Twenty years ago- years before you were even born, your homeworld repelled an alien invasion which arrived with no warning, no declaration, no communication. The invaders killed tens of thousands of your people before they all suddenly died- killed by their own ships.You've got it! You've got your cloaking device- even if it needs a few quick repairs. Now all you need to do is... well, the part you've been preparing for this whole time. Getting into Y'avel, finding what you need and getting it all out.---You can read the previous threads here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=COADECheck your stats and inventory here: [Pastebin is down at the time of this thread. Will add sheet in reply to this post at a later date.]
>T: Just the first two.>T: I want to get the hell out of here.>EZ: Twenty seconds.You look up over your phone, glancing at Jared, then the room around him. Was this a trap? Or was all of this just explained by a bit of an idiot who thought the best way to stay out of trouble was to appease his robber... who was a teenage girl- yeah, something didn't add up here. Either he was too stupid or he- ah, wait.The security system.OH would have disabled it, but he didn't know that. So, he probably thought that your intrusion had been detected or seen, and that the police were on their way... which would explain part of why he's so calm. That, and you doubt he's particularly threatened by you. Right. Time to make a run for it, then."Uh." You look up and smile, pushing your chair back and getting to your feet. "If that's everything, I'll justbegoingthanksbye-" You spill out, quickly stepping back through the doorway and then turning and running down through the living room, then the laundry room and into his yard. A muffled voice calls after you, but you ignore it, practically plowing through the gate to the yard and throwing yourself into ST's open door. "Drive, drive, drive!"ST immediately pulls forward, narrowly turning around the corner and accelerating further into the neighborhood.You put your face in your hands. "Dammit, that was a dumb idea...""I am sorry, I was not adequately prepared.""Damn right you weren't!" You slam your hand on the dashboard. "How come you didn't tell me he was home?!""He was not near any windows, and his work session was not logged in."You purse your lips for a second, then sigh and fall back in your chair. "I was pretty dumb myself. I just walked in with my uniform on and everything...""I want to say shapeshifting would have helped you with a disguise, but likely not in this case...""Can it, Wander." You mutter, before looking out the window. "OH and Easy got the stuff, right?""They successfully exited through a window.""Good..." You sigh. Not a total bust, then. "He saw my face, though...""A blonde schoolgirl of indeterminate age, with a fairly common style of uniform a long ways away from where she would probably be located is a far cry from conclusive evidence." ST noted."Still..." You whine, then shake your head and sigh. The window rolls down, and two signatures slide into the cabin with you, one floating into the backseat. "So, you'd get it?" A note of hope creeps into your voice.Easy appears, his casing opening up to disgorge a oddly shaped piece of metal, roughly the size of a tin can. It was oddly smooth, and shaped like a triangular prism. "It is currently inoperable, but we are confident it can be restored to working order with maintenance.""This is it?" You tilt your head at it.
>>3980985"It is currently configured to interface with armor. We will set it into standby mode." Easy looks down at it. "Thankfully cloaking devices such as these do not have power sources that need replacement.""...what do they run off, then?" You tilt your head."Abyssal energies. I do not understand the mechanism, but it draws it's energy from the wearer.""If only I was stronger in it, then..." You murmur, poking at the device with a finger. Easy looked at you for a moment, then looked to the back seat as OH floated forward. "Would this possibly help?" It held out a small ring of metal for you. A ring of metal about the size of your head, with chevron patterns carved into the side."This is the circlet you found?" You tilt your head, taking it from OH. As you grasp onto it, you shiver slightly at how cold it is. This thing was strong in the Abyss indeed, to the point that it made your teeth ache."Damn...""Valkans traditionally forged such objects to enhance their power. It is similar to a rosary, in that regard." Easy spoke up, looking at it. "However, civilians were discouraged from ownership of such artifacts. Their power is great...""I, for one, like it." Wander spoke up. You glance sharply in the direction of her voice. "...but the Abyss can't hurt me, so maybe don't listen to me..."You shake your head, then give it back to OH. "That thing makes me feel funny. Hold onto it for now, okay?""Of course, ma'am."A 'Valkan circlet' and 'damaged lensing field generator' have been added to your inventory.You lean back. "How long to fix it?""I am fairly certain it will only take a number of hours. If any parts are needed, I am certain I can pull them from ST0504's reserve without too much trouble." OH said."...just be careful." You lean back and sigh. "Let's just go home...""Would you still like to attempt to access Perrus Ranon's personal collection?" ST asked.You screw your eyes shut. "Ah, shit that's right-">"You know what, screw it. Forget about him.">"It must be easy with the ability to straight up turn invisible, right? Let's do it."
'Sup Bentus, hope you're doing well.tfw no half valkan plankmode gf>>3980987>>"You know what, screw it. Forget about him."Let's not get too greedy here.
>>3980987Votes from the old thread count?>>3980894He was married to a teacher. No idea how angry she could get.
>"You know what, screw it. Forget about him."Writing.
I wanna test out that circlet so much.But, in the wilderness. Far from the city. Just so we don't accidentally smush someone's car by mistake.
>>3980994Doing alright. Just sleeping off seeing IX. It will be a slight effort of will to keep it from leaking into the worldbuilding for a bit.Do I want to know what plankmode is
"You know what?" You sigh. "Screw it. Forget about him. If he has something valuable- whatever. We'll think about it later.""Understood." ST turned into a small alcove between two buildings, sequestering itself in darkness. After a few moments, it changed shape slightly, becoming a red station wagon before pulling back onto the road."...have you guys put together the- er, thing for Joran? The data drive?" You ask, leaning back in the passenger seat. "We want to hold up our end of the bargain.""Yes. We will plant it near one of the other crash sites, so as to avoid raising suspicion in connection to whatever happens here."You raise an eyebrow. "The other crash sites are pretty far from here. When are you just going to dart over there?""When you are more able to defend yourself." ST said evenly. "Hopefully after machine seed installation.""I appreciate the confidence." You say dryly."Honestly." Easy spoke up. "I am astounded that we have made it this far without attracting any overt Valkan attention."You tilt your head curiously. "What do you mean? It's not like half-Valkans are common- or so I understand.""That's exactly it." Easy continued. "They aren't common. Unassigned assets suddenly disappearing from the public manifest would have been a red flag to any Valkan monitoring them. And yet, none have come. Why?""There was that guy at the arcade?""Yes. Why hasn't he pursued? What is keeping him away from someone he clearly can overpower?" Easy said. "He had a single adjutant in his service. That is more than sufficient to locate someone on Tagara. Why hasn't he found out where you live? It's within his capabilities.""...now that is a thought that's going to fester." You blink. "Um, maybe I'm just too weak of a target? I just don't have anything worth taking?""Unlikely. Many would not pass up a chance to eliminate potential rivals.""Why is it the more I hear about Valkans, the less enthused I am about them?" You shake your head. "Okay, reverse it- he saw ST and now he thinks I'm too strong to challenge.""...potentially." Easy replied. "Be careful, miss.""I'm the very picture of caution, Easy. Didn't you see how well that robbery went?"It is now Friday. This is your final chance to prepare before entering Y'avel.>Take Wander up on her offer of tutoring you in a specific ability.>>[Sub-Option] Shapeshifting. How's that for getting past the cameras?>>[Sub-Option] Despite your desires otherwise, you have a feeling decay or renewal would be more useful in Y'avel.>>[Sub-Option] With only three days to go, you need to prioritize getting comfortable with the lensing field generator. Potentially other powers?>Spend time with your friends. They help keep you grounded and sane- and you feel a need to vent some of what's happening to them...>>[Sub-Option] Kara.>>[Sub-Option] Dad.>>[Sub-Option] Someone you haven't hung out with in a while or don't know very well. (Write-In)
Updated character sheet now that pastebin is back up - https://pastebin.com/pKjvxm5v
>>3982280>Shapeshifting. How's that for getting past the cameras?Honestly best bet of sneaking in.
>>3982280>>Take Wander up on her offer of tutoring you in a specific ability.>>>[Sub-Option] Shapeshifting. How's that for getting past the cameras?Tfw no full valkan bf to have many children with
>>3982280>>[Sub-Option] With only three days to go, you need to prioritize getting comfortable with the lensing field generator. Potentially other powers
>>3982280>Take Wander up on her offer of tutoring you in a specific ability.>[Sub-Option] With only three days to go, you need to prioritize getting comfortable with the lensing field generator. Potentially other powers?Normally I vote shapeshifting, but we did steal this thing. We should at least practice with it before yoloing a military base.>"Yes. Why hasn't he pursued? What is keeping him away from someone he clearly can overpower?" Easy said. "He had a single adjutant in his service. That is more than sufficient to locate someone on Tagara. Why hasn't he found out where you live? It's within his capabilities."Well, maybe that has something to do with the zombie patriots that react with extreme hostility to anyone that injures Valkan kids? Not that he knows they're following us around, but if his drone - an Engineer not an Adjutant by the way, unless they can also have steel-grille fabricators installed? - could identify Tiiris's presence at the extremely public mall bombing, there's no way he'd take the chance of sudden murderskelebros showing up for a throwdown. Even if they do only act to prevent death and maiming, not small injuries. He might feel awful lucky he didn't land any hits under the arcade.Then again, it could be a big deep conspiracy holding him back, like Easy is implying. Occam's Razor isn't always the right answer.
>>3982280>Take Wander up on her offer of tutoring you in a specific ability.>>[Sub-Option] With only three days to go, you need to prioritize getting comfortable with the lensing field generator. Potentially other powers?
>Take Wander up on her offer of tutoring you in a specific ability.>>[Sub-Option] With only three days to go, you need to prioritize getting comfortable with the lensing field generator. Potentially other powers?Writing.
>>3982519>bf>childrenK A N AA N A
>>3983751Kara.Kana's a city on another continent.
>>3983865That's what I meant, though
>>3983865They do say anything's a dildo if you're brave enough...
Unnamed Forest, Outskirts of Miir16th of 5th, 1173. 5:00PM.You heft your heavy bag over your shoulder, fumbling with the long cable that snaked out of the rifle in your hands and coiled in the air oddly. Stepping carefully over the log in your way, you set the back on the forest floor, wincing slightly at the soreness in your arm. "Isolated enough for you?""Yes, I think this will do quite nicely." She said. "Now, where's that cloaking device?""OH?" You look over your shoulder. "Did you fix it?""Yes, ma'am." OH floated over to you, holding out a silvery sheet of metal.The 'damaged lensing field generator' has been repaired."It looks different from before." You note, taking it. Despite it's appearance, it didn't feel so much like metal as it did some sort of silky fabric."Different configurations suit different needs. In this case, it is configured for an unarmored wearer.""How do I use it?" You heft it in your hands. Surprisingly heavy, although not unbearably."Wrap it around your body and I will lock it into place. Maximum skin contact is preferable.""Skin contact?" You glance up with a quizzical expression."Energy transfer to the device is most efficient through armor or skin." OH said simply."Kinky." You mutter, looking at the sheet for a moment before simply wrapping it around your arm, overlapping the two ends a few inches. "Can you make it look... more like fabric?""Of course." OH extended a small arm and pressed it against the sheet. After a brief moment, it suddenly tightened against your skin, before slackening slightly to give your arm some breathing room. The overlapping sections melded together, and you felt it lengthen slightly up your arm."Does it need a certain amount of surface area?" You glance at OH."Mass, with only a slightly variable density." The surface of it lost it's metallic sheen, becoming duller and rougher, appearing as a more neutral grey instead of gunmetal.You run your hand up and down it. It looked a lot more like a oversized exercise band now, running over your elbow and slightly up the rest of your arm. "I'll have to remember long sleeves when I visit... so how do I turn it on?""That is beyond my ken, ma'am. The manuals I have available to me indicate it activates with Abyss input.""In other words, that's where I come in." Wander said cheerily. "Shall we get started?""Uh... right." You glance down at you arm. "It seems simple enough, just push the energy into this, right?""It may be tricky." Wander cautioned. "You've really only clumsily used psychokinesis so far. If you try what you've been doing, you'll just push the thing off your damn arm, and you don't want that.""...how, then?""...you just gotta do it, really." Wander replied sheepishly. "In lieu of that, though, let me try and act as a conduit for you. Start respirating."
