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Your name is Shu, and in a world where the grotesque is commonplace you cling to what little humanity remains. You woke up a little over two weeks ago to find your world had been swallowed whole by something from beyond the stars, something that saw fit to restructure everything you once knew into a landscape of twitching flesh and raw sinew. The planet is now a scarlet fleshscape where Daughters, the girls and women that survived the apocalypse, use bizarre and terrible powers to fight, rip, tear, and devour each other in the hopes of ascending a fabled spire known as the Cord.

You've made friends and defeated enemies in your time in the world, though certain details about your life before the end times still elude you. Regardless of what came before, the three girls that travel alongside you have proven to be invaluable allies and true companions, though due to recent events you fear that discussions are on the horizon that you'd much rather avoid due to your newly-forged telepathic link between you and Gina.

Now, before the flickering firelight of a kiln of bone, you prepare to hear out the proposition of the woman that stands before you, the very woman you once fought tooth and nail to oppose in the ruins of an Envious City...

Previous Thread: >>3276235
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en
Character Abilities: https://pastebin.com/A5MA9zeY
Forge Tier One: https://pastebin.com/pVEbSn6M
>>
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You stare up into the bright blue eyes of the woman known to her enemies as Marrow Dragoon, and known to you as Mara. Her silvery hair cascades down and around broad, muscular shoulders as she towers over you, Artisan Niku and Rath utterly dwarfed beside the older woman's powerful frame.

"I've gotten wind of something that may alter the Crucible itself." Mara intones, her gaze intent and laser-focused on yours. "I'm hunting down someone that may be the key to turning the Crucible on it's head and making it so that the Hunger isn't an issue, ever again."

Your eyes widen in time with her smile.

"So...I'd like to offer you a job."

She chuckles, and you're suddenly aware of the look of bewilderment that's on your face.

"I...what are the details?" You ask, trying to compose yourself.

"In time." She replies coolly, stepping around you and striding over to the diminutive flesh-shaper. "Eighty percent off the top, if you would be so kind."

"Yes Ma'am!" the girl chirps, sliding up the sleeves on her yukata, slender fingers feeling along the scarred arm that Mara presents. You watch as Niku draws forth a marbled, pale sort of biomass from the older woman's skin, exorcising it like a ghost as it inches, worm-like, over to rest atop the flesh-pile in the corner of the forge.

"For your use, regardless of your decision." Mara says with a nod to the bio she donated to your cause, turning back towards the door as she rolls down her white sleeve. "I have a room on the third floor, and I'll be there for the next few hours. I look forward to your answer."

She vanishes around the corner, her footsteps echoing along the calcite halls until they, too, fade into nothing.

"Lady Mara seems to have taken a liking to you, Sister Shu." Niku says with a grin as you turn to her. "I'll be here and more than happy to help you with crafting whenever you are ready to. I'm not going anywhere!"

She then leans in with a wink and a smile.

"You and your friends certainly have a full schedule, here."

She's right, and you almost find yourself missing your westwards journey across the fleshscape, if just the simplicity of the thing. Then again, this place is a storehouse of opportunity and information, and that's something that's in short supply when your head is down and you're fighting for your life, so you may as well make the most of it.

>>Go to Mara's room to hear her out.

>>Forge new items with Artisan Niku and Rath.

>>Join Gina at the Alabaster Spa.

>>Check up on B'ni at the Sparring Hall.

>>Accept your invitation to speak with the Daughter Superior.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3299304
>>Go to Mara's room to hear her out.
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3299304
>Check up on B'ni at the Sparring Hall.
>>
>>3299304
BHOP would it be possible to experment and make something not on the list? Like, basically give Niku some Bio and have her see what she cant come up with?
If so;

>Have Rath hand over 20-40% and Shu 20-40% of whatever type Niku thinks she might need, on top of the 80% Calcite we have.

And then after we give her the Bio, or if we cant make something not on the list;
>>Go to Mara's room to hear her out.
But lets not jump to conclusions on actually accepting. We dont know HOW she knows this will solve the hunger, and while i get the idea, if she intends to strap someone down to a table as a free endless buffet for the monestary, well, there's lines not to cross, no matter the reason they are...

As for Sister Superior, we can see her after Mara and make sure Mara knows we intend to see her before we leave, regardless of our decision.
>>
>>3299304
>Check up on B'ni at the Sparring Hall.
>>
>>3299338
(You certainly may.)
>>
>>3299342
Awesome

>>3299315
>>3299339
>Not wanting to try out the crafting system, or at least give material to Rath and Niku so we can still get stuff out of it.
>>
(If the tie persists, then I shall combine both votes to where Shu checks up on B'ni, then meets with Mara.)
>>
>>3299304
>>Check up on B'ni at the Sparring Hall.

Lets do this, relax, meet with Mara, and then make an Item that would fit the situation we're about to get ourselves Into I say.
>>
>>3299460
I like doing both
>>
>>3299460
both
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3299304

"Rath, Ni...Sister Niku." You say, addressing the two red-haired girls and indulging in the custom of this place. "I trust the two of you to be creative. I'm going to go check up on B'ni, so take some of my biomass and use it for whatever you like, along with what Dragoon gave us. I'm sure you both will make something new and worthwhile."

"I...you want me to make something...new?" Niku asks, taken aback either by your request or your faith in her creativity, you're not sure which.

"Leave it to us, we'll make something absolutely kickass!" Rath beams, slinging an arm around the other girl's shoulder and giving you an excited thumb's up. You smile at the pair and leave them to their own devices, striding down the hall and in the direction B'ni ran off to shortly after you arrived.

You hear the murmurs of a large crowd and the clash of combat well before the come into view in the training hall. The hall opens up into a large room, the ceiling arching over a grand space, almost a second cathedral in its entirety. Light streams in through Gothic windows, wrought of bone and thin sheets of skin in imitation of stained glass. You can't see what's going on as you approach the edge of the dense assembly, all intent on the action beyond, and the onlookers' whispers and mutterings filter into your ears as you fight your way to the front of the crowd.

"...ever seen anyone fight like her, not since Lady M..."

"...ere'd she come from, do you know where she ca..."

"...ook out six in as many seconds, I wouldn't believe it if I..."

"...ith the Sister that Daughter Superior wishes to speak with, though do you think this girl is their lea..."

You reach the front of the muttering throng, and the full arena comes into view. It is a simple space for a simple affair, you're taken aback by the half-dozen Daughters that lay in heaps around the square stone flooring, dragging themselves to the space's edge and away from the five that spar in the center. You wonder if it started as a free-for-all or if there was some sort of team aspect to this particular bout, but the fact that the four remaining strangers are ganging up on B'ni serves as a testament to her skill.

(Continued)
>>
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>>3299540

She's surrounded and barely looks to have broken a sweat, her knuckles bloody, her taught frame light on unarmored feet. The Daughter behind her slings out her arm, a vicious tendril slicing the air where B'ni was before she darted backwards, driving her heel between the legs of her attacker. The other girl crumples to her knees before getting sharply elbowed in the face by B'ni, her attention never diverting from the other three in front of her. The ones flanking her dash forwards, calcite armor beginning to gird their forms...but they're too slow.

Far too slow.

B'ni leaps left, her foot crushing in the sternum of the half-armored Daughter before using her as a springboard, snapping a vicious kick across the face of the girl approaching from the right. The girl in the center charges, an impossible mass of worms exploding from her back and encasing her on a grotesque mimicry of swollen, engorged muscles, leaving her face exposed and contorted in rage as she storms at your friend, still crouched low.

B'ni turns and kicks off from the ground, the spot where she was standing only a half-second before bursting into a shower of dust and stone shards from a writhing punch that shatters the stonework. B'ni slides between the girl's legs to safety, bounding up her muscular back and leaping four meters skyward. The augmented Daughter then does the single most unfortunate thing she can.

She looks up.

Twin heels drive into the Daughter's face with a sickening crunch before B'ni kicks off the girls's shattered nose and cheeks, landing a short distance away. She rises, the crowd bursting into applause as the bruised, beaten, and severely bloodied combatants are helped to their feet by their fellow Sisters and ushered quickly off the stage.

"Combat Ceased!" A magnified voice from somewhere beyond the crowd announces. "The winner is...what's you name, fellow Sister?"

"...Isabelle." She breathes through gritted teeth, staring at her bare feet. "My name is Isabelle."

B'ni looks up, scanning the faces in the crowd with an expectant gaze, her expression unreadable.

"Who's next?" She asks, her voice low and shaky, though not from exhaustion. You wonder if she's even used any biomass at all as her eyes catch sight of you, going wide as she mouths your name.

"...Shu?"

>>Challenge her to a friendly match. You could both stand to see what the other is really capable of, and this might be a good place for both of you to get some practice in. Plus, you might be able to test out your Contender's new blade...dulled appropriately, of course.

>>Get her out of there. You're not keen on leaving her to fight by herself, however well she seems to be faring right now. You could take her along to hear out Mara, or send her to the Alabaster Spa to maybe get a different sort of relaxation.

>>Let her be. She looks like she's letting off some steam...maybe this is how she's finding relaxation in this bizarre place.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3299576
Whatever else we do congratulate her for being a badass engine of war
>>
>>3299576
>other: Open up the empathy channel. check how she's feeling from the the "sparring". Scan her thoughts if need be just to make sure she's mentally stable.
>"I just got here a few seconds ago. And from the looks of things, you're really a spectacular fighter."
>Challenge her to a friendly match. You could both stand to see what the other is really capable of, and this might be a good place for both of you to get some practice in. Plus, you might be able to test out your Contender's new blade...dulled appropriately, of course.
>"There's something I always wondered, B'ni. how good are you at this? I want to see it for myself."
>"Don't worry if you beat me in the spar. It just means you're all the better for it, that I can put my faith and trust in."
This is a prime opportunity for B'ni to build up her confidence.
>>
>>3299576
>>Let her be. She looks like she's letting off some steam...maybe this is how she's finding relaxation in this bizarre place.

We are not made for this kinda combat, and funnily enough we actually dont have many non lethal options on us either. Our only het would be our tongue, and while we went the fast route with it, b'ni would still lay us flat, unless her need to keep us safe got in the way which is in and of itself another issue with fighting her, she may hold back and ruin the whole point of sparring in the first place.
>>
>>3299576
>>Let her be. She looks like she's letting off some steam...maybe this is how she's finding relaxation in this bizarre place.

>Tell her she did good, let her know we're about to go see Mara about a job offer. She can come If she wants or stay and practice
>>
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>>3299576
this >>3299656
A nice friendly competition where nothing can go wrong :^)
>>
>>3299576
This
>>3299663
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3299576

You give her a thumb's up and open the empathic channel, cutting through the cheering din of the crowd around you.

"Nicely done. You're a sight to see, going to town like that." You say via thoughtform, and you can see her cheeks redden from here. "I'm going to go see Mara about a job offer."

"Mara?!" You feel her start to panic, stepping forwards before you put up a hand from the sidelines to stop her.

"It's fine." You assure her, emerald eyes searching yours and finding calm reassurance flowing across the channel. "It's just a conversation, and we parted on good terms the last time we spoke. You're welcome to come along if you're worried, though."

"I...no, I trust you." She says after a moment's hesitation. "It's okay, I'll stay here. If that's okay with you?"

"Sure. You be safe, and have fun, okay?" You reply, giving her a wave before turning and making your way back through the sea of Sisters.

"...okay. Be safe, Shu."

...ied together, she's in your head and you're in hers, but that's okay, that's fine, I'm fine, we're okay...I need to be okay with her Cho...

Your blood runs cold as the crowd pushes you back and away from the ring, B'ni's train of thought piercing through your mind, unwarranted. She must have heard you both speaking, listened in when you and Gina stepped away.

She knows.

...e can like and be liked by other people, it's the same now as it was then, nonono it's not the same...different now, she's a better person she wouldn't do what she did she's nice now and I need to be supportive and keep things the way they are, the way they need to...

The crowd's getting more dense, more packed with onlookers as news about her skills draws more warm bodies, more challengers that slowly edge you out and away from her.

...can do this, I'm not going to be a burden, I'm going to be strong...I'm not going to be the one that fucks this up, never again...GG has...Shu has every right to...to feel how she feels, that just means I have to work harder to...she'll tell me when she's ready, I just need to focus, focus on protecting her and protecting the ones she...protecting her friends, I have to be...for my sake, I need to...

Her thoughts drop away as combat resumes, and you stand at the crowd's outer edge for a long moment, weighing your next move. She seems to be taking it surprisingly well, which was your main concern...it's a conversation you're still not ready to have, your newly-forged bond with Gina altering how your team functions on a fundamental level.

You chew your lower lip in thought...

...before you turn, leaving B'ni to her own devices and striding onward to meet with Marrow Dragoon.

(Continued)
>>
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>>3299951

You know you've found the right room when you see the bone charm hung on the doorknob. You knock softly, and Marrow Dragoon bids you entrance. You step into the room, squinting at the light filtering in through an open window, and as your eyes adjust you witness Mara bench-pressing an old, rusted set of weights. The metal clangs as she sets the bar back in place, and you marvel at the sheer girth of her arms as you put yours behind your back sheepishly.

"...I'm glad you came. Please, make yourself comfortable." Mara intones, gesturing to a seat by the window. You settle down as your host reaches behind a set of dumbells and retrieves a pair of worn shot glasses, along with a half-full bottle of vodka. You watch idly as she fills both to the brim, setting them on the windowsill before resuming her seat on the bench a few feet away.

"What are we drinking to?" You ask, glancing out the window at the stark crimson vastness that stretches into the horizon.

"To your acceptance of my proposal." Mara replies with a wry half-smile, tipping back the shot and refilling the small glass.

"I'd like to hear more about it before I give you my answer..." You say, staring into her cool blue eyes. "...If it's all the same to you."

She holds her inscrutable gaze on yours for a long moment before she speaks.

"There is a rumor of a Daughter whose life has no end. One whose power is to regenerate endlessly, restoring her body to perfect condition, without corruption or decay" She says, leaning forward. "It is said she was one of the first to wake up, several years ago. Perhaps the very first, if the stories are to be believed."

Mara tips her drink back, refilling it as she continues.

"I had been awake for three months when I first heard of her. I ended the life of a woman half-dead, who claimed to have escaped from a girl that refused to die. I didn't believe her until I met someone else a month later with the same story. Then another, three months after that."

"So, I began searching for this Daughter, and I learned from a certain Doctor that ones like her are known as Vitruvians. Their powers are...unusual, even by our standards." She says with a throaty chuckle. "Many months after that meeting, I heard a story about an immortal city, active for almost a year. Many claimed it could not be conquered."

"Kosi." You say, low. Mara nods.

"Stepping foot into that city showed me that she was not the one I sought. Her power, while formidable, was corrupted and unstable. It proved unfit to serve as a stable cure to the threat of the Hunger. That leaves only one other city to the east of there that fits the sighting zone I've established."

"Why east? Wouldn't someone as strong as that keep heading west?" You ask, and she laughs, in spite of herself.

"That's the most interesting part." She replies, downing her shot. "All the information I have compiled indicates that this Daughter has resided in the same location for the past two years."

(Continued)
>>
>>3299961

"...With all due respect, that's impossible." You say, eyebrow arched as knock back your first shot. "Given what we know about Daughters and how the Crucible has us wired, if this girl exists then she'd be either Hunger-mad and headed to the Cord or dead, if she even exists at all."

"Possibly." Mara shrugs, plucking your glass and setting it next to her own. "If she's sane, then she's either a woman of single-minded and incredible focus to have staved it off for so long, or her power as a Vitruvian-class Daughter may have something to do with it. If she does exist then I very much doubt that she is dead, regardless of her mental state."

"So why us?" You ask, leaning forwards. "My team and I have only been active for two weeks, three if we're generous. You've been awake for over a year. What help could we possibly be to someone as experienced as you?"

"Because you and your team are competent, resilient, coordinated, adaptable, and sane." She replies succinctly, refilling both your glasses and handing yours back to you. "I can count the number of teams like yours that I've met on one hand, before or after the world was eaten."

It's high praise, coming from someone like her...though you harbor doubts as to the veracity of her claim, considering she's trying to rope you into her own personal crusade, well-intentioned as it may be.

"When do you plan on leaving to try and find this Daughter?" You ask. "What's in it for my team if we decide to go with you?"

"A Relic of your choice from my personal collection...I'm leaving in two hours." She answers, examining your face thoughtfully. "I'd like your answer, Shu."

To chase a fable and earn a Relic, or keep westward...the choice is yours.

>>Accept and drink with Mara. If this person exists and is still sane, you may be able to convince her to help hundred of other Daughters retain their sanity...the benefits would be enormous. Decide with whom you'll spend the two hours before you leave (B'ni, GG, Rath, or a combination of them).

>>Decline, and go meet with Daughter Superior. You fear that this story is just that, and you're not willing to risk your team in a wild goose chase alongside a woman whose last team died, at least a few of which by her own hand. You value your life and those of your friends too much to chance it.

>>Confer with your team before giving Mara your answer. Despite the fact that you know they'll probably default to what you decide, you'd still like their input.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3300007
>Accept

>Spar with Bni before leaving
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3300007
>>Confer with your team before giving Mara your answer. Despite the fact that you know they'll probably default to what you decide, you'd still like their input.
We still should treat them as equals even if they seem to want to be subjects.
>>
On one hand, it's a really good side quest with a high-end character. on the other hand, we're doing end game stuff with Mara and I don't think we can survive this with everyone intact. On the other hand, more lore. On the other hand, we'll be missing out on the pod daughter's birthday if we tarry for too long on Mara's goose hunt.
>>
>>3300050
Seconded
>>
>>3300007
>Confer with your team before giving Mara your answer. Despite the fact that you know they'll probably default to what you decide, you'd still like their input.
As you said we're a team and part of how we've stayed together and sane is by working together and talking things out.
>>
>>3300007
>Confer with your team before giving Mara your answer. Despite the fact that you know they'll probably default to what you decide, you'd still like their input.

hmmmmmm
>different now, she's a better person she wouldn't do what she did she's nice now
>I need to be supportive and keep things the way they are, the way they need to be
>I'm not going to be the one that fucks this up, never again
>that just means I have to work harder
>focus on protecting her and protecting the ones she...protecting her friends
I sense yandere. I don't trust this bitch one bit.
>>
>>3300007
>>Confer with your team before giving Mara your answer. Despite the fact that you know they'll probably default to what you decide, you'd still like their input.
>>Write-In
>>Tell her we must meet with the daughter superior before we leave either way.

As for my actual vote: decline. Whether this daughter exists or not, using someone as an endless buffet is disgusting, and killing them just for that power is aswell. The ends do NOT justify the means, a sleeping pod girl is proof enough of that.
>>
>>3300134
>using someone as an endless buffet is disgusting
I mean, the two alternatives are using other daughters as a finite buffet or everyone involved dying. The only humanitarian options are endless buffet or controlling the Crucible, and we don't know if the latter is even possible.

Though I still think there's some secret in this monastery that could be useful
>>
>>3300202
i disagree heavily. while yes, the hunger is a big issue, forcing an unwilling to be the solution is no solution worth taking. its not humane at all. theres amalgams to consume, and consuming daughters flesh without killing them is also a solution, the difference is while theres a limited supply and iffy way of 'peacefully' passing around daughter chunks without over slicing one specific daughter, its still something thats not outright forcing someone to do it, or killing someone specifically for that power. we have no reason to presume this daughter is not innocent, or as innocent as one can be, and thus we cannot condone killing her for this power, assuming thats even possible, or dragging her back against her will. even if she WAS evil, the second option still is far too great a punishment, as sometimes even if someone is evil, what you do to them as retaliation can make you no better than them.

If, and thats a big IF, someone both justifiably got such a power, and willingly decided to be the sacrificial lamb here, then fine, thats their choice, but we cannot as of now justify taking the power, nor forcing someone to be such a sacrifice.

this is way too big a line i really do not want to see us cross. no, just no. even if the rest of our team says yes actually, they can go and we should stay behind til they get back, thats how strongly i feel on this one.

>>3300131
fucking B'ni said 'HER friends', not 'OUR friends'. godamnit the girls too fucking far gone, she doesn't even think of Gina as a friend, and thats way way too worrying to ignore.

>>3300134
(ID change as home now)
adding in that we mention TO our allies we ourselves vote no on this one, explain similar enough reasoning to mine above.
>>
>>3300269
>>3300131
As of right now, this is the best result we can get right now from B'ni. We've addressed the symptoms, but not the root problem. Like what Kosi said. Isabelle is super repressed and on a one track mind. "Fixing" the root problem of her issues is going to take time and we still don't know much about our past relationship with B'ni. We know the keystone memories, but not enough as to how B'ni fell in love with Shu.
>>
>>3300312
Oooor we could BEAT it out of her in THE ARENA.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3300312
i mean...do we know our past with her? as has been stated before, something still does not add up about our past relationship with her, with her/Gina giving conflicting information compared to what she and supposedly our memories have given us.

even ignoring that, we know she has lied to us or at least withheld information for seemingly no good reason except to leave us emotionally vulnerable, or as far as i can tell.

we'll just have to wait and see what comes up and how she reacts more later, to see what, if anything, we can do.
>>
>>3300269
Unless Hunger works on magic rules much more than biologically-driven ones, or if the fleshscape is somehow infinitely regenerating, none of those options work. Consuming from daughters and amalgams can be treated as inefficiently harvesting from the fleshscape, since that's ultimately where it comes from. If we can't generate new amalgams, they aren't an answer to anything because we'll run out eventually. As for taking it from normal daughters, that follows a similar logic to trying to not starve by eating your own excrement, because they need to then feed both to heal and sate their own Hunger, which leads to a compounding cost (because them needing more to eat means others will need even more to heal) that will eventually exceed what we can supply.

So the only solutions that lead to the survival of the species are:
If possible, alter the Crucible to make it sustainable
Get a vitruvian, willingly or not (the best option is if she's too far gone/violent and we can enslave her "morally" (tm)).
Look for an answer that we have no reason to believe exists.

I'm actually with you that we shouldn't turn an innocent girl into unwilling cattle, but I think the only thing that makes it particularly likely that she'll be a "decent" person who is content to doom the whole world is that I think BHOP is planning to screw with us.

I have a question for the thread in general. We all know the trolley problem, right? Let's imagine that someone had completely legitimate ownership of the switch that changes the tracks, and doesn't want you to flip it, and you need to kill that person to change the tracks. What do you do? Personally, I think it's no different from if there were two people tied to the second track instead of just one.
>>
>>3300372
>trolley problem
I bet almost every single entity hates the mere mention of that infernal trolley.
>>
>>3300372
well, to be fair, we suspect she is incredibly powerful and still sane(or Mara does), yet she instead chooses to hold up in a city rather than go after a victory or hunt down other daughters. if nothing else, it makes us hypocritical aggressors at this point to attack her, regardless of our reasoning.

i get the options available are limited and otherwise far less effective, but that does not justify the actions suggested here to fix them.

the trolley problem is like, 2+ people on one track, 1 on the other. in the base question, there literally is no right answer. literally none. its all opinionated and based on how much personal blame you are willing to take. in yours its not too different, but more info is necessary. is there still 2+ on one track and 1 on the other? if so, its no different than the base question. if there is no one on the other track, then its arguable, but still mostly opinionated, but you can argue the man is in himself evil for refusing to allow you or flip it himself to save all the lives, thus you can argue it is justifiable to kill him to save innocent lives, as he is actively killing them instead of letting no one die.

it doesn't relate to our current choice as, asking someone to be tortured or die for what is not actually saving lives, only prolonging them, is not justifiable, and they are not evil for refusing the choice as they are not actively killing anyone, no more than any other daughter is for refusing to be consumed at least. regardless of how worse they are, other options to stave off the hunger do exist as of now, simple as that. forcing or killing someone just to make our lives easier makes us the villain, when we already have a villain responsible for everyone's predicament to fight and try to fix this with, regardless of how unlikely it is to work.
>>
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>>3300007

"My team is everything you said and more, Mara...so given that we work as a unit, I'd like to confer with them before I give you an answer. Also, I owe a conversation to the Daughter Superior. Would you say that's fair, Mara?"

She nods, the ghost of a smile on her lips.

"I would have loved for you to have been by my side at work, before all this." She muses. "We could have carved a path through the investment banking world, together."

You blink.

"...You traded stocks?" You say incredulously. "How the hell did you learn how to fight like you do, then?"

"A tale for another time, I'm afraid." She says, rising. "Go, confer with your allies and speak with the monk. I await your answer."

You leave after thanking her for sharing her alcohol (willingly, this time) and close the door behind you as you leave. You glance down the hall to the exit, casting a look behind you out of habit when you spy Sister Uzu, leaning out of an open window pane and breathing hard. You stand there for a moment, watching her apparently try to catch her breath to no avail.

"You okay?" You ask after walking up to her, and you're not prepared for when she jumps back. She's gasping for breath, continuing to hyperventilate as she collapses to the monastery floor. You kneel down putting your hand on her shoulder as you wrack your mind for something to divert her attention, and you settle on her apparently hand-made clothes.

"Hey, just breathe, okay? Let's talk about, um...I like your dress. It looks home-sewn, did you make it?"

She nods, her sharp breathing frantic.

"You did a great job. Do you make clothes for other people?" You prompt, trying to get her mind of of whatever made her spiral into her panic attack as she nods in the affirmative. "That's great. Could I get your help making something, or maybe you could just give me some tips?

She nods again, her breathing slowing ever so slightly with each question you ask. It take a few minutes but she finally regains a normal rate of breath before she stands stiffly, her face a mask of taught embarrassment as you try to speak.

"Uzu, If you want to talk about what happened, I'm happy to..."

"Sister...Sister Shu...n-no one comes up to this area that often, my sincerest apologies. I did not mean to startle you." She says, and before you can say the same she continues. "I hope you are finding your way around well enough? I will be happy to guide you."

"...Okay." You say, taking the hint. "I'm fine for now, just...you do you."

"May...may I make a request, Sister Shu?" She asks as you turn to walk away, her veneer of strict professionalism faltering for but a moment. You nod.

"Please do not tell any of the Sisters about this. I do...a lot, around here and...I just need to get through this without incident. I just need to keep my head down and keep working and...My sincerest apologies, Sister Shu."

She clears her throat, her veneer restored.

"No worries. Just take care of yourself, alright?"

(Continued)
>>
>>3300400

"Yeah, no, fuck that noise, that's fucking sick."

Rath is the first to speak up when the four of you are back together again, reacting vehemently to Mara's request as you sit around a table tucked in a dusty room in a corner of the Monastery.

"So I guess that's one vote against." Gina drawls with amusement, looking from the fiery girl to you. "I'd be in favor, just out of curiosity."

Rath's face contorts into one of confusion and rage.

"Goddamn Gina, what the fuck?" She roars, and you rise from the table before Gina puts a hand on your arm. "She tried to kill your friend and she's asking us to hunt down a girl so these fuckers can have a fuckin' buffet off her living bo..."

"Rath, listen...I'm just playing devil's advocate, is all." Gina replies calmly, putting up her hands in an attempt to defuse the situation. "Weighing the options instead of going with a gut feeling."

"Okay, fine then." Rath says, sitting down in a huff. "What's your gut say?"

Gina thinks for a moment before she speaks.

"I think it's a good opportu..."

"I vote no."

You all turn and stare at B'ni, equally shocked at her boldness. Her face is uncharacteristically resolute as she stares into your eyes, and you have to wonder if she's voting that way on principle.

"...Okay, three against, one for." Gina says with a shrug.

"Three?" Rath shoots back, confused. "We haven't heard Shu's vote, yet."

"She's a good guesser." You say with a glance at the brunette to your right. "I'm voting no. It's too much of a risk, and the benefits are too little and too ambiguous for us to commit. It goes against what we stand for, what we've done up to this point. I'm going to go tell Mara and I'll meet you all at the entrance to Daughter Superior's room."

Rath and B'ni seem satisfied as you leave them and journey to Mara's room. She's wearing the armor you first met her in, and you'd be lying if it wasn't just as intimidating now as it was when you fought each other.

"Completely understandable." She intones from beneath the layers of calcite plating at the news of your declination. "I respect your decision. No harm, no foul."

"Best of luck in your search." You say to her back as she strides over to the window. "For your sake, I hope you find her in a good state of mind."

"As do I...for all our sakes." She replies, opening the pane as she does. "I look forward to seeing you again, Shu. Until next time, my friend."

When you realize what she's doing you reach out to stop her, a hair too late as she plummets from the window's edge. A bust of wind and a piercing, monstrous cry precede her meat dragon taking flight with her astride it, and you watch as she soars off into the never-ending crimson dusk.

You don't think you'll ever get used to that.

(Continued)
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>>3300411

Still a little shaken from Mara's abrupt departure, you reconvene with your allies in front of a humble set of double-doors Sister Uzu guided you to. It's not as grand or ostentatious an entrance as you expected would lead to the room of the Monastery's leader, but you suppose you shouldn't be surprised, given the Sisterhood's modest attire and humble, soft-spoken nature.

"The Daughter Superior will see you, now." Uzu says solemnly, casting you a furtive glance out of the comer of her eye. "I shall be leading meditation in the central chamber, so when you return there please refrain from raising your voices. Thank you."

With that, she's off, and the four of you open the heavy set of doors with some effort. It takes your eyes a moment to adjust to the dim candle light that flickers weakly on aged wicks. Ragged, slow breathing can be heard a few meters away from you, and you take an uneasy step forward into the dark.

"Please come, come." A low, creaking voice calls from within the room. "I am afraid my vision is not what it used to be, so my apologies if the light proves too dim to see by."

You edge forwards on your guard, until a thin, wiry figure becomes visible, seated on a small podium at the head of the room. Her body is featureless, more like a doll's than anything resembling an actual human form.

"Sit, sit." She says, though the space where her mouth should be remains utterly still. It dawns on you that the only true sound you've heard since you entered is that of the gently lapping candlelight.

"Thank you for indulging an old woman's whims, dear." The Daughter Superior says, her thoughtform words perfectly clear in your mind. "I dreamt of you, you know. That is why I had Sister Uzu prepare for your coming, yes."

"Thank you for the invitation, Ma'am." You reply, being the first of the four of you to sit. "May I ask what this is about?"

"Ah, a wonderfully loaded question. I wish to share knowledge, in pursuit of peace. Or is it peace, in pursuit of knowledge?" She replies with a chuckle, the shoulder's of her pale, smooth body shaking ever so slightly. "Ah, anyway...I imagine you'd have some queries for this old woman, yes?"

You and your allies share a few questioning glances before you reply.

"How do you mean, Ma'am?"

Her body leans forwards, her flat, oval face inhuman in the low firelight.

"It's simple, my dear Defiant. After all..."

The skin around the flat parts of her eyes and mouth wrinkle in the vague approximation of a smile.

"...I've been to the Cord and returned to tell the tale."

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3300377
Yeah, I know, I just wanted something where I could minimize the amount of explanation needed.

>>3300395
Sane =/= good. I'm assuming she's sane, but so were other Daughters we had to kill anyway, so it's a matter of actually meeting her and seeing what she's like. If she's hunting Daughters for sport, I think that would disqualify her from our protection.

[Before I continue, I should mention for clarity that you interpreted the body count on my prompt correctly, sorry for not being clear. It's just the basic 5 on one track, 1 (now 2) on the other.]
>there literally is no right answer. literally none.

Congratulations on solving ethics, I guess?

>its all opinionated and based on how much personal blame you are willing to take

The conventional secular answer is that moral values are arbitrary, but I'm asking you, and the thread, what their arbitrary moral values happen to be so that we can get a consistent answer.

So far, Shu has consistently acted seemingly as a negative utilitarian who emphasizes mercy. In every interaction, she's basically taken the approach of trying to minimize harm and be gentle with people when she's felt that she's had the option to.

But something that's always been ambiguous is what her actual values are. Does she not kill innocent people because murder is wrong, or because innocent people dying is wrong?
The reason I brought up the trolley problem is because it does a good job of highlighting that difference. Most people will tell you that you switch the track for utilitarian reasons, but other people will say something along the lines of "I am not killing the 5 by letting them die, that's the fault of whoever tied them there, but I am killing the 1 if I switch the track, because they wouldn't die without my causing it." Those people are typically deontologists. Deontology is less stupid than I just made it sound, but I don't want to bore everyone with a long explanation.

I don't expect us to solve ethics in a /qst/ thread, but I think it would be helpful to know what Shu believes.

As one last addendum, the altered version of the problem is not the situation we currently have, if we tried to make a problem that showed our actual situation, it would go like this:

The entire world minus one person is tied to one track, and no one is on the other. In order to divert the track you need to convince [by words or torture] the one person who isn't tied down to switch it.

I didn't put it that way because it's comically extreme, but that's also the choice that Shu has on her hands. If we're going to accept utilitarian values, this vitruvian is morally worse than any cold-blooded murderer that we've encountered because she's knowingly causing the death of literally the whole planet by not cooperating.
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>>3300445
>"If you were capable make it up the Cord in any capacity , wise, brave, tenacious, then what stopped you?
>"How far up did you go before you came back down the mountain?"
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in one and a half hours. Thank you for your participation, one and all.)
>>
>>3300445
Can we just ask her to tell us everything? Maybe have Gina use her cords to download the folder?

Most of what we know to ask about are later in the process than where she probably reached, so it seems like there are just unknown unknowns and battle tactics (e.g. Were there fortifications? How strong were the other Daughters you encountered? etc.)
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>>3300445
oh, well then. uhh.
>blink
>blink a few more times.
>let your mind adjust to what you just heard.
>"uh, wow. ok. well then. im...what is it exactly? is it far? guarded? difficult to climb? i mean, if you got there, there must be a reason you didn't ascend, though given where we are, i can figure maybe you just didn't want to, but still..."

