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Your name is Miranda Styles, and…well, you’re about to snipe a house-sized zombie tortoise to death while escorting a portion of a possibly zombie-curing formula along with a half-zombie/otherworld, half human young girl to a city quite possibly under siege on a corrupted-or-possibly being-cleansed-by-nature’s-wrath apocalypse.

It’s one of those kinda jobs.

“Long range sounds like the way to go then,” you say as you drag out your Wonderland Heavy Sniper Rifle…and proceed to pass it to Zipper, the last member of the trio consisting of yourself and Izumi. She might be Flashpoint, but she should be able to shoot this, considering her own skills. “Think you can handle this thing?”

“Wow, you’re kitted out for whatever, ain’tcha?” she says, but doesn’t refuse the weapon as the car is stopped and the lot of you get out to set up. “I’m gonna have to take a minute to get a feel for it again…but at least I don’t gotta worry about aiming.” Yeah, that’d be important in this case, you figure as the massive creature lumbers on. It’s not exactly booking it, mind.

Welcome back to Magical Girl For Hire!

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>>
>>5206666
“Alright, so,” you say as you pull out a second weapon, that being your rocket launcher. “I’m thinking that we should be able to get it with a few moments of sustained fire, but beyond that, if it or its friends start getting annoyed, we can probably outrun it at least.”

“That should be the case,” Izumi confirms as Zipper goes into a kneeling position. Not that you’d recommend it, but it’s largely flat land, not much choice if she wants to hit high. “Zipper fires first, and I’ll follow up on the lower extremities. I suspect you’ll be going for the head?” she asks you. You just nod. “Right, then. I’ll give the countdown when everyone’s set.” Even in plain trader clothes, you have to admit how well she’s taking charge.

“Ready here,” Zipper confirms.

“I’m set,” you agree as the launcher is hefted. Its head is a big enough target you’re not too worried about missing, even from this distance.

“Roger that. Three…two…one…fire!”

A cacophonic series of reports go off as you all fire quickly; you can see in mere moments the beast throws its head to the side and something begins to emanate from its head- moments before an explosion rips across the side of it.

A massive roar suddenly shakes the ground as the smoke around its head clears- it’s very much still alive, though you notice its eye half closed and its head is far more purplish-orange than it was a moment ago. “Aaaand that got its attention,” Zipper mutters. However, you’re more concerned about something else; seeing the small dots flitting around it suddenly shuffling- and many of them seem to be getting closer.

>Time to start playing offensive defense. Take your very creepy self and start running interference while Zipper and Izumi work on bringing the big guy down now that there’s a hole.
>No sense in not taking the time you have- reload and fire at the big guy again! You can get another shot off before they arrive, you’re pretty sure.
>You were really hoping just the one shot would do it. It might honestly be time to scram. Besides, the stupid tortoise shouldn’t be able to heal that, right?
>Other
>>
>>5206667
>Time to start playing offensive defense. Take your very creepy self and start running interference while Zipper and Izumi work on bringing the big guy down now that there’s a hole.
>get Gartoum out to fend off smaller Wrackeds
Giant turtle enemies tend have a ranged attack or two, usually like artilleries. It's not going slowly walk up to us, might as well get some attention.
After that, it will be a matter of time.
>>
>>5206667
>>Time to start playing offensive defense. Take your very creepy self and start running interference while Zipper and Izumi work on bringing the big guy down now that there’s a hole.
>Summon Gartoum
>>
>>5206667
Time to start playing offensive defense. Take your very creepy self and start running interference while Zipper and Izumi work on bringing the big guy down now that there’s a hole.
>Summon Gartoum
>>
Writing.

I'll admit. I'm playin' Kirb while running, so...yeah. But I AM writing.
>>
>>5206667
>>5206687
>>5206688
>>5206695
“Right, I’m gonna play interference,” you quickly say, dropping the launcher- “You two keep hitting him!” -and instead launching yourself towards the mass of creatures. You’re going to have to stick and move for this. It only takes a few seconds before you’re in range of the creatures- two magi-waves are slung out and cut through several of the vanguard of Wracked. “Gartoum! Now you get to have some fun!” Fortunately, your appearance seems to do just as you’d hoped, stifling several of them, and when the shadow erupts from your ring, wearing a rather gleeful grin, you just have to hold out well enough to let your allies bring the main target down.

“Finally!” He grins as you both charge the group. Several normal human Wracked are cut down to pieces, while two bull-like Wracked, gnarled horns and twisted and crusted snouts, end up stabbed to death courtesy of shadowy lances. There's a lot more to go, though.

Roll 2d20, best of three.
>>
Rolled 9, 7 = 16 (2d20)

>>5206721
>>
Rolled 3, 11 = 14 (2d20)

>>5206721
>>
Rolled 7, 9 = 16 (2d20)

>>5206721
>>
Huh, well we have to roll low eventually. At least it's not that bad.
>>
>>5206721
>>5206725
>>5206727
>>5206730
Shit. There’s more of these fucks than you thought- and you swear the fucking ground is sort of…generating? More, or at least dragging them up from underground somehow. You can even see sinkholes.

Gartoum is enjoying himself, at least, even if the waves aren’t thinning. You’re going to have to do something big to clear out this mess-

It’s then that you hear gunshots, then nearly flinch from another massive roar; and you smell…something…rather gross- not powerwise, just plain gross. There’s a massive burbling and churning, before a loud BANG sounds from the massive creature as an immense glob of orange pus is launched from it- clear over your head.

Fuck.

It’s a risk, but you turn your head to check the arc of that shot. You at least had the sense to position away from the car a bit. The kid is…well, you HOPE she’ll be fine. She’s smart enough now to register it, at least.

Soon, you can hear Izumi speak through your stone. “Are you alright?!” she half-yells.

“I’m fine,” you respond. “Shot went far. What about you?”

“Same. We made impact, but the response fell short for us. Seems like it’s trying to find the range. We REALLY shouldn’t let it.” You have to agree with that entirely. Question is, how? You’ve still got a number of Wracked you’d need to fight through to get closer, risk though that might be. Still, if you want its direct attention, no reason not to. Alternatively- whoop, that charge came close, need to keep these assholes in mind- you could continue to hold the lesser Wracked here and try to hope they hit better.

>Action!

>Regardless, roll 2d20 once more.
>>
Rolled 16, 16 = 32 (2d20)

>>5206928
Yep, called it.
The turtle needs to be disrupted, so I'm voting to get closer. Gartoum will have to work overtime as a result, but he should be able to handle it, right?
>>
Rolled 19, 17 = 36 (2d20)

>>5206928
>>
Rolled 16, 14 = 30 (2d20)

>>5206928
why did we have to attack this thing on the first place?
>>
>>5206928
>>Action!
>Grab the Rapier and start casting flamethrower spell
Area denial - this should stop Wracked from climbing out of the ground and ward off the beast from approaching any closer. Burn them all!
>>
>>5206945
Because if we don't it might catch us on the road. If we shoot first we won't have to defend the car and we get the initiative win
>>5206928
The ground is generating. Fire works great against blights, so how about some sunscorch or Flamebringer?
>>
>>5206928
>>5206957
Right, let's use our new spell then. Much faster than the other options.
>>
>>5206945
The kid warned us that something big was coming. It could've followed us to Avion city and put the facility we are supposed to reach in danger.
>>
>>5206928
>>5206939
>>5206942
>>5206945
>>5206957
>>5206959
>>5206965

After a moment’s thought, you’re not going to let these things get any closer to your shooters. It’d be way too much of a risk. But you need SOME way to clear these things out faster- Gartoum is pulling a fair amount of weight on his own, and that kinda burns you up a bit.

Oh, wait. That might just do the trick. Might as well try that new trick of yours. And just to be certain…you don’t use this rapier much, but all things considered, it won’t hurt!

The blade lights up, and your hand erupts in bright fire as cast the spell. The flames already seem to be doing the trick, though you keep them away from your shadow friend as best you can as you both sweep across the field, skewering and roasting any Wracked that are too stupefied to attempt to flee. Seems that for the most part, fire indeed causes them to panic and flee- even more than they've been already. A few attempt an attack- one of them leaps for you, a humanoid with arms far too big to be normal, but his attempt catches air as you sidestep, slamming the sword into the side of its brain and quickly following up by sweeping the sunscorch along it. Its cries and yells are short-lived, thankfully.

You hear two gunfire reports coming out again, and the creature rears back as you notice vicous fluids coming out of its skull- they must’ve hit it damn good! The beast roars again, causing you you grimace as the ground seems to quake under the sound force- and you have to stop yourself from trying to cover your ears.

The creature seems to buckle, almost, its mass causing it to send pulsing waves of sickly smelling air towards you, and you hear a low, droning gurgling noise coming from it. It doesn’t sound like when it launched the blob, however- it sounds…worse. A lot worse.

> Might be time to run. Very quickly.
> Crap, you need to kill it before it does whatever it’s going to do! (How?)
> Whatever’s about to happen you need to defend against it- and let them know, too.
> Other

>Roll 1d300 for Sunscorch Cost regardless.
>>
Rolled 199 (1d300)

>>5207297
Put up a Great Barrier, so that it gets swamped with whatever it's going to launch at us.
>>
>>5207301
That should be "a Great Barrier around him"...
>>
Rolled 239 (1d300)

>>5207297
Bet it's going for a continuous barrage
Voting to bail. It will take a long time to recover and we'll be long gone by then
>>
Rolled 256 (1d300)

>>5207297
>>
Rolled 291 (1d300)

>>5207297
>>5207301
>>5207304
this. we've pulled this off against the MGR protag, might try this now as well
>>
Rolled 130 (1d300)

>>5207297
> Whatever’s about to happen you need to defend against it- and let them know, too.
great barrier- and angled so it just deflects whatever it comes towards us instead of stopping it

eww, its gonna puke on us metal slug 3 style, right?
>>
>>5207297
Since the barrier option is winning, I'd like to point out that Sunscorch+Great Barrier already has a higher mana cost than a Nebula Buster. So be ready to pop some crystals and the condenser after this, hell even Seither's an option.
>>
Writing.
>>
>>5207318
counterpoint: sunscorch will get better and cheaper the more we use it and its a direct counter to the zombies, and while the buster will probably oneshot this thing, its loud and visual as fuck, alerting anyone that a fight is going on
>>
>>5207297
>>5207301
>>5207306
>>5207308
>>5207309
Right. Well, you’re not a fan of whatever’s about to happen-

“Miranda, can you get clear!?” -and apparently neither is Izumi.

But you’re not planning on retreating just yet. Whatever’s happening, you want NO chance of it hitting you whatsoever. Fortunately, you have a plan to avoid that, though it’ll take some effort…

You’re already surrounded by burning and enflamed Wracked, and it’s why you feel you have the space necessary to execute this. Focusing on the mass that’s currently gurgling up a storm, you do your best to box it between your hands, like a photographer measuring scale and frame. You’re going to have to spread this one awfully wide.

The green flashes from your hands, and many yards away, you can see it trying to fade in all around the behemoth. You’re glad the thing isn’t moving- trying to do whatever it is- but it’s taking a bit longer than usual.

“Miranda?!” Ah, right, that WOULD be visible for them. “What are you doing?!”

“Making sure this thing doesn’t get its gunk all over us!” you respond as the Great Barrier forms, if slowly. Geez, this size really is kinda abnormal for you…

“Are you sure that’ll hold?” Izumi asks. Guess she was thinking something similar. But you’re positive it’ll hold, for sure. Even if you have to put some extra juice in it.

“Just watch,” you reply easily enough, though perhaps ‘easy isn’t how you figure this to go.

Before you can worry or think more on the subject, the barrier is finished- a bright, slightly translucent green that domes the entirety of the beast in general.

And not a moment too soon, as the gurgling reaches a warbling crescendo, only slightly muffled by the barrier, and suddenly the thing’s back ERUPTS- and quite literally; a volcano with multiple openings spewing a sickening ichor clearly intended to decimate anything within its massive range…if it had anywhere to go, that is.

(cont.)
>>
>>5207403

With the barrier covering it, it’s discharges only hit wall, if at a surprising force. Not enough to shake or shatter the barrier- the barrier’s makeup will certainly attest to that- but it’d have certainly been enough to cause a lot of splash damage and likely leave several craters. The results of its tantrum are, besides that, it seeming to swing itself about slowly yet forcefully, incidentally crashing into the barrier itself, and letting out a low, wailing moan at the impact. Clearly didn’t recognize what surrounded it, but that only helps you. The ichor it tried to fire off? The only thing it hits is itself with some of the splashback, and it doesn’t seem to appreciate that, either.

“Miranda?” Izumi quickly calls. “Is it fading?”

“Looks like it,” you confirm. “It’ll probably bleed and die out before long.” And inwardly, you sigh at that. Thank goodness.

“...Zipper’s asking to drop the shield. She wants to get it done with now,” Izumi comes through. "Maybe- what? Jessica, what are you do-!" Wait, Jessica showed up? Why-" A pause. One a bit too long. And when her voice comes back, it's a bit shaky. "Jessica...just said something about taking the core of it. That what's in it would 'stabilize what once was'. I don't know what she meant, and I'm not sure how she hopes for us to get whatever 'core' she means, but she wasn't...well, she doesn't seem to realize what she said, looking at her." You can't tell from this distance either situation, sadly. But once you drop the shield...

>Far be it from you to turn down a little girl's request- though getting it is going to be annoying and probably more time consuming than you'd like.
>You're getting out of here. You've got no interest in this place beyond getting paid from helping Zipper, frankly.
>Other
>>
Will continue tomorrow.
>>
>>5207407
>>Far be it from you to turn down a little girl's request- though getting it is going to be annoying and probably more time consuming than you'd like.
>>
>>5207407
>>5207410
oh, right
>Tell Izumi to give Jessica a mana crystal
didn't have enough time to do that last night
>>
>>5207407
>Far be it from you to turn down a little girl's request- though getting it is going to be annoying and probably more time consuming than you'd like.
>>
>>5207407
>>5207414
+
Cool didn't need to roll for that
>>
>>5207407
How does our condenser work?
And we need to use some mana crystals.
>>
>>5207407
>>Far be it from you to turn down a little girl's request- though getting it is going to be annoying and probably more time consuming than you'd like.
>>
>>5207407
>>5207410
>>5207415
>>5207418
>>5207563
Well, far be it from you to turn down a little girl's request. “Alright, lemme know when,” you warn as the beast’s head swings back towards you- only to collide with the barrier again. Good.

“Ready…aaand…now!” she yells. You drop the shield, and you hear the reports of gunfire again as you take the opportunity to clear up a few other Wracked stragglers, making sure to avoid any gunk that they’d expelled. Thankfully, it seems like despite the continuous numbers of Wracked, they’re still not any smarter or more fierce just because the big thing is on its last legs.

At this point, given the roaring that it let loose, covered in its own mess and with massive damage to its cranium, it was a matter of time before it died. The Wracked, on the other hand, still needed a bit of work to clear out- not that Gartoum seemed to mind. Well, that just meant that you needed to do a bit more before it fell.

Although you’re rather curious just what this core thing is…

The creature's blood is streaming down its face in great globs now- it's really just a matter of staying out of the way, and after that?

...well, it's going to take some time to figure out how to get to whatever the hell the 'core' is, you figure.

>Roll 1d20, best of three.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>5208272
Welp. We're digging through the guts of a giant turtle monster for glowy bits. Can we roll to see what other stuff we can get from it, like scales or shell bits.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5208272
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>5208272
Cool beans
>>
File: 1625204633606.gif (316 KB, 498x353)
316 KB
316 KB .gif
>>5208272
>not that Gartoum seemed to mind.
Gartoum is the best boi
>>
>>5208285
Don't jump ahead now.

Writing.
>>
>>5208272
>>5208285
>>5208288
>>5208291

You don’t need to tell them when it’s down for the count- the creature seems to make a deeper, yet softer death rattle, and the massive thundering thud it makes when it collapses to the ground is signal enough. It’s not dead instantly, but it’s not putting up any more of a fight, that you’re positive of. The Wracked around you themselves are toppled by the wind thrown up from the collapse, and you’re not going to pass that up, either.

“My my my!” Gartoum extols. “This really HAS been quite refreshing for me,” he says airily. “I thought this whole time I’d be stuck playing babysitting and doing nothing fun!”

“Yeah, it was starting to look that way,” you admit. “But, thanks a ton for your help here. These things are probably nasty enough that I’d rather not get anything on me if I could help it.” You’re not certain, mind, but you really don’t want to take the risk.

“Alright, I’m coming up to help clear out the rest,” Izumi says over stone call. “Zipper will be along shortly with Jessica once we’re done.”

“Roger that,” you respond. “Everything here seems fairly low-intelligence. Nothing too aggressive like what we met earlier in the mansion.” And thank goodness for that.

