"DUDE," the Sansui pleads to the other, his hands shaking, "you are completely missingthe point.""Pff! No, I'm not.""Yes, you are.""No, I'm not!"They've been at it for a full hour already. Coming in and out of your sight, the Sansuisare the only novelty you ever get, as your eyes are fixed on the door. Sometimes, they stay."Galapagos turtles used to weight up to 417kg of pure concentrated motherfucker." The firstSansui rumbles, shaking its arms up and down. "Did you see that neck? Did you seethat long-ass, glorious muscle of a neck? Man yo-""It's still worth shit if it's slow. Why do you think they went from like two hundred thousand tothree thousand in just one hundred little years? Dude, Galapagos turtles got fuckingwrecked. Time to deal with it.""Oh yeah?""Yeah."He steps forward. "Oh yeah?""Oh yeah." And he does, too.You watch them stare at each other in silence, the only sad attempting at an interruptionbeing another Sansui cursing from the background."Hit me in the face." Says the first Sansui, proud of the Galapagos."What? You sure?""Yeah." He states like a hero. "Do it."(Cont!)
"AAA FUCK waitwaitwait-"This is the third time already the Sansui cowers before the hit. The other sighs."Man, you SURE about this?!""FUCK!" It stomps on the floor. Then, it takes a breath. "ALRIGHT, DO IT.""You suuuu-""MOTHERFUCKER ILL DUNK YOU, DO IT."It shrugs."Aight!"By now, a few more Sansuis gathered to watch. It flinches again."WAIT." It stops the hitting one, just as this one turns. "I'll close my eyes now."The rest of the Sansuis look at each other, nodding in silence. Once it's faced again, theGalapagos Sansui closes it's eyes, then flinches once in a while without anyone doinganything but laugh."GOD DAMMIT! FUCKING HURR-" It's dunked on straight in the face. It falls out of your line ofsight. "AAAWW... My FUCKING face, man!""Ooooooooooooooooo-OOOOOOOOOHH!" the rest start jumping around like monkeys inpanic, slamming things against the floor at high-fiving each other."Wait, hit me too.""Hey hit me!""HIT ME!""FUCK-OH FUCK-"It went on for hours.(Cont!)
>>1011059"Nielly?"It's Roomba's voice. It brings you back to a better place, deep in water, genocide, and asubtle hint of cannibalism.Yet you grimace. Now that you've got a personality, you can't help but gauge the sheerstupidity of the past days all at once. You wonder if she was spared."Do the interviews over the phone." You say, softly, with a very faint smile. "You'll loseaccuracy, but you'll be able to finish them tonight if everyone picks up." You open at thetiny Fake the only hand you've got available. While the other is under your head as you takea whole sofa to yourself, you know you aren't moving anytime soon. "You seemed keen totrain people on first aid so there goes that. Trash seemed to have cherry picked fuckscapable of fighting.""They all are." The blonde answers, as if only her eyes were asleep. "Their ways andmethods vary, but there ain't none of my Fucks that can't take a motherfucker down." Shegrabs a cup with water and lifts it. "Just look at that musclehorn smashing assholes so hardwe couldn't find their bodies." She takes a sip, as Roomba subtly cowers. "Cheersmotherfucker, a musclehorn to the very end." And only then Trash's notices the myriad of "subtle" signals Vaal throws her way. Thetemplar blinks in confusion.Yet you save the day from your couch. "Lumina is likely to be coming along anyways so scrapthe mechanical test," you drag-turn towards the gloomy Roomba, "and we can play poker withyour new fuck-buddies on a ship that isn't loaded with void bombs," Trash whistles whileher girlfriend blinks hard at you, "and likely to be bisected in the most effective "'no-horn gohome dance' in history.""Oh well." Vaal shrugs, grinning. "Guess they don't make them with tact anymore.""Moody is a good choice, but that's up to Toasty." Trash states firmly, taking anotherdrink and then clearing her throat.Or you could just call up whoever you feel like and we'll roll with that." You pause, tilting yourhead as you find the toaster sad as Vaal whispers from behind her, which seems tomake her nod. "...Might just want to save that for a backup plan though."Yet, Roomba sits straight."OK." She nods, almost sheepishly. "Let's do that.""The whole phone interviews?" Trash adds, Lumina and the hornmother whispering frombehind her, looking at you. "Atma wanted to come anyway, but to be honest it's not a badidea at all. Saves a lot of time." Then she stops, scratching her head. "Just be ready forbullshit since now everyone will want off this clusterfuck.""Trash can explain to you their distinct combat capabilities." It's Vaal, from behind Roomba. "Moody can do the mechanics interview from the phone, but I'm not sure about the first aid tests...""Nielly can." It's Roomba, nodding firmly. She turns at you, smiling. "She must be very goodat that."You wonder what she remembers about them...
>>1013788"Sure, I'll grill them for you 'long as you put them on speakerphone.Trash is right about bullshit though. Everyone is going to want a ride out of here and unless they're willing to work for free _you're_ going to have to tell some of them to buzz off in your own toasty way. So quench that incandescent little heart of yours Toast, it's time to make the tough calls.While I'm out of power-saving mode you where built by the Sansui's right Toast? How did they act around you?"
"Sure." You don't nod. "I'll them for you s'long as you put them on speakerphone.""Which leaves the piloting testing." Roomba turns around, only to find Vaal looking at theceiling with a funny grimace on her face. "Oh well!" She smiles. "No way to test that here.""Why are you smiling?" Trash asks."Because..." The blonde snatches a chocolate chip cookie from the bowl, flings it up, thencatches it with her mouth. The rest of you stare at her, waiting for the rest of the sentence. Asher eyes smile and she starts to chew slower and slower, you lose all faith that it'll evercome.That's when you sit straight, drawing their attention. "Trash is right about bullshit though.Everyone is going to want a ride out of here and unless they're willing to work for free-" Youmake a point of turning your head like a cog being wrenched, towards a now pale Roomba."-you're going to have to tell some of them to buzz off, in your own toasty way." You end thatup with a smile. A giddy smile. The savings... the savings are REAL. "So quench thatincandescent little heart of yours Toast," you cross one leg over the other, "it's time to makethe tough calls."They all look at you. Almost like magic, they turn to Trash almost at the very exact time.Which makes one of the templar's eyes twitch.Her mouth opens wide, as she looks around with caution. "While we /could/, let me talk, puton some bullshit excuse like that we were ambushed or had to leave early or some craplike that," now they are all very fixed on her, "and it would save us a lot of expenses in thelong-short run, in practice," she almost stammers, and you notice Roomba tightlygripping Vaal's arm, "I can't see a better way to get ass-stabbed or coup-de-tatted the very firstsecond our Friend hits bottom." Trash shrugs wildly, as she looks at everyone present one byone until they look away until she gets to you. You don't look away. "These guys must bedesperate to get the fuck out now, and what better place to flee on than a Roamer fortresswith the most cleanly shining motherfuckers the Second had to offer, all in the same place." Shescratches her head, her sleepy eyes fixed on you with little emotion. "That being said, youare a fucking jerk."You "hmm"; sharply."But it could work." She nods. "If our Toasty here agrees, we better find an excuse they'llnever fucking ever find out on thei-""I don't." Aaaaand it's the Toast. "They will be risking their lives to save people down there,it's just not fair that only get food and shelter. Not fair at all." She shakes her head, draggingher blonde hair along. "Kindness has to be rewarded. Now more than ever..."
>>1016116"The saying 'virtue is it's own reward' comes to mind. Not because doing good is oh-so-very-satisfying (unless your Toast here) but because it so often goes unrewarded that you have to make your own rewards up to justify it. It's an irrational behavior, damaging to the individual, but beneficial to the community resulting in (hopefully) a net gain. Collective evolution. The same mechanism that justifies the existence of stupidly reckless people. When their alternative is dealing with the fallout of White and Cap's actions here food and shelter in exchange for a bit of work sounds like a good deal to me. At that point they're refugees not employees, and they shouldn't expect the same treatment.As for being a jerk I ask you this: Is it crueler to let the Crouton get blindsided by manipulation "B-but if you leave me here I'll die!" and get forced into a bad situation, or to warn her of the ugly and painful truth so she can process it now with her black comfort blanket handy instead of trying to make up her mind on her own and in the moment? You have all the warm fuzzies you need in Toast, my job is to think of all the horrible ways things could go wrong that she's ultimately blind to. Don't expect me to tiptoe around the unpleasant any more than you'd expect her to torture someone with her own hands.That said, I'm not always right, and not all my theories will be easily falsifiable. If you two can keep the Toast warm enough to butter up the big players in this world while giving what I say some consideration there's almost decent odds this whole thing might just work. Almost.Oh and Toast is right, no bullshiting them. It'd be terrible for our rep when some nosy git finds out what happened. We can't afford to take them on as employees, and if they insist on both tagging along and getting paid then they'll drag this whole project like a drowning swimmer drowning their would-be rescuer in their own panic.Look on the bright side though, at least you'll be able to use that "sorry we're all out of fucks to give." pun you have!"
