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Your name is Shu, and when the world was devoured by a predator from beyond the stars, you took the hell it became and made it your heaven. Humanity’s been reshaped into a vicious, feral thing by the Crucible, their bodies twisted into raging beasts of muscle and bone, voices and minds warped into tools of war. The Daughters—combatants elected by the Crucible to fight and devour their fellows to reach even the apex of hideous strength—are perhaps the lucky ones, granted the freedom of choice in a world where most humans, flora, and fauna have been melted down into a carpet of raw biomass that’s pulled taut across our world.

Like every other Daughter in existence, you can feel the pull—gnawing at your bones, pulling every fiber of your being towards the tether between a mutilated earth and an alien sky. You call it the Cord, and it’s said that reaching it’s summit will grant the Crucible’s victor the power to reshape all that is into all that will be.

A siren’s song, beckoning you to the end of all things.

But you? You’re not interested in playing dice with the universe.

You’ve defied the will of alien conquerors and slain gods-apparent on your way to break this eldritch game, but you count your greatest victory to be the allies that you’ve gathered by your side; a team of fellow Daughters that you’re honored to call family. Gina, Rath, Amara, Julia, Dorian, Francine, and November...to say nothing of the dozens of other like-minded survivors who’ve refused to let a little thing like the end of the world stop them from doing what’s right.

Now, as you seek to surmount a range of perilous cliffs, you find yourself skirting the edges of two threats—a massacre before you with its butcher in the aftermath, and a titanic being that’s brought cities to their knees.

This is your story…

...and you are in control.


~~~~
Previous Vein: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4430305/

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest

Character Abilities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1p_asyKKcyCbQieAAXo1oogBucLtzSypx8-M9vqA96zE/edit#gid=1685687578

Trypophilic Hive, Ver. 3: https://pastebin.com/bUWG6TNF

Relics, Ver. 7: https://pastebin.com/kHzW2hbd

Dual Techs: https://pastebin.com/2jZ5Zhyx

Character Profiles: https://pastebin.com/eL2zTZ4f

Quest Fan Works: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1comL20X2jUrPO0p7QMdFinwAwdXHre2F9A5bdXif7_k/mobilebasic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en
>>
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Your journey west has brought you to a valley shrouded by a heavy, rancid mist, belched forth by the innumerable organic vents that dot the surrounding terrain. Your chitinous armor’s filtering out the worst of it, and as you glance upwards the suggestion of viciously barbed calcite cliffs loom over you, their full height obscured by the haze. They’re a scar that runs for countless miles from north to south, their cruel peaks regularly shifting of their own accord to rearrange not only their overland paths but also the tunnels that weave beneath the intimidating range.

It only took a minute or two for the fog to conceal the thing that had dispersed it with a few wingbeats only moments before. To your rear roosts a colossal beast, an Apocalypse Class amalgam whose passing presence nearly annihilated the city of Laoc, and whose vaguely avain shape can now only be barely glimpsed as it sits atop the mountain range further north. To the south, however...

The girl before you stares distantly into the fog, her eyes intent on something only she can see as the cracks around her sockets flicker an eerie amethyst. An oversized hoodie hangs loose on her petite frame, her ivory graves the only hint at the full suit of calcite armor she wears beneath.

[Gina, what’re we dealing with?] You ask, voice echoing in her mind as you dare not let sound be the thing that gives you away.

{A massacre, with the lone survivor gone Hunger-mad} Comes her weary answer as she glances back at you, her Neuromancy’s effects receding from her gaze. {Same shit, different day, babe}

“Are we gonna fight? I wanna try out what I’ve been practicing!” The child by your side whispers conspiratorially, her cat-like ears perking up. Amara’s bouncing on her toes, one hand on the bone-barrow sheath fused to the underside of her right arm as her fingers play along the sword’s hilt. A quiet huff reminds you of the fourth member of your scouting party. Francine’s white lab coat ripples in the foul breeze, her hands thrust into its pockets as the gears turn behind the older woman’s studious eyes.

“Your thoughts?” You offer quietly as she draws near.

“We need to proceed cautiously, or not at all. Unnecessary combat in this sort of terrain is ill-advised.” She whispers back, glancing up at the mountain’s profile. “We still have either the overland paths or the tunnels available to us.”

“Or we could fight!” Amara reminds you with a grin, your little one’s bloodlust a little disconcerting to say the least.

>>Take the tunnels, avoiding unnecessary conflict.

>>Start along the mountain paths before the range shifts again.

>>Engage the Hunger-mad Daughter—you’re not leaving a threat like that slive to hurt someone else.

>>Check in with November before you proceed to see if they’ve found a way over the mountains to the North.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Hello Everyone—I hope you had a pleasant weekend, and it’s good to be back. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)

(Monday was a complete wash, so I'll be updating the character sheets tonight with the proper level maximums for the Halo Hybrids, and thank you for bringing that to my attention.)
>>
>>5004036
>>Check in with November before you proceed to see if they’ve found a way over the mountains to the North.
>> Let Gina check out the Hunger mad daughter. If she thinks that she is weak enough for you to easily take care of you might as well get rid of her and safe her from the suffering she must be going through.

>>5004040
Sure i had a good weekend. Nearly murdered my party with Goblins. Only some last ditch negotiation saved them from a full party wipe by a Hobgoblin Mage. The Mage though ti would be best to just let them go as long as they were not going to warn the close by village of their plan to raid it for Slaves and ressources.. needless to say my players ran as far as they could for now. That village got the hell raided out of it by hobgoblins and Centaurs
>>
>>5004036
>>5004050
ill support this.

>>5004040
sorry but not surprised about Monday.
my weekend was good enough, hope yours was well too.
>>
>>5004036
Seconding these votes:
>>5004050

Reconnaissance is the best option right now. Before we make any choices, let's see how strong this daughter is. If we can take her on, we'll prevent her from hurting anybody else and give her some peace.
>>
>>5004040
Weekend was nice, somewhat. Monday absolutely murdered me as it had with you. 9.5 hours of non-stop work, and apparently that was just dealing with the station's usual clients with no additional workload from the other stations. I dread tomorrow and the upcoming weeks.

I plan on spending time today to hammer out cradleton and push closer to finishing the goddamn book on that story. The muse has been playing that story scenario in my head never-ending and yet the details as to how to find the path to the proper conclusion elude me.

I do have a question however bhop, given the nature and circumstances of life, are we going to be seeing more intermission threads in the future?
>>
>>5004036
Supporting >>5004040

Ah, once more we consider whether it's worth it to fight a big muscly super-mutant. It's Shu's defining life experience.
>>
>>5004117
Hey man. i think you might have linked the wrong post.... unless you want OP to decide it think

I don't want to cause offense just saying. it happend to me as well once or twice

>>5004089
Sorry to hear work is breaking you down and i hope that the Cradleton muse stays with you for a while more.
>>
>>5004127
Yes I did, thank you for catching that. Sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night, I've been kind of bombed-out today. Had these awful anxiety attacks, going into this constant panic mode any time my attention wavered. Kept me up late.

>>5004036
Supporting >>5004050

Also, should we get Amara to ask the fleshscape about this lady, or are we worried that would make noise that would draw her attention?
>>
>>5004033
>>5004040
also one more thing.... is it intended that i can not see Novembers Stat Sheet or is the Crunch for her just not finished right now?
>>
>>5004050
(Oh, that sounded like a fun session. I'm glad your weekend went well!)

>>5004070
(It was fairly relaxing, though it all feels like a blur, somehow.)

>>5004089
( I wish you the best with work, and I'm glad you're writing more on Cradleton!)

(To answer your intermission question, I would say that some more side stories are quite likely. Did you have something in mind?)

>>5004138
(Hey, I hope you can get some well-deserved rest some time soon.)

>>5004190
(The Crunch(TM) is not done for her yet, but it's next on my list. Then it's on to re-tooling Shu's swarmling cheat sheet and integrating it directly into the character sheets.)
>>
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>>5004036

[Keep an eye on that Daughter and see what you can find out. If you think we can take her without too much issue, then we will—I don’t want her hurting anyone else] You say to Gina over your empathic tether, ruffling Amara’s hair with a sigh. [I’m going to reach out to November to see if her team’s figured a way over or under these cliffs. Francine stays with you, I’ll hang back a bit with Amara]

Taking your young ward by the hand, you nod to the good doctor as you pass, making a bit of distance before your hive buzzes with activity. The onyx plates that run along the length of your spine and the width of your shoulders vibrate for a moment before a Commling scurries out from beneath a chitinous hinge, crawling up your neck before nestling against your ear.

“November, do you copy? Have you all made any headway against our mountain situation?” You say, staring out into the undulating haze before a welcome voice reaches your ear.

“Loud and clear, Queen Bee.” The cyborg replies brusquely...though you don’t recall when and where code names were getting handed out. “Rachel and Dorian think we can scale the cliffs if we take it easy. Orwell’s gotten us some data on how and when they shift, so we’re just waiting out the next change to make sure it’s accurate. Also, did you see the-?“

“Amalgam that hit Laoc? Yeah, we did…and someone here was rearing to go give it a piece of her mind.”

“N-not any *more*.” Your little one protests, puffing out her cheeks indignantly.

“M-hm. Anyway, let me know how things shake out with that data, and tell...hold on a sec.”

A second commling’s scrambled out from your hive to latch onto your other ear, the pair resembling a pair of chitinous headphones as another voice spars to life in your ear…it’s a welcome one, if a bit unexpected.

“Shu, c-can you hear me? Do you have a sec t-to catch up?”

“Julia? Yeah, how are you doing?” You say, a smile creeping across your face.

“Things have b-been really busy, but all I n-need is a literal second. I have a f-friend here who’s a Neuromancer, and she’s going to link us up real quick so I can f-fill you in, okay?”

“Hello! This is Andromeda, and I’m very honored!” Chimes in a second voice, as enthusiastic as it is breathless. “I’ve heard so much about you, and Julia here has been so incredibly welcome-oh! Oh, right! Sorry sorry, here you go!”

Your mind’s eye suddenly blossoms with cosmic light, stellar blues and purple starlight carrying with them a torrent of information. It takes shape as thoughts that aren’t your own, Julia and this Andromeda girl’s experiences over an eventful few hours. From the Relic crisis in Laoc, to this artificial Daughter known as Pino, to…

…to something that runs a chill up your spine.

“…I see. You’ve been busy, Julia.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>5004264

“I’m s-sorry if this was a lot.” Your friend begins apologetically as the information churns between your ears. “I know you’re probably busy, I j-just didn’t want to sit on-“

“Julia, it’s fine. No need to apologize, since this is exactly the sort of thing I need to know sooner than later…Andromeda, was it?” You ask, turning your attentions to your Artisan’s new friend. “The pleasure’s mine, and thank you for sending over what you did. Your research is something I’d like to discuss with you at length once we have the time, if you’re open to it.”

“Oh absolutely! I wanted to pick your brain to backtrack and see at what point in time the phenomenon began with your te-“

{Shu, we got company}

“…Lovely. Gonna have to cut this short, you two.” You sigh bitterly as Gina’s alert flickers through your mind. “Andromeda, we’ll talk either through here or in person, you have my word. Julia? It’s great to hear your voice, and you just keep being amazing, okay?”

“Okay. Please b-be safe, Shu.”

With that, you turn your attention back to the leader of your north-bound team who’s been waiting patiently while you go about juggling plates, as usual. “November, we may have a situation here. Nothing we can’t handle, so keep at it on your end and I’ll touch base later.”

“ Yes Ma’am.” She replies, and you can practically visualize her swift salute as you focus back to Gina.

{Band of Daughters incoming} She reports in advance of your unspoken question. {Thirteen strong. Seems they came down from the cliffs, and it looks like they’re prepping an ambush on the Hunger-mad one. Solid tactics, even power distribution, and decently leveled. There’s a Neuromancer hanging back and directing everything, but they haven’t noticed us yet on account of the fog}

[You think they’re strong enough to take her down without casualties?]

{Yeah, they’re...wait. Oh, no way} She says, realization dawning across your empathic bond. {The Neuromancer, I know her. Calliope. She was one of my followers when I used to stream, we used to video chat. She was really nice, actually}

[Trustworthy?] You ask, the one-word interrogative hanging between you both with a moment’s hesitation.

{Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Or she was, at least—the Crucible changes people} Gina answers ruefully.

[Sometimes for the better] You offer, sensing some of her doubts trickling across the wire despite her best efforts.

>>Let Calliope’s team handle the Daughter before making your presence known…you want to see how she and her team act when they think they’re alone.

>>Have Gina commune with Calliope before her team strikes; if you offer your help, maybe you can eliminate the risk of any of her team getting hurt.

>>Double-back north. Calliope’s team clearly knows the mountain and its surrounding terrain…and you have the sneaking suspicion that’s not necessarily a good thing.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)
>>
>>5004267
>Let Calliope’s team handle the Daughter before making your presence known…you want to see how she and her team act when they think they’re alone.
>But be prepared to jump in if they look like they underestimated their opponent. nothing too overt, just eyes peeled and powers twitching.

im sure its fine, but for one, no reason to be greedy, they might really need this kill. and plus, if they do turn out to be a sour bunch, least for once we'll know what we're up against.
best case though we just introduce ourselves after and be on our merry way(as them coming from the opposite direction means most likely they have other places to be.)
>>
>>5004267
Supporting >>5004280
they might see us as aggressors or might just botch their plan if they make contact...
they might also feel threatened but in that case we can just back off.

>>5004197
It was fun. Later my players negotiating with a Demi Fey, that believes herself to be a godqueen, wa also fun they did not even ask her why exactly she wanted the items of her family line.

The one player that did question the motives of that queen came later when it was pretty much to late. The bargain had been struck and as as such she saw no need to negotiate another rate just for one person
>>
>>5004267
>FuzzBuzz diplomacy? Spawn a Fuzzbuzz that innocently flies about the area. How they'll react to Fuzzbuzz's presence will give us lots of information.
>>
>>5004267
Wow, a group of thirteen Daughters. Either this is multiple bands coming together, or Calliope's done well for herself in a leadership role.

>>Let Calliope’s team handle the Daughter before making your presence known…you want to see how she and her team act when they think they’re alone.
>>Write-In
>Make subtle preparations to intervene if they need help.
>If they notice us, try to defuse tensions and convince them we're not waiting to ambush them by sending out a FuzzBuzz to communicate with.
>>
>>5004443
Either that or Calliope's bound to be presented as a Foil to Shu in the Leadership archetype. That's what my hunch is telling me.
>>
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>>5004267

“Everyone—we’re going to let Calliope’s team handle the Daughter, but be prepared on Gina’s signal to jump in if it looks like they’re on their back foot…and *only* then.” You hastily add, gently placing your hand on Amara’s and re-sheathing her calcite blade, already halfway out of its scabbard.

“GG, mind linking all of us up so we can get front-row seats?” You ask, and a nod’s all it takes for you, Amara, and Francine to be drawn into Gina’s mind, your eyes’ inputs replaced with her own.

You focus, seeing through Gina’s eyes…and you watch the scene unfold.

The Hunger-mad Daughter’s a sight to behold; a Fibromancer’s power run rampant, a woman around Francine’s apparent age is subsumed, her howls of blind rage cut short when red strands wrap around her face. Her entire form is grossly exaggerated as her fibrous armor continues to multiply, even as she scrambles to devour the bodies around her…

…but meanwhile, your girlfriend’s line of sight is locked on Calliope, the Neuromancer’s medium-length hair flowing behind her as she rides a chimeric Unnatural Predator into battle, the Daughter’s set of six powerful limbs carrying her close to the ground as both mount, rider, and supporting cavalry effortlessly maneuvering around the billowing vents. The Neuromancer conducts her allies with arms free of skin or muscle; in their place are floating bundles of nerves, hovering just above charred bones that move with the practiced skill of a conductor.

A single Daughter breaks the formation with a wave of Calliope’s hand; a masculine figure with a sharp jaw and determined eyes takes point, a classic sword and shield tearing themselves free from their creator’s arm and sliding seamlessly into their resolute grasp. A pair of Humoral Paladins leap to the Armorer’s aid, a torrent of scarlet blood and brackish ichor surging into a marbled suit or armor that envelops the warrior just as they drive their blade deep into the side of the ravenous behemoth. The maddened Daughter’s howl of pain and fury is cut short, a slight figure appearing from the fog as her oversized forearms siphon the Daughter’s scream and turn it into sonic artillery. The massive holes in the slender girl’s arms flare open, the resultant blast reducing the Fibromancer’s legs to a red mist that’s instantly dispersed by the Flesh Artisan moving in from the rear with terrifying speed. Resembling more a featureless mannequin than a living being, three expertly-placed strikes against their communal foe’s side render her back a glossy, featureless expanse that’s swiftly and effortlessly shattered by a dodge-and-sweep of the Armorer’s buckler…and it’s in that moment that you realize something.

This is not a fight.

This is a dismantling.

(Continued)
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>>5004601

It’s over in seconds, the Fibromancer’s last defiant howl cut short when the Armorer thrusts their blade through her exposed throat. A twist, a swipe, and it’s done; the woman’s head cleanly removed at the base. A brutal mercy of the kind you’ve gotten used to granting.

The surrounding Daughters simply stand at silent attention once their foe’s been vanquished, with Calliope dismounting from her multi-limbed mount and bounding over to the bloody pile. She inspects it with a sigh, shaking her head before spinning on her heel and clapping her hands together with a smile.

“Great job, everyone! You were just amazing, yeah?” She declares with a charming smile, skipping over to the Armorer as she reaches up and cups the taller Daughter’s face with her skeletal hands. “Kris, you were freaking *baller* out there, you hear me? And Tina!”

Calliope bounces over to the sound-based Generator, hugging her tightly. “Absolutely KILLER move there, girl! Just…god, everyone did a great job! Kinda wish we’d gotten to all…”

“…this…” She says, gesturing at the shredded carcasses around her. “…before stringbean here wigged out, but if they couldn’t keep it together long enough for us to even lead them over the mountain, then they’d be screwed on the other side anywho. SO! Take five everybody, and eat what you gotta to keep up your strength, ‘kay? I’ll keep watch!”

At that, the twelve other Daughters begin picking through the corpses as Calliope stands guard, her eyes flickering with golden light, the nerve fibers along her arms suddenly standing on end like organic antennae, lashing at the air. She’s dressed simply; a worn hoodie cut at the bottom to show off a pair of high-waisted shorts, long legs surprisingly unarmored…you expect she may not need it, given how well-oiled her team appears to be.

“Yeah, uh…I think they’re good, babe.” Gina mutters, blinking once as your vision swims back to its normal state, with Amara exaggeratedly rubbing her eyes with her clenched fists. “Sounds like she and her crew’s leading people over the cliffs…so, do you wanna say ‘hello’?”

“Do you?” You ask, sensing her hesitation.

“It’s up to you.” She shrugs. “I can take the lead if you want, but I haven’t talked to her in forever. She seems okay, so I like our chances.”

“I liked the decapitation.” Amara adds, helpfully.

“I know, sweetie.”

“It was pretty.”

“…I…yeah, sweetie.” You sigh as Francine stares at Amara with trepidation.

>>Introduce yourself personally…but just yourself, leaving your allies to hang back in case things go south.

>>You and Gina will go introduce yourselves, with Gina taking the lead. It’s her friend, after all.

>>Fuzzbuzz diplomacy is best diplomacy; send a fuzzy little ambassador out there while you and the others stay at the ready.

>>Turn back and rendezvous with November and the others.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and participation, and I wish you a restful evening one and all.)
>>
>>5004604
no no, Amara, battles are COOL and STYLISH, not pretty. pretty is getting into creepy territory.

vote;
>You and Gina will go introduce yourselves, with Gina taking the lead. It’s her friend, after all.
>But send a Fuzzbuzz down ahead of you as you make your way down, to give them a cute little preemptive 'hello'. maybe he can do a dance for them too.

I get being weary of them but not really our style. or more importantly, if they're decent we dont want to put them on edge or make them wonder why we would hide behind a construct, cute bee or not.
>>
>>5004610
>>5004604
We're gonna need to teach Amara a pretty good lesson about having "The Rationality to maintain Discretion", but given the experiences that Amara has had over her lifetime since waking up in the Crucible, we're gonna need to weave it carefully in a way that guides her growth to not be that much of a nightmare fetishist. If we bring the world back to pre-crucible times, Amara will have a very hard time adjusting to the culture shock.
>>
>>5004622
it may be too late for her by this point.
so long as she doesn't try to wear literal meat dresses(as in, looks like actual steaks stapled into a dress), then we can at least say we didn't outright fail.
>>
>>5004604
Supporting >>5004610

>>5004622
The way I see it, Amara can love weird and creepy things as much as she wants. But when she starts finding brutal violence pretty that's a problem. We need to focus her passion away from "yay, violence!" and more towards things like finding the squirmy Pyre Ant larvae cute or the joy of playing with an N-dimensional space dog. At most she should be appreciating a fight from the standpoint of being stylish and cool, like >>5004610 said, not because it's pretty to see heads cut off.
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>>5004638
yeah im not outright against her being into esoteric stuff but theres a line between keeping animals preserved in jars or having some skeleton mock ups, and thinking seeing a head of someone suffering being cut off as pretty.

the main problem is the context. its a person who has lost thier mind and is suffering and just ate their friends. it should seem tragic and maybe at worst disgusting, not pretty, to see that go down, which is probably what angle we should come at this at.
explain why WE dont find it pretty, not tell her she shouldn't think its pretty.
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>>5004633
>it may be too late for her by this point.
>so long as she doesn't try to wear literal meat dresses(as in, looks like actual steaks stapled into a dress), then we can at least say we didn't outright fail.
Then how will/are we going to do to help her adjust to the sudden change in lifestyle?

I love Amara as she is as a child, and I do realize she is in some degree, growing up in a hostile environment.

Much of the main lessons that we've taught her so far and the things we've done is take her to fights, told tales of good v. Evil, tales of adventure, diplomacy stuff, why holding grudges could harm you if you hold it in too long...but we failed to teach her the value and rationality of maintaining a sense of discretion. And some of those lessons that we've taught her, she may have misinterpreted to suit her own viewpoint. By the time she learns that essential realization of having that rationality for discretion, I fear it would come at a disastrous cost. And that lesson would be one she may not take well.
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>>5004606
oh, missed this was the last of the day, my bad.
you have a good night BHOP, and hope your dreams are full on Mondays you have off.
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>>5004638
>>5004633
Yes I get that she finds the brutality pretty, given her pre-crucible past of watching babysitters play Devil May Cry and having an Alien Samurai Mall cop in her head teaching her ninja/samurai lessons, it's part of the main reason why I wanted to teach Amara the rationale of maintaining discretion.

>>5004641
Should we spend this upcoming update on giving Amara a bit of a lesson on Mama Shu's take on the fight? We could use FuzzBuzz to initiate diplomacy while taking the time aside to try and connect with Amara on her viewpoints. Ask her why she finds the brutality pretty and give our honest opinion on the matter. That way we can rein in Amara's enthusiasm abit and guide her growth a bit more for the adoptive mom/daughter time during the trip.
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>>5004658
see, its one of those things where i understand and dont disagree with the need and want to talk to her about this, but the timing just feels off. If we're going to talk to these girls, it fits us better to do it in person and do it now, over shunting them aside to talk to Amara.

assuming they dont attack us or drag us into some convoluted nonsense, we can probably talk to Amara on the trek over the mountain.

>>5004645
as for lessons and such, sadly i think adjustment is a post-game Shu problem. this just isnt at all an environment to get her used to that in, at best if we left her at home or in a settlement, which im positive she would not like at all.
my first thought is we may just have to hope and nurture the genuine caring side we know she has, and hope that part at least keeps her doing things for the right reasons, other issues aside.
she honestly takes after Rath more than anyone, now that i think on it. kind strange as i actually feel like on-screen time at least they haven't had the most, though i could be remembering wrong. might mean Raths better at handling this than us though, i dunno. or also could just mean if we let Rath be Rath, why worry about Amara being Amara? or maybe maybe too those two thoughts also aren't exclusive.
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>>5004668
Fair points anon. Fair points.
>>
>>5004641
We could try to relate it to Amara through the lens of Dream Daughters. After all, anyone you kill and eat has the potential to go on to become a friend. She's friends with all the people she's eaten, isn't she? So if they're someone who could be a friend, that means that they deserve some level of empathy. You can take pride in a fight well fought, you can admire another fighter's work, but always remember that you're still dealing with people. This isn't just some monster to be slain, it's a person like you. If their end has to be a bloody one, don't linger over how pretty it is.

>>5004658
Maybe after we've introduced ourselves. We can talk to Amara about how Calliope's team fought cleanly and efficiently, respecting their opponent. Who knows, Calliope might even be willing to chime in on that and help with the lesson.

>>5004668
I think Amara will still probably turn out well so long as we nurture her compassionate side, yeah. She's still a kid who's very quick to make friends and has a strong empathic sense. Honestly, she'd probably knock most of the creepy stuff out on her own if she realized it was unsettling people. The trick is to just convey that to her without sounding like we're scolding her for being who she is. She can enjoy fighting, just...recognize what details to focus on.
>>
>>5004681
yeah, just get across to her we're simply worried about if shes respecting the deaths of others. probably have her ask her more... mature Dream Daughters their opinion on losing their freedom to live inside a childs head.
>>
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>>5004604

“Here’s the play…” You begin, rubbing the bridge of your nose between thumb and forefinger. “Gina and I will take the lead. Francine, Amara? I want you both to move into ambush position in case things escalate. But first things’ first. We’re gonna go with our tried and true opener.”

“Fuzzbuzz diplomacy?” Amara offers, staring up at you expectantly with her wide, two-tone eyes.

“Fuzzbuzz diplomacy.” You echo with a wink.

A freshly-spawned swarmling emerges from your hive, downy fuzz drying quickly in the warm air before it tests its wings and takes flight. It doesn’t have to go far to emerge from the mists close to Calliope’s group as they methodically pick through the remains.

The look on Calliope’s face is priceless when she notices your fluffy ambassador, her amber eyes going almost as wide as her smile.

“Well aren’t you just the cutest!” She coos, a twitch of her pinky alerting her Generator, arm cannons instantly trained on the diminutive swarmling. “Who do you belong to, I wonder?”

“Shu the Defiant.” You calmly declare, and you watch Calliope’s eyes widen through your swarmling’s compound vision.

“Oh goodness, I feel like I should bow or something!” She giggles, settling for a little curtsey as she pulls up the hem of her sweater while tilting her head forward, careful never to take her eyes off your swarmling. “I’m Calliope, and I’d love to meet the legend face-to-face!”

“I’d be open to that. Mind if I bring a plus one? It’s someone you might be interested in meeting.” You say through your construct, winking at Gina as she just rolls her eyes, smirking despite herself.

“Any friend of the Defiant is a friend of mine!” Calliope replies with a smile, not knowing just how right she is. Moments later you and Gina arrive hand-in-hand, finding Calliope and her entourage enamored with the little dance FuzzBuzz’s you had him perform in the interim.

Catching movement in the fog the Neuromancer looks up, meeting your gaze for a half-second before noticing your plus-one. Her eyes go even wider than before, a high-pitched noise escaping her lips as she throws her threadbare arms wide.

“Holyfuckingshit, GINA!?” Calliope practically screams, darting over to GG and looping her skeletal limbs around the shorter girl’s neck with a squeal of joy.

“Calliope, I thought that was you!” Gina laughs, holding the other Neuromancer at arm’s length as the two give each other a once-one. “You look fantastic!”

“Back at you! I never thought you’d be kicking it with a freaking legend, but you were always great at finding the best and brightest, yeah?” Calliope grins, turning to you as something in Gina’s expression flickers. “You been taking good care of my girl, here?”

“We’ve been through hell and back, and there’s no one else I’d rather make the trek with.” Gina fires back, shooting you a wink at the end.

(Continued)
>>
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>>5005311

“Hey, I couldn’t have gotten this far without her.” You say, and Calliope eyes your and Gina’s conjoined hands with an impish grin.

“Ahhh, cute! Jeez, I had no idea you were one of GG’s!” She giggles, steepling her fingers and wiggling the bony digits against each other with an excitable clacking. “Practically everyone we’ve helped over the Spine has had something to say about Shu and her Defiants. It’s all they talk about! I’ve heard you’re big on the net, but we don’t have a Skintalker yet. I’m hoping if we help enough groups cross that I can convince one to stick around.”

“You’re helping Daughters over the mountain?”

“Oh, yeah! There’s always someone that wants to cross the Spine, so I kinda-sorta set us up as guides, yeah?” She replies proudly, onyx thumbs hooking on the inside of her shorts. “I accept biomass, Relics, and whatever else they’ve got to trade in exchange for safe passage. The Spine’s shivers make it rough going, and plus you’ve got nested Amalgams, bandits, and other weird shit that’ve made homes up there, so there’s safety in numbers.”

“That’s quite the crew you’ve got.” Gina says, whistling at the impressive retinue; aside from the Calcite Armorer, Generator, and unnerving Flesh Artisan, you can identify most of the other Daughter types by corruption alone.

“Huh? Oh! Sure, yeah!” Calliope says, turning to her allies with a snappy clap of her hands. “Hey, say hello to my friends, everyone!”

The baker’s dozen lazily wave at you, tired smiles transfixed on their lips…or fangs, in the Unnatural Predator’s case. Despite the swiftness with which they moved earlier, you get the feeling it took a lot out of them—their eyes are collectively glazed over, each movement languid and weary. It’s a far cry from the fierce clarity each of them displayed only moments before.

“Yeah, they’re all total cuties!” Calliope proudly declares, stretching her blackened arms over her head. “So hey! If you two are planning on crossing the Spine, I’d love to lead you two over for free!”

“Oh, we couldn’t impo-“ Gina begins, and you feel it again, that odd hesitation that you can’t quite place.

“I’d be honored, yeah!” Calliope interrupts with a grin, waving away her old friend’s concerns with another clap of her bare, bony hands. “Think of it as catch-up time! My team will keep an eye out, and I know the route like the back of my hand! I mean, not to downplay the Spine, or anything. It’s *super* dangerous, but I can get us over, no problem. We can either head up now before it shivers again, or we can wait ‘til after. Either’s good for me!”

Then, to Gina; “So! You’re coming, yeah?”

>>Accept Calliope’s offer now, and have Amara and Francine join you in the trek.

>>Wait for the next shift, then leave with Calliope.

>>Politely decline, and find your own way to scale the cliffs.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Everyone. I hope you rested well, and know that voting shall be open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>
>>5005313
hrm... somethings not quite right with her group.
at worst, Calliope is a puppeteer. at best, it absolutely sounds like shes pushing them past their limits. neither is a good option. even if we reeeeaaaaally want to give her the benefit of the doubt of the first option, and they're all jerks who were hurting people and/or tried to kill her, thats still dubious. maybe a bit of a 'you cant entirely blame a puppeteer neuromancer for using her core ability to survive' situation, but still dubious.

vote;
>Wait for the next shift for now. you want to get to know Calliope and her crew more.
>dont jump to conclusions but also dont ignore your gut. her crews acting odd.
>"Well, our own Crews a bit spaced out at the moment Calliope, so we'd want to rein them back in before crossing. lemme send the word out, and we can cross once a shift happens... and you're people are a bit rested. they look a bit tired, no offense to you or them meant, mind."
>Send word of the situation out to the others. best case? crossing in numbers with an experience guide sounds like the best case. worst case... well, you dont want to jump to conclusions, but you also know both you and your family can come to conclusions on their own, as much as you also know they dont want to jump to conclusion either.
>keep an open mind, a friendly demeanor, but dont ignore your gut or what the Fleshscape allows.
>"So, Calliope, why we wait, why dont you tell us about yourself! we'd love to meet your crew too! groups arent rare, but ones your size are, and thats a rare treat to hear about."
>>
>>5005313
Supporting >>5005326


>>5005326
you are completely right. She is definitely rubbing me the wrong way as well.

We should have Gina check around with her Neuromancy if she can find anything wrong with the other people while we can keep Callioppe occupied. Unless she has co conspirators and is either threatening or controling the people she will slip up enough for us to notice.

>>“Ahhh, cute! Jeez, I had no idea you were one of GG’s!”
might be innocent enough what with Gina being a bit of a manipulator... but yeah this still sounds kinda wrong... what am i saying this sounds hella suspicious

I also have to head out again. I hope that i can be back before time runs out because this sounds super sus.
>>
>>5005313
>Activate Neuro isolation mode on the halo, discretely.
>>5005326
>>5005333
But the main question is, do we cross the cliffs with Calliope? Or do we make the trek across by ourselves?
>>
>>5005333
well, we do know Gina wasnt always the best of a person beforehand, though i cant remember exactly how bad she admitted/we figured out she used to be, or in exactly what ways.
>>
>>5005338
we got some time to figure that out, or well, are giving ourselves some time more appropriately.
>>
>>5005339
>>5005333
the way Calliope's been interacting with Gina seems more like an interaction between two birds of a feather who share the same vices in accordance with their core powers. Calliope's definitely taken the "Mind" path in the Core choice.

And Gina's been acting pretty oddly throughout the interaction.

I fear things might sour given the fact that Calliope might crave more control the moment we introduce Francine as well as our daughter Amara. Especially our daughter Amara.

>>5005313
>Politely decline, and find your own way to scale the cliffs.
This is my vote. Calliope's first impression is a bit too suspicious for my taste, even for extended interactions with her.
>>
>>5005359
ehh, I get not every problem is ours to solve, but we still have usually taken a 'solve what we can' approach. doesn't really fit us i think to leave what could be a bad problem to lie.

i mean, she could be alright, and her business legitimate, but we dont know that, and the vibes would give us reason to question that. not something we want to have left scratching at the back of our heads if she is a bad gal. Gina especially might regret it, given the personal connection.
>>
>>5005359

hmm my thoughts are that we should scout this out. We are here we can possibly do something. If she is innocent or harmless enough we can rest our conscience easy and just travel over the mountains.

If she is dangerous we can either take care of her right now or tell Orwell that she might want to give out a warning for the area. Or even send a Kill Team to make sure her work will be stopped if it is nefarious with us supplying intel.


>>5005313
Ammending my vote from >>5005333
to supporting >>5005326
with the addition of Activating the Neuro Isolation mode
>>
(For the sake of clarification, do you wish to assemble just Amara and Francine, or November's crew as well?)

(Additionally, in the 27th Vein you'd requested Johanna and Holly to accompany your team, with Isabelle and Uzu sticking with November's. At that time I forgot that request, but I indicated that they were still at the Dragon's Roost and ready to be deployed if you saw fit. That option is still one available to you, if you wish.)
>>
>>5005420
both teams, as best case scenario we wont need Novembers team to be looking for a path anymore.
and yeah, if we originally had the Dream Daughters with us, then keep them with us.
>>
>>5005359
>the way Calliope's been interacting with Gina seems more like an interaction between two birds of a feather who share the same vices in accordance with their core powers. Calliope's definitely taken the "Mind" path in the Core choice.
>And Gina's been acting pretty oddly throughout the interaction.
Yeah, Calliope is needling Gina, but I don't get the sense it's at all intentional. Just her not realizing that Gina has kind of moved on from her. It sounds like the two of them were both a bit manipulative, and while Gina has worked to change that part of her personality, Calliope has embraced it. I don't think she's outright puppeting them, though. She's talking to them like they still have agency, and doing so when she doesn't know she's being watched, so unless she's just playing with her dolls they probably aren't mind-slaves. Just some Daughters that she's being exploitative to. Best case scenario, it's all consensual and they're fine with this level of influence so long as it gets the job done. Still creepy, but not necessarily a villain we must fight.
>>
>>5005313
Supporting >>5005326
with the addition of
>If we teleport the party back here, don't let Calliope see it. Have Francine or Amara wield the Escher's Gear from out of the line of sight.

Just because I'm a bit worried what she'd make of a teleportation device that could let people skip right over the mountains. That's either a threat to her business or an incredible asset for her to seize. Hopefully it wouldn't come to blows over that, but if she is as wicked as we fear...well, why take the risk?
>>
>>5005313
>>5005326
>>5005410
>>5005450
im ok with both these extensions, though i dont think we'll need the gear to teleport anyone in. but good idea to hide it if we do end up needing it and i misjudged something.
>>
(Updating shortly, everyone. Work has been busy, but it shouldn't be too long now.)
>>
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>>5005313

“I think we’d better wait for the next shift.” You declare, placing your arm around Gina’s shoulders and giving her a light squeeze…both of you activating your Halos’ shielding simultaneously. “Plus, that’ll give us some time to get to know you and your crew.”

“Sure, yeah!” Calliope grins, and you’re surprised that she doesn’t fight you given how insistent she’s been thus far. “Is the rest of your crew close, GG? We could buckle down for a bit and chat while we wait.”

"Well, they’re a bit spaced out at the moment so we'd want to rein them back in before crossing. Lemme send the word out, and we can cross once a shift happens...and your people are a bit rested. They look a bit tired, no offense."

