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>Howdy All!
>Welcome to part 2 of Weapon of an Empire.

>Part 1 Archive link: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=2ndRatePilot

The wind crawled low through the smoky battlefield, grasping up the crackling pops of roasting meat and haunting gasps of agonal breathing and carried it far into the dark mess of pines that surrounded the killing grounds. From there the awful sounds where whisked up into the sky where they were thankfully eclipsed as the mighty snowstorm intensifies. Communications fought through the air, the remainder of the Elysian ambush desperate to make contact and formulate a plan.

>Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Reload 1 AP
Duck and Cover AP 2
Shoot 1 AP

"Main gun! Now, Now! We can still finish him!" Gia screams, driving her elbow into the Gunner behind her. But her heart wasn't in it. 'The Unlucky' was gone, the crew didn't even get a chance to disembark. Her other crew members just cried or cursed as they rushed to ready the weapon. Yanking on the controls she got the Light Vehicle moving, it struggled in the snow. The young Gunner opened up screaming in fear. "Mama!"

>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
Aim and Shoot AP 2
Duck and Cover AP 2

Adine's lips trembled at the sight of the 'Yapping Fox' ; what was left of the crew was hoofing it. The bright red trail the duo left wasn't a hopeful sign. His body trembled as the driver called down the LO comms checking to see who was still in the fight. "Adine…" a tender scared voice spoke, he turned to face his gunny assistant. Vika so much as pounced on him, lips locking together as her tongue began attacking his own. He returned the kiss eagerly, embracing the petite woman. Hastily the loader slammed another round in as the driver took even more evasive maneuvers. Separating with a soft pop the woman tapped his chest. "For good luck…" Getting comfortable in his seat Adine aims and fires another round towards the enemy combatant.

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
Use Equipment Hornet Missile launcher 1 AP
Reload 1 AP

"Fuck! Shit, Fuck! Fire! Fire!" Loader Yuric screamed as specklets of frozen blood began to land around Alpha's dug out position. The crew didn't need much telling as the missile snapped out and flew towards the wooded area. Bloody snowflakes melting on his hands, Yuric gags as he quickly loads another missile into the launcher.

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo
Use Equipment Hornet Missile launcher 1 AP
Reload 1 AP

Pseudo-Captain Yurgin watches Kozmov and his men get annihilated by the enemy Phobos. Wisely he clambers back down into his fox hole, hoping not to draw the monster's attention. "By the Gods! Strike true boys. Valhalla awaits us." The man began to pray, he had never been a religious sort but if there were gods. Well it wouldn't hurt.
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 1 + 2 = 13 (3d6 + 2)

>>5169238
>Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Duck and Cover - Target Setting
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 1 = 4 (3d6)

>>5169238
>Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Shoot - Simple Test
Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
File: ssYnWYV.gif (3.06 MB, 576x325)
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Rolled 6, 5, 4 + 2 = 17 (3d6 + 2)

>>5169238
>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
Aim and Shoot - Simple Test
Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 4, 8, 5 = 17 (3d12)

>>5169252
Damage Roll
1/2 damage distribution.
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 2 + 2 = 12 (3d6 + 2)

>>5169238
>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
Duck and Cover - Target Setting
>>
>>5169238
Those are some brave motherfuckers
>>
>>5169267
And also some dead motherfuckers.
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 5 + 3 = 14 (3d6 + 3)

>>5169238

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
Use Equipment Hornet Missile launcher - Simple Test

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 3 = 11 (3d6)

>>5169272
Damage Roll
1/2 damage distribution.
>>
>>5169262
Guess who gets the HS.32s tactical mine next turn :3
>>
Rolled 3, 5, 3 + 3 = 14 (3d6 + 3)

>>5169238
>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo

Use Equipment Hornet Missile launcher - Simple Test

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 6 = 12 (3d6)

>>5169277
Damage Roll
1/2 damage distribution.
>>
File: CanYouHearTheVoicesToo.gif (2.27 MB, 498x280)
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>>5169238
>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
½ of 17
8 Exterior Damage.
9 Interior Damage.

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
½ of 11.
5 Exterior Damage.
6 Interior Damage.

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo
½ of 12.
6 Exterior Damage.
6 Interior Damage.

>Total damage
19 Exterior Damage.
21 Interior Damage

Unit Name: The Waking Nightmare
Unit Class/Type: Emperor/Rapier
Unit Pilot: The Half Soul
Exterior A.Plating: 300/145 -19!
Interior N.Cluster: 200/165 -21!
Action Points: 2
Skills: ???

Inventory:
Xeno-Matter Musket. - 22/30
HS.32s Tactical Mines. - 5

From within you rotten grotto you watch your targets cease to exist. Then what morsels of the Elysians that remained alive decide to return fire, the few left clearly had gotten a bead on you. Little of the trees remained standing as more rounds cut through. The remaining Destroyer struck you through the insignificant rain of small arms fire. It hit your crouched body in the shoulder, peeling and puncturing into your frame. You grit your teeth against the pain as the slug digs deep, you were still in the fight. Then two missiles met you, catching you on the hip and arm. The suffering? The Agony? It was nothing compared to your loss, with a cool breath you opened you eyes. Her face slipping away as your regard the living world once more. Not much further now. Just a little more left.

"FIGHT!" "FIGHT!" "FIGHT!"

"Just a little more my Love…"

She spoke as softly as the snow that settled on your skin. Delicious ambrosia to your ears. But those words. By all that was divine those beautiful and sweet words were barbed with the foulest of briars. Poisonous and fetid they eased your mind gently into madness. Nothing could compare. The dead men around you would never fathom it.

>The Half Soul Turn 3
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>>
Love the quest, but it grates on my sanity.
>>
>>5169299
>Equipment Use: HS.32s Tactical Mines. Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite" 1 AP

Let's start saving some AP for upcoming enemy Phobos
>>
>>5169299
Also QM could you write rather then this
>Xeno-Matter Musket. - 22/30
something like this
>Xeno-Matter Musket. - 1/22/30
where it's goes like that [how many are ready to fire/how much you have/what is full capacity]
or [how many are ready to fire/how much you have after full freeload/how much you have]
I think second would be better and Xeno-Matter Musket. would look like that 1/1/22 when ready to fire
>>
>>5169299
>Moving: 2 AP
Move further away from the ambush spot so we can pick them of one by one.
>>
>>5169332
+1, we should disengage and start building AP up for when the Brute arrives. They’re on foot and treads, they can’t keep up. We’ve eliminated the primary threat of the Wretch, no need to waste a boatload more AP on footsoldiers who will lose target lock and cannot follow
>>
>>5169332
Support, Rapiers are all about mobility anyway
>>
>>5169332
Could we have QM at least confirm that infantry and vehicles would need more AP to catch up before they could shoot us again?

I hope this isn't people getting soft on enemy after that hot and bothered scene in destroyer.
>>
>>5169312
Thanks for the good idea, I'll switch it up to.
>Xeno-Matter Musket. - 1/22/30

>>5169356
They would have to spend all their AP if they wanted to match you. Wouldn't be able to shoot.
>>
>>5169356
Nah, I just don’t want to get demolished by facing the Brute with only 2 AP
>>
>>5169361
So after few turn of moving away we should be able to loose them but there is no telling if we won't step in bigger shit right?
>>
>>5169391
Yes
One turn would lose the chance of them shooting at you for sure.

You know where the Brute is. He is around 6 turns out, but you have no idea what else is lurking around.
>>
>>5169396
If chat is voting for move then I will at least pick direction. Towards that factory we find explosives in. Should give us some concealment and maybe chance to set up a trap.
>>
>>5169403
Also it's a direction we know there are no enemies. And to my understanding we would be walking towards Brute just not directly so we should have 1-2 turns to rest
>>
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>>5169332
>Move AP 2
What remained of your cover was gone, the forested landscape strewn with corpse shaped smears and splinters. From within the Umbral Core you floated, watching out across the snowy carnage. The Elysians had your location pinned down, the felled trees served their purpose. As silently as you had arrived you departed without a word. The Waking Nightmare slips between the tall trees carefully as you pull out of view. Each long stride takes you further and further into the abyss. Flooded with excruciating ecstasy as She caresses your worn and battered body.

The dark became your world as you sank beyond their point vision. Into the ichor of night, the Elysians targeting warnings slipped away, even the beams IR failed to crest your star flesh. To them you were little more than the beast in the night, the monster in the woods. They cackle like gibbering fools. You join in, barely even noticing your external speaker snapping on to transmit what it thought were words. The small hud icon showing you the broadcast fed into the madness, the small dot of light caused you to break into even more hysterical laughter. The Nightmare didn't react to your writhing motions. Instead it stayed demonically still, for after all. Your eyes had not left the Elysians.

>Enemy Forces Turn 3
Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo


>Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Move AP 2

"Oh fuck. Ma'am the target dropped, we've lost him." The crew whimpered as the "Broodmother" skirted it's way towards Fire Team Alpha. "Fucking Bastard has us! Now we are the prey." The LV12 climbed the train track before smashing into a snowbank fighting to escape and crawled it's way over to the fox holes. Even through the roar of the engine they heard the grotesque noises echo out from the gloom.

>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
Move AP 2

The ravings of the mad man was the cherry on top of the cake of failure. "Fuck this, We are pulling out. Who knows where that cunt is!" The voice of Gia Uustav is as harsh as the woman's personality. Adine was too busy returning another frantic bout of kissing as the "Snake Bite" began to circle in the snow, churning up the white powder it began to drive towards Fire team Bravo.
>>
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>>5169560
>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
Move AP 2

"Fucking nice one! By the gods!" Yuric screamed, slapping the other crewmen on their shoulders. Word had already reached them, the mean bitch was coming to pick them up. The Brute. was on his own. The thing laughed, well Yuric thought it was a laugh. The noise emanating from the woods, like something out of a child's horror story. Breathy choking sobs, it was loud enough to contend with the storm. Thankfully they were pulling out before that monster came back, in a hurry they haul themselves onto the hull of the vehicle. Abandoning any equipment they couldn't carry.

>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo
Move AP 2

Pseudo-Captain Yurgin let out a sigh of relief, he was a second away from calling his own retreat. The Howler was down, the bloody Eskarrian bastard had eradicated the poor pilot. They were crippled and that damned monster was late. He wasted no time clambering onto the hull of the "Snake Bite" The gutteral utterance of the Imperialist made the older man shiver. The type of reaction the cold couldn't produce, a sickly seed of empathy. Something dark and rotten. It was a sound he had no intentions of ever hearing again, vibrations that spoke of sick and blackened things.

From your hovel you watch your enemies begin to disengage, they fire nothing towards you. Allowing you to simply track their movements, they quickly begin to load up. The Elysians were planning on running, seemingly without The Brute. You grinned a monstrous thing again, the blood graced your tongue. Tantalizing. Your mind is a wall of thoughts. Soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon, soon and soon. Your revenge had yet to be sated, the scout drone returning information as the other pilot began to approach. You still had a while until he would appear.

The Brute will arrive in 5 turns.

They couldn't wait. Neither could you.

>The Half Soul Turn 4
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5169561
>>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5169561
>Wait
When he gets closer, launching a drone and settling into concealed position might be good. I’d rather open up on him when he’s as far away as possible, getting that hit and run perhaps
>>
>Y'all can put up how many turns you wish to wait. After the next turn the convoy will be out of your range.

>>5169356
>Fuck em. After the destruction of The Unlucky I say kill em all.
>>
>>5169599
If there was some sort of AP recovery for killing units, or caps on the max amount of AP to store, I would be sorely tempted.
Even more so now that the infantry have stacked nicely into single vehicles
But, weighing the 3 AP cost of aim shoot reload, when we could hold it for nailing the Brute, I’d save it for the more armored one.
>>
>>5169599
Let's wait 4 turns.
>>
>>5169561
>Wait 4 turns
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
Setup our cover, take the low ground in concealment
>>
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>>5169719
>>5169758
Wait. 0 AP

Like a hawk, perched on the top of branches of the night you stare at the Elysian forces. You had broken them, cut them down to less than half their starting number. You dwell within the void. Floating within the core, waiting for The Brute. Under your grating eyes they fled.

>Enemy Forces Turn 4
>Light Combat Vehicle LV12 "Broodmother"
Move: 2 AP
>Destroyer Type Ae2 "Snake Bite"
Move: 2 AP
>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Alpha
Move: 2 AP
>'The Hell Badgers' Fire team Bravo
Move: 2 AP

The Infantry clung to the rooves of the armored vehicles, prepared and ready to dive off at the first sign of molestation. The slowly chugging convoy was a prime target for the enemy Phobos. With their worn eyes pinned open the scared men watch the ancient forest that surrounded them waiting to pounce.

Within the "Broodmother" words bounced back and forth on LO comms, the two crews alert for any incoming attention. The Brute was ignoring any attempts and communication. Forgoing the pilot's wrath the crews began to contact command for retrieval.

>The Half Soul Turn 5
The Elysian Forces have fled the battle..
>The Half Soul Turn 6
>The Half Soul Turn 7
>The Half Soul Turn 8
>Gain 8 AP
>Action Points Available: 10

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP

The Brute will arrive in 1 turn.


>Roll dice+3d6+2
Best of Three.
Duck and Cover - Target Setting
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 5 + 2 = 14 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170098
>>
Rolled 4, 4, 5 + 2 = 15 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170098
Good choice let's not get fuck by all out salvo
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 4 + 2 = 12 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170098
Rollan
>>
For real
This battle dream might be an umbral core connection, with the Emperor class pilot Vladimir. He is the other Phobos pilot of an emperor class after all.
Umbral cores are somewhat connected to each other and pilots can hear other people/pilots thoughts while inside them, Mortimer might have something similar while sleeping in the hospital bed. Does this mean he is learning from the combat he sees from Vladimir's eyes ?
>>
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>>5170103
>>5170104
>>5170113
Duck and Cover AP 2
Target Set - 15
You feel yourself trembling, The Brute was approaching. His rot on the wind. The scout drone whispered low readings, unwilling to give away your position. The Pilot was heading towards the ambush site. You climb into your hollow shell, mind and body becoming separate entities. Cold and alone untethered from your body of bone and flesh. You sync with the frame of sky iron, unmoving you wait.

The Brute has arrived..

>Enemy Forces Turn 8
The Brute
>[Skill] [????!] AP 2
????
Move AP 2

You glimpse movement. Eyes unblinking you watch as The Brute reveals himself. Slinking through the tree line the Prince class Phobos is led by his weapon, a long barrel sweeping from side to side as the heavy Longsword Type stepped out into the open. It pivoted around, examining your handy work. Through the weeping wind and wallowing whispers you made out his voice, the external speaker unit blaring. "I knew the retard wouldn't last long enough. Come on Half Soul, do I scare you so much?" The Elysian bastard chortles deep from his throat, a grimy and crooked noise. Hands spreading wide at his side, the bulky frame cocky and fluid.

The sensors of your Umbral Core pick up a pulse from his direction, a flux in heat as the machine expends energy. But he was out of your range assistance, the trees and snow playing interference. You had no intention of giving away your position. The lumbering Phobos strolls between the carnage, inspecting your handy work further. "Half Soul, if you had heard that Idiot, 'The Trap will slay the fool' I'm glad he isn't here to get between us. Just like with your Whore. He didn't have the stomach, weaklings never do. Not like us. You and i. We are not so diff-" The giant throws its head backwards savagely howling with sudden laughter. The madness matched your own, you failed to stifle a giggle. Even with your mind within its shell. "Forgive me Half Soul… I couldn't resist. But I'll admit, I wasn't expecting you to be hiding, the Eskarrian whore killed the rest of our unit head on. Maybe she should have taken a page from your book… It might have saved her a lot of pain." The Phobos continues to search around, kicking the corpse of the destroyer. Burning bodies were sent flying as he paced around.

>The Half Soul Turn 9
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 10

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5170159
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP

So QM our skill is a surprise and we have to use it to find out what it does?
>>
>>5170161
+1
>>
>>5170161
>Yep, it a secret.
>>
>>5170161
support
>>
>>5170154
Perhaps. Or it could be memories of an old battle our Phobos went through.

>>5170159
I think that’s the brute using his skills, we don’t know what our active one is. We already took cover, no need to double up on it unless we’re looking for a higher DC I think.
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Reload: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Reload: 1 AP

2 aimed shots, leaves us with 4 AP where we can either disengage or start going into rapid fire with just shot+reload if he botches his duck and cover rolls
>>
>>5170180
>We already took cover, no need to double up on it unless we’re looking for a higher DC I think.
>>5170167
QM Duck and cover is active only for turn after it was used right? DC doesn't stays the same until someone shoots at us I think. Because destroyers rerolled theirs
>>
>>5170184
>While you are hidden it is set and active until someone use Equipment to find you or shoots at you.

>When someone can see you. It's for each turn you keep trying to avoid being hit.

>But using Duck and Cover again will overwrite it. So you don't need to roll it again until he is actually. Aware of where you might be.
>>
>>5170189
So if we shoot him this turn without duck and cover we would be with low basic DC to shoot us right?
>>
>>5170161
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Reload: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
You know what it's probably good idea to shoot this turn in case our ability work together with that action.
>>
>>5170197
Yeah he would be up against a simple test. Instead of opposed.
>>
>>5170159
Is that mech drawing fully made by you or just edited text on it? Either way good job
>>
>>5170241
it s one of the first in first thread, so is edited. Still cool if you ask me
>>
>>5170241
>>5170252
Yeah I did just try writing on it but it looked weird since the original art is so good. Gave it a quick trace so the writing was more noticeable.
>>
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>>5170202
>>5170163
>>5170178
>>5170161
>[Skill] [Veil Wraith!] AP 2
??????

The rage, the hate. It keeps your heart pumping, your lungs filling and your very mind ticking like a disassembled wind up toy. Binding together your very soul and being. Shattered and yet whole. You ached for it to end. To be with her. Gods how you wished to be back in her arms. "Don't give up my Love" Tears flow down your cheeks burning, boiling within the Umbral Core. She was just as much a part of you as you were of her.

They couldn't understand.
They couldn't see.
The Single Link.
The Countless Chains.
The Intertwined Threads.
The Bare Strand.
That Faintest Bond.
Those Shackles you all share.
Even now it enslaves you.
The walls between the human mind.

You reach out, across the ghostly pathways. Oh those labyrinthian neural branches of the Phobos. You touch it. Feel it.

The Shared System.
The Secret Path.
Beyond the Starless Sea.
Below the Sleeping Garden.
You can see it.
You can feel it.
The Veil.
It makes you falter for a second.
The Blackened and crude Membrane.
Like the scales of some unfathomable monster.
The Boundaries of a mind.
The Defences of the living.
It meant nothing to a nightmare like you.
You rend the veil apart.
Hands sinking deep into the border of the soul.
You step through.

The stank of decay exudes from the layers as you slip into the boundaries of the other machine. He doesn't react. The pilot floats, attention elsewhere as you stalk him. She is with you. The Machine mumbles its name. She is always with you. Within her very layer, together you touch him. It was enough, the pilot jumped. Boundaries snapping shut. You share your madness and pain, marinating him in it. You open your eyes. The Brute flinches as the machine spins, throwing his metallic body to the side as sparks dance across it. Turning to face a ghost.

Unit Name: Abhartach
Unit Class/Type: Prince/Longsword
Unit Pilot: The Brute
Exterior A.Plating: 500/237
Interior N.Cluster: 350/290

>Only want two rolls.
>Both are 3d6+1
>>
Rolled 4, 1, 5 + 1 = 11 (3d6 + 1)

>>5170344
Exterior A.Plating: 500/237
Interior N.Cluster: 350/290
What a chunky boy
>>
Rolled 4, 4, 3 + 1 = 12 (3d6 + 1)

>>5170344
Ok, mindscape war time.
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 1 + 1 = 4 (3d6 + 1)

>>5170344
>>
>>5170344
>>5170347
>>5170348
Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/237 -11!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/290 -12!

You take your chance. Musket raising again as you eyeballed the shot, linking sights you aim high. Right for his core. Pulling the trigger on the surprised Phobos. As the shot flies from your hallowed grove, you smoothly reload the weapon. You knew it wouldn't kill him, going prone you begin to snake between the trees to find better cover.

>Simple Skill test.
>Roll 3d6+3
Best of Three.
Target - ???
>>
>>5170358
kek this is disgusting
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 1 + 3 = 6 (3d6 + 3)

>>5170360
Heh, his exterior is more beaten up than his interior.
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 4 + 3 = 15 (3d6 + 3)

>>5170360
>>5170365
Dude...the fuck
>>
Rolled 6, 5, 4 + 3 = 18 (3d6 + 3)

>>5170360
>>5170358
We've had some utterly CURSED rolls, damn
>>
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>>5170365
>>5170371
>>5170372
>Kek

>6, 15, 18
>[Skill] [Bloody Cairn!] AP 2
The Bloody Cairn Repulsion Device is a prototype gravitational shielding unit. At the cost of excess energy the generator can produce a burst of shielding. For a few moments intercepting and repelling anything that it comes into contact with.
Target - 18

As you reload your weapon, your sensors ping again. Feeding further information, another burst of energy was picked up. You look over, and witness a bloody red field birth into existence around the enemy Phobos. The warhead spins against the strange energy, you witness snow and condensation being blown away from the wall. But the Warhead stays true, the spinning intensifies as it catches the repulsive force. The warhead twists and snaps the barrier, creating a small puncture point in the fabric of defense. The blinding flash of the weapon detonating against the Titan comes next, erasing the red curtain from existence.

>Roll dice+10d8
Only need one roll.
½ Damage Distribution
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 6, 2, 1, 8, 8, 2, 3, 6 = 45 (10d8)

>>5170394
Let's go
>>
>>5170360
Last roll then enemy turn.
>I didn't want to make it impossible. But y'all aren't supposed to be beating him up so much. I love it.

>Kill em all!!!

>Roll dice+3d6+2
Best of Three.
Duck and Cover - Target Setting
>>
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Rolled 6, 2, 3 + 2 = 13 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170401
You don't fuck with the half-soul, apparently.
>>
Rolled 4, 1, 6 + 2 = 13 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170401
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 6 + 2 = 14 (3d6 + 2)

>>5170401
Trying to make up for the Ones
>>
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>>5170394
So he launched a big rocket and we ate it like a champ
Here is what captcha think about Brute
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>>5170407
>>5170410
>>5170413
>Enemy Forces Turn 8
The Brute
Shoot AP 1
Shoot AP 1

Pain lashed The Brute his nerves on edge after the Half Soul's intrusion. His mind was a buzz with questions. How did the bastard long range hack the Abhartach without any warning signs? How did the Half Soul sabotage the secondary relays throughout the Phobos? How in all the gods did he rile them up. Faceless bodies clung to The Brute. Seventy four of them to be exact, he would never forget their names. Their soft bodies, the way they screamed and writhed under him. He reacted quickly, spinning to face the intruder. He thought the Rapier class had snuck up on him to engage in disabling him.

He found nothing but swaying tree tops in the wind. The crackle of the relays going critical and burning out annoyed him. He pushed his mind through the naked and trembling bodies, past the clawing hands and thrashing thighs. Sensors pinged out. Picking up nothing but his ghosts. The Brute focused his mind, then a pulse resounded through the core. A silent warhead, flickered into vision as an observer spins. The Bloody Cairn activates with a low humming throb. Catching the missle, but not bumping it off course. The Brute thought it was Impossible, nothing was supposed to be able to penetrate it. He blinked in shock as a small thin hole was torn in his red wall. Then the observer feed snapped off, the camera caught in the explosion that rocked his Phobos.

Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/226 -22!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/278 -23!

½ of 45
22 Exterior Damage.
23 Interior Damage.

He didn't scream. He wouldn't give the bastard the satisfaction. Regaining his footing he spun the long and heavy weapon, grasping it with both hands. "Now, that was just down right dirty..." Pointing the weapon in the direction his trajectory tracker suggest he opens fire.
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 3 = 9 (3d6)

>>5170442
Shoot Test 1 - Target 14
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 3 = 9 (3d6)

>>5170442
Shoot Test 2 - Target 14
>>
>>5170443
>>5170446
>The Half Soul Turn 9
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 5

From your new position you witness two long and thin beams sweep through the trees. The snow boiling instantly into clouds of thick steam as the wood blackened and burned under the miniscule strand of energy. The Abhartach was cast in a thick muddy red by the glowing weapon. The entire world was painted crimson as the enemy Pilot pulled the trigger twice. His shots went wide, cooking long streaks of the forest and little else.

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP

Unit Name: The Waking Nightmare
Unit Class/Type: Emperor/Rapier
Unit Pilot: The Half Soul
Exterior A.Plating: 300/136
Interior N.Cluster: 200/144
Action Points: 2
Skills: Veil Wraith

Inventory:
Xeno-Matter Musket. - 1/21/30
HS.32s Tactical Mines. - 5
>>
>>5170454
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>>
>>5170460
After this best chance of a win is a slugfest I think. Unless someone can think of something better.

If next two shoots land we on average will need to go thru 20 rounds of alternating between.
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

>Reloading: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

Or we can just... you know run?
>>
>>5170454
If we're willing to bet that he's not going to just try and force shield up again, then trying to just snap off as many shots as possible sounds good. And if he does shield up, then he's not firing back.
>>5170460
I like this, but drop the last Reload. We can do that next turn, if we want to, and we can save an AP if we decide to bail with Find Cover and Move to disengage on a later turn

Because, as you mentioned, this is kind of a slugfest, and he's got better armor and faster firing guns. We don't want any of that, we want to stack the deck in our favor as much as possible.
>>
>>5170466
Shame he didn't hit us knowing how much damage his weapon deals would be helpful. Also this in Prince class chonker I wonder how much fucking HP would emp have.
>>
>>5170467
yeah sure good idea
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>>
>>5170467
Supporting what this anon said, so
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>>
Question QM can we even make decision to retreat? It is possible?

Because honestly we should. We took out their emperor class and bunch of other assets. If that can be in character we should run. But from how character is acting I'm not sure if that is on the table.
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>>5170468
It seems like we're at major disadvantage since Rapiers are supposed to be long range-ish support Phobes who rely on 'allies' (meat shields) to tank hits while they do shit. The fact that we've managed to solo everything so far (even if we're technically a Emperor-Class) is really impressive, I can see why the QM is a bit taken back
>>
I wonder why the empire military, is letting an emperor class phobos go solo on a mission against so many numbers. Ok that Phobos are the kings of war, but a valuable emperor alone, will be targeted by the enemy just for the chance to steal it.
Then again we don't know anything of this "dream" . Could be the past, the current present or maybe even the future.
>>
>>5170484
I mean, at this point I'm thinking that melee and attempting to disarm/destroy his weapon is a viable option. That would be one way to flip the slugfest on its head, he's probably got secondary weapons systems, but something with less damage than our rifle.
We can then use our mobility and dance out of his range, or use our skill to rip apart his Phobos.
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>>5170487
Possible half soul is awol, put solo to avenge Her.
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>>5170490
Yeah looks like that.
He is also mental and bloodthirsty
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>>5170467
>The Half Soul
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

You waste no time. They wanted more. You were so close to the end now. Finally. Through whispered pleas you shoulder the weapon once more. With a snap the warhead is sent flying towards The Brute the force carrying with it swirling coils of snow. You'd have thought the design beautiful if your mind didn't snap to reloading the prototype weapon. Another warhead in place you repeat the process, sending a spear of destiny towards the Elysian dog. You take a moment to gasp at the beauty as another cone of dancing flakes was sent spinning by your own wrath. You wished She was here to see it. Your mind drifted, a delicate pale hand tracing down your own before finding its way between your fingers. She would never leave you. You catch yourself slipping and hustle to move position before the counter attack begins.

Shoot 1 - Simple Test
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 4, 6, 1 = 11 (3d6)

>>5170568
>Roll dice+3d6
Did you forget a modifier? doesn't really matter since it can be added after the roll
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>>5170571
Shoot is without modifier.
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 2 = 11 (3d6)

>>5170568
Ya, we're rushing the shots, otherwise it's 2 ap for the Aim and shoot for the +3. Halfsoul ain't got time for that.
>>
Rolled 3, 1, 6 = 10 (3d6)

>>5170568
>>
>>5170571
>>5170579
>>5170583
Partial success
Damage Roll
>Roll dice+10d8+-10
Only need one
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 5, 8, 2, 8, 2, 2, 1, 3 - 10 = 31 (10d8 - 10)

>>5170586
Roger that
>>
>>5170568
Shoot 2 - Simple Test
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 2, 6, 8, 2, 4, 8, 2, 7 + 10 = 56 (10d8 + 10)

>>5170586
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 6 = 15 (3d6)

>>5170594
Rollan
>>
Rolled 3, 2, 1 = 6 (3d6)

>>5170594
>>
Rolled 3, 5, 2 = 10 (3d6)

>>5170594
This will take some time
>>
>>5170596
>>5170599
>>5170604

Damage Roll
>Roll dice+10d8
Only need one
>>
Rolled 4, 8, 6, 8, 6, 1, 6, 3, 8, 3 = 53 (10d8)

>>5170607
>>
Rolled 4, 4, 3, 7, 6, 4, 5, 8, 5, 3 = 49 (10d8)

>>5170607
High numbers come on lads.
>>
Cover Roll 2 - Target setting
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 2 = 10 (3d6)

>>5170615
Avoidance time!
>>
Rolled 3, 2, 6 = 11 (3d6)

>>5170615
Luv me high dice, simple as
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 6 = 12 (3d6)

>>
Rolled 3, 4, 6 = 13 (3d6)

>>5170615
and 1,1,1
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>>5170617
>>5170621
>>5170631

½ of 31
15 Exterior Damage.
16 Interior Damage.

½ of 53
26 Exterior Damage.
27 Interior Damage.

Total Damage
41 Exterior Damage.
43 Interior Damage

Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/204 -41!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/255 -43!

>Enemy Forces Turn 9
The Brute
Skill AP 2
Shoot AP 1


The First Warhead connects at a bad angle but still manages to detonate effectively. Stripping off scale and flesh from the beast from beyond. The second one stuck the Abhartach in the chest, detonating well and opening another wound. Despite the blinding pain the assault gave The Brute a better idea of where the imperialist was. Snarling like a dog he hissed out into the night sky. "Coward! Your bitch died badly. She pleaded for mercy as we tore her apart, I'm going to fucking gut you and fuck what's left. Then. I'm gonna go fuck what's left of her!" Through the vicious words the Bloody Cairn announced itself fully charged as the generator readied itself for deployment. The Brute grins and readjusts his weapon, another beam lancing out.

