Your whole body aches, crying out with a hundred individual pains - each one with their own voice. If the chorus of aches has one benefit, however, at least they block out anything else you might otherwise be bothered by.The cold and the damp, for example. Snow seeps through the thin clothes you wear, and every shiver that grips your body makes the aching that little bit worse. Grimacing, groaning softly to yourself, you try to focus on something else. Anything else.Focus. Look around, see where you are. See if anything looks familiar.Above, empty night sky. Around you, barren trees. A pair of old metal dogtags lie flat against your chest, but you can't bring your eyes to focus on the words stamped into them. The sky is very dark, with stars winking brightly against the backdrop. Not just stars, but a single lonesome meteor blazing through the sky. You think it's a meteor, at least – you've never been an expert in space stuff.A few feet away, you see an earpiece. A radio, you guess. Reaching out, you scoop it up and screw it into your ear. Immediately, a voice reaches you.“...Need to get out of there immediately!” the voice crackles, “I repeat, you've got a tactical nuclear weapon inbound, you need to get out of there immediately!”The bottom drops out of your stomach as you look up to the sky and notice the meteor. It's... close now. Much closer than before, and it keeps getting closer. Realisation sinks in, closely followed by a second – far less welcome – revelation. Escape is, quite simply, impossible. Even with a vehicle, you could never hope to get out of the blast radius. No two ways about it – you're doomed.Before the nuke hits, you look down at your bare arms and ask yourself a question. When, you wonder, did you get all these scars?
>>803046Opening your eyes is a surprise, but opening them to view a world filtered through a hellish haze of murky red is a whole other surprise. It feels like you're viewing the world through a film of blood, and you feel bile rising up in your throat in response. Is this what dying feels like?Except... you feel good. Strong, in fact. Clenching your hands into fists, you look down at things that are more weapon than flesh. Glossy claws, segmented armour like the hide of a great beetle, and ropes of throbbing muscle. Your whole body is covered in this same alien substance, faintly glowing as it diffuses the heat from the nuke. All the unleashed energy of a nuclear weapon, and this... suit was able to shrug it off.The world around you, though, was not so lucky. A blasted, ruined wasteland, the trees reduced to blackened stumps, you might very well have died and gone to hell if the vision before you is anything to go by.So. You've been nuked, you have no idea where you are – you've got precious few memories at all, in fact – and you seem to have turned into a beetle. What the hell should you do now?Before the question has a chance to fester, you see movement in the low, misty distance. Men – or maybe women, you can't really tell – in bulky protective suits sweep through the blasted forest. They have rifles cradled in their hands, and they cover the area like well-trained professionals. The practised way of moving they have is very familiar – military training. Training that you share, perhaps?Indecision tugs at you as you crouch low. The group of armed men – a dozen, unless they have more approaching from other angles – draws closer still as you sort through your muddled thoughts. In this new form, you have little reason to fear their rifles and you feel strong enough to pull them apart like dolls. Killing them would be a simple thing, even outnumbered twelve to one. Are they really hostile, though?Considering that someone just dropped a nuke on your head, you're not sure if you can take anything for granted. Either way, you don't have long before they reach you.>Fight>Flee>CommunicateVoting closes in 15 minutes.
>CommunicateIf we just tanked a nuke then bullets aint shit.
[Closing the vote here, going with communication. Writing the next post now]
>>803047>FleeI'd rather be safe than sorry
>>803047>communicate>uh hi there, wonderful weather we're having?
So we woke from troubled dreams to find that we had transformed into a terrible vermin, are we Gregor Samsa now?