“Eh, yeah…we could use some chill time, I guess.” Calliope shrugs, patting her knee and prompting the Unnatural Predator to stalk forward. The massive, multi-limbed hound settles into a loaf-like state, with Calliope collapsing against it and beckoning the rest of her retinue to join her.

You and Gina walk back into the fog, your mind buzzing with logistics…and a question you’re reluctant to voice.

[Gina, I know Calliope’s your friend, but-]

{She’s suspicious as all hell?} Gina says, bitterly finishing your thought. {Yeah, we’re on the same page}

[…How do you feel about that?] You ask, and she just chuckles darkly.

{Shit sucks, man. It’s like…like looking in a mirror. The way she moves, the way she talks, it’s all just…}

[Who you used to be?]

She nods, then shakes her head with an irritated growl. {Look, this isn’t the Gina trauma fun hour, or whatever—I’m okay, so let’s get the family together and see what Cali’s all about. I don’t want her knowing about Escher’s Gear, though. We should have everyone teleport in at range, then walk to meet her. It might be nothing, but the less she knows about what we can do, the better}

[Good plan] You admit, and she just smirks up at you, eyes twinkling with your reflection.

{I learn from the best too, y’know}

Within minutes you’ve assembled; you, Gina, Amara, Francine, Dorian, Rath, November, Orwell, and your four Dream Daughters, their Spiritus shells the perfect image of their original bodies.

“Everyone, keep an open mind and trust your instincts. Those of you that have Halos, keep them active.” You say, addressing your family as a whole before you march back to Calliope’s camp. “I’m giving everyone commlings small enough to fit in your ears, so we’ll still be able to communicate. If you sense anything weird or notice something off don’t keep it to yourself, okay?”

A series of quick nods answer you, and a short jaunt later the twelve of you emerge once more form the fog, Calliope lighting up at your arrival.

Twelve on one side, thirteen on the other.

You hate that you’re sizing them up like this, running the numbers in your head…but you didn’t get this far by being reckless.

(Continued)
>>
>>5005577

You find Calliope where you left her, leaning up against the side of her Predator, legs splayed wide and arms folded behind her head with relaxed nonchalance. The other eleven Daughters are arrayed around her, the Calcite Armorer lying between Calliope’s legs, head in her lap with the others either practically on top of their resident Neuromancer or touching her in some way.

“Welcome back and get comfy!” She greets you, waving you and your family over to the patch of flesh before her.

“Should we keep our voices down, or-?” You begin hesitantly, with Calliope shaking her head.

“Nah, I got them under for right now. They keep telling me they’re happy to keep going, but I think they just wanna impress me.” She giggles, running her hands through the hair of Kris and the Generator while shooting Gina a sly wink. “You know how it is.”

Ignoring the revulsion and guilt that flares across your empathic line, Gina wordlessly ignites her powers. Amethyst light overtakes her eyes, veins of neon purple slithering underneath her visible skin as the ground reshapes itself into twelve plush leather seats, with yours in the center.

"So, Calliope, why we wait, why don’t you tell us about yourself?” You begin, the first of your family to rest in the chair before your side follows suit. “We’d love to talk to your crew, too, if they’re up for it. Groups aren’t rare, but ones your size are. That’s a rare treat to hear about."

“Ha, well I’m a lucky girl. Kris here was the first, so I’ll let them explain.” She grins, a single bony digit playing across the Armorer’s brow. Their eyes snap open, dark eyes quickly taking stock of their surroundings before they scramble to their feet. Kris is blushing slightly at their previous position, though the powerfully-build Daughter composes themself quickly enough to address you all with a noble bow.

“It’s an honor to meet all of you, truly.” They say, their voice warm and eloquent as their deep eyes sweep across you and your family. “Calliope’s heard much of your exploits, and you’re an inspiration to our efforts here at the Spine.”

“C'mon, tell ‘em how we met!” Calli loudly whispers, sticking her tongue out while poking Kris’ ankle with her big toe.

“Ha, well…Calliope found me less than a day after her awakening. I’d be awake for two, maybe three before she saved me.” Kris explains, casting a kind smile back at the Neuromancer. “She’d taken to all this like a fish to water, and she saw how much I detested fighting.”

“But you’re really good at it.” Amara chimes in, her eyes wide with admiration.

“Oh, I must give Calliope the credit for any skills that were on display.” Kris bashfully replies. “When the fighting starts, we give the reigns to her.”

“…We?” You repeat, glancing across the unconscious forms of the Daughters draped over and around Calliope.

(Continued)
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>>5005578

“Yes. None of us wanted any part of this, but here we are.” Kris says, following your eyes to look down at their assorted companions. “We had no choice in the Crucible, but Calliope…she gave us one that we accepted gladly.”

“I…I don’t quite follow.” Dorian says, hands folded in his lap as he warily eyes the Neuromancer at the center of it all.

“My Core lets me control stuff via strands, but if the target’s willing then their own capabilities get one heck of a boost, yeah?” The ringleader explains, patting her lap as Kris resumes their seat. “Min-maxing it gave me parallel processing, so everyone here’s in my head! They get to keep me and their friends safe without having to be in the driver’s seat, and I get to lavish them with the kind of attention GG and I give best…a little post-apocalyptic tit-for-tat, just like before!”

She’s locked eyes with Gina, smiling proudly.

“And you’re all…fine with that?” Your girlfriend asks, trying her level best to keep her voice as even as possible despite the rage that’s boiling in her chest.

“Of course.” Kris replies, as though it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Because-“

“-We love her, and she loves us.”

Twelve voices in perfect harmony, declaring their unified adoration for the girl that’s pulling their strings…

…strings they’ve willingly relinquished.

“Kris, Staci, everyone here…they’re good people. Nice people.” Calliope sighs, running a hand through Kris’ hair as they lean back, exhaling deeply as sleep overtakes them once more. “They weren’t built for the Crucible. They didn’t take to it like you and I did, G. But they don’t have to fight, not really. I know them all inside and out, and now they can just sit back and enjoy the fringe benefits of the fucked up little ball of meat our world’s been turned into without having to get their hands dirty. It’s worked out great so far…”

She sweeps her gaze across you and the rest of your allies before settling squarely on Gina.

“Don’t you agree?”

Gina simply nods thoughtfully, her face a pleasant mask that conceals the twisting mass of disgust that’s overwhelming your empathic bond.

“I’m going to let everybody rest for right now, but like I said, I know them like I know those cliffs!” Calliope laughs, glancing up at the looming peaks. “We’re open books, yeah! So ask away, Gina.”

>>You don’t know Gina’s history with this girl, but you do know GG well enough to step in. You’ll answer Calliope’s questions while Gina cools off.

>>Allow Gina to take the lead…you have to trust her to push through whatever’s going on in her head.

>>Yeah, no. You’re not subjecting your family to this girl’s weird little harem, regardless of how well-intentioned she claims it to be. Leave, waiting out the next shift and then starting your attempts to navigate this mountain.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Apologies for the delay, everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I appreciate your patience with my work schedule, and I do hope your day is going well.)
>>
>>5005582
..... she is still super suspect.... but people like that do exists.... people that will let others pull their strings.

It probably helps that Kris is probably an apt social manipulator and pretty much made these people dependent on her like a drug.

It is a mental addiction so very little we could do... We could kill Kris but we would condem these people to death unless we get them somewhere safe... and even then they might die like flowers without soil. They are apparently not made for the crucible....

This is a tough decision. But i am now also strongly against crossing the mountains with her. i dont want her near our precious family.
>>
>>5005582
gah, this is a pretty difficult situation. shes clearly manipulating them, BUT I dont think shes lying thats its through tried and true old world methods of emotions, not through her abilities. and she otherwise probably is genuinely helping people cross (things she said when she didn't know we were round wouldn't make sense if she just planned to kill them).
that said, she may just be looking to convince new people to join her, and may just understand a good rep and getting paid for a job is better than making yourself a bad person to be hunted, but even then, TECHNICALLY shes still not done anything wrong if thats the case.

kinda the worst case moral grey-ish zone, from what seems to be panning out.

Vote;
>You don’t know Gina’s history with this girl, but you do know GG well enough to step in. You’ll answer Calliope’s questions while Gina cools off.
>both be cordial but also give Calliope some not so subtle hints whatever she thinks is going on here on your end, isnt.
>"Well... not how we do things, but I suppose giving away ones choices is still a choice one can make themselves."
>"Funny though, never thought we'd run across a group all about that, consider me and Gina have worked so hard to make sure we and our family all get to make our own choices, no strings attached."
>chuckle, and give Calliope a wink, one very much meant to imitate how shes been giving Gina one.
>"Ah, but not trying to throw mud at your groups way of doing things, its just... me, Gina, and the rest of us have a different path we've taken. one i hope you can respect, if nothing else."
>Let your family chime in as they please, hopefully with them dropping thier own hints however she thought Gina and the situation was, really isnt the case. though their choice, of course.
>>
>>5005577
>Twelve on one side, thirteen on the other.
Dang it, Julia! I fully believe in your quest for self-actualization and I'm super happy for you, but we could have had even numbers if you were still here. Ah, well.

>>5005582
Well, that's...more than a little creepy. It's apparently consensual, but it definitely feels like there's some exploitation going on there. Still, not enough to start fighting about it. Yet, anyway.

>>Allow Gina to take the lead…you have to trust her to push through whatever’s going on in her head.
>>Write-In
>Be ready to support her as needed, though. Don't try to take over the conversation, but if a short interjection can help her, do so. We have her back. Make sure she knows that, send her a message of reassurance over the empathic link. We trust her, she's strong and no matter what sort of bad memories or self-recrimination it brings up we're confident she can deal with it. But we love her, the whole party loves her, and if there's anything we can do to help her she shouldn't hesitate to ask.
>Over the FuzzBuzz com, ask Isabel if she knew Calliope too and can tell us anything about her that might help. It doesn't come up often anymore, but she was part of Gina's social circle. Also, is she okay sitting here and hearing this? The parallels to Sam aren't exactly subtle.
>>
>>5005592
yeah, as i stated n mine, its a difficult situation because its not at all impossible and seems to be the case the situation is consensual, even if she is a manipulator. its not as cut and dry a situation as if she was literally mind melding them, though it doesn't make it right.
and moreso, though repeating myself, she does seem to genuinely so far be smart enough to know making herself an actual villain would be a bad idea, over just suspect over a kinda awkward group dynamic.

not saying we trust her or not dig any deeper, only its not a situation(at the moment) we can really justify killing her over. not that we were exactly wanting to justify doing that, but you get what i mean i think.
>>
>>5005615
I get the idea of letting Gina take control, but my biggest reason for not is her clearly thinking Gina is the 'old Gina' whos doing similar might make her naturally muddle anything Gina says up and misread anything unless she first gets evidence otherwise thats not whats happening here.

...mind, i guess Gina might just be super blunt about things but thats not Ginas strong suit.
i also wont deny just wanting to give her a run for her money and see her expression as she realizes she just had that sorta attitude to a group clearly aware of it and where thats not going on.
>>
>>5005582

>>You don’t know Gina’s history with this girl, but you do know GG well enough to step in. You’ll answer Calliope’s questions while Gina cools off.
>>both be cordial but also give Calliope some not so subtle hints whatever she thinks is going on here on your end, isnt.
>>Over the FuzzBuzz com, ask Isabel if she knew Calliope too and can tell us anything about her that might help. It doesn't
>> Let Gina take over after a short while to make sure
>>come up often anymore, but she was part of Gina's social circle. Also, is she okay sitting here and hearing this? The parallels to Sam aren't exactly subtle.

Lets start with us and then let Gina put down her own opinion with us heaving laid the groundwork to make sure the things G says are given with a lot of context.

>>5005617
yeah i get what you mean. We are not looking for an excuse to kill her but we are vigilant for something like extreme abuse or misuse of powers could appear.

I am pretty confident we could snipe her but she could have buried berserker Programms in her group for if/ when she gets sniped that would make it a pain to get rid of them without murdering the hell out of them.
>>
>>5005617
Yeah, like...Calliope clearly thinks she's doing the right thing. I think she even genuinely cares about her harem. She just is really bad about handling it. If you're concerned for the emotional well-being of people you care about, because they can't handle the stress of the violence inherent to the Crucible, puppeting them to fight without being consciously involved in the process is not a healthy way to handle it. Either get them to a safe place like Laoc where they don't have to fight, or help them find the strength to stand up on their own. This isn't helping them, it's just a way to ignore the problem.

>>5005621
You're not wrong, but at the same time I think there are some things that Gina might have to say for her own good. I think we just need to find a way for her to say them without also escalating this into a real conflict. That's why I want to be there as a supporting presence who can chime in to keep things calm and Calliope not insulted.

This >>5005626 might be a good compromise. Talk for a bit, then let Gina take over. Give me a bit to think about it.
>>
>>5005636
well, my intention was not to let Gina talk, but if you want i can put that onto the bottom of mine.

part of my idea(i poorly got across probably) was Ginas currently feeling disgust at basically seeing who she could of become. But us and the family talking first and proving the notion she even could be doing that wrong might help her, well, remember she indeed doesn't need to approach this as any reflection of herself or such, which may help her confront it better.
Ironically giving Gina better control by first reminding her she is not trying to be in control of us, if that makes sense.

>Calliope clearly thinks she's doing the right thing.
im actually not entirely sure on that, only that im pretty positive shes not 'evil' or being a 'bad person' in the sense of making victims out of innocents and such or not genuinely helping people. shes just probably doing that knowing you get more outta people with honey than vinegar.
>>
>>5005636
>>5005643
Well i am sure you guys can come up with better stuff than i can right now. I can feel myself getting ever easier to distract as I get more tired

But i hope we can give her a piece of our mind and build up Gina a bit. That is what i am trying to accomplish. Otherwise it might seem like we are trying to control G if we and the family just take over completely

anyway i will head to bed now. See you tomorrow anons
>>
>>5005652
(Rest well, and get some good sleep.)
>>
>>5005643
>part of my idea(i poorly got across probably) was Ginas currently feeling disgust at basically seeing who she could of become. But us and the family talking first and proving the notion she even could be doing that wrong might help her, well, remember she indeed doesn't need to approach this as any reflection of herself or such, which may help her confront it better.
Oh, yeah, Gina is definitely having some major self-recrimination right now. This is a twisted mirror situation, for sure. I think I see where you're going with this now, though. Having us talk is a way to establish that Gina is very different from Calliope. She's not manipulated her group into being nothing more than extensions of herself, they're capable of expressing their own thoughts and opinions. We're with Gina because we like her, not because we can't live without her. Yeah, that's good. I get it, now, it's show instead of tell. Gina doesn't have to say "that's not me" because it's clear it isn't. We should get the entire party to speak up, then. Especially the Spirit Shells, actually. Show that, hey, look, our Phantasmal Conduit constructs have more agency than Calliope is letting her living Daughters have.

>im actually not entirely sure on that, only that im pretty positive shes not 'evil' or being a 'bad person' in the sense of making victims out of innocents and such or not genuinely helping people. shes just probably doing that knowing you get more outta people with honey than vinegar.
I don't know. She's so open about what she's doing. Yeah, she isn't framing it in terms of "so, yeah, I addicted these girls to my presence so they'll follow my every command", but she's also not making any effort to hide that she's turned them into just extensions of her will. Maybe she's just that bad at deception, but it strikes me more like she just doesn't realize this is something she'd have to conceal. Like she doesn't understand that she's done something bad to them, and really does think she's helping them this way. Although, I admit, it may just be that she thinks we and Gina are of like minds to her. No need to play the game with us.
>>
>>5005652
Get some rest, anon. Sleep, be refreshed, and wake to horrific ethical quandaries of mind control.
>>
>>5005652
rest well.

>>5005656
yeah, the last part is what im thinking. specifically, because if you look, she constantly only tries to really talk to Gina, acting almost as if no one else here actually matters. makes me think she doesn't think the rest of us would be in a state of mind to catch onto anything or care.

>>5005582
>>5005612
minor Vote edits;

>You don’t know Gina’s history with this girl, but you do know GG well enough to step in. You’ll answer Calliope’s questions while Gina cools off.
>both be cordial but also give Calliope some not so subtle hints whatever she thinks is going on here on your end, isnt.
>"Well... not how we do things, but I suppose giving away ones choices is still a choice one can make themselves."
>"Funny though, never thought we'd run across a group all about that, consider me and Gina have worked so hard to make sure we and our family all get to make our own choices, no strings attached."
>chuckle, and give Calliope a wink, one very much meant to imitate how shes been giving Gina one.
>"Ah, but not trying to throw mud at your groups way of doing things, its just... me, Gina, and the rest of us have a different path we've taken. one i hope you can respect, if nothing else."
>Let your family chime in as they please, hopefully with them dropping thier own hints however she thought Gina and the situation was, really isnt the case. though their choice, of course.
>Over the FuzzBuzz com, ask Isabel if she knew Calliope too and can tell us anything about her that might help. It doesn't come up often anymore, but she was part of Gina's social circle. Also, is she okay sitting here and hearing this? The parallels to Sam aren't exactly subtle.
>Lastly, make sure you and your family leave things off for Gina to take over, if she so wishes.
>>
>>5005670
>yeah, the last part is what im thinking. specifically, because if you look, she constantly only tries to really talk to Gina, acting almost as if no one else here actually matters. makes me think she doesn't think the rest of us would be in a state of mind to catch onto anything or care.
Yeah, looking back at it, there's a clear point where she stops directing comments to Shu, and it's when we establish that we're dating Gina. That's when she decided that we must not have opinions of our own, and that however much we look like we're the leader it's really Gina running the show. Ugh, gross. I've got no problem with the idea of Gina being in charge, but interpreting romance as an act of control is just creepy.

Anyway, that write in looks good. Let me do a support vote

>>5005582
Supporting >>5005670
>>
>>5005677
...urg, she really does give off strong Sam vibes.
sorry other Dream Daughters if Isabelle ends up throwing up like, alot, after we talk to her.
>>
So I found this in my drive the other day. It's a write-up for a Daughter that I don't think I ever posted. Not sure why I didn't, but here we go:https://docs.google.com/document/d/14MwOT1RaIkTyf6aYHduewhJHjJv969fU7PvtuhcNHXA/edit

She's based on the villain of the webcomic Monster Pulse, Dr. Wanda Lulenski. It's a fun story, kind of "what if body horror was Pokemon". No, not "what if Pokemon was body horror", everyone's done that one already. This is the other way around, a bunch of monsters made from human organs that are friendly and actually pretty cute. Anyways, Lulenski starts off as just a subordinate to the guy everyone expects to be the villain, but she just keeps making so many terrible decisions that she winds up hogging the villainy spotlight and he never actually winds up doing anything evil of his own. Worst he does is support her experiments like a good mentor figure should. Violetta is based on Lulenski's "final form", after she becomes a giant shoggoth made out of tendrils of human skin. There's also some Zeruel from the Rebuild of Evangelion films in there, I think because the skin tendrils reminded me of Zeruel's tentacles.
>>
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>>5005582

"Well, I’ll admit that’s not how we do things, but I suppose giving away one's choices is still a choice." You muse. "Funny though, never thought we'd run across a group all about that, considering me and Gina have worked so hard to make sure we and our family all get to make our own choices, no strings attached."

You chuckle, winking at Calliope in an ironic echo of her own coy gestures towards the girl seated beside you….and there it is. A realization that prompts recalculation, the Neuromancer’s brow furrowing for a fraction of a second as doubt flits across her mind. A sudden paradigm shift of how she was imagining your family’s dynamic to be a mirror of her own, now thrown into disorder.

"I’m not trying to throw mud at your group's way of doing things, it’s just... me, Gina, and the rest of us have a different path we've taken. One I hope you can respect, if nothing else."

“Different...how, exactly?” Calliope asks, pensively stroking her Generator’s cheek as she glances between both you and Gina, trying to wrap her head around what game she thinks you’re playing.


“I’ve taken a path that’s led to embracing my life instead of squandering it to inconvenience a tyrant.”

You and your family turn to look at Francine, collectively impressed with her boldness. She just shrugs, leaning forward to rest her chin on her folded hands. “I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t met Shu and her family.”

“And if I hadn’t met the Doc, I’d’ve never reunited with my niece. Imagine all the awful jokes she’d have missed out on.” November supplements, reaching over and patting Rath on the back while your brawler blushes her white-hot radiance. “I wasn’t going to tell Rath here who I was, but Shu made me realize what I’d be giving up if I didn’t.”

“So Gina and Shu saved you all, then?” Calliope says, suddenly smiling with self-satisfaction. “It sounds like-“


“No.” Declares a soft, yet stalwart voice behind you. “They gave us the freedom to save ourselves.”

If Francine gets a gold star for unexpected interjections, then B’ni’s up for some kind of medal. The slight girl’s emerald eyes pierce into Calliope’s, her expression unreadable as she continues. “A lot of us here fucked up. Did unforgivable things. But we didn’t get judgement, or cruelty, or anything else that we had coming to us...we got a choice. A choice to be better, or at least try our hand at it. That’s what these people are about.”


“You…” Callipie begins hesitantly, her gaze drifting across B’ni and the other three girls seated around her. “You’re Dream Daughters, given form...but I don’t sense any Neuromancy that’s-”

“Controlling us? Nah. Shu’s not about that.” Johanna gruffly declares, a discreet tap of Holly’s foot against hers prompting her to add; “Neither is Gina.”

(Continued)
>>
>>5005791

“And the rest of you?” Calliope asks, a little more forcefully than you think she intends. “Now you’ve got me curious. How’d the rest of you meet up with Shu and Gina?”

“They couldn’t fucking get rid of me.” Rath laughs, a quick wink letting you know she’s onto your line of thought. “Me and Shu, we met up a couple times before I started tagging along. Met Gina the second time ‘round, too. They’ve been patient as hell with me, and that’s helped me figure out which end is up.”

Dorian chimes in from your left with his own story of how he joined the family, and it’s as you give him a sideways glance that you catch movement out of the corner of your eye.

Isabelle’s hands are shaking, even held as tight as they are by Uzu’s comforting touch.

“Hey.” You reach out across the commling, your sudden voice in her ear startling the dark-haired girl. “Do you know Calliope? She was part of Gina’s Pre-Crucible social circle, so did you ever run into her?”

“We met briefly. She didn’t pay me any attention, and she never even saw my face.” Isabelle admits, threading her fingers together tight enough that her knuckles go white.

“...Are you okay?”

She clenches her jaw at the question, staring straight ahead. “Hearing all this from Calliope, I mean? I know there are probably some parallels with-”

“Sam was with me for...eighty percent of my life. Maybe more.” Isabelle answers abruptly. “She wasn’t subtle, she wasn’t as good at...playing the game...like Gina and Calliope were. I was just…I…”

She closes her eyes, takes a breath, and then...

“I’m okay, Shu. Just...just focus on Gina. She needs you right now.”

Dorian’s just finished retelling his tale when Gina draws in a breath of her own to meet Calliope eye-to-eye for the first time this entire conversation. You reach out, squeezing her hand. You’re here, and to Gina? That’s good enough for her to make her stand. The two girls hold each others’ gaze for a long moment before GG finally voices her thoughts.

“I’ve changed.” She begins, simply. “I didn’t think I could, until I realized how empty I felt. How hollow everything I’d done up to that point really was. I was friendless.”

“C’mon G, you had more friends than anyo-” Calliope starts.

“They didn’t know me.” Gina softly counters. “How could they? *I* didn’t know me. Not really. I woke up to all this, and the decisions I’d made ended up costing me my eyes, and a really good friend. I got both back, even though I didn’t deserve either of them...all because I realized I was so, so wrong. I was scared. I was lonely, and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t know I was lonely until…”

Gina softly laughs under her breath, looking up at you with her big amber eyes misting with tears and admiration.

“...until I saw your face.”

(Continued)
>>
>>5005794

She looks back to Calliope, the other girl’s face an inscrutable mask of confusion and concern.

“I didn’t know just how broken I was, ‘til one day I wanted to change. So...I’m trying.” Gina sighs, suddenly laughing at herself. “I tried for so long to be this totally composed and in-control...thing, that I think I wanted to be. There were a million different reasons I wanted to, but they all seem so small, now. I don’t care about being cool, or having all the answers, or having all my shit together twenty-four-seven…I just want to be with my family.”

“You still wanna have all the answers, though.” Rath jabs with a smirk, bursting into laughter when Gina just gives her the finger with one hand, wiping away a few errant tears with the other as she laughs, too.

They laugh, and Calliope just glances down at the Daughters sleeping in silence around her.

“Look, Calli?” Gina says as the other girl regards her with a neutral expression. “I don’t know what you think is going on here, but I’m not the one calling the shots. And I’m okay with that. Like Shu said, you do you. That’s fine, if it works for you and the people you care about. But I don’t think I’m the person you knew, anymore.”

The other Neuromancer slowly nods, wordlessly contemplating Gina’s declaration as the Unnatural Predator she leans against breathes with a slow, steady rhythm. Calliope opens her mouth, then shuts it just as quickly when a distant rumble shudders through the flesh underfoot. The towering shadows begin to move of their own accord, the Spine’s inscrutable will rearranging itself once more with a deep, painful groan of straining bone and tearing muscle.

“...and that’s our cue.” Calliope declares brusquely, a curt sweep of her hand prompting the Daughters around her to rise, Kris helping the Neuromancer to her feet as she plants her hands firmly on her hips. “The Spine’s still gonna keep shifting like that for a minute or two more, but the base finishes faster than the rest. If we get going now, we can make good time.”

Then, for only the second time, she addresses you directly.

“You coming, yeah?”

>>Scale the Spine with Calliope as your guide.

>>Decline. You can’t get a good read on her, especially after what Gina said.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume at approximately 10AM tomorrow morning, Eastern time. Thank you all for your patience, participation, and enthusiasm, and I wish you a good and restful evening, all.)

>>5005714
(I have this pulled up so I can settle in and read it when I'm through fixing dinner. Also, I somehow never heard of Monster Pulse, but it looks exactly up my alley.)
>>
>>5005796
>>Scale the Spine with Calliope as your guide.
>>Write-In
>Use FuzzBuzz coms to arrange a buddy system, nobody gets separated. Pair up people so every pair has someone that has mobility powers. Establish a check-in schedule for everyone to confirm they're okay every ten minutes or so. Everyone keep sensory abilities up, for sudden shifts or dangers.

I'm willing to extend a hand of trust, even though we did just kind of diss her. She might be doing something we don't approve of, but that doesn't mean she's an impulsive killer who would murder us for dissing her. And who knows, maybe showing that we don't think she's untrustworthy might help the message be received less harshly. And even if she does try something, the set-up we'd need for safe travel through mountainous terrain should also help protect against sudden attack or sabotage.

>>5005798
>(I have this pulled up so I can settle in and read it when I'm through fixing dinner. Also, I somehow never heard of Monster Pulse, but it looks exactly up my alley.)
Yeah, it's a fun comic. Though I did just spoil several parts of it for you, whoops.
>>
>>5005796
>>5005818
yeah ill support this.
still unsure of Calliope but she at least doesn't seem like she is or intended to be hostile. still dont trust her and think shes probably 'playing the game' as said, but Im willing to hedge the bet at least she doesn't intend to stop just willy nilly so long as we're not all up in her face and a threat.

hopefully she'll contemplate shit deeper like she seems to possibly be doing, but who knows.

>>5005798
thanks, and have a good evening.
>>
>>5005818
>>5005847
(Would you like to vote on who's paired with whom, or leave it to QM discretion?)

>>5005818
(That Daughter you made was absolutely fantastic, truly. And now I'm very interested in Monster Pulse, I'll have to give it a read over the weekend.)
>>
>>5006097
>(Would you like to vote on who's paired with whom, or leave it to QM discretion?)
I think your discretion is fine. Just, you know, people who work well together (though that is basically everyone now, kind of) and every team gets someone who can save them from falling off a cliff: Shu, Holly, and Rath all have grappling hook powers, Amara can air-jump with her pressure blasts, November has rocket boots, Dorian can more or less fly in mist form...am I missing anyone? I guess Gina could terraform a ledge, and Francine can probably at least cling on with her tendrils. But six people is enough for our group of twelve dividing up, so if they aren't suitable it's fine.

>(That Daughter you made was absolutely fantastic, truly. And now I'm very interested in Monster Pulse, I'll have to give it a read over the weekend.)
Oh, thank you, that's to hear that it turned out well. And I'm glad to have turned you onto the comic. It's good, has some clever ideas and great characterization.

Anyways, see you tomorrow morning. Sleep well, BHOP, and thanks for running.
>>
>>5005714
hmm an interesting daughter and shows just how often the path to damnation is paved with good intentions.

>>5005818
If i had been awake i would have probably voted against going with her..mostly because of my gut feeling but i see you guys reasoning and its not like i can change things now.

The worst thing that can happen with all our possible ways to fly is that we might have to fight along a vertical surface.

>>5006115
can't the Spiritus shells fly? Or is that something they will only be able to do later?
>>
>>5006097
yeah, leave it up to the QM/Characters.
>>
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>>5005796

You nod, rising alongside your family as Gina dismisses everyone’s chairs with a wave of her hand, their plush organic forms subsumed into the hungry earth. Quickly establishing a buddy system as Calliope rouses her team, November volunteers to be Francine’s ride, while Rath takes the initiative and offers Uzu a hand. Holly and Johanna are practically joined at the hip so that’s no surprise, while Dorian quietly offers his assistance to B’ni, who reluctantly accepts the gentleman’s offer (‘but only if it’s absolutely necessary’, she adds). Turning to the sounds of a scuffle behind you, you’re met with the image of a thoroughly embarrassed Orwell having being up-ended into a bridal-style carry by Amara, who looks very proud of herself to be escorting her idol.

“Guess that leaves you and me.” You grin at Gina, dropping to one knee with your back facing her. “Just like old times, huh?”

“Alright everyone! I’ll give you the usual spiel, yeah? Walk and talk!” Calliope yells out, voice carrying clearly over the impressive assemblage as she beckons you up the slope. “Stick close to the group at all times. If I tell you to do something, I got good reason to and that means you got a good reason to do it, yeah? The path we’re gonna take keeps us well away from any of the Spine’s main threats, but there’s always some stragglers about. If fighting starts, keep moving with part of the group and I’ll take care of it. Oh, and I almost forgot! Jen, the Relics, if you please.”

A girl with viscous skin steps forward, lifting her shit and plunging a hand into her belly button with a sickening squelch. She fishes around for a moment before retrieving a satchel that she promptly hands to Calliope, who holds it aloft.

“Fog’s acid, that much is obvious. Anyone who’s not acid-proof gets a patch that’ll make you immune long enough to get over the hump and back down the other side. Now I’ll say it again, you need to be acid PROOF. Not ‘resistant’, or whatever. One girl got the two mixed up, and that was a sad mess of a day.” She reflects with a shudder. “Now, who needs ‘em?”

Rath sighs as she raises her hand along with a few more of your allies, and once everyone’s fully equipped the crowd of almost two dozen Daughters begin their ascent.

(Continued)
>>
>>5006392

The shadows that’ve loomed over you ever since you arrived slowly gain definition as you approach, and as you trudge forwards the steep path’s only exacerbated in difficulty. There’s a nigh-constant flow of pus and bloody swill that pours from the wounds torn open by the Spine’s violent shudderings. You’re thankful for your armor, the drills that form from your chitin boots assuring your footing with each porous step. November’s armor seems to actively repel the slurry, while Amara…well, she’s just marching happily along, Orwell held overhead like some sort of treasure despite the teen’s continued protests.

{It’s grosser than before we met Julia, that’s for sure} Gina says, peering over your shoulder at the ragged terrain ahead that only gets steeper the higher you go.

[God…that feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?] You reminisce, half out of genuine nostalgia and half to keep your mind off the ankle-high grit you’re muscling through. [You, me, and…]

{Her}

You can tell Gina’s looking where you are; B’ni’s rolled up her pants legs, politely declining Dorian’s offer to carry her as she stomps towards the gnarled peaks. {I could tell you were checking in on her…she good?}

[Good as can be, given the circumstances. I think this whole thing with Calliope struck a nerve…but how are *you* doing? That was one hell of a speech]

{Jealous?} Gina jokes before taking a deep breath, something she immediately regrets when she gets a lungful of acrid air. {Bleh! But yeah…yeah, I think I’m okay. I can tell Calli’s not happy, but I said my piece and that’s all there is to it. I changed, and she didn’t…}

{…You do think I’ve changed, right?}

[Absolutely] You say, her sudden knot of anxiety loosening at your assurance. [Even without knowing who you were before the Crucible, you’ve changed in just the time I’ve known you...hell, we all have]

{…Except for Julia and Dorian. Them being adorable’s just one of those reliable constants, y’know?} Gina chuckles, a few extra limbs cracking loose from your armor to help you climb.

“We’ll be at a walking path soon enough!” Calliope calls out, clinging to the back of her Unnatural Predator as its foot-long talons tear footholds into the mountainside.

[True, but even they’ve come a long way. Julia’s made a huge impact on Laoc, and Dorian’s trying to separate what being a true gentleman means…we’re all making progress, Gina. Together]

She holds you a bit tighter, at that…not that you can fully appreciate it, what with a layer of chitin and calcite between you. Aside from the sounds of effort from the Daughters around you, the climb’s been pleasantly quiet…you wonder if you should take a moment to touch base with anyone present before you reach the footpath Calliope mentioned.

>>Choose one of the Daughters present to talk with.

>>Stay focused, stay silent.

>>Write-in

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>
>>5006394
>>>Choose one of the Daughters present to talk with.
Try to start a conversation with one of the girls from Calliope's gang, if possible. Doesn't matter to me which one in particular. I think we should try to find out more about just how this group operates - whether they really only willingly give her reigns for fights or if there is more to it. Hopefully, that is not the case, but I fear that it could be possible that she is manipulating them into this, that her ability causes some sort of addiction... Hopefully not, but I think we should check.
>>
>>5006394
>stay focused, stay silent
>tell your companions using your empathic network that one of them shoudl be on the lookout for the dangers of the path and the other part keep a watch on your guides.

The path can be treacherous as she said so someone needs to keep watch there and be on high alert. However we also need to be at least somewhat careful. I still don't trust them
>>
>>5006413
hmmm while i think these girls are probably somewhat adicted to her.... that is nothing one can not achieve using good old fashioned psychological tricks like gaslighting, shaming and isolationism

I do agree that there is a not insignificant chance that the ladys powers are based on that. we should however be safe from that due to our Neurotic Halos.
>>
>>5006394

>Stay focused, stay silent.
>>5006414
um. anon. Did you remember what we did to our empathetic network? We intentionally lobotomized part of its powers due to its encroaching effect it had on our family back in the 41st vein.
>>
>>5006396
oh as a reminder, hey bhop, can you give us a refresher as to that major choice we made (Cutting off our empathic abilities) in the 41st vein regarding our core ability's empathy network as to what we did and how it affects our abilities?

It's for those who don't quite remember nor do they have the time to browse the archives for the part of the story where/when it happened.
>>
>>5006428
okay? I thought that just affected the more aggressive parts... maybe i am misremembering then.

But we do have Comlings in everyones heads.

>>5006394
ammending >>5006414
to >>stay focused, stay silent
>>ask our family over the Commlings to coordinate themselves to have one half take a look at the path and the other half to keep a lookout for our guides.

>>5006396
And good morning to you OP. I hope your day will be good. And yeah what>>5006430 asks. I could probably use the refresher
>>
>>5006394
>Choose one of the Daughters present to talk with.
>Any of Calliopes gang will do.
>While you're interested in more about how their dynamic and Calliopes part all works, dont pry or try to dig too deeply into that. You dont want to set off any alarm bells, and are more genuinely just interested in how they feel and and about them. plus, with how deep it supposedly goes, the right innocent question will probably reveal enough on its own anyhow.

>>5006396
good morning. i overslept, but not the worst thing to ever do.
>>
>>5006430
>>5006428
>>5006435

(You have lost the ability to passively sense the emotions and surface thoughts of those around, and to communicate telepathically with your allies. That said hough, Gina is still bonded via the Crimson Cord, and you may also freely communicate with your Dream Daughter since they are in Spiritus Shells.)

(I hope that helps!)
>>
>>5006453
ah okay. Thank you OP.

So yeah i was just confused on what the complete implications were. It just had been to long.

But we still have comlings and the Spiritus Shells
>>
>>5006453
>>5006458
yeah thts what i thought and was thinking on that myself.
to be fair we have things like commlings and the phones and other stuff to get around that, so i think the ease of doing so makes it easy to forget where its actually coming from.
>>
>>5006394
>while Amara…well, she’s just marching happily along, Orwell held overhead like some sort of treasure despite the teen’s continued protests
Ha! Oh, that's adorable. I really enjoy Amara and Orwell's relationship.

>>Stay focused, stay silent.
