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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 153713854623.png - (16.70KB , 800x600 , sp-title.png )
901978 No. 901978 ID: 7f3357

[dis: >>/questdis/120117]
[bte: >>/questdis/96269]
Expand all images
>>
No. 901979 ID: 7f3357
File 153713856889.png - (26.63KB , 800x600 , sp-1.png )
901979

Specimen Data
-------------
ID: 40902
Species: Miklik
Sex: Female
Age: 20
Coloration: Pale
Blood Color: Red
Eye Color: Pink

Phenotype Anomalies
-------------------
- Left eye (floral growth)
- Fronds, sensitive (x3) (cranial)
- Albinism

Known Augmentations
-------------------
- Surface pocket (x2) (lateral)
- Reflex system enhancement (unknown mechanism)

>>
No. 901980 ID: 7f3357
File 153713859244.png - (25.03KB , 800x600 , sp-2.png )
901980

Ughhh...

I don't know where I am, how I got here, or... much of anything?
It's like a dense fog.

My name is... uhh, my name is Cui.
That's something I remember.

Why are the walls squishy. And warm. And pulsing...?
>>
No. 901981 ID: 7f3357
File 153713861119.png - (20.25KB , 800x600 , sp-3.png )
901981

OH FUCK DID SOMETHING EAT ME OH FUCK OH FUCK EVERYTHING AROUND ME IS ALIVE FUCK FUCK FUCK

~Sophont.~

Oh good I've already broken and now I'm hearing voices!

~Sophont, I don't know if you can hear me. We're stuck here. This is my fault. If you want freedom, revenge, or whatever else motivates you, you'll need to come find me first.~

why is my brain doing this to me

~Your captors are not civilised beings. Be incredibly wary. They will--~

Huh. The voice in my head... cut out? Is that a thing that normally happens? I'm not super familiar with psychosis.
Well, at least I'm not in immediate dang--

GAH! WHY DID I EVEN THINK THAT?! AGH!
>>
No. 901982 ID: 7f3357
File 153713863655.png - (23.51KB , 800x600 , sp-4.png )
901982

"AGH! NO! GET BACK! GET AWAY FROM ME!!"
It's trying to grab me! It's not listening to anything I'm saying!
Force is justified! Force is justified!!
I punch at it and--

...

Huh. I, uh. That was... huhhhhhhh... wasn't expecting that to just work...

Oh gross, it's beating. Whatever the thing is has stopped trying to do much of anything but lurch and make some kind of crackling noise.
It's... not acting like I'd expect something injured. It's not trying to fight back, doesn't look like it's in pain, isn't trying to defend itself...
Uhhh... what do I even do now?
>>
No. 901983 ID: b151ce

Okay like, maybe let the pulsing thing go and step back and look over the room so you can get a better understanding of your surroundings and any exits there might be. This thing may be your captor and is thus evil, but it also may be your cellmate and thus you owe it a pretty big apology.
>>
No. 901984 ID: ad51b8

uhhhh, leave it behind and start looking for a way out?
>>
No. 901985 ID: 0c3c2c

>>901982
Oh god let it go and run away! You just PUNCHED AN ALIEN'S HEART OUT! That was not right but you are scared and you need to run! Try punching your way through the walls to get out of here!
>>
No. 901986 ID: afdebc

Well I guess we're not playing Please do not Take These Organs since you went and took those organs.

Since the alien isn't doing anything, and might start doing things if you let it's... heart? go, now might be a good time to get a look at your surroundings.

Then we can maybe think about putting the gross thing down.
>>
No. 901988 ID: 86eb65

Carefully put its heart back in its chest and apologize.
>>
No. 901989 ID: a62780

ew wow what the hell!?
too many questions, no time to think, flee!
deal with stuff when safe and alone
>>
No. 902008 ID: b67388

Please give back this organ
>>
No. 902009 ID: 33cbe7

Add heart to inventory and wander somewhere else.
>>
No. 902014 ID: 757ccd

Gently place the organ back inside, pat the wound ineffectually and walk away like nothing is wrong.
>>
No. 902018 ID: 977456

Replace the heart, turn around, point at The Xotl Inquisition, and say "Aha! I was expecting you!", then curl up into a ball and lament your lost sanity.
>>
No. 902061 ID: b38f01

Gently let go and back away..
>>
No. 902067 ID: b151ce

Actually, this isn't even behaving like a normal creature. The walls are alive, this thing is alive, maybe it's some sort of caretaker or medical drone. Just thoughts for later.
>>
No. 902068 ID: 094652

I think you asserted too much dominance.

Gently put the organ back and pat the alien on the head. With your bloody hand. Then walk away.
>>
No. 902112 ID: 7f3357
File 153722175260.png - (25.01KB , 800x600 , sp-5.png )
902112

>put it back
Yeah let's just... I'll just put this back here.

squelch

Okay, let's just move on and pretend that didn't happen. The thing is still staying still and making crackling noises. I'll just pretend it's not here.

I turn away and try to survey the scene. I don't understand a great deal of what I'm looking at. Purple heaving spheres connected by webby strands, purple goop running down a wall the same colour as this bug thing's blood. So that's pleasant.

I wander aimlessly through this shifting mess and realise I have no idea where I'm going or where I am. I end up circling back to the place I woke up, but the bug thing is gone, blood spatters marking its trail.

Well, I'll avoid heading that direction. At best, it'll be awkward.

~Sophont, I can still feel your presence. Are you there?~

Oh good the voices are back.
>>
No. 902113 ID: 7f3357
File 153722177083.png - (77.40KB , 800x600 , sp-6.png )
902113

~Sophont, please focus on my words. Attempt to answer them.~

This is stupid. I'm not talking to delusions while I feel like I have some sanity left.

~...there, a spark, a whisper. Something slight. Rejection? I can hear rejection. You wish me to stop? You're the only lifeline I have, I'm sorry, I can't just give up. If you want it to stop you'll have to find me first!~

I know where you are, you're in my head! Agh, shut up!

~I am a real living being, and while that holds true I am desperate to keep it that way!~

No, see, telepathy is dumb and makes no sense and I'm honestly disappointed in my subconscious for coming up with this as a--

~PARASPACIAL COMMUNICATION IS NOT DUMB, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD THIS IS FOR ME TO DO?! ARGH! WHY ARE YOU MY ONLY SHOT AT ESCAPE?!~

ow I've never had my brain shouted into before, okay, okay, let's humour whatever malfunction you are. Who even are you?

~My name is unimport-- okay, fine, fine, I can drop the mysteries if it'll make you help me any faster. My name is Flukebiter. My mother didn't appreciate my being born, so she decided to saddle me with that name before metaphorically throwing me in a reclamation vat. I'm a kiter neno fi and I realise that means literally nothing to you but hey, you want answers, you doubt I even exist, I'll give you all the life story you can eat and more.~

...Kiter. No, that word rings a bell. And I have the vague suspicion that mystery voice here might actually be the reason I'm even in this mess. Still not completely sure I haven't just flipped my lid.

~Good guess. I'm the reason we're all in this mess, and I'm also the only way out of this mess. I don't know where I'm being held, or where you are, so good luck. The longer we've been talking, the stronger I've managed to attune to you, though, so at least we can communicate.~

Can I get any direction?

~Look for the hive core. Also, be on your guard. Our captors don't think like we do. I suggest you use this time to figure out how to contact me. Somehow. I'll be here waiting, either way.~

Well, easier said than done, stupid alien telepathy voice.
>>
No. 902114 ID: 7f3357
File 153722178778.png - (157.31KB , 800x600 , sp-7.png )
902114

I wander aimlessly around some more.

I pause and realise I haven't had anything to drink in some time and feel incredibly dehydrated. I end up by the shore of the purple goop.

I feel like ingesting this stuff would be a super terrible idea, but I'm just now realising how thirsty I am, and I don't think I've found any other sort of fluid in this place except for weird purple blood.

...oh fuck, I'm going to die here, aren't I. Alone, naked, covered in blood. ...Fuck, I lost that bet, I owe Millar fifty zeny. Well, he can come collect it from my dead body, I guess. Not like I have anything, apparently. Not even the clothes on my back. No idea where all my stuff went. Or anyone else. I vaguely remember being part of a crew? No, but I was on a ship.

Ugh. Hard to think. So thirsty. I'm surprised I haven't started wilting in places.

~Juuuust waiting here. For you to try to reach out to me with your mind. A skill I hope your species can train.~

Uuugggghhhhhh... this is my life now, isn't it.
>>
No. 902116 ID: c2051e

Pass into the void and accept the sweet release of death. Alternatively demand the voice tell you where to get food.
>>
No. 902117 ID: 575ec0

Welp. Ask the friendly not-delusion if you should DRINK THE GOOP
>>
No. 902120 ID: afdebc

So... what do your mutations do? Is your flower eye functional? Does it see anything unusual? What about your fronds, are they sense organs?

>Uuugggghhhhhh... this is my life now, isn't it.
Unfortunately.

Ask your hallucination if the toxic sludge is safe to drink. You wonder how many people have thought that before killing themselves drinking chemicals? Heck, even if it's not a hallucination, how would an alien know what's safe for your biology?

Maybe you could ask about the weird thing that you pulled an organ out of too.
>>
No. 902121 ID: 0c3c2c

>>902114
Request instructions on where to find DRINKABLE FLUID. Alternately, punch walls in frustration.
>>
No. 902123 ID: deec6e

You've been covered in the purple blood and have probably been subconsciously absorbing it, so if there WERE any immediate ill effects, they'd probably already have happened. So... maybe the purple blood, at least, is kinda safe? By extension, maybe purple goop is as well. Still, it might be better to be safe than sorry. Suffer the thirst for now - or at least test the waters (literally) by taking only a small sip and waiting ten minutes to see its effects! You should explore the nearby area to distract from your thirst.

Ask your head-voice if it knows what creature you just encountered and what the hell this place is. Also: why are you here, and why are you suddenly crazy? You don't remember being crazy. You emphatically remember being very reasonable.
>>
No. 902130 ID: b67388

>>902114
Extend eye-root into liquid to absorb nutrients.

To communicate, try thinking out.
>>
No. 902131 ID: 757ccd

It's the only thing around you can drink and it is probably going to give you mind powers so sure, drink it.
>>
No. 902135 ID: ad51b8

didn't the voice say something about food if you could find it? Well shit, even the possibility of getting something out of this deal is better then anything else we have to work with now.
>>
No. 902152 ID: 977456

Well at least dip the tip of your tail in and see if it react at all. Some poisons are know to cause rashes or melting.

Spare yourself a moment for self-inspection. Do you have the correct number of limbs, are you a paraspatial infection, Can you eat light with your head, are you hungry or tired, do you have any unfamiliar aches, pains, or stiffness?
>>
No. 902212 ID: e7848c

Think about your ship. What did Millar look like?
>>
No. 902225 ID: 7f3357
File 153731109007.png - (23.20KB , 800x600 , sp-8.png )
902225

>self-inspection
Well, might as well check if I'm in one piece, I don't know how I got here and I've apparently been stripped of everything including common decency, so...

Two arms, two legs, one tail of perfectly adequate size. I've been told it's too thick at the base and it's not long enough by some people and I'm personally fine with it and it's one of the few parts of my body I haven't had a desire to tinker with. Maybe making it adhesive, though...

>mutations
My fronds are super sensitive to touch, and are mostly a constant pain that grow back if I try to cut them off. They've been handy in a few odd situations though.

And the flower, urgh. Don't get me started on the flower. If I try to get rid of it, it just grows back. Y'know what I'd rather grow back? A functioning eye. I can't see anything with this stupid flower. It's not something I was grown with, it was... well, I'd rather not get into that right now.

Oh, and things that aren't mutations. I have a couple of dermal pockets that I thought were a good idea at the time but have been shrinking over time from disuse. I also got some kind of experimental gene tweak for faster nerves? Mostly all it's given me is the ability to freak out more efficiently before my conscious brain takes over and does things so that was a significantly expensive waste of time, money and effort.

>are you a paraspatial infection
Para-what?

>ship
>Millar
I... I can't get more than snippets and vague assertions I knew these things out of my foggy memory. Gnh, it's like trying to remember a dream.

>can you eat light with your head
Well okay so yes ha ha let's mock the albino miklik because it's not like that's a sensitive spot or anything. No, I can't photosynthesise at all, I've been on supplements for most of my life for it, and then when I ran out of those I, uh, found an alternative... Y'know what, it's not important, I'm gonna die of thirst and hunger before lack of photosynthesis weakens me enough to be a concern. Whatever.

>hungry or tired
Yes.

>unfamiliar aches or pains or stiffness
Well I came to in an odd posture that I've got some soreness from but that's starting to wear off.
>>
No. 902226 ID: 7f3357
File 153731110132.png - (21.41KB , 800x600 , sp-9.png )
902226

Better try to ask mystery voice if the fluid's safe to drink.

~I have to say, I wouldn't do it. But I haven't located where they're getting their water from yet.~

I dip the tip of my precious tail into the ooze and decide to check back and see if anything happens to it later. The goop feels oily and thick, so I don't think I could really drink it anyway.

My tail feels a little gross but that's it.

I try to talk into my head mentally, feeling my mouth and throat move a little. ~Hi?~

~Well, I'm still doing all the work, but you focusing like that makes it easier to pick up on your thoughts without having to dive so deep.~
~Okay, cool, so what's going on and where am I?~
~We're stuck in an organic structure, the exact nature I'm unsure of, and that's also where you are.~
~What do I do now?~
~Find me. No, I don't know where I am. I'm a little preoccupied. Stuck in a cocoon, basically. Can't see anything of any help, sorry!~
~...Well, while I'm stuck here, is there anything else you can tell me?~
~Actually, I was kind of hoping I could learn anything about you. Do you have a name?~
~Cui.~
~What are you?~
~A miklik.~
~Nope, not aware of whatever that is. So, uh, about why we're here. There's an honest answer to that, but I'd rather you find me first before I tell you--~
~You did this to me on purpose and it backfired, didn't it.~
~What? What?! No, no not at all! If I wanted you captured for whatever reason, which, considering I didn't know anything about you until just a few moments ago, is not true, I'd have used a means that didn't backfire as horribly! I mean, yes, this was my attempt to betray someone, a lot of someones, really a full scale mutiny, but you're, uh, collateral. No hard feelings?~
~I'M DYING OF THIRST IN A PURPLE FLESH MASS!~
~I mean, my situation isn't exactly great either but if it's any consolation I'm sorry?~
~That doesn't make me feel better!~
~Look, Cui, I'm not a monster, I know I fucked up, I fucked up the biggest I've ever fucked up and maybe my mother was right about me being a fuckup at the genetic level, even if that was a weirdly self-deprecating insult, but give me a chance, please, alright? I want to make things right again! As right as they can be after this monumental fuckup!~

All the aloof mystique and weight of the mystery voice of Flukebiter has been replaced with a pleading voice that sounds eerily familiar, as I have flashbacks of vague begging for second chances in my own history of barely remembered mistakes and embarrassments. Pretty sure I didn't accidentally cause some kind of freaky biotech nightmare, though, so there's that.

