have never dared say something like that. Not out of fear or cowardice, but rather out of respect, he would never touch a certain subject. But the Knight's duty was done and over with. All that was left for him was to die. And in order to die properly, he had to let the Beast focus on no one but him. He had to bear the full brunt of the howling Beast's resentment, that was his last mission. His demise came swiftly, almost mercifully. Perhaps the Beast had exceeded the point of hatred at which a person no longer considers his rival a living human being, but rather a piece of walking, sentient trash that has to be disposed of. In spite of her insurmountable rage, she killed the Knight almost half-heartedly, with a clean and unsophisticated blow. Thus ends our tale.
Yet you know nothing about this tale. It is not unreasonable to assume that such a weird and confusing story has nothing to do with your life. A girl like many others, leading a simple life. Certainly not everything has been easy: you have lost your parents at a very young age, and your new family has always been oddly wary around you. You don't blame them, however. If anything, you're glad for all the things they've done for you. >What is your name? As a teenage girl, you've started looking for an identity, a place to belong to. Like most adolescents, you sought something that made you 'you'. You have found that answer in >SocializingYou spent a lot of time with your peers, nurturing a large group of friends. You're not exactly the most popular girl in the school, but you know how to get around. >Benefit: You have honed your communication skills, meaning that you're more perceptive to body language, tone shifts, and other subtle changes that betray latent thoughts and behaviors in humans. Reading the room comes as second nature to you. >Demerti:You are somewhat shallow. The fact that you understand someone's feelings often doesn't mean you're interested in them. This is not to say that you're inconsiderate, you simply carefully consider who is worth your time and who isn't. >Additional:Your Alignment is shifted towards Synthesis [+2]>SportsMens sana in corpore sano, as the Latins used to say. You've worked on your body more than anything else, meaning that you're uncommonly athletic and nimble, and even your physical strength is nothing to sneeze at. >BenefitYour physical training pays off: you're quick, flexible, and strong.>DemeritYou have never been a bookish person. This isn't to say you're stupid, but certain concepts might escape your immediate grasp. >Additional:Your Alignment is shifted towards Revenge [+2]>StudyingYou have cultivated your culture above anything else. Reading books, solving exercises, applying your theories to the real world and seeing how well they fitted. Your intelligence is clearly above average, and it's something you take great pride into. >BeneftYour wits grant you an edge in particularly difficult situations. Working out a solution to a seemingly unexpected problem is business as usual for you. >DemeritYour eyesight has worsened. You need glasses or contacts to see properly.>Additional:Your Alignment is shifted towards Heritage [+2]
>>3351008>Carlotta DuboisBecause I can't think of anything better>Socializing
>>3351008>>Carlotta Dubois>>SocializingSynthesis sounds like the most interesting alignment
>>3351070>>3351058>>3351051>>3351050>>3351045>>3351039There were no traces of what you were originally called, thus it were your adoptive parents who gave you a name and a surname. Carlotta Dubois, a rather fair-looking young woman, integrated as any teenager could be in the social fabric of your high school. Surely the mismatch between your looks and your parents' appearance raised some questions when you were younger, but thankfully as you grew up people slowly stopped caring. Those you held closer to you knew the truth, of course, and you did not much care for the others.[Your actions shift the alignment towards 'Synthesis']It is a day like any other for you. An average morning, an average breakfast, an average shower before wearing your average clothes to go to your average school. Of course, this is merely your personal perception on the matter. One could argue that averages depend on the viewer's perspective, and you would struggle to prove that person wrong. There are definitely certain aspects of your recent life that you wouldn't exactly deem average, but that's the overall feeling you get. And in the long run, perception ends up becoming the truth.Not all perceptive experiences are particularly informative or pleasant, however. You can't help but feel like someone is watching you. Some of the people you talked with suggested that this is a symptom of paranoia, yet you find yourself wondering which is the real signal you should be afraid about: feeling observed, or believing that you're developing a mental condition just because of an unusual sensation.You muster your mental energies and focus on the problem. Are you being observed? If so, who's the peeping tom? As far as you can tell, it feels like 'something' is coming from the corner of your kitchen. The sudden jerk of your head in that direction sends a fit of pain through your neck. This rather hamfisted attempt at catching the miscreant red-handed ended in failure, but at least it doesn't look like it's anything serious. If anything, the unpleasant sensation subsides rather quickly.Ignoring the temporary stiffness, you pick up your bag and leave the house. Your foster parents aren't home, and likely they won't come back until late at night. Not that thing bothers you. It means you'll have more time to be with your friends and have fun, and less bickering to listen to. Nevertheless, the unpleasant feeling persists. Only then do you happen to notice it. Hiding in the shadow of the tree stands yet another shapeless shade. Some graceless white lines run through his body, as if a kid took his time messing up and playing with whatever indescribable entity stood before you as if it were a blackboard. One thing was for certain: the shape of something resembling an eye and the definite contours of a hand protruded from the creature towards you. >Attempt to use diplomacy [Synthesis +1]>Run [Heritage +1]>Try to fight it [Revenge +1]>Other [Specify a reasonable option]
>>3351088>Attempt to use diplomacy [Synthesis +1]
>>3351088>Run [Heritage +1]
>>3351170>>3351112>>3351104>>3351094[Your actions shift the alignment towards 'Synthesis']The situation looked rather puzzling to you. First of all, was this an hallucination? Or were you the first human being to make contact with aliens, ghosts, or whatever paranormal phenomonon it is you were witnessing? Your guts told you that talking to the creature was a strategy worth giving a shot to. "Hello there, my name is Carlotta. Is there anything I can do for you? More importantly, who -or what- exactly are you?"The creature's response arrived sooner than you'd have liked, and gave you goosebumps. Its voice was quiet and jarring, but it felt like he was whispering in your ears. A crevice opened on what could arguably be called his mouth, and the creature said: "YOU... ARE...ME!". This creepy statement was accompanied by a further stretch of the hand-like apparatus towards your face, as if it was trying to grab you. Having understood that the way of diplomacy would bear no fruit, you opted for a different solution: running.Your clothes weeren't terribly unpractical, but they would somewhat hinder your movements. Cursing loudly, you picked up the pace, trying to leave it behind. However...[Studious Background]You're not a runner, and you're especially not a sprinter. Even if the first few hundred meters went well, you committed a fatal mistake when you decided to turn around and locate how far behind the shadow was. The answer came immediately, in the shape of his revolting hand lingering but a few centimeters away from your face. The creature failed his grappling attempt as your sudden movements caused you to trip and fall, leaving him empty handed. Before you had time to get up, the creature reached you. His shapeless body turned into a malignant cloud, hovering and casting a mantle of pure darkness over your helpless body. Everything goes dark, and only the echo of a faint laughter remained audible. Time and space seemed to lose any sort of meaning, as if those concepts never existed to begin with. An endless conundrum of possibilities unfolded in that vacuous emptiness, all of them equally trivial. Just one thing broke the monotony of that obscure landscape. A voice as faint and delicate as the spring's breeze caressing the flowers."Carlotta, Carlotta...! Get a grip... Somehow, I'll help you!" Yes, help... help was definitely good. Certainly something you could use in your current state. Even if there was no such thing you could call 'your hand' anymore, you instinctively stretched it towards the source of that voice. A warm feeling was the only response you could concretely measure, before suddenly feeling like your entire body was being swung about.
>>3351197That sensation of being thrown became your ticket to consciousness. Coming to, you found yourself in a weird place. The walls were made of metal, and neon lamps were hanging from the corners. The illumination is poor, a clear sign that whoever designed that caveau-looking corridor certainly carefully selected the most cheap and cost-effective options at his disposal. This didn't change the fact that you were lost, of course. With not a single clue for where to go, for the first time ever, you felt like you should trust your guts. It's not something that can be explained logically, of course, and that's what's keeping it from being the most obvious option for you. And yet...>I will find a solution like I always have somehow, I just need to find other people [Heritage +1]>I must make my presence known. I will scream! [Revenge +1]>Fine, I'll trust my guts [Synthesis +1]
>>3351209>I will find a solution like I always have somehow, I just need to find other people [Heritage +1]
>>3351236[Your actions shift the alignment towards 'Heritage']You took a deep breat. Your priorities were in order, and you knew what to do next. This place was probably the basement of some military building, reinforced as it was by metal. Thus, thinking logically, your next step would be to seek someone and to explain them this weird situation, however little you understood about it. You sharpened your senses and focused on finding clues and locating the source of any possible noise. In fact, something in your professional approach to the problem scared you. You didn't think you'd be able to react this calmly to situations like these. The pattern with which you navigated the dungeon was as random as could be, by all intents and purposes. It seemed to possess no intrinsic logic or decision criteria by itself. Figuring that a path was a good as any other, you took random turns at any given crossroad, not sure if you were unconsciously following some subliminal lead. The light, which wasn't exactly abundant to being with, started growing dimmer and dimmer the further inside you went. Perhaps you were reaching a terrible place, or an excellent place, that wasn't something that could be discerned from these clues alone. But it was certain that you were going *somewhere* at least, and somewhere was infinitely better than nowhere.Your pilgrimage through the mysterious facility ended as you finally reached an enormous door, easily twice as thick as the walls that surrounded it as far as you could tell. Was it an entrance or an exit? No voice could be heard from the other side. Foolish as it may have been, you tried opening the door. You held no expectations that it might work: after all, it looked like it was specifically engineered to keep people out.But the door budged and gave way as you pushed against it, leading to a room filled with nothing but complete darkness, once again. Taking a few uncertain steps, you cautiously headed inside, when a voice seemingly out of nowhere caused you to freeze on the spot. "Stop right there, scumbag! I have no idea who sent you, but I can promise that you won't make it out alive if you try any funny business!"Reluctantly, you put your hands up and turned around. Two men were standing in front of the door ajar, wearing what looked like a military uniform and holding rifles. "Oi Artyom, what the fuck is this?" The other one said. "She looks my daughter's age. Are the Independentists resorting to such cheap tricks?""I'll be fucked if I know, Dimitar. You know they are a bunch of sick fucks anyway, perhaps they even trained her in some sort of undeground facility to teach her how to infiltrate us," the man with the gun replied. Apparently, his name was Arytom. He kept the weapon aimed at you while he talked, as if he considered you a genuine threat.