>>3300450
no, im a firm believer there is a right, over arching moral 'right', and not everything is arbitrary. i simply meant choosing who dies makes there no right answer, unless you know more information about who you would be kill and who you would be sparing.

im also not playing Shu to my own beliefs really. im personally a inwardly angry, rageful, no mercy for the wicked kinda guy. the greater good is sickening and an excuse to do horrendous evil just so you can feel smug about yourself and your deeds. every situation must be looked at individually, in the context of the moment. Kosi would've been left to rot if it was me, Gina allowed to leave if she wishes but not with me by her side. B'ni would of been dealt with much more harshly, or well, sternly. i dont put up with liars or abandoning my friends, trust it far too important, not so much you cannot forgive such actions, everyone slips up, but by now shes had far more then three strikes. she would've straightened the fuck out or not been allowed to stay near me, albeit im talking from our current standpoint and things would've been entirely different if we had done such things, obviously. literally only Rath has done or said nothing i disagree with so far, well, Gina kinda too, its not that i dont understand her situation with Kosi, its just its not worth the risk nor do i see Kosi as deserving of the risk, hunger or not.

as for Shu? i see her and play her as kind and innocent to a fault. not exactly a greater good girl, but one where she has trouble or doesn't care about the bigger picture other than the over arching vague goal to fix all of this. ive played her much nicer than i am, much more forgiving, but have kept my 'individuals matter and should not be ignored for the group' mentality, as well as taking in the individual context of the situation.

also i highly disagree that your example is what our situation currently is, but i also hate the trolley problem because it over simplifies everything into a useless scenario.

also not trying to go overly long winded on my morals or overly serious mind you, so i apologize if it comes off a bit aggressive.
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>>3300469
also you are right that sane=/= good, but within the context of the information we know we have no reason to assume the opposite nor justify a headhunt on her.

we had a decision to make and other goals we could do instead, wasting time on going to see if she was 'evil' or the hunt was 'justified' was not worth it, especially if it was not. even if it was, shes clearly insanely powerful, and actually, thinking about it, what is even the goal here? no, i mean i get its to get her power to feed everyone's hunger, but if we can even kill her, then doesn't that mean the entire reason to going after her power was wrong? and if it is real, it seems a far fetch that even us+Mara would be able to take her down. not worth the risk, best to let her have her city and not kick the hornets nest.
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>>3300445
>"How long have you been awake since the start of the Crucible?"
>"Do you have a name? Or did you forsake it when you journeyed down the Cord?"
>>
(Gentlemen, it may take a while to post considering this is going to be a large update and the last of this evening's, but I shall work to update continuously all this week. Thank you so much for your participation, you all are fantastic.)
>>
>>3300524
I made a lengthy response to your earlier post, but then I realized no one cares and deleted it.

I mention it because you brought up the one point that would be worth mentioning, since I have the opposite opinion there:
>what is even the goal here?
It seems incoherent to not follow Mara for any reason other than egoistic/tribalistic self-preservation.
If the girl is not good, then it would be good to help Mara subdue her. If she is good, then we could protect her from Mara. We can also get into much more granular hypotheticals, but I'm fairly confident that some facet of the situation makes this a violation of any moral principle other than the above-mentioned, since under any other interpretation, something bad can happen and we're leaving whether or not it does up to a dice roll.

Obviously it's too late now, but I just wanted to note that, since making an agreement with someone doesn't enslave us to their will [neuromancers aside], we really should take opportunities like that in the future.

>if we can even kill her, then doesn't that mean the entire reason to going after her power was wrong?
We wouldn't be chasing her because she's so much more powerful, but because her ability has a utility that we can't replicate, no matter how big our collective number is.

I wonder what happens to Mara's subplot if the vitruvian kills her? Is there any way that we'd find out?
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>>3300570
Thanks for writing Bhop. This is easily in the top five quests running right now.
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>>3300445

"Wow." You say simply, gathering your thoughts before you begin to pepper her with questions. "Well then, alright...what is it exactly? Is it far? Guarded? Difficult to climb? If you made it there, there must be a reason you didn't ascend, though given where we are I can figure maybe you just didn't want to, but still..."

Slowly, the figure hold up a skeletal hand to give you pause.

"You'll have you answers, if you have time to listen to an old woman's story, my dear."

She clears her throat via thoughtform, a needless yet charming affectation for the voiceless being.

"I won't bore you with needless details, so what you need to know is this. I was a Neuromancer with a specialization in constructs. An odd fit, or so I'm told. I woke up about...oh, a little over two years ago to a red-hued sky and made a few fast friends on my westwards journey. I crossed the Sanguine Swamp, skirted around the Shrouded City, made my way through the Forest of Thought, and thank my stars one of my friends was flight-capable or else crossing the River of Tears would have been simply dreadful. I just had to hop, skip, and jump across a few more states until I found the Cord at what I estimated to be Colorado."

"Okay, perfect. Where in Colorado?" Gina asks, leaning forward and prompting a chuckle from your host's mind.

"Dear, given my rather conservative estimates it is *all* of Colorado. Perhaps some of the surrounding states, too, but that's neither here nor there."

"Holy fuck." Rath breathes as Gina leans back, dumbfounded.

(Continued)
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>>3300721

"So, after a bit of prep work, I created constructs out of those of my friends that didn't make it and then proceeded to wade through the surrounding chaos to reach the base of the Cord."

"So most of your team made it, then?" Rath asks, a note of hope evident in her question.

"Oh, it was just me." The being states, and the ginger's expression falls as you consider your next question.

"Was it defended?" You ask, trying to glean as many details as you can from this curious figure's experience. "What sort of opposition did you face?"

"No, no natural defenses aside from the gatekeeper, Sargatanas. Oh, it was a charnel house, loves." She says flippantly, the same note of distaste in her voice as would would use to describe a mildly distasteful odor. "It could really have put the trenches of the first World War to shame. Lakes of bile, rivers of blood, mountains of bodies, and that's just the remains of everyone that's tried to enter it, fighting for dominance before they've even set foot inside, poor things. It's really just an absolute abattoir of human suffering, I could not recommend it."

She sighs in your mind, then continues.

"So, once I reached the Cord proper, I was judged by Sargatanas. Charming fellow, truly. They said that the only ones admitted entrance would be those who were either consumed by Hunger or appropriately strong. I was the latter, so I was allowed to pass."

"So, um..." B'ni asks, stumbling over her words a bit as she processes what you all are being told. "...what was inside?"

"Remnants." She says simply. "Remnants of all the worlds that the Crucible had taken place on. I'd imagine Mother's a bit of a hoarder, given everything I found. Fragments of cities, architecture, flora, fauna...if half of it hadn't been trying to kill me it would have been a lovely time. After that, I made it about four or five floors up out of who knows how many, and then that was it."

She's silent, then. You wait for her to continue unprompted, but she remains quiet as her words sink in. It's

"Wait, what do you mean, 'that's it'? What happened after that?" Rath asks, frustrated.

Daughter Superior merely chuckles as she replies to the earnest question.

"Oh, I would imagine I died, dear."

(Continued)
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>>3300731

You pause, at that.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Well, the thing you see before you is a mere homunculus, albeit a very well-crafted one, if I do say so myself." She explains, pride clear in her tone. "I made it before I and my friends began our ascension, with a neuromantic link to allow me to stream an up-to-date version of my consciousness directly into it's little brain. So, when I saw myself torn to bits before my very eyes, my stream cut and I woke up well away from the Cord."

Gina's mind whirls alongside your own, B'ni sitting at rapt attention as Rath just rises from her seat and starts pacing behind you.

"So, seeing as how that whole thing was a bust, I decided to go back to where I woke up and wait for the end here, at my old haunt." She replies, slowly patting the stone bench she rests atop.

"So this...you...this is a copy, what we're talking to." Gina says, the gears turning in her mind. "And you're certain you died in the Cord?"

"Oh, without a doubt. I like to think it was one of my cleverer moments." The Daughter Superior adds with a satisfactory clip. "I have to say though that my biggest takeaway of my journey into the Cord is that Mother seems to hoard both past and present. In addition to the remnants of the previous Crucibles, guess what else I found?"

You and your companions share in a collective shrug.

"Well, before I bit the bullet, I thought I'd get a little cleverer and see if I could patch my mind into the Cord, since I was inside it and all. I was able to poke around a bit before some synaptic feedback made me lose a bit of grey matter, but I found a backup of all the data!" She crows in the face of your confusion.

"...A backup of what, exactly?" Rath asks, unamused.

"Why, a backup of all our neurological and biological information, all packed neatly into the Cord's cortex and ready to be reinstated!"

This.

This changes everything.

"W-what...so...like, everything? Everything that was around when this event happened, everything biological that Mother consumed...it could be re....reconstituted?" Gina says, her mind frantic with the possibilities. "That crazy bitch backed us up when she made us Daughters, and it's all there for the taking!"

"Absolutely!" The homunculus replies. "You could remake anything, and anyone..."

She raises the index finger of her right hand.

"...Provided you were at the helm."

Your mind reels with what to ask, what to say as you can feel your allies wrestling with this revelation.

What is there to say, what is there to ask in the face something like this?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening and resuming approximately fourteen hours from now, give or take. You all have been fantastic as always, and I shall be around for a time to address questions, concerns, and criticisms, and I welcome them all. Thank you so much for your continued participation, and take care.)
>>
>>3300579
(Thank you for your kind words, Anon. I'm having great time writing it alongside all of you, and I'm looking forward to seeing where you all take things from here.)
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>>3300753
You know, this actually changes the ethical implications of what we're doing substantially. While replicating people is not bringing them back from the dead, I bet we can take people who exist in our heads and give them their bodies back.
What does that mean? Killing people is now much more ethical so long as we consume them, because we aren't erasing them, we're temporarily trapping them inside us, relieved of Hunger and the need to fight, until we can bring them back.
I vote that we eat the egg loli. B'ni can kill her painlessly without a doubt, and Gina probably can too. At the very least, Gina can try to interface with her and ask permission.

I'm not saying we should kill everyone, of course, but if death is not the end, that does change some things.

Hell, why not tell the Daughters fawning over B'ni that they have a way to contribute to saving not just the world but also themselves is they'd be willing to just step outside and let use eat them? We have testimony from the most respected figure in their community, after all.

BHOP, I have a question, does Consuming (capital C) a daughter become less effective if they are at lower health/biomass? It seems like if we could convince them, we could get some crafting done first.
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>>3300962
that's a bit too 180 of the whole group.
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>>3300977
I can see why you'd feel that way, but what if an amalgam attacks the egg loli while Mara and our party are away? She'll just be dead, and replicating her won't bring her back. This gives us a way to save everyone by killing them first.
From a narrative standpoint, we did just have the narrator directly declare:
>This

>This changes everything

So why not try thinking outside the box? I'm not saying we should walk out the door and open fire with the Contender, but there are a lot of situations in this story where being able to "save" someone this way is a really useful asset. I think the only necessary in-character barrier is Rath, but she could be persuaded so long as it's using ourselves as an arc rather than just murdering people and calling it saving them.
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>>3300962
yeah nah, fuck that and fuck you. it doesn't make it any better at all. thats like saying its ok to torture a person because you're just gonna erase their memories the next day. the ends do not justify the means. you cannot go around acting the monster because you might, might, be able to fix what you do later. its simply an excuse to be the worst, most vile creature, something not even human anymore, that you can, all with the promise you will just pop them out new spic span and pretty, when you don't even know if it will actually be possible in the actual end. you hear one story, albeit not from the worst source, but still a stranger we have but just met, and you immediately wish to throw everything stand for away. eagerly and without hesitation.

and let us not ignore the simple fact that no one else seems to have thought like you. its hard to imagine she is the only one to have found this out, or we perhaps the only one told, or similar. yet you do not see anyone so blatantly scream it to the heavens, if nothing else.
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>>3300962
>>3300994
You're getting into some serious JRPG villain territory here.
I think we should just keep doing what we're doing and save the whole "eat everyone and reconstruct them" idea for once we've beaten mother and figured out how to bring people back.
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>>3301034
*if we even decide to do that at all, anyways.
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>>3300994
dude, he meant its potentially possible to bring back old earth, not that we should throw everything under the bus and start acting WORSE then people we have killed.
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>>3301032
>you cannot go around acting the monster because you might, might, be able to fix what you do later
Nox from Wakfu did that shit. He made a robot army and sent them to kill and harvest life energy for TWO HUNDRED YEARS to feed his god-race artifact that claimed to have the power to fix his past. With it, he could use the artifact to rewind universal time, something even beyond the ability of the setting's God (capital G) to do.

And that 200 years' worth of harvested life-energy only amounted to 20 minutes of universal time rewind.

All he wanted to do was save his family, fueled by the knowledge that all his mistakes would be undone if he succeeded.

Twenty fucking minutes.
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>>3300753
right, well then.
>"Right, well. thank you Sister superior. thats helpful to know, but. it changes little actually. but, but knowing theres a backup of old earth in there? it, it gives a bit of hope to our goals i think we needed, thank you." smile and nod, turning to your allies.
>"this really changes one thing; we know more, and thats it. it doesn't change what we must do, or how we do it, only that now we know we might just be able to fix this once we beat her." smile, and put an arm on each of their shoulders. "but it doesn't change how we get there, or what we do to get there. we get there, and we climb it as people we ourselves deem worthy, as ourselves, together. not as who she deems worthy, or what she does. we fix this mess, together, as what we want this world to be, and we damn well fix this mess. and even if we dont, we die together, and we die defiant, til the end. but we fight, as ourselves, and we makes sure we fight hard enough to where we think we can face a god and bring her down. for earth, lets get going."
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>>3301059
wasn't it closer to five?(been awhile.)
but thats my point, well one of two.
you cant be a monster in hopes it wont matter at the end, and you cant use the end to justify being a monster, otherwise you arent the person who deserves to get to the end.

i also have an observation ive made i think is really important here, but while i think its correct its they type of ooc shit that can and might start a shitstorm, so i dunno if i should, as i also am not trying to point specific fingers with it but damn will it look like that too.
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>>3301059
That sounds like a punchline to a bad joke, god damn.
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>>3301076
What're you thinkin'?
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>>3301059
(Just throwing out there that the first season of Wakfu threw me for a loop. That was one of the best and most brutal twists, and it was fantastic.)
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>>3301081
well like i said, im not sure if i should mention it. but i have a longer winded message saved in case, so for now ill simply say, i think some anons have been pushing and hoping for an excuse to do a 180 for awhile now if you look back at how some have voted.
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>>3301032
>yeah nah, fuck that and fuck you
You sure showed me

>and let us not ignore the simple fact that no one else seems to have thought like you
Oh no, I'm . . . thinking differently from characters in a fantasy setting when we have a confirmed sample size of 2 and neither of them really discussed how they felt about it?

I highly encourage you to read this post >>3300994
In which I'm clearer about it being mass voluntary euthanasia rather than mass murder

>>3301034
>You're getting into some serious JRPG villain territory here.
I'll take that as a compliment.
My difficulty is that you didn't really engage with what my idea was trying to prevent -- people being lost permanently. We have some evidence that "extra minds" only carry over for one consumption (save special cases like the one Gina ability we didn't take). If we aren't giving Daughters the option, we're making it very likely that they get erased.
Remember, we don't have full control over the Crucible even if we win and, even if we did, lots of people will be killed in the meantime. If the girls in this monastery are just waiting it out, that makes it extremely likely that they die when we win, and the monastery could get attacked in the meantime. If we give them the option to be consumed, that both raises our chances of victory and, in the case where we win, ensures that they can live out their lives.

It is very unlikely that they will live if we lose, since most Daughters clearly don't do the Fool's Choice nonsense and will probably just renew the Crucible normally.

You're calling me a villain, but this is genuinely the most humanitarian solution. Am I missing any detail, or is the objection only on the basis of shock?
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>>3301096
I only started participating in BHQ starting towards then end of the last thread, so I'm not really part of any conspiracy.
This is the only time I've ever advocated for something extreme (aside from the earlier long-winded rant about, what do you know, wanting Shu to develop clearer ethical stance).

Also, as much as you call it a 180, I don't see it that way. I see it as Shu playing a different game because she has new rules.

I'm still concerned with not being a monster, but one of the biggest themes of this entire quest is that human relations are changed on a fundamental level by the setting.

Remember the fight with Holly? Remember how we absorbed her into us and she was grateful for it because we saved her from the Hunger? Remember how everyone we Consumed gets to actually be themselves?

More importantly, remember the part where people can die and be erased?

I'm not saying we should unwillfully execute anyone, they can choose to risk being erased from existence instead. All I'm saying is that it would be heartless not to give these girls a way out.
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>>3301098
I did and i still disagree. Its no more insane and wrong to risk and take thier lives, willing or not. Its not humane, we don't even know it will work in the end. Its asking them also to put alot of damn faith in us, literally their lives. They live now, they seem happy now, and while the crucible needs to end it is not our right to decide what they should risk or ask them to give their lives and trust to us. Why shouldn't we give our lives and souls to one of them then? Easy, there is no reason, besides because we ourselves do not want to take the mountains of risk it involves, nor die.

And why not just rally them to come with us? No one looks power hungry, no one has to eat their friends as rusk. Yes people will be lost but thats already nature and life as is, but its better dying together for a cause than putting your faith and life into a single persons hands.
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So that's why the cycle keeps on continuing... the favored daughter ascends to becoming the next Mother and is allowed to make one change before the rest of the Crucible protocols kick in, forcing her to search for another planet to consume and begin the cycle anew and wait for their death. But it's only one change, once the favored daughter ascends, she loses all control and has to watch. Even if she restores the planet. She still ascends into becoming the next Mother.
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>>3301076
>>3301078
>>3301095
Being Nox is suffering
>life is good at first
>debt happens
>landlord a shit
>expenses mounting
>inventions all suck
>discover seemingly sentient godrace artifact in a nearby cave one day
>godrace artifact mindfucks him to the point of lacking sleep, food, family contact
>loving wife and three kids up and leave him to go to the sister's house, say he can come back to them once he regains his senses
>sees the note after leaves his workshop, forces himself to snap out of it, begins packing up what little items he still has left in the abandoned, nearly empty house
>gets hype, about to leave
>landlord shows up, says entire family died in a flood
>already insane by this point, Nox snaps completely
>godrace artifact whispers to him from the workshop
>says it can fix his life's clock
>all it needs is enough Wakfu
>cue 200 year crusade to harvest all life he can get his hands on
>cue forcefully turning himself into one of the living time manipulator race through extensive self-augmentation
>cue making machine army to go out and do his bidding
>fast forward to present time
>after a climactic dead even fight with the protag, Nox sucker punches him and secures the win
>begins the time reversal
>all universal time rewinds 20 minutes
>cue extreme breakdown
>godrace artifact is silent
>it was never sentient
>he was just deluded
>plant-people army (now alive again) shows up to take revenge on him absorbing all the world-tree's Wakfu
>because Nox doing this had genocided the entire plant-people race
>he says a few parting words to the protag
>teleports away
>end credits shows remains of his augments and armor atop a pile of dust, right next to his family's graves

>if he had somehow gone above and beyond absolute madman territory
>if he had defeated and drained all life on the planet except himself
>if he had defeated and drained all the gods themselves and the capital G God too
>if he had done everything up to this point with ideally zero Wakfu expenditure (impossible, but theoretically if he hadn't spend some in some cool fights by the end of season 1)
>if he had even sacrificed his own body's Wakfu as the cherry on top

>then his total collected Wakfu would only rewind universal time for...
>roughly several months

In the end, it really was all for fucking nothing.
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>>3301141
>Why shouldn't we give our lives and souls to one of them then? Easy, there is no reason

We have three reasons:
We might be the strongest group that's actually planning to leave
We have people in our heads. Holly and the rest will be erased if we're eaten
Gina has her cords. She's one of the only people we've met who might be able to shepherd minds from one head to another if we keep leveling Neuromancy. There are other Neuromancers, but so far they mostly aren't able to plug into people in a reciprocal way like Gina can

I'm also fine with trying to recruit people and amass an army, I'm totally fine with that. But what about people who don't want to fight? Or people who would but are crippled and can't? There are all sorts of reasons that someone might want to take a free ride.

It's still a risk, but it's a risk either way. Remember, the world literally falls apart after the Crucible is resolved. This might be the only way to save them.

>Yes people will be lost but thats already nature and life as is
This is not an ethically serious claim. We've already transcended nature into an unnaturally contrived system, and we're trying to transcend it a second time by controlling the Crucible.
People dying of exposure is natural, should we not build shelters for the homeless?

Also, it's not "a single person." We're a team of four, I bet you we can recruit more from this monastery, and we have the support of many others, the Artisan, Julia, Mara, the Doctor. . . .

I would rather they join us, actually, if they have consumed any daughters themselves. But like I said before, there are plenty of reasons to want a free ride.

Also, we should be sending trustworthy people to this monastery if they don't want to join us (in either capacity). We've forgotten to explore it, but it seems that people here don't need to cannibalize other Daughters, so they can await death from the Crucible resolving/an attack in relative peace.
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>>3301125
ive been here since it started(seeing as how thats suddenly important), so ill admit seeing anons attempt to tear down and throw away what is now months of decision making, fun, and storytelling to, in my opinion, utterly ruin the story and my enjoyment of it, yeah ill admit i take it more on the chin then i should.

i typed that spoiler over ten times and am still not happy with how i worded it. like i said, i wasn't trying to point fingers, as i dont know nor exactly think anyone specifically may be that, i dont know and was a good reason why i was hesitant to say anything at all, only that id noticed certain patterns that i didnt like is all.

im standing firm in my belief this changes nothing. we dont kill or consume unless they forced us to fight and made themselves an enemy, or it was a mercy in which no other option was left. theres really not much else to say, as its all opinionated. you think its fine, i think its abandoning everything we stand for as an excuse to do absolute evil. thats what it simply seems to boil down to.

i am being extreme here ill admit, but its also an extreme decision to make, whether you think it good or bad, theres no denying its a massive, total overhaul of how we play and make decision to go down this route, and i dont think it should be done so willy nilly first excuse we are given for sure.
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>>3301199
its not an ethically serious claim to suggest mass suicide and sacrifice to one cult style either. the simple fact is,living life in another head is not the same, and trying to force even a single person to do it is unacceptable. if they have no other means of living any sort of real life, then sure, there is a reason to do it. but thats a last resort, no other option left available route, not something to try and convince a crowd of people to accept and think yourself in the moral right over.

its simply not a justifiable route to suggest killing people just because we could bring them back later is ok, we are still killing them in cold blood just for their strength, and then now we are FORCING them to be prisoners in our head. nothing changes as far as im concerned. the only people we have consumed have had no other option available, gave us no other option, or outright attacked us and gave us reason to fight back. i see no reason to change this.
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>>3301209
>ive been here since it started(seeing as how thats suddenly important)
I see how that matters given the rest of what you said, but just so you know, I was only saying I was new to explain that I wasn't one of those people.

I still think that there's a loaded framing caused by how long the old status-quo interpretation had lasted:
>or it was a mercy in which no other option was left

What qualifies it as being a mercy? These people (outside of the monastery) live in an actual Hell on Earth. Not only that, they will be permanently killed in literally every situation where they don't either:
a) ascend with Fool's Choice party or
b) take a ride in the head of someone who ascended
If Kosi could survive, crippled and miserable, in some hovel in her city until something killed her, would it be evil to consume her? From what I can tell, she's have a great time in Gina's head.
So what about other people who are crippled? What about people who can't handle needing to fight for their lives? What about people who would want to take the chance on us if we offered it to them because their death is certain otherwise? Is it any less merciful to these people?

The whole human race is basically suffering a terminal illness at this point. You're calling it moral to abandon them because they aren't dying right now, right here in front of you.

By the way, as an important note, I'm not saying we should request that people let themselves be consumed, I'm saying we should propose it as an offer for their sake, because that's what it is. It's not because we get levels from them, that would be horrible, it's because then we could carry them with us up the Cord. That's also why, theoretically, we'd also always be picking a "Consume" option, since that seems to be required for retaining their mind. But the point is that everything is aimed at helping them, and we only help ourselves to better help them (e.g. the other level ups)

Also there's the matter of tag-alongs in their heads. Unless/until Gina develops a way to save them, we shouldn't consume those people because the other minds get erased, but it makes them higher-value for recruiting because they represent multiple people being saved.
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>>3301226
This is frustrating, because while making good points, you're also making a lot of bad ones like in this post. You're basically just being incredulous and taking things out of the context of the setting. My proposal is based on taking the rules of the setting seriously.

>we are still killing them in cold blood just for their strength, and then now we are FORCING them to be prisoners in our head.

Cold blood? I would hope so. Being excited about it would be bad. And it's not for their strength, but you didn't get the chance to read my other post yet.
Also, we aren't
>FORCING
them to do anything. They can choose it, or choose not to. That said, I think I covered the general content in my other reply. Let me know if I missed something.
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>>3301274
what? no, im saying it is amoral to kill them in hopes we can give them a new body. our entire bloody goal is to stop the crucible, or change it. is it possible? we dont know, but if we can use that data on old earth to fix the earth, it stands to reason anyone still alive can be fixed too. if we cant fix the earth, then really there is no point to keeping them alive, in or out of our head. theres a chance they can live on once we win, however small it may be. theres conversely a chance we cannot get them out of our head and into a new life, win or lose. its not a risk we should be convincing anyone to take who isnt in a position where even if we fixed earth their life might still suck, and trying to take advantage of those weakest among us instead of finding solutions for their disabilities and illness sounds like just an excuse to gain a few new abilities to me.

Kosi was literally one of the few cases in which we have both agreed on,and even then id much rather have preferred if we could've found her a cure. but we couldn't, and she was literally rotting away and dying anyways. consuming her made no difference at that point, she was literally already dead, and it was her choice how she went.

and i simply disagree. id absolutely loathe living in another head. you're not even alive then, and all your existence is at the whims of someone else, and you have to hope they dont fuck up. you shouldn't ask someone to trust your feet to hold them up, you should teach them how to hold themselves up with their own feet. you shouldn't tell them there is an escape from the horror, you should stand by their side, and work together to make the horrors go away. you shouldnt tell them there is no better way, you should take their hand and together make there a better way.

You dont give someone an escape, you give them hope, here, now, in the actual world. in their actual body, as their actual selves. you dont support their weakness, you help them learn to not be weak. and nothing, nothing, you say will convince me otherwise.
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(Gentlemen, as it currently stands >>3301064 is currently the only formatted vote as far as I can see. Voting shall remain open for the next ten hours or so, though I still welcome the discussions as they occur.)
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>>3301351
just a little helpful note BHOP, i noticed on the Abilities DOC, you put Shus HUNDRED HANDED under the Ravenous Maw Section, but shouldn't it either be its own or under Additional Abilities? or is that just an odd effect left over from changing how you organize things, as i noticed for the rest of our characters you dont mark out specific sections for Abilities, so maybe you started to do that with Shu too but the mix of organizing formats just makes it more obvious/out of place looking?
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>>3301369
(I'm glad you noted that, actually. I realized belatedly that I had forgotten to update the character sheet from last Vein, so I scrambled to get it done when it was looking like you all were about to challenge B'ni to a practice fight. I'm still tweaking it, and I have an overhaul plan in mind to make it a much easier read overall, as I want to avoid it getting to ludicrous lengths.)
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>>3301322
sigh. . . .
>it stands to reason anyone still alive can be fixed too
>still alive

>theres a chance they can live on once we win, however small it may be.
We have information somewhere or other that the current world collapses as soon as someone wins. They will die.

>theres conversely a chance we cannot get them out of our head and into a new life, win or lose
Remember that the Hex guy didn't actually make it to the end, he was killed at the last minute. And yet, here he is. He was a little bit cagey, but he was saying the whole time that he was, in fact, that Daughter in the previous Crucible, and he was saying this in the context of knowing about the reconstruction [meaning he's not a carbon copy]. It's clear that this is something we'll be able to do as Mother.

>trying to take advantage of those weakest among us instead of finding solutions for their disabilities and illness sounds like just an excuse to gain a few new abilities to me.

Like 65% of Kosi's powerset was super self-preservation, and look how that went. We have no reason to think everyone can recover.

>she was literally already dead, and it was her choice how she went.
Again, the whole world is terminally ill. Literally everything about the setting is a terminal trajectory for 99.9% of humanity except for this Noah's Arc plan. They are already in the process of dying.

Think about it like if you were trapped in a building that had a bomb that could kill you at any time, and you also had a tumor that ate you alive if you left one specific room. Oh, and someone could pop in at any time and try to murder you. Sure, you're not on your deathbed, you're perfectly healthy so long as you stay put in your room until, you know, something else kills you, and something else *will* kill you if you keep waiting.

Now, people can choose to stay there, or to leave the room and die another way, but this is a way out of that, and treating them like they're different from someone who is undergoing the biological process of death is kind of silly.

>id absolutely loathe living in another head
>[etc]
Yeah, you can feel that way, and i bet 98% of the people we asked in the monastery would agree with you (a lower percent outside where the Hunger exists). But here's the thing, we've eaten several people and they all seem pretty happy hanging out in their brainworlds. Weren't you just appealing to in-character feelings towards the start of this discussion? Because canonically, we have overwhelming evidence that people can be perfectly happy in a head.

Furthermore, you're vastly underestimating how much they can still do if they actually want to. Remember how useful they are in mind battles using Gina's cords?

More to the point, I haven't seen any argument that would address the case of someone who can't stand fighting for whatever reason but doesn't want to die. Self-help tripe won't save them. Standing up straight with your shoulders back won't let you shrug off PTSD.
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>>3300753
>"....thank you for telling us this."
>"We've been through a lot in the past week and frankly the shock of revelation after revelation is making me numb. If you have any sort of request of some sort, can you please hold that thought? All of us need some time to digest this information and time to discuss this among ourselves. A day at least."

So that's why the cycle keeps on continuing... the favored daughter ascends to becoming the next Mother and is allowed to make one change before the rest of the Crucible protocols kick in, forcing her to search for another planet to consume and begin the cycle anew and wait for their death. But it's only one change, once the favored daughter ascends, she loses all control and has to watch. Even if she restores the planet, she still ascends into becoming the next Mother.
>>3301399>>3301369

We need time to prepare. this is a bit much since a large majority of us are just plainly discussing about the ethos of our actions and one anon's proposal to go 180 genocide route and none of us are properly focusing on deciding Shu's next move. So I'm putting this vote in as a holding action.
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>>3301385
ah, ok. you know, google docs/drive might work better, as it allows for alot more formatting and such. if you use the spreadsheet option you might, though id have to check, be able to slap down drop down menus, so you can put all the information away more cleanly. either way it'll give you much more options than pastebin does.

also, you forgot to add the Contenders new form, just while were at this topic.
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>>3301402
(Agreed, I'll make the move to that soon, then. I definitely want it to be more easily accessible.)
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>>3301418
>forgot about new Contender form update
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>>3301351
Here's an actual vote:
Especially since our interlocutor is a neuromancer who knows all about preserving consciousnesses,
>can we get her to tell us how saving people works?
I'm not saying it needs to be railroaded into the Noah's Arc stuff, but things like:
Could we "externalize" people currently stuck in our heads using the Crucible? We can also share what Hex told us if that helps her determine it.
Is there anything Gina can do to save people with her cords? Especially shepherd extra minds from Daughters we need to consume anyway.
Anything else she can tell us about the rules for saving minds so we can make informed decisions
(Also ways to give them bodies without the Cord, like what she can do with homonculi.)

Oh, and we should ask for her blessing in recruiting people from the monastery. We're way more likely to recruit people with her vote of confidence.

btw, don't worry BHOP, I'm serious about that earlier ethical argument, but I don't want to grief the quest with bad voting. Hopefully that comes through in what I just wrote.
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>>3301401
well, i mean, my vote was to just continue on if you go read. we have used the forge, talked to Mara and Superior, learned new info, and everyone's had wind down time, and we can, and should, come back later. our goals haven't really changed, even me and the gentleman im discussing ethos with both at least agree we still need to reach the cord and still wish to save the earth and everyone on it, we just have highly different opinions on what is saving everyone, moral, along the way, aswell as maybe the boundaries available once we reach the cord, maybe?

regardless we at least still agree on the over arching goal so i think my vote to move ahead is as good as anything else we could do, no?

>>3301399
>We have...They will die.
our goal is not to win the traditional way though.

>Remember that the Hex guy didn't actually make it to the end.... It's clear that this is something we'll be able to do as Mother.
actually he may of been a special case it felt like it may of been implied. part of the changes made, but we would need a bit more info to know the limits of this i feel.

>Like...everyone can recover.
she was also sick beforehand and seems to be a very specific case, and is the one situation i agreed upon?

>Again...terminally ill.
not in the same way nor the same level, and kinda not. the hunger is a warped, disturbing change that is bad, but just like its namesake, its not something new. we dont have to eat food, instead we now have to eat amalgams and daughters. we almost didnt trade anything out, instead of dying from hunger now we instead go insane. i dont actually agree with what im about to say, but you COULD argue its actually an improvement over old earth hunger. but having to eat isnt an illness.

>Yeah....happy in a head.
luck, circumstance, and our own personal moral compass. they have no reason to not trust riding along with us, and one of them was succumbed to the hunger. we actually dont know about the rest. Boxer Girl just was happy to get a good fight in, Rapier Girl might not actually be happy but she accepts she was defeated, Kosi was sick and had no real option, Holly was in the hunger and just wanted escape. shawl girl we dont know if she is happy or not. thats not really a perfect score and alot of it could also be them making the most of it, considering we arent terrible people to hang out with, not them actually preferring it. even Kosi may wish to leave, the simple fact is we have not asked them how they feel at all on the subject.