>>3984398Nodding, you take a moment to center yourself and release the slight, unconscious hold you've developed on your respirating. Loosening it felt relaxing, more natural than keeping it bound, but it eagerly rushed forth as you loosened the bolt like an overeager pet and overwhelmed you for a moment before you could get it under control."Better than normal." Wander's voice sounded clearer now. "Now, I'm going to reach out." You feel an odd, blobby extension of yourself lift off, located somewhere in the cluster of organs - both real and otherwise - that assaulted your senses. "Do you feel that?""Yeah." You murmur, getting drawn into your breathing. "Feels like I'm reaching out...""Good. Try and do it yourself." Wander began flexing her... 'arm' slowly. "Just feel it out slowly. An arm that isn't an arm. You've done it before, you can do it again."You swallow nervously, clicking your tongue slightly at the stale taste of the Abyss on your tongue. Just like learning to respirate, right? Instinctively, you start to raise your arm before forcing it back down. Not with the real arm, with one that doesn't exist. Just move it, get a feel.An odd twitching moved through your arm, an involuntary spasm shuddering through your arm that makes you suddenly look down, only to find it perfectly still."Exactly. That's your arm, just keep going..." Wander said encouragingly. Something seemed slightly... off, though. Her voice was strained, almost as if she was in pain?Nodding, you latch on to the twitching sensations. Each one was a part of you, right? You weren't sure if they had muscles per say, but they must connect to one another somehow. Carefully, you flex them, feeling how they shudder and shift against each other. Closing your eyes, you feel one the... furthest 'up' and try to twist it, being rewarded by the sensation of your arm turning. It shuddered slightly, and you grimaced."Relax. Trying to hold it still will just make is shake."Pursing your lips, you try to move the arm. "Forget that it's an arm, just move it..." You mutter under your breath. It's hard not to stew in your frustration. "Do Valkans with the right implants and... genes have this much trouble?" You mutter."Nope." OH spoke up."Probably not." Wander said simultaneously.You shake your head. "I just wish I could-" You wave your arm in agitation, only to hear Wander wince as her outstretched arm waved and jerked, making you jump slightly at the sudden noise."Could what?" Wander said in amusement undercut with slight irritation, as her arm slowly stopped jerking."Um. That?" You ask bashfully. Was it just a fluke? After a moment, you tried it again, being rewarded with the arm raising up in a slightly more controlled manner than before. "Don't even think about it, huh?" You smile a little to yourself."Indeed." Wander said encouragingly. "Now, reach out to the device..."
>>3984400"I have to put my arm- er, ghost arm into it?" You ask in confusion."You're not exactly working with anatomy here. It might be easier to visualize it as an aura.""...maybe." You blink, slowing your breathing. All of this was familiar. The arm, your lungs- each of them were just a natural extension of you. Parts that you would have proper control over eventually. One way or another. Each movement feels more natural than the last, until you're able to direct it well enough to gather it and push the sensation down your arm and into the band.It pushes against your senses- a solid object that hammers against your senses like the bottle you moved before did, a slight irritation that it exists. Instead of being gritty against your senses, though, it soaks it up, drawing in the energy as you feed it.On your arm, you feel the band start to vibrate slightly. A very slight hum that thankfully doesn't rattle your bones. Looking down at it, you wait for it to do something obvious to indicate that it was on- glowing sigils, maybe, or your arm disappearing, but nothing. "Did it work?" You glance at OH."You are currently cloaked, ma'am.""Wait, really?" You step over and wave your arm in front of it's main sensors, getting no response. "You-" The band suddenly stops humming as you step back. "Sure?"OH's camera turns to you suddenly. "Test successful. The cloaking device appears to be operating normally."You blink. "That was it?""Yes. You cloaked for approximately six seconds.""Doesn't give much of a visual warning." You murmur. "At least make it visually apparent that I'm invisible...""Imagine how difficult it would be to use your hands without being able to see them." OH reminded you. "The device hides your electromagnetic presence to others, but not to yourself.""That's... not very long." You mutter. Glancing down at your arm, you realize that you stopped charging it with power. "Actually tell me when I disappear this time, okay?" You glance up at OH."Affirmative."Feeding power into the band, you feel it begin to hum again."Cloaked.""Right, so I'm going to have to-" You start to speak, but as soon as you begin, you automatically pull back from the band."Uncloaked.""...make sure I stay focused on it." You sigh. "Why can't anything ever be easy?""I don't know, miss. I'm not a warskin." Easy's voice carried from across the clearing."...did you just make a joke?" You glance at it, before shaking your head. "Doesn't matter. We came out here to practice, and that's what we'll do.""Fundamentally, this is just about building your control." Wander spoke up. "If that's the case, we can really try anything you want, and it'll help. Practice with your psychokinesis- try the circlet, any of it would help build your competence."
>>3984401You glance down at the bag you laid out in front of you, spreading the artifacts you'd thought to bring out. The circlet was as densely charged with the Abyss as ever, while the rifle was somewhat comfortingly inert. Also laying out was the summoner's bayonet, although none of you knew exactly what it was for or how it worked. If you were going to practice, then you'd better...>Use the rifle. You want to build control, right? Well, learn to stay cloaked while aiming.>Put on the circlet. It was supposed to enhance power like the rosary did, obviously it would help here.>Really, how mysterious could the bayonet be? It's a knife with some magical properties, try to find out what they were.>Focus totally on the Abyss and it's powers, since that's what's relevant- psychokinesis, mainly.>>[Sub-Option] ...but maybe you should try something else.>[Write-In]
>>3984402>Focus totally on the Abyss and it's powers, since that's what's relevant- psychokinesis, mainly.
>>3984402>Use the rifle. You want to build control, right? Well, learn to stay cloaked while aiming.
>>3984402>Put on the circlet. It was supposed to enhance power like the rosary did, obviously it would help here.Jumping into the deep end! Everything else should feel so much more manageable after trying to cloak while channeling a torrent of Abyss energy.
>Use the rifle. You want to build control, right? Well, learn to stay cloaked while aiming.Writing.
>>3985243Hoping for that stern lecture from ST on the importance of proper gun safety.And then Tiiris's hick space miner genes bring on the YEE-HAW.
Controlling Plasma Fire 102 with Professor ST0504 will be delayed due to bullshit.
Kneeling down, you heft the rifle, curling your hands around the grip and barrel. It was heavy, enough to make you wince slightly at the weight, although it makes you glad you're in such good shape. You were only vaguely familiar with firearms, having skipped the optional training camps you could attend over the summer. After all, they didn't pay, and you'd need to attend it anyway once you turned eighteen for your draft obligations, so why bother?Dad didn't own a gun- at least, you thought he didn't. But once you'd gotten to shoot your grandma's old service pistol while you were visiting her. It had bucked in your hands and the noise had scared the shit out of you, but you remember it being fairly simple.On first glance, it looked like any other rifle you'd seen. Long and thin, extending just a bit shorter than the length of your arm. The barrel was surrounded by dozens of bent back fins all the way back, where it transitioned into smooth metal and was virtually solid all the way back to the stock, without any of the odd cutouts you'd come to expect from military-style rifles. A simple hole in the stock accepted your thumb, letting your finger curl arou-"Finger off the trigger until you are prepared to fire."You jump in place, swiveling to see ST carefully picking it's way into the clearing. Each of it's feet reached out and delicately clasped logs, rocks and even the trunks of entire trees to carefully vault itself into the clearing. It was eerily silent- the only indication of it's passing being the quiet rustle of tree limbs shaking, and the soft thud of it's foot falls."Mind the exhaust and the muzzle. Both ends can kill." ST stepped down into the clearing, raising back up to it's full, towering height and picking over to the opposite end from you. "Where are you pointing it, Tiiris?""Uh..." You glance down at, realizing that in turning to face ST, you've ended up pointing it directly at ST. Blushing, you point it back down at the ground."Good." ST shifted it's feet, then squatted down on the forest floor. "Tagarans have comprehensive military education, yes?""A few short classes, yeah." You fumble with the rifle, trying to figure out a way to hold it without wanting to curl your fingers into the trigger. "Four rules of gun safety and all that.""Five.""Five?" You tilt your head and think. "No, I only remember four- do Valkans have more?""They are slightly different. Valkans have five rules for plasma weapon safety. Trigger discipline is emphasized over awareness of muzzle direction."You frown. "Why?""There is no safe direction to point the muzzle aboard a spacecraft. All avenues lead to critical systems or vacuum." ST raised it's chassis to the sky. "When you have your implants, it will be significantly easier for you to manage your weapon. Until then, you will simply have to be careful.""Thanks for the vote of confidence." You murmur, looking down at the rifle. "Okay, what's rule five?"
>>3987589"The weapon exhaust is just as dangerous as the muzzle.""Exhaust?""Turn the weapon so it's right side is up. Now, look at the barrel."You twist the rifle in your hands, running your hand along the side. A small metal protrusion emerged from the base of the barrel, pointing to the space slightly to your right. "This?""Yes. That is the exhaust port for the cooling system. The weapon will periodically vent heat through that port.""And it's dangerous?" You frown. "I'm not sure I want a gun firing backwards at me...""Typical exhaust levels are manageable. When the weapon is fired at full power for extended periods, or during full bore, it will begin exhausting levels of heat sufficient to harm unarmed users."You swallow. "Good to keep in mind.""Quite. Now, let us begin."ST has you sit down in front of a convenient log, balancing the rifle on top of it while ST walks you through the basic steps of operating it. It proves to be fairly similar to what you'd seen in class once you figure out how to enable what ST calls 'analog controls'- really, a set of knobs and sliders hidden behind a panel on the left of the weapon. There was a manual safety, a fire selector and several knobs that apparently determined the shape and size of the projectile once you pulled the trigger.Unfortunately, most of the labeling was in Valkan and whoever designed the rifle didn't seem to have bothered installing a scope on the damn thing as well."You'd think that they'd think to keep it simple." You mutter."I will not claim the Type-11 is a masterwork of Valkan engineering." ST said simply. "Now, breathe. Center the target-" In this case, a tree opposite the two of you in the clearing. "Clench your fingers."The rifle immediately jerked back into your shoulder. Small jets of red light flared out of the fins in the front, pushing the barrel down as it tried to jerk back. A projectile of white light flared out of the barrel with an odd arcing sound, instantly flicking to the tree only a few dozen feet away from you and clipping it before continuing into the underbrush. The tree practically exploded, bark bursting open in a cloud of steam where it was stuck. By the time you look up from the rifle in shock, all you can see of the bolt is a faint red glow quickly disappearing from view."Wow." You blink, sniffing. The air had the odd metallic stench of ozone. "That was... violent.""Yes." ST said. "Always be aware of everything behind your target. The bolt will go through all of them. Rule four.""No shit."---Unnamed Forest, Outskirts of Miir19th of 5th, 1173. 8:00PM."Rotate left, target at twenty meters elevation."