Bullets can't possibly hurt you like this, with this dreadful, fearful thing clinging to you, so what's the harm in seeing what these masked men are here for? If they prove hostile, you can destroy them. It's as simple as that. Besides, they might have some answers for you – answers that you sorely need. Where you are, for one thing, or who just nuked the place. In fact, you'd be happy with just about anything.“Anything” would be more than what you currently know. Slowly rising to your feet (hooves, whatever) you wave to the approaching men, trying not to imagine what it might look like. Something ripped from a monster movie, perhaps, giving them a jaunty wave. What you hope is a jaunty wave.As one, the soldiers twitch around and brandish their rifles at you, locking you within their sights. In response to the sudden threat, you feel your body shifting – muscles bulking out and skin hardening. It's reactive, you realise, adjusting to whatever it perceives as a threat. If this is technology, it's more advanced than anything you've ever seen. You... guess. You don't have a whole lot of memories to go on. Maybe this is just regular clothing these days.Fanning out, arranging themselves like the hours on a clock, the soldiers surround you. As they keep their rifles aimed, one separates from the rest and approaches you.“Hello!” you try to greet them, “Wonderful weather we've been having! Very, uh... atomic.” Your voices comes out distorted, warbling and rumbling, but the words are more or less clear. Clear enough, you hope, for the optimism to shine through.Through a pair of tinted lenses, the figure regards you for a long time. Perhaps they're not quite sure what to make of you, an alien invader that speaks like a cheery neighbour. You'd be confused as well, if your positions were reversed.“Very nice weather,” the figure replies eventually, their voice muffled and sexless, “Although I think we'd do better talking inside. We can take off our... uh... can you take that thing off?”“Actually,” you reply, “I'm really not sure. I didn't really put it on, you see, so...” So nothing, you think as words fail you, so what exactly are you supposed to say in this position? At least nobody is shooting yet, which you can count as a small victory.“I see,” the bulky suit bobs in a low nod, “Follow me, please. Name? Do you remember your name?”They know you have memory troubles, you realise with a sudden chill, what else do they know?“It's Gregor,” you offer, picking the first name you can think of, “Gregor Sam-”“Gregor Samsa ,of course,” the leader waves an irritated hand, “A fucking comedian, just what I need...” The soldiers sling their weapons, and you have the chance to hear the leader murmur something else. “Target acquired,” they mutter to themselves – to a radio of their own.1/2
>>803159“We're Coalition soldiers,” the leader explains as you walk, a faint trace of an accent – Russian, maybe? - slipping into their voice, “You know the Coalition, yes? No? Well, it doesn't matter – you've got nothing to worry about. You're safe now, Gregor.”You doubt that very much, but you don't press the issue. If nothing else, you don't want to hear that rumbling voice of yours again. It makes you vaguely queasy, hearing it gurgle out of you. The more you walk, the more unpleasant things you notice about this armour. It feels hot and humid, almost stagnant, with a slight feeling of slime clinging to your limbs. You'll need a good long shower once you've found a way out of this thing... assuming that your transformation wasn't a one way trip.So, with the sound of your own breath rasping in your ears and the reddish landscape lurching around you, you follow the Coalition soldiers. What Coalition, you wonder to yourself, you don't know any Coalitions. A few small facts surface in your mind, and none of them suggest that two countries – maybe even more than that – could cooperate long enough for a formal alliance. Maybe there is no Coalition, and these soldiers are taking advantage of your memory loss.Paranoia, you realise, comes easily to a man in your position. Before you can think more on that, a sudden impact shatters the earth before you. Soldiers cry out as they are jostled from their feet, and the new figure rises up.It looks like you, you realise, but not quite. More feral, with the brown carapace twisted into horns and spikes. A long tail swishes from the creature's back, and its eyes are black slits. Those slits turn to face you, and a sickening voice – sticky, thick with malice – boils out.“Run,” it gurgles, before turning away from you. The soldiers, finally gathering their wits, start to fire their weapons in desperate, futile resistance. The new arrival roars and prepares to retaliate.>Flee>Fight alongside the Coalition soldiers>Fight alongside the new monster>Other
>>803183> fight alongside the new monsterFuck it, there are always more soldiers if we want to flip later.