As you continue clearing them out, however, you can’t help but notice some sort of…stale smell, a bit different from normal, coming off of the massive beast. A few more cuts that split a cluster of Wracked into pieces comes from Izumi, who looks at the scene with visible distaste. “Quite a mess…”

“No duh,” you fire back. “C’mon, we need to make a bit more of one, then we can see what’s going on with this core whatever.”

To be frank, the two of you make short work of the majority of the remainder; your attention is bought to the big one after you notice some sort of smoke coming from the thing. You both make your way towards it, and it’s soon obvious just what the issue it- the gunk that it ended up splattering on itself is actually starting to dissolve the thing! It’s slow, but it’s obvious. “Damn. That’s some sort of acid, then!” Izumi says. “We’ll have to be cautious, but we’ll also be on a time limit.”

You’re just grateful that the thing’s gunk isn’t splattered EVERYWHERE. It’s mostly on its shell, and probably feet, looking at it. “Y’think we might be able to use this somehow?”

Izumi chances a look at you. “How?”

You shrug. “Iunno. But I’ve kinda gotten used to picking up random shit and throwing it at Owlia to see if she can’t make something of it.”

The Flattest Look meets your eyes. “Really. I doubt that aside from the core, there’s anything worth sampling of this grotesque creature. Let’s start digging for it.”

>...okay, fine, core only, whatever.
>...nope gonna prove her wrong. (What else will you try to get from it?)
>Other
>>
>>5208422
>okay, fine, core only, whatever.
there's nothing that catches my eye really
>>
File: acid.png (38 KB, 421x494)
38 KB
38 KB .png
>>5208422
Hmmm... All I can think of is trying to take its acid glands, unless it's already melted them. And I don't know how are we supposed to store them.
>>
>>5208422
>...nope gonna prove her wrong. (What else will you try to get from it?)
Try to grab a bit of it's shell, it'll probably synchronize pretty well for items that could inflict or resist poison, or boosting our stamina like a Green Turtle Talisman.
>>
>>5208466
Forgot my pic.
>>
File: file.png (1810 KB, 2560x1541)
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>>5208422
>...nope gonna prove her wrong. (What else will you try to get from it?)
A bit of the shell, enough to craft an armor suit or two. Blood samples, and the part that makes the acid if we can identify such.
>Other
Let's get Pecker out for some detection. Whatever this core is I assume it will carry a hint of magic. We can use the FutureSight too in addition.
>>
>>5208422
>>5208484
right, get Pecker out
>>
>>5208465
getting acids on the intersection shouldn't be hard though. we don't really gain much knowledge from that. maybe the shell? but it will probably be outclassed by any metal+cheap enchantment we can get
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5208422
>>5208484
Nothing much from me so I'm going with this
>>
Wait, scratch that. I'm gonna need a 2d20 roll. Best of three.
>>
Rolled 5, 14 = 19 (2d20)

>>5208496
>>
Rolled 14, 11 = 25 (2d20)

>>5208496
>>
Rolled 4, 4 = 8 (2d20)

>>5208496
>>
Rolled 7, 11 = 18 (2d20)

>>5208466
>>5208477
FYI, I'm talking about smaller sized pieces for making accessories, maybe the biggest about the size of an axe head or a buckler for a weapon or tool.

>>5208496
Rollin'
>>
Lot of 14s going around lately. Well, writing for real now.
>>
File: biology.png (111 KB, 1594x656)
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>>5208491
Nura is working on potions and we suggested Owlia to start working on specialized grenades. And maybe Cylia might find something interesting.
>>
>>5208528
considering that this thing is being melt down by its own acid, i don't think it's a good candidate for an anti acid potion, but i see your point
>>
>>5208542
Nura has already made anti-acid potion, see picrelated>>5208528
>>
>>5208548
ah, i read that wrong
>>
>>5208422
>>5208466
>>5208484
>>5208487
>>5208499
>>5208506
>>5208508
Harvesting beast pieces isn’t new, perse, but it’s not a common chore, you can say that for certain. You’re honestly not really kitted out for such things most times, either. Including now. Which means that a lot of the work is essentially trying to brute force pieces off- snapping off chunks that can fit in your bag and otherwise cutting parts up with the Flamebringer to pieces. Izumi, nose wrinkled, seems to think similarly as she tries to dig through the thing’s larynx without touching the acidic goo. “I know it’s a bit of an old topic, but THIS is why you should respect the harvesters,” she says apropos of nothing.

“What?” you’re not sure what she meant there, but- oh. “Oh, you mean the Hunting Dogs?” Honestly, you just said that to see the grimace. “Ugh, if this is what they do all the time…”

“They do, in fact,” she confirms. “And they suffer through this so that we don’t.”

“Unless you're in Flashpoint,” a new voice- Zipper’s- comes from behind. “Then digging through monster guts ain’t that novel.”

“Please tell me that means you have something to help make this go easier,” you lament.

“Just might. Hold on a sec,” she says, as she seems to rummage through her own bag. “Aaaha! Alrighty, so normally we use this for object retrieval in shit like fire or dangerous environments, but it’s pretty common to kinda pull double duty with it for some good old fashioned organ and part harvesting.” She pulls out something that looks like a combination of a set of jaws of life, a nut harvester, and a rotating drill. “Huh. Don’t think we’ll need the splitter extension…” She pulls back a trigger, and suddenly the nut harvester wires seem to sink back in. “Right then.” She then makes sure her goggles are on, then twists something on the neck of it, and then flicks a switch on the handle- the entire works begins to spin up, and the drill makes a meaty, gunky sound as it pierces through the meat of the works. “Alright, here we go!” she yells above the noise. “If it’s in the thing’s guts then we’re probably gonna be here a while!”

(cont.)
>>
>>5208701
Right. Gotta be careful. Still…you can’t help but be curious. Thinking about it, if this thing is supposed to be magical, you kinda wonder what Pecker might think of it. “Say, where’s my bird?!” you ask. Have to up your volume a bit, but she clearly hears it.

“Check behind you!” she says, and you turn to see- ah.

There’s Jessica. Also Pecker, who seems at least…interested, judging by the errant flapping. Jessica looks down to him, and then back up to you, but hands him over. “He…smells nice…” she mutters, low enough you barely hear her even as close as you are.

Right, then. As you cradle him in your hands, you point him towards the decaying carcass. “That make you hungry or what?” you ask. Not that you expect him to answer, but he DOES start flapping a bit harder. “Alright, but if you start to burn your beak off, I’m coming after you.”

With that, you let him go. He doesn’t seem to shoot straight for it, no, but rather flaps about for a bit, almost as though looking for a specific part to land on…but when he does, it doesn’t SEEM any special to you.

The results when he pecks, though, certainly do. It’s almost like he’s enveloped in the smoke itself, and you can see…perhaps not veins, but specks along his body shine as the rest of him darkens in color to a purple. His eyes seem to erupt in yellow, as well. He looks almost like a threatening night sky…

Of course, he doesn’t seem to react much from it, and lands on your shoulder without any ill effects once he’s finished. “...huh.”

“Wonder what he got,” Izumi mutters, again, though, it’s hard to hear…how long will she take on this? The damn thing's gonna start looking like a piece of abstract art before much longer at this rate...

>You spent some time working out what Pecker could do in the interrim. This seems interesting.
>You helped along the 'excavation' as best you could. You kinda want out of here ASAP.
>Other
>>
>>5208704
>You spent some time working out what Pecker could do in the interrim. This seems interesting.
Let's get the FutureSight out to monitor.
>>
>>5208704
>>You spent some time working out what Pecker could do in the interim. This seems interesting.
>Use mana crystals to refill our manapool and share one with Jessica
>>
>>5208701
>You spent some time working out what Pecker could do in the interrim. This seems interesting.
Get Jessica to help test out his new magic. Afterwards...
>"So Zipper, is that thing you used developed in house, or can you purchase it from someplace?"
>>
>>5208704
>>5208714
>>5208715
Right, supporting. Use our condenser too (still don't know how it can help us "save" mana).
>>
>>5208704
Count me in on this one>>5208714
>>
>>5208704
>>5208713
>>5208714
>>5208715
>>5208719
>>5208762

In the meantime, then, you might as well do some testing on Pecker…in particular, seeing what the FutureSight has to say about whatever they took in.

>Mana Typing Consistent With Dissolution/Separation.

Huh. So kinda like dissolving? Honestly, you were expecting acid…though that’s kinda like acid, you guess. Wonder why the difference? Well, you don’t have much to experiment on regarding that, but maybe you can find something. Though thinking about it, you look for a mana crystal or two. You could use one or two…and now that that’s in your head? Maybe spare one for the kid. Just out of curiosity. Though you’re gonna have to get these refilled when you get back, that’s for sure.

“Hey.” She looks over to you from Pecker’s fluttering about, and plain doesn’t seem to understand the purpose of crystal that you gently hand towards her. Guess she’s still not THAT reactive, yet. “Uh…just hold onto that and tell me if you feel any better or worse.”

“...okay,” she says after a moment. You yourself fish out five to use. Okay, maybe that’s more than one or two, but hey. Might as well.

Over a few minutes of drilling sounds and complaints from Izumi, who’s trying to help carve a path through, you’re trying to figure out the details of this ‘dissolution’ thing. When you ask him to do something to a branch nearby, it does nothing but reduce the wood to splinters. Hardly a conclusive test, and there’s not much else around here.

You get a tap on your legs rather quickly, however, and turn to the girl, who’s still looking at it weirdly. “It…feels nice.”

Oh. That’s something to it, then. “Nice? Nice how?”

“Like…” she pauses, and you get the vague feeling of yet more clarity in her movements, even in this state of consideration. “...like my head was stuffy. And it’s kinda better now.” Well, then. That’s something good to know. Wonder what this could mean for her. “An’ now I feel like I wanna eat something.” She looks at the dissolving tortoise. “Maybe soup?”

Soup. Really?

…well, at least it’s good to know the crystals help.

>Current Mana: 8,351/11,500

(Done for tonight! Will continue tomorrow.)
>>
>>5208878
Night, Handler!
>>
Run begins in about a half hour.
>>
Also, apropos of nothing- I hate opposed rolls.

Anyway, writing.
>>
>>5208878
Annoying as it is, it’s about an hour, you’d guess- a lot of stop and start especially regarding the bones of the creature. They’re incredibly tough, being the only body parts to apparently resist the acidic properties of the creature’s emissions. Something to maybe consider- breaking off a piece is a bit tough, but who knows? You might be able to do something with it- or at least sell it for a bit. There’s GOTTA be a collector in the Intersection for this shit somewhere.

Either way, in due time the carving is done- though half of it is melted away and forced Zipper to essentially take winding paths through its guts, as massive as the thing was. She’s gonna need a bath, and a change of clothes after this for sure. But you get the thing, at least. It’s…big. At least the size of a beach ball, a large, rainbow colored stone that seems to almost pulse with some sort of heavy energy. You’re not sure what it is. You can’t fit it in your bag, either, but you’re pretty sure this thing’s got some interesting juice behind it. Could probably do some real fancy research with this, you wager. Well, you hope, anyway.

“Alright, we got the damn thing, let’s get the fuck outta here,” Zipper says, trying to shake off as much as she can.

Izumi just looks to it, and then back at Jessica. “Do you know what this is for?”

Surprisingly, you notice Jessica’s just…staring at it. Silently. “Hello? Anyone in there?” you ask. Snap your fingers in front of her- ah, that did it. “Something up?”

“No?” she answers surprisingly quickly. “...s’really pretty, though. Are you gonna eat that?”

What? “What?”

She blinks, almost like she’s surprised YOU’RE surprised. “Can I have it?”

“It’s a crystal, you can’t eat it.” you frown. What was up with her weird talking about it earlier that Izumi mentioned, then?

“Are you sure?” Ugh. Kids. But for all you know if you play along she really WILL somehow eat the thing and then you’re out of some rather shiny loot.

>Y’know what? Try. Just don’t cry when you chip a tooth.
>No. In fact, don’t touch this. At all.
>Other
>>
>>5209620
>Other
>You mean, "EAT IT" eat it, or more, "absorb power from it" kind of eat it?
>Y’know what? Try it.
>>
>>5209620
So what exactly did we get aside from the core? Bones, random chunks of its body and some bits from larynx?
>>
>>5209640
Essentially. If you care to I'll list it out in the next post.
>>
>>5209644
that'd be great

>>5209620
well, the kid told us about the core in the first place, and we got some other valuable parts from the beast. So I'll go with this>>5209630
>>
>>5209620
>>5209630
+
>>
>>5209630
+1
>"izumi, your kid is really weird"
>>
>>5209620
>>5209630
>>5209652
>>5209666
>>5209700
“Wait, you’re not actually just gonna fork it over?!” Zipper half-yells. “It took forever to dig that thing out! I thought you were gonna DO something with it, not just let the kid have it to mess with!”

“Well, depends,” you say, looking at Izumi, who just shrugs between you all. Part of you wants to tell her how ridiculous she’s being, but…well, maybe she’s got something there. “Okay, just checking. You mean, "EAT IT" eat it, or more, "absorb power from it" kind of eat it?”

She pauses. “...Iunno. It just looks tasty. I was just gonna eat it.” At least she’s speaking at a regular pace now.

Again. Kids. Not that you don’t have experience with that these days. “Y’know what, fine, whatever.” Over Zipper’s frustrated groan, you set it down in front of her. She doesn’t have the wingspan to actually HOLD it, but whatever. But what she DOES do is…unexpected. Slightly.

She literally puts her lips on it, almost like a kiss, but then…the thrumming of it seems to begin to wane. More and more, and the stone itself is…shrinking? Almost shriveling. And you can see Jessica’s body…or at least veins of a sort seem to light up with a rich, blue hue. The core seems to crackle in spots, and soon it begins to crumble and smoke away like the rest of it as she continues.

“...there’s a crude joke here about- oof!” That was Zipper getting interrupted by Izumi via shot to the gut. “Fffffuck me I wasn’t gonna actually say it!” she strains out as she doubles over.

Putting THAT out of your mind, you turn back to see the core nearly completely drained, and her…well.

Eyes are glowing brighter, now. Oddly enough they seem softer, in a way. Her veins are a sky blue now, easily visible, but with her grey coloration it kinda sorta works on her? Maybe. You’re still not a fashionista. “Wooooow…that tasted pretty good! Thank you!” she even bows. Hadn’t done that before. Huh.

“...right, fuck it, everyone in the car!” Zipper throws her hands up. “We are LEAVING!”

…right. Well, you aren’t coming out of this empty handed, anyway. After you all hit the road, you take the time to look through everything you’ve got, with the aid of the FutureSight.

>Obtained:

>2 Small Creature Bones. / Analysis: These bones are very dense and have a much higher affinity for absorbing magic than normal bones. Resistant to corrosion and acidic effects.
>4 Large Creature Bones. / Analysis: These bones are extremely dense yet hollow. They have a much higher affinity for absorbing magic than normal bones. Resistant to corrosion and acidic effects.
>5 pounds of corruptive bestial meat. / Analysis: Dense muscle from a beast with a thick mucus. Mucus is conductive to electricity. Highly resistant to corrosion, mana absorbent. Inedible.
>8 pounds of corruptive beast shell. /Analysis: Thick, layered shell pieces. Flexible, yet dense and tough. Resistance to piercing effects.

Neat. Now...Avion City.

>Roll 1d20, best of three.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>5209783
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>5209783
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5209783
Okay, so we should probably check to see if the kid's got any new magic attributes.
>>
>>5209783
After those encounters I wonder what time of the day is it at the moment. We can use a long nap for mana recovery.
>>
Oh hey, that's good. 18 is high enough to put some of the fires out.

Writing.
>>
>>5209783
>>5209785
>>5209789
>>5209791
It’s an overcast day, meaning there’s a certain gloom to it despite the midday hour. For all you know, it might even rain, but that’s secondary to what you’re seeing now.

Avion City looms in the distance after a bit more driving- and ‘looms’ is very much the word here. For not being super technological, it seems like the city certainly has enough in the way of skyscrapers. At least three large towers, all surrounded by high purple clouds jut about the rest of the skyline, and the rest of the city already has an air of dourness about it. You can see various flying beasts above it- too large to be normal birds, and so can only be Wracked prowling. And even that’s only part of the city, as big as it is.

“What the fuuuuu…this place looks HUGE!” she rants. “And it’s supposed to be SAFE?”

“Perhaps in spots,” Izumi growls out. “But it’s clearly no secure bastion, that’s for sure.” Even on the outskirts as you are, you can see bodies, both of Wracked and human, several in military ware. A train track off in the distance to the left shows a toppled freight train, its cars and cargo well and scattered, with various small figures on top of and about it. “Though thinking about it, I’m fairly certain we only presumed such…”

“Well, either way, we’re headed in,” Zipper grumbles. “Let’s be careful here. We’re ahead of the estimate, so no need to rush.” Right. Still, you’d rather not delay.