>>1016427>When their alternative is dealing with the fallout of White and Cap's actions here food and shelter in exchange for a bit of work sounds like a good deal to me. At that point they're refugees not employees, and they shouldn't expect the same treatment.As long as we keep the power balance tilted towards our side "getting ass-stabbed" shouldn't be a problem. Anyone causes trouble just cuff them to a chair and have Toast lecture them about peace and love till they break... Or give them to me and I'll break them. Toast should get first dibs though, she's the boss and all.
You "hmm!"; with elegance,"The saying 'virtue is it's own reward' comes to mind." You say, staring over their tiny heads."Not because doing good is oh-so-very-satisfying!, unless you are Toast here," youalmost whisper, "but because it so often goes unrewarded that you have to make your ownrewards up to justify it." You shrug widely, not an inch of modesty in your manner. "It's anirrational behavior, damaging to the individual but beneficial to the community resulting in,hopefully, a net gain." That's when you give each one of them a glance, with a wide blanksmile. "Collective evolution. The same mechanism that justifies the existence ofstupidly reckless people."And you know, OH GOD, you know who they are they thinking about. To your hiddenamusement, you notice the templar giving the only other Fake... a glance. Just one, and forjust a second.Yet just as that elaborated toaster opens her mouth, your soft, sharp voice tramples overher. "When their alternative is dealing with the fallout of White and Cap's actions here, foodand shelter in exchange for a bit of work sounds like a good deal to me." Eyes fixed onTrash, you shake your head slowly from side to side. "At that point they're refugees, notemployees, and they shouldn't expect the same treatment.""But we promised them proper payment already." It's Roomba's pleading voice,dragging out Vaal's arms with her. "And I have the funds, so why not give it to them? Whatelse would I use those?" She seems frail. "What would be more important?""Plenty of stuff." It's Trash, the templar squatting over the coach. With her shoes on."What Beamy here is saying is that they should have the same reasons you do: saving theworld. I don't trust fuckwaffles that work for free, but giving how everything is going to shit Idon't see where else they'll spend their money a few days from now." She shrugs. "Whichmakes them all as trustworthy as that nigger with a letter from Abraham Lincoln.""So we aren't going to pay them for their efforts?" Roomba's voice fades dimly."Food and shelter should be enough." It's Vaal, from behind Roomba. "With all that youinvested into that ship and food for all of them to live on, and you still think you aren't payingenough?" And Roomba is swallowed in a hug. "Then just give them a few hugs instead! Likethis!""Shit-puking," adds Trash. "Nose-farting."Vaal grimaces, then her eyes widen, then she pouts. "Balance, I see."Trash grins and nods. Somewhere under Vaal's arms, Roomba seems somewhat morebeaming, giggling a bit as she's shaken.(Cont!)
>>1017409"Pay whatever Fucks you want, Trash is the accountant in all this not me. I'm just saying prepare for freeloaders. Some of them might even want to work for less, "Figtin' Da' Good Fight" and all that."
"As for being a jerk," you recall their attention, before it goes behind the horizon, "I ask youthis: Is it crueler to let the Crouton get blindsided by manipulation-'B-but if you leaveme here I'll diiiiiiiiiee!'" you shriek in a shrill little voice, as your face goes pale and your handsshake under your chin, (which makes Roomba pout HARD from inside Vaal's trap), "and getforced into a bad situation, or warn her of the ugly and painful truth so she can process itnow with her black comfort blanket handy" Trash chuckles, also the hornmother, alsoLumina but a little "instead of trying to make up her mind on her own and in the moment?"Vaal blinks in confusion, then finally frowns. "Wait, that's me!""No, of course not." Trash says softly. She turns her glance at you."You have all the warm fuzzies you need in Toast." You resume, slowly letting your body fallover that softests of pillows. Pomf. "My job is to think of all the horrible ways things could gowrong that she's ultimately blind to. Don't expect me to tiptoe around the unpleasant anymore than you'd expect her to torture someone with her own hands.""And she used to be such a sweet little headset..." Vaal sighs, so acted it's easy to tell.One of her eyes open to you. "Was she always this talky?" Yet the way she looks at you,welcoming your stare, somehow puts you at ease."Oh no, Nielly used to be way more silent back then." Roomba turns from Vaal, giving you theslightest glare. "Altough, what makes you think I'm blind?"Yes. You tilt your head."Remember Leateli?" And that's it. You grant her the shit-eatinggrin of the century, as the sun rises behind you. "Yup! That kind of horrible."And she's shocked. "I just-""That said, I'm not always right," you shake a finger in front of them, almost like a big cattoying with its tail, "and not all my theories will be easily falsifiable." You point at Trash, youpoint at Vaal. "If you two keep the Toast warm enough to butter up the big players in this worldwhile giving what I'd say some consideration there's almost decent odds this whole thing/might/ just work." You pause for drama, letting your index finger slowly rise from the abyssuntil it stays in front of your crimson eyes. "/Almost/".A quick glance at your side shows Trash doing a silent pout of approval to herself, over andover. It makes you smile."Oh, and Toast is right." You move your finger, Roomba looks at you. "No bullshitting them."(Cont!)
>>1017820"Sweet melon bubble tea, a little common sense and foresight is all it takes to get a round of applause here? The crouton needs me more than I ever imagined. Also don't forget to grab at least some tools for Lumina and myself before we get the fuck out of here. I'd list off what I recommend but really it's probably best to take one of us along instead. Until then I'll leave the people stuff to the Fucks that actually like them."If Roomba starts doing phone interviews and wants me to quiz them start off with: "rate your medical knowledge on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being 'getting shot is bad right?' and 10 is 'I fix nitrolich cores in my spare time'" and we can go from there.
"It'd be terrible for our rep when some nosy git finds out what happened." You give your fancyshrug again, as you copy Vaal's single eye stare. "We can't afford to take them on asemployees, and if they insist on both tagging along and getting paid then they'll drag thiswhole project like a drowning swimmer drowning their would-be rescuers in theirpanic." That last bit kinda made you smirk.Except for the hornmother's gossiping with Lumina, they stay mostly in silence. Roombaturns to Trash, finally, as if tired."Trash?" she asks, simply.And the templar is nodding. "Beamy's kind of a bitch but she's right. We'll be saving a ton ofwater we can either drink or jacuzzi, and the fucks won't be any less grateful for that." Hersquat ends as she sits her butt and rests her legs on the glass table. She "hmms". "Yeah.Yeah, we go with that.""That's up to Roomba, though." Vaal points out, hogging the toaster."Look at the bright side, though," you add softly, though a hint of static, "at least you'll be able touse that "sorry we're all out of fucks to give" pun you have!"Roomba points at herself, blinking. "Oh, did I say that before?""I guess? And as long as we keep the power balance tilted towards our side getting "assstabbed" shouldn't be a problem. Anyone causes trouble just cuff them to a chair andhave Toast lecture them about peace and love til they break-" You quickly turn to Trash. Herwhole face is red and her lips are tense; once she's lost it, the templar hides her face behindtwo rough hands. All while Roomba gives her this little gloomy stare."Fuck, sorry." The sounds come muffled behind her hands. "Sorry, oh fuck I tried.""Or," you resume, coldly enough, "give them to me and I'll break them." That seems to calmher a bit, as the rest of them. You turn to Roomba. "Toast should get first dibs, though,she's the boss and all.""I don't think that will be necessary, but thank you, I know you want to help." Yet her voiceseems a tad bit bleak, and she's not looking at you. "I think that there's enough pain in theworld as it is and that if we face them with warmth and hugs they won't know what to dowith them!" She finally smiles again."It'll take a lot more than that, Toasty. I know you know that." Trash states with patience."Pay whatever Fucks you want, Trash is the accountant in all this, not me. I'm just saying,prepare for freeloaders. Some of them might even want to work for less, "Figtin' Da' GoodFight" and all that.""And suddenly that black doodle with a speaker stuck in the throat might just be one of thesingle most reliable fucks we could possibly have." Trash sighs loudly, and she's eitherbetter than Vaal at acting or that's some serious grief there. "Captain tried to shut himup but it seems it's beyond even his own power. They say his hair is actually a blackrooster hiding its head under a wing. Anyway-" Trash scratches her head, "Good show Beamy,thanks for the speech."She starts clapping.