[Closing the vote now, fighting alongside the new monster. Writing the next post now]
Maybe it's the paranoia and your growing distrust of these soldiers - “Coalition”, what nonsense! - that steers you down this dark path. Maybe it's simple recognition. You're a monster, and so is this new monster. There's common ground there, and you might be able to build off that.And hey, this new monster hasn't pointed a gun at you yet. That's something. So, when one of the Coalition soldiers breaks away and runs straight into the bulwark of your chest, the decision almost seems out of your hands. You catch a glimpse of his eyes from behind the dark lenses of his mask as he raises his rifle to fire at you, and you see that they are blind with panic. He fires, and a faint tickle rises up your chest as the bullets plink off your carapace.A short, almost dismissive backhand, and you throw him away in two pieces. His top half is ripped clean away – bad choice of wording, there's nothing clean about this – and cast away while his lower half crumples to the floor. Bright red blood sprays out, looping ropes of organs uncoiling from the ruined body. Even through the thick protective layer of your armour, the smell of gore reaches you – and your mouth, you realise with disgust, begins to water.The other monster is already deep in the bloody task of massacring the Coalition soldiers, bludgeoning them to the ground or tearing them apart like wet paper. Their bullets show no sign of even slowing either of you, with the terrified men firing on simple, stupid instinct. Even in the face of certain death, resistance.Admirable, in a way.They all look the same in those protective suits, but you're fairly sure that you kill the leader yourself. At the very least, their scream has a hint of Mother Russia to it as you bring a hoove down into the small of their back, smashing their insides out with all the ease of an elephant stepping on a bug. Ironic, you think, considering what you look like. Well, it's either focusing on irony or losing your mind right now, after all – you're fairly sure that you've never seen this much blood before.If that bothers the new arrival, it doesn't give any indication. Throwing back its horned head, the monster lets loose a howl of victory. Fresh blood glistens on the monster's carapace, dripping slowly to the ground. Not much drips off, now you think about it, as if most of the blood was being absorbed into the suit.“Didn't think you'd stick around to fight,” the monster grunts, “Capra. My name is Capra.”“Gregor...” you begin, still sticking to that old song and dance.“Amusing. The Samsa Project. You remember that much, at least,” Capra shrugs, and it's like watching a mountain heave in place, “We're safe for now. Sit. Rest.”1/2
>>803297“Your memory is no good right now. That might change. Maybe. Not everything comes back,” Capra's voice is staccato, words coming in short bursts, “Names often don't. Mine didn't. You're wondering if you can trust me right now.”“Well, yes,” you admit, “I wasn't sure if I could trust them either.” You gesture at the scattered bodies as you say this, waving a hulking paw.“You couldn't. Coalition dogs, only fit for the slaughter. Dumb bastards thought a nuke would stop us,” Capra shakes its head, more like a horse scaring away flies than anything else, “You've got scars all over your body, your memory is patchy, and you probably hurt all over. Close?”“Very close,” you agree before cursing yourself. Why not just tell this new arrival everything you know? Except, you've basically done that already. Talk about an uneven relationship.“Huh, good. I won't bore you with the details. Samsa Project was a thing to make living weapons. You and me, in other words. Looks like you passed graduation. Coalition, they want to capture one of us. Alive, if possible. Don't let that happen,” Capra stresses this by kicking a hoof into the ground, “Or I'll have to kill you myself. Just about the only thing around that can kill a Samsa...”“Is another Samsa?” you guess.“You're a smart one,” nodding, Capra reaches down and wrenches an arm from one of the broken bodies. The wet crunch it makes turns your stomach, but your companion shows no sign of discomfort. If anything, they seem to savour the smell of blood and flesh. “Eat,” it orders, “You're weak right now. Transformation is always traumatic the first time.”“Weak?” you repeat, “But I feel stronger than I've ever felt!”“So think how strong you'll feel when you've eaten,” Capra speaks slowly, as if to make sure you're following along, “Don't think too hard about any of this. Just eat.”Looking down at some of the ragged bodies, you feel disgust and hunger tugging in two opposite directions.>Feed. You need your strength>Don't feed. You're still human, damn it![15 minutes for voting]
>>803330>Don't feed. You're still human, damn it!
>>803330>just take a few bites (and be utterly disgusted of course). Bioweapons gotta eat you know, even when clinging for dear humanity.
>>803330Eat, bastard, eat!
[Closing the vote here. We're feeding, even if we're not happy about it. Writing the next post now]
>>803330Shit I just watched the fly last night. We should regurgitate acid to soften the food and then slurp it up. Brundlefly was awesome. I want to be the first insect politician.