>>3351368"Don't even say that shit, it gives me the creeps. When I think it could have happened to my kids..."[Socializing Background]The men seemed distracted for a second, and you realized it was your chance to get out of this. You cleared your throat and began talking."Good morning gentlmen, my name's Carlotta Dubois. I hope I am not inconveniencing you, but I am lost and...""Shut up," the gunman replied, cutting your attempts at a diplomatic approach short. "Raise your hands and place them over your head. I have to call the commander and tell him we've found you. I'll be honest with you, you better be prepared to meet your maker.">No, I don't deserve to die! YOU deserve to die! [Revenge +1]>Wait, let's talk about this [Synthesis +1]>I'll make him regret that, one way or another [Heritage +1]
>>3351371>I'll make him regret that, one way or another [Heritage +1]
>>3351535[Your actions shift the alignment towards 'Heritage']Suddenly, you feel enraged. You've never asked to be there. You have no idea who the Independentists are, and you have no idea why you have to die. This situation... simply infuriates you. And it seems like the soldiers must have noticed that too, because their expression turns sour first, and then straight up scared. "What the fuck is this? Is this one of their special soldiers?" the one holding the gun asked, panicking. His fear was hardly justifiable, after all, you were holding no weapons in hand and had no way to hurt him.Then, something happened. You could hear the jarring noise of metal against metal, and the loud bang of a weapon being fired. You closed your eyes and turned away, but when you opened them, all that stood before you was an unexplicable barrier of steel, guarding your body. "Oi... the von Neumann prototype is..."There it was, a real reason for their fear. What looked like the hand of a giant robot had moved on its own, protecting you from certain death. A normal person would be astonished by now, but your disbelief had been completely suspended. A robot, a humanoid robot to boot. But something was amiss..."It has... no face?"Your attempts at diplomacy were useless to say the least, and this much was clear by now. These people had no reason to be diplomatic. Perhaps they were guarding a military secret, or perhaps they received orders to leave no witness alive. Be it as may, it didn't take a genius to understand that they'd fire again as soon as they had another chance.Turning around, once again you began running as fast as you could. This time your sprint didn't last more than a few seconds: the barrier that repelled the military man's stray bullet lifted itself up and swept you down, then bent as if cradling you. The sensation was nothing like being grabbed by the shapeless shadow. For one, you could feel the cold metal under your buttocks as the barrier-turned-cradle lifted you up higher and higher. You screamed, terrified, grabbing the cradle as tightly as possible. In the midst of that inexplicable phenomenon you caught a glimpse of where you were being lead to: the cavity in the center of the robot's body, which was coming alive with lights and sounds. "No way... is that its cockpit?"The hand placed you there, and before you had any time to attempt an escape, the exit was sealed shut. "What am I supposed to do? I can't drive this!" you complained to no one in particular. But it were almost as if the machine had listened to you. "Von Neumann? Who is riding the Von Neumann? Do you read me? HQ to Von Neumann, come in at once!"
>>3351747Sure, you could not move the machine. But it did not mean that the machine could not move. Again possessed by some sort of autonomous will, the massive figure headed for a platform in the corner of the dark room, and then pulled a lever. Layer after layer of the ceiling disappeared, and rays of sunshine invaded the bunker. Cameras placed somewhere around the mecha were keeping you updated on the situation. Thus, you could see the robot firmly placing its feet on the platform, shortly before being catapulted upwards. "HQ to Von Neumann, you are NOT cleared for launching! Abort the launching procedure this second!"The voice coming from the radio was shrill and panicky. It was too difficult to understand whether it belonged to a man or a woman, however. Thoroughly frightened, you tried to respond. If there ever was a time for panic, it was now."I AM NOT VON NEUMANN AND I AM NOT AN INDEPENDENTIST! I AM CARLOTTA DUBOIS AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON!""Calm down Von Neumann, try to give us your status report. Could you tell us what happened?" The calm voice sounded almost reassuring, but you were too shaken to make sense of what was being said to you. At this point, one more voice joined the conversation"G-mu to HQ, let the Von Neumann deploy! We are being overwhelmed!""I am working on that, we're trying to make her compliant. Von Neumann, brace for impact."The catapult sistem suddenly reached a halt. You and the machine were outside. The sudden light blinded you temporarily, and as soon as your eyes got used to it, you were greeted by one more nightmare-inducing sight. A creature that looked like a giant predator was rushing towards you.>Time to vent some anger! [Revenge +1]>Ask for assistance [Synthesis +1]>Attempt to dodge [Heritage +1]
>>3351754Where did everybody else go?>Attempt to dodge [Heritage +1]
>>3351872I wish I knew, friend. Are you interested in Heritage? ================================================================================================[Your actions shift the alignment towards 'Heritage']The creature advanced in great strides towards you. The nightmare-inducing sight was enough to bring you back to sanity, at least temporarily, and to make you realize what you really wanted in that moment: to be far, far away. As if responding to your desires, the robot turned tails and moved away. Communication channels must have been open, because someone was still talking to you."Where are you going, Von Neumann? You have to turn left and join the rest of the squad!" The voice that identified itself as G-mu earlier echoed from the radio and through the cockpit. Presuming that it came from an officer (or in any case, from someone with actual combat experience), you decided to comply with it and head in that direction. The orders issued by the person supposed to be in charge should work as a warranty that people won't open fire against you, at least in theory."Get down!"Another order. Still unsure about how to handle the situation, you dived down, just in time to see bullets flying in your direction. Your pursuer perished with a screech, but your savior was nowhere in sight.The environment around you was strangely mundane. A large, square-shaped concrete structure stood on your right, whereas what seemed like a park surrounded it entirely. In turn, the park was surrounded by a tall wall, rivaled in height only by a lone observation tower sprouting from the main building in the center. It was reasonable to assume that beasts must have made their way through a hole in the wall, aiming to occupy the trees in the park to use them as concealment against the soldiers in the area. The dynamics of war, however, were for the most part alien to you. Whether if the current situation was the result of tactical mistakes or an unavoidable outcome due to the soldiers being outnumbered and outgunned, you couldn't tell. Before long, an explanation presented itself. Two large robots, roughly as tall as yours, stood a few hundred meters apart as they fired through a hole in the fortifications. The creatures pouring in would be somewhat similar to lions and wolves, if they weren't covered by a mantle of scales. "Von Neumann, this is G-mu. You'll be under my direct command during this mission.""My name's Carlotta. Who are you? Where are you?""Take a deep breath, Von Neumann. We'll be using codenames. I can't really identify myself right now, but I am one of the two mobile suits firing at the enemy. Just trust me for the momentand follow my command. I won't let you die."
>>3351913G-mu's resolute voice (whoever he was) felt reassuring. You took a deep breath and steeled your nerves. "Roger that. What am I supposed to do? I am not sure I can operate this robot""Well, looks like you can run, at least. Let's see if you're up for more. These bastards are pouring through the door, too. Me and Simulacrum can cover the hole, you stop them at the entrance!""How am I supposed to fight them back?""There should be a blade in one of your legs. Try using that."Taking a deep breath, you focus on G-mu's words. You didn't know how the robot moved, but you knew that it would respond to your thoughts, just like it did earlier. And indeed, the massive frame of the mecha's arm bent backwards, pulling out a sabre-looking object. While the hilt was just as pitch black as the machine's body, the blade was almost blindingly white."Looks like it's working!""Nice, Von Neumann! But the blade hasn't been activated. You gotta do that first.""What do you mean?!""I mean that you're going into battle with a blunt tool. The blade isn't active."[Socializing Background] "Don't condescend me! Please, just tell me how to turn it on or whatever!""You're not 'turning it on', you're activating it. It's different. You have to shout its name out loud.""Why would I do that?! And aren't we shouting already?!""That's not the point! I haven't designed the robot, I have no idea how it works, but I am certain you have to shout its name to activate it!">You better not be taking the piss! [Heritage +1]>Alright, here goes nothing! [Synthesis +1]>[Give the blade a name] [Revenge +1]
>>3351754>>Time to vent some anger! [Revenge +1]
>>3351916>[Give the blade a name] [Revenge +1]Sol Klinge(?)
I'm aware, I just think Sol sounds cooler.