And they follow. Then Vaal, Roomba, the hornmother, Trash, and Moody all clap at clapyou, the Fake being the most eager of all by far, as the What goes "WAH?" over Trash'shead.Yet you grumble. "Sweet melon bubble tea, a little common sense and foresight is all it takesto get a round of applause here? The crouton needs me more than I ever imagined." You crossyour arms and sigh. "Also don't forget to grab at least some tools for Lumina and myselfbefore we get the fuck out of here. I'd list off what I recommend but really it's probably bestto take one of us along instead. Until then I'll leave the people stuff to the Fucks that actuallylike them."Trash "hmms!" sharply. "No fuck that, we are making a full trip to the market all of ustogether before we go. This is the worst fucking moment ever to spli-"The door knocks, and it's like it sucked all the attention in the room. Trash stands but Vaalgestures at her, then kisses Roomba on the forehead and unwraps her arms and legs fromher. Once she's at the door, everyone else seems wary.The old killer looks trough the little scope at the door; then grins widely, and opens the doorwithout a care."Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" she leans forward and a "schmuk!" is heard. As she steps aside a girlgoes in, no taller than Roomba, and with a wide and thick silver hair falling over hershoulder from a green beret a bit too big. You study her trenchcoat as she steps inside andbeams at Roomba, she wears tight black pants and a thick bandage covers her forehead,hidden by her hair.You point at her. "That's Atma."Her hair dances as Atma turns to you, then she points at herself with both little hands. "That'sme." She hands you a little hand, eagerly, which you hesitate to shake."Beamy," Trash does a reverence, "meet Skullfucker. Skullfu-""I was so eager to see you!" And yup, Atma is hugging the toaster, too. As you glance back,however, Vaal is looking at the slow ritual with a truly mischievous grin, like one of a child. Itmakes one of your eyebrows skyrocket."Hi! I wanted to see you, too!" Roomba looks so peaceful as she rests her head on Atma'sshoulders that you imagine her falling asleep there."Are you two glued or something? Cuz I've still got debonder." It's Trash, standing right next tothem with a shark grin.Yet she is completely ignored, so she goes to the kitchen and actually returns with thedebonder bottle. She got there late, though.--------And now you are all sitting around the short glass table."Cookie?" Roomba offers Atma the little bowl."Thank you!" She grabs one and smiles at Roomba as she chews.And they stay like that. Trash looks at Vaal, who shrugs.Oh, well. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
>>1018087"Things must be pretty bad out there if someone nicknamed "skullfucker" has a bandaged head. That or perhaps you're just profoundly clumsy. Either way I'm pretty sure you didn't just drop in for hugs and cookies... right?" Seems like Trash and Vaal are giving me full "bad cop" duties. Well there are worse jobs to have.
"Things must be pretty bad out there if someone nicknamed "Skullfucker" has abandaged head." It's like Atma didn't hear you, but it's also like Roomba picked up your voiceat the far, far distance. As she looks at you so does Atma, and the charm is finally broken."That or perhaps you're just profoundly clumsy." Just a bit, her eyes widen and herhead tilts. Just a little. That's not the case with Roomba, though. "Either way I'm pretty sureyou didn't just drop in for hugs and cookies... right?" You finish up with one of your faintsmiles.Yet as you glance at Trash your eyes subtly bounce back at her. For a second, no, for /two/seconds there she froze while looking at Atma. Suprisingly, you hesitate to look at the tiniest oftemplars, only to find her simply looking at you. It doesn't last as, from across the table,Roomba sucks all of her attention like a vacuum."Wanna do the interview? The Fake asks."Sounds good!" And Atma replies, as if Roomba asked her to play at the park instead.Then the Fake pauses. As if suddenly hesitating."In this interview," she starts, still not looking at Atma, "I'm going to ask some rather toughquestions that might bring up bad memories for you. Out of anyone I will treat you with thegreatest kindness and sympathy possible, but to be blunt this job takes lives. It breaks people.Kindness takes strength, am inhuman amount at times. I need to know these things so I don'tput you into situations you can't handle. If you need a moment, some tissue, a hug, anything Ican reasonably do just ask OK? Actually don't even bother asking about a hug ok? So withthat out of the way let's begin:"Atma's blank stare quickly turns into a smile as she laughs. "I'll keep that in mind!" she says.Your rest your elbows on your knees.(Cont!)
"You walk into your apartment, Leateli is sitting down to a cup of tea with a side of armedhostage taking. What do you do?"As her elbow lingers down, Atma’s fist gently bounces back and forth in her chest. It’s likeshe’s giving herself heartbeats.“The proper procedure, in this case, would be to bargain with her. See what she wants.” Atmanods. “Should this be a typical Leateli case of ‘I just want to kill everyone hahaha’ then it's, unfortunately, a hopeless situation for both me and that hostage. I would attempt to win timethen, by letting her toy with me. That way, the rest can safely retreat from her grasp.”"A stubborn horn mother is on the radio insisting she can drive the ship just fine... rightafter you tell her how to get it out of reverse. It hasn't crashed yet, but the odds aren't good.What do you do?" “How about just telling her?” she says. By the way the trenchcoat moves as she gestures,you can tell it carries some weight. “Mocking her a little would do, too. Teasing is very goodto get somebody back on track. Just don’t turn it into bullying or you she’ll defy you.”“You underestimate hornmothers.” Trash points out, rising a finger. “They /never/ back down.”“Oh, is that so?” Atma asks, softly. She does the heartbeat-thing then. “Then I’ll try to teachher a new super way to drive, I’ll tell her that maybe it’s a bit too hard to her. I wouldn’t tellher it’s just driving forward.” Atma giggles, and it’s not a soft, fancy giggle, but a free, carelessone. Makes you wonder if she’s a kinder-garden teacher. “It won’t make her stop, butlooking ahead makes it harder to bump into something. And without the T-T changes I don’tsee her going anywhere too fast, so she might even learn a lot from the experience.” Thenchuckles. “I’m fairly sure she’ll get bored fast, though.”"A ship calls in requesting some Anima to fuel their ship after forgetting to activate hovermode over night. What do you do?"“My, that’s quite the mistake.” Her silver, sharp eyebrows frown. “Are they sure that’s whathappened? Because maybe it’s something else that’s triggering the warning, and the fuel isthere.”“They say they checked.” Trash adds.“Hmm…” Atma does the heart thing again. It seems she never does it while talking, and shenever looks at anyone while she does it. “It can’t be helped, then. If it doesn’t compromiseour own stability, then I’d send them some to at least return to the Second.”"What is the biggest problem you've had to face and how have you overcome it?"“Oh.” She pauses. “That would be Algis.”Trash sighs fast. "What is less stressful for you: working on your own or having someone work with you?"“I’d rather not put anyone at risk, most of the time. I’m very durable on my own.”(Cont!)
"What approach do you prefer to problem solving: the tried and true approach you know,or trying new ideas and adjusting them as you go?"“I tend to plan out a lot before taking a leap of faith, but that’s not something you can alwaysdo. Sometimes, you just have to take the jump and deal with things as you go.”"What would you rather have to deal with (non-violently): A hornmother's tantrum or a radarmalfunction?"“My! Why would anyone not want to deal with a hornmother?” Her eyes are clearly beaming.“Common sense.” Trash adds. She turns and leans, then, towards the hornmother that'sclearly and openly pouting at her. “COMMON-SENSE.” A creamy cupcake is promptlysmashed into her face. Quietly, the templar straightens, half her face hidden by creamysweetness. “SEE?”Roomba laughs and so follows Atma, then Vaal. It takes too long for them to finish, butfinally the toaster gets back to work. "What are your motivations for joining me, Money?Fame? Boredom? Altruism? or perhaps something else entirely?"That’s when Atma straightens up. “I want to give my child a world where he can play inpeace.” Then she gives Roomba this really warm smile. “And I want to give it to you, too.”She blinks, then, her face suddenly blank. “And, to all of you!”“Good, I felt a bit lonely for a second there.” Trash nods, playfully, still eating that cupcake.You hear a gasp. “Is that so?” Vaal adds, as if truly, seriously concerned. “I can help!”“NO-“And now Vaal is behind Trash. The templar simply gives in, her face like a statue and Vaalgleefully cleans it with a napkin."At what point does making money outweigh having a meaningful job for you? Assuming youhave a roof over your head at least."“I… don’t even know what to do with the money I earn.” She laughs as if it was something tobe embarrassed about. “Seriously. I don’t want to spoil my child too much, so I end up saving.I’ve got a big secret food stash hidden in case worst comes to worst, but I’m running out ofspace.” Then her smile kind of fades. “The Second really is good at making its populacefeel like everything is alright. It scares me…”(Cont!)