>>803400I just wannna be Jeff Goldblum
“I'm not happy about this,” you warn Capra as you stoop down and scoop up a handful of miscellaneous guts. You couldn't even put a name to what you're looking at, which sort of... helps. It's easier to pretend this way, to imagine that it's anything other than something you've just ripped out of a human corpse. As you weigh the wet mess in your hand, a twinge of pain shoots through your jaw. No, not YOUR jaw – the jaw of this clinging armoured layer. Cracking open, it yawns jagged fangs. “I'm really not happy about this,” you add, “But... I guess you're right. I'm going to need my strength from now on, right?”“Road only gets longer,” Capra agrees, cracking open a bone to expose the raw marrow. A thin tongue – hollow, almost – snakes out of their maw and stabs into the bone, “Eat while you can, soldier. What you signed up for, after all.”The Samsa Project only took volunteers – you wanted this fate. Filing away that disturbing information, you pour the sloppy mess of blood into your jaw – not your jaw exactly, but whatever – and try not to think about it. You don't think about it too well, in fact, and the meat seems to catch halfway down. Choking, you bend forwards and vomit the meat out again, spewing it out in a thick spray of acidic froth. Dropping to your knees, you lose control of yourself for a horrific moment.Staring down at the bubbling sludge, you feel something rise up in your throat. More vomit, you think with sudden weariness, whatever. Get it all out. What comes, though, is more solid than any vomit. A slick, glistening tendril slaps down into the meaty broth, a mouth at the end opening wide to suck up the melted food. A rapturous strength floods into you as the suit, your other self, feeds. It's revolting, so awful that you can barely stand it, and yet the feeling of power is potent enough to leave you wanting more.“Never seen that before,” Capra grunts, unfazed by the sight, “Alright Brundle, let's get a move on.”“Brundle?” you choke out, vaguely unnerved that you can still speak with this awful tongue flapping out, “What kind of name is that?”“Old movie reference. Must be... more than a century old, I guess. Doesn't matter,” waving an indifferent hand, Capra stands and gestures towards the horizon, “Coast is this way. Hope you like boats, Brundle.”-When you feel snow crunching under your hooves, you realise that you've left the blast radius of the nuke behind you. It must have been a small one, a tactical nuke the radio called it. You remember the radio with a sharp gasp and look ahead to Capra.“Hey,” you call out, “Do you have a radio or something? I had one, but then I got nuked. Uh... I don't think it survived that.”“Radio?” Capra chuckles, “Hell, I've got a TV and a sauna in here.”“Really?”“No.”1/2
>>803473“We're being followed,” Capra announces suddenly, “Coalition troops. Something about them smells strange. Bad. I don't like this. Keep moving, while we have the lead on them. Doubt they can catch up with us.”They've got a point there. Even without breaking into a run or a sprint, you can both lope forwards at a formidable pace. Men, normal men, would need to stop and rest after keeping up this kind of pace for this long, but you don't even feel a hint of fatigue. Maybe because you've eaten, you think, you might not feel so rosy if you were moving on an empty stomach.“Wait,” holding up a clenched fist, Capra looks around, “Strange. The wind must have turned... now they're ahead of us. You smell anything, Brundle?”Sniffing the air, you get a taste of the same meat scent that your armour always has. Before you can reply to Capra, on the other hand, you catch a different scent – a new one. Just like they warned, it comes from ahead of you. It's hard to describe the smell, especially compared with your own smell. Both meaty, there's an undeniable difference – freshness, perhaps. Your suit smells like something that's been dead for a few days. This other smell, it's still alive. Beef that's still on the hoof, you might say.“Don't like this. Not at all,” your companion grunts, “Move. Quickly.”“That'll take us right into them,” you warn, “Whoever they are. You know that, right?”“I know,” Capra nods, “You want to go wide, skirt around? Might be, you could slip past. Just head to the coast and look for a ship. Can't miss it, you don't need me to hold your hand. Won't say no to having someone at my back though. This scent is getting me spooked.”“Why don't we both go wide?” you ask, “I mean, we could try and avoid them. That's an option, right?”“Nope,” Capra shakes their head, “Not for me. I'm still hungry.”>Travel with Capra. Safety in numbers>Split up and head for the coast alone[15 minutes for voting]
>>803551>Split up and head for the coast alone
>>803551> Travel with Capra the clownWe can give this suit a proper combat test
Safety in numbers
[Closing the vote now. Seems like we'll be sticking together here. We might just see some action!]