>>3987592You try to swivel on your feet, stumbling slightly on the uneven terrain. Blinking and looking for the splash of red, you raise the rifle, frown and screw your eyes shut for a second. Opening them, you look up and spot the red disc suspended from a branch. Raising the rifle, you take careful aim and squeeze off a shot. The flash of white clips the disc before it even has time to cool, melting and twisting the cheap plastic into a ruined mess that falls out of the tree. "Next target, right side. One meter elevation."Twisting, you point your rifle directly at the ground before remembering the proper units. Raising the rifle to chest height, you blink and peer into the underbrush, trying to pick out the splash of red amongst the leaves and scattered branches. They swim before your eyes, distorting and flickering out of focus before returning in the wrong colors. You shut your eyes and shake your head, trying to clear your vision. You just have to... right there! You heft the rifle and-"Stop.""Eh?" You breathe out, your finger frozen on the trigger."You've decloaked."You glance at the band on your right arm before sighing and letting the rifle slump in your hands."Finger off the trigger, please.""F- sorry." You let it slide out of your hand, trundling over to a nearby log and leaning it across before sitting down yourself. Without your eyes cooperating, you end up having to feel out the log with your hand before being able to sit down."That was an improvement." ST noted. "Twenty seconds under duress.""It would be easier if my eyes worked." You rub them hard and sigh."We work with what we have.""Wish I was a decent shot at least." You mutter."You are talented, but inexperienced." ST gently patted your head with it's cable. "Valkans were born to wield weapons. It will come to you in time.""I can't help but feel like I'd be a bit better with a melee weapon, as dumb as that would be." You sigh. "I'm a lot more coordinated when I'm moving around.""I am not programmed to serve as an instructor for the weapon arts." ST replied. "But such things do exist. Bayonets and plasma blades are common weapons employed by Valkans.""...really?" You turn at glance at ST. "Why?""It may simply suit an individual knight's talents better. Most portable weapons have functions for close combat. The energy bayonet on the Type-11, for example. Although it is not a true spear. There is also a tradition of knight that utilizes the sword and pistol.""...the Abyss. Of course." You sigh, looking away from ST. A thought occurs to you. "Is that why it was a summoner's bayonet? Not a knife?""Likely, yes. Bayoneted rifles are considered by many to be a Valkan symbol.""'Many'?" You frown. "Like who?""Other Valkans, other Sentients."
>>3987593"Right..." You trail off, glancing at your shoes. Tomorrow was the big day- you had received your official letter inviting you to come and tour Special Industrial Zone, Site II- not Y'avel, but the actual military installation. Signed by some Admiral in the Planetary Guard, too, not Joran....how he got the man to sign the letter isn't something you quite want to think about.You had just a few short hours before you needed to go to sleep to get up in time, but it wasn't nearly enough time to do anything big. Just time to make any contingency plans, or ask any final questions you had...>Nope, can't think of anything. Let's get to bed.>"ST, Easy, OH? If anything goes wrong, in case I die, I want you to..." (Write-In)>[Write-In]
>>3987594>Nope, can't think of anything. Let's get to bed.Would the suit that the pilot was wearing, at the crash site where we recovered the medallion, work as an armoured suit or was it specialised for pilots?
>>3987594>Nope, can't think of anything. Let's get to bed.
>>3987594>"ST, Easy, OH? If anything goes wrong, in case I die, I want you to..."Well, if we're dying or trapped in the ship, Kathari seems like the best longshot bet to handle the problem. We don't know her, but she might come help if given her sketchbook and asked nicely.>Make sure Kathari gets her book back.But in the absolute worst case scenario:>If I die, look after Dad.>But if you have to serve a sorta-Valkan, then Kara. She's good with computer robot stuff.>But if she doesn't count either, then Jess. She seemed nice enough, and you all shouldn't be sitting around rusting in junkyards.
>>3987594>"ST, Easy, OH? If anything goes wrong, in case I die, I want you to..." (Write-In)"I want you to look after Kara" as she probably also has Valkan heritage and she was originally one of the playable characters.>>3987978Kek, you had a similar idea as I was writing mine, what a coincidence. In any case I support this
>>3987986There's just something about Christmas that highlights the ephemeral, transitory nature of our mortal existences.
>"ST, Easy, OH? If anything goes wrong, in case I die, I want you to..." (Write-In)>"I want you to look after Kara."Merry Christmas Eve everyone.
>>3988281Merry Christmas, Bentus. May many half-valkan gfs come to all of us followers of COADE.
Why not elan? Unlike Kara he's a cripple who can't look out for himself
Feel free to discuss your choices more. Some stuff came up on top of it being the holidays and, uh, yeah the update will be whenever it is.
>>3988526He'd be a fine choice too. But he is going to be stuck in the hospital for a while, so there's not much the drones can do for him if we kick the bucket.If worst comes to worst, Kara can sort it out. She might not even want all the drones hanging around. Who knows?>>3988635Have a great holiday!
>>3988526I don't think we have any evidence on Elan having Valkan descent other than the fact that he was one of the 3 playable characters, but that is pretty much meta at this point.At least with Kara we have the fact that she's named after a Valkan planet and she can hear valkanbot chatter.
>>3989344There was the one "cutscene" where Elan's skin changed shape for a second
Small error in previous story post. The date should have been 18th of 5th."...hey." You look up at ST. "Easy and OH, too." You swallow thickly and frown. "If... if something happens to me when I do this. If I die or... just disappear. I want you to look after Kara. The, uh, formal line of succession. All of you go to Kara.""Understood." ST said, motionless. You look up at it, having to crane your head back in order to get the entirety of it's massive body into your vision. Only it's cameras moved, flicking back and forth as they swept over the clearing and presumably the trees beyond it."Easy, OH?" You glance around."We obey, miss." Easy replied, hovering in the branches of a nearby tree, carefully repairing one of your practice targets.You guess that's the biggest response you're going to get out of them.>Quality gained: Poor Shot>Without a strong, professional foundation in firearms use, Tiiris' technique is based mostly on instinct and regurgitated instinct from ST0504. Her vision compounds this problem, leaving her a mostly inaccurate shooter.---Commercial District, Miir, 2nd Floor18th of 5th, 1173. 10:00PM."So... what's your name, again?""SK4415, ser." A disc-shaped amalgam of black metal hovered before her. Beneath the long, finned barrel sprouting from it's body, a small camera rapidly swiveled and twitched around her room, sometimes settling on small objects before jerking to something else.Kara tilted her head at it and smiled. "Bit twitchy, aren't you?"The camera on SK4415 stopped dead before swiveling back to face her. "Apologies. Does this unnerve you?""It's kinda cute, honestly." Kara eyed it's chassis. There were bone white markings across much of it's body, and the flat gun shield wrapped around it's barrel was painted with lines that reminded her slightly of a skull.SK4415 paused for a moment, it's camera staring at Kara before it finally said. "...thank you, ser." It lifted away from the floor and swept around the room. "I do not like this location. It is unsecure.""It's my house." Kara shrugged. "Nowhere else for us to go.""Little in the way of protection. No point defenses or barriers. Little mobility." SK4415's artificial voice sounded almost irritated. "Tagaran security standards are so lacking."Kara shrugged. "It's not like we live in a warzo- oh, wait." Her eyebrows shot up. "We do. After you guys showed up.""I did not speak for the Fleet." SK4415 muttered. "At the very least, I will require a full security or gun drone complement to properly secure this location. Field scarabs or engineering scarabs, ideally.""Really? And where do you propose I get those things?" Kara asked sarcastically. "Can you build them?"SK4415 turned around. "Typically, it is the commanding Valkan who requ-" It paused upon seeing the expression on Kara's face.She slowly raised her eyebrows and tilted her head.SK4415 stared at her.She stared back.
>>3990709"...Ah. Right. I forgot." SK4415's optics narrowed, flicking towards the ground, before moving back to Kara. "I will look into it." ---Exterior of Special Industrial Zone, Site II19th of 5th, 1173. 10:20AM."Next, please." A voice calls.You feel out of place in this line. The men and women in front of and behind you were almost universally in uniform- fatigues or dress. The ones that weren't were in suits or coveralls that were utilitarian browns and greys, instead of the clean teal of Planetary Guardsmen. Soldiers, specialists, engineers, workers and corporate employees. Of them all, you feel increasingly out of place in your school uniform.There hadn't been any time to change into something else, of course, so you had simply kept on your uniform with it's faux-military styling after you'd gotten to school. Now that you were here, though- it almost made you feel like an imposter.It was an especially sweltering day today, and you could feel the heat and bright sun streaming from behind you and into the tunnel. Multiple guards were set up along several checkpoints that had been set up on the right side of the tunnel that wasn't closed by a massive clamp-style door, each of them standing next to a small scanning booth. As people stepped through, they called up the next person in line. To your right, you could see a larger rolling scanner - the kind you'd used to see in airports when you were a kid - had been set up for packages being brought in. Above it all, a small glass control tower looked over the checkpoint, although you had to wonder what they were actually controlling in there. The doors, maybe?You quietly tug on the cloaking device on your arm. It was still in the style of a grey arm warmer, which honestly didn't look that out of place with the rest of your clothes. A small part of you wondered if it would pick up on the scanner, if they'd figured out some kind of Valkan dector that would go BEEP BEEP IT'S A FUCKING V-"Next!"The woman ahead of you - her fatigues have a patch on the sleeve with the words 'Specialist' written on them - steps ahead of you. Gulping, you clutch your bag and step forward to the front of the line. You felt oddly naked with the knowledge that neither ST, Easy or OH were nearby. While ST was keeping it's distance, Easy and OH were at least in theory close enough to get to you in a pinch.Hopefully there wouldn't be one.All of the artifacts in your possession were... well, to put it bluntly, they were a little suspicious. Knives, guns, weird electronics. The only thing that wasn't suspicious was Kathari's journal, which you had on you still. Like they had at Mrs. Clinsky's house, though, you had Easy and OH acting as couriers, who could bring you some of your stuff if you really needed it.With that in mind, what did you tell both of them to hold onto?
>>3990710Pick two:>The Valkan Datacore.>Scuttles.>Your rifle.>It's charger - really, the entire set-up was too big for even Easy to carry on his own.>The Summoner's Knife.>The circlet.And a reminder that you can find detailed descriptions of your inventory here >>3982287
>>3990711>The Valkan Datacore.>Scuttles.
>>3990711>The Valkan Datacore.>Scuttles.Scuttles can squeeze into tight spaces for fixing, and the ship should have a way to access the datacore.I could see the backpack charger sans-gun coming in useful as well, if some machines need a small charge to reactivate. But I don't trust our skills enough to jury-rig a connection without a drone at hand, and that datacore is too interesting to leave behind...
>The Valkan Datacore.>Scuttles.Writing.