>[Skill] [Bloody Cairn!] AP 2
The Bloody Cairn Repulsion Device is a prototype gravitational shielding unit. At the cost of excess energy the generator can produce a burst of shielding. For a few moments intercepting and repelling anything that it comes into contact with.
Target - 18

Shoot 1 Roll - Target 12
>>
Rolled 1, 3, 6 = 10 (3d6)

>>5170642
>Forgot to roll

Shoot 1 Roll - Target 12
>>
>>5170643
>The Half Soul Turn 10
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 3

Another lance of energy did nothing but eradicate wildlife as you try to stay hidden. Your shots left gaping wounds in the side of your prey. You felt the pain radiating from the raging beast. It was time to put The Brute down.

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5170656
Alright, his shield is back up. It would be funny to just fade into the blackness, leaving him to scream impotently, but that shield will no-sell whatever initial strike we do if we try to back off and re-engage.

QM, what's the AP cost of attempting to melee/disarm him? Like, is that even a tactic we can do?
Also, can we reach him in a single 2 AP move, or are we further our than that?
>>
>>5170656
>Moving: 2 AP
move further away to keep range advantage. It's also a good way to keep fucking with his head.
>>
>>5170656
>>5170682
It says for a few moments, so I think it only applies to this turn unless he chooses to mass spam it every turn. Also would our skill be useful in this situation? I still don't really understand what it does exactly
Personally I think we should
>Moving: 2 AP (Retreat/Move away from the enemy so we can gain some distance)
and
>Reloading: 1 AP
>>
>>5170682
Yeah. You've been moving in a semi circle avoiding his attacks. A single 2AP Move would take you right up to him.

>I'm open to move ideas. If you guys can do it so can the enemy lol.
>For Melee moves how about?

>Melee Strike 1 AP or like 1/2 AP
Without Body modifier
>Powerful Strike 2 AP or like 1AP
With Body modifier
>Disarm 1AP
Opposed test without modifier
>Grapple 2AP
Opposed test with modifier
>>
>>5170693
Our skill seems to directly mentally/physically attack them, dealing damage without rolling to hit, just a mind check for how much damage we deal to exterior/interior. (This is my guess, anyways)
One big advantage of it seems to be that he's firing back at what his trajectory sensors guess where we are, based on our shots going in at him. If we fade back, then pick shots at him with our Skill, we could just be the ghost in the darkness.

His shield only lasts for a few moments, sure, but because Skills activate before everyone's actions, if we were to disengage and build up AP, then try to reengage, his first move is instantly to set his DC to 18, making whatever multiple shot attempt we have be at a very difficult DC. Great for the open battlefield, receiving punishment while having his allies dish it out.
>>
>>5170693
Just to clear up any confusion and help with discussion.

>Bloody Cairn will remain until it's activated. It's a equipment/skill superior version of duck and cover. Basically a Yu-Gi-Oh trap card

>Veil Wraith deals a relatively small direct damage at just the cost of AP. It seems as though the Half Soul can reach across the veil that is boundary of the human mind. Using the linking system of the Phobos and inflict damage to units.
>>
>>5170703
>ZAMN.
>Anon is fast.
>>
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>>5170703
>>5170705
Thanks for spoonfeeding me anons, anyway unless anyone has some alternative ideas/solutions I'll stay with my vote prior because attacking him CQC/Bumrushing him in melee sounds utterly retarded, especially since he can currently tank way more hits than us. I think it's best to keep taking potshots at him from afar unless something radically changes
>>
>>5170656
We need a little more AP then, to go for as much as possible in as fast a time as possible.
If we save AP this turn, we can have 5 AP at the start of next one, which allows us to go for a Move and then a bunch of Disarm attempts or Strikes. If we cripple his ranged attacks, we can then outrun him and pepper him to death with shots at range.
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5170718
Support
>>
>>5170718
Why not just shoot his gun?
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>>5170693
I will +1 this. Does shield have visual effect we can tell if it's up or not when we see him?
>>
>>5171184
>>5170693
>>5170686
Move 2 AP
Reloading 1 AP

You slink further into the trees, deeper into the aged woods. With each step the snow grows deeper as The Brute rages. Your sensor goes off, picking up a pulse of excess energy being shunted. The enemy Phobos is in the limits of your range as you cease moving. Carefully you reload, the chattering in your core is obnoxious.

>Enemy Forces Turn 10
The Brute
Wait: 0

The lumbering giant waited for another shot. None came. He was sure the coward was still out there, under the defensive watch of the Bloody Cairn he waited for any further sign.

>The Half Soul Turn 11
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
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>>5171184
It expels excess energy once it's charged. But until it's activated there is no other sign.
>>
>>5171418
>Skill Use: 2 AP- Veil Wraith

>>5171422
Again, now we're sitting here trying to shoot at 18 DC, until we manage to break it. At which point, we get maybe another turn until he charges his shield back up, and we sit back on the same problem.

If we're not going for the melee plan, engaging at like extreme range with Veil Wraith is what I like. Torment him, show him nowhere is safe, and leave him no target to vent his anger at.
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>>5171418
Changing my vote to
>Skill Use: 2 AP- Veil Wraith
>>5171431
Okay fair actually, that sounds like a sound plan
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>>5171418
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>>
>>5171431
>>5171433
>>5171434
>Only want two rolls.
>Both are 3d6+1
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 4 + 1 = 11 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171445
Come on triple sixes baby
>>
Rolled 5, 2, 1 + 1 = 9 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171445
>>
>>5171449
>>5171454
>[Skill] [Veil Wraith!] AP 2

The brute may have been at the edge of the optimal range of your musket. But the roots of the alien cores go deep, you share the same stem. Closing your eyes she guides you, though the nest of tunnels. The synapses that lead from construct to construct. Again you find his veil, the boundary of his being. Your hand meets the membranous material, pushing it, the wall gives, before finally you slip back into his sour layers. The poor souls trapped within his core surround you, shocked at your presence. The fragments of stolen humanity, they follow you as she leads. The raging monster didn't notice you, as you make contact with him so do the wretches. You heard the soft pop as a mechanism inside the Abhartach seized.

11 Exterior Damage
9 Interior Damage

Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/163
-11!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/212 -9!

>Enemy Forces Turn 11
The Brute
Move 2

"Fucking Whore! Show yourself, Eskarrian Imperialist. Fine!" The impotent rage resounded through the blizzard. Fuming the hulk began to advance in your general direction, sprinting forward the large mass smashed through what else remained of the trees. Cutting more scars into the landscape. As he comes to a halt closer than before, his figure swaying side to side as he scans the area.

>The Half Soul Turn 12
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5171475
Only downside is, well, we're gonna be here a while.
>Wait: 0 AP
Save for bursting on a later turn. If he's just moving randomly, he gets to waste his AP searching for us, while we remain hidden
>>
>>5171479
I agree, but I still think we should find some kind of cover so we don't get ganked, the less hits the better.
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>>
>>5171475
>Wait: 0 AP
We need a few more AP.
>>
>>5171475
>Wait: 0 AP
"All this rage, all this promises of vengeance and violence. But no results and no plans." "Typical of your weak people"
"Must be a tradition of the Elysian military, to have such trash, cowards and idiots as their pilots."
"Or, all three in your sorry case. They must have hit the jackpot when they found you no ?"
"And still so dissapointing .... but do not worry, at least your incompetence aids much the empire."
>>
>>5171482
+1 he will most likely will be able to see us next turn. We should ensure that at least we have better DC.
>>
>>5171486
>>5171483
>>5171479

>To speed up Combat how about the Wait action adds another 2 AP ontop of the new turn AP?
>But open for a vote.

Wait: 0 AP
You don't flinch, the beast was being bled. His movements are sluggish as he fights the souls within his core. You don't move, watching your prey flounder. The madness drove you further, eager to provoke the deadman. "All this rage, all this promises of vengeance and violence. But no results and no plans." You words reached The Brute, slipping in. His defenses overwhelmed by you repeated intrusion. He barely reacted to the LO Comm taunting. You continue to pick away at the shell of a man. "Typical of your weak people. Must be a tradition of the Elysian military, to have such trash, cowards and idiots as their pilots." The Phobos picked up a tree, ripping it free from the earth and throwing it airborne in his rage. It vanished into the pale abyss before landing with a distant crash. But he said nothing, instead he snapped from side to side searching with his eyes. You grin, giggling along with Them as you continue. "Or, all three in your sorry case. They must have hit the jackpot when they found you, no ? And still so dissapointing .... but do not worry, at least your incompetence aids much the Empire."

>Enemy Forces Turn 12
The Brute
Wait: 0

The Phobos crouched, slipping between the tree tops. The wind eclipses everything as the world grows quiet. Occasionally you spot him flinch, but besides that he stays still and low. Hiding seemingly. "You aren't the only one with tricks, Half Soul..."

>The Half Soul Turn 13
>Wait Gain 2 AP
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 6

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5171698
Wait giving 2 ap sounds good.

Move away from the brute. Looks like he find us soon.
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>>5171698
Can I suggest something drastic since he basically called us a little bitch
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
if we're allowed to use said skill multiple times per turn.
>>
>>5171698
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
Hahaha someone is getting angry

"Tricks you say ? Mere tricks wouldn't create such agony."
"Let me perform them again, little Elysian rat."

>>5171781
I like the idea of overwhelming his mind, maybe even enough to break it or make him weaker.
>>
>>5171781
>>5171888
>Let me get six rolls.
>All are 3d6+1
>>
>>5171475
>Moving: 2 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
I'm assuming he is calling some heavy artillery strike on as he doesn't need to give a fuck about danger close. We should reposition and find good hole just in case.
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 1 + 1 = 12 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
Nice trips QM.
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 2 + 1 = 12 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
trips !
>>
Rolled 3, 5, 6 + 1 = 15 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
THE POWER OF MIND HACK
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 5 + 1 = 12 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
>>
Rolled 5, 3, 3 + 1 = 12 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
Still need a few more?
>>
Rolled 1, 4, 3 + 1 = 9 (3d6 + 1)

>>5171999
And the last one
>>
>>5172003
>>5172027
>>5172043
>>5172100
>>5172141
>>5172201
>[Skill] [Veil Wraith!] AP 2
>[Skill] [Veil Wraith!] AP 2
>[Skill] [Veil Wraith!] AP 2

The fight was slipping, he had the rage. That blinding ravenous type of hate. The kind of thing that kills a man before he knows it, sudden and without mercy. You couldn't spot him, but the secret binding told you he was still there. Listening and watching. The Brute was up to something. You could feel it. You don't let up your assault, focusing on tormenting his link. Back within his layers you find him curled in a ball, the ghosts watching him. The animalistic man jumps as your words reach him. "Tricks you say? Mere tricks wouldn't create such agony. Let me perform them again, little Elysian rat." Spinning the man finds you grinning widely, it is a monsterous display. She there with you. The ghosts join in as the man writhes in pain.
You open your eyes and witness a great plume of black smoke clashing with the snowfall.

12 Exterior Damage
12 Interior Damage

15 Exterior Damage
12 Interior Damage

12 Exterior Damage
9 Interior Damage

Total Damage
39 Exterior Damage
33 Interior Damage


Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/152 -39!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/203 -33!

>Enemy Forces Turn 12
The Brute
>[Skill] ??? AP 4

"Try this on for size Half Soul, lets see if your eskarrian cunt can save you!"

>[Skill] [Miasma of Filth!] AP 4
The Bloody Cairn Repulsion Device is a prototype gravitational shielding unit, under constant heavy tweaking the unit has been crudely modified to at the cost of vast amounts of stored energy generate a burst of condensed interference. By projecting the feedback of the mounted unit's Umbral Core. Fashioned together by rogue Elysians technicians, activating the improvised device is extremely dangerous to anything surrounding it.
Target - 16

The Brute hums to himself a tune as you begin to feel a throb emanating from the Phobos. A moment later you feel a hand grasp your leg, glancing down, you spot the ruined body of a small child. It's empty eye stocks watch you back as the device activates, subjecting you to intense amounts of interference. You resist but can feel it dragging you down.

>Mind Test.
>Roll dice+3d6+1
Best of Three
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 1 + 1 = 4 (3d6 + 1)

>>5172218
>>
Rolled 3, 3, 4 + 1 = 11 (3d6 + 1)

>>5172218

>>5172223
wew
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 1 + 1 = 5 (3d6 + 1)

>>5172218
Big OOF.
>>
>>5172223
WEW LAD! TIME TO FUCKING DIE!!!!!
>>
>>5172229
Shit that's even bigger OOF. Guess hammering the Psychic attack button has consequences....
>>
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>>5172223
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 4, 10 = 29 (4d10)

>>5172223
>>5172226
>>5172229
>Rolling. Update will be in a while.
>>
Rolled 5, 9, 3, 5 = 22 (4d10)

>>5172269
>Ruh roh
>>
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>>5172269
>>5172272
29 Sanity Damage
22 Interior Damage.

Sanity: 96 -29!
Interior N.Cluster: 200/144 -22!

She tries to grasp your hand, but you are pulled through her fingers. Like a ball and chain the child drags you down into the deep. Beyond the Fifth Layer and truly into the Starless Sea. Your mind burns, beyond the limit, if only briefly. Cruel and disgusting images assault your soul, you cannot control it. Reliving something that wasn't yours. You do evil and foul things. Break delicate and pure creatures. A power equalizer pops as the pressure raises, you feel your Phobos stumble. His voice cuts through the horrific sights. "What's the matter, Half Soul? Don't have the stomach for it? It must be an acquired taste... They twist under your strength crying and demanding to be let go. You don't, you hurt them. You can taste, touch and smell every single act. Unable to escape it. More and more you hurt them and when you finally can't stand to bear it any more She saves you. Pulling you from the mire that was The Brute you had to kill him here. You knew it. He couldn't be allowed to continue.

>The Half Soul Turn 14
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5172351
>Wait: 0 AP
That....went poorly. Does seem to be a defensive trick, somewhat inefficient AP-wise, but cuts down on us just trying to spam mental damage against him.

So, anyone up for the Melee+disarm plan in the next couple of turns?
Would be something like next turn Move+Disarm+Disarm to get more chances to cripple his ranged weapons, then Move away.

Alternatively, we stack up some AP and then restart our sniper tactics, trying to crack that shield. Maybe lob a mine, to try to activate it early, then a Aim+shoot? Still requires 4 AP between Reload, Equipment use, and Aim/shoot, and even more if we want to add Take Cover to it (Which we probably do, considering I don't really want to take shots.
>>
>>5172351
>Wait: 0 AP
Real battles can be long time to wait.

>>5172434
Bloody Cairn Repulsion Device seems quite good for defense, still we managed to do more damage with Veil Wrath.
At this point though, I wouldn't disarm him. Either destroy the weapon outright, or attempt to inflict more damage on him.

If his weapon remain intact, he could still go for it.
>>
>>5172434
>>5172562
Wait: 0 AP

>Enemy Forces Turn 14
The Brute
Wait: 0 AP

A pair of wounded hounds you both stay still, reeling from the mental exchange. Your breath escapes you, trying desperately to breathe the images cannot leave your mind. They cloud it, an obstructing fog of disgust and desire. She did her best to comfort you, her icy touch made your stomach roll. The trauma is still too fresh to be bandaged. "That shut you up, What's the matter Half Soul? I'll show you the real thing real soon." A cruel chuckle followed the man's words, his own voice wavering and weak. The cough escaped and turned into a heavy fit.

>The Half Soul Turn 15
>Wait Gain 2 AP
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 4

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5173038
"Forgive me, I was simply trying to understand if I should consider you more disgusting and incompetent, than your little dead comrade Wretch."
"And I must admit, it is a hard battle between the two of you. You have a strong contender for being the exemplar pile of waste and excrements, Elysian pilots represents."


>Powerful Melee Strike 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

(Basically one sudden melee attack, then instead of following with another melee attack or retreating, we shoot immediatly inside the melee wound done on the Abhartach. After that we leave for find cover. Not too long ago the Abhartach made a "great plume of black smoke", so we should be able to find him).

>>5170697
i am taking the melee attack from here
>>
>>5173038
>Equipment Use: HE mine- 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
My thinking here is try to drop his shield with a single mine explosion, forcing him to put it back up next turn or we get a couple of volleys at him with Reload Aim/shoot
And, take cover because this will give away our position, giving him something to shoot at again

>>5173101
I would like this, but I think we need to do a Move to get into melee range, unless Powerful Strike is like a charge
>>
>>5173106
Supportan this anon
>>
>>5173106
perhaps i could transform powerful melee strike in

- Move (towards Abhartach)
- Melee Strike
- Shoot
- Find Cover.

but then again it might be too much.


>>5173106
i will change to support this vote.
though i keep the pilot speech.
>>
>>5173038
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

He used new ability I doubt he can hold two at a time. So just shoot him and duck into cover.
>>5173109
So you want to move in melee range, shoot him and then find cover WHILE in melee range? I don't want to be negative but dude... come on.
>>
>>5173262
I imagine "find cover" also means moving around for find said cover. If it doesn't mean that sure then.
Eitherway it leaves us near for attack him further if nothing else.
Beside it wasn't voted.
>>
>>5173106
Support
>>
>>5173106
Opposed Skill Test.
DC - 18
>Roll dice+3d6+3
Best of Three.
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 3 + 3 = 9 (3d6 + 3)

>>5173715
Bombs out
>>
Rolled 4, 3, 5 + 3 = 15 (3d6 + 3)

>>5173715
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 3 + 3 = 8 (3d6 + 3)

>>5173715
>>
>>5173715
>>5173752
>>5173792
>>5173801

Cover Roll - Target setting
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 2 = 7 (3d6)

>>5173807
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 2 = 8 (3d6)

>>5173807
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 6 = 11 (3d6)

>>5173807
>>
>>5173811
>>5173813
>>5173823
>Equipment Use: HE mine- 1 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP

The showdown in the dark was supported by a choir of mad laughter. The rattle of wounded machines and your own frantic breathing. Through the floating dark you waited. Ready to fight. You had to take out his shield, then finish him quickly. You were unsure what else his equipment could get up to. You hiss across the LO Comms. "Forgive me, I was simply trying to understand if I should consider you more disgusting and incompetent, than your little dead comrade Wretch." Involuntarily you laugh, grinning broadly in the orb of night that was your core. "And I must admit, it is a hard battle between the two of you. You have a strong contender for being the exemplar pile of waste and excrements, Elysian pilots represents." A service drone skitters along your body, delivering a mine Into your hand before rushing off. Calculating the angle quickly you lob the mine at The Brute and slink into another firing position.

>Enemy Forces Turn 15
The Brute
Shoot AP 1
Shoot AP 1

The Bloody Cairn snaps to life, pulling the pilot from his heavy thoughts. His prey swimming away like fish as he opens his eyes. An anti Phobos mine detonates on contact with the projected wall of energy, shrapnel zipping off into the night. The Brute didn't even acknowledge the trajectory readings. Snapping his long barreled weapon in your direction the enemy unit fires off two streaks of fluid heat. They cut through the storm, hissing loudly as they evaporated the water moisture in the air. Heading directly at you.
>>
File: astartes-40k.gif (3.23 MB, 498x281)
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Rolled 3, 4, 2 = 9 (3d6)

>>5173828
Shoot Roll 1 - Target 11
>>5173823
>>
Rolled 4, 3, 1 = 8 (3d6)

>>5173828
Shoot Roll 2 - Target 11
>>
>>5173837
>>5173833
The streaks of death zip by you, scorching the earth and only infuriating the enemy further. Wordless and incomprehensible he screams. Raging like a wild animal under the curtains of night.

>The Half Soul Turn 16

>I did the math wrong, y'all have an extra 2 AP to spend
>>5173038

>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 6

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5173833
>>5173837
Guess its a good thing he cant roll for shit either
>>
>>5173845
>>
>>5173844
Aim and shoot
Reload
Aim and shoot
Find cover
>>
>>5173852
LMAO
>>5173844
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
KEEP MOVING. DO NOT STOP!
>>
>>5173852
Was thinking of this
https://youtu.be/-GpXUrmSbkY
>>
>>5173844
When his choice is either fire back or Shield up, I’m willing to bet he’s going to keep firing back. So, put shots downrange before he comes to his senses and puts defense back on the priority list.
+1 to >>5173854
>>
>>5173856
Dude we only need one find cover a turn
>>
>>5173844
Aim and shoot
Reload
Aim and shoot
Find cover
>>
>>5173854
>>5173887
>>5174204
Aim and Shoot Roll 1 - Simple Test
>Roll dice+3d6+3
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 1 + 3 = 13 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174493
Give me crit or give me death
>>
Rolled 6, 4, 5 + 3 = 18 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174493
Cmon headshot
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 3 + 3 = 13 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174493
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 6 + 3 = 12 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174493
>>
>>5174501
>>5174525
>>5174558
>Musket Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+10d8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 5, 8, 2, 5, 3, 5, 6, 4 = 47 (10d8)

>>5174565
HIGH ROLLS BABY
>>
>>5174493
Aim and Shoot Roll 2 - Simple Test
>Roll dice+3d6+3
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 1 + 3 = 12 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174570
Not trying to shittalk your system QM but I'd make it a bit more brutal in terms of damage during engagements.
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 5 + 3 = 10 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174570
boom
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 6 + 3 = 16 (3d6 + 3)

>>5174570
FIRE FIRE FIRE
>>
>>5174610
>>5174608
>>5174572
>I can double damage? But he'd be able to two shot you if he manages to hit. But I'm open to ideas.

>Musket Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+10d8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 2, 2, 3, 5, 1, 5, 4, 3, 7, 5 = 37 (10d8)

>>5174615
Roll
>>
>>5174615
Cover Roll - Target setting
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 4 = 10 (3d6)

>>5174638
Fire and Fade, whee
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 5 = 14 (3d6)

>>5174638
Let's see if the brute (more like the jobber kek) will have a chance of getting a hit
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 3 = 10 (3d6)

>>5174638
>>
>>5174648
>>5174654
>>5174669
47
23 Exterior Damage
24 Interior Damage

37
18 Exterior Damage
19 Interior Damage

Total Damage
41 Exterior Damage
43 Interior Damage

Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/113 -41!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/170 -43!

From your prone firing position you take your time focusing on The Brute Through the smoke, and quickly freezing steam you synchronize weapon controls feeling the heft of the long gun as if it was truly in your hands. You take a deep breath and become stone. You Phobos doesn't react as the warhead is sent zipping through the long branches of the trees. The Brute turns to face the missile, clearly expecting it to be halted. The fool. His mind was slipping. Through the bind you could feel his sync rate falling. The weapon detonates with the moan of creaking metal. Just as you slide another cross tipped warhead into place. You waste no time, quickly falling into a crouched position you aim at the reeling Phobos. You blink and another round strikes true, the pain and rage that the man exuded was inescapable. He knew he was dying here. You dive into cover expecting counter fire.

>Enemy Forces Turn 16
The Brute
Aim and Shoot

Fighting against the storm of emotions that tried to control him, The Brute stares down the trajectory paths of the rails. Through the burning of flesh and the barks of gleeful ghosts he takes aim, trying his best to anticipate the Emperor-class' movements. Casting the night red he fires.
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 3 + 4 = 16 (3d6 + 4)

>>5174673
Aim and Shoot Roll - Target 14
>>
>>5174677
Ah fuck he can actually aim now, I jinxed it lads
>>
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Rolled 18, 1, 16, 6, 4, 17 = 62 (6d20)

>>5174677
Damage Roll
1/2
>>
>>5174684
62
31 Exterior Damage
31 Interior Damage

Unit Name: The Waking Nightmare
Unit Class/Type: Emperor/Rapier
Unit Pilot: The Half Soul
Exterior A.Plating: 300/136 -31!
Interior N.Cluster: 200/122 -31!

From your prone position your eyes glimpse a thin steak of light zip towards you. The tiny beam burns an after image into your vision as it slips straight Through you, climbing along your frame and continuing off into the night. You were confused for a second and then the night turned into day. The world around you suddenly tinted red as the surface temperature warning began to pop up everywhere. You didn't need the heads up, for what felt like an eternity but was in fact only a few seconds the world turned dark. Your body spasming as your metal frame buckles under the oppressive heat, your skin softening as heat countermeasures activate. Trying to save your more important systems, trying to stop your core from cooking you alive. The heat was crushing, it was hard to breathe. But as quickly as it had come, it snapped away. You Phobos stood in the middle of a burned groove along the earth, the area around you little more than embers and smoking ruins. Through the night you see him, towering in the distance.

>The Half Soul Turn 17
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes (x2) 1 AP
>Powerful Strike 2 AP
>Disarm 1 AP
>Grapple 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5174707
we are back too 2 ap a turn gain?
>>
>>5174707
>>Wait: 0 AP
For the moment
>>
>>5174707
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Reload
>>5174809
We've already took a bad shot, that sounds stupid.
>>
>>5174763
Ya, we get 2 extra AP for Wait actions. Otherwise, 2/turn regular
>>5174707
>Duck and cover: 2 AP
Get down into good cover to dodge his next shot, then we can wait
>>
>>5174707
>Duck and cover: 2 AP
>>
>>5174829
>>5174843
Duck and Cover Roll - Target setting
>Roll dice+3d6+2
Best of Three
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 4 + 2 = 13 (3d6 + 2)

>>5174901
>>
Rolled 4, 3, 1 + 2 = 10 (3d6 + 2)

>>5174901
>>
Rolled 5, 6, 4 + 2 = 17 (3d6 + 2)

>>5174901
COVER
>>
>>5174908
>>5174918
>>5174923
17
Duck and Cover

You move fast, diving out of the road of dead land and rolling into another unmolested collection of pines. Fighting through the pain you focus on hiding in the trees, the fierce blizzard helping to obscure your movements.

>Enemy Forces Turn 17
The Brute
Shoot
Shoot

"Where are you running? Half Soul! Face me you Eskarrian coward!"
Hastily trailing his weapon along with you, the enemy unit fires off two more thin beams. The world is painted red as you meet the trees.
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 5 = 11 (3d6)

>>5174933
Shoot Roll 1 - Target 17
>>
Rolled 3, 5, 1 = 9 (3d6)

>>5174933
Shoot Roll 2 - Target 17
>>
>>5174935
>>5174936
Two red bolts slip on by, missing his hurried shots The Brute roars in anger. But your Phobos feeds you further information, observers snapped closer in on the target. Revealing steam hissing from his weapon, a thick and long canister was ejected from it. Crashing into a tree as it was sent flying. You knew he was about to reload.

>The Half Soul Turn 18
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 2

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes (x2) 1 AP
>Powerful Strike 2 AP
>Disarm 1 AP
>Grapple 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5174940
>>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5174940
>Wait
He's Reloading, we get a chance to recover AP for something
I vote melee
>>
>>5174940
>>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5174948
>>5174952
>>5174963
Wait

Hiding within the foliage you ignore the tender words welcoming death and focus on the Phobos. The Brute was taking his time, only occasionally looking up to spot you between reloading his large weapon.

>Enemy Forces Turn 18
The Brute
Reload
Reload

Desperately he raced to ready his weapon, the hungry maw was far from full. He takes his time feeding in another canister. But he still had to prime and readjust his focal diameters. He cursed his own hazardous firing habit, he was too damn trigger happy.

>The Half Soul Turn 19
>Wait Gain 2 AP
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 6

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes (x2) 1 AP
>Powerful Strike 2 AP
>Disarm 1 AP
>Grapple 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
>>5174966
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
Gotta keep moving. Since he is a trigger happy idiot lets see if we cant get him while he reloads next time.
>>
>>5174966
Reload
Aim and Shoot
Reload
Aim and Shoot
>>
>>5174969
Gotta reload first.
>>
>>5174966
>Move
>Melee strike
>Melee strike
>Grapple
Now is the time, Strike before he finishes reloading, pin him
>>
>>5174988
You know what, fuck it. Supportan
>>
>>5174988
He already reloaded.
>>
>>5174969
>>5174991
Just to clarify he does actually have another entire turn of reloading before he can fire again.
>>
>>5174988
Alright, if he’s got another turn, then we can stack AP for a full alpha strike of melee or disarms
>Wait
>>
>>5174990
Changing this to >wait
>>
>>5174966
>Wait: 0 AP
Grab gun then run away
>>
>>5175043
>>5175036
>>5175001
Wait

As the giant fumbled further with his weapon you ran through plans in your head. Shoring up a path of action, even the umbral core grew quiet. The silent crescendo was rising, you climbed within your shell. Cool death floods you as you observe the world as an outsider. You could taste the end of things to come, oh how she waited and waited for you.

>Enemy Forces Turn 19
The Brute
Reload
Reload

"What are you waiting for Bastard! Don't tell me you ran away after one little taste?" Despite the bravado in his words you witness the panic as he hurried to fiddle with the weapon in his hands. A sigh of relief cut across the LO comms as the pilot forgot to disengage his transmission. You couldn't help but smile.


>The Half Soul Turn 20
>Wait Gain 2 AP
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 10

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes (x2) 1 AP
>Powerful Strike 2 AP
>Disarm 1 AP
>Grapple 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
Wait

As the giant fumbled further with his weapon you ran through plans in your head. Shoring up a path of action, even the umbral core grew quiet. The silent crescendo was rising, you climbed within your shell. Cool death floods you as you observe the world as an outsider. You could taste the end of things to come, oh how she waited and waited for you.

>Enemy Forces Turn 19
The Brute
Reload
Reload

"What are you waiting for Bastard! Don't tell me you ran away after one little taste?" Despite the bravado in his words you witness the panic as he hurried to fiddle with the weapon in his hands. A sigh of relief cut across the LO comms as the pilot forgot to disengage his transmission. You couldn't help but smile.


>The Half Soul Turn 20
>Wait Gain 2 AP
>Gain 2 AP
>Action Points Available: 10

>Equipment Use: 1 AP
>Skill Use: 2 AP
>Shoot: 1 AP
>Aim and Shoot: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes (x2) 1 AP
>Powerful Strike 2 AP
>Disarm 1 AP
>Grapple 2 AP
>Find Cover: 1 AP
>Duck and Cover: 2 AP
>Reloading: 1 AP
>Help: 1 AP
>Moving: 2 AP
>Wait: 0 AP
>>
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>>5175063
Alright, the time is Now (For real)
>Move: 2 AP
>Melee Strikes: 1 AP
>Melee Strikes: 1 AP
>Powerful Strike: 2 AP
>Powerful Strike: 2 AP
>Grapple: 2 AP

Rush and Hammer him into the ground, then pin whatever remains in a Grapple so he's stuck trying to get out.
Just Lots and Lots of rolls
>>
>>5175077
Supportan
We're supposed to be flexabile/agile, let's show what the Rapier can do at close range.
>>
>>5175063
Reload
Aim and Shoot
Reload
Aim and Shoot
Reload
Aim and Shoot
Reload

I'm a simple man.
>>
>>5175077
Support perhaps we could attempt to take him out of the Umbral core with grapple.