>>
>>5005582
Goddamn I didn't catch that update and didn't properly read it but now that I have this reminds me of a verse from Mili's String theocracy:

>Cut it off, cut down your loss
>All that stubborn loyalty is gonna get you killed in a world built on convenient theories
>For the puppets on TV, there is comfort in the strings
>If you're gonna control me, at least make it interesting theatrically.
>>
>>5006394

Silence is golden as you focus on scaling the sheet cliff face, and after a few long, tense minutes you see Calliope and her mount slip into a crevice whose side fork outwards to the open red sky. Keeping a wary eye on her compatriots you follow their lead, finding her and her allies stretching their legs without any apparent malicious intent.

“I really appreciate the help, superfan…but can you please put me down, now?” Orwell requests of Amara, the teen’s meek smile ringing a little hollow considering that Amara saw fit to haul her up the cliff face with one arm around her neck. It’s a somewhat cramped alcove that she’s lead you to, the two dozen-odd Daughters all cramped into a space the size of a large living room with a window to the sky above. A narrow, winding path at the back leads further into the maze of spires, the wind’s eerie whistle singing through the gap.

“All good?” You ask, a round of thumbs’ up from your family as Calliope plants her hands on her hips, turning to address you.

“Alright, pretty easy walking from here on, yeah?” She declares with a satisfied sigh. “The path ahead gets pretty narrow with a lot of open air above you, so stick close and keep your eyes on the sk-“

You feel it, before anything else. That wave of dread, that pit in yours stomach…a pang of that accursed hunger as the heavy mist is swept away by the wing beats of a titan.

The jelly-like Jen vomits out of every exposed bit of skin she has, while Tina’s vents flare open as she screams. You lurch back and away from her as the ground’s annihilated by her misfiring powers, with your family’s Halos flaring to life as they buffer the tremendous mental pressure that’s suddenly been thrust upon you. November’s jump jets flare to life at the same time that Rath’s arms flare out, the Neesons catching the rest of the family before they’re blown off into the swirling mists below.

Calliope roars out something that’s lost on the hurricane gale, her allies rooting themselves in place as her hair and neurons flare a blinding gold. They all collapse as one, their leader’s howl transformed into an agonized gurgle. Her back’s to you as she stumbles, bright ruby streams pouring from the soft tissues of her face as she drops to her knees, gasping for breath as the wave subsides….but not completely. It’s closer, now. It flew low over Laoc, but this overwhelming presence is something else entirely.

(Continued)
>>
>>5006587

Gina’s hands spasm on your shoulders, and you whip around to see her struggling to not throw up. “Gina, are yo-“

“I’m fine, I’ll make cover!” She breathlessly coughs out, leaping off your back. A flash of her neon veins and the surrounding gristle is torn asunder to make way for calcite shielding that’s willed into existence, closing off the sky and leaving only slivers of scarlet light to peek through.


“Sitrep! Any injuries?” You call out, frantically scanning your allies for any signs of damage…or worse, in the wake of the Hunger. Francine’s leaning on November as she gives you a weak thumb’s up, with Johanna having thrown her arms over Uzu, Holly, and Isabelle, the latter sharply nodding your way. Rath and Dorian help each other up from the uneven floor, with Amara propping a woozy Orwell up with one hand, the other tightening around her sword as she eyes Calliope’s group suspiciously.

Gina’s by your family’s side, gathering them together to worriedly check them for wounds or less obvious trauma as you cautiously approach Calliope’s group, the eleven other Daughters suddenly rousing from their slumber in a panic, one by one.

“Calli? CALLI!?” Kris yells, scrambling over to the girl’s side as Tina does the same, a burst of her own absorbed scream sending her flying to the Neuromancer. The slight girl’s hands fly to her mouth as Kris turns Calliope over, the Armorer in shock at their leader’s eyeless sockets, cherry-red blood running from her eyes and nose.

“I can’t feel her anymore.” They say, numbly. “Why can’t I-“

“She’s alive, just unconscious...” Gina assures the two, striding up with the rest of your family, weapons at the ready. GG’s eyes flare with amethyst, before adding; “…and she resisted the Hunger.”

“I didn’t even feel it, what…what did she do?” Tina breathes, hands trembling as she just stares at Calliope’s bleeding form.

“I don’t know. I don’t know, but she saved us.” Kris murmurs, holding the girl close as they glance over the rest of their comrades…they’re all clearly in shock, one or two rocking back and forth after being so violently cut off from their mental fix.

“Halos primed, abilities out.” You order, turning to your allies. “I’ll get us a visual.”

A swarmling flits out of your spine, darting around the nearest crooked spire to catch a glimpse of the thing…and so you do.

Your first true sight of one of the Apocalypse Amalgams, and it is one to behold.

(Continued)
>>
>>5006588

A leviathan of the wind and sky towers over the cliffs, a thing whose biomass roils with a thousand agonized faces. Men, women, animals of all kinds…a sea of tortured masks that’s been draped over the baroque parody of a great winged chimera. Its seven wings are fluid, seamlessly meandering between avian, insect, fin, and back again as its whale-like face scans the many-angled spires for its prey. Six enormous, mismatched beaks chitter around a colossal one—the hooked, parrot-like bone half agape, home to countless malformed chicks blindly pecking at the air, each one fused to the thing’s mouth and easily taller than November. It’s searching intently for something, vacuous eyes peering between the slivers of mountain…and it’s only thanks to Gina’s quick thinking that you haven’t been spotted, yet.

You thought that this thing’s appearance at the Spine was mere coincidence, but now?

You know you’re not so lucky.

>>Finding an escape route is paramount, right now. With your team’s capabilities paired with whatever skills the rest of Calliope’s team possess, you may be able to tunnel into the cliffs and get out the other side. It’s a risk...but it’s better than facing something you assume is out of your league.

>>Plan a pre-emptive strike; it’s grim work, but an unconscious Calliope is one that Gina can puppet. Between them, you might be able to terraform on a scale large enough to launch a surprise attack while the rest of your forces ‘board’ this thing.

>>The Amalgam’s size is its weakness…it’s built to counter threats its own size, not hunt for needles in haystacks. Stand still. Stay silent. Pray it passes.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)

>>5006546
(Ha, I'm glad when everyone makes the connection with the inspiration of various groups and concepts. Also, I tend to hide relevant song lyrics in dialogue and the like, though that's not caught nearly as much...understandable, since a lot of it are vaguely spoilery or are super niche.)
>>
>>5006589
>>5006590

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6fcs8uE5Q4&ab_channel=Aviators

This... i think this right now.....
>>
>>5006590
Francine i'd assume has her stat glasses right?
could we get a rundown of her opinion on its vs our team?

sorry, i can put it in a vote if you want, but felt kinda weird to do a whole vote and post just for that when the rest of the decision would hedge heavily on what info she gathers, though i still can and can try doing an and-or type vote if you prefer.
>>
>>5006595
(Oh, that's perfectly fine. Would you like a blurb in character, or just the basic stat block?)
>>
>>5006600
whichever you prefer/works best for you.
>>
>>5006589
Oh no. It's identifying us as one of the threats to the Crucible that it's designed to stop, isn't it? Very clever, Ozmas. You released the Apocalypse Amalgams under the pretext of just a temper tantrum, but they're aimed at us.

Okay, I'm thinking escape. Worst case scenario, we have Escher's Gear. Even if it has a jamming field, we just need to get away from its immediate area and we should be able to teleport out. If we do have to fight, I still want to use Escher's Gear. Teleport one of our spare Sparagmos Engines here, have it detonate like we did to dispose of the corrupted Engine in Dorian's basement. If we could catch this thing in the implosion it would tear out a good chunk of it.
>>
>>5006613
eh, im more a fan of trying to tunnel if we dont fight.
otherwise its just a halt to our progress forward we're just going to have to come straight back to anyways.
>>
>>5006613
good idea. engaging this thing while it is at full strength would probably require Mara and Magpie for us to even stand a chance.

The Sparagmos engine is probably a good idea. Or we would need a small army to kill it. I think unless it is weakened we probably wont even be able to board it due to windpressure of those titanic wings.

However trying to avoid it might be the better idea for now. But that plan might be good to try and deal with it when we have grown quite a bit stronger.

And we need to get the bystanders out. Without their Alphabitch they are near useless in a fight.
>>
>>5006604
(Work's heating up, so I'll go ahead and post the stats. The Spectacles show just the HEALTH and BIO, and Francine's recommendation would be to avoid a straight fight unless you hit it with everything you have after a thoroughly planned ambush. Even then, it's incredibly risky as she cannot see what skills it possesses until the fight begins, if the Relic will even fully work once it's been alerted.)

HEALTH: 77,077 (Regen: Unknown)

BIO: 70, 707 (Regen: Unknown)
>>
>>5006623
Oh, sure, if we're going to escape I favor tunneling through, if we can. But if we can't for some reason of geology (well, really osteology, I guess), then Escher's Gear is a good lifeline. We'll lose some progress, but it will make plenty of distance from that thing.

>>5006627
Yeah, this is not a fight scaled for our current level. I definitely think escape is the right option, and even when we get to a higher level I still want to bomb this thing somehow. And like you said, right now is an especially bad time to fight it, since we have these panicking noncombatants.

>>5006630
Yep, let's not do this, then. From what I remember West Proxy Alpha had less than half that much Health, and she was still ridiculously durable. We're not going to be able to put a dent in this thing.
>>
>>5006627
>Without their Alphabitch they are near useless in a fight.
yeah this is my biggest concern right now.
still want to wait to hear what Francine has to say, but its going to be a pain to even keep them calm and convince them they can help her without her guidance as it is. actually fighting? the entire reason they decided to let her puppeteer them? not happening.

and even if we alone are more capable of taking this on than we think, last thing we need is them going insane while we are.

>>5006630
well, speak of the labcoat wearing beauty and she shall respond.

and whew, thats alot. though i could be wrong, but i think we've actually taken on a higher health pool before, no?

regardless, still alot to try and take on in iffy conditions with people we cant really trust to help instead of hinder.

>>5006634
thought for sure we had seen someone we had faced in the 100,000s range, but i could be misremembering.

regardless, yeah, lets tunnel. want to give a pep talk to the Calliope simp squad first though.
>>
>>5006639
i think that was Uzu in her Spiraling Fear form.... but we har Mara and Magpie at the time.

and yeah a good motivational speech might be what they need we should appeal to the love they apperantly have for her. She sacrificed herself for now to make sure that they would not fall and has resisted madness herself. So they should honor that by not panicing and getting her to safety. Later we should make sure that we tell them that the mountains may no longer be sage enough for their little buisness
>>
>>5006589
vote;
>Quickly turn to your family and get them working on a tunnel. whatever will help dig deeper and faster, throw it at the effort.
>You first(though with your swarm helping however it can), go up to the Calliope Simp Squad, and see how they're doing.
>"You guys all ok? no injuries?"
>give them a moment, but be soft worded but also firm and quick about it.
>"Look... i know this is probably the worst case scenario for you all. Your leaders down, you're worried, and the whole point was to let her take the reins."
>"But you care about her, and she cares about you. remember that. cling to it."
>"Right now, the girl who you says given you so much needs you to keep it together to get her out of here."
>"maybe you dont think you're mentally strong enough for this, but never forget you're absolutely PHYSICALLY strong enough. she has always trusted you in that department without hesitation."
>"Use that strength to help eachother stay calm and get her and us out of here sooner. if you need instructions, if you cant trust yourself to make your own decisions, then put that in my families hands, and we'll put your skillsets to good use making sure Calliope and all of you get out of here alive, ok?"
>offer a hand to the group, and a smile.
>"Lets get your girl out of here, together, ok?"
>>
>>5006594
(Oh this is 100% going on the playlist. My word, this is so good.)
>>
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>>5006630
oh, also, i forgot to say thanks for the response, despite how busy your work apparently is.
>>
>>5006645
Looks good to me. I'm not entirely enthused about moving as fast as possible, that's going to make noise that could attract its attention, but we are on a time limit. It's only going to be so long before the mountains shift again. Actually, we should have someone on watch for that, Calliope's girls probably have some knowledge of the signs to look for even if Calliope did most of the thinking for them.

>>5006653
Aviators is the unofficial soundtrack for this quest, in my opinion.
>>
>>5006653
its from the same guy that made "Godhunter"

and i had a lot of time between being off sick for seven weeks and having done work from home for months so i kinda binged a wide variety of music. And Aviators was one of the creators

And that Amalgam showing up.... it definetly paralyzed me for a couple of seconds.

>>5006589
Supporting >>5006645
>>
>>5006662
yeah its a catch 22.
dont want to cause a cave-in or something but also have to beat the cliffs clock AND the clock of the Colossus just finding us in general.
we can slow down a bit once we're deep enough to be declared at least a bit safer from it.
>>
>>5006589
Supporting >>5006645
with the addition of
>Have anyone not on digging duty use whatever sensory ability they have to keep watch both for the Apocalypse Amalgam noticing us and possible shifts of the mountain.
>>
>>5006653
Well i will head to bed now. However if you have not heard it. Red Water dreams is good as well... kinda fitting for the crucible in general and this enemy specifically because they swallowed so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxB48MEAmZw&ab_channel=Aviators
>>
>>5006686
(Sleep well!)
>>
>>5006686
Red Water Dreams is very good. I also like Bleeding Sun as a song for the Crucible. Feels very appropriate for Hexane stuff, to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BER5ugMOArg

Anyways, good night, anon. Sleep well.
>>
(There's a bit of a wrinkle in the schedule, everyone - work has been quite busy, and there's a bad wreck on the way home. If all goes well I should be able to post shortly after the original update time I indicated, but if I can't navigate around this traffic then it will be much later. I'll let you know how things proceed, and I do hope your day is going well.)
>>
>>5006720
No worries BHOP, we've all had traffic problems. We're happy to wait for the update, hope your commute home is safe and uneventful.
>>
>>5006720
That's fine, BHOP. Traffic afflicts us all. We'll see you when you get the chance. I hope it's not too much of a hassle for you, though.
>>
>>5006720
dang amalgams causing wrecks in meatland.
jokes aside, sorry to hear it and hope your day smooths out once home at least, thanks for the update.
>>
(Back home and writing now, everyone. Posting shall resume within the next half hour or so.)
>>
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>>5006589

“We aiming straight down, or back the way we came?” Rath asks, eight more pairs of blazing fists clenching around her to frame her with a halo of raw power.

“Forwards.” You declare, the chitin of your left hand warping into the Heaven’s Drill. “Always forwards.”

They throw themselves into the work, with Rath plunging her hands deep into the mountain’s bones with November right beside her, while Francine weaves her hands into Gina’s to bolster her Neuromancy as they push aside flesh and blood through willpower alone. You intend to join them, but you need to get a handle on Calliope’s panicked crew before you can foresee a future where everyone’s getting out of this one alive.

"Is everyone here alright? Do you have any injuries that need treating?" You ask softly, holding each of the eleven Daughters’ gazes for a moment or two, making sure you have their attention before you get down to business. "Look...I know full well that this is probably the worst case scenario for you all. Your leader’s down, you're worried, and the whole point was to let her take the reins."

A few of Calliope’s crew are staring despondently at their leader’s unconscious, bloody form…but Kris and Lisa’s eyes have never left yours, and wherever it is that her Flesh Artisan’s looking, you get the feeling by the angle of their head that it’s directly at you.

"But you care about her, and she cares about you. Remember that. Cling to it. Right now, the girl who you’s given you so much needs you to keep it together to get her out of here.""

Kris’ hand curls into a fist held tight against Calliope’s chest, a fire in the Daughter’s eyes.

"Maybe you don't think you're mentally strong enough for this, but never forget you're absolutely PHYSICALLY strong enough. Calliope trusted you in that department without hesitation...now it’s time to trust yourselves. Use that strength to help each other stay calm and get her, you, and everyone else out of here.”

“But...but if she’s not here to guide us…” Begins a frail-looking young woman in the back, arms wrapped around herself several times over. “...then what’re we supposed to d-”

“Then we listen to them. To HER.” Lisa suddenly barks, hastily rising to her feet with her nostril flaring in time with the void-like holes in her limbs. “We’re getting out of this if we don’t panic, and we follow Shu’s lead. Got it?”

“Thank you, Lisa.” You say with a genuinely relieved smile. Then, to the rest of them. “If you need instructions, if you can’t trust yourself to make your own decisions, then put that in my family’s hands, and we'll put your skill sets to good use. We’re going to make sure Calliope and all of you get out of here alive, okay?"

(Continued)
>>
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>>5006833

Reaching out, you offer your hand to Lisa with a smile. "Let’s get your girl out of here together, okay?"

She doesn’t hesitate before grabbing it with a ferocity that reminds you of your favorite red-head. Kris gently lays Calliope down, rising to their feet as their calcite buckler and wavy short sword manifest before your eyes.

“All right. Okay.” They say, nodding. “So we’re doing this. All of us. For Calliope.”

“For Calliope.” Echoes the crowd.

“Lisa?” Kris says suddenly. “I’ll help with the digging if you-”

“On it.” She cuts off, rounding on the other Daughters. “Staceys, heal Calliope. The sooner she’s on her feet the better, but focus on quality, not just speed. Ginny, I’m gonna need you on mountain duty. The clock’s ticking and you know how this place changes better than anybody here. Be our early warning. Null?”

The featureless Flesh Artisan’s head cocks violently from you to Lisa.

“Help Kris with the dig.” She orders coldly. “Between you two, we’re tearing our way out of this fucking mountain.”

As far as galvanizing speeches go, it certainly delivered; your words lit a fire underneath Calliope’s team, and with that you turn your attention back to your escape route. Surveying the work, you’re surprised to find that in the span of a single speech, they’ve already made it roughly twenty meters down, Rath’s hands making short work of the bone, melting it so fast it’s reduced to little more than a smoking afterthought, the debris flung back into Holly’s waiting jaws. Kris Joins November in widening the gap, while Gina widens the hole, keeping it steady. A dozen Joyous slash at the walls with ceaseless fervor, while their creator’s...

…nowhere to be found. Your heart’s in your throat as you whirl around, and to your immense relief you find your daughter standing in the corner, her back to you with one hand against the bare wall while the other clutches her drawn sword.

“Amara, honey…we talked about this.” You say wearily, though you find that while her face is contorted, it’s not with anger. She looks confused, as she turns to look up at you with her two-tone gaze.

“It...it’s not angry.” She says, grip on her sword loosening. “I thought it was just being mean, but its talking to the mountains. It’s looking for something.”

“It’s looking for us, sweetie.” You say, ushering her to follow you as she shakes her head.

“Yeah, but...it’s not mad. I don’t think it wants to hurt anyone, it just...does. It's trying to remember why it woke up.” She murmurs, looking defeated.

>>Take Amara back to the dig. Even thinking about communing with that Amalgam is a fool’s errand, and you'd be playing right into Mother's hands.

>>...You hate to even entertain the idea, but maybe there’s something to Amara’s intuition. Try sending something out to interact with it, but keep digging meanwhile.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting will remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. I'll be back to answer questions shortly, as I'm going to go fix dinner and eat something for the first time today.)

(Whew.)
>>
>>5006837
...wait... hrm.... so is it actually not hostile to daughters on purpose, but, just a side effect?
i mean, Amara actually has a point, if nothing else. the big bois were made for external threats from what i remember, not internal. it might very legitimately just be confused about what its actually supposed to be doing.

that still leaves the very big question of why it might be after us, or daughters in general. i mean, it sounds like it just has big brained 'DEFEND CRUCIBLE' instincts, and those might just be on the fritz cause its like 'But theres not damn threat from outside???'.

i GUESS we can send something out. Stealth-Jackling, if we see an opening. my biggest worry there would just be if our brains can even handle connecting to it.

sooo....
Vote;
>Find a moment to talk to Gina and Francine about what Amara said.
>While you wont hinge your bets on being able to convince it of anything, if what she is saying holds true, it may indeed not truly even understand why it was released. if nothing else, maybe you could at leat get some info from it, assuming they think connecting to it is even possible and...
>...possible without frying anyones brain. its not only big, but was made with non crucible threats in mind too, which means you cant guarantee crucible based powers like the Halo will be enough.
>Gina and Francine call. you're not risking brain melting, but if they think its safe and possible, send out a stealth-jackling first opening you get that seems safe, and try and have it make its way to it.
>>
>>5006837
>>...You hate to even entertain the idea, but maybe there’s something to Amara’s intuition. Try sending something out to interact with it, but keep digging meanwhile.

Interesting. Is the Hunger field it projects a passive effect that it can't turn off, as opposed to a directed attack? If this is the case, and it has its own goals as opposed to hunting us, then there's more to this situation than we realize. Let's proceed cautiously and figure out what's going on, while also diverting our resources to the escape route.

Seconding these:
>>5006841
>>
>>5006838
>I'm going to go fix dinner and eat something for the first time today
Ooph. I'm sorry to hear you didn't get a chance earlier. Go, eat, meatball man.

>>5006841
I remember that being established way back at Laoc. It's not actively aggressive to Daughters, but it knows it's only supposed to be woken up to fight and the lack of apparent threats has it very confused.

>>5006843
I think it might not even have specifically a Hunger aura, just an empathic communication method like Shu had before we cut it off, and everyone around it is feeling the psychic prop-wash from its own chaotic mindset.

Come to think of it, didn't the Nothing say that Shu's empathic field would let her take control of the Apocalypse Amalgams, if she hadn't gotten rid of it? Maybe that's why it's searching for us. We're somehow compatible with the Crucible's defense systems, and it doesn't know if that makes us an enemy trying to subvert it or an ally to seek guidance from. Though that wouldn't explain why it's still searching for us with our empathic field cut off, would it? Eh, maybe it's something else, then.
>>
>>5006837
Support >>5006841
>>
>>5006849
i think amalgams were mentioned and i know for sure the heights it could reach were implied to be massive, but them specifically im not sure. i do know it sounded like they wouldn't be off the table though.

as for that being why its after us? maybe. it may be 'off' but that doesnt mean either our core itself isnt so tied into it that it itself is still giving off the same 'signal' or whatever, or it could mean 'off is not truly off'.
my only other guesses are Mother didn't say we're a threat(otherwise it'd be more aggressive towards our presence), but simply half heartily told them 'that Shu girls taking the reins' or something when she released the pact they had.
otherwise otherwise the other guess is Isabelle once having nom'd Mother makes her still somewhat smell like mother.

...knowing our luck, maybe its a mix.
>>
>>5006861
I found the Vein where the Nothing talks to us about it. You're right, they didn't use such explicit terms. Just talked about "Titans" that we could turn to our side. That could be all sorts of things.

And yeah, Ozmas just telling the Apocalypse Amalgam to seek us out without explicitly ordering it to attack us sounds like something she'd do to get around her restrictions. Maybe it will attack us, maybe it won't, but either way it would make life difficult.
>>
{Rested and well-fed, finally. Thank you for your patience and participation, and and all. I'll be staring on the next update when voting ends, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns then I'll be happy to address them. Thank you for being amazing one and all, and take care.)
>>
>>5006917
>>5006838
Damn. I just missed the voting period as I FINALLY had some windfall at work to my utter surprise of the shift closing ON. TIME. instead of dragging its feet til the midnight moon.

>>5006849
>>5006843
>>5006841
...I just had a terrifying thought. We have THREE of these Clueless apocalyptic Kaiju who were roused from their slumber trying to remember why they were woken up and clueless as to why they need to find Shu. And we are just about to talk to the one that flies. And even if we do manage to calm it down, that leaves TWO more of them (Land and sea) that we have to calm down.
>>
>>5007000
...well, the good news is the water one will have trouble reaching us.
and i think the land one was said to be very slow?
>>
>>5007012
>>5007000
(The Leviathan is technically the fastest, while the Thunderbird has the most mobility. The Behemoth is technically the most powerful of the three.)

>>5007000
(Ah, I'm sorry about the timing, but I'm glad you actually got off on time, for once.)
>>
>>5007000
Ah, sorry to hear that you missed it. At least you got out as early as you're supposed to instead of having to stay late.

And yeah, the Apocalypse Amalgam situation is a mess. May we pray that we are much stronger by the time we meet the other two, in case they're actively hostile and not just curious.

>>5007012
The water one should be limited to the river networks. Unless the Crucible made some inland seas in between us and the Cord, which for all we know it did. That could be kind of cool, to have to sail across a sea of acid to reach the Cord.

>>5007017
Huh, interesting. Hebrew names for land and sea, but going Native American for sky? Is that meaningful, like the flyer has enough storm-related abilities that it warrants association with Thunderbird over Ziz?
>>
>>5007024
(A good eye for the naming conventions. Ziz is, indeed, its official designation.)
>>
>>5007027
Yeah, everyone always forgets about Ziz. I think it's because giant flying monsters aren't as common as giant land-bound or aquatic ones, so that Ziz hasn't entered the general lexicon as a stand-in term like Behemoth and Leviathan have.
>>
>>5007039
(Yeah, I always liked the name Ziz. It just had a certain ring to it, as much as 'Thunderbird' feels imposing and thematic. Hearing about the three titans from Big O made them a shoe-in for this hodgepodge of homages.)
>>
>>5006837
so wait..... its not hostile?

Dang that is some serious passive power. well it was made do defend the crucible

>>5007017
so the Behemoth is the most powerful but extremely slow in comparison. Can it cross the seas or is it locked to a continent? Because that would be some serious oversight if the invader manages to take out the other two and just starves the last one out because it could not reach the enemies to destroy because it moved quicker than the Behemoth.

But maybe that thing could maybe teleport to all places it had previously been to
>>
>>5007091
>Hearing about the three titans from Big O made them a shoe-in for this hodgepodge of homages.)
Real talk, if this thing turns into a humanoid form with prop planes for forearms, I will love you forever. The Big-series Megadei are some of my favorite mecha.

>>5007098
Or maybe it terraforms the seabed up to the surface, letting it bridge across oceans. That would be cool.
>>
>>5007107
that woudl actually be a quite good way for it to move actgually... if it has enough Biomass and Terraforming capabilities on that scale.....

I now imagine the Behemoth from Final fantasy surfing on a Srufboard made from calcite just casually riding a continous wave of Flesh from one end of the globe to the other....

The image is weird.... but also glorious.
>>
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Guess what I found in the Skinternet shopping catalogue!
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>>5007211
Pfffahaha
Okay that is ouch.....

But something I could someone actually creating during the crucible.

>>Bag of maleable Ethics
>> A curious creation made by a daughter that wanted to no longer be hunted for the many crimes she commited.
>>By sacrificing a Level the bag is filled with the Ethics and Mindset of the daughter that provided the sacrifice.
>> If another daughter has the bag draped over her head the Ethics fall out and replace their own moral compass with the ethics of the daughter that filled the bag originally making the cictim see the world from the same point of view that the daughter held.

Just a spur of the moment thing i came up with. I know that Shu would not approve of the use of that thing
>>
>>5007253
>>Bag of Malleable Ethics

(Guess we know what Doctor West got called behind her back in med school.)

(Jokes aside, that's a clever Relic, I like it!)
>>
>>5007098
(Each member of the Trio can easily defend any part of the planet they're summoned to, but some are able to be first-responders of a sort. Their physical forms change between Crucibles, but they do tend to keep the land/sea/air theme between instances.)
>>
>>5007107
(Somehow missed this - the mech designs from Big O are some of my favorite designs ever, with the main three being perfection in my book. Glad to see a fellow fan!)
>>
>>5006837

[Gina, I think Amara’s on to something] You say, though lancing across the empathic line. [Francine’s tethered to you, so can she-?]

“Hear you? Quite plainly, Darling.” Comes the doctor’s ever-composed reply.

{I don’t have parallel processing so much as a shitty attention span, but I think I can hold the tunnel and listen to whatever weird shit our baby girl’s up to at the same time} Gina chuckles. {Hit me—what’s she got?}

[Going off what Amara’s saying, I’m thinking about talking to the Apocalypse Amalgam]

...they both go quiet for a moment of stunned silence, leaving you to fill in the gaps.

[She says it’s talking to the mountains, and that it either doesn’t know it’s hurting people or that it can’t help it. She claims it can’t remember why it woke up. Knowing what we do, do you think there’s any truth to that?}

“It’s...that’s quite possible, yes.” Francine hesitantly admits. “The three Apocalypse-class Amalgams are designed to be deployed against external threats to the Crucible itself. It doesn’t make sense as to why they’d be trying to track us. We’re an internal threat, well outside their purview.”

{Be like trying to kill a fly with a fuckin’ grenade} Gina mutters irritably, turning the unexpected scenario over and around in her mind. {If we can talk to it, do you think you can work your magic?}

{I’m not going to hedge my bets on being able to convince it of anything...but if what Amara’s saying is true, then this thing may not even understand why it was released. Like Francine said—it was designed to protect the Crucible] You say, the conversation going as fast as thought allows while you stand next to Amara, hand on her shoulder. [So why are the Apocalypse-classes doing laps? Organized, repetitive laps? We assumed they were on auto-pilot, and that makes sense...but what if they were looking for something?]

{Like?} Gina counters, the question handing in the air as you ponder your answer.

[...only one way to find out]

Halfway across the room, Gina laughs. {You’re Amara’s Mom, alright. Okay, so if we’re going to do this—which I assume we are, ‘cause we’re clearly batshit—how you wanna play it?}

“Neuromancy and Skintalking seem like the likeliest options.” Francine muses, rapidly narrowing the possibilities before her. “Neuromancy with the Halos is possible, but we have no idea if there’d be backlash well over its buffer thresholds.”

{West seemed to think that the Neuromancy-specialized Halo would be capable of hijacking the Cord, and we’re still banking on that fact. If it can punch through the Cord’s defenses, do you think those three would be better armored?}

(Continued)
>>
>>5007388

[This thing was built to protect the Crucible against...whatever’s out there that can put down a Crucible] You point out, trying to skirt around that fun bit of cosmic horror on your way to the point. [It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that these things are immune or antithetical to a Daughter’s conventional powersets]

{Fuck, you’re so hot when you’re right}

“Ladies.”

{Shit}

[Sorry]

“In any case...” Francine declares, recovering admirably. “...as much as I adore darling Amara, I fear relying on her as our liaison for these negotiations would be tantamount to a fusing ‘telephone’ and russian roulette.”

{Nice one}

“Thank you.”

[Fuck it. We’ll do this the tried and true way] You say, squaring yourself up for this insane plan.

“...Fuzzbuzz diplo-?” Francine begins, alarmed.

[Wha-? No. No, we’re going to do a stealthed jackling. Fair assumption, though] You admit, turning to the young girl beside you. [I’m going to talk to Amara for a second more, and then we’ll try it]

Bringing yourself eye level with your ward, you cup Amara’s cheek with one hand, eyes locked with hers.

“Hey. Thank you for telling me about this. I just talked with GG and Francine, and we’re going to try something. We’re going to try and talk to it.”

“Can you help it figure out what it needs?” Amara asks, blue and brown eyes swimming with emotions you can’t quite decipher.

“I hope so, sweetie.” You say with a tired smile. “I really do.”

Moments later, Francine’s woven herself between you and Gina, the doctor’s coat held in Amara’s hands, neatly folded. The rest of her exists as golden strands, painlessly threaded through both you and Gina, your three halos pulsing as one.

“Ready?” Gina asks, your hive thrumming to life.

“No...but when has that ever stopped us?” You fire back with a grin. Gina chuckles as you spawn an enhanced Jackling from your hive. The size of a small cat, its sleek shape takes flight, buzzing onwards to the unknown. Closing your eyes allows you to see through its own as it navigates out into open air, the corrosive fog collecting on its impervious shell as a light mist.

You break cloud cover, and there it is—the impossibly vast avain, one of three titans built to defend the Crucible, a virus’ own immune system. It doesn’t seem to notice as your miniscule swarmling draws ever-nearer, with every meter gained equalling another few ounces of pressure, your fists balled tightly at your side. Five meters to go, and it’s the largest living thing you’ve ever seen. Four, and you have a split-second of doubt. Three finds your resolve, and two brings the same calm acceptance that’s washed over you with every move you’ve made up to this point.

One, and what did you say to your family, just moments ago?

Your swarmling’s stinger makes contact, and your world is washed away in a sea of color.

‘Forwards...always forwards.’

(...)
>>
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>>5007391

The last time you were in a place like this, you’d ceased to be. Colors you can barely begin to describe swirl around you, and in reaching out to touch them you realize, dimly, that you’re still you. Still...Shu.

You blink, and the world’s shifted to something more comprehensible.

“Woah.”

Gina’s beside you, with Francine spell-bound on your left. Drawn in by an open invitation by a questioning, yearning thing. Both are transfixed by the riot of hues and shades the likes of which an artist could only dream of...and somewhere in the back of your mind, you think ‘Dorian would like this’, just before color coalesces into a far more tangible thing.

An egg floats before you. The concept of birth made manifest in this place between. A fissure slithers from top to bottom, a few pieces cracked loose by the thing that half-emerges from its shell. A single avian wing flutters free, shielding the rest of the interior from view save for an eye—twitching, struggling to focus between the three strangers before it until it finally settles on you.

>>Hello.

It says, with the voice of every child you’ve ever heard, and all the ones you haven’t.

“Hello.” You reply, and four questions are asked of you, all at once. A checklist, committed to memory. A directive emblazoned on this thing’s very soul.

>>Is the project in danger?

>>Is it over?

>>Has She been born?

>>Can we go home?

“I-” You hesitate, and the egg...no. The entire space shudders with emotion. It’s what you saw in Amara’s eyes, you realize.

Confusion. Frustration. Fear.

>>Then why am I awake?

It asks, and you find yourself searching for an answer...or perhaps a question.

>>Write-In

>>I’ve

>>Write-In

>>Waited

>>Write-In

>>For

>>Write-In

>>So

>>Write-In

>>Long

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)
>>
>>5007394

>>"You were awoken as an act by Ozmaz the last one that ascended the cord. She had spend herself dry trying to meddle with the crucible."

>>"I am Shu and these here are part of my family. What can i call you?"

>>"What is the Project? To find someone that can control the Crucible without ascending to the throne or to create the ultimate Lifeform?"

Lets start with introductions and make sure it knows that its awakening was not due to an external threat.

This is just preliminarily dotting down some things i think could be useful to ask
>>
>>5007394
oh... OH.
thats... sad if im right.
>can we go home?
that says so little yet so so much.
my god, so many ideas that brings up, but the simple and easy one is, the defenders are at least related or made from 'them' who made the crucibles, and the crucibles are trying to make something their home(whatever or wherever that is), needs, and they cant go back until then. damn, i mean, doesn't excuse genociding all intelligent life in our galaxy, but still, i can at least empathize with big birds feelings here.

vote;
>Sigh, and take a moment to collect yourself.
>"im sorry, but I can only guess at what your questions mean, so i apologize if im answering with the wrong info..."
>"..but please, bear with me, as they'll be answers you seek, or at least information to help you on your way im sure, in my answers."
>"If the Project is all the Crucibles in general, than no. Crucibles have nearly consumed the whole galaxy, they are far from in danger."
>>"If the project is the collection of Crucibles... then no, not even close. i cant say for sure, but depending on the goal it may of even gotten out of hand."
>"If You're asking if this Crucible is over, it is not, and though things are getting heated, might still be a ways off from being so."
>>"If by 'over' you're asking about the Crucibles in general, well... like i said, they are still going hot, so no."
>"If by 'born' you mean a new mother, then no."
>>"If you mean something else... then obviously still no, given what ive said previously."
>"And at that, im sorry... but im not sure what or where your home is, but given your previous questions... if they related to an unfinished goal, then no, you cannot. ah, but We wouldn't stop you if you want to go home... and no one might be able to anymore, actually."

>take a moment before answering the last question, study the thing and how it may be responding.
>"You're awake... because you're free. Its a bit of a long story, but if you'd like, i'd be happy to tell you. But the simple explanation is, the current 'mother' of this Crucible gave up, and released all bound entities from both their contracts and containment. that included you and your two siblings."
>"So... im sorry. you have no reason to be awake. there is no threat, you were simply freed from your obligations, or at least to whatever level Mother had a right to free you from."

>sigh, and lean forward, and give it a smile.
>"Im sorry, i know this must be confusing, but we're not your enemies, nor here to hurt you. we're confused too, and seeking our own answers."
>"Im Shu, and this is Gina and Francine. We'd like to be on good terms with you, and try and help you, but we cant guarantee we can, and you'd have to help us understand what you truly want too...."
>"...and you'd need to stop trying to melt us and our friends minds... if thats possible?"
>>
>>5007394
Welllll....... that other Anon got pretty much what i wanted to say out there

Ammending my vote from my preliminary one >>5007413
to >>5007417
>>
>>5007394
>>5007417
sliight amendment, as somehow a line got deleted or replaced or something.

one of these lines;
>"If the Project is all the Crucibles in general, than no. Crucibles have nearly consumed the whole galaxy, they are far from in danger."
>>"If the project is the collection of Crucibles... then no, not even close. i cant say for sure, but depending on the goal it may of even gotten out of hand."