"You're next, miss."You look up to see one of the guards gesturing to you from next to an empty scanner. While his mask was open so you could see his face, and he looked friendly enough underneath it, you still had to force yourself to mechanically walk forward towards him.He looked down at you for a moment as you walked up, before turning his head away. "Step inside, please."Squeezing your bag against your chest slightly, you breathe and walk forward into the scanner. It was a small booth, just large enough that if you stuck your arms out they wouldn't hit the sides. A quick mechanical whirr sounded as a small disc of metal slid down the sides of the booth, then pulled up again."Next!"You glance back as the guard calls out before stepping through to the other side. The air conditioning of the interior hits you like a pleasant wave as you step into a busy plaza. It was not ostentatious like most government buildings you'd been in, but refreshing utilitarian. The floors were a prickly, unsurfaced metal with small lanes and traffic lines painted onto it. Dozens of people walked on foot in the lanes marked at the edges of the bay, while small tugs rolled through the off-center lanes next to them.All of them seemed to ignore you, although perhaps that was expected, considering the bus you'd taken from school had been let in through the initial checkpoint a mile or so out from the actual wall.Fumbling, you pull out your phone and look at the message you'd received again. It read like an invitation: formally inviting you to visit Y'ave- er, 'Miir Planetary Air Base' under the... 'Competitive Academic Training for Youth' program. Whatever that was. On top of the general letter, there were a few instructions, along with a letter detailing code of conduct. Don't break the law, don't bring weapons, don't be an asshole, be careful around any equipment- yep, nothing you were in any risk of doing there!The duty officer will greet you at the entrance. Please present this letter to him as proof of admission.You look up from your phone and scan the loading bay more closely, trying to ignore the roar as a full-sized APC drove through the center lane and turned deeper into the base. Something nags at you out of the corner of your eye, and you glance at it only to get a blank spot and swimming colors. Closing and rubbing your eyes firmly for a few seconds, you open them again to see a man in fatigues waving at you from across the bay. Standing around him was a group of people who clearly weren't in military uniform. That was probably your group....you hadn't realized you'd have a group.
>>3992485Pointing to yourself, you get a nod back from the waving man, so after a brief look to see if the way is clear, you lightly jog across the bay to the group. As you get closer, you see that the man is actually fairly young- in his late twenties or early thirties perhaps. Glasses, short curly hair and a field cap pulled down his head that read 'P'at'. Lifting his arm, he looked at a tablet that was in his hand, glancing between it and you. "Tiiris Elson, I presume?""Uh, yeah." You nod, catching your breath, fumbling with your phone. "H-here's the letter..."'P'at' barely spares a glance at it before looking away. "Good, checks out. Looks like there's just one more- ah, here she is." He turns away from you to speak to a girl that's also walking up.You glance over your shoulder at her, and immediately notice that she's dressed up in a fairly conservative pants suit, not a school uniform. Glancing towards the rest of your group, you immediately feel out of place once again at the realization that everyone else here was in some manner of business dress. Pencil skirts, regular suits- hell, one boy seemed to be wearing an Advance Training Corps uniform. Certainly, you were the only one in a pleated skirt.While the officer was busy talking to the newcomer, you notice one of the other students - a boy about your age in a fairly simple grey suit - look at you curiously.You glance at him, then look away. After a few seconds, you look again to see him still staring. "...can I help you?""Wh- oh, I'm sorry." He blinks and coughs. "I was just thinking I'd never seen you before.""...so?" You raise an eyebrow."It's just, uh, I've met everyone else here before, but I don't recognize you.""Why do you all know each other?" You tilt your head."I wouldn't say that well." One of the girls spoke up, self-consciously bringing a hand to the bun of hair on her head. "But you spend enough years running into the same people and you develop a familiarity."The boy standing directly next to you in the ATC uniform stuck out his hand. "Hi, I'm Jack. Primarily physics and orbital operations. You?""Me, what?" You shake his hand with confusion."Your field.""Field? Why would I-"Oh. Oh wait. Competitive Academic Training. Which implied some sort of sciences program. This was the place they broke apart the ships, so in other words- right, it would make perfect sense to bring the top science kids here as a recruiting tool. The yards had corporate and government money all over them. All of these people must have gotten here through those dumb science competitions you were always hearing about. Each of them must be pretty damn good at their field in order to get here.
>>3992487Just one issue, though. You were none of these things. For fuck's sake, you were best at physics, and that was only because you got to play on the bridge and bug the helmsman when you were little. You weren't some mega-nerd who could regurgitate pi on the fly or something! So far, you'd gotten the distinct impression that not even the Valkans who built this stuff were nerdy enough to do that."Um, oh, I see what you mean, I-I'm..."Dammit, Joran. You had to pick the one thing you were least qualified to actually attend?!>"It's kind of complicated. You probably wouldn't understand it.">"Nothing special, really.">"Chemistry. I- um, you know? Bonds and stuff...">"Physics. Grew up on a gas liner, you know, so it's kinda in my blood...">"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art.">"Really just kind of a cadet...">[Write-In]
>>3992489>"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art."
>>3992489>"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art."We've probably looked at the artbook enough to fake this temporarily. In an athletic Indiana Jones sort of way. No fair using Wander to cheat! (but maybe do it anyway)Competing with science honor roll students over who has the longest pi is not a great idea.
>>3992489>>"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art."
>>3992489>"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art."I'm somewhat of a Valkanologist myself, fellow Tagaran!
>"I'm actually a linguist. Translating their symbols and art."Writing.
"I-I'm actually a linguist." You stutter out. "I examine their art and language, try to translate it...""Oh." Jack said, instantly losing interest."Can you read any of it?" A stylish blonde girl asked. She hardly looked like she fit in with a military group- too pretty and done up."Uh... kinda?" You hazard warily. While you're certain you could reasonably fake it with what you'd picked up from Easy and ST - both of them had casually displayed Valkan material enough that you'd picked up a few letters and phrases - you weren't sure how good of an idea it was to actually start accurately translating a dead language out of nowhere. If the Planetary Guard hadn't done it in thirty-odd years, you shouldn't be able to either. "It's not exactly cutting edge...""That's still really cool." Blondie smiled and put her hands together. "One day you can figure out the labeling on controls so we can do science things with it!""...thanks." You answer, unsure of whether the patronizing tone was intentional or not.A slight cough gets your attention, and you turn your head to see the duty office gesture as he starts walking briskly down the hallway behind him. "Come on, let's get going." He sent a quick pace, which makes you briefly sympathize with one of the girls who seemed to decide to wear heels to this day. "Please note that the inside of the facility is monitored, but Bay 27 is fairly open. The perimeter guards have been notified of your presence and will point the way for you if you get lost or wander out of bounds. Please, no pictures. Any questions?"One of the boys raised a hand. "Will there be time allotted for lunch?""Yes, at 1300 hours." The man checked his watch. "That is, in roughly two and a half hours."Blondie spoke up again. "Will all meetings be on a schedule or will we have time to move freely?""There will be unstructured time at both of our locations." P'at looked over his shoulder and bumped the patch on his shoulder against a wall-mounted scanner, which beeped and unlocked a set of side doors exiting out from the tunnel you were in. Pushing it open with his back, he ushered you inside.Harsh low-hanging fluorescent lights greeted you, making you blink and push up your glasses to rub your eyes behind them. Opening them again, you survey the room and are immediately struck by how... ordinary it seemed. It almost looked like the science classroom you had back at school. Many counters were spaced out across the room- mostly clear except for the odd piece of lab equipment on them. Around them, people in disposable paper coats peered in microscopes or waited on centrifuges to cycle, tending to cluster into groups around laptops with spreadsheets visible on them.For their part, the rest of your group looked excited to be here at least."Dr. Munshi?" P'at called into the room. "The CAT students?"
>>3993790One of the scientists looked up from his workstation. "Ah, thank you, corporal." Stepping back from his computer, he walked over, pulling off his coat and gloves before wadding them up and throwing them into a nearby bin. He was middle-aged, with steadily greying hair and a slight Kana accent. Smiling, he stuck out his hand and shook each one of you in turn. "Hello, I'm Dr. Munshi and I work with the CATY program. Nice to see some familiar faces for the sciences." His gaze turns to you as he holds out his hand. "Ah, are you Tiiris Elson, by chance? Admiral Sarob neglected to tell me what your specialty was...""Linguistics, sir." You start to mumble before clearing your throat and speaking up. "And art. Language and art.""Oh?" He tilted his head, shaking your hand. "It's rare we see someone from the softer sciences in this program.""...Valkan linguistics.""There it is." He smiled and released your hand, before stepping back and addressing the whole group again. "Well, I'm sure that most of you aren't here for chemistry lectures from me- I'm also the best person to ask about the program, but there will be time for that over lunch. In this room, we primarily perform chemical and structural analysis, but those of you who are more physically inclined-" He swung his hand down a hallway at the end of the room. "-that direction leads to materials science and the collision lab, and this way leads to our artifact and recovery bay." Dr. Munshi directed his hand down a different hallway. "We'll meet up in this room for lunch, unless you'd rather stay in here, of course.""...wait, we can just... wander?" You find yourself speaking up."I'm sure you'll be more interested in seeing what we do here up close- although I must ask that you not disturb anyone operating heavy machinery." Dr. Munshi smiled politely. "Otherwise, yes- please talk to our staff and get a feeling for what it is we do here. This will be the daily work you will eventually work on one day. Now, ah... Gabriel, was it? This is what I was telling you and Jack when we met before..." He immediately started to talk to two of the students, walking with them back to his workstation.After a few moment's idle fidgeting, the rest of the group began dispersing- most (including Blondie) in the direction of the materials labs, with the one girl in the pantsuit hanging a left towards the artifact bay, leaving you standing there rather dumbfounded. They were just going to let you move around the labs freely? Not that you were complaining, but it seemed too good to be true.That one guy did say the exits would be guarded, didn't he though... So you couldn't just slip out and skulk around the base. Actually, did you even have time to get out? They mentioned they'd be breaking for lunch in just under three hours, so if you left you'd have to be back before they noticed. Not that you could stay cloaked for three hours, even if you were optimistic.
>>3993793Perhaps you should try and play along for the next little bit? Visit a few rooms- the artifact bay for one sounded like a place you'd be right at home in. Try and give the impression that you were here for the right reasons.>Try and find a bathroom for a little bit of privacy- and to cloak away from prying eyes.>Go ahead and poke around in the artifact bay.>Head to materials science and try to make a few friends.>Stay in chemistry. Maybe you can butter up Munshi for something?>[Write-In]
Ahahaha of course they're all STEM nerds. Who cares about crazy soft sciences, like "Knowing what the warning labels say"? Boring!>>3993794>Stay in chemistry. Maybe you can butter up Munshi for something?Going for the artifacts right away sounds good too, but I like Munshi already. No wonder he's the face of the program. Imagine if it was someone like Mrs. Clinsky!Worth a reminder that the bad subject we chose was computer science, not all of science. We've never had any indication of Tiiris being notably subpar in anything else, in spite of teenage low self-esteem.
>>3993794>Try and find a bathroom for a little bit of privacy- and to cloak away from prying eyes.
>>3993794>Go ahead and poke around in the artifact bay
>>3993794>Go ahead and poke around in the artifact bay.If we vanish in a top-security military installation people will freak out
>Go ahead and poke around in the artifact bay.Writing.>>3994639They aren't really keeping a firm eye on you, but they will come looking for you eventually.