>>5175063
"Just waiting for the oppurtunity. I am not one to leave Elysians alive usually."
"Your memories ? You can eat such foulness made thought. I will instead enjoy your pain and torment, greatly and slowly."
>>
>>5175063
I support the punching him a lot option

Also, simple phrases to express how we really feel: "Die, fucking fuck. Fuck. DIE. DIE. DIE!"
>>
>>5175381
>>5175190
>>5175086
>>5175077

>Sounds good. Are you gonna beat him with hands or use your weapon?

>Maybe have a chance to break the weapon but deals more damage
>>
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>>5175558
Melee Strike 0.5. Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 2 = 9 (3d6)

>>5175559
Fist!
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 6 = 14 (3d6)

>>5175558
I'm voting we use our weapon to club him to death like a true murderhobo.
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 1 = 7 (3d6)

>>5175559
>>
>>5175561
>>5175560
>>5175580
>>5175559

>Partial success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+2d20+8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 19, 15 + 8 = 42 (2d20 + 8)

>>5175581
>>
>>5175063
Melee Strike 1. Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 4, 6, 2 = 12 (3d6)

>>5175585
One more success, let's wreck this brute's shit.
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 6 = 11 (3d6)

>>5175585
>>
Rolled 3, 6, 4 = 13 (3d6)

>>5175581
>>
>>5175586
>>5175588
>>5175600
>Partial success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+2d20+8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 18, 10 + 8 = 36 (2d20 + 8)

>>5175602
ROLL
>>
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>>5175077
Melee Strike 1.5 Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 1 = 4 (3d6)

>>5175612
PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 6 = 14 (3d6)

>>5175612
Standing here, I realize….
>>
Rolled 1, 4, 3 = 8 (3d6)

>>5175612
And they run when the sun comes up
>>
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>>5175614
>>5175615
>>5175621
>Success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+2d20+10
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 18, 3 + 10 = 31 (2d20 + 10)

>>5175624
RULES OF NATURE
>>
>>5175063
Melee Strike 2 Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 3, 3, 3 = 9 (3d6)

>>5175631
PULL MY DEVIL TRIGGER
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 4 = 6 (3d6)

>>5175631
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 3 = 12 (3d6)

>>5175631
what is difference between
>Melee Strikes: 1 AP
and
>Powerful Strike: 2 AP
Don't we roll with body bonus?
Also
>>5175581
>Partial success Damage Roll.
>>5175561
Success : 14-18
first one was full success idk if that changes much.
>>
>>5175637
We’re getting 4 strikes with no bonus, then one big hit with bonus, after this one we have our one big hit
>>
>>5175633
>>5175635
>>5175637
>Partial success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+2d20+8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.

>>5175637
Thanks for spotting that I'll add the 2 damage onto the roll.

Powerful strike is one attack that deal more damage and has the modifier to hit.

Melee strikes are multiple but with less damage and less chance to hit.
>>
Rolled 7, 2 + 8 = 17 (2d20 + 8)

>>5175644
Good to know
>>
>>5175063
Powerful Strike 1 - Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6+2
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
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Rolled 1, 3, 3 + 2 = 9 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175648
KILL THIS MOTHERFUCKER NOW
>>
Rolled 2, 2, 1 + 2 = 7 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175648
We are close.
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 3 + 2 = 11 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175648
BREAK HIM, BODY AND SOUL
>>
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>>5175650
>>5175653
>>5175654
>Partial success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+4d20+8
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 17, 10 + 8 = 41 (4d20 + 8)

>>5175656
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 1, 10 + 8 = 25 (4d20 + 8)

>>5175650
>>5175653
>>5175654
These were some pretty abysmal rolls
>>5175656
Let's go
>inb4 four nat ones
>>
>>5175658
Watch us break our gun on his armor haha
>>
>>5175656
Does not piercing damage goes to waste after Exterior break or overflow goes to the Interior?
>>
>>5175063
Powerful Strike 2 - Simple Test.
>Roll dice+3d6+2
Best of Three

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+

>>5175660
I'll probably settle on overflow into interior.
>>
Rolled 6, 6, 4 + 2 = 18 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175663
SENTENCE TO DEATH
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 6 + 2 = 16 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175663
I think we got it
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 3 + 2 = 10 (3d6 + 2)

>>5175663
Come on Crit one time!
>>
>>5175664
>>5175665
>>5175666
>Success Damage Roll.
>Roll dice+4d20+10
>½ Damage Distribution
>Only one roll needed.
>>
Rolled 19, 14, 11, 19 + 10 = 73 (4d20 + 10)

>>5175668
>>
>>5175671
that is a good one and I think if QM goes with overflow into interior he should be dead
>>
>>5175675
>Kek
Yeah we ain't gonna need that grapple check. Writing
>>
>>5175671
That’s a vicious roll. Speeches are for the living, and I see nothing but dead men
>>
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>>5175681
We did it chat. We saved Christmas.
>>
>>5175684
It was a done fight regardless, since we have ȟ̴̡̪̯̤̦͉̦͖̗̬͚̪̤̝̤̟̭͍͍̺͗̐͐́̚ͅe̶̻͕͐̀͛̈́͛͂͐̆̐͂̑̀̓̓̏̋̈́̂̒̓̏̀́͗͠r̵̠̞̝̟͇͖̹̝̰̞̳̰̭̜̙̞͍͎͙̄͊̒̈́ on our side
>>
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>>5175063
44
22 Exterior Damage
22 Interior Damage

36
18 Exterior Damage
18 Interior Damage

31
15 Exterior Damage
16 Interior Damage

17
8 Exterior Damage
9 Interior Damage

41
20 Exterior Damage
21 Interior Damage

73
36 Exterior Damage
37 Interior Damage

Total Damage
Exterior Damage: 119/47
Interior Damage: 123

Unit Name: Abhartach
Exterior A.Plating: 500/72 -72! Unit Destroyed!
Interior N.Cluster: 350/127 -123 -47! Umbral Core Severed.
!


"Just waiting for the opportunity. I am not one to leave Elysians alive usually."
The words made the hunched over machine flinch. Your prey was within your reach, you just had to get up close and personal. Inching closer you slink through the tree, freezing every time your target looks up. Closing the distance you'd have to run. "Your memories? You can eat such foulness made thought. I will instead enjoy your pain and torment, greatly and slowly."" The shoulders of the metal monster shook as he laughed at your words.

You'll take your time to tear him apart. The Brute glances down at his weapon, fiddling with it further. You took your chance to attack. Sprinting through the trees, you burst out of the patch at full pelt. The Phobos only reacts the moment you're on top of him, rocking back, you raise the Xeno-Matter Musket to club the unit. Your swing strikes true, catching the unit entirely off guard, you follow it with a series of blows. The already weakened external plating caves in again and again, brutally the interior mechanism are crushed without protection. You don't let up the attack, shifting position you begin to drive strikes into the side of the Phobos. The Brute weakly raising his hands to defend against your lightning fast blows.

Your unrelenting assault knocks the Phobos back, matching each of his steps you use the momentum to hit him even harder. Plating shatters and limbs are bent under your blows. The crooked nail, smashed and bashed into place. "Bastard! I'll kill you!" He roars, trying to survive the beating you were giving him. His flaccid words do little to gain your sympathy. Instead it makes your attacks far more fervent. You had enough, grabbing the Musket with both hands you changed from a baseball bat swing and began to bludgeon him with the butt stock of the weapon. Holding him in place with a well place foot you drive the strikes down onto where your thought his core was hidden. "Die, fucking fuck. Fuck. DIE. DIE. DIE!"" you roar back, eclipsing his weak words.
>>
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>>5175699
You pull yourself away from the battered machine, taking a firmer stance above the kneeling pilot, you raise the bent weapon high, swinging it like a golf club and aiming for where you thought the Core was located. It burrows a deep gouge into the side of his unit, the pain so great you feel it resonating across your own body. Ribs broken and crushed apart. You didn't let up the attack, changing grip you hold the weapon like a bat again. Swinging wildly you take off the units head, but the swing carried on with the weapon spinning off into the night with it. You follow the beating through with another after another. Using your hands to rip free weakened plating and exposed internals. The rage blinding you. And when you can finally see again what little remains of the The Brute is scattered around the snow. Within your palm is the Umbral Core, nerve clusters trail from the orb, leaking viscous operational fluid. Like a spine of metal joins and veins twitch, fighting to kill you. The Brute is alive within. If only just, he had no way of fighting back. "I'm gonna fucking have you..."

>What do you do, Half Soul?
>What do you say? Write in. One Liner time?

>Kill The Brute?Write in
>Kill The Brute?Write in
>Kill The Brute?Write in
>Kill The Brute?Write in
>>
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>>5175700
I don't really have any oner liner ideas, but can I suggest we kill him with our skill?
>>
>>5175700
>For Her
Crush the core, nothing more is needed
A fitting vengeance, no?

Bonus points if we can strip his weapon, and it isn’t integrated into his Phobos. If it is, we’re out of luck, but eh. Might be worth tossing an HE mine into the corpse so nothing is salvageable.
>>
>>5175700
>Kill The Brute?Write in
>Stomp him
>Then finish reloading his gun and double tap him until his body and core fully evaporate
I got nothing to say. It was fun.
>>
>>5175700
>>Kill The Brute?Write in
".....go insane for your sins. Your ghosts will tear you from the inside of your brain. And i will have it happen over and over, for you it will be an eternity, for me seconds"

half soul seems very vengeful and mad so i suppose this would reflect what he would do. And I imagine he would make a puddle out of the human body of Brute.
>>
>>5175720
I support this, but for some reason want to add hysterical laughter.
>>
>>5175720
Supporting
>>
>>5175720
>>5175881
>>5176077
"For Her!" You remind The Brute as you crush the core within your hand. It kills him instantly, but you knew that wasn't his end. The little metalic worm withes as the tortured souls return the gifts he had given them. You let the disgusting orb fall to the ground, heel chasing it down and grinding it into the frozen earth. You laugh like a fiend, the noise echoing out into the dark, blaring across every channel it could. Until only a grim stain remained. You resonate with his mind feeling the fall further into insanity as his world slows to eternal suffering. Justice was dealt. You deliver a series of well placed punches into his shield generator. Removing the core of his weapon, messing around with the safety on the canister. leaving a timed mine on the pile, you ensure the Phobos would be detonated beyond recovery. The actions are second nature as you act without thought.

Standing surrounded by the storm and dead men, your job was done. She had been avenged. Her killers were all gone. You feel the weight of the world slip from your shoulders. Finally, the time has come for you to die. You limp your way back. You ignored the probing comms chatter that reached out through the nearly impervious hail. Pleads for help, Cries of mercy and belligerent boasts. Both Elysian and Eskarrian. The distant concerts of various engagements play out, the ghosts of the lost dancing in the winter wind as all hell reigns. The wild hunt rides in the night sky, collecting their trophies as Valkyries save the dogsouls of the Elysian Isles. You make your way back.

She was the way you had left her, none had stumbled across the slaughter site. You taggers marked out the destroyed hulls of other Phobos. Her own work. You froze, watching down at the body resting under the cover of her destroyed unit. You didn't try and hold back the tears, her Umbral Core hung from the gutted thing. Weak and broken. A massive crack carves a path down the middle of it. Closing your eyes, The Nightmare gives in, collapsing forward like a corpse. The core ejected, releasing you. Slipping from liquid night you fall a short distance before meeting the white powder. You left a scarlet path as you stepped through the knee high snow. You feel the blood and tears freeze against the chilling wind. It doesn't slow you. You scoop her up in your arms. She was ice cold, the wounds across her body long becoming blackened clumps. You deliver her a kiss, She was back in your arms now. You felt relief well up inside you, regarding your love with a soft smile. Gingerly you stepped into her cracked core, the world became warm once again. All your pains are fading, all those aches are erased. All eclipsed by her exquisite embrace.

"I'm here my Love, you can rest now."[/spoiler
>>
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>>5176119
You feel them burning still.
Your arms and legs.
All cremated from existence.
God how your body burns.
Your eyes boil.
Ears fry.
You feel the phantoms of those limbs.
Trying to twist and wishing to thrash.
Gone and forgotten.
Gods you feel the pain.
God you feel him.
He reaches out for you.
Oh gods.
Through.
Through the Veil.
The Membrane of the Mind.
He stepped through.
He took you by the hand.
Oh sweet gods.
You saw his ghost.
You saw her.
She did his work.
Oh gods.
He saved you.
In his arms.
He saved you.

>[Skill Gained] [Veil Breach!] AP 1
Mortimer through his trial within the Fifth Layer has learned how to cross the great barrier of the human mind. Mortimer can pierce the membranous Veil, either to support his allies or to inflict slight mental and physical damage on his enemies.

You snap awake, sitting up erect. Screaming in agony as the pain grows unbearable, thankfully with the sudden consciousness it was snatched away. Sweat poured off you, the bed is damp and uncomfortably hot. You move to escape it when you spot them. They stood in the gloom, lingering in the corner of your room. She and He They had changed. The faces of the figures bled out streams of colours, the trails rapidly changing colour as they climbed away. They watch you. Both naked bodies floated around, it was strange seeing them, but the nightmare had yet to slip your memory. The attention moved from the pain to those obscure dreams, your hands trembled. Wet and cool. Your heart pounded.

It felt very real. Your breathing was ragged and loud, so loud it took you a moment to notice the singing. A soft voice sung somewhere. You couldn't make out the lyrics. But humming the tune, you were sure you had heard it before. You look around, the duo just simply watching you, you are exhausted. The world felt darker than ever, the ward was close to pitch black. Only a few weak lights from machines made the area partially observable. Collecting yourself further your head felt lighter, as if a weight had been removed from it. Simply looking from side to side as you wondered the room was weird. No matter where you crept, the voice was still heard. It led out into the hallway. The inquisitive and equally naked pair floated along, they were starting to annoy you. Your robe was a hair in thickness and soaked. Everything was returning to the cold, luckily in the dark someone had left a change of military clothes on a chair. You race to escape the cold.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Try to rest in bed?
>Follow the Singing?
>Try to confront the Ghosts?Write in
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in?
>>
>Follow the Singing?

Last thing we need is voices in our heads along with the ghosts.
>>
>>5176129
>Follow the Singing?
>Feel confused about your sexuality now that naked guy is here?
>>
>>5176129
>What do you do, Pilot?
Try to remain focused on the ghosts, as much as we can

>>Try to confront the Ghosts?Write in
"Who are you ?"
"Can you talk ?"
"The one in my dream was your battle, your last battle ?"

Is time to know who is She and who is He
also nice image
>>
>>5176162
Yeah, reminds me of Disco Elysium.

I, uh, hope we don't end up like Harry.
>>
>>5176129
>Follow the Singing
Pour one out for the Half-soul and his love, may they be remembered

Although I think we need to talk to another pilot, someone else who might have had similar experiences?

Also, checking records. To make sure we weren’t going insane and to make sure there’s a basis in reality for these experiences
>>
could we see if we can talk with them ?
Is the first time where there is no one around and where we don't have anything to do.
>>
>>5176162
+1
>>5176129
Holy shit QM this was a wild ride.
>>
>follow the singing
>tell ghost dude that he has great taste in women
>thank ghost chick for her help earlier
It was nice to see this quest grow from the beginning good job qm
>>
>>5176138
>>5176144
>>5176183
>>5176199
>>5176138
Slipping into something warmer you settle on following the low indistinguishable singing. It crept in from under your door as if to coax you, the duo simply float in the shadows. Your head begins to throb as you watch them, so you look away. Dressed in an undershirt and some cargo trousers you step out into the dimly lit hallway. Carefully you walk through the hallways, hands stretched out Infront of you to avoid bumping into anything. As you round a corner you cross into a less dimly lit section, the lights above casting down a soft grey light. The corridors and rooms that ligned them were empty. You jumped in fear as you glanced around, the duo were following you. Holding onto one another as they hover along. It felt awkward so you tried your best to converse with the ghouls. "Thanks for the help." You confess to the woman. She didn't react, so you kept on walking. Sighing a little. "Anyone here?" You ask aloud, your soft voice bouncing down both ends of the vast Interior.
>>
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>>5176412
The duo didn't choose to speak up. You try to fill the silence. "So… Who are you exactly? I guess you two can't speak?" You ask over your shoulder as the spectral couple float along. They turn to face you, the wisps of colour thinning out as they catch the invisible wind. You glimpsed bits and pieces of their faces under the shifting facades. A nose here, a cheek there. While they didn't strike you with an ounce of familiarity. Their eyes. The eyes you only glimpse briefly, you were sure they matched your own. But the thought hurt your head. So you ignored it for now anyway. The ethereal voice led you down the winding corridors, you began to recognize them. It was leading you back towards Anastasia's room, halfway there the sound slips away. But without anything else to do you settle on heading toward the room anyway. You are met by an even softer light as you spot her quarters. The room was bright enough for you to see the door was ajar. A lonely chair sat beside her sterile area, you hesitate before entering.

The room was cool, the hiss and beep of hospital machines and monitors did their work. Up close you could see the gruesome lengths they had gone to save the girl. You turn away from the tubes. Landing in the chair with a soft sigh. The pair had left you. You were alone with the girl. You didn't really know what to say or do. Looking around the room you spot something that hadn't been noticed before. A small wooden box rested nearby, gracing the lid was a rather impressive engraving. It depicted a tall mountain, giants of metal as small as men beside it. Ascending the slope before entering what you assumed was a mine. Opening it music began to chirp from within, inside a red velvet lined lid reveals a meticulously crafted Phobos. It was an Emperor class machine, but you didn't recognize the appearance. It rotated as the music grew in volume. Sitting back in the seat you cradle the little antique, the small hand crafted thing left you with a melancholy sense, the music it played was familiar. Faint enough to match your other memories. You had heard it before. The singing began again, echoing out from the girl at your side. You knew the lyrics before she sang them.

"~Oh Sister."
"Tell me she is there."
"~I've been writing."
"With no reply."
"Doesn't she know."
"~Doesn't she know, I'm in the mountains."

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Sing Along?Write in?
>Listen to Anastasia sing?
>Leave the girl alone?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in

>>5176197
>>5176199
Thanks for the kind words Anons, i'm glad you are enjoying it enough to stick around.
>>
>>5176417
I have liked the quest so far as well.
And I admit, that is an interesting choice to introduce real combat with a dream mission.

///
>What do you do, Pilot?
We sing, try to follow Anastasia. If she asks we wanted to see her, talk, see how she was doing and so on. Perhaps see if we can offer a peace, so she doesn't consider us a foe anymore.

>Sing Along?Write in?

When the song ends, i imagine she will have many questions.
>>
>>5176417
>Listen to her song
We can talk to her when she’s done. She might want to hear that her Progenitor visited when she was out of it, and I’m interested in hearing if she saw anything while in the deeper layers of the core, or what dragged her down there. At least, if she retains enough scraps of sanity to talk

I really like how the combat system has been introduced, and sort of free-form nature of coming up with ideas on tactics along with the simplicity. There’s just a lot of levers you could tweak to make it harder or easier, and that’s a really good thing.
Might steal parts of it for a future quest of mine.

Although if we learned anything, we gotta get some more of those war crime mines
>>
>>5176417
Song along with her.
>>
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>>5176443
>>5176470
>>5176895
Her words matched the whispers of mice. Yet you could hear it clearly echoing within your mind, twin layered. One voice was strong and bold. The same girl who had confronted you, the other was broken, crumbling and quiet. Her true voice. You feel sorry for the girl, the strangeness of the situation easily overwhelmed by the cruel moment. You wouldn't let her sing alone, not after trying so hard. You open your lips to join in, but hesitate, you wait for her to finish the verse before joining in. You didn't know how you knew the lyrics, but that wouldn't stop you.

"~Oh brave Brother"
"Don't be a fool"
"There is"
"~Blood in the hills"
"Tears on the mountain"
"~And my home is gone."

You notice her stammer, the body at your side flinching for only a second. You did your best to sing how you remembered, slowly and softly. The melancholy mood lingering in your dull tone. Your mind felt at ease. But she didn't cease, the box was still playing after all. So you keep up the song.

"~Oh sweet Sister"
"Please tell me she's there"
'~I've been waiting"
"With no reply"
"~I pray she's home"
"I pray she's home alone"

Instinctively you drum out a low beat on your knee, the tinny music resounding out from the box as you two sing together. You smile, the sad words so familiar. You found it strange to have even forgotten them, they flowed before you could really recognize them. You even overtook her, leading the song and giving her a break from carrying you vocally.

"~Oh my Mother"
"Forgive me"
"~Can't you see"
"My blood on these hills"
"~The tears in her eyes"
"Oh how you watch me."

The duet kept going, her strong voice becoming more malleable easily matching your own and soon you were singing in unison, sure the other could match your performance. It was intense, you took deep breaths when you could.

"Oh courageous Captain"
"Can't we see"
"~Our blood is the hills"
"Oh How they watch me"
"~A weapon of an empire"
"Some monster of the empire."

You harmonize low as the small box creaks to an end. You sit together for a moment in silence.
>>
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>>5177141
"Thank you… For saving me" The dual words came out in both voices. Closing the box you rest it on your lap, fingers trace the grooves as you nod before offering a reply. "You're welcome. I just did what I could." You sat with the broken girl, worrying if you were sharing thoughts with her. You were unsure. You could feel her, the dull resonating pain. The medication keeps the worst at bay. She was a speckle within your mind, maybe you were psionic. But you didn't think so, you couldn't read her mind and you think she might have said something if she could read your own. You knew it was to do with the Veil. The secret system that bound all Phobos, the hidden connections.

"I can't die. Not yet, I can't leave them alone." The small girl declared boldly, cutting through your thoughts. "Because of your siblings… I can understand that." You reply, still unsure of everything. "We are the same, Theta and Beta. We aren't like the others. We have no home to go back to, this is our existence. We were made for this. What good am I like this?" She spoke, your ears strain to hear both voices together as each struggled. "I'm as good as dead." She states flatly. You could understand the pessimism, you still had all your limbs and we're relatively unhurt. Well when compared to the clone failure, you tried to reassure her. "Things can always get better, you can still pilot. Technology has come a long way." You speak kindly with a tender tone, it isn't that different from your normal way.

"So, I'm not insane? Or are you just telepathic?" Her curt and slightly annoyed reply left you a little stunned. She thought you might not be real. You tried your best to explain, the words leaving you even more unsure. "I'm pretty sure I'm not a psychic or a psionic or whatever… This is very new to me too, but I believe. Well I know it is because I crossed the void. I broke the veil. The one between our minds, the link of the Phobos. So it seems we've made a connection or something. A link…" The girl was silent for a long time. Long enough for you to question your own sanity, it grew worse as the seconds ticked by. You began to sweat, praying she'd reply. Reinforce your thoughts, deny the chance of insanity. The complexity of your emotions were overbearing. "I met your Progenitor, she came to check on you. I like her." You added to the air. Hoping it would coax the girl into replying. "Mama- I mean my benefactor. She was here?" You felt relief flood through you. Praying you weren't mad. "Yeah, she rushed down here apparently." You reply. The room grew silent again. "So… Have we buried the hatchet?" You ask the room, a little embarrassed to look at the wounded girl. "Maybe, for now." The girl replies quickly.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Talk with Anastasia?Write in?
>Return to your room?
>Sit in silence?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
>>5177144
>"Maybe, for now."
-__- srsly? kek

>Talk with Anastasia?Write in?
>Congratulate her on record of Eleven hours, forty nine minutes and twenty three seconds.
>Say our goodbyes and tell her we will see her some other time.
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>>
>>5177144
lol

>Talk with Anastasia?Write in?
"Well at least you said maybe, i was afraid of a never."
"Do you have problems if i visit time to time ? I was planning to do the same with the rest of our fellow pilots stuck in the hospital."
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>>
>>5177144
I would really like to probe her on what she saw while in the layers, but I get the impression she's not up for it.
>Say our goodbyes, ask if she wants anything said to the other Betas. If she wants them to visit, or anything
>Explore the rest of the Ward, see who else is bedridden
I really want to look up the service history of our Phobos, but I don't think we have a logon password, so we'd need to find someone else to help us

Did you know Alpha and Delta are getting paid? (jk)
>>
>>5177250
I would +1 offer to pass a message and the joke .

I was considering something corny with the 'we don't have home' like home will be there where will we make it or something but save it for when she isn't a nugget of a person
>>
>>5177155
>>5177224
>>5177250
>>5177296
"Well at least you said maybe, I was afraid of a never." A guttural rumble escaped the heavily bandaged body. Anastasia laughed, it was a grim noise. "Does it matter to you that much? Fine… I guess I owe you one or two for saving my life. So we can be friends, if you want." The girl's voice echoed into your mind. The girl quickly starts up again without prompting. "You're like a point of light. In the blank nothing that is my world, through the dark I can see you, sense you… If that makes sense." You shrug. She had a lot less senses interfering with her perception, but she seemed sane enough.

Especially after being submerged in the fifth layer for a long time. Hell, you had been down there for even longer. "We'll work it out together. So don't worry about it right now, focus on resting." The girl didn't reply so you stand up and place the small music box back down. "Do you have any problems if I visit from time to time? I was planning to do the same with the rest of our fellow pilots stuck in the hospital." The girl stammered out a reply. Both voices are weak as she tries to speak. "I- I didn't hurt them did I? I didn't kill any of them right?" She pleaded, clearly wanting reassurance. "They were pulled into the fifth layer briefly, luckily you only attempted to kill me. We were down there for a while, I was in for a little bit longer. But I'm fine, you don't have to worry." You said again, stepping closer to the clear sheet.

Hoping the act conveys your sincerity. The girl lays there in silence, the machines make you feel nervous. "Do you want me to pass any message or something along to the rest of Beta?" The pause passed before she spoke again. "Tell them. The one legged sparrow is dancing on the graves of trepidation. They'll understand it and thanks Morty." You gave the girl a small wave stepping up to the doorway. "Oh did you know Delta and Alpha are getting paid?" You grinned a little. "Wait... We aren't getting paid?" Her rebuttal got you to laugh, as the girl rattled out as well. "Later Anastasia." You smile back before walking out into the hallways as she replies. "See you around, Mr Hero."

+10 Sanity Gained
>>
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>>5177407
You throw yourself back into the crisscrossing halls of the medical ward, the place was eerily empty. It was even a little spooky. But you pushed the superstitious thoughts aside. But then you heard it, from up ahead. Something rattled, maybe a hospital cart. You froze, worried it might be someone you could get into trouble with. Crouching the best you could, you make your way down the dimly lit corridor. Moving from the piece of furniture to equipment until you reached closer to the noise. You could hear a low beep, it echoed down the way. Crouching at a corner you heard shuffling, almost like the rustle of paper. It was coming from your right side.

You decide to peek around the corner. The noise came again, and you moved quickly leaning around the corner. As you move a black shade does the same, moving around the corner just as quickly as you did. You couldn't react in time. Bumping your head into whatever it was. The sudden movement threw you off balance, your legs surprisingly gave out without resisting. You flop to the ground, unobscured in the hallway. As your eyes clear you make out a crouched person watching you with wide eyes. The person wore a Balaclava and was dressed in all black. "Fucking leg it." You heard a voice whisper from down the way as another person in similar clothes stood up further back and turned tail. The voice was familiar, but the echo and low volume made it vague.

"Dimitri, Shut the fuck up!" The shocked person spoke loudly and clearly. A voice you recognize. It was Katerina. The Duchess seemed pretty shocked to see you, she quickly rushed over. Hands out as she tried to help you up from the ground. "Morty? What are you doing out of bed?" Another person stood up, one who had been crouching behind Kat, the girl pulled off her Balaclava. You recognize Lucy, Anthony's lady friend. Dimitri had stopped running and was jogging his way back over. Rolling his own up as he arrives, you sit there a little dazed and so you offer up a simple greeting. "Howdy!" Kat helps you to your feet. "What are you doing here?" You mumble out, suddenly feeling weak around the others. You were far from mentally prepared to talk with them."We came to check on you guys." We haven't been told much information. "What are you doing creeping around so late anyway?" The girl asked, hands migrating to her hips as she took her own mask off. She was sounding a little annoyed.
>>
>>5177409
>Been a while since the last update.
Name: Mortimer
Rank: Corporal
Renown:
Prize of the Theta Project.
Pilot of the Emperor-RT Class Phobos "????"

Current Stats:
Mind: 12
Body: 20
Skill: 36
Smarts: 10
Sanity: 77

Social Standing:
Katerina: 10.0
Alexander: 18
Anthony: 18
Castilla: 8
Yiva: 3.0
Sophia: 3.0
Lucy: 5.0
Brigitta: 5.5
Anastasia: 20.0
Haruki: 43.0
Dimitri: 11.5
Grisha: 12.5
Suranovich: 8
Francheska: 6.5


>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Talk with the Trio?Write in?
>Return to your room?
>Look for Anthony?
>Suggest they leave?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
>>5177410
>Talk with the Trio?Write in?
Answer we were exploring ward after we talked with Anastasia.
Comment on how there are easier ways to kill yourself then sneaking into military hospital while wearing all black.
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Look for Anthony?
>>
>>5177440
+1
>>
>>5177410
Nice Anastasia doesn't hate our guts. And did Haruki just grow even more ? Impressive.

>Talk with the Trio?Write in?
"I am happy to see all of you."
"I didn't want to remain too much in bed, so I decided to check on the others."
"I feel better than yesterday, just .... tired. It wasn't easy, but I even managed to talk with some people : Pilot Yuliya, Mistress Yuga. I have also seen Liason Gorgi, they said to not trust him."
"How is the training going ? Any news of Anthony, Castilla, Grisha and Alexander ?"
"Ah i also managed to make peace with Anastasia. Her wounds where quite brutal, but she is okay."
>>
>>5177410
Our sanity looking kinda rough at 77. We all know how fast that can just vanish.
>Talk
"Who else is still in the Ward?"
"Ana's in the back room, she's....not in great shape."