was supposed to be;
>"If the Project is this Crucible, then no. no External threats are known to be near this planet."

that said, not sure which version of the doubled up line i like more.
>>
>>5007437
you could merge them.
>"If the Project is all the Crucibles in general, than no. Crucibles have nearly consumed the whole galaxy, so i would say maybe the project has gotten out of hand."
>>
>>5007444
>>5007437
>>"If the Project is all the Crucibles in general, than no. Crucibles have nearly consumed the whole galaxy, so i would say maybe the project has gotten out of hand."
that depends on the perspective though. what is the "criteria" for a project "Getting out of hand"? From a human point of view, sure. From the creator's point of view? maybe it could be working as intended.

I do have a thought however. what if the "She" that the Amalgam mentioned is referring to the potential "Mother of All"?
>>
>>5007444
>>5007437
>>5007417
>>5007394
yeah thats a nice compromise, lets go with that, thanks anon.
nice digits too.
>>
>>5007450
could be, though i would want to get some responses first instead of hedging bets on that.
plus, if we try and say its us, it might not try to kill us but for all we know it'll accidentally level the mountain range from jumping around with giddy happiness, or any number of things.
>>
>>5007450
Motehr of all could be. actually pretty likely which is why i wanted to confirm if it knows what the project is.

But maybe asking directly will trigger Nothing again.
>>
>>5007394
Yeah, sounds good. I'll be supporting the final version of this >>5007451
, unless someone comes up with something better.
>>
>Is the project in danger?

>Is it over?

>Has She been born?

>Can we go home?

Goddamn. this hits me hard depressing in a way both in-quest and irl given my mood and world outlook.

Even though these thoughts give me an excuse to drop this absolute banger of a song, the lyrics are entirely too appropriate to describe the state of the situation both in-quest and irl.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH9IRVHBZ7Y&t=4s
>>
>>5007549
damn, that was a nice song yeah.
>>
>>5007549
(Ah, another song. I wonder wha-)

>>It's an absolute fucking banger that obliterates me

(...nicely done. This is going on the inspiration playlist.)
>>
>>5007394
Blerg, getting here later than usual today. But damn, that's an interesting response. It wants to go home? Does it know where that is? Are we talking someplace in this universe, or outside it, given the Nothing's existence?

Supporting >>5007417

>>5007549
It's pretty depressing for this thing, yeah. Making it capable of angst and homesickness wasn't necessary for it to defend your project, Crucible-builders. You made a superweapon that could get sad, why was that something you thought was worth doing? It just feels like you're setting the poor creature up for a bad time.
>>
>>5007565
at this point the Crucible creators actual plan seems so weird and more convoluted and out there than you would first think, that them WANTING it to be able to feel those things wouldn't surprise me.
>>
>>5007569
...yeah, actually, that's entirely possible, isn't it? We're not sure what the Crucible-builders want, exactly, but we know from the Nothing that their data set finds altruistic behavior notable. Maybe they made the giant super-monsters capable of anxiety and depression because they want to see if anyone would ever try to comfort them.
>>
>>5007572
>>5007569
If the overarching goal for the Crucible is to create an entity that can embody the mantle/compass of "Mother of All", then it's clear that one of the criteria that needs be met is to empathize and communicate with all beings, amalgam, daughter alike. Because it's clear that this Crucible and possibly all other crucible strains share the same overarching objective which is why they have proliferated so much in this galaxy.
>>
>>5007577
its funny, because the situation kinda feels like this at the moment;

Shu:
>"I just want to save my planet and then spend the rest of my days with my family and friends being nice to everyone."

'Them';
>"Yes, that. that is exactly the person we want to take away from their family and friends after mutilating their planet and ask to be the new savior-mother of us and the universe."

like, i get it, those are nice traits to have in someone you put in that position, assuming that is indeed your goal. but, like, maybe theres a bit of a big and obvious issue with that too?
>>
>>5007563
>It's an absolute fucking banger that obliterates me

You want to talk about songs that obliterates people emotionally? Try this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awM5G6xBC2I

This one absolutely obliterates the soul. It never fails to bring me to tears.
>>
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>>5007394

You breathe in, exhaling with intent as you collect your thoughts amidst the kaleidoscope of sights and sensations.

“I’m sorry, but I can only guess at what your questions mean.” You slowly begin, choosing each word with utmost care in the face of this inscrutable being. “I apologize if I’m answering with the wrong info...but please, bear with me. They'll be answers you seek, or at least information to help you on your way I’m sure."

The egg lowers slightly, and you get the impression that it’s ‘sitting’, in a way.

"If the Project is all the Crucibles in general, than no. Crucibles have nearly consumed the whole galaxy, so I’d say maybe the project has gotten out of hand." You say, pausing a moment for the Amalgam to reply before moving on in the face of its silence. "If you’re asking if this Crucible is over? It is not, and though things are getting heated, it might still be a ways off from being so."

The colors flicker, the eggs shuddering as a wave of crushing disappointment washes over you and the women beside you.

"If by 'born' you mean a new Mother, then no." You say, pressing on as your throat works against the urge to shed empathic tears. "If you mean something else...then I’m sorry, but still no, given what I’ve said previously."

At that, the colors around you appear to seep downwards, a steady, distant torrent that reaches your ears like a dull white noise.

"I’m sorry...but I’m not sure what or where your home is. Given your previous questions. If they related to an unfinished goal then no, you cannot.” Another pang, thing time, of sorrow deep sorrow and a burgeoning panic. “Ah, but we wouldn't stop you if you want to go home...and no one might be able to anymore, actually."

>>I cannot go home.

>>We were made to protect.

>>There is no threat.

>>We were made to bring her home.

>>She has not been born.

>>I cannot leave.

>>But I smelled it?

>>The One we’ve all been waiting for.

>>And a heart that resonates with Her own.

>>That resonates the way I was made.

>>A worthy pilot.

>>To escort Her home.

>>I...

>>I don’t-

>>Why am I awake?

>>Please.

>>I don’t understand.

Confusion envelops the being’s mind once more, the colors stuttering into a psychedelic hurricane as hairline cracks start to skitter across the egg’s surface.

"You're awake... because you're free.” You explain, stepping forwards with a soft tone to the unfortunate truth. “It’s a bit of a long story…but if you'd like, I’d be happy to tell you.

>>Please?

It pleads, with a voice so lost and scared…so close to Amara’s, when she’s hurt…that it almost breaks you right then and there.

“The simple explanation is that the current 'Mother' of this Crucible gave up, and released all bound entities from both their contracts and containment. That included you and your two siblings."

>>Behemoth.

>>Leviathan.

>>They are lost like me?

(Continued)
>>
My go-to for emotionally-obliterating songs, at least in the context of this quest, is the soundtrack for the visual novel Heaven Will Be Mine. Mostly because that's a story about lesbian mutants saving the world through the power of positive emotional growth and mutual support. Feels very appropriate for this quest. And man, is Silly Game an amazing track. I love how the synth line on it goes from a mournful wail to an exultation of hope without actually changing its structure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpluEINasQA
>>
>>5007609

>>Behemoth will be angry.

>>Seeking for a rage that matches his own.

>>Leviathan will be curious.

>>Yearning for a mind to challenge their own.

>>I fear for them.

>>So.

>>There was no point to this?

>>This is our truth?

"...I’m sorry. You have no reason to be awake. There is no threat, you were simply freed from your obligations, or at least to whatever level Mother had a right to free you from."

>>I have waited so long.

>>I will be alone.

>>Forever.

>>Why would He make us?

>>If just to wander for eternity?

The world pulses once, then again in time with this thing’s own breaking heart.

"I’m so, so sorry.” You say, moving closer to the egg as Gina and Francine’s fears are brushed aside by your compassion. “Truly I am. I know this must be confusing, but we're not your enemies, nor are we here to hurt you. We’re confused too, and seeking our own answers."

>>You are hurting?

It asks, its eye wavering.

"Not just me…but everyone.”

>>What…

>>What is your name?

I’m Shu, and this is Gina and Francine.” You reply, gesturing to the girls behind you. “We'd like to be on good terms with you, and try and help you, but we can’t guarantee we can, and you'd have to help us understand what you truly want too...."

And then, praying you’re not overstepping;

"...you'd need to stop trying to melt us and our friends’ minds, though…if that’s possible?"

It’s eye widens.

>>The protective field!

>>Oh no.

>>I…

>>I think I can.

>>I will try.

>>I will.

>>I promise.

(Continued)
>>
>>5007613

“We’d really appreciate that.” Comes your relieved reply, a genuine smile on your lips. “So…your siblings have names. What’s yours, if you’re willing to share?”

Its eye widens further with surprise.

>>Oh.

>>Um.

>>We do not have names.

>>But our designations are pulled from memories.

>>Collective ones, from the Crucible’s participants.

>>So…

>>…Ziz.

>>My designation is ‘Ziz’.

“Thank you, Ziz. What is it that you need? What are you seeking?”

Its eye glances skyward, searching its memory.

>>I…I do not know.

>>I only know the list.

>>The words.

>>And how they smell.

>>I was not told everything.

>>Behemoth was told even less.

>>Leviathan knows the most, but…

>>…we only know pieces of the whole.

“That’s okay. That’s perfectly fine.” You assure, feeling anxiety start to overwhelm the being. “We can take it slow, okay? And only if you’re comfortable with it.”

>>Yes.

>>Yes, I want to help.

>>You are-

>>Nice.

A flutter of wing and heartbeat, all at once.

>>Like the One who made us.

{Field’s compressing, Shu} Gina informs you, voice tight even across your psychic link. {It’s trying to reign it in. Rath and the others are making good progress, but the mountain’s gonna shift in the next half hour. Unless we hit any snags, they should have a clear shot to the other side in fifteen}

Okay.

Time to get some answers.

>>Write-in

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume after approximately four.)
>>
>>5007610
(Oh, I love that game. The soundtrack is excellent, and We Know The Devil is also stellar, with an appropriately moody soundtrack.)
>>
>>5007616
goddamn this poor thing. damn, so Laoc (and the other places) was literally just a tragedy of basically a lost sorta-child basically freaking out and just trying to understand what was going on.

also, yeah, seems Ziz is smelling Shu most likely, but... also someone else? either Gina, oddly enough, or we're getting into some REALLY weird territory where Shu ISNT the 'Mother of All' on a technicality, but is really her 'vessel' to take her home, or something, and said 'Mother of All' is or can be split from Shu later. or something.

>"Thank you, the field seems to be shrinking. That'll do alot to ease alot of peoples nerves."
>"by the way... Ziz is a lovely name. It fits you, and im glad we met so i could learn it."
>Smile and see if you cant spawn a mind fuzzbuzz for it.
>Regardless, offer it some words of encouragement.
>"Ziz... i know me and others may never be able to amount to whoever made you, and whoever you're looking for but... you dont have to be alone. Im willing to be your friend, and I know a little girl who would probably dote over you to an unhealthy degree if you let her. And you have your siblings too! maybe your relationship with them isnt the best, but that can always change, if you work at it and want it to."
>"but... for now, if you dont mind, lets share some questions. if you want, feel free to ask us one for each we ask you. even if we cant answer fully, info may help us both to calm down and come to a conclusion, no?"

>"Right... can you tell us more about who made you... and the Crucibles? and why? Even if its just how you 'feel' about all that, it might help us tremendously."
>"...and if its something you're comfortable with, im curious about what you were made to defend against, even just an example? Im sure to someone so strong it might be obvious, but to us little guys in the Crucible, its hard to imagine anything being a threat to it."

>"...Do you think your siblings would be willing to listen to us? or to you now that you know more about whats really going on?"
>"i dont mean to upset you, but your field inadvertently caused alot of problems... and we want to prevent your siblings from making a similar mistake. We want to help them too.. if like you, they're willing to listen and try to find a solution that helps everyone."

willing to edit, change, and add more, but this felt like a good foundation. i feel like something between the two questions to help ease things forward is really needed though, but i cant think of anything.
Sure, we could mention the 'Mother of All', and even mention Shus connection to it, but im REALLY worried it might misinterpret or jump to conclusions, and how things would go if Shu isnt willing ot 'go along with' what it wants or thinks she should thus be doing, even if its only due to us reaaally not knowing what any of that means.
not saying we NEVER ask, just feels like get it calmer and more familiar with us at the very least first, and gauge if it can handle that yet.
>>
>>5007616
Aww, it's actually kind of cute, now. Nothing like a giant monster acting awkward to make it seem less threatening.

>>Write-in
>"Thank you for retracting your field, Ziz. I appreciate you making this easier for us."
>"Well, if you could start by telling us about your list? I can't guarantee that I'll know what it means, but we can at least try to give it some context. What traits does the thing you're seeking have? It sounded like you were talking about a person?"
>"If you're alright with it, I'd also like to hear about the One who made you. Knowing about them could help us understand what they wanted you to do. What were they like? It sounds like you cared about them a lot."
>"Also, while I'd love to stay and talk with you for a long time, unfortunately this mountain is going to shift soon and we'll need to leave or we'll get crushed. Is there some way I can keep in contact with you, so that we can talk again? I like to leave members of my swarm with friends to accomplish that purpose, would that work for you?"
>If so, make a seven-eyed FuzzBuzz with seven wings to accompany Ziz. ZizzBuzz.

Okay, this is starting to come together, why becoming the Mother is a failure state. The Crucible wants someone to safely escort some being home, a pilot who got in the chair through ruthlessness couldn't be trusted to not turn on their charge, so they're instead forced to go find some new Mother. I'm not sure why that necessitates killing the entire world, but it's a start.

>>5007619
We Know The Devil is also quite good, but I don't go back to its soundtrack as often. It's a more horror-themed story, so the music is much more tense. Alec Lambert still did great work on it, but it's less immediately accessible, you know?
>>
>>5007629
>Sure, we could mention the 'Mother of All', and even mention Shus connection to it, but im REALLY worried it might misinterpret or jump to conclusions, and how things would go if Shu isnt willing ot 'go along with' what it wants or thinks she should thus be doing, even if its only due to us reaaally not knowing what any of that means.
>not saying we NEVER ask, just feels like get it calmer and more familiar with us at the very least first, and gauge if it can handle that yet.
Oh, for sure. Even if we're lucky and it doesn't have any sort of negative response to that term, I don't want to lead its line of thinking. If the phrase comes up in conversation, I want it to be the first to use it, so we know it's not just going along with our terminology. There's no guarantee that it knows the phrase on its own, and I don't want to accidentally conflate ideas in its head that could lead to miscommunication.
>>
>>5007637
yeah, sounds like a good way to go about it.

>>5007636
im personally not too worried about time, or at least having to rush the conversation to its end just yet. we have 15 minutes to spare for even if things take a bit of a turn, and im sure our family will let us know when its time to skedaddle.

only worry is more of it(or BHOP) interpreting it as us wanting to cut the conversation shorter than we need to.
>>
>>5007641
>im personally not too worried about time, or at least having to rush the conversation to its end just yet. we have 15 minutes to spare for even if things take a bit of a turn, and im sure our family will let us know when its time to skedaddle.
I suppose. I can change it to something to say towards the end of the conversation. Mostly I just want to make sure lines of contact are established firmly. We've got a friendly giant monster, would be a shame to lose touch with them.

>>5007616
Changing >>5007636

>>Write-in
>"Thank you for retracting your field, Ziz. I appreciate you making this easier for us."
>"Well, if you could start by telling us about your list? I can't guarantee that I'll know what it means, but we can at least try to give it some context. What traits does the thing you're seeking have? It sounded like you were talking about a person?"
>"If you're alright with it, I'd also like to hear about the One who made you. Knowing about them could help us understand what they wanted you to do. What were they like? It sounds like you cared about them a lot."
>After we've spent some time talking with Ziz about these topics.
>"Ziz, while I'd love to stay and talk with you for longer, unfortunately this mountain is going to shift soon and we'll need to leave or we'll get crushed. Is there some way I can keep in contact with you, so that we can talk again? I like to leave members of my swarm with friends to accomplish that purpose, would that work for you?"
>If so, make a seven-eyed FuzzBuzz with seven wings to accompany Ziz. ZizzBuzz.
>>
>>5007647
eh, i still dont like it, but i guess heres a solution;

>>5007617
BHOP, do we really need to be prepared to jump ship now(minus any spoilerly unforseen events, of course), or will we have an opportunity after these questions to ask about staying n contact in the next update?
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>>5007662
(...You won't be rushed, not really. Partly due to the speed of conversation in this state of existence, partly due to spoilers.)
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>>5007670
>spoilers at the very least giving us more time.
you know, only this quest i think could make me worry if thats going to be a good thing...
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>>5007670
>partly due to spoilers
Is the Ziz going to give us a ride? Are we finally going full JRPG and getting an airship?
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>>5007673
lets not get our hopes too high.
mostly because i have a feeling Ziz is gonna be busy trying to talk to their siblings for at least a bit
But at least a ride off the mountain doesn't seem far fetched.
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>>5007675
True, true. It would probably be disruptive to ride on the Ziz everywhere, anyway. Everyone constantly freaking out and seeing it as a huge threat coming to destroy them. But man, it would be cool. I guess I'll just have to settle for being friends with this apocalyptic sky-titan.
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>>5007616
>>5007629
slight vote amendment;

>"Thank you, the field seems to be shrinking. That'll do alot to ease alot of peoples nerves."
>"by the way... Ziz is a lovely name. It fits you, and im glad we met so i could learn it."
>Smile and see if you cant spawn a mind fuzzbuzz for it.
>Regardless, offer it some words of encouragement.
>"Ziz... i know me and others may never be able to amount to whoever made you, and whoever you're looking for but... you dont have to be alone. Im willing to be your friend, and I know a little girl who would probably dote over you to an unhealthy degree if you let her. And you have your siblings too! maybe your relationship with them isnt the best, but that can always change, if you work at it and want it to."
>"but... for now, if you dont mind, lets share some questions. if you want, feel free to ask us one for each we ask you. even if we cant answer fully, info may help us both to calm down and come to a conclusion, no?"

>"Right... can you tell us more about who made you... and the Crucibles? and why? Even if its just how you 'feel' about all that, it might help us tremendously."
>"...and if its something you're comfortable with, im curious about what you were made to defend against, even just an example? Im sure to someone so strong it might be obvious, but to us little guys in the Crucible, its hard to imagine anything being a threat to it."

>"Well, if you could tell us about your list? I can't guarantee that I'll know what it means, but we can at least try to give it some context. What traits does the thing you're seeking have? It sounded like you were talking about a person?"

>"...Do you think your siblings would be willing to listen to us? or to you now that you know more about whats really going on?"
>"i dont mean to upset you, but your field inadvertently caused alot of problems... and we want to prevent your siblings from making a similar mistake. We want to help them too.. if like you, they're willing to listen and try to find a solution that helps everyone."

wanted a question there and is a good one to ask. maybe i didn't need to repost the whole thing but wanted to make sure BHOP knew where i wanted it.
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>>5007683
(Hey, I always appreciate clarifications.)
>>
>>5007616
Supporting >>5007683

uff that update is certainly enlightening.

>>5007678 and i agree that riding on Ziz would be really fun but probably catapult us to the point where we could no longer really compete. and the general sense of panic will probably be enough if word comes out.... as Orwell will certainly want to put it out there that we made the Apocalypse Class Amalgam at least non Hostile as long as you don't attack it.

i had been pretty busy making tokens for DND for the last two hours and glued my hands together.... But Magic the gathering cards really make good tokens when punched out and put on Pokerchips. and if you don't buy packs and stick to commons it also is quite cheap
>>
>>5007693

(Oh, that's a really cool idea with the cards. I gave all mine away to a friend when I got out of Magic, though I still kept my favorite Commander deck I ever made.)

(Maybe I could get some cheap commons or something for the next game I run...whenever that will be. I've been asked to run a campaign recently, which might be on Mondays which would work well with the Quest.)
>>
>>5007693
Huh, that's a neat craft idea. Sorry to hear you glued your hands together, though. That's why I don't use cyanoacrylate anymore, I always did that to myself.

>>5007700
Oh, and then you'd have something good to look forward to on Mondays, so that it's not just a stress day. That would be nice.
>>
(Everyone, some social obligations have manifested after work, so I'll endeavor to update as soon as possible once I'm able to get settled in at home. Thank you in advance for your patience, and I'll be back soon.)
>>
also a friend send me this pretty wicked looking picture and i had an idea for a daughter for teh picture.

Name: Cheri the Iridescent "Artist"

Class: Neuromancer/ Flesh Artisan/ Flesh Artisan (Cute Cute Inspiration)

Appearance: Pink skinned that tapers to blue on the edges of her extremities with blind eyes and massive amounts of teeth makes Cheri not the most appealing person to look at. Her pink hair blends with her skin sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish which part of her is actually up and down. The arrangement of her features is constantly in flux and she might suddenly within the span of a second decide that she needs completely upside down to continue with whatever she is doing. This also leads to her having an ever changing amount of limbs all over her body even sometimes wearing her heart literally on her sleeve.

Behavior: Cheri loves to change the Fleshscape turning it into her idea of beauty. Often this involves creating oversized replicas of Organs in all colours of the Rainbow with her mulithued limbs. Her passing is always easy to spot as the Land itself will remain the colors of the rainbow. She loves to show people her "Art" which usually makes people a bit sick when the riots of colour assail their senses which often enrages her and makes her spit and curse before driving the people that made any negative remarks, even perceived ones, away.

Fighting Style: She tries to avoid fighting. If she is forced to do so anyway she will inflict debuffs onto her enemy that will slow them while making them much more malleable to her which will end with her turning them into screaming artworks while draining some of their levels before leaving them to rot for having insulted her by attacking her. She does not do it out of malice but simply out of callousness and sometimes people have been rescued from their fates. However the seldom survive wihtout horrific psychological scars and are more prone to succumbing to the hunger.

Pre-Crucible Life: She always wanted to go to art school but was never expected. She had rejected all attempts her paretns had made to show her things that were considered more normal techniques or motives. Instead she was always focused on organs while combining them with roaring colors that made the eye hurt.

Crucible Life: When she woke up she just looked around and saw a canvas stretching to the horizon. Since then she was always on the move trying to make the world see the true beauty of her works. With extreme force if necessary.
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>>5007714
well, it is a friday and my own social obligations are coming up today soon, so its fine. enjoy your friends and such BHOP.
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>>5007700
at a local game store near me i got commons at like 10cts a common card. Actually another friend of mine got the idea while we were brainstorming how to make the Sessions at the table better for Combat since getting minis is just not practical for me since i would want them all to be painted.

And next Session my players will delve into an ancient grave of a Demifey that had their grave guarded by Stone Constructs and zombies. And some pissed of Dullahan Paladin of a certain godess of Death Undeath and Corruption will probably show up to ruin their plans... and if that does not work.... well one of the other players is poised to rob the group blind and put it all to use for a rebellion against the Empire, the village that serves as their base, belongs to

>>5007706
Luckily the stuff wasr solvable with water a couple minutes in the sink and some soap fixed that.

>>5007714
Sure take your time.
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>>5007714
Sure thing, BHOP. No problem, go hang out with people.

>>5007717
I want to see her interact with Julia, I bet they'd either get along amazingly or murder each other.
>>
(Back home and writing now, everyone. Given the odd timing of when the update will likely be posted, I'll have a long voting period to allow everyone to participate.)
>>
So, a horrible thought occurred to me over dinner. Think about what Ziz said about their siblings.

>>5007613
>>>Behemoth will be angry.
>>>Seeking for a rage that matches his own.
>>>Leviathan will be curious.
>>>Yearning for a mind to challenge their own.

Now, I don't know what angry Daughter that Behemoth is going to be looking for. But I'm going to be very surprised if Leviathan doesn't find the curious mind it's seeking in West Prime. We're going to have to fight both her and her giant sea monster doubles partner.
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>>5007616

"Thank you, the field seems to be shrinking.” You say, breathing a relieved sigh. “That'll do a lot to ease peoples’ nerves, Ziz. By the way... Ziz is a lovely name. It fits you, and I'm glad we met so I could learn it."
>>Oh.

>>...Thank you.

>>I like that you like it.

>>Shu.

You smile, a FuzzBuzz materializing in your hands. Lifting it aloft, its wings split into seven gossamer mirrors, four eyes shifting into seven distinct shapes in homage to its new owner.

>>This…

>>This is wonderful.

>>What do you call this being?

“FuzzBuzz...and this one? He’s yours to keep, if you’d like to.” You offer, and the space shimmers, the colors intensifying tenfold.

>>I would!

>>I really would!

>>...What do I do with him?

“Ha, cuddle him, pet him. Whatever you like.”

‘Just don’t clean any gunbarrels with him’, you think to yourself before continuing on to more serious matters.
"Ziz...I know me and others may never be able to amount to whoever made you, and whoever you're looking for... but you don’t have to be alone. I'm willing to be your friend, and I know a little girl who would probably dote over you to an unhealthy degree if you let her.”

>>Yes.

>>Amara.

>>The one from before.

Ziz murmurs, their tone reverberating within the space, eye flickering between cobalt blue and brown amber.

“Yeah...Amara.” You echo, a little taken aback. The Halo hasn’t voiced any warning of intrusion, but...

>>I’m sorry.

>>What were you saying?

“And you have your siblings, too.” You say, drawing Ziz back from whatever overtook her. “Maybe your relationship with them isn't the best, but that can always change, if you work at it and want it to. But for now—if you don't mind—let's share some questions. If you want, feel free to ask us one for each we ask you. Even if we can’t answer fully, info may help us both to calm down and come to a conclusion, no?"

>>I think I would like that.

>>I like FuzzBuzz.

>>Maybe I will like these questions.

Ziz says, their gigantic eye contemplating the swarmling that’s nestled between a few cozy pinfeathers.

(Continued)
>>
>>5007872

"Alright...can you tell us more about who made you, and the Crucibles? And why? Even if it’s just how you 'feel' about all that, it might help us tremendously."

>>The being that made my siblings and I.

>>He spoke to me.

>>He taught Leviathan much.

>>He was vexed with Behemoth.

>>But to me.

>>He talked.

>>He listened.

>>He said was tasked with saving his people.

>>They bound him to this task.

>>To not be freed until it was done.

“Save them?” You breathe, the colors around you fading into a series of dull, sorrowful hues. “From something like what can destroy the Crucibles?”

>>No.

>>His people were dying.

>>They thought they were immortal.

>>They thought they were untouchable.

>>They didn’t think death existed for them.

>>Like it did for all they conquered.

>>Until it did.

>>He made us to protect the Crucible from harm.

>>So that his people may be saved from extinction.

>>That is all he told me.

“I see...and if it’s something you're comfortable with, I'm curious about what you were made to defend against. Do you have any examples. I’m sure to someone so strong it might be obvious, but to us little guys in the Crucible, it’s hard to imagine anything being a threat to it."

>>Oh.

>>Hm.

>>The Voracious Hellstar, devourer of countless worlds.

>>The Siblings, inseparable in their love and madness.

>>The Sleeping Suns, whose awakening ignites the spark of eternal life.

>>The Abyssal Lights, to whom all light is lost.

>>These are the ones I was warned of.

>>I know Leviathan has fended off the Siblings.

>>Though they will never admit Behemoth helped them.

At this, Ziz laughs. There’s no sound to it, but the world flickers with joyful hues, amused lights blinking around you before they fade back to the predictable chaos.

“Do you think your siblings would be willing to listen to us? Orr to you, now that you know more about what’s really going on?" You ask, and Ziz hesitates.

>>I…

>>Leviathan knows more than me.

>>They tell me this.

>>Behemoth is angry.

>>He does not listen when he is angry.

Ziz pauses.

>>He is angry much of the time.

>>I do not think they will listen to me.

>>I’m sorry…

(Continued)
>>
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>>5007874

"Hey, It’s okay. That’s on them, not you.” You say with a smile, and a series of cracks appear at the edges of the egg’s shattered slit, imitating the way your own eyes crinkle at the edges when you grin. “Well, if you could tell us about your list? I can't guarantee that I'll know what it means, but we can at least try to give it some context. What traits does the thing you're seeking have? It sounded like you were talking about a person?"

>>I was told that on some blessed day.

>>Under some distant star.

>>She would be born.

>>The one we are waiting for.

>>Worthy of the power She came to control.

>>And that she would wield it well and justly.

>>I know not what she is meant to do with Her power.

>>He said I was not meant to know.

>>But that He very much wished to tell me.

>>He said She would not be alone.

>>She would have others like Her, and to them…

>>We would be their chariots, to ride alongside Her to Her self-appointed task.

>>My siblings and I would resonate with those by Her side.

>>He told me that I would know when I saw them.

>>All that would be left would be for them to take our reigns.

>>I’ve seen them, in my dreams.

>>But I am confused.

>>I think there is more than one who can be found worthy.

>>I see blue.

>>Brown.

>>Green.

>>I do not understand these dreams.

”Hm...thank you, Ziz. I appreciate you sharing all that. This is great!” You say honestly, and Ziz ‘smiles’ once more at your praise. “Now, I don’t mean to upset you, but your field inadvertently caused a lot of problems. We want to prevent your siblings from making a similar mistake. We want to help them too...if, like you, they're willing to listen and try to find a solution that helps everyone."

>>I would like for them to meet you.

>>They will not listen to me.

>>But they may listen to you.

>>You are wise, like Leviathan.

>>You are calm, unlike Behemoth.

>>And...

>>You are nice.

>>That is my favorite part.

(Continued)
>>
>>5007875

“Shu, twenty minutes until the mountain shifts again.” Gina mentions, prompting Ziz to flutter their feathers. “Rath and the others are almost out.”

>>Shift?

>>Is this a bad thing?

“Our physical bodies are with our allies in the mountain. Fairly close to you, actually.” You admit, turning to Ziz once more. “If they’re in it while it shifts they could get badly hurt...or worse.”

>>No.

>>No, they will not.

A distant rumble, a nauseating churn of your stomach in the real. “Wh-...what was that?”

>>I have fixed the mountain around me.

>>Like I did when I first roosted here.

>>You will not be hurt.

>>It is not much…

>>...but I hope it helps?

“Yeah...yeah, Ziz.” You mutter, grinning deliriously at the Amalgam’s casual display of power. “You’re amazing.”

>>Th-thank you.

Ziz stammers, and you find yourself in awe of an eldritch superweapon getting embarrassed.

>>It has been a long time since someone has been so nice.

>>Nice.

>>Like Him.

{I’m gonna check out the situation in the real for a sec, but if the Spine’s not going to shift then that takes the heat off us...for now at least} Gina says, her body flickering before she checks in one last time. {You good here?}

[Yeah. Yeah, I think I am] You answer, smiling. You have to hand it to Amara...you’re not sure what came over her, but this has turned out better than you could have expected.

A little faith, a little hope.

Those two small, frail things, clung to at the end of the world.

>>Return to the real, and bring the rest of your family to meet Ziz in the flesh.

>>Ask Ziz something else on your mind, or drill deeper on something they’ve already addressed.

>>Ziz has been so intent on answering your own questions that you think they’ve forgotten to ask any of their own...maybe some prompting is in order?

>>Write-in

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Dear Readers, voting shall remain open for the next twelve hours, with posting to resume on Tuesday, September 28th at 10AM Eastern time. Thank you all for your continued participation, enthusiasm, and encouragement. I hope you have a superb weekend, and know that I’ll be around to share art, check out anything you’d like to share, and answer any comments, questions, or concerns you may have.)

(Thank you for everything, and take care.)
>>
>>5007878
>Ask Ziz if they would lije to meet you in person, or geel more comfortable talking in here... If its even possible for them to talk to you normally? You also should warn them you're a bit small compared to them, not that you mind, you just want them to keep that in mind.
>Regardless, Ziz has been so intent on answering your own questions that you think they’ve forgotten to ask any of their own...maybe some prompting is in order?

Because honestly, im VERY curious what a giant bird kid would ask in the first place.
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>>5007880
Thanks for running BHOP.
Currently at my own plans as mentioned before, which is a nice start to my weekend.
Hope yours starts and ends well both aswell.
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>>5007872
FuzzBuzz is the most powerful being in this setting, I swear. If Sir FuzzBuzz ever goes bad he'd conquer the entire universe unopposed. World after world would fall to his adorable fluff.

>>5007874
Interesting. So the Crucible is an attempt to save some universe-conquering civilization from cosmic entropy, somehow. Strange.

And wow, those are some worrying names for terrifying monsters. Makes me think of Fallen London, sort of. It's got a similar energy to how the Judgements are named.

>>5007875
Blue, brown and green. We're probably green, given our chitin's color. Who's blue and brown?

>>5007878
Stammering cute seven-headed million-faced abomination, what a strange world the Crucible is. I love it.
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>>5007880
Thanks for running, BHOP. I hope you have a good weekend, too.
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>>5007880
Thanks for running BHOP, have an awesome weekend! It says a great deal about your talent that Ziz went from a mindless monster to an adorable eldritch sweetheart in just a few posts.

Looking back at the threats to the Crucible mentioned here,
>>5007874
I noticed:
>>The Voracious Hellstar, devourer of countless worlds.

Oh Jesus. Hellstar Remina is canon in this universe.
No fucking wonder the Crucible is capable of being threatened.
Does anybody have any idea as to what the other enemies may refer to?
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>>5007912
I get a bit of Fallen London vibe from them. They're all some sort of star or sun except the Siblings. In Fallen London, one of the "villains" (it's hard to truly say whether he's good or evil, but he sure is an asshole) is the Halved, the surviving half of a binary pair of stars. The stars are sapient, in Fallen London, and are the gods of the universe, their light enforcing the laws of physics. After the Halved's brother was murdered, he joined a philosophy called the Liberation of Night that seeks to darken the universe and so free it of all law, the repressive and the just alike. So I hear about stars and suns and darkness and siblings, and my mind goes to him.
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GAH. I MISSED SO MUCH. CURSE MY WORK FOR WHILST IT GIVETH MONIES, IT TAKETH AWAY MY PARTICIPATION.
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>>5007878
>>Ask Ziz something else on your mind, or drill deeper on something they’ve already addressed.
>"Did your Creator make protectors for the other Crucibles, or is it just you and your two siblings?"
>"And if there aren't others, do you know why he thought this Crucible needed you but not the rest?"

Because it would be a bit weird if this was the only Crucible that had a set of Apocalypse Amalgams, but at the same time it's also weird that Ziz's creator lavished so much attention on them when they would have had to have made billions of sets. Unless the Apocalypse Amalgams got forked, raised to maturity as a single set and then many identical copies made of their finished state.

I suppose it could also just be us being wrong about there being multiple Crucibles. I'm trying to remember, but I can't recall if we've ever had explicit confirmation on that. Closest I can think of is the Void Orrery showing Earth as just one of many worlds marked in red, but in retrospect we don't actually know that means "Crucible here". It could mean a bunch of things.
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>>5007878
>Ziz has been so intent on answering your own questions that you think they’ve forgotten to ask any of their own...maybe some prompting is in order?

>>5007880
Take care, I will see you Tuesday. Also another thought: If you listen to Mili's String Theocracy and pay attention to the lyrics, you might find that parts of the verses will match Francine's personal development to an uncanny degree.

>>5007897
>Interesting. So the Crucible is an attempt to save some universe-conquering civilization from cosmic entropy, somehow. Strange.
It's more like a Cosmic version of Noah's Ark.

>FuzzBuzz is the most powerful being in this setting, I swear. If Sir FuzzBuzz ever goes bad he'd conquer the entire universe unopposed. World after world would fall to his adorable fluff.
To think that my silly little write-in in an attempt to lighten up the mood back in the 13th vein would continue to have such a profound impact on the quest.

>>5007978
>I suppose it could also just be us being wrong about there being multiple Crucibles. I'm trying to remember, but I can't recall if we've ever had explicit confirmation on that. Closest I can think of is the Void Orrery showing Earth as just one of many worlds marked in red, but in retrospect we don't actually know that means "Crucible here". It could mean a bunch of things.

It could also mean the red dots in the Void Orrey's map indicate past-planets that failed to find the "Mother of All". 776 past attempts to find the mother of All on a Galactic map can easily be read as a galactic map with 776 red dots indicating a failed cycle.

Also a thought:
I'm sensing some very interesting parallels here between the Amalgams and our main cast.
Shu: Calm listener, also nice
Ziz: Calm Listener, also nice

Gina: Curious and knowledgeable to a degree.
Leviathan: Knowledgeable

Behemoth: Simpleminded and temperamental
Rath: Simpleminded and also Temperamental

>Three who are found worthy:
>Blue, Brown, Green
Two others share the same potential qualities as Shu.

Also. Have a cursed picture of the Fall Guys people.