The road isn’t exactly paved, but it’s got some kinda gravel going on at least, which helps, considering there’s a rather large number of corpses around. “Son of a bitch…” Zipper grunts as she passes another pile. “This is kinda fucking nuts.”

“Just to be certain, you’re aware of where we should be going, right?” Izumi asks.

Zipper pauses momentary, and you’re about to scream at her for not knowing, but she shakes herself. “No, I remember....kinda."

Nevermind. "Kinda?!"

She flinches. "Whoa, calm down! I mean, I know the general area. It's not gonna be on the main roads; the whole works is underground, got its own land.”

(cont.)
>>
>>5209904
Wait, what? “So we’re going to have to actually CARRY the thing?” That’s a…rather big liability.

She just chuckles. “Yeah, but trust me, I’m trying to make that part as painless as possi-”

*BOOM* You’re all interrupted by a massive explosion nearby- enough to throw off Zipper’s concentration and send the car screeching as she tries to brake. Gravel is thrown down on you as Jessica yells and ducks.

After a brief moment, silence, with some pebbles still landing and dust still flying. “Shit! Everyone okay?!” you force out. That was LOUD. Couldn’t have been more than a block away.

“All good!” Zipper responds, before looking out. “The fuck was that? A fucking airstrike?”

“No clue. We should get a move out!” Izumi calls. That’s- “Not my style, but we need to get to a safer area!” Right, that.

“Gunning it!” Zipper responds as she hits the acceleration again. You swear you hear someone yell in fury, just as you manage to make distance.

The place is an utter mess; but what’s really astonishing is the growths. And you don’t mean plants…at least, you think. Something…vaguely similar to plant roots, if perhaps purple and a bit less wooden than you’d expect, are winding around streets and some buildings- some like ropes pulsing clear across the street, massive and undriveable and forcing you to turn and find a way around. Rubble often causes similar, or in one memorable case, a massive pile of soldier corpses and Wracked that you quickly have to turn Jessica away from (not that you think it’s worth much.) You’re unsure what’s causing this, but it can’t be anything-

“Pretty…” What? You turn to Jessica, who seems much better now that she’s away from the explosions. Astounding how she managed to get so calm so quickly…but she’s looking at the growths- one in particular winding around a lamppost.

You’d not call them pretty, yourself. This kid's an odd one.

"Alright...which way do we go now," you hear Zipper mutter.

>We need to stop and get our bearings. Maybe do some on foot scouting before we waste more gas. This city is a maze.
>We should try and hunt as best we can for survivors and citizens. They can point us in the right direction. Maybe help in other ways.
>We should have a decent idea of where the place is, you've got a map, right? It shouldn't be too hard to find the place with some guesswork.
>Other
>>
>>5209907
>We should try and hunt as best we can for survivors and citizens. They can point us in the right direction. Maybe help in other ways.
Such as lend a hand moving this thing safely, or, failing that, show us places that'll help facilitate that.
>>
>>5209907
>>We should try and hunt as best we can for survivors and citizens. They can point us in the right direction. Maybe help in other ways.
>Check radio frequencies on walkie-talkie
we might learn what was the cause of the explosions from them
>>
>>5209907
>>5209911
THIS was gonna suggest the walkie talkie too
>>
That'll be it for tonight.
>>
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>>5209915
thanks for running!
>>5209783
>2 Small Creature Bones. / Analysis: These bones are very dense and have a much higher affinity for absorbing magic than normal bones. Resistant to corrosion and acidic effects.
>4 Large Creature Bones. / Analysis: These bones are extremely dense yet hollow. They have a much higher affinity for absorbing magic than normal bones. Resistant to corrosion and acidic effects.
maybe those could be used to make a staff. Or a spear. Or a spear-staff.
>>
>>5209924
Personally, I was thinking about making a one handed battleaxe with acid attacks. One big bone for the handle, some decently sized pieces of shell layered atop each other for the blade, and some acid-y meat mucus for the acid catalyst.
>>
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Interesting. I have an idea myself.

A stun-wand using those magic-absorbant bones and mucus. Like a taser but much stronger and can instantly drop someone just with a hit.
We can make multiples to pass around because it's so small. Lorelei/Izumi and the others, I'm sure, would appreciate having an instant-knockout tool at their disposal. Miranda may be able to do so already with Shock Touch, but this will make it a lot more powerful.
If we ever decide to learn some lightning spells, it can also be used as a focus.
>>
>>5210236
how do the bones correlate to the stunt wand again? and why not directly buy it from a store?
>>
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>>5210298
As I previously stated, magic-absorbant bones. Those can be used to make the handles/shaft or something else.

The parts were also taken from an alpha-type beast that was powered by a corrupted-or-possibly being-cleansed-by-nature’s-wrath apocalypse. I suppose we could buy stunners from a store, but I doubt they'd be as effective as what I'm proposing here. Did I mention they're completely free?

It also doesn't have to be a wand; anything that can be quickly drawn and fired in a matter of seconds will suffice. It doesn't have to be at point-blank range, either. To beat those here, you'll have to really spend some motes in the store, which I personally don't recommend.
>>
Not running, but felt like pointing out:

You can buy normal tazers and whatnot for virtually pennies on the dollar, yes. (I think I'm using that phrase right.) But anything strong than normal humans that you'd want to stun and not kill would indeed require a lot more oomph- and a lot more motes spent if you want to get something out of the box. It's similar to how guns are very cheap, but if you're after something that can shrug off bullets, you're going to have to spend some dough.

And yes, it'd be cheaper to furnish your own parts. Essentially I'm saying the 'make it custom' option some of you has is indeed financially feasible. Doesn't have to be a stunning weapon. In the Intersection, time is money, but it's also cheaper than sourcing materials yourself. Hopefully that made sense.
>>
Hello, all.

Writing! Time to explore this dangerous, dilapidated city of beasts and darkness.

It'll be fun!
>>
>>5209907
>>5209909
>>5209911
>>5209912
“We should try and hunt as best we can for survivors and citizens,” you decide after some consideration. “They can point us in the right direction. Maybe help in other ways.”

“Yeah, but that’s IF anyone’s survived,” Zipper grumbles as she turns down another road.

“That seems more likely than not, considering the explosion we just got away from,” Izumi points out. “You were the one wondering if it was an airstrike, weren’t you?”

Zipper grunts an affirmation as she focuses on driving. “Someone had to call it in,” she points out as the lot of you keep an eye out- and that brings to mind something.

“Hold on a second,” you say, and the lot of them look at you momentarily as you pull out the walkie-talkie. “It’s not exactly a long range radio, but we might be able to use this to get into contact.”

“Oh! Excellent idea! You start scanning channels while Zipper keeps driving.” Well, as she says.


Over time, you do find that there seems to be some signs of life, or resistance; the occasional weapon on the ground. Body of an unfortunate here and there. But despite the quiet that you’ve managed to get into, no people after about twenty minutes of driving…that is, until you cross street practically lined with busted cars and more than a couple of military jeeps; you manage to hear something barely come through, the static preventing you from hearing everything. You’re kinda annoyed- this is supposed to be military grade stuff, right? Wonder what’s blocking it?

> “...help…park…-estline Street. …suppli- …lter. This wi…” It sounds like a woman saying it; a relatively young one.
> “Massi… owtown…lties. Heav… …ing. Every other un… …request…” This one definitely sounds like a middle-aged man.
> “...got orders. Entire south si… ….heckuva fi….ass moving!” Huh. Younger guy, and he sounded…worried, dare you say?

“We might have to get off the street,” Izumi surmises around then. “If there’s going to be any secure places, I doubt they’ll be street-accessible. Too easy to find by the Wracked, right?”

“Makes enough sense,” Zipper says. “But we can’t haul this barrel everywhere.

Soon, however, you see a spot that might be…well, ‘safe’ for lack of a better term. “Over there- see that park?” you point out to the right. Sure enough, it’s a small park area, even has some nets for sports and a pond. Nothing much else, but it seems mostly safe, despite the few Wracked there- but those are easily dispatched.
>>
>>5216855
> “Massi… owtown…lties. Heav… …ing. Every other un… …request…” This one definitely sounds like a middle-aged man.
>>
>>5216855
> “Massi… owtown…lties. Heav… …ing. Every other un… …request…” This one definitely sounds like a middle-aged man.
>>
>>5216855
>"...help…park…-estline Street. …suppli- …lter. This wi…” It sounds like a woman saying it; a relatively young one.
This one seems closest to us we're neaf the park
>>
>>5216855
> “...help…park…-estline Street. …suppli- …lter. This wi…” It sounds like a woman saying it; a relatively young one.
i agree with the other anon. looks like the park is the closest of the bunch
>>
>>5216855
>>5216867
Eh sure, changing to the park.
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5216855
>>5216910
>>5216960
>>5216964
“Well, the good thing is that they don’t sound like they’re too far away from us,” you say. “One or two of us can hold down there, if need be. Can’t see anything outstanding right now, but…”

“It sounded like they were around…what, maybe ‘Eastline Street’? Zipper hazards. “We’ll have to check carefully; but seeing as there’s no one here, it’s probably a little ways away from here.” Right, that’s true. “I’ll take a run around and hopefully we’ll see or hear something without getting too far afield.”

“We can still use the park as a rallying point, most likely,” Izumi points out. “Let’s get started.”

The first few streets prove to have nothing in them- empty and deserted save for the strange not-roots winding through. After you get around to the opposite side of the park, however, you begin to hear strange noises. Loud burbling that seems to morph into growls at the end for a while, and eerie cawing. You look up, seeing a number of elongated, almost albatross-like decayed birds flocking in that direction as well. At first you’re about to ask just what they might be headed towards-

-but the unmistakeable sound of gunshots a few moments later tells you that it’s likely to not matter.

Izumi frowns. "Take us-"

"Already on it," Zipper interrupts as she guns the engine and heads towards the sound of gunfire and roars of

>Roll 1d100, best of three.
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5217164
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5217164
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5217164
>>
73. Holding okay. Writing.
>>
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>>5209924
>>5209938
>>5210236
Ya know what? We don't need another weapon. Especially made entirely of bone. We barely use the stuff that we already have. However, their magic-absorbent properties make them perfect for upgrading our gear: using bones in handles, handguards, stocks and other parts of our melee and ranged weapons for example. Draining Knife could hold larger amounts of mana, Rapier could be even more specialized for magic-boosting (maybe we can somehow use Seither crystals to upgrade it as well), it could be used to upgrade gear of other SES members as well - we still haven't seen what our new artificer can do.
>>5210236
>>5210796
>>5210807
I think we already have enough resources to make our own tazers and other non-lethal stuff (like gas grenades or water cannons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmvutmbUu4o&ab_channel=TheGuardian), it was one of the things we asked our nerds to focus on during last year's team meeting. Picrel from ye olde year of 2017 mentions shock crystals that O&C already had from the start of their career, we looted elemental manastones from Wild West mission (shock, water and fire), one of the minibot parts that Lori stole from Aiba lab was called 'Shock Claw', Miranda bought some magic shrooms that could be used in potions/gas grenades, etc.
>>
>>5217164
>>5217167
>>5217179
>>5217180
You don’t think there’s much else needed but to figure out just what’s happening, but that’s likely to be answered rather quickly- especially when you see a few of those bird beasts diving for something just around the corner- you can hear yelling and more gunshots as well. Izumi’s already got her pistol up, and Zipper’s bracing for whatever it might be.

You round the corner, and you’re witness to what seems to be a small parking lot area- thinking about it, it seems to be connected somewhat to the park itself, which you suppose explains it. There’s a number of tents and boxes here, and what seems to be a couple of trucks, even! And with them are a force of individuals; about half-dozen or so trying to fight off a swarm of Wracked; on the ground are a trio of large, bulbous Wracked similar to the one you’ve encountered in Jessica’s mansion. Add to that the flock divebombing them and the smaller, wretched skinny Wracked, and they’re having a rough time of it, though they let loose shot after shot into the throng as they seem to be attempting a stalling action.

Behind them, to your right a bit, is what appears to be a supply depot or drop off, with a number of people in nurse outfits or otherwise similar, though they at least have protective gear on over it. They seem to be, as far as you can tell, trying to onload several large bags and drums of supplies as fast as possible. You can see a few defenders have already fallen, dead, or in the case of two closer to you, bleeding out and likely unconscious- though still breathing clearly. Still, it’s clear what the situation is. Now, the question is how to respond to it.

“We need to help them!” Izumi cries quickly as her eyes dart between the fallen men and the oncoming horde.

>Action!
>>
>>5217451
Dump as much sticky mana as we can on the field for the ones on the ground, then tether a flier and go for a joyride, complete with crashing into another one.
>>
>>5217451
>Grab the Rapier and use Sunscorcher to make a wall of fire - this should ward of walking Wracked and give some breathing room on the ground
>Send Izumi to help and heal the defenders - her Heavenly Aura should fix up the wounded soldiers and reinvigorate tired nurses
>Hand Zipper our Clockwork Rifle and let her focus on the flying ones
If using flamethrower again sounds too expensive then we could swap it with Sticky Mana. Also why is Izumi holding a pistol when we he more powerful weapons that fit the setting?
>>
>>5217451
>>5217472
Oh, right. Izumi could use Demon's Roar before dashing to survivors - this could knock some fliers from the sky and some walking Wracked off their feet. And Miranda should boost Izumi's roar with Megaphone.
>>
>>5217451
>>5217505
It's past time for Izumi to dump some mana for a change.
>>
>>5217472
If the ones on the ground are like the big one we saw in Jessica’s house, they’ll explode into acidic goo if they get set on fire, which would ruin the day of anyone in the blast radius.
>>
>>5217660
I wasn't suggesting setting them ablaze - but creating a wall of fire to prevent them from getting closer. The camp is right in the open and there's no barriers between the defenders and the horde. We don't really have to kill all the Wracked, scaring them enough to send them running could be enough - that's why I suggested Sunscorcher instead of Light Barrier as it isn't impressive enough and is only slightly cheaper.
>>
>>5217451
>>5217472
>>5217505
>>5217696
So, to clear things up, my plan is:
1)Miranda boosts Izumi with Megaphone as she casts Demon's Roar in order to knock over as many Wracked as possible
2)Zipper drives up to the camp and covers the defenders and Izumi while the latter prepares her Heavenly Aura
3)Miranda creates a wall of fire to prevent Wracked from beelining towards the camp
>>
Can Izumi's Demon Roar be targeted? Because if it's just spreading the sound waves everywhere we might be doing more harm to the defenders than to the wracked.
>>
>>5217451
>>5217713
Reasonable, but I don't think Izumi should be healing them just yet, only WHEN the whrackeds are dead. Let her wail on the mobs first and then we can sit down. And we don't need fire atm, don't wanna test if they explode like the previous one. We should be able to clear this with just normal magiblasts and gunfire, no need for complications
That reminds me are we still carrying O&C's healing device?
>>
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>>5217731
I assume that it's a cone-shaped attack, since every time she used it there were friendlies nearby. So we only have to make sure that she's not screaming in the direction of the defenders and that's it.
>>5217740
>we don't need fire atm
Eh, alright, we can swap that with sticky mana instead then.>>5217713>>5217164
>are we still carrying O&C's healing device?
Nope. We've brought two Levitation Crystals, an Assault Crystal, a Vanishing Sigil Plate and the experimental Mana Extractor. Check the Mission Log page in the spreadsheet.
>I don't think Izumi should be healing them just yet
Some of the defenders are bleeding out and need healing ASAP. We can totally pull this off - her Roar and Miranda's presence should buy enough time. Once whoever can be saved is healed she can focus on mopping up the remaining Wracked.
>>
>>5217763
>the experimental Mana Extractor.
Damn, all these chances to try it on the wracked and we forgot to use it… well, no time like the present.
>>
Writing shortly. Seems like we're mostly going with

>>5217713
with a couple alterations?
>>
>>5218399
Ye, replace flamethrower with sticky mana
>>
>>5218399
From what I'm seeing, instead of using Sunscorch we hinder the upcoming Ws with sticky mana instead.
>>
>>5218399
Yeah, although I do think we should throw out our fireworks spell on the fliers when we can.
>>
>>5217451
>>5217472
>>5217505
>>5217598
>>5217740
>>5218411
“Izumi, can you yell?” you immediately ask as you focus on the situation. “Let’s clear this horde out and we’ll move on from that!” She’s already clearing her throat as you step forwards. “Zipper, get closer and cover them after she lets loose! And everyone cover your ears!”