>>3351916>>Alright, here goes nothing! [Synthesis +1]
>>3351916>Alright, here goes nothing! [Synthesis +1]
>>3351929>>3351950>>3352030>>3352615>>3352833[Your alignment shifts towards 'Synthesis']You considered the commander's words with suspicion. There was a definite possibility that he was just being facetious, no matter how unlikely that was right now. And yet why would anyone need to scream out loud the name of their weapon? To add insult to injury, you really had no clue what that sword was called. It could have been literally anything. You mustered your courage, strengthened your resolve, and...nothing. You just couldn't bring yourself to do it after all. You needed to understand what was going on first."G-mu, is this a prank?""What? Why the fuck would I prank you in the middle of a battle?""I just... what even am I supposed to be doing?"G-mu, or rather its rider, could be heard taking a deep breath. Perhaps he, too, was experiencing frustration at dealing with a newbie in the middle of combat. Your attention was naturally drawn to the machine whose face had briefly turned in your direction. It looked fairly humanoid, except for a strange triangular structure behind its left shoulder. Its head resembled that of a snowboarder or biker wearing an helmet and a mask to shield its eyes from sunlight. "Look, Von Neumann, I am going to give you an horrible advice. I know full well that it's terrible, but for now just comply with it. Don't think. Don't plan. Just believe. Do you copy that?"[Socializing Background] 'Just believe'? Believe what? G-mu was right, it was horrible advice. But being a problem child on the battlefield was the last thing that you wanted. Sure, these people tried to kill you before, but unlike those beasts, they could be reasoned with. There was no reason to openly antagonize them, on the contrary; standing together was without a doubt the best policy here."Here goes nothing"Grabbing the blade with both hands, your machine started walking towards the arc in the wall, which was likely the entrance G-mu was talking about. Von Neumann, Von Neuman... what kind of name could this sword have? Without sounding too convincing, you shouted a name that was lurking in the back of your mind."FRACTAL BLADE!"The second the blade started pulsating with green, vibrant energy was the day your felt thankful for having paid attention to miss Simpson's class that one day. She mentioned the studies of a certain Von Neumann on things called 'fractals', and that odd-sounding name had stuck with you somehow. With a fleeting feeling of bitterness, you wondered just how much better your grades would have been, had you paid the same attention to all other classes too. But now was not the time for that.
>>3352871Possessed by a rush of overconfidence, you decided to find out empirically how the blade worked by charging at the nearest beast. The reptiloid ferine, in turn, jumped against you with his jaws gaping. A swing of the blade severed his legs, while a powerful lunge killed it on the spot. Satisfied with the answer, you located the next enemy just a few seconds before it could ram its body against the cockpit. The machine responded with preternatural precision, slaying the beast on the spot. However, the corpse of the beast continued its trajectory against the mecha's upper torso, crashing against it and causing it to lose balance and fall.The cockpit shook and trembled, and the collision with the ground made you bang your head against the central monitor rather painfully. You were now hurt, wide open and in the worst possible position. >Request back up [Synthesis +1]>Play dead [Heritage +1]>Fight 'till the end! [Revenge +1]>Other [Specify a reasonable alternative]
>>3352873>>Play dead [Heritage +1]
>>3352873>>Fight 'till the end! [Revenge +1]
>>3352873>Fight 'till the end! [Revenge +1]
>>3352879>>3352889>>3352893[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']Gritting your teeth, you immediately snapped back into action. Responding once again to your desires, the mecha tilted its faceless head, aiming the main camera at the entrance. More beasts were coming, a swarm of them. The desire of standing back up surged through your body, and with preternatural nimbleness, the machine once again complied. Had you been even a few seconds late, you would have been swarmed. "Hi-Drapearl, what the fuck were you doing? Von Neumann almost got killed!" an unfamiliar voice complained."Heh. Not my fault the newbie's too proud to call for backup. Besides, I already helped her when she was running about like a chased hare.""How about you stop the stupid bullshit and get the fuck down already?""That's just silly, why would I? Like this I can maximize the damage and minimize the risks!""Yeah, you're maximizing the amount of punches you'll receiving in your stupid fucking mug if you don't get down right this fucking second, Hi-Drapearl""Language, Solarion. But he's right, come on Hi-Drapearl, try to be more of a teamplayer."You were left way out of the loop, but it didn't take a genius to realize tha the Hi-Drapeal, whoever it was, was providing air support. [Socializing background] Some thankfulness was in order. This is Von Neumann to Hi-Drapearl, I can manage just fine here, thank you for covering for me earlier.""Heh. Not to mention," the pilot responded, barely concealing an hint of sarcasm. You were kind of getting the hang of this. Perhaps because of the rush of adreline or because of the sheer absurdity of the situation, you had spaced out and disassociated to the point that the entire thing felt somewhat like a bad videogame. It was almost enjoyable. Almost.Swinging its sword again and again, the machine called Von Neumann resumed its methodical extermination. The corpses of the strange creatures were piling by the gate, and yet the hybrid beasts showed no sign of stopping. They were pouring in like a ravenous torrent, with destructive hunger and pernicious hatred in their dim eyes. They looked like they were possessed by some unchallengeable will, some primordial urge to... "Solarion, this is G-mu. Mop up at the breach completed. We need you to seal it.""I am on it.""Von Neumann, what's the situation like over there?""I almost pushed them back!""Alright, I need your help with something. We gotta plug the entrance somehow, and the plan is risky. If you're not up for it, it's fine.""Well, I'd like to hear what's it about first.""You have to plug the entrance.""You mean with their bodies, or...?""No, Von Neumann. With YOUR body. The chassis of your mecha is thick enough to sustain most damages. You would only need to hold out until Simulacrum can join us.">Respect the commander's authority and obey [Heritage +1]>I am in no rush to die! [Revenge +1]>I can hold the line with my blade [Synthesis +1]
>>3352897>I can hold the line with my blade [Synthesis +1]
>>3352897>>I am in no rush to die! [Revenge +1]
>>3352897>I am in no rush to die! [Revenge +1]
>>3352910>>3352930>>3352932[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']Barely restraining your anger, you prepared to give G-mu an earful."In other words, you're asking me to walk up to the entrance and be beaten up. How lovely. It would have been easier to tell me you wanted me dead.""Don't be dramatic, you won't die. I understand your worries, but we know these machines better than you do. The Von Neumann can handle it.""Stop being a bitch," the Hi-Drapearl chimed in. "Where do you even find the audacity to complain when we suckers are stuck on proxies, unlike yourself?""I don't even know what any of that means!" you protested. What exactly were they expecting from a beginner?"That's enough," G-Mu said, cutting the quarrel short. "Look behind you, Von Neumann, we're right there."Indeed, the secondary camera on the back of the Von Neumann's head showed the G-mu right behind you, while the other machine was slowly making its way there. "This is my spare beam rifle. Please take good care of it. We'll hold the entrance in a different manner," G-mu said, handing you a large gun.he commander's robot took a few steps forward, crouched, and then opened fire on the first beast that dared crossed the entrance gate. The hybrid creature fell dead on the spot, a hole between its eyes. Instinctively, you imitated the officer, noticing that the mecha's arms were steady enough to stay on target and stout enough to minimize the recoil. Taking aim was the only task that had to be completed manually, and it was only difficult because the short time that could be allotted to taking out a creature if one didn't want to be swarmed down. Wave after wave, the enemy was being decimated. Probably understanding that they were dying in vain, they changed their tactics by sending even more creatures in at once. Before you could be overwhelmed, the G-mu ejected the strange triangular shape that stood on his shoulder, cursing under his breath. The object spread into several distinct shapes, somewhat resembling spotlights. They moved with remarkable agility, emitting bolts of energy instad of light. By all intents and purposes, they alone constituted back-up sufficient to hold the line on your own. "Hell yeah!" you cheered, feeling galvanized by the sudden turn in the tides of battle. "But... what exactly are those?" "Probe blasters. They'll take care of anything we can't take down ourselves," the commander responded. His words betrayed a hint of anxiety.
>>3352956Meanwhile, loud noise was coming from behind your position. The cameras on the back of the Von Neumann were transmitting the following images to your screen: the other robot, a humanoid shape resembling a hunchback ghoul, was slowly making its way to the entrance. Actually, slowly was an understatement: it was mind-boggling sluggish, almost as if it were doing that on purpose. "What is the Simulacrum doing?""Relax, it's his normal operating speed. We'll have to buy time until it reaches the arc.""Understood"As a complete rookie, you tried to analyze the situation. The machine called 'Solarion' was nowhere to be seen. Same went for the Hi-Draperl, which was probably flying around. The Simulacrum and the G-mu were your only allies at the moment. Perhaps there was something you could do to speed up the process.>The Simulacrum can handle this better than me. I should give him my gun [Heritage +1]>We're getting nowhere! Screw it, I'll bring the Simulacrum here myself! [Revenge +1]>I must focus on shooting down the beasts. [Synthesis +1]
>>3352960>>I must focus on shooting down the beasts. [Synthesis +1]
>>3352964>>3352966>>3352984Now was not the time to pull any funny stunt. G-mu's assignment was perfectly reasonable, and no matter how exhausting, you had to keep at it. Simulacrum's pilot was doing his job to the best of his capabilities, if the leader's word was to be trusted, so at the moment shooting down those repulsive monsters was your priority.Step by step, the hunchback machine reached the entrance. Beam rifles and probe blasters kept any overzealous hybrid away from its frame, despite a few close calls that the Simulacrum handled with Olympian calm. Once he was in position, it crouched just like the Von Neumann and the G-mu did."Simulacrum, awaiting authorization.""HQ to Simulacrum, proceed.""Field Commander G-mu to Simulacrum, ready when you are.""Copy that. AT-Field, deployment!"A strange, hexagonal orange-tinted light started spreading in front of the sluggish behemoth. All the beasts stopped in their tracks, as if the robot had projected an impenetrable barrier. All the leaks had been effectively sealed, more than enough reason for you to sigh in relief. "Hi-Drapearl, coordinates on the enemy broodmother?""Way ahead of you. Solarion already has them."In that moment, a piece of wall crumbled. No, it wasn't that. A mecha easily twice the size of the Von Neumann simply moved away from the hole it received orders to fill. Its gargantuan size seemed not to be an hindrance to its movements as he turned around, spreading its arms and locking on target. "What the hell is that...," you found yourself asking to no one in particular. But of course, you already knew the answer."Solarion High Density Cannon, aimed and ready. I acquired the objective, requesting permission to fire.""This is HQ, fire at will.""G-mu here, send 'em packing."A beam of concentrated energy soared through the sky, to a target you simply couldn't see. However, the ensuing blinding light and deafening noise caused by the blast, as well as the expeditious retreat of the besieging aliens, gave you ground to speculate that the emergency was over. [Socializing Background] "Excellent work, everyone," G-mu's commented matter-of-factly, striving to hide a barely perceptible sense of unease. Then, without flinching, he simply and naturally pointed his beam rifle at you. "You too, Von Neumann. But now I am going to have to ask you to drop your weapons and get out of there."You gulped. What was the meaning of this? Both Simulacrum and Solarion had their (figurative) eyes on you.