>>
>>5008001
>It could also mean the red dots in the Void Orrey's map indicate past-planets that failed to find the "Mother of All". 776 past attempts to find the mother of All on a Galactic map can easily be read as a galactic map with 776 red dots indicating a failed cycle.
No, there were way more red dots than that. The narration describes them as filling the Milky Way, even if it was only showing the red ones that would still take hundreds of millions. Still, I do wonder if Francine was wrong about it meaning "Crucible here". What if it just means something like "life here"?

>I'm sensing some very interesting parallels here between the Amalgams and our main cast.
Yeah, I noticed that too. Ziz did say that the Apocalypse Amalgams would resonate with their target's companions. Ziz's status as somewhat childlike and a good listener means they could also fit to Amara, too, if the "resonates with" thing means that Shu isn't directly counted in the parallels.

>Three who are found worthy:
>Blue, Brown, Green
I don't think this is referring to multiple people in our party. Shu is associated with green, but Gina and Rath aren't associated with blue or brown. Those two would have to be entirely different people. My guess is that the "resonate with companions" thing means that our companions aren't counted as potential Mothers of All, they're add-ons to Mother of All. So it would be two other people, associated with blue and brown respectively, who have their own parties of companions. I can't think of anyone who would fit that, though. Maybe we haven't even met these characters yet.

Also, another thing: The Nothing is definitely the Apocalypse Amalgams' creator, right? I don't think that really needs saying, but just in case, we can all agree that seems pretty likely? Ancient being, oversees the Crucibles, bound to their duty, likes people who don't misuse their power...it all fits. Which makes their comment about how Shu could have controlled the "Titans" if she hadn't given up her empathic field seem almost like an ironic joke. They had a good sense that their creations would want to work with her anyway.
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>>5007891
holy crap my spelling in that first part was terrible, this is why you dont phonepost over breakfast for dinner i guess.

>>5007978
Not gonna argue the ' ask or get questioned' difference but i do think regardless asking about meeting in person should and can still happen either way.

>I can't recall if we've ever had explicit confirmation on that.
i could be very wrong, but i feel like we were told outright the void orrery was showing other Crucibles. im very positive the Existence of other Crucibles for sure was mentioned by reliable sources, im confident in that.
mind, said source could be wrong, reliable doesn't mean they cant, but i just dont feel at least thats something we would make wild assumptions about.

>>5008001
>>5008015
I agree it probably doesn't mean others in our party. Gina would probably be Purple and Rath 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000% would be orange or red. no one fits brown with us, though i guess Dorian could be blue.
anything in ol Maras files that might hint at the other two?

>>5008015
>The Nothing is definitely the Apocalypse Amalgams' creator, right?
thats... difficult to answer. I could see it, but I could also see it not being so. 'Nothing' did say they themselves were part of the Crucibles(as in all of thems) systems in a way, no? the creator whos trying to save their race either wouldn't need to bind themselves like that, either would be dead due to the issues their race is having, or would be in like, cryo or something due to said issue. Guess we are talking some pretty advanced alien bois, i just think its probably closer to 50/50 if 'Nothing' is them or not.
plus im like 50% sure i remember 'Nothing' mentioning at least one other being at their level working in the Crucible. could just be '1 year' syndrome though, but if i am remembering correctly im leaning more towards no slightly.
>>
>>5008157
>Not gonna argue the ' ask or get questioned' difference but i do think regardless asking about meeting in person should and can still happen either way.
Agreed. I want some further clarification on this point, but I think otherwise your vote was a good idea.

>i could be very wrong, but i feel like we were told outright the void orrery was showing other Crucibles
BHOP might have said something OOC, but I'm looking back at where we got the Void Orrery presentation and Francine just says that the red marker indicating a Crucible is her theory, not that she knows for certain. I don't know, she could easily be right, I'm just having some sudden doubts. Asking Ziz about other Crucibles' defenses would clear up my confusion.

>anything in ol Maras files that might hint at the other two?
Definitely something to look for, what the color schemes are for the various Daughters she has files on .

> the creator whos trying to save their race either wouldn't need to bind themselves like that
That's the thing, Ziz's creator is bound.

>>5007874
>>He said was tasked with saving his people.

>>They bound him to this task.

>>To not be freed until it was done.

That's why I'm thinking they're probably the Nothing. Like I said: Some sort of ancient being, bound to the Crucible, is responsible for overseeing it but isn't in charge, and is very happy about us not abusing power. It definitely fits the Nothing's profile. Maybe it's someone else, but I think it's more than a 50% chance.
>>
>>5008180
ah, missed his creator was bound, my bad.
still brings up legitimate questions about how they're alive though if the whole point is their race was suddenly dying out.
and might also bring up some interesting questions about if they even WANT to truly save their race.
>>
>>5008184
Oh, yeah, it's a weird situation. I have two guesses. First is that while their race suddenly started dying, they didn't start dying all at once. There's some variation in lifespan, or maybe there are some younger generations to their species, and so there's one that the species could trust to oversee things while they were in stasis without dying in the meanwhile.

The other possibility is that being bound to the Crucible altered their nature in some way that means that they don't have the mortality issues that the rest do, but that the experience is in some other way undesirable. They're undead, basically, a lich clinging to life, and the rest of the species would rather be properly living.

As for if they want to save their species...yeah, it does kind of sound like they're not entirely willing. Probably not entirely unwilling, either, but I am getting the sense that they're at odds with the rest of their civilization. Mostly because of their interest in a wielder of power who would be responsible and not abuse it, when Ziz also said
>>They didn’t think death existed for them.

>>Like it did for all they conquered.

His species were conquerors. Yet he wants someone who has no interest in conquering. Clearly, he had some sort of disagreement with the rest of his kind about their culture. Maybe that's why he's bound to this, it's a punishment for his objections. I don't know. Just guesses. But I'm very interested in learning more about this.
>>
>>5007878
>Ziz has been so intent on answering your own questions that you think they’ve forgotten to ask any of their own...maybe some prompting is in order?

>>5007880
Sure OP. Have a great Weekend yourself

Did this slip through the cracks >>5007717

>>5007815
>I want to see her interact with Julia, I bet they'd either get along amazingly or murder each other.

If they get along its because Julia made sure to get her out of her manic need to create and to show off to have an actual debate about art. Not an easy feat but possible. SO yeah either amazingly as she acknowledges Julia as a fellow artists even if she uses way to few colors in her work or she will go on a murderous rampage because she can not take the criticism.

>>5008184
>>5008194
probably some type of Mind Upload possibly but they want to be in the physical but could not find any other beings capable of sustaining them here other than possibly machines.

>His species were conquerors.

This throws up so many questions... I hope we can talk to Nothing again and worm out more answers from him concerning this. Unleashing these super beings onto the universe again would be the last thing we need if we want humanity to survive. However if Nothing made the crucible or is bound to oversee it......well he might have a pan to either turn his race around to his point of view. or a way to withhold the immortality from them.

Not that i think true immortality can even exist as long as entorpy is a thing. and even then.... Accidents can happen. To think yourself immortal is probably the biggest folly one can commit
>>
>>5008233
(Good Morning, I actually wanted to wait until I could read it while I wasn't distracted, so I'll be checking it out today.)
>>
>>5007717
(Oh, she is absolutely brutal. Her methodology is rather similar to some of the cruelest Flesh Artisans that are stalking close to the Cord, actually.)
>>
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(An open question for everyone this weekend; what is your favorite Class of Daughter, and why?)
>>
>>5008618
thats a toughie BHOP.
hrm...

probably

>Calcite Armorer;
because the idea of being a walking armory of any level is pretty neat. while wests notes say it technically leans heavily twoards offense, actual abilities we see usually seem more towards 'diverse tools to reach a specific goal' which offensively, defensively, or mixed always seems really neat.

or

>Generator;
because its elemental, often of 'elements' you might not think about, nature coupled with its otherwise somewhat broad brush gives and has allowed it some fun potentials. that said, our party specifically kinda gimped the fun aspects of this class, and its not been the otherwise most prominent class seen, so i do feel it is probably below Calcite Armorer, but also for reasons not its fault.

otherwise ones that i know im not as big a fan of but like enough to use the excuse to mention are;
>Hive Mistress;
cant NOT like our main class, and minions can be fun. that said, if i had been given a different ranged option at the beginning i'd of taken it instead, as i feel this class is funner as a secondary than a core, personally.

>Humoral Paladin;
the sub classes are a very neat idea, and the way it 'takes control' of a kits growth is neat too. but I and others have had trouble properly thinking up abilities for all the classes, and i think NPCs we have met also seem to lean towards some more than others, so its hard to feel it can be untilited as much as its subclass system makes you think.

>Phantasmal Conduit;
just feels like a funner Neuromancer, and also feels like as the Quest has gone forward intentionally or not has aspects that tie into the overall idea of how the universe actually works more than other classes.

>Vitruvian and Skintalker;
Both are neat in many aspects but both also by their nature can make it very difficult in some ways to properly diversify their potential creatively.
>>
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>>5008627
>>5008620
ah, i got Bamboozled.
the pain, the wounding...
go on... without me... bros....
>>
>>5008620
Is it cheating to say "Hybrids"? I think a lot of the classes are really neat, but they become most interesting to me when combined together. You get these weird cross-class synergies that make some really novel ideas. The best is when two classes you wouldn't expect to go together get hybridized, because then it has to be something really weird coming out of it.

But if we're talking about specific individual classes? Well, I'm fond of Unnatural Predator. Animal motifs are a great way to get some varied abilities and interesting physical transformations. In general I like any class that gets sufficiently monster-y, and Predator is the best at that. I kind of regret that we haven't invested much into Unnatural Predator, but by the time we had found any good selection of them we had already started to settle into party roles that they didn't fit into. Too bad. At least we've got the Hyenas being a bunch of cool Predator gals, what Razor said about her transformation sounds pretty awesome.

I'm also fond of Humoral Paladins. It's a flexible class that encourages some symbolic thinking about how the abilities could manifest. All the abilities are something to do with the humors, but if you want the ability to be interesting you have to think about what the themes associated with those humors are instead of just throwing ichor around everywhere. And the way that Humoral Cores bend all the Daughter's other abilities towards a concept, maintaining thematic cohesion as they grow, is just awesome. Probably frustrating to deal with, I applaud the Midnight Crew for managing to expand out of their base roles some, but still awesome.

Finally, Vitruvian has some appeal to me because I like thinking about how its relatively-focused concept can extend to other abilities. Vitruvian is about wholeness of the body. That makes a lot of sense for pure defense, but what else can it do? Figuring out how a defensive ability can become something more is a fun thought exercise. Like Rath's Tensile Strands, I love that shit. I don't regret hybridizing it into Indignant Ignition, because that thing is amazing, but I do wonder how far the Strands would have developed if we had kept at it.
>>
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>>5008628

>>BAMBOOZLE HALO COUNTER - ACTIVATED
>>
>>5008652
which Halo would be most likely to manifest as one like that anyways?
we know its not the Neuro or Calcite. Calcite is a subdermal endoskeleton(?), despite it actually probably being my first thought.

Phantasmal maybe? the whole 'poking into the mind' idea? im talking more the shape by the way, but thinking about it if you add what those halos mean in the game aswell Phantasmal actually would fit really well, yeah.
>>
>>5008656
Skintalker. It's the class about communication.
>>
>>5008671
true, but after the Calcite one im half expecting the skintalker one to be a literal book that floats around you or behind your head. it would also be neat to see it be a halo made out of the 'written language' of skintalkers, or be a pulsing circle in sync with what the skintalker is saying with their ability.
>>
>>5008675
Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you meant which Halo would do a Bamboozle Counter. You meant a Halo like in that Darkest Dungeons image, I get it.

Then yeah, maybe Phantasmal. Maybe nothing would have that particular appearance, there's only so much head real estate. Granted, Charon made the Halos with the assumption that any given person would only have one, but for the narrative possibility of a person having multiple it makes the most sense if they're of very different appearances. There's already a literal halo in the Generating Halo, and the Neurotic Halo is by default worn as a circlet, so yeah, probably best to avoid the head. I like your idea of the Skintalker Halo being a floating book following the user around, like Grimoire Weiss from Neir. That's a cool image. My own guess for unexpected Halo manifestation is that the Predator Halo is actually a flower. It was made for Velen, whose Unnatural Predator form is a plant, so it wouldn't be all "red in tooth and claw". A flower, or a frond, or a seed cone...depends on what Hexane botany was like, but it should be some plant feature.
>>
>>5008620

If i was completely non biased i would say the Paladins due to their variety and potentially complex and mutually beneficial interactions with allies.

However i am completely biased person and as such will say the Unnatural Predator's are my favorites and that is mostly because i write Mina/Selene and I am an absolute Sucker for Beastladys even if they have dipped quite a lot into the monstrous.

Classes i am fascinated by are the Vitruvians. Mostly because they do really weird stuff while staying technically human and their psychology makes them quite unstable while they are one of the more durable physical classes.

Other than that i love the Calcite Armorers due to the sheer variety one could make with those constructs. Everything is on the table technically they could create a Mech for themselves or even transform into one if they hybridise enough. Or might build a tank or something Or become a force in either close quarters or at range. The specialization with them is much more obvious than with other calsses i feel like. Mostly because they are pretty straightforward in their basic principle.

Also took a while to answer since my players finally finished the horror adventure i had started with them.... They actually managed to defeat the Slasher quite quickly even with the Bloodmoon powers i gave her..... Hexblades are bullshit btw.
>>
>>5008736
you know, not sure why, but your post made me think of a really odd point.
which is our party is actually a really really bad example of how the Class and Ability system is supposed to work.
>>
>>5008747
Could you elaborate on that? And maybe why you feel like that?

I am not sure i follow.
>>
>>5008757
well, to be fair, thinking on it, its more of just abilities, its just those relate to classes too.

its that due to the relic Mara gave us, we no longer have a limited selection of Abilities to choose from when we choose said option, and we no longer have those abilities altered by the person choosing them. both of those drastically change how our kit has ended up compared to a natural one.
even with hybrids, we have easier access to fixing mistakes and doing experiments, though that one isnt as difficult for everyone to get access too, but certainly probably never to the level we do.

I guess in terms of the classes at their core, this isnt as big an issue yeah, though it still makes us not the best example.
>>
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>>5008768
okay thank you for your Elaboration. I agree in that case with you.

Maras Gift really changed the entire dynamic around Level Up.... and made those Sessions truly titanic pieces of work.

though that is not something most people would notice probably.

>>5008609

>Her methodology is rather similar to some of the cruelest Flesh Artisans that are stalking close to the Cord, actually.

well that happened completely on accident then. She is not exactly evil just callous and ruthless in the pursuit of her art.
>>
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>>5008620
YES.
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>>5008863
i cant tell if this is an edit or not because the face just doesnt fit but other details imply its on purpose.
>>
>>5008877
Honestly, the closer you look at him, the more you realize Kirby fits into this setting. A flesh-colored ball who eats his enemies and gains their powers? The description alone is 100% Crucible.
>>
>>5008945
oh absolutely.
in a funny way him actually being friendly and really cute also fits very strongly.
>>
>>5008945
He's even shaped like a friend, and very affectionate to those he likes. The only difference between him and us is that we don't get new hats when we eat people. Maybe we could make a Flesh Artisan/Gluttonous hybrid for that.
>>
>>5008957
I burst out laughing at that thought

>"Hey, why did you make that one ability that spawns a hat on your head?"
>"To spawn a hat on my head."
>"...no but like... what does it do?"
>"spawns a hat on my head when i consume another beings flesh."
>"thats it?"
>"Yup."
>"..."
>"..."
>"...girl you told me you maxed that ability out my god."
>>
>>5008960
They're really nice hats.
>>
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Name: Jester The cackling Dancer

Class: Flesh Artisan/ Vitruvian/ Phantasmal Conduit Hybrid (Dancing Mad)

Appearance: Jester appears to be wearing a medieval clown costume and always smiles just a bit too wide to be entirely comfortable. Her pale skin is only marred by a single scar she seems to be showing off almost like a sign of pride. The only clue that her outfit is more than just pieces of fabric are the fluctuating red marks all over them.

Behavior: Jester is a huntress though with an unconventional style. She loves the thrill of the hunt more than anything else and if those hunts turn into a deadly game of cat and mouse all the better for it. She has few friends but several hunting partners that she trusts with her life. She also loves Music and often approached Kassy to sing for her.

Fighting Style: Jester approaches every fight with her own Choreography in mind and usually operates alone when not involved in a specific hunt someone else already claimed. Once combat is joined her power dictates the engagement. Music starts to play and echoes across the battlefield and all must follow the tact she provides or they will be severely punished for it. One missed step is often all it takes for her to combo her enemies into a chain of errors that will ensure their ruination, blasting them with a combination of Knifes and her own Cloak that comes alive to violently correct every missed step the enemy makes.

Pre-Crucible Life: Jessica was known as Jester before the crucible hit earth and was an ambitious entertainer starting her career in the seedier parts of London's clubs and sometimes made the music accompanying her apperances herself.

Crucible Life: She awoke in one of Londons clubs and made her way through the brutal meritocracy that had taken foot there and up into the upper Echelons sonn finding herself growing bored of the weak Amalgams that now spawned within the city limits. She moved to Dover once she heard that the tunnels and surrounding area were infested with strong Amalgams to once again find something that held a thrill for her. She still sometimes wonders what happened to London, the city she left behind just as it was starting to swallow all that strayed near it. She now stands as one of the last Londoners to still be alive and she is loving her life.

Music listened to while creating this daughter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkmwhfuX1-g&ab_channel=GeoffPlaysGuitar

Well for those that have read journeys they might recognize this daughter. While writing the latest chapter she just started to appear in my mind for some reason and so i wrote a breakdown of her character.
>>
>>5010553
It's just not a post-apocalyptic horror world without a creepy harlequin somewhere. Though she sounds like she's actually not too creepy, just a bit too intense. Nice work.
>>
(Hello, Everyone - the next update goes live tomorrow at 10AM, Eastern time. I look forward to seeing you then!)

>>5010553
(Oh, absolutely marvelous.)
>>
>>5007878

Gina gives you a quick kiss on the cheek before she fizzles out of view, mind joining her body back in the real to check on your allies...while you pose a question to the being hovering before you.

“Ziz...you’ve answered so many of our questions, but do you have any of your own you’d like answered?” You ask, the disparity of the situation dawning on you.

>>Oh!

>>I should, shouldn’t I?

>>Um, I…

Ziz’s anxiety flares, the psychedelic landscape vibrating at the edges of your vision as the Apocalypse Amalgam—a being of such devastating power that it was tasked with repelling threats beyond imagining— frantically searches for something to say, as though caught flat-footed in an interview.

“It’s okay if you don’t. No worries, okay?” You assure, when Ziz’s single shadowed eye alights with inspiration.

>>Ah!

>>I know!

>>You have asked me of my siblings.

>>What of yours?

“Ha, well…” You hesitate, briefly wondering if the circumstances of your awakening would make Sam the closest thing you’ve got to one. “...I didn’t have any siblings before the Crucible, but I found one all my own after it came.”

>>Ah.

>>And what of your creator?

>>Actually, wait!

>>I have one I want to ask more.

>>Is that alright?

You have to keep yourself from laughing at Ziz’s excitement. “You answered so many of mine, so go right ahead.”

>>How many cycles have you experienced?

“Well, I’m...hrm.” You hesitate, realizing that what’s been asked doesn’t really apply to you in the traditional sense. “This body technically has over twenty...solar cycles...under its belt, but my mind is only about a month or so old at this point.”

>>Solar cycles?

>>Your sun experiences metamorphosis?!

Ziz gasps, clearly impressed.

“N-no. Age is measured by how many revolutions our planet’s had around our sun. I take it when you say ‘cycle’ you mean each iteration of his Crucible, right?” You ask, and the egg tilts up and down with an imitated nod.

(Continued)
>>
>>5011271

“If I may, Ziz?” Francine speaks up beside you. “From what I’ve gathered, you and your siblings are the protectors of this strain of Crucible. Did your creator make different protectors for the other strains?”

>>There are variations of myself, Behemoth, and Leviathan in each strain!

>>Always three.

>>Always the same powers.

Ziz replies, clearly more comfortable with answering questions than posing them.

>>We cannot communicate with our counterparts.

>>But we were told that when She was found, we could choose our own path.

“Your own path?” Francine echoes, intrigued. “How so?”

>>Once we arrived back home.

>>Some iterations could elect to merge, if they were similar enough.

>>Some could remain as they were, no longer tied to the Project.

>>Free to venture out to live as they pleased.

>>Others could…

>>…choose eradication, if they felt it necessary.

“…I see.” The good doctor murmurs, her sharp chin held between thumb and forefinger. “So your Project concludes when ‘She’ is found? Is it at the first instance? Or is it merely your individual Crucible that would return home?”

>>We would all be called home.

>>The Project only needs one.

>>For my Creator’s task to conclude.

“Ziz...how many cycles old are you?” Francine asks suddenly.

>>Oh, I…

>>I’m…

>>...oh.

>>I’m...I’m sorry, I don’t-

Francine raises her hand to put a stop to Ziz’s sudden spasm of anxiety. “That’s quite alright, Ziz.”

Then to you, privately; “I don’t wish to push Ziz too far, but I suspect there’s only so much data that can be retained across multiple Crucibles, and the Apocalypse Amalgams’ memories are truncated down to the bare essentials in order to save room. For what, I couldn’t say. Alternatively…”

[Entropy’s taking its toll?] You finish, an almost imperceptible tilt of Francine’s brow letting you know you’re both on the same page. [If whatever created the Crucible was trying to escape death, I’d guess that even their tool to escape it wouldn’t last forever]

“My thoughts precisely. Perhaps the issues we’re experiencing with our iteration of the Crucible—the Deprived, the Amalgam intelligence paradox, the Silver Key, and Jackie's odd blade—are the result of entropy’s contribution to countless iterative errors across equally countless iterations of this strain.”

A troubling thought, but Francine’s hypothesis could answer some questions...while posing yet others. In any case, Ziz appears to be waiting expectantly for you to either ask another question or make some sort of move.

>>Ask Ziz something else that’s on your mind (Write-In).

>>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)

(I do hope everyone's weekend went well, and that you also had a pleasant Monday to ease you in to the week.)
>>
>>5011272
>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.
>do psit the question first if Ziz can communicate properly in the real world, or if you'll need to form a work around for that.

>>5011273
Boring to both but better than stressful for sure.
>>
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>>5011273
The weekend I had objectively was nice.

But I had bouts of depression stemming from a great deal of cosmic horror in the form of Climate change anxiety/doom that's been strangling my motivation for months now. Occasionally I've been able to beat it back temporarily, but it's still there.

Quite ironic isn't it? Here I'm reading/participating in a quest of body horror and cosmic horror that I've grown used to with aplomb and yet I can barely handle the cosmic horror of life and the future itself outside of this quest.
>>
>>5011272

>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.
>do posit the question first if Ziz can communicate properly in the real world, or if you'll need to form a work around for that.
> If Ziz needs help see if you can tune a Comling to its frequency and act as a relay.

>>5011273
Monday was........ a wash. Warning rant I overslept and due to the wonderful thing that is public transportation in th eearly hours i could not simply take the next bus. I had to take bus walk ten minutes to another busstop then get on another bus and drive to my destination..... sounds easy? Well the second busdriver decided "Sc**w my planned route" and promptly diverted his course in the other direction. I got out as soon as i could and then had to walk for another twenty minutes till i reached work. I was almost an hour late.

today was nice though. picked up another couple hundred magic cards and ordered another 300 tokens to make more DND tokens. So yeah with this back on the menu the day is shaping up nicely even with a headache.
>>
>>5011272
>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.
>>
>>5011288
sorry to hear about your depression, hope you can get a handle on that. you've made it through all the nonsense going on so far so dont let yourself forget that.
but on that topic, not to dower your mood but the impending supply collapse and collapse of a unified country is a much closer worry than that by a long shot.

your digits are a VERY disturbingly well timed get if you know what they mean, by the way.
>>
>>5011272
>>>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.

Unless someone has some clever questions to ask.
>>
>>5011272
>Ask Ziz something else that’s on your mind (Write-In)
>Do you have an idea where Leviathan and Behemoth are at and where they're heading to?
>>
>>5011272
Okay, so they are forks, and there are indeed billions of Crucibles. Darn. I was hoping we were wrong about that, and that there was still plenty of non-ravaged worlds in this galaxy. Also, poor Ziz, having existential cloning blues.

>>Go back to the real and introduce Ziz to your family in person.
>do posit the question first if Ziz can communicate properly in the real world, or if you'll need to form a work around for that.
> If Ziz needs help see if you can tune a Comling to its frequency and act as a relay.

>>5011288
Ha. I know that feeling. The world can be pretty worrying. Sorry to hear that you're having problems with depression, I'm often in that headspace myself and it's not something I'd wish on anyone else.

It makes sense that this fictional world of horrors is a relief from that, I suppose. Shu might be up against something terrifying, but at least it's something she can fight. There's a degree of agency to her situation that most of us don't have for the problems of the real world.
>>
not the usual horror esque but seemed like something people here would like.
Koutetu Yarou if you want more robo gals, some much more horrorish.

>>5011359
yeah, leave it to BHOP to make me feel bad for a giant mass murdering multi-part bird monster.
>>
>>5011378
Yeah, there's a lot of neat art of robot ladies, plenty of fodder for the Disassociated and any other cyborgs out there. My problem is finding something for Ziz. I went looking over the weekend and found very little. I knew that I wouldn't find something exactly like them, but just getting an eldritch monster with wings is hard, let alone one that looks avian.
>>
>>5011272

“Ziz, I’d like to introduce you to my family, if you’d be alright with that.” You forward, turning to Ziz as their eye widens excitedly.

>>Yes!

>>Yes of course!

“I hoped so, but I wanted to ask first.” You chuckle. “Are you able to communicate in the real world as freely as we have been in here?”

>>That…

They pause, staring off into the distance for a half-second.

>>…is a good question.

>>I can try!

>>I *will* try!

“If not, it’s no trouble. We’ve got plenty of workarounds.” You assure the one-eyed egg hovering before you. “Francine and I will be right back, okay?”

The edges of she shell’s ‘eye’ crack again as Ziz smiles while you reach out across the Crimson Cord.

[Gina, if you’ve got a sec, then I think it’s time we-]

“-come back.” You finish, the words falling out of your mouth in the real. A sweep of the area reveals November helping Tina out of the pit they’ve dug, while Dorian checks on Calliope’s forces alongside Gina. Amara hasn’t left your side or let go of your hand throughout the whole ordeal, her Joyous now scurrying out of the hole as Rath erupts from its depths.

“What’s this about us not needing the hole?!” She snarls, hands glowing white-hot and sizzling where she’s planted them on her hips.

“Ziz…the Apocalypse Amalgam…is open to communication.” You explain, drawing a collection of surprised expressions from everyone that isn’t Gina or Francine. “They’re actually really sweet, and they’re the one who froze the mountain like this to keep us out of danger.”

“Aw, but I…grr.” Rath grumbles, staring into the cavernous tunnel. “And it was such a great hole, too.”

“Oh, I’m sure.” Gina replies with a smirk, joining your side.

“Fuck you, GG.” The red-head fires back, and you clear your throat to retain some semblance of order back.

“We’re no longer in any imminent danger via the mountain, and Ziz has proven to be a gentle soul despite appearances.”

“Whoda’ thunk?” Holly adds, elbowing Johanna’s ribs.

“In any case, everyone who’s comfortable with it can come along to meet Ziz, but if you’re not then you’re more than welcome to stay here.” You declare, aiming the option squarely at Calliope’s haggard team. “Ziz’s hunger field was unintentional, and they’ve turned it off for now. That said, I understand if you’re reticent to-“

“Look. The Fleshscape’s freaking weird.” Tina sighs, folding her arms as she looks to her leader’s unconscious form. “We’ve met all kinds since Calliope set up this whole guide thing, and you learn pretty quick not to judge books by covers. I‘d like to tag along, if you’re good with that.”

“We are.” You affirm, with Tina turning to Kris.

“Kris! You good with keeping an eye on everyone?” She asks, and her Armorer just gives her a solemn nod, tightening their hold on blade and buckler. “Okay. Lead the way, Defiant.”

(Continued)
>>
>>5011425

When Gina sends the go-ahead to Ziz, the ground begins to shudder beneath you. The spires that surround you begin to fold back, peeled away at the behest of a child-like protector whose titanic form looms over the misshapen cliffs. While the fog still clings to the Spine’s jagged heights, you’ve found that the path opened before you now resembles a ribcage flayed to the heavens instead of a shattered spinal column. And there, perched and looming over it all like a vulture over a sky burial is Ziz, their seven-fold beaks and septet of slate-grey eyes aimed at you and your family.

“FRIENDS!”

You can’t help but wince at the thousands of screeching voices that joyfully call out in unison, their legion making taking their owner aback as you approach.

“Oh…how is this? Is this better?” Ziz asks with a far softer tone, and you didn’t realize until this moment that a flock of bird-like tongues could sound embarrassed…or remind you of the Pyreant Queen, come to think of it. “I’m sorry. You are Shu’s family, yes?”

“Ziz, I’d like to introduce you to everyone, and vice-versa.” You say once you all arrive at the titan’s feet, their talons like transfer trucks wrapped around their perch. “You’ve already met Gina and Francine.”

“Yes! The wise ones.” Ziz coos admiringly, their flattery working wonders as Gina glows beside you.

“Rath and November.” You say, sweeping a hand aside to reveal the Neesons in their flame-and-chrome glory. “Related by blood, and two of our very best fighters and friends.”

“Ziz, it is my pleasure to meet you. Dorian, at your service.” The genteel artist declares with a bow, at you have the pleasure of watching the guardian attempt to imitate his polite mannerism with a tilt of their own enormous head…

…and it’s as they’re bowing that their multitude of eyes catch sight of the little girl at your side. Ziz just stares for a moment, all seven eyes dilating in time with Amara’s two-tone gaze. You’re about to speak when movement on your left catches your eye. Isabelle’s legs nearly give out beneath her before Uzu catches her, Johanna’s powerful arms hauling both upright as Ziz turns to your four Dream Daughters.

“…and your eyes, too.” They murmur, cacophonous voices lowered almost in reverence. “Such a pretty gree-”

Ziz suddenly rises, dull eyes blinking in random order. “I…I’m very sorry. What happened? Did my field flare up? I swear I-!“

“You’re fine, Ziz. We’re okay.” You say, your worried glance towards Isabelle resulting in a dismissive wave of her hand as she steps back from the towering thunderbird.

{Whatever that was, it wasn’t Neuromancy or Conduit-based. Wasn’t Hunger-related, either} Gina informs you, your worries made manifest across your unique bond. Amara for her part is still just staring up at the towering avian, blue-brown eyes locked on it in silent awe.

(Continued)
>>
>>5011427

“Ziz, do you know Amara?” You ask, tightening your grip on your little girl’s hand. “You said her name earlier, when we were in your mind…but you hadn’t met her, yet.”

“I…I don’t know.” Ziz admits.

“I wonder if there’s some sort of schism.” Francine wonders aloud, staring to pace in a tight circle. “A difference between Ziz’s unique personality and their original Crucible-centric programming. They recall memories with great detail, but when it comes to the actual Crucible the details are vague.”

“Ziz, do you think your siblings would be able to recall the particulars of your original mission?” You ask, and Ziz glances off into the hazy distance, the thick fog reflected in their glassy eyes.

“Leviathan would know.” Ziz laments, head hung low. “Leviathan always knows.”

“Do you know where they would be, or what they’d be doing?”

“Leviathan’s interest in the project waned after the first few cycles…they found the beings in each one far more interesting than their own mission.” The avian colossus answers. “Behemoth…I don’t know. There are few things that would be able to contest him here, but that may just make him more frustrated than anything. He’ll be looking for a challenge to test himself against or a threat to counter, sooner or later.”

“And what will you do?” You say, looking up into Ziz’s enormous eyes…and just now, you notice they’re flecked with a few earthen tones, along with a twinge of sky blue here and there. “Do you intend to keep up your patrols, or…?”

“…I do not know.” They admit with an amusing shrug of their massive, hunched shoulders. “If a threat presents itself, I will answer the call, but until then? I only came here because I sensed something related to my two prime objectives, but I still don’t know what is was that I smelled.”

Then, with determined resolve Ziz adds; “I do know this—I know I may scare Daughters that do not know me, so I will stay here for now so that I do not scare anyone. You also said that this mountain hurts people? I do not like that. So I will make it so that it will not hurt anyone anymore for as long as I rest here.”

“…Eh, Calliope will get over it.” Tina mutters behind you in an amused fashion, and you catch sight of Orwell further back from the group, furiously taking notes on the whole bizarre situation.

While the prospect of Ziz shackling themself to the Spine doesn’t exactly sit well with you, you can’t deny the number of lives that could be saved by their presence…though you suppose if you wanted to try and dissuade the kind-hearted Amalgam from their self-imposed watch, now’s the time to do it.

>>Offer your own advice on what Ziz could do now that they’re free.

>>Continue west, and ask Ziz if they’d be willing to fly you down the other side of the Spine to the nearest Waystation.

>>Bring one of your allies closer to Ziz.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four as usual.)

(Also, my apologies for the delay—we’ve had system issues all this past month due to the flooding, and our computers went out for a time today. When I went to update via Wi-Fi, I found that someone had gotten banned on 4chan, so…good times.)
>>
>>5011427
>“…and your eyes, too.” They murmur, cacophonous voices lowered almost in reverence. “Such a pretty gree-”
>Amara for her part is still just staring up at the towering avian, blue-brown eyes locked on it in silent awe.
Blue, brown and green. I thought it might be eye color, but honestly, in the Crucible who knows? It could have been skin color. Humans naturally come in brown tones, and blue and green are far from impossible now. Shu's turning green. Or it could have been clothing color, or the color of energy auras, or all sorts of things. Ziz, if you could figure out why you're drawn to these people I'd appreciate it.

>>5011430
Ah, rangebans, such a delight. No worries, BHOP, we understand.
>>
>>5011429
aww, i feel ya Rath. it was probably a spectacular escape tunnel.

and hrm... im really curious what just happened. it seems like it reacted when it saw Amara, but then it was Isabelle who physically reacted and her eyes it mentioned? thats a weird set of events involving two people i wouldn't of expected to be in the same occurrence.

also no offense to Isabelle but even with her redemption i still have very strong worries if she is at all even tangentially close to someone the bird is looking for. Amaras only a worry due to her age.

vote;
>Ask Amara if she wants to touch the bird, and if the bird is alright with that.
>secretly give her another, real life FuzzBuzz to offer as a present to Ziz, so he can cuddle in both the real and dreaming.

>Otherwise, tell Ziz you have no qualms and appreciate it making this its main nesting place, but it doesn't have to always be bound here if it wishes to explore. With you and yours help, you could easily set him up with a system so he can either know when large groups wish to pass, or setup a schedule so people know when he will be around to make the mountains safe.
>and while it doesn't have to be right now, you would like Zizs help to reach and talk to its siblings. You understand if Ziz isnt up for it, or needs time to prepare, and you're sure you could use a bit of time to do so awell, unless Ziz thinks sooner would be better than later.

>...otherwise, whisper to Ziz that if he offered Amara a ride down the mountain on his back he would probably get to see an amazing reaction from her.
>>
>>5011430
ah, the good ol 'ive never been here or posted from here before but 4chan already banned me' situation. fun times.
>>
>>5011430
>bhop's company suffered flooding issues.
that's not good at all.
>someone within Wi-fi IP range got banned on 4chan in Bhop's company
Gee I wonder who that could be?
>>
>>5011447
(...I'll be totally honest, sarcasm has never been my strong suit. I mean, I never post on 4chan aside from the Quest, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that it could in fact be me if that's what's insinuated.)

(Although there's several more people that work next door, so I could see that being the problem. It's happened around here before, actually.)
>>
>>5011429
Supporting >>5011440

>>5011430
happened to me on my company's wifi last year... before it got restructured. I suspect our then inpromptu IT guy that was the least technically inept person they found in the department and docred all the computer stuff on. and he probably browsed 4chan regularly

Helping him migrate over 30 new computers was FUN

I do hope those problems get resolved soon. flooding is no joke for computers.
>>
>>5011440
Supporting >>5011440 with the addition of

>Tell Ziz that the FuzzBuzz doubles as a communicator, so if they get bored or lonely they can give us a call. We can't guarantee that we'll always be available, but if we are we'd be more than happy to talk with them.

Also, as an aside, what pronoun set does Ziz prefer? They consistently referred to Leviathan as a "they", but Behemoth as "he". That implies the Apocalypse Amalgams do have a concept of gender. We've been using the neutral "they", but does Ziz have a preference?
>>
>>5011288
(I'm sorry to hear things have been rough...I'm glad the Quest can serve as something of a distraction/outlet, though. It certainly does for me.)