“Safety in numbers, sure,” you tell Capra, “I'll stick close. I mean, you seem to know what you're doing.”“Huh,” the monster rumbles out a deep chuckle, “Wrong twice over, Brundle. We're not safe, and I'm making this up as I go along. Second mission, right here. Not exactly a veteran.”“Oh...” with a great effort, you force yourself to look on the bright side, “Well, at least you've got more experience than I do!” Sometimes, optimism is the only option that doesn't involve going insane. It comes easily to you, which is a faint blessing. How strange that optimism can go hand in hand with explosions of grotesque violence. The violence, at least, you can blame on the armour. Hiding here, within the belly of the beast, it's easy to do terrible things to other men. It's like stepping on ants really, and about as dangerous.“Stop daydreaming,” Capra chastises you, “We're getting close. Can't you smell them?”You can smell something – salt, from the sea. The coast can't be far.-Of all the soldiers that are waiting for you, only one of them looks anything less than terrified. Nine of the ten soldiers are wearing the same matt-grey suits as the earlier bunch, while their leader is stripped down to simple combat fatigues. A vest and loose pants, as if they were strolling through a Spring meadow. No markings, no insignia – nothing that might indicate rank, status or allegiance.“Hello,” he greets you, taking the cigarette from his lips and throwing it over the cliff behind him. Without a suit to muffle it, his accent is just as Russian as the nameless soldier you killed earlier. Viewed through the murky red of your inhuman eyes, there's not much to say about him. He's just... more meat, clinging desperately to foreign bones. You could take him apart in an instant, if you had good cause to.Judging by the way his men – there's no doubt that he's their commander, even without a display of rank – point their guns at you, there might well be good cause.“Step aside,” Capra orders, pointing a blunt finger at the officer, “Or you die. You all die.”“A charming offer. I have a counter proposal,” he slips another cigarette into his mouth and lights it, “Turn yourselves over to us. You'll be treated fairly and kindly, nothing like how you'll be treated back home. You're nothing but animals to them, things to be used and thrown aside! It's a fair proposal, so why not-”“A counter counter proposal,” Capra interrupts, “You talk like a faggot. Shut up and die – you had your chance to leave. You wasted it.”“I thought you might say that,” he sighs, “A shame. Still, I'm sure we can harvest some useful data from your corpses.” The cigarette drops from his lips as he cries out in sudden pain, bent double with blood streaming from his eyes, his mouth, from everywhere. He bleeds, and then his pale flesh explodes outwards.1/2
>>803687More for show than anything else, the Coalition soldiers open fire. The hail of bullets that sprinkles against your armour does little more than disorientate you, but that's all that your enemy needs. Where the slick, foppish officer once stood, you see a new monster – a pallid, loathsome thing that has the air of uncooked flesh about it. No armour here, just wet and glistening flesh, like something newly born into the world. Not an inappropriate comparison, you suspect.Howling madly, the former officer throws back his head as a pair of antlers burst from his brow. One arm becomes hideously distended, all form and definition becoming lost as it boils away to a mass of tendrils. The rest of his body pulses with uneven muscle, constantly shifting and squirming.It's a disgusting sight. At least you and Capra have the decency to be clean and symmetrical.Shaking off the horror of his abrupt transformation, you throw yourself into motion. Starting with a brutal charge, you slam your shoulder into a pair of the masked soldiers, scooping them up and throwing them over the cliff. As you twist around to crush another man, you feel the thick, slippery tongue unspool from your maw, acid beading at the tip. Growling with a sudden hunger – or simple gluttony, perhaps – you raise a fist to pulverise the cowering man before you. The blow, however, never falls.Slashing out through the air, three fat tentacles grip your arm and hold it tight, clenching around your wrist and arm. Their touch burns, searing you with the first genuine pain you've felt since waking up in this new form. There's a horrific strength in that grip of his, and even when you try to crush the tentacles with your other hand, he doesn't relent. They deform like jelly when you tug at them, squashing wetly, but you can't seem to damage them. They won't tear, they have no bones to break and holding them burns away at your hand.Quite irritating really. Eating this bastard will be a pleasure, albeit a guilty one. You just need to work out how to kill him first.Capra wins you an opening. Charging in, mirroring your shoulder barge, they drives the officer down to the ground. Roaring like a wild beast, they throw a powerful punch down into the officer's mutant skull, detonating it like rotten fruit. Following up with another pair of blows, Capra makes sure the job is done.