>>3352998"I... I didn't do anything.""Please, Von Neumann. I need your cooperation once again. If Hi-Drapearl comes, this will turn into a shitfest very quickly. I must insist." Once again, he sounded worried.Feeling threatened, you instinctively reached for the Fractal Blade. Well, too bad for them, this time you could fight back. "Don't even think about it. Even if our machines can't compare to yours, we're more than enough to put you down. The HQ already told us that the Von Neumann is better off destroyed than in your hands, but I don't want to do this. I am the commander here, and I don't want to leave any man behind. That includes you. We can solve this like rational people."G-mu's tone of voice sounded sincere in spite of his evident agitation, but you couldn't quite put your finger on it.>I demand an explanation! [Revenge +1]>Have it your way, then [Synthesis +1]>I won't forget about this [Heritage +1]
>>3352999>>Have it your way, then [Synthesis +1]
>>3352999>Have it your way, then [Synthesis +1]It's not like they'll tell us even if we demand it, and swearing venegance makes us look like the immature teenager we are.
>>3352999>>I won't forget about this [Heritage +1]
>>3352999>Have it your way, then [Synthesis +1]
>>3353005>>3353010>>3353016>>3353022[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'. Twice.]"Whatever, do what you want," you replied, tossing the beam rifle in his direction. For the first time since the beginning of your implausible adventure, you were on the verge of tears. Hunted, abandoned, thrown into combat, and now threatened at a gunpoint. What did you even do to deserve such an harsh treatment? "Von Neumann, I understand that you must be upset. Nothing makes sense to you right now, and that's terribly frustrating. The thing is, I am not really allowed to discuss this subject any further. Professor Deucalion has asked me to let him handle the rest. What I CAN tell you, however, is that the Hi-Drapearl has a vendetta against you. While this doesn't concern the rest of my men, I don't want any infighting in the squad. We are almost there, Von Neumann, we can avoid a crisis. Just step out and be escorted to the HQ office. I am begging you, Von Neumann. Get out of there."G-mu's words made sense to a degree. If his mission were simply to recover your mecha, he wouldn't have proposed you to block the entrance with the robot's body, thus exposing it to danger. All in all, his words didn't sound like a bluff. Surrendering seemed like the most reasonable option, especially given the fact that combat wasn't still something you could hope to pull off as spectacularly as the rest of the team. Concentrating, you issued a mental order to open the cockpit. Von Neumann obliged, and you proceeded to climb out of the robot and into the open. The air outside was fresh and pleasant, a gentle breeze caressing the trees and the machines alike. G-mu's words were no longer audible, so raising your hands in a sign of surrender was probably the best way to communicate."Time's up, chief!"Oh shit."Suddenly, all robots turned away from you and stared at a distant point in the sky. The Simulacrum took aim, while the G-mu rushed to your position and snatched you away from the ground. The Solarion stretched an hand out to the sky, as if trying to grab something, then shouted something through the intercom."PSYCHIC WAVE!"Bolts of energy flew through the air, as the aircraft's pilot moaned in pain."Fucking assholes, let me go!" "Now's the time, commander. You gotta run for it.""Thanks, Solarion! I owe you one."Hold you tightly, the G-mu ran away. Being shaken around was making you nauseous, but the pilot was most likely just doing that for your own sake. It was just like G-mu said, the Hi-Drapearl was out to get you. The others had trapped him for the moment, but as far as you knew he could break free any second now.
>>3353040An hour after being dropped at the facility's entrance and being escorted to place resembling a jail cell, you were dragged out and accompanied to another room. It was a rather modest one, furnished only with a few chairs and a desk, behind which a man with sunglasses was sitting. In front of him, a vacant chair and two familiar faces: the men that first attempted to kill you when you arrived."Oh, here is the star of the show," the man with sunglasses commented snarkily. "Do take a seat, we'll be done quickly."You complied, and then man picked up a sheet of paper that had been lying in front of him. He started reading off of it, even though it seemed like he had already gone over some of the things written there. Rather than starting, it felt like he had resumed reading."Which leads us to the following chain of events. The miss here sneaked in the prototype's hangar, and before any of you had any time to stop her, she entered the Von Neumann and hacked it, displaying both exceptional physical abilities and intelligence." He stopped, looking at the soldiers as if silently inquiring for confirmation."Excuse me sir, I think there's a mistake. We did capture the girl, the robot just moved on its own to assist her. The report should be corrected to reflect that," the man called Dimitar observed."Oh dear me, that's right, let me correct it right now."With a movement that was both amazingly fluid and surprisingly fast, the man with glasses produced a gun from his pocket and proceeded to empty its barrel in the Dimitar's body. Blood flew everywhere, and you couldn't help but scream in terror. The oppressive noise ended, and for the first time in your life, you laid your eyes on a corpse. "Good, I suppose there are no more problems with the report. Unfortunately, we'll have to report the suicide of Sergeant Dimitar Svark. This is something you can handle, isn't it so, Private Artyom Ken? Or should I start calling you Sergeant Ken?"The other man stood up, saluted his colleague's killer, and excused himself out of the room, not without a certain hurry. It was only you and the man in sunglasses now."Good grief, this job is killing me. Well, apparently it's also killing others. So miss, how about a nice, long chat?">I was thrown into jail for helping you guys out! What's wrong with you? [Heritage +1]>I believe some explanations are in order [Synthesis +1]>Woah there, you just killed a man! What the fuck is up with that? [Revenge +1]
>>3353041>>>I was thrown into jail for helping you guys out! What's wrong with you? [Heritage +1]
>>3353041>I believe some explanations are in order [Synthesis +1]
>>3353041>>I believe some explanations are in order [Synthesis +1]
>>3353041>I believe some explanations are in order [Synthesis +1]We didn't get (nearly) get to the top of the social ladder in our school by freaking out at the slightest provocation.
>>3353052>>3353058>>3353080>>3353086[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]The man was playing it cool. This was probably a bit out of your league, but you weren't going to flinch. 'Cool?' You'll give him 'cool' all right."Oh yes, please. I was just thinking that I'd like to ask you a few questions. I cannot help but find some things confusing. For instance, why would your men try to kill me several times? I am fairly sure this is the first time we've seen each other, so I cannot really find a reasonable motive for their animosity."Admittely, you wanted to ask him about the shadow you met earlier this morning, but first you had to give him a taste of his own medicine. The smug smile plastered on his face probably meant that he understood just what you were trying to pull there. "It was nothing personal, however cliche that might sound. Besides, you're mixing up the details. The men I just... 'dismissed' were in fact after your life. They were tasked with guarding the Von Neumann. Poor sods got the easiest job on the facility, and they still failed. Goodness gracious. As for the Hi-Drapearl, the pilot was after the robot itself. You were just collateral damage.""How enlightened.""Why yes, miss, even if it escapes your understanding, everything in my facility is well-regulated and governed by impeccable principles. Just so you know, you're not the only one who has been raised on a Central Planet. Unfortunately, things are a tad different over here, and we have to make do. We'll send you back home as soon as we can shed some light on what just transpired."Huh? Central Planets? Was this man taking the piss? Well, he did raise a valid concern though: you had no clue about your current whereabouts. But now was not the time to break character. "Ah yes, that would be most fortunate, to be sent home that is. You see, a certain shadow, no doubt a henchman of yours, dragged me...""Shadow?" the man asked, a note of worry in his voice."Yes indeed, the shadow that caught me..." "Stop. Present me your hand," he ordered in a stern voice."My hand? Why on Earth would I...""The hand. Now."
>>3353117You swallowed hard. This man had a gun and he wasn't too fussy about using it. Perhaps it was worth complying, at least for now. As soon as you stretched it in his direction, he grabbed it, bringing your attention to a certain detail on the annular. The man was pointing at a strange, silver-colored ring that you didn't even realize was there. It possessed a very peculiar charm, being simple yet refined at the same time. A small emerald stood on top of it, giving an hint of glamour to the otherwise stern design. You never possessed such a ring. In fact, just like most things you saw today, you had never seen it before."I suggest you put that thing away," the man said, letting go. "We're done here for today. You will be considered a criminal and will be put under arrest, effective immediately.""What? WHY?! I didn't do anything!""Unfortunately stealing a prototype and infiltrating a military base do count as 'something'. Remember, it's all in my report, and both my men signed it. Relax, we'll send you home eventually. But we have to keep up appearances.">If I am only a criminal on paper, then don't lock me up in a cell! [Synthesis +1]>You fucking bastards, you plan to use me, don't you? [Revenge +1]>Very well then, so be it. But don't count on my cooperation [Heritage +1]
>>3353119>>If I am only a criminal on paper, then don't lock me up in a cell! [Synthesis +1]
>>3353119>>If I am only a criminal on paper, then don't lock me up in a cell! [Synthesis +1]Let us wander around the base at least. If they think a teenage girl can escape that easily then they have shit tier security.
>>3353119>Very well then, so be it. But don't count on my cooperation [Heritage +1]Oh hey, you're back with this again, QM. What happened to you the first time around?
>>3353282Life got in the way of things and people pretty much stopped responding, so I took a break. Reworked some things and added an alignment system of sorts. Give me a second here, I'll publish an update.