>Furthermore...Gina's cords?
very specific scenario and very specific situation allowing it to even happen.

>More to the point,...PTSD.
we help find them a safe place to rest their head. but they are no more safe in the real world than in us, where we too can be attacked, and killed, and them lost. its not at all a safer or better solution for those people. if anything, were bringing them CLOSER to combat MORE OFTEN putting them in MORE danger.
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>>3301441
(It does, and I'm glad when the quest leads to these sorts of discussions, because while Shu sorts out her moral compass and wrestles with hard calls, you can be sure that her team is doing the same. You raised some good points in an eloquent way that I'm glad were brought up.)
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>>3301418
so i looked it up, and you can indeed make drop down menus and the like in google spreadsheets, albeit i myself am still tinkering with it to figure it all out. it may be a really good option as, when you do them right, spreadsheet formats are really really clean and well organized, but they DO take more work to make them so, just so you know, so fair warning on that end if you do go that route.
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>>3301446
>our goal is not to win the traditional way though.
aegch!
No, that's not how the setting works! "Not winning in the traditional way" is letting our friends also live. We can't save the world itself, it collapses immediately, meaning we start killing people immediately.

>Hex guy
I would be happy with using our new information to get him to tell us more. He knows more about the setting than anyone.

>Kosi
So we agree on people who are literally dying in our arms, wonderful. But you missed that I was arguing that in the case of people who are crippled but want to fight, also.

>Hunger
Two things: One, the Hunger can kill people. The same post that mentioned the world collapsing when we win also mentioned that the Hunger will eventually kill everyone if nothing else does. The details were unclear, but most of the setting is geared towards mass-extinction as a hard rule, which is my whole point.
Even without Hunger, if we could just shepherd everyone into the Monastery, there are still both violent threats and the collapse of the world.
As an aside, even if Hunger did work that way, are you crazy? You think being driven insane and tortured by a pain that should kill you is better than just starving to death? Holly painted a pretty dire picture.

>Heads
Hey, that's kind of a distortion of our information. Kosi proactively told us that she's having a good time, and Holly is happy. I actually strongly encourage you to reread that first dream with her if you don't remember it.
I admit that Rapier Girl might not be happy, and we don't know about arm girl yet, but that's still a greater than 50% success rate when only two of them consented (Holly gave herself up right at the end). In my proposal, everyone we take would be because they want it, and for that we have a 100% success rate from our tiny sample size.

>Brain fights
It's happened multiple times, and we can keep upgrading Neuromancy to make it more viable. We got a range upgrade once, I bet we can get another. Also, it seems like it's always potentially helpful when getting psychically attacked by a neuromancer.

>PTSD etc
Remember, leaving them in that nice, quiet spot is leaving them in a house with a time bomb. I'm not against letting them choose that, but it's very deceptive to call joining us "MORE" dangerous than having them wait for the world to fall apart in the monastery. Again, they can choose it if we want to, but it seems that the Arc is the only way they get to live.
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>>3301494
*they can choose it if THEY want to

^I made a really screwy typo right at the end.
[Oh, also, I apologize if the "are you crazy?" came off as actually hostile. Tone is hard to convey sometimes]

>>3301463
Thanks, BHOP, I appreciate it!

By the way, I wanted to mention that I'm a huge fan of your writing so far. I've been having a really rough time lately and these Veins are something that I look forward to reading more of every day. Thank you so much for continuing to do such great work!
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>>3301494
>No, that's not how the setting works!
we dont care, we will make it work like that. we already broke the setting once, we are the defiant, we can do it again, damn be what mother thinks. saying 'thats not how it works' is petty and thinking way too inside the box, when we constantly. CONSTANTLY choose and make decisions SPECIFICALLY to fight back against Mother and the Crucible.

> But you missed that I was arguing that in the case of people who are crippled but want to fight, also.
there are other ways to do this. and both Kosi and Hedge lady, while sick, did also prove that being crippled in this world does not mean you cannot fight.

>Hey, that's kind of a distortion of our information.
not really, no shit shes happier in Ginas head than dying of illness, doesn't mean if we couldn't get her a new, healthy body she might not jump at the chance.

>It's happened multiple times
Twice. not a whole lot compared to the grand scheme of things. i never said they were useless, only that saying it allows them to help us fight is kinda iffy an argument due to how rare and specific the circumstances for it are.

>Last one
we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. dragging them out of a fortress to come with us on the worlds most dangerous journey certianly sounds dangerous and like a major risk to me.

>>3301463
also, here is a link for an example, open to be edited too so you can see how the settings are. please note im not trying to force your hand, or wrestle any control away from you, im simply setting up this example to try and show off what it can do and make it easier to learn in on your end.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15ctgm_liaNO0e0B6zAcIUrmfDN0tWiXds3L4FvogI2M/edit?usp=sharing
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>>3301512
nah, doesn't seem to hostile, and for what its worth, i do want to apologize if anything ive said has come off as personal or hostile. i dont mean anything personal by it, im just passionate about the topic both here and in RL, and i am enjoying the conversation overall, even if i do think its kinda started to go in circles as we both simply are very heels down in our perspective on this.
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>>3301523
Noted on going in circles, so just two things:

>Defiance
I . . . this isn't like that. It just happens without us as a byproduct of killing Mother. We aren't being given a bad choice, it's something that just happens.

Actually, if we can use Gina to hijack Mother so we don't need to kill the planet, maybe?? It seems like Mother doesn't have that much power right now either, that all her power was in setting this up and now she's just being an administrator on a static infrastructure.

But if you want to try hijacking her anyway, that's the most "Screw you, I'm Shu the Defiant!" option that the mechanics allow us, at least that I can think of.

>Kosi and Hedge Lady
They could fight, but they were both trapped in once place. The Cord quest requires traveling. Even putting aside the fact that we euthanized both of those characters, it's a little more complicated of an issue than that they can fight people who fall into their traps.
But we can cross that bridge when we get to it, particularly because, again, those people were both euthanized. I just have one question, if someone was like one them except non-terminal (e.g. paralyzed but with flesh roots sustaining them) and said "Consume me and use my power to fight Mother!" Would you accept that?

>>3301529
Good to know. Don't worry, you're fine and I enjoyed our squabbling.
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>>3301573
>1st point
no, the planet crumbles once mother passes on her power. we dont know what even could happen if we kill her before she does that. the simple point is, we dont want to become the new mother, our goal is to defeat her and save the planet. maybe we can become her and then quickly save the world, maybe not. maybe if we kill her, it all stagnates but leaves us room to then use the data to slowly fix the earth, maybe not. the simply FACT is we really do not know what our actual options are, only that we should not, and so far have decided, we will not accept winning it as we are supposed to, and will fight and defy what she wishes and how the crucible is to be done in and at every turn we can. until we actually get to the end, we really wont actually know just what the limits of what we can pull off truly are. but we will try them. worse case scenario, we end the crucible once and for all, and no other planet must suffer next.

>2nd Point
my point was, they COULD fight. we could potentially find a way for more crippled daughters who want to fight to get around without having to be consumed to do so. maybe a relic wheelchair, or leg clamps. who knows? but outright consuming thme is not the only option, and should not be the first option we jump to. plus, having home based defenders is still important, even if they would not like it as much.

>3rd Point
and no, i would not consume them.
well, me personally, though i dont think Shu as we have played her would either.
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>>3301573
>>3301597
oh, and one last thing. i think ive thought where we might be thinking so differently on, and my bad as i dont think i even hinted at this. im also thinking within the context of actually saying and trying to convince other Daughters of your worldview VS mine.

>take a moment, and imagine you are Sister Tenu for a moment. you are a good person, by both fleshscape and old earth standard. sure, you have had con defend yourself and consume both daughters and amalgams like anyone else, but only when forced to and never in excess. you have devoted yourself fully to your coven, your sisters. you do everything you can to help them, from the strongest to the weakest, from the healthiest to the crippled and sick. you care for them, keep their spirits up as you can, do what you can to defend them and make this little place a bit better a place to live. you love them and would do anything you can for them.

>then some random stranger not even part of your coven suddenly shows up, and starts spouting off about how your sisters should let her consume them, so she can be stronger and fight Mother and eventually put them in new bodies once its all over. she SPECIFICALLY targets the weak, the cripples and the sick, the depressed and broken. maybe shes just tricking them, maybe shes insane, or maybe she genuinely thinks them being in her head will be better for them. why should you care? you dont know her, they dont, and more so, people are not fully logical, they are very emotional, and shes trying to convince them to basically commit soft suicide.

>you are not going to sit back and simply listen peacefully to her. you are not going to simply let her keep trying to convince those you love to let themselves basically be killed for this girls goal. and you are almost certainly not alone. so you politely ask her to leave. you get your friends together to help. and you make it clear to her, you have had enough of her sick, twisted ideas. shes leaving and shes not coming back, but your a nice person who doesn't want to hurt a fly, so your asking nicely first.

can you get what i mean at least by this? well, potentially several things. how it looks and sounds? how even if i did think your logic was sound and unarguable, how you really shouldn't expect to be met with smiles and logical minds if you go around preaching those ideas? better or worse, my ideas and morals are overall id like to argue, at least much less likely to make us enemies and bar us from entry to places.
>>
>>3301573
>>3301529
Gentlemen, this is a wonderful civil discussion about the philosophy of the ethos of the crucible. A rare thing to be had in quests.

On the note of defiance and the ways to win. I thought it over, and I can't help but remember our second conversation with Mother. She seems to be a victim of her own circumstances when you consider her response to our questioning of her actions "When was the last time Mother was in full control". I quite find it interesting that she had been stunned into a brief moment of silence. Think about it. Here this eldritch deity is, high and mighty, and a defiant soul asked it a question that gave it pause and a moment to consider its response to that question.
>"I WAS IN CONTROL"
>"AS YOU ARE NOW"
>"I SUFFERED"
>"I FOUGHT"
>"I WEPT"
>"I WON"
>"WHEN YOU ASCEND THE CORD"
>"WHEN WE FINALLY MEET FACE TO FACE"
>"YOU WILL SEE"
>"YOU WILL KNOW"
>"THAT THIS CYCLE IS ALL THERE IS"
When you break it all down, Mother is telling a very brief synopsis of her trials in the previous crucible and how she felt about godhood.
She hinted at reminiscing of a time when she was still a daughter, when she still had control over herself, before her ascension. Then she ascended and got her one wish, her one moment to change the system, she used her power to save her friend Charon and turn her into the fast travel station attending skelly we all know. But she found out too late she could only change one small aspect of the system. The latter part of her answer seems to stem from a reflection in the deep seated grief she has for herself.

The rest of the system is out of her hands save for the conversations she gets to have with the daughters of the next crucible.
She's only the conscious part of the system that's the crucible, the "mouth of sauron" so to speak. To wrap this up, my harebrained idea was trying to get "Mother" to rebel against the system she's a victim of. Have her give hints and clues to the Crucible system's weakness and flaws. She has little control over the system she maintains except for the dreams in which she appears when daughters reach a threshold of power.
>>
>>3301881
Converse with Mother when she appears in her rare moments, try to convince her or encourage her to find that lost spark of defiance against the system she's a victim of.
>>
(Gentlemen, posting may be a little irregular today on account of a busy upcoming work day, but I shall strive to update as often as I can.)
>>
>>3301512
(I'm so glad you enjoy it, and thank you for sharing that it helps you in that way. Joker Quest actually helped me get through the most difficult time of my life, and if I can continue on that legacy even in some small way, then that makes me incredibly happy.)
>>
>>3300753

No.

No, this ultimately changes very little of how you've been doing things up to this point.

After a long moment of consideration, you speak.

“Thank you for telling us all this, Daughter Superior.” You say, rising from your seat on the floor. “It doesn’t change much about our goals, but it’s good to know regardless.”

“I am very happy to help, but come now. You’re guests in my home.” She replies, her tone light and jovial even after recalling the events of her death. “Please, call me Uzu. I was never one for all that formal drivel.”

You see the light bulb go off in Rath’s head at the same moment it clicks with you.

“Wait, isn’t that the name of the girl who met us at the waystation?” She asks, stepping forward.

“Yes, she’s my granddaughter.” Grandmother Uzu replies, pleased.

“With all due respect, I’d like to run a few things by you regarding your style of neuromancy.” Gina says, and you sense the forefront of her mind is a blur of strategies and conceptualization. The older woman’s construct bids her to continue with a welcoming gesture.

“Alright, so could we ‘externalize’ people currently stuck in our heads using the Crucible?” Gina asks, as you can feel that she’s actively retraining herself from firing off the fifty different questions she has rattling around her head. “Basically, I can jack in to people manually and interface with their minds, awake or not. I’d like to know the parameters of how we can do things like that. I’d also like to know if it could work with, say…”

Gina casts a glance your way, and your gaze meets hers as you realize what option she’s considering giving you.

”…memories or personalities.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>3302074

“Ah, wonderful!” Grandmother Uzu replies, slowly clapping her hands together. “If you continue to grow, then I’m sure shifting minds between bodies and the like will become something you can do. There are a few things to keep in mind, though.”

She raises one shaky finger.

“The first is that if you switch minds between the bodies of Daughters, then there will be inevitable memory decay that takes place. I’m sad to say that any passengers you have will be the first to fade. You’ll still keep their powers though, as that’s hard-coded into your body.”

She raises a second, slender finger.

“Now, if you find your mind moved to a non-Daughter body, like a construct or an Amalgam, then that’s a one-way street I’m afraid. The mind gets locked in and it cannot be retrieved from the form it resides in. So if that body expires, then the mind therein is lost permanently.”

A third and final finger is raised.

“The only exception to rule number two is if the construct is re-integrated into its creator. In that case there should be minimal loss, but there are no guarantees. Now, as far as memories or personalities, I’m sure you could dig those out like any other ghost in the shell and plop them right into a construct. Never tried it myself, though.”

“Okay…okay, I can work with this.” Gina says, a note of finality in her voice as she smiles. “Thank you so much, Ma’am.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>3302079

After exchanging thanks and goodbyes with Daughter Superior, you exit her room with a headache from everything you just learned as your allies mill about in the hallway just outside.

“Jesus, that was a lot.” Rath moans, massaging her temples.

“I know right?” Gina says, enthused. “This gives us so much to work with, it’s awesome!”

Rath just makes a face at Gina as you turn to B’ni, who was notably silent for the vast majority of the conversation. She pauses before voicing her reply.

“It’s…I agree with Rath, it’s a lot to take in.” She says, her face troubled.

“You hear that bit about the Sad Stream or some such?” Rath interjects irritably. “Looks like we’re gonna need a boat or a meat dragon of our own if we’re gonna cross that salty garbage.”

Gina nods, turning to you with an enthusiastic smile.

“What’s the plan from here, Shu?”

>>Gina had the spa, B’ni had the ring, and Rath had her crafting. Meanwhile, you’ve been running around making deals, helping with panic attacks, and listening to people talk. It’s high time you took some time aside for yourself and relaxed before heading back out (Choose how you relax).

>>You think you’re about done here. You’ll go back to the waystation, return to the Shrouded City, and continue westward to the Forest of Thought. You’ll figure out how to cross the River of Tears when you see it for yourself.

>>You’d like to know more about what Gina has in mind regarding your past self, though whether or not that’s a conversation you’d rather have aloud or via your bond is up to you (Choose).

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3302084
>Gina had the spa, B’ni had the ring, and Rath had her crafting. Meanwhile, you’ve been running around making deals, helping with panic attacks, and listening to people talk. It’s high time you took some time aside for yourself and relaxed before heading back out (Choose how you relax).

>Go for a walk. maybe meditate/nap. Maybe talk to HER or MOTHER. You don't know.
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3302084
>You should have a discussion with B'ni and Gina while you're all in a safe place. It shouldn't be put off.
>>
>>3302084
BHOP, how much time do we have before the pod girl is hatched?

>>You think you’re about done here. You’ll go back to the waystation, return to the Shrouded City, and continue westward to the Forest of Thought. You’ll figure out how to cross the River of Tears when you see it for yourself.
>>
>>3302135
(Just for the sake of anyone planning around it, I would say about three in-game days.)
>>
>>3302138
Alright, yeah cause me personally im looking forward to being there for that, both ic and ooc.
>>
>>3302128
>>3302135
(Not sure if my id will change here but..)
Id prefer to get a move on but to break the three way tie ill change vote to this if necessary due to no new votes.
>>
(Gentlemen, today is a little hectic to say the least and voting seems to be a little on the slow side, so I'll be extending voting an hour to put out some fires here and give others a chance to weigh in. Thank you for your patience, and take care.)
>>
>>3302084
>You should have a discussion with B'ni and Gina while you're all in a safe place. It shouldn't be put off.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3302424
BHOP, check this out. One of based JimReaper's old videos, but THAT FUCKING REMIX HE MADE HIMSELF theme for a certain future bonus boss in Body Horror Quest? :^)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQIkuRNRH9U
>>
>>3302466
>Tfw the remix Is good but the link to It Is dead

Why must good things die? Now I have to loop this video with the damn Intro and outro on It just to hear the song.
>>
>>3302084

You decide that you’ve waited long enough to deal with this whole you-B’ni-GG issue. You lead the four of you back to the main auditorium, where the younger Uzu is conducting her meditative session with a room full of Daughters sitting cross-legged.

“Hey you two, I need to run something by Gina for a second, so could you both give us a minute?” You whisper to Rath and B’ni in a secluded corner of the massive room.

“Oh shoot, before I forget, check this out!” Rath whispers back with glee, ignoring your request before darting off in the direction of the Forge.

“Is…um, is everything alright?” B’ni asks, visibly tense. You throw on your best reassuring smile and put your hand on her shoulder.

“Oh yeah, I just wanted to run something by her regarding what all we just heard.” You reply, bending the truth a bit. B’ni smiles weakly and Rath returns a few moments later, her rapid footfalls attracting a judgmental glare from several nearby Sisters. She skids to a stop in front of you, juggling a pair of gauntlets under her right arm and holding a thin, membranous sheet in her left hand.

“Here!” she says, and she’s promptly shushed by several dozen Daughters at once. She shoots them a look right back as she thrusts the armor pieces upon you.

>>IGNITION GAUNTLETS: the brainchild of Rath and Artisan Niku, these gauntlets take the form of a shimmering, marbled blend of your swarmling chitin, Mara’s calcite armor, and an interior of motile flesh from one or both of its creators. Capable of granting a boost while worn in conjunction with the full set of Chitinous Stalwart or any calcite-related armors, this pair of self-repairing armor pieces react explosively on impact with foreign surfaces, creating a small explosion on attack or guard. What’s more, they do not count against your swarmling limit when you have them equipped, allowing you to achieve full plating with Chitinous Stalwart with a mere four armor pieces, drastically reducing the cost of your fully-armored form. Finally, due to Rath’s Vitruvian contributions the Ignition Gauntlets automatically take on the qualities of the full set, ensuring they stay up-to-date with any augmentations your armor undergoes.

(Continued)
>>
>>3302610

“Oh, and B’ni. Here you go!” Rath continues as you marvel at the pieces of armor, turning them over in your hands. Rath holds out the floppy sheet to B'ni who takes it hesitantly.

“Oh…thank you?” She replies, holding the sheet of translucent flesh and eyeing it uncertainly. Rath grins, and points to her own teeth as she smiles wide.

“It’s a thing that’ll make your mouth look like it used to!” The red-head replies cheerfully. “Remember what you told me in the tent when those two went and saw that creepy Doctor? I thought you might want to try it out, see how you like it."


B'ni's quiet as the other girl continues speaking in spite of the irritated glances thrown her way.

"Personally, I stick with what I said about your teeth being super-freaking cool.” Rath says, a little sheepish. “But I figured since you mentioned not being too fond of them, it gives you an optio…woah!”

Rath is caught off-guard when B’ni flings her arms around the shorter girl’s neck, holding her tight.

“Thank you, Rath.” B’ni chokes out, visibly touched by the gesture. “I…just…thank you so, so much.”

“Nope, no, it’s nothing, man. It’s cool.” Rath says awkwardly, extracting herself from B’ni’s tight hug and turning to you and GG. “Yo, we’ll leave you to it, just come and find us when you’re ready to head out!”

She leads B’ni’s by the hand as she leads her back to the Forge, leaving you and Gina to discuss the impending confrontation.

You and Gina find a quiet spot in the Cathedral’s mezzanine, proceeding to tap into your bond to ensure no one overhears the two of you as you decide how to approach this.

(Continued)
>>
>>3301881
I like this idea. I never seriously considered that we could get Mother to collaborate with us, but I think that's the best Fool's-Choice-style plan we've had so far.
Also, I just got done rereading the World Domination Arc in Mob Psycho 100 and it has me excited for the prospect of talking down an eldritch deity from her fatalism.

At least now I can be sure that I'll be voting for leveling Neuromancer at basically every opportunity, since it's the most likely way we'll be able to interface with Mother as a group. It's probably also necessary for implementing Gina's ideas ( >>3302079 ). We should probably also ask the Doctor about it, since she seemed pretty adept at screwing around with Neuromancy interfaces, judging from how she modified our Halo.
>>
>>3302617

{So she overhead us?} Gina says, concerned over the revelation when you attuned to B'ni's mind when she fought. {She had to have been doing that intentionally, there’s no way she could’ve heard us by accident}

[Yeah] You reply via thoughtform, heaving a sigh. [Yeah, that had to have been intentional]

{And you said she sounded really scattered and weird when you picked up her train of thought in the arena?} She asks, and when you nod in affirmation her brow furrows. {We can’t let this keep on like it has been. She’s in a worse state than I thought}

[So what’re you saying we should do?] You ask, and the brunette chews on her bottom lip for a moment before she replies.

{May I be honest?}

[Do we have a choice, anymore?] You ask wryly, and she cracks a half-smile before it slides off her face.

{I think she’s a liability} Gina replies coolly. {I think she’s a bad situation waiting to happen. I’m not saying she’s beyond correction, but she’s clearly an unhealthy individual we have by our side when we’re fighting for our lives and the fate of this world}

You find her eyes staring into hers.

{I’m saying that…maybe we could convince her to stay here a while? Cool off a bit, take some time to chill out and re-evaluate. I don’t think it could hurt}

Your heart sinks.

{Think about it. Strategically speaking, we have a backup close-range combatant ever since Rath picked up Hecaton’s powers} Gina continues, her tone purely analytical. {You, Rath, and I could make good progress on our own and then come back for B’ni after she’s had some time to process}

{It’s your call, but that’s my opinion} Gina says, studying your eyes. {I know it’s not what you want to hear, but…yeah, I think that’s where we stand}

>>…No. Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. You and your team stand a better chance of helping her than leaving her alone to stew in her own worries, and speaking with her alongside Gina may help to ease her mind about what’s weighing on her.

>>…Alright. Given everything you know, and everything B’ni has hidden from you, there’s a distinct possibility that things could go very badly at an inopportune moment and put all of you at risk, B’ni included. You’ve been over this time and again with your earliest teammate, and nothing seems to stick. You and Gina will break the news to her…together.

>>Same as above, but let’s keep it to just between you and B’ni. You started all this together, and even though it may be temporary, you owe it to her to part ways one-on-one.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3302617
Nice, though I thought the fangs were still cute in their own way.
>>
>>3302631
>…No. Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. You and your team stand a better chance of helping her than leaving her alone to stew in her own worries, and speaking with her alongside Gina may help to ease her mind about what’s weighing on her.

I mean, when I put my vote forward, it was with the intention of talking with both of them to sort out/officialize this whole relationship as we said we would, rather than talk with Gina about B'ni.
>>
>>3302631
>>>…No. Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. You and your team stand a better chance of helping her than leaving her alone to stew in her own worries, and speaking with her alongside Gina may help to ease her mind about what’s weighing on her.

I kind of thought the three of us were going to have a talk together
>>
>>3302631
>…No. Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. You and your team stand a better chance of helping her than leaving her alone to stew in her own worries, and speaking with her alongside Gina may help to ease her mind about what’s weighing on her.
>>
>>3302631
>…No. Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. You and your team stand a better chance of helping her than leaving her alone to stew in her own worries, and speaking with her alongside Gina may help to ease her mind about what’s weighing on her.
No. No splitting up. We stick together or we die. If B'ni tries to pull some yandere full-retard shit, we're going to go in on her, but not now.
>>
>>3302631
>>Write-in
>You and Gina raise the issue with B'ni. Let her know that you know she's been keeping secrets and lying. Give her a chance to come clean and start over, or else leave the group (hopefully waiting at the monastery) until she chooses otherwise. The waystations make the distance trivial anyway.
>You've only been dealing with this in half-measures, B'ni at least deserves transparency from you if you're going to ask it of her.
>>
>>3302610
>IGNITION GAUNTLETS
oh damn, those things kick ass. Not sure they work best with Shu, but then again they certainly are not a detriment to her. and some of you anons wanted to ignore the forge!

>>3302631
whew. damn son, Gina gets to the point, and i hate to say it, but she has a VERY good point to make. but honestly? i cant condone it. its not the wrong choice, but its not the right choice either.

>Write-In
>>"Gina, did i ever tell you about when B'ni tried to get me to abandon Rath to die, and tried to tell me i was the only one who was important?" wait to let her respond, but not to let her be long winded. wave her off if necessary.
>>"I told her something very important back then after that. that i wasn't important, no more than anyone else on the team. i told her i didn't want her putting me above anyone else. i told her we, all of us, are a team, and damn be the consequences, we dont leave anyone behind."
>>Sigh, and take a moment to let the information stew. "Gina. she...shes my friend. shes twisted, shes wrong, and she certainly needs to learn not to cross the line anymore. she needs to be confronted about her lying and secrets, and she needs to start bettering herself, to actually try and change, not just tell me what i want to hear and then not actually listen to me, or you, or Rath."
>>Turn and meet Ginas gaze. "but shes still our teammate. she has still fought and bled and put her life on the line for us. all of us. lets...lets talk to her. all of us. together. lets talk to her about her lying. about her obsession. about the team, and what we, not jut me, but you, Rath, and her, want from this team. lets put everything on the table, together, and...well...if she cant admit to her faults, to what she has done wrong. if she cant come to terms after that with what we expect equally from everyone individually and as a group...then thats on her then." shrug, try not to tear up. "Lets give her a chance, one last one at least, before you make me break her heart in a way she might never recover from by asking her to stay behind. is that fair?"
>>
>>3302631
>Ok

I vote we kick her ass so hard in THE ARENA that she's forced to stay here a week or two to recover.
>>
>>3302641
>>3302647
>>3302648
>>3302650
(Regarding this vote, it was more to make you aware of Gina's stance and the fact that she is less than pleased with the B'ni situation. Otherwise, you and she would not have been on the same page when you went to talk with B'ni. Apologies if that seemed to come out of nowhere, but it seemed in character for Shu and Gina to do and I wanted to give you all the option to weigh in.)
>>
>>3302652
I like the idea here but B’ni has been on her best behavior ever since our last chat. She’s messed up in the head, but she’s trying. If we get together just to hit her with the same talking points it won’t do any good. I like getting everyone together to be clear about what everyone wants for our team and any concerns though. I think getting things out in the open would help B’ni more than anything.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in three hours while I try and close out this day. Thank you for your patience with my schedule, and for being such a great group to work with.)
>>
>>3302680
shes kinda trying but not really, eavesdropping shows she hasn't really changed and is still up to her old 'tricks' as it were. the way she inwardly talked about the others made it clear she still doesn't really care about the rest of the team outside of saving face with us, which the minute it actually matters i guarantee she will throw away and let them come to serious harm over. its not supposed to be an attack on her, or hounding her, or repeating ourselves(necessarily), but its clear we need to be open with her about how she has and still crosses lines, aswell as together come to terms with what this team means to everyone, even if she may be the biggest concern by far within it.

if we ignore it or are soft with her YET AGAIN, it will be the same cycle we literally are seeing once again, where she only does and says what she thinks will keep us happy with her while actually not taking anything to heart nor actually being willing to change and do what she needs to do, and crossing lines she knows she shouldn't. we need to set everything on the table and not let anything go unsaid, repeat or not, as clearly trying to take our time with her has not worked.
>>
>>3302694
That didn't seem to be about saving face. She wants to be better and stronger, and not be a burden to the group. She's also worried about Shu pulling something like old Shu, but convincing herself that she's different now. And of course, she's in love with Shu, and learning that Shu might like someone else is tugging at her heartstrings, but she doesn't press and is waiting for Shu to open up to her when she's ready.
>>
>>3302673

Goddamn BHOP,
I can already see the archived description for this vein:
>Shu and Friends are offered a proposition, given a revelation, and stage a dangerous intervention.


>>3302694
>>3302680
The issue we have with B'ni is essentially a game of minesweeper. B'ni's true motive and behavior has a connection with Shu's past. We don't know much of B'ni, nor do we know much about Shu. And given B'ni's flaws (liar and a thief) and what we know "what B'ni knows" (we told her to correct her behavior, and we let her know about her flaws, and she's eavesdropped on Gina/Shu's relationship.) we're essentially still flying in blind. As Kosi said it bluntly, B'ni's super repressed. Working on her mental health and habits is a quest in and of itself.
Another thing is that Mother said that B'ni loves Shu to the point of fanaticism, and yet we've consistently chided her or chastised her on the behaviors that she believes is the correct action. We've even ignore all the acts of love that she's done for us. She fought with lots of zeal and fury in the battlefield expecting praise and for Shu to fall in love with her carnage only to be ignored. And to put the nail on the coffin. Shu and Gina both get a super deep thoughtform bond that's neuromancer exclusive. From B'ni's perspective, that's practically a heartbreaking moment for her.

>>3302719
Interesting perspective and a good summary of B'ni's surface thoughts. when you think about how the thoughts are formatted in the update they seem to be lies that she's trying to tell herself. to convince herself that everything is okay.
>>
>>3302719
>That didn't seem to be about saving face.
im not sure i understand what you mean here?
>>
>>3302725
maybe i just was terrible at wording what i wrote but my goal was not to demean nor put her down, only meaning to put it on the table that she does have major issues and they need to be discussed. and well, yes, if she absolutely refuses to acknowledge them in said situation it is a very big and major red flag. that and both her and Rath(and Gina) deserve to know whats going on, and as a team everyone deserves to have the talk of how we actually want this team to function and what we actually expect from everyone in it. its just very much so, B'ni has gone against what Shu(us) and Gina expect and want out of the team dynamic, and that needs to be discussed.

and the other issue is, i get why and how B'ni feels, and i get shes a fanatic. but just because she does this out of fanaticism and love does not mean shes doing things right nor she deserves praise just for why shes done it, not how and what she does. and we have praised her plenty, and made it clear we care about her and appreciate her support plenty i feel. we have both chastised(maybe not the right word) her for wrong actions and praised her for good actions. its literally not on us if she only takes the chastization to heart because she expected us to love her/love everything she does with no complaints ever.
>>
>>3302681
(Gentlemen, to my surprise I was actually able to catch up on work at get home at a decent time, so I will be closing voting in one hour to keep things rolling and also due to the relative unanimity of the votes so far.)
>>
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>>3302631

[…No, that's just not something I'm willing to do]

Gina raises an eyebrow, nonplussed at your disagreement.

[Regardless of what she’s done in the past, or what she may be dealing with, there’s nothing good to be gained by leaving B’ni behind. We have a better chance of helping her by sticking together than leaving her to stew in her own worries and fears]

You stare hard into Gina's glimmering eyes, letting her fully into your mind to show her you mean every word of what you say, and this isn't a point you're willing to argue.

[Does she have issues? Sure. Is she hiding stuff from us? Absolutely. Has she fought, bled, and cried alongside us every step of the way, never complaining, never faltering in keeping us from death's door when she could? Yes, without a fucking doubt. I'm not turning my back on a friend just because she's got issues. You didn't turn tail from me when I thought I was a serial killer, and I'm not leaving B'ni in the cold when she's trying her damnedest to be our friend. She and Rath weren't getting along when they first met, and now they're giving each other gifts]

{That was kind of cute...} Gina admits, despite herself.

[We can do this, but only as a team] You say, resolute. [We'll talk to her about this together and put it to bed]

{You know, I think that's one of the many things I adore about you} Gina says, the corners of her mouth curling into a smile as she walks a little ahead of you. {You care about people, and you keep giving them the benefit of the doubt. You trust, and you...well, you dare to love despite people's flaws}

She flashes you a bright smile, extending her hand to yours with a wink

{Come on tiger, let's go talk to her...together}

You take her hand in yours and, after retrieving B'ni from a heated and one-sided discussion with Rath at the forge, the three of you go outside to face the rolling expanse of the fleshscape. The air is unnaturally still, and you find yourself wishing for some sort of breeze to break up the dead silence of the outdoors. It's in the light that you finally notice B'ni's distinct lack of fangs, her face altered to resemble her as you first met her, a few weeks...or rather, many years ago.

"Did I do something wrong?" B'ni asks before you can open your mouth, and you're struck by just how terrified she looks before you, cringing away from every glance like you and Gina are a two-girl firing squad. You open the empathic channel to her, and as you try to send her a wave of calm, you find barely-repressed panic and a hammering heartbeat overhwelming your best efforts to ease her before you speak.

"No, no it's...there's something Gina and I need to tell you." You say, sharing a glance with the shorter girl beside you.