>>5011290
(While I don't envy the chaos of your Monday, I'm glad to hear the token manufacturing is going well!)

>>5011378
>>5011381
(Hey, I'm always up for mechs and mech-adjascent art. I'm building up some side folders for tech and magical girl art for when and if I ever run either of the other Quests I've got in mind for when I've done everything in Body Horror Quest.)

(Though to be fair, thats a long way out.)
>>
>>5011458
you accidentally double linked my post instead of BHOPs.

>>5011460
just quit your job so you can run all three at the same time!
>>
>>5011474
>you accidentally double linked my post instead of BHOPs.
Yes, so I did. Whoops.

>>5011429
BHOP, I voted this >>5011458
>>
>>5011474
(...a dangerously tempting proposition, I'll admit.)

(Or I could just double, triple, and quadruple down on this one.)

>>(Hello, Everyone. I hope you had a great hour. Voting shall remain open for the next two minutes, with posting to resume in three.)
>>
>>5011483
>(Hello, Everyone. I hope you had a great hour. Voting shall remain open for the next two minutes, with posting to resume in three.)
oh lord now im just imagining waking up in a dark room strapped down to a computer that only allows for this quest to be open.

>"we WILL finish this quest in a month. every delay means someone loses a finger. hey, stop crying, how do you expect to type properly through so many tears!?"
>>
>>5011485
Over time, we lose our sense of reality. Did the lives we lived before the dark room ever exist? Has there ever been anything other than the dark room? Perhaps it was all a dream. Perhaps we are but dreams. And when the quest ends, we will wake, and find ourselves to be no more.
>>
>>5011483
>>5011485
please. don't remind me the veins where we had spent hours and sleepless nights holding council on Level ups. I kinda like the comfy slow burn pace we're going at.

Also, Uncle Death would not be out of place in the Crucible as a zany yet unnerving guide to any newborn daughter in the Crucible.
>>
>>5011491
ill both very much miss those level up sessions and also never regret any changes that shorten their length. its a weird set of contradictory emotions im feeling on that one.
>>
>>5011485
>>5011487

(...this would actually make for a good Daughter, come to think of it.)

>>5011491
(I rather enjoy this pace, myself. It's a lot more manageable for me, and I'm not stressing out nearly as much as I was.)

(Also, Uncle Death is, in my opinion, my favorite iteration of Death I've seen thus far.)
>>
(Everyone, I shall be updating as soon as I am able, likely within the next hour as I finish cooking dinner after an overly long drive back home. Thank you for your patience, one and all.)
>>
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>>5011429

“Amara…do you want to go up and say hello to Ziz?” You ask, kneeling down to bring yourself eye-to-eye with your ward. She starts nodding emphatically, and with that you voice the question aloud to the prospective recipient of her attentions. “Ziz, do you mind if Amara here comes a little closer?”

“Of course she may!” The amalgam exclaims, and you send Amara off with a present to gift the kindly being…one in the dream, one in the real.

Amara trots over, miniscule in scale compared to the guardian the ever-so-gently leans down, bringing their main beak to the ground to get as close as possible to your tiny charge. Without saying a word, she thrusts your freshly-birthed FuzzBuzz aloft, Ziz’s eyes gleaming with delight as the fluffy swarmling flits over to rest on their beak.

“Another one! This is a wonderful day!” Ziz exclaims, just on the verge of their ‘inside voice’ becoming loud enough to cause physical pain this close to the source. “I will care for it, and snuggle it like Shu said, and-“

“I’m sorry!”

Amara’s sudden confession catches you by surprise, and you’re not the only one. Ziz’s head cocks to one side, leaving the rest of your family just as taken aback as you are.

“I’m sorry I was mad at you.”

Ziz’s head cocks to the other side, at this. “Wh-...why were you mad at me?”

“When you went close to a town, everybody got scared. But more than that, it interrupted Aunt Julia and Uncle Dorian’s date!” Amara explains, pointing back at your painter fiend who looks for all the Crucible like a deer in the headlights. “I got really mad at you then, and I’ve been mad ever since.”

“...I’m so sorry, Amara.” Comes Ziz’s genuine apology, lowering the rest of its body in an attempt to bring itself closer to Amara’s height...an admirable task, if an impossible one.

“No, that’s...that’s not what I’m trying to say.” Amara says, clearly frustrated. “I’m not good with words like Mom is, but I was mad at you for something you couldn’t control! And now I made you feel bad because I was mad...and I had a reason to be mad. A good one! But...but I thought you were mean, and I was wrong. You’re really nice! I’ve messed up before, and I did it again, both with people that ended up being really, really nice to me, and Mom, and everyone! You didn’t know, and now I feel bad for being mad when you were just...lonely. Lost, and lonely.”

“No-one should be mad at you for that.” Amara adds, so softly you almost don’t hear her.

(Continued)
>>
>>5011659

“...I was lost. I was lonely. I have been for...a long time” Ziz admits. “I should have been more careful, Amara. I’m sorry for what I did, and you’re sorry for being mad. When Behemoth got angry with me, we would always apologize to each other, and then we both felt better. We tried to move on. Can we do that, too?”

Amara nods, throwing her arms wide for a hug. Ziz scoots forward a little as it can, which is still enough to bring their beak into bear-hug range.

It’s almost trite to say, but if you blinked you might’ve missed it…

…that moment when Ziz’s eyes glimmer with earthen browns and breathtaking blues.

“I don’t have any qualms about you making a nest of the Spine. I appreciate it, actually….you’ll be helping a lot of people.” You announce, drawing closer to your new ally as Amara steps back, wiping her eyes with the backs of her hands. “We might even be able to set you up with a system so you can either know when large groups wish to pass, or set up a schedule so people know when you’ll be around to make the mountains safe.”

Ziz’s agreement is emphatic, as you suspected it would be…which leads you to your second point.

“Also…while it doesn't have to be right now, I’d also like to help you reach out and talk to you siblings.”

“Now, I understand if you’re not up for it, or if you need time to prepare. I’m sure we could use a bit of time to do so, too…unless you think sooner would be better than later?”

“Waiting…waiting is good.” Ziz hastily replies. “It has been several cycles since we last spoke. I...would like some time to prepare, I think.”

“Absolutely.” You affirm, and Ziz raises to their full height, this time turning their seven-fold gaze westward.

“You are going to the west.” They intone. It’s no inquiry, but rather a statement of fact—true for most Daughters who’ve accumulated as much power as you and your family. “You don’t have too long, now...but you deserve to see what you’re working towards.”

With that, Ziz’s seven wings stretch out to their full span, held there for a moment in awe-inspiring glory before they’re swept forwards in a singular, decisive stroke. For the third time Ziz clears the skies of the ever-present fog, but here? Atop the Spine, both land and sky is laid bare before you...

...and for the first time, you see it.

It takes you a moment to understand the scope of it. To blink, and realize it is no optical illusion, no trick of the eye. So distant that the details are lost, the sheer breadth of the thing looms skyward, disappearing into the scarlet haze that obscures even the world’s womb. The accursed umbilical cord that’s tied humanity to an inhumane task...to scale this impossible thing. To ascend as a shackled god, and repeat the cycle anew.

There, at the end of all things...you will make a heaven of hell.

The Cord, in its terrible glory.

(Continued)
>>
>>5011662

A vast desert stretches below you, grey sands rolling lazily towards an indistinct horizon. It’s almost as if you’re staring out to sea, the width of the Cord like the looming lighthouse of some far-off god. You and your family just...stare at it, for a long, silent moment, eyes trying to pierce the haze that’s accumulated near its base. It’s a dark red distortion, distant arcs of lighting lancing through the fog of war that’s settled around the perpetual battlefield that’s surrounded the Cord. The one you’ll have to fight through, to accomplish your goal.

You’re staring at it even as the Spine’s own haze reclaims the mystery, concealing it once more from view as you step forward and place a hand on Ziz’s claw.

“Thank you, Ziz. I appreciate that.” You say, fixing your face into an appreciative smile, aimed skyward.

“It is nothing, Shu.” They reply, cocking their head to one side yet again as you grin, gesturing for them to come closer. They lean down to whisper as quietly as they can...which you immediately regret as a single chick slaps its way out from Ziz’s mouth, its pale, blind body covered in goosebumps as its crooked beak opens next to your ear.

“Yes?” Ziz asks in a stage-whisper.

“If it’s not too much to ask, do you think you could give Amara a ride down to the bottom of the mountain? I think she’d really enjoy that.”

“OF COUR-!” Ziz catches themself, limiting their reply to the avian mouthpiece closest to you. “Of course! There’s even room for you and the rest of your family! I would be happy to!”

{Calliope’s making a solid recovery, and her team’s actually not bad in a pinch} Gina interjects when she feels your mind starts its logistical whirring that she knows so well. {I think they’ll be fine from here on out, if you wanted to get going and find a Waystation...OR}

[Or?]

{I could take care of things up here while Calliope wakes up, and you could fly down with Amara...I know it’d mean a lot to her} She adds, eyes twinkling at you.

>>Make the descent alongside Amara…it’s not every day you’ll get a chance like this.

>>Stay by Gina’s side as Calliope regains consciousness.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume at approximately 12PM tomorrow, which leads me to my second point. I have some work-related errands to run early tomorrow morning and I’m feeling rather unwell this evening. Additionally, due to that and some unexpected guests I'll be having tomorrow evening, I believe that I’ll be posting a maximum of two updates tomorrow. I’ll let everyone know when the plans firm up, and I appreciate your patience with three unexpected interruptions...rest assured that they won’t keep me at bay for long.)

(I wish you a restful evening, and take care one and all.)
>>
>>5011663
>Make the descent alongside Amara…it’s not every day you’ll get a chance like this.
>Shu, Amara, and Sir Fuzzbuzz rides on Ziz.
>Sir Fuzzbuzz sits nexts to Amara while Shu rides behind the two of them. Shu using her Hundred Handed arms to steady and anchor herself on Ziz while she holds Amara and Sir Fuzzbuzz on her lap.

MOTHER DAUGHTER BONDING TIME AND IT WILL BE ADORABLE AND WHOLESOME AND I WILL NOT BE DENIED BY WAFF.
>>
>>5011663
...did Amara just tame-connect-link with Ziz?
i mean... ok sure i technically trust Amara its just theres reasons besides trusting either of them to worry about that and what it might mean.

vote;
>how long does Calliope need?
>...or more importantly, how stable is she? because if you could allow her to wake up getting a ride from a titan, it might just be a look worth seeing.
>Plus, they may not NEED it, but getting a ride off the mountain probably wouldn't be something her group would be against, given everything.

>>5011664
hey its fine, if you're not feeling well get some rest. you do what you gotta do and enjoy your time with others tomorrow.
and if you do get sick, rest and i hope its a damn good rest.
>>
>>5011663
God damn, was that adorable. Ziz, you are one wholesome-ass enormous doombringer. I'm a little disappointed that you weren't a boss fight, it's a bit anticlimactic this way, but it's cute enough that I don't mind.

>>5011664
That's fine, BHOP. I hope you have a nice time with your guests tomorrow. Thanks for running, and have a nice evening.

>>5011669
>...did Amara just tame-connect-link with Ziz?
Looks like it. Ziz did say that The One that they've been searching for would have companions that they would resonate with and become the steeds of.

>>5007875
>>He said She would not be alone.
>>She would have others like Her, and to them…
>>We would be their chariots, to ride alongside Her to Her self-appointed task.
>>My siblings and I would resonate with those by Her side.
>>He told me that I would know when I saw them.
>>All that would be left would be for them to take our reigns.

So, uh, yeah. Amara just amped her anime quotient up even higher by bonding with this ancient doom-beast. She's already a psychic cat-eared magical girl trained in ninjutsu by an alien, now she's also the chosen pact partner of one of the three great Titans.
>>
>>5011684
well i guess step one of three+ complete?
even though we have no idea what these steps are for or if we want to be taking them... well, wouldn't be the first time we've taken something and done our own thing with it i suppose.
>>
>>5011684
>>5011669
....no....no way....this is such a fucking plot twist that just dawned on me in terms of my hunches. What if Amara turns out to be the one who inherits the "Mother of All" title and Shu is the one who raised her? Then what would that make Shu?

But if Ziz is already attuned to Amara, then who would Leviathan and Behemoth attune to? Another thing, Shu didn't attune with Ziz, Amara did.

>>5011664
Pace yourself Bhop. One update a day would be enough for us, no need to push yourself when you know you have a LOT on your plate.
>>
>>5011703
Check what Ziz said again. "My siblings and I would resonate with those by Her side". Not with Her, but with those with her. The Mother of All isn't meant to bond with the Apocalypse Amalgams, her party members are. So Amara attuning with Ziz rather than Shu attuning with Ziz is actually supporting evidence for it being us. I suppose it could still be a twist and it's actually a different party member, but it wouldn't be Amara. Maybe Isabel? I don't know, Ziz responded to her eyes too, so...no idea what that means. Could just be that Ziz could have bonded to multiple party members, and our choices lead to it being Amara.

As for Leviathan and Behemoth? Well, we don't know much about them yet. But if Leviathan is curious and knowledgeable, then Gina and Francine are possible candidates. And angry Behemoth could fit with Rath.
>>
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>>5011711
>And angry Behemoth could fit with Rath.

I think I can already see how *that* attuning process would go. It would be akin to two burly men punching the shit out of each other in a street fight one minute and then heading to the bar together for drinks and instantly bonding.

>Cue Behemoth and Rath beating the ever loving shit out of each other with Behemoth laying the smackdown and Rath tanking through it all and punching so high above her weight class that it actually impresses behemoth.
>>
>>5011703
well, Ziz said the titans would attune to 'her' companions, not to her, so for better or worse Ziz attuning to Amara makes sense if Shu is 'her.'
but we have a habit of breaking things and the Crucible has a habit of breaking, so who knows?

as for who for the other two?
hard to say. Behemoth is almost certainly Rath. everything Ziz has said about him just screams 'if one of our family can make him feel a hit, he'll let them ride him'. otherwise it would either be someone who can calm him down, a counter-weight as you will, so probably Julia, maaaybe Dorian. but no, probably Julia.

Leviathan is the interesting one. obviously, we could go the 'true core' route of Rath and Gina, aka, the first two+ our adopted daughter, but that sounds too straight forward, plus with that logic Julia easily fits with Ziz and would make more sense(sorta) than Amara. but otherwise Francine, Julia, and Dorian i could all see Leviathan clicking with. sure, maybe Gina and Francine more, but they also like new perspectives which artistry may give more of.
>>
>>5011717
Yep, that's more or less exactly how I imagine it, too. We go to talk to Behemoth, something sets him off into a "you wanna go?!" challenge to Rath, Rath manages to impress Behemoth by not backing down and not getting instantly smooshed.
>>
>>5011663
>>Write-In
>"Well, if you've got this...I suppose I could be a little selfish here. Thanks, babe."
>Leave an Escher's Gear spoke with the party so we can all connect back up easily.
>Say some goodbyes to Calliope's girls, it was a pleasure to meet them even if the day went really weird. We'll leave them in Gina's hands.
>>Make the descent alongside Amara…it’s not every day you’ll get a chance like this.
>>
>>5011664

dang it just a bit to late to vote. Well nothing i can do now.

And you take care of yourself OP. Getting Sick around this time of year is easy.

>>5011722
If anyone can do it it would be Rath. She has all the goodies we could give her to survive.

Another thought i had while peacefully dreaming of Boddy Horror Sheep.

Could we maybe ask Help from them? Like when it is time to get into the cord. There is the gatekeeper. Wouldn't an alliance consisting of us, Ziz and Behemoth turn him into paste if we can not negotiate our way past him?
>>
>>5011849
>Could we maybe ask Help from them? Like when it is time to get into the cord. There is the gatekeeper. Wouldn't an alliance consisting of us, Ziz and Behemoth turn him into paste if we can not negotiate our way past him?
Maybe, though the Titans are built for planetary siege warfare and not fighting human-scale opponents. They'd probably have trouble hitting Sargatanas without catching us in the attack, too. I suppose they could open with an alpha strike and then we fight a weakened Sargatanas. Or maybe the "be the chariots of the One's companions" part means that we'd be able to get through without having to fight. We've got authorization, sort of. Probably not authorization that Sargatanas would recognize, but who knows?
>>
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>>5012004
hmm sounds like a plan.

I was actually thinking that Sargatanas would probably be somewhat big to make sure none could pass in Groups. Since daughters can grow pretty big i thought he might be able to block the entire door.

That might have been a somewhat big assupmtioons as you pointed out.

But using them as an Alpha strike would be neat.

Also we might be able to ride Ziz up the cord and just blast our way through at the top level just jumping the entire interior or at least the biggest part. But that is probably wishful thinking
>>
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>>5012129
>I was actually thinking that Sargatanas would probably be somewhat big to make sure none could pass in Groups. Since daughters can grow pretty big i thought he might be able to block the entire door.
I'm imagining that the gate is malleable, growing or shrinking to match whoever approaches. Probably actually oversizes itself, too, to be properly imposing for any entrant. Likewise, I'd expect that Sargatanas himself can adjust his form to be optimized against any Daughter who tries to force the gates. It's the most reliable way to deal with the enormous variety of builds that could come to challenge him.

>Also we might be able to ride Ziz up the cord and just blast our way through at the top level just jumping the entire interior or at least the biggest part. But that is probably wishful thinking
That would be nice. But I figure we'll need to crawl through a fair bit of the Cord on our own anyway as we map it out. We know the nerve cluster we need to hack is near the top, but we don't know exactly where. It is as wide across as a state, after all, plenty of room to explore. Ziz might let us skip some levels, but only so much.
>>
>>5012129
>>5012149
plus, its not like flying is off the table for Daughters, so its gotta already be prepared to stop cheaters like that. the Titans are powerful of course, but we also cant forget in terms of 'overpowering' such anti-cheat systems they expect anyone able to enter let alone win to be pretty freaking strong too, so i wouldn't be surprised is said systems could even at least put up a fight against the Titans.
>>
>>5012156
True. We know that there are anti-flight defenses in general, a bunch of Amalgams that hang out in the upper atmosphere. Right now they recognize Ziz as one of their own and leave them alone, but if Ziz was ferrying passengers up the Cord? We'd have to fight our way up there regardless. And you're right, the defenses would be even denser around the Cord.

Also, the upper levels of the Cord are probably in vacuum, too, given how high up they are. Getting in from the outside instead of climbing the pressurized interior would require us to invent Relic spacesuits. Which is possible, sure, but it's going to add a bunch of complications.
>>
>>5012156
>>5012163
well a false Flag operation might still allow us to skip some levels. But we will need to make sure to make a risk assessment plan when we get to the cord. Once that part of the plan starts..... well things will get super hectic.

>>5012163
hmm if it is in Vacuum then that woudl mean that the cord will probably extend outside of the envelope... or the parasite is absolutely ducking titanic in size that it still can protect its Nervecenter from radiation.

If they can not beat entropy i would assume that the best way they have to deal with radiation would be mass. and if the cord extends to far into vacuum it might become too much to properly protect it.
>>
>>5012175
you say that but we're talking a race able to make like millions if not billions of these Crucibles and have them last for hundreds of millions of years.
I dont think entropy to them means the same thing as it does to us, even if just in the scale we're able to imagine.
>>
>>5012179
radiation is still a killer. Especially hard radiation. We are so protected from that stuff down here on earth but unless the Crucible prodcues its own magnetosphere it will likely be bombarded with incredible amounts of radiation.

And while sure that race might be impossibly superior to us and is able to subvert what we assume are the laws of physics... certain things can not be changed. Positioning a computer (be it organic or not) to close to a source of radiation and its breakdown will exponentially accelerate.

They might be very good at fixing damage... but i can imagine that radiation is one of the top things that helped with the degradation of the crucibles over the eons.
>>
(Hello Everyone. It's been a hell of a day, so I'll try and update at 2PM today, as I haven't been able to even sit down and write until just now on my break. I hope your day is going well, and thank you for bearing with me.)
>>
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>>5012185
oh its been going pretty well. I have been working on integrating a touchpanel into a larger Control System..... i have to admit the training manual is actually quite useful with several practical examples.

I hope hat your day will slow down a bit form now on so you dont get run into the ground.

Don't overdo it and collapse on us OP.
>>
>>5012185
well that sucks, but i understand. hope your day takes a better turn.

>>5012182
maybe but daughters can outright not only become immune but heal from radiation. its also such a problem for space travel that i cant imagine it being a problem they didn't solve, or at least minimize to the point the amount of time a Crucible would spend on-planet would be a non issue to them. now sure, talking the hundreds of millions of years the Crucibles have been around, maybe, but still not so much they haven't lasted in the first place.

plus lets be honest. 'Nothing' is like, in some self made sub dimension or higher plane of existence that has enough power to fuel ALL the Crucibles and with plenty to spare, and said power clearly at least bends our understanding of science. im positive it was not radiation at all that is what caught up to the Crucible creators.
>>
>>5012175
>hmm if it is in Vacuum then that woudl mean that the cord will probably extend outside of the envelope... or the parasite is absolutely ducking titanic in size that it still can protect its Nervecenter from radiation.
My assumption was just that the membrane is still really high up. It's only eighty kilometers to the thermosphere, that's more or less vacuum. Well, less vacuum with the membrane there, I guess. Wouldn't be as heated up by solar radiation when there's something absorbing it. But still pretty damn thin atmosphere. The Cord doesn't need to get all the way into orbit for it to be functionally in space.

>>5012182
>We are so protected from that stuff down here on earth but unless the Crucible prodcues its own magnetosphere it will likely be bombarded with incredible amounts of radiation.
It probably does, if not some other force field. Gravity lensing is a possibility, given that we know that Crucible technology can warp space and time. The Crucible should be capable of hardening itself against radiation just fine. Though I agree that what does manage to slip through must have contributed to its degradation over time.

>>5012185
Day is going fine. Nothing major to report, just your typical day for me. Going to get the Covid-19 booster shot later today, though. I'm in an at-risk medical group.

Sorry to hear that your day has been hectic and not given you a chance to catch your breath until now. I hope things calm down soon.
>>
>>5012185
Sorry to hear that things have been hectic, BHOP. Hope you'll have a chance to sit down and rest soon, feel free to take your time with the update.
>>
>>5012185
as expected.
>>
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>>5011663

[How long does Calliope need to recover?] You hesitate, searching your girlfriend’s amethyst eyes. [Or more importantly, how stable is she?]

{She’s on the mend, and her new eyes are coming in nicely from what Kris tells me. She should be up and about soon. Why?}

[Because if she makes up aboard a titan, it might just be a look worth seeing] You reply with a smirk, and Gina’s attempt to stifle her laughter results in a little snort. [Plus, they may not NEED it, but getting a ride off the mountain probably wouldn't be something her group would be against, given everything]

“Alright Kris, where the fuck are we?” A weary voice demands behind you. You and Gina turn to find Calliope limping over to you, her league of extraordinary simps at her side as Kris and Tina prop the blonde girl up between them.

“They tell me we’re good. So…we’re good?” She ask groggily, eyes still bandaged with cloth torn from one of her allies’ shirts, streaks of dried blood still clinging to her cheeks. “Bird’s cool, yeah?”

“Yeah, we’re good.” You declare, glancing back up at Ziz as they stare down at the approaching crowd.

{Hey, you said it yourself. We’re good} Gina privately assures you, taking your hand in her own. {Go. Spend time with Amara}

[Well, if you've got this...I suppose I could be a little selfish here. Thanks, babe] You say as you hand her a bone-like spoke of Escher’s Gear, and she just laughs.

“Only you would think that taking a break is selfish.” She chuckles aloud, the two of you walking over to speak with Calliope once more.

“Calliope, Tina, Kris?” You begin, addressing the three Daughters before you. “It was a pleasure to meet you all, even if the day went…sideways.”

“Sounds like you’re leaving, yeah?” Calliope groans, trying to smile past the pain. “Gina headed out, too?”

“I’m going to be sticking around, at least until you and yours are well enough to head back down.” She answers, stepping forward after giving your hand a squeeze. “You…you up for talking?”

“…Yeah.” Calliope nods. “For real, this time.”

Leaving Calliope and her crew in Gina’s capable hands, you return to Amara and Ziz, finding Sir FuzzBuzz making lazy loops in the air above where his charge is laying on the ground.

“Please, come!” Ziz says excitedly, lowering their head to ease the journey. “I’ll show you both around a bit, and there’s a Waystation near the base of the Spine I can drop you off near when we’re done.”

Two Knightlings later, you and Amara are in place with her and Sir FuzzBuzz seated in front of you, your arms around them. The three of you are ‘strapped in’ thanks to a seatbelt of limbs courtesy of the Hundred-Handed…and once you give the signal?

You’re off.

(Continued)
>>
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>>5012234

Ziz spreads their wings, and when they dive you feel your stomach drop at the same moment Amara looses a scream of pure, unrestrained delight. The colossal avian pulls their wings close, the ashen ground hurtling towards you a breakneck speed before they flare their wings out once more, lurching you upwards as Ziz begins to fly parallel to the Spine, its imposing peaks forming a barrier to your right with the acid fog well below you.

Leaning forwards a bit brings Amara’s profile into view, her eyes shining with wonder as she just sits with her mouth frozen in a delighted grin. She’s just soaking it all in, her right arm around Sir FuzzBuzz’s impassive form as she holds him close. And you? You just close your eyes, feeling the warm air blowing through your hair, whistling in your ears, and filling your lungs with a breath you’ve grown to find more refreshing, than anything. This…this wouldn’t have been possible without a little faith. Without a child’s hope, you realize with a smile.

“Hey…I’m proud of you.” You say, quietly.

Amara turns to face you, eyes searching yours as she lets what you said sink in.

“I know you were mad at Ziz, but you didn’t let that stop you from being kind. From being…really, really good. I know it’s hard. I know it is, to push past what you feel and give people a chance. It’s harder than it looks, but you did it.” You say, her unlinking gaze locked with yours. “And I’m proud of you.”

“…I don’t feel proud.” She murmurs after a few moment’s consideration. “I hurt Lara in her forest, and I was so mad at Ziz, I-“

“It’s okay, Amara. The way the world is right now, it’s…easy, to make those kinds of mistakes.” You admit, glancing towards the Cord looming in the far-off horizon. “You, me, the rest of our family? We’re doing our best. And from where I’m sitting? Your best is pretty amazing, sweetie.”

She leans back against you, moving Sir FuzzBuzz to sit in her lap as she nestles into yours.

“…Really?” She asks, tilting her head up to look into your eyes while hers swim with doubt.

“Yes, really.” You grin, booping her on the nose before wrapping your arms even tighter around her and Sir FuzzBuzz. “And I’m sure brave Sir FuzzBuzz would back me up on this.

As if on cue the swarmling issues a high chirp as if in agreement…and that’s just the thing to bring Amara’s smile rushing back as she buries her face in his fur. The Cord towers in the distance, but right here and now?

Moments like this make it all worth fighting for.

>>Just…enjoy the moment, for right now. You’ve said what you needed to say, so just sit back and relax until Ziz drops you off at the closest Waystation to your allies.

>>Ask Amara more about her past…she seems to empathize with Ziz’s loneliness to a degree that goes beyond simple kindness.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Hello, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four.)

(I'll say that tentatively given work today and guests tonight, so once I get a clearer picture of how the day will unfold and what I'm able to get done, then I'll let let know what to expect. Thank you for your patience, participation, and kindness, one and all.)
>>
>>5012234
>her league of extraordinary simps at her side
I know i called them simps but i wasn't expecting to see it in the actual Quest. my god BHOP that caught me off guard and was a delightful laugh, thank you.

>>5012236
vote;
>Just…enjoy the moment, for right now. You’ve said what you needed to say, so just sit back and relax until Ziz drops you off at the closest Waystation to your allies.

>>5012248
sounds good. enjoy your guests BHOP.
>>
>>5012236
>>"Hey so i know i no longer can feel empathic fields. But you my awesome listener seemed to resonate with Ziz and could empathize with it through your own prejudice."
>>Leave the question unspoken in the air. If she replies to it continue carefully but if she refuses to acknowledge it just enjoy the moment.

>>5012234
>>, her league of extraordinary simps

ouch uff luckily i wasn't cutting or stirring anything while reading this because i probably would have hurt myself or lost my cooking utensils. I prepared a beautiful curry risotto for lunch tomorrow

>>5012248
Its fine i probably wont be around for much longer. need to get to sleep.... my sleep just was not restful these last few days.
>>
>>5012236
>>>Just…enjoy the moment, for right now. You’ve said what you needed to say, so just sit back and relax until Ziz drops you off at the closest Waystation to your allies.
>>
>>5012236
Man, I don't know what to vote here. I don't want to ruin the moment, but I would like it if Amara opened up to us about her past some. I guess we can ask her about it later, and have her love and trust in us as reinforced by this scene make it easier to talk to her about her past.

>>Just…enjoy the moment, for right now. You’ve said what you needed to say, so just sit back and relax until Ziz drops you off at the closest Waystation to your allies.
>>
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>>5012236

Amara seems less anxious, for now…and as she relaxes against your chest you realize you let out a sigh you didn’t know you were holding onto. It’s so quiet up here, the wind soundlessly keeping Ziz aloft at the same time it’s blowing past your ears, the sound now more of a white noise that you’ve filtered out. Gazing down, the sea of acid clouds peter out just over the rolling desert that stretches out into the distance, growing patchier as it approaches the flesh-draped ruins of a large city to the west. Movement draws your eye skyward, where just above the city’s corpse a pair of barely-visible specks flicker at high speed, the scarlet sun glinting off them as they dart and spiral about, almost playfully. To the far northwest, the desert slopes around the city, forming a straight of barren land between crumbling spires and a forest of onyx spines, their jagged thicket stretching further than your eyes can reach. On the opposite side, the grey sands stretch far to the south, tapering off into some sort of distortion that you assume could be either an oasis or a bog, depending on how the light’s glinting off the surface of the water beyond.

You lose track of time in the most wonderful way possible, and when Ziz finally lands on the opposite foot of the mountain from where you started Amara almost has to nudge you awake. An adventurous jaunt down Ziz’s feathers later (Amara insisted), you find the ground underfoot possessed of a level of sponginess that you weren’t expecting. The grey sand more resembles flakes of dead skin and shaved bone upon closer inspection, the rolling mounds of ashen debris mounted over blocky structures and ramshackle buildings.

You and Amara both wish Ziz a warm goodbye before they spread their wings once more, the resultant downdraft practically blasting the terrain clear in a flurry of white, snow-like flakes. The Waystation’s close…you can feel its abyssal pull, and with Amara’s hand clutched tight in your own, you follow it to its source. You find it by the side of a shattered street, the steady ash fall from the Spine starting obscure what Ziz’s wings only just revealed. If you had to guess this was once a bus stop, but the cavern entrance that yawns before you resembles more a classical dungeon than any waiting spot for travel.

The obsidian’s warm under your fingers, the tips grazing the arched entrance to a tunnel that’s lost to shadow. It’s almost nostalgic, the way you expect to see a pair of ruby eyes in the dark, Charon’s familiar cloaked skeletal figure floating towards you, ready to ferry you this way and that.

It’s less endearing once you realize you’re not alone.

(Continued)
>>
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>>5012435

At first, you think Amara’s somehow escaped you, slipped by your side and into the darkness beyond until your hand tightens on hers. Amara’s ears perk up, then fold back, her eyes narrowing along with yours as the silhouette of a young girl takes shape in the Waystation’s inky depths. Light hair frames a cherubic face, white teeth smiling out at you from the void. Wearing some sort of antiquated dress, she’s turning back and forth in place, the dress’s dark red frills flaring in and out as she just…smiles.
As quickly as she appeared, her outline just seems to melt back into shadow, the echo of her Cheshire grin the last trace of her before she fades from your sight completely.

“Nope!” Amara succinctly declares, tugging you back from the Waystation’s entrance and back into the red light of day, just as your allies come barreling down the mountain with Rath leading the charge. November’s hot her niece’s heels with Orwell clinging to her back, with Dorian holding his incredible speed at bay in order to keep pace with the rest of the family as a horde of Joyous dutifully trail behind him like lemmings. Isabelle brings up the rear, deftly sliding down the rest of the incline while Uzu, Holly, and Johanna follow in her footsteps. You're about to ask where Gina and Francine are when your searching glances are answered by Rath.

“GG and the Doc are making sure that Calliope ‘n her hangers-on are fit to go off on their own.” The redhead declares, leaning over to peer into the depths of the cave you just came from. “Damn, found the Waystation already?”

“Yep! There’s a ghost in it!” Amara nods.

“Ha, ‘course there is. Can’t have shit in the Crucible.” Rath darkly chuckles, ruffling the younger girl’s hair as she turns to you. “So, where to from here, Shu?”

A valid question, if not one you have an obvious answer to. Recalling the paths before you, all roads seem to lead to the Cord...though given the sheer breadth of items you’ve accumulated on your ‘to-do’ list, it might be prudent to take care of one or two of them first.

...Or maybe the Cord’ intimidating presence is a little more unnerving than you’d care to admit.


>>Continue west across the desert to the ruined city.

>>Venture northwest to the blackened grove.

>>Explore southwest, where the desert stretches past any obvious landmarks.

>>Pause for now and regroup—you’ve accomplished your goal of crossing the Spine, but there are other items on your agenda that deserve to be addressed.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be able to put out another update today, but the last part of the day suddenly cleared up enough for me to crank this one out. In any case, thank you for bearing with my weird schedule today, and I do hope the rest of your evening goes well.)

(I’m off to cook some dinner for us and our guests, so when I come back I’ll address any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. Take care, one and all.)

>>5012252
>>5012257
(Ha, I'd been saving that one for a while. I found a not of mine from before the hiatus where there were supposed to be seven of them instead of twelve, with explicit instructions to make a 'seven deadly simps' joke, but I found it too late, I'm afraid. Ah well.)
>>
>>5012437
I laughed at how Rath doesnt even hesitate. oh? the waystations haunted? is it Tuesday again already?

otherwise for goals? still got the old list we had if anyones interested, but our biggest one was actually just the three defenders, which while we still ahve two, we now are waiting a bit for Ziz on, so no rush there, sorta.

I say we keep exploring, unless people think we should check in on any of the 'daughters of note' or give Jackie that fight she wants.

for now though,
vote;
>Venture northwest to the blackened grove.

but obviously my minds pretty open to discussion.
>>
>>5012444
first off, nice digits.

and gah, that joke would've been good too.
assuming doesn't give anything away, why the increase in number?
>>
>>5012437
Oh, I remember this girl. Rosa mentioned her once. I think her name's Nerada, Doctor Who reference. Weird how I remember that, but Silence In The Library was a pretty good two-parter.

Yeah, found Rosa talking about her.

>>3895281
>"Just one of the strongest Hive Mistresses alive!" Rosa declares with a grin, one that quickly runs away from her face. "...A-aside you you, obviously. Word has it that she hybridized her Hive Core with a Gluttonous power at the same time she made her Choice, and she's just been running with that for the past year and a half. She's around maybe eight or nine, but she's practically *become* her swarm now. She usually sticks to the shadows...since she kinda looks like one, actually. A big one, at that. Billions of little spiders that can strip a Daughter to the Core in the blink of an eye."

Guess we've got a new stalker. Maybe she's interested in Shu and her Hive Mistress power, maybe she just wants to be friends with Amara as a fellow hive mind that's also a little girl. Either way, best to keep watch for her.
>>
>>5012453
I think we can probably afford to split up and see multiple locations. All ten of the currently-available party members (and Orwell) shouldn't be needed at any one spot. How about one team to the grove and one to the city?
>>
>>5012458
(Ha, I didn't even notice, to be honest. It's always nice to see, though.)

(It was a semi-biblical reference, given how Calliope is viewed by most of her crew as their Savior, making her a foil to both Shu and Gina.)
>>
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>>5012512
well... she IS on the list of people for us to meet... maybe we should just... try that right now?

assuming we dont do this
>>5012516
instead.
though as stated 5 and 5 is what i'd want to go with if we do that instead of look at made-of-spiders girl.
>>
>>5012528
(I love Chainsawman, and I have to say the expression on her torso-head just fucking obliterated me.)
>>
>>5012531
didn't know that is what it was from, but neat.
>>
>>5012528
Okay, tell me how this looks:

>>5012437
>>Write-In
>Ask Amara if the shadow girl is still there, or if she's already dispersed and/or teleported to a different Waystation.
>If she is there, call out to her and greet her, introduce ourselves and ask for her name. She's probably Nerada, but let's be polite to the endless spider-swarm.
>If she isn't, split into two teams of five. Us, Amara, Orwell, Uzu and Isabel will head to the north and check out the grove. Rath, November, Dorian, Holly and Johanna will head west and see the city.
>Also send a few Joyous accompanied by Knights to the south, to see if that distortion we saw was anything or just a Fata Morgana.
>>
>>5012534
(Chainsawman starts off like Bleach meets Demon Slayer, and by the end it turns into Doomguy in Devil May Cry while mainlining cocaine.)