>>3353133>>3353120>>3353282[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]"Suits me just fine, then. But since we both know I haven't done anything wrong, how about giving me a room rather than a cell? Or are you really implying that a teenage girl poses such a treat to your perfectly organized base?""No can do. Inspectors from the Central Government will be here shortly, and as I said, we must keep up appearances. We'll give you a more suitable accommodation as soon as they're gone. I am sure you're already thrilled at the thought of receiving a visit from people in your neighborhood.""I don't know what you're implying. What the hell is a Central Government anyway? Is this one of those conspiracies like Illuminati?""Ah, yeah, which reminds me: we have a lot of catching up to do. I'll deliver you some books later. And just so you know, the possibility of you being a spy isn't exactly off the table yet. So we gotta be cautious. That'll be all."Leaving the room, he gestured to the guards something you couldn't decipher, but most likely he was notifying them of your incarceration. Surely enough, the guardsmen came in, their guns well in sight. There were no restraints or handcuffs involved, yet your escort kept their guns armed and ready as they lead you to the cell. Earlier, one of them had gazed on the corpse of his erstwhile colleague, turning pale the second he realized what happened. You could hear him puke on the ground the moment the door locked behind you. He must've been pushing himself to complete the mission. The room was somewhere in a forsaken area of the base, and it still looked remarkably well furnished. Perhaps the place could use some cleaning, but it was far from being the end of the world. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom was spacious and there was even a finely crafted desk that could be used for writing, if you ever felt in the mood for that. 'And what should I write? My last will?' All you could look forward were books, and even so, there was no ETA for when they'd be delivered. "If this is an agreement between you and professor Deucalion, then chances are he's gonna keep his part of the bargain. How he keeps it, however, is up to him," the guards explained when you questioned them about that. And there you were, in the penumbra of the residential room turned prison, with more questions than answers. Deucalion (was that his name?) talked about a Central Government and Central Planets. The degree of technological advance, coupled with the existence of fighting robot machines, made it feel like you were stuck in some B-tier sci-fi movie.
>>3353388Hours passed as you struggled to make sense of all this, when finally someone knocked on the door. "I'd hate to be rude to a guest, but I am the one locked in, you know?" you answered nonchalantly.Someone then opened the door and let herself in. She was wearing a white coat and was carrying a cardboard box"I just don't like disturbing other people's priv...OH MY GOD!"Losing her composure, the woman tripped and spilled the contents of the box, instinctively crawling away from you in the process. "Are you alright, miss?" you asked, jumping up and moving towards her."Yeah, sorry, I just didn't expect to find you lying on the bed and the light was bad, for a second I was afraid you had committed suicide." She laughs nervously, almost insincerely, and then stretches her hand towards you. "My name is prof. Isomäki. I came here to bring you the books prof. Deucalion promised you. I selected some of my favorites.">Oh, thanks. Is there anything else? [Heritage +1]>About time! I was getting bored here [Revenge +1]>Let me help you up first [Synthesis +1]
>>3353389>Oh, thanks. Is there anything else? [Heritage +1]
>>3353805[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage'.]"Lovely. Thank you very much," you said, trying to keep your distance. These were the people who imprisoned you for no good reason, and being friendly wasn't really your top priority. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"The woman struggled back on her feet. "Oh, no, I just wanted to let you know about the books I brought with me. If that's not a problem, of course," she proposed with a somewhat saddened expression. You weren't the most avid reader, so having a brief rundown could have turned useful. It would have made avoiding boring and irrelevant stuff much easier. Convinced by this line of reasoning, you nodded at her. Stopping for a moment to observe her, you noticed that you were a bit taller than her, even though she was probably at least 5 years your senior. Her hair was ashen blonde, and her eyes emerald green. With a deep breath, the woman dispelled her own wistfulness and proceeded to explain which books she had selected for you and according to which criteria. Her enthusiasm was contagious and soon you found yourself engrossed in it, suddenly motivated to at least take a peek at even the most advanced textbooks she brought along. "... and that concludes my tiresome explanation. Sorry if it was boring. In any case, there's an index of the books I brought with me somewhere in the box. Make sure to retrieve it and to double check that everything's in place. Wouldn't want you to be accused of being a thief," she concluded with a smirk, sticking her tongue out playfully. "Thank you very much, I'll pay attention""Very well. I am off then, bye!" Professor Isomäki waved at you before leaving, and when the door closed behind her back, you were once again completely alone in the 'cell'.[Socializing background] There was something off about that woman. She seemed dejected, and you were pretty sure it had nothing to do with the coldness with which you received her. No, it was something much more deep-rooted. Making a note to investigate the matter further at a later date, you considered what to do now. >I might check out some books that deal with robots and robotics [Synthesis +1]>Can't I have a tv or something? Maybe if I ask they'll give me one [Revenge +1]>I should probably get a grasp of the contemporary history [Heritage +1]
>>3354033>>I should probably get a grasp of the contemporary history [Heritage +1]
>>3354132[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage'.][Socializing Background] Sigh. You really have to, don't you? No matter how much you find reading boring, you gotta swallow this pill and grasp at least a modicum of information on the current situation. There was a short compedium on modern history detailing the expansion of the 'Human Empire' through the Solar System, something that would've struck you as absurd had you not fought against aliens literally just a few hours ago. The rest was drivel about a civil war, super robots, portals from another dimension and... wait, wait, wait. This one's relevant: portals. Redoubling your efforts, you tried to make sense of the book's explanation about different planes and timelines colliding, trying to ignore the blathering about internal politics and ideological conflicts. The gist of it was the following: robots had been produced before, but some of them started appearing out of thin air. Eventually, humans learned how to open their own portals for their own convenience. There was only one possible explanation. Those people who kept you prisoner were doing so deliberately, and they could have sent you home anytime, had they wanted to do. It was difficult to swallow the resentment, but for the time being, you had to play it smart. Casually mentioning it the next time around should prove to be useful, one way or another. The rest of the books, you didn't even dare touch. Physics, biology, chemistry, and all sorts of hard sciences were discussed in several tomes now scattered across the floor. Surely they couldn't have belonged to a single person, unless said person was a genius of sorts. It was frustrating. This was exactly the moment in which being somewhat smart would've helped. Could your social skills prove to be enough? Funnily enough, you were just about to find out.In the complete silence of the room, a faint noise was echoing. Having spent what felt like hours on the first history book, you could easily tell that something was occurring outside. It wasn't a delusion, nor the product of wishful thinking: you would have heard something like that before, otherwise. The noise was akin to that of a cat scratching against the door. It wasn't the clumsy yet boisterous knocking of the professor, nor the footsteps of the guards. It was still unclear why someone would knock on the door, considering that you were the prisoner, but that question could have waited. Right now, there were decisions to make.>Ignore it. If they want to talk, then it's up to them to come on in. [Revenge +1]>"What kind of person knocks on the door of an inmate?" [Heritage +1]>"Just come on in, for pete's sake" [Synthesis +1]
>>3354340>>"What kind of person knocks on the door of an inmate?" [Heritage +1]
>>3354340>"Just come on in, for pete's sake" [Synthesis +1]
>>3354345>>3354362>>3354418[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]Sighing in frustration, you walked up to the door and started talking."You see, the idea of locking someone in is not letting that person get out. It's not meant to prevent you from entering." Perhaps there was a hint of excessive animosity in your words, but it was hardly inexcusable given the situation. "Indeed, Von Neumann. But I am not used to barging into a girl's room uninvited. So, may I come in?"The commander? Now that was a surprise. What was he doing here?"Sure," you replied, walking away from the doorway. The lock clanked and a tall man in his mid-twenties made his way in. Despite his buzzcut, you could tell his hair was ginger, while his eyes were of a clear blue. He stretched his hand towards you and introduced himself. "I am the pilot of the G-mu, Mark Venedig. But you can call me Mark. And who are you?"Shaking his hand, you stuttered a response."I am the Von Neumann's pilot, I mean, I don't really pilot it the way you do, I just... well in any case, my name's Carlotta Dubois. The pleasure's mine.""Carlotta, huh? Wonderful name. You did great out there. Sorry for pointing that gun at you, I really had no choice. I am glad everything turned out for the best, however. Was that really your first time piloting?"You nodded, somewhat dazed by Mark's impetuous speech. He truly did have the bearing of a leader, and of a good one at that. Instinctively, you sensed that he had come here for a precise reason, as he clearly appeared to be a no-nonsense man. But before you could ask him anything about that, he produced something from his pocket. It was a strange, T-shaped metal object, not much larger than an average pendant."Here, take it."He handed it to you, and you took some time to analyze its structure."What is this?""This is a symbol of our creed. It's a reproduction of what our prophet held in his final moments. It goes without saying, but the replica is much smaller."The idea that people so far in the future would have a religion struck you as odd. And yet, people akways upheld beliefs in the supernatural, so maybe it wasn't a matter of present or far-future. At least so you thought."So did you come here to convert me?""Huh? Convert? I thought you already were one of us.""And what exactly made you think so?""Well, news are spreading about you operating the Von Neumann remotely. I thought to myself, 'this can only be the work of a Newtype!' and came to have a talk with you. Don't tell me you don't strive to ride the rainbow?""Ride the rainbow?"