Emerald eyes are transfixed on yours, and much to your chagrin, you have the floor...or the fleshscape, as it were. At least you can rest easy that Gina's going to have your back, regardless of her reservations.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall remain open for the next two hours. Thank you for your participation and for being fantastic as always.)
>>
>>3302947
>Well, after our last battle, Gina and I both got empathic upgrades to out powers. Gina forged a mutual connection between us and I can now read surface level thoughts from my friends.
>I thought you should know that first, if there's anything you're uncomfortable with sharing, or you want to try to work out yourself before asking for help.
>Because I know you're trying, Isabelle. And I don't expect things to get better right away, but I hope you can trust me, and you can be someone you're proud to be.
>Second, Gina admitted her feelings for me, and I have feelings for her too. However, I know that there's someone else who also has feelings for me as well. Someone who's been by my side since I woke up in this world. Someone who risked her life for me and supported me throughout this adventure. And she's cute too.
>Isabelle, I want to know where our relationship will go for all of us. And for that, I need to know what exactly I did to you in the past. What happened to you exactly after I left you with a diced body, and why you didn't correct me sooner about who I used to be? I want to take responsibility and bring you some closure regarding the old me, so we can live and grow together. And that might not happen today or tomorrow, but so long as we persevere, then we'll get there.
>I want to open up my heart to you, and I hope you'll do the same for me. And if it's easier to show me what happened and how you felt... *gesture to Gina's synaptic cords*.

I feel kind of sappy. But I think seeing the aftermath of the "prank" from B'ni's perspective will be a step forward and give us some insight into what shaped her to be the way she is now.
>>
>>3302947
well once again im at a loss for what to say as this is too far down a route i didn't think we should go, sorta. B'ni too heavily in my opinion did do something wrong, so i cant word anything i agree with. hrm.
>>
Well, I have to sleep now. Good luck and make Kosi proud by aiming for that harem.
>>
>>3303074
(Rest well, Anon.)
>>
>>3302947
>"When Gina offered to have me accompany her when she was on the threshold of making 'The Choice', I came along with her. She was offered two choices, one of mastering the world with advanced terraforming, the other mastery of neuromancy that culminated in total mindcontrol. She chose the Fool's choice."
>"She chose to stay by me, and Mother gave her a neuromancy upgrade that literally tied me to her with an empathetic thoughtform bond. 'Crimson Cord' Mother called it, after the 'red string of fate'."
>"Both of us were caught off guard by this. I never knew Gina had feelings for me."
>Hold her hands
>"Yes B'ni. I like Gina. It's true. But that doesn't mean my heart is already taken because of a confession and a gift that Mother gave the two of us."
>Hug her.
>"There's a part of my heart that has a place reserved for a friend who's been by my side since the beginning of this Crucible. A friend who runs like lightning and fights like hell on a pair of ivory skates. That part of me is waiting for her to open up with honesty and confidence."
>"I'm sorry about the prank that my past self pulled on you. And any lies that my past self may have said. That prank was a such dick move that I'm sure it scared you badly."
>Hold her hands, look at her in the eye.
>"Relax. You tense up every time I talk to you. Relax."
>"Whatever burdens you might bear, We want to help you ease the weight in your heart. Both Gina and I want to work out this relationship with you. A relationship that works for everyone. We can start small. One step at a time, once you're feeling brave."
>if B'ni opens up by telling Shu and Gina about her reaction to the prank
>"I'm not running away anymore. I'm not going to leave you in the dust like what the past me would've done. To be honest, Gina and I had a discussion about your mental health and both of us decided to stay and help with your issues instead of moving on without you."

Bloody Hell BHOP. This is one heck of an intervention.
>>
>>3303028
>>3303136
Honestly i dislike both of these. I feel like you're being way too soft and not forward enough with the issues and what she has done wrong. I dont expect any change out of her approaching this like we have the last two times.
>>
>>3302947
>"Gina made a choice, she made the fool's choice. That choice revealed that she liked me. And now she's got a invisible crimson cord tying me and her together. She can hear my thoughts and I can hear hers. And she confessed that she likes me."
>"B'ni, look. Its terrifying when the hard truths are revealed, especially after what Grandmother Uzu said. I can completely understand. But lying to yourself into a deluded state won't help with the pain. It just covers it up with sugary lies that feels bitter whenever you have to make another lie."
>"And it's painful I tell you. It's painful to lie. The news about Gina's choice and the consequences of it, it eats me up. I try to lie to myself that everything's okay, that I could break the news to you gently. But it's not okay. Seeing you, tense and terrified at my every word hurts. That's why I'm telling the truth. even when the truth hurts. I tell the truth because when the truth is revealed my heart can be at ease."
>"That's why Gina and I are here. It's an intervention of sorts. We're here to help you break your habit of lying, to help you become more confident in yourself. To help you be more honest with yourself."
>"We want to work this relationship out with you and work your problems and flaws out so that you can grow and be a better person without having to live minute by minute, day by day having to agonize over every lie you've told to others and to yourself."
This is a second variant of "THE TALK".
>>3303177
How's this?
>>
Damn, I just hope BHOP knows what he's doing.
>>
(Gentlemen, after voting concludes in a moment, I shall spend a short time writing, and I wanted to touch base and ensure that everyone is good to continue back to the Shrouded City and on to the Forest of Thought. If not, I'll be happy to open a vote at the end of the next update as to where Shu and company will proceed from here.)

>>3303225
(How do you mean?)
>>
>>3303215
its better, and ill support it with my vote at least.

though i still dont know if its exactly what i feel needs to happen, but i also feel like its heavily opinionated an issue and what id think needs to happen for everyone's sake was thrown out the window like 2 votes or so ago now, so it is what it is.
>>
>>3303231
Cherry picking choice sentences from the votes. The general idea and direction of the topic is unanimous, but the tone (going Harsh or soft on B'ni) is something that that we somewhat can't agree on. I'm hoping you can word our responses in a way that achieves the desired result for both you and the players.
>>
>>3303231
im fine with us finally continuing on, though of course i think its at least fair to say everyone would want to actually see B'ni's reaction first? i dunno i trust your writing mind you but it also is alot for B'ni to take in regardless of how we go about telling her.

But yes, as for what to do after this talk regardless of how it turns out, i think thats a good next action to take.
>>
(I shall endeavor to weave the responses into something coherent, and rest assured that I shall include B'ni's reaction. This may take a little while, but I intend to post an update before the end of the evening.)
>>
>>3303289
Make sure to read it aloud twice as proofreading. Wouldn't want your writing quality to suffer.
>>
>>3303289
(Alright Gentlemen, I will have to hold off on posting as I truly, truly wish to do the upcoming section justice and weave it all into a solid set of updates. Thank greatly appreciate you understanding, and I shall post within the next twelve to fourteen hours. I'll be around for a short while to address comments, concerns, and criticisms, and thank you so much for your continued and enthusiastic participation.)
>>
>>3303491
take your time, and thanks for running such a great game. have a good night BHOP.
>>
>>3303521
(Thank you so much, and I hope you rest well.)
>>
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>>3303491
>>
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>>3303521
>>3303641
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>>3302947

"Gina made a choice. She made the fool's choice.” You say, watching B’ni’s face as you open the empathic channel to her. “And now she's got an invisible crimson cord tying me and her together. She can hear my thoughts and I can hear hers. And she confessed that she likes me…and I like her, too."

B’ni’s face goes a horrified white as you step forward, taking her gently by the shoulders.

“But that doesn't mean my heart is already taken because of a confession and a gift that Mother gave the two of us.” You say, drawing her into a tight hug, her empathic frequency a whirlwind of emotions. "There's a part of my heart that has a place reserved for a friend who's been by my side since the beginning of this Crucible. A friend who runs like lightning and fights like hell on a pair of ivory skates. That part of me is waiting for her to open up with honesty and confidence."

"Please, look at me.” You urge, and she obeys, her bright green eyes swimming with tears as they stare into yours. “I'm so sorry about the prank that my past self pulled on you, and any lies that my past self may have said. That prank was such a dick move that I'm sure it scared you badly."

“N-no, it’s not that…I…” She falters when you take her by the hands, and look deep into her fearful emerald eyes.

"Relax. You tense up every time I talk to you. Relax.”

(Cont1nued)
>>
>>3304555

“Whatever burdens you might bear, we want to help you ease the weight in your heart.” You say, and Gina nods behind you, her expression patient and accepting. “Both Gina and I want to work out this relationship with you. A relationship that works for everyone. We can start small. One step at a time, once you're feeling brave. Because I know you're trying, Isabelle. And I don't expect things to get better right away, but I hope you can trust me, and you can be someone you're proud to be.”

"B'ni, look. It’s terrifying when the hard truths are revealed, especially after what Grandmother Uzu said. I can completely understand. But lying to yourself into a deluded state won't help with the pain. It just covers it up with sugary lies that feels bitter whenever you have to make another lie…and it's painful I tell you. It's painful to lie. The news about Gina's choice and the consequences of it, it eats me up. I try to lie to myself that everything's okay, that I could break the news to you gently. But it's not okay. Seeing you, tense and terrified at my every word hurts. That's why I'm telling the truth, even when it hurts. I tell the truth because when the truth is revealed my heart can be at ease."

You gesture to the brunette standing supportively behind you.

"That's why we’re here. It's an intervention, of sorts. We're here to help you break your habit of lying, to help you become more confident in yourself. To help you be more honest with yourself. We want to work this relationship out with you and work your problems and flaws out so that you can grow and be a better person without having to live minute by minute, day by day having to agonize over every lie you've told to others and to yourself."

You squeeze her shoulders, fixing her with a resolute gaze.

“And for that, I need to know what exactly I did to you in the past.”

Cold fear runs through B’ni’s frame, at that.

“Isabelle, I need to know what happened to you exactly after I left you with a diced body, and why you didn't correct me sooner about who I used to be. I want to take responsibility and bring you some closure regarding the old me, so we can live and grow together. And that might not happen today or tomorrow, but so long as we persevere, then we'll get there. B’ni, I want to open up my heart to you, and I hope you'll do the same for me. And if it's easier to show me what happened and how you felt...”

You gesture to the pair of cords that flick lazily at Gina’s sides, and the wave of horror that pulses across the channel almost floors you.

"P-please no, I don't want you to...I can't be the one to..." She begins before doubling over, dry heaves wracking her body. She collapses to the ground, her face panic-stricken as you reach out to help, you reach out to…

(C0nt1n*ed)
>>
>>3304561

You reach out, and your hand wrenches open the doorknob to Isabelle's room, your cheeks flushed from rage. B'ni's pacing around the room is interrupted as you storm in to the cramped space, her two lava lamps glowing in blissful ignorance of the mounting crisis on the table stand.

One orange, one amethyst.

"Where's the body?!" You demand, and her frail body flinches from your harsh tone.

"I...w-why, what're you tal..." She falters as you seize her by the shoulders, shaking her to try and force her to focus on what you need.

"It's. Been. Two. Days." You growl through gritted teeth, staring hard into fearful emeralds. "Where's the goddamn body?"

"I...I buried it. I c-cut it up and b-buried it, I thought you..." She stammers in fear, and you can feel her pulse hammering in her veins as a chilled fury works its way down your spine.

"What were you thinking?! It was a fucking prank you dumb cunt! You’ve ruined everything!” You scream as she flinches away from you, your firm grip holding the idiot girl firmly in place.

"I'm...I just thought that...” She breaks down, her whole body shaking from shame as tears roll down her face. “If you h-hurt someone, I didn’t want you to get in trouble, so…so I…”

"What…what the hell is wrong with you, Isabelle?” You breathe, taking a step back away from her as what she’s said dawns on you. “What, you thought I was a fucking murderer, is that what you thought? You thought we could be fucking murder buddies, is that what you had cooked up in your idiot brain? No, I brought you up here to play a part and you couldn’t even do that right, you couldn’t even freak out like a normal person.”

(you pushed)

(you ridiculed)

(you continued)
>>
>>3304567

“…W-what?” She says flatly, the pitiful reality of her situation slowly dawning on her. “B-but you said you missed me, y-you said we could…”

“Yeah, I needed the one person I thought I could always count on to follow instructions, and you fucked it up, Isabelle.”

“I…I left everyone.” She mutters, staring past you. “I left everything. I left my parents, I left GG, I…oh God, I…”

“Yeah, and all you accomplished was failing to do the one last thing I needed you for.” You say, glaring at the failure before you. “And now I have to pay the price for…no, no I’m not taking the fall for this bullshit."

"I...I can tell you where I put it!” Isabelle pleads suddenly, clinging to your sleeve as her voice cracks. “W-we can fix this, we can make it right, no one h-has t-to know that we…!"

"No.” You cut her off harshly. “There is no 'we', Isabelle. Ask yourself something, you jittery fucking rabbit."

You tear her clingy hands off you and push her away, watching her tumble pathetically to the floor next to the lamp-bearing table as you stare down at her in disgust.

"When the cops come, who’re they gonna believe?” You spit as she scrambles to her feet, lamely trying to form pleading words through her frantic sobs. “Someone that can actually hold a normal conversation, or a twitchy little psycho like you?”

You turn on your heel to the door, away from the girl that just ruined you chance to make your name in the echelons of people that actually matter.

Your hand is on the doorknob when your vision tilts at the sound of glass shattering, a hot lance of pain followed by a shiver of cold that slithers down your spine.

You're vaguely aware of the splatter of crimson and chunks of grey that adorn the wall to your left as you crumple to the floor.

(she continued…)
>>
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>>3304572

Your eyes meet those of your oldest friend as she looms over you, her face streaming with tears of rage and betrayal. The remains of the amethyst lava lamp are held tight in her grip, dripping with crimson-grey ichor. You stare up helplessly as she screams, bringing the metal stand down upon your head again, and again, and again, your vision split as one eye dangles uselessly from a crushed socket.

"I love you!"

Your collarbone shatters as the daylight sky behind her darkens.

"I loved you!"

Broken ribs pierce your lungs as you cease to be able to draw breath.

"I love you, Sam!"

You're dying.

Veins creep across the window, and the skies go from black to a cruel shade of crimson.

Your vision does, too, as B’ni turns to see the world swallowed whole.

You and Gina stagger back as you feel B’ni’s mind crumbling, your own whirling from the final piece of your past sliding into place.

You, the past you.

You broke her.

And then she broke you.

Your fragmented mind, the gaps in your past…it was her. All this time, it was her, and she was too terrified to admit it, too terrified of losing you. The better you.

Now, the empathic channel thrown wide, you’re assaulted by the emotions that explode forth from your oldest friend as she spirals into the ultimate fate of all Daughters that can't cope with the world as is, screaming in pain and sorrow.

She thinks you’ll hate her, that you resent her as much as she hates and resents herself.

The fear, the panic, the hopelessness…

…the Hunger is beginning to claim her.

>>She needs to know you’re okay, that you understand what she did. This started with you and her, and it will end the same way.

>>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.

>>CONSUME

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3304581
>She needs to know you’re okay, that you understand what she did. This started with you and her, and it will end the same way.
>Use Gina's cords to get Eloise's help in calming her down.

And now we know what Shu's name used to be: Sam.
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
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>>3304581
Jesus fucking christ BHOP.
Uh...
>>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.
>>
>>3304581
What the actual fuck. Geezus old Shu is more of a dick than i thought, but boy howdy B'ni is more fucked up than i thought too. She literally was willing to murder for us, if we had asked, and thats not healthy.
>>She needs to know you’re okay, that you understand what she did. This started with you and her, and it will end the same way.
>>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.

We need to do both.
>>
>>3304581
>She needs to know you’re okay, that you understand what she did. This started with you and her, and it will end the same way.
>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.
>>
>>3304581
>>She needs to know you’re okay, that you understand what she did. This started with you and her, and it will end the same way.

For once I'm not actually surprised at the twist, I figured that one of them had murdered the other.

Well you know what's good here? We know their name. Sam. That bitch Is locked away somewhere but now we don't have to share a name with her anymore, and THAT, Is satisfying.

>Tell B'ni that she Isn't hated, that this Is Sams fault, not hers. Tell her that despite everything, we think she's strong to have endured all of this by herself but now she doesn't have to. We're here, and we're NOT leaving her NO MATTER WHAT, we're here to stay. Remind her that she has good qualities that we value In spite of her flaws, tell her that none of this Is her fault and she'll be okay. Tell her to take our hand and let It all out, don't give In to the abyss because that's the only thing wrong she could ever do. Tell her that despite everything, she Is loved. She will ALWAYS be loved, and no one can EVER take that away from her.

>>3304618
For clarification BHOP, what does using Gina's cords do? Will It knock her out, or just forcibly calm her?
>>
Wait a second... DING!

Holy shit, this Is why we had amnesia. This Is why we had a second chance guys.

Isabelle caved In our braincase and when the New World came It couldn't put humpty back together again because It put her back as It found her without the wounds, but It doesn't alter the mind beyond how It finds It.

B'ni didn't kill us, she saved us. She saved our soul with rage and a lava lamp. God, we can never repay her.
>>
>>3304677
(The cords will establish a direct mental link, and may drag you and Gina into her mind since you are bonded.)
>>
>>3304704
>>3304677
In that case I'll support using the Cord on top of my vote for consoling her. Can't block us out In the throes of existential crisis If we have a direct line.

>>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.
>>
>>3304581
>>>Use Gina’s cords to attempt to stabilize her. You need to stop her before she loses it completely and you’ll work it out from there.
If she needs a steady hand, skater girl could also be helpful for that.
>>
>>3304581
“GG, cords!” You yell, and her twin jacks reach around and spear into B’ni’s spine. Across your bond, Gina is immediately overwhelmed with a flurry of voices and images.

“W-what is this?” Gina gasps, fear and confusion exploding across the cicuit. “There are so many…who are… holy shit, I need backup, Shu!”

A third cord darts from her to you and you're in a lightless abyss, surrounded by dozens upon dozens of strangers, their mutilated forms reaching out, clawing at you for release.

B'ni's voice echoes through the void from everywhere and nowhere, all at once.

…wants to fix me, I was never right She has to fix me She thinks I’m broken I’m not broken I’m her defender Her protector I thought GG was my friend she said she would stay back she lied lied lied to me she’s turned Her against me that monster I didn’t even want her to come along I knew she would take Her from me she…

Pressure builds behind your eyeballs as you swat away the legion of half-corpses, howling at you in unison as you scream out Gina's name.

"...so long, trapped..."

"...lonely, never speaks, never liste..."

"...waited, waited for the one she..."

"...ortal, she cannot be..."

The voices and the bodies fade when the void swallows you whole.

(Continued)

WARNED YOU, DEFIANT
>>
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>>3304825

You open your eyes to a world of dark crimson.

Raising yourself shakily up off the dusty floor, your head throbs with pain and scattered memories as you struggle to remember where you were before…whatever this is. You panic for a moment, thinking you’ve gone blind until your eyes slowly adjust to the dim light filtering in through the vines covering your dorm window.

You fight, struggling to remember even the slightest…okay. Okay, that’s something.

Your name is Isabelle.

Your best friend calls you B’ni.

Your best friend is…

…oh god.

Your room is covered in a tangle of pulsing muscles, and as you tear through the veins covering your window, you’re met with a vista of hell itself. A pulsing, reeking fleshscape that stretches across the fields beyond your dorms.

It all comes back to you in a flurry of recollection as your heart tightens in your chest, and you feel your eyes mist over with horrified tears. She never loved you…she never cared, she strung you along for years…over a decade wasted in pursuit of a girl that only regarded you as a tool. She’s gone, and the world is…it’s over.

You stare out the shattered window at a world of crimson. This…this is hell, and you deserve to be here.

Alone.

It’s all over, and you’re the biggest fool there is.

>>You’re a fool. Investigate the room.

>>You’re worthless. Use the shard of glass.

>>You killed her. The roof is just a stairwell away.

>>You wasted your life on someone who never loved you.

>>There’s nothing left.

>Write-In

YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR CONTROL
>>
>>3304825
Oh shit, she did make her CHOICE already didn't she.

It doesn't matter, B'ni WE'RE GONNA SAVE YOU GODDAMMIT, HOLD ON!
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3304829

>>You’re a fool. Investigate the room.

Actually too many of those choices seem suicidal. I don't know how much of this Is memory and how much will bleed Into her current state, so let's avoid the suicide options.
>>
>>3304829
>>You’re a fool. Investigate the room.

But while I DO, and i mean it, want to try and save b'ni from the hunger, i gotta say...i think shes too far gone mentally. Not from being able! O be saved from the hunger, i dont mean that, but shes honestly deranged, insane, and has been for a long time. She may of been too far gone before the fleshscape even formed. No one of healthy mind obessesses over someone for a decade to the point of being willing to cover up a murder for them. We might have to come to terms with the fact we cant give her what she wants, which is total private access to our attention and devotion.

I mean for fucks sake, she learns we betrayed her, tries to kill us while saying she still loves us, then finds us helpess in in a pod after waking up first and still lets us go, and even stalks us in apparent hope the fleshscape will change things between us or something.
>>
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>>3304825
>I thought GG was my friend she said she would stay back she lied lied lied to me she’s turned Her against me that monster I didn’t even want her to come along I knew she would take Her from me she…
>"I thought GG was my friend"
A delusional lie. Isabelle thought GG was OUR friend and simply her past acquaintance from before Crucible.
>"She lied lied lied to me"
Hypocritical. Lying is all Isabelle has been doing to us since shortly after we met her.
>"that monster I didn’t even want her to come along I knew she would take Her from me"
and this seals the deal.
>"...so long, trapped..."
>"...lonely, never speaks, never liste..."
>"...waited, waited for the one she..."
>"...ortal, she cannot be..."
YOU COWARDLY BITCH
WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET YOU TO STOP FUCKING LYING TO US FOR 12 FUCKING THREADS SO WE COULD WORK THIS OUT AND STOP SHIT FROM GETTING TO THIS POINT, BUT NOOOOOO YOU JUST HAD TO FUCK IT ALL UP

Yeah okay, fuck this. I guess in the end, we really were going to have rabbit soup for dinner whether we wanted to or not.

>>3304860
It's SMT. I knew this would happen. We either succeed in stabilizing her and getting some sense in her, we kill her right here and now to put her out of her misery, or we let her go free and have her be a recurring deadly rival who knows all our strategies and powers.
Yeah, you know what I'm gonna vote for.

>>3304833
Pic related is awfully accurate for Isabelle now, knowing she's been both the Sera (loves the MC to a ridiculous extent) AND the Heat (hates MC to a ridiculous extent) this entire time.
>>
>>3304829
Oh man. I'll try a write-in.
>You're all alone. Find a friend.

I hope Eloise is still in there to help. Look for an ice rink and head towards it.
>>
>>3304829
backing this >>3304891
>>
>>3304860
>I mean for fucks sake, she learns we betrayed her, tries to kill us while saying she still loves us, then finds us helpess in in a pod after waking up first and still lets us go, and even stalks us in apparent hope the fleshscape will change things between us or something.

I mean... It worked, didn't It? Her actions directly lead to us changing as a person. Her bashing our brains In gave us the chance to grow as a person given the circumstances, and things *did* change between us for the better out In the fleshscape.

She's a very very scarred, soul. You're right that we both have to come to terms with the fact that we can't give her everything she wants but we should also ask If In light of everything should she still really want us? I say we try to break her obsession. We're effectively a new person, wearing her old best friends face. Her old friend never cared about her no matter how much B'ni loved her but we *do* care about her. We want what's best for her but we *aren't* Sam, we love her but we don't need a worshipper. She needs to find value In life outside of us.

She needs to find something Inside herself not to hate. She needs to realize that what happened to her Isn't her fault, and she needs to get up and pick up the pieces and she needs to know that we believe In her capability to do that, even If not all at once. If we can't save this one girl, If we can't help her *save herself*...We owe It to her to fix this so I have to believe she can be saved.
>>
>>3304829
>You’re a fool. Investigate the room.
>You're all alone. Find a friend.

>>3304889
What is your stance on determinism and free will? Because you sound broken yourself.
>>
(Gentlemen, in order to keep things moving along, I may end voting thirty minutes earlier. Is that acceptable to you all?)
>>
>>3304960
Go for It BHOP, I'm limited on time anyway so If you have a post In mind just go for It.
>>
>>3304829
>>>You're a fool. Investigate the room.

>>3304889
I'd just like to put it out there that it kind of defeats the purpose of the Fool's Choice if we're going to be content to mercy-kill B'ni. There are always more things to try. Supposing she remains unstable, we can use the method Gina wanted to use for sealing away SHU to help B'ni put things aside. We could also petition the Doctor for help while Gina keeps her sedated.
But euthanizing a young girl on such firm grounding as . . . that she resents a girl she likes getting involved with someone else is both absurd and out of character for Shu. She might be willing to abandon us, but that's not the same as having any realistic chance to try to actively harm us.

>>3304960
I think that's reasonable.
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>>3304922
>What is your stance on determinism and free will? Because you sound broken yourself.
Where the fuck did this come from, you autist?
>>
>>3304960
That's fine

>>3304971
Yeah okay, we'll figure something out.
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>>3304979
Not that guy, but I think he's picking up on this line of yours-

>I guess in the end, we really were going to have rabbit soup for dinner whether we wanted to or not.

Statement kind of implies that the game was rigged from the start (which It kind of Is) but moreso that we can't do anything about It, and I'm sure most will agree that we CAN do something about It. That's all.

I get that you're pissed and B'ni hasn't handled her baggage very well but I'll be damned If I'm going to vote to put her out of her misery. Redemption or bust motherfuckers. Leave no man behind. Girl. Leave no girl behind. Eh.
>>
>>3304922
We’re all a bit broken. Why else would we be here.
>>
>>3304829

You turn from the window, grazing the shard of glass with your hand as it sends a shiver of pain through your left palm. You stare at the gash in your hand as blood runs freely down your hand.

It doesn’t matter.

She was the only person you had. Nothing matters, anym…

Your breath stops, when you see her.

There she rests like an angel, form suspended in fluid as you slowly walk towards the chrysalis of pulsing flesh resting where you last saw her. You put a hand to the translucent barrier between the two of you, and you break down in tears when you see she’s breathing.

Oh god.

Oh thank god, she’s alive.

The shattering of glass from the dormitory entrance can be heard from your closed door. That’s only twenty feet away. Heavy footfalls plod to your door and then…nothing.

Your entryway promptly explodes inwards from an incredible force, sending you flying back into your flimsy living room table. When your eyes focus past the pain, you stifle a scream of horror. The thing before you stoops low to enter your room, skin of black obsidian stretched taught across a body almost seven feet tall. It chews placidly, and your blood runs cold as it swallows the last of a severed hand. It regards you placidly, the turns to…no no no.

It begins to slam its clenched fists into Sam’s cocoon, trying to get at the defenseless meal inside. You scramble to find something to defend her with, you need…there, there covered by dust and veins. You tear the base of the shattered lava lamp free of the biomass covering the floor, bringing it to bear against the intruder that threatens to rob you of your friend. As you adjust your grip on the metal base, you’re only dimply aware that your palm in completely whole, despite the cut that should be bleeding across it.

“Hey! HEY!” You scream, voice echoing in the cramped space. The creature turns, broken neck drawing in a raspy breath as it stares at you with mismatched eyes.

“SHE’S MINE!”

B’ni

VS.

THE CROOKED VAGABOND

HP: 100%
BIO: 100%
ACT: 2/2
Threat: Close, languid. You’re not losing her again.

YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR CONTROL
>>
>>3304889
I dont want to put her down but we cant let her go at this point and be a threat either

>>3304907
Im sorry but what we became still does not justify actual murder nor covering one up.

We have tried and tried to fix her but she doesn't want to be fixed. Some people cannot be fixed, it's sadly as simple as that.

>>3304960
Im fine with it

>>3304971
I disagree, we have mercy killed before, more than once, and allowed it more than once. Its not that i want to kill b'ni, not at all, but we also have to face the fact shes insane and refuses to listen, nor dies she want to change, we wants US to change into what she wants.

Im not saying we dont try one last time to save her, im saying prepare to do what must be done, and know even if we stop the hunger, we might not be able to save her/our relationship with her.
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>>3304985
yeah I was partially joking about that with the "rabbit soup" bit, but you know how it goes
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>>3304999
>Jump kick its eye in.
>Slam lava lamp base into the things neck.
>Scream like a woman possessed.
>>
>>3304999
>Wait for It to make a move, then counter It by bashing the thing upside It's head
>Try to get the thing on the ground, go at It like a desperate animal

I started to type 'get the lava lamp' only to realize It was In the post. Fitting.
>>
(Voting to close in one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3305002
>>3304981
Gentlemen, it appears that we are playing as B'ni, trying to defend her from the Crooked Vagabond in a flashback memory. Let us not squabble about the ethos, and focus on survival.
>>3304999
>Get her away from the cocoon. Tackle her through the window.
>>
>>3304999
I bet things aren't as they seem. It's seemingly trying to get at Sam, but it's not moving to harm B'ni.

>Approach Wearily. Prepare to dodge if it attacks you.
>Beg it not to harm your best friend. Demand to know who they are.
>>
>>3304999
backing this >>3305008
>>
Whose the one saying "SHE'S MINE"? B'ni, or the Vagabond?
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>>3305082
(It's B'ni. Amalgams, save for very rare exceptions, cannot speak.)
>>
>>3305013
>>3305087
Okay, I've been under the impression that this was mindscape stuff and this was some representation of her obsession or corruption rather than a flashback to when she just woke up in the Crucible to find an Amalgam attacking Sam's cocoon. Does that mean she has her LV1 Dogged Sprinters? In which case we should try kicking.

And if Amalgams attack still-gestating daughters, how often does it happen and what percentage of daughters die from this before they're even born? Is this how some Amalgams get powers?
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>>3305013
That was just bad timing on my part on responding to the conversation right after BHIO posts, hence my vote on the fight being right after that.
That being said, i love a good conversation and still find the topic just as important to continue, even with the fight going on.
>>
>>3305103
Yeah, the desperate fight for survival can continue on in the background while we have our fireside chat about ethics.

>>3305002
Who have we actually mercy killed? Holly and the Gardener. They were both trying to kill us, and one of them was already gone to Hunger, the other had some sort of degenerative disease that made her extremely not lucid. B'ni is not nearly that far gone. She's overly attached and she was not correcting us about our past but, as we can see, it was traumatic as hell and she could even be repressing it. I don't think she can be faulted that easily for not talking about it, especially since most of the content is SHU being awful. I have trouble even blaming her for her attachment when SHU spent a decade basically grooming her like a psychopath, go literally to cult-leader extents to force B'ni into that dependency. But people also recover from that, it's just a matter of weening her off, since a stern talking to won't undue that kind of damage instantly, especially since it started in childhood.
Point is, euthanasia is totally inappropriate for someone like this provided Hunger doesn't completely consume her. And even if it does, I say we stick with our "Defiant" label and try to use neuromancy [and our own flesh, if needed] to undo it.
>>
>>3305155
that first part sounds sarcastic or condescending heh. my point is we still need to decide what to do at the end of this if things do not go well, and this fight specifically so far gives little tactical discussion to, well, discuss.

to the second part, they were still mercy kills, my point was simply we had done it. also i never said we should euthanize her? i apologize if i responded to someone who did and forgot to mention i was against it, or worded things badly, my point was she may beat the hunger, but still end up in a state where she is a danger to us and the rest of the party. at that point its regretful defense against an enemy we dont want, but have. if she simply walks off wanting nothing to do with us, or just needs time to herself, so be it, i just meant its highly possible she will not be keen on just walking away peacefully if things go badly, which lets be honest, they very well could.

also i get your point, but people indoctrinated also commit murders and go unrecoverably insane for their cult-leader, and also entire groups of people have gone so far off the deep end they actively commit suicide for the cult leader. its possible she might be able to recover, but that doesn't mean its going to happen. ten years is a long time, and even after all that happened her first thought after she OLD shu in the pod was happiness she had not actually killed her, showing a disturbing devotion she still had. honestly if she had killed us, with or without the fleshpocalypse im positive she would've offed herself.
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>>3305238
If things hit absolute critical mass, I'm still don't think I can bring myself to vote to kill her. As an absolute last resort, I could very reluctantly agree to wiping her memories Via neuromancy surgery If It was possible and leaving her at the monastery. God help me though, I don't want to resort to that. Hell, that's what she did for us Isn't It, and we became a better person. Fuck this Is dark.
>>
>>3305254
while i dont want to kill her, im more than willing to vote to do it. shes personally crossed more lines than id ever allow in my own relationships, and dammit, Gina and Rath dont deserve to have this time bomb of a person who would literally throw them under the bus weigh over their heads, and damnit damnt, Shu is allowed to be selfish ONCE and not keep someone this toxic around her, damn be if PAST Shu we barely feel any actual connection to made her this way.
>>
>>3305262
I absolutely refuse to do so or to use our other friends to make that excuse. She started getting along with Rath and just received and nice gift from her, for fuck's sake. That's the kind of positive interaction with others we wanted to see.

Maybe Rath should be here for this as well.
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>>3304999

Your arms were always weak, but ever since Shu convinced you to join track with her in highschool, you’ve never stopped running. You dash forwards, jumping up and snapping your foot into its smooth face. It’s caught off guard by your resistance and stumbles back into the hallway. It’s trying to catch its balance when you throw your full weight into its core, sending you both tumbling to the hallway floor and leaving you atop its chest. You scream with protective fury as you bring the base of the lava lamp down on the ebony flesh of its neck over and over again.

You’re so focused on trying to end its life that you barely flinch when its long fingers curl around your throat and begin to squeeze. With a flick of its wrist you’re flung bodily back down the hallway, and you feel your neck pop as you slam into the wall at the hall’s end. Your body slumps painfully to the floor…or it would, if you could feel anything at all.

You realize with a pang of terror that your neck is broken.