She covers up, as does Jessica, as Izumi lets loose with a massive roar that has everyone turning in your direction in shock- and the Wracked blown away- or at least most of them as the beastial roar carries the mana with it to rip up pavement and hurl the predatory birds out of the air, crashing into buildings and ground alike. You’re pretty sure she’s holding back, though, considering what you’ve seen her do before…it’s a testament to how well she can control the mana shockwave direction that the defenders don’t seem to be hurt by it- though clearly thrown back a bit. You think they’re looking at YOU more than HER, though. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

“Go!” you state sharply, and Zipper guns it, the car racing forwards to put itself between the Wracked that still live and the defenders as you leap out, ready to intersperse yourself…and you’re vaguely surprised to see a number of guns raised towards you.

Right, that’s a thing.

>Roll 1d20-5 for reactions. Best of three.
>>
Rolled 15 - 5 (1d20 - 5)

>>5218492
>>
Rolled 18 (1d20)

>>5218492
>>
Rolled 12 - 5 (1d20 - 5)

>>5218492
Second roll still counts right?
>>
>>5218500
Iiiii guess. Would really rather modifiers be in the roll in the future, though.
>>
>>5218500
>>5218506
My bad… I’ll try to remember next time.
>>
Sometimes I just get hit by a lack of inspiration. Takes me forever to figure out a post. Like now.

>>5218492
>>5218495
>>5218498
>>5218500
You’re not ignorant of the guns at your back, and for a moment you’re worried you’re going to have to focus on them more than the Wracked- but as soon as Zipper starts firing away, you’re forced to focus on the Wracked for a bit. A spread of hands allows you a spread of sticky mana above and across the Wracked’s lines while Zipper plugs at the ones fallen and not killed by Izumi’s roar.

The crazed beasts don’t seem to realize their situation for a while, and that gives Zipper plenty of time to do her work as she tears into their lines. Izumi, for her part, is already moving towards the fallen soldiers; this is enough to get them to notice, however, and one of them- you’re not sure who since you’re facing away- barks out a quick “Don’t touch them!” And then there are footsteps behind you. “We’ll help them up! You and your creatures keep away!” Jessica seems to flinch at that, and part of you wants to sock her one. Just a part, though.

Izumi’s clearly not fine with that. “Ma’am, I can-” but she’s interrupted.

“No! You stay there or we shoot!” She warns. Graaand. Fantastic. Izumi looks torn, as far as you can tell. A moment’s cautious pause before more footsteps. “Keep loading! Get those two stable as quickly as you can! Keep an eye on this thing, too, in case it gets too ornery.”

“Ma’am, she’s not a thing,” Izumi interrupts. “She’s quite sapient and can understand everything you’re saying. And in case you hadn’t noticed-”

“We’re trying to HELP, dumbass!” Zipper says as she fires off several more rounds into slogging Wracked, with the other defenders concentrating on doing just that. “And frankly, could use a bit more firepower here!” Yeah, you can see several of the flying Wracked trying to take off again, and several more beasts rounding the corner, very unhindered by sticky mana. “That, or you better speed the fuck up!”

She has a point. Thought you DO have one or more guns to your back, you've gathered.

> Which is why you’ll help speed up the packing.
> Which is why you’re going to do what you do best and punch things.
> It might not actually be a good idea to move right now, as tense as things are.
> Other
>>
>>5218668
> Which is why you’re going to do what you do best and punch things.
>get Gartoum out
He can focus on the flyers while we sweep the ground Wracked.
>>
>>5218668
>> Which is why you’re going to do what you do best and punch things.
Gartoum might spook these folks, maybe later
>>
>>5218668
> Which is why you’re going to do what you do best and punch things.
See if we can practice some of our leg channeling on the zombies, if we can take the heavy hitters out quickly.
>>
>>5218668
Meh let Zipper take care of the flying ones, and maybe level up our legs>>5218687
>>
>>5218681
Should we pop an Assault Crystal right now? It'd speed things up, but I feel like we're doing fine without it. And we also have Levitation Crystal - so we might get the highground and chase the fliers.
>>5218676
By the way, Gartoum can't shoot or fly. Figured that out last mission when the team of heroes attacked us in the air.
>>
>>5218681
>>5218668
Eh, when else are we going to get an opportunity to use these crystals>>5218689
>Boost ourself with Assault and Levitation Crystals
>>
>>5218690
Since this city is perhaps our last stop, I was thinking about saving them for a final big encounter.
>>
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>>5218690
>>5218687
>>5218668
Oh right, leg channeling. We were trying to develop a flying technique at some point - maybe this Air Shift might help with our maneuverability when use together with Levitation Crystal
>>5218691
We don't know when this 'final big encounter' might happen and we have a spare Levitation Crystal anyway
>>
>>5218691
>>5218694
I feel like we're going to forget about these crystals when the 'final big encounter' actually happens. And we also have enchanted bracers from the last job that do basically the same thing - we could put them on after this fight.
>>
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Since we're almost at the finish line, what are we going to do about the music box? Could we sell it and give info on the Musician for extra pay? What should we do with the engraved knife we've looted from bandits? It had some sort of purification magic, but we've never checked what that actually does.
Also how many Beast parts are we sharing with Zipper?>>5209783
>>
>>5221042
if izumi doesn't bring jessica with her, we could convert them to motes or leave them with her; i doubt they will have much of a value after most people died and their relevance went away
>>
>>5221042
The music box should probably be given to Jessica, in case this disease will somehow keep giving her Magic Zombie Alzheimer’s if she doesn’t get a daily dose of music. The knife’s a bit more iffy, could go either way. Also, no need to mention the music guy unless whoever’s receiving the package is like him. He might have been a weird pain in the ass, but getting to say goodbye to loved ones long lost is enough of a reason IMO not to rat him out to anyone who might hurt him.

As for Zipper and the beast bits, I was figuring we’d use some of the parts to make something for her, but if she’d rather make something herself, she’s welcome to take a share.
>>
>>5221042
I imagine she has taken her share already.
Both of the music box and the dagger are a lil' early, but the Jessica should keep the box at least since we have no use for it.
>>
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>>5217276
Since Rapier enhances our spells and we can boost the new flamethrower technique with it, the Flamebringer becomes somewhat obsolete. I think that maybe we can keep it relevant if the power of the gravity stone's effect could be regulated - so we could make multiple lighter gravity enhanced strikes instead of a single big one.
Alternatively, we could scrap both the Rapier and Flamebringer to make a custom cut and thrust sword. They both were made out of mana conductive alloys, so maybe we'd get weapon with higher concentration of Starmetal.
>>
>>5223563
>the Flamebringer becomes somewhat obsolete
the flamebringer still has its own niche in our arsenal; its a pretty solid sword that has a 0 mana flamethrower and a gravity stone that helps lock down enemies

>I think that maybe we can keep it relevant if the power of the gravity stone's effect could be regulated
that's not really needed; miranda's pretty strong on her own and when we use the gravity stone is to completely overwhelm someone, so using it on any setting that isn't max is a bit useless
>>
>>5223563
They're just magic weapons, not made out of starmetal. Grizzi would have mentioned something if they were. I think we could upgrade our Flamebringer to be able to channel and increase the damage on our Sunscorch flames, though.

Actually, that got me thinking about something... If we invest some of our mana or spells into the creation or improvement of a weapon, we might be able to create some interesting combinations, like casting sticky mana on my acid axe idea during forging could have it gain the ability to launch gooey acid blobs, or have the Flamebringer burn with magma instead of fire.
>>
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>>5223576
We could carry the gravity stone over to the new sword. As for '0 mana flamethrower', maybe we could channel Energy Aura through the new sword that'd have a similar effect. IMO Flamebringer's flames weren't that impressive unless we dump way more mana into it.
>http://thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2018/3055956/#p3079518
>Maybe if you channel more mana into your blade… (1000-4000)
>>5223588
I think they're made out of ALLOY that contains it, it's obviously not pure Starmetal.
>my acid axe idea
>one-handed
Meh. Something long and versatile like poleaxe might've sounded interesting but I still don't think we need new weapons since we don't use the ones we already have often enough. Some folks were excited about Bloodborne-inspired Morph-blade, yet we haven't used it a single time in this literally Bloodborne-inspired mission.
Upgrading the effects is the way to go.
>>
>>5223588
>>5223602
>They're just magic weapons
That world had barely any mages left and people had low manapools. Magical items weren't supposed to just lay around, and they were either made of/enhanced with crystals (brainwashing tools and armor that the Church made for adventurers) or some other very specific and rare material. Why mention Starmetal in the story at all if there's absolutely nothing made out of it?
>>
>>5223602
>ALLOY that contains it.
I doubt there’s any star metal in it at all. honestly. Nothing came up when we took the rapier over for reinforcement.

> Something long and versatile like poleaxe might've sounded interesting but I still don't think we need new weapons since we don't use the ones we already have often enough.
We already had a halberd, and we gave that up for the armory rather than upgrade it. Besides, I was using the acid axe as an example for improving or creating weapons using the spells we know to give them new abilities. The important bit was using one of our spells on the weapon while making or improving it.
>>
>>5223609
If Miranda could enchant items by herself we would've known it years ago. The only way to add more spice to our gear is by using sigils, crystals and manastones that we've looted years ago. There are *some* that could enhance the effects of *some* of our items, and I really want to test this out, but every time we want our new hire to do something she's either missing or too busy.
>>
>>5223606
>That world had barely any mages left and people had low manapools. Magical items weren't supposed to just lay around, and they were either made of/enhanced with crystals (brainwashing tools and armor that the Church made for adventurers) or some other very specific and rare material.
Any place with an academy for learning magic can’t exactly be lacking for mages, and the world had high mana regen, which would offset the low mana pools of the average mage. Also, starmetal was said to be rare as hell there, so it would make sense that most of the magic weapons we saw were made out of more standard materials. Not that it matters, as our swords are still pretty powerful regardless of what they’re made of.

>>5223615
You’re forgetting that we know a skilled magical blacksmith. He’d probably be the person to talk to about imbuing weapons with our own spells. Just got to find out if he’s willing or able to, and how much it would cost.
>>
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>>5223617
>so it would make sense that most of the magic weapons we saw were made out of more standard materials.
What are these supposed 'standard materials' are you talking about? You think it makes sense that there was no point for Handler to even mention Starmetal at all?
I think using the rare Starmetal stockpiles in alloys makes more sense as the manufacturer could make dozens of half-decent magical items instead of a few really good ones when it comes to running a large kingdom and supplying an army. There was no mention of any other material that could hold enchantments (other than crystals).
>He’d probably be the person to talk to about imbuing weapons with our own spells.
>probably
That's why I'm skeptical about this - he never advertised that he's capable of these things, it's just your own guess that he 'probably' could do that. Also if Nura could upgrade Miranda's gear on the house then she could upgrade other SES members' gear as well.
>>5223609
Also halberds and poleaxes are two different things.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lH6NT-f9LU&ab_channel=scholagladiatoria
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdVYW9r2G3U&ab_channel=Medievalists
https://youtu.be/wGNPoInu-Ds
>>
>>5223617
...alright, I see why we can't agree on anything: you're using videogame logic that anything can be magick-ed up and boosted regardless of the material - because it's "Magic!", no explanation needed. Which clashes with my point of view (that is a bit more strict): nothing is magic unless the narrator/QM establishes that something is magical in X way and has Y properties.
>>
>>5223628
I don't quite know what you guys are talking about but this seems like a soft magic system vs hard magic system issue
which is a problem because from what I saw, there is plenty of both kinds of magic systems in the muliverse
for example, The Crystal duo have a hard magic system, more of a science
while we use a bit of a soft magic system, not strictly defined in how powerful it is or what that power can be made into

so if you are talking about doing something with "magic", I'd recommend clarifying what magic you are talking about
>>
>>5223563
The Flamebringer sure, but we never did get confirmation that the Rapier's made of Starmetal did we? We just looted it after the Baron's defeat and have been using it since then. I'm all in for recycling/improving our arsenal, but just because they're both similar weapons from the same world doesn't mean they're compatible.
And furthermore they're both iconic weapons in our arsenal. Unless the result is EXTREMELY GOOD, I'm not keen on the idea.
>>5223602
The Morph-Blade has been turned into our heavy-duty anti-mage weapon and there aren't any magic-slingers in this world, obviously it didn't get used much.
>>
>>5223768
>The Flamebringer sure, but we never did get confirmation that the Rapier's made of Starmetal did we?
Grizzy called it an alloy>>5223602, not just steel, so I think it might have some Starmetal in it.
>Unless the result is EXTREMELY GOOD, I'm not keen on the idea.
Yeah, I've been mulling over it for a few days, that's why I originally thought about just upgrading them separately>>5217276>>5223563. But, in essence, when we DON'T use their special perks, we tend to use them in a similar manner against the same enemies - and then have to switch between them mid-fight if one seems more suited for the situation than the other. We might use the magic absorbent bones and Seither Crystals to make something EXTREMELY GOOD.
Or at least something personally fitted for Miranda - these two swords were custom made for people larger than her. It's a minor, almost non-existent issue, but might play a role if we ever decide to take sword-fighting seriously.
>>
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>>5223834
Huh, in that case how about a twinblade/polearm? One head for the Flamebringer, the other for the rapier. The bones and mucus can be used for the handle.

It's definitely more difficult to use than a regular blade - we might need a trainer - but it's simple enough to work with that the end result won't look like a switch weapon (the smith will get more breathing). It's also sufficiently stylish.
>>
>>5223841
that just sounds impractical. lets just use the bones to strengthen the morph blade and maybe use the acids to improve the flamebringer; that dissolution/separation magic sounded really interesting
>>
Writing shortly! I mean it for once. Like, 20 minutes, tops.
>>
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Finally, I catch this live.
>>
>>5218668
>>5218676
>>5218681
>>5218687
Well. The question here is, do you take the risk? Guns would certainly put a damper on things, but- actually, y’know what? Screw it.

“I’m helping, then,” you say idly as you leap in and your fist connects with one of the human Wracked. You hear yells behind you as you take off, but eh. Izumi can deal with them one way or another- and you doubt they’d be THAT stupid as to intentionally hit you. One, two, three get blown away by the force of another strike- and two more nearly bisected as you turn with the force of your punch, sending a lariat their way.

It only hits their stomachs, mind, but you’ve still got more than enough force behind it to do the job, so whatever.

You can hear several bullets whiz past you, and Zipper’s shouting something to them in the background; after you ascertained it wasn’t to you, you’d kept your focus on the surroundings. Three magiblasts clear out some charging half-humanoid beast-like THINGS, and before that- whoop. That was close, whatever that gunk was. Rather not get near the thing who’s head is swelled like a beach ball.

The thrashing continues for a few more moments- you realize you’ve stopped hearing bullets after a moment, however, and suddenly a yell from Zipper. “Pull back! PULL BACK!”

You jump to clear the masses, and you can see…something rumbling from beneath them, disrupting the sticky mana, and sending the birds flying off, screeching in protest.

Damnit. Whatever this is, it can't be good. Especially with the...blue glowing? That's new.

You're already coming down when the ground cracks.

>roll 1d100, best of three.
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5224415
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5224415
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5224415
>It only hits their stomachs, mind, but you’ve still got more than enough force behind it to do the job, so whatever.
Aaah yes the deadly loli windmill
>>
One asks, and the creep desists.

Writing.
>>
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>>5223841
>a twinblade
A meme weapon. Do you know any historical examples of a twin-blade?
>polearm?
Like a swordspear?
>>
>>5224543
Yep, similar to that. The Flamebringer should be at the top, and the Rapier should be at the bottom. Coupled the bones and mucus, it should turn into some sort of usable STR/DEX/INT monstrosity.
We do want a long weapon for our limited reach.
>>
>>5224559
that sounds dumb and it kills the niche that each weapon has
>>
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>>5224568
Just a passing thought, because I can't think of anything else if we ever decide to merge them for greater strength and convenience. Blame my munchkin side.
>>
>>5224559
>>5224575
>We do want a long weapon for our limited reach.
...we gave up a perfectly good halberd and hunting spear to add them to SES's armory. Why not just take out either one of them and enchant them with the turtle parts for a magic reach weapon?
>>
>>5224584
My musings after that anon's suggestions was, it would be cool if we cuold use both the Flamebringer and the Rapier at the same time without the awkwardness of dual-wielding. Having a reach weapon is just the cherry on top.
>>
>>5224415
>>5224423
>>5224426
>>5224431

You’re not sure what you’re expecting, but as both you and the armed defenders scramble away from the mass, you brace yourself as it goes from a rumbling crackle to an eruption- a twisting mass of vines, coiled and bound together and-

Suddenly the blue glow erupts from it again, and then it seems to…shudder? And then, momentarily, it pauses, before the conglomeration seems to plop down, settling with a massive thud as the blue glow shines bright on its bark in spots…if that IS bark, anyway. But for such an entrance, that was an awful lot of nothing.