We probably could do better getting some sleep back in our room, then chatting people up tomorrow. And doing that research/lookup on Phobos history.
>>
>>5177480
Support
>>
>>5177440
Support
>>
>>5177440
>>5177455
>>5177461
>>5177480
>>5177500
>>5179419
You weren't technically sneaking around, it just so happened no one was there to catch you. But you relent, explaining to the other pilots why you were out of bed. "I wanted to check on Ana, so I visited her. She's in her private quarters, She… isn't exactly in great shape. But I'm trying to keep her spirits up. Was looking for everyone else." They all give you strange looks, clearly out of the loop. Kat takes a deep breath, nostrils flaring as she steps closer. "She almost kills us and you are tucking her into bed? Trying to keep her spirits up." You blink under the girl's attack as she pushes you back with a hand. "Why? Tell me." The girl was furious, Dimitri and Lucy clearly uninterested in intervening. "W-we are the same! I could have been the one to lose it in there. I wouldn't want to be treated like some cast out." You said not backing down from your decision, the girl was face to face with you.

Brow ridgid the girl huffs and storms off, her voice even more angry. "Come on, let's find the others." The rest of you give chase, falling into line with them. "Who else is still on the Ward?" You ask Dimitri as you step up besides your fellow pilot. "Tony, Alex, Cas and Grisha should all be in here. But it's good to see you in one piece bro, that was some crazy shit for real." You had to walk at a quick pace to keep up with the duchess. "Well, you know there are easier ways to kill yourself then sneaking into military hospital while wearing all black." You said loud enough for all to hear. Dimitri grinned, giving you an elbow. "Do you know the overhead the ministry has spent on us? We might get told off? Sure, maybe even restricted to our quarters. But shot? Not a chance. Anyway, there aren't exactly spec ops goons guarding the place." You are led through the corridors, the two girls talking back and forth. You eventually work your way into a lighter section of the medical wing, the vast space just as empty as the pilot's quarters. Lucy rushed off, looking over you spotted a grim sight. Tony was within his own small plastic cage. Monitors strapped to him as other sets of medical equipment did their jobs.

You averted your eyes as the girl began to softly sob, he didn't look good. The usually handsome young man was gaunter than you remembered. Deathly pale, a grimy yellow tinge around his closed eyes. Tubes ran down his throat and both nostrils. You all awkwardly stand around. You didn't know what to do or say. Thankfully Katerina took charge, an arm weaving around Lucy's as she pulled her away from the sight. Dimitri gave you a grim nod, your eyes lingered on your friend. Together you and Dimitri enter the room, allowing the crying girl to slip by first. Closer to the plastic box you notice other signs of distress, dark bruises line one side of Tony's body, strange indents in his flesh you couldn't explain. The products of the fifth layer, just like your own wounds.
>>
>>5179517
If he was in this state you assumed Castilla was just as badly incapacitated. "Fuck. Hang in there bro." Dimitri spoke, voice wavering under the sight of the wounded pilot. You were seemingly untouched by the pressure of the fifth layer. Besides the figures that haunted you, Anthony was in a terrible shape. "Do you see! This is what happens. The runt is a liability. This is her fault!" Kat declares, her words venomous. The girl jutted a hand out in rage, knocking it along the plastic tarping. Her angry voice carried far, echoing down the hall as she confronted you again. "Calm down!" You say in a lower tone. Trying to settle the situation.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Defend the other pilot?Write in?
>Avoid the argument?
>Agree with Katerina?
>Suggest they leave?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in

>Sorry about the late reply Anons. A lot of birthdays going on including my own. So updates will probably slow until after Sunday.
>>
>>5179521
>>Avoid the argument?
Let him rest.
>Suggest they leave?
>>
>>5179521
> Avoid the argument

Emotions are too high and this is a fucking hospital. Time to leave, at least for them.

And you've been pretty great at consistent updates qm, no worries.
>>
>>5179521
>> Avoid the argument
This will be a problem.
Though we can talk about it later on, with calm minds and explain our reasons.

The main reason we did it is because we are going to work together. If there are rivalries or enemies here, what s going to happen in battles.
Beside, yes Anastasia did something very bad. But look at her now, maybe she will never return for be a pilot. We want to avoid fighting between us, after all we arrive from a project where we were alone for years. Losing more companions is not what we want.


Np updates are good take your time boss
>>
>>5179521
>Avoid the argument?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>>
>>5179521
>Avoid the argument
Let's not start an argument in a hospital. Later, sure, but not right now.
Poke heads in on the others in the Ward, see if any are awake and functioning.

Ana almost killed you, yes, but she's now a bedridden quadriplegic, and our small company of pilots is one less, probably.
>>
>Defend the other pilot
"Kat, that could have been any of us, even you or me. There's no competition here, nothing to win or lose. There's just us and the job that we've been taken and made for, and no reason to blame anyone.

We could have lived normal lives, but that was taken from the beginning and now this is all we have. This won't be the first time we have to deal with this. The main thing to remember is that from the beginning, it was never our fault but we have to do the best we can with the cards we're dealt. And if you ask me this was a shit hand. What is any of this even for? WHO is it for?"

The Duchess needs some perspective. Hell all of us could use it.
>>
>>5179521

>Suggest they leave?

>Defend the other pilot?Write in?
"The danger won't leave with Ana. The Fifth Layer will always be there. You could just as easily get pulled down there by an enemy as our own weakness so it is a danger that must always be faced.

Interference generators can cast a pilot even past the Fifth Layer into the Starless Sea. Finding your way back is as much a requirement for a Phobos pilot as synchronization."
>>
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>>5179536
>>5179558
>>5179574
>>5179692
>>5179718
You had to resist the urge to counter the young woman's fiery arguments, the other pilots were avoiding the situation. Clearly already disturbed by the sight alone. You take a deep breath, your mind and body both beyond exhausted. You were past trying to hide it. You wanted to crawl back into bed, you had hoped to see everyone and even talk to anyone awake. But the sight of your friend. It weighed on you heavily, the doubts the duchess tried to drive into your mind buffering it. It was an accident, Anastasia hadn't done it on purpose. But for the moment you were uninterested in fighting her opinion. You didn't reply, simply witnessing the girl's rant. Kat complained about your childish attitude, how ungrateful you were and how dangerous a situation everyone was in. Spittle struck you as you weathered her frustrated and relentless evacuation of emotion, you thought some of it could be reasonable. But she lacked the empathy to put herself in the position of presumed fault.

Would she want you to treat her that way if she had been the one. Her flow began to falter as the situation began to really sink in, standing in the room. Katerina was ranting to the rest of you. She let out a huff and stopped, she watched with hatred in her eyes and for the fraction of a moment you thought you saw fear in her eyes. She crept closer to you, both noses almost touching as her harsh critique had worn you down from any rebuttal. Lucy reappeared, eyes red and clearly avoiding the side of the room Anthony was on. She looked weak, softly tugging on Kat's arm. "We are leaving." Katerina spoke to the room aloud, the tension in the air replaced with a cold sadness. You nodded, not managing words. You thought that would probably be for the best. Dimitri gave you a serious and worried glance before he followed after the young women. Kat and Lucy said nothing as they left down the hallway. Soon enough you were alone within the hospital room, shocked and reeling.

The sight of Tony was a harsh one, you didn't expect him to appear so bad. He had barely been down there. You offer up a prayer, you weren't exactly sure what to say. But either way you still requested the gods help your friend. "Fight! Keep fighting!" You mumble, your hands rubbing together in the cold room. You watch his sickly frame, expecting any type of reaction. But nothing happened, he just lay there. You would think him a corpse if the machinery weren't making his chest rise and fall. You turned to leave and jumped as you spotted a man standing in the doorway, you recognized him. Like old brick his face is lined with creases and scars, aged and long healed. Like an ancient stone tower his hunched and stalwart frame leaned into the room. You were unsure what to say, panic growing, the Gamma Commander.
>>
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>>5182436
The Father of Alexander and Anthony. He watched you with marble orbs. "You make all that racket by yourself?" The man's voice was like gravel rolling down a hill, it rumbled through the quiet room. You weren't sure what to do, so you just stood there. Everything was weighing down on you. You wanted to be anywhere else, the man stepped into the room. His harsh features reminded you of the boy in bed. "I heard you were bed ridden. I hadn't expected another set of pilots to break into the medical ward to visit one of their own. But I'll admit, the selection process is a lot softer than when I was undergoing it." He spoke slowly in a long breath, walking around you and coming to a stop at the plastic tent. The aged pilot moved with a slight limp.

"I spoiled them. I admit that, it is only natural for a man to strive for his children to have better than he did. But now I see you. And I wonder. Should I have been cruel and distant to my boys? Would that have made them stronger…" You didn't answer, like a stone on a beach you didn't move. Simply standing in the tide as it came and went. The man turned his attention to you, eyes meeting for a second but you looked away first. You just wanted to leave. "Do you feel like a pariah? It must be difficult becoming accustomed to the world after being kept from it for so long. But you've been doing a pretty impressive job. I'll admit, I was expecting Yuga to haul up from that hole a misshapen and sick creature. Yet here you are, arguably the best pilot of the entire batch."

The aged warrior steps closer. "Well answer me boy. Don't tell me all the fight has left you already? Because a comrade had been wounded? Accept this as the world. Times ahead will be hard, but you must be harder. Like steel. If not for yourself, then for those who will be following you. Can you do that?" He grins a dark thing. The man's eyes as black as a those of a shark. He was a predator. You avoid reacting, climbing back into your shell after what felt like a lifetime. The cool hideaway, reinvigorated you. The moment you do he flicks you on the forehead. "Hiding isn't always the answer. What do you say pilot?"

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Talk with the Commander?Write in?
>Excuse yourself?
>Avoid the question?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
>>5182441
>What do you do, Pilot?
Stare back at the predator and climb out of the shell.
>What do you say? Write in.
The past is the past you can't change that.
I hide, because sometimes I'm afraid what i'm capable of.
I've been remade into a weapon and just want to feel human again.
You didn't fail your sons, it was an accident. A sad one for sure, but at least he's alive, not like many of us are going to survive our baptism of fire in the brutal realities of phobos warfare.
>>
>>5182441
> What do you do?

Reject the shell, face the world.

> What do you say

"I will protect them. I'll protect them all."
>>
>>5182441
Time to leave the shell, Mortimer.
>Talk to the Commander
I know we aren’t all going to make it. I just hoped it would be longer before I lost a friend. I don’t have many, you see.

Did you know of a pilot called Half-Soul?
>>
>>5182552
Support
>>
>>5182441
>Talk with the Commander?Write in?
>I'm not pariah! I have plenty of friends I think. One of them even spit into my mouth when I was thirsty! ... It was kinda weird tho. Did you had that kind of experience sir?

WHY SHE DIDN'T USED HER HANDS TO CARRY WATER?!
>>
>>5182542
I know we're very....naive? But this is literally just wishful thinking.
>>
>>5182500
>>5182542
>>5182552
>>5182562
>>5182565
You reject the comfort of the shell, facing the world with the eyes of a predator. Eyes that do not avoid the grim truth. Climbing free from the numbing embrace you lock gazes with the older pilot. He grins further, flashing you cracked and grey teeth as he weighs you up and down. "The past is the past, you can't change that. I hide, because sometimes I'm afraid of what I'm capable of. I've been remade into a weapon and just want to feel human again." You reply, frigid words rippling through the world unmuddied by the void. The other pilot mused your thoughts, both hands climbing behind his back as he straightened up. "Even the sharpest weapon can fracture and splinter without the proper attention. A mind is no simple thing to control, restraining it can be useful. It is a rare skill to possess indeed, but know that others claim their own secret teachings. Overly relying on these kinds of abilities… It is best to be afraid of your boundaries. But not enslaved by them, men must push to test their strength." His words seem practiced as if he was reading off a script or manifest.

You still had thoughts to release and as much as his own words demanded further questions you spoke to your superior calmly. The strange tension that had filled the room slipping almost. "You didn't fail your sons, it was an accident. A sad one for sure, but at least he's alive, not like many of us are going to survive our baptism of fire in the brutal realities of phobos warfare." The man turned watching his boy, as his next words flow freely. Just as hard as his first set of questions. "They are strong, i know that to be true. But as you say. If you lose them in the field, then what?" You would be Starsteel, you will become as hard as you would have to be. Enough to save them. "I will protect them. I'll protect them all." You state boldly, stepping up beside the Gamma commander. You speak to yourself just as much as you talk to him.

"Admirable, but prepare yourself for cruelty of failure. The fate of all pilots are bloody and tragic tales." You nod, your heroic words threatening to ring out hollow under the aged man's cold hard truth. You relent, speaking further. "I know we aren’t all going to make it… I just hoped it would be longer before I lost a friend. I don’t have many, you see. But I'm no pariah, I think. I do have friends one of them she even… Well I'm sure you've have friends and comrades you trust. Sir." The man let out a laugh, like the rattling of loose change. "That I do… But not all are still with us. Prepare yourself for that." He said eyes focused on his son.
>>
>>5182730
A silence slipping between you, you still had questions. One more important than the rest, yet it had been hidden within your racing thoughts. You were unsure how much you could trust the man, but you wanted to ask it anyway. "Did you know of a pilot called the Half-Soul?" You ask the room, trying to sound casual but yet your voice trembles. The name leaving you breathless, your body suddenly feeling the burden you carried. You notice the man turn to watch you. "I saw the pictures of you and the boys. We would have gotten lashes for the excursion. But alas it seems that times have changed drastically. I must admit, I'm glad they have found comrades. Even those whom would risk punishment to see them. However I didn't expect any of you young pilots to ask about him. How did you learn of the Half-Soul?" You weren't sure how to answer, but thankfully the man didn't wait for you to speak.

"I may be old, but I'm not that old... Considering the hundred and fifty or so years between us. While I obviously didn't know him personally I believe I know about as much as the next burning blooded patriot. I did study the Bloody Snow at Mockva. The Hole and the first years of The 2nd Order of Eskarrian Principalities. He was a beast of a pilot, back when they threw men into a core one after another until they managed to break the machine's will. He and around half of the Empire's mustered Phobos pilots died there, but crippled the onslaught of the Elysian tribals. Enough for the Empire to establish itself as the major regional power, obviously that's all history and here we are. Most of his stories are chalked up to propaganda, but I've seen ace pilots that make me question just how much is truth and how much is fiction. I know a few of the royalist cults claim him as a prince and patriarch, but most of the less divisive warrior cults simple hold him as a saint and founding figure head of the Empire. And yet most of that bloody history is coated over and forgotten. The hardships of our ancestors, they should be remembered."

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Talk with the Commander?Write in?
>Excuse yourself?
>Explore the rest of the Ward?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
Explain our dream to him, describe the battle with the wretch and brute, and ask him about her. Ask him why we're having dreams of the Half Soul
>>
>>5182731
>Excuse yourself?
>>
>>5182731
>>Excuse yourself?
>>
>>5182731
>>Excuse yourself?
>>
>>5182731
>Excuse yourself?
>>
>>5182731
>Excuse yourself?
*Cough, cough* Ehem, I have to go return some video tapes
>>
>>5182731
>excuse yourself
“I should go”
>>
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>>5182996
>>5183208
>>5183210
You nod the stern man's words only adding more weight to your already thinly stretched mind. Over a hundred years had passed since that day, you felt like you had slept through all of them and yet still awoke exhausted. The endless age within the dark does nothing to soothe you. "Thank you, I'll keep that in mind but it's pretty late. I should be going…" You speak, taking a step back and falling out of line with the man. His eyes are focused on his son, but he gives you a faint gesture. His words see you off. "The Mountains of Man, By Kolmogorov Nikitin. It'll give you a better idea of what type of man the Half Soul was and the age he lived through and died ending." You appreciate his words, a few scraps of understanding hopefully leading you to more answers. You head back towards your quarters, the midnight misadventure making each step a struggle.

Your feet were bleeding again, the painful wet ripping slowed your journey even further. Your legs were trembling as you meandered back to your bed. The sterile hallway was freezing, the last threads of strength being stripped bare by it. You needed a break, resting against a small cabinet you were alone in the hallways. The dim lights made your eyes strain to see anything, but you spotted movement. At first you thought She had returned. However the feminine figure was tall, her feet meeting the ground and ringing out as she strode closer. You hoped whoever it was wouldn't notice you, it was getting harder to breathe. But against your wishes the figure came to halt, standing over you.

You suck air in through your teeth, as your sight begins to spin. The world is becoming colder, the grey shifting to white. You return to that bloody storm, tears fall through the sky freezing into intricate and individual designs. One touches your flesh and fades. Were you just as special? Formed and gone before anyone could remember. The storm grows dark, a face appearing through the veil. She didn't appear, slim and unrestrained features found you instead. The Girl. Another Pilot. Haruki. You were lost within the depths of her eyes, leaning closer to peer into the very soul of the being before you. She leant back, hesitating under your wild gaze as shock spread across her veneer. But you wanted to see beyond, through the veil.
>>
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>>5183938
You felt faint, flapping in the breeze that escapes her lips. You tried to focus, you were sure it was Haruki. The possibility of hallucinations is not lost on your fleeting thoughts. You reach out for security, a thumb traces along her pale chin. She was scared. Tears welling up in her eyes. Then she grabbed you, her arms taking you up easily. You had forgotten just how tall she was, just how strong the girl was. She held you close. You were warm. You felt so warm you could die. You wouldn't mind dying. The crack and low howl was followed by obscuring light as your cell suddenly burst back into harsh existence. Running off the fool's desire of sleep, your first thoughts were prayers begging for dear sweet death to claim you. Taking a deep breath you struggle to sit up as the drone of the first siren starts for the day, signaling the arrival of 5am.

Your feet meet the crude metal grating, your hollow bones threaten to give as you muster the strength to stand. The other rakes surround you, dragging themselves free of their own small cots. Like wet parchment stretched over a child's drawing of what was human. Four crude limbs, one misshapen head. You and your ilk were all little monsters. The rusted cell door swung open, releasing a nauseating tone that threatened to crack your ribs. You trail out after them, huddle like starved beasts, your small packs mesh as other cells open. Soon a parade of pale boy-shaped vermin scamper down towards their dooms. Ready to masquerade as monsters for morsels of meat, the watchers look down from their gilded and railed walkways above.

Shouting and sneering through the clear face plates, from barrels they toss sticks of food. There was always enough, the rain pelting each passing pseudo-human. You easily take one, clinging to the others from your cell. The grated floor descends into dangerously tight steps and the flow stems as each disposable life falls into line. You feel the walls thrum and hum, rumbling with a life not too different from your own. The blue markings staining your flesh mark your route. #391 declares your destination. Feeding on the sticks you all fall into place. A large onyx orb rests before you, present against the floor. You can just make out the monster it sinks into through the grating. It was a nightmare. The massive place was just as under maintained, you climbed into the core with no prompting. Observers snapping awake as the machine greedly takes you within itself. You feel the world rock as a new siren rings out, the muffled moan of twisting metal joined in as you feel the vibrations of an explosion send ripples through the Umbral connection.
>>
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>>5183941
Red rolling lights paint up the countless black balls that stretch into the far abyss. The pale vermin rushed to ready themselves, some of the weaker rodents were knocked to the ground by the sudden buckling of the room. Thrown wide their thin frames failed to enter their Phobos. A second siren rang out, as a second explosion shook you. The floor gave out without warning, bowing and ripping free under some unseen force. Your eyes focused on the unlucky few who survived the concussive force. The small bodies that were unlucky enough to not be rendered into mulch. Left twisting and screaming in fear as they fell with you. However you lose sight of them, as a new source of light begins blinding you as you fall. Gravity snatching you from the sky. Clear and blue. It took you a moment to adjust. You were above the clouds, a great metallic beast looming over you was busy bleeding foul jaundice fumes.

Along with rows of chained phobos like mechanical intestines and the children that were supposed to be within them. It rained blood. Your Phobos fed you information, other pilots readying as their machines spun in the free fall. Voices called across comms as you spot the sun. Golden, a scarlet orange light bleeds across the horizon. You fall and fall. Flinching as you wake up. Tensing you try to land on your feet. The bed jingles at the sudden movement and Haruki lets out a disapproving groan. Pulling you closer in retaliation as the waking world revealed itself once again. You lay there, unmoving as the nightmare lingers in your mind. The girl at your side nestled her head into your neck before releasing a sigh. "It was just a nightmare. I get them too, go back to sleep." You feel a hand run up your body, pressing you against her own as she hugs you. "You had me so worried. But I'll tell you off later, you need to rest and warm up. You're still freezing!" her tone was groggy and thick with sleep. But even still, her strength was there. She was burning, searingly hot. Your cold flesh cried out in tender pain. Sensitive to the molten touch.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Talk with Haruki?Write in?
>Try and fall back asleep?
>Get out of bed?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
>>5183943
>Try and fall back asleep?
To hurt to do much else.
>>
>>5183943
>Mumble out a “Thanks Ruki” and pass out again
Is it too much to ask for a decent night’s sleep without being interrupted by memories?
>>
>>5184132
Support
>>
>>5184132
Considering how utterly headfucked we are? Nah senpai, nah.
>>
>>5184132
This.
>>
>>5183943
>>Try and fall back asleep?

Sleep time

>>5184132
+1

kek
>>
>>5183990
>>5184132
>>5184280
The comfort you feel eclipses the pain. Smothering and chasing off the aches in your limbs. Replacing something you didn't know you were missing, the breath along your neck sends shocks down your spine. The heat was too much and you felt the world begin to slip away as your brain sweltered in the girl's embrace. "Thanks Ruki." You mutter softly while a hand glides along her arm, mapping the powerful coils of muscle that keep you against her. Sleep snatches you up with any warning. Descending you fall, warmth becomes your world. When your eyes next flutter open artificial light has returned, gracing your room and the hallway you could spot with false day. You lay alone, for a moment questioning if the other pilot had really been there. But curled up, wrapped in covers you notice something grasped tightly in your hand. A small green dinosaur watches up at you as you open your palm.

Relief flooded you, burrowing further into your pillow you thought about Haruki. But sleep takes you again a jealous mistress as ever. Your mind rests in blissful nothingness, the tranquil abyss you had so often been excluded from. Unfortunately you are pulled from slumber, Ruki had been sure to inform the medical staff of your status. Two very annoyed nurses were bandaging your feet, they thankfully shared some good news with you. Both Castilla and Anthony had come out of their comas while you had slept. They didn't share much more, but we're very adamant you spent time in bed and stopped galavanting. Despite the urge to visit your friends your body was nowhere near ready. Just moving your feet to accommodate the medical technicians had made you break a thick sweat.

The distant connection you shared with Anastasia has quickly faded bit by bit, shrinking from a single thread down to but a delicate strand of hair. Yet you could sense she was alive, a part of you with her. No matter how small. Something of hers was within you. You had little to distract yourself with and gave in to sleep further. Time rolls by and you awoke once more, food is brought to you by staff. A simple meal you devour fiendishly, your routine becomes boredom as days pass. News is shared to you by Dr. Yumigawa the pilots you had managed to retrieve were progressing well and were even returning to live Phobos exercises. After the incident the entire unit slowed down the linking process limiting the depths of the other pilots and have luckily been spared any further accidents.
>>
>>5185043
While it will take longer for progressive connections the Doctor was doing her best to ensure a safe process. She was clearly very proud of the work, your unit possesses the highest succession rate of any in disclosed history. The doctor made sure to highlight that point for you, also sharing the honour with the individual pilot producing projects. While Anastasia had been maimed, no one had actually died yet. And that was rather unexpected. The older woman's orderly schedule was an escape as more days passed and your body regained its strength almost as if Haruki had put her up to it. One day she arrives with a fresh set of military fatigues and your Unit Beret they also provide you with a snazzy wheelchair. To spare you the use of your feet. Naturally you happily take the moment to escape the small confining room.

Dressing in a rush you listen to the woman as she informs you of an important meeting. The Over-Marshal had arrived to resume direct supervision of the unit as training moved forward. Wheeling yourself out into the hallways you work your way around the labyrinth, following the foreign woman. Finally escaping the small confinement of your room, the boots were an uncomfortable fit but came with the uniform. "He can be a little overbearing, but do not worry. He is a kindred soul, one who takes our goals very seriously. He would have been here to personally guide each of you if he didn't have more pressing engagements elsewhere… But the incident has cleared up his schedule." You ride the elevator up, spotting other staff as the building was abuzz with activity.

However no other pilots joined you and the doctor. The absence couldn't help but leave a worried feeling in your stomach. The momentum the elevator reached as you ascended higher and higher did little to sooth your nerves. The small dinosaur within your pocket didn't abandon you now, calmly your fingers ran along it. You were ready to exchange in the most rabid and deranged engagements with his support. A soft ping strips your thoughts from your mind, leaving you blank as the woman stepped out onto the floor you had never been on. Clear glass walls spread out like spider webs, throughout the entire space. Easily spotting long meeting tables and small casual sofa filled rooms.
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>>5185045
From your position you could see the city skyline in the light of day, above the clouds it seemed as if the enormous skyscrapers grew from balls of cotton. It reminded you faintly of the dream. The old memory. You only assumed it was the Half-Soul's. It could have belonged to She but you weren't sure. "Don't be shy now Morty. I'm sure you'll both get along great." The woman said cheerfully, pulling your attention back. In the center of the floor a tinted black square sat, the head office you assumed. She led you towards it, stopping along an indistinct wall. "He'll call you in when he's ready." She said with a cheeky wink and turned to leave.

You sat in the wheelchair twiddling your thumbs, the daunting space looming over you. Your thoughts wandered from anxiety to boredom as almost ten minutes passed since the doctor descended. A hiss of compressed air made you jump and turn as the smooth wall divided itself with almost no provocation on your part. "Ah verflixt! I'm sorry, Herr Mortimer! Please come in. The Doctor Yumigawa is as speedy as always." The voice crackled with the telltale sign of audio artifacting that only electronic voices possess. You wheel yourself into the room, deep orange lights illuminate the interior. The walls seemed to stretch beyond their boundaries, as if they were the very reaches of space. Starless and void. The presence of an ivory desk at the far end stood out like a meteor in space, the very floor just as expansive.

Yet just as real, you worried for a second as you wheels rolled onto the tiled ground. A figure stood over the sleek furniture, he looked up and watched you roll in. You thought it was a man. But as your eyes adjust to the dark you make out the strange figure clearer. "Von gott! Herr Mortimer? Are your legs still offering you trouble?" The voice played out through countless hidden speakers, across the main body. The Black and white body of the Over-Marshal was an imitation of humanity. You were unsure how, but you were certain most of his body was constructed from Star metal. Xeno-Alloys and Terran equivalent bound by bolt and joint. As pale as porcelain a face. His synthetic body was as black as night. It matched the room's design. You had never seen anything like him. "Do you require aid? Herr Mortimer?" The skeletal creature projected as it stalked around the table on long legs. Your eyes wouldn't leave him. "I'm f-fine, thank you. It's good to meet you, I am Corporal Mortimer. Emperor Class Pilot."
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>>5185048
You snapped out a stiff salute, excluding your normal Howdy. "Ich sehe! ich sehe! Es ist schön, Sie kennenzulernen. You may call me Ova-Kommanda or Herr Stumpfegger… or if you prefer something simple refer to me as perhaps Bruder Throsten?" His vocal mimicker produces hissing wheezes, static heavy sighs. The man's words were heavily accented and hard to make out against the electronic quality. But you managed. "Thank you Herr Stumpfegger." You reply, the alien words are strange but you simply repeated the noises he made. "I must admit, your appearance does not match the stories that accompany it. natürlich, I've seen you through your entire growth development. What I mean is you cast a large shadow, yes?"

You weren't sure how to reply as the metal clanking of his body moved about, he walked laps around you before gesturing you to the desk. "Let's us talk. Please tell me about yourself, einfach. How was the linking? If you'd wish." You wheel your way up to the table, the stick-like frame falling Into an abstract curving chair. The lens littering his skull-like face focused on you.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Be Truthful?Write in?
>Hold back some personal details?Write in?
>Be vague?Write in?
>Stay Silent?
>Do something else? Write in
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>>5185050
>Do something else? Write in

Give the same description we gave to others: First layer easy, second layer hard, third easy. Fifth wore you down. Be profesional not personal.

Be truthful but avoid any hint of voices, visions and dreams. Ask him about his role, was he ever a pilot?


Also later can we start trying to piece together if we are a clone of the HalfSoul? We’re from the mountains apparently and know mountain songs and the book about the HalfSoul has mountain in the title. Is Ruki a clone of “She” (can we ask Ruki if she has had dreams?). Everyone else knows their past/origins except us, we should want to know.
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>>5185281
Sounds good. Wasn't sure myself what to write.
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>>5185281
support

let s test the ground. He seems to be one of the main heads of all the projects. We should ask later about our project and other ones details...
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>>5185281
+1
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>>5185281
+1 to this

Although I'm pretty sure we aren't a clone of Half-Soul. We have some faint memories of home, where we came from, and the conversation with the other Empress seemed to confirm this. I would assume that us knowing Ana's song came from the connection we formed in the 5th layer, from bouncing across Phobos when trying to get her out.

Some random food for thought, if we can get some access to the service history of our Phobos, or our fellow pilots' Phobos, might be able to prepare them better for whatever memories lurk within. The Prince(Kat's Cousin) might be our best chance of getting this without going through official channels.
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>>5185281
Your pinpoint eyes skirt the interior of the vast seeming space. The mechanical man sat there, relaxing in his seat as the silence was divided by the whiz and groan of electronics within his body. All of him was augmented, you wondered just how much of him was meat. The slim alien limbs clearly had no way to hide any bone or blood within. He was clearly a foreigner, his accent was so strange. You had never heard anything like it. All in all, you found yourself under his intimidating stare. You choose to be curt and forward. But avoid mentioning even the suggestion of hallucinations or metal trauma.

"Of course, Over-Marshal. I don't have any of the readings on hand. But the First layer was astonishingly simple, without a hint of difficulty I activated the required sequencing codes and I believe that is responsible for my struggle within the Second layer. I may have underestimated the severity of the depth… However I did complete linking and proceeded on to the Third layer. Adjusting my expectations after my arduous journey within the second I did not allow myself a chance to repeat the same mistake. And just as smoothly as the First I completed Auxiliary linking… While it wasn't an intended exposure… My experience within the Fifth layer wore me down, but I relied heavily on my years of training. My high tolerance to Interference helped me endure the event." You said, words mechanical and well placed. Like reading through a situation report, you keep it plain.