You struggle, trying to will your limbs to move as you’re a prisoner in your own paralyzed form, your arms and legs unmoving as you pray for a miracle…and someone answers. Your nerves spring back to life as your head is wrenched back into place of its own volition. You have no idea what just happened, but an inkling of understanding filters into your mind as you rise to your feet, determined to save your best friend.

You’ve been given a second chance…you’re not going to waste it.

>>CORE POWER - UNLOCKED

>>SPE AETERNI FONTIS: You long for a second chance, to make things right. To live a blissful existence with the one you love…this is your chance. Your body has changed on a fundamental level, allowing you to recover from catastrophic injury at a speed incomparable to other Daughters. Your BIO is drained automatically and converted directly into HEALTH at a three-to-one ratio when you sustain damage, though this ability may not be toggled on or off at its current level.

It doesn’t see you coming when you knock it to the floor and wrap your thighs around its neck. You see it’s face twist from confusion to rage as it spears your body with its nails over and over again, and still you keep your stranglehold as tight as you can manage, you wounds healing over as quickly as it can make them.

When it finally stops moving, you stare at the body, a deep-seated hunger coming over you…

…and you know what to do.

(Continued)
>>
>>3305254
You're nobody 'til somebody mind-wipes you.

>>3305238
(My sarcasm was self-deprecating, as could hopefully be told from the fact that I immediately went to engaging in that discussion.)

My biggest objection is that you're not representing the mental health part of this well. Yes, people kill themselves for cults and that sort of thing, but I haven't even heard anecdotes of someone being impossible to rehabilitate from brainwashing (assuming they're still alive and able to communicate and so on). There's no reason to think she is "too far gone" from conditioning, because conditioning just doesn't work that way.
You know what else? She's already recovering. Remember that cute little scene with Rath? She's learning to invest in other people for completely self-motivated reasons. If she just keeps doing that, she'll be a helpful teammate, because her big problem was over-prioritizing Shu. All we need to do is have Rath and Gina keep visibly supporting her and she'll be able to make more progress getting away from her obsession.
>>
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>>3305279

Your name is B’ni, and it’s been two…no, it has to have been more than that…it’s been…three? You glance from where you sit at the base of Shu’s container and count the numerous lines you’ve carved in it, each representing vague approximations of days, though it’s hard to tell in this eternal dusk.

Three weeks. Yes, it’s been three weeks since you woke up. You’ve emerged victorious in three different fights to ensure your friend’s survival against roving Daughters, and you feel like you’re starting to get used to this. You’ve invested every drop of their bodies into strengthening your form, praying your body doesn’t change. Not like them, never like them. You’ve realized they take bits and pieces from what they eat, and you can’t afford to do that.

You can’t change. You won’t change. How will she recognize you if you change?

You carve a crimson line idly down your arm with a shard of bone plucked from the latest predator, feeling the bloody lines heal instantly. You watch Shu’s body in the softly thrumming chrysalis, up until you hear a scream from outside your dorm, followed by a series of furious wingbeats. Your hand tightens around your makeshift knife as you stare at Shu’s peaceful face.

No one else can have her.

It’s when you absorb this latest girl’s form that She comes to you, Her body as deep and as black as the spaces between the stars. She is a vast and terrible thing, the cycle She is a part of older than time itself. You feel Her smile when She says you remind Her of Herself, a lifetime ago.

You take it as a compliment.

She offers you a choice, she shows you an army of you, spawning from your wounds, countless in number as you all march across the fleshscape, intent on the Cord. Then, She shows you assaulted from every angle, besieged by every form of torture, every savage alteration of your form proving futile as you reset, time and again to the form you have now. Your answer comes easily.

There’s only you, only her, and you will resist change of any kind for the chance to be with her again.

Five. Five months, now. You’ve gotten better at this, able to suppress the healing to a degree to play possum against Daughters that mistake you for easy prey. The desire to go west tugs at your mind every aching second of every day, but you resist.

Telling stories helps you stay…the same. You tell and retell stories of you and her to her softly pulsing home, waiting for the day she will wake and you’re together again.

Which story will you tell her today?

>>Tell her how you first met.

>>Tell her the story about your nicknames.

>>Tell her about your first kiss.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR CONTROL
>>
>>3305262
Honestly, The revelation that she killed us and smashed our brains In explains the amnesia. As batshit fucking crazy as It was, It was our second chance. Now I feel like we need to return the favor. She Inadvertently saved our soul, now let's save hers. If we can't redeem her because I DO understand how hard to shake this cultlike mentality she has Is then we still have to do something for her, which Is why I suggested wiping her memories. It might not be clean, but she deserves a second chance. I do also agree as Is she's a time bomb that might go off RIGHT NOW, and before this thread she was my least favorite character but this latest twist puts a lot of shit In context for me and I feel we owe her to at least try our goddamndest to help her.
>>
>>3305286
>>Tell her the story about your nicknames.

Jesus Christ. I've got to go to work, don't give up on the girl guys, please. Please.

>>3305279

>>CORE POWER - UNLOCKED

>>SPE AETERNI FONTIS:

HAHA, I called It. I knew she was hiding her core power somehow.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in two hours. Thank you.)
>>
>>3305286
>Tell her how you first met.

Damn, she got The Choice a long time ago, and now we're learning the real reason mother calls her a Liar. Seems like a Viruvian power, although how did she end up getting the Fibromancer legs and later the fangs with this power and mindset?
>>
>>3305286
>Tell her how you came to fall in love with her.
>>3305298
Damn, That's a Vivtruvian ability. It doesn't involve generating or manipulating flesh. It's a powerful one-off ability that lets her keep on going that preserves her human form and heals her body to its pristine state if she has the Bio to spare.
And to think this was the ability that she got from making the Fool's choice to stay with Shu.
>>
>>3305317
It looks like this wasn't a Fool's Choice, but rather the second option presented.

"Then, She shows you assaulted from every angle, besieged by every form of torture, every savage alteration of your form proving futile as you reset, time and again to the form you have now."
>>
>>3305313
Isn't that the same one Mara was hunting? Also, doesn't that mean she has a couple months left before Shu wakes up?
>>
>>3305286
fucking...FUCKING. she made her choice long ago. and shes been hiding one DAMN of an ability from- fuck, we thought she was gonna die once but she was just pretending wasn't she? fucking....that ability could've helped not just us, but our entire team so much if she had just told us, godamnit....

also, did she just outright turn MOTHER down like West said we can, or did she pick her own fools choice?

>>Tell her how you first met.

>>3305276
i voted/said i wanted Rath to be here, but no one really backed it up in the end...

>>3305281
my problem with that thinking is its more than brainwashing with how she acts, and though we dont know for sure, she could have base issues that made Old Shu target her in the first place/make it get to this point. we already know she had and could invest in other people, but her own inner thoughts constantly point towards moments like with Rath meaning little to nothing to her in the long run.
>>
>>3305289
>>3305298
for what its worth, i have said i wish to try and save her, at least from the hunger, and DO hope for the best here. maybe im just a pessimist? and simply think we shouldn't expect the best nor to not have to do something harsh and drastic at the end of this.
>>
>>3305286
>Tell her how you first met.
>>
(Gentlemen, I am afraid I made an error of omission in the earlier post. B'ni's core power reads simply SPE AETERNI FONTIS, when it should read SPE AETERNI FONTIS(Lvl 1). My apologies.)
>>
>>3305470
>an entire levellable ability hidden from us
THAT BITCH
also what about all the other Daughters and Amalgams she consumed waiting for Shu to wake up? what did she do with all those points and levels?
>>
>>3305501
(You'll see.)
>>
>>3305501
anon. be patient, we still haven't figured out the entire story.
>>
>>3305501
>>3305511
(I do appreciate these questions, as even if I do plan to address something they sometimes serve as a reminder of things that have slipped my mind.)
>>
>>3305501
We don't have evidence that she was hiding it from us. It could have been repressed.
From her other motivations, there's no obvious reason why she would hide it in the bone forest fight, among others. Just wait and see what happens. For all we know, her regeneration power interacts weirdly with neurogenesis and she, like Shu, got a brain injury.
>>
>>3305286

"Hey, you remember the first time we met?" You ask, a rare smile spreading across your face. "Kindergarten. I was six, and you were seven. I'd been there for months, and no one wanted to be friends with me. Even the teachers didn't seem to care about me...but then you showed up."

"This bigger girl called me retarded, said I was acting weird. You punched her right in her mouth, and then offered me your hand with a smile. You got scolded, but you just kept wearing that defiant grin of yours like nothing could stop you. You acted like you wanted me all to yourself, and we played together the rest of the day...and every day after that."

You smile fades as a worrying thought creeps into your mind.

"Were you using me, even then?"

From her, silence.

From outside...

Multiple targets. A small group and…an Amalgam. A large one, at that. You leap up from where you sit before the chrysalis and dart outside. It's a scavenging party of four Daughters, fleeing from some sort of twisted blend of a jungle cat and some breed of shark, all torn flesh and patches of fur. You stand between it and the team when it twists its head to the side to swallow you whole. You catch its teeth with your bare hands, muscles straining against the crushing pressure.

You test out your latest augmentation, feeling the biomass swelling within you, drawing it from the very ground you stand on as strength fills every inch of you, and with a sharp jerk, you snap its teeth off, catching it by the jaw before jerking it the other way, snapping its neck.

You're studying your handiwork when you see a limb on the ground and realize with a start that it's your own, your right shoulder ending in a bloody stump. The force of this strength enhancement is formidable, but you'll have to moderate it if you don't want to reveal your...

You become aware of the apparent leader of the band of Daughters behind you, offering her thanks. The leader of the small party reaches out to shake your hand, and you extend your bleeding stump as you glance past her to your dorm entrance, then looking into the girl's eyes. Her gaze meets your cold, hard stare as confusion spreads across her face…followed by pain when your hand spears through her heart as you spontaneously regenerate your missing limb through her chest.

It’s quick, and it's clean.

You grant the others the same courtesy.

You have to.

She’s yours, and yours alone.

(Continued)

You fight.

(Continued)

You struggle.

(Continued)

You wait.

(Continued)
>>
>>3305501
Lets be fair. No sat down and said we all have share everything we can do. That just sort of happened anyways. Aside from that she had good reason to hide shit from us when we first woke up. Once she started lying it started snowballing, but everything she’s hidden really made sense at the time.
>>
>>3305568

It’s been…it’s…you’re not sure how long it’s been, ever since you lost track at the two year mark. The days, hours, minutes, seconds bleed into each other as you’ve etched every detail of Shu’s face into your mind. It won’t be long, now. You can feel it in your chest.

Though your core ability has changed, warping and melding with other, subtler abilities to become even stronger, your body remains unchanged by this unrelenting world. When Shu stirs from her sleep, you watch her for as long as you can. You watch the fluid drain away from her cocoon, you watch the rise and fall of her chest. You watch her for as long as you can before you have to leave, and then you keep watching, from afar.

You observe her for a few days and she seems…different. Softer, in a way. When she tries to stage an ambush, you let her. Your heart leaps, your body erupting into shivers from the sound of her voice after so, so long. You tell her it’s a part of your power, knowing she won’t know any better, so she won’t know what to ask. She doesn't trust you yet, but that's fine. You've waited this long.

You can wait a little longer.

You almost burst into tears of joy when she doesn’t recognize you, when you realize she doesn’t remember anything at all. It’s a clean slate, a fresh beginning.

When you absorb the canine's power, granting you these hideous legs and horrific teeth, you make light of it, and she smiles. It's the same smile she had when she was your protector, and you want to see it every day for the rest of your life. If all it takes is protecting each other, being on the same level...so be it.

When you suppress your healing factor during and after the fight with the Chevalier, you’re awestruck and how kind and loving Shu is towards you. Bonding over a life almost (but not really) lost, you can't get over how beautiful her eyes are as she leans over you, worried sick.

It’s perfect.

(You Continue Together)
>>
>>3305587

You’re pleased with yourself that for all your talks with GG about Sam, where she tried to convince you to finally break ties with your oldest and best friend, that when you started referring to your ‘new friend’ as Shu she didn’t bat an eye when the two of you reconnected. You plan to strike her down where she stands if she tries to drag Shu into some suicide run to save her monster of a friend, but thankfully it doesn’t come to that.

Of course she takes the third option, and as shaken as she seems from the experience you can't help but be so, so proud of her. She's so strong, so amazing...she's everything you ever hoped she'd be, and more.

Julia worries you, when you meet her. You can sense that she’s not to be trifled with, solely from the weight of your experience. She’s like you, in a way. She was secluded for so long, with a singular dream, and that’s made her more powerful than you think she realizes, and in more ways than one. Given the way Shu looks at Julia, how she was so kind, so sickeningly sweet...you hope she never does.

For her sake.

You’re horrified when Shu remembers a fragment of her old life, the life you thought you had put behind the two of you. She is, too, but you see a golden opportunity in her fear. She’s afraid of what she might become, exaggerating who she thought she was, warping a half-remembered prank into something much darker...and she’ll be a better person for it. She won’t give in to what this world makes you, what it made...no. She'll be a better person for it.

You have to believe that, as you hold your tongue.

You realize one day that she hasn’t asked you about yourself. You run through your time together, and as incredible as every second has been, you wonder when she’ll start trying to get to know you. When she’ll finally see everything you do for her. When she’ll finally…

When she leads the charge against Kosi's city, when GG shows just how fucking selfish she is, it's then that you start to realize how much you resent her. When you fight Mara, it's the first time in a long time that you've met your match. It's as you trade blows, when she almost asks you how long you've been awake, that you realize on some level, you both realize it.

Both of you were holding back, that day.

After all that, even as you're silently praying that something will happen to make things the way they were before Gina showed up, you have no choice.

(You continue)
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>>3305626

The revelations that pour forth from the Charon's lips almost break you. There can only be one. All others will perish. That is the immutable, undeniable law of Mother Herself.

When Shu spits in the face of the divine, in that moment you love her more than you thought possible.

She's so wonderful.

She's so naive.

When Rath rejoins you, despite the warning you gave to stay away from Shu when you first met her, you all drink and celebrate. Shu's afraid to indulge, and you appreciate why. You drink, but your system just keeps resetting itself, breaking down the alcohol before it has a chance to dull your system, before it has a chance to ease your mind. You rest your head on Shu's lap until everyone passes out, as you endlessly review every word of encouragement shared, every glance cast between Shu and Gina...and Rath...and Julia...but not...never...

She said that if you ever had any questions, to just ask. You wonder if She grants many this opportunity as you call out to her from the depths of sleep. You expected her arms to be cold, like the uncaring void of space, but to your surprise you find mild starlight caressing your skin when she answers your plea for audience.

HELLO MY FAVORED CHILD

WHAT PROMPTS YOUR SORROW

WHAT HAS FUELED YOUR REGRET

IS THIS NOT ALL YOU HOPED FOR

A LIFE WITH HER BY YOUR SIDE

"It...it is, but I..." You begin, uncertain of how to ask the question that preys on your mind ever since your meeting with Charon...or if it should be asked at all.

SPEAK MY DEAR

I SHALL ANSWER YOU PLAINLY

WITH LOVE

WITH TRUTH

SPEAK, DEAREST ISABELLE

UNLIKE ANYONE ELSE

I WITHHOLD NOTHING FROM YOU

You take a deep breath, and ask.

>>"Are you sure there cannot be more than one winner of the Crucible? Can I take someone with me?"

>>"The Daughters that are inside me, the people I've consumed...if I wanted to keep one, if...if I ascend the Cord...is that possible?"

>>"...What are the parameters of the rule change, when someone wins the Crucible? You kept Charon around, so...what's possible, with my wish?"

>>"You say I'm your favorite...what makes you say that? I didn't think you could play favorites, so why me?"

>>Write-In

YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR CONTROL
>>
>>3305587
Christ, alrighty. Continuity note: Didn't B'ni have rabbit legs before they became dog/rabbit legs? Or did I miss/misremember something?
>>
>>3305664
ok yeah no never mind fuck B'ni this is some messed up shit on some messed up levels.
>that thing with Rath
>The wholesale slaughter just because they are near us
>Her piles of lies
>Pulling at our emotions
>Refusing to use her abilities to help even technically us alot of times
fucking, i could go on. and on. and on. this...this has grown so far out of hand from what we thought she was doing and holding back from us, this is, geezus, literally one second off for who knows how long from slaughtering everyone around us we care about, just because of one thing...

ill, ill withhold til we get to the end as best i can but, wow, this is, mind boggling insane what she has done, and pulled off. impressive, but disgusting.

>>"The Daughters that are inside me, the people I've consumed...if I wanted to keep one, if...if I ascend the Cord...is that possible?"
ill vote for this one.
>>
>>3305681
(She didn't. She was twitchy and claimed her body's muscles had been replaced with quick-firing ones, but the only skill tree that was visible to you was Dogged Sprinter, which caused her mouth and legs to shift.)
>>
>>3305677
>>3305686
gosh darn you BHOP and your fixes haha.

>>3305681
she had animalistic legs when we first met her but not dog like til she consumed the dog. i think it was rabbits but only more vaguely than later stated looks.
>>
>>3305677
>>"...What are the parameters of the rule change, when someone wins the Crucible? You kept Charon around, so...what's possible, with my wish?"
This is definitely the most useful question for planning purposes, though the playing favorites one might be interesting.
>>
>>3305699
(Gah, you're correct. She had agile rabbit-like legs, but it was her mouth that had changed. My original notes are hand-written and difficult to read. due to my atrocious penmanship. She had tried to keep her physical augmentations as limited as possible before Shu woke up.)
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in one and a half hours.)
>>
>>3305707
So that's why Rath called B'ni "Jack rabbit". it's also why her nickname "B'ni" sounds like Bunny. Goddammit Hindsight!
It bugged me that she had a choice to get jackalope horns when she nommed Eloise.
>>
>>3305707
hey man its fine. its the first continuity error i think we have seen, and not a major one nor one tht cant be twisted.

not to jump on telling your story, maybe she allowed that change to take place as part of the trick to hide her true power, just before meeting us in person? just a suggestion, do as you please, id even accept a retcon if that is what you need.
>>
>>3305677
>"Are you sure there cannot be more than one winner of the Crucible? Can I take someone with me?"
>>
>>3305718
(That's totally something I meant to throw in to the last series of posts, actually. I won't pull a classic BHOP and delete the posts or anything, but that's the way it was supposed to be, you're right.)
>>
>>3305725
ah, well there we have it then! makes perfect sense to me.
>>
>>3305707
No worries. It's perfectly possible that she realized (maybe too late, even between Shu waking up and their "reunion") that she needed a cover story and so took a mutation that wouldn't get in the way of being recognized.
Or, you know, something like that. Just speculating.
>>
>>3305718
>>3305725
Whoops, guess that's why I should update before posting.
>>
>>3305747
haha, i know right? you know how many times ive missed BHOPS fixes or posts because i timed things perfectly imperfectly? or had to post two messages for the same conversation? its like a bad curse or something.

but seriously, this revelation. holy fucking crap.
>>
>>3305763
To think we gave B'ni shit because of her cageyness. It turns out she woke up and spent 2 whole years protecting Sam/Shu. I feel super horrible. But the drama is justified given the limited information BHOP gave us to work with.

This is one hell of an intervention.

So gentlemen. We are Sam/Shu, who got sucked into B'ni's headspace. We got sucked up with Gina trying to help B'ni deal with her dramatic hunger pang. How are we going to handle this?
>>
>>3305778
i think its best to just...roll with her memories til we reach the end, if nothing else the info is probably necessary to stop the hunger. and while im not so sure about giving her another chance anymore, its now obvious that she would be a terror the likes we have never faced if she falls to the hunger, so im all for stopping that at least. no matter how it must be done to stop it.

as for me? i feel angry actually. i mean fair enough she protected us, but thats nothing new. she also killed when she didn't need to out of her obsession, threatened our friends, and generally pulled us along emotionally for her own gain. she withheld info and strength and so much more we NEED and would've stopped so much heartache and trouble. im calling it now. she never for a moment thought she couldn't also save Rath back then. she just didn't want to. why reveal herself to us to save a life she would rather have been dead long ago? B'ni ticks too many of my damn 'unforgivable' boxes whew goddamned.
>>
>>3305778
I was going to say she was clearly redeemable, but BHOP, as if out of spite, made it so that in this context her reaction to Rath's gift is no longer a good sign.
Nonetheless, it still looks like this mess was from Sam's grooming, so I say we keep trying. Conditioning can usually be addressed even if it's really severe.
>>
>>3305677
>"...What are the parameters of the rule change, when someone wins the Crucible? You kept Charon around, so...what's possible, with my wish?"
>>
>>3305803
The unsettling issue that I find with that statement is that if we do push her away from the memory revelation, we'd be confirming her worst fears and insecurities. We'd be nothing more than the same monster that Sam was pre-Crucible. Stringing her along until the moment we didn't need her. It just feels irredeemable because she did much of her actions for the sake of being with Shu no matter the consequences, without considering Shu's feelings. And in a strange twist, B'ni is becoming more like Sam.

>>3305806
I think we haven't seen the end of this wild ride yet. B'ni has A LOT to unpack. And I would have to remind all of us one thing. This is from B'ni's mindset and point of view, B'ni's circumstances and life experiences paints an entirely different picture. It's still too early to call it. True, Sam was a colossal dick. B'ni did some things she regretted. B'ni also had to deal with being alone for 2 years with a Sam/Shu who was still in her Pod. You need to keep in mind of B'ni's mental state throughout the entire 2 years and 3 weeks she's been awake since the Crucible's beginning.
>>
I'm resistant to admitting that B'ni is too far gone, but if she is:
It was unclear (though Gina probably knows ic from the conversation with Superior), but couldn't we have one of the head girls take control of B'ni's body if we remove the main mind? I think several of them would be good traveling companions. There's also a chance that the vitruvian power would make them take on their own appearance (though still just B'ni's mutations).

And what to do with B'ni? Well, apparently we can put minds into constructs, so why not put her in a swarmling? That way, Shu can see what she sees (no sneaking around) and override her actions at will. And, if she ever wanted to, she could reabsorb the swarmling to put B'ni in her mind. Sounds like a dream come true until B'ni remembers that old SHU is there. Maybe they could kill each other?
>>
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>>3305803
>>3305806
>>3305853
>>3305858
Guys, Isabelle literally has been doing to Shu what Sam had done to her for years. It's the same fucking shit, leading on with lies and hiding true intentions. It's unhealthy, it's fucked up, and with all the evidence BHOP is giving I have to say it's no longer something we can permit to continue. If we really want to amputate the past and all the shit that it holds, Isabelle needs to die.
>>
>>3305894
My emphasis was more on not wasting how powerful she is. If we could just replace her with one of the head girls, it would be the most efficient option provided we pick the right one.
Then what we do with her mind can be sorted out after.
We could always make her a swarmling and let West experiment on her.
>>
>>3305853
context matters. we never strung her along, she strung us along. she confirmed her own fears and insecurities by giving us every reason to not want her around. by not listening to us and not changing her ways when she learned who the new us was.

and the real kicker? she didn't spend those two years defending us. she didn't. she spent them defending Sam. old Shu. a monster in her own right who maybe didn't deserve death, but certainly no ones protection. she did horrible and monstrous deeds for an obsession over a sociopath(psychopath?). conditioning or not, thats very unjustified.

and then she met Shu, us, the new person. and she learned quickly who and what we were, what we stood for. and she ignored all of it constantly, only changing to hide her true self from us, and even then acting on it whenever she could. she if anything, did worse by stringing along a genuinely caring person and twisting said girls emotions and trust for her own wants. she literally did become Sam.

we arent letting her go, if we do, because we dont need her. if anything her newfound powers and abilities would help tremendously. we would be letting her go because shes honestly terrifying and a threat to us, our friends, and everything we stand for. she may actually be the biggest threat we have yet to encounter.

>>3305858
oh fuck no, the LAST place we need B'ni is in our mind after this revelation. remember, twice now, albeit one was old Shu, a head buddy has affected our actual actions. even if Holly making us fall asleep is pretty minor, and we were already tired, thats already more control then i want to even POTENTIALLY have B'ni have over us. i also see no point keeping her around as a risk. if shes dangerous enough to where we decide she must go. then she must go. fully. if nothing else, keeping her as a swarmling or something sounds like torture, and i dont think she deserves that, even if she can no longer be trusted.

as for putting someone else in her body? im against it. that just...doesn't sit right. feels way too twisted and wrong. my conviction against B'ni is based on morals and danger, it wouldn't be right to go that far as to literally replace her in her own body. she again, may be a threat, but deserves to at least die in her own body as herself, if we really really must go that route in the end.
>>
>>3305918
>and then she met Shu, us, the new person. and she learned quickly who and what we were, what we stood for. and she ignored all of it constantly, only changing to hide her true self from us, and even then acting on it whenever she could. she if anything, did worse by stringing along a genuinely caring person and twisting said girls emotions and trust for her own wants. she literally did become Sam.
Anon. I think we found a way to verbally talk her down. Just tell her that's she's acting like Sam, that she's become the monster that both she and Shu fears. Make her realize by telling her the metaphorical equivalent of looking at herself in the mirror.
>>
>>3305918
>as for putting someone else in her body? im against it. that just...doesn't sit right. feels way too twisted and wrong. my conviction against B'ni is based on morals and danger, it wouldn't be right to go that far as to literally replace her in her own body. she again, may be a threat, but deserves to at least die in her own body as herself, if we really really must go that route in the end.
Oh dear
Look, that's basically just a strong aesthetic preference that's being conflated for a moral value. If you want to just straight euthanize her, honestly I don't care that much (if we find that she can never be expected to cooperate). But it would be such a waste to just eat her or whatever. Someone with her power has the potential to do so much good for the world.
Also, I agree that it's aesthetically gross, but that's why I mention the vitruvian thing. It's up to BHOP's ruling, but we have a perfect excuse for B'ni's body basically transforming into the new girl's body (but with only B'ni's mutations). That's about a thousand times less gross than someone looking like her but not being her.
Should innocent people (maybe even including us) die because something's basically just icky?
>>
>>3305936
...goddammit, that is what Shu would do, isnt it? im honestly at this point pretty done with giving B'ni Chances, but Shu would be all for at least giving her one last one, wouldn't she? my biggest worry is...well, think about it? imagien actually telling her that us, Shu, the best version of everything she does not just love, but is utterly devoted to, tells her she is what she fears and hates most?

she will either kill us on the spot and fall to the hunger instantly, no chance to stop her, or she may break out of it, but mentally i honestly think she would never recover, even if she beats the hunger.
>>
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W-What the absolute FUCK did I come back to?
BHOP, what the fuck, man. Is this what you meant by "ruse cruise" all those threads ago?
>>
>>3305967
(Yes. Yes, it was. This, and several other things I have in store.)
>>
I fear this quest just jumped the shark. Every said about B’ni works on it own spread over time, but we got waaay to much at once. Now everyone wants her dead rather than one or two.
>>
>>3305946
what? no, i mean i find the idea of body snatching morally wrong. the idea of kicking someone out of their own body and throwing in another wrong. it would make us no more a monster than others, in my eyes.

and no, at this point i dont think it will come down to euthanasia at all. if things go bad and we cant have her around us, she wont give us a choice but to defend ourselves i feel.
>>
>>3305980
im still willing to change based on what comes next, but can you honestly look at this and not at least understand how many think way too many lines have been crossed and that its not messed as all hell up?

personally, im not upset from a story standpoint, and again, im going off current info yes, she still has more story to tell, but nonetheless she has crossed alot of lines and done some wicked deeds in my eyes. if it helps, even if this had been spread out more, id come to the same conclusion. i cannot talk for others, of course.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3305984
Alright, so there are a couple of things. Just like our last discussion, I feel like the context of the setting is important. This sanctity of life has already been thrown out of the window as a concept
>He who fights monsters --
Hold on, just listen for a second. B'ni didn't in her original body. Her old body is gone, erased. She's in the body of a human-looking monster that was fabricated to seem like her old one. That's what the pods are.
More to the point, we don't need to "throw in another." She's already got minds in there, largely people she murdered in cold blood to grind levels.
Not only that, but this body *isn't just hers.* It's not the one she woke up in, it's an amalgamation of the one she woke up in and the ones that her victims woke up in. The Chevalier is anatomically (and seemingly spiritually) a part of whatever she is, and so are all the people B'ni never let us meet. Why can't any of her victims have a life back that isn't just writhing in that screaming abyss?
>>
>>3306024
Should be "B'ni didn't *wake up* in her original body"

>>3306003
If anything, I'm glad it was such a dump. We're already constantly iterating on our interpretations of her as it is, we don't really need a thousand more because it's all drip-fed.
>>
>>3305967
I dunno man. This is one heck of an intervention if you ask me. There's so much baggage to sift through. We're all torn up about this.

>>3305978
>several other things in store
>several more ruses
This ain't a ruse cruise.
This is a NAVAL BLACK FLAG OPERATION.

We asked for honesty one small step at a time. A trail of bread crumbs so to speak to clean out the closet. but you dumped the entire graveyard on us. And this is just the latest in a long line of back-to-back revelations we've had within the last 5 threads?

>>3305980
I'm starting to get the same feeling. It's a bit too much at once. some of us have gone numb and apathetic.

>>3306003
To be honest, I didn't get the chance to be as emotionally invested into the latest revelation between Shu and B'ni. Job Fairs are stressful, so I'm approaching this from a more level-headed point of view. Nevertheless, B'ni did some things that raises eyebrows.

As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Her good intention was to "Keep Sam/Shu with her", but it seems she's paving that road with the bodies of dead daughters and amalgams.
>>
>>3306024
ok, ill admit you make a good point on her victims, but:
no, it is her body. it was made for her, based on her. and no, we are not monsters because of these bodies. what you do and how you act makes you a monster, nothing else. we are still mentally and spiritually humans. it is our decision to lose that, no one elses. Life is always, before and after the fleshscape, only as sacred as you make it to be. it is up to us to make sure it still means something to not be a murderer. the sanctity of life has not been thrown out just because of the fleshcape, if anything it could be much more important. it is entirely up to us to decide that.
>>
>>3305677

"...What are the parameters of the rule change, when someone wins the Crucible?" You finally ask. "You kept Charon around, so...what's possible, with my wish?"

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ENDING THE CYCLE

ANYTHING AT ALL

You ponder this for a moment before Mother speaks again.

YOU COULD EVEN MAKE A NEW DEFIANT

SHOULD IT PLEASE YOU

"W-what?! No!" You shout, taken aback. "Why would I want to..."

WATCH

WATCH AS SHE TRIES TO FIX YOU

WATCH AS SHE TRIES TO CONTROL YOU

WATCH AS SHE TRIES TO MUZZLE HER PET

You wake to the smell of tea and coffee.

When the homunculus confirms Mother's words with casual abandon, when you remember everything that She told you, your mind is made up. When Shu and Gina ask to speak with you...you know you can't keep all of this inside you anymore, like a dam about to burst.

When they stand, side-by-side, connected in a way you never had with the girl you loved, it breaks you. It would be so simple. You've been awake so long, so what's a little longer?All you need is a sufficiently powerful neuromancer to bring with you to the Cord. You have the means. You have the power. If the Shu you need, the Shu you deserve doesn’t exist…

…then you will make one.

Your true body re-asserts itself violently, throwing Gina and Shu back as your mind clears of their intrusion, though the empathic channel remains open.

You stare at Shu, then at the one that took her from you...

...and you know what you have to do.

B’ni the Patient

VS.

SHU THE BETRAYER

HP:1780%
BIO:1560%
ACT: 6/6
Threat: Negligible.

YOU WILL HAVE CONTROL

YOU WILL HAVE

YOU WILL

NO

No

no

(Continued)
>>
>>3306046
I need to get better at rhetoric . . .
Most of that post is deflecting from the heart of the issue, or at least the point I was trying to get at.
>it is her body. it was made for her, based on her
This is flimsy teleology. If Shu made a swarmling "for B'ni," stuck her in it and immolated the old body, would we say that it's immoral to remove B'ni from that body because
>it is her body. it was made for her,
If we're humoring the idea that there's something inherently sacred about bodies in a setting where souls seem to exist -- and I think that that idea is goofy -- that doesn't mean any construct that some other person made "for you" is now some inalienable aspect of your identity.
And everything you said is still avoiding the part where she's not just what she woke up as, her victims are not only being held hostage by her in cold blood, they're physically a part of her. Collectively, they're probably make up more of the body than she does. We're only calling it "her body" out of convention, but it doesn't mean the same thing in this setting. All it means is that she's "IN CONTROL" [caps for meme, not yelling].
And remember, that's part of her ruse. I bet it's a lot easier to say that her legs are the legs of the Daughter and the Amalgam she ate as much as hers, just like Shu's mouth is really Holly's mouth, and their dream interactions show that that's still true.
But B'ni has been intentionally avoiding gathering those markers (except the one she needed to deceive us), but the body is still built out of other people just as much as if she had been Consuming them. That's evidenced further by this part:
>your core ability has changed, warping and melding with other, subtler abilities to become even stronger
Because even though the point of the power is to keep the appearance of being unchanged, it's development is still based on incorporating the girls she assimilated.
All this to say that I think it's ridiculous to kill all of her victims because B'ni took painstaking care to make their collective body look like she used to, as though she had the right to use and erase them.

By the way, to people saying B'ni's not that bad and that she spent two years in isolation, remember that she could have been making friends, but she ate them instead.
>>
im late again though im backheyo good read i guess
>>
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>>3306103
>HP:1780%
>BIO:1560%
>ACT: 6/6
>Threat: Negligible.

>mfw
>>
>>3306103
Jesus fucking CHRIST B'ni is strong
>>
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>>3306103

You're free. You're back in your own head, your own body, feeling the thrum of your hive and the roil of your second maw where your intestines should be.