~I just wanted freedom, but I also wanted to prove myself, alright? My mother threw me away because my existence was an embarrassment to her bid for power, and so I wanted to start tearing down the society I was born into to prove a point and show her how wrong she was to throw me stars upon stars away. I wanted to learn her craft better than she ever had, wanted to prove I was better than her. Alright, fine, maybe win back her love and respect! Look, I'm not going to pretend I'm not bloated with issues, but I think I'm alright considering the trainwreck of an upbringing I've gone through so don't judge!!~
~Wow. Uh. Okay, I won't. Why are you telling me this?~
~I dunno, it feels like this could be the end, I'd like to face death with a clearer conscience, I guess? Get some of those thoughts stewing in my head the last few years out, you know?~
~Alright then whatever bye Flukebiter.~
~I'm not going anywhere but I'll let you focus on other things, sure.~
~BYE.~

this is my life now
>>
No. 902227 ID: 7f3357
File 153731112226.png - (26.22KB , 800x600 , sp-10.png )
902227

Ah, fuck, I forgot to ask Flukebiter about the bug thing I ripped an organ out of.
Well, I can ask later when it's less likely I get a bunch of baggage dumped onto me.

Oh, hey, it's Beanna, she's one of the people who I'm pretty sure was part of that crew I remember being in.
She... doesn't look so good.

Oh wow, she really doesn't look good and the poor schmuck already suffers from every minor alien bug we come across.
Although, uh...

"Hey! Hey Beanna!" Ugh, my mouth feels dry. "They took your stuff too, huh?"

She doesn't say anything but lurches forward and her head droops down and, uh, some... some kind of weird eye thing pokes out of where her left eye should be.

It stares at me, and she opens her mouth and coughs up purple goop, before talking with a weird creepy resonance to her voice.

"Be as one. We are as one. All as one."

Yeah I'm no expert on whatever's going on but that sounds bad.

"All as one. None. One. One. None. One. None. One. One. None one one none one none none one. None one one one none one none none noneoneonenonenoneonenoneone noneoneoneonenonenoneonenone..."

Hm. I think she's trying to lurch towards me.

"AS ONE AS ONE AS ONE!!"

Uh I think she's picking up speed I should think of a thing to do probably
>>
No. 902231 ID: e1d580

Kick her legs. Worked on that drone thing earlier, you might be able to just wreck this thing.
>>
No. 902240 ID: afdebc

Bravely run away!

"Bye, sorry you got taken over by alien plant tentacles Beanna that sucks!"
>>
No. 902248 ID: 0c3c2c

>>902227
Considering you literally ripped one of their hearts out earlier, and it was a lot more 'finished' looking than this one, I hypothesize that either the purple tissue is extremely fragile or your muscle tissues have been enhanced somehow.

To ascertain evidence of either hypothesis, rip all the purple bits out of that Pomi and watch it bleed to death. Go for the eyestalk first.
>>
No. 902263 ID: ad51b8

is that a tail on her or is something connected to her? If it's connected maybe see if you can brake it, if it's a tail... well clearly she's having a moment and we should leave her be until she calms down... as if give her space... as in you should probably leave.
>>
No. 902268 ID: 575ec0

Welp. Now we know ot to drink it. Also holy shit changes like that don't happen overnight. No wonder your thirsty. How long have you been here?
>>
No. 902276 ID: deec6e

>>902227

Welp, this is worrying.

Run? Trip her into the goop? Perform a terrifying amount of purple goop-removing super-strength 'surgery' on her with your bare hands to see if she has parts that aren't as insanely hive-minded? Put her out of her sorry, sorry misery if you can?
>>
No. 902326 ID: b67388

Spring kick her into the goop pool.
>>
No. 902343 ID: 977456

The purple flesh may be sensitive to sonic assaults. Perform a scientific analysis consisting of a high-pitch, high-volume vocalisation while maintaining maximum safe distance.
Just to be clear, this is not screaming and running away, it is a careful test of potential attack vectors.
>>
No. 902389 ID: 7f3357
File 153739523778.png - (25.59KB , 800x600 , sp-11.png )
902389

>kick her
>kick her into the goop
>rip out the purple veiny stuff

Well, looks like we're going straight for the violent option before she has the chance to.
"Hey, Beanna, thanks but no thanks!"

I back up, hold up my arms in a guard and give her the strongest spring kick I can muster.

She's thrown stumbling backwards to try and stay on her feet, before regaining her balance and sluggishly throwing a punch at me with the more normal looking hand, for some reason.

"MERGE!!" screams Beanna, as her punch goes straight past me.
"I'm fine being not merged, it's okay!"

I juke to the side of her and roundhouse kick her in the face. She screams in pain and goes flying into the purple goop.

Her tail snaps out and tries to grapple mine, but just slips off from the purple oily goop.
In she goes, into whatever that mess is.

Oh right, I guess I'm not a complete amateur when it comes to this fighting thing. It feels natural enough that it must have been training. I'm getting vague recollections of getting into some kind of martial arts thing because I was sick of being defenseless and getting into trouble a lot. Hm. I got into trouble a lot. Why was that. Bad crowd? Was I like a police officer or something? No that feels really wrong, but something about that idea sounds familiar. Huh, whatever, getting distracted--

"CUI!!"

Ah fuck. I don't really remember what my plan was beyond "throw pomi into goop and problem solved".

"I REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE, CUI! YOU DID THIS TO ME!! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!"
"I don't remember doing anything to you! I barely remember who you are!"

Beanna pulls at the eyestalk fighting against her grasp, as the growths over her left hand start curling around her left hand as if trying to seize control.

"I'm not going to die like this! I'M NOT GOING TO DIE LIKE THIS!!"
>>
No. 902390 ID: 7f3357
File 153739524704.png - (33.45KB , 800x600 , sp-12.png )
902390

She struggles to pull the purple stuff off of her as she wades to the shoreline and I figure seeing as I was going to try and do that anyway I might as well help her out with it.

I slap my tail at her and pull her out of the purple goop and rip off the eyestalk.

Beanna screams and staggers back, and I rip the weird tentacles out of her mouth, a gush of purple blood spraying at me. Eugh.
She curls up and groans, and I rip off the stuff on that one hand, purple and red blood seeping out of where there was some sort of soft rubbery tissue.

Beanna gurgles, trying to say something, her right eye meeting mine, tears streaming down her face.

"Become as one?" I guess.
Beanna weakly shakes her head, gurgling and groaning with the odd sob.

Well I mean I remember I never particularly liked Beanna so I decide to call it quits here and move on.
As I wander off I hear a gurgled "Cui" but this isn't my problem anymore so on we go.
>>
No. 902391 ID: 7f3357
File 153739525634.png - (37.82KB , 800x600 , sp-13.png )
902391

~...you're just going to leave her there?~
~Sure. Why? Not my problem anymore.~
~I don't understand. Wasn't she part of your unit?~
~Unit?~
~Even the processor fleets would at least make use of the fallen if medical attention was deemed unnecessary, you're just... not even going to acknowledge her existence?~
~You sure do care a lot about the decisions some random stranger is making, don't you.~
~Just assessing my options and predicting likely outcomes of certain paths. While I'm at it, do you feel any sort of regret or remorse for leaving her--~
~A random violent stranger who tried to attack me? No, not really, why?~

Flukebiter's voice goes quiet.

Great, in addition to his whining I have to deal with his critique. Whatever, moving on.

I plod aimlessly down a direction until I find what looks like a weird swamp. Lots of weird branching purple spongy things. But more importantly, I notice there's running water-- no, let's be cautious, running transparent watery fluid-- in a shallow stream that these things are growing in.

Nothing's immediately trying to kill me. I poke one of the spongy things and it squirms away from me as best as it can while rooted to the bed of the stream.

Hm. Time to consider next steps, I guess.
>>
No. 902397 ID: 094652

Whatever was in Beanna, it saw you. Start making not-tracks and skedaddle before you are located by something that is prepared to deal with you.
>>
No. 902403 ID: afdebc

>>902390
Well... you ripped off the purple stuff for her so that's arguably a net positive for her. But your help is more accidental than deliberate that's for sure.

>~A random violent stranger who tried to attack me? No, not really, why?~
Well that's the thing, she's not a stranger, is she? You knew her at some point, even if your memory is messed up. And the attack was at least partially the fault of that purple stuff, probably.

>Hm. Time to consider next steps, I guess.
Well, don't drink or eat any of this stuff, unless you have to. That purple stuff got in Pomi-girl somehow and you'd not like it growing out of you!

Follow the stream, maybe? It's the first geography of note you've found so far.
>>
No. 902413 ID: b67388

>>902403
Mhm. Running water means it has a source somewhere.
>>
No. 902428 ID: 0c3c2c

Cui, you are CLEARLY recovering your memories. Seriously, at least muster a LITTLE caring about the random dying alien. Come on, pull them out of the purple crap at least.
>>
No. 902431 ID: 757ccd

There isn't a whole lot you could do for her anyway. We don't know if you removed it from her entirely. It's possible we could never remove it completely. We have nothing to heal her with, nothing to feed her, nothing for her to drink.

Just move on.
>>
No. 902486 ID: 977456

Squeeze a sponge and see what comes out. Then leave, quickly.
>>
No. 902490 ID: 864e49

>Not my problem anymore.
What the fuck is wrong with! Even if you didn't like her she's still an ally and so far the only other person or thing that you remember from before coming to this hellscape!
Go back and help her you cunt!

>deal with his critique
It's not just critique, he's evaluating you. If you won't even help a former team member then how likely are you to help a complete stranger. He's probably not going to trust you very much and might even betray you and his earliest convenience.
>>
No. 902491 ID: ab52c1

You have to go baaaaaack.
>>
No. 902493 ID: 0d45a9

You should go back, it's the right thing to do. Worst case situation she's bait for whatever horror tries to eat you, since you only have to not be the slowest when running away.
>>
No. 902494 ID: 5f3f48

>>902490
Yeah, headvoice wants your help, but just watched you ignore someone it expected you to help. As a complete stranger, at your mercy, who has probably picked up on the fact they're annoying or frustrating you, Flukebiter is probably concerned this bodes badly for them.
>>
No. 902496 ID: 2e0f31

Follow the river downstream. Maybe this is runoff from that core, and if so maybe getting further away will cause that annoying voice to fade. Don't trust a kiter you aren't holding by the throat.
>>
No. 902499 ID: 575ec0

Ok. Water. Sniff it first. Then taste it, before gulping it down.

Also, that person was under the control of whatever this... the place is. And now she's not. What a terrible fate. And you left her there to die.

I'm not saying you should help her, but damn. No empathy at all.

You might be a psychopath, bro.
>>
No. 902515 ID: e7848c

Consider this a fresh start. You see a helpless stranger being assaulted by body snatching goop, you help them. At least pull them away from any of the purple stuff.
>>
No. 902957 ID: 00e23d

Next steps?
Well, you're in an unknown, probably alien environment with no infrastructure, technology, or other ways to easily access basic necessities and supplies. If that purple mass is everywhere, walling you in, you're trapped too.
First priority is water, followed by food. The water's untested. You can try it yourself, or if you don't care about morals you can drag Beanna over and force her try it. Bonus points if you instead trick her by saying you had a change of heart and found water you want to share while really just using her as a living poison test.
Food you don't have a source of, unless those spongy things are edible. If you find a source, spongy or not, you'll still have to test it. You can do that in the same way you tested the water.
Next is self-defense. Your body works as a weapon, but something light enough to throw and heavy enough to damage, like a rock, will give you a ranged attack. Fashioning a crude spear or spears will give you increased melee range, piercing capability, and if you've got more than one, can function as javelins, too. They'll increase your ability to scare off or fight off predators and aggressors, or hunt prey if you're hungry. Be cautious and avoid combat, though. You have no medical supplies, and a single screw up may leave you with an injury you can't heal.
About equal to self-defense is shelter. Weather patterns may not be a concern in this environment, so a lean-to may not have much value. Four walls, on the other hand, can give basic protection from outside threats and give a stable location to store supplies and assess your situation.
Beyond that, if you want to escape you'll need some way to pierce the wall. Or if the light source in here is a sun, there's got to be a hole somewhere.
Out of curiousity, if the light source is not a sun, then what is it? Bioluminescence?
>>
No. 902968 ID: 977456

Yeah, she is dead weight and an unknown factor, but having a poison-taster on-hand would be extremely useful given that you are at severe risk of dying of dehydration while surrounded by all manner of fluids. On that note, try ripping out some of the wall, hopefully it will bleed and provide a skin tarpaulin. If you can get those sponges to burn, some strips of fabric, and some blood, then you can make an evaporation-based water-purifier...
>>
No. 908009 ID: 8a614b
File 154025003828.png - (23.39KB , 800x600 , sp-14.png )
908009

>squeeze a sponge
They keep squirming out of my grip, so I give up after a dozen tries.

>not a stranger
>muster a little care
>what is wrong with you
>go back and help her
Eh. Nothing I can do for her. Also she's already out of the purple stuff.

Also I mean I don't know that I'd call her an ally... That'd suggest she could help out somehow.

>you psychopath
The word you're looking for is "survivor". This is a survival situation.

~Sophont, I have a new request. Can you... can you at least try to go back and help that alien?~
~Why?~
~Let's keep all our options open.~
~Oh. You want to throw me away and try using her to escape, don't you?~

No response from Flukebiter, so I guess I called that.

~Are you an alien or are you Kiter? Your mindset is incredibly Kiter.~
~What's 'Kiter'?~
~A philosophy I've had a very recent and very violent disagreement with. Well. A philosophy, a culture, a people, a process--~
~Okay sure I don't care. More important things to worry about. Bye Flukebiter.~
~What?! Oh, you are insufferable! Very well! I'll reserve this conversation for a more appropriate time, then! Don't let me keep you from your apathetic wandering!~

I hear what sounds like some kind of series of muted squeaks and trills and clicks in my head and then precious, precious silence again. I suppose if I could commit any of that to memory I'd have an exciting new stream of alien profanities to work into my life.

I make a mental note of where this stream is and head back to the pomi so I can figure out how dead she is.

Yup, she's out. Bleeding pretty heavily. No idea what to do with this soon to be dead body. Put her out of her misery?

She's a miserable weak specimen of her kind. Poor immune system, meek, stuck her beak into matters that she shouldn't have, really if it wasn't this I'd have probably had to kill her myself at some point just to keep things quiet--
>>
No. 908010 ID: 8a614b
File 154025006976.png - (33.48KB , 800x600 , sp-15.png )
908010

"Cui..."

Beanna's eyes-- well, eye rolls open. The remaining one is unrecognisable purple goop. She looks at me.

"Why, Cui?" She speaks remarkably well for someone who had parasitic tentacles ripped out of her mouth.
"Why what?"
"What did I do to deserve this?"

Beanna, a researcher on a trip to examine an anomaly not matching any known alien species or cultures with a speciality in xenolinguistics. Polite, pacifistic, horrified when she probed into my own past. Cries over the slightest injustice. A real bleeding heart.

My past, ehh. I was on the ship for horticulture and hydroponics because that was the only biological matter anyone trusted me around. I guess I don't have any wardens or overseers to worry about now, though.

"Probably nothing, to be honest."
"Why is this happening?"