>>3354493Should really remember to put on my trip.===============================[Socializing background] Mark looked dejected. You had no clue what kind of comrade in arms he was looking for, but the longing for a kindred spirit was a very relatable feeling. Right now, this was especially true for you. Because of this, you decided to hear him out and bring him some comfort, if possible"Yes, the rainbow to the realm of gods and to the hall of heroes, Valhalla. Our prophet managed to do it, and there are reports of other people being able to achieve that as well. However, you must be born with the talent to do so. We call those capable 'Einherjar'. All Einherjars are chosen by the valkyrie upon their birth, so it's not really something you can learn.""So could I be one such Einherjar? Newtype? I am confused.""We prefer Einherjar. People use Newtype as a slur, nowadays. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I don't think discussing semantics is worthwhile."An awkward silence fell. You tried to think of something to keep the conversation going. "I see... so you must love battle, right? That's how the followers of the Gods of Asgard can enter Valhalla. Isn't it so?" This is what you remembered from watching a movie about Norse mythology. To think it would turn out to be useful somewhere in the far future, of all places."That's not entirely correct. Only in battle can we ride the rainbow, that's true, but we Einherjar hate war more than anyone else, because we can understand others and their pain. It's like a challenge for us to overcome."Quietly, you nodded. There was still a certain determination in Mark's eyes. Perhaps your questions derailed the conversation, but it was worth it for the sake of building bridges and showing some interest. But that was enough. It was high time to let him talk. "This charm... is what keeps me sane in battle and in dire situations. Do you have something like that? Something that will help you endure until you're out of here?">I have only relied on myself, and I will continue doing so. [Heritage +1]>I have no such thing, unfortunately. [Synthesis +1]>I am not so weak as to need something like that! [Revenge +1]
>>3354502>I have no such thing, unfortunately. [Synthesis +1]
>>3354558>>3354594[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]You shrugged, giving him a bitter smile. "I don't have much, to be honest. I don't even know who my real parents were. But I do have my friends. You see, I hate being alone. I can't shake the feeling that whoever abandoned me thought of me as a burden. I don't want to be that kind of person, and that's why I always go the extra mile to make friends."Mark replied with a smile. "Is that so? Then I'd like you to keep the charm. Don't think of it as a religious symbol, think of it as a present from a friend. You must care about them, don't you? Then make sure to return home safely." Standing up, he crossed his arms and struck what looked like a power pose. "I think I would have disliked you if you had said things like 'oh, I have nothing, I am all alone', or whiny stuff like that. But you gave me a good answer. I respect you a lot more now. Keep up the good work, Von Neumann, and don't forget: it's your responsibility to come back home safe. Your friends are counting on you. That's the rainbow you have to ride"He waved, and then closed the door behind him. You couldn't help but think that he was an eccentric but reliable guy. Once again there was silence. Books, a dim light, a comfortable bed, and a few minutes later, a decent meal too. That's all you were entitled to. How long would this go on for? Living the life of a beast, caged and fed. The chance of being tortured was very real, too. Those thoughts made you shudder. hat night you had trouble falling asleep. Several issues you had neglected slowly came to the surface of your mind. School, the passing of time, the probability of making it out alive. Too many things you knew too little about, but couldn't help being obsessed with. And yet, despite not knowing how, you fell asleep. The morning had a special greeting in store: hard, loud knocks against the cell's door, coming through in ordered intervals. Something unlike Mark's discreet beckoning call, far different from the clumsy professor's tapping, the person trying to reach you was perfectly controlled in its movements. This could only mean one thing: new visitors.>I won't respond to any knocking. If they want to talk, they better open the door on their own [Revenge +1]>"Yes, who might that be?" [Synthesis +1]>Pretend to be asleep
>>3354726>>"Yes, who might that be?" [Synthesis +1]
>>3354726>Pretend to be asleep
>>3354726>"Yes, who might that be?" [Synthesis +1]I'm guessing from all the newtype and rainbow talk that this is post-CCA?
>>3354731>>3354734>>3354762[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]This routine was getting tiresome. Better to get it over with. Standing up, you cleared your throat and addressed your guests."Excuse me, whoever it is that is standing outside, I'd like to point out to you that this my cell - not my private quarters. Why do you insist on knocking on it?""Then is it safe to assume that we can come in?" A male voice asked."Yes, I've stepped away from the door. Go ahead and let yourselves in."And so they did. A man and a woman were waiting outside. The girl looked strange, in more than one way. She was definitely pretty, and even her awfully unfashionable outfit suited her well. Something about her eyes, however, was definitely unsettling. The man, on the other hand, was exceptionally well-groomed. He was wearing a white shirt and a striped tie under a black suite, his eyes as black as the girl's. But whereas the odd lady's hair was ginger (of a darker tone when compared to Mark's), his hair was black as well. In a sense, he looked almost like a walking spot of black. You suddenly felt something silky stroking against your hand. It was Roger's glove, black as well, that was gently accompanying your arm upwards. As old-fashioned as it was, the man kissed your hand briefly before withdrawing."My apologies for barging in and waking you up. Indeed, this is your cell, but I am a gentleman and I won't simply take a stroll into a lady's room," he explained, standing up. "My name is Roger Smith. I have been sent as ispector from the Central Government. Surely you were expecting us already.""Truth be told, I was," you replied, trying to put on your charm. This guy was definitely old fashioned, so it wouldn't have been hard to get him wrapped around your finger. It was just a matter of playing the right cards. Were you a criminal or a damsel in distress for him? Time to figure it out.[Social background.] "I am much obliged to you, mr Smith. You seem to be the only proper man around here. That haughty man, prof. Deucalion, treated me quite roughly," you chimed, trying to play the victim card."Is that so? The cards I have at my disposal tell me he's the one who's asking for your release, though. Oh, how uncouth of me. I didn't introduce you to my partner, Dorothy Wayneright. "The odd woman curtsied, flatly greeting you. "How do you do?"Acknolwedging the woman's salute with a nod, you shifted your focus on mr Smith once again."Well then, I suppose you've come here to free me. Or am I wrong?"
>>3354897The man scowled. "I am afraid I cannot do that. My job here is to inspect and to negotiate. My client is the Human Empire, and thus I came here with some clear demands. I hoped you and prof. Deucalion had arrived to an agreement already, and it pains me to find out this is not the case. I also came here to escort you to the meeting room. So, if you would be so kind as to follow me..." >Is there anything I can do to get on your good side? [Heritage +1]>In other words, you're in cahoots to screw me over [Revenge +1]>How about we meet half-way? [Synthesis +1]>>3354762From Mark's point of view, it is. However that is just one part of the larger setting
>>3354909>>How about we meet half-way? [Synthesis +1]Also>It was Roger's glove, black as wellyou refer to him as Roger before he introduces himself? Threw me for a second there.
>>3354909>>How about we meet half-way? [Synthesis +1]
>>3354942Dangit, I didn't notice that. I am sorry, I should've probably used a personal pronoun there.
>>3354909>>How about we meet half-way? [Synthesis +1]Can we get a count of how much synthesis / heritage / revenge points we have.>NewtypesNice, looks like this quest isn't going to be complete OG
>>3354991>>3354954>>3354942[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]"Now, now mr. Smith. Where's the rush?" you asked, making your way to the door and closing it. "I may not be the wisest girl out there, but even I know negotiations are easier to tackle when an ally has your back covered.""Indeed," Roger replied, giving you an inquisitive look. "Where are you going with this?""All I am saying is that we can do without the middleman. Let's strike a pre-contractual deal on our own, why don't we?""Oh? So I assume you have requests?""I do. For starters, I want my own room. And I want some entertainment too. A TV, a computer with an Internet connection, anything is better than what I have right now. Finally, I want to be sent home as soon as possible. I've read your books. I know you guys can do it, you can open portals and what not. Can't be that difficult, can it?"Mr Smith nodded. "These are all reasonable terms, we would definitely agree to all of them. I suppose we can go now...""Hold it. This was too easy. You're hiding something, are you not? What are YOUR terms?" Something wasn't right. You felt it in your guts. And lately, your guts were often right."Well of course. We expect you to keep piloting the Von Neumann and..""NO!" you shouted, losing your temper for a moment. "I am sorry for my outburst, but I can't accept this. Last time I went out, some of my teammates tried to knock me down. I want to go home, I don't want to ride that metal thing again.""This is unfortunate, but this term is non-negotiable," Roger replied with a cunning smile. "You handled this negotiation really well, but you forgot something: the Empire holds the upper hand. If they can't have you piloting, they'll have you dead."You gritted your teeth in sheer frustration. "Alright then. I'll pilot. But I want your assurance that I won't die to friendly fire.""Agreed. I am sure Deucalion will see the merits of this argument too," Roger said, opening the door and letting himself out. Dorothy followed him almost immediately. "I expect a gentleman to honor his word," you concluded, staring into his eyes.Still unfamiliar with the main structure of the base, you let Mr Smith and his partner lead the way through the corridors. The three of you finally stopped in front of the door where your interrogation was held. Roger took a deep breath, and you did too. The man must have been a professional, as he waltzed in the room with uncharacteristic optimism. Inside, that familiar old man was sitting behind his desk.