Your name is Shu, and right now your and Gina's hearts race as one, your minds struggling to wrap around what you've just experienced. You see B'ni's eyes, that killing intent behind them, the same you saw as she loomed over you, the amethyst lamp held above you in rage...

...and then her eyes go glassy, the seething rage coming across the channel giving way to a cold, numb realization.

"I never stopped." She says softly, her shoulders going slack as she stares past you and Gina, the fight leaving her. "I never stopped wasting time on someone that couldn't love me the way I wanted...the way I needed."

"I love Shu with all my heart, and all my soul." She says, and her emerald gaze meets yours, a spark of something a little like hope, a little like defiance in her eyes.

"But you're not *my* Shu."

She glances in the direction of the waystation for a long moment, then back to you before speaking.

"I'm going to the Cord." She says, resolute. "And I'm going to finish the Crucible."

She starts walking away from you, talking more to herself than either you or your ally.

"I'm going to make what doesn't exist, and I'm going to finally be happy."

>>Stop her.

>>Let her go.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
We need to just channel all the frustration Shu is feeling from B'ni's constant underhanded bitchy shenanigans, and throw it all in her fucking face. Go full "LOOK AT YOURSELF ISABELLE, YOU'RE JUST AS BAD AS SAM"
or match her and call on Sam/oldShu to set her straight
>>
(Gentlemen, I will be pausing here for the evening and resuming in approximately twelve to fourteen hours. Thank you so much for your continued participation, and know that I will be around for a while longer to address concerns, questions, and criticisms as always. Thank you again for your time and readership, and take care.)
>>
>>3306201
>"i...ok. for what its worth, Isabelle? thank you...thank you for being my friend. i, i cant forgive everything you have done, i cant ignore everything you did, the lies...but still, you are my friend, and i thank you for that."
>"Were....were going to stop you. if we have to. im sorry, im sorry that what you want doesn't exist. but theres more important things here, in this world, than what any of us want." chuckle, and shrug. "id like to not have been an evil before this happened. id love to be your, and ginas, and rath, Julias, everyone friend, in a world better than this one. and maybe, maybe we still can, if we work together...maybe we cant fix everything, but we can at least try, no?"
>Slowly, carefully stand, make sure its clear you mean no harm, no ill intent. "B'ni...maybe next time we meet...maybe you can see that, its not about having what any of us want, or think we deserve...its about taking what is given, from others, from those who you care about and who care about you, and its about taking all that...and making the most out of it. i hope, i hope we meet again, and can, all of us, be friends, work together for something better, for all of us."
>"But...thank you. for what you did give to us. even if...even if i cant condone everything, cant ignore it....thank you for giving me memories ill always cherish...thank you for giving me a second chance. a chance to be something better, for everyone."
>>
>>3306207
>>>Stop her
We did all this out of love for her. She doesn’t get to ignore that and walk away. The players may hate B’ni right now, but Shu definitely doesn’t. If she wants to leave after our talk that’s fine, but we need this talk now.
>>
>>3306222
>>3306207
PFFFT HAHA AGAIN?

>>3306103
and OH MY GOD. HOLY SHIT. this fucking turn. her fucking powerlevel, my god. i still cant forgive her, but fuck, Shu isnt me. this twist BHOP, damn, unexpected. nice, well, not nice, but you know what i mean. i still say she needs to die honestly, but, ah, we couldn't do it now if we got half the monastery on our side i think...shes now a final boss, look forward to that one, gents.

>>3306120
i feel like your focusing on only one part of mine to ignore the rest, if were gonna go that route. otherwise id say the consumed daughters are more like fragments, ghosts, than true full beings. sorta. its still her body as she is in control, and its her originally crafted one, made for her. that matters, in my option.

>>3306212
this...wow. im honestly at a loss of words here. whew. damn. good show, honest. i mean....not to try and call up spoilers, but how long do you plan this game to go? im fine sticking it out for the long, long haul mind you, but i feel like, even as a team, even if we had been evil dicks this entire time...well, wow. i cant imagine us being able to face and beat people like her for a long time.

also did you see my Docs Spreadsheets example earlier, or did that get lost in the posts?
>>
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>>3306207
>>Stop her.
Who the fuck does B'ni think she is just walking out on us after everything we've said and done?
>>
>>3306207
>>>Stop her.
Scale of one to ten, how fucked are we? Is it even really possible to unfuck this situation?
>>
>>3306281
i dont think so. i think her breaking out of the hunger on her own and coming to her own resolution, and what she did, says it all.
>>
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>>3306040
>>3305980
(The prospect of 'jumping the shark' is actually something I did want to address. In writing all this, I tried to weigh the costs of going ahead and getting the reveal done in one fell swoop as I had planned since the very beginning. If it seemed a bit fast you have my apologies, though I am a firm believer in moving quests along and ensuring my players and I both have a good time. It was becoming increasingly apparent that beating around the bush with B'ni was getting nowhere narratively, and it was getting less and less fun to write those sorts of confrontations, as I would imagine it's less fun reading them, as well. You all like Gina and Rath, and I greatly enjoy writing them along with Shu. This is, in essence, allowing B'ni to take her proper place as the third and final peer-level opposition in the fleshscape. Then again, I do wish to become a better writer both in and out of quests, so I welcome criticism as it comes Gentlemen, so I welcome your input.)

>>3306243
(I bamboozled you again, and for that I am terribly sorry. Also, I did look at the docs you sent and I greatly appreciate it. I'll be taking steps to migrate the character sheets over in time, and thank you again so much for taking the time to do that.)

>>3306281
(Twelve.)
>>
>>3306299
So that's a "definitely not un-fuckable" then? I didn't expect B'ni to end up as the evil mastermind of the story.

Just out of curiosity what would have happened if we chose 'Consume'?
>>
>>3306207
>Stop her.
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>>3306299
glad my work helped. if you ever need any help figuring stuff out feel free to ask, both me and other Anons would be happy to help, and Spreadsheets, while useful, and actually easy to understand once you do, CAN be a bit finky to learn at first.

and honestly, i enjoy a good bamboozlement. my only, and its a concern i know you actually probably have a solution for, but as you can imagine im a bit shaken up so logic and reason are not fully in place, but i really cannot see a way at the moment for us to defeat her nor get to her in time to beat her up the cord. but then again the cord is also several, several, Colorado+ sized stacks on top of each other, and i have a feeling while B'ni may be one of the most powerful, even top 5, shes not the only one so strong, and if that alone was enough to win, the game would already be over.

for what its worth, it WAS getting kinda annoying trying to talk to her. she was a brick wall who didnt want to change. dont take this as her being written poorly or anything, quite the opposite, but i really will admit i couldn't see her interactions being fun, whether she improved or not, with how slow everything with her went. but, she felt, still does, like an actual person whos motivations and actions, though insane, seem...cant think of the word? something an actual person would do in the context, yeah. ive genuinely not enjoyed a story, in any format, as much as i have this one in a long time. thank you for that, truly.

now, for a question ive had for awhile. are be lock bound to our current party? my guess is of course no, but ive been wondering how likely it was we might gain another party member, or a 'system' potentially like some games where you get temporary party members/ a 'home base' where you can switch some out. obviously not asking for handouts nor spoilers, more of if it is at least possible, however unlikely. (Julia and the pod girl are the only potential members i can even think of it being applicable too, mind you, though you never know what the future holds...)
>>
>>3306207
>"I'm glad we had this talk Isabelle. I'm relieved that everything's finally out in the open. I'm happy that all the skeletons are out of the closet."
>"I...I'm sorry I turned out to be this way."
>Try not to cry.
>Cry.
>"Don't...go..."
>Let her go.

>>3306249
>>3306281
>>3306236
We can't stop her in the traditional sense people. We simply don't have the capability. You've seen her stats. The next best thing we can do in order to slowly convince her and change her convictions is to simply accompany her journey. Our strength is in our silver tongue not our raw ability.
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>>3306243
>i feel like your focusing on only one part of mine to ignore the rest
No, it's just genuinely not relevant. You were talking about how we should be good people and so on, but my argument is that letting someone else be in control is the good thing to do. It's like if you said
>A -> B, B -> C; A -> C
And I said that "no, because it is not the case that A -> B" and you respond "but you're ignoring the rest of my argument." That's not how deduction works.

>the consumed daughters are more like fragments, ghosts, than true full beings. sorta.
Well, they seem to be full personalities and were completely bodily consumed by her (until she met us). If they're fragments, she's a fragment too.

>its still her body as she is in control, and its her originally crafted one, made for her. that matters, in my option.
And I made an argument against this just being taken for granted in an earlier post. She violently seized other people's bodies to use for her own ends, and she's more them than her. Doing my best to avoid the political baggage of the term, this is a conservative impulse more than a coherent stance:

>It's wrong to steal from people
>B'ni stole from a lot of people
>She's not going to be keeping it, because we're killing her anyway
>We have the power to give it back
>But because she stole it, it's hers now, so it would be wrong to return it??
>But if they could take it back for themselves, then that would be wrong, but it would also be wrong to take it from them once they've taken it from her because then it would be theirs again???????

It's functionally might-makes-right relativism as an excuse to maintain the status quo.

Also, her physical being is literally their bodies, she just used supernatural powers to force the body to keep looking like her.
It's like if a Homunculus in Full Metal Alchemist died and none of the souls from the philosopher stone were allowed to take it over despite the body literally being generated directly from them because, well, "that's not your face, is it?"
B'ni isn't Legion, she's Frankenstein's Monster except the brain is a composite of those of all the corpses that were used for making the rest of the body.
Better yet, she's the Ship of Theseus like 98% of the way through replacement.
>>
>>3306345
>simply accompany her journey.
what do you mean by this? because i dont think we can, or should, tag along on her new quest.

>>3306363
i guess we will just agree to disagree.
>>
>>3306345
I didn’t read stop her as fight. I read it as try and talk her out of just walking away with everything as is.
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>>3306338
(Your party is by no means locked, to answer your question. Also, I am very glad to hear you've been enjoying it so far. Ive been enjoying writing it immensely, and it does my heart good to hear that you all are having fun with the story.)
>>
>>3306299

We tried to reserve a space for B'ni. We wanted to like B'ni. As cagey as she was, she had her charms. We just wanted to know more about her.
It's just that she constantly kept pussyfooting our attempts to get her to open up. And it was damn frustrating that her character had to be written that way since you planned the entire ruse from the start of the quest. The signs were there. You gave lots of hints that we readers missed in retrospect. We did pick up awareness in that something was off about B'ni but we didn't know exactly "what" was off about her. And in our earnest attempt in getting her to open up, this happened.

I'm conflicted. Part of me wants to stay true to Shu's character. But there's also another part of me that feels that we've already failed in the sense that the fellowship broke this early when we've been spending so much time and effort on the teamwork and friendship development.

But I can't help but get the feeling that we as a playerbase didn't play our cards right. We never got to know B'ni that well, and the rare moments we did talk to her it was always putting her down, putting her down, never letting her a chance to open up. It's just that damn frustrating that all of our earnest attempts to fix what we thought was a yandere issue was in-fact detrimental to her health as a character.

It's just so damn FRUSTRATING that this time, energy, and development about building a theme around "power of friendship" was spent on a character that BHOP planned to be our rival/antagonist that it feels like it was all for NOTHING. I am very tempted to try and bring the quest down by voting for out-of-character moments but I can't bring myself to do it.

That's how polarizing this issue has become. BHOP, you're a bloody master at your craft. the fleshscape setting, Joker Quest Combat mechanics, the story. It's a damn fine quest. On one hand, I'm glad this ruse is over. On the other hand, the other ruse boats you've already planned out will prove to be just as frustrating to deal with because unlike B'ni, you're more subtle about it.

Let me warn you BHOP, Ruse cruises in quests tend not to go over well with players. One is fine depending on the scale and depth of the ruse, but the more ruse boats you make the less tolerant we become.
>>
>>3306411
(Thank you for your incredibly kind words, and I will take your advice to heart. I will say that by no means are all the ruses tilted against you all, and with that I hope to assuage some fears.)
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>>3306422
honestly im looking forward to them, aswell as how our own choices have long term impacted the story, which knowing you im sure they have/will in ways both good and bad we will never expect.

>>3306411
im not entirely sure it was set in stone she was gonna go this route, the issue is we would've had to go full devotee /u/ with her in order to avoid it. and personally im not much for romance as it is, let alone do i think anyone was ready to make that choice, with B'ni or anyone else.

also i dont think we failed, i dont think our friendship path has, or will, or is over. it does hit home to realize we wasted so many resources and time on her, but at the same time i do feel we hesitated way too much with dealing with the very obvious red flags she gave out. i feel our own hesitation and decisions played a part in this, and it was not guaranteed to all be for naught. i think its time, like i suggested early, we DO change Shu a bit. we learn from this. we sit Rath and Gina down, and we seriously, no punches pulled, come to an agreement on just what our goal truly is, what this team is, what we are. this happened because we were too soft, we tried to take our time, we tried to be TOO gentle. too open ended. we need to be solid. a unit, a team with a goal. with a set standards. everything about ourselves on the table. no more holding back, to anyone, from anyone.

also i understand your frustration, but i do feel even mentioning taking the quest down is a bit petty. and this is me fully admitting im not one to talk with my paranoia talk earlier, but still. maybe we both need to calm down a bit. remember BHOP isnt trying to ruin are fun or railroad or anything, regardless of how the outcome actually ends up. the game is supposed to be fun. no one should play if they are not having fun, but conversely no one should actively try to ruin everyone elses fun. me included with talk that might drives distrust and a unnatural wedge between players with accusatory finger pointing.
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>>3306411
I just want to remind you that BHOP's initial plan was for us to fight Julia, but we ignored the explicit prompt to fight and befriended her instead. Just because B'ni is set up one way doesn't mean we can't Power of Friendship her, too.

That said, screw it:
>>3306299
>>Write-in
>>"Do you really want someone who was designed for you? Where's the meaning in that, creating a slave to play out a fantasy?"
>>"And what about that slave? Do you think that someone like you is actually prepared to be responsible for something crafted to be completely dependent? You protected me while I slept, but once I woke up, our relationship fell apart pretty quickly. Some of that was my fault, or the fault of circumstance, but some of it was on you. No puppet with my face on it will be such a good enabler of your co-dependence that it eliminates your problems. All it can do is entrench that dependency deeper into your mind."
>"You're trying to use someone else to escape your problems, but as hard as you try to dissolve yourself into me, you'll never be able to get rid of yourself. The pain will never stop."
>". . . at least, not until you address the real problem."

>If we sense any violent intent at all, or if she tries to run, open up the empathic channel to as much of the monastery as possible and raise the alarm. Also, have Gina get in front so she can use her Halo counter while Shu generates platelings.

If people somehow approve of the monologue but [understandably] don't like the subsequent part, then I change my vote to just the monologue.
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>>3306456
(An excellent point, and one that I endeavor to adhere to in every aspect of the quest. Sam was never truly a legitimate threat, at least not one that would rob you of choice. Even though the odds will be stacked against you, and things may seem impossible, you, the players, can rest assured that you are in control.)
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>>3306456
honestly i dont think fighting her is a good idea, in any form. the monastery doesn't deserve to become a slaughter house because we refuse to let her leave.

my own vote upwards was kinda a middle ground, willing to let her leave but to try and appeal to what we can to get her to not. but in all actuality i think its too late. i think our best bet, maybe only one, is to stick ideas in her head, and hope letting her be alone for awhile may let the ideas mull over. when she sees us, together with whoever we may be with in the future, maybe, just maybe, she will understand, only she has forced herself to not be happy, to be alone.

but seriously, look at those stats. im positive shes got at least one anti-nuromancer ability hidden in there. if she wants to leave, shes leaving, id bet money on that, and i hate betting.

for what its worth, i do also like your idea, and i thin putting that point in her head is a good idea, i just dont think it alone will work, its more of something to add in on the pile, if that makes sense?
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>>3306471
id also say we probably cant assassinate her either. we've seen daughters blow up their own heads and recover from it. while thats obviously her specific ability(was), im merely pointing out before anyone gets the idea that a single well places shot or strike probably wont end this, even if she didn't see this coming.
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>>3306456
Anon, as much as I'd love to go full Lyrical Nanoha on B'ni, it's going to be a tough sell.

That said, I like the choice ideas in your write-in. End the parting words with a reminder that she's not addressing the core issue.
I'll support these two write-in votes >>3306222 and >>3306207 changing from my previous vote >>3306345

>>3306477
B'ni's core ability revolves around regenerating her way out of everything. Spending Biomass to heal her health back to full. Becoming impervious to ailments simply by out-pacing the damage with her regneration and killing the opposition before she ran out of biofuel.
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>>3306471
>for what its worth, i do also like your idea, and i thin putting that point in her head is a good idea, i just dont think it alone will work, its more of something to add in on the pile, if that makes sense?

Yeah, totally. The main thing is that there needs to be a lot of control of the tone, which means it needs to be a very coordinated pile. Obviously my tone is a bit too hostile, probably better with
>". . . and we can work on addressing it together."
Or something like that. Part of the goal was really just to shock her into not having the wherewithal to ignore us.

>the monastery doesn't deserve to become a slaughter house because we refuse to let her leave.
There's a reason I made the last part very optional. The in-character reason is that the problem isn't just how powerful B'ni is, but that she's insanely fast. She has every reason to be able to make it to the cord before we can even see it on the horizon.

By the way, if the Cord is the size of a state, how far do we need to be to not see it? Or is it just bad air quality?

In any case, if she wins, they all die anyway, so we're giving them the option to fight back (or to run while she tries to split Gina's head in two). But given the in-house Relic crafting, I feel there might also be a faction with tactics that B'ni isn't prepared for, even if she's literally 100 times stronger.

I'm not trying to get you to vote otherwise, just explaining why I wrote what I did. I think that the best options otherwise are either what you're saying or to be really hardcore about manipulation. Hell, we could even call SHU out for that purpose, since she probably knows B'ni better than anyone else who has ever lived.
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>>3306498
So we now know B'ni's full story. her background, her motivations, her convictions, her choices. We also now know the underlying problem behind her flaws. She's resolved to walk away. How can we get through to her?
>>3306459
I get the feeling that 12-14 hours might not be enough on the account of sleep. You know these write-ins take time.
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>>3306477
Oh, also, we're on the same page about assassination and neuromancy not working. I'd be surprised if her vitruvian powers didn't extend to her brain by now.

>>3306492
Unfortunately, I don't get the reference.
>I'll support these two write-in votes >>3306222 and >>3306207 changing from my previous vote >>3306345
The second conjunct there is one of BHOP's posts, did you mean to put a different write-in?

>>3306508
I think there are multiple ways. The main two are being manipulative and being brutally explicit. I wrote at least part of the latter. For the former, I am not really sure what specifically to say, which is part of why I mentioned getting help from SHU.
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>>3306498
nah, trust me, i get the concern about letting her go. alot. its just, well, i doubt she is the only one, strong or weak, to enter or leave the monastery with the goal of completing the crucible in mind. if they killed and attacked anyone with even a hint of that goal in their head, it wouldn't be the place it is, i reckon. we dont know for sure, but im thinking this is a "behave and we wont ask questions, dont cause a ruckus and we wont ruckus you." kinda place.

im positive they all, or most, know and understand the risk of someone out there beating the crucible. its on everyones mind. to them, id guess, even if they could beat and stop isabelle, shes just one down, who knows how many to go. and who knows how much more powerful ones out there who dont come to the monastery may be? its less about fighting back or not, and more about the sanctity and how little it might actually matter to break it now. of course, im guessing, but i think theres logic behind it at least.

now, granted, im about to mix OOC and IC a bit here, so. OOC, i think its safe to assume BHOP wont just pile drive the game into ending in the background just because isabelle got away. if anything, it seems like thats the base idea, with her being a far down the line end level boss. however, IC we dont have such knowledge or reassurances, and i both like, support, and understand doings things based purely off IC ideas and knowledge. my only thought is, even IC, can we even stop her? as much as i am a 'your morals and ideals should be worth dying for', im still not sure its worth dying here trying to stop her, when, however small, we still have a chance to stop her later once better prepared. plus we also know that, shes powerful, buts shes not the only old or powerful daughter, and the cord itself is a death trap. we can assume and hope, she will still get bogged down, giving us tome to prepare and grow stronger ourselves.

just my two cents, you make very good points though, and this is a harsh, hard decision where im not sure theres a clean or perfect, or even good, solution.
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>>3306514
Unfortunately, I don't get the reference.
It's an anime (Lyrical Nanoha) meme where the Main character defeats her enemies "through superior firepower" (aka firing a giant laser at their face) and after "defeating" them, said enemies instantly warm up to the main character and become fast friends her.

as for your second topic.
I meant to put a different write in. I got myself confused in the linking of the posts.
>>3306523
Do you think in retrospect we could have done better? Because I can't help but get the feeling that we didn't play our cards right.
>>
Bro, fuck this psycho bitch.
If she gets shit on at the crucible I'll die laughing.
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>>3306542
its...difficult to say. see, id have to ask what you mean? do i think we could've kept isabelle as a long time ally til the end? yes. but, i do not think she ever would've accepted a team dynamic, or, she would've still needed us to fully be devoted to her romantically, make it clear and solid she was our one and only, and the others were and never would be more than friends. i think in that second scenario, we could've still at least kept her around, but it still would be like dodging the occasional landmine and not be guaranteed.

i just, we didn't do perfectly, but we never were going to. im not sure we could've done 'better' in the sense i dont think the route we have taken was wrong. the problem simply is, the route we have taken was incompatible with keeping isabelle around long term.

so, take it how you will i suppose.
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>>3306553
sorry, i messed up slightly, at the beginning i meant to say, we would've had to take isabelle as our lone companion as one of the options, while still falling in love with her.
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>>3306542
>I meant to put a different write in.
Would you like to update the vote to correct the clerical error?

>Do you think in retrospect we could have done better? Because I can't help but get the feeling that we didn't play our cards right.

There are two major things:

First, there's what BHOP just directly told us through B'ni's narration. We barely paid attention to her. And it's true, she was too busy being an obsequious attack dog/Nice Girl (tm) to be appealing as her own person. If we really wanted this to work out, we should have gone full dating sim with "getting to know you" stuff. I personally have no interest in doing that, but it makes sense that it would have helped.
I actually kind of love how BHOP simulated a Nice Person relationship in a way that duped the entire thread, because her not being interesting isn't bad writing, it just makes sense. She was busy ducking her head down and being subservient to Shu. All she did was try to get attention by being really polite and good at her job, which meant murdering people and going "aren't my skates rad?" And the thread was very consistently into her skates, but then never cared about her because she never bothered to be anything else on her own. She was waiting for praise for a job to somehow translate into Shu being more deeply interested in her as a person, rather than being a person who has . . . personal traits that Shu would take an interest in. It's actually kind of perfect, aside from the moral being a little compromised by the depths of her insanity [that is "be yourself" here would mean "scare everyone away."]

So there's that, and then there's the fact that we let so much slide. We had multiple sit-downs with her, but we never really asked her about our past despite how much we knew she would have known. We didn't even ask her for our old name. And then we'd get these half-resolutions that didn't really solve anything, but we wanted to move on because it was kind of tiring and so we did. And some things we just did nothing about. Remember the time she killed an innocent person behind our backs and then didn't really explain what happened? And we just didn't do anything despite that being the very same fight where she tried to let Rath get killed.

We basically just treated her like a dog with bad house training in both respects, and that let her get away with a lot more than she should have at the same time as feeding into her complex about senpai not noticing her.

There were probably other things, but I'm honestly more into the mechanical side and so I have trouble with doing a detailed assessment of social dynamics.
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>>3306618
>Remember the time she killed an innocent person behind our backs and then didn't really explain what happened? And we just didn't do anything...
now to be fair, i think we got duped there. not by BHOP mind you, but Gina kinda didn't deny they had no choice in killing her as they both made it clear it seemed like they couldn't save her and putting her down quickly was the only option. i agree we should've inquired further but i think Gina, who we know now too would if she felt isabelle as laying, backing her up on what she did made everyone willing to move on, because we DI distrust why she did it, but then both of them went "we had no choice" so we let it go, fro BOTH of them.

>we should have gone full dating sim with "getting to know you" stuff. I personally have no interest in doing that, but it makes sense that it would have helped.
i too have little interest in the romantic drama, however i will as least say BHOP writes well enough that im not offput or bored by it. personally id actually say its a minor, MINOR complaint, in that i think BHOP went the lesbians and romantics route out of fan service, instead of the very very possible and kinda more realistic route of 'sometimes two people are just friends, even close friends like family, but just that' which mind you we literally have not seen once so far, not even with NPCs really as far as i can tell. i get theres only girls around but that still does not mean everyone suddenly lesbians nor that normal friendships cant exist, and it is slightly off putting to see /u/ start to seem like the only available option within the party. granted, im not saying it cannot exist, only that there seems to be no inbetween and it is a bit iffy to me, especially having been here since it started, when it very much did not seem like it was gonna be that type of game.
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>>3306618
when you put your assessment like that. It just really makes me feel so stupid feel really regretful that we fucked up our relationship with her like this. The falling out with B'ni basically turned us into the logical conclusion that we're no better than Sam in the end.
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>>3306636
>The falling out with B'ni basically turned us into the logical conclusion that we're no better than Sam in the end.
oh well i highly disagree with that. if anything, isabelle became no better than Sam. we tried much harder than Sam ever did to get close to her for the right reasons, we treated her better for sure. its not that we didn't try, its that she expected something specific from us and refused to accept anything else, even if it was still friendship and support we gave her, which it was, it really was, its just we also didn't blindly accept her faults either, which she also could not accept.

in the end, we are STILL all trying to at least not have her leave on bad terms, its on HER, the one who strung US along, lied and manipulated US, to not leave. its US who, funnily enough, alot dont want to let go of her, like she couldn't, still kinda cant, with us.

we are better than Sam, but B'ni has refused not to becomes better than Isabelle, and instead become alot like Sam.
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>>3306655
>in the end, we are STILL all trying to at least not have her leave on bad terms, its on HER, the one who strung US along, lied and manipulated US, to not leave. its US who, funnily enough, alot dont want to let go of her, like she couldn't, still kinda cant, with us.
And so the roles have been reversed. B'ni develops a mindset not unlike Sam. while Shu is placed into the role of a naive B'ni. But in the moment of truth when the curtains are lifted, whereas the initial falling out of Sam and Isabelle's relationship led to murder. This one still hangs in the air.
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>>3306655
Seconded. Sam never cared about Isabelle, she only cared about how Isabelle made her feel. Similarly, B'ni is obsessed with how Shu makes her feel. When she believed that Shu would never love her in the same way, she lost the most important thing to her, how Shu makes her feel. And now she wants to make a Shu #2 in order to get that feeling back, because she doesn't want the real Shu, she wants her OWN Shu.

B'ni has always been a selfish, broken mess. And by sacrificing the friendships that Shu, GG and Rath have forged with her, she's doing exactly what Sam did to Isabelle before the Crucible began.

Damn, BHOP.

God. DAMN.

I'm still trying to process all this.
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>>3306665
we shall see how things go. im still not even sure anymore what outcome i want, though im sure we cant kill her in actuality.
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>>3306665
>This one still hangs in the air.

True. But there's one important difference compared to back then.

WE ARE IN CONTROL.

We're not Sam, or Isabelle, or B'ni. We're Shu. And we're gonna do what Shu would do - the right thing, because we're not a heartless monster or a selfish bitch. We're gonna try to offer B'ni a chance, and if B'ni turns us down every step of the way, it's gonna be no one's fault but hers.
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>>3306635
I spent a long time ranting about pop-culture interpretations of female sexuality before I realized it was pointless. Here's the relevant part.
I think Rath's /u/ is a little heavy-handed, but a toned-down version makes sense. For Gina, I kind of feel like you do where it seemed like it should be more in the direction of deep friendship.

All this to say yeah, I also find harem /u/ exasperating. I just try to ignore it because, like a lot of good productions, there's a certain pressure to have elements that retain more viewership. If you're going to make such a commitment to writing and system-crafting, it makes sense to include "mass-appeal" elements so that it's a safer investment.

Though I do want to second that BHOP definitely writes well enough that the Social Link interactions were generally pretty engaging even if I didn't choose them. A large part of what I was trying to get at is that specifically B'ni was kind of boring, and I think it was by design.

>>3306636
I disagree with that conclusion. Sam treated B'ni like a psychopath would. Shu treated B'ni more or less like a normal person would. That's why I made the analogy to real-world relationships, because I think B'ni's resentment is really unjustified when she so clearly dug the grave herself. Shu's biggest IC mistake was letting her get away with things, which is not a mistake Sam would have made.
>>
I'm back from work, Is everything okay, did we save B'ni-

........Oh. Well. I need a minute.

Good job BHOP, I want to die a little.
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>>3306697
welcome to he show my friend, you missed one hell of a ride.
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>>3306207
Right. I'm awake again.

>Stop her.
>"You know, this whole intervention happened BECAUSE I wanted to love you that way."
>"Do you even really want "your" Sam back? The one who used you and then casually threw you away? What was the point of hanging out with me then? Didn't you stay with me because I didn't have her disdain and cruelty? All I wanted is that you weren't being controlled by her even though she's gone, but if you go through that waystation then that's exactly what's happening.
>I do love you, Isabelle. And the Cord won't bring you any happiness. It's just dangling bait in front of you to manipulate you.
>If you're really going... at least let me talk to Eloise one last time.

On a Meta level, I think that even if we salvage this and things turn out alright, B'ni will either be leaving the party for a while or have her true abilities sealed, otherwise every encounter until the Cord would be trivial.

I also feel responsible for this because I was the one who suggested to have a talk with B'ni and Gina. Would things have gone better if we waited and let B'ni's desires be slowly challenged? If we had started a relationship and then later learned all this, would she be more hesitant to leave and do as Mother says?
>>
Would it be worth it to get her to talk to Charon?
Because what she proposes to have happen to us is similar to what happened to them?
>>
Holy m***** of *****. The feels.
>>
>>3306882
I hate to say It, but B'ni was always destined to be the endboss anon. All of our hopes for her were doomed from the start. She was doomed from the start. She had her own hunger to follow before we ever met her. It's not your fault, It's absolutely not your fault anon. If anything I'm glad this shit got revealed here and not out In the wastes where shit could have gotten EVEN MORE REAL. How fucked would you be If this reveal killed off Rath and Gina too? We'd go full fucking Punished Shu I bet If we didn't bite It.

>>3306895
No, I don't think It'd be us. I think B'ni wants to magic up a clone from the data In the main system and so she can 'love' It and 'be loved' by It. Jokes on her though...

>>3306898
Take my hug anon, just fucking take It. We all need one right now.
>>
>>3306947
do we know the mechanics what actually happens when we fast travel via one of Charon's waypoints?
for all we know it updates the database and removes the old data or offloads it somewhere else.
>>
Heres a kicker of a thought to add onto the 'what the fuck b'ni' pile;
All this time we have tried to make up for what old shu did and was, but we had no reason to. We literally exist because old shu got what she deserved, or at least all her manipulation and actions caught up to her and literally basically got her killed. We have been trying to make up to her for actions that we wouldn't even exist if the person actually responsible had not paid the price for them.
>>
I wonder if B'ni will still be subjected to Shu's empathic bond even when they're away from each other. I hope she is and Shu will get brief flashes from her or Shu sends her send some feelings remotely after some upgrades.
>>
>>3307027
I think there's a "both sides are at fault" sort of thing going on. From both B'ni's perspective and from Shu's perspective. Shu (we) fucked up because she weren't considerate of B'ni's feelings whenever we had these one-on-ones. And B'ni wasn't considerate of Shu's feelings when she tried to be subtle about her desires and her honesty.
>>3306882
When you talk about it like that, it feels right that we had to deal with the logical conclusions of our actions. That said, the things left unsaid implied that we would have done better, but not without a heavy price.

Fuck. all of our minds are fucked up by this event. it's one of our own doing. we could have stopped this and diverted the worst of it, but we were naive, we were foolish. Mother had a really great point when she asked us "WHO DO WE CONTROL?".
>>
>>3306317
(Ah, I'm sorry I missed your question last night. 'Consume' would have still brought you into her mind, but with a high chance of disastrous or ability-altering consequences.)
>>
>>3307122
BHOP, what's your take on this event?
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)

>>3307137
(How do you mean? I ask to avoid an inevitable avalache of purple prose as I try to address everything at once.)
>>
>>3307140
On second thought I'll refrain on my question for now.
>>
>>3306207

"Do you really want someone who was designed for you?” You say, your gaze piercing into hers. “Where's the meaning in that, creating a slave to play out a fantasy?"

“There’s something to be said for slavery...for ignorance.” B’ni’s says dully, staring into and past your eyes. “I was happy when I didn’t know any better…maybe she will be, too.”

"And what about that slave?” You say, continuing to challenge her. “Do you think that someone like you is actually prepared to be responsible for something crafted to be completely dependent? You protected me while I slept, but once I woke up our relationship fell apart pretty quickly. Some of that was my fault, or the fault of circumstance, but some of it was on you. No puppet with my face on it will be such a good enabler of your co-dependence that it eliminates your problems. All it can do is entrench that dependency deeper into your mind."

“There’s nothing wrong with dependence if it’s love.” She growls, her jaw clenched, teeth grinding together. “Maybe you’d know that if you were even fucking capable of it, Sam.”

You close your eyes for a moment, letting anger wash over and through you. Your and hers, mixed in a flurry of rage that could be set off with a misplaced word, a harsh tone…and you let it all go as you speak calmly to your oldest friend.