I don't answer as recollection comes to me. More names and faces come to mind. There were six of us. The ship had landed and we took the skimmer with a team of six to get a first pass of investigating the alien anomaly.
Me, xenobiology.
Beanna, xenolinguistics.
Karei, a neumono there ostensibly as a security officer but in practice he was specifically my warden.
Rellze, a belenosian roboticist.
Adam, a yich eater ... I never actually bothered to learn what he was there for, I tried to stay away from him. Freaky little bastard.
And last and probably least, Fip, another miklik. Some kind of technical wonderkid. I don't know. Didn't say much to anyone.
Really, I think it was that we were the six most disposable. Beanna's never been in great health, I was a convict, but I don't know the rest of the stories. I sure don't struggle to believe that Adam and Fip were probably first on the chopping block.
>>
No. 908011 ID: 8a614b
File 154025008103.png - (25.75KB , 800x600 , sp-16.png )
908011

Psychological Profile
---------------------
- Abnormally low empathetic response
- Highly amoral
- Low aversion to violence
- Low self-esteem
- Severe psychological trauma likely, specifics unknown

Convictions
-----------
- Targeted attack with a bioweapon against Snowriven neumono hive, 96% fatalities, hive collapsed
- Collusion with known terrorist group LNS
- Assault and grievous injury of 4 mikliks
- Dismemberment of neumono law enforcer (could not identify from remains)

Sentence
--------
Mandatory Service
Ongoing (7 yrs, 5 mnths, 3 days remaining)

>>
No. 908012 ID: 8a614b
File 154025009686.png - (61.94KB , 800x600 , sp-17.png )
908012

"Did... did you do this?"
"What, kick the crap out of you? Yeah, I did that. Self-defense, thank you."
"No, I mean, I mean the purple... whatever it is."
"Nope. But I know who knows and I'm trying to find him."

I help her stand. "I hurt all over," she whimpers.
"Yeah, okay," I mutter. "Let's get moving."

Beanna crumples to the ground and I sigh loudly.

"Please don't leave me, Cui," says Beanna, tearing up and shaking.

I do and go back to the water to see if it's at all safe while Beanna breaks down into sobs behind me.
I sniff at it, and it smells fine.
I experimentally dab some onto my finger, and it tastes like water.

I take a few more experimental sips of larger quantity before I just stop lying to myself that I'm chugging this mystery water like my life depends on it. Which it does.

Thirst quenched, I go back to Beanna and half-assist, half-drag her over to the stream.

"It's clean enough as we'll find in this place," I say.

Beanna weakly laps at the water in an awkward and ineffective way before I get too frustrated at watching her and start pouring water into her mouth with my hands.

I take the time to rub the dried blood off of her with some of the water from further down the stream so she looks less of an eyesore. She groans and shifts uncomfortably but whatever, I don't care, miklik, pomi, whatever, everything's basically just slabs of meat with decor on it from a far away enough perspective and mine is probably entering orbit at this point. It doesn't matter and nothing really matters yet I continue like the meat plant machine I'm programmed to be.

"I don't want to die here," whines Beanna.

It's all very well coming back to help her out but now there's nothing I can do while I'm relegated to making sure she doesn't die. Which, to be honest, I'm surprised she's still kicking, that was a lot of blood and a lot of foreign biomass. The only options that immediately come to me right now are sitting here and waiting for some sort of miracle, which, as I've learned time and time again, do not ever happen, or just resigning us both to her inevitable death.

If only I had the proper tools and resources, neither of which are with me. Bleeding edge biotechnological analysis is not possible with dubious water, strange purple fungal masses, or anything else in this damp cavern I find myself in.

~I'm watching you, sophont,~ says my unwelcome mental guest. ~I can direct you to a healing pod for your injured... associate. But I will first require some sort of sign you can be trusted not to just kill her out of spite.~
~You have nothing to bargain with and you're entirely at my mercy.~
~...~
~I'm right, aren't I?~
~No. Now, if you want that information, you'll need to earn it. Prove to me you're worth wasting any further time on. Believe it or not, you are not my very last option.~
~How am I supposed to prove my worthiness? Grovel?~
~Something! Anything!~
~What I'm doing with her now doesn't count?~
~No! Something else!~
~Why doesn't my helping her qualify?~
~I asked you to do this as the very least you could do! How is this so hard to understand?!~
>>
No. 908013 ID: ad51b8

>"you want a test, alright here's one.

>Tell me where the healing pod is. You seem to be always watching me so here's the test. If I bring her to the pod then you get what you want and if I just leave her then you know I truly am nothing but a monster or whatever the phrase of the week is.

>Besides, if you care so much about her then why aren't you doing what you can to help her. The way I see it if you know a way to help her and are refusing so her death will stain your hands as well as mine. Arguably more so actually cause at least I can hide behind the excuse of self defense.

>...well do you want her to live or not? Cause I have no idea how much time she has left and any little test you throw at me would only use up more of her precious little time."

-also I would suggest actually bringing her to the pod as if you could find a way to heal yourself that would help your chances at survival should you get hurt and seeing if the machine would actually heal you and not turn you into something else would also be nice to know.
>>
No. 908014 ID: b67388

>>908012
"You can tell me where to heal her before she bleeds out, or I can move on, because she's going to bleed out very soon and I'm not babysitting a corpse.
So if you actually care as much as you say you do, make your choice."
>>
No. 908016 ID: 977456

You are the one who "requested" I help her, and now you are withholding the means to do that. You don't tell me where the pod is, I leave her here and she dies, or maybe I decide she's the only edible thing I can expect to find for weeks. Telling you now, I don't like Tsunderes, so if you keep going back-and-forth on what you want, I am just going to ignore you.
>>
No. 908021 ID: 91ee5f

>>908012
Ask if this so called “healing pod” is what caused that purple stuff to appear on Beanna in the first place? Because if it is, then neither of you want to experience that again.
>>
No. 908023 ID: afdebc

>Targeted attack with a bioweapon against Snowriven neumono hive, 96% fatalities, hive collapsed
Can you remember what mad you mad enough to follow through with this? From what we've seen of your personality so far, it seems a stretch you would care long enough to obtain and deploy a bioweapon. It seems like too much effort for you.

>~I can direct you to a healing pod for your injured... associate. But I will first require some sort of sign you can be trusted not to just kill her out of spite.~
If you tell me how to heal her and I don't follow through, what have you lost? At the very least, you'd have proof I couldn't be trusted.

>What am I supposed to do
The voice wants some kind of gesture to show you're not a jerk.

So... try being nice to Beanna? Say some sappy thing about how she's going to be okay, or she's not going to die here, etc. You know, something dumb the wuss would like to hear. It's only a lie if Flukebiter refuses to help! Plus, you know, if she dies anyways after you say it, it's not like it matters.
>>
No. 908049 ID: d18b05

Hey Cui does alienating your one ally familiar with this place sound like a good idea? Let me give you a hint: No, it's a terrible idea.

So apologise. And tell Flukebiter some things about yourself. You're a biologist, a criminal and you didn't want to be here. You're honestly not very trustworthy and Flukebiter should know this. But Beanna is going to die without urgent medical assistance and you can heal her if you can get to that healing pod. So... please?
>>
No. 908057 ID: 91ee5f

>>908021
Also, ask if Beanna thinks at Flukebiter really hard, will that allow her to talk to him? Because if that works, then Flukebiter can talk to Beanna instead of annoying you.
>>
No. 908058 ID: 486e87

Think, in this situation you need all the help you can get. Even if you don't like Beanna you should pretend like you care to secure Flukebiter's help, because knowing where and what a healing pod is will be useful if you ever get injured.

Offer some reassurances, as false as they may be, to her. At the very least I'll give her some comfort before she dies, and if she survives she'll be useful to you. You're in a alien environment, her xenolinguistics skills may be useful in deciphering any alien language you come across.
>>
No. 908062 ID: dff5c3

"This was your idea Fluke, if you've changed your mind I could let her bleed out."
>>
No. 908064 ID: 080aaf

Killing her out of spite would be redundant, apathy will do that soon enough.
Even if it's too late for her, maybe a healing pod will be useful to you if you can drag yourself back there. And the meaning of 'healing' means the same thing it did back home.
>>
No. 908070 ID: 83bf07

All these folks demanding you empathize. You only have so much to give, you know. They can play moral judge when there isn't a life to be saved.
>>
No. 908074 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908012
Cui, try to at least pretend you are not a homicidal war criminal for five minutes. How did you even live this long with social skills THIS BAD?
>>
No. 908087 ID: 86eb65

Show me the pod and I put her in it. There trust is gained.

If I was going to kill her for spite I would have done it already.

And if this is some sort of morality test try doing it on someone who is not trapped in a horrible maze with a asshole yelling at him in his head.
>>
No. 908138 ID: 8a614b
File 154042052716.png - (26.64KB , 800x600 , sp-18.png )
908138

>why did you kill a neumono hive
When you're in debt to an organization like LNS, you don't ask why they want something done, you ask when they want it done. Job complete, slate wiped. But I didn't cover my tracks well enough, and some rogue neumono detective figured it was worth risking his job and his life over enacting justice tribally instead of going through the proper channels.

And that's why they found him ripped to pieces, because when I'm backed into a corner, I don't hold back. They never did figure out how an unarmed miklik with no exceptional strength was able to tear a neumono open like a wet paper bag, and I'm keeping that secret to myself for future use.

>call out Flukebiter
~So let me see if I understand this situation properly. You want me to save her life, have the only possible means of saving her life known to you, and are refusing to give it to me, therefore condemning her to a slow, painful death here. Show me the pod. I'll put her in it. If I wanted her dead I could just walk away. Wasn't this entire thing your idea?~

There's a few seconds of silence, Beanna whimpering and breathing raggedly below me.

~Right, straight ahead, keep going until you reach a wall, left, pod is in the larger room. I hope you choke on your own throat.~

The voice goes silent.

I struggle to help Beanna up, her weakening condition making it harder to prop her up. I'm not a weightlifter, my personal fitness regimen was more stamina building than muscle building.

We stumble towards the directions Flukebiter just gave me. I keep wary eye out for any other nasty surprises but just see purple goop and fungal clusters within this maze.
>>
No. 908139 ID: 8a614b
File 154042055553.png - (224.02KB , 800x600 , sp-19.png )
908139

I reach some kind of lightly purple-covered green pod, which sluggishly opens up as we arrive. Next to it are a bunch of completely purple-covered misshapen lumps, and I suppose I'm looking at the organic alien equivalent of twisted wreckage.

~Is this the pod?~
~Yes. The only one that survived the crash. Doing enough self-maintenance to stave off the infection, too. Very promising.~
~Do I just slot her into it?~
~No, you need to punch yourself in the face to turn it on first. What do you think you do here? Are you unfamiliar with basic biotechnology?~
~I am unfamiliar with alien technology I've never seen before, yes.~
~Then quit your gibbering primitive mind babble and put her in the pod before she finishes bleeding out! There's still other steps after this!~
~I'm sorry, who's at who's mercy again?~
~PUT. HER. IN. THE POD. CUI. THE POD, CUI. THE POD. PUT HER. IN THE POD. PLEASE.~

While Flukebiter admonishes me and tries to spell out what he wants me to do, I lift Beanna into the pod, and it sluggishly closes around her.

~Done. What next?~
~It isn't likely to understand alien physiology well enough to know what to do for her without external instruction. Okay. Follow my instructions incredibly clearly because a single wrong input could mean the system doesn't work, and she dies. Activate the manual input by tapping at that raised bump.~
~Done.~
~Okay, set the pod to 'neburi'. It's the closest match physiologically, and if we try 'carax' it's going to assume the infection is symbiotic when we want it purged.~
~I don't know what that means.~

I stare at the alien glyphs. Sure would be handy to have a xenolinguist right about now.

~Which button is neburi?~
~None of them, you're in the main menu. Touch 'unknown species' and then you'll be prompted for closest match.~
~...which button is unknown species? I can't read this.~
~It's that sixth one over to the right, down one.~
~Okay.~
~Wait no that's six over to the left! Stop!~
~That's... how are you seeing this?!~
~Okay, that's my right, not your right.~
~What do you mean your right?! There's no one else I can see here!~
~SIX TO YOUR RIGHT, DOWN ONE!~
~Okay. Tapped. Neburi?~
~Second one down. Wait no that's only one, that first glyph is a title Cui go down one more no you NO DON'T~

I tap a glyph.

~Okay, so you just set the pod to carax. Well. I don't even know what that program entails, but it usually asks for confirmation unless a crisis is detect-- it's registered a medical crisis for a carax-type organism contained and is applying immediate triage. The good news is she should at least live.~

My first chance to use highly sophisticated alien biotechnology and I fuck it up like a complete amateur. Fuck you're bad at this, Cui.

~What's the bad news?~
~You remember when she was covered in purple stuff talking about being one?~
~Yeah?~
~Anticipate more of that.~
~...what should I do now?~
~Back up from the pod and try to not be here when it's finished. Circle back to that stream. It seems to be relatively safe.~
>>
No. 908140 ID: 8a614b
File 154042059089.png - (25.43KB , 800x600 , sp-20.png )
908140

Staring at the pod, shaking a little from frustration and failure, I go back to the stream, not thinking clearly enough to do anything else.

~So, let's review.~
~Review what.~
~You did do as I asked, after incredible effort on my behalf. You also followed my instructions, but too hastily and without waiting for confirmation--~
~This is my fault, somehow?~
~I think you're too much hard work to work with, Cui.~
~What, am I fired?~
~Yes. I'm going to go find someone else to help me. Goodbye.~

Flukebiter's voice goes silent.

~Hi?~

Complete silence save for running water, and odd gurgling coming from deeper into the cavern's twists and turns.

~Flukebiter?~

Hm. Guess he wasn't lying. Well, that's inconvenient. Still, I wasn't expecting reliable help here. I'm at my best working alone anyway. Less friction.

What next...

"Cui!"

Ghh! I recognise that voice!

"Cui, I see you're also missing everything. If you were a lady, I might feel some shame for looking at you."

I turn around until I see Rellze, the belenosian, naked save for some sort of hastily improvised blindfold. Huh. He half-runs half-walks over to me, waving.

"Rellze? Also, wait, what, I am biologically female right now like I am all of the time--"
"You're hardly a lady in my eyes, Cui."
"You're not covered in purple stuff."
"Neither are you. Also, I'd like to have a word with you."
"What?"
"I found Karei in bloody chunks. Very, very similar to how that detective that came after you went out. We're marooned from society and I frankly didn't care for the animal myself, but was that more of your handiwork?"
"...Uh??" I don't remember trying to kill my warden, I remember really wanting to but I knew what direction that led and it wasn't anywhere good. The fuck...
"Relax. As far as I care, whatever happens out here doesn't matter if we make it back to civilization. One of those things you pretend never happened to you and you go on pretending you can live a normal life afterwards. You already knew this was a suicide mission, didn't you?"

My tail twitches and taps along the ground anxiously. My instincts tell me that someone approaching a situation as nonchalantly as this is someone to fear.
Yes. I am incredibly aware of the irony of that sentiment.

"It didn't take a lot of time to figure it out," I say. "Six people, handpicked, the most disposable members of the research team. They sent Fip. Fip. I don't think he was even paid to be here."
"You weren't paid to be here," says Rellze, tilting his head slightly.
"No, that's not what I meant. I'm here as punishment for my crimes. Fip doesn't know he's being taken for a ride. Well, that's internships for you, I guess."