(Highly recommend it, especially if you like great creature/monster design.)
>>
>>5012531
Ha, I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out. Such an intense glare.
>>
>>5012537
yeah, that sounds fine.

>>5012437
>>5012453
changing vote to support >>5012537

now watch as all the things we sent south just disappear off the face of the earth.


>>5012538
eh, i tried the first volume but it left me with a pretty mixed opinion, and some things ive heard about how it goes later didn't sound like my thing. mainly things related to the MC and the redhead. he didnt leave a great first impression and neither did his relationship with her.
>>
>>5012543
>>now watch as all the things we sent south just disappear off the face of the earth.

(How so?)

(Also, I respect that. It's not for everyone, and it's one of those things that I appreciate more on subsequent readings.)
>>
>>5012545
>(How so?)
I think they're just making a general comment on the Crucible's dangers. "Oh, we sent some scouts to investigate this weird thing, now they're all dead. Really should have seen that coming, when is a weird thing not a danger here?"
>>
(Also, as an aside; the next Dragon's Roost (or elsewhere) downtime you have, Rath is due a level-up thanks to everything is the Interlude, and some Joyous are headed your way with some spoils of their explorations.)
>>
>>5012553
Awesome.
>>
>>5012545
>(How so?)
wouldnt you be the one who could answer that?

oh wait, no, there may just be some confusion going on on our end, but possibly both.

>On the opposite side, the grey sands stretch far to the south, tapering off into some sort of distortion that you assume could be either an oasis or a bog, depending on how the light’s glinting off the surface of the water beyond.

this mentions a distortion and 'south', but the vote options says

>Venture northwest to the blackened grove.

Northwest for that, with

>Explore southwest, where the desert stretches past any obvious landmarks.
being an endless stretch which may of confused us and made us think the distortion was separate and in that direction.

the Anons vote mentioned distortion and south, and my own mind at least just assumed all that i just mentioned, at least. sounds like his may of too.
>>
>>5012557
(Oh, duh, my reading comprehension decided to briefly take its leave.)

(I appreciate the clarification, though.)
>>
>>5012559
...wait, so I did get things right?

I guess a Grove is different from an oasis or a bog, so they could be entirely different, but then the grove wasn't mentioned in the actual posts?
...or am i just befuddling and getting myself all turned around somehow?
>>
>>5012565
There's a mention a "forest of onyx spires" to the north, I think that's the grove.
>>
>>5012565
(North is the black forest.)

(South is the oasis/bog/distortion.)

(West is the ruined city.)

(My apologies if I did clarify that as well as I'd have liked.)
>>
>>5012567
>>5012568
Aaaaahhhhh
ok thats kinda my bad yeah. the 'forest of spires' didnt make me think of an actual forest, but like it was more of a metaphor or comparison.
so because of that, my mind thought an oasis/bog fit a 'grove' better and though the grove was that, leaving a gap and mixing up the directions.
though i will say using the same words/descriptions in the story and in the options is probably a good idea.

>>5012567
that said confusion sorted out, i wanted to visit the bog/oasis in my original vote and still do now.
>>
>>5012573
>that said confusion sorted out, i wanted to visit the bog/oasis in my original vote and still do now.
I worry about getting waylaid if it turns out to be just a mirage. We could have the Many carry a Gear spoke so that if they do find something we can teleport to them, though.
>>
>>5012437
>>5012453
>>5012543
amending vote again to;
>Ask Amara if the shadow girl is still there, or if she's already dispersed and/or teleported to a different Waystation.
>If she is there, call out to her and greet her, introduce ourselves and ask for her name. She's probably Nerada, but let's be polite to the endless spider-swarm.

>If she isn't, split into two teams of five.
>> Us, November, Rath, Uzu and Isabel will head to the south and check out the bog. Get out Novembers tank to help us cross that desert stretch faster and cleaner.
>>Dorian, Amara, Orwell, Holly and Johanna will head west and see the city.
>>>Also send a few Joyous accompanied by Knights to the northwest, to check out the Grove.
>>
>>5012579
i mean maybe. dont think we would've seen a mirage from up high like that, and not like we can get dehydrated either... well ok im sure some daughter out there hands out dehydration stacks but you know what i mean.
>>
>>5012579
>>5012586
a natural mirage obviously.
a fake daughter or relic spawned one sure, but in many ways that would be just as much something for us to investigate as a bog would be.
wouldn't be good bait either. i mean, we dont need water, so why make it look like a stereotypical desert bog/oasis. if it is a trap, we're 100% telling said girl shes uncreative as hell.
>>
>>5012581
I kind of wanted November at the city, since she's one of our main ranged attackers and the things darting around the city were stated to flying above it. If they're hostile, I want the lady with the plasma autocannon on standby to fill the air with flak.
>>
>>5012593
but a city is the worst place to try that in.
the buildings would make those attempts worthless. maybe not fully in stopping the firepower but line of sight and accuracy for sure. you would want to either draw them away from the city if you wanted to use November, or force them into a fight that still isnt her forte by bringing them into the relatively cramped and cover heavy city ground.
>>
>>5012603
Well, she has rocket boots, getting up on top of a building wouldn't be hard for her. I think the tank can fly now, too, actually. And anyone else would have just as much if not more trouble hitting the fliers. Though maybe they'd just want to talk. They seem to be having some sort of game, maybe all that would happen is that they'd challenge Dorian to a race.
>>
>>5012609
yeah but if they're trying to not get shot they'd fly between the buildings for cover, not above them in the open air. getting on top a building would help but not solve the problem.
though i suppose exactly how much this matters depends on how much of the city is left, but if its like the last one a good amount is actually still intact. still a bigger impediment on November regardless than other area would be, or at least the significant open ground would be.

that said, i will at least relent that ranged would still useful against them. though Amara has her air Cannons, which both anything she fires with it and the air itself should both work just aswell honestly. maybe not in outright damage(though if she fires her swords maybe so), but i think the point either way if a fight happens would be just to ground them so the others can help, and at that point its less about the 'who' or 'what' fires and more of just having the option.
wait, she could fire Dorian and then have him go cloud form so its really hard to dodge! then have him stick their wings, jet engines, whatever that lets them fly.
>>
>>5012616
>yeah but if they're trying to not get shot they'd fly between the buildings for cover, not above them in the open air. getting on top a building would help but not solve the problem.
I kind of see that as a success, then. A lot less room to maneuver, with more obstacles, and easier for Dorian to chase them down with his speed. My worry is them hanging around out of reach bombarding the party.

>wait, she could fire Dorian and then have him go cloud form so its really hard to dodge! then have him stick their wings, jet engines, whatever that lets them fly.
Okay, that's won me over. That idea is crazy enough that I want to see it. And you're right, Amara might be able to bring the fliers down to ground level, too. Or at least slow them enough to make it easier to hit them. Alright, I'll switch. Though I still think giving the Joyous scouts a Gear spoke for fast travel to anything they discover is a good idea.

>>5012437
Changing >>5012537 to >>5012581 with the addition of

>Give the Joyous scouts a Gear spoke, for quick travel to anything interesting they find.
>>
>>5012622
>>5012581
>>5012437
i'll support this addition.
>>
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>>5012435
>Movement draws your eye skyward, where just above the city’s corpse a pair of barely-visible specks flicker at high speed, the scarlet sun glinting off them as they dart and spiral about, almost playfully.
Oh hey, it's Kei and Walfie (a portmanteau of "west Alpha")

>>5012568
>black forest

I'm getting L-corp/Ruina vibes. Will a certain trio of birbs be there?
That said, the lore behind the three birds of L-corp will definitely tickle your fancy Bhop.

>>5012437
>Pause for now and regroup—you’ve accomplished your goal of crossing the Spine, but there are other items on your agenda that deserve to be addressed.

And I'm just in time to participate on the final vote of the day.
>>
>>5012644
>Oh hey, it's Kei and Walfie (a portmanteau of "west Alpha")
Maybe. Would be interesting to see Alpha again, if she's still alright. We could introduce her to Ziz, let them be flying abomination looking for purpose in life buddies.
>>
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>>5012437

“Amara…is the ghost still there or has she moved on?” You ask, and Amaras ears angle forward, her eyes wide and dark as she stares into the abyss. A few long seconds later she shakes her head, and with that, you turn to the rest of your allies to give marching orders.

You decide on two teams of five, with Dorian, Amara, Orwell, Holly and Johanna tasked with venturing west to the flesh-draped city, while you, Rath, November, Uzu, and B’ni will make your way south to investigate the distortion. The Joyous even get their own mission, entrusted to them as you hand a spoke of Escher’s Gear to the one closest to you; to explore the grove to the north, and whatever lies therein.

Another spoke of the Gear is thrown at your feet, prompting the spontaneous arrival of November’s pride and joy. The Metall Geschoss tank is as intimidating now as when you first encountered it, shelling you and your allies from afar, nearly killing you, Rath, and Amara in the process…a grim bit of nostalgia you and Rath keep to yourselves as the five of you board the bio-organic vessel.

The grind of gears and the twang of tendons sing their throaty echoes in the cramped space. Marco’s in the driver’s seat, the man-sized camel spider deftly maneuvering you around any suspect bumps in the sand, while November’s sleek frame keeps watch from the turret, ever-vigilant for ambush. The rest of you, meanwhile, are practically shoulder-to-shoulder in the tank’s belly, with Rath seated on your right with arms and legs crossed, her eyes half-lidded. Uzu’s opposite you with B’ni on her left, the former’s legs crossed at the heel to form a low barrier between you and the other Dream Daughter.

Isabelle, for her part, looks deeply uncomfortable. Her current body’s still tied to your hive, though you don’t need any Crucible-given powers to see that the slim girl doesn’t know what to do with herself. Given everything with Calliope you know that can’t have brought up any good memories for your first friend and former foe, but just as you’re about to reach out, someone beats you to the punch.

Fair, considering the one who does is your best brawler.

“Yo, you wanna get some air topside? I’m roasting in here.” Rath offers the girl opposite her, one eye open as she taps B’ni’s knee with her toe. The dark-haired girl jolts out of her nervous reverie, an uncertain expression on her face until Uzu tucks her feet next to her seat.

“Not a bad idea, to have our-first responders up there.” Uzu adds, eyeing you. “Would you disagree?”

“By all means, go right ahead.” You reply, and that’s all the prompting Rath needs to take the initiative, B’ni following her outside and to the rear of the tank as Uzu meets your questioning gaze.

“It was Rath’s idea.” She confesses with a shrug.

(Continued)
>>
>>5012949

“She mentioned it in the middle of the dig, when Isabelle was distracted.” Uzu explains without prompting, keeping her voice low enough for the Geschoss’ metallic symphony to mask her words from prying ears. “Rath noticed that B’ni wasn’t…ah…”

“Having a good time? Yeah. I did, too.” You admit, leaning forward with your elbows on your knees. “Did Rath tell you what she wanted to talk about?”

“Just that she wanted everyone’s head in the game once we crossed the Spine, or if we had to fight Ziz.” Uzu replies, threading her fingers together in her lap before adding; “Though her request seemed to come from a warmer place than her pragmatic reasoning would suggest. It felt more like you were asking, through her.”

“Oh, I had nothing to do with this…I’m impressed, actually.” You admit, and Uzu nods sagely.

“So am I, coming at this from the opposite end. Holly, Johanna, and I have spent over a month in the Dreamscape with B’ni, and she’s made some progress. It’s slow, but…she’s trying. I think as much as it pained her to see the whole Calliope situation, she was surprised by how well Gina handled everything. It’s a bit of a paradigm shift from how B’ni’d been thinking of her.”

It’s nice to get this bit of insight from Uzu, the logistical mind that kept the Monastery running despite the odds…until she reached her breaking point, that is. You wonder how many lives could’ve been saved if she’d reached out, if she’d simply asked for help—and you see it in her eyes, every time she looks at you.

She’s asking herself the same question, over and over.

The ride’s a quiet one as Uzu’s report-slash-gossip concludes, the Metall Geschoss’ bio-mechanical rhythms akin to the purr of a great cat as you cross the ashen desert…and decide what to fill the silence with.

>>Take a minute to talk to November, since she’s no longer the only ally of yours on watch.

>>Ask Uzu one or two things, while you have her (Write-In).

>>Try to listen in on whatever it is that rath wanted to talk to B’ni about.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Hello and Good Morning, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I hope you had a restful evening, and that your day goes well.)

>>5012647
>>West Alpha
>>Walfie

(Oh goodness, that got me.)
>>
>>5012951
>Take a minute to talk to November, since she’s no longer the only ally of yours on watch.
>Turn to November.
>Give her a deep, long, meaningful stare.
>let it go juuust longer than it should.
>then, take in a big breath of air and say...
>"So, November, whats your favorite color?"
>give her a cheeky smile.

>After that Ice breakers over, ask her how shes holding up.
>see if shes got anything shes up to. plans to upgrade the Geshcoss or Relics to add to her kit?
>>
>>5012951
>>Give Uzu a small slap on the shoulder. Make it reassuring
>>"The Past is the past. All we can do now is try to attone for it. You are doing great"

Then Supporting >>5012955

>>5012952
It was quiet an uneventful... just how i like it. I hope your own day won't hold many surprises at work for you.
>>
>>5012951
>>Ask Uzu one or two things, while you have her (Write-In).
>"How're the rest of your coffee shop AU doing? Holly and Johanna alright?"
>"Oh, hey, did you ever go and visit Vultha's library like you were talking about way back when?"

I want to ask Uzu about how she's doing, but I don't think she'd give us an honest answer if asked outright. But seeing how she talks about others and what she says about doing things because she's interested in them rather than as a duty should give a decent sense of that.
>>
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>>5012951

Reaching out, you give Uzu a reassuring pat on her left shoulder as you rise. "The past is the past—all we can do now is try to atone for it, and I think you, Johanna, and B’ni are doing great."

“We’re trying, at least.” She mutters, smiling wistfully as you make your way to the gunner’s seat. November gives you a friendly salute as you poke your head next to her, focusing her expressionless help with a deep, meaningful stare. Her unblinking gaze meets your own equally neutral one, holding for much longer than necessary before you inhale deeply.

“What’s your favorite color?” You exhale, grinning playfully as Rath’s aunt gives a hearty chuckle.

“Ha! Well, I’m partial to red.” She sighs, glancing back at the tuft of her niece’s hair that’s visible from where she sits.

“Same…so, how’re you holding up?” You ask, leaning against the tank’s hard interior as November keeps one eye on the horizon line.

“Fair to middlin’. Francine and I had a good talk before we left home, so that was nice...oh, and I made some mobility upgrades to the ‘ol girl.” November proudly pats the Geschoss’ hull, metal ringing on metal. “Stronger flight and some limited underwater capabilities. Got some stilts ready to install for getting through rough terrain, but I should probably pick Rath’s brain about them before I slap them on.”

“How do the forge cores feel? Any issues so far? Or am I just retreading Francine’s check-ups?”

“Ha, I’m doing fine in that regard. Fran’s great, but sometimes I feel like I’ve got more faith in her work than she does.” The older woman chuckles, glancing back down and checking that you and Uzu are the only present company. “Hey, uh…has Rath said anything to you? About me, or about wanting to tell me something?”

“Not recently, no. Just that she’s thrilled to have you here.” You answer, skirting around a truth that’s not yours to tell. “And she’s not alone in that, I can assure you. We’re all happy to have you…I just hope you don’t feel like a baby-sitter.”

You add that last bit on with a wink, and November looses another hearty guffaw. “Not at all! It’s being around you kids that keeps me young. That, and the whole-“

“Cyborg thing? Yeah.” You finish, the two of you sharing a quick laugh before your commling buzzes to life, something on the horizon catching November’s attention as you answer the line.

(Continued)
>>
>>5013055

“Miss Shu, this is Dorian.” Your gentleman painter announces, as if his mannerisms could be mistaken for any other member of your family. “We’ve reached the outskirts of the city, and it appears that West Alpha is in the vicinity. There don’t appear to be any obvious signs of activity aside from her, but we’re investigating further.”

“The Joyous found a Wal-Mart!” Amara declares, Dorian making a sound of alarm as the little girl yells in his ear.

“It’s an Ikea, sweetie.” You hear Holly correct in the background.

“…The Joyous found an Ikea!” Amara declares a second time, no less enthused than the first. “They can set up the spoke, if you want!”

“Hey, we’ve got combat up ahead. Melee-focused.” November suddenly intones, her jovial demeanor traded for a warrior’s edge in an instant. Climbing up beside her in the gunner’s seat, November moves aside to give you access to her perspective.

You’ve almost come upon the odd patch of terrain you saw from a bird’s eye view, and it’s revealed to be an acrid bog that begins where the sands trail off into the swamp’s ashen slurry. It’s a mess of bubbling muck and rupturing boils, with pustules rising and erupting like clockwork just beyond the marsh’s edge, sending gases skyward that’ve accumulated into a rainbow cloud that hangs low above the cesspool, an oil slick clinging to the sky.

Bodies are scattered across the sludge, the freshly-slain corpses of at least seven Daughters being reclaimed by the voracious muck. One’s scrambling further into the swamp, panicked as the air behind them shimmers before parting like a cast-off cloak. An angular figure lunges from the void, running the fleeing Daughter’s head and spine through with their talons. A twitch, then nothing as the life leaves the victim, their body carelessly tossed aside as the air reclaims the killer yet again, obscuring them from sight…but not before your Halo-enhanced vision gives you a crystal-clear picture of who’s responsible.

A red cloak, draped over a body built like a knife.

There’s no mistaking Sam’s outline.

“Geschoss’ll have some trouble getting over this terrain.” November offers, and you’re not sure if she’s shooting it to you straight or giving you an out after seeing your expression. “It’s not impossible given her recent updates, but it’ll take some doing.”

>>Double-back to Dorian’s position to meet with West Alpha and investigate the city…whatever Sam’s doing right now, her choices are her own.

>>Push forward into the swamp with the team as-is. The Geschoss may not be able to catch up to Sam, but your swarmlings can. Demand an explanation.

>>…Not now. Not with this team. Pull back, and meet up with the Joyous at the edge of the Ikea.

>>Take the more mobile members of your team and track down Sam—she’s broken her contract, and you need to know why (Choose allies to follow you).

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>
>>5013056
yeah i hope she has a good reason for this.... she was doing so well when we left her off. All trying to be better than before and stuff.

I am partial to sending her a couple swarmlings to ask her motives. but getting someone who is actually capable of catching up to her might be advisable.... but on the other hand that would put a lot of pressure on her and immediately make her defensive even if she was doing this to help someone else out. Lets hope she is not a hitman.

>>Push forward into the swamp with the team as-is. The Geschoss may not be able to catch up to Sam, but your swarmlings can. Ask for an explanation. Dont demand it. If she immediately gets defensive then something might be up but no reason to be mean about something from first appearance's.
>>
>>5013056
adding to >>5013062
>>Inform Dorian what we are doing. We spotted Sam that just killed a daughter and are going to investigate.

also just noticed that my ID changed i am >>5012257
>>
>>5013056
>Inform Dorian what we are doing. We spotted Sam that just killed a daughter and are going to investigate. not jumping to conclusions but its worth looking into regardless. best case scenario, maybe you just found a guide to the bog.
>Push forward into the swamp with the team as-is. The Geschoss may not be able to catch up to Sam, but your swarmlings can.
>if combat is still going on, fire a warning shot followed by a loud "HELLO" from your commlings. if a tank shot followed by that cant stop a fight, what the hell could?
>regardless, try to cordially find out whats going on here. just because Sams iffy and people know that, dont let any on the other side(if alive) abuse that.

>Sam or the other side, let your crew know any attempt at violence against you and yours can be met tenfold. no hesitation.

hopefully its just the sad reality of the Crucible being full of jerks, but who knows?
>>
>>5013067
it might very well be that she got attacked first by people that were thinking they woudl be doing us s favor......

also we should reclaim the bodies. or at least try to. We can either give them to Laoc to consume and grow stronger while keeping the hunger at bay or consume them ourselves maybe
>>
>>5013055
>Got some stilts ready to install for getting through rough terrain, but I should probably pick Rath’s brain about them before I slap them on.”
This is going to end with November being able to combine with the Geschoss to form a giant robot, isn't it?

>>5013056
>We’ve reached the outskirts of the city, and it appears that West Alpha is in the vicinity. There don’t appear to be any obvious signs of activity aside from her, but we’re investigating further.”
Hey, >>5012644 was right, it's Alpha. I hope she's doing okay. The description of her movements made it sound like she was playing around, so maybe?

>“…The Joyous found an Ikea!” Amara declares a second time, no less enthused than the first. “They can set up the spoke, if you want!”
Sounds like that's the "Ikean Fortress" we saw 'A' bring a freshly-hatched Daughter to in her interlude. There were nice people there, we should definitely visit it if we get the chance.

>There’s no mistaking Sam’s outline.
Huh. Sam was doing so well, too. Here's hoping she was just defending herself or someone else, and got overzealous about it. Who knows, maybe the fleeing Daughter could have been a threat in the long-term. Definitely want to say hello, at least.
>>
>>5013070
sure, though lets get the situation under control first.

though im not sure about laoc. not against it just they seemed fine in that regard.
>>
>>5013056
Ammending my vote from >>5013062
to
>>Push forward into the swamp with the team as-is. The Geschoss may not be able to catch up to Sam, but your swarmlings can.
>Inform Dorian what we are doing. We spotted Sam that just killed a daughter and are going to investigate. not jumping to conclusions but its worth looking into regardless. best case scenario, maybe you just found a guide to the bog.
>if combat is still going on, fire a warning shot followed by a loud "HELLO" from your commlings. if a tank shot followed by that cant stop a fight, what the hell could?
>regardless, try to cordially find out whats going on here. just because Sams iffy and people know that, dont let any on the other side(if alive) abuse that.

>Sam or the other side, let your crew know any attempt at violence against you and yours can be met tenfold. no hesitation.
>See if some of your Swarmlings can maybe save the bodies from being swallowed by the Fleshscape and lift them up for later collection.
>>
>>5013073
it was just a thought of course we can just eat them ourselves without much in the way of energy wasted on our part.

But we should get the corpses out of the bog. Digging them up will be pretty much impossible if they have not disappeared by then.

Waste not and all that
>>
>>5013056
>Inform Dorian that we found Sam in a fight with a group of Daughters. No conclusions yet, but we're moving in to investigate. Likewise, on his side he should stay cautious and not engage with Alpha, but observe her actions and make
>Send some swarmlings out to say hello to Sam. No accusations, just a message of greetings and asking after her health. We noticed she had a big fight, is she okay? Leave it to her to provide context, don't assume anything.
>If there are any combatants remaining, fire a warning shot with the tank to announce our presence and interrupt.
>Also send some swarmlings to retrieve the bodies if possible. Include some Jacklings if need be to terraform them out of the swamp.

>>5013075
Yeah, definitely don't let them sink into the swamp. No matter what we do with them, getting absorbed into the Crucible isn't a great fate. And even if they don't provide much levels, seven Daughters means seven Cores means with Arbiter's Appetite it's a lot of stat gains.
>>
>>5013079
>>5013073
anyway i hope that more decisions as coolheaded as this one are gonna be made on the next Update. I just hope there wont be any need for combat.

I need to head to bed now. Have a nice day anons >>5013057 and a not to hectic one OP
>>
>>5013089
we'll see.
have a good rest Anon.
>>
>>5013089
We can hope. Sleep well, anon.
>>
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>>5013056

“Dorian, listen—we found Sam in combat with a group of Daughters, and now we’re moving to investigate.” You hastily explain, glancing back towards Rath and B’ni to find that they’ve not heard you yet. “Stay cautious on your side and don’t directly engage with Alpha. Just observe, for now.”

“Yes Ma’am. Over” Comes his professional sign-off, and at your command November engages the Metall Geschoss’ boosters at the same time you spawn a fleet of swarmlings…two teams for two very different tasks. November’s frame blooms at the back, a series of pistons thrusting into her shoulders as the temperature around you suddenly spikes. The thrust from the tank’s forge-core-enhanced jets carries the entire vehicle clear over the viscous terrain, skirting the edge of the bloodshed while your first team of seven knightlings pluck the bodies from the brackish ooze. The other three locate Sam within seconds, her angular frame concealed from all but the most prying of eyes.

“…Oh, fuck me.” She mutters, catching sight of your swarmlings before you have the chance to get the first word in.

“Hey. We saw there was a fight.” You begin, voice level. “You okay?”

“I didn’t start it, if that’s what you’re asking.” She curtly replies, her forward momentum steady as she trudges on through the mire. “I mean…I did, but for good reasons.”

“Okay.” You say simply, allowing the syllables to hang in the air until Sam slows to a stop.

“They were killers.” She declares, her talons dripping scarlet ichor that’s lost in the muck at her feet. “They killed people that crossed the ridge. Picked off the ones too dumb to realize they were in over their heads. Too nice.”

“And you heard about them?” You ask, prompting a small sound of frustration out of the frame’s speakers.

“No, she-!“ Sam snaps, catching herself before she goes further. She turns, rounding on the closest swarmling and staring you straight in the eye. “Look. Any aggression without proper justification, and you ‘come for me’, right? These guys out here? Them and their boss are plenty justified in what’s coming to them, by your standards.”

Feeling movement behind you, you turn to find Rath and B’ni have come to your side. They’re eyeing you with a level of concern and confusion that shows neither of them know who you’re talking to.

Not yet, anyway.

“You don’t have to do this alo-“ You begin before Sam cuts you off with your own voice, your own words to her reflected back at you from when you and she first parted.

“’Whatever choice you made, it will be the future you chose. It will be path you chose to walk yourself’." She says, holding your gaze. “I made choices, and now I’m walking the path I paved. It is what it is.”

Sam shrugs, turning her body away from you and towards a destination only she can see.

“Now, are you gonna let me walk it, or what?”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume at 10AM tomorrow morning, Eastern time. Thank you all for your continued participation, and I do hope you have a restful evening, one and all.)

(Also, I'll roll for the body retrieval once I get home, but your odds are good, so no worries there.)
>>
>>5013191
wait, only a single post? is this possible, has this happened before?
spookiest thing in the quest so far BHOP.

vote;
>"...right. If you want to do this alone, then thats up to you. But we would still like to explore the area, so at least let us know when you're done..."
>"...though if you are familiar with it at all, we aren't against having a guide."
>"Also, you mind if we take the bodies? you cant use them, but we can find people who could if we dont need them ourselves."

putting that last line there mostly just to see her reaction. if what she says is true, us getting them as Dream Daughters shouldn't worry her. if shes lying, it should freak her out as they would tell us shes full of it.
>>
>>5013203
>>5013192
hrm, odd thought though.
what if Sam is trading biomass from her kills for Relics and upgrades(im sure theres at least a few others out there able to tweak frames in the bigger settlements).
only complication i can think of and she would sorta have a right to them. so long as she isnt being a baddy we also cant justify not allowing her to get stronger to survive.
>>
>>5013191
Oh, shit, somehow I forgot that Isabel was here. Hoo boy, was that a bad thing to have slip my mind. Not sure what we should do about that.

>>Write-In
>"Yes. I won't deny you that. I'm sorry, I'm not here to lecture you, I promise."
>"But, if you don't mind me asking...is everything alright? You sound more invested in this than just outrage at their actions."
>"I know you don't like me, for understandable reasons. But still: Is there anything I can do to help?"

>>5013203
>>5013212
I think she's being sincere. Remember how last time we met she was trying to find some girl who was nice to her, and who she had blown off as being too naive? Look at how Sam framed why this fight was justified.

>“They killed people that crossed the ridge. Picked off the ones too dumb to realize they were in over their heads. Too nice.”
>“And you heard about them?” You ask, prompting a small sound of frustration out of the frame’s speakers.
>“No, she-!“ Sam snaps, catching herself before she goes further.

I think they killed her friend. Or someone she was trying to be friends with, anyway.
>>
>>5013216
oh, i think shes being sincere too.
but that doesn't mean we dont make a bit more sure of it.
>>
>>5013216
>>5013218
also, that doesn't -totally- matter in terms of the biomass question.
>>
>>5013220
Yeah, probably. I'm just saying that I think she really did just kill some Bad Dudes right here. Er, Bad Dudettes. But yes, she probably is getting some upgrades, because honestly, I would not expect the frame we left her with to be this capable in combat.
>>
>>5013226
She's absolutely been upgrading herself. In one of her earlier interludes, she realized she couldn't even solo one of Amara's Joyous in combat. And now she's taking down entire groups of Daughters within eyeshot of the Cord. The question is, HOW has she been getting so powerful?
>>
>>5013263
Relics, possibly. Her frame is one of Francine's designs, it might have a similar sort of modularity that the Etain has. Or maybe she's hacked her nanites and is using them to modify her body.
>>
>>5013266
well, *someone* may of hacked her.
it was kinda a big point that Sams not actually all that bright.
>>
>>5013267
True. But who knows, maybe having the nanites as an extension of her body means that working with them is a more intuitive process. I'm not sure who she would trust to modify the nanites, so maybe that idea is just a wash if she can't work on them herself. Unless it was her friend, maybe?
>>
>>5013268
dunno.
hard to guess. on one hand, i actually good see her trusting a more established settlements tradesmen just based off of the need for them to be honest to not get run out of town.
this does however have the complication of a town wanting anything to do with Sam though.
>>
>>5013191
Changing >>5013216

>>Write-In
>Signal the party to stay back, to avoid her feeling like we're ganging up on her and to delay any reaction from Isabel.
>"Yes. I'm not here to lecture you, I promise. If you want to do this alone, that's your right."
>"I did recover some of the bodies, though. Is there any of them you'd care what happens to them? Or any others around here, for that matter?"

In retrospect, probably not the best thing to come right out and say "you seem upset, do you want to talk about your friend dying?" when she's naturally defensive and also doesn't like us much. Better to go at it obliquely. Mention the dead and raise the issue of whether her friend's corpse is intact or has already been eaten. And also a vote to try to avoid Isabel from interacting with her.
>>
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>>5013191

"...Alright.” You relent. “I’m not here to lecture you. If you want to do this alone, then that's up to you.”

A tension seems to leave Sam’s shoulders, at that...a learned gesture manifested in an unfeeling shell.

“But we would still like to explore the area, so at least let us know when you're done...though if you are familiar with it at all, we aren't against having a guide." You add, and Sam just makes a small, amused sound as she reaches into her cloak, withdrawing a crumpled ball of skin that unfurls like a pale rose.

“I’m just winging it, here. You’ve always been the one with the plans, Shu. Me? I got tools.” The android replies as you watch pinpricks of blood begin to form a map of the surrounding terrain before Sam crumples it, tucking it back from whence it came. “Head’s up—I can see where concentrations of people and Amalgams are with this, but not an exact headcount or anything. I’m headed to the heart of this shithole, that’s where their camp is. North of that is some sort of ruins, can’t tell what’s in ‘em, or why the bandits didn’t shack up there instead of in the dead center of this toilet, but whatever. South is a nest of Amalgams, but those are useless to me.”

“And beyond the camp?” You ask, prompting Sam to shrug.

“No clue. And as for letting you know when I’m done? Not sure how long this’ll take, but I’ll shoot up a flare or something when I’m through. They shouldn’t be too difficult, given what I’ve got my hands on.”

“Thank you. I noticed you’d gotten stronger.”

“...Just Relics, Shu. Nothing against that in our little deal.” Sam replies, answering your unspoken question. “This weird girl found me. Talked a fast game, and gave me a goddamned uzi as an olive branch. Said I could have more if I just let her check out my shell, and if I brought her and her friends some bloody bits and bobs when I happened by them.”

“I see...well on that note, I recovered some of the bodies.” You say, switching tracks. “Do you mind if we take them? You may not be able to use them, but we can find people who could if we don't need them ourselves."

Sam hesitates, weighing your request for a moment or two before she simply shrugs. “Fair. I’ve got what I need for now. More than enough to get this thing done...and by the time it’s over, I’ll have everything I’ll need to restock, and then some.”

“Alright...be safe, okay?”

“...Yeah.” She says, turning away from you and trudging on to attend to her grim task. You watch her march on until she disappears into the churning, multicolored haze…and once she does, your vision returns to your true eyes as you turn to face your allies.

(Continued)
>>
>>5013699

Rath’s standing awkwardly next to Isabelle and Uzu, the redhead unsure of what to do with herself B’ni takes a few long, deep breaths to steady her nerves. You’re quiet as she just stares into the distance, emerald eyes knowing what’s just beyond her sight.

“It was her, wasn’t it?” She asks softly. “Sam?”

“...Yeah.”

“Does she...does she know I’m-”

“No. No, I wouldn’t do that to you.” You assure her, and she just nods.

“...Thank you.”

The Metall Geschoss simply hovers, glassing the swamp under its concentrated jets as you consider your next move.

“Sam’s off on a vengeance mission against some Daughters that were sniping weaker ones that crossed the cliffs.” You declare, sitting on the turret as you catch everyone up to speed. “She’s off to do her own thing, but the rest of this place is ours to explore while she does. Her target’s at the dead center of this place, while there are some ruins to the north of it and a nest of unknown Amalgams to the south.”

“We recovered five bodies, total.” Uzu adds, very much onboard with getting the topic of conversation as far from your doppelganger as possible. “One was too consumed to recover, and another two were constructs. They seemed Phantasmal in nature, but we won’t know until you actually…y’know.”

“Understood. November, will the bodies ‘keep’ in the Geschoss?”

“They should, yeah. Though if I’m being honest it would be better to store them back at base.” The older woman advises. “I don’t trust them to not get snatched under our noses in unknown territory.”

“A fair point.” You admit, turning over your options in your mind…you hate to admit it, but despite her (questionably) noble intentions dealing with Sam always leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. You’re clearly not the only one, given the dour expressions on the girls before you.

In any case, your time in Crucible has shown you that forward momentum does wonders for clearing one’s head, and you have a feeling it’ll do the same for your allies.

>>Investigate the ruins to the north. You’re intrigued to see if the local banditry thought it was less defensible, or if there might’ve been something there that scared them off.

>>Hunt the Amalgam nest to the south—between them and the bodies, you’ll have your family well-fed in no time.

>>Double-back to (Dorian’s Team/The Ikean Fortress), and continue on from there. You’ve had enough of misty marshes for one outing.

>>…Tail Sam to make sure she’s telling you the whole truth, and to make sure she hasn’t bitten off more than she can chew.

>>Write-in

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, All. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)

(I’d intended to interact a bit more with everyone yesterday, but I laid down on the couch after dinner and promptly fell asleep until eleven or so, rolling into bed shortly after. I'll be catching up on what I missed shortly.)
>>
>>5013700
>>Hunt the Amalgam nest to the south—between them and the bodies, you’ll have your family well-fed in no time.
>>Send a single Swarmling after Sam and tell her if she needs help we might be in the area to help her out. If she does not want it she can just leave it be and we won't follow her further.

Getting the small nest of Amalgams under our belt will make sure we can feed our people and disengaging from them should be easier than from a potential digsite if Sam needs help. Also getting to the ruins might bring us pretty close to the camp where Sam is heading to. We might draw unwanted attention with our team while out hunting otherwise.
>>
>>5013701
Just goes to show that you needed more sleep. It happens to the best of us.

Its fine OP.
>>
>>5013700
damn, not sure if these daughters are just weak or someones willing to trade some freaking powerful Relics to Sam for biomass.
actually though, wonder what the economy is like? clearly, you could start with a base of like, 1 ability level of biomass = +1 relic/relic level, or something along those lines.
but i wonder how much the details, like the type of biomass, specific abilities in it, and similar for Relics affects the price. like, skintalking is a rarer ability type. so is its price massively inflated?

anyways,
vote;
>Send some Stealthlings both to the ruins and the amalgams, to try and get a better picture of whats going on at both.
>>
>>5013705
it might very well be that her Suit probably gets her the most out of the relics she does have. She might not have the strongest relics just get something more out of it.

Also she is capable of turning invisible and most people dont have perception like we have.

So an Alphastrike might be very viable for her.

Also the daughter sounds like she might have a scer loose and just might be a collector... or needs special stuff Sam has no use for and just compensated well.
>>
>>5013702
ehhh, i dont like the Sam part. both other options are in the area anyways, and shes going to the center so distance isnt an issue.
and she very specifically already told us she didnt want our help. that feels too much like repeating ourselves like a nagging housewife. she knows we're around and if she needs help she probably has ideas. if we see like, twenty flares instead of just one for example, we can assume shes asking for help.

...assuming we're not trying to escape the bog being on fire after that many flares, that is.
>>
>>5013700
Ammending >>5013702
to >>send out some Stealthlings to scout the two places. and unless something extremely important happens already move somewhat south.
>>Hunt the Amalgam nest to the south—between them and the bodies, you’ll have your family well-fed in no time.

>>5013708
sure okay. I would have guessed the place might be a bit bigger than it really is. The Camp still sounds like it might be a bit close to the ruins right now since Sam said the daughters might have had the chance to set up inside. Mikes it sound pretty close.