After a moment's contemplation, you turn to your left. The artifact bay was the best place for you to fake like you belonged here. Valkan artifacts and stuff- you did have actual experience with that. Hell, you were probably the authority on them by this point, you'd fucked with so many of them.Walking down the clean white halls after the girl in the pantsuit. Glancing from side to side, you peer into what look like various small offices, with desks and computers. A few of them are set aside for more specialized tasks. You stop briefly by one room to watch a few men and women in white plastic suits and face masks hard at work with airbrushes, blowing dust off of small hunks of metal."Hmm. They don't have perfect camera coverage. Some of the rooms in here have no coverage at all."Thick plastic flaps hang down at the end of the hallway, and you push through to be greeted by a wide open bay. Large objects wrapped in plastic were set on metal pallets across the bay. Small groups of people with hairnets peeking out from under their hardhats suits formed small groups, talking to each other about the artifacts. In the distance, another one of those tugs was pushing a wrapped artifact through a set of plastic drapes, guided by other people in clean room suits.Glancing to your right, you see a rack of hard hats and opened boxes of hairnets and disposable gloves accompanied by a sign proclaiming:HAIRNETS AND HEAD PROTECTION MANDATORY AT ALL TIMES BEYOND THIS LINE. VIOLATORS WILL BE DOCKED PAY.You fidget with your hard hat as you step out into the bay proper. It itched oddly against the helmet, making a weird scuffing sound. You'd grabbed a pair of gloves and pulled them on, despite it seeming optional, but after thirty seconds you already wanted to peel them off. Stepping further into the bay, you take a moment to respirate a little, kicking your senses back up.Most of the things in here were dead, but a few different objects caught your eye. A particularly large pallet had something on it that was... you weren't certain, but it had what looked like two legs and a large, bulky upper body. The general shape reminded you quite a bit of ST. It glowed with a faint signature, but it was significantly weaker than the one that ST emanated.One thing in a small cluster of pallets glowed with a remarkably intense signature. You'd wager that it was stronger than the one given off by the circlet- and that had been so powerful you didn't really want to mess with it."You know, the camera coverage in here isn't great..." Wander mused. "It would be probable that someone could get lost in here for hours without being on camera.""Your point?" You mutter to yourself."Well, it would be suspicious if you went into... say, a bathroom and weren't inside when someone came to check on you. But in here..."
>>3995289Something catches your attention out of the corner of your eye. A small group of workers was clustered near what looked like a section of hull plating, all of them talking and laughing with each other. One of them half turns to you and spies you looking, before giving a friendly wave. Right, Munshi said everyone knew you'd be here today. They were probably being polite.>Go check out the large artifact - maybe it's another warskin, like ST?>Look at the small one. An Abyss signature that intense worries you. You're sure you can handle whatever weirdness it causes, though.>Go say hi to the group of workers to be polite.>Follow Wander's suggestion, find a empty spot and cloak up.>[Write-In]
>>3995290>Go say hi to the group of workers to be polite.Being rude is memorable, but we should keep it short. Then>Look at the small one. An Abyss signature that intense worries you. You're sure you can handle whatever weirdness it causes, though.Then>Go check out the large artifact - maybe it's another warskin, like ST?
>>3995290>Look at the small one. An Abyss signature that intense worries you. You're sure you can handle whatever weirdness it causes, though.
>>3995290>Go say hi to the group of workers to be polite.
>>3995290>Go say hi to the group of workers to be polite.Talk to the nice people before poking things Tiiris.Also, hull plating. Gripping stuff!
>Go say hi to the group of workers to be polite.Writing.
"Hi, there." The guy who waved you over smiles as you walk up. "Are you Sanan?""Uh, no." You smile a bit awkwardly. "My name's Tiiris.""Oh." He blinked. "I didn't know there were two archaeology students."You shake your head. "I'm just, uh, a linguist, yeah. I would work with the stuff on the artifacts..." You crane your head up at the plastic wrapped piece of metal before you. It was the same dusty orange as the remains of Hull II outside, and looked like it was once flat. Once, because it was bent at incredible angles in several places without breaking- comically resembling an accordion. "...so, what happened to this thing?""This came from the upper part of the wreck. The- uh, compression here we think is due to the metal buckling as the Hull cracked."You rub at your head, trying to clear up an odd pang of discomfort behind your eyes. "Why didn't it just break?""That's something the physics labs will answer. Our job is to get this sample cleaned up, see what it's identifying marks are and record them. We do this with..." He gestures to the bay they were loading a pallet into. "We use a lot of cleaning techniques to make sure the samples are as contaminant-free as we can make them for the other departments.""Do you ever lose samples? Do the physics guys ever destroy them?""Oh, all the time, but we're very choosy about what samples we subject to destructive testing, in fact, that's what my colleague Rose here does..." He gestures to his left, indicating a woman standing next to him. She was quite pretty, with dark hair pulled back into a tight bun and green eyes which flick over to you briefly as she smiles, before turning her attention back to terminal in her arms.An odd feeling washes over you briefly, your skin prickling very slightly. You shake your head and ignore it, respirating out some energy from your oddly full lungs for good measure. "That's interesting..." Oh jeez, he just kept talking no matter what you did. You look for a way out of this conversation, somewhere you could go...>Excuse yourself to the bathroom.>Tell him you need some air and step back into the outside hall.>Just let him finish, smile and walk away.>>[Sub-Option] Head towards the powerful signature from before.>>[Sub-Option] Check out the warskin!>[Write-In]
>>3996835>Just let him finish, smile and walk away.
>>3996835>Just let him finish, smile and walk away.>>[Sub-Option] Head towards the powerful signature from before.
>>3996903+1It might be what's messing with us
>>3996835>Just let him finish, smile and walk away.>[Sub-Option] Head towards the powerful signature from before.Possible entry on the upper part of the hull where the plating came from. Good to know.
>Just let him finish, smile and walk away.>>[Sub-Option] Head towards the powerful signature from before.Writing.
You try to nod politely, letting him finish with his explanation, but you felt distracted, having to split your attention between pretending you were paying attention and clamping down on your body's decision to lapse into a trance. Your own voice sounded so far away when you politely thank him for the explanation, smile, glance to your left and walk away. Whether or not that was suspicious or rude doesn't occur to you, you just need to escape for a moment.A shadow leaned into your vision. It was only an outline with no depth or detail to it other than sheer black- as if a true shadow had somehow peeled up off the ground and become animate. There was a vague suggestion of a helmet, and a feminine figure. "Tiiris?" Wander's voice emanated. "Tiiris, breathe easy for me, okay?"You almost want to speak out loud to her, but you're distracted by the distinct sensation of your skin loosening, shifting ever so slightly. This was... this felt somewhat familiar. A few discordant voices tugged at the edge of your consciousness, whispering things you almost didn't want to make out. You felt charged with Abyss energy, and your otherworldly lungs were twitching and filling tight of their own accord. Carefully, you squeeze down on them, forcing out some of the energy and clearing your head a little.On the bright side, this oddly familiar episode was sharpening your senses as they always seemed to when you were... high on the Abyss, as it were. Wandering through the pallets seemingly at random, you were actually following the beacon of energy, turning whenever a pallet blocked your path. Wander's apparition continued to follow you, sometimes holding out an incorporeal hand as if she could stop you from running into something. Slipping between two closely spaced carts, you behold the source of the signature.It was a detached pallet, piled with a small amount of wooden boxes stamped with serial numbers in red ink. They were broken around the lids in many places, the telltale splintering of the wood at the edges showing where the teeth of a crowbar had bitten into them and forced them up. The signature was emitting from one of them, it's light blaring so intensely it made you want to avert your eyes- even though you knew this light existed in your head only.Peering over the top of the box slightly, you look in and see several more boxes stacked within. A few have their lids ajar, with various plastic wrapped objects visible within. Most of them are small mechanical pieces- fasteners, lengths of rod or even tiny pieces of scrap. But they weren't what you were after. You shift a few boxes over to reveal the one underneath.There, among small chunks of circuit and various pieces of useless dribble was a small rod of ivory- or possibly white ceramic. It was smoothed by the passage of time, with several notches precisely carved down it's length, along with a small hole drilled into the top.
>>3997967One of the voices was clearer to you, now. A male one, very old, but speaking with surety despite how faint it was. "...OLD... BOUND... LAST..."You reach down into the box to pick it up. "Okay, no cameras looking this way, I think. So- woah!" A dark hand reaches out and grips your arm tightly, surprising you when you actually feel it. Twisting your head, you gaze into the featureless outline of Wander's... 'head'. "What are you doing? It's obviously wonky.""I know." You say. Your mouth feels odd, like your teeth are in slightly different positions than they really should be. "Why, will something bad happen?""I... just be careful." Wander says, releasing your arm.>Pick it up.>Leave it alone.
>>3997968>Leave it alone.Nope nope nopety nope. Someday prodding everything that seems interesting will bite us in the ass.
>>3997968>Pick it up.Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
>>3997968>Pick it up.
>>3997968>Leave it alone.Old, bound, last? That thing is full of demons.
>>3997968>>Leave it alone.
>Pick it up.Writing.
>>3998417>gauss rifle dongHas Valkan necromancy gone too far?>this is why the Abyss abandoned us
After a moment's hesitation, you close your fingers around the small trinket and lift it up. The strength of the energy washing over you suddenly dims as you hold it up, the bone growing warm and vibrating slightly in your hands. "Okay, I think it's-" You hiss slightly as the energy you're holding in suddenly spikes, washing over you. The world swims, and the voices grow stronger.Every object in the pallets close to you suddenly stand out starkly in your senses. The rest of the scraps in the box before you rattle in place as you carelessly brush over them. Leaning against it for balance, you feel the wood splinter and crack slightly under each of your fingers as they squeezed down. The room was clean- very clean, since the only corpses you could sense was the small buildup of insects in the ventilation ducts. Your skin was rippling slightly in place, eager for release from the confines of your current shape.Wander's arms grab you, gently holding you up. The vague outlines of her limbs were solidifying, gaining depth and texture. A silvery suit hugged her body, marked with dark patches similar to the designs on most Valkan things you've seen so far- you shake your head and look up. The helmet entirely enclosed her face, the visor only displaying a strip of her face from the bridge of her nose to her blonde brows. Blue eyes stared at you with concern. "Okay, relax. You've absorbed a ton of energy and your body is trying to find an outlet. All you need to do is very carefully let it all go."You grimace, feeling your flesh squirm again. "Easier said than done." You could feel it spilling out of you, but that didn't seem to make much of a difference to the overall energy level inside of you. If just letting it all go wasn't an option, maybe you could burn it out by using it?>Focus on releasing the energy. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, but there's a chance you might be able to get over your little episode here with no on the wiser.>[Self-Taught] Bleed off the excess by moving something with psychokinesis. Could be a pallet, could be something small.>Can you just pump all of this into Wander?>Your body seems to want to change... so why not let it change?>The voices want your attention it seems, so why not give it to them?>[Write-In]
>>3998920>Focus on releasing the energy. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, but there's a chance you might be able to get over your little episode here with no on the wiser.
>>3998920Oh good, it's not demons.>Focus on releasing the energy. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, but there's a chance you might be able to get over your little episode here with no on the wiser.That seems like the least likely to be destructive option... but could also reactivate half the Valkan things in the building. Science?!
>>3998920>Focus on releasing the energy. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, but there's a chance you might be able to get over your little episode here with no on the wiser.The Y'avel Incident soon
>>3998920>>[Self-Taught] Bleed off the excess by moving something with psychokinesis. Could be a pallet, could be something small.RIP
>>3998920>Try and give some of it to the big thing with the weak signal
>Focus on releasing the energy. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, but there's a chance you might be able to get over your little episode here with no on the wiserWriting.
Okay, scratch that. I've been sick these past few days and now it's gotten to the point where I can't think straight. Delaying update before I write something stupid like Elan turning into his MMO character.
>>4000062Damn, that sucks. Hope you get well soon, man
>>4000062That's the best misuse of shapeshifting abilities I've heard of in a long time.
>>4000502Depends, is his MMO character a cute girl?
