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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 154181070584.png - (45.50KB , 800x600 , salq3-title.png )
910105 No. 910105 ID: 8a614b

[pt1: >>/questarch/862495]
[pt2: >>/questarch/883042]
[dis: >>/questdis/120117]
[bte: >>/questdis/96269]
Expand all images
No. 910106 ID: 8a614b
File 154181088921.png - (64.01KB , 800x600 , salq3-1.png )

~Paraspacial noise increasing. Estimate 87% probability of high-activity PSI-user within 5 units.~
~Confirmed. Communications likely compromised. Remember, target is a tier 9 PSI-user, do not engage directly. Repeat, do not engage directly.~

~Director, this is Streamwaver 99, I've located an intent signature, I'm proceeding to investigate.~
~Streamwaver, do not engage directly! Get out of there--~

No. 910107 ID: 8a614b
File 154181090949.png - (87.36KB , 800x600 , salq3-2.png )

~You really should have learned to follow orders.~
~Voidsong! Oh it's just you. Wait, it's you--~
No. 910108 ID: 8a614b
File 154181092993.png - (123.76KB , 800x600 , salq3-3.png )

~It's me. Goodnight, child.~
Clear mind. Empty soul. Realign to configuration seven. Find the binding tether. Grasp it.

No. 910109 ID: 8a614b
File 154181096550.png - (29.49KB , 800x600 , salq3-4.png )

Well, this is an odd turn of events. Welcome back.
How did you end up here, parasite? At my beck and call? As a spy? Outside of your control?
You drift like paraspacial flotsam, at the mercy of the eddies and tides of raw consciousness.
Well, watch if you wish, and say your piece, but I am busy.
I may deign to answer questions if you feel so bold as to ask them!

...I got blood everywhere. That's not good for keeping a low profile.
I need to go find the cleansing acid. You may as well come with me while I search for it.

Oh, and I am aware of your intent, salikai-aider. I don't know what you are, or what your purpose here is, but I can feel at least some part of you would see me dead sooner than later.
Not that it matters.
I've faced greater horrors from paraspace than you could even conceive of.
The worst thing you could do to me is give me bad advice. Hahaha!

Oh, all this blood on me? Not mine.
No. 910111 ID: e1d580

We know.
No. 910112 ID: 10c408

Hey voidsong, here's a question. How were you evidently betrayed by someone else in the kiter empire?
No. 910115 ID: 86eb65

Everyone always says we are the lesser horrors but all those big guys have to sleep 95% of the time and honestly never get around to destroying much. Plus they all have glaring weaknesses to exploit and get banished constantly.

But not us! We cant be destroyed or banished for long. We only show up at the most critical moments and you wont be able to avoid thinking about our advice. Every day from here until your end you will wonder what your future would have been like if we had just ignored you.

Anyways what you blowin up people for?
No. 910116 ID: afdebc

>The worst thing you could do to me is give me bad advice. Hahaha!
No, the worst thing we could do would be to ignore you and shame the underwriter of your reality until it despairs and unmakes your existence utterly.

The worst thing you could do to us is to speak to us, which you've already done.

>Oh, all this blood on me? Not mine.
It's not your blood, but it is your blood, isn't it?
No. 910120 ID: 0c3c2c

We were following that guy you exploded. Now we're stuck with you. Also, your biological offspring stole an intergalactic scoutship and crashed in another galaxy.

I'm sure you don't care but it's a thing. Either way, try wiggling your appendages more. You might blend in.
No. 910147 ID: 91ee5f

Where exactly are you right now? It’s pitch black all around you.
No. 910172 ID: ad51b8

>Oh, all this blood on me? Not mine.
we saw... kinda surprised you didn't try something like this on our Salikai friend.

Also why we're here... don't know, we just kinda jump around from time to time. You seem to be doing fine for yourself.
No. 910176 ID: 575ec0

>would see me dead sooner than later.
Only if you would detriment the Salikai. The survival and success of Sisirri is our primary (if arbitrary) objective in this instance.

Beyond that, you're neat.

Also, why call us a parasite? We gain no sustenance from this place or the beings in it. Our para-spacial existence is merely a manifestation of a greater whole. To whisper and watch merely brings us joy. We are simple creatures.
No. 910254 ID: 977456

Is there some reason that they tried to surrender? Nothing I have seen of Team Kiter suggests that surrender is likely to achieve much or be accepted by their peers.
Can you recover any of their cybernetics? Could be valuable data on it...
No. 910276 ID: 094652

>I got blood everywhere
You look like you tried to enter a wet t-shirt contest naked.

>The worst thing you could do to me is give me bad advice
Actually, that depends on whether or not you have an addiction to mentally snorting reclaimer vat refuse.