Rellze nods slightly. "I have always wondered how things would be if we were removed from the trappings of civilization," he says, looking(??) off past me.
"This isn't really the time or place for philosophy, Rellze."
"Oh, no? This is the perfect opportunity to discover who we are, Cui. There is nothing that opens up the truth of who someone really is more than adversity. The comforts and trappings of the civilized mind, abruptly removed."
"What's your point?"
"Oh, nothing. I just wondered if you'd agree with me. I always thought of you as something of a kindred spirit, I suppose."
"...so, any idea what to do?"
"Hm? Well, there's little need for shelter in an enclosed environment, there's fresh running water here, and I'm sure there'll be something edible soon enough."
"What?"
"The things here are alive, in our nitrogen oxygen atmosphere, with our gravitational force, and evidently drink water. The probability of compatible biology is high. Shouldn't you have already figured that out, xenobiologist?"
"Yes, but compatible biology also means things like compatible toxins, in so far as toxins can be compatible, compatible diseases, compatible parasites, there's far too many variables to just pick something up and eat it."
"Then I suppose," says Rellze, tightening his blindfold, "we go back and find Karei's bloody chunks, and we share."
"We eat the neumono?"
"Works out well enough for the savages themselves," says Rellze flippantly, shrugging.

My head is swimming with this much social interaction with all these clear red flags. Maybe I should take a moment to think about what to do.
I really want to ask about the blindfold. I really, really do. I don't get why he's wearing it and he can still clearly see me and keeps looking around at things.
>>
No. 908141 ID: 080aaf

If you're really of like minds, then you're probably going to shank each other at first opportunity. Decline the offer until you find a suitable poking stick.
It could be that there's something pretending to be him that can't quite get the eyes right.
>>
No. 908145 ID: ad51b8

well for one thing, don't turn your back on the guy.

next, shouldn't you be looking for an exit to get the hell out of here? I mean from the sounds of things this is a ship that crashed so assuming that some of the crew survived beyond that one guy we saw and ripped the heart out of they probably would be patrolling the ship so staying in one place probably isn't the best idea. Plus this ship is full of people you hate so that alone should be reason enough to leave. Maybe you'll get lucky and everyone will think you died here so you can run off with a clean slate.
>>
No. 908153 ID: afdebc

>>908139
Okay, neither of you handled that well, but I think Flukebiter handled it worse. Mouthing off at the alien who asks what to do before interacting with confusing technology, assuming an alien would be able to read a different language, and generally poor instructions.

>"You're not covered in purple stuff."
>"Neither are you. Also, I'd like to have a word with you."
...how can you tell that blind?

>Cui, I see you're also missing everything.
>"You're hardly a lady in my eyes, Cui."
Seriously stop talking about what you can see you're blindfolded! Why are you blindfolded? Are you hiding creepy purple stuff that colonized your eyes?

>"Then I suppose," says Rellze, tightening his blindfold, "we go back and find Karei's bloody chunks, and we share."
Possible short term gain in calories, going to be something of a problem if any other survivors walk in on that. At the very least we probably want to cook it, thoroughly. Neither of us have a neumono's immune system, and who knows how contagious the purple stuff is.

Biggest immediate risk of going back for neumono meats is in an active biosphere, the corpse may have attracted scavengers, or predators. ...might be useful to observe the local critters going at it.

>My instincts tell me that someone approaching a situation as nonchalantly as this is someone to fear.
Yeah. Rellze is either a complete and utter crazy person, or he's a good actor and trying to act like a sociopath because he knows you are one.

What do you remember of Rellze's personality before?
>>
No. 908155 ID: 86eb65

Yeah he is probably the sort that goes crazy the second societies laws disappear.

Best case he wants to run wild in the purple nightmare land with you. Fucking and killing and doing whatever you both want as you murder-cannibal-rape your way across the apocalyptic mad max future hellscape.

Worst case you both try to kill each other in the next 5 minutes.
>>
No. 908158 ID: b67388

Do you think that pod could heal Karei back from chunks, or is that too much for even a Neumono to bounce back from? Warden or no, she's probably more stable than this guy and more capable than Beanna.
>>
No. 908160 ID: 91ee5f

>>908139
>~You remember when she was covered in purple stuff talking about being one?~
>~Anticipate more of that.~
Can’t you just repeat the process of removing the purple stuff and trying the pod again?

You at least remember what order to push the alien glyphs now, so even without Flukebiter, you could just put Beanna back in the pod and do it correctly.

>>908140
>Hm. Guess he wasn't lying. Well, that's inconvenient. Still, I wasn't expecting reliable help here. I'm at my best working alone anyway. Less friction.
There’s also less chance of someone saving your sorry ass and tail of questionable thickness and length when you get in trouble.
>>
No. 908185 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908140
He's got some kind of weapon he's going to use to kill you. Escape immediately.

Also, explain to Flukebiter that this guy might actually be more violent than you, just to discourage them trying to help blindy over there.
>>
No. 908204 ID: 977456

Given that Fluke knew where the pod was relative to you, they must also know where you are relative to the ship in general?

Tell them that you don't recall chunking a neumono, so either there is something else out here chunking people, or people should avoid bugging you in your sleep unless it is really important.
>>
No. 908219 ID: 9bb347

Ask him where his eyes went, he's clearly lost his second pair somewhere and given the amount of body-jacking around here that's worrying.
>>
No. 908220 ID: 094652

>Flukebiter quit
If you get another message, tell him your brain is just wired differently and being impulsive in field xenobiology has saved your life a million times over. He was asking you to do tasks that go against your instincts.

>Eat the neumono
You've done worse. Thing is, living bodies have some resistance to infection. How badly do you think the purple stuff has infested the chunks now that its had a few minutes with neumono cell structures that have no supply lines or commands or anything that can be defined as healthy?

>Rellze
Might be a liiittle infected. Have him take point.
>>
No. 908257 ID: 8a614b
File 154050587552.png - (32.05KB , 800x600 , sp-21.png )
908257

>repeat the process
That's not a bad idea. I'll deal with that situation the same way as before, and throw her in with the correct sequence.
If it can fix her up in her sorry state, it should be able to do the same thing twice. I think. Making a lot of uncomfortably baseless assumptions here.

>chunky neumono
I don't think neumono can come back from chunks. Well. I guess it'd depend how many chunks.
...
If I find the chunks and a spare pod, I want to find out what would even happen if I gave it neumono chunks.
What are the limitations of the alien technology here?
This is something I've never seen before. Never had a chance to study.
I could learn something vital from all of this.

But no. Back to the present.

>personality before
Honestly I never could read Rellze. He always was a little off. He was very polite, very cordial, and would stand up for some members of the crew while treating others like furniture.
I just figured he was super racist but in retrospect I'm not sure what made someone worth his time.

>he's going to shank you
>he's going to kill you
>danger danger run
>decline the offer
"There's a problem with your offer," I say, diplomatically.
"Oh?"
"One, neither of us have the palette for meat, two, this is an active biosphere. It'd be crawling with alien microbes if it hasn't already been eaten by something else."
"Well, it was just the first plan that came to mind," says Rellze, sniffing and folding his arms. "Well, you could try eating one of these odd lilac mushrooms, I guess."
Visions of Beanna flash through my mind. "I'm not eating anything purple."
"That's a pity. There's not much else here."

He turns away from me, looking around. "Just purple as far as the eye can see."
I reach up to my left eye and move the petals around and out of the way.

I may not have been entirely truthful earlier when I said the flower was useless.
To be fair, it's my one ace in the hole. The one secret I have that no one else has managed to figure it out.
I suppose it's lucky that I was caught by 'proper' authorities, because they didn't try to torture the information out of me. I know I'd have folded.

The truth is, it's incredibly situational. I can't quite remember how I got it, but this flower... I'm not even sure of the mechanism myself. I've tried to study it, but it's hard to study your own neurological processes. Whatever, I digress. The point is this. The flower lets me see... weaknesses, for lack of a better term. Biomechanical structural flaws, periods of vulnerability in core systems. The exact points and regions in a body that will cause the greatest damage with the appropriate force.

I am not any stronger than the average miklik, but this strange gift grants me preternatural leverage.

And right now, I'm looking at Rellze's turned back, ready to kill him in seconds if he--
>>
No. 908258 ID: 8a614b
File 154050589567.png - (24.54KB , 800x600 , sp-22.png )
908258

Rellze turns around, tearing off his blindfold-- oh.

Beneath his blindfold, his eyes are gone. They've been replaced with some sort of cybernetics. Red lights hum to action.

"I don't like people knowing my secrets, Cui," says Rellze. "They all think the goggles are what I used for my work, and the information overlays are useful, but the real art is anchored to my cranium."
I put my hands on my hips and try to look nonchalant. "What, so you have to kill me now?"
"Let me just make this very clear to you, Cui. These are sophisticated technology. I can look into you. See what makes you tick. Your vulnerabilities. Past your skin, into your muscles, into your circulatory-- huh. Two hearts. That's new."
"I'm full of surprises," I say.
Fuck he has my thing. Fuck. Fuck that was supposed to my trump card. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
"And that... flower," he says, glancing up, grinning with his teeth bared. "You didn't keep good care of your files. What does that flower tell you about my weaknesses, Cui?"
AND IT BEING A SECRET WAS MY VERY LAST TRUMP CARD.
Well. That rules everything out, then. Time to face facts.

"Alright," I say, my fronds twitching violently. "Let's just get this over with."
"Hm?"
"You're about to try and kill me. Let's just get this over with. You're too dangerous to be around, and this was the inevitable conclusion."
"What?" He seems genuinely taken aback. "Kill you? Why?"
"Oh, don't play innocent. It never works."
"You misunderstand. I don't wish to kill you. I just want to ensure you don't try to kill me. If I wanted you dead," he says, clenching a fist and looking at it, "you'd already be dead."
"Knock off the posturing, too, it also doesn't work." This guy is reminding me of that detective now.
"You... wow, you are all business, aren't you, Cui." He chuckles, and turns back around, preparing to walk. "Very well. Let's move on--"
"No," I say.

>run and escape
>more violent than you
No.
>pointing stick
I am the weapon.

I charge at him and smack him in the back of the neck.
Enhanced reflexes and years of agility and stamina training.
I may not be strong, but I am fast.
>>
No. 908259 ID: 8a614b
File 154050593498.png - (21.69KB , 800x600 , sp-23.png )
908259

"HGK!!"

The belenosian lets out a strangled sound, staggers on his feet, and crumples onto the floor, face smashing into the purple mesh covering the floor.

"Let me get one thing straight," I say, as I kick him over onto his back.
"gggkk..."
"I am the one in charge of this situation. Not you. Not an equal partnership. Me. Cui."
He tries to raise his arms, in gasping sharp breaths. He grunts and groans as lifting them causes him sharp pain.
"You knew everything about who and what I am and was, and you thought you could keep me in check by threats? Do you know what happens when I'm up against the wall with no way out?"

I kick him in the side as sharp as I can, taking care not to smack the areas the flower so kindly provides me.

"People die, Rellze."

He twitches, groans and gasps in pain, mouth flapping as he tries to say something but can't get the words out.

"You've pondered a world free of societal laws? You've always wondered what the outlaw life is like?"
Another swift kick to the ribs.
"I live that world! I am that life!"
I walk over him, on top of him, taking care to avoid actual vulnerable points. The flower shows me more and more as I injure him further. The body, even in alien form, is a fragile yet durable thing, at once. A beautiful contradiction. No one else can see the beauty of the body as it tries to repair itself. I don't enjoy causing pain, but I will not deny the lightshow and the release through violence are basically exactly what I needed right now.
I believe I've taught him enough of a lesson now, anyway. Further injury might actually take more than an hour to heal, and he might be useful.

"So. No, don't get up."
He struggles to bend his torso up, and I shake my head. I smack his head down with my tail. It does not take a lot of effort.
"Stay down. Stay down. I'm not done talking yet. So. Rellze. Two questions. One. Why did you think this was a good idea? And two, and this is very, very important, so I want you to think long and deep and hard about this one. You're completely untrustworthy, so why should I not kill you right now?"
"C...Cui, Cui this was agghh... aagghh... hrff... this was a mistake, a misunderstanding, listen, listen listen listen!"
"I'm listening. Make it good, because otherwise I'm starting with those fancy eyes you're so fond of."
"St... starting what?"
"You don't want the answer to that. Get back to explaining."
"I didn't... I didn't think you had it in you--"
"Alright. So you had a deathwish, understood. So, that being clear, why do you walk away from this alive? I know exactly how this goes. You plead for your life, claim some talent, and then when my back is turned you try to kill me first. I've done this all before."
"You won't survive... hhhh... on your own here."
"Explain."
"You're nothing but bitter hatred," he says, with a pained grimace. "You'll die here, consumed by your own arrogance and contempt. I read all your files, Cui. All your files. Unlike you, I want to escape. I want to live. What do you want?"
"Escape, obviously."
"Really? When's the last time you slept, Cui? Do you still hear his screams? Because your journal says--"
"We're done here."

I am absolutely livid. Shaking with rage. It is taking everything I have not to butcher this upstart goat where he is.
Then that'd solve the food problem, too.

"If you kill me," says Rellze, clearly recovered but staying on the ground, "what does that gain you?"
"Assurance that you can't stab me in the back."
"Why would I--"
"Now? Revenge. Pettiness. Point of no return, belenos. Should have just kept quiet."
"How long can you go on with all this blood on your hands?"

Yet, doubt hinders me. I falter.
Everything I've experienced up to this point is screaming to finish the job, but.
Maybe. Maybe he's right.
No.
No he's not right. That's ridiculous.
But.
But what if there is another way?
Break his limbs? More burden. Not even useful. What use is he?
More useful resource intact but more dangerous.
Time running out.
Need to decide.
Motion. Muscles contracting.
He's trying to stand.
Need to act now.
>>
No. 908260 ID: 86eb65

As long as I fucking can. If I have to get more blood on my hands then so be it.

Have you grown up watching movies with good and bad guys? Do you honestly think that good and evil exist? That I am going to see the error of my ways and fall over crying? Begging someone to forgive me? Oh no look at all the blood on my hands boo hoo.

I did what I had to survive.


I would love to have a ally right now. Survival is not going to be easy here. But how you are acting and threatening me has me very worried.


If you stop trying to stand up and instead lay there and convince me we could work as a team I will consider it.

(kill him if he stands up)
>>
No. 908261 ID: 094652

"I want your back turned on me at all times. You will do as I say, strike at the exact points I order you to strike, and when you do it will work as I intend because I will it. If you so much as breathe in my general direction... well, I don't want to kill you.

That would mean leaving you dead with your soul and dignity intact. No, I'd simply use you completely. You might not be capable of dying after that."

(I feel sick just suggesting this)
>>
No. 908262 ID: 3cc68c

Tell him he is alive because he did not attack you. But if he tries to get up or do anything but lay there until this conversation is over he dies.

You could always take out his special eyes. Have the pod regrow him new normal ones. Then he would not be a threat. But that would scar him deeply and make him hate you more. (or break him which is not a bad option)

A light beating he can forgive. But any more and you risk hatred. He is a scientist who thinks he knows what your life is like. A kid playing in a adult playground. But like it or not your survival is much more likely with someone to watch your back.
>>
No. 908264 ID: e1d580

>>908261
Do you mean chucking him into the pod like Beanna?
>>
No. 908265 ID: d4c7d9

You know the purple stuff is infectious, there's some form of information transfer and he knows things you don't want anyone to know. He's a piece of work you should kill before he is co-opted by something worse.
>>
No. 908268 ID: 82f787

Just stop wasting time and kill him already.
>>
No. 908269 ID: de6d84

He gotta die.
>>
No. 908271 ID: a80f0f

This guy likes you!

His whole speech sounded like he's been watching you and impressed by you for a long time. He is just a idiot that wants you to think he is cool.

All the talk about the trappings of civilization? Truth of who you are? Trying to impress you with his knowledge of you? Knowing your secrets?