You barely just spot Roomba giving Trash a meaningful glare, to which the templar replieswith a swift nod. "Have you experienced someone dying? Can you recover from itrelatively quickly? Can you handle someone who is dying with compassion?" You noticeyour boss grasping the big horn of a tiny Leaderhorn plushie that’s under the table.“Oh.” She does the Atma thing for a while. Then looks at Toast. “We all did, back at theChasm. I was barely ten when the himehorn genocide started, so I had no part in that.”"What is your greatest strength, what is your greatest weakness?"Atma gets serious. “Trash can vouch for me in that I’m an efficient LF.”“Vouched.” Trash takes a sip from a glass of water.“Other than that, my skills include piloting, repairing, diagnosis, resource management,negotiation, and AD management. I’ve got little in the anima department, to be fair.”“She’s pretty much like Moody, but instead of sharp-shooting she fucks your skull.”It’s only then that the templar realizes the kind of mood she brought forth. Lumina looks atTrash, and then she looks at Atma. The two of them cross stares.“Hi,” Lumina says.“Hello there.” Atma shifts in her couch to face her, smiling at Lumina with her eyes instead.“I’m glad to meet someone brave enough to take matters into hands- and you seem soyoung!” Lumina gives a nervous laughter, then slowly shifts in her place. “Guess I nailed it.”Atma winks at her. “No matter which one of us makes it into the team, it’s for the good of theworld. So if you do and I don’t, you can always mail me and I’ll see to help you fix things andlook for spare parts you may need. Ok?”“Ok,” Lumina says, nodding bleakly. For a second there It seems like she’s about to smile,but then she gets her mask on and looks elsewhere. Atma blinks.“Don’t worry, she thinks you are great.” Says Trash.Atma looks at Moody and “hmms”."Would you rather be respected or well-liked?"Atma opens her mouth, yet she visibly freezes at the though. She starts doing the heart thing,her eyes lost somewhere else.“Ummm…. Let me see…” Heart-thing resumes. “Being well-liked would be the optimalscenario, since people would do things to make you happy. Yet, being well-respected getspeople who don’t like you to not be mean or bully you. And you won’t get everyone else tolike you, most of the time.”“She’ll prove you wrong.” Vaal interferes, clearly grinning while she points at Roomba.Atma looks at Roomba and opens her mouth, but it seems that after some though she settledfor nervous laughter and looking away."What's your favorite dessert?" Roomba goes on, with relentless good mood.The tiny templar gets it together. “Lately I’ve been drinking mochaccinos after lunch, butthese habits come and go.”Well, good taste.(Cont!)
"Do you know if there are any kind people you don't get along with easily?"“Well, I think politeness is something anyone is capable of.” She does a thing you only nownotice that’s been going on ever since she started talking; sometimes, Atma closes hereyes, smiles a bit, then tilts her whole body from side to side as she rests both handsbetween her legs, grabbing onto the ledge of the chair. Yep, she wants to betray and kill youall. “I know some people can’t manage, or lack practice, but that’s something I can overlook if Isee that they try.”"Fill in the blanks: violence is blank, kindness is blank, fame is blank, money is blank"“Violence is a measure, kindness is very important, fame can be useful-““Like how nobody ever fucks with you.” Trash interrupts.“-and money is a token of effort.” Yet the taller templar is ignored."Someone says to you that this is all pointless because everyone will starve eventually andhumanity will be destroyed, how do you respond?"Atma puffs a cheek. “Not If I have a say in it.”"Are you OK with hugs and similar contact?"…She blushes?“W-well yes, of course!” She’s trying to hide it, and she’s not good at it. “Some people reallyneed to be shown some warmth, wouldn’t you agree?”“Of course I agree!” Roomba beams up, her eyes open whole as she smiles with her mouthopen.…And there they go, stuck again. It makes you cringe hard, how they don’t mind at all losingthemselves into each other. Like, how much do they even know each other?!“Horse-fucker.” Thankfully, Trash saves the day. “Boy-lover.”"H-how are your people skills? Can you bluff your way out of a bad situation? Can you calmsomebody who is panicking or angry? Can you tell when a fight is likely to break out? Can youspot when someone is trying to con you? Can you bargain for a good deal?""S-sure!" Atma hurries to reply, nodding frantically. "Sure!"(Cont!)
"How are your emergency skills?” Roomba resumes, after a little awkward silence. “Canyou bandage a wound and splint a broken limb? Does the sight of blood make you feelfaint? Can you do basic ship repairs?"“I know basic first aid skills, and… it’s been a while already since I got used to blood.” Sherests a palm over her cheek. You don’t know what that means."Do you have any piloting skills? If so what kinds of ships?"“I’ve piloted Benhams, Elogios, SU-BAs but from the first generation, I had a 711-MOARAfor a day, aaand I was the captain of a Hard Boy. I’m already familiar with your Friend- andit’s inhabitants- so I could serve as your councellor until you get used to it.”"How are your combat skills? What kinds of opponents would you feel confident fighting?What kind of opponents are you poorly matched against?"“I have a hard time with Managers but I’ve had my chance with more than one Pilot already.West House Templars really like their Heimaker exo-skeletons, and those are good, sure, butafter getting away with a few encounter you learn all of their tricks.”"Do you have any other unique skills you haven't been asked about yet? What skill wouldyou say that you are best with?“Um. Well…” She looks away, grinning, then looks at Roomba. “My husband says I’m verygood at cooking, even if my son disagrees sometimes.” She laughs awkwardly, makingRoomba giggle. “Other than that…? Well, they used to say I’m scary when I get angry, butdon’t take their word from it.”“Meaning me,” Trash adds.(Cont!)
Roomba nods. "Show me what you can do, impress me."Atma looks around. “Here?”Trash yawns. “Just summon the damn thing.”“In that case…”She stands and stretches her arm. As her hand slowly rises, chunks of darkness spawn frombehind her trenchcoat, even from her sleeves. In a matter of seconds, Atma is holding anobsidian, squarely long rifle with odd white marks from whose sides, at the edge, spawntwo long curved blades. It’s like she’s holding a black moon though a dark, shining stick.“I can also summon a greatsword,” Atma adds. Once the little templar realizes she’s aiming atRoomba, who’s staring blankly at her, she swallows a little scream and rushes to low theweapon. “T-this is the West House version.” She stammers, firmly.“Those fucks bought us by giving us cool ways to warp our summons while keeping the goodstuff for themselves.” Trash sighs then smiles like a shark. “Sadly for them, they made thembetter than they thought. Fucking awesome.”Atma’s weapon vanishes in black dust, then she hurries to bow to Roomba. “Sorry!”“What would your motto be?” This one goes on with a warm smile.She does the heart thing again. “Can we fix it?” The templar pauses, grinning like a little kid.Then she smiles wide. “Yes, we can!”“HEMORROID.” Trash adds. ”BILIS.”“If you could have a room for you aboard the ship, what would it have?”“Can we have a tea table?”“Of course!” Roomba blurts out.Atma nods, happy. “That would do.”“What makes you happy?”Atma pauses, suddenly smiling to herself. She smiles sharply, and blurts out: “Seeing all ofyou come together to risk it all, instead of living off what little remains of this world and leavingthis to the future.” She smiles, very firmly. “That makes me happy.”
We should ask everyone if they're willing to stay in contact even if they don't make this team. We intend to have more teams added on later
>>1020498> giving moderate8 information> just saying "Sure" at bluffing and people skills...... so, do you also think this isn't just being nice to the toaster, but acctually buttering them up?As stated, everyone wants to get off this ride, so we should give our oppinion to the toaster, and tell them to stay objective on what they noticed. She is specialized for analyzing humans, after all.AFTER Skullfucker left, of course.