“We’re leaving! Everyone, pull back and bug out!” Well, not like they care, clearly. You turn around to mention to Zipper what to do next-

Only to notice how they’ve got Zipper at gunpoint, looking thoroughly put out. “Thought that’d be worth a ‘thank you at the fuckin’ least…” she says, disgruntled. You’ve got some weapons on you as well- and Jessica does too, to your honest surprise. Though looking at her, you can kinda see why.

The glowing blue eyes and serious face are kinda a tip off. Izumi looks particularly startled and unsure what to do, though a frown tells you that she’s displeased enough. Can’t do anything due to being so close to the gun-toters, as well. Well, she COULD, but that’d just be more mess.

“You all, too!” The lady in charge is the one in a habit, and boy does she not look like a proper nun considering the Thompson she’s toting. At least you THINK it’s a Thompson, or something akin to it. “We’ve got questions!”

Great.

> “Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly.
> “Leave now, else your sacrifices be in vain.” You’ll hope for someone less…ungrateful to point you in the right direction.
> Whatever. Just go with them under your own power. Not like they can do much to you anyway.
> (Intimidation) “Really? You’d do that after seeing what this child could do?” They're really not getting it, huh?
> Other
>>
>>5224606
>> Other
"I don't answer questions at gunpoint."
>>
>>5224606
So what are the chance that they'll just give some pointers if we just say we're here to cure the plague
>>
>>5224606
>“Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly.
>>
>>5224606
> “Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly.
>>
>>5224606
> “Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly.
> "And you owe the kid an apology, lady. I expect better from a sister of the cloth."
>>
>>5224606
>“Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly.
>"I was going to heal your wounded, but given our reception, I'm withdrawing my offer. Unless.."
As far as I know Izumi haven't healed any of them yet, we can use that to have them point us to the right direction.
>>
>>5224641
>implying they will take healing from an eldritch horror and a suspiciously normal girl as a boon
>>
>>5224647
Eh we can try, from what we can see a number of defenders are in critical condition. If she has any goodwill in her (and she's a nun) she has to take the leap.
>>
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>>5224606
>>5224632
oh, right
>try to gauge her mood and gain some insight
we've bought all these expensive enchanted clothes, but so far they haven't been that useful. now's the chance for them to shine
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5224633
>>5224641
>>5224660
>>5224606
Right, my vote boss
>>
>>5224665
>>5224660
you didn't forget we have all these enchanted items, did you?
>>
>>5224665
Ah drats, oh well
>>
>>5224668
of course we did, do you think we have in mind all the little trinkets we collected through the literal years this quest has been running?
>>
I've decided to include >>5224660.
>>
>>5224671
They're not 'little trinkets' that were lying in our inventory - they're EXPENSIVE artifacts that were supposed to work passively since we chose them during the dress up preparations, just like the Divine Shoes.
>>
>>5224677
>>5224671
And just like the Divine Shoes - we're CONSTANTLY wearing them.
>>
>>5224681
>>5224677
and we forget about them due to the nature of quests. so far you're the only one that remembers; good on you.
>>
>>5224683
I thought I'd be insufferably obnoxious if I posted reminders in every thread. These effects are listed in the Mission Log page in the spreadsheet but looks like this is not enough.
>>
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>>5224671
>of course we did, do you think we have in mind all the little trinkets we collected through the literal years this quest has been running?
...that's why I didn't want to take the spying mirror in the last mission and was suggesting that we should take the telescopic spear instead
>>
>>5224713
and this is also why I don't really want new weapons and why I think combining existing ones is a good idea.
>>
>>5224606
>>5224624
>>5224632
>>5224633
>>5224641
>>5224660
>>5224666
“Then ask them here.” You’re not going anywhere with them under gunpoint. That’s just silly. And you’re not going to be intimidated by these idiots. Especially considering how they’re looking over their wounded, who are clearly still in great pain. You motion to them, your masked face tilting towards the wounded. "I was going to heal your wounded, but given our reception, I'm withdrawing my offer. Unless..." you let the statement hang, hoping for them to bite.

“Whatever you’re planning, creature, we don’t want part of it!” she says hotly, and…huh. She doesn’t seem to be too concerned about Izumi doing anything iffy. In fact, she kinda moves in front of her a bit, to Izumi’s own slight consternation. “Your spawn can do all they want, but leave us poor humans OUT of it!” She motions towards Zipper as well, who looks…well, like she’s a few moments from trying to open up on the soldiers surrounding her. Though she at least doesn’t seem to be actually making any motions to do so.

As you look back towards the nun, you concentrate. And soon, you can see blooms of color from all of them. The speaker and the vast majority are purple…much like Zipper was, at one point. One of them next to her is a near grey, next to the fallen are a rich blue, and one of the men looking at you is…peach? Orange? Eh. Moving on.

“Why are you here?” she continues. “What purpose have you?”

So many problems. Never any solutions. The world has ended, God has forsaken all, and the only judgement left is her own. It’s merely a matter of how long the last of humanity can survive, she’s sure. She will try to last as long as she can, however. For others, if certainly not herself.

Hm. So that’s her deal…you glance at Jessica again, who seems…well, she doesn’t seem too fussed about doing whatever it is she’s doing, but the massive thing is still passive, and her eyes are still lit, focusing on it. You suppose you have time to answer.

> “We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” A bit highbrow, but maybe it’ll play well.
> “Our purposes are our own, but they don’t oppose yours.” Might be that’ll ease her up a bit.
> “As long as we don’t kill you and yours, does it really matter?” Practicality, ho.
> (Otherworldly) “Were I to share the purpose, are you assured of your lucidity? The others?” Not the friendliest, but hopefully she’ll back off.
> Other
>>
>>5224750
>“We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” A bit highbrow, but maybe it’ll play well.
>>
>>5224750
> “We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” A bit highbrow, but maybe it’ll play well.
>"We were on our way to our goal when we've heard your cries for help on the radio. And so we've provided it."
>>
>>5224750
> “We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” A bit highbrow, but maybe it’ll play well.
>"We were on our way to our goal when we've heard your cries for help on the radio. And so we've provided it."
> "Now, would you be kind enough to let my associates explain the situation? I need to help the child put down her foe."
>>
>>5224750
>“We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” A bit highbrow, but maybe it’ll play well.
>"We were on our way to our goal when we've heard your cries for help. And so we've provided it."
>"The planet is enraged, nun. We are here to provide a solution that will hopefully put an end to it, giving humanity one more leg to stand on and thrive after this cleansing."
>"Hope is not lost."
>>
>>5224750
I'm not following, i know jess is having another episode but what massive thing is she looking at?
>>
>>5224777
she's looking at the 'pretty' roots that are all around the city>>5209907
>The place is an utter mess; but what’s really astonishing is the growths. And you don’t mean plants…at least, you think. Something…vaguely similar to plant roots, if perhaps purple and a bit less wooden than you’d expect, are winding around streets and some buildings- some like ropes pulsing clear across the street, massive and undriveable and forcing you to turn and find a way around. Rubble often causes similar, or in one memorable case, a massive pile of soldier corpses and Wracked that you quickly have to turn Jessica away from (not that you think it’s worth much.) You’re unsure what’s causing this, but it can’t be anything-

>“Pretty…” What? You turn to Jessica, who seems much better now that she’s away from the explosions. Astounding how she managed to get so calm so quickly…but she’s looking at the growths- one in particular winding around a lamppost.

>You’d not call them pretty, yourself. This kid's an odd one.
I think they have some mana, since she's been attracted to it in a weird way. And we also might be able to test our experimental mana siphon on them as well.>>5217973
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5224785
and since so far we've seen only roots - whatever this is is in an early stage of growth and could be stopped if the seed(s) are found. but unless someone offers to pay to do something about them or if there are other ways to profit from it - this is none of our business. we're the delivery girls.
>>
>>5224750
>>5224754
>>5224766
>>5224771
>>5224774
After looking around, particularly at Zipper, who just grunts in annoyance, you decide you might as well sprinkle in a bit of truth with expectation. “We intend to assist in restoring balance to things.” You can hear some scoffing at that, but you press on before any retort could be made. "We were on our way to our goal when we heard your cries for help on the radio. And so we've provided it."

“It knows what a radio is?” you heard one whisper, only to get elbowed by his fellow standing next to him.

“Surrender your thralls and follow us, if you’re calling yourself an ally,” the nun says. Huh. Vaguely, you thought she’d use more formal speech. “And we’ll consider what you mean by ‘restoring balance’ to things.”

“I can tell you what I mean,” you say crisply. You’re already getting annoyed with this, sparing another glance to Jessica. She still seems fine, though you swear she’s gotten a bit more tense. “The planet is enraged, nun. We are here to provide a solution that will hopefully put an end to it, giving humanity one more leg to stand on and thrive after this cleansing."

“Cleansing?” The nun asks, her aura one that you can easily tell is fearful. “So do you mean-”

“I mean hope is not lost,” you interrupt. You’d really rather not play this game, and the shock on the nun’s face is gratifying.

“I…” the nun starts, but she can’t seem to form the words. Izumi, for her part, seems to be trying to budge closer to the injured parties.

“Are we getting the fuck outta here or what?!” Zipper half-yells, bringing everyone’s attention to her. Right.

“Then…fine! But anything strange and we shoot!” Well, at least she’s down to ‘ornery, but reasonably so.

Confusion and distrust mar this lady all throughout. It'd take a genuine miracle to bring back any real belief. Even now, she's not trusting you, but she IS thinking you might not want her and her people dead...immediately, anyway. What's your angle? She wants to find out.


>Leave with them. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had an ‘escort’.
>Refuse. You’ve dealt with them enough. Just see what Jessica’s doing here…
>Other

[Continuing tomorrow.]
>>
>>5224948
>Leave with them. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had an ‘escort’.
>>
>>5224948
>Leave with them. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had an ‘escort’.
>"You'll have to accept some strangeness in order to survive what your world has become, miss."
>>
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>>5224592
>>5224584
>a magic reach weapon
I think the Morph-Blade is large and long enough to serve as a reach weapon.
>>5223768.
>The Morph-Blade has been turned into our heavy-duty anti-mage weapon and there aren't any magic-slingers in this world, obviously it didn't get used much.
Why should we shoehorn it into a purely anti-magic weapon role when it's a custom-ordered is as a versatile one.
Personally, I feel 'eh' about it, but it can be used as a shield, anti-armor and crowd-control weapon with anti-magic properties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhNnwby--yQ&ab_channel=MattGalas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7yrwZvRZ90&t=1540s&ab_channel=TheModernRogue
>>
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>>5224959
I know that Morph-blade is noting like a historical zweihander, but it's still classifies as a greatsword.

>>5223768
>just because they're both similar weapons from the same world doesn't mean they're compatible.
>>5223609
>I doubt there’s any star metal in it at all. honestly.
Different materials also could be forge-welded together. That's how early medieval swords and most katanas are made - metallurgy smiths had to forge-weld metals with different properties before advancements in metallurgy allowed to create alloys with necessary properties from the get-go.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_swordsmithing#/media/File:Katana_brique.png
https://www.pinterest.ru/pin/344595808972011730/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9nMdPAjWkE&ab_channel=TyrellKnifeworks
Grizzy is skilled enough to forge-weld stuff to an already finished product - that's how he upgraded the Morph-Blade.
>>
>>5224968
*medieval smiths had to forge-weld
>>
>>5224959
It sounds more like a FromSoftware colossal sword than an actual polearm from what it's hooked sword description describes, though. I was thinking regular sized spears for quick jabbing attacks, especially since Harpsicorie could branch out into spears or polearms later.

>>5224968
Frankly, I'd rather we kept both swords separated rather than mush them together for convenience. They're useful for different strategies, and they also fit certain outfits pretty well as costume pieces. The Flamebringer's good for the Fantasy Sellsword and Dark Knight looks and slashing through large groups, while the Rapier's better for dueling one on one, using as a sort of spell enhancing wand, and for dressing up like a Spooky Fey or Eldrich Swordswoman types.
>>
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>>5224982
>It sounds more like a FromSoftware colossal sword than an actual polearm
Never said that it's a 'polearm'. 'Reach weapon' doesn't have to be pole-based, just the fact that it's long enough should make it fit the criteria.
>they also fit certain outfits pretty well as costume pieces
A cut and thrust sidesword could fill and fit in both niches imo. With finger rings to help with aiming the sword thrusts or for spellcasting.
>>
>>5224999
>A cut and thrust sidesword could fill and fit in both niches imo.
I'd still prefer we don't combine the swords, and instead upgrade them with new capabilities.
>>
>>5224948
>Leave with them. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had an ‘escort’.
>>
Running shortly. 1 hour or when I finish lunch, whichever happens first.
>>
...time passes quicker than I thought. That didn't feel like an hour, let alone two. Writing.
>>
>>5225511
Must've been a big burger
>>
>>5225608
Pasta, actually. Creamy shelled with sausage.
>>
>>5224948
>>5224952
>>5224956
>>5225068
You turn to them. “Then leave. We’ll follow.” You turn to the soldiers nearby, who flinch as they realize that your attention is on them. “And you’ll be following us in turn?”

They don’t respond, but everyone’s quick to clamber onto their respective vehicles if they aren’t already; and you notice two in particular climbing onto the back of your own car, hanging off the sides, which Zipper glares at. “You fall, I ain’t stoppin’ for your asses.” Fortunately, they don’t take the bait, instead looking straight ahead. Well, you’re not very inclined to be charitable, either. Izumi in particular seems to be staying with them for the time being, though you figure that’s partially due to their leader’s concern and suspicion- you see her plainly give Izumi a pitying look behind her back, placing a hand on her shoulder as Izumi assists with the injured fighters.

The procession manages to start up and take off without any further fanfare. As you leave, however, you notice Jessica’s still starting in its general direction…at least for a few minutes. You end up shaking her, upon which her eyes turn back to normal. “-uh, huh?” She blinks, looking around. “Is…everything…okay now?” She certainly seems confused.

> You’d like to know what she just did.
> You want to at least see if she’s alright.
> Make sure to figure out where we’re going.
> Other
>>
>>5225684
> You’d like to know what she just did.
> You want to at least see if she’s alright.
>>
>>5225684
> You’d like to know what she just did.
> You want to at least see if she’s alright.
So two of them are at the back of our ride to keep eyes on us.
>>
>>5225684
this>>5225685
>>
>>5225684
>>5225685
+
>>
>>5225684
> You’d like to know what she just did.
> You want to at least see if she’s alright.
> "How's your head feeling? Do you need the music box?"
Is her speech slowing down again? Does using any powers have her revert back?
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5225684
>>5225685
>>5225690
>>5225693
>>5225695
>>5225698
“That’s what I’d like to know,” you say at a low voice. Given a quick once over, you notice that her complexion hasn’t changed much- still got the whole grey/blue color scheme going on- but with the lights in her eyes dimmed a fair bit, you were concerned. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem…as lost? As she was a while back. There’s definitely wheels churning in that head, but the way she looks around, it’s clear she’s not quite as well. “Your eyes were really bright for a while after those, uh… root things came out of the ground. Now they aren’t. Can you tell me what just happened?”

A pause for a few moments, but she looks up to you in time. “Uhh…I wanted it…to not hurt you. And I…realized I could…talk to it. Kinda. Inside.” Huh. That’s interesting. “It…didn’t talk back. But it listened…so I kept telling it to…not grow.” She pauses again, looking down. “Is everyone…okay?”

You let out a sigh. So, she’s got that kinda power? Funky. “Yeah, everyone’s mostly fine. Zipper’s good-”

“As can be,” she interrupts. “But now we’re being hauled along because SOME PEOPLE don’t understand how to say THANK YOU.” Again, no bait taken. Professionals, these are. You round a corner onto a side street, but the convoy seems to be well-practiced in where they’re going. Silence again as you roll under a bridge, and turn onto what seems to be a rather dirt road. Not so much nearing the outskirts of the city, but rather an underdeveloped part.

“...I’m really hungry.” Right. You’re pretty sure you had some leftover food, though considering the girl’s monstrous appetite, you’re kinda running low, actually.

The trip is quiet- and when you finally stop, you have to admit a bit of a smirk crosses your face- not that anyone would see it.

A church. Figures. Might be an orphanage, too, considering the large back end of it. Everyone in the nun’s vehicle quickly departs, and there’s a number of larger men waiting as well; like a well-trained machine they quickly begin to move to ferry the supplies in.

“Hold it!” the nun suddenly mentions. “Everyone, back inside for now. We have…guests.”

She turns to you, and gasps and murmurs happen. “They haven’t done anything against us, and they’ve been saying some…odd things. Don’t aggravate them until we figure out what’s going on, but don’t just blindly trust them, either.” Well, no points for subtlety. Suppose that’s a luxury these days, though.

“Now then, if you’d come with us,” she mentions. The threat is implied, but…

“Do not touch our cargo,” you warn.