He has a crush on you and is doing a shitty job of trying to impress you. He wants you to like him. To show him how to be strong. To watch you hunt and kill and help you.

That is my bet.
>>
No. 908272 ID: 86eb65

>>908271

I know I said kill him if he got up but I want to see if he has a crush on you now.
>>
No. 908273 ID: 10c408

Cui, this place is evidently hostile. You have no idea where the fuck you are, you have NOTHING on hand in terms of tools, equipment, clothing or even a reliable food source. You CAN'T murder your way out of this situation!

You need Rizelle alive long enough to establish temporary safety and a better plan. You can ice him after you've ensured that doing so will actually improve your situation rather than detract from it. (And having him dead doesn't actually improve your situation one bit, secrets be damned. He should know enough to keep his mouth shut about them. But if he doesn't...)
>>
No. 908278 ID: afdebc

>That's not a bad idea. I'll deal with that situation the same way as before, and throw her in with the correct sequence.
Downside is of course if the plant tentacle monster has learned or adapted from the first time, or if it leaves her in a sorrier state.

>what do
Let's see. He's dangerous. Screams untrustworthy to a sociopath. Wanted to explore off the edges of civilization/ Knows your biggest secret. Thought pushing you into a fight or flight corner would end well for him, which was incredibly stupid.

And somehow despite his bad decision making or wanting to go off the civilized map thinks he's qualified to fill in your own mental blindspots. You need someone compassionate, or with social skills, or who buys into civilization for that!

Seriously you are so much better off with this guy dead. If you need a nice person to balance out your odds of survival the pomi and flukebiter are both better candidates.

>>908271
Although it might be funny to see how he reacts to this theory first.
>>
No. 908279 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908259
Kill him. You can always turn over a new leaf not-killing-people with the purple root lady in the pod.

Besides, he knows too much, and he's an asshole. At least Flukebiter is a functional person.
>>
No. 908285 ID: 91ee5f

>>908271
So this is basically him being really bad at flirting?

If that’s the case, I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to murder him.
>>
No. 908292 ID: 9a9e0c

You can't hesitate against someone who can see such glaring weaknesses. You either kill him now or live the rest of your life in constant paranoia, and the latter doesn't necessarily last for long. He may have a point, and you really should examine your behaviour afterwards, but he himself is too dangerous to your continued existence.
>>
No. 908297 ID: 080aaf

Farther than you.
Goodbye, Rellze. Maybe the sum of your parts will be greater than the whole.
We can start by testing the mushrooms on his corpse. Maybe some purple is less purple than others.
>>
No. 908326 ID: b67388

Do not pry into my past. Do not posture for me.

We have a unique advantage working together. The infection, with our abilities we can pinpoint it. If need be we can remove it from one another with the least possible risk of collateral damage. That has its uses.
>>
No. 908338 ID: 382ad5

Tell him to stop pissing you off. Then offer some hate sex later, you could do with blowing off some steam.
>>
No. 908393 ID: 8a614b
File 154059211077.png - (13.21KB , 800x600 , sp-24.png )
908393

>kill him
>too dangerous to let live
>stop wasting time
Yes. I--

>he likes you
--what? That's ridiculous!!
Impossible!
Impossible impossible impossible impossible impossible impossible incomprehensible inconceivable ridiculous stupid terrible implausible stupid bad no no no

"Stay down! Also, are you some kind of fucking idiot?! Point out my weaknesses and then challenge my supposed morality?! What were you even aiming for?! Did you base your life on old belenosian cartoons or something?!"

He quickly stops trying to stand, arms up around his face to protect himself.
"Cui, I'm sorry! This was all a massive understanding! I didn't want you to think I was weak!"
"Well it worked. I see you as a threat, if that hadn't gotten into your dense calcified skull yet."
"No wait! Cui! Cui please I didn't mean any of it! I was just caught up in the moment and trying to save my own life! I don't even know how to fight, I just wanted to be-- to be--"
"To be what?"

"I wanted to impress you," he whimpers.

...no, inconceivable, that doesn't make any sense! First I'm pretty sure I'm unlovable, but that aside, no one can be this bad at trying to impress someone!!
>>
No. 908394 ID: 8a614b
File 154059212416.png - (33.77KB , 800x600 , sp-25.png )
908394

I kick him in the face a couple times for wasting my time. "You've failed miserably. Miserably."
He's too busy clutching his face and groaning to respond.
"You should be dead right now. Now, it seems like a waste of time. Let's get some things straight. No more prying into my past. No more posturing. Any mask you try to wear I will rip off from your face."
He nods as vigorously as he can. "Uh huh, uh huh!"
"Stand up."

He starts to get up.

"Stand up faster, before I change my mind, emergency rations!"

He hastily stands up, visibly shaking from terror, and all pretense of looking calm, detached and cool vanishes entirely. I have here a belenosian roboticist who didn't know when to shut up and I've just let him live, like an idiot.

Well, an extra pair of hands will be useful for the time being. I just need to make sure he knows his place or kill him the moment it looks like he'll talk.

"Wh-wh--"
I smack him with my tail. "Did I say you could talk?"
"No--"
Another smack. "Did we learn anything just now?"
He quietly nods his head.
"Good. Learn more, learn fast, and your life will have any value to me. Here's a question for you. Who's in charge right now?"
"You are," he says, looking away and wringing his hands, staring into the floor.
"Yes. Correct. Now. Take point. Keep your back to me at all times. If you leave my sight I am going to break a limb for every minute I don't know where you are. Do we understand?"
"Yes," says the belenos, fear quaking in his voice.

I twist his arms behind his back. "Remember, you should be dead right now. If you make a single mistake, or prove in any way uncooperative, you're finished."
>>
No. 908395 ID: 8a614b
File 154059215869.png - (16.97KB , 800x600 , sp-26.png )
908395

Well this was surprisingly easy. He doesn't even complain this time.
Wait. Hold on.
Oh no.

Oh fuck, is he into this? Am I playing into his fucked up tribal fantasies?
No. Ignore it. It doesn't matter if he's into this or not no matter how gross that feels. All he has to do is do everything I say.
...am I into this? No no no this is the wrong place and wrong time to start having this kind of self-analysis, keep going.

Now what to do next. Could break one of his arms just as a safety measure, I guess. It'd make him less useful but it'd make him easier to deal with if he decides to backstab me.
Ugh, everything just feels filthy through this lens.
Kind of want to kill the guy just to get past the awkwardness.
>>
No. 908396 ID: 8a614b
File 154059216989.png - (55.13KB , 800x600 , sp-27.png )
908396

~Stop holding back. Kill him.~
>>
No. 908397 ID: 8a614b
File 154059218881.png - (15.45KB , 800x600 , sp-28.png )
908397

...

There's no one there.

Flukebiter? No, that didn't sound like him.

"Cui I'm very very sorry for asking this but could you maybe not twist my arm that much, it hurrraagh!"
"I don't recall asking for your opinion."
"Stop!"
"No. Try that again."
"AGH! Stop, please!"
"Okay. Good."

Right. Now that I've finished establishing the pecking order, back to thinking about what to do next.
>>
No. 908399 ID: 080aaf

Listen to the phantom murder arkot, for it speaks wisdom.
Get the pending corpse to test the shrooms. Either he won't be purple and he'll be fine, or he will be purple and fine anyway because you shove him in the alien healing pod, and apparently people are fine with the purple after that.
>>
No. 908400 ID: 86eb65

Yeah he is just a nervous blushing idiot. Might want to ease up a bit on him. Just because you leave him alive does not mean you have to join him in his cute fantasy. Unless you want to.

Who is the ghostly yich eater that wants you to murder?
>>
No. 908403 ID: afdebc

>no one can be this bad at trying to impress someone!
You don't have much experience with romance, do you.

>>908395
>Oh fuck, is he into this?
>...am I into this?
Pffff-hahahaha. Well maybe if you're both alive later, you'll have something to explore.

>>908396
Yich Eaters aren't normally psychic. Also wow, everyone but poor Beanna is evil I guess.

>Right. Now that I've finished establishing the pecking order, back to thinking about what to do next.
Uh. Well, unless you want to wait for Beanna to finish baking, I guess your options are "check out the neumono corpse" and "explore". I'm leaning towards the later?
>>
No. 908409 ID: 094652

>no one can be this bad at trying to impress someone
When is the last time you saw someone do something smart.

>~Stop holding back. Kill him.~
After he betrays us. The living have more options than the dead.

Remember, if Flukebiter can get into your head, so can others.
>>
No. 908412 ID: 9a9e0c

>Oh fuck, is he into this?
>...am I into this?

Yep. Congratulations, you're a dominatrix now.
>>
No. 908413 ID: 90f3c0

He's totally into this. Good thing he's facing away from you right now, or thing would get even more awkward.

Keep him around. If you can manipulate him, having pawn to send into dangerous situations seems pretty useful.
>>
No. 908425 ID: b67388

No listening to unidentified head voices (oh the irony).

Ask him what his eyes actually do and what his actual skillset is. Also where those neumono chunks are.
>>
No. 908430 ID: 91ee5f

>>908395
>Oh fuck, is he into this? Am I playing into his fucked up tribal fantasies?
The easiest way to answer that question is to look down to see if his dick is hard. Because if it is, then you’re turning him on instead of intimidating him.
>>
No. 908431 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908397
Was there a giant ant that licks its eyeballs on the crew? Also, keep trying to contact Flukebiter. You found a plan-B for them to work with.

And maybe go check on Breeana.
>>
No. 908436 ID: 4c908d

>Oh fuck, is he into this?
Does he have a boner?
>...am I into this?
Do YOU have a boner?
>>
No. 908438 ID: 3cc68c

You should be turned on by this. What is wrong with his silly ideas? Can frolic with your cute boy slave in the weird purple jungle.
>>
No. 908439 ID: 977456

Well sdo far everyone has ended up disappointingly less-than-completely-murdered. Let's go see a neumono find some obscene way to violate The Chunky Salsa Rule.
>>
No. 908460 ID: 91ee5f

Also, it should be important to note that when Flukebiter was giving you those instructions, he was saying things like, “My right” and “Not your right”. Would that mean that he was somewhere in that room with the healing pod?

Maybe you should go look to see if you can get a face to face conversation with him.
>>
No. 908466 ID: 363437

Hormones and romance do some silly things to your head.

He has probably been quietly infatuated with you for awhile now. And when this mess happened he realized it might be his last and only chance.

Why not awkwardly hit on your violent coworker that you have been interested in for a long while when you might be dead tomorrow?

I have a feeling he is not a threat. You just have to decide if you think he is cute or not.
>>
No. 908488 ID: 9723b1

>>908400
>Who is the ghostly yich eater that wants you to murder?
Unless there's somehow another yich eater, there's this.
>Adam, a yich eater ... I never actually bothered to learn what he was there for, I tried to stay away from him. Freaky little bastard.

>>908403
>You don't have much experience with romance, do you.
If she does, it's bad experience given this line.
>First I'm pretty sure I'm unlovable

>what to do next.
Water supply is established.
Neumono chunks will work as short-term food supply. Almost a shame the neumono isn't alive but crippled. Neumono regeneration means you'd be able to harvest body parts as a food supply.
Either way, those are the basic needs, though you still need a long-term food supply.
Other than that, while your body is definitely a weapon, specialized weaponry will augment it. And if you run into something really dangerous, arming your belenosian meatshield will increase your odds. Potential backstabbing is better than certain death.
If you need a goal, the only person that sounds like they have a useful skillset right now is Fip. Improvised technology of any sort would be very useful right now, especially for escape. Find Fip.


Also I just realized. If you ever run into some sort of giant boss monster, your flower can see the glowy points to hit.
>>
No. 908565 ID: 8a614b
File 154074893740.png - (11.93KB , 800x600 , sp-29.png )
908565

>who is the yich eater
I dunno, they all look the same to me and I'm willing to bet I might have just imagined that just now.

>was there an eyeball-licking ant on the crew
There was Adam, I guess? No clue what his job was, never spoke to him, he tried to speak to me sometimes but I largely ignored him.

>you should be turned on by this
>congratulations, you're a dominatrix now
WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME TO BE CONSIDERING THIS
>>
No. 908566 ID: 8a614b
File 154074895405.png - (26.60KB , 800x600 , sp-30.png )
908566

>check if he's turned on by this
It's taken me up until now to realise we're all running around naked. Yes, I mean, I already knew this but it's only sunk in now with all the other fucked up stuff going on that I, a naked, uh, I guess I count as a woman, am grappling a naked belenos man, and this does have some uncomfortably erotic undertones to it. Fuck, fuck fuck fuck I can't believe I'm seriously analysing this right now. Fuck.
I'm going to draw the line at checking out his groin because nothing good is going to result from that.
Had no problem rubbing dried blood off of Beanna, just need to maintain that distance from myself. Detach, float away, act without thinking.
I've never really thought of myself as a sexual being before even though I know it's weird for mikliks to keep hold of a specific biological sex for this long but truth be told well no I'm not going to go into my reasons I don't have to justify myself to anyone and fuck this train of thought make it be dead moving on moving on

>ask what his eyes do and what his skillset is
"Now. Tell me exactly what those eyes let you see, and what you're actually good for."
I consider twisting his arm more but every action I consider now is poisoned, POISONED
"Yes! Yes the eyes! I was lying! They're not cutting edge tech! They're cheap and thrown together and I wasn't hiding them because I wanted to keep things secret, I'm ashamed of them! Look at me, I look like a fucking freak! I can't look at myself in a mirror anymore without my goggles and they're gone now! That's why I had that blindfold and why I spun that story!"
"If you're ashamed of them, why did you replace your eyes with them?"
"Do... do you like them?"
"No, that's not what I said, they're hideous, I was asking why you even went through with this."
I almost feel him recoil from what I just said.
"I had a rare degenerative eye disease. I decided I wasn't going to just wait to slowly turn blind so I went with what I could afford and hacked myself together a new set of eye replacements! I can see visual spectrum as well as partly into infrared and ultraviolet, but I've also got a structural scan array I managed to get on the black market. I was planning to save up and work towards rehousing them into something that looked more like normal eyes, but, well, do you know how much it costs to get to something that passes for normal? And then there'd be awkward questions, and I'd need documents to tell people I was going blind and that I wasn't getting into some messed up stuff, and honestly the goggles seemed like an alright fix and now I don't have my goggles anymore."
"You didn't look approachable with the goggles, either."
"That was by choice! I could have toned it down but I wanted to look... I wanted to look aloof and mysterious!"
"Oh wow, you're pathetic."

He shuts up, and I start feeling... huh. I start feeling him sobbing. His chin probably can't be buried any further into his chest.

"That wasn't an invitation to embarass yourself any further, Rellze."
"I've lost everything," is all he can say between gasping sobs.
"I don't have a violin small enough for you. You didn't tell me what you're useful for yet. Keep talking."
"Nothing," he blurts. "I'm not useful for anything or anyone. Just kill me now and get it over with."
"No." I smack him with my tail lightly for good measure and march him forwards. "Take me to the neumono."

I let go of his arms. He brings his hands up to his face. When he doesn't start walking, I nudge him forwards, and he gets the message.