>>1020498We have their cellphone numbers, but once we leave the 2nt's containment eke that'll be useless. Out near the surface we'll have to rely on the radio and that's going to be spotty, I'm pretty sure we've only got one shot with these guys unless we hunt them down.>>1020702I think, based on where she's hesitating, that she's actually treating Roomba with kid gloves because she has a major crush on her. She was very flustered after Roomba had her think about physical contact with her, something that's known to put her into a near trance, and the bluffing question was asked to break up that trance so it would makes sense that half-assed answer was part of being flustered.Thanks for the input anons! I'm going to try to work them in much more with Nielly than I did with Roomba.>>1020462Well if Toast doesn't have anything more lets ash a few questions our self here and see if we can give Toast a better picture of what we're seeing."You both have some interesting nervous ticks don't you." Make a point of looking at where botho f their hands are at the moment. "Have you had heart problems in the past Atma? Difficulty focusing?""Are you two going to be able to do anything productive together without a litany of vile things to break up your love-love dreamland moments?""Roomba and I are fakes, our bodies are replaceable and our minds difficult to destroy. If a situation can be resolved via one of us coming to harm it would be preferable for me to be the one harmed over any of you fleshy types, and I believe Roomba feels the same way about herself coming to harm. Can you allow her to make that much smaller sacrifice in your place or in place of another crew member? Picture it clearly, including the aftermath before you answer.""Lastly, you where pretty flustered at the time so I'd like to see a demonstration of your negotiation/bluffing skills." Hand her a pen and simply give the instructions: "Sell Trash this pen."
"Roomba," Trash warns, "questions time."And Roomba nods. She turns to Atma and looks at her widely for a while, drawing a littlegrin from the little templar under downcasted eyes. You frown your lips and prepare to breakthe charm again, but your chance flies by."Have you talked about this with your family already?" Roomba asks, tempered.And then Atma looks aside, doing the heart thing yeeet again."I'd rather wait until it's a fact." And she finally faces Roomba, her voice a bit gloomy. "Theywon't like it, but I don't like this future. So I'm going to change it whether they want it or not.""How do you feel about leaving your son behind?" Roomba's voice and manners arevery well cared for. It's like she measures the pitch of her voice to be just as sad, and just asgentle."It really hurts," Atma confirms, with a flinching expression of eyes too closed and a half smile."But I took my choices already. I just... don't want to pretend everything is going to be alrightanymore, I guess."She pauses for a while. Roomba lets her be, for a while. Then she grabs the bowl. "Cookie?"Atma nods eagerly. "Thank you!"You witness the slow, ancient ritual of chocolate chip cookie offering as you wonder ifRoomba is going to ask anything relevant anytime soon. As Atma chews and thehornmother snatches another cookie in silence, you decide it's time to step in."You both have some interesting nervous ticks, don't you." You make it very easy to notice thatyou are looking at her hands. Then you catch her eyes after she looks there too. "Have youhad heart problems in the past Atma? Difficulty focusing?""Oh, this." Atma motions her fist close to her chest, looking at you. "It's just a silly little ritual Ido when I need to think. I think it helps with the flow of blood." She glances at Trash; it's brief,but you are a damn Fake and you take notice. "I did had heart problems in the past, but theywere due to post-traumatic stress disorder from our struggle. I've grown better already."A little girl, no taller than Roomba, is talking to you about ptsd. Well, fuck. Time to lift themood?Or to bring forth the little smile of doom? "Are you two going to be able to do anythingproductive together without a litany of vile things to break up your love-love dreamlandmoments?""I don't know what you're talking about." Yet though her stare is sharp her cheeks go red,and red, and red...Trash smirks. "Are you sick or something? You look all red.""What, no, yes, I-It was kinda cold yesterday.""Atma and Roomba," Vaal deadpans, her eyes sharp, her face blank, in a deep, serious voice,"under a tree.""Atma and Roomba," Trash 'hmms', she gasps and her eyes widen, "sitting under atree...!"You glance at Roomba; the Fake isn't there. What.(Cont!)
"What are you two complete absolute total idiots even talking about! It's not like that at all!I'm even married! What's wrong with you!" Atma lashes out, her red face darting back andforth between the couple of idiots as they laugh like retards watching Mamfredo the green gooddonasourie."Aww, that's a shame!"OH. So there she was. Right fucking next to her, ok. And she has a GODDAMNED flowerpot somehow glued over her head. As you lean a bit to the side, you notice her arm is nowcross-locked with Atma's."Well, we are sitting under a tree now." She beams out, and you can tell Atma is sweating.Then the Fake puffs a cheek. "You two bullies should get your own!""What for, she even fucked me over a washing machine." Trash adds, with a clear hint ofsadness."That was the point. It was on." And Vaal's uncalled remark doesn't seem to help Atma inthe least, either.And if magma had a face... well, that would be it. Pretty much. You wonder how muchembarrasment could a human bear before either fainting or having its head explode, evenif Atma is actually smiling.Yet, it's time to play bad cop. You sigh, maybe you are even helping her. "Roomba and I areFakes." You talk loud enough to be heard and clear hard enough to not be ignored. "Ourbodies are replaceable, and our minds are difficult to destroy." And now, they are lookingat you. Well, at least you got that off her. "If a situation could be resolved via one of uscoming to harm it would be preferable for me to be the one harmed over any of you fleshytypes, and I believe Roomba feels the same way about herself coming to harm.""I do." Roomba's voice came rather sharp, drawing some attention to herself. The brokenhorn Leader comes to mind... you wonder why she did that.Yet now is not the time for that. "Can you allow her to make that much smaller sacrifice in yourplace or in place of another crew member? Picture it clearly, including the aftermath beforeyou answer."And she does. It shows. Atma's first is slowly dragged around, and it's her beating heart isout in plain sight for everyone else to see. She even closes her eyes, so she's either acting orreally taking this seriously.Then she opens them. "It would be very weird." She says, calmly but with some gloom as thespice. "Her memories would live on in another Roomba, but that one Roomba would begone... she would be dead..." She smiles. "I had that happen to me before. It's funny. Evenif they are almost exactly the same, there's something that doesn't let you feel the sameway. I'm..." her pitch goes even lower, "kind of at a loss for words, to be honest."You wait her up to go on. She doesn't. And by now, your job seems to break silences andbizarre awkward moments of feely feely things. So you take out a pen from your pocket andlean near the gloomy little templar."Sell Trash this pen."(Cont!)
She looks at you, then grabs the pen almost absent-mindedly. Then faces Trash, who grins defiantly at her."The password for the Friend's AI management module is M14B-4SSB-3ST-G-1RL."Trash looks at the pen, frowning her eyes, then shrugs. "You win."
>>1022336...Information...... Well, what did we expect?SK knows Trash, so this is not getting us anywhere, really.... We only got a handfull of candidates for testing her people skills, us first and foremost, but anyone who knows them will make it to easy for her
>>1022425On second thought> AI management module passwordI think Trash has to know something, so this information proves usefull.Well, thanks for sharing the information Atma.We will put it to good use, just as much as Trash will.Imagine what would have happened if Trash did not exept the deal, after she blurted out this piece of information. Because, you know, that's a thing people do.
>>1022425I think the idea was that the password was long enough to need to be written down if she didn't want to forget it. In a situation where the was no demand on Trash's part she created some. It doesn't exactly show off a ton of skill but it does indicate she's got good lateral thinking and gets the core ideas of negotiation. Good point about going "Thanks for that information, still don't want that pen though". However an unconditional gift before offering a voluntary survey actually has a better response rate than a survey with a gift conditional on it's completion.>>1022334"Huh. Well not exactly a flashy show of skill but you've got the core ideas down. What would you have done if Trash simply said 'Thanks for the info, still don't want the pen though.'?""As for Roomba being different after getting hurt there's a problem in philosophy known as The Ship of Theseus. As parts wear out on a ship you replace them right? But the problem is can we call it the same ship after that. If I change a filter will we need to rename it The Friend mk. II? If, after many years you've replaced every single part is it still the same ship? If every cell of your body outside of your brain was replaced with a cloned one would you still be the same person? Does it matter if I clone them or your own body does? If the ship gets renamed... is it still the same ship? Lots of questions, few good answers.The way I see it is that as long as my memory core is the same, it's still me. It would feel that way to me and that's as good of a criteria as you'll get. With something as expensive as a memory core you tend to build a good bit of protection around it, and if you're filthy rich you can make a backup of it. The backup might be a bit out of date, but you don't take on a new name after getting blackout drunk and forgetting an entire weekend do you? So if Toasty becomes Toast and we rebuild her I'm just going to keep calling her Toast, no mark two needed. I'm sure she'd appreciate it if you did the same.""That should be it for questions and lectures, unless anyone else has anything else to add or ask?"