"You're trying to use someone else to escape your problems, but as hard as you try to dissolve yourself into me, you'll never be able to get rid of yourself. The pain will never stop…"

You rise, keeping your gaze trained on hers and holding your palms out, an appeal to peace and reason.

"…at least, not until you address the real problem." You finish, and B’ni studies your face for an interminably long moment before she speaks.

(Continued)
>>
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>>3307219

“My only problem…” She says, turning on her heel and striding towards the waystation. “…is one that can be fixed at the Cord.”

“…Okay. Alright.” You say, your heart sinking. “For, what it’s worth, Isabelle? Thank you...thank you for being my friend.”

Her pace slows to a stop, her back to you…but she’s listening.

“I can’t forgive everything you have done, I can’t ignore everything you did, the lies...but still, you are my friend, and I thank you for that." You speak plainly, with love and truth. "We’re going to stop you, if we have to. I’m sorry that what you want doesn't exist. But there’s more important things here, in this world, than what any of us want…more important things than either of us."

You chuckle, in spite of yourself.

"I’d like to not have been an evil bitch before this happened. I’d love to be your, and Gina’s, and Rath’s, Julia’s, everyone friend, in a world better than this one. And maybe we still can, if we work together...we can’t fix everything, but we can at least try, no?"

“…I’m going to fix the only thing I’ve ever wanted, Sam.” She replies coolly, her voice flat. Your shoulders slacken, just a bit, before your resolve returns.

"B'ni...maybe next time we meet...maybe you can see that, it’s not about having what any of us want, or think we deserve...it’s about taking what is given, from others, from those who you care about and who care about you, and it’s about taking all that and making the most out of it. I truly, truly hope we meet again, and can, all of us, be friends, working together for something better, for all of us."

"But...thank you. For what you did give to us...thank you for giving me memories I’ll always cherish...thank you for giving me a second chance. A chance to be something better, for everyone."

She turns to you one last time. Emeralds, moist with tears.

Then she’s gone.

(Continued)
>>
>>3307224

“…Oh.”

Rath’s reply after you and Gina sit her down and break the news to her is a simple one. She rises from her seat and mutters something about taking a walk, her face impassive. She’s about to slip by you when you catch her wrist, as gently as you can. Your eyes meet citrine crystals, tears held fast behind them as she adamantly refuses to break. You turn to Gina as she heaves a long, shuddering breath, heart still racing from the intervention. Her mind, usually a flurry of activity, is merely looping B’ni’s words on repeat until her mind is just white noise, layered with her friend’s voice. You realize that to her, it’s yet another friend she tried to help, her efforts amounting to too little, too late.

You take their hands in yours, reaching across the empathic channel to share how you feel. You’re all in pain, you’re all hurting from the loss of a friend who refuses to see reason…but there are bigger things at stake than any one of you. You will strive to turn this pain into fuel for ending the Crucible, for bringing this cycle down for good.

You you, for them, for the friends in this world you have yet to meet, for the strangers you'll never face that hold out hope for another way to live.

You impart all this and more to your two friends, and you feel the white noise and bottled pain begin to fade. It’s not gone, but it has been pushed to the side, replaced by something akin to hope.

You look between the two sets of eyes looking up at you, and you meet their smiles with one of your own. You’re exhausted, you’re raw, but you’re together with people that truly care about you.

>>”Let’s keep moving, everyone.” B’ni’s on the move, and you don’t have time to waste here. Information was gathered, decisions were made, and it’s time to keep moving forward. (Continue to the Forest of Thought)

>>”Rath, those gauntlets you made me are absolutely bitchin'. Let’s all head back to the forge and see if we can’t pick Artisan Niku’s brain and come up with more stuff.”

>>”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3307227
>”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”
I think everyone would like some time to unwind after this.
>>
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>>3307224

The great villain, who once towered, now kneels
As the great hero, undaunted, hits him in the feels.
>>
(Voting to close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3307243
OP, will we ever encounter any functional males, or are they all gone?
>>
>>3307278
no boys. it’s just /u/
>>
>>3307227
>>”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”

Damnit i really wanna do more forge stuff as we are gonna need it, but ive been waiting to talk to julia and meet the pod girl too long to turn the opportunity down.
>>
>>3307278
>>3307286
(I am afraid I shall have to refrain from answering that, for now. My apologies, Anon.)
>>
>>3307291
Thanks, BHOP, that's just what we needed to hear.
>>
>>3307291
...He's gone full on THE FLESH IS WEAK, hasn't he?
>>
>>3307227
>”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”

>>3307301
>man all these bitches are being lesbians thanks to the fucked up alien flesh magic bullshit
>I need something else
>something better
>something inorganic
>then he goes full robot master or organic-to-inorganic converter, a metallic blight on the fleshscape
>channels all his "tfw no qt 3.14 monstergirl gf" energies into MACHINE SPIRIT TECHNO GOD efforts
>>
>>3307308
What if this is Mother's magical realm, so only lesbians became daughters? Straight women become the fleshscape and men become the amalgams.
>>
>>3307308
It would be the ultimate act of defiance, against what might as well be god. Besides existing of course.
>>
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>>3307227
>You will strive to turn this pain into fuel for ending the Crucible, for bringing this cycle down for good.
Pic fucking related right BHOP?
>>
>>3307278
I actually had a fucked up dream where a dude survived the fleshpocalypse because testicular and hormonal gland cancers tricked the process into thinking he was female. It was fucked up cause he was basically just a human dying of cancer, except herd and pack based amalgams thought he was one of them
>>
>>3307293
(I'm not sure what you mean by that, but you're quite welcome.)

>>3307320
(That's magnificent, anon. I feel like Shu would get a small tattoo of sanic with that text as motivation.)
>>
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>>3307361
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen. Thank you for your patience between updates.)
>>
>>3307227
We still have about two days, right? We should probably make sure we don't waste this opportunity to get more Relics.
>Visit Niku, planning to leave in time for watching the little one wake up and return after to pick up what Niku made before heading out to the Forest of Thought.

I'm very excited for the birth of body horror loli Christ, but we also need equipment.
>>
>>3307227
>>”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”

Let's rebuild the party with some people who we can actually call our friends.
>>
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>>3307227

”Before we keep moving westward, let’s revisit Julia and the girl in the pod. With any luck, she’s close to waking up and we can be there for her when she does. How does that sound?”

Gina and Rath nod in assent, and the three of you make your way out of the Monastery and back to the waystation after bidding a temporary goodbye to the younger Uzu. You’re somewhat troubled that Charon is nowhere to be found when sandstone walls give way to their trademark onyx passageway, but you dismiss it as them having to attend to matters elsewhere.

You take the winding jet black corridors up, up towards the daylight of the rusted tenements that make up the ramshackle mining town at the base of the Calcite Cliffs. The town is silent as always, save for the occasional creak of settling aluminum roofing, or a gust of hot air whistling through broken windowpanes. You reach Julia’s studio and gently knock on the door, calling her name after Gina does a neuromantic sweep of your surroundings to ensure no threats lurk nearby. Her brow furrows as she turns to you before you knock a second time, grabbing your hand.

“I’m only sensing one person in there, and it’s not Julia.” She says, low. You nod towards Rath, and an additional four arms emerge from her back as Gina readies a pair of cords. You open the door and sweep the living room, finding it empty before throwing open the door.

A girl no older than ten sits on the edge of her cocoon, kicking her legs back and forth as she reads the note you left for her on the wall. It’s the very child from the chrysalis, fully-formed from her time in stasis, short dark hair still wet and glistening from the fluid she once slept in. She turns to face you as you stand in her doorway, blinking a pair of mismatched eyes as she studies you intently. One blue, one gold.

“Hello!” She chips happily, waving as she glances between the three of you, then gesturing to the wall. “Did you write this?”

“…Yes.” You say hesitantly, speaking with Gina via thoughtform. [Can you get a read on Julia? Is she anywhere close by?]

{No, I don’t know where…wait, hold on a sec, I think that’s her} Gina replies, and a second or two later you hear the frantic patter of feet outside. The front door of the shack is thrown open as Julia dashes in looking haggard, her dress ruffled and torn a bit.

“Shu!” She exclaims, out of breath. “I-I’m so sorry I had to g-go for a second, there w-was this amalgam that I…”

Her eyes meet those of the newly-awakened girl, and go wide.

“S-she’s up!”

“I am!” the girl responds with equal volume as she waves enthusiastically at Julia. “Hello!”

You release a breath you didn’t know you were holding as tension breaks from your shoulders, and you turn back to the heterochromatic set of eyes that scan you in simple curiosity.

You’ve been waiting for a while…so what do you first say to the girl you spared?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting to close two hours from now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3307594
>Give her a warm smile.
>"Hello, my name is Shu, and these are my close friends Gina, Rath, and Julia. We have kinda been expecting you for awhile now, and were glad to see you made it out alright. Whats your name?"
>Let her say, then continue.
>"Now, as the message implies, and im really sorry if it feels like im laying things on too heavy, so please tell me if you need some time, or have any questions, but you have woken up in quite a dangerous world. We want to help you with that, but uts ultimately your decision to make, no one elses."
>Explain the world and its state to her. Be gentle but dont leave anything out. Let her ask questions and answer them. Giver her options, such as staying with julia, going to the monestary, staying with us, going it alone. Its her choice, not ours, its only fair we let her choose from all of them.
>>
>>3307594
Wow. I tried sleeping It off, but I'm still too fucking down about B'ni to put forth anything towards this girl. I'll leave It to you guys then, fuck me.
>>
>>3307594
>try to speak
>must resist cuteness
>Warning! Cuteness overload!
>>
>>3307615

agree with this

(also honestly sort of ran through the whole B'ini bit i might re read but i gotta skim through everything right now because im overloaded with work )
>>
>>3307361
>>3307381
>>3307596
the entire dream was fucked up. Dude technically was like a daughter, but due to the strain of keeping him alive from the cancer his abilites were moot and his enhanced healing nearly nonexistant. However, he had one thing going for him. he was a mild chemist, and had a modernized 4-bore double barrel. Look it up if you have never seen one, brutal bastards. He went through three different groups that all fell apart to internal betrayal due to Mothers gifts and info learned from Charon, so by the end he swore to burn the Cord and Mother down even if he has to burn the world along with it, and didn't trust anyone else he met to levels beyond paranoia. Ended with him huddled in a cave in an acid rain storm trying not to remember the faces of those he failed to protect, both mentally and physically, before i woke up.
>>
>>3307594
this >>3307615
>>
>>3307594
This is good >>3307615
Probably starting with a great emphasis on her immediate safety, since Julia seems to be pretty able to protect her and we could easily escort her to the monastery.

I'd also like to add, after we've given her all that information, sussing out what her ability is since that might be important for her figuring out what's best.

We can also tell her what we're able to do and invite Julia to do the same, which would give us the opportunity to know exactly what Julia has and what she's developed from fighting amalgams.
>>
>>3307594
>>3307615
Looks good to me. Supporting.
>>
>>3307659
The only reason i did not add stuff about abilites is because i am positive BHOP will give us another chance to ask that after this and/or an opportunity to see both of them in action quite soon anyways...
>>
>>3307594

You walk forward, kneeling before the girl and fixing her with a smile.

"Hey there, my name is Shu.” You say, gesturing to your friends. “These are my close friends Gina, Rath, and Julia. We've kinda been expecting you for a while now, and we're glad to see you made it out alright. What’s your name?"

“Mmm…nah, I don’t like my name. It’s boring.” She says dismissively, shrugging narrow shoulders. “You all have cool ones, could you make one for me?”

“I…uh, are you sure?” You ask, a little taken aback as the girl nods excitedly. "Okay, I…I’ll get back to you a little later about that. Anyway, I’m really sorry if it feels like I’m laying things on too heavy, so please tell me if you need some time, or have any questions, but you’ve woken up in quite a dangerous world. We want to help you with that, but it’s ultimately your decision to make, no one else’s."

You explain everything you have witnessed and learned in the time since you all woke up. You pause on occasion, granting her time to ask what few, nominal questions she poses to you. You run through her options, from staying here with Julia, heading to the monastery, joining your team, or even venturing out alone.

“It’s up to you, and you alone.” You say, hand on her shoulder as she nods sagely. “So, what do you want to do?”

She ponders your question for a moment before she speaks.

“Hm…could I think about it? Oh! What if you think of a cool name and then I’ll say where I want to go! Deal?” She says, extending her hand for a shake.

“Deal.” You say, smiling as you take her hand in yours. You rise from the floor as the kid pats some wrinkles out of the ragged dress she wears, and you see Julia light up beside you.

“B-before I forget, I’ll be right b-back!” Julia says, reminded of something as she dashes off to her studio area. She returns a few moments later, holding a simple blue dress in her arms, complete with a wide skirt. As she passes by you, closer inspection reveals it to be crafted entirely of skin, the thin, cloth-like leather somehow tinged a light blue coloration.

“Y-you don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to, I just thought you…” Julia begins before nearly getting thrown off her feet when the girl hugs her at full-speed.

“I love it! Can…may I try it on?” The little girl beams up at Julia, and you can practically feel the joy radiating off your host as she smiles back. You leave her to change into her personally crafted new dress as Julia puts on tea and coffee, while Gina and Rath rest their legs around the living room table.

You look out the window as you try to figure out what name would suit her…it’s kind of an odd request, you’ll admit, but considering you go by your old nickname maybe it’s not that strange of an ask. After a minute or two of waiting, and hearing the girl apparently muttering to herself off and on, the door behind you opens.

(Continued)
>>
>>3307918

The girl emerges from the other room and gives you all a little twirl, the skirt of her dress flaring out as Julia practically bounces in place.

“You look great!” Gina says, clapping her hands together as Rath shoots her a thumb’s up.

“Yeah! Miss Julia, this dress is the tits!” She exclaims with glee, making Gina and Julia’s eyebrows shoot up simultaneously as Rath erupts into laughter.

“Alright, that settles it.” Rath says, a shit-eating grin on her face as she announces to the rest of the room, “This kid’s the fucking greatest. She’s my new bestie, ‘yall go get your own bomb-ass little sisters.”

“Okay, serious time. So, I don’t wanna freak you guys out...” The girl says, her face now utterly serious as she speaks in a low whisper. “…But I think I figured out what I can do.”

“Hey, can you all, like, introduce yourselves?” She says, and you share a confused glance with your fellows.

“Um…so, I’m Gina, and that’s…” GG begins before the girl shakes her head in frustration.

“No no, not you guys. Come on, we were chatting earlier.” She says, screwing her eyes shut in concentration. “Come on…SPEAK!”

Her dress erupts into a shrill screech, dozens of mouths and eyes opening and closing as her clothes shift around her body.

“I…I d-didn’t make it to do that.” Julia says lamely, her eyes wide as Gina’s third eye glitters with amethyst light. She understands, and now, so do you.

>>CLASS DISCOVERED – SKINTALKER: as opposed to the more offensively-based classes, the Skintalker possesses an unusual suite of abilities that allow them peerless information-gathering abilities. Passively granting moderate sentience to the fleshscape in a certain radius around her, a Skintalker may converse with the very world itself to gain a better understanding what has occurred in a given area. Additionally, the Skintalker is capable of commanding a variety of effects from the fleshscape through word of mouth alone, and while far less destructive than the terraforming of a skilled Neuromancer, their skill sets grant them a wide pool of enhancements to grant allies along with an equally diverse set of debilitations to force upon her foes. From the mouths of the innocent flows the key to a world of knowledge.

“So!” She says, turning to you with a wide grin as you try to process the possibilities of her gift. “What’s my name, Miss Shu?”

Oh.

Oh, yeah, that’s still a thing.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
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>>3307925
Hmmmmm
She's got blue/gold heterochromia, and unorthodox ability, boundless cheer...

What about Ciela? Totally original, eh?
>>
>>3307920
>Skintalker
thats, fucking neat as fuck, and kinda horrifying too. i mean, im imagine the fleshscape itself suddenly screaming and biting at you, thats gotta throw you for a loop.

>Name:
>Olivia, Olivia Peppersnout
shut up its cute and it just popped into my head.

also, its an adorable sentiment, but its also kinda awkward that shes wearing a dress of flesh, especially because i think it was implied Julia harvests her own flesh for her projects.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in two hours. Thank you for participating.)
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>>3307925
>>3307942
i swear to god you do that on purpose now BHOP. also that brings the total known class types up to 9 im pretty sure. that number feels incomplete though, im guessing theres either 1 more, or 3 more, class types.
>>
>>3307947
(I swear to Mom I don't, as hilarious as it is.)
>>
>>3307947
>i swear to god you do that on purpose now BHOP
>that
what do you mean?
>>
>>3307960
this is like the 3rd time ive responded to his story post only for him to delete it right after i do to correct mistakes and repost it.

>>3307955
oi, we may not be in the monastery but we still dont say that name, not around such young, fresh ears!
>>
>>3307960
(It's a running thing that I revise and delete my original post literal seconds after Anon replies, leading to a dead link.)
>>
>>3307925
New class! If she joins our group we'll have 7 out of 9 known classes. 8 if you count Julia.

I'll suggest
>Mimi
>>
>>3307971
so far this is by far the rarest class type too. what order are they in actually? obviously our info is limited, but if i had to guess, from least to most rare...

>Calcite Armory
>Fibromancers
>Generator
>Neuromancer
>Flesh Artisans
>Gluttonous
>Hive Mistress
>Vitruvian
>Skintalkers

despite their massive utility, we actually have seen and heard of alot of Nuromancers, even compared to alot of seemingly base idea 'worse' classes(not that i expect any class type is actually supposed to be worse, mind you).

Skintalkers might not actually be rarer than Vitruvian, but id reason it must be near the bottom for sure.
>>
>>3307992
(You're actually spot-on. Skin-talkers generally have a short life expectancy on account of their support-based abilities, so most are either in hiding, already on a team, or dead.)
>>
Alright everyone, I stand corrected. She's not Body Horror Loli Christ
>>3307920
>Passively granting moderate sentience to the fleshscape in a certain radius around her, a Skintalker may converse with the very world itself to gain a better understanding what has occurred in a given area.

She's Body Horror Loli Buddha

Taken from an account of just before the Buddha reached enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya, Bihar:

>>"When, in final desperation, Mara [the God of Death] challenged his right to do what he was doing, Gautama touched the earth with his right fingertip, whereupon the earth responded, thundering, 'I bear you witness' - with a hundred, a thousand, and a hundred thousand roars. Mara’s army fled in rout . . ."
- The World's Religions by Huston Smith

Fitting since we just saw her wake up

So here's my vote:

>>"Your name is Gaya"

Both because of the name of where the event I mentioned took place and it also sounds like "Gaia," which is appropriate for being able to commune with the Earth itself (or the fleshscape, anyway).

I admit I'm over-thinking it, but this girl is really invested in having a nickname

[Reposted due to formatting error]
>>
>>3307925
>slyph
>>
>>3308000
oh, er, id say 'neat' but thats actually terribly sad and wow, godamned she might just be the luckiest kid in the world, considering that. we didnt absorb her, we protected her, and she has an ability set basically made to be part of a group more than willing to protect her.

IM SUDDENLY HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES.

how close am i on the overall list though? obviously you dont have to hand out the actual one, just a general gist of how close i got.

>>3308004
im sorry i just cant call her 'gay-ah' due that sounding like a pun on the relationship drama of the story.
>>
>>3307992
Why would Hive mistresses be so rare? Dr West consumed several and one was on Mara's team during the Kosi assault. I'd put them just under Neuromancer or Flesh Artisan instead.
>>
>>3308026
(As I alluded to, you are pretty close.)

>>3308020
(Voting is still open of course, but I just wanted to chime in and say this is really cool, Anon. I love the reference and history there.)
>>
As an anon that mostly watches these threads in absolute silence (while laughing his ass off), I have mixed feelings regarding the Bni stuff but have to admit the reveal makes a lot of sense and it has created a damn good final act villain. Although I do personally feel the sudden jump between "willing servant" and "new enemy" was a bit sharp, even if I do understand why it worked this way (she'd deluded herself). All I want to ask OP are two questions:

1) Could we actually have avoided her going off the deep end this late on into her spiral?

2) Those 4 options we selected from here >>3305677, I presume that selected her motivation for leaving us / doing what she did? If so what would the very bottom one have caused?
>>
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>>3308033
OH SHIT IT JUST HIT ME
>CALCITE ARMORY
>SKINTALKER
>FLESH ARTISAN
COMBINED, IS PIC RELATED
JUST CREATE AN ARMY OF SKELETONS TO SPOOK ALL ENEMIES INTO SUBMISSION
THE RATTLING OF BONES WILL ECHO THROUGHOUT THE FLESHSCAPE, AND THE RIDE NEVER ENDS
>>
>>3308031
Dr.West had alot of many different types. and the thing is, we still havent seen that many, only ONE other named character was a Hive Mistress, and only West had any others. meanwhile, we dont know for sure, but there have been abilities that could be others, such as Gluttonous, while Hive Mistress is a pretty unique one id say, in that its be alot easier to guess an ability may be it, but none have come up to potentially be so.

its possible it and Gluttonous may swap places in actuality, but id still place my bets on it being lower still, especially with Gluttonous seeming like its tailor made as basically an embodiment of how we even gain more power, which you think wouldn't be so rare as it appears to be anyways.

actually hell, at this point we almost could put Nuromancer nearer the top, at least in terms of how many we have seen of each type, but im chalking that one up to coincidence, but i could be wrong.
>>
>>3308033
(Thanks)

>>3308026
*sigh*
I'd settle for Gaia, or we could do Bodhi (Bodi?) or Ava or something. I'm fine with being outvoted, but I'd be a little disappointed if the connection was thrown out entirely due to the "haha gay" thing.
Also American English phonetics would have it be pronounced the same as "Gaia" anyway.

>>[Shu remembers vague scraps of mythology she's read online]
>>"Your name is Bodh Gaya"
>>*GG and Rath both chuckle*
>>" . . . Or BG for short. We don't really call Gina GG, so it shouldn't be too confusing"

Also she interacts with background elements, so I can pretend it's on purpose.
>>
>>3308020
>>3307925
i like this, tell her it’s pronounced “gaia” but spelled “gaya”
>>
>>3308020
i actually like the idea you were going for, but like i said i just personally really dislike the actual name it ended up creating.

hrm, just some similar ideas...
>Masu Sansara
Nepali for 'flesh world'

>Prathvi
Nepali for 'earth', but letters added to make it pronounceable in English.

>Terra
obviously, Latin for 'earth'.

>Rou
Chinese for 'Flesh'

>Liha Maailma
Estonian for 'flesh world'

>Feoil
Scottish Gaelic for 'flesh'

just spitballing ideas that kinda fit the theme you went for.
>>
>>3308087
>>3308100
actually i really like 'Terra.'

and its not simply because of its pun or because 'haha gay' i just genuinely dislike the way it rolls off my tongue. dont know why, it just irritates me, like my tongue wants to roll out of my mouth or something.
>>
>>3308100
I can understand your reticence. For my part, I take it as something to get over, with the help of it being pronounced differently like was suggested by >>3308089
If we were going for another name, I'd personally suggest going for something that's a place or a person rather than a thing (hence why both of the other ones I threw out were related to bodhisattvas.)
But I'm just going to stick with my original vote for now.
>>
>>3308119
>>3308118
So Terra or Gaia. top two picks.
>>
>>3308044
(I'm posting as a reminder to address your questions after the Vein closes shortly. Also, glad you enjoyed the reveal and I'm glad you posted!)
>>
>>3308125
id be fine settling for actually going with Gaia, no change in lettering.

now, actually, thinking about it, i have dyslexia, so im wondering if it is somehow specifically disliking the spelling of 'gaya' for some reason, despite as >>3308119
said it not actually being pronounced differently. regardless, like i said, spelling it like that grates my brain for some reason.
>>
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>>3308100
>>3308131
Fuck it, I'll go with Terra.
>>
>>3307942
i am going to go ahead and change vote to 'Terra' by the way.
>>
Oh dear, this is increasingly hard to keep track of.
I have a bias against Terra because of the DC character, but it is what it is.

I was unfortunately torn away from the discussion due to family issues, but I was trying to figure out what kind of name one could generate from the story that would be less offensive (though it's probably too late for it to win).
>>3308139
Actual voting aside, can I get your opinion on Amara?
I have a long-winded explanation for how it's made, but you can just take it in isolation if you want.

It's from Mara, obviously, and then the Pali prefix "an-" (which is the same as the Greek a- like athiest). That leaves Anmara, but the n gets assimilated into the m through a process that I forget the name of (the word "apply" comes from "ad-" and "ply," but the d is changed to make it smoother).
So this way we have a name that means "without Mara" (as Mara never appeared to Buddha again after he left the tree), which I think is still suitable.

It's also just a real name in Spanish based on "amare" (Latin: to love) and, I think, it's also a name through the Scottish Gaelic word for friend or something like that.
>>
>>3308178
i...i actually like that one. Amara rolls off the tongue nicely enough yeah.
>>
>>3308178
I'll support Amara.
>>
>>3308190
>>3308178
a friendly reminder that votes count when you link them to BHOP’s actual post
>>
>>3307925
>>3307942
>>3308139
>>3308190
im fine with Terra or Amara.
>>
>>3308190
Woo! Thanks for humoring me, anon.

I couldn't find the Gaelic reference, but it looks like it means "immortal" in a couple of languages, which might be through the same meaning that I tried to back-form, since Mara is a death god and the same thing happened with Thanatos in Greek (see words like euthanasia, lit "good death").
Somewhat ironic given how fragile she is, but it's all the same if we protect her.

I wish etymology wasn't a dead field of study, it's so interesting.

>>3308201
Thank you for the reminder

>>3307925
Voting Amara
>>
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>>3308190
>>3308190
>>3308194
>>3308201
>>3308208
>>3308215
>not Amala for the SMT connection
shaking my damn head at you people

>>3307925
voting Amara anyway
>>
>>3308225
i dont know the reference so i couldn't even if i actually wanted to.
>>
>>3308225
If you wrote it in Japanese, it would be identical to Amala, so there's that. I'm assuming the L is a localization thing.
>>
>>3308236
japanese localization have the R/L pronunciation problem since they literally cannot pronounce “L” consonants
>>
>>3308239
Well yeah, that's what I meant, that both Amara and Amala would be written with the last character being ラ or "ra." While I know almost nothing about Japanese, Durarara burned that one character into my head.
>>
>>3308051
Pretty sure Raths Vitruvian is the rarest. Definitly more than ours.
>>
>>3308252
>>3308000
>>3308033
that is the only one he actually outright confirmed the order of though my man.
>>
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>>3307925

How does Amara sound?" You posit, smiling when her face lights up, two-tone eyes glimmering with sheer, unabashed happiness.

"I love it!" She says, and she proceeds to trot around the room, saying it over and over under her breath, shifting the inflections from one syllable to another as she tests it out.

"So, Amara." You say, snapping her out of her little chant. "What's your answer?"

"Well, if it's okay with you..." She says, hands clasped behind her back. "...I'd like to say with Miss Julia. Just for a little while, at least. I wanna figure out what I can do and, well..."

Amara hops over to you and beckons you to lean down.

"Between you and me, the house says she's a little lonely." She says conspiratorially. "So I'll stick around and cheer her up a bit, sound good?"

You glance up at your host, blonde hair falling about her shoulders as her dark eyes fill with joy, with purpose.

"That sounds great, Amara." You say with a smile, ruffling her dark head of hair.

"Fresh beverages, everyone?" Julia asks, and she's caught off guard when her four guests cheer in unison. In the hour that follows, Rath and Gina fawn over Amara as you help Julia prepare two black coffees for the youngest among you, and tea for the rest. You spend time in idle conversation, speaking of everything and nothing all at once. Now, as you rest once more in Julia and Mara's home, you take stock of the people you're with, the friends you've made in the world after the end.

To Gina, fighting against guilt, fighting to make things work with you despite the bond that has been thrust upon her.

To Rath, wrestling with her newfound freedom and processing a loss she has yet to fully grieve.

To Julia, keeping watch over hearth and home, working on building a better life for you and your friends, a place you can call home.

To Amara, the girl you spared, a shining example of why you continue to fight the uphill battle of clinging tight to your moral compass, to an unwavering belief in the sanctity of life despite its challenges.

To...

...

You stare across the table, at the empty seat opposite you.

Your heart's in your throat as you swallow hard, the reflection of shining emeralds in your mind's eye.

You know you'll see her again, someday...

...and you'll be ready.

>>Twelfth Vein: Closed
>>
(Gentlemen, I cannot thank you enough for your continued support, participation, and enthusiasm. I know the events of this chapter have been divisive, and I appreciate your reactions, all of them. I shall be around over the weekend to address comments, questions, and criticisms, and as always I welcome each and every one. It's been a long week, so I will be taking an evening to myself to rest up a bit, but I'll be around the rest of the weekend to catch up on everything, >>3308044 's questions included. Thank you all again for being amazing and keeping me on my toes, and I wish you nothing but the best. Take care of yourselves, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3308316
>>3308330
heh, damn kids, being stupid cute and all.
what a nice, yet sad, end, to yet another wonderful Vein. lovely as always BHOP, thanks for running and i look forward to the next one for sure. and the potential mountains of discussion to follow in this thread now that we have ample room to talk.
>>
>>3308330
A friendly reminder to preserve this vein. BHOP
>>
Was almost certain that Amara would be the B'ni replacement, but I guess we a three man party for now. We are really going to miss a melee oriented Daughter the next fight we have...

I want to suggest ya'll go back and read the first Veins, with B'ni's new revalations in mind. Its a treat!
>>
>>3308330
I’m the guy that mentioned shark jumping. Just want to say I was very wrong. You made me feel things I wasn’t ready for. But that’s the mark of a great writer. You continue to impress with ever thread. Keep up the good work Bhop.
>>
>>3308413
I can confirm from when I was hunting rabbits earlier that it is a treat

>Was almost certain that Amara would be the B'ni replacement
I think she is, but it's more conducive to an escalating powerscale to have us not need to take care of a neonate. This way, when she does join, she'll be able to do more. We also this way have an opprotunity to really miss B'ni, acting as just the three of us for a while.

I was kind of hoping that we'd just take both Amara and Julia with us.


Question for the thread, do we tell Mara that she got Bugs B'nied in her quest for the vitruvian? I'm thinking no, personally, but I'm wondering if anyone has a case for it being productive.
>>
I just hope B'ni does not go back to her murderhobo ways now that she doesn't have Shu around
>>
>>3308499
What else would she be doing?
>>
>>3308588
I don't know, being a decent human being instead of killing absolutely everything on sight with her single-minded pursuit of her goal as justification.
She is going to kill absolutely everything on sight with her single-minded pursuit of her goal as justification, isn't she? God damnit.
>>
>>3308588
>>3308595
She’ll do more than that. She’s also going to have her mind stuck on a loop to Shu’s parting speech. The moments of peace will be filled with B’ni sitting down in a troubled fetal position deluding herself further into the lie she crafted for herself. And she’ll be tortured by our absence. And i can easily state with confidence that she’ll backtrack and stalk us just to steal our kills and set the party back as befitting of her flaws.
>>
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>>3308499
>>3308588
>>3308595
>>3308640
>tfw constantly run into clear signs of fights where B'ni just 100-0'd the enemies and left barely anything behind
>tfw no random encounters because B'ni annihilated them all
>tfw Shu and co. finally runs into her again at some point
>tfw part of our write-in involves bitching at B'ni for killstealing literally everything and everyone before we can even run into them, leaving us underlevelled
YOU DELUDED YANDERE BITCH HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LEVEL GRIND IF THERES NO RANDOM ENCOUNTERS EXCEPT YOU AND YOU'RE FINAL BOSS TIER FOR FUCK'S SAKE REEEEEEEEEEE
>>
>>3308655
Here's the thing, she's already so powerful and so fast on her feet that the time spent eating some amalgams and Daughters might not be worth it to her. We don't need to starve when we can just scavenge for the corpses of her victims.
>>
>>3308772
She could still just speedrun to the Cord before we do, completely ignoring all Daughters and Amalgams in her way.
>>
>>3308785
Absolutely true, but as things get more difficult, she'll get slowed down, and we have the advantage of her removing our obstacles at least part of the time. We'd never realistically outpace her, but catching up seems inevitable.
>>
>>3308845
inb4 Shu and co. cross paths with B’ni where all of them have to engage in teeth-clenched teamwork.
>>
>>3308655
She better FUCKING NOT, I WANT MY GODDAMN UPGRADES.

>>3308785
Actually, she's got to go out of her way to find a neuromancer (For the 'Muh Sam' plan) and get her to join her somehow, then powerlevel the shit out of her to endgame tier as well as pick up mandatory evolutions to cross death-pits and shit. She's got a bit of work ahead of her, even If she doesn't need many levels herself.

Speaking of levels- YOU BITCH, WE WASTED SO MANY GODDAMN LEVELS ON YOU, AND TO THINK PEOPLE WERE AFRAID OF FUCKING *SHU* GETTING LEVELS FOR THE LONGEST TIME AND RIGHT DOWN THE SHITTER THEY GO. SONOFAFUCKINGBITCHWHORE I WANT MY LEVELS BACK. THIS RABBIT IS BROKEN, AND I WANT A GODDAMN REFUND.
>>
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>missed a few days of updates
>mfw coming back to a goddamn nuclear bomb of bullshit
>>
>>3308413
>>3308461
im sure she will join eventually, seems too hyperactive to never want to come with us. now Julia? im not so sure. she can handle her own, that much is obvious, and she clearly enjoys our company, but im not sure she would enjoy traveling at all. she seems comfortable and absolutely overjoyed to be a homemaker of sorts, and im not sure considering the alternatives available to her i blame her.