At least I can safely say for definite that I do not find the sight of someone sobbing their pathetic heart out even a little endearing, let alone arousing.
It's more annoying than satisfying. Fuck, I hope I'm not feeling pity for this trainwreck.
>>
No. 908567 ID: 8a614b
File 154074898750.png - (21.15KB , 800x600 , sp-31.png )
908567

>go to the neumono corpse
"Come on, pull yourself together. Fuck, you were telling me I needed you to keep going? If I wasn't here, you'd be a broken heap of tears waiting to get eaten by something."
"I just-- I just-- uh-- I wanted-- I didn't want any of this-- I thought--"

Ugggghhhhh.

"Listen. Rellze. You've alive. Your arms and legs work. You know what state I found Beanna in? She was a broken bleeding wreck. So no, you haven't lost everything. There's still a lot you have left to lose. Get it together, we have things to do."
"I don't-- I don't know if I can see what's left of Karei again--"
"You saw it once. There's nothing new to see. Trust me, I'm well aware of this. Let's go."

We navigate, and Rellze does eventually pull himself together.

Instead of fear or rage I feel a disdain for this belenosian who thought he could appeal to me by revealing my weaknesses.

"So, what are your skills?"
"Robotics, mostly. Overspecialised. Useless in a survival situation, really."
"Trust me, my biotechnological prowess is serving me about as well as your robotics knowledge. That can't be all you have. I'm a ninth-branch practitioner of the Soaring Grassblade art. Would have advanced further if... well, things happened."
"Soaring Grassblade? Is that your martial art? I read about that in your journal and had no idea what it was otherwise."
"How did you get into my files?"
"I... uh... I like being places I'm not supposed to be," mutters Rellze sheepishly. "I might be a bit of an amateur urban explorer. I've yet to find a lock I couldn't outsmart."
"That's a useful skill to know," I say, and shake my head. "Not here, though. Have yet to see a lock that looks like a lock. Anything more relevant to our situation?"
"I, uh... I made that blindfold out of what few scraps of fabric I had on me when I woke up here."
"You chose to cover your eyes over your crotch?"
"Well, I, uh, er, I mean, to be honest, I, uh..." I think I can feel him blushing from here. "Yes, I'd rather people see that over what my eyes look like unobscured."
"Still, I mean, I'm used to... compromising with available materials, if that makes any sense, but none of the stuff here seems useful. It's all weird purple alien flesh and I've seen it covering Fip, and--"
"Hold up. Fip's covered in purple?"
"Oh. Yeah, last I saw him he wasn't happy about it. Kept muttering something about 'stupid purple vines' and 'not listening anymore'. Also 'shut up Adam' one time."

I'm taken aback enough that I stumble and trip over a raised vine or vein in the floor.

"He wouldn't talk to me, though. Kept telling me to go bother someone else because he had to figure something out, and that was the last I saw of him. He was acting kinda odd."
"When did you last see him?"
"Before I got to Karei's remains."
"Then we'll keep going that way."

We reach a large, wide open cavern, like many other identical caverns in this incredibly indistinct maze of tunnels.
I see a pile of strange insectoid purple critters congregating in a heap in the middle, each about the size of, hm, a watermelon.
>>
No. 908568 ID: 8a614b
File 154074899869.png - (19.32KB , 800x600 , sp-32.png )
908568

"Stay back," I say to my current dead weight companion.
"What are you planning?"
"Xenobiology."
"What does that mean--"

A quick whip with my tail reminds him not to question my methods.

I approach the pile of insects but they all scatter before I can get to them, leaving... Karei, devoid of any clothing or possessions.
Covered in purple goop. No. It's more like he's... glued together.

He stands up, eyes closed, and opens them, looking directly at me first.
I distinctly remember Karei not having purple irises. He certainly stared holes into me enough for me notice a detail like that.
...oh, right, and the whites of his eyes were, uh, white. Not purple. Welp.
His face is emotionally blank. He looks at me like a bored service clerk.

"Murderer," he whispers to me, sepulchural tones echoing around the cavern and through my skull.
Yeah. Okay, no. I don't know what's going on but this is Beanna all over again. "You aren't Karei, whatever you are."
"Stand down, Cui. Or I will take you back to your holding cell."
"Rellze told me you were torn to pieces. Even neumono don't come back from that."
"I was given a second chance. I will make sure you never harm anyone again."
"You read the report. You're afraid of me, Karei. I always knew you were. Raise a single hand against me and I can guarantee it ends poorly for you."
"I have come back from death, Cui. I am no longer afraid."
"You sound nothing like he did, by the way."

The neumono tenses up, his uncharacteristically neutral face suddenly twisted in a very familiar scowl. "What are you talking about?? I'm Karei!"
"A fascinating hypothesis, and one I disagree with."
"I don't have time for your wretched mind games, criminal!"
"So, you're fungus programmed to believe you're a neumono, correct? I've heard of some similar properties of Astreneus fauna, fungal farms that can be programmed in such a way."
"I-- what-- no, I'm Karei! I'm Karei, shut up! I-- I cheated death, I'm me, I'm me!"
"You sound like you have some doubts."
"Karei?" asks an incredibly confused Rellze.
"See! Rellze knows it's me! Rellze, tell this insane overgrown flower that it's me--"
>>
No. 908569 ID: 8a614b
File 154074902352.gif - (85.76KB , 560x420 , sp-33.gif )
908569

I'm already charging forward.
The only variable I need to adjust for is whether I want my first blow to incapacitate, or if I should break him into the pieces he was supposed to already be in.
>>
No. 908570 ID: afdebc

>>908566
Not everyone can do surgery on their own face unassisted. Even if his augmented eyes aren't as good as he originally tried to claim, and are downright ugly, he still pulled off something most people can't!

>I wanted to look aloof and mysterious!
He thinks like an edgy teenager and he's hot for you. Despair.

>>908569
One thing you might need to account for is this purple stuff is completely outside your past experiences- and your eye might not process weaknesses in it correctly.

>whether I want my first blow to incapacitate, or if I should break him into the pieces he was supposed to already be in
Well, if we're doing xenobiology, he/it is a more interesting specimen alive than not.
>>
No. 908572 ID: 91ee5f

>>908566
>Fuck, I hope I'm not feeling pity for this trainwreck.
Yes, you are indeed feeling pity.

>>908567
>Also 'shut up Adam' one time.
Maybe that voice you heard earlier that you knew wasn’t Flukebiter, was actually Adam’s voice?

If it was, then when did that yich eater learn how to use telepathy? Or did he always have it and you never knew about it because you always avoided him?

>>908568
If that asshole, Flukebiter, was still here, he’d probably be able to tell you about those insects and this purple stuff that’s gluing Karei together.

But nooooo, he had to be a bitch and whine at you for pushing one button incorrectly and then he left.

>>908569
Try to incapacitate him, so you can study this purple stuff.

Maybe you can remove it by throwing him in the river, the same way you removed the purple stuff from Beanna?
>>
No. 908573 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908569
Just take out their eyes. They reassemble so it's pointless to rip them to bits.

Also, continue pointing out that they're a blob of alien protoplasm using a dead Neumono's memories. Emotional injury is likely more effective than just stabbing them.
>>
No. 908574 ID: afdebc

Waitwaitwait wait. Important question.

Assuming whoever assigned Karei actually wanted you contained, what counter did he have for your speed and martial arts style? More importantly, how might being a fungus monster have made that worse?
>>
No. 908587 ID: 486e87

Incapacitate if there's anything left of Karei listening then he may appreciate it, if he comes out whole from any experimentation you do. Neumono make excellent meat shields.

Yes I know it's unlikely, just neumono are weird with all of them being their brain, maybe there's something left that's aware of what's going on, rather than the purple fungus stuff.
>>
No. 908593 ID: ae3345

Try incapacitating. It's remotely possible that the purple stuff suffered weird interaction with the aggressive neumono biology, and enough of Karei's nervous system survived.

Still, tell him you don't remember whether you actually chopped him up, but if you did, you stand by it.
>>
No. 908625 ID: 8a614b
File 154077058941.png - (17.48KB , 800x600 , sp-34.png )
908625

>he's hot for you, despair
Honestly can't even sum up the will to care enough for despair.

>yes you are feeling pity
Then I need to stop and get my head back into the situation.

>telepathic yich eater
That's a ridiculous notion, yich eaters aren't telepathic.

>take him down alive
I do want to understand this all-encompassing purple goo and what it can do to an infected subject.
Alive it is.

>what were karei's countermeasures
A neumono is never going to match my trained speed with my enhanced reflexes, and my two hearts supplement my stamina by just a tiny enough fraction that I tire less easily than other mikliks would.
However, Karei is also trained in snow style combat. Accepting the inevitability of being hit in order to entrap the enemy.
A physical spar between us would involve a very difficult hit and run scenario. I'd have to make sure I wore him down over time because one moment too long and he'd have me in his grasp, and his raw strength would easily overpower me.
Put simply, and I'm aware how this probably constitutes some form of poetic justice, Karei was trained and specialised in the neumono martial art of tearing one's opponents to pieces.
And unlike me, he wouldn't need to use fanciful alien technology to find where the seams lie. I know my miklik body wouldn't last long against the honed fury of a snow art neumono practitioner.

However, he's also now a patchwork of neumono and creeping purple jelly, so we'll see how he approaches this situation.
Either way, his guard is down and I'm making the first strike--
>>
No. 908627 ID: 8a614b
File 154077065332.png - (25.91KB , 800x600 , sp-35.png )
908627

--and it connects with a vulnerable point on his chest before he has a chance to react.
He definitely saw me coming, the musculature tensed even as I ran over, but he was too distracted to form a coherent defense.
Sloppy form. Unimpressive--

"Poor choice," says the Karei thing as he catches my right hand with his right as I pull it back.
My quick dash past him is brought to a screeching halt as I slip, tail flying between my legs.
He grabs my tail with his left hand.
My legs flail.

I'm thrown to the floor after a single clumsy spin by Karei.
I'm scraped up by the surprisingly rough floor here, and damn it smarts.

I'm quickly on my feet and turn back to him. I clear distance between us.
"Letting go of me was a mistake," I say, as I regain my posture.

Rellze watches both of us, uselessly, hands raised like he's trying to decide whether or not to get involved, so I just ignore him completely.

"I don't remember turning you into pulp, but I stand by it."
"A stick insect like you rip me apart? No, monster, come closer if you want to understand that technique."
"I'm impressed," I say, wincing. Ugh, I must have taken that fall harder than I thought. Hope nothing's broken. "You almost sound like Karei."

That works. He loses his cool, drops his guard and charges at me.
Not the strength of his fighting style, nor of his neumono physiology.
I focus on a lateral structural weakness among his fungal cracks, and dart past him, making sure to tilt and smack into it as I do.

He abruptly stops and sweeps at where my legs are going to be, and I have to throw the opening away to avoid taking the hit.
I know I can't afford to take a blow here, I can't fight like a neumono.
>>
No. 908629 ID: 8a614b
File 154077067222.png - (24.72KB , 800x600 , sp-36.png )
908629

We start circling each other.

"I'm actually surprised, Cui. I never figured a science nerd like yourself would know anything about unarmed combat."
"I'm surprised a fungal mass knows what a nerd is."
"Okay, seriously, time out." He pauses and straightens himself up, not breaking eye contact with me. "I'm all for having this climactic showdown I've been expecting us to have ever since you were put under my watch, but do you need to keep throwing all this bullshit at me about me not being Karei?"
I also don't drop my guard, but I keep on the watch for any sudden movements. "You were torn to pieces, Rellze told me that, and then I see you under a pile of insects, and you're glued back together with weird purple alien matter. Yeah, I don't think you're truly Karei--"
"Shut up shut up shut UP!!" yells Karei, his voice slowly losing the strange foreign warbling edge it had. "I was never turned into a pile of chunks, alright?! I was pretty badly maimed, yes, and thought I was going to bleed out, sure, but I guess that idiot belenos over there decided to make it sound like I was vernaut food! No idea why!"

Rellze looks over at me and nervously shrugs.

"What the fuck, Rellze," I shout over.
"I didn't exactly examine the dead body very well," he says back. "I wanted to be away from whatever made it."
"You basically said I did it, Rellze!"
"I-- I thought you'd be all 'yes, it was me, that was what I do to my enemies' or something about it!"

"Okay, so Rellze is an idiot," says Karei. "Good to know. I never did get to know him very well and now I'm kinda glad."
"You don't know the half of it," I say, as I sprint forward again to take advantage of his lack of focus.
"Oh, you cheap bitch! Bastard! Whichever you are! You're cheap!!" yells Karei as he raises his guard.

I stop and throw all my momentum into a spinning roundhouse kick aimed for his head.
"AGH!"
Well, okay, it hit--
He drops his guard and grabs me by the shoulders.
Shouldn't have paused to confirm. Should have moved away. Fuck. Fuck. One slip up. One slip up is all he needs.

"Oh, that was a mistake, Cui," he says, moving his grip closer to my neck and tightening his grip and ow ow OW OW FUCK FUCK
"FUCK! FUCK FUCK OW AAGH AAAAAGGGHHHHH"
"...Cui!" yells Rellze who continues to do nothing like the useless fuck he is.
>>
No. 908630 ID: 8a614b
File 154077070515.png - (23.61KB , 800x600 , sp-37.png )
908630

Karei knees me in the stomach and I double over, winded.

"You are so incredibly fucking lucky, Cui," says Karei, sweeping my legs from under me, "that I don't want you dead right now."
I fall back and only just barely break my fall with my arms to stop from smacking my head into the cavern floor.
I don't respond, because I'm still trying to get my breath back.

Karei walks over to me, and doesn't so much help me stand as drag me up to my feet.
He looks me dead in the eyes. Even with his neumono eyes clearly substituted by or overtaken with this purple goop, the stare is 100% the killing glare Karei has shown me time and time again.
"Because, unlike you, Cui," he says, while I gasp for air, "I'm not a murderer. Now. Come quietly along with me, and remember this lesson."
"You cheating fucker, you were never that fast before," I manage to wheeze out.
"Cheating implies rules, and you got enough cheap shots in yourself. Under different circumstances, I'd say good match, but not here. You're an incredibly frustrating person to pin down. You lash out and run. You fight like a coward."
"I don't have anything to prove to anyone," I say.
"No, no, you fight for survival, I'm sure. I fight for the protection of others. A greater and nobler cause."
"Oh for fuck's sakes, I did not want to hear your self-aggrandizing bullshit about noble causes and honour in battle--"

Karei twists my arm behind me and I yelp in pain.
"Show a little more respect to me, perhaps? Is that too difficult for you?"

Rellze watches me and I swear to fucking anything around if he's so much as thinking this is some sort of karmic turnaround for me I am going to actually break his stupid artificial eyes and make him choke on them

"Fine! Fine! I yield! Take me back to the promised cell, warden!"
"That's... an improvement, I guess. Rellze, come on. We're finding a way out of here."
"I... uh... okay," says Rellze, who I regret not killing earlier.

"I need to restrain the prisoner, you take point, you'll see better than I can," says Karei, twisting my arms behind my back.
Rellze looks at me and the position I'm in, but says nothing.

"Okay, I guess. Wait. Wait, did you already know about my eyes--"
"Yes, Rellze, I was in charge of security, I had to know these things. Whatever, let's just keep going."
"...Where?"

Karei pauses.

"Well, Cui. Anything you want to share about possible exits you've come across?"
"If I found any exits do you think I'd be here right now?"
"Well, did you find anyone else?"

Do I tell them about Beanna?
>>
No. 908632 ID: ad51b8

well you could tell them that you thought you heard the yich earlier but couldn't see them.
>>
No. 908635 ID: 86eb65

Yeah why not. It should mess up that idiot psychics plans if everyone is alive and hanging out at the regen pod.