The skull composed of white, black and all the shades of grey in between nodded thoughtfully. A perfectly rectangle finger of Herr Stumpfegger tapped across spots on his bone desk. The digit was coated with intricately etched patterns. A new sound filling the background, classical music. Orchestral tones and twangs, but you didn't recognize the music piece. "I very much adore music. Perhaps you share my opinion Herr Mortimer? This single piece is over five hundred years old, I personally recovered it. It is eight minutes and twenty four seconds in length, comprising sixty two unique segments. Most of the partials I recovered from ghosted drives and other phantoms from erased storage boards. Theoretically over ninety five percent of all Pre-fall music has been lost. Can you imagine? Scorched from the surface of our cultures. I spent most of my youth, a nice solid fifty years scrounging across the bent and broken landscapes of ancient lesser Germania." The skeletal being leant forward onto the table, both elbows planted on the bone surface as his hands weaved through the air.
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>>5186123
His fingers crawled up and down, many metal joints working as he played what you assumed where to corresponding chords. But you had little knowledge of playing instruments. "I would work to recover what I discovered, even down into the festering bowels of great tombs and rusted necropoli I went. I was something of an adventurer in my youth, dare I say even a hero. Now of course, other academics argue that most songs weren't really forgotten, however they were simply whittled down and reshaped. Neu gemacht. Many of our popular pieces of music share the same chords and note progression as Pre-fall classics. We basically copied ourselves, a fragment of humanity passed along an odd tune here. A favourite verse there. And after ages pass, they resurface. So gut wie neu. What was once lost is found, hidden away within an ancient and decrepit device the size of your thumb." Stumpfegger produces a small device, polished and protected by a glass orb that it floated within. His long limbs easily hand it to you over the wide desk. The clear ball was deceivingly heavy.

"Isn't that fascinating? Just like weaponry and other secrets. Us, all of we humans are fighting to remember. Isn't that funny? Some wild theories are even propose by the madmen in Free Lutetia. Some insisting our extraterrestrial acquisitions can be harnessed to pursue the past. Many far from reputable experiments have taken place and with their results many exorbitant claims are made… Scheiße. Unreliable shit, but very intriguing. No? Oh! Accept my apologies Herr Mortimer I am prattling on." A gap opens up as the music switches to another you didn't recognize. The haunting face watches you, the Over-Marshal's observers pivot. Little orbs of light reading your expressions closely. Or so you thought, you watched him back with a shared intensity. Exposed material poses as human muscles, the rubbery hue left an uncanny appearance.

You began to grow uncomfortable by the feeling of him watching you, watching him. "Herr Stumpfegger? Where you ever a Pilot? Dr. Yumigawa informed me that you will be taking the reins of the unit as we proceed with training." Thorsten tilts his head. Gargled static is projected at you as the man slaps his hand on the desk. Skeletal jaw opening and closing vigorously. "Von Gott! I have never been a Pilot. But nevertheless I have spent the last century researching, observing and directly participating in the training of Phobos pilots. The Schulz & Wagner Group of The 1st Synthetech Hegemony has vested interests in the development of human and xenos integration. Ofcourse we don't just work with your Empire alone, the Hegemony has agents throught the world." The Over-Marshal's hands flicked through the air as he projected a very grainy picture.
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>>5186125
It showed a man, well the majority of him was man. In his mid forties the lower half of his body was metalic digitigrade legs, the augmetic limbs weren't crude. But they were clearly older than any modern model you had seen, wires ran from them all along his body and amassed behind the person's spine. He was grinning goofily as two Knight class Phobos stood to either side. The image fell as the man continued talking. "The reinforced and hardwired Neural network of our synthetic cores struggle to link with the alien units currently. There has yet to be even a partial successfully attempt at interface with the machines. Ostensibly that is the price of virtual immortality." The man shrugs, you weren't sure but the way his jaw moved suggested he might be smiling. "I'm working towards understanding further. Now, why am I personally here? To be frank my friendship with the Empress offers to me many possibilities. The hegemony's very limited access to Phobos Units means we must inquire where they are more commonly used. Our integral relationship with the Eskarrian Empire provides additional security to our small collective, geteilte Ziele. But do not underestimate the 1st Group, there is a reason we were not simply squashed under the feet of lumbering giants. What better way to find the future than to shape it with your own hands no?"

He flicks his hand in your direction, the sudden movement making you jump back a little. The man's robotic eyes seemingly squinted at you. "My apologies, of course you wouldn't possess binaural implants. Do you not own a personal device? A simple hand computer or Soft tablet?" You shake your head. The man seemingly shocked, a low humming sound follows. "Well with the absence of a personal terminal on hand I'll give you one if my spares. Lucky for you." A small compartment opens before you, revealing a simple hand computer. You knew most required implants to operate neurologically, the closest thing to a man made attempt at an system to resemble an Umbral Core. But they worked with fingers just fine, if the small screen and lack of interactive augmented reality really hampers the usefulness. "Thank you. But I'm not sure if I can accept this." You don't take the small tool, panic rising as a cold sweat began to run down your neck. Thorsten tuts and lifts the ergonomic device and rests it in your lap. "Have no fear, Herr Mortimer. I have countless others, all are secure and safe. The finest products from The Schulz & Wagner Group, komplementär!" You nod you thanks and pick up the device. The screen activates casting you in light the moment your eyes settle on it.
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>>5186129
The Over-Marshal repeats the gesture and you new handheld began to download various files over the common networks. "Rapier-type Emperor Class Pilot, A rarity indeed. There are numerous training opportunities for you to advance down Herr Mortimer. Our time is limited and over the coming months training within the Phobos will increase substantially. The Empress is expecting snazzy new Phobos Pilot graduates for her upcoming Coronation anniversary celebration. I personally know she is following each unit's progress intently." You examine the files closely as the senior commander continues. "For the upcoming months your first selection are as follows. First option is Long Range Engagement Training, within the Talic Mountains you have the prospect of becoming accustomed to the use of modern long range Phobos weaponry and corresponding tactics. Very interesting? The Second option is located at the Aeronautical Institute of Noviskan. You'll learn to operate and engage in combat while using, Flight, Junk and Grapple equipment."

You flick through the digital pages perusing the images of Weapon and Equipment mock ups along with each Eskarrian institute's compounds. The last one was within the Black Mountains, a small village. "The Third is an Espionage and Reconisense training within an ETAW black site. You might recognize the Hole, it's somewhere in there. You'll train to successfully operate behind enemy lines along with the use of Personal and Phobos Concealment equipment. The Fourth and final option you have is the opportunity to undergo joint training with an Interior Ministry Spetsnaz Unit in the Black Mountains. Intense and strict training will prepare you for surviving and fighting outside of your Phobos. A tempting selection? Eh? Herr Mortimer." Stumpfegger finished, projecting other images of the various sites. All of the options seemed reasonable. But it was all so sudden, you were just about to start getting use to living within the Kahva Base. You spot your reflection in the sheen of the small computer, staring into your own eyes and you thought.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Speak to the Over-Marshal?Write in?
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
>Request Aeronautical Training?
>Request Espionage and Reconisense Training?
>Request Interior Ministry Spetsnaz Training?
>Do something else? Write in

>Did some more tracing and made some Mortimer art.
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>>5186130
>Request Espionage and Reconisense Training?
I think being able to hide from and spot enemy is there at the top when it comes to importance.

My second choice is Request Aeronautical Training. I like mobility and overwatch flying sniper nothing can go wrong with that.
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>>5186130
>Recon training

Although I'm very tempted by long range stuff too. Also, nice art OP
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>>5186130
>Request Aeronautical Training
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>>5186130
>What do you do, Pilot?
Check out the functions of our tablet.
>What do you say? Write in.
>Speak to the Over-Marshal?Write in?
Ask him about the Half-soul and what the claims are of the research about being able to see the past. It is after all something he has great interest in.
>Request Espionage and Reconisense Training?
We recon Phobos now boys.
Also QM nice art for Morty.
>>
Request Long Range Engagement Training?
I want the biggest, longest rifle you have
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>>5186130
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
We're a skillchad, we should put that to use.
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>>5186130

>Request Espionage and Reconisense Training?

Seems like more of an opportunity to know more about the world around us. And the motives of the people pulling the strings

>What do you say? Write in.

Can we ask him if not presumptuous that he download some of his classical music onto our tablet? Motive being that it might make him think a bit more favourably of us but also might play into our links to the past

Also clarify that the other emperor class pilots are also receiving the same opportunity for specialisation or is it just us.


Privately we should want to know how long until the coronation anniversary since there is an apparent clock ticking on our training. And obviously don’t trust the tablet and only use it for official purposes (no lewd photos…)
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>>5186130
>>Request Interior Ministry Spetsnaz Training?
Very nice art
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>>5186130
>Request Espionage and Recon Training
Stealth, dictating engagements, strike and fade? All important for us.
Long range is tempting, as a second choice.
Flying and Spetsnaz are absolutely a meme. We're gonna deploy a Emperor-class phobos for riot suppression, clearly. Why not give it wings, at that point?
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>>5186130
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
>>
Writing update soon.
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>>5186669
The Hole. It was the closest thing you had to a home and yet you barely knew anything about it. The possibility stoked your ember interest into a raging fire. "I'd like to start with Espionage and Reconnaissance training. The Rapier type is suited for it." You reply, explaining your choice. The Idea of being able to learn more of the world hidden to you and the possibility of new skills and discovering information were both very appealing. The heavily augmented man nodded and further files were downloaded onto the device in your hand.

His distorted voice played loud. "Very astute, Herr Mortimer. I too agree in your choice. The very plain and simple appearance you possess really does apply itself for espionage and intelligence gathering. I would be flagged for inquiry the moment I stepped foot into any facility." The clicky clack followed as his hands flickered across the augmented reality you were excluded from. "I've been hearing very interesting waves from the depths of that pit. Leaps and bounds with camouflage and concealment units. Eskarrian Wizardry! Even my peers of The Schulz & Wagner Group are impressed." While Thorsten continues to interact with something you couldn't perceive, you fiddle with the device.

The touch controls were intuitive, small icons highlighted a camera, you caught a glimpse of your own face in the dark room as you pressed it. Other icons suggest audio recording and playing programs and along with common network access. It would be pretty handy, especially since you had still not received any terminal information. But you were hesitant to use the device too freely. You didn't trust the security of the thing. The idea of qualifying from scout training was pretty exciting, so were the possible new sights. "The unit has just over five months before graduation will take place, a total of one hundred and sixty three days. You'll have five weeks of Reconnaissance training and then to rest your body you'll have the next following four weeks of Espionage training. Leaving us with 23 weeks of additional training. The previous options as before remain. But by then I would have also acquired further training prospects. Those will include Phobos Close Quarters combat training. The chance to learn to use the wide selection of Eskarrian Anti-Phobos melee weaponry."
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>>5186808
Holding out his metallic palm more images were projected. Saw toothed chain weapons and other types of high frequency blades. You had questioned the likelihood of any melee engagements, but it might be better to be safe than sorry. "There is also the opportunity for Phobos Drone integration training, the access to support and combat drones is a staple of Phobos combat. And lastly the chance to train alongside more conventional Eskarrian combat forces. Including a vast array of infantry units and mechanized detachments. Joint Unit Training will help perfect cooperation with traditional companies and divisions. Take a moment to think about what interests you, it will be confirmed as we draw closer to the course start date however." You nod. His hands-on walkthrough was vastly different to what you had experienced before.

You were never told much, let alone such a wide array of choices. His ageless knowledge was a frightful thing, but you wanted to probe what the explorer knew. "Herr Stumpfegger. Do you know about an ancient legend of sorts? The Half-Soul? He was a pilot during the early years of the empire allegedly." You spoke clearly, trying to sound intrigued by a rumour more than a desperate hunger for the truth. The part man part machine froze. His artificial eyes watching through the imperceivable reality he shared. Thorsten rested both hands palm down on the table, a hiss escaped his chest chassis as a puff of smoke snaked from gaps in the sleek plating of his body.

It smelt strange, a series of staggered gasp trickles free as he stares through you. "The Half Soul? wie grob. He always hated that damn name… Yes I knew him. By that point in my life I had fully transitioned from pursuing music and onto the fervent hunt to link artificial minds together. Machine and Machine. I'm surprised it has been so difficult, but it's clear whoever made the Phobos seem to have very little interest in directly integrating their technology. But I'm getting distracted. Ilya was what I knew him as, but I'm sure it wasn't his real name. He was known by many, Kiska, Orrel and plenty of others. I do believe he never had a true name, it was a very different time. Or at least one he didn't care to share with me. Survival was immensely cruel and bloody back then, if you could imagine.
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>>5186811
"The resurgence of mortal kingdoms carved the lands and her people apart. He was a natural pilot, since birth some say. But he disclosed to me personally that it was during his early boyhood. Around the age of seven or eight. Could you imagine that? What a nightmare it must have been, the kinds of rigors placed upon his partially developed brain. Thankfully we have moved beyond such practices. Let his legacy be a lesson to you young Herr Mortimer. The righteous and true are not spared from tragedy and failure. But yet the Empire lives on and prospers, let us pray his descendants are basking in the glory of his sacrifice." The revelations were stunning, the Over-Marshal had met the Half Soul. You tried not to let anything show.

Nodding along to his words, your mind was ablaze with thoughts as you absorbed every little detail. But a faint taint lingered, like a film of filth. He could be lying. "What made you ask about him?" The Robotic features seem to be reading you, but you have yet to see them move. Constantly cast in a skull-like mask. You whipped a reply out quickly. "The Gamma Commander… He said something similar to me. About the risks of heroism… He mentioned the Bloody Snow at Mockva." The Man sat motionless before his head moved along the ball joint of his neck, nodding his understanding. You wanted to move on before he inquired further. "Herr Stumpfegger, those theories coming out of Free Lutetia. Could you tell me about them? I've never heard of anything like that before." Thorsten's fingers locked together, more smoke poured from the figure. You wondered if that was normal.

"Well I'm sure you haven't. It is a very fringe belief. The frogs are trying to export their wild claims with very little evidence. That's the problem with the city states if you ask me, they'd be put to better use with some tight order. The scholars are boldly announcing that they believe and have recorded evidence. Dubious evidence of that. That individual Phobos units can retain more than a pilot's most traumatic experience within their storage systems. Now we can understand why such flared neurological experience can be recorded into the machine subconscious. And experienced through direct exposures to the depths of the mechanical mind. Sinking deeper within the Umbral Core."
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>>5186814
"But their findings suggest even memories from outside of a Phobos could be borrowed and marked down. It suggests that with the correct circumstances pilots could relive the past of other pilots. Even those who did not originate from this planet. A surely intriguing idea. But I would have to pursue my own research before relying on some unreviewed study." The out of tune words struck a chord within your very soul. The idea was not that crazy. But it made you question your own sanity. Had you experienced the past or did your mind simply unravel and fill the gaps in with someone else's memoirs. Or is it just Fiction.

"That is a fascinating idea indeed. Could you by chance share some of your musical library with me? I've had very little experience with music, but I do enjoy it." You gesture to the room, the soothing music that played felt as if it had always been resounding between your ears. Stumpfegger made the same strange expression, you assumed it was him smiling with glee. "Wunderbar! A man after my own heart. I knew you had that look about you. You can have my favorites. Yuga did suggest you were a sophisticated young man. A gentleman, warrior and scholar." He made some more gestures and your device bleeps, as a row of files began to pop up and download onto the electronic.

"Thank you!" You reply sharply, the man was sending folder after folder of Pre-fall music. "Over-Marsha?Are the other pilots also receiving the same opportunity for specialisation?" The hinge squeaked as the man nodded his head. "Affirmative Herr Mortimer. The pilots are also under the restrictions as yourself. We are in a race against time. Only Pilot Anastasia will be exempt. For obvious reasons…"' You return your attention back to your new SC and peer at the other available training opportunities.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Speak to the Over-Marshal?Write in?
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
>Request Aeronautical Training?
>Request Interior Ministry Spetsnaz Training?
>Request Phobos Close Quarters Combat Training?
>Request Phobos Drone Integration Training?
>Request Joint Unit Training?
>Do something else? Write in
>>
>>5186816
>What do you do, Pilot?
Start looking up on current geopolitics on the pad.
>What do you say? Write in.
>Speak to the Over-Marshal?Write in?
Any more questions for me Over-Marshal.
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
Recon sniper.
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>>5186823
although is changing to Drone Intergration training if we can go half-soul on our enemies.
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>>5186816

>Request Phobos Drone Integration Training?

Makes sense for recon.

If we get in a situation where we need to melee fight then we’re not playing the rapier Phobos right. I also think we’re not going to be the backbone of an armed forces group since we’re in a rapier.

Sniping would be a good second choice (we’re already a crack shot and darting around - or camping - and then getting one shot kills would be great. Live up to our name of mort/death

>What do you say? Write in.

Thank him for his candor and his generosity. Ask if he will be involved in your training or is his role just supervisory? E.g will we see him before the coronation?/we look forward to seeing him again
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>>5186816
>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
>>
>>5186816
>Drone training
Long range is important, but drones offer the opportunity for even more recon and support beyond just damage at range
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>>5186816
>Long range specialization training
I want the biggest, longest rifle you have.

>Any questions?
What is going to happen with Anastasia now that she's become a Midget McNugget
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>>5186828
this post means I changed to
>Request Phobos Drone Integration Training?
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>>5186816
>Speak to the Over-Marshal?Write in?
>Say we are glad to hear Anastasia is still referred to as pilot
>Ask with whom we should talk to about our pay. Or even if we are getting payed.

>Request Long Range Engagement Training?
I would want melee seeing how good it was in last combat.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d6)

Looks split between drone and long range.

1-3 Drone
4-6 Long range

I'll roll to decide. Also writing. Update soon.
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>>5188790
"Long Range Engagement will do." You reply. Focusing in on the supplied images of the compound nestled somewhere within the Talic Mountains. Stumpfegger nodded, sending your device additional course information. "I thought as much, the records Yuga had been willing to share with me did little to hide the fact that you've become exceptionally well trained at the intricate art of shooting a firearm. The long range engagement training will take place for a total of eight weeks. I'm sure it'll become second nature to you very quickly." You smile, your plans falling in place brings your joy. You were shocked by that astounding fact, you would have never thought it could. But now, it was in your hands. The Future. The machine man was clearly appreciating your interest.

He returned to his own world as you peered down at your pad. Opening up the browser program you ran a few quick searches. Searches unrestricted by a black site's secured network. The open network of the base freely allowed you to investigate a pittance of the current political climate. A few stories caught your eyes. The Eskarrian Empire was within a bubble of peace for the last eight years. However, pundits estimate that the brief pause is coming to an end soon. To the east and west tensions seem to be rising across Europa. Even at home anti-monarchy protests and sentiment has begun to crop up. Another news article caught your eye, more promises of violence to come. The State of Deseret has been threatening The People's commune of California. The regional map wasn't Europa. When you saw the map of the Empire on the previous page it size had impressed you. However the diagram on the new page was vastly different. Another huge mass of land, somewhere distant and strange.

A rather large country in the American continent was invading another smaller sovereign state. Your mind drank up the information. You had heard very little about the place. But that wasn't the only conflict on the second newly discovered continent. Texas has annexed Louisiana and The Confederation is readying for war. The place was full of strife. Another powerhouse was starting an invasion. You knew the limits of your knowledge were vast and sweeping, but the fact that so much was happening and you didn't even have an inkling of what was going on in the world around you. It made you feel awfully small. So much so you had to spot reading. You made a mental note to pursue additional information when able.
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>>5189094
You look up from the gift and watch the Over-Marshal. The Synthetic being was clearly busy, his attention poorly split between you and his work. "Thank you Thorsten, for both your candour and generosity. I hadn't expected this reception and I'm very glad to have met you." A white and black hand waved the words away dismissively, more smoke escaping from the grooves along his alloy ribs. "I have lived long enough to forgo secrecy and tricks. Most people are willing to help themselves with just the correct words of support. I thank you Herr Mortimer. For your industrious attitude, determination and the strength to do your service. After all, you're still so young. wenig edel!" He reaches over the table, his hand out earnest and ready.

You take the cold limb and shake it. More questions sprouting like flowers on the once barren side of a mountain. "Herr Stumpfegger, will you be involved in our training or will you just be supervising?" You hands part and one quickly rushed to his chin. The squeak of metal on metal following. "Well a bit of both." "Yes! a bit of both.'' The two phrases were spoken in unison but from different directions. One came from behind, you turn to the source and spot a body almost as black as night. Another Herr Stumpfegger stood there. The similarities between the pair were pretty much unnoticeable. But as the second figure approaches you notice he lacked the white accents. It was clearly a duplicate body of the man. "I'll be accompanying each pilot to monitor progress personally and assist where needed. Well my splinters will be tagging along, I still have work to do here." The new arrivals spoke, a grand and ornate limb gesture to the original. The intricate carvings that coated his body were different. Some even carried what you assumed were battle scars. Gouges and shards missing in odd places.

The idea left you somewhat impressed, you had yet to glimpse anything like this before. You assumed it was a very closely guarded secret of the Schulz & Wagner Group. But you knew nothing about the people to the west. "What will happen with Anastasia now that she is…" you let the words hang in the air. Biting your tongue before you admit the tragic truth. The girl's chances were slim. But they still existed. The two statues look at each other, it was almost comical if the topic itself wasn't so grim. "You two weren't reported to be especially close… But I see no reason to withhold any information from you." The original spoke, watching the copy with only the serenity a skull could express.
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>>5189096
"Pilot Anastasia will be transferred to the Schulz & Wagner Group under the Hegemony. Once there she'll undergo various necessary medical procedures to raise her standard of living. Once a suitable amount of her wounds have been healed she will undergo augmentation to replace her lost limbs and simple muscular system robotics will be used to accommodate the ease of Phobos linking." You look down, a faint voice resounding deep within you, almost like you held a plastic cup to your ear. Along an endless length of string her whispered song serenades you. You couldn't help smiling, you had saved her. But your mind was far from guaranteed in the nobility of your actions, questioning her labeling of you as a Hero.

You just did what you had to, anyone else would have done the same. It wasn't that special. You fight the devious thoughts and speak up. "I'm glad to hear you still refer to Anastasia as a pilot." Both of the Stumpfeggers nod, the second one speaking as he rests against the desk. "Her mind survived, that proves she is suitable to become a pilot. Now she simply will have to contend with her waning body." The stark reality wasn't lost on you, but through that faint bond. You were left with a beam of hope in the dark, she had survived so far. With the Over-Marshal's openness on the table you ask another question that has been on your mind since the moment you arrived.

"I do have another question, Over-Marshal. I heard that a few of the other pilot candidates were getting paid a salary. I'm yet to receive any such thing…" Both the skulls watch you now, you imagine their eyebrows raising. But the original spoke up first. "Didn't Yuga inform you? Well I guess it would not be very relevant considering your situation. Your monthly pay is being deposited into a secure Eskarrian bank account, awaiting when you can sensibly use it. A portion of that pay is also invested monthly into a veterans pension plan. So one day, you too can retire from military service. The practice is common for… Pilots and soldiers without any next of kin. But if you desire access that can be accommodated!" The last words cut you. They cut deep. But you didn't let it show, you had long mastered the art of parrying mental blows.
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>>5189098
And while they still rattle your wrist and linger in your memory you survive on. The few you do claim are fleeting tastes of forgotten sweets and strong incense. They are gone just as quickly as they arrive. "Any more questions for me Over-Marshal?" You inquire, hands drumming along your knees with a hint of impatience. The duo look over to you, their focus having returned to the AR displays. "Oh? Well none currently, I still have some more strings to pull and people to berate before we can secure any more training blocks. So once you've returned from this first batch we'll consider how to spend the last few weeks before the imperial coronation."

Speaking further he stood, fingers typing on invisible buttons. "But for now? Well I believe you are free to return to your personal quarters. You seem healed enough to leave the medical ward. It'll take four days to charter our trip to your first stage in advance training. So feel free to relax until then, however, if you wish. I have cleared you to continue Phobos exercises. You may even request a day or evening out, so please spare me any additional reports of wayward pilots." He began to usher you towards the wall you had entered through. A body on either side of you, the door opens with the same hiss and the sudden light makes you blink once you've exited the man's office. "Until then Pilot Mortimer. das Lebewohl!" The ride back down was a long one, wheeling out onto a floor you recognize you contemplate what to do over the next few days. Unfortunately Time was a resource you couldn't hoard.

>What do you do over the coming days, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Relax and rest in your Quarters?
>Visit Someone?Write in?
>Attend additional Phobos Exercises?
>Request time off base?Write in?
>Do something else? Write in?
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>>5189099
>Visit Someone?
Katerina
We should probably aim to set things straight during this set of down time, so things don't fester and potentially cause more issues down the track.
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>>5189132
Support. We can get her 1 on 1 that would be best.
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>>5189132
+1
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>>5189094
Orbital sniper confirmed! Might have to get that flight training to make this meme a reality.

>>5189099

>Visit Someone?Write in?
How many choices do we get before we leave?
My preference would be Katerina, Ruki, and Tony

Would be good to know where the other emperor class are going and how the brothers recovered. Need to keep the romances and bro-mances alive
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>>5189312
My preference would be Katerina, Ruki, and Tony

Should probably elaborate; Last time we saw Toby he was still unconscious. And last time we saw Ruki we passed out, so even if the main dialogue is with Katerina it would be nice te get a summary that we were able to “invest” in those other relationships, and get the overview on what everyone else is doing while we’re off doing our thing.
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>>5189099
>Visit Someone?Write in?
>Introduce ourselves to the last two pilots
>Pass them a message like we promised 'The one legged sparrow is dancing on the graves of trepidation.'
Then. Although I wouldn't mind mixing Ruki with the clones just in case this is some attack order.
>Ruki, Katerina and Tony.
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>>5189099
Go and see the other clones to pass them Ana's message
See Ruki and Tony
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>>5189132
You roll onto the Pilot's floor with all the confidence a young man in a wheelchair could afford. The same familiar hallways were just as empty as normal, you hadn't exactly called ahead. So expecting a hero's welcome might have been a stretch, but to be truthful you were glad no one was around. The idea of a bombardment of questions and pleas for information was a fight you wished to avoid. Especially after your encounter with Katerina. The girl wiggled her way back into your thoughts like a worm, so much was happening. You knew you'd have to settle the argument. Sooner was better than later. You had a few friends to check in on and also your promise to your tethered friend. Taking a deep breath you let it hiss through your nostrils. Exhausting plume of weariness and hesitation.

You were tempted to walk, but were starting to enjoy driving the wheelchair around. You grin letting out a series of honks as you wheel yourself down the hallways. It was still early, so you decided to find Katerina. You spot a few odd staff members on your journey, but no other pilots. Well that is until you struggle to turn a corner. You felt like a tank stuck in mud, you had yet to master the controls fully. But as you fumble with the wheels you spot a duo. The two other Beta pilots, both froze as they noticed who you were. You didn't know the names of the two small candidates, they looked similar to Anastasia and Yuliya. But the other girl was clearly mixed with a foreigner, the boy looked Eskarrian. Both of them had dark hair. You wave them over, unwilling to shout down the hallway.

The way their wide eyes stared down the hallway at you, it made you question if they were gonna try and flee from you. Like prey caught in the glare of a predator. But they approach anyway, by the time you manage to turn the wheelchair they stand around you. Just as small and child-like as Anastasia, a lot of their features were shared. "Howdy guys." You cut the awkward air, the bond you shared was faint. But it couldn't help making you feel calm in their presence, almost as if Anastasia was right there with you. "Hello, what is it?" The girl spoke, her voice an indifferent mix of stand off and confusion. You begin to flow, explaining Anastasia had sent you to see them. Since she couldn't right now. You pass along the phrase she had shared with you. "The one legged sparrow is dancing on the graves of trepidation."
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>>5189580
For a moment you were sure you knew what the words meant, but it slipped from your mind as smoothly as the words unable to grasp truly. The indifference was dropped and the pair seemed relieved. Probing you for additional news, you had tried to resist but that shackle you shared with her rattled in the wind and their pleading eyes made you give in. You told them she was in a bad spot, but would be receiving medical treatment and be transferred to another facility until she had recovered. The hostility that had been instilled melted away and the other pilots were polite and informal. It felt natural to call them by their names. Aiko and Arthur. The revelations felt like old news, you had already known their names. You just couldn't remember them until now.

Expressing their own remorse for the event and thankful you had survived. They apologize. For their sister's behavior and their own. The shift was surprising to you, this was the first time you had spoken to them. Well properly. But you felt as if you had known them for a while, you thought Anastasia might be sharing your experience. The same way she called to you like a siren with that song, it had struck something inside you like a hooked lure. Reeling you in easily. Now were you doing the same to her? You were unsure. But couldn't deny your attitude had warped, the overwhelming fear and anxiety of interaction was gone. The emotions you felt a surrogate for Anastasia. Aiko and Arthur share with you their own progress in linking.

Both were taking their time with Prince classes, a burden had been laid on them after their sister's accident. Even the staff were hesitant to push them to link faster, but they were both doing well. They were clearly missing their ringleader. Half way towards Katerina's room you go your separate ways, the beta pilots leave you with smiles. You couldn't help sharing their happiness; you were unsure if it was your own or Anastasia's. You said your farewells and continued, the short and jovial meeting revitalized you. Enough so that as you came to a halt outside of Katerina's door you didn't feel an ounce of worry. A smile painted your face. "Who is it?" The girl asks through the door, the tone in her voice one of caution and confusion. You roll your eyes even though no one could see you doing the act.
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>>5189582
"It's me!" You reply, the words coming out more cheerily than you had intended. You couldn't help it. You were in a pretty good mood. The door opens a crack and Kat peeks through, her eyes watching you suspiciously. "What are you doing here?" She asked, the words starting normal but twist in anger as her brow furrows. You wanted to laugh at the childish behavior, but arguing with her in the hallway probably wasn't the best idea. Airing your dirty laundry for everyone to see and all that. "Are you going to let me in or not?" You said flatly, crossing your arms. Her lips pursed but no words followed, instead she opens the door and allows you into her room.