You take a deep breath - with your real lungs, of course - and slowly, very carefully begin pressing down on the force filling your lungs. At first, it resists you, then it starts to give. The taste of the Abyss becomes thick on your tongue- usually inoffensive, maybe even pleasant, but now was a foul bitterness that makes your eyes water, so thick you can swear you can smell rotting corpses. A smell you finally knew after your encounter with the undead at the mall.The energy didn't want to go. It flowed out of you thickly like sludge, or if you were feeling more gruesome, pus from a wound. Still, with your continued exertion, it left you slowly but surely. The black mist that puffed out of your mouth with every breath was dark and thick, lingering in the air far long than it had before, but it too eventually dimmed and faded into nothing.Voices fade, Wander's body grows indistinct and your body regains it's rigidity. You rest your hands on your knees and take a deep breath, the trinket still clutched in your hands. Righting yourself, you raise it up and open your hands. Dead. Or- well, 'dead', like the machinery you'd seen before. It's Abyss presence had faded to almost nothing, weak to the point that you couldn't help but wonder if it was still there at all.You blink at it. "Was that all it was? A battery?""I'm not sure." Wander's voice was puzzled. "I don't think it's possible to store the stuff, but I could be wrong..."After a moment's hesitation, you lay the trinket back down in it's box, making a mental note to ask about it later. Without the properties you were looking for, it wasn't worth the risk of trying to smuggle it out. They were, after all, sure to search your bag on the way out.Poking your head out, you glance left and right before retreating to a suitably far distance from the pallet. True to what Wander said, nobody comes charging up, or seems to have noticed you were missing at all. Though... several people seemed somewhat put-off, like someone had just flashed a picture of a dead animal in front of their face, or made them eat tofu.You shouldn't push your luck here. Time to move on.>Head back towards the chemistry lab. Talk to Dr. Munshi, perhaps.>>[Sub-Option] What do you really have to talk about, though? (Write-In)>Slip into materials science.>Find a quiet spot to cloak.>[Write-In]
>>4001770>Find a quiet spot to cloak.
>>4001770>Slip into materials science.My head says microscopes and clipboards and a hydraulic press doing compression tests.But my HEART says lasers and explosions and X-Wing noises all over.
>>4001770>Slip into materials science.
>Slip into materials science.Writing.
Darting out from your hiding spot among the pallets, you march straight back to the door, not looking back. You hang up your hard hat and throw your hairnet into a bin before pulling back the plastic drapes to duck through. A signature pulses out of the corner of your eye, and you whirl around, the drapes slipping out of your hand as your eyes frantically search the bay. Nothing.You rub your eyes fiercely before grabbing the drapes and passing through again. The clean, utilitarian hallways greeted you as you quickly walked away from the artifact bay, before you start to feel self-conscious and slow down again. You pass through the chemistry lab again, to find it just as quietly busy as it was before. Dr. Munshi spoke with the two boys he'd brought aside before in a corner, gesturing to a laptop on the counter beside him.Shaking your head, you pass through into materials science. Compared to the artifact bay and the chemistry lab, materials science turned out to be more of a department than a singular room. The halls were larger, and lined with yellow caution tape on the floor, marking out a route for pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Signs on the wall spelled out directions to specific rooms and labs entirely geared to testing one extremely specific task. 'Compression Testing', 'Thermal Lab', 'Pressure Lab' and yep- there was the 'Collision Lab' Dr. Munshi had mentioned.Stopping briefly to peer through the window, you notice the rest of the group - Blondie included - standing with a woman in a labcoat. They were all talking with each other, standing near-You blink a few times, then crane your head back.What. The hell. Is that thing?Mounted to a railcar, positioned on a long track that stretched the length of the room and then some, was a enormous cannon. Actually, it was perhaps inaccurate to say that it was just the cannon- the entire damn thing was hooked by cables nearly as thick as you were to the dessicated hull of some Valkan craft that was strung up like a corpse next to it. It was wide and flat, with a aerodynamic pronged shape that covered the cluster of blackened machinery, broken antenna and scored machinery on the underside.The whole thing was probably bigger than your little apartment, not to mention ST and- really, anything Valkan you'd seen so far that wasn't a Hull. It's insides glowed with many faint signatures, although the body itself didn't have one single signature like ST did. Perhaps it was broken? Whatever it was, it was certainly active.>Head inside and get in on the current conversation.>Find a quiet spot and cloak up to poke around undetected.>Pass it by. It's a big wreck, so what? You just saw the bay where they process all the stuff like this they find.>[Write-In]
>>4004118>Head inside and get in on the current conversation.
>>4004118>Pass it by.It's a massive gun. We don't have any use for a massive gun. While it's certainly interesting, remember we said we're here for linguistics and not weapons tech so people might smell a rat if we spend our time looking at everything but artifacts we could at least pass off as being linguistics-related.
>>4004118>Head inside and get in on the current conversation.ahaha literally everyone stops in to ask about the giant gunship. Guess it makes a pretty notable conversation piece.>A signature pulses out of the corner of your eye, and you whirl around, the drapes slipping out of your hand as your eyes frantically search the bay. Nothing.Suddenly worried about demons again.
>>4004218I think just about anyone would be interested in looking at a dismembered spaceship hanging overhead.But it's not so hard to bluff about the aesthetic design of the thing, if need be. Like how the gun fit it into it, or how it looks fast moving but slow to maneuver. Things Tiiris would be familiar with, even just having lived on a civilian ship as a kid.
>>4004118>>Head inside and get in on the current conversation
>>4004566Point taken, but we should think about making at effort to keep up appearances at some point, and we might find interesting stuff in the artifacts we look at in the process.
>Head inside and get in on the current conversationWriting.
>>4004695Oh yeah, I want to look at ALL the things, too. Us interacting with everything and slowly turning this into a snowballing clusterfuck of reactivated Valkan machinery would be a great distraction to slip out under. Just have to find a balance between doing too little and too much. Don't want to endanger anyone for real.Free lunch would also be nice.
Without any further encouragement, you push the door open and step through into the collision lab. A few heads swivel your way at your intrusion - Blondie in particular seems to be elated to see you, although 'elated' seemed to be her default state of being - but the woman returned to her explanation forthwith."-when we fire the weapon, we can observe it's recoil pattern on this track, in addition to it's heat dissipation and how it's structure is warped by repeated firing. It's a truly remarkable material- after repeated firings, the barrel shows clear signs of deformation and heat damage, yet it eventually returns to it's original condition." The woman explained in a clipped voice, holding up her hands and gesturing at the barrel repeatedly as she spoke. A nametag on her civilian suit held a picture of her face and the name 'Ilnara'. "How exactly it manages this is a mystery we're working on, but we have a strong suspicion it's an advanced application of memory materials that utilizes the heat generated by firing."You glance at the massive gun- a railgun, judging by all the cables? It only takes you a few seconds of staring at the machinery to puzzle it out- the barrel was clearly Abyss-active. Mystery solved."Would we could fire it today for a practical demonstration. Unfortunately that was deemed out of the scope of the program." Ilnara shrugged with a sigh. A few of the others seemed slightly put out as well. "If only. In it's place, however, we have this ship." She gestured towards the greater wreck on it's glorified berth. "We're unsure what role it served. Perhaps an artillery role, or some kind of patrol boat? It's in the same weight class as our own torpedo boats."You feel a frown tug at your mouth slightly, and you glance back to the ship, studying it's hull shape with more scrutiny. It certainly had the look of some kind of flying vehicle, but there was something wrong. The bottom was too bulbous and had too much hardware projecting out of it to jive with what you knew about ships..."Regardless, we use samples such as these to test our hullbreaking techniques and develop them further before utilizing them on the Hulls themselves. While Hull II hasn't been properly cracked yet, the shipbreaking plans for Site XIII and X were developed using information from this lab. In fact, we've made some insights into how these vehicles might have flown through spac-""It's not a ship.""I'm sorry?"
>>4006186You bite your tongue hard, hearing a dull thunk that you imagine was the sound of Wander faceplaming her helmet. Every head had swiveled towards you, Ilnara's eyes wide open like nobody had ever interrupted before. Dammit, dammit, dammit! You just had to open your fucking mouth. You take a deep breath. "It's not a ship. All of the machinery is off the central axis, which means attitude control would be difficult, especially considering..." You peer at it closer. "...I'm not seeing any control thrusters. No engine nozzles, either. Even their big ships still had fusion drives..." You manage to bite your tongue before you can say 'plus one of them told me so'.The group was very quiet after you finish. You try to avoid looking at them, but curiosity finally forced you to glance over to them. Most of them seemed vaguely surprised at your sudden outburst, whereas one of the boys had oddly narrowed eyes. Ilnara in particular was trapped between irritation at being interrupted and contemplation of what you'd actually said. Blondie, though... "Wow. How'd you figure all that out?""Oh, um." You feel yourself flush. "I spent most of my childhood on a ship. It's just kind of obvious to me..."A sudden look of understanding dawned on the one boy. "Spacer." He muttered with a satisfied grin to himself.You couldn't help raise an eyebrow. "Pompous asshole."Ilnara coughed. "I'm sure that was taken into consideration by our scientists- at any rate! Any of you who are interested, why don't you come over here and I'll show you some of our test materials?" She starts to beckon and lead the group away to a smaller side of the room, where several chunks of what looked like hull metal were held in rolling metal frames. Blondie and most of the others immediately gravitate after her, while the guy from before lingers, looking at you, then the ship you're staring at in turn.>Follow the group.>Linger.>>[Sub-Option] What's this guy's deal? That comment about spacers kind of stung...>Leave.>[Write-In]
>>4006186>>4006192Cringe, Tiiris.>Follow the group.
>>4006192>Linger.>>[Sub-Option] What's this guy's deal? That comment about spacers kind of stung...
>>4006192>Follow the group.As much fun as starting shit with this guy could be, it's probably best to go back to trying to blend in. And probably failing. But at least Blondie seems to like us!
Whoops, forgot to hit post again.>Follow the group.Writing.
Sparing a moment to give the asshole a withering stare, you step past him and join the ground clustering around the frames at the end of the hall. Each of them appeared to be different sections of hulls - presumably Valkan, although only the dusty orange one immediately made you think of Hull II. All of them had clear scorched perforations punched through them at regularl intervals, all wildly varying in size and the intensity of the burns."These." Ilnara gestured with her hand. "Are test panels salvaged from the debris of Hull II and other Valkan ships. In this lab - along with others in the facility - we developed the shipbreaking techniques used today by testing on these panels first. Ah, remind me- there was supposed to be an archaeology student today, is she here?""Sanan went to the artifact bay first." One of the girls piped up."Ah, that's a shame. At any rate, she would tell you that one of our biggest goals is to avoid damaging anything underneath the outer layer of the ship. Both to preserve it for recovery and for safety. Hull XIII's explosion was a prime example of why getting it right is so critical. These marks-" She gestured to the holes. "Are the result of precisely tuning an explosive charge to bore through the material- and only the material. Nothing on the other side." She tapped one of the holes. "This is the mark from our perfected shipbreaking charges. Burns through exactly one centimeter of armor and pressure hull per kilogram of reactant. The formula is... very secret." Ilnara smiled."If that's the case... then why haven't we cracked the Hulls wide open?" One of the boys finally piped up."Because that is only an element of the process." Ilnara gestured to the door and swept her arms up. "For example, the explosion at Site XIII occurred because they unknowingly breached directly into a fuel tank- or perhaps a munitions store. My colleagues over in the seismic lab use seismology and other techniques to map the interiors of the ships out, then use that knowledge to help us over here to figure out where the charges should go. It's a large puzzle that we're slowly putting together.""So what was the process of figuring it out?" A girl asks."Well, it begins in a laboratory setting..." Ilnara starts to explain. Almost immediately you feel your attention slip. The words that were coming out of Ilnara's mouth... made sense. They really did. Test each sample they recovered. Compress them. Pull them. Heat them up. Look at their chemical composition to precisely melt it away- but her dedication to going into a thirty second explanation of each individual process immediately made your brain shut down.