You ponder a bit about the interaction, looking for a cool hidden meaning or something."Huh." And you give up. "Well, not exactly a flashy show of skill but you've got the coreideas down. What would you have done if Trash simply said 'Thanks for the info, still don'twant the pen, though.'?""There are times when there's little you can do, as with everything-" Atma says, her voiceshaking like a big door under siege as Roomba's voice is heard from the other side. "Iknow Trash, so I'd just say Snacks current address out loud and she'd wrestle me down formine even if she was wearing a suit made of pens. Otherwise, getting to know your client isvital to the sale.""Well don't bet on it." Trash adds, a bit too neutrally. "Besides, you couldn't possibly knowthat."Atma gives her a sly glance before looking at you. "The core of face to face negotiation isfinding out what the buyer wants and subtly hinting that you can give it to him. If you say soout loud, she would think you biased because you just want to sell it to him. If you ask whyshe doesn't want your product, she'll think you'll fit it for her particular needs. You have to laydown the pieces so she nails the puzzle herself, and then truly believe you have whatshe needs." Atma states clearly, her eyes fixed on you and only you. "That way, she would bechallenging her own beliefs if she didn't want to buy it.""Good for you, well done." Trash claps, slowly. "You won... a kiss! Roomba?""For example, I could sell her a shield right now," Atma states, her eyes VERY fixed on youas her hands shake. "I won't be able to sell anything to anyone, nobody would, but I'mgood at convincing people I'm selling them things for their own good." She smiles then,looking away. "Mostly because it's true. I might not be that good at this. Sometimes I ruin myown sales on purpouse when I know they are making the wrong call.""Skullfucker, you are fucking your curriculum." Trash takes the cookie from the hornmother'shands and eats it."I-I'd rather be honest, this isn't about me." She's still not turning around. Is she really thatflustered?"It's the other way around." It's Roomba, finally. You get to see, front page, how Atma's facedistorts. "You take kindness over money even at your own family's expense. I think that's kindof selfless attitude is very rare..." Atma's face goes comically bleak. "And I really like it!" Oh,handholding. So that's that. Must be like getting stabbed in the neck with a chainsaw by thelooks of it.Alright, bad cop time. "As for Roomba being different after getting hurt, there's a problem inphilosophy known as The Ship of Theseus." You start, rescuing Atma yet again from thesharp claws of attention.(Cont!)
"As parts wear out on a ship you replace them, right? But the problem is, can we call it thesame ship after that? If I change a filter, will we need to rename it The Friend MkII' If, aftermany years you've replaced every single part is it still the same ship? If every cell of your bodyoutside of your brain was replaced with a cloned one, would you still be the sameperson? Does it matter if I clone them or your own body does? If the ship gets renamed... is itstill the same ship?" A pause, to let that sink. Hopefully, like a ship. "Lots of questions, fewgood answers.""That's the point. Outside of your brain." Atma adds, suddenly a tad bit sad again. Yet itseems the toaster smelled the tears, cause now the Skullfucker is getting squeezed. "IWell-The thing is-If-Well!-If-the brain-Well-" You witness her fumble every single word in a row,talking as if she could only move her teeth. Maybe she should do the heart thing. "I-It'sjust...!" There, she catches a break, "It's not the same brain." She blurts out. "It's not the samememory core. It has the exact same information, memories, preferences, feelings,and everything. But it wouldn't be the same Roomba." She's blurting out a bit too loudly,now. "For her, for this Roomba, screw that for ROOMBA, that would be death. On her end,everyone would be just letting it happen because she's easy to replace, and she'll letthem do that because she's just too kind." And she shakes her head very, very hard. "And Iwon't have that! I'm sorry! I won't let anyone ever hurt her!"You pout and blink, as the rest just looks in silence. Fuuuck, she really got into it. Aseveryone sorts their own thoughts on the matter, it seems that the lingering silence isunavoidable. This time you let it happen, for a while. Meanwhile, a quick glance tells you thatRoomba seems shocked.Yet, fuck; nobody else is talking. Oh well. "They way I see it is that, as long as my memory coreis the same, it's still me." You let your soft voice be blunt instead of sharp. "It would feel thatway to me and that's as good of a criteria as you'll get. With something as expensive as amemory core you tend to build a good bit of protection around it, and if you're filthy rich youcan make a backup of it. The backup might be a bit out of date, but you don't take on a newname after getting blackout drunk and forgetting an entire weekend, do you? So, ifToasty becomes Toast and we rebuild her, I'm just going to keep caller her Toast, no mark twoneeded. I'm sure she'd appreciate it if you did the same."Atma does the heart thing this time, yet... seems to give in. "I don't know, it sounds soweird... I don't really know what I'd do..." You catch a signal from behind Atma, and it'sRoomba shaking her nose at you.Ok, then.(Cont!)
"That should be it for questions and lectures," you state, softly, "unless anyone else hasanything else to add or ask?"Most collectively shake their heads, even Lumina, except for Vaal and the hornmother.The eldest of blondes turns to her girlfriend."We should start the first aid interview now, and then go for the mechanics one," Vaal says,sofly as usual.Trash nods. "The piloting one is out of the question, it's risky as fuck now." She yawns."That being side, I'm going for a walk."Vaal tilts her head."What for?""Felt like having some chocolate. And stuff. I dunno. We don't have any." She shrugs and...winks."Oh... Won't you be lonely?" Vaal winks at her, too."I don't see you missing the first aid test in the next seven or eight universes," Trash pointsout, slyly, "so don't even try." You wonder, again, if people explode out of flustering."Who's helping me carry shit?""I will!" Roomba beams up."First aid test means you stay." Trash says."Oh." Roomba beams down.And Trash looks at you. More than that; she gives you a look.
>>1023449"That much chocolate huh? I guess Roomba isn't going to run out of chocolate chips any time soon then... *sigh* Lets go."
>>1023449This had better be good. I'm supposed to be here for the interviews.
"That much chocolate, huh?" You say, smiling softly. "I guess Roomba isn't going to run out ofchocolate chips anytime soon then...""Yeah, but I want white chocolate," the templar says. You think you /almost/ heard a stutterthere. Easy catch. "I'm just that bitchy."You glance at her then sigh, shrugging. "Let's go."-----------------------------oWo------------------------The whole way down the elevator went silently. Trash just stared at the mirror, yawning everynow and then as you waited her up to talk. In the end, it only happened after she greeted thesecurity guard and you both were out of the building, walking the streets."Atma is very special." She says, out of nowhere, just as you were wondering about thetiny templar. For a second there you really thought she was reading your mind somehow."She's either full cuddly-mooly, or plain full nightmare-mode. No grays. At all." Trashpauses for a while, as she slowly dodges a passerby. "Between the two of us, I think thatyou are exactly what Roomba was needing. Someone to take on all the shit and fire, aplace to drop all of the hard choices." She glances at you. "I don't mind your bitchymanners at all. In fact, I think of them as whats spice to a hotdog. But you will find that there aresome people out there, or even inside that department, that aren't ready to take that kindof shit yet. So you'd better be careful with your witty remarks. They might just get your techyskull bashed over and over again by the biggest chunk of black templar bullshit thatcould fit in imagination."You notice your eyes are wide, as Trash starts to drift into one of those bit automatic gatesfrom the supermarket. It's a big, white place with people, carts, and gondolas, not reallymassive but spacious enough to get lost. You soon find yourself following a templar acrossthe aisles."If I can get away with some jokes, it's only because I was there when Blur ripped chunksof her body over and over until her bowels were scattered everywhere." Even if only alittle, the memory seems to make her flinch. "She always was the kind to go berserk. As thewar went on, though, it got harder for her to get angry enough to go full Hulk mode, but whenshe did, it was far, far worst than the last time." Trash grabs something from the shelf thenlooks around. "Shit, I forgot the basket." She hands it over to you. You don't take it; shetakes it back. "The thing is, her tolerance has improved a lot ever since. The drawbackthough is that now we must absolutely, positively never EVER cross that line. She'sone of the few that manages to pull the LF thing well because your usual guy tries to becareful. But not Skullfucker. She goes in so hard, that everybody gets so busy taking coverthat they don't get the time to even think about hitting back. So yeah," she grabs milk from theshelve, "that's the kind of girl you just called 'clumsy'."(Cont!)