You had never been in her room before. It was very similar to your own, but you had already assumed that would be the case. It was tidy, everything seemed to have its place and smelt pleasant. A mix of old perfume and cleaning materials. Funnily enough you had never noticed the girl wearing any perfume or the sort. Her well made bed was crowned with a row of stuffed animals, they were clearly old and we'll worn. Gifts from those who loved her. The realization stung you, a wound you doubted her broody attitude couldn't dream to match. You felt a knot in your throat, but you swallowed it away, drinking more of Anastasia's glee to counter it. The bed was appealing enough, wobbly you stand and climb onto the bed.

Rolling onto your back you groaned and moaned, wiggling from side to side as all the sore spots in your back joined in. You had forgotten how comfortable a proper bed was. "Get off my bed!" The girl snapped, she marched over from her closed door to stand over you. "What do you want, Morty?" She said, chin creasing as her cheeks raised. The bed felt like heaven. "I'm finally out of the medical ward and this is how you treat me?" You reply wittily, enjoying the comfort. The girl sucked air in through her teeth, she was wearing casual clothes. Shorts and a loose shirt, it reminded you to buy your own, you had the money. With a foot she kicks your wheelchair out of the way and climbs onto the bed beside you, falling onto your side as the duchess takes a spot. She made a little harrumph and produced a cigarette and lighter from her pocket.
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>>5189583
She didn't offer you one and lit up. "What do you want?" The girl asks between mouthfuls of smoke. It took you a moment to think about those words. You truly didn't know. How was such a simple question so hard to answer, you wanted family. What you had lost, even if you couldn't remember what it was. You didn't want to think about what you wanted, it only reminded you of how much you didn't have. You had no interest in lying to the girl about it so you told her. "I don't know… Kat, what do you want? I honestly try not to think about it. Family, a home, friends and all those things people cherish. Why aren't I allowed them? Wanting just makes the suffering harder… I'm afraid of wanting. It's scary. I think I want to keep living, to see and do more. To meet new people. To change…" The words were a fast flurry as you found yourself sharing, you didn't let the girl's attitude deter you from speaking.

She was your friend. If she wanted to be or not. One of the only few you ever truly had, one of the few still within your reach. The words left you breathing heavy. The room grew quiet as she lay at your side. You could feel her heartbeat, through your clothes, you could feel her warmth and the steady pounding of her life drum. You worried you might have said too much. You were channeling Herr Stumpfegger, his attitude might have rubbed off on you from the earlier meeting. And yet. Despite the worries and fear that remained within. You still smile. "I met the unit commander today. Herr Stumpfegger. Have you met him already? He wanted to talk about my future training. The Empress is having an anniversary event in a few months and she wants us all to be present. So I have a few weeks of Reconnaissance and Espionage. Then another set of weeks completing Long Range Engagement Training. Have you chosen already?" You ask. Eyes sweeping across the ceiling, you kept yourself from watching the girl.

You couldn't help notice her shifting to lean against you. You were afraid her spines might poke you. For the first time you could remember her voice is soft and hesitant. A mixture of strain and sleep. Husky and deep. "I met the Westerner, he is mostly a machine. I've read about the Synthetech Hegemony, the Machinesoul cultists. Twisting the human form beyond the limits augmentation was even intended to reach. He is frightful. But he doesn't seem to be a bad person, just weird as fuck… I chose Close quarters combat and Joint training. I have to admit though, I can't exactly see you being a secret agent or even a spy. You are too easy to read and stand out like a weirdo." The girl smiled, her words becoming cheeky.
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>>5189584
As the mood turned you decided it was time to discuss another important topic. You felt your resolve harden, she had softened to your words. Without being rude or harsh you address her. "Kat. You have to forgive Anastasia. If not for her sake then do it for your own, we are all comrades in arms. We shouldn't abandon her because of an accident. I will not abandon her, even if you don't agree with me." You didn't raise your voice, you kept it straight but firm. Non-confrontational but unmoving. The girl flinched away from you, wounding herself trying to get close to you. The hedgehog sits up and stares at you, the serenity you assumed once gracing her pretty face was gone.

Now only bitterness filled those eyes. You didn't move or react, simple laying still. "What! She almost killed me! She went insane, do you not remember? Are you that fucked up and broken that you can't understand what happened." Oh, her words hurt. But you were used to pain, it would take more to break you loose. "It could have been me. I could have gone insane and attacked you. Then what? If you had been the one to struggle and attack me. Would you want me to ignore you?" You retorted the young woman bared her fangs, leaning closer and shouting down onto you. Her spit peppering your face as she let loose angry words. "And if she had fucking killed me, if any of the others had died at her hand! Then what? Would you still be her stupid little friend! Do you think everyone wants to be your friend? What makes you so damn special? Huh? Wouldn't you care if she killed me? Would you fucking hate her the way I do?" The girl climbed on top of you next, now the panic started. Her cigarette flicked across the room in a particularly angry manner.

You weren't exactly in fighting shape. You had a bad habit of ending up in these situations. You move to speak but her hand covers your mouth shut and pins you against the bed, her thin body is surprisingly strong. You couldn't speak and only just managed to breathe through your nose. Red in the face from her shouting the girl was taking in hard breaths that made her chest shake. You felt the rumble of rage within the girl mounting you. "Why are you so nice to me! Why are you kind! Why are you even so damn close to Haruki, even after she attacked you! What makes her so special huh? You are friendly to the little freak! She tried to kill you as well! Are you that much of an idiot!" She raised her other fist, ready to deliver a punch down to your undefended body.
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>>5189588
Tears were welling in her eyes. You didn't know what to say, frozen solid by the outburst. Her lips and cheeks twitch, failing to make the words in her mind. She presses her hand over your lips even more, pinning your head to the bed without a chance of moving. She leans in, red eyes closing as tears drop from them onto your own face. Her soft lips met the back of her hand. Locked for only a moment. They came away with a soft pop. A sigh followed the girl as she opened her eyes again. She didn't seem impressed. "Not a thing…" she mumbles to herself, with both hands she takes your head and raises it. Leaning in again she bites your neck. You feel her teeth find you flesh, the Duchess doesn't bite hard. But her wet mouth tickles and you can't help laughing. The girl let's go and straighten ups pouting down at you. You rub the wet spot from your neck, trying to get rid of the ticklish sensation. "You can go now." She says coldly. Rolling off you she marched to the bathroom, the latch locking after she slams it shut. You wheel yourself out. That hadn't gone the way you hoped. However, the day was still young.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Visit Tony next?
>Visit Haruki next?

>Visit Someone else?Write in?
>Attend additional Phobos Exercises?
>Request time off base?Write in?
>Do something else? Write in?

>>5189312
>You have a few days before it is time to leave. So you can talk to everyone you want to and still get in a few other short events.
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>>5189589
>Visit Tony next?
After visits with friends I would probably want to arrange some parting together/shopping episode/setting record in local shooting range
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>>5189676
+1
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>>5189676
Support
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>>5189589
>What do you say, Pilot?
On the way out:
You know what the Phobos does to a human being's mind. We're tribe, Kat. Love or hate, we have to take care of each other. It's beyond liking or disliking another person, it's also a duty. I can't hold a grudge over what could or couldn't have happened with Anastasia, I just did what I knew was right.

Come around whenever you like Katerina.

>Go visit Tony
Let's plan the next excursion and leave our favorite tsundere to think about someone other than herself for awhile.
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>>5189589

>Visit Tony next?
Plan some excursion/farewell party

>Visit Haruki next?
Invite her to the shooting range with us and try to understand our connection and why we forgot her (and where she will be while we are gone)
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>>5190396
Shooting sounds nice......When get out of a damn wheelchair.
Still want to get someone to look up specific Phobos core service records, and perhaps confide in Haruki about our 5th layer experiences. Apart from Ana, now, she's probably the most likely to have similar experiences, maybe?
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>>5190396

support
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>>5189676
Pausing just after the threshold of the door you wheel around, staring at the small bathroom Kat had fled into. There was so much more you wanted to say, you highly doubt she would even bother to reply through the bathroom door. But you had to say something. Taking a deep breath you boldly address the room, making sure you are loud enough to be heard. "You know what a Phobos does to a human being's mind. We're a tribe, Kat. Love or hate, we have to take care of each other. It's beyond liking or disliking another person, it's also a duty. I can't hold a grudge over what could or couldn't have happened with Anastasia, I just did what I knew was right." Like a teacher scolding a mischievous child the words lash the room.

But you weren't going to tell her off as if she was some cast out. Then you would be just as bad as her. "Come around whenever you like Katerina." You add to the silent room. Closing the door you hurry to wheel away, just in case the young lady had been convinced by your words to carry out her beating you up plan. Your next objective was set, you wanted to check in on the gamma bros. Your short confinement reminded you of how much you missed just interacting with someone without the burden of being pilots. You make your way to Alex's room but find it unoccupied. Heading over to Anthony's you pass a few of the delta pilots and exchange simple greetings. They give you a pat on the back along with words of encouragement. Impressed from the short display you had put on in the linking hangar.

Eventually without additional delays you rush on over to Tony's room. The door opens to your knock and you're surprised to find the constantly heavy-eyed face of Dimitri. "Oh shit. Wassup Morty!" The lad smiled, stepping aside. "Get in nerd!" The sounds of upbeat rock music and high pitched voices roaring out from the TV on the wall greets you. The dark room is illuminated by flashing colours. The sounds pause as the duo turn to face you. "Howdy Lads." You announce, Tony holds his arms out wide at your arrival and Alex starts to laugh laboriously almost falling off the bed he sat on. Anthony was also in a wheelchair of his own. "The Gimps are really coming out in force today." You shake your head and wheel up beside the other chair, the boy holds up his fist. You pause before returning the bump.
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>>5191338
Dimitri finds a seat and contributes his own opinion. "Do you guys have the required license to drive those bad boys around here? I'm afraid I'll have to give you a ticket for parking without the proper slip." Tony rolled his eyes. "I've been putting up with this shit all damn day, they're just bloody jealous. Jealous that we have women!" The boy declared loudly, Dimitri winced away from the rebuttal. Alex just started the game back up without warning, earning a very annoyed exclamation from Tony. The game picks up, on a horizontal plain two characters were fighting. Moves corresponding with the buttons each boy pressed. The character design and the quick and intense action interested you the most, on the screen showed two bars that dropped as each character was hurt by the other. Tony was playing as a pair of small red haired children that attacked by wielding a sword twice their height in tandem.

Alex was playing a woman with robotic limbs that shot projectiles and stretched out to attack. She also had extremely large breasts. It was far more graphically Impressive than the hungry snake game you were more familiar with. Tony was dominating his brother, the large breasted character had been boxed into a corner and the two children carried off long combos on her. You watch their fingers mash buttons and flick the stick on the controller. Dimitri began to cheer on Alex as the large breasted woman did something to make missiles rain down from the sky. The two participants didn't say anything, both clearly spending all their attention on the game.

Through the flashing light you can still make out the bruises along Tony's neck and arms, beside those signs and the wheelchair he did little to appear unwell. His colour had returned and with a smile he made short work of his brother. Tony was victorious. As the game shifts screen you speak up. "How are you two? I should be out of this damn chair soon." Alex spoke as he handed the controller to Dimitri. "I've got a limp, but my sync rate is climbing back up steadily." Between the other pilot's victory dance he answered. "I didn't even realise so many days had passed. Last thing I remember was doing those boring rotation tests. Next thing I know I'm falling and wake up in the hospital ward. Shit I don't even have a limp, Stumpfegger said I have to keep the chair even if I feel fine. Just in case. But as you can all see. I'm still kicking ass." He gestures to the screen.
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>>5191339
The boy's bucksure display left you wary, you couldn't suppress your own thoughts. You wondered if he was just lying, hiding the grim truth of his experience down there. Or the trauma could have really affected his memory, you had heard that happens. You highly doubted the idea that he didn't see anything, but you don't push it. And he doesn't inquire about your own experience. The painful nail of repressed memories. Maybe you had your own, the thought was a cruel and barbed thing. Is that why you couldn't remember? You pushed it away, just trying to enjoy yourself without over analysing everything. Dimitri's character choice earns him a berating from the pair of brothers.

The delta pilot had committed the unforgivable act of picking a boss character, the rows of cartoon faces were plentiful. You joined in, without knowing any better. Insisting out of all the characters that could appeal to him why would he pick the boss. The smarmy youth withstands the words, declaring you all scrubs who don't understand the value of the Meta. Alex explains the game to you without much prompting, it was a fighting game. But you had already come to that conclusion, it was called X-Trinity Knites 6.3; Titanium Soul + Argentum Skin Remix. The naming scheme was a bit convoluted to you but it seemed very fun indeed. Dimitri's character was a horned demon-like monster, it took up about half the screen.

The small children fought valiantly, blocking most of the long reaching attacks of the monster. But still succumbed. To counter his loss the pilot comes out swinging as the pair cackle at his defeat. "They are just being annoying because Lucy snuck into the hospital ward to see me!" Alex elbows his brother joining in cheerfully. "Don't forget Morty and Katerina. Dimitri was clear to insist it was the Duchess's idea. You blush at the words, trying to stay cool under the light of the game. "Don't be jealous! I worked hard to become the Lovermaster!" You all laugh and soon it is your turn in the hot seat. With the brothers guiding your hips and Dimitri finally shamed enough to pick another character you do combat.
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>>5191344
Faced with such a vast roster of playable characters and with the suggestions of your friends you settle on a character in a cowboy hat, oddly enough he also for some reason wore a pair of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Apparently he was the Prime Minister of one of the countries in the game. Between shooting projectiles and attacking with an extendable umbrella the controls were easy to understand but hard to master. You did your best but failed to win more than one round against a Bear armed with a fire axe. You inquired about that character's history and received more information than you had expected. Urza Von Rozmanoz was a cosmonaut affected by Intergalactic radiation and turned into a bear. He became a firefighter in one of the games and the axe has become iconic to his character. He also had a laser gun, but Dimitri struggled to show that move off.

It was enjoyable, you tried out a few other characters and really enjoyed it even earning yourself a win. As you play with the boys and relax, conversation flows freely. Cas was doing better and so were most of the other pilots. The trending topic on the floor had moved on from the accident and onto the additional training along with the coronation celebration. Anthony chose to take Heavy Weapons and Artillery Training and also Explosive Ordnance Training for his Longsword Type. Alexander is taking Conventional Weapons and Close Quarters Combat for his Sabre Type Training. Dimitri, oddly enough, didn't take any initially offensive courses. He chose to do Cyber Warfare and Experimental Equipment with his Rapier Type. The Knight class pilot was quick to boast about the words of the Over-Marshal.

The Robotic man had been impressed by the youth's skill at interfering with the unit's security measures. You had to give it to Dimitri, he had a knack for getting himself and others into places they shouldn't be. As the night drags on you put forward the idea to do something together before leaving for training. Tony shares that the Alpha girls were also planning their own outing. Dimitri suggested hitting up a bar he had read about online, Your own idea was to go shopping. But quickly changed to visiting the base's shooting range after some ribbing from the lads. You did try to convey that you were in bad need of normal clothes. Alex wanted to visit a Phobos museum. Tony wanted to go to buy a gift for Lucy before they were separated. You all teased the boy, especially after he had teased you, however the idea wasn't a bad one.
>>
>>5191345
Your own mind wondered on whom to buy a gift for if anyone. You knew Haruki would treasure whatever you gave her, but a gift might help cool Katerina's own burning emotions. With a few possibilities in the air you all end up leaving the room, every boy going their own separate ways after the bloody showdowns had drawn to a close. You float back to your room exhausted, lulled to your bed by the voice of Lady Sleep. To your own surprise you find your quarter's unlocked, it had been so long since you had been inside. Wondering if you had locked it last time you entered. It wasn't how you had left it. It had been cleaned, you were sure you had left clothes on the floor, but everything was put away and in order.

The light was off but the wall mounted TV was on, the volume low but the light from it helped you see more. You spot a small dinosaur sitting on your terminal, a figure lying under the covers of your bed and a tray resting on the desk. The smell of food reminds you how hungry you actually are. You carefully make your way over to the bed, the long mound under the sheets was clearly Ruki, climbing on to the bed caused the girl to flinch and peek out from under the covers. Her eyes were wide but still sleepy. You plop down beside her, your back thankful. "I brought you food…" The foreign girl said sleepily, sitting up. In the blue haze of the television you notice her body, the loose clothes she wore still ruffled from sleep did little to hide anything. You got a generous eyeful of cleavage and midriff. You avoid watching her too intently.

"Thanks Ruki. Wanna share it with me?" She nodded vigorously, still very much asleep, one hand busy rubbing her eyes. Moving quickly to spare your feet any pain you retrieve the tray and return to her side. A show was playing in the background. Office workers were up to strange antics, but you were too hungry to pay attention to the shenanigans. Cold meat and potatoes were too alluring, under the glow you ate together, neither one of you bothering to turn on a light. You only had one spoon, so you shared it. Haruki didn't seem to mind, but it made you blush in the dark as she tried to feed you.
>>
>>5191347
A flood of news threatened to sweep you off the bed, as if Haruki had been waiting for your return, counting every day since you last saw each other. Most of the pilots had passed linking and the few who hadn't were on their way. Her own training has been going well, she inquires about how you have been. Annoyed that her sister didn't really share much. You tell her about your feet getting better and the plan with the boys and her commonly cool persona becomes excited at the possibility of getting off base. She wants to come with you, she wasn't taking no for an answer. Soon the tasty food is gone and you split dessert. She asks how you have been feeling since the accident, you answer noncommittally the day was wearing you away. Very little strength remained. Between yawns you talk more. Haruki is doing most of it. Her face twisting from excitement to worry.

Even though you struggle to remember her it felt so natural for you. Her worried eyes caught the dark well. It was almost beautiful how deep and dark they could get. To be whispering and talking with her. You just want to sleep and tell her as such. She nodded, a little hurt but unwilling to push you. Climbing under the covers you were ready to sleep, with the TV switched off only the dark was surrounding both of you. Sleep wouldn't come. Ruki lay beside you, her back almost touching your own. Her behavior was that of a wounded animal, you couldn't resist comforting her. You hadn't intended to hurt her feelings. You were just tired. Rolling over you shuffle closer. With a little hesitation you wrap an arm around her waist and pull yourself against her back. Her hand found your own and held it in place, eventually you fall to sleep.

You wake with a crick in your back. The sweet embrace of Morpheus was replaced with the embrace of a lanky pilot. In the shifting of sleeping bodies you had somehow ended up under Haruki. The girl practically wrapping herself around your body, she wakes as you try to escape her serpentine grip. It was surprisingly late and before long the girl left you to attend to her own schedule. The day passes by without Interruption as you rest and test your feet out. Between breakfast and lunch you check in with everyone and manage to settle on plans with the boys. As Kat avoided you at every chance she got another body of the Over-Marshal found you, this one was copper and wood. A living antique. He handed you a suitable bank stick along with permission to leave, it had a limit so you couldn't withdraw too much. But he insisted it wouldn't interfere.
>>
>>5191348
With everything settled you turn in for bed early, Haruki joining you for another night. You were both excited about the adventure. You had the whole day to galavant. Wearing your leather jacket and the most casual clothes you had, you join the boys by the elevator down. Everyone else was wearing casual clothes, the lads couldn't hide their smug looks as Haruki tagged along.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Head to the Museum first?
>Head to the Shooting Range first?
>Head to the Shopping Center first?
>Head to a Bar first?
>Head somewhere else?
>>
>>5191349
>Head to the Shooting Range first?
>>
Shooting range first, then museum

I'm glad QM shares the same taste in tall women
>>
>>5191349
>What do you do, Pilot?
Try to be comfortable.
>What do you say? Write in.
Break the ice and crack some jokes.
>Head to the Shooting Range first?
>>
>>5191349
I’d suggest this order

>Head to the Shooting Range first?
Gotta break that record
>Head to the Shopping Center first?
We need clothes (Kat likes stuffed toys so let’s get her one as a gift. Dunno what Ruki might like)
>Head to a Bar first?
Can we contact the alpha girls and ask them to meet us there? Or just find out where they’ll be and try to meet up somewhere else
>>
Can a female expert explain to me what the fuck is wrong with kat,is she jealous of haru?is she having her period ?
>>
>>5191349
>Head to the Shooting Range first?
the gang is back in the city. have fun
>>
>>5191543
I mean QM has literally name-dropped hedgehog dilemma in text, it's not hard to figure out

Or just watch Evangelion.

>Head to the Shooting Range first?
>>
>>5191461
>>5191489
>>5191497
>>5191521
>>5191572
>>5191708
With the clearance given by Herr Stumpfegger your quintet makes the long journey down towards the Base's Shooting Range, there were actually a few positioned around the enormous building. But you were heading to the nearest as instructed. Dropping down from the rather nice Phobos designated levels and into the more stark floors. The simple painted brick and metal surrounds your small group as it works its way through the militaristic areas. Small groups of guards and officers go about their own tasks, a few giving you collection examining glances. Most of which were focused on the tall girl at your side. Haruki stuck to you like glue, almost hanging off of your arm. The frightful aura she had shown off when first arriving seemed solely reserved for you.

Trekking through the winding lower hallways you are slowed and have to be cleared, security checkpoints set at heavy vault doors. With identification in hand nothing slows you down. The small talk that swaps between your band is short and restrained. The brothers are reasonably cautious around the beast of a young woman. Her sporty clothes showing off her menacing physique, Haruki was exceptionally athletic. Her height also left the boys on the back foot. Ruki was pretty much ignoring the others, not even looking in their direction. It wasn't going as you had planned, so you thought up ways to break the ice wall that separated the two groups. "What does a horny frog say?" You asked the pilots, looking at each member with a rather serious face. Ruki's face crumpled up as she suppressed a laugh.

Dimitri shrugs, Alex and Tony are both busy thinking hard as the girl at your side smugly speaks up with a croaky tone. "Rub it! Rub it!" You smirk. An Old Churvik special. The other boys grin and Haruki continues. "Three nuns are sitting on a park bench when a flasher comes by. The first nun had a stroke, the second nun had a stroke and the third nun couldn't reach." You knew it before she had finished, but you laughed anyway. The boys were losing it so you didn't let up the assault by contributing another joke. "What is the difference between a Chickpea and a Garbanzo bean? I wouldn't pay twenty grenny to have a garbanzo bean on my face!" Anthony started to die, his face turning bright red as Dimitri took a second to catch on but joined in just as fiendishly. You grin broadly, the ass whooping wouldn't be washed away with a few jokes alone.
>>
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>>5191829
But the boys were clearly softening up. The routine for the next few minutes was passing through vault doors one after another as you climbed deeper and deeper into the guts of the facility. At the final checkpoint your unit is stopped as a pair of armored guardsmen flag you down. A pang of fear did spring within you, even though you had permission. The idea of talking to strangers was always a frightful one, tentatively you climbed into your shell. The world grows numb and fills you with strength. Both of the troopers remove their helmets and you recognize them. Suranovich and Smith stood before your gang, the rest of their security team watching you like hawks. The woman saunters over to inspect the girl at your side.

"Well well well, Morty. You never mentioned anything about a tall cutie. Is she your girlfriend?" The boys start to jeer at the words and sight of the woman. Cheerfully saying their hellos. "Well, why didn't you lot bring your girlfriend's along then?" She added, elbowing you softly. The red head didn't give them any mercy either. Tony in an attempt to save himself from the teasing started to mention Lucy proudly. The girl started to tease him anyway. Smith introduces himself and you all share small talk and your plans for the day. Suranovich was especially fond of teasing the awkwardly silent Haruki, even a little flirtatious as the girl tried to hide behind you. Smith did his job reining the wild woman in and Ruki became further glued to you under the eyes of the other guards on staff.

The Shooting Range became a topic of contention. "Not a chance. Ole Morty was stacking up a sold 42/45." Alexander wasn't having any of the older man's foreboding words. His cheeky grin didn't help to sell it. "No way!" Tony was heavy in thought during the discussion. "How about a little wager then?" Suranovich proposed, the small group exchanged sidelong glances. The other boys were weighing you up, you had to admit. Your general appearance didn't exactly shout crack shot, but you were unsure what exact features would. A cowboy hat? An eye patch? "Fine. By me." Dimitri spoke, the other pilots all agreeing. The wager was set, a few grenny nothing crazy. But the bragging rights. Oh you could tell already the guard duo were ready to tease their juniors even more, especially after they all declared victory already.
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>>5191831
Smith claimed it was free money to counter the headstrong youths. With the shaking of hands and a few more well aimed jabs the group got back onto it's way. The boys were excited to start, the pace increasing as each step carried you closer and closer. Ruki was sheepish and avoided talking, her eyes shifting away from your own everytime you tried to look at her. Signing waivers and recording basic information before checking out weapons and ammo was second nature to you, however the others managed to struggle. But with your help they filled out the slips easily, your clear familiarity with the act didn't go unnoticed. The cocksure attitude was slipping. Without any votes you ascended to command of the unit, taking charge and requesting the weapons from the armory. The facility didn't have anything especially fancy.

So you all end up with the FG520, a more conventional update of the FG511. With modified barrel and ammo capacity it was the main service weapon of most branches of the military and interior ministry. However there existed a wide selection of variants also in use. Each pilot follows you and all finds a lane. "50,100,150,200,250. Simple enough?" You ask the group before punching in the range settings, no one objects and you notice everyone repeats the process. The first first range was pretty close and just like back in your homebase orange holograms flicker into life. You ready your rifle, it was longer and a little heavier than you were used to. But you felt alive with the steadily warming metal under your control. Testing the ironsight you wait for the others to announce their readiness. As they do you pull the trigger and the gods of war rave in glee.

!!SKILL TEST!!
>Roll 3d6+3
>Highest of the first three rolls will be used.
>Stats give a bonus to relevant tests.

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 1, 3, 2 + 3 = 9 (3d6 + 3)

>>5191834
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 6 + 3 = 18 (3d6 + 3)

>>5191834
Time to live up to the hype
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 3 + 3 = 12 (3d6 + 3)

>>5191834
>>
>>5191882
So close.
>>
>>5191882
Not quite the 45/45, we’ll get it one of these days
>>
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>>5191880
>>5191882
>>5191910
9,18,12
!!TEST PASSED!!

The snap of gunfire picks up around you as the other pilots follow your lead. You ignore them. Deep within your protective shell, you are a statue of man carved of Marble. With each burst of rifle rounds you keep the recoil under control, holding the weapon frightfully still. Handfuls of lead are thrown down range. With each pull you witness the holographic figures shatter, the orange beings all collapsing from the point where their projected hearts exist. Eyes unblinking you cut down the targets, the time between each shot increasing as the distance climbed further away. As the other pilots reach the halfway point you finish, ejecting the magazine and clearing the chamber. It hadn't been perfect, but it was far from bad.

43/45 a stunning score, the small display showed additional information you hadn't claimed the top spot, two other scores sat above your own. However it was your personal best, you rewarded yourself with an excited fist pump, before raining fast strikes down on the air around you. Third out of the entire building was impressive anyway, you couldn't help feeling proud. You had put a lot of your free time into practicing and it had paid off. The other Pilot's scores began to trickle in on the display as the gunfire lulled and eventually puttered out. Their boasts had been clearly empty; the boys struggled to score over thirty, only Ruki had clawed her way up to thirty-six. The other pilots had pretty much missed all of the furthest ranges, it wasn't a real competition.

Strutting from your lane you grinned at the downtrodden faces of the boys. "It was close! Let's go again." You shrug and everyone falls back into their lanes. The gods sung their praise with the crackle of fire and the sulfuric breath of war clouded the range. The holo-children became holo-orphans as you dealt out lethal doses of lead. You topped the squad again. "Well you see… I'm accustomed to firing Phobos weaponry." Alexander exclaimed the other boys nodding along sagely to the excuse. You avoid mentioning the fact there hasn't been any live fire exercises yey and instead offer to help them. Nip those bad habits before they become a real issue. Dimitri clutched the weapon too loosely, almost afraid to lean into the gun's recoil. You help him fix his posture. Anthony lacked the patience to steady himself, firing off ineffective streams of fire. Alexander had been aiming down the sight incorrectly. Haruki was the only one who had the basics nailed down, with a little help they had all climbed up into the high thirties. Ruki even managed to smugly crest into the forties.
>>
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>>5192773
They were all stunned by your expertise, their open and absorbing eyes and ears made you feel odd. You couldn't recognize the emotion but being the center of so much attention left you feeling a little faint. You finish up teaching shooting and praise your comrades for their improvement, earning some cheers and pats on the back from the lads while the young woman simply blushed and avoided you further. As you finish up and head to leave the girl bumps her hip into your own before leaning in to whisper into your ear. "That was very cool." You felt your own cheeks flush at the complement. With the weapons returned and just over an hour spent flexing your proverbial muscles you move on.

Smith can tell the moment you round the corner, a mischievous smile plasters the face of the older man. Suranovich gave you all a friendly wave. The losers were all sullen and quiet as they wordlessly coughed up their loss. Money in hand the pair burst into satisfied and yet a little manic laughter. Smith clearly shared a few of Suranovich's tendencies. "Pleasure doing business." The Guardsman said with a click of the tongue, counting his winnings. The gleeful Suranovich boasted herself. "Once again you boys are paying for my drinks!" Wasting no time they let you through and exchange goodbyes. Dimitri took charge next, leading the gang through the base. Small talk rattled back and forth and Ruki spoke to Alex as you and Anthony discussed weapons.

Before you were really prepared the light of the world was gracing your eyes once more, the overbearing hue was something uncommon to you. The others don't seem fazed. Despite that the city was just as stunning in the daylight. Even with the overcast clouds above, for a fleeting moment now and then the haze would part and allow the golden orb above to grace the monoliths directly. Painting them in hues of amber and scarlet, great beams of reflected light gleaming. The sight took your breath away, the cold air doing the best it could to bring you back. You exited through a more reasonable set of doors this time, through a sleek and modern atrium. Checking out by the receptionist and security. The courtyard you stood within frozen in awe was just as stunning, intricately carved artwork rolled along the main pathways.
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>>5192776
The sight sent a violent shiver running down your spine as you taste blood, forcing you to tuck your leather coat together tightly. Fighting off the chilly wind. The depictions entirely mimicked the ones you had seen on Anastasia's music box. "Hey. You ok?" Ruki asked you, an arm slipping it's way between your own as she tugged you along. The boys were a few steps ahead, arguing with one another as Dimitri waved the tablet in his hand at them. It began to snow softly as you decide on where to head next, it was still early and you had the entire day to enjoy yourself.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Head to the Museum?
>Head to the Shopping Center?
>Head to a Bar?
>Head somewhere else?Write in
>>
>>5192781

>What do you say? Write in.
Ask what the murals are about? What do they represent? Is it symbolic or historic? Don’t mention that they’re familiar but see if someone in our group can explain it to us.