>>
>>5013700
>Investigate the ruins to the north. You’re intrigued to see if the local banditry thought it was less defensible, or if there might’ve been something there that scared them off.
>>
>>5013700
>>Write-in
>Do a quick Escher's Gear teleport to stash the bodies back home.
>>Hunt the Amalgam nest to the south—between them and the bodies, you’ll have your family well-fed in no time.

>>5013707
>Also the daughter sounds like she might have a scer loose and just might be a collector... or needs special stuff Sam has no use for and just compensated well.
Might be someone like Tinker Tailor. Just in love with gadgeteering and inventing and mostly cares about getting the parts they need to make cool new things. Hell, Sam even said that this girl talks really fast, too, maybe she and Tailor have similar augments. There's an entire club of speedy engineer girls, or something.
>>
>>5013737
Seconding. Let's bank the bodies we have, just in case, and start securing our next food source for the party.
>>
>>5013753
if you want your vote to count you will need to link it to the post you want it to relate to.

just say that you will second the vote you want after referencing the post >>5013700
>>
Oh, though of another thing we should do

>>5013700
Adding to >>5013737
>Check in with Dorian before entering the Amalgams' territory. Get an update, and explain that we might be busy for a little bit.
>>
>>5013701
hey BHOP, not trying to convince anyone to change their vote at all, but i am curious how the sheets are coming along seeing as how we happen to have the two characters with us you said you still needed some time on(not that we can not ever have one of them, mind.)
also asking because if you do need more time, its a friday when you typically dont run on the weekends anyways, so if ever a time to have an excuse to pause to focus on that...
>>
>>5013776
(Honestly, I was just about to post and say that today's devolved rapidly into multiple emergency meetings, so I will likely have to pause here over the weekend.)

(That said, I'll be finishing off November's Stat sheet tonight and try to finalize compression of the Swarmling cheatsheet this weekend, which will give everyone what they need to plan their combat rounds accordingly.)

(My sincerest apologies for the interruption, and I appreciate your patience with my work schedule.)
>>
>>5013816
Ooph. Sorry to hear that, BHOP. I hope your day doesn't wind up too hectic. Thanks for running, then, and have a nice weekend.
>>
>>5013816
a series of emergency meetings...... ouch not a good way to start the weekend.

I hope it will get better today. Though knowing your work it will only devolve from here.

spend my entire day in mindnumbing meetings i feel your pain
>>
>>5013816
...for what its worth BHOP, that is like the exact opposite of a reason id of wanted you to have to pause it.
im sorry i jinxed it, and hope your weekend makes up for that.
>>
>>5013821
>>5013840
>>5013848
(Thank you for your kind words, everyone. It's certainly not the circumstances I'd have picked, but what would this quest be without work seeking to vex me? In any case, I do look forward to a good combat.)
>>
Finally caught up after a good two-ish weeks of bingeing through the archive, and what a wonderful ride it has been. Your QMing has been excellent from the writing to the setting to the myriad individuals carving their paths through it.

>>5013700

>Hunt the Amalgam nest to the south—between them and the bodies, you’ll have your family well-fed in no time.
>>
>>5015770
glad to see another catch up!
any parts really stick out to you?

also, think the quest will continue tuesday at 10am EST? thats usually when it does but BHOP hasn't actually said this time around.
>>
>>5015770
Wow, binging through all the archives like that, sounds like a trip. I did the same when I started on this quest, but that was around thread twenty or so and there was a lot less to catch up on back then. Well, I'm glad you've made your way to the present, and I look forward to having you take part in the quest. Welcome to the quest, anon.
>>
>>5015770
(Welcome, and I'm so glad you've enjoyed it! Everyone here is marvelous to me and each other, and I'm looking forward to where things will in the story from here. Glad to have you caught up, and it's always great to hear from readers/players.)

>>5015779
(Goodness, my apologies! Yes, posting shall resume at 10AM Tuesday, Eastern time.)
>>
>>5015770
dang reminds me of my own time trying to catch up.

I hope you come to enjoy the show that OP is putting out for us. And please grab yourself a safety belt for the ride.

I will look forward to hearing from you in the future. Have a nice rest of your day wherever you are Anon.
>>
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>>5015770
Nice to see a new face! However I do have a question to ask of you: What initially prompted your curiosity of this quest and what was the tipping point that got you hooked and started binging the archives?
>>
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>Freishutz's Seven Shells: A cursed necklace composed of Seven Rifle bullets tied together with red string. Each bullet is made of Metals that do not originate from this planet and menaces with a dark forbidden glow. When activated a bullet spontaneously discharges, heralding its portent only to mysteriously reappear on the necklace sometime later (out of combat) as if nothing happened, with each subsequent bullet after the first bringing ever more potent and costly effects listed below:

>"1st shot" - Your next ability will automatically hit and ignore all resistances of the target.

>"2nd Ricochet" - Your next attack will automatically hit as a critical hit in the round the "2nd Shell" is activated but in return "2nd Shell" will rebound and hit you for the same amount of damage dealt to the target the following round.

>"3rd Warning" - The bullet shoots off into the distance. For the rest of combat all your offensive attacks will deal an additional 10-70% more damage, every 7th ranged/melee/ability, the bullet will richochet back and your next attack will target and sure-hit random characters (allies, non-participants, and the wearer itself included).

>"4th Snipe" - Your next attack on hit will seal 1 ACT from the target for the next 1 round after activation, 2 rounds after activation, the bullet will rebound and seal 1 ACT from you for 1 round.

>"5th Request" - Your next attack automatically hits an ally (if no allies are present, the bullet targets you) permanently cutting your (or your ally's) highest resource pool [HP & HP regen] or [Bio & Bio Regen] by half for the duration of combat. The amount taken will then be multiplied by a factor of 5 before rebounding as the damage dealt to the target as an automatic critical hit.

>"6th Sin" - The bullet explodes into a veritable storm of shrapnel that penetrates and cripples all combatants and bystanders within 1km of the combat zone. For the rest of combat after activation, all characters with resistances higher than 50% in any category change to Weak/Fatal (Resistance: -50%/-100%). In exchange The wearer of the relic gains speed and strength proportional to the number of Resistances that have been changed to Weak/Fatal.

>"Final Fate" - The moment the bullet "Final Fate" is activated, the bullet's effect will take precedence before any other initiative in the round. The bullet will automatically discharge and pierce the wearer's intended target putting them on a special death's door state before immediately rebounding and putting you in the same death's door state as your target. ["Final Fate" death's door state: All constructs are disabled. All active buffs/debuffs,terrain effects, environmental effects, and ability effects are disabled in combat. 1 Death save throw only.]

I got Ruina on my brain so bad, I made a great and terrible relic with it as its muse.

Can't even get to writing Cradleton properly because the game is so good to play.
>>
>>5015779

It's hard to really pinpoint any one highlight due to the consistent overall quality, but I must admit I'm a sucker for the times the family gets to kick back and relax with guests at the Dragon's Roost. It's when the characterization really shines through with how they interact with one another.

>>5016060

I took a peek in this very vein and the conversation with Ziz was what really prompted me to start back at the beginning.
>>
>>5016400
Ooh, Der Freishutz. There's a reference to that in Library of Ruina? Classy. Feels a bit weird that there are collateral damage effects before the seventh bullet, traditionally only the seventh is cursed, but it makes sense for balance. Got to have some trade-offs for powerful effects. They look suitably nasty for the sort of power this gives. Sixth bullet is a bit OP, though, if only because its area of effect is so large. If it was smaller it would be more reasonable, I think. Still, otherwise it looks good.

>>5016406
I like the downtime moments, too. BHOP's made a fascinating cast of characters and I enjoy when we get to spend some time experiencing their personalities. They're fun.
>>
>>5016419
>There's a reference to that in Library of Ruina? Classy. Feels a bit weird that there are collateral damage effects before the seventh bullet, traditionally only the seventh is cursed, but it makes sense for balance.

You are correct in that the tale of Der Freishutz's 7 bullets has the final bullet be cursed by the devil. But the portrayal of Freishutz in Library of Ruina as well as Lobotomy corporation, the tale itself is distorted into a more sinister portrayal that goes like this:

>A hunter makes a bargain with the devil.
>The devil gives the hunter a gun that never fails to hit its target. In exchange, the hunter's soul belongs to the devil the moment he sheds his mortal coil and the 7th bullet fired from the gun will kill the hunter's beloved wife.
>Instead of letting the final bullet kill his wife, the hunter shot all of his loved ones with the first 6 bullets before deliberately withholding the 7th, mocking the devil as he did so.
>The devil laughed back: "No man would intentionally kill his loved ones, only a devil would do so." he said.
>Thus the hunter realized not only had his belonged to the devil the moment he made the bargain, but he himself had become a devil. And in despair the hunter would wander the worlds killing people as a mercenary, keeping the 7th final bullet for the day he decides to end his own life.
>>
>>5016419
>Got to have some trade-offs for powerful effects. They look suitably nasty for the sort of power this gives. Sixth bullet is a bit OP, though, if only because its area of effect is so large. If it was smaller it would be more reasonable, I think. Still, otherwise it looks good.
mechanically it's very similar to how Library of Ruina handles Freishutz's influence and its own portrayal of the distorted tale on the combat field. The effects of the relic is meant to generate tension, swing plays, and the drawbacks are centered around how each bullet is "cursed" by Freishutz (the devil) in its own way that parallel the tale. "3rd Warning" and "5th Request" and "6th Sin" harken to the distorted tale of how Freishutz shot his friends and family while "Final Fate" is a reference to the more "traditionally cursed" 7th bullet, save for the "1st shot" which is basically a freebie meant to be the lure to the faustian bargain.

>Sixth bullet is a bit OP, though, if only because its area of effect is so large.
I tried to account and accommodate the fact that earth is goddamn BIG as well as the sense of scale, and the fact that you might have high powered marksman daughters taking potshots at each other from hundreds of yards away, and given the distorted tale of "Freishutz the Devil", I figured having a large area of effect that induces dangerous collateral would make sense as to go with the "curse"/drawback.
>>
>>5016426
That's an...interesting reaction. Feels kind of like setting your house on fire to spite someone who was planning on burning dinner.

>>5016439
Yeah, I guess a smaller radius would prevent blowback on the sixth bullet from affecting a sniper. Maybe that could be fixed by having two areas of effect, one centered on the attacker and one on the target?
>>
>>5016442
>Feels kind of like setting your house on fire to spite someone who was planning on burning dinner.
I may or may not have misremembered parts of the tale myself.

ah, upon further research into Project Moon's Freishutz, it turns out that Freishutz killed all of his loved ones (including his wife) in despair upon hearing the terms and afterwards started wandering aimlessly doing whatever he pleased. Since that would logically include his wife and the last bullet he had up and vanished, his original deal could never be fulfilled, leaving him with the rifle and what remained of his soul. Eventually he himself turned into a devil and began to steal the souls of others with his rifle.

>Maybe that could be fixed by having two areas of effect, one centered on the attacker and one on the target?
How about three? One centered upon attacker, one centered upon the target, and then the space between the attacker and target.
Regardless, bhop has the final say if he decides to implement the relic. I'm sure he'd love to read this when he wakes up.
>>
>>5016400
(Hello All—after a busy Monday I've finally had the chance to catch up on this Relic, and I have to say it's pretty fantastic. I like your possible solution to the sixth bullet's AoE here >>5016450, as it's an elegant fix to the issue at hand.)

(On a similar note, all this talk of Ruina has me looking forward to playing it when my schedule clears a bit.)

(Someday.)
>>
>>5017024
>(On a similar note, all this talk of Ruina has me looking forward to playing it when my schedule clears a bit.)

You won't be disappointed. You'll find the mechanics of this quest and Ruina's game mechanics to be surprisingly similar in the action economy department.

>(Someday)

I think the holidays would be a good time to unwind and reserve that cleared up schedule for Ruina.

Actually...how does the denizens of the Crucible celebrate the holidays? Halloween? Christmas? Crucible Holiday stories have lots of potential from the spooki (Halloween shorts) to the wholesome (Somehow a Santa Claus amalgam gets spawned in the Crucible)

How about a Holiday intermission Vein focusing solely on side characters and one of the main cast?
>>
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>>5013700

“It’s been a while since any of the family’s eaten.” You muse, trying to think back to the last fight that bore the Crucible’s grim fruit. “Let’s get eyes on the Amalgams Sam mentioned. Between that and the bodies we recovered, we should all be sated. Sound good, everyone?”

Your plan of action’s met with a round of affirmative nods, and you offer to stay topside to scout ahead with your Halo-enhanced vision. November goes below deck to ensure the thrusters are handling their sustained output, and to your surprise Uzu joins the solider, albeit after a whisper from B’ni. Once the cyborg and your Dream Daughter disappear into the depths of the Geschoss, B’ni opts to sit at the end of the tank by herself, while Rath takes a seat next to you atop the turret while the tank glides across the vast slab of rancid muck and bubbling ooze.

“Hey, uh…I didn’t mean to step on your toes with the whole B’ni thing, I just-“ Rath begins, leaning in close before you fix her with a warm, reassuring smile.

“That was very kind, and I appreciated it.” You say, watching relief flood the girl’s freckled features. “I’m of the opinion one should never apologize for trying to be decent.”

“You should tell Julia that, then.” Rath chuckles, drawing her knees up to her chest, tucking her nose to where she’s just peering over them and into the colorful haze you’re driving into. “S’good talk. I think. She seemed to be doing a little better…at least, until…y’know.”

“…Yeah. I try not to regret much, but every time Sam shows up I just get this pit in my stomach.” You sigh, feeling it even now as you stare down the mists before you.

“Well, maybe that’s the universe balancing itself out? You bring a lotta joy to people, so maybe she’s here to be a pain? She’s the shitty yang to your awesome yin. Ever think of that?”

“…Can’t say I have.” You smile. “Hey, FYI…I talked to your aunt while you were off with B’ni. She asked if you’d mentioned anything about her to me. I said ‘no’, but I just wanted to give you the head’s up that she knows you’ve got something on your mind.”

“Ah, shit.” Rath groans, burying her head between her knees. “Gah, I gotta face the music sooner or later. Yeah, I…I’m gonna tell her. And I think I’ve made up my mind of how I wanna handle it, going forward.”

“How’s that?”

“I’ve learned a lot about myself. A lot of things I can’t unlearn…not that I’d want to. And I’ll say hello. I’ll let them know I’m okay, and then…I’m off.”

“Off?” You echo, and she nods.

“I’ve gotta do my own thing. If they accept me as I am, then that’s…that’d be amazing. But I know my family, Shu." She sighs, shaking her head. "Regardless, after all this is done I need to learn more about myself. Explore some stuff, y’know? I feel you, when you say you don’t want to regret stuff.”

(Continued)
>>
>>5017592

Rath swallows hard, nodding to herself as she continues. “I talked with Meg recently, and I’ve really been in my head about a lot of stuff…but it’s all stuff I can resolve one way or another if I just nut up and cut the knot. And I’m good at moving forwards, y’know? So that’s exactly what I’m going to do—grab all this stuff I’ve been freaking out about by the horns and just get it done, ‘cause I don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

“I’m really happy to hear that.” You smile, and when you look at the girl beside you, she’s considering your features with an expression you can’t quite place.

“You think you and Gina’d be up for talking sometime soon? Just the three of us?” She says suddenly, eyes blazing with determination even as her cheeks flare with white-hot light.

“I…yeah. Of course.” You say, a warmth in your stomach that lasts but a moment before a sharp metallic tap from below makes you and Rath both almost make Julia proud by nearly jumping out of your skins.

“We’re coming up on some different terrain, Ma’am.” November announces, and you wonder if you’re imagining the hint of a smile in her voice. “Figured you could see more than I could with your special eyes.”

Obliging the soldier’s instincts, you peer into the undulating vapors to see a series of far-off shapes moving in the mist—Amalgams, judging by their twitching gaits and asymmetric forms. Their bodies resemble that of cancerous pigs, tufts of fur sticking out between the mangled humanoid forms that make up their bestial frames, eyes darting around in all directions at once. The three of them amble around a misshapen tree, their boar-like bodies shuffling in slow, awkward laps around the bit of raised flesh atop which looms the gnarled branches of a willow. Its trunk is composed of countless bodies. Amalgams and Daughters both are twisted together into tight coils of biomass, long strands of blond, brunette, black, and ginger hair hanging from the tips of the branches and undulating despite the absence of a breeze. The mound it sits atop is nondescript compared to the grotesque flora-fauna that sits upon it in silence, while the three pig-like creatures mindlessly orbit around its trunk and pacing atop the mire as though it were solid ground.


The terrain’s certainly not a favorable one, but you’ve plucked victories from far worse...the question that remains is one of approach.

>>The layout of the battlefield lends itself to little more complex than a frontal assault…and that’s exactly what you’ll do.

>>Initiate long-range shelling—on top of maybe giving Sam an opening or distraction to capitalize on, you’ll soften up the Amalgams before your opening assault.

>>Approach as stealthily as the terrain allows, and attempt to alter the landscape as your opening gambit.

>>Write-In

ALSO

>>Determine if any adjustments to your Relic Loadout is necessary.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Good Morning, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in the next four hours.)

(The swamp clearing you’re looking at is roughly fifty meters in diameter, with the raised mound in the middle reaching a height of two meters at its apex. The tree looms over fifteen meters in height, the mound is ten meters in diameter, while the orbiting Amalgams are each five meters away from where the mound begins to slope upwards.)

(Your Current Relic layouts as per your votes in the 47th Vein were as follows;)

>Shu; Arbiters Judgment, Matrons.

>Rath; Deliverance of Ego, Gutgrab Daggers, Shawl.

>November; Gamma Pharynx(Head), Gunslingers(Chest), Dainsleif(Arm1), Whistle(CUNT RHO)(Arm2), Sui Sacrificium(Core).

>Amara; Paranoid Pendant, Vocalis Nocere, Red Devils, Hearth Rod, Crimson Jesters, Vocem Virtutis, Upgraded Shawl.

>Dorian; Ventrem Lanceam, Manus Caelorum, Sui Interitus.

>Francine; Surgeon Generals, Spectacles, Hydras Heart.

>Gina; Tollo Cadere, Membrum Automata, the Spine.

(You’d have had ample time to adjust these during your travels, so if you wish to do so then you certainly may. For your convenience, I’ve also included the link to the Armory below so you don’t have to scroll all the way back up top.)

>>Relics, Ver. 7: https://pastebin.com/kHzW2hbd

(If you have any questions then please let me know, and I do hope your weekend went well.)

>>5017283
(I'd be open to that, actually. I'd meant to do something like that last year, but I'd love to make it happen on this one.)
>>
>>5017596
relics look fine to me.

>>5017593
vote;
>Send some Swarmlings forward to test out the tree. you dont trust the look of it one bit, and it not attacking the pigs is far from a sign its nothing to worry about.
>While you test the tree, have Rath and the other setup a trap a few meters infront of your firing line to catch anything that attempts to come for you, or is driven towards you.
then
>>If the Tree turns out to be an enemy, focus a concentrated bombardment on it.
>>If it isn't or seems to be a insignificant threat in combat, then do a wider bombardment on the pigs, trying to give them no safe place to hide or run to.
>>
>>5017593
SUpporting>>5017602
That tree is suspect! It is an imposter and probably a Hamadryad

>>5017596
my weekend has be excellent. I watched the Lord of the Rings extended Edition with a couple of friends.

And i had some smashing burgers....... as well. I slept way to little but that was a sacrifice i was willing to make.

I hope your own weekend has been supremely good.
>>
>>5017593

>Initiate long-range shelling—on top of maybe giving Sam an opening or distraction to capitalize on, you’ll soften up the Amalgams before your opening assault.

If they decide to engage us, then they lose their terrain advantage. If they flee, then we can plonk the Geschoss on the mound to provide overwatch while we pursue. We also get to see if the tree is hostile without getting ensnared in whatever it might have up its sleeve.

My weekend was alright, aside from the sunburn on my shoulders.
>>
>>5017593
>>>Initiate long-range shelling—on top of maybe giving Sam an opening or distraction to capitalize on, you’ll soften up the Amalgams before your opening assault.
>>
>>5017593
Makes me think of the Swine, from Darkest Dungeon. Let's make sure not to accidentally kill Wilbur first. There's also a bit of the pequeninos from Speaker For The Dead in there, too, pig-men with a relationship to trees.

Supporting >>5017602 with the additions of
>Make sure the swarmlings sent to investigate the tree are Subversive.
>While we're spawning, make a full set of platelings for ourself, and a psy-plateling each for the rest of the hunting party.
>Also spawn two Succlings for Uzu and Isabel, in case we lose line of sight with them for Dominance Bloodline.

Maybe I'm overcomplicating things, but I just want to have our standard bug-tools ready for the fight. Combat composition will of course vary depending on what the Swine turn out to be capable of, but this is a baseline for any fight.
>>
>>5017666
i actually specifically didn't want the swarmlings investigating the tree to be subversive, as we want the tree to know they're there and show us what it is and will do.
assuming it will do anything, of course.
>>
>>5017667
My thinking was that they could always drop stealth, or just land on it and trigger its response via touch instead of sight, but I don't want the Swine visually tracing the swarmlings' direction back towards us until we're blasting. On the other hand, it is a thick mist in between us and them. Might not be necessary in the first place. So yeah, sure, I'll drop that bit.

>>5017593
Dropping the line in >>5017602 about making the swarmlings Subversive.
>>
>>5017670
No, wait, I reference the wrong post. Derp. Sorry, let me try that again.

>>5017593
Dropping the line >>5017666 about making the swarmlings Subversive.
>>
>>5017593
>>5017592

>>5017617
>>5017602
>>5017649
>>5017666
Hang on... Remember the Pyre Ant Kingdom and how given the Current Crucible's amalgams have started to form the beginnings of an ecological system with how the Ant Eater and the Stealth Panther preying upon the Pyre Ants? What if the Pigmen and the Meat Tree also share an ecological relationship? Either the Tree protects the pigs or the Pigs protect the tree from two different types of threats.
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>>5017689
possible yes..... and it might be a bit of a shame if they were to get destroyed... however we probably will not have the chance for diplomacy in the same way as with the Ants.

Fuzzbuzz got adopted because he was an insect. However these pigs would never do that i imagine.

And we dont have the powers to make the Amalgams listen... so i see no true way to end this peacefully.
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>>5017689
Oh, there's definitely some sort of symbiosis, here. I doubt it's coincidence to find two different Amalgam types in the same area without them preying on each other. It doesn't mean that they're potential friends like the Pyre Ants are, though, We've seen other Amalgam partnerships that were still aggressive. The Surinam Mole, for example, had a bunch of lesser Amalgams stored in its back launchers. Those weren't constructs it was spawning, it just had a symbiotic pairing with them. Still super aggressive and needed to be put down, though.
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>>5017689
i see what you're pointing out, and but THEM having symbiosis wont mean they will with us.
i guess we can add a line about not being aggressive if they arent, but its otherwise unlikely. the pyreants were both a good species for that to happen in aswell as had good circumstances with what they ate.

i guess pigs are smart as hell and the tree is made of people though.
actually, we now know trees can form a sorta 'plant internet' with other tress roots. hopefully, that isnt happening here, especially if its aggressive. theres issues with that even if we still may technically be strong enough to take on an entire bog. that said, i dont think the daughters using the place would still be alive if it was both that and aggressive, so probably not. even if it is that and isnt aggressive, they didn't sound like the type to not somehow piss it off.

>>5017593
>>5017602
adding to vote;
>if, somehow, the pigs and/or tree seem to not be aggressive towards us, hold off on the bombardment.
>>But certainly have the other use the extra time investigating this to setup more preparations, incase we still have to attack.
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>>5017689

I get what you mean, but our family does have to eat.
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>>5017730
well regardless of the topic thats not really how our family has ever done things. there'd be several situations that ended up alot differently if we used that excuse.
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>>5017593

A quartet of swarmlings take flight from your spinal hive, the ever-present buzzing reaching a crescendo before your spawn leave you for their appointed mission while you gird yourself and your allies in Neuro-resistant Platelings. They pierce through the mist, your vision riding in their eyes as the tree looms ever closer. Your Halo moves to protect your mind as you will one of your creations forwards, testing the branches of the tree to see what it wi-

Your adventurous swarmling’s instantly snatched from the sky once it dares to enter the tree’s invisible range, the willow’s fibrous lines moving faster and further than your eye can trace. It does not destroy your swarmling—rather, you feel its tendrils caress the bulwarks you’ve built around your mind as it reaches through creation to creator. It recoils from your defenses, opting to hollow out your swarmling in the span of seconds as it takes what it needs…and even from that fleeting touch, you know what it craves.

Oh, how it yearns to feed.

You watch from your other scouts as the boars’ eyes go glassy, then shatter completely, reforming into compound orbs as profane wings rupture from their spines like the broken shells of roaches, crushed underfoot. They rise, and you give the order to fire on their commander as the trio take flight.

By your command the Metall Geschoss roars around you, the cramped interior echoing with its vengeful three-fold howls as November shells your obscure adversary. They soar over the heads of Rath, Uzu, and B’ni while they set explosive traps for any ground forces that may come your way, but November’s shells stop just short of their target. Through your scouts’ eyes you see the shells of polished bone and shining forge-stuff held fast, snatched from midair by those impossibly quick, yet delicate strands. It reminds you of Amara’s Queen Crimson, in a way—fast, protective. Delicacy belying a terrible strength. It probes the shells, and finding them wanting before they’re cast aside, detonating far from their intended target as the mire devours even their terrible roars…

…but a new sound takes their place.

(Continued)
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>>5017737

A gurgle, a groan, and the mound begins to rise, great roots of rippling wood and gnarled sinew forming the legs of a great six-legged machine, mechanical in purpose if biological in form. The boars know not where you are, but they’re bait and scout, all at once…serving a purpose, akin to the swarmlings you sent out moments before. It intends to seek out the thing that so rudely disturbed it, instead of marching to its waiting grasp like so many that came before you. As it reaches its full height atop its six trunk-like limbs you realize it still doesn’t know exactly where you are, but no matter.

If you’re not coming to it?

It’ll happily come to you.

>>COMBAT INITIATED

Shu, the Defiant

VS.

HAMADRYADIC LANCER

HP: 2400% (+455% [Dominus: Untethered], Arbiter’s Judgment, Matron’s)
BIO: 3150% (+300%. 20x Psy-Platelings, , 3x Basic Swarmlings, 2x Succlings, 25/50 Swarmlings active.)

ATK: Pierce, Acid: 5* / Slash: 4* / Crush, Heat: 3*
DEF: Heat, Acid: 100%

Buffs: None.
Debuffs: None.
Aggro: The Dryad is seeking you out with her three scouts, unaware of your current position.

CONTENDER: Gemini Forme - Honey x3, Parabellum x3 (Both guns)
HUNDRED-HANDED: 0
ACT: 3/3

RATH: 3600% (+660%, Gutgrab Daggers, Shawl)

NOVEMBER: 4770% (Gunslingers(Chest), Ego(Leg), Dainsleif(Arm), Whistle (CU RHO)(Arm), Gamma Pharynx(Head), and Sui Sacrificium(T5 Slot).

ATK: Heat, Piercing: 5* | Slashing: 4*
DEF: Heat, Cold: 160% | Neuro, Slash: 140% | All Others: 60%

>>ARBITER’S JUDGEMENT ACTIVATED—You and all allies go first in turn order.

>>RATH—CALCITE HALO: Choose a resistance to gain +5 in.

>>RATH: +1 ACT at beginning of combat.

>>You may change the Contender’s current load/form if you wish, as you’d have had plenty of time to adjust them before combat.

>>Character Abilities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1p_asyKKcyCbQieAAXo1oogBucLtzSypx8-M9vqA96zE/edit#gid=1685687578

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)

(Now, given that this is the first truly complex combat I’ve run in over a year, please don’t hesitate to ask anything for the sake of clarification or speak up if you notice something I’ve left off or missed. I'm fully aware that it may take a fight or two to get back in the full groove of things, so I appreciate you bearing with me. I’m also aware that in my exhaustion from yesterday’s business that I neglected to update November’s stat sheet with her Health and stats, but I’ve done so above and I’ll port those over tonight when I’m through with dinner.)

(The weekend was not as restful as I’d hoped, but I’m at least partway through Shu’s update swarmling cheat sheet, so what’s in there currently still stands until its replacement is ready after this upcoming weekend. Thank you for your patience, and I do hope your day is going well.)
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>>5017737
For clarification, was it parrying the tank's regular shells, or the railgun rounds? Because that changes a lot in my planning, if it's fast enough to snatch those out of the air.


>>5017739
Sorry to hear your weekend didn't give you the chance to unwind, BHOP. I hope this week isn't as stressful for you.
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>>5017743
(Regular shells.)

>>5017617
(My face when you nailed the EXACT name of the Amagalm.)
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>>5017743
(And no worries about the relaxation part; I'm taking off Friday and my wife and I are going on a mini-vacation, so I'll have ample time to make any adjustments or updates that come to light over the course of this combat.)
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>>5017739
We're gonna have to take combat even slower this time it seems. If it suits you and everyone else, I won't be opposed to one update per day given your busy schedule and your need to rest, recover, and get through completing the update in a thorough manner if you don't mind.

Keep in mind that this sort of combat in terms of mechanical background checks/crunch will be as complex as the Hexane capital fight or even spiraling fear given the number of effects that will likely be triggering in a single or even multiple rounds.
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>>5017745
wait what? I was joking you know..... But glad to see that that stereotyp is now out of the way. If it is s Hamadryad it should be at the best of times be slow to move away from its spot but probably has huge reach.

>>5017739
I would not mind
>>5017750 this OP

and i am saddened to hear your weekend was a bust
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>>5017750
(I was thinking two, or just one on a bad day. A lot of the streamlining was also done on the back end, to make things not nearly as taxing on me personally. I've got checklists for combat effects, triggers, etc, so it's far more streamlined. I'm sure there will be bugs now that it's seen the light of day, but I want to get them worked out in live play sooner rather than later.)

(tl;dr?)

(Go nuts this combat.)
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>>5017745
>that pic
the implied context is suspect.

>>5017758
>Hamadryad
>in the context of Body Horror quest

...dear god it's the same as Kingdom Death Monster's Lonely Tree, except we didn't fall for the bait and now the Tree is angry.

Kdm context below:
>-"There was once a woman who loved a sad man with a hole in his heart. The harder she tried to fill it, the more drained she felt. When there was nothing left of her, she killed herself under an old tree and let its roots drink her blood. Soon after, the sad man disappeared from the settlement. The tree bore a tear-shaped fruit."

>If you can see the Lonely Tree for what it really is, it's probably too late. This carnivorous organism hypnotizes anything that comes near, luring prey with hallucinations of their innermost desires. Once they draw near, the hallucinations turn to ceaseless dreams, while the roots consume the victim in their sleep.

>With each meal, a grotesque bulge appears on the Lonely Tree's branches which slowly swells and takes on certain qualities of the devoured as they are digested. This "fruit" of the Lonely Tree is its true prize, as eating these conglomerations of phytohormones and human gristle can have beneficial (albeit bizarre) side effects. However, make sure to handle them gently while they are close to the tree, as the chemical volatility of the unripened morsels doubles as the Lonely Tree's primary form of self-defense!
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>>5017738
ohh boy, here we go. that 'lancer' tag isnt good, but might just refer to its vines speed... maybe.

vote;
>Have Rath spend 1/5 on Sui for her Proficiency and 1/5 on her speed.
>send 6 Triple-Knightlings out, one for each pig. their main goal is to tear out their wings to force them to the ground, but otherwise if they can take them do so. make sure the attack lures the pigs away from the main group for now.
>Try out five Banelings with one of Raths boils stuck to each, see if they can melt through the trees Hair, one way or another.
>regardless, back the team up, putting a decent distance between you and the trap-pit the team has laid out. once the pigs are brought away from the group, have Rath use her boils to quickly get its attention, teleport infront of the pit-trap to lure it to it, then teleport back to the group once it goes for her and is going to go over the trap.
>Have November load a Railshot into the Geschoss, and ready to hit the Tree the second it gets into the trap. Assuming either the Banelings or Boils work, either prepared to prevent the Vines from having any attempt to stop the Railshot from hitting the Tree.

cant think of much for Uzu or Isabelle to do at the moment. obviously more can be added but as a core i think this will work well.
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>>5017750
>>5017762
i mean, we're already going at a snails pace honestly in terms of time.
not that i mind, just even before 3 hours was often more than enough. and BHOPs pretty generous with letting us use that extra hour at times too.
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>>5017765
That's similar to what I was typing out. I also think we should use Jacklings to terraform the ground and make rough terrain. This won't slow down the flying pigs or the giant tree, but it will make noise that will distract them from our party. It would also make the area into terraformed terrain, meaning that Rath could detonate it with Ignition to do a lot of damage.
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>>5017765
can we attach some banelings to the tip pf the Railgun shot? And have them spray their Acid out in fron tof them in case the Net treis to catch them. Make it act as both a lubricant and a way to melt our way through its defenses?

Also maybe have Rath hand some bombs out to Isabelle and Uzu so they can chuck them as a response for anything getting to close or making noise where it will distract the enemy further.
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>>5017745
A question bhop: Who's currently with us fighting the Hamadryad and if Bn'i and Uzu's with us, then where are their stat sheets given their status as Dream Daughters manifested on the field as Constructs?
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>>5017773
It's us, Rath, November, Uzu and Isabel.
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>>5017769
sure.

>>5017770
>banelings to the tip pf the Railgun shot?
is that possible? i feel like there would be some issues with that, given the whole 'in a barrel' part?
hopefully just having outside forces already prepared to clear the way for the shot will be enough regardless of if we can do that or not.

>have Rath hand some bombs out to Isabelle and Uzu
that works if we cant think of anything else sure, but i'll also wait a hot sec to see if anyone else has some other ideas.
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>>5017775
>that works if we cant think of anything else sure, but i'll also wait a hot sec to see if anyone else has some other ideas.
We could have Uzu set up Psychica Spiralis. Spirit Shells get to copy our abilities that match their Core class, so she gets the hybrid we made of her Core, too. That would give us some extra protection against this thing.

Speaking of protection, we need to set Rath's Calcite Halo. Just going by what's immediately obvious, I'd assume either Slashing or Piercing is this thing's primary damage. Slashing for whipping with the tendrils, Piercing for poking them into things. Given the name of "Lancer" I'd go with Piercing. Does that sound reasonable to everyone?
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>>5017781
yeah calcite defense against piercing sounds good i have to say. It did spear our poor scouts through i believe before sucking them dry. And while i would like to say that Rath is better protected against slashign damage due to her core... she is sadly not. but oh well Piercing is probably the better choice here.

and the Psychica Spiralis sounds like a good idea i have to say. Sadly we do not have enything we could give Isabelle so she will have to do without.
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>>5017762
>>5017770
BHOP, whats the limit on the whole 'baneling/boil tipped railgn shot' thing?
it possible? would it even work? seems like it might be a tight squeeze for the poor bee at least.

>>5017781
>Spirit Shells get to copy our abilities that match their Core class, so she gets the hybrid we made of her Core, too.
wasnt that something we knew they would get, not yet have? im not seeing it in the summary or in the background info myself.

>Speaking of protection, we need to set Rath's Calcite Halo.
I was actually gonna wait and see what the tree has but I i did just re-read and it says 'before' combat so my bad yeah, we cant wait.
so yeah, piercing.
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>>5017773
(B'ni and Uzu's character sheets are hidden, at least for right now. Given they're functionally swarmlings with fancier attacks, having their sheets and stats out there at the same time as a full party of four was making things chaotic on the front end, to say the least.)

(They have similar capabilities to what their Cores were able to do in life, and they also have the same resistances as any of your basic swarmlings.)

(Now, I'll be adding your Dream Daughters' basic stats and abilities to the next swarmling cheat sheet, but it's nothing exhaustive.)

>>5017787
(I love it. It's absolutely doable.)
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>>5017787
>wasnt that something we knew they would get, not yet have? im not seeing it in the summary or in the background info myself.
Checking the old character sheets, it appears to be something that got shuffled higher up the skill tree. Darn. Well, Uzu should still have Fear To Tread, at least, we could have her stand ready to trap the Hamadryad with that. Do the thing where it can be charged up for wider area, so she doesn't even have to get close to it. Just rev up the spiral and let it rip once the Hamadryad is in the trap.

>>5017798
Okay, railgun-riding baneling is apparently a go. Neat.
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>>5017787
>>seems like it might be a tight squeeze for the poor bee at least.

>>5017798

we can literally squeeze them into the Contender. But OP saying it is possible is absolutely glorious. We might as well try to give our shots the best chance we can possibly have.
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>>5017804
(Yeah, the Spiralis' capabilities have been vastly expanded. It made more sense to shuffle it a little further up the line, with some of its more tactically interesting powers coming shortly thereafter.)
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