>>4007679It didn't help that the mega nerds you were in attendance with seemed to find it all fascinating, constantly asking questions that ranged from innocent clarifications to extremely technical physics questions. You weren't sure what the Coriolis effect had to do with burning into ships, unless they were mixing this thermite on an old spin station- and you weren't sure you wanted to know.The asshole from before saw fit to join you now, standing uncomfortably close to you in such a way that made you think he was either trying to act big or was just oblivious. At the least, he wasn't trying to drag you into the conversation at all.That made it a wonderful blessing when Ilnara blinked, looked down and checked her buzzing phone, before exclaiming. "Oh, yes! I'm sorry, but lunch should be ready by now. I've taken up so much of your time, excuse me-" She seemed slightly flustered by the interruption, her habitual cool stirred up. "Oh, um... yes, actually I'll show you all to the cafeteria. If you'll just follow me..."It was remarkable how she managed to shift from flustered back to calm and collected as she swept past you and towards the door. Gesturing you all to follow, she lead you back down into the chemistry lab, where Dr. Munshi and half the chemistry staff seemed to have vanished. The duty office, P'at, was still present by the doors, and when Ilnara approached, he smiled. "Lunch?""Yes, I appeared to talk through all our time this morning."P'at opened the door for her with a practiced gesture. "Of course, ma'am." His face flashed back to stoic and professional in an instant as the rest of your group passed through, giving each of you little nods as you passed.Ilnara immediately turned left down the busy hallway, stepping around milling troopers and passing tugs. The halls were considerably more crowded than they had been when you entered. Small squads roamed the halls, small paper bags of food held loosely as they jabbered to each other. A few spared curious looks towards the group of civilians in their midst, but the interest passed quickly.A raised rolling shutter marked the entrance to the cafeteria - or, you can imagine, one of the base's many cafeterias. Somehow, it looked exactly how you thought it would, but at the same time much fancier than it rightly seemed to be. It was still lined with massive rows of picnic-style tables, with soldiers forming orderly queues around large kitchen windows. At the same time, entire corners were dedicated to automatic cooking machines that small groups clustered around, watching the robot within assemble a custom sandwich order. Others stood around fancy coffee machines, or inputted their orders to the human chefs with an electronic console.
>>4007680So busy it was that you nearly got so caught up in staring at the view (and subsequently going slightly blind from it) that you nearly missed Ilnara hanging a hard right along with her patient herd of students and going through a side door. Quickly darting after them, you push the door open to find a small private room- cheap carpet and the same picnic-style tables denoting it as little more than a glorified break room for the kitchens, or possibly the janitors.Nevertheless, it had been temporarily converted into a small lunch room for your visit. Catering troughs with electric warmers underneath lined one of the tables along with trays and plastic plates. Already seated within was Dr. Munshi and the two boys he'd pulled aside before - hell if you could remember their names - along with the girl who had went into the artifact bay with you, the archaeology student, Sanan."Please, help yourselves." Ilnara gestured. "There's plenty to go around."After a few awkward moments, people started to move towards the troughs and serve themselves. Following their lead, you get in line after Blondie and quietly serve yourself. Sausages, assorted fruits, and an option of sea rice or chilled shoal greens. They hadn't gone all out, but a respectable amount.Sitting down with your plate of sausage and sea rice, you reach over and grab one of the buns sitting on the table before quietly digging in. Your eyes rove over the other people at your table. Dr. Munshi continued his conversation with the students, but was now joined by another two students, forming a small cluster that seemed to hang on his words as he chattered on about seemingly banal subjects. A few students had broken off and were holding small conversations with themselves- the asshole from before was having a conversation with... what's his face, guy in the uniform- Jack, right. Blondie sat on her own, seemingly just enjoying the small mountain of fruit and sausage she had served herself. Another girl - you think you saw her with the materials group - sat on her own, adjusting her mousy brown hair in it's bun anxiously.You could keep to yourself, but if you were going to sit here and eat their food.>Just sit with yourself for a bit and give you mind a rest.>Strike up a conversation with someone.>>[Sub-Option] Dr. Munshi.>>[Sub-Option] Blondie.>>[Sub-Option] Jack.>>[Sub-Option] Ilnara.>>[Sub-Option] Someone else. (Write-In)>Eat quickly and excuse yourself to the bathroom. It's time to cloak up.>[Write-In]
>>4007682>Eat quickly and excuse yourself to the bathroom. It's time to cloak up.We'd just go back to wandering around doing our own thing after lunch if we were here for the academic program, right?
>>4007682>Strike up a conversation with someone.>[Sub-Option] Dr. Munshi.He did say earlier that he's the best person to ask questions about the program.
>>4007682>Strike up a conversation with someone.>>[Sub-Option] Dr. Munshi.
>>4007682>>Strike up a conversation with someone.>>>[Sub-Option] Dr. Munshi.
>Strike up a conversation with someone.>>[Sub-Option] Dr. MunshiWriting.>>4007881Yes, but in a different section of the base. The duration of the second half is also much longer than the first one. First part was from 10:30AM to 1:00PM, then breaking for lunch. Nobody's mentioned it in narrative, but the invitation Tiiris has would have specified the second part being from 1:30PM to 6:00PM.
Sliding over, you sit close enough to Dr. Munshi and the three surrounding him to listen in. Sanan... what's his name... Gabriel and a third boy you didn't recognize. Dr. Munshi was in the middle of assuring the mystery boy. "Oh, don't think too hard about placement. Doing very well on one particular test won't help you overall in the program. Focus on what you can do consistently, that's what will really count. You want to shore up your academic weaknesses..." His eyes glanced over to you, and he smiled friendly. "Ah, Tiiris, correct? So glad to see you join us.""Thanks." You smile back. You'd half expected the guy to be in charge of the facilities that worked on Valkan stuff to be a creepy mad scientist, but Dr. Munshi seemed to be nothing but a genuine guy. That, and somewhat of a dork."I was just talking to Cleff here about the program, although I'm sure that doesn't interest you much." He frowned slightly to himself. "Actually, no- you aren't a part of CATY, are you? I'm sure I would have remembered a linguist..."You weren't catty enough to be in this program. "Ah, no." You shook your head. "I just kind of... fell into this. Some officer took notice of my work, he spoke to his superior, his superior spoke to the Admiral..." You shrug sheepishly. "I just kinda wound up here.""I see." Dr. Munshi nodded understandably. "The military can work in mysterious ways." He took a swig of water from a plastic cup. "No matter- is there something you'd like to ask me regardless? Any questions about..." He thought for a second. "The facility? Uh, chemistry?">"Actually, I would like to know more about the program. I... might get in one day.">"I had a specific question..." (Write-In)>"No, I don't really have any questions.">[Write-In]
>>4009406>"Actually, I would like to know more about the program. I... might get in one day."
>>4009406>"Actually, I would like to know more about the program. I... might get in one day."I'm somewhat of a Valkanologist myself, fellow Tagaran! (2)
>>4009406Oh, that inadvertently answers the question I was going to suggest asking, namely how we fit into this tour. I wasn't clear on if Joran had slotted us in as a provisional part of CATY or what. Sounds like we've just been invited alongside the academic tour because it was happening anyway. Which should make it simpler for us to disappear soon, since no one will be quite certain who is directly responsible for us.So any questions are good, about the program or whatever. Could ask his opinion on hull plating folding like an accordion. Metamaterials?
>"Actually, I would like to know more about the program. I... might get in one day."Writing.
"Actually, I would like to know more about the program." You stammer a little bit. "I... I might get in one day.""Truly?" Dr. Munshi raised his eyebrows, before leaning forward and steeping his hands. "CATY is a competitive qualification programs for science positions in the Planetary Guard and Navy. Essentially, it is a way for high-achieving youth to fast track into real research positions.""What, like... no college?" You raise an eyebrow."No college." Dr. Munshi nodded. "I know it seems a bit odd- but college degrees are really just extensive pre-qualification programs. Holding one doesn't necessarily mean you are qualified for the work we do- that's what interviews and probationary periods are for.""Okay, that makes sense, I guess..." The real question is... well, why, but you presume that would be rude to ask. "How is it competitive, then?"Dr. Munshi waved his hand vaguely. "Ah, science meets for the most parts. We organize participants into various teams and assign them novel problems. They are primarily graded by judges that assess their work ethic, problem solving skills and so on- getting the right answer is also important, too.""That sounds simple..." You trail off."Some of the problems are quite difficult." Dr. Munshi smiled. "But organic chemistry is not as difficult as it's made out to be..." He coughed. "Of course, there aren't unlimited positions to fill. Advancement in the program is based on consistent placement and good conduct, to ensure that only truly qualified students make it to the final groups." Dr. Munshi gestured around the room. "From a initial group of five hundred, only the eight in this room have made it through the program.""So you're all in?" You raise your eyebrows."Not yet." Sanan mutters. She had a low, slightly hoarse voice."The military is still contemplating." Dr. Munshi smiled again, although it seemed a bit forced. "There isn't necessarily... a position for every individual skill set.""Right." You pause, glancing down at your plate. "That sounds a lot like the hard sciences, is there any room for someone like... well, me?" The idea of you somehow competing in a program designed for mega nerds... although, you wonder what implants would do for you...Dr. Munshi coughed. "A linguist? Ah, well, if you wished to enter on different merits, I'm sure those skills wouldn't count against you.""So that's a 'no'." You drawl.He shrugged sheepishly. "As fascinating as it may be, translating the Valkan language... isn't exactly a priority. There isn't much utility or reason to translate it.""What about..." You wave your hand. "Labeling, names, history?""Those would be wonderful, if we had more than a dozen examples to translate." Dr. Munshi drawled. "Unfortunately, for now it's not exactly a hotbed of military interest.">Ask a follow up question. (Write-In)>Finish your lunch in peace.
>>4010962>>Finish your lunch in peace.
>>4010962Guess they haven't watched Arrival.>Finish your lunch in peace.
>>4010962>>Ask a follow up question. (Write-In)How about weaponry? I can.... uh hold them
>>4010962>Ask a follow up questionAre you so sure languge is not important? Not worried about tripping a security system or nuke?So what are you working on if not language?>>4011464I doubt it.
>How about weaponry? I can.... uh hold them>Are you so sure languge is not important? Not worried about tripping a security system or nuke?>So what are you working on if not language?Writing.
>>4010962>"Those would be wonderful, if we had more than a dozen examples to translate." Dr. Munshi drawled. "Unfortunately, for now it's not exactly a hotbed of military interest."...Oh. My. GOD.We set Joran up a data drive full of Valkan knowledge, to be left at another crash site. Partly encrypted. Probably written in Valkan. And here we are establishing ourselves as a smart young linguist interested in Valkan, one trusted enough by Joran and the Admiral above him to get a personal recommendation to be here. Clearly brilliant, clearly trustworthy. Definitely interested.When they find them, the military is going to try hiring us to translate the drives that WE FUCKING GAVE THEM.