“Well then,” Capra snarls, “Dinner is-”Bone – a rip, you guess – rips out of the officer and stretches up. Growing faster than any living thing has a right to grow, it spears up and punches through Capra with enough force to hurl your ally up and away. When they land a few paces away, you swear the earth shakes.>Try to use your acid on him>Throw him over the cliff>Rip and tear>Other[15 mins for voting]
>>803775> acid!When we get to base we need to recommend Capra for an interpersonal relationship seminar.
>>803775He has no armor, acid should do a number on him.And if our friend is to be believed, it is also unexpected and uncommon
>>803775>Try to use your acid on him
[Closing the vote now, we're going with acid. Writing now.]
With the ground still shaking – or that's how it feels to you – you take a moment to “assess the situation”. That's what they'd call it, you suppose, when you have the slightest idea what to do. This way, you can pretend to be in control of the situation, even if it is in a vague and uncertain way. You can pretend, for a few brief seconds, that you didn't just see your commanding officer – or the closest thing to it – scooped up and thrown aside like a boring toy.Sometimes, it's fun to play pretend.As the officer rises to his feet, slushy things that look more like meaty tree trunks, you growl in what you hope is an intimidating way. His head still hangs about him in shreds and ruins, but a replacement is already starting to bubble up. At the moment, it's little more than a flowing mess of eyes and teeth, but you can already see bone forming.“You had a chance,” the monster burbles, his words coming from several different mouths, “You're next.”“No,” you manage to fumble out, “You're next!”Not exactly the best retort in the world, you will admit, but it does a good job of distracting the bastard for a few precious seconds. As he loses himself in a wet flow of mocking laughter, you pounce and slam yourself into him. Immediately spilling down into a tangled mass – his tentacles don't really help with the tangling part – you throw a few sloppy punches at him. As you expected, your blows do little more than cast ripples through his filthy, strangely liquid body. No, that's not quite right, they do more than that. They keep his attention elsewhere, hiding your tongue from him.The first opening you get, you retch and spit out a thin dribble of acid, the clear liquid hissing violently as it boils away his flesh. It's perfect, exactly the reaction you were hoping for – not simply rearranging him like punches might, but burning his flesh away to nothing. It woks... and he knows that too. The mocking laughter stops immediately, replaced by a scream so shrill that it sends daggers of pain shooting through your head. Now that you know your plan works, you just need to get a good hit in.Of course, your Russian friend has other ideas. Worming around you, his tentacles close in a tight grip on your throat, pulling your head closer down to his flowing chest. Parting before you, it melts away to form a pair of jaws, broken off ends of ribs serving as deadly teeth.“Ssssssooooo hungry...” it drools, all attempts at humanity stripping away as you struggle against its grip, “Going to eat you all UP...”You have never wanted to vomit more in all your life.1/2
>>803892Snarling, your voice growing to a shout, you tear your body back against his slippery grip and feel the tendrils loosening slightly. Capitalising on the opening, you plunge the sharp talons of your armour into some of those newly formed eyes, bursting them and causing a tide of milky fluid to flow down the pallid length of his body. Another one of those shrill screams abuses you, but the pain causes his tendrils to jolt back from you. There might be nothing human left about his body, but the animal urge to avoid pain remains all too strong.As soon as his tentacles leave your throat, you force your stomach – maybe not your stomach exactly, but the border between you and the armour is growing thinner with each passing moment – to flip over. Like turning an old sock inside out, you feel