“We won’t. No telling what it might do to us,” she agrees. “You and your spawn come with me.”

(cont.)
>>
>>5225768
“...M’not ‘spawn’,” Jessica grumbles, much to their surprise. “And I’m hungry.” That gets some looks of shock from all gathered. Guess they didn’t expect her to speak. There’s clearly some whispering going on afterwards, and you figure there’s going to be a lot of rumors and gossip in the near future.

“We…will get you something.” The nun hesitantly offers. “However, we need to talk with your…caretaker. Perhaps you could go with Maria while we do?” she offers, motioning to a lady in suspenders, a red t-shirt, and bushy hair. She seems…less than enthused, looking like the nun just sold her soul for her.

“We might want to talk to you, too. We didn’t know you could,” she admits.

“That’s…okay. I couldn’t…for a while…” Hm. Yeah, she seems a bit lethargic, if still clearly there.

Izumi doesn’t seem too enthused at separation, but remains silent- though you can tell she’s trying to think up an excuse to reject the idea. Zipper is grumbling, but she’s the worst off of everyone here- she can’t really speak up about anything without getting a dirty look and probably some declaration of being manipulated, either.

> Yeah, you’re not separating from the kid. Waaaay too dangerous.
> Well, it’ll only be for a bit, and she’ll probably get some food out of it. Just might take some convincing.
> Other
>>
>>5225769
> Yeah, you’re not separating from the kid. Waaaay too dangerous.
We have a stacked deck and they don't. Might need to tell them something else also to relieve the tension though.
>>
>>5225769
>Yeah, you’re not separating from the kid. Waaaay too dangerous.
>"the kid is under our personal protection. im afraid she can't leave with you, but some food for her would be greatly appreciated"
>>
>>5225769
> Yeah, you’re not separating from the kid. Waaaay too dangerous.
>>
>>5225769
>>5225779
>>
>>5225769
>>5225779
>"The food would be greatly appreciated, but I'm afraid she won't be able to accompany you. The little one is under our personal protection"
>"If this isn't obvious, whatever we're going to discuss will concern her too."
>>
>>5225769
>> Yeah, you’re not separating from the kid. Waaaay too dangerous.
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5225769
>>5225777
>>5225779
>>5225781
>>5225792
>>5225806
“That won’t be happening.” You ignore the looks given your way, and continue to focus on the nun, who’s still trying to look tough but clearly isn’t sure what to do. "The food would be greatly appreciated, but I'm afraid she won't be able to accompany you. The little one is under our personal protection. And should it not be obvious, anything we discuss will concern her, too."

You hold her eyesight- as her aura flares blue and green…you’re pretty sure that’s fear, but just in case…what is she thinking?

She’s made many a mistake before, and she feels perhaps she’s made one now…or is about to make one. An utterly fatal one. She doesn’t feel like she can truly make these decisions. A facade of strength can only get one so far before they crumble or lash out. She will stand as long as she can, but in the end, she’s not sure which might happen, herself.

Well, then. That’s interesting to know. She’s holding up by strings with this? That means you might be able to bully her a bit. Though you suspect that could be as good as it might be bad.

After a few moments, she sighs- and you realize it’s shaky. Uncertain. “Why do all of this? Why even care? What do you get out of it?”

> "If I were to say 'your desires made manifest', would that suffice?" Because dangit, just saying 'money' wouldn't feel right here, even if it's honest.
> "Enough. You don't need to worry about that. There is a functioning laboratory in this city, I understand. Do you know where it is?" Not interested in 20 questions, you're here for info.
> "Not I. More, the child. She should grow. Like all children, no?" A lie, but it should play well with what she's worried about. You think.
> Other
>>
>>5225872
>"If I were to say 'humanity's hopes and dreams made manifest', would that suffice?" Because dangit, just saying 'money' wouldn't feel right here, even if it's honest.
lets see how the melodramatic way fares
>>
>>5225872
> "If I were to say 'humanity's recovery and survival', would that suffice?" Because dangit, just saying 'money' wouldn't feel right here, even if it's honest.
> "I cannot guarantee a complete recovery to the lives you had before. However, we can at least offer you a path to ensure your species survival, perhaps even help you to thrive in this new world."
>>
>>5225872
>>5225875
>>5225890
These are good, I'm fine with either.

>"One doctor required a formula to be delivered to Avion City in order to begin the process of creating an actual cure, putting an end to this nightmare. We answered the call."
>"Whatever's in that barrel has the potential to save you all. There is a functioning laboratory in this city, I understand. You'd be wise to direct us there and, if necessary, provide additional assistance so that the procedure can be completed without delay."
If they bite we'll get some meatshields (sorry Izumi).
>>
>>5225872
>"We are here to deliver something that should change the state of this place. Our destination lies somewhere in this city, and there are dangers that we are not fully aware of. You've managed to persevere, to shelter others and even dare to travel outside. Your knowledge and experience could serve us in fulfilling our mission."
Complimenting and recognizing their efforts might work. Hope they know who's calling the airstrikes and what do all these weird roots do.
>>
Writing!
>>
So are we going full G-man with this or are we actually trying to be amicable?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjTaIIoTY64&ab_channel=VG247.com
>>
>>5225909
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FY7ScBWdvw&ab_channel=Mottflyer
this perspective might be better
>>
>>5225909
>>5225910
vague enough to make them believe whatever they want to believe
>>
>>5225909
I can go with vague, but amicable. Chances are they're going to be dealing with magical musical zombie people after we leave, so might as well teach them that music might help.
>>
>>5225872
>>5225875
>>5225890
>>5225897
>>5225899
You sigh, though it comes off as metallic. "If I were to say 'hopes and dreams made manifest', would that suffice?"

That pauses them. “...hopes and dreams…?” You hear her mutter. Zipper just scoffs (and though you’re not looking at her, you’re positive she just rolled her eyes, and Izumi looks like she’s trying to parse what the heck you meant by that.

Nonetheless, you continue. Might as well try to sell them on it. "I cannot guarantee a complete recovery to the lives you had before. However, we can at least offer you a path to ensure your species’ survival. We are here to deliver something that should change the state of this place.” It’s fairly obvious what that is, and you see a few people glance at the cargo in the back seat. “Our destination lies somewhere in this city, and there are dangers that we are not fully aware of. You've managed to persevere, to shelter others and even dare to travel outside. Your knowledge and experience could serve us in fulfilling our mission."

“Destination…? Where’re you- oh!” Maria’s eyes widen. “The lab! They’re tryin’ ta get to the lab, I bet!”

That gets a lot of reaction. “Tch. Those maniacs?!” one of the guards scoffs. “They’ll kill us all!”

“Shit,” another one swears as the tension ratches up. “Their ‘improving humanity’ shit's gone too far...didn’t think they’d do-”

Hold on, THAT’S new. You quickly turn to the soldier that just spoke, who jumps at the sudden attention. “Clarify that. NOW.”

“Wha-? Uh…well…” he looks around for help, but finds none- not even from the nun, who seem surprised at YOUR surprise for the moment. “I mean…it’s kinda known that the only ‘lab’ still around is the Superbia Lab on the north end. It used to be for medical research stuff. Bunch of eggheads still holed up there in their underground bunkers. Probably one of the most fortified areas in the city. One of the most constantly hit, too. But they’ve been tryin’ to find ways to science their way out of the end of the world for ages. Rumor has it they’ve been doing human experiments lately to make a Fog-proof superhuman. No proof yet, but where there’s smoke…” He shakes his head, letting the thought trail off. “It’s grim stuff.”

“Don’t stop us from trading with ‘em,” another soldier says suddenly. “They’re kinda the only real reliable source of medicine for anyone. But even that’s been thinnin’ out lately.” He motions to the crates.

“Is that what the kid’s for?” one of them murmurs. “I dunno about this…”

"N-no..." Izumi mutters. Zipper looks annoyed at this new information. Jessica just looks confused, and a bit scared. Have to admit, that's a wrinkle you wish didn't exist. Not that it matters to you a whit, but they're clearly antsy about giving you directions now.

> "What they wish for is irrelevant. What they will get is what we offer them."
> "I fail to see how that's a negative, should this work."
> "They will cure this or die. I will assure them of this."
> Other
>>
Done for tonight.
>>
>>5225929
> "What they wish for is irrelevant. What they will get is what we offer them."
> "They'll receive what we were hired to deliver. Fortunately for us, they're likely expecting the barrel, not a child, so all we have to do is make sure they don't become interested in her."
> "Does anyone know where we can find some new clothes and makeup?"

Night boss.
>>
>>5225929
> "What they wish for is irrelevant. What they will get is what we offer them."
>Ask about the airstrikes (or whatever that was>>5209907), where are they coming from?
>Ask what they know about the growths
>>
>>5209783
>“Wooooow…that tasted pretty good! Thank you!” she even bows. Hadn’t done that before. Huh.
>>5225769
>“...M’not ‘spawn’,” Jessica grumbles, much to their surprise. “And I’m hungry.”
>“That’s…okay. I couldn’t…for a while…” Hm. Yeah, she seems a bit lethargic, if still clearly there.
The kid now needs to rest and eat more often - which is a good thing since brains need a lot of energy to function. Just a few days ago she was a potato that we've picked up in an plantation house, who never slept and didn't know how to eat.
>>
>>5225929
> "What they wish for is irrelevant. What they will get is what we offer them."
> "The child is not part of the delivery."
> "With recent developments, I will be able to steer them to the right direction. I am, well-versed in this particular subject."
> "I'm going to confirm what many of you have suspected. The plague is indeed, magical in nature."
And >>5225943.
The chances of a bunch of crazed nerds resorting to research sorcery are slim, but scientists tend to follow truths, and we know magic the best on this plane. We are trying to convince these folks that they have a chance here.
>>
>>5225929
>“Shit,” another one swears as the tension ratches up. “Their ‘improving humanity’ shit's gone too far...didn’t think they’d do-”

>“Clarify that. NOW.”

“Wha-? Uh…well…” he looks around for help, but finds none- not even from the nun, who seem surprised at YOUR surprise for the moment.

Seems like the eggheads actually did manage to create some superhumans - one of the boys working for our client explained why he had no hesitation shooting at us:
>It’s then that the teenager speaks up, still frowning. “...you look kinda like the thing that ate my brother. You try ta eat us too an’ I’ll give ya more holes than used corkwood.” The way he’s leaning back suggests his bite’s worse than his bark, but something about him twigs at you, and the way his face is pinched…something flashes in the back of your mind, and you have an idea of what his little story is.
>>
>>5226027
I doubt that the scientists were responsible for that one. They’ve been stuck at their lab doing whatever the hell they’ve been doing, so if they actually made something, they’ve likely kept it locked up for study. If there actually was a breakout, chances are these guys we met would know about it and would have mentioned it to us already, and the thing would have likely remained in the city, hunting down survivors. More likely the teen was blaming us for the trauma that happened to him.
>>
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>>5226226
>Rumor has it they’ve been doing human experiments lately to make a Fog-proof superhuman. No proof yet, but where there’s smoke…
Maybe I'm wrong, but we've already encountered some strangely tanky specimens. In any case - this is the last stop and we should prepare for the final push: use up the remaining mana crystals and tell Izumi to do so as well (if she's full then ask her to share with us), try on some stuff we've looted from the last mission and whatever we've borrowed from Owlia.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H43OFoxE9QyMgIqBg_YdPO7IPn7_ES6iST7Xnv9Ou7Q/edit#gid=2019626088
>>
>>5226239
Let's use our condensers too, they should be capped by now.
>>
Will be running tomorrow, as I won't be available this weekend.
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5225929
>>5225938
>>5225943
>>5225981
"The child is not part of the delivery." You say that as resolutely as possible to get the point across. "And frankly, what they wish for is irrelevant. What they will get is what we offer them." And what they technically asked for, but it’s not like they need to know THAT much.
They look around at each other, but there’s little communication as they each digest what you’ve said.

Again, it’s the nun who speaks up first. “Let’s say we believe that even a little. What do you want from us, specifically?”

You pause, as you consider that. “Information,” you decide after a few moments. “Their exact location,” you immediately say. “We do not know. You do. As well as understanding,” you continue, cutting off their response. “What is the source of the explosions earlier?”

“Oh, that?” she says surprisingly casually. “There’s a group of ex-army folk more or less stuck here around the west end,” she explains. “Got some good gear, and a solid amount of it, but they keep it to themselves. Not enough to fight out, since there’s a bigass…THING that likes to call that its turf that’ll kill ‘em if they try to leave. OR if anything too big or strong tries to waltz in. They’ll occasionally throw out something explosive to ward it or its little ones off. Some of the more daring try to sneak out and get other things from around the city. Obviously it’s risky. I wouldn’t wander near them unless you have a damn good reason.”

“I see…” Sounds like something you wouldn’t have to worry about, ideally. “What of the growths?”

They all look nervous and concerned at that one. It doesn’t exactly feel you with confidence. “We’re not sure. They crop up at random, sometimes with monsters like what you saw back there. Never quite so placidly, but, well…some folks think it’s all part of a bigger thing. Something that’ll swallow the whole city once it’s done. Others think it’s more of a breakout of some sort of weird fauna; some kind of plant that’s never been seen before.”

“Heard some people say that it’s some experiment gone wrong,” another soldier says quickly. “Nother reason you generally keep the eggheads at arm’s length.”

“So you’re seriously not here to do us harm, then?” she asks.

“Not unless you oppose our goals,” you assure.

(cont.)
>>
>>5230253
“...hm.” She pauses, considering. “Well, then. Might you be interested in helping us out a bit? If you’re trying to get to the labs to talk to them, it’ll help you, too. A bit out of the way, but very much one of those ‘help me help yourself’ deals. If you’re as powerful as you seem to be.”

Huh. “And what would that be? I make no promises.”

“There’s a greenhouse and plant nursery what’s been blocked off by vines and probably a few Wracked around the northeast. The scientists want it to run tests in, and we want it for the obvious reasons,” she motions around herself. “We’re not asking you to take it for us, but at least make taking it an option. It’ll probably get you some leverage with the lab, especially if we float your name as what made it happen.”
Hmm…

>Accept. You’ll do this, and they’ll help bring you right to Superbia Lab’s doorstep, no muss, no fuss.
>Decline. You’re not going to waste any more time. You know Superbia Lab’s up north, and that’ll be enough.
>Other
>>
>>5230254
>Accept. You’ll do this, and they’ll help bring you right to Superbia Lab’s doorstep, no muss, no fuss.
>>
>>5230254
>>Accept. You’ll do this, and they’ll help bring you right to Superbia Lab’s doorstep, no muss, no fuss.
we're not going there immediately, right?
>>
>>5230254
>Accept. You’ll do this, and they’ll help bring you right to Superbia Lab’s doorstep, no muss, no fuss.
>>
>>5230253
> "If you're willing to add in room and board to the deal, I'd have no problem with that."
> "Moving onto the THING you've mentioned... Could you describe it and it's abilities to us? I might be interested in removing it, if it causes trouble for us."
> "Finally, are you able to sing, nun? I've found that individuals like Jessica here seem to regain some semblance of normalcy through listening to music."
>>
Agreed. Writing.
>>
>>5230254
>>5230260
>>5230264
>>5230265
You’d prefer to talk this over with the team, but you’ll have to settle for glances at the moment. Fortunately, Izumi seems fine with it, judging by the slight nod. Zipper…just grunts. Suppose that’ll have to do. “Very well. So we do this, and you’ll bring us directly to them?”

“That’s the deal,” she confirms.

“Then we agree,” you decide, looking at all of them in turn. The nun herself seems...almost surprised. “When will this occur?” you ask.

“Well- I’ll have to talk with some others,” she admits. “It might not be today, honestly…if you’re in a rush, then I apologize.”

A tug on your cloak brings your attention back to Jessica, who just frowns. You quickly turn back. “That will not be a concern.”

“Right…just…please take no offense. Maria? Show them to the kitchen,” she orders, as everyone is signaled to come inside that hasn’t already. “I’ve got to gather the other sisters. And I’d very much like to talk to this one here,” she says, motioning towards Izumi. At first you make to refuse, but a minute shake of the head from her stops you. Whatever she’s doing…well, you just hope she knows what she’s doing.

Maria, for her part, looks like she’s stuck with a tiger. “R-right, then. Her accented voice is clear enough, but still an indicator of her nerves. “Y’all come along now…I guess…” the last bit was mumbled. You pretend to not notice as Zipper follows you.