>>3355151"Aye, so we meet again, miss Carlotta. And it looks like you won over our negotiator, here. What is it, Smith? You seem psyched up. Are you going to request a jacuzzi? Because we got no jacuzzi around here. Make sure to report that to the Human Empire's High Command." Despite what he said, the professor looked just as chirpy. Perhaps that biting sarcasm was the way he expressed it. "Professor Deucalion, my client knows full well the situation on this base. And you should also know why they can't agree to fully resupply you yet. More importantly, I had the pleasure to converse with this young woman here. We've come to terms somehow, so all that's left is hearing you out.""Oh? So the girl gets to dictate terms? Not what I expected from a woman already sentenced to death.""Sentenced to death? I knew nothing about this," you feebly protested."You got Hi-Drapearl to thank for that. Of course it was a fanatic who spilled the beans to the High Command, before I could make my report even. But hey, you've managed to convince mr Roger Smith here, top negotiator. Surely that's going to count for something."Mr Smith spoke in a serene yet peremptory tone, regaining control of the flow of the conversation. "Professor Deucalion, there's no need to terrorize the girl. Please simply tell us if you accept the terms or not.""No need to list them. I accept them all." with a smug grin, he turned to you. "I already got you figured out, brat. Not only did I know that you'd negotiate with him in private first, I could take an educated guess at what you'd ask. However... I have a condition on my own.""What would that be?" the man in black asked."A scramble order. Right now. I want you both to accept it." "Both? Mr Smith, do you...?"Roger nodded. It was checkmate, and it was clear to see. On the one hand, as a convict, you were unable to refuse orders. On the other hand, the Empire probably needed the data. If the negotiator refused, the deal would have been off, and the responsibility would have lied with him. Neither of you could refuse. A loud explosion echoed in the distance, and the entire structure shook. Some dust fell from the roof, as if tacitly confirming the necessity of professor Deucalion's scramble order.> "I prefer to die on my terms than on your battlefield" [Revenge +1] > "I won't go there without a briefing" [Synthesis +1]> How stupid must they be for handing me a weapon. Sure, let's go. They'll come to regret this [Heritage +1]
>>3355160> "I won't go there without a briefing" [Synthesis +1]
>>3355170>>3355179[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]"How about giving us a briefing before unceremoniously throwing us out?" you asked, trying to hold back your animosity."I don't want to be difficult, prof. Deucalion, but I second that statement. I am not an exceptional pilot, and miss Carlotta is a beginner. Please, give us a quick rundown"The man stood up, his shit-eating grin still plastered on his face. "A briefing huh? I'll keep it real simple. Here, on the second moon of Pseudo Nergal 5, lies the furthest military base from Earth. Our purpose? Fighting the Synapticons, eusocial alien lifeforms who constitute the biggest external threat to humanity since the so-called 'Space Monsters'. The Synapticons built a nest on this moon. Yesterday they sent a broodmother with her children, today the attack is supposed to be larger. Orders are to bust their nest once you've repelled them. Questions?""Am I going to be shot at again?""Please stop bringing that up," the man replied huffing. "It didn't happen yesterday and it won't happen today."Dissatisfied, but in no position to disobey, you nodded. "Understood. Lead me to the hangar, I'll pilot it."Roger placed a hand on your shoulder. "Come with us," he simply said. The three of you broke into a run through the corridors, receiving no small amounts of dirty looks or obscenities thrown in your general direction by the people who were just walking or minding their business. Climbing stair ramp after stair ramp, you finally reached the hangar. All robots were in position, ready to deploy.The G-mu stood ahead of anyone else. Azure as it was, it looked like a piece of heaven had fallen on the ground. Behind it stood the Simulacrum, a much less harmonious figure. The sunlight wasn't reflecting on his silver chassis, making it look like one of the grey gargoyles of Gothic architecture. The Solarion was hard to mistake. Twice as tall as everyone else, it was painted in a deep brown color. Its face looked like a decoration, compared to the Simulacrum's (whose purpose was probably being an armor piece) or the G-mu (which probably was equipped with several cameras and long-range scanners). Admittedly, however, it looked much smaller than yesterday, and the explanation for that was to be found a bit to his left: the components he had used the day before to seal the hole had been disassembled from his main body.
>>3357000The Hi-Drapeal, on the other hand, was an entirely different beast. You had never seen it before, but now it stood out like a sore thumb. Painted in bright red, everything about it screamed 'SPEED!'. Its head was defined just like the G-mu, sporting sunglasses instead of a mask. There was also another face painted on its stomach, oversized as it might have been. And then there was your very own Von Neumann, black, slick, slender and sinister. Its anonymous aura was profoundly impersonal, almost alienating. It was anyone's possession, meaning it was no one's. Indeed, despite being the machine you were assigned to operate, it had nothing in common with its pilot, unlike the other robots.Roger whistled upon laying his eyes on it. "Nice machine, Carlotta. I like your style."He was walking towards another black mecha, something you had never seen before. Standing roughly in between the G-mu and the Solarion in size, it was a hulking humanoid with an unsettling stoic expression on its face."Yours isn't half-bad either, mr Smith," you politely replied. "But here's hoping that you're a better pilot than I am""I would say that I can hold my own. Let's just say that, in a way, I am a lot like you: a natural. Dorothy, come on in," he said, helping her partner get into the cockpit. You did the same, and noticed that the radio channels for communication were already bustling with activity."Von Neumann, this is G-mu. Come in.""G-mu, this is Von Neumann, ready to sortie.""The Fractal Blade is where it used to be. Use it as a last resort, and don't break it for any reason. We'll be giving you a beam rifle and some cartridges as well. Make sure not to damage the rifle either.""Copy that.""Your mission is to cover me and Simulacrum. Solarion and the Big O will be our rearguard, make sure to check on them from time to time.""Understood.""Any questions?">"Let's blow them up!" [Revenge +1]>"Fill me in on the mission details, please" [Synthesis +1]>"No, sir. Ready to go anytime" [Heritage +1]
>>3357007>>"Fill me in on the mission details, please" [Synthesis +1]
>>3357007>"Fill me in on the mission details, please" [Synthesis +1]
>>3357123 >>3357095 >>3357049[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]"It pains me to say this, Mark, but I haven't quite understood the purpose of the mission just yet.""Huh? She calls you Mark?" Hi-Drapearl's pilot sounded surprised. Was it really such a strange thing to do? Oh, but of course. No one was supposed to know you met each other yesterday."Von Neumann, please call me G-mu. I'll give you the details once we've departed. Please leave the hangar after Simulacrum.""Wilco."G-mu was the first to head out. He surveyed his surroundings and gave the signal for the others to deploy. Hi-Drapearl came next. Seeing it at work was astounding: his machine literally jumped out, and used the momentum to turn into an aircraft. Its painted face was now fully displayed on its bottom side, displaying the mecha's warrior spirit to the enemies below. Faithful to the orders received, you stepped out right behind the silver golem, instinctively reaching for the beam rifle and looking around. The air was calm. No one was around. Big O and Solarion came last, and once the formation was assembled, the six of you headed for the entrance."Alright Von Neumann, listen up. This could turn out to be useful later on. The moon we're on is called PN5-2, short for Pseudo Nergal 5, moon 2. Unlike Pseudo Nergal 5, whose atmosphere resembles Mars', this planet is quite similar to Earth. Synapticons must've moved here for that reason. Certainly you remember the Space Monsters, who nidificated on stars.""No, I don't""Well, be it as may, the Space Monsters and the Synapticons are very different. We're not used to fighting the latter yet. So far we've discerned that they have a hierarchy, with broodmothers acting as lieutenants. We're now looking for the broodmother on this moon, and we should have located it. Get it? Today's the last great battle. From tomorrow on, we will be mopping up survivors.""Sounds kinda grim when you put it like that."Indeed, that chat was anything but pleasant. At least the Hi-Drapearl wasn't vomiting hatred on you yet, and that was a welcome change. After Mark was done with his explanation, everything went quiet once again.