an almost explosive reaction building up within you. Before long, it becomes impossible to stop or hold back, a wave of bile, acid and half-dissolved meat spraying over the mutant Russian. It coats like like burning oil, freely gushing into his open maw to scald him from the inside out.His screams, growing wetter and more ragged with every second, are terrible to listen to. As his flesh boils away, it turns from the dead white of a raw fish to pink, and then bright red. Like a lobster, you realise with a bark of cruel laughter, like a lobster in a pot!When the screaming finally stops (or maybe a little before that, things get a little hazy here) you plunge your secondary mouth into the bubbling froth and eagerly slurp it up. The human part of your mind is revolted by the act, of course, but you can't deny a certain satisfaction. You've beaten a strong enemy, and now you're taking that strength into yourself. The weak die, the strong survive. At the thought of surviving, you remember Capra and feel guilty. You didn't even check on them before launching into your feast. Reluctantly rising, you look around and see them on their feet, albeit hunched.“Don't stop on my account,” they remark, “I never liked Russian food much. Help yourself.”“Your side...” you manage to say, looking at the ragged hole in their side. Even with a hand clasped to it, thick blood steadily bubbles out. Even as you watch, however, it keeps hardening until a dark scab has formed.“When this is over, uh, you should probably work on your interpersonal skills,” you advice, “I mean, that wasn't very, ah... diplomatic back there.”“Diplomatic. He was a mutant squid,” Capra says this very slowly, “We do not negotiate with squids.”There's a certain logic there, if you squint hard and really look for it. “Come on then,” you sigh, “Where is this ship of yours?”2/3
>>803959Capra leads you down the cliffs – straight now, the fast way. Your armour could take the fall, they assured you, and you believed them. After all, compared with a nuke, a long drop shouldn't be that bad. True enough, it offers nothing worse than a jarring impact when you land. When you remark on this, Capra laughs.“We could fall from space and not feel anything worse,” they grunt, “So they say. I won't be the one to try it out. Some other asshole can be the first one to jump off a space station. There – the ship. You see?”Lights in the distance, that's about all you can see. The longer you look, the more you can see a dark shape. An aircraft carrier, some half-buried memory tells you, and not a particularly modern one. “Quite a swim out,” you say lamely, “Can these things even float?”“Don't know. Never tried,” Capra shrugs their mountainous shoulders again, “There should be a smaller ship. Landing craft, whatever. Along this way.” Pausing, they look back to you – regarding you through utterly inhuman eyes. “Last chance to turn back,” the offer, “You could run. Missing in action. Killed, even.”“What?” you splutter, “What kind of offer is that?”“Might be, you saved me,” Capra shrugs, “So I'm giving you the choice. Come back with me, or don't. Can't say what kind of life you'd have out here though. It's enemy territory, and you're a giant beetle. Can't exactly blend in with the locals. You'd have a hard life, but it would be your own. Being a lab rat like me... not for everyone.”Your sigh comes out like a dragon's breath, raspy and harsh. You're memory is still in pieces, and now you're being given this choice? It doesn't seem fair, like you've been given a puzzle with half the pieces missing. But then... it IS a choice. Not everyone gets that.>Alright. I'll return with you, Capra>I'd be happier on my own. Have a nice life, Capra[15 minutes for voting]
>>804015>I'd be happier on my own. Have a nice life, Capra
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>804015I'll roll
>>804015>I hope we see each other again on different circumstancesBye, Capra
[Calling the vote here. Seems like we'll be striking out on our own]