>Stay silent. You don’t care that much about these people.
>You’ve got some questions, still… (What?)
>Other
>>
>>5230332
>You’ve got some questions, still… (What?)
> "What was this place before all this happened?"
> "So was that lady the head nun, or are there others still around?"
> "Is there anyone here who might cause trouble for Jessica here?"
> "Could you describe that THING the deserters are dealing with and it's abilities to me? I might be interested in removing it, if it causes trouble for us."
>>
>>5230332
>>Stay silent. You don’t care that much about these people.
>>
>>5230332
Don't have anything at the moment, so let's just ask about the thing the ex-army folks are having trouble with, or if anyone here knows a thing or two about good doctor Page. Who knows, maybe we'll come across something interesting.
>>
There are some things I'd like to ask (do they have a surgeon and what they might now about the knife), but I'd rather ask the nun instead.
>>
>>5230368
What's the surgeon for?
>>
>>5230372
For the kid
>Organism Identified: Mana/Organic Lifeform (Human Adjacent)
>Female, Estimated Age: 10 Years Standard (Human-based)
>Mana Signature Detected. Base Type: Unquantifiable (Closest Approximate: Chaotic/Darkness)
>Muscular Atrophy Detected (Age 10 Human Average)
>Notice: Mental Synaptic Response Lower Than Human Average (Age 10) - Estimated Age Range: 8-9
>Notice: Low Blood Pressure- Suggested Dietary Improvements
>Notice: Musculature stability fragile. Low-level Tissue/Musculature Regeneration Active. Synthetic Muscle Surgery and/or High+ Level Physical Regeneration recommended to improve natural stability.
>>
>>5230405
I don't think any non-alien medical professionals over in this world would be capable of synthetic muscle surgery, most of the normal tech we've seen was based on steam engines.
>>
Been catching up on this in the archives but 110 isn’t there. Does anyone have it or can give me a quick rundown on what happened? It was the second part of the acting job investigation. Ty in advance for any replies
>>
>>5234180
http://thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2021/4982139/
Is this the right thread?
>>
>>5234184
Yes it is thank you. How did you get it? Never came up on archive when I searched it.
>>
>>5234189
As far as I know it's in the archive link in the OP.
http://thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Magical%20Girl%20For%20Hire%20Quest
>>
Hallo, folks. Running shortly, should anyone be here for it. Like, writing now.
>>
>>5239728
Holy shit, welcome back.

How was your Easter?
>>
>>5239742
Was good. Messed up my knee a bit running around, but it's on the mend and all's well.
>>
>>5230332
>>5230346
>>5230352
>>5230355
You’re led to a cafeteria like area- cleared out, though there’s some smells that indicate people had been here recently. Sorry if there ain’t much in the way of style. Mostly fer worship an’ communion and events, not fer anything else.”

Fair enough. “Meh. Your head nun lady’s kinda real snippy,” Zipper quips.

Maria just flinches. “Well, I mean, considerin’-”

“Oh, I ain’t saying she’s wrong for it, just that she’s kinda a bitch,” Zipper interrupts, before looking over the place. “So, what do we got for the kid?”

Maria just shrugs, sighing. “Fruits. Sorta. Crackers, tubers. Not much meat at the moment. I know a good few of us ain’t vegetarian, but the situation’s basically forced the issue. I know as long as that thing out there’s living, no one’s even gonna try to get supplies into the city proper. Airdrops don’t work ‘cause it usually tries to snatch them, and normal bombs only do so much to the damn thing before it just burrows and takes cover.”

“What IS that ‘thing’ anyway?” Zipper asks, again ahead of you. “It sounds like a real issue.”

“Not sure what it is, honestly,” she admits as she rummages around in the icebox. “We think it’s some kind of massive worm, but others say it’s some kinda dirt octopus or something- all we know is that we haven’t seen the whole thing. Mostly just tentacles and parts of its body. That’s what all the bigger nasty pieces are. Then of course there’s the offspring; that’s what we ran into earlier.” By the time she’s finished speaking, she’s pulled out a number of fruits; apples, bananas, pears, and a few pieces of bread and jam, making a few sandwiches. “Alright, this is about what we can spare for a party of three, so-”

You pat Jessica on the back in a ‘go ahead’ gesture.

Maria barely gets through the sentence before, to her clear shock, Jessica almost seems to literally inhale the two sandwiches, chewing only marginally before swallowing and beginning to chew through the nearby bananas- rind and all.

Eugh.

“There’s a reason I didn’t step forward,” Zipper notes idly at the shocked face of Maria.

>Roll 1d100, best of three.
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>5239763
Guess this one is for Izumi
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5239763
Jeez, kid, don't forget to breathe.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5239763
Welcome back.
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5239763
>>
File: 1637107348697.png (188 KB, 859x276)
188 KB
188 KB .png
>>5239767
oof
>>
>>5239767
>jessica chokes on the banana and throws up all the food
>>
Not the best. But not horrible. However.

Complications!

Writing.
>>
Oh, shit, almost forgot, give kiddo a mana crystal and/or plunk down the music box.
>>
>>5239784
Imo we should also ask her full name and what else she can tell abt herself
>>
>>5239788
While I am curious, maybe we shouldn't directly ask her those questions... How about we ask the nuns if they've got a few sheets of basic homework for Jessica, we could learn her full name and what she likes from that without having her get PTSD from direct questions.
>>
>>5239792
I mean, some anons care abt her enough to propose that we bring her with us to the Intersection yet we know nothing abt her as a person.
>>
>>5239805
I'm all for asking Jessica about herself and bringing her back, I just figured that giving her homework and learning that way wouldn't trigger her as much as directly asking.
>>
>>5239807
>spoiler
I guess Delilah is going to meet her match in the next eating contest
>>
>>5239763
>>5239765
>>5239766
>>5239767
You have to actively tell Jessica to calm down and eat normally, but it only partially takes- she chews for maybe a 5 count instead of a 2 count. Still, it’s just enough for you to at least consider her no longer in danger of choking to…wait, she’s not undead, right? You’re pretty sure she’s not dead. FutureSight seemed to indicate she wasn’t.

Still DOES look like she’s undead, though. Geh.

Still, she looks at Maria once she’s finished, eyes a bit brighter now. “...thank you.” She clearly isn’t full, but she at least has enough sense to understand that was all she was getting at the moment, and you’re grateful for that.

“Uh…you’re welcome…I guess…” Maria hesitantly responds. She’s clearly still unnerved a bit by the incredible appetite the girl has, but she’s doing a game job of resisting the obvious questions bubbling up inside. “Well, uh…anything for you two?” the way she looks at you is almost pleading no.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to dismiss her worries. “I am fine.”

“Nah, I can hold out for a while longer,” Zipper agrees.

“Oh, well-” before she can continue, however, a brief rumbling sounds in the distance, causing all of you to freeze with worry. You’re surprised that you can hear it, honestly- whatever happened, it had to have been big.

Maria seems to think the same as she immediately races out of the cafeteria, shouting. “Miss Lia! MISS LIA!”

You’re all quick to follow her out, and it’s not long before Miss Lia- the nun- meets her in the hallway, with a radio in one hand. Izumi's right behind her, naturally, and she looks like she desperately wants to pull out her sword. “What the heck just-”

“An Emergence! A big one!” she shouts.

“Aren’t the jarheads usually what it’s aiming at?!” Maria says, clearly frightened. “Damn thing don’t come this far ever!”

“Something happened- the radio gave out before I got all of it, but they’ve went and pissed it off badly! We’ve got to keep it away from the fields, or god forbid the church!” Lia yells, before turning to you with a grimace. “Can you help? Do…whatever it was you did before?”

> “I was expecting to deal with this thing regardless.” You’re not waiting up for them, either. They aren’t your clients.
> “And how would I help in this case?” Might as well hear her out in case of something specific.
> “You will need to feed her a LOT more food if she does.” They might not want to sacrifice that much, frankly.
> Other
>>
>>5239826
> “I was expecting to deal with this thing regardless.” You’re not waiting up for them, either. They aren’t your clients.
>>
>>5239826
>"And how would I help in this case?” Might as well hear her out in case of something specific.
>>
>>5239831
>>5239826
>Give Jessica a mana crystal
Is she sitting this one out?
>>
>>5239826
> “And how would I help in this case?” Might as well hear her out in case of something specific.
Hopefully they'll be able to get some extra supplies as thanks from the deserters for fixing their fuck up. Perhaps more food, ammo and other curiosities, along with the inevitable core this thing probably has.
>>
>>5239826
>>5239832
Give it a go. She did calm the roots before, so let's see if she can do more with a crystal, or better yet, have Izumi boost her.
>>
>>5239826
> “And how would I help in this case?” Might as well hear her out in case of something specific.
>Give Jessica a mana crystal
>>
>Pecker doesn't know what's going on. He just knows it's been scary for a while. He's trying to stay out of trouble. The air's not quite sweet here. In a bad way. Kinda scary.

>He'd much rather be back where the air tasted of nothing. At least that place wasn't as scary. Even if it did make him feel really sluggish.

>Pecker does kinda like the strange thing that holds him a lot and lets him roost on it, though. It feels like food that he can't quite eat. It's very tempting, and occasionally he tried to eat it before figuring out that it just felt like food but wasn't food. It's nice to be near, though. Reassuring. He kind of understands it, nowadays. It's simple enough.

>The smaller thing that holds him recently isn't as good, though. It smells like food, too. But not good food. It's not ripe, so it probably won't taste good. It might even be poison. But at least it doesn't want to hurt him, and maybe being near the poison will make other things stay away. So it's kind of safe, too.

>...for now, though, staying mostly quiet. The air here is REALLY scary.
>>
>>5240284
Poor Pecker... At least he feels safe and happy around us and the kid.
Pecker's Intersection Inhabitant Flavor Reviews when
>>
Writing in about an hour.
>>
>>5239826
>>5239831
>>5239832
>>5239835
>>5239838
>>5240145
Well, you WERE just going to go there and beat on it, but from how she sounds, she might have something else in mind. “And how, exactly, would I help in this case?” You fish out a mana crystal idly and palm it to Jessica, who takes it with wonder. Not that she seems to know what to do with it, but she doesn't really need to, you think? Hopefully not. Lia only looks at the interaction with confused curiosity for a moment before she returns her attention to you.

“Well, whatever you did to get that offspring bit to calm down, you could do that again,” she explains. “If not that, the few fields that we have left are around where we think it’s coming. If- if you can keep those safe while we do our damndest to drive the thing off, then…”

“I should remind you it was the child that did that,” you correct. “I had nothing to do with it.”

“Right, right…the child,” she mutters. “Then still, that’s a yes?”

You nod. “Very well. We will go when you’re prepared.”

Izumi just huffs lightly, and Lia looks back at her in concern. “You should be safe here. We’ll handle this, and then we can resume our-”

“I’m coming, too,” she says, her tone brooking no complaint. For a moment, it seems that Lia might say otherwise regardless…but after a moment of meeting Izumi’s intense eyes, she merely sighs, and nods. “My thanks,” Izumi offers in mild consolation before turning to you. “Well, then. Let’s be prepared and then be off, hm?”

Fortunately, these people at least know how to set up to ride out at a moment’s notice- not that the destination seems to be too far. You can almost see the trees Lia speaks off- apparently the only real source of natural fruits in the city now, which obviously they’re trying to change. “The soil’s actually still decent here,” she elaborates as you ride in the jeep with her, Jessica on your lap- not that she looks comfortable at all. “Why, we dunno, but we’ve been using it for all we can. Thank goodness the thing hasn’t moved on them yet. I wonder how…”

You’re about to ask why she stopped talking before you see it as well. A massive, fleshy tendril from this distance, much like the one earlier, only a good deal larger. And undulating. Slowly but surely creeping in your way. And with it…smaller worm-like things as you get closer. You can hear gunfire as well behind it. Seems like the soldiers have chased the thing thus far.

You have to admit, you can see the concern.

>Position yourself to hold the line so that the grove is safe. You won’t let any of the small ones pass.
>Let them handle the bait and the grove. You’ll take the big one on yourself, and knock it down.
>Can Jessica interact with it from here? If she can do what she did before, this all can end rather painlessly.
>Other
>>
>>5240698
>Ask Jessica if she feels like there's a core in the big worm thing like with the turtle.
>Let them handle the bait and the grove. You’ll take the big one on yourself, and knock it down.
>>
>>5240698
>Can Jessica interact with it from here? If she can do what she did before, this all can end rather painlessly.
>>
>>5240698
Hmmmmmmm.

>Position yourself to hold the line so that the grove is safe. You won’t let any of the small ones pass.
>Can Jessica interact with it from here? If she can do what she did before, this all can end rather painlessly.
Let's wait until if Jessica can do her trick first. If that fails we can continue to the clobbering stage. Really want to see if we can snatch a second core, then again I want to preserve mana.
>>
>>5240698
>Position yourself to hold the line so that the grove is safe. You won’t let any of the small ones pass.
>Can Jessica interact with it from here? If she can do what she did before, this all can end rather painlessly.
>>
>>5240698
>>5240739
This
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5240698
>>5240737
>>5240739
>>5240745
>>5240750

You turn to Jessica, and she…well, she’s still fiddling with the crystal. Not much else. But anyway. If she manages to work her magic (literally) like she did before, then chances are you have a way to end this whole situation before it can escalate to anything much worse. “Jessica.”

“Mmm?” She looks up, confused, almost startled.

Here’s hoping…“What you did before with that creature that was stopping us…can you make this one calm like that one?”

She looks at it, squinting. “Iunno. S’really big. It might not hear me…” She frowns. “I don’t wanna get hurt…”

“You won’t,” you insist. “I won’t let it attack you. But can you try?”

“I…think so?” She says. “Might haveta get closer, though.”

“That won’t be a problem. Just let me know when you can start talking to it, alright?” she nods, and you just turn to Lia in confirmation, who takes a deep breath, and then punches the gas.

"Swing us around to the grove so that we can get in front of it, alright?" you tell her. "That way if something goes wrong, we can physically defend the grove from it. You can do as you will from there."

"Fine, fine..." she seems reluctant to agree, but she does make a heading towards the grove proper.

It's not much longer before the beast is well in sight- and you have to admit, it seems like it IS a massive, tapeworm like beast- this one has an open front, if not as cavernous as you thought- but you can still see little (relatively) sharp teeth lining its maw and going back further than you can see in the darkness of its mouth.

You're going to have to be careful here- you just hope that Jessica can end this early.

>Roll 1d100+10. (Decently Fed)

Best of three.
>>
Rolled 43 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5240780
>>
Rolled 81 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5240780
Cmoooooon girl work it
>>
>>5240783
YES
She is getting our home cooking after this
>>
Rolled 21 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5240780
>>
||Any of you play Guilty Gear? Y'know Sin? It's kinda like that with her and her stomach.||

91. She does, indeed, put it out. Though it was a bit of a struggle... still, easy pickings now. Writing!
>>
>>5240780
>>5240782
>>5240783
>>5240787
The thing doesn’t have any eyes as far as you can tell, but you can tell something’s up with it when it seems to wiggle in place, slowing down. You quickly turn to Jessica, to see her veins glowing up, and her eyes bright enough to light a room, practically. The creature itself, wiggling, to your surprise seems to be…fading, physically.

The smaller beasts seem just as lively, but confused now, somehow. Before they can make much more progress, however, you can hear gunshots going off as the big creature seems to almost relax, by how lethargic it seems to be getting. You can see spurts of blood flying off the various creatures as the soldiers seem to recognize the opening- they’re not firing directly at you, thank goodness- rather they’re coming perpendicular to you, which is appreciated.

Suddenly, you hear an airy whistling, as the massive thing seems almost to relax all its muscles, either asleep or dying.

And the next second, you see a pair of massive explosions rip through the side of the creature as the gunfire continues. It doesn’t make any particular sound, to your surprise, as it falls. Almost anticlimactic, really. The smaller beasts, clearly sensing things have gone horribly wrong, seem to scatter and flee- most of them get cut down by gunfire, however, either from the church’s side or the soldiers’. In a minute or two, it’s all over, far quicker and cleaner than expected.

However, once it happens…Jessica’s eyes completely go out, as do her veins, and she drops in a slump, clutching her stomach. “...nnnggh. Ssssss…hhhhh…” She…seems to be trying to say something, but her mouth almost doesn’t move at all.

“Well, shit,” Zipper swears. “That went smooth as hell.”
“Astounding…” Lia says in awe, after the death throes and twitching stops. “How did-”

“Freeze!” Oh, right. The military people don’t know you. Meaning THEY’LL be freaked out, too. And considering a small group of them are moving on you, you can see how this might end up. “Don’t you move!”

“Lieutenant Hartmann!” Lia suddenly calls out, hands up. Her expression is surprisingly calm. “This is Lia Whitley speaking! These are friendlies!” Hopefully, they’re familiar with each other, at least.

“We’re determining that!” comes the response.

Lia quietly mutters to you. “Don’t say anything unless spoken to. These people are testy at best.”

Good to know.