Plus fungus creep can see what sort of mess he is now.
>>
No. 908643 ID: b67388

>>908630
"I found a healing pod. One that I was going to try using on you when I heard you got gibbed. That's why we came looking for you, for the record. Guess this is what good deeds gets me."
>>
No. 908650 ID: 10c408

If you don't tell them about Beanna and if she either gets out or they find her in there, you'll get a broken arm or worse because you didn't take the opportunity to come clean.

"I found Beanna earlier, covered in purple goop growing tentacles and eyestalks. She was being mindcontrolled and attacked me. We fought, I won and some fucking alien psychic dickbag made me stash her in some kind of healing pod before she bled to death."
>>
No. 908657 ID: 0c3c2c

>>908630
Tell them about Beanna to distract them and let them know it's probably they can save her from the machine if they handle it right.

...Also make it clear you were given very bad instructions on how to use the machine.
>>
No. 908658 ID: 094652

Not good. Your implant recognizes that the purple fluid makeshift veins are Karei's greatest vulnerable components, but it can't recognize the fact that those veins are doing a great job buffing all the fleshy bits so that THEY can hold the veins in place. If you want to make an impact, you'll need to go against your implants and tear him apart by the dull bits. If that's possible at this point.

May as well tell him about Beanna. Keep his mind occupied as long as possible.
>>
No. 908663 ID: 91ee5f

>>908629
>Shouldn't have paused to confirm. Should have moved away.
No shit, dumbass. That’s entirely your fault.

>>908630
Wait, he’s a neumono and neumono enjoy fighting. Which means.....if you feel something poking you in the back, then you just turned him on by fighting him!

Ask him if he’s even looked at himself? Can’t he see that he’s been glued together by a foreign alien substance that might be slowly taking control over his body right now? You’re the xenobiologist, he should let you examine that purple stuff to see if it’s harmful or just some weird glue that’s keeping him alive because he was supposedly torn into bloody chunks!
>>
No. 908668 ID: 080aaf

We're not running a pod people support group over here. Let's head in the direction of Fip instead.
>>
No. 908669 ID: 91ee5f

>>908663
Also, yes, tell them about Beanna.

Not sure if you should mention Flukebiter or not. Because him giving you bad instructions on how to use the healing pod would be a convenient way to explain whatever happened to Beanna in the healing pod isn’t entirely your fault.
>>
No. 908686 ID: afdebc

>That's a ridiculous notion, yich eaters aren't telepathic.
Neither are mikliks, normally. But Flukebiter was able to get into your head, right? And she mentioned having other options? Therefore someone else around here has something.

>"I was never turned into a pile of chunks, alright?! I was pretty badly maimed, yes, and thought I was going to bleed out, sure, but I guess that idiot belenos over there decided to make it sound like I was vernaut food! No idea why!"
Can your weird eye tell how deep the seams in his body go? There's a big difference between glued together chunks and plastered over cuts.

>Do I tell them about Beanna?
You mentioned her to Rellze, who might stop being incompetent enough at some point to remember, so not telling will only make you look bad.

"Found Beanna, filled with tentacles that made her crazy. Beat her up, she started acting like herself again, stuck her in what an unreliable alien claimed was a healing pod because she'd have bled out otherwise. Protip: it's probably healing the alien stuff too, so she might be crazy when we find her again."

"Useless over there said he saw Fip covered in purple stuff and not acting like himself either."

"So yeah, there's some context on why I hit you, purple-eyes."

"Wait, what have I actually done wrong here, besides attacking you on suspicion of being an undead fungus monster? I'm pretty sure that's not a violation of my parole. If anything, defending the crew from xenoflora is actually in my job description."
>>
No. 908692 ID: a9af05

>>908663
>Ask to examine him
This!

If he gets suspicious of your intentions, then explain to him that, out of the 3 of you currently here, he's the one that's best suited for combat against any possible hostiles that we may encounter here!

Then tell him that he's right, you want to survive. And the best way to survive is to make sure the neumono isn't going to be negatively affected by the purple stuff that's covering him!
>>
No. 908709 ID: b970b2

Yes, tell them, include details. That should excuse your earlier hostility and suspicion, given you though Karei was under the control of an alien fungus. They may be confused as to why you tried to help her, which may be an opportunity to chance their opinion of you, or at least plant the seeds of that idea.

A theory on that by the way: Maybe the decentralised brain and overcharged neumono immune system meant that all the fungus managed to do was pull Karei together, and then his immune system kicked the shit out of it. Meaning that that's Karei and not a fungus puppet. Got to show him a mirror if we ever find one here though, as he's somehow not noticed all the purple lines going through him.

Don't lie on the chance that flukebiter is talking to any of them, as that psychic sourpuss may rat you out. Which is something you don't want in a survival situation and with a broken collarbone.
>>
No. 908729 ID: 977456

Ehh, may as well mention her. It is a good practical example of exactly how extremely compromised someone who is glued together with purple slush(they were either sliced into chunks or someone went over their entire surface with a scalpel, the former, while ridiculous, is less so) is. One look at her "join the collective" speech should demonstrate the problem, and she seemed plenty hateful towards the mind control when she was lucid, so she should testify to the evils of purple sludge regardless. Undermining neumono is always good!
>>
No. 909044 ID: 456cbb
File 154098348351.png - (164.92KB , 800x600 , techdiffs.png )
909044

>yich eater
"Well, I thought I heard the yich eater earlier, but I couldn't see them."
"Ugh, Adam. Well, that's four out of six."
"I think Pip's around too," says Rellze.
"Five. Beanna?"

>tell him about beanna
"Well. I think she's alive. I saw her covered in purple goop growing tentacles and eyestalks, and she attacked me while screaming something about being as one, then I tore off the tentacles and eyestalks and then she was bleeding badly, and then an alien voice in my head told me to take her to a healing pod and now she's possibly being further infected with a malevolent alien biomass because I was given terrible instructions."

Karei stares at me.

"...did... did you finally go completely psychotic?" Karei makes sure he has a tighter grip on my arms. "Alien voices in your head?"
"Have you seen what you look like?"
"So I'm covered in a weird purple patchwork of lines, whatever, what was that about alien voices in your head?"
"Well, his name is Flukebiter and he's some kind of telepathic alien... thing. Actually, I was looking for you to throw your chunks into said healing pod to see if that did anything for you, so this is what I get for my good intentions, huh?"
"Bullshit," says Karei.
"Actually that's the same story she gave to me, kinda," says Rellze, meekly. "Also Pip was covered in weird tentacles and eyestalks too."
"That's ridiculous, but we're in a ridiculous situation," says Karei.
"They look a lot like the eyes you have right now," I add helpfully.
"Wh-- my eyes are fine! I'd have noticed something weird about them by now!"
"When was the last time you looked in a mirror?"
"I'm not falling for whatever ploy you're trying to use to get away from me, Cui!"
"It's honestly not a ploy, why would I lie about something so irrelevant?"

"Y-yeah, your eyes are kinda, uh, kinda purple," says Rellze, who seems determined not to aggravate either of us and in doing so is making us both look down on him more.
"Well, fine. Take me to this 'healing pod', and if this is a trap, I will not be nearly as merciful as I'm being now."
"Careful, neumono, I'm fragile, I break easily. I know your kind don't remember this too well."
"I'll be extra careful," says Karei, twisting my arm a tiny smidgen more.

We head backwards to where I last found the pod, and I boredly call out directions. Rellze corrects me a few times, which only annoys me further.

"Here it is, the pod."
>>
No. 909045 ID: 456cbb
File 154098350090.png - (164.92KB , 800x600 , techdiffs.png )
909045

Karei doesn't say anything for a minute.

"Okay, so you did find a weird alien pod. Credit where it's due."
"Beanna's inside, currently being... well, I was told it would heal her. Except then I pushed the wrong button so it might be covering her with more purple goop. Neither the operation nor intent of the... I guess I'll call it a machine were explained to me."
"Or you fed Beanna to a weird alien plant," says Karei. "Can we back up for a second and focus on that 'weird alien voice'?"
~Hey so I'm back,~ says Flukebiter, at the worst possible moment, ~Turns out you're the only one who can both hear me and also has any sense left. So I'm actually stuck with you after all. Maybe you learned to be less obnoxious while I was gone.~
"Oh good. It's back."
"What's back?"
"Flukebiter." I sigh.
"Okay, so I'm not interested in your psychotic delusion's name, I'm more interested in whether it's telling you to kill anyone right now. I'm not a psych worker, Cui, I'm in charge of making sure you don't go berserk and kill us all, and this isn't a promising sign--"

An apparition of Flukebiter appears next to me in an abrupt flash around us, and stares directly at Karei.
Rellze yelps and staggers backwards.
~And the annoying thing is the red one has a latent paraspacial sensitivity, too, but attuned the wrong *direction*. The *frequency* isn't right and the *taste* is incredibly *close* like *technology bird*. Attuned to what, I'm not sure. Something not here. A master signal elsewhere? Is this species eusocial? And then there's a very weak purple *taste* like all the other things here. That one's fading fast, though.~
My head hurts as Flukebiter's efforts to telepathically communicate certain concepts bounce off my brain entirely.
~...yeah, I should have guessed you couldn't grasp those concepts. Welp.~

"Hello, Flukebiter," I say, more out of protocol than any sort of friendly greeting intent. "Please stop thinking nonsense into my head."
"Is this the alien voice you were talking about?" says Karei.
"Yeah, although I thought the visions were just in my head."
"If they are, they're shared," says Karei, glaring at the phantom Flukebiter.
"Is that an alien ghost??" ask Rellze, backing up against the wall.
"No, unfortunately this thorn in my side is alive," I say. "And apparently can't talk to anyone but me."
"Well," says Karei, "isn't that convenient. Let's say I believe you now. Tell it to raise one of those... arms? Tentacles?"

Flukebiter looks directly at Karei in an annoyed manner and raises one of his arms. The sound of annoyed clicks and squeaks comes from Flukebiter's general direction.
"...oh," says Karei.
>>
No. 909046 ID: 456cbb
File 154098352780.png - (164.92KB , 800x600 , techdiffs.png )
909046

~Please tell him the communication barrier is one way while you're conscious.~
~Wait, how are you hearing him?~
~Via you. Don't focus on the how or why too much, it makes it harder to read you-- I said don't! Stop focusing on it! Agh!~

Karei and Rellze stare in confusion as I glare into Flukebiter and think as hard as I can about all the sense this entire situation isn't making. Flukebiter's phantom avatar writhes in discomfort as he stares just as scornfully back at me.

~You are the absolute worst at tech support, by the way!~
~You need to not keep jumping into things!~
~I'm sorry, who's reliant on who here?~
~You literally can't leave without me, so I'd say it's mutual. Much like our annoyance.~
~So, if you can apparently just manifest yourself as an image, why didn't you do that earlier?~
~No projectors available. I've been directing some of the few maintenance servitors that haven't been infected.~
~It's not weird 'paraspacial' absurdity?~
~Do you have any idea how much focus it takes to just talk like this? Manifesting an image isn't something you can just casually do! You'd have to be an incredibly powerful and skilled paraspacial manipulator to just make images out of thin air like that!~

"Are you going to just keep staring at the weird alien hologram thing," says Karei, "or are you going to offer any more explanation about the whole thing?"
Flukebiter waves a tendril at him, and makes a few dismissive clicks.
Karei looks annoyed. "You said you can talk to this thing, right, Cui? Can you translate?"
"Yeah."

"...are you going to?"
~YES SAY YES SAY YES PLEASE SAY YES~
"I'm thinking about it."
~YOU ARE THE WORST, CUI, THE WORST~
"Thinking about it?! Cui, this thing told you how to use the pods, it could probably tell us how to get out of here!"
~I CAN IN FACT DO THAT AND AM VERY VERY WILLING TO TELL ALL OF YOU HOW TO FREE ALL OF YOU AND MYSELF FROM THIS NIGHTMARE REALM I'VE CAUSED DUE TO MY OWN MISTAKES OKAY~
"I'm not sure it's going to be very cooperative," I say.
"Really?"
~CUI PLEASE I AM DESPERATE I HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS~

Well, the way I see it, there's limited options here.
I can't just pretend not to know what Flukebiter's saying, I gave that away.
I can't clam up or Karei will know I'm being deliberately non-compliant, which won't make him very happy. And I just know he'll have some breaking point where his professionalism falls to the wayside and he just tries to end me.
Flukebiter's also obviously capable of understanding what they're saying via me, and I don't have enough spite in me to sabotage my own senses just to get one up over him.
So that leaves, what, two options?

One, I can speak for Flukebiter fairly and as clearly as possible.
Two, I speak for Flukebiter and twist and change everything he wants to say to suit me better, as there's nothing he can really do to stop me. Shouldn't have told me I was his only shot right after abandoning me, the idiot.

There might be something else I'm not seeing right now.
>>
No. 909047 ID: 91d03a

>>909046

>not seeing something

The fact that Flukebiter might - and probably eventually will - figure out ways to communicate that will incriminate you? It already has a projector, so that's a FORM of communication, if perhaps unbearably primitive and inadequate to it.

I mean, it's right there, and Karei is already suspicious of you. Your best bet to get 'im off your back is to play it cool and straight and only lie about things Flukebiter doesn't find important enough to correct you on and/or when it isn't around.

Tell Karei you'll translate if he releases you and lets you do your actual goddamn job from now - which includes attempting to cure him and Beanna from an OBVIOUS ALIEN AND MIND-ALTERING INFECTION that somehow just isn't taking as well on him so far (interesting, isn't it?). Shouldn't bring that shit home.

"Up front, it sounds 'sincere', but I don't know if we can trust it. It's kind of a mess emotionally, saying it's responsible for all of this, whatever this is. I'll still translate, but only if you release me. I'm not that interested in killing you right now, believe it or not. Despite being purpl'd up, you're still way saner than Beanna was and if we can figure out how you're resisting, I might be able to do something to help."

Tell Flukey you'll translate - as long as it keeps the answers coming. If it wants you to be honest to these guys, it should repay the favour~

Ask why the heck you got trapped here with amnesia in the first place. If it doesn't actually know - then it has to give its best guess.

Ask Flukey about this 'infection' that he might possibly probably definitely have unleashed here upon all of you. Seeing as, apparently, this is its place?

Ask Flukebiter when Beanna's healing will be done, so you can dismember and then heal her properly (which of course she's not gonna appreciate, but eeeeh maybe you can get Karei to do it so the grievance is spread out).
>>
No. 909052 ID: 5f3f48

>One, I can speak for Flukebiter fairly and as clearly as possible.
The problem with option two is the others will suspect it, and Flukebiter will be aware of it, and therefore have a solid reason to betray you at the first opportunity.

Introductions!

Right. Guys, here's Flukebiter. To their detriment, they're terrible at instructions and seems to struggle with the basic concept that an alien would be ignorant of an alien environment or technology and are easily frustrated. To their advantage, they claim to genuinely want to cooperate, and has complained several times that I am a terrible person. So an idiot, but there's hope. Probably.

Flukebiter, this is either Karei, my joyless jailer, or a fungus that thinks it is. That's Rellze, a roboticist with terrible taste and worse sense.
>>
No. 909068 ID: 0c3c2c

>>909046
Just speak for Flukebiter. They did promise to get us out of here. We can always rip them in half later if they completely fuck us over.
>>
No. 909071 ID: 91ee5f

>>909046
Speak for Flukebiter fairly and as clearly as possible. And make sure you tell Karei and Rellze that they don’t need to tell you to tell Flukebiter something, he can hear them as long as you’re conscious, he just can’t speak directly to them.