If what you've been told is true, the military made you what you are. You volunteered for this, but now... maybe you're not the same man that put himself forwards for it. Maybe you've changed, and not just into a giant beetle. You're not sure if you can put yourself back into the hands of the military that made you what into this. You'd be a weapon, a gun in their hands, and you can't accept that. Life would be hard on your own, but it would be your own life. Not a life of following orders, killing on someone else's command.The life of a free man. You can't pass up this chance.“I understand,” Capra says as you tell them this, “And I don't blame you. It's a waste – we could use good men like you – but it's your call. Just don't hand yourself over to the Coalition. Do that, and you'll be seeing me again – as an enemy.”“Yeah, I... kinda want to avoid that,” you chuckle nervously, sounding more like some ancient beast clearing its throat than anything else, “I do hope we see each other again though, under better circumstances. Maybe when we...”“Don't look like insects?” Capra finishes for you, “Hmm. I understand. Can't say if we'll ever get the chance though. Listen, there's not much I can tell you. Head west and you'll find civilisation. City lights, you'll know it when you're close. Not far, you can make it by first light. Can't promise anything about what you'll find, but it's a start.”“Thanks,” you reply, “It's a start. Have a nice life, Capra.”“Doubt it,” the monster shrugs off your parting words, “Live well, Brundle.” Having said this, they turn away from you and begin to prowl away towards the waiting landing craft. After moving a few feet, they turn back to you. “Back of the neck, beneath the armour plates. Use something thin. A knife or bayonet. Some kind of emergency release, I think. It'll get you human again... on the surface, at least.”“I can't ever undo this,” you ask sadly, “Can I?”“Hell if I know,” Capra shakes their head, “I'm just the lab rat. You want answers, find your own. They gave us all new tags when we volunteered. That's a lead, at least. About the only thing I can give you.”The dogtags, you recall, they had been there from the start. Could they really hold the answers you're looking for? Not all of them, of course, but the first step on a journey towards them. Maybe so, but you won't know that until later. Until you've got this damn armour off you.Maybe one of the soldiers you killed had a knife you could “borrow”.1/2
>>804185The climb back up was awful, an exercise in indignity better left unmentioned, but you finally found your way back to the battle. Other than a scorched patch of earth – you get the vague feeling that nothing will ever grow there again – there is no trace of the Russian officer. Whatever he was – whether he was an attempt at replicating the Samsa Project, or some new experiment altogether – remains a mystery, one more question awaiting an answer. Maybe you'll find more of his kind later, scouring the land for creatures like you. Something else you'll need to watch out for.Trembling slightly, like a needle held by a giant, the knife blade feels very frail indeed. Holding your breath, you fumble the point into place. Just as Capra suggested, there is a faint slit between two plates of armour – the blade would slide in nicely. Lining the point up, you pause. What if this is something else entirely, you ask yourself, a suicide switch perhaps? Capra warned against you falling into Coalition hands, maybe this is a way of sealing the deal.“Only one way to find out,” you mutter aloud, thrusting the point of the blade home.-Later, sitting shivering in the bloodied uniform you stripped off a dead Coalition soldier, you reflect on the moment you reclaimed some small trace of your humanity. The point of the blade had been met by a strange substance – not quite leathery or spongy, but sort of both. After digging the blade in, you had felt a sudden weakness, closely followed by a blinding pain. Your armour had grown bitter and fragile, sloughing away from your human skin like snakeskin and dissolving into dust on the wind.Nothing left to be captured, studied or used against you. A perfectly disposable weapon. Before you seal up the protective suit entirely, you fish the dogtags out and look at the words stamped into them.Thomas GreerMunichNot a single wasted letter. Just a name and a city. A lead, just like Capra suggested, but not much of one. Well, that's fine with you – you've got your name and your face back, that's more than enough to start with. Whatever happens from here, you can make your own decisions.Taking one of the fallen rifles, you sling it over your shoulder and set out west. There's a long road ahead of you, so you'd best get moving.You wonder if Munich is nice this time of year.[You got ENDING B – INDEPENDENCE][Thank you for playing!]
>>804297A true masterpiece.Thank you, JeanSmith.Thank you.
>>804297Thank you for running
>>804307Thank you, I'll be back next week with a Scooby Doo fanfic quest. We're gonna fugg the dog, I guess? It'll be great, just you wait and see.
>>804297Thanks for running!>>804321Only if we play the jock!
>>804321It was interesting. Thank you for running
>>804321I expected a full quest, like damn that was good but... I just want more of it