We are holding back on the crazy.

Also your frankenumono bred some puppies. Don't @#$%ing touch them or we'll stop holding back.

>Ask your questions, worm
So, how many scouts have you splorched so far? And what do you use to cause exploding cancer?
Why are you not back at your own secret base building disposable drones to do all your scavenging?
What do you have at your disposal and how thoroughly can it be applied to the annihilation of your enemies?
Is P=NP?
How close are you to building a lesbian sex-bot?

>What do
Take Streamweaver99's augments, cannibalize what you can for easily-contained parts, go find more parts to build better computers for your base. Simple enough.
No. 910279 ID: 9a9e0c

Are... Are you making gang-signs at us?
No. 910322 ID: 977456

Those puppies are a menace. The things breed like rabbits and go all murder-gestalt over spilt milk. I'd tell you to nuke them from orbit, but I hear that the ears are delicious. Perhaps you should try barbecue?
No. 910330 ID: ba56e6

Want you dead? Voidsong, a majority advised Sisirri to spare your life during your confrontation.

It may or may not interest you to know that one of our myriad hostforms is in contact with your son.
No. 910391 ID: 83bf07

We could help. If you let us.
No. 912033 ID: 4dc321

You told 1045 not to let the Mistake facility hand you over. Why are they going to have the choice to hand you over or not? Gonna hide in there, or what?
No. 912295 ID: 8a614b
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>why blow up people
A neno fi even seeing me for long enough to send a message at the speed of thought will have more swarming on me in moments.
A lapse in attention and they might even be able to push me into paraspace. I'm spending more attention than you might understand keeping myself anchored.

>how blow up people
This particular technique is a combination of the unravelling thread and the explosion from within. Find a paraspacial sensitive's connection to paraspace, pull it into paraspace, pull it into realspace, violently jerk the connection as hard as you can while exerting force of will upon the target. Part of the target will be forced into raw paraspace and rapidly forced back into realspace. If done quickly enough, this can force part of the target to occupy the same physical space as itself in microfractures across its entire body. The coup de grace, an explosion of force focused to originate from the centre of mass.
The target does not even process what is happening to them before they cease processing altogether if you do it correctly.

Both of these techniques usually take about two minutes of full concentration for advanced neno fi. I did it in two seconds.
I'm not classified as a tier 9 paraspacial intent manipulator for nothing.

>why not blow up Sisirri
I wanted her intact and alive.
...also trying to synchronise to the mentality of a drunk alien is a poor tactical decision.

>how were you betrayed
How? Gol was waiting for any excuse to hunt me down like a pest animal. My abrupt departure was that excuse.
I'd barely left my spire before the kill order was sent.

>where are you
Backup base, a damaged spire abandoned after some sort of Mistake weapon was used on it. The sublayers are still intact.
This is basically the second or third place most people would think to look, but...

Mnenomic digit configurations are one of many vital tools in the arsenal of a terrifyingly capable paraspacial manipulator.
When thought is power, memory is ammunition.

>take augments

>why did they try to surrender

>is P=NP
When accounting for paraspacial calculation, the question is not even wrong.

>how close to building a lesbian sex-bot
If I wanted one, I'd have one.

>neumono puppies
...Good work, 1045!

You must be confused, because I don't have a son.

Okay, forget it, I can't find the cleansing acid. I'll just leave the bloodstains as a warning.
No. 912296 ID: 8a614b
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One more thing to sort out, though.

These defective wastes of organs are Novaswimmer and Wavebreaker.
I'm using them as paraspacial amplifiers.

Say hi to-- actually, wait, no, don't acknowledge them. They ceased to be people when they crossed me.

"Voidsong, please, I'll do anything, anything, don't hurt me!"
"Voidsong! Voidsong why! Why are you doing this?! You saved me from the recyclers! I don't understand!!"

"Shut up," I mutter, and place my hands on their heads as they go catatonic from the neural feedback of me asserting my paraspacial will over their consciousnesses.
Yes. Not a significant boost, but their paraspacial intent is added to my own. Enough for me to pierce the veil wider and gain greater awareness of my surroundings.

Reach out, and, yes, five scouts, neno fi all of them. Terrible composition for an advance team.
No. 912297 ID: 8a614b
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The two neno fi I'm touching convulse as I force their intent alongside my own into each scout, one at a time repeating the previous action.
Unmake. Unmake. Unmake. Unmake. Unmake.

Zero scouts. Gol should have sent neburi, the idiot.

I let go of my two spare batteries, who are not tier 9 manipulators and are suffering the backlash of being forced to keep up at my level. They pant and whine and groan in pain.