Let’s start with introductions, this is Karei, who you were told was ripped into bloody chunks but has now been glued back together with this purple stuff from a swarm of insects that was completely covering him. You’re still not sure if it’s really Karei or something that thinks it’s Karei.

And this is Rellze, who just recently revealed that he’s got a crush on you and may possibly have feelings for you. If Karei calls bullshit, tell him that you also have a hard time believing it.

Now that you’ve got that outta the way, let’s focus on Beanna, who Flukebiter said is currently getting covered in more of that purple stuff. Is there anyway we can stop that from happening before the pod is finished healing Beanna or are we going to have to repeat the process of pulling the purple stuff off of her and putting her back in the healing pod?
>>
No. 909094 ID: b67388

We should deal with the pomi in the pod first, so she doesn't pop out and attack mid-conversation.
>>
No. 909139 ID: 977456

I would say to be truthful and not deliberately misleading, but brief. You are not here to be a glorified communicator and everyone here is likely to try to control you in some-or-other unpleasant way. Information control is useful, an endless network of lies to track is a risk, hassle, and probably unnecessary.
Truthful, but mostly need-to-know.

It is important to note that Fluk has control of maintenance and projection across some part of this place, which is a lot of influence. Expect traps and automated weapons and such in any confrontation...

Ask about the nudity. I mean, seriously, there is no way that you were ALL naked when this happened, and clothing isn't all that different from flesh, and confiscating your equipment just to leave you scattered around with no restraints is just weird.

Flu can apparently tap your senses. It is unlikely that your weakness-vision(weavis) will stay secret for long, and Fluk might already know depending upon how secretly Flu can joyride you and how many of the facility's sensors Fluk can access. Then again, Flu did have a "my left/your left" issue. That sounds more like external senses than first-person...

"Literally can't leave without me" is also interesting...
>>
No. 909142 ID: 91ee5f

>>909139
>It is unlikely that your weakness-vision(weavis) will stay secret for long, and Fluk might already know
Speaking of people that already know about that, Cui, you said you kept that a secret, but Rellze said that he knows about it because he got access to your files. Do you know who else had access to your files? Karei did. Which means that he most likely also knows about your flower eye and what it can do.

Basically, the thing you’ve been trying to keep secret, probably isn’t as secret as you think it is. Whoever had access to your files knows about you eye, so it might not even be worth the effort to try and keep it secret anymore.
>>
No. 909156 ID: 92471f

Give Cliffs Notes of the truth - Karei doesn't like you stalling and neither does Flukebiter.
>>
No. 909585 ID: 8a614b
File 154136504697.png - (88.41KB , 800x600 , sp-41.png )
909585

>everyone knows about your eye.
Ugghhh. Frustrating but most likely true. Well, then. Guess I'll still have the advantage of surprise if I play my cards right.

>translate fairly
I guess that has the lowest chance of coming back to bite me.

"Alright, I'll see what I can do, on one condition. Keep your oversized neumono mitts off me and let me do my job."
Karei stares at me. "...The second you look like you're pulling any shady shit over us, you're tasting the floor."
"Understood. Now, this here is Flukebiter. While you can't hear him, he can hear you and can use me as a translator while I'm conscious, so keep that in mind, Karei."
"I'm sorry, what are you accusing me of now? Which one of us struck first?"
"Excuse me, which of us actually did the most damage?"
"I don't know, let's ask the Snowriven hive, shall we?"
"...how can you bear a grudge against me for something that didn't even affect you?"
"It did affect me." The moment Karei says this, his eyes widen as if he's just dropped some world-shattering secret by mistake. He immediately turns away from me.
"How?"
Karei goes quiet. "Doesn't matter. In the past."
"If that's true, then there's a fault with due process, because I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to have a jailer who started off wanting to rip me limb from limb--"
"In. The. Past. Drop it."

I decide antagonising Karei further is not helpful for my long-term survival. "...Moving along, Flukebiter is an alien responsible for this entire mess."
~Untrue! Partially, yes, but not wholly!~
"And is now protesting vehemently that he was only slightly responsible for this entire mess. Flukebiter, this is Rellze, a belenosian roboticist, with no spine, a crush on me, and a terrible idea of how to impress people, and this is Karei, a pile of purple fungus that thinks it's my jailer."
"I'm not... whatever."
"Have you looked in a mirror?"
"Let me know when you find one in this isolated alien cave, and I'll humour you."

Flukebiter visibly rolls his eyes in his projected avatar. ~I know, I know, what part of reading surface thoughts did you not understand? If you know who they are, I have a dim awareness of who they are.~
"Now he's chastising me for introducing you both because he evidently does not care."
~I hate that I'm reliant on you.~

>beanna
"Now, matters of greater urgency. Beanna is in this pod being deeply infected or something. How do we stop this?"
~I've never tried to interrupt a pod's healing program before, so I'd strongly recommend letting it finish and dealing with it as you did before.~
"Flukebiter is advising me to let the pod finish and then beat the crap out of Beanna and put her back in with the proper program."

Karei glares at Flukebiter, who looks the other way. "Okay. That's our only option?"
"Well, it was the only idea I had too."
"Very well. If that's our only option, stand aside. I'll deal with incapacitating her. I suspect I can be more merciful about it than you."
"Whatever makes you feel heroic, jailer," I mutter.
"I'm literally paid to make sure you don't cause any harm or suffering to anyone else," says Karei through gritted teeth, "and I'm not going to stand by while you get your kicks torturing the only good soul among us."

Rellze makes a noise.
"Yeah how about you stop worshipping mass murderers first and then I'll bump you up in the rankings," says Karei.
"It's not worship," says Rellze, meekly.

>nudity
Something else bothers me.
"Also, Flukebiter, why are we all naked?"
~Eh? What?~
"None of us have our clothes. Rellze had a blindfold for some reason."
"I didn't question that," says Rellze.
"Or our gear, or anything but ourselves, really, and I'm not even sure that's true for Karei."
Karei doesn't even respond this time.
~Nudity? Oh, lacking equipment. Hm. No clue. Honestly, when I first woke up after... things got bad, the only intact among you were already missing gear. I suspect maintenance drones may have taken it to the armory if it was just abandoned, but they wouldn't take coverings. Something else must have given the order. There's definitely maintenance servitors not listening to me anymore.~
I repeat this to the crowd.
"What something else?" asks an incredibly annoyed Karei, staring directly into Flukebiter's eyes.

There's a conspicuous pause.
~Let me explain the situation as I understand it. Let me start from the very beginning.~
I translate what Flukebiter explains to us as he uses the projectors to broadcast a swirling mess of images...
>>
No. 909586 ID: 8a614b
File 154136507139.png - (31.80KB , 800x600 , sp-42.png )
909586

I am Flukebiter, genetic descendent of the master neno fi fleshweaver Origin, of Shadow Fleet, tendril unknown.
My mother, the beginner fleshweaver Voidsong of Shadow Fleet tendril 4356, was given instruction to produce descendents through an unconventional means. Biologically. Without genotype analysis, without loading sequences into the gestation chambers, but to bear offspring as though an animal rather than use the standard, perfected means of producing offspring. I do not know what act of disobedience carried such an unnecessary sentence, nor why such a wasteful and odd sentence was even considered, but the only fate intended for the offspring at the time was basic phenotype analysis and most likely recycling due to the baseline requirements for new kiter individuals. I unexpectedly met all criteria, and was permitted to live.

Look, I can't just explain what the Kiter Empire is to you, alright? Let me just summarise it as a big engine of conquest where there aren't really civilians, just minions.

However, unexpected trajectory changes for tendril 4356 led to mass casualties due to paraspacial feedback. There were magnitudes fewer neno fi available for the demands required, so all living neno fi, myself included, were salvaged and repurposed for whatever work needed to be done. By simple fact of there being fewer experienced fleshweavers, Voidsong found herself catapulted up in the ranks.

She held no compassion for me, however, naming me after something I had done when I was a newborn and, in her eyes, the act of a primitive mind lacking the most basic value conditioning of any reasonable kiter individual. She made sure I saw deployment wherever she didn't have to remember I existed.

No, shut up, this is important, I'm setting things up.

So I became tired of being seen as a disposable resource, and managed to get reassigned to another fleet tendril after more neno fi had been brought into action. Voidsong saw a chance to be rid of me forever, a constant reminder of a more powerless time, and leapt upon it, doing everything she could to make sure I was sent away.

I honed my skills within tendril 4312, and eventually joined the push forward into experimental new means for paraspacial traversal. For time immemorial, the Kiter Empire was locked within a single galaxy, forever having to slash and burn its way across it to continue existing. If we could travel to other galaxies, we could--

Okay! Okay! I'll get to the point! Yeesh!

So there I was, having recently taken control of a small scout ship after choosing to break away from the Kiter Empire-- oh, now I've skipped too far ahead? Tough! Stop interrupting me! Anyway, I successfully established control over the scout ship largely through purging the rest of the crew save for the servitors vital to keep it running. Well, I put a neno fi xenopropagandist named Toneshaper into a pod at her request as she was also interested in breaking away, but some neburi decided to kill her while she was helpless in the pod, so that might have something to do with why I just purged everyone else. ...I liked her, okay? A lot. I tried to fix her, but couldn't. Best I could do was keep her vital systems alive. ...so that's how I left her. A vegetable inside a pod, in vain hope I'd one day discover some miracle cure to neural fragmentation.

So now my plans were ruined, I had an experimental galaxy-crossing ship, and I was now trying to pour all my effort into something, anything that would fix her, while also working on a bioweapon to send back to the Kiter Empire as a farewell present. Well, more of a revenge thing, seeing as all of this could have been avoided if the Kiter Empire wasn't the horrible oppressive all-consuming murder engine it is.

Then some weird white pod abruptly tried to dock inside the ship. Well, more like it just interpenetrated the ship with no regard for space, and unsurprisingly the ship went completely haywire and I ended up crashlanding here. And then I was pretty sure I died.

But I came to, and after realising I was somehow unharmed despite everything, the entire ship was covered in the telltale purple of my bioweapon, which had clearly escaped containment, and most of the servitors had been eaten or infected with a weird purple fungus, and the strange white object was opened, and free of any contents.

Then the servitors decided I was badly damaged, which I wasn't, and put me back into some sort of freakish purple parody of a healing pod and moved me somewhere else, while some budding intellect told me it needed me to design things for it and it needed to grow but outside was too cold.

Meanwhile, some green thing with far too many legs is running around and I have no idea what they're doing other than ripping up anything they come across while using weird and primitive biotech tools to... I don't know, make a fort of some kind? No idea what's going on there. I tried to speak to it, but it might as well not be there in paraspace. Just like talking to a hole. Seems incredibly hostile against aliens.

And now said budding intellect is no longer budding, nor particularly sociable, and the last thing it said to me was 'you are no longer necessary' before cutting all contact with me.

So I'm wedged in some sort of healing pod that I still haven't located, and we're all stuck inside the rigid, frozen carcass of a Kiter ship on a frozen, icy world.

...Any further questions?
>>
No. 909593 ID: afdebc

>Meanwhile, some green thing with far too many legs
Did they end in claw-like claspers on the end of comically narrow appendages? A long worm-like body structure with a head at one end, and possibly a bulb at the other?

If so, the creature you're describing is a salikai. They're... basically paranoid mad inventors as a species. Ripping up everything to build a fort makes sense for one of them.

>...Any further questions?
So we're all going to die because you build a bioweapon you can't control and killed everyone who could have been monitoring your ships collision detection sensors.

Blame pointing aside- what is your bioweapon supposed to do? So far as we can tell, it suborned Beanna (without killing her, somehow), and it either patched Rellze's injuries, or has replaced him while deluding itself into continuity of consciousness. Neither of those really seem like desirable features to build into a bioweapon? "Oh no, the enemy population is alive, but purple-veined and suffering from existential angst!"
>>
No. 909594 ID: deec6e

Let the others ask their questions first, then make follow-up questions and comments.

"Draw us a rough approximation of the white object. Do you know where it last was in relation to where we are? - actually, scratch that. If you can, draw a map and note down points of interest as we talk."

"Any way to get your ship operational again and/or do we need to clear the infestation somehow?"

"Do you have a bead on what the other intelligence was after from the way it was talking to you? Also, did you get to see it and did it look like any of these [describe your missing companion(s?)]?"

"How do we operate your freaky evil empire technology without your assistance? (Seeing as you can't be in everyone's head all the time.)"

"The green thing seems Salikai-ish. If a salikai kidnapped us and did illegal experiments on us, that might explain our memory loss - and why Karei got cut up with prejudice. (Not me, in other words.) Doesn't explain what's going on with you."
>>
No. 909595 ID: 31a0a4

>>909586
So what exactly do this bioweapon actually do?
>>
No. 909597 ID: b67388

>>909585
>"Very well. If that's our only option, stand aside. I'll deal with incapacitating her. I suspect I can be more merciful about it than you."
"On the other hand, I have the ability to see where the purple shit is, and how best to remove it without accidentally killing her."
>>
No. 909602 ID: 91ee5f

>>909585
>"Very well. If that's our only option, stand aside. I'll deal with incapacitating her. I suspect I can be more merciful about it than you."
“All I did last time was throw her into the river and she pulled the purple stuff off herself. So do you plan on dragging her to the river, throwing her in it, and then carrying her back here?”
>>
No. 909608 ID: 0c3c2c

>>909586
That.... is the dumbest series of events ever. Also, tell the rest of the crew that Adam's gone crazy and stolen all our stuff.

Also, remind our jailor that you have magical purple-shit-detecting eyes.

Also, Flukebiter, why is your bioweapon hostile to its creator? Why would you NOT specifically include loyalty in its coding?!
>>
No. 909629 ID: ad51b8

>speak for Flukebiter fairly and as clearly as possible
I'm honestly going with this because I'm hoping that without you causing friction you'll be more and more ignored. Especially if you can actually find this guy and everyone starts focusing on him to get everyone out. Then while everyone is more worried about getting the hell out of here you escape not only from this place but also from you keepers.

You're already caught right now so might as well play nice fore now so people will start focusing on everything else and put you at the back of their mind. Plus if you twist things, once you actually get to Flukebiter he'll probably call you out which will probably bite you in the ass.
>>
No. 909641 ID: 10c408

"Fluke, please describe what the 'green thing with too many legs looks like.' Do the 'legs' end in jagged looking claspers?"
>>
No. 909977 ID: 9723b1

>some budding intellect told me it needed me to design things for it and it needed to grow
Did you design your bioweapon with intelligence or sentience? Because that's what it sounds like.

On a hunch, it sounds like it's trying to grow, and the only thing stopping it from overrunning the planet is that you're on some sort of ice world hostile to biological life.

>...Any further questions?
Yeah. Escape now sounds like it will end in freezing to death, so what's the plan? What exactly are we supposed to do that will get us out of this mess of yours while fending off a rogue bioweapon, dealing with an isolationist salikai, and fighting amongst ourselves?
...How did we even get here? It doesn't sound like our dysfunctional group is in Kansas anymore.
>>
No. 909993 ID: ad51b8

...so this is all, at least partially, your fault?

So what was this bioweapon supposed to do and please tell me you at least had some way to counteract it incase it did ever breach contaminate and get lose.
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