Miraculously you both find a stray cart. Trash whistles, and flings the milk through the air likea basketball star. It misses, and the thing explodes against the ground. The templar nodsthen walks away."Don't let it get to you, though. You are new, you didn't know, and you'll be dealing withsome very heavy personalities you aren't ready for." Trash grabs another milk carton, thenwhistles as she spins it in the air. "I really have high hopes for you, It's like those turbo-retardsactually took care for once. Hmm, I wonder why they made you like this..."Well, it's not a bad question. Must be there somewhere in your memory...
>>1023851"Well that makes 2.5 good reasons not to hire her, lets see if I can quote the turtle trumpeting fucknuggets exactly..."What did the fucknuggets say in justification anyways? I've got my explanation but they assuredly have theirs, and I bet trash wants to hear that more than mine.
>>1023851"Balance, some Ying and Yang bullshit. Roomba needs me and I need her." "And I knew she was dangerous but I also knew that as long as I didn't push too hard she wasn't going to cross the line, not with Roomba right there. I might be new but I mostly know what I am doing. Is when you split Roomba and us for more than a short time than things... will start to go wrong. I was literally made to be Roomba partner, you could say I am her sister if you want. And Atma saw that too, it would have been way different without Roomba there. She has a family she probably can see the worried relative who is being mean because you want to date her sister act a mile away. But it had to be done, I and Roomba needed to know her. And if I set her off better to do it early than later. It was a calculated right. Besides, with what we are glambling for, the risk of death is very high already. Say that she killed me, there is front of my sister, even destroyed my memory core... then what? It would just prove that she has no fucking control over herself and so trying to hire her was a mistake. I am a Fake, one made to work in pairs, Roomba might survive without me, but I can't survive without her. There I said It! Happy now?"
"So what is what gentlemen, what are we gonna do with her?""Dunno, but I'll beat the shit out of you.""Wait, what the fuck? Why?""Dunno, just felt like it.""Roomba is retard kind. That's a fact. if she runs that Support Center of hers to the bottomsof the ocean, it will make Fakes everywhere look stupid.""Aight, I hear you.""Contrast. Someone efficient. Someone she trusts, whether she wants to or not, whether sheagrees or disagrees with. Someone so smart she can't help but agree with even if she hatesher from the bottom of that tiny pretty heart of hers.""Like, a cold-hearted bitch.""Nigga if you diss my Nielly I'll fucking break you.""Oh my fucking god guys. Listen. LISTEN TO MY WISE WORDS. Roomba is Fair after theWhite Bat but before the Rain and Fair was retard kind. Who lived with Roo- I mean, wholived with Fair before the Rain?""No.""Hold the FUCK UP are we making Nielly into fucking pre-Rain Trash?""Oh no bloody veiny shit of sacred heaven I hate how much that makes SENSE!!"
>>1024726... Never mind then. She probably doesn't want to hear that. Bullshitting time!"Based on historical data of public figures, like Roomba will eventually be, the Sansui's concluded that a counterbalancing perspective would be most advantageous for her long term well-being." We'll just leave the I'm you but better part out."As for Atma, she is both too dangerous and too much like Toast to have any kind of happy ending with us. She didn't say 'I wont let anyone hurt Roomba' as an answer to a question, no, that was a _vow_ and it's a vow that's going to be in direct conflict with Toasts behavior. What was the last thing you remember Toast doing purely for herself? I'll save you the awkward silence: you haven't. 'all for the good of the herd' and that shit. Humans made the first proto-Fakes to do the kind of shit that would get humans killed, things like disarming bombs and cleaning up radioactive disasters. Toast is the same thing, only the disaster is the humans themselves now. She asked for someone who could repair Fakes for a reason Trash. Thinking she's not going to get scrapped on occasion, or at least needing a really long shower and Blankey is foolish. Atma has Toast's ideals and none of her resilience. If she tries to pull the same things Toast does it will break her, kill her, and maybe take a few of us in the process. I was half hoping she'd try smashing my head in, it would have made my argument for me in a much more persuasive manner than these little lectures could."
Your retort is lagged, yet firm. "Based on historical data of public figures, like Roombawill eventually be, the Sansui's concluded that a counterbalancing perspective would be mostadvantageous for her long term well-being."And a few other irrelevant details. Trash nods, and nods."Yeah, I can see the Toasty getting a name if she's really what meets the eyes." And she'sstill nodding, almost absent-mindedly. "It's just that those guys are too goofy and dynamic toknow how to emulate a cold thinking type, or at least it strikes me like that." She gets a cerealbox from the shelf, but this time she pretty much buries it under your arm. You raise aneyebrow, but actually, she's not even looking. "Wonder who they took for example. Youshould ask them that, we might want to stay the fuck away from that one.""As for Atma," you cut her up, "she is both too dangerous and too much like Toast to have anykind of happy ending with us. She didn't say "I won't let anyone hurt Roomba as an answer toa question, no, that was a /vow/, and it's a vow that's going to be in direct conflict with Toastsbehavior.""Yeah, she's like that." Trash moves sideways facing the shelf, as she reads the brands. Orperhaps she's just looking at the silly pictures on the boxes. "She's the one hundred percentanti-lie type of fuck that gets on my nerves, but that die-hard honesty is also what makes herhighly reliable. If she gets to sell shit, it must be because she's very insistent when she trulybelieves that her stuff will help the customers." She keeps moving sideways, and you findyourself with no choice but to copy her."What was the last thing you remember Toast doing purely for herself?" You witness Trashcarefully arranging the boxes in a specific way. Oh, so that's what... "I'll save you the awkwardsilence: you haven't. 'All for the good of the Herd' and that shit.""Yeah, I know what you are getting at. Toasty's the kind of person that looks after herself soshe can take care of others. Atma too, and she'll take her oath to keep her safe very deadseriously. Can't stop that.""Humans made the first proto-Fakes to do the kind of shit that would get humans killed, thingslike disarming bombs and cleaning up radioactive disasters." You go on, set on drivingyour point home. The phrase "Point go home!" comes to mind along the image of giant blackdots floating their way into Captain's home. "Toast is the same thing," You resume, giventhe silence, "only the disaster is the humans themselves now."(Cont!)
"She asked for someone who could repair Fakes for a reason, Trash." You state almost tothe air, as the templar seems fixed on her duty. "Thinking she's not going to get scrapped onoccasion, or at least needing a really long shower and Blankey is foolish."Trash steps back, as if you weren't there, then so do you. Trying to catch her perspective, youlook into the shelf of neatly-organized cereal boxes. The boxes of the middle row nowoverlap each other at different angles, one is even upside down. All to spell a word, farand wide: and it's "PROCTOMAN".You both stare at her magnum opus in sacred silence. As if light came from between theboxes. Finally, you ask it."And what does that even mean?" You give her a little glance."Haha, I don't fuckin know." Her cheeks are puffed. "It's like a proctologist superhero orsomething. Someone who shoves thing up your ass for justice, and it has deep plot andtrama and heroic death and all of that." She's giggling way too hard, and way too retardedly.Yes, your memory has to be fucked."Atma has Toast's ideals and none of her resilence," you state, grasping with somedespair to the track that just now seemed so far away. "If she tries to pull the same things Toastdoes it will break her, kill her, and maybe take a few of us in the process. I was half hopingshe'd try smashing my head in, it would have made my argument for me in a much morepersuasive manner than these little lectures could.""Don't worry, lectures are very much appreciated." Trash says, suddenly a bit coldly."We had enough smashed heads. Her more than anyone. Think of her as Roomba's royalguard; she has the devotion, and she has the skills. Scratch that; it may even be fanatism."Trash scratches her head. "The way I see it, as long as you treat her well for a while hernightmare-mode won't be hard to use to our advantage. She craves peace more thananyone, and hear me out, even Roomba. Treat her well, don't be a bitch, and you get mix ofLumina, Roomba, and Vaal in a small, silver package." She yawns then turns her upperbody to you. "Also what do you mean with the whole "killing us in the process" thing? I don'tget it, just keep Roomba safe and that's it."