>Head to the Shopping Center?
>>
>>5192781
Tell her we're fine, just cold

>Head to the shopping center
Time to but a gift for Ruki
>>
>>5192919
+1
>>
>>5192934
Agreed, let's appease the tall woman.
>>
>>5192781

Since it looks like shopping is winning, not sure what to get for Ruki but a small toy hedgehog would work for Kat imo. Also casual clothes for us before we forget again.
>>
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>>5192919
>>5192934
>>5193055
Your eyes trace the grooves as you follow along with Ruki, the carvings display men and larger shapes. You could feel the etchings in your mind, each curve and divut freezing it's way across your soul. Phobos stood or kneel killing one another, you walked along a trail of corpses. The mountains so commonly associated with the style you had seen before are now crumbled and broken. Smoking and ruined messes. You wondered why anyone would ever display such dark art, Remembrance? Pride? Deterrence? You were unfamiliar with anything like it. "What is with these murals? What do they represent? History or is it something symbolic?" You inquired, the world was very distant still, it could be a part of Eskarrian culture you may have just been excluded from in your youth.

"Murals? Morty, what are you talking about? I want to go to the shopping center." Dimitri declared, only briefly addressing your question. A wave of confusion twisted into annoyance across his hard face as the boys began to argue again. It seemed as if they had all convinced eachother and were now supporting different plans than their original suggestions. You look up from the shapes, gesturing with your free hand. The sight made you involuntarily jump fright, Ruki didn't miss the sudden movement and you quickly hid your hand. Trying to play it off as the cold is bothering you. "It's just the cold!" You answer. From the floor the lines of art climbed their legs, splitting their clothes apart and exposing soft flesh, then crimson meat and finally snow white bone. Crippled and dying machines littered their bodies, the stripped away flesh leaking silver tears.

As they moved and talked you stared, the artistic depictions covered all of them. Even Haruki's worried face was stained by the intricate and terrifying shapes of war forged cavities across her soft canvas. Her mountain was whole with Phobos and men were littering it like scrap metal. Your eyes escaped her own, the world freezing you to your bone and even you felt the slither of Anastasia ripple. You blink, glimpsing the minute and impossibly perfect carvings of summits and humans on the interior of your eyes. Your knees felt weak, turning to the sky you wanted to cry gulping hard you tried to urge the boys to hurry up. "Let's just go shopping next, we still have plenty of time. We are just wasting it arguing!" You words came out a little panicked, clearly you were anxious.
>>
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>>5193957
The response earned you worried looks from the pilots, but you only saw that from the corners of your eyes. You focused on the towers growing far above, even though they were not spared. In that damned light they glimmer bleeding silver and black streaks. "Yeah, let's just go!" The boys were clearly a little hesitant, but not willing to press you. As you head towards the station you watch the depictions of war float up onto the clouds above your very head. You ignore them, focusing on taking one step at a time and as you arrive at the station you barely even acknowledge your journey. Erasing the tainted and corrupt memories. You were unsure when she had done it, maybe the moment your breathing had become ragged or when you had started to shiver uncontrollably. But your hand was snuggly in Haruki's own, her grip soft and yet firm. As the boys began to get tickets for the day she spoke, low as the others distracted with their own topics.

"What do you see?" The words weren't invasive or demanding, simply caring. They helped pull you from the warped world you slogged through; her tentative inquiry didn't come with ulterior motives. Nurturing with the words of home she spoke of care and love. The sounds singe your mind, stunning you. Like a fish pulled from the stream your mouth flaps open and closed but nothing escapes. She doesn't press. You can see in her eyes she understands, the gaze leaks into your own and you feel yourself falling into her deep and dark orbs. The young woman helps you get your ticket and before you know it you're sitting next to Ruki, the under-tram chugging along. Thankfully her presence helped shake away the shackles on your mind.

As the public transit rolls to a halt at your stop you sit up straight head clear and focused again. You acted as if nothing wrong had happened. Just trying to enjoy your time out and about. Small talk rose up about what everyone wanted to buy, Dimitri wanted to get some odds and ends for whatever next tool he was constructing. Alex guessed he might as well get some new trainers while he was here, Tony was adamant to get a keepsake for Lucy. Even insisting that Ruki help him pick it out, considering she was actually a girl. The Girl was hesitant, insisting she wouldn't know what Lucy would want. Your own inquiries were also to find gifts for the two girls in your life. The short walk through the bustling street life of Kahva gifted you with nothing but discoveries.
>>
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>>5193959
The crowd parted like a river around a rock as a horde of six legged lizards the size of large dogs escorted a group of children to school, Ruki explained that they were uplifted animals and we're actually about as smart as the small children they protected. Different races and cultures went about minding their own business as men and women loitered about on corners. A set of low atmosphere fliers cut through the cleared airways above in the blink of an eye, the helicopters you had ridden on nowhere near as fast. You all had to stop and get a quick breakfast, fried dough patties topped off with curried vegetables and meat. The cheap food filled your little band up as you all stood around the stall, chatting with one another. Your shell slipping away without you consciously willing it.

You had thought the military facility had been huge, however the shopping center was a massive pyramid of glass and metals. With a series of vine-like networks of roads and tram tracks stretching down the immense construction, it's peak climbing high, dwarfing the towers around it. It cut the clouds in twain a strip thin slit clean through the overcast morning sky. Inside it was just as expansive, interlocking and crossing roadways ran about for ease of transportation. The center was just too vast to be scaled on foot. From tram to tram Dimitri led you past storefront after storefront, the walkways were clean and fancy. The styles change each few blocks, from clean and smooth marble to shops entirely consisting of wood. From different cultures and regions small snippets lay tucked away under the pyramid, Pre-fall and post.

Your eyes ate the strange places and people's up. The first stop brought you to Lost Pages, a book shop. It was one of the wood styled buildings, the ceiling tall to accommodate the equally lanky bookshelves. Despite the archaic design they also sold digital, holographic and even audio copies. You hadn't intended to buy anything but Haruki had left you alone to investigate other rows, unprotected you found yourself humouring an annoying overbearing salesman, so you inquired about the Mountains of Man by Kolmogorov Nikitin. The young man clearly didn't recognize it, but promised he'd check the catalogue before getting back to you. As he strode off you rushed to find your comrades, as the minutes dragged on and Dimitri purchased his own reading material.
>>
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>>5193961
The collection of "Explosive Resolutions." You had expected the salesman to leave you alone, but he resurfaced. A thick and aged tome in hand he apologized for not having it in Eskarrian but still you moved, taking it from him you strolled through the pages. The very first piece of yellow paper caught your eyes and wouldn't let them go. Like a bear trap it crushed down tightly around your attention. A simple hand drawn mountain sat there, underneath it read written in aged ink. A language alien to your eyes but one you still managed to read. "Oh to all you Monsters of the Empire." you nodded your thanks to the man and settled on purchasing the book. Haruki appeared, finding her way to your side in the line for the cashier she grinned broadly.

Showing off her own haul with excited satisfaction that made her eyes shine. She had a collection of foreign cartoon books in her hand. They had characters in action poses on the front pages, you notice the similarities between the style of it and that monster on Kat's shirt when you had first met her. You couldn't help being excited, the girl's grin was contagious and so you offered to buy it for her. She was hesitant but gladly accepted the offer. Tony had gotten himself a cookbook, however you didn't pay for that. Your single collection of water stained pages eclipsed the price of Ruki's Manga but you didn't mind. Money was a construct you understood, but it had been kept from you for so long. You decide to splurge on yourself and the book promises knowledge and at least a snippet of understanding.

With bags in hand you make your way to the next destination, this time clothes. Unsure of what style suited you the others took the reins. Alex brought back a vast collection of tee-shirts lined with fancy and cool artwork. Some were from cartoons or games you didn't know while others were for bands you had never heard of either way you liked them. Tony brought the essentials so often forgotten, socks. Ankle high for relaxing, and sport for comfort while hoofing it on some run or march. Dimitri found you another leather jacket, this time a rich copper brown and an ushanka. Haruki had the best eye, picking out a few fancy shirts and trousers, less than a dress uniform and yet still pleasantly formal. Along with a black and white striped tracksuit.
>>
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>>5193964
As you stand in line to pay you couldn't help noticing her own matching suit ready to be paid for. You didn't bring it up. With Tony leading you next you headed to a small and yet expensive looking gift shop, small and delicate gemstones dangled from gold or silver chains. The security guard watched you band intently as Ruki and Tony moved from glass display to glass display. The girl clearly drove him until he picked out a simple yet charming wrist band. It cost more than you had already spent so far. Worried and saddened, your group covered the share he couldn't afford. Next stop was a large and expansive toy store, children and parents littered the place as staff members rushed around with boxes in hands. You couldn't help feeling a pang of emptiness at the sight, happy children in the hands of their parents. Thankfully your band split up within the big store, allowing you the chance to brood and suffer by yourself.

Trudging your way along you followed signs towards the stuffed and plushy section. Huge cages held cotton filled animals of every variation and size. Your hunt began, you already had in mind what to get the two women in your life. The thought was a strange one, but you insisted to yourself that friends would do it after all. Avoiding the throgs of mentally untainted adolescents you made your way around. A few older people around your age also littered the route, their eyes making you feel uncomfortable as you search for a hedgehog. You eventually discover a cute one, the spines simulated by soft and delicate fluff. You were unsure what the material actually was, something artificial probably. You doubted that it was one hundred percent authentic hedgehog.

Happy to find one of your targets you keep searching, hoping to buy the things before anyone notices. You weren't sure why, but you thought it would have more of an impact if it was a surprise. Conveniently in your rush you spot a spiny dinosaur stuffed toy that matches the keepsake you have given Haruki all those years ago. Rushing off you snuck your way to the counter, practicing your skills in espionage and evasion before the course had even started. Thankfully you had the skills to pay the bills and manage to purchase and hide the toys before anyone else found you. Playing it off cool as the others arrive in a piecemeal fashion, you all leave after Dimitri purchased a handful of commercial drones.
>>
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>>5193966
Under his dictatorship he led you down the smaller and less travel routes of the monolith of capitalism. Unto a hidden away store called the Nth degree. Within the barred windows were a vast collection of modern and antique weapons along with other combat paraphernalia. It wasn't common for a pilot to be armed within his Umbral Core, while it also wasn't rare. Dimitri insisted on purchasing a holster for a small pistol to carry within his Phobos. The idea was strange to you and the other pilots, considering the mental and tentative circumstances within. But shoulder and waist holsters were very stylish after a while the boy settled on an ankle holster. Just in case he was forcefully extracted and had to go down pistol blazing. You wondered about buying your own holster, the store also had a collection of knives and other equipment. While not intentionally there for Phobos pilots you didn't see why not.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Purchase a Holster?Write in type.
>Purchase a Knife?Write in type.
>Do not Purchase any equipment?

>Head to the Museum next?
>Head to a Bar next?
>Head somewhere else next?Write in
>>
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>>5193967
>Purchase a Holster?Write in type.
>Shoulder holster for a gun
>Ankle holster for a knife.

>Purchase a Knife?Write in type.
>Combat knife. Idk kabar or something like that

>Drop our shopping at the base
Next we should get some food and
>Head to the Museum next?
>>
>>5194107
+1
>What do you do, Pilot?
Get more out of our shell.
>What do you say?
Make some small talk with the boys and Hariku
>>
>>5193967
>Head to the Museum next?
More world building? I guess we’ll learn more about HalfSoul from the book when we have time (maybe while listening to classical music?) but could be an opportunity to understand more of where Phobos come from and national history
>Head to a Bar next?
See if Alex, Tony or Dimitri can invite the alpha girls to a bar
>>
>>5193967
At the point where you are getting out of your core, a pop shooter isn’t going to do squat. Knives at least can be used for other things and don’t require ammo. If we really wanted a gun we could probably request something from supply.
>skip gun holster, get decent knife
>Go to the Museum
Time to get the propaganda version of events!

Then we see if we’re up for some more bar hopping
>>
>>5194107
to add on it
>Buy saber for style points
>>5194268
We are a good shoot so we definitely can use it to good results. I can imagine few situations when we could run into troubles outside of phobos combat when it can come in handy.
>>
>>5193967
Don't buy anything else

I'm not sure how much we're carrying, so maybe ask Dmitri about dropping stuff off before going onto the museum.
>>
>>5194492
>>5194132
>>5194107
Looking through the wares on display you end up becoming enamoured with a few items. Probably against your better judgement you bought a dark leather shoulder holster. It was especially stylish, along with it you also bought a snug ankle sheath and a compact monofilament-blade that even when paired with high boots would still sit comfortably inside. Reliable and old. The discreet handle was well worn from use. Nothing fancy. Eyeing some of the aged weapons you spotted a few Pre-fall revolvers and even some supposedly authentic and ancient swords. Your will falters and crumbles and with very little reasoning besides pure unadulterated consumerism. You purchase an Eskarrian cavalry Sabre. It would probably fit into your core but you were unsure how useful it would be on the battlefield. However you thought it would make you look exceptionally sophisticated. It was supposedly a few hundred years old, but you found the claim highly questionable.

With everyone satisfied you all decide to head back to base. Hands heavy with purchases, your little band discusses the next stage of the plan on the tram ride home. As the bar came up you propose the idea of inviting a few others to tag alone, Grisha and maybe the girls from Alpha are the most likely suspects. Everyone agrees even if Haruki is a little hesitant. Dimitri contacts Grisha through the local networks and after a brief talk sets up a time for the late afternoon to converge. The world glows beautifully beneath the midday sun, feeling better laughing and joking with the gang, even Haruki was relaxing. You felt light, caught up in the joyous moments. You grab a quick lunch in the under-tram station, a dusky skinned man was selling floury wraps stuffed with meat and oddly enough fruits in a spicy sauce. It was a little complex for your palette but you enjoyed the unique meal.

All of the moments built up into a rebuke of the dark slithering things within your mind. Keeping them at bay. As the afternoon began you arrived on the Phobos unit's personnel floor and each member of your team hastily dropped off their loot and rendezvous. Ready to get back out into the world. It felt like second nature and yet only just over a week ago you were within the hole, life nothing but schedule and training. Simple and pure. The Eskarrian Imperial War Museum was not quite as fancy as the Shopping center you had visited, the tram rides right into the gothic architecture.
>>
>>5195175
Great steeples climb high and arch to meet one another, it was something out of a fantasy novel. You gawk in awe, even if it was nowhere near as tall as the surroundings. The masterful hand crafted bricks and gargoyles. Most were cruel and snarling monsters, others were more familiar shapes of Phobos. The place was almost empty, crowds like your own meandering about taking in the sights and history. Surprisingly enough Dimitri led the gang slipping into the role of tour guide easily. The lobby stretched down the way, large open doorways leading to different sections of the museum. The scruffy pilot led you first into the Pre-fall conflicts, of course much of the exhibits were ancient piecemeal things.

Not much seemingly remained from the first millennia of man. However a few alleged transcripts remain from those very days. The quotes are stenciled into wooden plaques. The boy's deep voice carried the translated words over hundreds of years old. "The Moon is burning, Atmosphere is gone… Is anyone out there?" You read another snippet full of haunting words. "Felaxel three is crippled, twenty-seven million are drifting off into the stars… We've lost her. Please send help… We can sti-" Haruki's voice caught as she spoke up herself. "Lunar 01 is the second sun in the night. The Strexis is burning in orbit…" Tony picked out his own as well, in the melancholy place the words resound out. "Mayday! We are venting trellium… Mayday! This is Brighton Major. We are Critical, repeat. Critical… Brace for…" The gloomy room was littered with carbon dated materials. Moon rocks, ancient uniforms and flags. Many blood stained.

Artists had taken liberties and renderer oil paintings of the catastrophe that wrought the world asunder. "Brighton is gone… The Valencia is coming down right on top of us… We are shutting the connection before we go Critical." Countless other whispers of the dead mingle around the room, the aged wood stained dark from the countless fingers that traced them. You did the same feeling out a short sentence, trying to emphasize with those early humans. "All dead. Only me… I saw the Hampshire jump, she cleared atmo. I'll try and realign… just please reply. Not long left now." You take turns reading out more harrowing accounts. "The Adisa and Second Deli collided over the himalayas… estimation one hundred million deceased. Crimson snow falls." It painted a grim picture for mankind. And yet you were still here, still killing one another. From that you followed a set of arrows, leading you to a section far more recent. The Fall had happened, humanity had crippled herself be it through war of other various tragedies man made or not. It matters little. The Gap remained, the rulers of the earth had been shulked from their thrones and much is forgotten as billions die.
>>
>>5195178
Exhumed skeletal remains speak stories of the harsh reality. Cannibalism, mutation and starvation. Along with countless other horrors. And as everything dwindled the world grew quiet and some claim for years the world basked in total silence. Obviously that is more of a metaphor for the lack of human activity. Techno barbarians raged war and fought to reclaim what had been lost. Now due to the drastic collapse, much less records remained but still a few did. Aged and blackened photos of hordes of men, in their thousands armed with rifles and tribalistic fetishes. TechCults. Saviors of humanity to some and mad monsters to others. The museum's accounts were rather vague and unbiased, but you simply weighted that up to the actual emptiness of recorded history. Next was as the morsels of men began to return to the surface war returned with them. The Eastern Aggression, the blood hordes descend on Europa starving and maddened.

It was tough fighting but the early survivors were hard people and held back the foe. The Holy Wars began, retribution and dominion birthed from rage. New kingdoms followed as the Eskarrian Principalities took root, even around this time the Elysians and their forty kings were reaching onto the coast of the continent. Through Europa life raced to where it had once been. The discovery of Phobos leading the way. Deep in the mountains, paintings and numerous other pieces of art displayed the alien machines being discovered across the globe. The trade that shipped the machines back and forth and the field labour that turned farmers into the weapons of war. Taking your time to absorb as much as you can, the gang continues. Phobos through the ages was the next display. Now for as much as the Eskarrian Empire knew the Phobos do not process classification, only the ones man had given them.

Each individual unit's reason for creation was simply assumed. Through the earliest attempts at the bonding of mind and metal the preferred types were not actually the human-esc constructs. Instead the most popular were great six legged machines that worked immense fields of land or hauled great caravans and did other important jobs. But as the world shifted towards war the Phobos began to be outfitted for combat and so did the desired form shift. The less familiar constructs were sold or simply left to rot while the more bipedal types were favored. The lurched over and animalistic bodies left you in stunned silence, the glistening orbs just waiting to be interacted with. Some of the shapes mimicked close to terrestrial animals but a few of the strange designs were close to nonsensical.
>>
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>>5195181
Moving on you started to recognize the more normal types. Most were battle damaged relics, some Eskarrian others were from across the world. The old and unrecognisable flags and icons littered them. Dimitri pointed out a few of the trophies he knew. The Black Hawk of Avalon, Gul of the Sun, Sir Sharif of Than. He spoke of the conflicts they had been salvaged from and their bloody last stands. But one stuck out to you. Burning into your mind's eye. Two crudely drawn words, the preserved paint somehow still clung to the twisted and bent chassis. You spoke, interrupting the boy's explanations. Raising a fist that shook before your index finger reached out and pointed towards the fragments. "Abhartach." Your voice came out on a low flat growl, foreign and different to your normal tone. You seethed staring at the thing, molars grinding in rage.

"The Abhartach? I've never heard of it." You all head over towards the small plaque that displays information. It was attributed as an unknown conflict of the first year of imperial records. You cruelly smirk at that reveal, staring a whole into the fractured remains. "No one even remembers you bastard... Can you hear me in there?" You spat, spittle flicking across the thin protective casing. You ignored the worried and strange looks from the others. Instead you waited. Expecting the footsteps of mice, cotton falling on snow. Anything. Praying for any sign that something of The Brute remained, condemned there still. Nothing. No replay came. Relief flooded you leaving you standing there like an idiot. You were embarrassed. Pressing on you caught up with the others as they headed into the death of the 1st Order of Eskarrian Principalities and the birth of the 2nd Order of Eskarrian Principalities. The first year of the Eskarrian Empire, the reunification under the Crimson Empress.

A huge oil rendition of the First Crown Empress Yugasava Eeska Petoff Romanov took up an entire wall, on a throne of ivory and gold she sat. Kneeling and yet still towering over the woman with haughty features was a Phobos. Her hair was pale blonde with eyes as grey as the clouds of the hole. Her machine was an Emperor class Sabre type. You found yourself examining the massive art, it had been commissioned within the second year and took until the fourth to be finished by the Kuznetsov brothers. Allegedly they were conjoined twins until one brother slayed the other before succumbing to the same wound. Or so Alexander claimed. Well preserved pieces of history sat in orderly displays within the large hall. Early Phobos weaponry, you even spotted A seeker mine, seeing it up so close reminded you of just how small you were within a Phobos.
>>
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>>5195186
You point out a Xeno-Matter Musket and discuss the few unique points you knew about the weapon. It was very archaic considering the modern standards, but it worked and you were sure it was just as deadly as it had once been. The first year is a thing of legend, as Tony reads off the small synopsis left in scattered paragraphs around the exhibits. The Elysians Tribes rose up, demanding Eskarrian ancestral land as their own in an unprovoked attack. Conveniently the Peoples of the plains did the same. The joint effort was fierce and the fighting was brutal. But the Eskarrian spirit may be tarnished by fire, it may be chipped by xeno-alloys but it would remain yet. With decisive tactics the First Empress led the heroes of Eskarria to victory, shattering the spear heads of both attacks and chasing the Elysians back to the waves and the steppe people high into the mountains.

Imposing itself as the sole regional power. Arguably the most powerful state in the world, and very much so in eastern Europa and the Asianic lands. A lingering thought had nipped your mind, a strange thought that She was the Empress. But She was too short, foreign and with dark hair. The eyes were just too different. It left you with more questions. Heading through a doorway the same section continued showing off other Phobos users across the founding of the Empire. A foul wind blew through the museum, the reflective marble flooring giving you glimpses before your eyes fell on it truly. You felt cold and yet you burned still. Standing within that storm once more. Seeing and reliving the struggle of the dead. Your unit was busy exploring the creases of the past. You plainly stood motionless, encompassed by the shade of a Waking Nightmare. It's Umbral Core exposed and waiting. A thousand voices howl your name, one you can't recognize. Ichorous sludge that seeps towards you, calling out in a sickeningly black tongue. You blink and the world is frozen. You taste blood and feel death in your hands.

!!MIND TEST!!
>Roll 3d6+1
>Highest of the first three rolls will be used.
>Stats give a bonus to relevant tests.

Failure: 3-7
Partial failure : 8-10
Partial success :11-13
Success : 14-18
Critical Success: 19+
>>
Rolled 2, 5, 2 + 1 = 10 (3d6 + 1)

>>5195187
>>
Rolled 6, 3, 4 + 1 = 14 (3d6 + 1)

>>5195187
>>
Rolled 3, 2, 5 + 1 = 11 (3d6 + 1)

>>5195187
>>
>>5193961
>as a horde of six legged lizards the size of large dogs escorted a group of children to school
That's pretty cool
cute that Haruki is picking matching clothes
>>
>>5195186
Forgotten. A fate fit for one so vile.

We definitely come off as strange, ha. Spitting angrily in a foreign tongue at a seemingly random exhibit that gives indication of the source or recognizable markings. The only one who might pick up on something would be Haruki, I guess, if she cares enough to ask us later.
>>
>>5195261
>>5195268
>>5195276
10, 14, 11
!!TEST PASSED!!
+20 Sanity Gained

The interconnecting tiles grow slick as the oily liquid of night creeps towards you. Catching the light of the frozen world and eating it until you were surrounded by the dark, the writhing imprisoned bands of light helped distinguish the encroaching abyss. Your body was stiff, just as the time around you. Your voice screams within your stationary mind willing your muscles to flex and urging your body to flee the mass. The fluid makes contact with you, tingles tracing up from your legs as they vanish into the swill inches at a time. A choir of voices rang out. Some in praise others in hate. You smell burnt hair on the wind. Sickeningly the thick smoke clings to your lungs. You want to throw up, expel the filth clogging up your body and mind. The feeling intensifies as it reaches your waist. However you were far from weak. You wouldn't crumble, you take a step forward.

Dead muscles screaming in silent agony as they are dragged back to life. Against the rapid water, against the crushing tide you strode. Nothing would stop you now, reaching out your hand ran along the alien metal and in an instant all was gone. The world returned. Static jumped between your fingers, finding a home within the dormant machine. For a moment you swore the Phobos trembles against your touch. But it may have just been a trick of your mind. A hand suddenly rests on your shoulder and you flinch. Spinning you find Haruki with a smile on her face, it fell the moment your eyes met. You quickly return your gaze to the Nightmare. It looms tall, almost touching the arched ceiling above. "Are you okay?" The girl's voice came bringing with it another chill, you bask in the ancient machine's glory.

"The Waking Nightmare. I've… heard about it before, the pilot was a hero." You can feel it preparing itself. The Nightmare stirring in your presence. "It fought valiantly while outnumbered. See, that wound on its shoulder, an Anti-Phobos missile did that. All those small divots that pepper it are from the intense barrages it withstood. It went toe to toe with the scum of the Elysian Isles." You stop yourself from speaking about the events as if they were your own experiences. The Umbral Core sensing the intentions within you. Awaiting your command. But it wasn't your Phobos. The strange thoughts fading as the clouds cleared within your mind. It was far from alive. "The Pilot died in the arms of his lover... Have you ever heard of the Half Soul? That is what they called him."
>>
>>5195535
Ruki took her place at your side, her own hand finding its way onto the metallic hull. "I see, That is a sad story… I didn't take you for a fan of tragedies. I do know the name Half Soul. But it isn't the name of a man… It was a Pre-fall method of eugenics. 部分的な魂." The girl spoke a language you didn't recognize, but you could feel her tone shift. Reluctant almost. She sounded conflicted by the pressure. "While cloning is intended to create exact genetic copies of a person, the Half Soul method uses partial branches of numerous generic sources and altered them to create a culmination of people. Technically new genetic lines were built and lost lines were rebuilt. The manufactured embryos grew and flourished as a means to combat overpopulation. Families adopting single youth, well that was the intention but as with everything the fall warped and bent its usage. It became a staple for spurring on repopulation growth… Mainly for child soldiers. Some believe that since an exact clone comes from a single parent that they inherit a soul. But since the 部分的な魂 are so mixed up and manipulated they only keep fragments from their copious amounts of benefactors. Just enough to have half of a soul." The words were cold and reassured you of the dark world you stood in.

Even without war, man would discover new ways to conduct evil. You expected to see them. Both of you wraiths, but they didn't surface. Nothing happened in the shadow of the stalwart machine. The voice of Alex pulls you away from the wandering thoughts of the past. Grisha had sent word to Dimitri, the Alpha pilots were ready and they were beginning their journey to the designated location. Without needing much more reasoning the gang began to journey over. Taking you time to look at other displays on the way out. The pilots chat about Phobos as you do, Tony sharing the small details he had read. Ancient linking practices would cost lives into the hundreds until a strong enough candidate was able to restrain the beast.

Apparently the average life expectancy was only up to a week. Mass combat engagements between Phobos were common, many even whittling down to bloody melee clashes. Topics came and went as you are led through the streets of Kahva, the late afternoon sun casting the world in rich purples. The ways were just as busy, more school children were chaperoned by the uplifted lizards. Music blared as entire sides of buildings showed adverts and videos of musicians. When a faintly familiar song came on, Dimitri mimicked the dance moves of the video. He was surprisingly good at it. The undertram ride was less comfortable, you and Ruki were forced to embrace most of the ride as the transportation flooded with civilians on the way home.
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>>5195537
Your little band packed together tightly like sardines, your difference in height between you and Haruki became more apparent as you kept being pushed by passers by. Occasionally your face grew close to her bosom, dangerously close. But before the situation grew to be too awkward your platform arrived. Just getting off the humid tram left coils of steam trailing up from your hot bodies in the breezy afternoon. The sun began to set and new lights climbed into existence. The words 'Mystic Alley' glowed In sickly yellow. The glass doors were open wide and you quickly saw your fellow pilots, the bar was mostly empty so the large group stood out.

The drinking had started already, a grinning Geisha waved you over and after what felt like a lifetime had passed you spotted Castilla. The scarred girl gave you a meek smile, a crutch resting by her seat. Around the two tables pushed together the other girls were all pleased to see you, everyone exchanging happy greetings as the gamma brothers complained about how it was impolite for them to drink without everyone arriving. Lucy claimed you were all late so it didn't matter telling her boyfriend off. Haruki was rigid and clearly unsure how to interact with the other girls. Taking her arm you led her to a pair of seats, trying your best to spare the girl additional worries. Even if the evaluating looks you earned from Brigitta and Yiva were just as bad. Dimitri calls for a round. Sophia and Cas decline the offer, Haruki on the other hand knees your thigh under the table clearly wanting a drink.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Drink?
>Don't drink?

>Talk with Haruki and Alex?Write in
>Talk with Grisha and Castilla?Write in
>Talk with Yiva and Brigitta?Write in
>Talk with Lucy and Tony?Write in
>Talk with Dimitri and Sophia?Write in
>Do something else?Write in
>>
>>5195538
I've read up on this a while back and have been peeking at it every few days. You've written existential horror and adrenaline-pumping slaughter well, but apart from the man with the grenade and his team during the Half-Soul dream, you hadn't done much human dread. No cosmic horror, no fighting to the death, just... fragments of the destruction of humanity. Tiny pieces of dead people still screaming though the void. I'm not sure what >>5195178 was talking about, but I could see giant floating cities burning as they lift off to escape... something. I just hope it isn't what's been dug up for these kids to use.

I'm also amused that humanity has perfectly good Phobos for manual labor and then decided that, yeah, alien mechs are totally needed in warfare. This is exactly what we need to add to this shitshow of a planet. I'm not even surprised, and a slight bit amused.

So yeah, good stuff you're doing, QM
>>
>>5195538
>Drink?
>Talk with Haruki and Alex?Write in
>>
>>5195538
>What do you do, Pilot?
Try to keep our mind of the half-soul and all the fucked up shit we saw.
>Drink?
Hell yeah brother!
>Talk with Dimitri and Sophia?Write in
Try to wing man Dimitry. They boy needs it.
>>
>>5195538
>Drink
>Talk with Haruki and Alex
So, Alex, what do you see in the Umbral Core?
Am I insane to try and open up to them about our 5th layer experience, and why we know so much/so little about Half-Soul?