Julia might just be our homebase character,making sure we have a place to fall back on as the story progresses. that, or she wont want to be alone again once Amara comes along with us, or BHOP will have her home destroyed by rogue daughters and shell come running to us and stay as the last thing she has to cling to to keep sane. you never know!

>do we tell Mara that she got Bugs B'nied in her quest for the vitruvian? I'm thinking no, personally, but I'm wondering if anyone has a case for it being productive.
iffy, and my answers probably gonna sound like a half assed one so i apologize. i dont think we lie to Mara, at this point shes proven to deserve our respect and even friendship, even if we still probably are not exactly on the same page as her goals wise. she probably wont think any less of us for the whole ordeal either(hard to blame the rest of a team for one member stringing them along). this doesn't mean we have to give her any ideas though, even if we dont hide B'ni's true ability from her, theres no reason for us to connect the dots for her about what it could be used for, or how B'ni actually fits pretty well with the rumors he had heard. if she does, we can ask her not to kill her, but otherwise we shouldn't make something out of it, nor assume shes going to go kill her either.

>>3308499
oh no, shes gonna be even more violent and self determined in the murdering now.

>>3309863
ok but what is your actual opinion on all of it?
>>
>KUOLEMA RIFLE; this extremely large bore rifle, akin more to large anti-material rifles, is made to take down even the most terrifying of foes, its long, rugged form giving off a stark sense of destruction. unlike many other Relics, this rifle does not have levels, nor does it evolve along with its wielder, instead, its unique ability is that the type of ammunition if fires is based specifically on the type of BIO fed into it, and the potency of said shot scales based on how many overall levels of that class type of BIO the wielder has. Sadly, the gun is stern in its use, not allowing BIO types to mix, and it also suffers great penalties in close range due to its unwieldy size, but that's the price to pay for such firepower and otherwise versatility. The weapon takes a whole ACT to load and another ACT to fire.

>>CALCITE projectiles are the most standard one might say, firing off in the way of a Tanks Anti-Armor Rounds, a casing breaking away as the round leaves the barrel, a long, thin, and fast spike of hardened bone whizzing forward, piercing even the toughest or armors, though leaving, compared to other types, a less destructive wound.
>>FIBROMANCER projectiles are much the opposite, being akin to soft, hollow point rounds, the rough, fleshy ball slamming into and breaking apart against targets violently, doing outstanding damage to unarmored targets.
>>GENERATOR projectiles transform the weapon from a long ranged rifle into a grenade launcher, the round firing with a sharp arc and much less overall velocity, but the deadly round explodes violently upon impact, like a burning frag grenade, easily able to dish out some even damage to groups, though much less concentrated damage.
>>NUROMANCER projectiles are akin to sharp, deadly darts, silent to be fired, and much less directly deadly, these darts can shut off the nervous system of the area they hit, making limbs and body segments nothing but dead weight for a good long while, leaving a target much more vulnerable to other attacks.
>>
>>3310120
>>FLESH ARTISAN projectiles explode open into a large, net like stretch of skin once near a target, the skin sticky to the touch to help entrap the target fully in a fleshy prison, unimpeded by armor or extra limbs as it wraps tight around the target.
>>GLUTTONOUS projectiles act as capsules of deadly acid, slamming into a target and bursting open, showering the hit location in deep biting corrosion, slowly eating anything organic away into raw sludge. While this target is effective against almost anything, even with minor splash potential onto other targets, it takes time to properly take effect and eat its way downward, and a quick target may be able to get rid of the affected limb or equipment before it has time to properly do damage.
>>HIVE MISTRESS projectiles transform the weapon from a rifle into akin to a shotgun, making it worthless at long range, but outright detrimental in close range, and with the potential to hit multiple targets at medium range, though damage is a lot more sporadic and its not very effective at taking out armor.
>>VITRUVIAN projectiles are instead quite the unique cartridge, each shot now acting as a round, internal magazine of ten shots. Each one less accurate and with much less damage output, however the rapid fire rate of shots may be perfect for multiple spread out targets or crowd control, all ten shots, if you wish, only counting still as a single ACT to fire.
>>SKINTALKERS projectiles are otherwise pretty plain, about middle ground in all ways against a target. Its real utility is, that it is not made to aim for a target. Upon impact with the fleshscape, Skintalker rounds will cause a large chunk of the ground to react randomly and violently, from bubbling and twisting, to popping open in like an explosive zit, or simply going to liquid and becoming a sinkhole, the effects vary greatly depending on the potency of the shot and type of flesh terrain it impacts, but the results can at least be relied upon to cause enemies to think twice about where they tread.


obvious inspiration, that and im too big a fan of guns, and large caliber old fashioned guns. tried to make each round type useful in at least some situation over another, but certainly im not sure i pulled that off well so feel free to suggest changes on that part for sure,especially with Skintalker throwing me for a loop as i was not expecting another class like that to show up haha.
>>
>>3310125
the hive mistress round seems worthless when you word it like that. have you tried balancing it to be more akin to a homing missile? bitches love cannons but one can’t deny big phalic missiles homing in on the enemy and exploding with massive damage
>>
>>3308330
so what was your take on the Rabbit Ruse Cruise? How did you think we handled B’ni? What was your goal when you planned out this particular plot?
>>
>>3310277
a homing missile feels like it would make other round types much less worthwhile. ill admit the shotgun round might not be the best choice, but it fits with the theme of Hive Mistress more i think.

or well, actually maybe Vitruvian fits more with Hive Mistress actually, hrm. but i couldn't think up anything for Vitruvian either...
>>
>>3308330
>>3310291
actually yeah, to as much as you can, id like to hear your thoughts, and how you think we could've handled B'ni better, our mistakes, etc.

im still of the opinion the only say we could've kept her as a teammate was basically to romantically devote ourselves to her, though even then im not sure it would've done more than prolong her stay.
>>
>>3310293
think of it as this in the balancing: the missile deals devastating damage, but it can be shot down or intercepted due to the slow travel speed. think of it as an oversized elite class swarmling shot out of a cannon
>>
>>3310305
hmm, fair point, but i was thinking more along utility lines than balance lines for 'each shot has a use over another', though that doesn't rule the missile out, im just trying to run through situations in my head a bit.
>>
>>3310305
how about making it more akin to an airstrike missile?
>>
>>3310355
wait, how about something like a COD predator drone strike?
>>
amazing thread and lots of insanity
>>
>>3310380
like, you fire the shot into the air then it homes in downward like Japanese kamikaze?
>>
>>3310390
yes.
>>
>>3310411
hrm...i still feel like it doing high damage(compared to other round types) AND explosive damage is a bit much, and defeats the points of other rounds. however being somewhat homing and able to fire over cover actually doesn't sound bad at all.
>>
>>3310432
we can take out the explosive damage. I realize that the “drone strike” functions more akin to a “titanfall drop” given the ammunition in question is basically an elite swarmling. if the impact damage from a flying swarmling doesn’t kill, they now have to deal with swole swarmling ready to attack the marked target.
>>
also, on the B'ni note, while im not sure if they would've helped, ive thought of two points.

for one, i think Isabelle may not of been feeling love at this point. maybe more akin to the biblical example of lust, where its not only sexual things one craves, or even in an odd way envy. certainly id argue she no longer was feeling pure, true romantic love any more, and her words also implied she has long since forgotten love does not need to be romantic, though she certainly only craves that, so im not sure if us refuting the 'we cant feel love' line would matter.

the other is the major oversight of WHY she loves us. Sam or Shu, she didn't fall in love with just a face. she fell in love with a person, someone with good and bad traits, who had individual actions and desires. no matter how you cut it, her making something else in our image is going to be missing so so much of that. its never going to be the same or what she wants, because by changing so much she will also be changing at least some of the reasons she fell in love with both sides of the coin.

but again, im not sure how much it would've helped. she was far past the point of listening to reason i think. but you never know.
>>
>>3310478
hrm, yeah that could work. essentially an indirect fire option?

>HIVE MISTRESS projectiles fire what is akin to a capsulized, living drone, which may be fired in a high arc where the creature unfolds its wings, staying high in the sky until it spies a viable target, then dives like a meteorite downward to impact the enemy with its sharp horned tip. while technically not made for punching through armor, the deadly dive can still pack a punch, and if the target is soft enough, the little dive bug will usually survive, becoming a deadly threat holding up the enemy while you prepare your next actions.
>>
>>3310504
i can’t help but imagine the bug in question sporting a Superman color set “red wings and blue body complete with a stylized “S” on the thorax
>>
>>3310504
artillery fire with a personal touch. that’s the gist.
>>
>>3310513
>>3310530
hah, great image if nothing else.
"is that a flying amalgam?"
"a plane maybe?"
"samantha you dumb fuck where the fuck would some girl find a plane in this damn flesh hell?"
"dont be mean, i was just giving a-OH SHIT FUCK ITS COMNG RIGHT AT US!"
>>
>>3310487
Plus, she would become the next mother once she reaches the cord, making her unable to enjoy her DIY Shu.
>>
>>3310646
>>3310487
I am getting Mirai Nikki vibes from that statement. I can easily see the outcome should B'ni win the Crucible. Since Mother stated B'ni could do *anything* aside from ending the cycle, she could force the cycle to repeat the same particular instance of the crucible, essentially going back in time and having her try and start over turning her "bad end" into an endless groundhog day loop in her vain wish to be with the Shu she "loved", until she tires of it.
Perhaps this bad end already took place since B'ni is so much like Mother.
>>
>>3310670
that really depends on just what the crucible itself is capable of though. as far as we know, it jumps from sentient planet to sentient planet, id assume using them as a fuel and source of self improvement and evolution.

that does, however, imply it is still technically a physical thing, just advanced beyond our understanding, and most likely still bound to the rules of the universe. i mean, it may not be, but its such a vastly unknown question it hard to predict. it feels like if a world could just put the crucible on repeat though, it would already have happened from someone like us or similar who wishes to 'save' their planet.

or maybe i has, but they eventually fucked up winning the cycle again/their clone did(as they would still have to be mother as part of the criteria for winning), and thus it ended and moved on.
>>
(Hello Gentlemen. I've rested a bit and will start parsing through some questions I've been meaning to address.)

>>3308044
(If Shu had taken the time to ask questions and get to know B'ni, her spiral could have been avoided. While that would have been a tall order given how far gone she was, it was by no means impossible. I believe it was a few earlier anons that correctly noted how B'ni was so obsessed with going through the motions, assuming that doing her very best would be sufficient to win Shu's affections. Unfortunately, considering she was always trying to cover things up with half-truths and diversions, and since she never really opened up about herself of her own volition unlike GG and Rath, the odds were stacked against her by her own behavior.)

(Regarding the second part of your query, there's little I can say without it being a spoiler for later revelations regarding the system, the potential that lies within the Cord, and Mother herself.)

>>3310291
>>3310295
(Regarding B'ni, and with really all NPCs, I strive to have your interactions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, have lasting consequences either through unlockable abilities or benefits down the road that may not be apparent until much later. B'ni was meant to be a dry, submissive character, because that's what she thought Shu wanted. Thus, she ended up getting overshadowed by GG and Rath and pretty much shooting herself in the foot, as mentioned above. However, had the players taken the time to sit down with her and actually ask her what was going on in her head on a consistent basis and engage, as opposed to merely chastising and monologuing at her, this most recent blowup could have been avoided or, at the very least, pushed out a bit.)

(I'd like to note though, that while this scenario was by no means the 'best' one to have gotten, it was also by no means the worst, either. I really appreciated the write-in stating that while a lot could have been done on Shu's side of things, a sizable share of the blame lies on B'ni for being passive and not voicing her needs or desires and expecting Shu to fall for her as a result of peripheral actions. After all, for all the times you failed to ask B'ni what was going on in her mind, how many times do you remember her asking you the same?)

>>3310389
(Good to see you back and I'm very glad you enjoyed it, Gen.)
>>
(As a side note, I'd like to thank you all for being so supportive and engaged with everything so far. Given a twist like B'ni's, even with the breadcrumbs and hints I'd tried to apply liberally up to this point, I was afraid that it would come off in a negative way so I'm glad to see the reaction has been mostly positive. With her finally established as the character she was meant to be and all the pieces in place,I'm excited to start moving forward with the meat of the story...if you'll pardon the pun.)

(As a side note, B'ni was intended to partly serve as a tutorial character and fail-safe for any early runs of bad luck that cropped up, as she would have saved Shu from certain death and revealed her true abilities early, had a combat situation gone south.)

(I am also happy to see that those of you who have gone back and skimmed parts with B'ni are starting to see her little slip-ups and the hints at her true power. One of my favorites was when B'ni got her leg torn off during the Hecaton fight due to a bad roll and promptly regenerated it while she was in the storefront. No one seemed to bat an eye when I said her leg went flying.)
>>
>>3311026
yeah, thinking back on it, we never really got to know B'ni at all, and even GG and Rath was more of circumstance and them being willing to talk. i thnk an 'issue', which isnt even an issue but just another way to play, is we have played Shu as a person who simply looks for and watches what is shown at face value/level. so if we see a teammate is emotionally hurting, we check up on it, if they obviously do something wrong, we talk about it. if they stay silent, we do too, and we even i think did that with ourselves too, where we often didn't talk about our own problems at times, though let it slip and did when asked.

the issue, as you pointed out, was that was basically the exact opposite of what B'ni needed, making it to where we only voiced middling support that was no different than any other praise for a job well done, and never asked her if she was hurting, because she never showed it so we never really assumed. she also never asked us about stuff either though, unlike the others sometimes did, so it indeed went both ways.

>>3311066
see, i think that one might actually be a bit on your part, only a bit mind you. on me just as much, but trying to say it went both ways. we knew, and you had said, full limb regeneration was possible, however we really had little knowledge on just how fast one could regrow an injury or limb, while conscious at least, as most of our fatal injuries resulted in the character passing out, so not being able to focus on it. B'ni also had gotten a decent amount of passive regen, and the regeneration was a bit off screen(but not totally) and over a SLIGHT bit of time, or may have been, during a fight where time itself kinda run wild with how much as actually passed.

you are totally correct looking back it seemed insanely fast, and it was totally my own fault too as i overlooked things like that, but i do feel its fair to say that situation at least was not the most obvious given what info we had.

also, and this is more both a mechanical question, and potentially more hints we missed, but how much CAN one do per ACT point? B'ni had 6 to our 2, but honestly i so far have never been able to actually tell exactly how much leeway a point has in how much we can actually do, so if that one ever did come up, i think it would've easily been covered up too.

not trying to burst your bubble or mood mind you, but i simply feel its potential concerns/mixup that should be mentioned, and like i said you alone are far from at fault for missing it.
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>>3311130
(You are quote right on your second point, and I didn't want anything to be glaringly obvious, I'm just amused no one pointed it out. As far as ACT goes, a small amount of movement within one's current zone along with use of one's abilities are currently possible, unless certain abilities grant expanded actions within that space, like B'ni's ability to pull of multiple attacks while moving from zone to zone, or some of what Amara will be capable of.)

(Time in combat is something I struggle with as a writer. It's always amused me as a DM/QM that events that would events that would take an interminably long period of time can just be glossed over, but skirmishes that last a few seconds or minutes can take a very long time to work through.)
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>>3311130
(Also, as I've said before and will continue to stress, I want to make the very best quest possible for you all, so that's one of the many reasons I welcome questions and when you point things out like you do.)
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>>3311026

Thank you for your admissions and your perspective on this plot twist. With this sort of information and given how we roleplayed Shu from the start, it makes it all the more tragic.

I'll be honest, I loved B'ni for who she was and even after getting to know the true extent of her tragic backstory. But our poor handling of the situation alongside B'ni's habits and flaws (as dutifully noted by MOTHER of all entities) was a recipe for disaster.

As for the IC interpretation of this event. I can expect lots of heartache and raw emotions from both sides. I do hope interesting things might happen if Shu and friends were to cross paths with B'ni again.

As for your question of how many times B'ni asked Shu what's on her mind, I frankly can't remember.
It's honestly a huge shame that it came to this. This will definitely come down as a big highlight of this quest as something that will be remembered by everyone.


>>3311066
As eagle-eyed as I am when it comes to hints (having noted Isabelle's obsession from the "Hellbent" loop in the dreamworld and remarked upon how B'ni was somehow able to handle Mara 1v1), I can't believe I missed out on that detail.

As for your "slip-ups" given how many ACTIONS B'ni could take, you pulled the wool over our eyes because you had B'ni consume DOGGED SPRINTER as her "core" ability and we all sorta chalked up her insane combat ability to the passive perk that is "DOGGED SPRINTER" without questioning it because it made sense for a speedster ability to get more actions per turn.
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>>3311177
Considering how you designed B'ni, and how the "break-up" went by the wording you chose, you hinted that there's still a small kindling of a relationship left between B'ni and Shu since some of Shu's words did get through to her. It wasn't verbal, but the body language is there. B'ni wouldn't have looked back to steal one last glance at Shu before running away in tears if she still loved Shu to a degree. Had B'ni truly disassociated Shu with "The Sam she loves", it would've been much messier or and B'ni would've been much colder to Shu when she made her resolve to go make a puppet for herself upon Ascension.

Will we be able to see B'ni again and somehow salvage the situation or is the "Break-up" a confirmed route-lock on Isabelle's mental spiral of madness?
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>>3311275
(It's by no means a lock in, and you'll be seeing her again.)
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>>3311205
>>3311275
(Also, I appreciate your keen eye. I'm glad someone looked up or was familiar with the songs that each character offered up, as I consider them their personal themes, in a way. I have a whole playlist of songs for each Daughter, it helps me write.)
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>>3311162
hrm, so sas example, moving at all, especially to a new zone, uses an ACT, and using an Ability uses an ACT, however, if im guessing right, using the Ability has little outright limit, such as the fact we have never really be capped on the amount or complexity of the Swarmlings we make, nor how many attack. However, id assume Swarmling is slightly special in that case, in that each Swarmling itself has id say, a 'SUBACT' on top our own ACT to control them, hence why we never seem extremely capped in ACT when controlling them, because? Attacking also is implied to take an ACT, but wrapping back up, it never seems like we run out of Attack ACTs with swarmlings, but if each one essentially has 1 ACT/SUBACT it would explain why its so hard for me to tell.

>Time
oh i totally get that, in combat everything is insane. 2 seconds can seem like it happens over several minutes because of just how much and how much detail happens, other times two minutes feels like 2 seconds due to it being so simple and streamlined and action,despite how much time it actually took.

the only way i can think of to get around it is stuff like:
>"it only took two seconds to slam your blade down into the beast, but in that moment, the air shimmered as the sword went down, like cutting through sludge, everything muted, nothing but the moment, then the spray of blood, before everything rushed back into focus, like the hourglass had shattered and time rushed forwards, and the fight continued."

basically outright state how much time something is actually taking, but fancified to make it not so glaring or boring as;
>"it took two seconds to cut the beast down, then you turned back to the fight."
if this example makes sense?

>>3311177
nah i get that, ive just been told before my writing style can come off as overly aggressive even when i do not wish it too, so that on top of GMing before i like to try and not make it seem like im being negative just to be a grump or complainer, even if it should be obvious.
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>>3310504
Now that I think about it, we already have an ammunition that functions quite similar to the Hive Mistress ammo type you've listed for the sniper cannon relic both of us designed (can fire over cover, heavy caliber, cannot pierce calcite plating, autonomous).
It's just that it's called Herculean Fullbore and it's has different parameters to its function (requires line of sight to fire, not as large a caliber, can pierce calcite plating, is controllable).
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>>3311385
well yes, kinda, but this weapon isnt designed around any of our characters or being useful specifically to them. just in general.
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>>3311324
> I have a whole playlist of songs for each Daughter, it helps me write.

Alright, I need to ask, was B'ni the Patient a Tool reference? It might be a stretch, but I thought it would be fitting in an ironic sort of way.
[Apologies to the thread for mentioning the Rick and Morty of contemporary rock]
>>3311066
>As a side note, B'ni was intended to partly serve as a tutorial character and fail-safe for any early runs of bad luck that cropped up, as she would have saved Shu from certain death and revealed her true abilities early, had a combat situation gone south.

Glad to know that we finally finished the tutorial. I'm excited for World 1.
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>>3311410
dude im not sure how long you have been here, but you should've seen everyone's reactions in...Vein 5? or so, when he revealed after a big event that everything so far had been the PROLOGUE. BHOP writes his segments DETAILED and with NO indication of how little distance into the story you have actually gone.

and i love it.
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>>3311026
Thanks for answering my questions but I thought of one more: back at the very start of the quest you gave us the option to attack Bni rather than trying to converse with her, if we had done so what the hell would've happened?
>>
This whole things a mixed bag for me. B'ni was my least favorite named character for the entire quest up until this point, but this whole thing has thrown me for a loop.

Upon reflection we absolutely did neglect the girl, partially because of so many things needing our attention, and partially because she felt so hard to approach, and was (correctly) assumed to be a time bomb.

I'm slightly vindicated that I called In a previous thread that It was odd we didn't actually know her core ability and that she could hide It In the first place and figured she might have had a handful of levels up her sleeve we didn't know about, but I expected something like ten levels and already having made her choice, but I was floored that It turns out she had what, 50 levels on us? More? Holy shit.

I absolutely didn't expect this ending with her leaving either, though now with everything that just happened I'm actually surprised It didn't end with Gina getting killed.

It's funny though, this whole event actually makes me like her more. I *get* her now when I didn't before, but It's painful to see someone so sickeningly obsessed with something so utterly unhealthy for them. Sam doesn't love her, she just perhaps... felt her to be a kindred spirit early on, and her manipulative sociopathic self picked up on and twisted and groomed Isabelle's admiration and affection for her. She said herself, she chose Isabelle for her 'prank' because of everyone, she felt could rely on her because of everyone In the world, B'ni could be counted on to 'follow Instructions'. She knew B'ni would do anything, no questions asked, she just didn't count on her taking the initiative like she did. Furthermore, a second look reveals that Sam said this was the 'one last' thing she needed B'ni for, so even If everything had gone right she still would have dumped B'ni like a sack of bricks. B'ni on the other hand views Sam as the only thing In her life capable of giving her happiness and worth as far as I can tell, even after seeing how little Sam cares for her outside of convenience as a tool.

'Sam' must be this ideal B'ni has built up her whole life, a dream of the person she desires attached to the face, voice and memories of a cold sociopath with no Internal means to separate her dream from reality.

Cont.1/2.
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>>3311854
It's tragic, even If everything were to go 'right' for B'ni from this point on, she would just end up recreating Sam at the end of the world, someone who absolutely cannot fulfill her desires In any manner except manipulation, which could only end In existential agony for the poor girl sooner or later.

Of course, my theory Is that since the new world only seems to copy things as they were found Into their daughter form wouldn't that make even her 'wish' Impossible? Data has to be logged In the system before It can be copied, but when you smash a window you can't make It whole again. Right before the fall, Isabelle bashed Sams brains out all over the dorm. Sam died right then and there with her brain splattered on the walls, but because the body was still technically kicking the flesh went ahead and gave It a go anyway.

That's how we came to be. We're a new person wearing a dead sociopath's face. I know we have a remnant of her personality tucked away, but my guess Is that Isn't even really Sam, but just a ghost of a ghost. If she was whole this quest wouldn't exist with Shu as the protagonist, so It's just a remnant.

And If all this Is correct that means the real and complete Sam Is dead as a doornail, courtesy of unbridled rage and a Lava lamp and that not even GOD can bring her back now.

Lava lamp: 1
God: 0

The most hateful part of me would laugh If we ever get a 'B'ni wins' BAD END where everything just goes WRONG for her after the end of the world, my sides would go Into orbit at the ludicrous amount of tragedy that could be reached In that outcome, but I think I just pity B'ni more than anything now.

Crushing her delusions would probably kill her, and fulfilling them Is either a lie, or a lie that also ends the world. I think the only way to save her Is to appeal to the fact that we, her friends, can give her what she needs. That we really do care and love for her and that she doesn't actually need Sam to feel worth and happiness, to feel whole. She hates herself, and we need to take that burden off of her. It's really not her fault how things turned out and she needs to really have that hammered In.

I do wanna say though, that we definitely owe her a second chance. As far as I'm concerned, she gave Shu her chance at life, so we absolutely owe her a chance for her to really get to live hers. Working through the revelation I think I've moved on from the anger and depression and I all I really want now Is to bring B'ni peace. I don't know how or when we'll see her again, but when we do I just want to sit down and talk with her one-on-one about us. If we can just manage to bring her some peace with her past and herself, I think that will do a world of good for her, and by the end of this quest I think I'd just like to see her happy.

I have faith In our path, and I have faith that we can save even someone as far down the descent as B'ni. Thanks for the run, BHOP, I'm looking forward to what comes next.
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>>3311854
>>3311866
honestly i dont think we owe her anything, hell id argue we already gave her her second chance. while i feel for her, im past letting it get in the way, theres too much at stake to try and reach out to someone so insane at the risk of everything.

that being said, note i am willing to try and get her on a better path, but not for any other reason than its the right thing to do and fits our character, not out of any obligation to her herself.
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>>3311410
(I must profess that I am unfamiliar with that band, but the main four characters' names do collectively reference something.)

>>3311548
(She would have defended herself appropriately, leaving you wounded or at the very least alarmed at her abilities. After that, I'm afraid what would happen next could technically be spoilers, as it brings in elements that I have yet to use.)

>>3311854
>>3311866
(This is a fantastic write-up, I always appreciate hearing your thoughts like this. I'm also glad to see you're the same anon that pointed out B'ni may have been hiding her actual core ability and that she'd made the choice already, especially once it became clear that hitting level 5 in a given stat seemed to trigger it.)
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>>3314902
you're way too clever at covering things up by the way. i actually noticed the 'level 5' potential correspondence to meeting Mother, but like right after i did we talked to West who said it wasn't actually an outright exact level even for base abilities, so i just brushed it under the rug as Dogged Sprinter not being as combat oriented it had a higher cap for that, and at this point ive no idea if you did that on purpose or it was a coincidence.
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(Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that the Thirteenth Vein shall open three days from now, on the morning of Wednesday, March 6th, at roughly 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.)

(Additionally, you can stay informed of updates via Twitter at BodyHorrorQuest_OP. I will post the link to new threads there, as well as updated character and ability sheets when they become available. Thank you so much for reading, and I look forward to showing you what is to come.)

>>3314980
(Haha, thank you. I appreciate your kind words. It was indeed intentional, and so was B'ni hastily leaving the room when Shu and Gina asked for a general inspection of everyone's abilities.)
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>>3315044
yeah that was way too suspicious, though at that point we expected she was hiding something, even if we undermined the actual scale way more than i expected. Rath got a pass more than she should've though, but i just chalked that up to the fact we had just figured out she really didn't like to get her inner thoughts pried into.

and im greatly looking forward to how the new character sheets come out.
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>>3315108
(I was actually just working on the new character sheets, with all the most recent updates and including the Contender's new form. However, I'll be sticking to Pastebin for the time being until I can figure out how to not have my Chromebook crash every time I try to work on a Google Doc. It's frustrating.)

When I first saw that picture a while back I had to do a double-take because I thought it was Rath. I am thrilled to see it again.
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>>3315150
wait, what?
>chromebook crashing with google Docs
>CHROMEbook crashing with GOOGLE docs
BHOP how the actual fuck?!
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>>3315201
(It's refurbished, but it still blows my mind that this thing loads everything quickly and efficiently...everything except for Gmail, Google Docs, and literally anything Google related.)
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>>3315209
that sounds like a practical joke or something out of a sitcom.
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>>3314902
>The main four characters' names do collectively reference something.
For just a moment, I thought it was genetic code, but only half the initials work for that.
Can I buy a vowel?

Or, more practically, could you clarify if you mean given names, nicknames, or both?

It's kind of strange, because the nicknames -- other than Shu -- are all fairly straightforward, and they are based on the first emphasized consonant of each name (isaBelle > B'ni), but I have no idea how to relate Wrath, Bunny, and Good Game to each other.

Oh, turns out Shu is the name of the Egyptian god of dry air and the name translates to "emptiness" or "he who rises up." He's also associated with calmness and occasionally depicted with a lion's head.
Without reading into it too much, that second meaning can connect to the Cord pretty straightforwardly, and the first one can be taken not only existentially (sort of a low-hanging fruit), but narratively (as a protagonist whose choices we control) and physiologically (just like the Hollow Host).
If I had to guess in a vacuum, I'd assume it's the last one, but since the names all have something to do with each other and we chose our class, that probably can't be the case.

Also it took until now for me to remember that Gina is a nickname for Regina (queen), which is super appropriate for a neuromancer.
While I don't think anyone would care for most of the etymologies, Isabelle eventually becomes "God is abundance," which I thought was kind of amusing given her stats.
Actually, Sam's is kind of funny because her given name is "Name of god" and her nickname is the name of a god.
And Rachel's is "ewe" which, given her backstory and the way she ditched her given name, works well with the character. Also the submissive thing.

I apologize for going on way too long with this. Anyone have a guess about the collective meaning?
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>>3316842
I dunno about the meaning or how they relate to eachother, but I know that if we get B'ni back and get a new party member whose name starts with an L we could be the G.I.R.L.S. squad
That counts for something, right?
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>>3316842
2 gods, a queen, and a sheep/follower?
sounds like it might reference a story/myth but i cant think a specific one. maybe the odyssey(a man going home after a war over a queen started by 2 gods, depending on the specific telling of the myth), but that feels too obvious and the sheep/follower does not really fit, as i think the hero is the odyssey got lost in part to pissing off a god? unless Rath turning from religion is supposed to represent that or something.

still feels a bit off though, but might be along the right vein.
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>>3316842
(It's the nicknames, specifically. Also, good catch on their actual names.)
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>>3317636
>Shu
>B'Ni
>GG
>(u)Rath
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>>3317638
(Well played. The 'u' was always there, though.)

(Or should I say, you.)
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>>3317642
aw fuck
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>>3317638
>>3317642
You folk make me feel uncultured with all your references i do not understand.
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>>3317638
...I don't get It-

I̞̺͚͇͖̊̏ͮͣ͜ͅ ̵͙̙̮͍̥͎͖̥̇̽́ͭ͊̓G̢̼̺̯͍̳̻͊͗̑̓̆E͇̰͛̀͞T̹̱͈̪͚̖̽̓ͮͦͮ ̴̥͍̯͕̥̍ͮͧ͒Î̥̩̪̭͓̀̓ͫ͂ͅT̹̙̟̖̩̭̫̏ͅ
̵̷̦̙̓̃̓ͦͯ̈


OP you bastard.
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>>3317638
>>3317785
>>3317837

Is this a lesbian reference?
>>3317647
You're not the only one. I'm missing context.
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>>3317785 #
>>3317862 #

(No worries, Gentlemen. For reference, there is an entity from the Lovecraft Mythos that is known in some interpretations as the Mother of a Thousand Young, and it is named Shubniggurath.)
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>>3317876
oh. IA.
The mythology reference is very nicely disguised BHOP.
But I can't help but imagine said entity more along the lines like Pic related.
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>>3317905
oh. well funnily enough im semi-versed on Lovecraftian mythos, and love the stuff. the issue is those names are insanely hard to remember, and i also have dyslexia, so trying to remember the spelling of those damned fucks is like nuclear physics to me at times.
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>>3318205
(As someone that also struggles heavily with dislexia, I absolutely understand and sympathize. When I was just starting to get into Lovecraft and cosmic horror the names of the eldritch deities were well and truly unpronouncable for me at the time.)
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>>3318218
(I struggle with it almost as much as my phone struggles with auto correct.)
>>
/u/Rath
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>>3318218
>>3318225
well by all damn measures you certainly have at least put on a mask of overcoming it BHOP. and never trust auto-correct, suggested correction is much more reliable.

actually isn't there a disproportionately high number of successful writers with dyslexia? i remember some study on it awhile back, something to do with the extra focus on English in school and the like to help them overcome it often over compensates for the dyslexia, or something like that.
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>>3318233
(...I am catastrophically mad at myself for not realizing that sooner, oh my God.)

>>3318244
(My parents were instrumental in helping me manage it, and I subsequently developed a love of reading and writing as well. I think I do remember reading about that study some time ago, now that you mention it...)
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>>3307224
....Okay. This makes it. Let´s make the Crucible/Mother PAY and WIN.
I propose to do it by rescuing all the daughters slain in this cycle, and attacking the chord together.

The KEY of the Crucible? It takes 3 BILLION female human beings, and pits them into a “battle royale” that only ONE can win. It prioritizes to get rid of the numeric advantage daughters have against Mother, and to keep them alone.
Three main ways:
1) The HUNGER to force daughters to kill each other.
2) The ERASURE of daughters consumed; each daughter can only carry the ghosts of the daughters she killed personally, but all the ghosts that the killed daughters consumed in turn are not available; no person so far SEEMS to carry thousands of ghosts.
3) The ONE Wish: See poor CHARON fate.

The end result is that instead 3 BILLIONS of daughters cooperating against Mother & the Crucible, we have mere HUNDREDS competing against each other.
Let´s BREAK EACH of the 3 rules of the game.

For this, we do:

1º) ARMY: regenerate as many WILLING "Ghosts" from daughters as ethical, and jack them into combat amalgams/haemonculi. IF they are NOT subject to the HUNGER, we free THOUSANDS to BILLIONS of sane people that can consume biomass from the fleshcape to sustain themselves.

2º) PACT: Using our "empathy/red string/neuromancy”, we tell everyone that joined what we learned, request info, and create a common "One Wish" that EVERYONE agree on. We die? Someone WILL carry on.

3º) NUKES & RESOURCES: We don´t have