"Really?" You frown, eating through the rest of your sea rice. "What if you accidentally set something off? Like... a nuke or whatever their weapons are.""The military has adopted a 'wait and see' approach." Dr. Munshi's smile was much more grim and forced than usual. "The people in charge know what they're doing. They know it's a waste of time to try and brute translate a message we have no bridge to. There's better places to spend money." He didn't sound like he believed what he was saying for a second."So what are you working on if not language?" You tilt your head."Hullbreaking. A much more intensive discipline of archaeology, if I'm being honest. Reverse engineering is a given, but the goal at the moment is to develop ways of extracting artifacts safely. If Valkans were as fond of labeling their technology as we are-" Dr. Munshi allowed a degree of positivity to slip into his voice. "Then we will have enough sources to possibly attempt a translation." A thought seemed to occur to him, and he quickly fished out his phone. "Ah, but we seem to have taken up most of our alloted time for lunch." He stood up from the bench. "Now, if you'll all follow me, we'll proceed to the second part of our tour- the primary shipbreaking site."The girl - Sanan - abruptly stood up in her seat, stumbling slightly over the bench. "R-really?" She stammered, attempting to extricate herself from the bench."You don't think we'd confine you all to labs all day?" Dr. Munshi looked around the room. "Please, everyone, follow me."There was a slight scramble as people with half-finished lunches moved to throw away their remaining food, stacking the plates and cups in a provided bin. Thankfully, Dr. Munshi seemed to set a much more relaxed pace than any of the other attendants so far. He set a slower, more reasonable pace through the facility, after murmuring something to Ilnara on your way out."What about..." You trail off, searching for something to ask. "Weapons? They don't have any labels on them?""I wouldn't know about that." Dr. Munshi rubbed his chin in thought. "Not my department. Even then, I rather doubt the military is eager to touch any dangerous technology with anything other than a long stick and a hook."You bite back the urge to make a quip about marines and crayons, although you do hear Wander mutter. "Oh, I'm sure they've never played with the Valkan toys."Dr. Munshi leads you out of your main corridors and into what appeared to be a much larger main corridor that appeared to run the perimeter of the wall it was built into, curving with it in the distance. Instead of a single vehicle 'lane' surrounded by a pedestrian and small vehicle lane on either side, the middle was taken up by many separate and intermingling vehicle lanes, both small and large. They crossed over each other and even had marked turning points and lane changes, which well-suited the many construction and engineering vehicles that passed by at any moment.
>>4013118Perhaps one in ten of them was a military vehicle - almost universally transports of some kind, although you swear you spy the barrel of a railgun at one point - many of them appearing to haul great containers or pallets behind them. Dr. Munshi leads you along a specific pedestrian lane that cuts across the traffic, before quickly leading you across the remaining vehicle lanes when the opportunity presents itself.You spare a glance back at the traffic behind you as he walks sedately up a ramp. "I didn't think military bases had traffic rules.""That should just show you how complex the operations here are." Dr. Munshi said mildly. He began to speak again, but you tuned out what he was saying as the sudden presence of the Abyss washed over you. Turning your head sharply, you see the slope up ahead of you stop abruptly, the broken outline of Hull II rising up from it all at once, looming against the landscape far bigger than you'd ever seen it before.Dr. Munshi says something again. You shake your head to clear it. "Bwuh?""Stunning sight, isn't it?" He muses. "Funny how quickly it becomes mundane, before creeping up on you again."It was so much more than that to you, though. You self-consciously rub the cloaking device on your arm, feeling the cool material beneath your finger. It carried a calming presence with it, whether that was intentional or just the unconscious influence of the silky material was unclear, but you liked it. The presence of the Abyss was just as strong here as it was last time- maybe even stronger, but you felt more in control of your breathing than you had before.Wander had grown quiet in your head an almost uncomfortable shifting emanating from her. You had the feeling she was just as awed by the sight before you as you were.A small congregation of people gathered in the distance, milling under tarps and open-sided tents set up on the tarmac, a short distance from where the equipment and scaffolding that sprouted up from the ground to reach up to the Hull. Dr. Munshi sets a confident pace towards them."Kind of a walk, isn't it?" You mutter."That it is." Dr. Munshi said mildly. "Unfortunately, I didn't think to request a driver for the tour. So we'll make do.""At least it's not too hot..." You mutter, raising a hand against your eyes and peering at the sky. The sun had burned through the normal cloud layer, giving a rare view of the orange ball. The warmth of the rays was refreshing, but you couldn't help but look forward to the inevitable rainstorm that would come later. "So, who are these people?""Ah, these are a few leads from the shipbreaking teams. All experts in their fields, although I'm afraid no linguists among them- ah, Al!" One of the men had turned from his conversation and approached your group. He was older than Dr. Munshi, with balding hair and a bulbous nose. Dr. Munshi shook his hand as he approached, smiling. "This is the foreman on the site, Dr. Cameron."
>>4013120"Please, just call me Al." The man said gruffly, quickly shaking each of your hand's in turn. He wore generic coveralls instead of military fatigues. "Civilians don't need fancy titles. How have you liked the place today?"There was a small chorus of appreciative mumblings and affirmations, although one person spoke up loudly that it was 'wild'."Good, good." Al nodded appreciatively. "It's been a slow day for us- this heat is killer, isn't it? That and we have the engineers giving us a fit about the last-" He coughed. "Ah, not that you'd really be interested in that." He gestured to the groups hiding in the shade, which were slowly being drawn to his presence. "Please, I'd like you to meet our leads on the site. I've had each of them cook up a little show of what it is we do here. If you'll take it away, ladies and gents?""Where are the chem students?" A youngish girl spoke up, raising a hand. "I've got some explosives I'd love to show you...""Anyone interested in seeing a real breach up close can come with me." A man who looked to be in his mid thirties spoke up, beckoning as he stepped away. "They said at least one of you was a digger?"Other people spoke up, pulling away elements of the groups until just you stood around uncertainly. The feeling that you were going to be discovered as a fraud any second had suddenly surged back, leaving you somewhat paralyzed on the tarmac. You took a few anxious steps after the groups, waiting for someone to shout at you to get moving, or to suddenly demand proof that you were really a linguistics student. No shout came, though, and you eventually wandered off towards the ship, lingering far enough back that none of the various leaders thought to acknowledge you.This was the chance you'd been waiting for, wasn't it?>Go for it. Cloak.>Stick with one of the groups for a little bit. They won't notice if you go wandering off, right?>[Write-In]
>>4013121>Go for it. Cloak.It's time to find some doors on this thing
>>4013121>Go for it. Cloak.Group confusion. They all think we're with one of the others.>The girl - Sanan - abruptly stood up in her seat, stumbling slightly over the bench. "R-really?" She stammered, attempting to extricate herself from the bench.Probably just an archaeology student getting hyped, but I can't escape this mental image of her being a cultist's kid, groomed her whole life to behave as a perfectly professional archaeologist to try getting closer to all this Valkan stuff, only to be shocked at how lax the security is for poking and prodding Valkan things once you've made it past the outer cordon.And here we are with an improvised Hull II entry plan barely assembled within a single month.
>>4013121>Go for it. Cloak.Alright, let's do what we came here for
>>4013121>Go for it. Cloak.
>>4013121>>Go for it. Cloak.
>Go for it. Cloak.Writing.
Casually slipping behind one of the tarps that had been strung up, you murmur so Wander can hear you. "Any cameras?""Give me a second to check." You heard her voice grow distant briefly, before returning. There was a slight haze where she was standing, an after effect of all the Abyss energy in this place, no doubt. "Closest tower has them pointing away from us.""Good enough for me." You murmur, before pulsing your energy and carefully feeding it into your cloak. You brace yourself anxiously, awaiting the alarm to wail out across the base, or for a sniper to suddenly take you out with a shot to the chest. After a few moments, you peek open your eyes and look around, half expecting to be surrounded by a circle of troopers.Poking your head out from behind the tarp, you approach one of the remaining workers, still enjoying her break from the desert heat in the shade. You walk in front of her, looking for a reaction. When you don't get one, you wave at her, before finally waving your hand directly in front of her face. Not even a blink. Either she was a good actor, or you were well and truly cloaked.With a little smile, you turn back towards the ship. You can't move too fast. It took a surprising amount of concentration to focus on your cloak at all, much less do something else while doing it. Although you were reasonably sure you could keep it up if you were just moving around. Running and firing a gun were a lot different than just walking, after all.You look up and eye the wreckage, needing to crane your head back slightly to take it all in from this close. An odd sense of longing stirred within you as you looked upon it. The logical part of your brain said it was false nostalgia you instinctively want to feel, but...Shaking your head, you turn your attention to what's surrounding the wreckage instead. What immediately grabs your attention is the massive scaffold that creeps up and over the break in the middle of the ship, where it's 'back' supposedly had broken in. The view was just a bit too complex for you to really make out with your shitty eyes, but there had to be elevators and stuff in there, right?On the ground, the groups all seemed to be wandering towards small depots and parked vehicles that lined the perimeter of the wreckage just beyond a short wall that had been erected. On first glance, that wouldn't hold any interest for you, but... then again, that was right where the break was. That guy in the artifact bay talked about how the ship had compressed on itself below, wouldn't it stand to reason that it had broken open on the bottom?Failing either of those, you could probably search the exterior for a door or airlock. Actually, perhaps that might be preferable? No humans to watch out for, but... ach, wait. There were probably cameras pointed at it, too. Joran had mentioned that, hadn't he?Part of you suddenly wished you could ask Easy to relay what he said, but failing that...
>>4015236>Head up the scaffold and into the current breach.>Get under it and look for a door in the break.>Look along the undisturbed side sections for an exposed door.>[Write-In]
>>4015237>Get under it and look for a door in the break.
>>4015237>Get under it and look for a door in the break.Always go Full Dorf.
>>4015237>Look along the undisturbed side sections for an exposed door
>>4015237On second thought, switching from >>4015729 to this:>Look along the undisturbed side sections for an exposed door.We got the lensing field because it's good for fooling cameras, not so much bumping into people. A door inexplicably opening and closing on camera is fine, just means we need a different exit for later after the base gets the message and points everything they have at it.
>Look along the undisturbed side sections for an exposed door.Writing.
>>3998920>the visor only displaying a strip of her face from the bridge of her nose to her blonde brows. Blue eyes stared at you with concern.............huh.She looks similar to Tiiris... and her mother.
>>4017404Or blonde hair and blue eyes was part of the Valkans' genetic perfection dealio, or at least was common.
>>4017820Are Valkans space nazis / racial purists?
>>4017820When shapeshifting is considered one of the most basic tools of the Abyss, Valkans could look more or less like whatever they wanted. There were various trends, though.Waaaaay back in thread 1, there was the choice of what Tiiris looked like, which also implicated what her mother looked like.>Primarily resemble your father. Black hair, darker skin than your mother, and stronger, sterner features with wide lips and thick brows. Although you still have your mother's brighter, blue eyes and a lust dusting of her freckles.Slightly dark skin, with implied soft features, freckles and blue eyes. She would have been more Inuit-looking.>Somewhat of a mix between your parents. Skin closer to Mom's pale color and hair that's a darker red than hers was. Your face looks... just, well average. Nothing ugly, but nothing particularly pretty except some stronger freckles.Pale and redheaded, with a fair amount of freckles. Tiiris would have gotten some of Sigmund's darker tone there.>Resemble Mom more than anything else. Bright blonde hair like hers was, and a face covered with many, oddly symmetrical and clustered freckles like she had. The features just... don't quite come together, though, but maybe when you get older...And what you actually went with. The irony there being that she resembles her mother the most, but is also the ugliest of the three possibilities.
Archived. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/3980982/New thread and update >>4019100
>>4018142>but is also the ugliest of the three possibilities.reeeeeeeeeeeee we have to fix this