>>3357139Communications resumed once you were far from the base and into a strange, twisted jungle. Was it the aliens who changed the environment? Or was this the norm outside of the Solar System? "How are you feeling, Von Neumann?""I am alright, Mark... I mean, G-mu. Nothing to report here.""Be at ease. Me and the others have another communication channel. I thought it would be wise to establish a personal channel, just in case. In any case, here's the battle plan. We're heading to confront the broodmother of the nest. It's not going to be an easy fight, but we can win it just like we won last time. Protect the Big O and the Solarion, and we'll have enough firepower to blast a small nation away." "I understand.""Good. And remember, ask as few questions as possible in battle. No one can afford to get distracted"Mark's plan seemed fairly straightforward. It was a simple yet efficient application of the min-max routine: using the safest option to gain the larger benefit. As such, it was virtually irreproachable. The heavy lifting would have been done by those actually capable of doing it.Thanks to the Hi-Drapeal's scouting operation, you had a very accurate map right in front of your eyes, complete with heat signatures. The numerosity and the size of the enemies was clearly specified, too. As your squad moved towards their concentration point, some of the smartest creatures started attacking. They must've understood what your plans were.G-mu and Simulacrum reacted quickly, shooting the hybrid monsters down before they could reach them. The former used his rifle, while the Simulacrum was equipped with a knife of sorts. Big O was surprisingly less clunky than you expected it to be, using a mix of ranged bolts and melee blows to take out the most immediate threats. Solarion seemed to be unable to properly respond, and Hi-Drapearl was presumably in the same situation, given how thick the vegetation was. Regardless, you pushed back the first wave. The aliens regrouped and retreated towards the area with the largest concentration of heat signatures, both by number and by size. Odds were it was their nest. >Ask for a status report from the robots you're supposed to escort [Heritage +1]>Stick with the plan, keep your eyes open [Synthesis +1]>Examine the corpses on the enemy bodies [Revenge +1]
>>3357140>>Examine the corpses on the enemy bodies [Revenge +1]
>>3357140>Stick with the plan, keep your eyes open [Synthesis +1]
>>3357140>>3357140 >Stick with the plan, keep your eyes open [Synthesis +1]
>>3357143>>3357153>>3357157[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]No time for dawdling around. The enemy was retreating towards their base, so you simply had to advance. It was time to pay them back for their intrusion. If the heat map was anything to go by, the beasts were forming a circle around the broodmother, with the biggest specimen coming to the front. For the first time, you even saw Solarion open fire. Granted, it was an artillery barrage meant to confuse and disorientate the enemy, but it was still a fairly unusual sight. As the squad got closer to the enemy, the others joined in the fight. You and G-mu shot, picking off the Synapticons scattered by Solarion's salvos, whereas the Simulacrum used its portable shield to offer some cover. The Solarion stood behind, still providing indirect fire, while the Big O was advancing, all guns blazing.Making your way through the overgrown bushes and the deformed trees, you finally saw the first enemy corpses. Ordnance rounds were causing the smaller creatures to flee and break formation, whereas the controlled fire coming from the rest of the squad continued as a torrent. The Simulacrum's AT-field prevented enemy retaliation.Throughout this terrible experience, it took all of your willpower to stay focused. The sensory overload caused by loud noise and constant explosions was driving you mad, and only the prospect of death at the hands of those revolting monsters kept you from snapping. Even still, it felt like a fool's errand. They had the numbers, and for one enemy down, two seemed to take its place.You even caught a glimpse of what the others must've meant when they talked about a 'broodmother'. A larger alien, similar to a cockroach in shape, stood tall in the sea of abominations. It wasn't the sole creature to have insect-like traits: you could as easily spot medium-sized hybrids who displayed a hard, black carapax, or several legs. "Von Neumann, this is G-mu. Prepare to get down!""What? Why?""We're about to finish this in one, fell swoop. Simulacrum will deactivate its AT-Field, then the Solarion will open fire with its main weapon. Once a path is cleared, I will rush up to the broodmother and kill it with my beam saber. We'll have some cleanup to do afterwards, but the worst part will be behind us."Mark spoke as if the battle had already been decided. And indeed, looking at how desperately the aliens were fighting, it must've been the case. Did those aliens understand the meaning of 'desperation' in the first place? It sure seemed like that, considering how recklessly they were rushing towards you.>Very good. Just give me the signal. [Revenge +1]>No, wait. I'll do it. [Synthesis +1]>We can't risk the life of an officer. We can let someone else do it. [Heritage +1]
>>3357184>>Very good. Just give me the signal. [Revenge +1]
>>3357184>No, wait. I'll do it. [Synthesis +1]
>>3357184>>No, wait. I'll do it. [Synthesis +1]
>>3357211>>3357215>>3357239>>3357193[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis'.]"Wait, G-mu. Something's odd here. Let me do it, I'll kill it with the Fractal Blade."[Your team members will remember this]"No, Von Neumann. The man who gives the order to charge must have enough courage to lead the charge himself. You could call this responsibility, but it's also what a knight's pride is made of. Prepare to get down when Simulacrum's AT-field goes off."The strange, hexagonal orange layer between you and the beasts vanished, leaving the squad exposed. At that moment, two things happened. With perfect synchronicity, all the mechas kneeled, crouched, or lied on the ground. Then, a concentrated beam of pure energy fired. It must've been Solarion's doing. It was nothing like the Big O's eye- or head-beam, it was rather a concentrated torrent of light pouring and wiping out the enemy. This was the beam you barely caught a glimpse of during the first mission, perhaps because you never saw it from such a short distance. And yet, seeing it now was enough to fully understand and make you put your faith in Mark's plan. With supernatural reflexes, the G-mu stood up, unleashing its probe blasters. Those tiny, flying weapons kept the small fry at bay, whereas with a quick dash the G-mu reached the broodmother and planted its beam saber deep into the overgrown arthropod's body.For a few seconds, it looked like it was over. The beast was slain, the smaller aliens would've probably fled, and there would have been time to purge the nest, killing the larvae. But before any of you could celebrate, a larger broodmother emerged from underground, using its legs to dig through the ground first and through the G-mu moments later. Mark screamed horribly, wailing like a butchered pig before going silent.All you felt was an encroaching, all-encompassing emptiness. He wasn't familiar enough to warrant heart-crushing sadness, nor was he far enough from you to be simply mourned like a dead celebrity. He died in a heartbeat, as he were just a rookie on his first day of training. Was that the truth of the battlefield?And what was worse, the aliens started cackling. A strange noise that sounded like a celebration, a war cry, or even worse, a wicked laughter. Perhaps that was what ticked you off, causing fear and paralysis to turn into wrath. It was something to be grateful for, because right then, you felt it. The soul of Mark, and the souls of his brethren, the Einherjar, howling in rage together with you. Was this what Mark meant when he talked about empathy, back then?[The choice of Synthesis]
>>3357350Pure, unadultered rage filled your body. Desecrating a corpse, celebrating the demise of a solider. These were unacceptable behaviors. "You FUCKERS!"Von Neumann, what are you doing? We have to regroup!""That bastard...! What is she up to?""Von Neumann, get it together!""Miss Carlotta!Your teammates were calling out to you, but you were deaf to their pleas. How dared they stand back while the enemy laughed and danced on the corpse of your comrade? That wasn't something you could forgive. Somehow, the probe blasters took off again, this time obeying the Von Neumann's command. They, too, sought revenge."I can feel it! Power is spreading through the machine!" Even the Synapticons had stopped their celebration. All eyes, human or not, were on you. The probe blasters covered you in a purple light, as energy started flowing towards your Fractal Blade. You were all but lost in that moment of anger, but you could clearly hear a voice chiming through the intercom. "Mr Roger Smith, take a good look. That's the true form of our Von Neumann.""Its true shape? So, is it a Gundam?""That's not it. Sure, it looks like a Gundam now, but that isn't the point. The integrated SALUTE system will activate in the presence of a strong enough emotional response, removoing the restraints and allowing the machine to tap into its full potential.""I don't get it, why do you need the girl then?""Because all other experiments have failed. In other words Carlotta Dubois, the warrior we haven't summoned, is the only one capable of properly piloting the Von Neumann."FRACTAL BLADE!"Obeying your vocal command, the sword started glowing with its usual green light. The probe blasters released the protective field they had erected around you, melting the closest enemies on the spot. "Burn in hell, Synapticon!" With a single swing, the energy stored in the blade propagated like a wave, killing most of the creatures on the spot and severely wounding the broodmother. "Mr Smith, it's up to you now!" you shouted, taking cover with the probe blasters once again. "Thank you, miss Carlotta. Let's put an end to this. BIG O, FINAL STAGE!"
>>3357351The black machine anchored itself to the ground, spreading the panels on its body. A large cannon protruded from his breast, aimed straight at the enemy leader's head. You had no way of knowing about this, of course, but something told you that Mark must have had an ace in the hole in case things got ugly. The Big O's cannon must have been his insurance, his backup, his plan B. Was your sharpened intuition caused by the SALUTE system? Your mind was too altered to come to a conclusion. Another massive energy beam was unleashed, causing the few remaining beasts to flee and the broodmother to evaporate. The battle was won, and the day was yours. As the soul of the Einherjars abandoned you, a vibration came from your pocket. It was the place in which you hid the ring, heeding prof. Deucalion's advice. Under normal conditions, you would've probably asked him about this. But not now. You were too tired to talk, too tired to stand, too tired to process what had just happened. Somewhere, at the edge of your vision, a rainbow shone in the dark. And so, having reached your limit, you collapsed.END OF PART 1 And that's it for now. I am following the scheme I laid out during the first time I tried running this quest, so moving too far ahead would kinda mess my schedule. The good news is that the other parts should be somewhat longer. In any case I am planning to write a small epilogue, just to add some substance to this part. Fell free to use the rest of the thread for Q&A
>>3357354Hey OP. Big fan of SRW games, can't wait to see what you can come up with.
>>3357809>>3357239>>3357215>>3357211>>3357193EPILOGUEThe man cleared his throat, then swiped the sweat off his brow. He was clearly uncomfortable, and the fact that he was now the center of attention wasn't making things any easier."Prime Minister, news from PN5-2 have come about the ongoing war with the Synapticons.""I know already. This is old news. The nest was busted. What else?""It was all thanks to the expert command of Roger Smith, NCO, who took command of a penal battalion.""Yes, this I already know. And not just me. Everyone sitting at this table is fully aware of the status of the PN5 System, and we all respect your hard work in keeping humanity's last outpost safe and functional. Mr Senator, is there something this assembly should know about?" the Prime Minister asked, pressing his interlocutor for more information."As you know, an experimental laboratory was set up on PN5-2 before the civil war," the Senator stuttered. He could feel the Prime Minister's deadly glance fixed on him, urging him to go on. "A certain prototype was stored there, but deemed unusable, until... well...""Yes, of course. What about it?"The Senator took a deep breath. His future would have depended entirely on how the Prime Minister decided to react to the news he was about to relay. "The prototype has been activated again, and is currently operational. It helped uprooting the Synapticon nest.""Is that so."The Prime Minister rested his arms over the desk, folding his hands as he leaned forward. "You assured us the prototype was no longer functional, Senator. But apparently this is no longer true, if it ever were true at all.""Yes, sir.""I am asking you for an expalanation. What did prof. Royce say?""Prof. Royce is dead, sir.""Yes, of course. How silly of me. Who is it that took charge now? Prof. Decameron?""It's prof. Deucalion.""Let's not sweat the details now. What did he say?""He doesn't have an explanation yet. He asked for more time to get some data. He says there might've been mistakes in the preliminary analysis and..."The Prime Minsiter raised a hand. "I heard enough. We have a supervisor stationed there, don't we? Just tell her to keep her eyes open. Now, moving on...""One last thing, Prime Minister," another man intervened. "I apologize for interrupting you, but while we're on the topic, I thought we should get this over with. The base on PN5-2 is asking for reinforcements. They are down to three units.""Reinforcements, huh? They'll get some reinforcements all right."
>>3357879Thanks Questmaster. I was here initially, but you actually were going super fast, which threw me for a loop, because most gms here are pretty slow with their updates. I turned around and you were already 5 posts deep! This is a great thing. Please keep it up for the future.
Last post lolHAH Got'em.