Alex might have heard something from Tony, if he's back walking and talking. See if he talked to Alex about any similar experiences, maybe?


On a different note, I guess we don't have the Waking Nightmare as our Phobos, because the remains of it are in the museum. Some of his memories echoed through the Phobos network, perhaps? Although with what Ruki said, Half-soul is more of a category of engineered being rather than an actual name, maybe like a title? Gah, this just makes me want to crack open that book and read it even more.
Could also be the Nightmare's Core was removed and repaired, fitted into a different Phobos frame, I suppose.

>>5195544
I'm sure we'll get plenty of chances to see the perspectives of more mortals, as they scramble to not get crushed underfoot by the battles of Phobos.
If anything, I'm more surprised by us seeing the Phobos first used for peaceful purposes, then converted to military use. Generally it's military demands that drive scientific progress, then discoveries from that get peaceful applications, or at the very least war demands vastly increase the speed of development. See: Nuclear weapons leading to nuclear power plants, jet engines for fighter aircraft leading to eventually civilian jets, computers for encrypting/decrypting codes, the list goes on.
>>
>>5195538
>Drink?
Buy the drink for Ruki, ask her what her preference is. I think we should go easy on the alcohol ourselves as we have already looked like a weirdo in public (and risked mental trauma)

>Talk with Haruki and Alex?Write in
Ruki needs to make more friends and we need to ask Alex who he’s got his eye on, and try to be his wingman. I’m assuming Dimitri and Sophia as a match, so we can chit chat and find out privately who Alex wants to develop a relationship with and include Ruki as a wing woman. Pull that particular girl into a group convo with Alex and Ruki and then suggest the four of you hit the dance floor

>>5195544
Agreed, writing is very evocative. Great job QM!
>>
>>5195754
+1
This guy has some good ideas
>>
>>5195754
support this plan
the boy needs an help
>>
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>>5195754
As Dimitri began to take requests you asked what Ruki would like to drink, from what you heard the others were picking out quite the selection of drinks. Dimitri would need help with them all. The girl pursed her lips thinking thoughtfully as the ambient background music grew, the sun had fully descended and the night was coming alive. "I'll have whatever you are drinking!" She declared, apparently trusting your own taste in alcoholic beverages. You give her a quick and snappy salute and follow the other boy. The bartender was a little cautious, clearly unsure if to serve your small group or not. "Identification please." The man asked, his eyes settling on Dimitri as a heavy stone settled in your stomach. Social tension was your wolfsbane.

The boy didn't stumble or fumble, he was surprisingly elegant. "Oh sure thing, it's been a while since anyone asked. I guess that's a good thing right?" The line seemed practiced as the boy gave the older gentleman a wide grin. He produced a Driver's License from his pocket, the piece of identification declared his age as twenty-three. You said nothing, simply waiting. The man examines the ID, rolling it back and forth between his fingers but eventually the man gives in. "You're lucky! I was already bald by twenty." The man gestured up to his smooth and shiny scalp. You gave the older man's dead hair a mournful acknowledgment before ordering your drinks. The man in his late thirties didn't waste time whipping up the set of cocktails for the girls and the mixed drinks for Gamma and Theta units. "I've never seen y'all around here before. First time in Kahva? Business Mixer?" He said gesturing to your rather diverse group, you stumble unsure what to say to the man's casual conversation.

Dimitri beat you to it again. "You're kinda right, we are all Officer Graduates. It's our last few days together before we get sent off to different regiments." The man raised an eyebrow, nodding his head impressed. "Congratulations, give my regards to your classmates. I served a good six years back in my own youth yah know. The glorious 2nd Infantry Corp, had some good Officers back then. What training division are y'all from?" The man inquired as he finished up the last couple of drinks. "The Interior Ministry." Dimitri replied casually, taking as many drinks as he could in his hands, looking down he hadn't noticed the man's facade fall. You got a clear look as a mix of hatred and distrust quickly came into existence. He played it off when he also notices you watching him, hastily he handed you the change.
>>
>>5197473
You picked up the remaining drinks and followed the other pilot back to the table. The group was busy talking. Alex and Haruki were a little awkward by themselves but seemed to be happy listening along. "What did we miss?" You asked as you began giving out orders, Dimitri doing the same. "We were just discussing your friends with blue blood. It isn't exactly common for royalty to be thrown in with us lot." Castilla spoke, gesturing to the group of rather common folk. "Speak for yourself!" Sophia said with a laugh. "I guess I'm just that good." Dimitri declared as he finished handing out the last of his drinks. "Yeah me too!" You cheekily added, earning a few laughs together. You fall back into your seat between Alex and Ruki, your drinks knocking together before you start sipping. Casual chatter returns as the girls discuss a music group they like, the boy joking about their hauls from their shopping trip.

Tony is keeping his gift a secret for now. Ruki seemed to be enjoying herself, her eyes kept flickering over you but your attention was on the reserved boy to your side. Your comrade, Alexander didn't seem to be faring too well. Elbowing him you lean in. "What's wrong bro?" The young lad shook his head, taking a long sip from his own drink. "Nothing, I'm fine." He grumbles back, something clearly bothering him. Haruki snorts mid drink sputtering a little as her face stretches into a wide grin, eyes focused on you and your friends as a rebuttal trails out. "Well it is a good thing you didn't pick Espionage." You rolled your eyes and Alex sighs scooting closer to him, Ruki does the same basically leaning against you as she sips from her drink and listens. You were worried the few sips had gone to her head, the girl was precariously close to slipping off her seat.

A reflex triggers and you run an arm down her back and around her hip. Pulling the other pilot close and ensuring if she loses her balance you'd keep her in place. Because of her height she was pretty much on your lap and a good head higher than your own. You were surprised by how light she felt, but your attention hadn't left your comrade in arms. Alex just sighs, the realization that the display might not have helped his mood blossoms in your mind. A few of the girls watch you before whispering back and forth. "Well then, have you got your eye on one of them?" Alex tilts his head, not enough to nod but a minute enough gesture for you to pick up. In the direction of a rather impressive set of breasts.
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>>5197474
"Yiva?" You asked low enough for the word only to be shared between the pair of you, Haruki interjects anyway, her head nodding in approval. "Ah, the one with the fat titties?" Her voice was also just as low, but only just low enough. A mean little grin spreads across her lips, her almond eyes focused on the gamma pilot. You raise your eyebrows, the girl's description wasn't wrong but it was definitely more forward than you had expected. You tilt you and Alex ends up also tilting your heads at her. Two exceptionally confused dogs. "What? They aren't exactly a set of keys, you'd have to be blind to miss those. And I got a good enough look at those hangers in the changing rooms." She replies with another cheeky grin. "Do you want me to tell you about them Alex?" She teased, her own arm running along you back before a long digit poked him in the side.

You laugh as he rolls his eyes. "That's the one." You admit. You and the girl tend to your drinks as Alex explains his position, he had never exactly been the best when it came to women. Being restricted in training didn't help, especially while right under their father's nose. He found it had to make small talk or to change it into a more personal conversation. You listened and muse over his words. As much as you wanted to give him valuable advice, you highly doubted that he'd want to hear you tell him to just be himself and play it cool. Your own set of social skills were lacking however you did seem to have copious amounts of luck when it mattered. You'd be dead by now otherwise, countless moments ring through your memory. All through training and even a very frightful moment that was only slithers and yet you know it was from before the ministry took you.

"Haruki… You are a girl, any suggestions?" You proposed, trying to excuse yourself from giving anything that could be construed as advice. Now it was the tall girl's turn for her eyebrows to raise. She is quick off the mark to point out that she isn't exactly a Casanova. Alex's face stayed worried as he sipped more. Be she did continue boldly and somewhat smugly declaring three words. "Just be yourself!" You shared a look with Alex, it was clear both of you didn't think that would do the job. "How about asking her friends what she is into. Maybe Lucy might help you out." You add, trying to save the boy's low self-esteem. Ruki spoke up again, the clink of her empty bottle meeting the table follows as she moves. Repositioning herself properly into your lap, her long legs barely just fit under the table. She was lucky you weren't as tall as her.
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>>5197476
"So. How about you get her really drunk and then… yah know, just see what happens?" The girl plucked the half full bottle from your hand and took a sip before handing it back. Watching you two expectantly awaiting a round of applause as if she had just shared some Ingenious plan instead of a morally questionable act. "That's a pretty scary plan Ruki…" Alex answers, the idea was a little drastic to you too. You contribute your own quickly. "Ok, how about we just break the ice with some small talk? Maybe dance and hang out as the night picks up?" It seemed reasonable to you, Haruki nodded. "Dancing sounds pretty fun to me." Alex was unsure but seemed to agree to the battle plans of his wingman and wingwoman. Grisha and Tony get the next round as you manage to finish off what Ruki had left you.

As the night grew long the music began to rise as more small groups showed up. It wasn't as bustling as the night club but people were getting ready to have a good night. The other boys had brought back another round, consisting entirely of martinis. "Which one of you told the bartender we were Interior Ministry?" Grisha asks, head turning between you and Dimitri. "The bloody bartender almost shat himself when we asked for drinks." Haruki started to laugh and the others didn't wait long to join in. Grinning like a fool, you raise your glass, clearly calling for a cheer. Even with the music up the act was pretty noticeable, your voice cutting through the sound . "To the Ministry. Long live the Empress. Long live the Eskarrian Empire! Glory Eskarria!" Between Snickers the group took up the last two words and chanted it in the perfect unison that would make any military parade shrink. "Glory Eskarria!" A few of the other patrons were clearly a little worried by the display.

Shortly after your declaration another joined in, echoing from the bar as the older man held up a shot glass. "Glory Eskarria!" You gave the man a respectful nod all the while trying not to burst out laughing. The topic flows as seats shift and people swap words, Alex luckily ends up next to Yavi. The topic of Herr Stumpfegger came up and other rumours were born. "I've never seen anything like him before." Brigitta shrugged, the dark bags around her eyes a strong purple, the drinks left her looking even sleepier. Ruki on the other hand seemed to have a surplus of energy, occasionally repositioning herself across your lap. Thankfully you avoid any dangerous situations by keeping your legs tight together. "I heard their machine cults were responsible for the fall. Most of them have been around since then, some say they can live forever and if you kill one body it's just a false copy." Cas said coldly.
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>>5197478
Yiva spoke up next between sips of her colourful drink. "It isn't just people, my cousin's uplifted dog told Me they even augment animals until they are almost entirely machines. Yet it still has the urges to eat and breed…. Since they can't the animals apparently commit suicide…" The idea was a frightful one, but you wondered what else they had gotten up to in the east. "isn't it strange that he is in charge? I never heard of anything like that before." Grisha wondered aloud, the entire gang shared the heavy thoughts. "Well there are numerous Emperor Class pilots, I wasn't expecting that. Jumping from one in service to more seems very unusual. The robot man doesn't seem so weird in comparison." Lucy retorted.

Tony rubbed his chin in thought as everyone looked at you and Ruki. "Maybe they are just lying about how many are in service? There has to be other units going through the same process right? Maybe they don't have as many Emperor Class pilots as we do, they are probably linking with more Knights. It's food for thought." His brother agreed. "For real." A few of the other youths repeated the phrase, you'd have done the same if your mouth wasn't full of a sweet alcoholic mixture. "We aren't in service yet." Ruki mumbles eerily. Grisha began to make moaning noises before answering. "Spoopy… but you do have a point, we have already lost one Emperor Class pilot and almost lost the rest of us because of her." He took a long sip from his drink, Castilla mulled, single eye focusing on you before flickering over the rest of the group.

"What we talk about here stays between us right?" The Pilot straightened up stiffly, exuding an aura of cold hard intelligence and burning confidence. It was a stunning shift to witness, the girl had changed back into the ruler you encountered first, she reminded you of your Mistress and that left you unsure wondering whether it was a good or bad thing. Her own unit clearly agreed without hesitation, the gamma boys, delta, you and Ruki were on the receiving end of a scary glare. You all give in and promise to keep the information secret. The relaxed demeanor shifted to that of a debrief meeting, you were sure the bartender even noticed the shift in tone. Haruki slipped back into her own chair and you weren't sure when her hand found its way around your own. However you didn't let go.
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>>5197482
"Now I can only speak for myself, but I have no intentions of allowing anyone to go through the same situation as me without prior warning." The stern figure turns between all the pilots present who were subjected to Anastasia's interference leak. "Pilot Mortimer, Pilot Alexander, Pilot Anthony, Pilot Grisha. I'm sure we have all been avoiding sharing the details of what we were subjected to within the Fifth layer. However I know that discussing what we saw and how we escaped those ethereal hellscapes may aid our fellow pilots if they ever find themselves in a similar situation. It is better if we discuss this beyond the ears of the ministry…" The girl leant forward, her hands Interlocking as she nodded to Dimitri. The boy hustled to produce a slim box shaped device, fiddling with it on the table. Everyone exchanged glances until the device made a little beep.

"Cas, everything is copacetic!" She cleared her throat. "Well I guess it is only fair that since I propose this idea that I go first." Grisha leant forward, face heavy with worry. "Castilla…" The one eyed woman pressed a finger into his lips, shushing him. "Within the Thalamus Mists I was confronted by my mind in a way I hadn't expected. I always assumed the mental assault would consist of something horrible, torture and unimaginable pains. Instead I saw something beautiful. Through both my eyes I watched a life where I grew old and had children and grandchildren. No war, no suffering. For those few hours my mind forced me to live for what felt like years. Only for it all to crumble and be ripped away. Then it would repeat, again and again." A hand traces up to her cheek, caressing just under her blinded eye.

"In an instant I relived losing my eye once more, and found the impenetrable mists waiting for me. Hiding my dreams and in its place I only found sharp and cruel metal. I'm not sure how I survived for so long, but I recited every sequencing chain I knew. Trying to keep my memories from being twisted and while I did my best to keep my mind in one piece I… I could feel it. I could feel Anastasia burning…" The stone faced girl allowed a single tear to escape her eye before chasing the feelings away with another drink. The table listened, Grisha leans in to comfort his lover. You share glances with those who also underwent exposure to the unbridled influx of interference.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Drink more?
>Don't drink more?

>Say Nothing?
>Lie about what you experienced?Write in
>Tell the Truth about what you experienced?Write in
>Say something else?Write in
>Do something else?Write in
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>>5195544
Thank you for the kind words Anon I appreciate your opinion, I just hope I can keep the standards up for when we eventually do encounter more human dread and maybe some cosmic horror. Who knows.

>>5195661
I also appreciate everyone's activity, wish I could post more than once a day. But a little busy recently.

>>5195754
Thank you for the compliment anon, I do what I can.
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>>5197484
>What do you do, Pilot?
Try to keep calm.
>Drink more?
>Tell the Truth about what you experienced?
A summary. We were the half soul.
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>>5197484
Lol did they preplan this or do they always just take anti-listening devices to bars

>Drink?
Drink slowly/responsibly. Still think we don’t want to lose mental control in front of our peers and in public.

>Tell the Truth about what you experienced?
I went back and re-read the fifth layer stuff and from what I can see the TLDR is that we were physically fighting her Phobos and trying to eject pilots and then she dragged us into the fifth with her. We weren’t alone in the fifth layer. We saw Anastasia, and she was being dragged to a lower layer by some crab spider thing made of metal. We also saw a woman who helped us pry Anastasia free and then we woke up in hospital.

So from that we deduce that we connected somehow to Anastasia and managed to “free” her but you don’t know if the woman or the beast are real or just mind tricks representing forces that try to pull you in deeper or take you back up and out. The obvious takeaway is that deeper than 5th is not a place you all want to go. I think we can say something along those lines.

I don’t think we need to give full details that we see “He” and “She”. We don’t need to mention the halfsoul vision as that happened afterwards. We can keep some cards close to our chest without lying (or looking like we’re holding back- we’re getting into espionage so we have to lose the instinct to open up to EVERYONE around us).
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>>5197484
I think the important part for us to convey is about Halfsoul and the prior experiences, and we should be leaving out the parts about us seeing them while not in the core, or about any other people we saw in there. Leave out us floating into Ana's core, the fact that we picked up Veil Wraith skill is something we don't need to have everyone knowing.
>Drink
Lightly
>Tell the Truth....Mostly
Say we got sucked in not initially, but after we attempted to eject Ana.
Recount our experience as Half-soul, fighting a battle from long ago. Name off specifics of the machines he fought, and why we recognized the Phobos parts in the museum as proof. Ask if anyone else has heard of anything like this, cores being handed down to others, and new pilots re-living the memories of others.

I don't think what I went through was an isolated incident, as it seemed more purposeful than random torture, along with me coming out of it more....undamaged, physically, than the rest of the pilots who went into the 5th layer. I would hope someone higher up knows something about this.

>>5197724
I'm agreeing on keeping some cards close, I just think the cards we should keep are different
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>>5197491
Don't worry about it, OP, this is a great story.

>Tell the truth about what we experienced on the fifth layer
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>>5197484
>Tell the Truth about what you experienced?Write in

Tell them of the half soul, probably some of them have picked up on it anyway especially Ruki.

> Dont drink more

As a lifelong alcoholic, our boy does not need to be going deep this early. Save that for the real PTSD that is surely coming.

And show some affection to Ruki, she did sit in our lap for like an hour, dont want to seem like a dick.
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>>5197484
>What do you do, Pilot?
Keep calm, don't use the shell unless necessary is quite spooky when it happens.
Too bad for Alex, but the pilots would have want to talk about this sooner or later.

>Don't drink more?
At least until we are done with what we are saying, sip something in between.

>Tell the Truth about what you experienced?Write in

Talk about a bit of everything much has happened honestly from arriving in the capital. Perhaps don't go in full details about more personal things, or for example with the new ability learned.
Do mention though that the Phobos (both our own and Anastasia) mocked us quite a lot, as well attempting to wound us and kill us. The deeper the layer, the more likely it can influence and damage the pilot. Maybe even leave something in him ? Or in his mind. The alien machines seems to work a lot especially on the mind, with dreams, nightmares, memories and what not. They can create false thoughts of your body being wounded (Morty was thinking the machine was tearing him apart in a test if i remember correctly, but once out he was mostly fine).
Even if they do not shy away from attempting actual physical damage.
Ah if they ask we know absolutely 0, nada, nothing of what our mistress did with that code word when we where ... thrashing around in pain.

>>5197491
Yours is quite a good quest, keep it up.
If you feel like you got something wrong just check it before posting
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The air around the table was a dark one, the mental and physical wounds of the other pilots were still very fresh. None seem ready to share their scars, they all seemed to have become weak children in an instant. You had no intention of leaving Castilla's blunt confession to be the only admittance for the night. You weren't going to leave her hanging, not again. Pangs of guilt knocking against your ribs like a xylophone, the burden of responsibility was a heavy one. "I was planning to do my own investigation, but I think this is the best option. Especially with how little time we have before we are split up…" You clear your throat and take a sip from your drink to ease your suddenly hoarse voice. Castilla returned to a position of authority and a slim thankful smile spread across her lips. You could imagine the troubled and lonely thoughts she had been trapped with. Finally relaxing without the attention on herself, around the table others turned to watch with sharp eyes.

More than a few take their own long sip and all those youthful faces present are serious. Your other hand slips into Haruki's lap, finding her own warm hand and squeezing gently as you begin to share more words. "I withstood her first flare. The Seniors left me to extract everyone linking… Anastasia attacked me as I was making my way to eject Tony and Cas. We wrestled, she was trying to pierce my core with a high frequency knife. I tried to eject her, but she flared again…" Your mind was a mess of contorting thoughts, the story was hard to keep straight, your memories playing out of order. It took you a moment to put them back into their correct places. Against the low music of the bar the pilots leant in close, sharing tired looks.

You knew you couldn't share everything, but try your best to paint the scene. "I don't know how, but I felt her lose consciousness. The sudden surge was so high, so strong, even my suit couldn't stand it… I was pulled down with her. Down into the fifth layer, but my training kicked in. I stayed awake all the way down. Into the red mist graveyard." You resist climbing into your shell, they are all watching you. If you suddenly shifted. You were sure the numb and empty replies would scare and confuse them. So you grapple to collect the rusted and flaking memories, no matter how much the crooked edges cut your hands as you grasp for clarity. You take another sip, both hands starting to involuntarily tremble thar then grew into a fitful shake.
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>>5198591
Simply thinking about it was like reliving the bitter experience. But she was here now. Haruki's long fingers knitted between your own trembling mitts and her other hand quickly joins the first. Both thumbs running along your goosebump flesh. You let out a deep breath expecting a plume of condensation to slip free. But Ruki was at your side, her heat burning you frostbitten fingers. Reassuring you just enough to continue. "The Fifth Layer for me. It was a graveyard of scrap metal as far as the eye could see, my own blood evaporating from my wounds to create the tendrils of mist that swallowed the place. Two… Two destroyed Phobos hovered just out of sight. Lingering, held aloft by some unseen force. Their dead pilots floating just above each. I found Anastasia next. There was a thing… A monster. Plated, it had an exoskeleton like a crab, it was trying to pull her deeper into the core. I think it was the machine itself, or just my imagination. The stress. A figure that had been stripped from my subconscious to help me perceive what was happening… I knew it was trying to pull her deeper. Beyond the Fifth layer. Down into the Starless Sea…" you let the name hang, not for dramatic effect. But because you had simply forgotten a crucial part of your story, you had to explain the figures.

Pulling out the misshapen pieces of the puzzle you let out a sigh and start again. "I have been seeing people… Phantom figures in my core. Past pilots? Mental attacks from the linking process? Phantom pains? Phobos interference? I'm not sure, they were within the Fifth layer. The ones above the ruined Phobos. One is a man and the other is a woman… I couldn't let the thing take Anastasia. I knew she would die if I didn't do anything. So I tried to help her, to pull her free from the monster. It fought back, I'm sure it would have killed me, easily pull me further in with Anastasia. The figure She wasnty about to let that happen, She helped me by fighting it off… Saving the pilot. Next thing I know I woke up in the hospital." You words flowing out in a rush voice twisting from one language to another as you talk about the ghoul in your mind.

Their eyes widen as you do. You take another long sip soothing your dry throat, Haruki's hand strolling down your forearm, her thumb caressing the center of your arm, all the muscles within flicking wildly at her touch. "The deeper the layer, the deadlier. We all know that. But can a Phobos leave wounds that can't be healed… Nightmares, dreams, memories and what not. Falsehoods. Things that aren't your own…"
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>>5198592
You were not going to mention crossing over into Anastasia core or the strange bond that even now you could feel running out across the city and towards the girl in her hospital room. Your own limbs burning faintly. Just as her's surely did. "But I'm sure none of you experienced that. I believe it is the product of staying within the fifth layer for so long. I was submerged for the longest period of time, so... I've experienced other symptoms." The pilots said nothing focused on you entirely, even Castilla had shifted from her stalwart face into unrestrained intrigue. Even now you were standing out amongst the crowd. You felt pity for yourself, but kept on speaking anyway. Praying it would help them in some way.

"I experienced someone's else's memories. A Pilot from a hundred or so years ago, he was known as the Half-Soul… I was him. Piloting his Phobos… The Waking Nightmare, I fought and bled in the snowy battlefield of Mockva. It's like I'm still there sometimes, the cold. The hate and the fear. The rage. The Brute and his Phobos Abhartach. He used a beam weapon and a shielding unit. The Wretch and his Phobos, The Howler. I killed him first. He barely got a chance to act. XB-1 Seeker Mines gutted him and a final shot evaporated his Umbral Core… I killed them all, they died hard. " You caught yourself. The stain spreads across your mind as it slips and falls back into the blizzard. "I killed two other pilots. It's like I was really there." You sounded like a mad man.

Pushing away your doubts you turn, adressing Haruki and the boys who had witnessed your little outburst at the museum. "The Waking Nightmare was there, that Phobos in the museum and just being in its shade alone was hard… That fragment was from one of them. He was a disgusting and abhorrent creature…" You felt sick, unaccustomed to talking Infront of so many people. Your saliva feeling thick and foamy, it was hard to continue on. Yet you spoke again to the sombre faces. "Has anyone else heard of anything like this? Cores being handed down or new pilots reliving the memories of others?" The questions hung in the air. Heavy and dark like a full cloud, their faces twist and you already knew the answer. None knew of any such thing. Maybe you were just crazy and now they all knew. You were glad you kept some of the stranger facts away from them. The pilots shook their heads as Castilla talked next.
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>>5198593
"Thank you for sharing Mortimer. I believe it would be convenient for us all to stay closely knit. To support one another, we all know the Ministry and Military have their own priorities…" You nod in agreement, avoiding any other words. The other pilots share the sentiment, none clearly wanted to press and inquire further about your dark experience either. Cas sadly admits that your small cabal most probably couldn't trust the royals. You wondered how much you could trust anyone. The authoritan girl insists the few present form a pact or deal. Dimitri and Brigitta head to get the next round as the rest of you mulled over what had been said. The bar began to pick up pace, the music pumping as the place filled out, a few sheepish civilian eyes glance over to your group. The tension in the air was palpable. As they returned it thankfully lulled, the alcohol helping to subdue the emotions. Urging the trace of happiness forward even as the others spoke up.

Alexander went next, confessing he hadn't been conscious for most of his time within the Fifth layer. He hadn't experinced anything as daunting as you or Castilla. He had simple been in and out of it, awaking surrounded by dark mist and slick bloodied stones, it was his own blood. Somehow he just knew. Rapidly it coagulated into a iron maiden around him. But it was all shards. Moments of sight and pain. Then the nothing swallowed him again. Then he woke up, as you pulling him free. Grisha spoke next, Castilla wasn't quite as shy as Haruki and openly reassured him with a rub on the shoulders. Kissing him on his cheek. The handsome boy had been pulled deep, but his fifth layer wasn't dry or rusty. It was instead murky, misty and frothy churning tides, tugging him deeper and deeper. He screamed trying to resurface. He had drowned as a little boy. It was exactly the same as then, the only thing he remembers were the last slithers of light snatched away by the dark and then waking up in the hospital.
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>>5198597
You could relate slightly. It was hard to admit that you were thankful, they hadn't experinced anything as harsh as you. Their exposure clearly fleeting. But Anthony was next, looking over your eyes locked. The moody bar capturing the atmosphere. Both pairs of orbs heavy with the weight of trauma, you thanked the one eyed girl for carrying out her plan and you thanked the mad man Dimitri and his improvised gadgets. Hopefully discussing such topics would help soothe the gamma boy. If you had just been faster, then he might not have to suffer with it at all. Tony explained his time. He had awoken inside a forest of tall metal trees, he was lost within the razor sharp thicket. Stumbling through the metalic grove voices called and taunted him, figures leaning out and hiding away out of the corner of his eyes. Chasing after them, the moment he finally would catch up to one they'd vanish behind a tree. Simply disappearing, after that he chose to wait. His panicked hunt had only achieved earning himself glancing blows from the honed edges of the limbs. Next he began distracting himself from the creepy peekers with mental interfence practices, neural sequencing tricks.

Chasing numbers, memories, reordering them and repeating them backwards. Cognitive flexibility tests. As he focused on himself he could just make out a thousand whispers. They were Anastasia talking, crying and screaming out in pain. Then he woke up in hospital, intrusive lines running down his throat and into his veins. Castilla thanked each for sharing their stories in turn, you weren't sure when but Haruki had rested her head against your shoulder. Also having taken your own bottle again. Everyone seemed raw, the truths laid bare. Only partially in your account, but the intricate details didn't need to be shared. No one had experinced anything like you had. It was a scary realization. Castilla coldly propses a blood pact, Dimitri just as quickly producing a thin pointed knife. A simple exchange, binding yourself to your comrades. You glance around the bar, unsure if the act was allowed. The interior Ministry were a very strange bunch, it might have rubbed off on the two units a little. However it reaffirmed the notion that you weren't the only socially inept pilot around, you highly doubted normal people made blood oaths to one another. "You don't have to. But know that once you leave there is no coming back." That raiser an eyebrow.

>What do you do, Pilot?
>What do you say? Write in.

>Join the Blood Pact?
>Do not join the Blood Pact?

>Suggest heading back to Base?
>Suggest heading out to a Club?
>Say something else?Write in
>Do something else?Write in
>>
>>5198598
>What do you do, Pilot?
Pinch Haruki
>What do you say? Write in.
Untill the next generation of pilots needs to know. This pact may hold, but not everyone has to suffer like we did.
>Join the Blood Pact?
>Suggest heading back to Base?
When it's late enough.
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>>5198598

>Join the Blood Pact?
We were first to jump in and share our experience so maybe wait and let someone else take the lead on this. Assuming the others want to do it then we can as well.

>What do you do, Pilot?
Suggest that if we’re going all in on a secret blood pact etc that we may as well all go get a tattoo.

Isn’t that more of a military bonding thing? It’ll be unique to just all of those here tonight as a permanent reminder of what we shared etc. And to link our group even though we’re splitting up. Everyone can choose where to place it or everyone can place it in the same position (also might give Alex a chance to have a convo with Yiva).

The best I can think of is a pentacle (5 points for the 5 pilots who survived the 5th layer etc). But open to better suggestions from anons. It could just be the logo of the bar we’re in… Or something greek to represent the alpha/beta/delta etc.
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>>5198598
>What do you do, Pilot?
Join, with confidence. And remember it
>>Join the Blood Pact?
>>Suggest heading back to Base?
>>
>>5198598

>What do you say? Write in.

What would be the required of someone that joined the Blood Pact?

You say the Ministry and Military have their own priorities but what would ours be exactly? If I agree to this what are we holding each other to? What are we holding ourselves to?

Sharing experiences on the fifth layer and below amongst ourselves and warning others? Or something more?
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>>5198598
Don't join the blood pact and, if we do, definitely don't get a tattoo.

>What to say
I'm not sure we need to do that, our experiences already bind us together.

>Where to go
This last topic kinda ruined the mood. Let's just head back to base and snuggle with Haruki
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>>5198598
>Decline the Blood Pact
We’ll shed our blood on the battlefield, not off it
>Return to base
Hard to keep to a pact when you might not remember what it is. We already had one instance of significant memory loss, not much keeping us from going for two.

Also, I think we came across as a certified unstable mental wreck. I guess we’re unique among these pilots, anyways. I also noticed how all the others need to resort to running through mental exercises and steeling their will to endure through the Core. I suppose that’s their version of our Shell that we often retreat to.
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