(cont.)
>>
>>5240928
Fortunately, it seems she is in fact acquainted with the Lieutenant. It’s quickly shown (to your surprise) that you mean no harm and you and the girl were in fact were the cause of it suddenly ceasing hostile behavior. The soldier shares a look at his compatriots at that little understanding, but you think you’d scared them off from asking anything particularly untowards- just because they can’t see your face doesn’t mean they can’t tell when they’re being stared at, it seems.

It makes the understanding of how things worked out rather amenable to Lia, who asks for weaponry for themselves, and with a bit of nudging by you…a surplus of MREs and other such food they could give you. Jessica REALLY needs to eat, after all.

“This is…we’re going to have to report this,” Hartmann mentions, eyes still carefully trained on you. “We’ve never come across passive Wracked before.”

“Well. Now you have,” you quip back.

>You’re done here, fortunately. Time to solve the ACTUAL problem so you can get proper direction to the lab.
>You DO have another question or two to ask, actually…(what?)
>There is ONE more thing you’d like, though…(what?)
>Other
>>
>>5240930
>You’re done here, fortunately. Time to solve the ACTUAL problem so you can get proper direction to the lab.
>>
>>5240930
Should we ask them to help with the escort? They pack a hella lot of firepower
>>
>>5240930
>There is ONE more thing you’d like, though...
"Mind if we check for a core? Or at least let us grab some other bits and pieces from the corpse?"

After that, get ready for the next sidequest.
>>
>>5240930
>>5240940
>>5240941
Nice catch.
Let's harvest this thing, MH style. Grab the Futuresight and scan for valuables.
>>
>>5240930
>>5240941
>>
Writing.
>>
>>5240930
>>5240941
>>5240946
>>5240948
“Before we conclude things here, I’d like to make a request,” you state primly, letting the unnatural echo of your voice carry through each of them.

That seems to freeze all attention on you, but it’s the military man who speaks first. “Aaaand that would be?”

“I’d like to check if there’s a nexus- a core that empowers them. It’s an organ of sorts that is vital to their existence,” you explain. Okay, sure, half of that was BS, but it sounds sensible enough. “If it’s there, I want it. At the very least, should there be any useful parts of it, I’d like to see what might be available to take.”

They ALL look at you weirdly, save for Jessica, who’s still in hunger pangs, and Izumi, who merely sighs. Zipper levels an annoyed glare at you.

“...a core, you say?” Hartmann repeats. “I wasn’t aware of anything like that in these creatures.”

“It’s only the larger ones,” you hazard. You don’t know if it’s true or not, but you’ll use it. “Now, if you would leave me-”

“Nope,” he immediately responds. “If there’s something in these things that could prove viable to targeting and possibly using to better our situation, then we’re bound to investigate it as long as we’re on our own.”

“I don’t think it’ll help ya much,” Zipper mutters, not that anyone pays attention to her.

>Insist that the core is yours. Your ward helped bring it down, after all.
>Let the situation go. You’re not in a good position to argue.
>Other

(Will continue tomorrow. Possible early, so be on the lookout.)
>>
>>5241061
>>Other
>Agree, but on condition that they provide assistance tomorrow
>They'll have to dig it out themselves
It would be nice if they escorted us to the lab >>5240940
By the way, I think we should check up on the other youngster, she's been sulking for several days in a row now.
>>
>>5241061
>"It would be impossible for you to make use of it."
>"To understand this plague, you must have knowledge of magic and sorcery, no matter how long forgotten they are. A feat that none of you will be able to achieve in your lifetime."
>"Give them to me, and you'll be one step closer to finally getting rid of this nightmare."
Let's try some diplomacy.
>>
>>5241061
Also, regardless of whether we agree or not
>Try to gauge his mood and gain some insight
Just like we did with the nun earlier this day >>5224660
>>
>>5241072
Wait you mean Zipper? Yeah I want to too but we haven't had any chances, been zoomin' for days now
Hopefully we can close this sideplot before the job ends
>>
>>5241061
>>5241072
This, but with extra food thrown in as a finder's fee for the info, and that's not getting into whatever Zipper wants to charge for renting her digging expertise. She might not get the core, but that doesn't mean she can't get some extra loot or pay if she wants to.

Guess I kinda blew it suggesting about digging around for cores...

>>5241082
This too.
>>
>>5241089
Also, I'd completely forgot that Zipper's the reason why we even got the core in the first place, so it really wouldn't be fair to make her do it again without reimbursing her somehow, or giving her a chance to get something from it this time.
>>
>>5241084
Completely neglected the brooding kid. Again.
>>
>>5241104
Do you mean Zipper? I mean, yeah, we should check up on her, as well as give her a fairer split of the loot, but she’s an adult Outgoer, not a teenager.
>>
>>5241116
>she’s an adult Outgoer, not a teenager.
I'd've believed you if she wasn't groaning, moaning and pouting the entire trip
>>
>>5241117
Maybe, but calling Zipper a kid as an insult gets confusing when there’s an actual kid tagging along. I thought you were talking about Jessica for a moment.
>>
>>5241061
>>5241072
Sure, this exchange sounds good to me.
I want to have some words with Zipper too.
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5241061
>>5241072
>>5241082
>>5241089
Looking at Zipper’s disgruntled expression, you realized that, well. It WAS her that mostly did the work last time- and that she really didn’t get much for her efforts. That might’ve soured her on the idea of repeating this again. You suppose you weren’t really in a position to agree to anything on her behalf, really.

Although…you’re really annoyed that you’ll be missing out, you suppose that you don’t REALLY have the time and energy to dig through the beast, now that you consider it for longer than a second. “Alright. I won’t argue the point. Though you’ll have to dig it out yourselves.”

That seems to surprise everyone, but it’s Hartmann who recovers first. “Ah, well, thank you for understanding- and for the intel in the first place. Now then-”

“In exchange, would assistance in your personal efforts tomorrow be an acceptable payment?” You ask, turning to Lia. Wouldn’t want to make the same mistake twice in a row.

“Efforts tomorrow?” Hartmann asks, looking at her as well.

She blinks, and considers the question for a moment. But to your surprise, she shakes her head. “No, I think we’ll be fine,” she dismisses, not elaborating. Damn. Well, then. So much for that.

Maybe you should’ve come back later in private or something.

The trip back is largely quiet, though near to the church, Lia does speak up. “We didn’t know that about the cores. We may be able to use that information in the future. The soldiers especially might consider it good to play nice with us for a while.”

“Ngg..gggggg…hhuuun…” Jessica can only moan, much to Izumi’s worry. She’s even starting to grope around for food- some of the last of her rations is all Izumi can offer her quickly, and it seems to do little but quiet her moaning, not that it visibly makes her better.

“We’ll get some food for her,” Lia says assuredly. “We’ll have to tighten our belts for a bit, but if we can take the greenhouse and start using it, then we’ll make up for it in the future.”

“My thanks,” you allow.

Returning to the church, Lia’s quick to give you all some space, and courtesy of Maria, Jessica is given an assortment of pears and apples to vacuum down. “It’s about the most plentiful we’ve got,” she explains. It hardly brings her back up to full, but some of the light’s back in her eyes now, and she manages to get out a “...tthhhhankyou…” as she expresses a little relief. Izumi, who’s stuck near her since, lets out a sigh of her own, and seems intent on keeping an eye on her. Zipper left the room after snagging an apple for herself.

Jessica falls asleep shortly after, and you’re left with Izumi and a far less nervous Maria.

>You’ll leave them to it. (Timeskip to the next mission.)
>You want to catch up with Zipper, actually. Maybe talk with her a bit.
>You should probably discuss what’s happening with Jessica. And what might happen in the future.
>Other
>>
>>5242190
>You want to catch up with Zipper, actually. Maybe talk with her a bit.
If she's still brooding after all of this I think we'll need to dock some points in our report.
>>
>>5242190
>>You want to catch up with Zipper, actually. Maybe talk with her a bit.
We can return to Jessica once she's awake
>It WAS her that mostly did the work last time- and that she really didn’t get much for her efforts.
So did Zipper get some beast parts for herself? It wasn't clear if she took her share or not>>5221042
>>
>>5242190
>You should probably discuss what’s happening with Jessica. And what might happen in the future.
Don't forget to bring out the music box, in case Jessica's still feeling slow, or at least hand it off to Izumi with an explanation if the other choice wins.
>>
>>5242207
>Jessica falls asleep shortly after
Would music box even work if she's not actually listening
>>
>>5242190
>You want to catch up with Zipper, actually. Maybe talk with her a bit.
>>
>>5242190
>You want to catch up with Zipper, actually. Maybe talk with her a bit.
+ leave the music box with zumi'
>>5242216
I can only guess that it works - the old guy has dream powers iirc
>>
Writing! Going to Zipper.
>>
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108 KB .jpg
have to go, want to remind that it was pointed out a few threads ago that there was something about her that she had in common with 'Randa when she was a far less experienced Outgoer
A bit from Miranda's job when she was greener http://thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2018/2838695/
>>
>>5242245
And here's something that we seen with our mood-mask and other enchanted stuff
>>
>>5242231
>>5242255
Good time to turn on our empathy power no?
>>
>>5242190
>>5242194
>>5242202
>>5242223
>>5242224
Thinking about it, you probably should make sure Zipper’s alright.

Maria doesn’t ask anything as you get up, but Izumi nods in farewell. It doesn’t take you long to find her, fortunately, meaning your surprised and intimidated looks by the surrounding citizens are kept to a minimum. She’s around the side of the building, casually munching on the apple she took as she looks at the outside extension of the church that you’d not been in- it’s down a hallway you hadn’t bothered to go down yet, As you approach, she frowns for a moment, before returning to a neutral expression. “Kid okay?”

You nod. “She’s still pretty hungry, but she’ll be fine. Asleep now, though."

“That’s good. Didn’t think she had much brain left, but fuck me, turns out she does.” She doesn’t elaborate much, instead focusing back on the annex. “Not new news.”

>What are you looking at?
>Any reason you’re out here in particular?
>Sorry about nearly volunteering you.
>Other
>>
>>5242268phoneposting
I may have joked about her acting like a teen, but >>5241116 is right - she's a fellow Outgoer. We've already messed up once when we aked her about Gran. She's going to tell how the job to her coworkers and friends (if she has any), so maybe we should avoid exploiting tricks this time. I'd even suggest taking off the mask, she probably forgot what our face looks like at this point.
>>
>>5242272
>>Sorry about nearly volunteering you.
>>
>>5242272
>Sorry about nearly volunteering you.
>>
>>5242272
>Sorry about nearly volunteering you.
I'm okay for taking off the mask, so long as we ensure the locals don't see us without it.
>>
>>5242272
>Sorry about nearly volunteering you.
Yeah, can take the mask off for the dramatic effect >>5242293. Unless our high Otherworldly stat scrambles our beautiful face too, then no.

I have a suspicion that she was a former Hunting Dog.
>>
Writing!
>>
>>5242272
>>5242279
>>5242287
>>5242293
>>5242297
Well…if nothing else, there’s at least one thing you need to bring up. “Sorry about nearly volunteering you.”

She blinks once, looking your way. Then she just snorts. “Apology accepted. Kinda got the vibe that you weren’t used to being disagreed with, anyway.”

“What makes you think that?” you ask in surprise.

She shrugs. “Just the way you talk an’ carry yourself. Like, you either expect everyone to go along with what you’re saying or they better have a damn good reason to not. Like, you’re not an asshole about it, usually,” she elaborates, “but you talk like you’re the last word on the subject.”

Ah. Hm. “I guess it’s…well, I kinda got made into a team leader not too long ago,” you admit. “I’ve still been trying to get used to it.”

“Yeah, that’ll do it,” she agrees. “I guess it’s just a leader thing. Kinda gotta be an asshole to make sure people listen to you.”

“...I DID say I was sorry,” you point out.

She chuckles, at that. “Yeah, apology accepted. So…tomorrow might be it?” she asks.

“Hopefully,” you say. “I’d rather not take up much more time here. I’ve got things to do back home,” you note. You STILL have a movie to shoot…

“Cool. I don’t got much. Maybe lay low, keep people off my back for a bit,” she shrugs. “Shit’s not great these days, with all the sudden competition, but not much else to do but muddle through.”

> “S’how it goes.” Not your place to say anything, really.
> “Competition? What do you mean competition?”
> “Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
> Other
>>
>>5242339
>"Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
Movieniiiight!
>>
>>5242339
>> “Competition? What do you mean competition?”
>> “Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
> "Y'know, could probably ask Lily Tan-Tan and Amanda Kane to join in, if you're cool with them. And I wasn't kidding about our bad movie nights."
>>
>>5242339
>>5242343
Damnit. Should probably drop asking about competition...

Revise my vote as:
> “Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
> "Y'know, could probably ask Lily Tan-Tan and Amanda Kane to join in, if you're cool with them. And I wasn't kidding about our bad movie nights."
>>
>>5242339
>“Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I wasn't kidding about our bad movie nights. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
>>
>>5242339
>“Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I wasn't kidding about our bad movie nights. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”
Pah, i'm still miffed that she did a complete 180 personality (feels cheap desu) but this way we can have another leg
I doubt she won't badmouth our other friends if she does show up though
>>
Writing one more for tonight.

Did it really come off as that big a personality shift? I thought I was being fairly consistent...
>>
>>5242349
I mean, by now you should know that she's the kind of person for whom swearing is a norm, there's no "real" heat behind those words.
>>
>>5242352
I mean i'm obviously in the minority boss, but it feels like one of those cheap forced drama episodes personally. Oh well, what's done is done
>>
>>5242352
desu I don't get what 'personality shift' >>5242349 is talking about
>>
>>5242352
well, imo, she did go from a somewhat bratty character to a jerk just because we called her bluff on her movie series that she *totally doesn't like*; on the other hand we know that zipper has a chip on her shoulder because she's trying to fit in and that miranda was like that as well.....
so the personality transformation was a bit too much, but kind of understandable
>>
Just asking. I DO want to improve my writing in general, that's always been a core purpose of me running this, so it's good to get feedback like this.
>>
>>5242352
Not really. Felt to me more like working with the high school temp around the time where he realizes he’s not going to get written up for talking like he normally does out of earshot of his parents and teachers.
>>
>>5242365
>He
Zipper is a chick
>>
>>5242339
On a related note, why is she concerned about competition? Isn't Flashpoint the top dog when it comes to this type of job?
We should also mention that the "movie advisor" position is still available.
>>
Sounds like you just don't like this personality quirk, that's all.
>>
>>5242339
>>5242342
>>5242345
>>5242346
>>5242349
You sigh. “Well, if you ever need to relax with someone, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t mind hanging out.”

Zipper pauses at that, then side eyes you. “Fuckin’ what?”

“...what? We would.” You’re not sure why she seems THAT shocked.

“Iiiii’m gonna call bullshit on that. Like, okay, maybe you’re used to me, and Izumi probably. But you’ve got more folks than that there, right? I’d probably get on people’s nerves real quick.” She continues eating her apple as she says this, turning away.

“I think you underestimate the personalities I surround myself with,” you say flatly. “Trust me. Izumi and me are the SANE ones.”

“-Pggfgt!” she nearly spits out her apple pieces at that, and even then you can see some flecks escape.

“Come around and I’ll probably be able to prove it,” you continue.

“Still can’t believe you’re willing to invite me,” she admits. “Kinda feels like you’re fuckin’ with me.”

“Nope, not at all,” you insist. “I dunno why you keep thinking that, but seriously. Just call or something.”

“...fine, but when things get fucked up, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she relents.

Well. At least that’s something for now.

There’s a few moments of companionable silence, before… “You ever noticed there ain’t no kids here?”

“Hm?” That was from out of nowhere…

“Like, have you seen literally ANY shitbomber child here other than Jessica?” she asks again. “I haven’t. But I’ve seen people walkin’ to an’ from that building here and there.” Ah. The annex? “Betcha they’re holed up in there. Wonder why?”

“Probably us?” you hazard. Seemed like the obvious reason.

“Maybe, but like. Shouldn’t they have cleared us now?” she asks with a frown. “Like, kids need to eat, right? But I haven’t seen them takin’ lunchboxes or anything, either.” It’s evening by now, but you suppose her point remains. “Wonder what’s going on in there.”

> “Maybe we should ask?”
> “It’s really none of our business.”
> “...what, you wanna go see?”
> Other
>>
>>5242462
> “...what, you wanna go see?”
> "Oh, so now you care about kids."
> suggest scanning the annex with the FutureSight
>>
>>5242462
> “Between us three, Izumi’s the one they’ve most underestimated. I’ll ask her if she’s noticed anything about our hosts that they’ve kept quiet about.”
> “If so, I think Gartoum might be willing to take a peek.”
>>
>>5242462
>>5242569
>>
>>5242462
>>5242569
supporting
>>
>>5242462
>“Between us three, Izumi’s the one they’ve most underestimated. I’ll ask her if she’s noticed anything about our hosts that they’ve kept quiet about.”