>>1025312"A guard dog is useless if it won't heel on command and from the sounds of it none of us are going to be able to muzzle her either. If Roomba gave her orders to let her make some sacrifice of her own do you think she would actually respect it all the way through? If you can truly say that she'll respect what Roomba asks of her no matter what... she goes from a never to a maybe. We already have Blankey and Toast so why not take Lumina instead and make our own, easier to control Atma from the three of them? Toast won't like rejecting a kindred spirit like Atma, but if she goes 'hulk mode' at the kind of shit I say then she's a threat not an asset. Maybe she'll prove me wrong, but the risk if she doesn't isn't one I see as worthwhile.""Also, when are we actually getting to the chocolate? Or was that too another masterful ruse of yours?"
You shrug, with some despise. "A guard dog is useless if it won't heel on command, and fromthe sounds of it none of us are going to be able to muzzle her either.""Bet on it." Trash is drinking from an orange juice box straight from the shelves."If Roomba gave her orders to let her make some sacrifice of her own, do you think shewould actually respect it all the way through? If you can truly say that she'll respect whatRoomba asks of her, no matter what... she goes from a never to a maybe.""Well from the looks of it, the only thing she won't allow is Roomba going harakiri." Shecarefully leaves the now empty box back in place, screws the top back on, and cleans hermouth with a black and yellow sleeve. "Other than that, Skullfucker's pretty solid.""We already have Blankey and Toast so why not take Lumina instead and make our own,easier to control Atma from the three of them?" You resume, losing Trash from sight for a whileas she steers into a corner. You find her now looking at the fruit section, toying with one ofher long yellow spikes.And yet she answers. "Becaaaaause, she's the perfect reinforcement. Sure, you get Corny tokill, Moody to fix, Toasty to toast... but what if one of them is busy?" Trash turns to you,smiling faintly. "Moody can snipe things, yeah, but that's circumstantial, and she can't toast.Toasty can't fix the ship, and I see her crying if she ever steps on an ant, and Corny is uselessat anything unrelated to the various meanings of "rape". That's when you get the Skullfucker,"Trash adds, now eating a banana, "granted that you are being polite.""Toast won't like rejecting a kindred spirit like Atma," you resume, relentlessly, "but if shegoes 'hulk mode' at the kind of shit I say then she's a threat, not an asset. Maybe she'll proveme wrong, but the risk, if she doesn't, isn't one I see as worthwhile.""I got scared because you are someone she's not familiar with, and that kind of manners usedto end up fucking bad." Without a word, she moves on. Without a word, you follow. "Butthat's the worst it can get, and you are still here with me. So she got a whole lot better at that.Once she gets to know you, you can pretty much fuck with her to oblivion like Vaal and Ido. Unless you are actually being a piece of shit, cause then not even backtracking time willsave your ass. If it were the other way around, and she was triggered by every single whistle,even the Pinnacle would have fissures."As you both turn, a man with a mop seems to be busy with Trash's pool of milk from her failedattempt at the NBA. He seems to be cursing under his breath, steadily."When are we actually getting to the chocolate?" You ask as he curses his fatherand mother from the distance. "Or was that too another masterful ruse of yours?""With all those cookies we got from the toaster? PFF." She grabs her nape with bothhands. "I'm actually getting bitter stuff to survive all the sweetness. And you wish it wasonly literal."(C)
>>1025312"A berseker is not a good roommate to have. And between Rooma always wanting to sacrifice herself for others and miss two faces wanting to save her... the term 'collateral damage' will end including the whole damn ship."
>>1025682"Getting a box of sugar less cacao nuts then, and milk and flour. I will make bitter chocolate cookies." When Trash looks at you, you wink. "I can cook. Not anything anyone else will like until I find out what they like, but I can. Plus I think I like bitter chocolate instead of sugar and I am not into the mood for salty stuff right now."
>>1025760It's getting comfy in here.
>>1025871But a shameful waste of cake and milk
As Trash opens the door, you are surprised to not find a lesbian orgy that somehow includedthe hornmother. Instead, it's just Atma scribbling in a long white paper, in harmonioussilence as Roomba sits next to her while locking arms with the templar.Blanky turns to Trash and you, glancing at the bags you both carry. "You missed the best part!Hey, can we do the first aid test again? For Trashy and Beamy here?""Oh, maybe in a while if she wants to." It's Roomba, glancing at the both of you as well,then back at the paper. The Fake giggles. "She did very well, and she's doing great here, too.And I don't even understand any of this!"As you sit (drop) yourself over your couch, resting your head on the ledge, your eyebrowsrise. The templar is writing silently, her cheeks crimson, as she smiles with her whole face andeyes. She seems happy."There, that should be it." Atma presents Lumina with her exam, which makes the girlwith the brown hair shake. She grabs it, then, takes a surprisingly fast read, and then startsscribbling on it so fast you think the page is going to break. As everyone stares in mild awe,she gives it back. Atma reads takes a careful look. Her jaw drops."She's good," Lumina says, then nods calmly at Roomba. Her overall manners seem sosheepish... "She did a few bad things, but it's nothing she can't learn.""So, what's the grade?" Says Trash. Lumina tilts her head. "From one to ten." The templartilts her spikes, as well.Lumina looks around, suddenly shrieking a bit, then calls Trash to get closer. Once the templarsquats next to her, she leans to her ear and whispers."OH, I SEE, SIX OUT OF TEN." Trash pretty much shouts, drawing a little, long scream fromLumina. Then the hornmother dunks her mask on from behind. You like to think that, in thoselittle two seconds before Moody took a whole cake from the table, Trash realized the fullextent at which she fucked up.----------As frosting still drips from her hair, one of the templar's eyes twitches. "You need to learnsome manners.""I REGRET NOTHING!" Moody states, as Trash has her in a judo lock. Her legs stop trashingabout just as the templars takes the mask off. Suddenly it's Lumina's blank stare there, and her body goes static."As you can CLEARLY see, my little Lumina, our dear friend Skullfucker, the one that fucksskulls, isn't angry at you at all." She looks at Atma, across the table. "Am I correct?""Of course, of course!" Atma scratches her head, giving a nervous giggle. She then staresat Lumina, who by now is sitting next to Trash. "You can trust Suhuru, sweetie. I can takesome criticism. Everybody has to." She smiles widely, giving a warm little wink at her. "If I everget lost with something, will you teach me how to fix it?"Lumina looks around, then nods quietly."Well; that should be it." Trash nods, firmly. "We'll skip the piloting and punch tests for security reasons. Now feel free to get the fuck out of my domain."Atma nods.------
>>1025945"Toast, you're not actually thinking of hiring her are you? Besides her "forbidden love" crush on you she's got all the signs of being a more naive, homicidal version of you. Either she'll ignore you and get hurt physically, or she won't _be_ you and get hurt emotionally. Both options end in tears. Vaal is lethal enough, Lumina is smart enough, and you're you enough to cover everything she offers. Personally I wouldn't take her even if she volunteers to go along for free, but I'll leave it to your judgement if that will end poorly too. Apparently I was at some small risk of getting my skull fucked with my probing and bluntness, so I'll leave letting her down tactfully to you. I would say "prove me wrong" and let you go with her, but the cost of me being right is too high to take my usual laissez-faire approach to fucking things up."Trash said we're all going shopping together right? Let's get on getting those tools, I'm confident that the amount of tooling I would want for doing repairs on Fakes and for general engineering projects would be more than enough to keep Lumina happy too if she gets picked. The core bits being a decently sized lathe, cnc mill (along with the associated accessories and cutters, ceramic inserts preferably), and an induction furnace (with crucibles and flasks) for casting. From there all you need is materials and you can build damn near anything, and if you can't build something with all that then you can build what you need to be able to build it with that. As for the cost... Trash said that kind of stuff was cheap right? The accountant knows these things right? Muahahaha.... Good thing we have a nice big ship.
Just dropping in to let you guys know I like your writing. I've not gotten acclimated enough to contribute, but I've been lurking quietly for a few weeks and I've been enjoyed everything so far.
>>1031336Thanks! Kind of you letting us know. =w=Let me know if there's something you don't understand, I like questions.
>>1031336>>1031562Or poke either of us on AskFm if you want. Funnily we where just wondering awhile ago how many people (if any) are reading this quest without ever saying anything
>>1031562And also making players take suicide options when the quest had just started.
>>1033567Are you still reading?