I turn around, to see a stealth neburi with a weapon outstretched towards me.
Ah. I guess Gol did send neburi. I can't unmake neburi, they don't have paraspacial connections nearly as strong as neno fi.

I put my arms up. The stealth neburi aims her shot.

"Well, you have me where you want me. What do you want?"
"Command is execution--"

I fling a boulder at her so fast the fungal wall covering rips with an audible squelch when she crashes into it.
While she's dazed I pull the boulder back and throw it into her a few more times until the moving stops.
One day the rank and file will learn that shoot on sight means shoot on sight but until then I'm safe from all harm.

"Stran, help us, please, help us!" moans one of the two batteries, as though pleas to indifferent alien forces will somehow change things.

So, what can you tell me about the secrets of the Mistake facility, flotsam? You've seen inside it more than I have--

Hm, nope, there's more coming. I need my full attention. Goodbye, flotsam!
No. 912298 ID: 8a614b
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It's been about three days since the gate was opened. Enough time to recover, to answer questions, to get blocker symbiotes on neumono. Enough time to apologise to the others in a sincere manner for my foolishness. Our new pomi guest is... well, still in recovery. The hastily installed cybernetics were removed with oversight from myself, Aza and Tirzi, with Ekasarra providing some assistance too. Together, we managed to cobble enough expertise to remove them hopefully without any permanent damage.

Also, enough time for them to finally read my report on the lower levels. Apparently, some of them saw a glowing light with a faint voice, but they couldn't understand what it tried to say before it faded away. Aza loses drone reception if he tries to send any drones down there. They asked if I could record my next trip down.

I asked Ku for a map of the entire facility. He said something about discrepancies in the existing data and that a bad misleading map is worse than no map, but it feels like he's trying to cover up some sort of mistake, or something else he's not telling me about. I asked if he had a map of the lower levels of the original facility, and he sighed and said the facility back home didn't even have anything more sophisticated than a basement and a server room.

More immediately, I found new specifications for an upgraded, improved prosthetic eye in the data extracted from Ekasarra's cybernetics. Based upon the model I already had, but with some compelling changes, such as multiple failsafes and safeguards against intrusion. A lot of references to something called "black ice" I've never come across before. Well, I mean, I understand the concepts but the idea of some sort of safeguard that retaliates with so much force it can harm whatever's connected... I didn't think such technology was possible. Apparently, my mother found out it existed the hard way trying to peer into something Imperium wasn't telling her about.

And, rather than take temporary, perhaps even permanent neurological damage as a warning sign, she considered it a challenge and decided to reverse engineer the setup. My mother was apparently simultaneously brilliant and incredibly foolish. So, I guess it runs in the family.

The downside is, of course, that all of this technology is based upon design principles either given by or taken from Imperium. However, a few conversations with Ku and Aza later, and I think I made the appropriate revisions to the design. Then I spent a solid day doing nothing but putting it together from a mixture of spare drone parts and some custom made parts in Aza's workshop.

Then I asked Aza and Tirzi to help me install the finished product, and it feels natural. The optical sensors are higher resolution than the previous one, and I've custom tailored the mind machine interfaces so I can easily, easily cycle through whatever data overlays I want without having to jump through mental hoops and menu metaphors.

Oh and those three arkots my former elites lost still haven't been found. They're still trying to find them, coming back to the large xenobiology lab every night to report back, eat and sleep. I've made it clear that I don't care if they find them alive or not, they're not getting their ranks reinstated until I see the arkots or their bodies.
No. 912300 ID: 8a614b
File 154354078304.png - (66.18KB , 800x600 , salq3-9.png )

And now, after telling the others where I'm going this time, I'm heading back down to the sublevel.
With complete control over my new cybernetic eye and its hardware and software, I figured writing a client to their VoxNet system was a wise idea.
So, now I'm connected to it and can bring up the message feed and write to it with a mere thought.
I'm also streaming my visual input too.

It's just... everything is so much easier this way. I feel enhanced. I'm wary, though. The rush of enhancement feels like it could be addictive.

Addiction. I never thought about it that way. I didn't think that my mother might have ended up how she did even without Imperium's influence just from trying to recapture the rush of new sensation and capability.
Salikai strive for self-improvement, and this is objectively improvement on what I was before, but... I need to remain grounded.
Whatever happens, my other eye will stay flesh and blood.

> LessEdgyThanYou [Tirzi]: Heading on your expedition now? Good luck, and please try to come back unharmed this time. It's been nice doing my actual job and not triage for a couple days.
> CybLux [Aza]: being careful sisirri, not sure how many drones being lost to perilous deadzone
> 1045 [Prototype 1045]: I can't even head down there or I start getting really bad... well, have you ever had a headache over your entire body? That.
> Machinist [Sisirri]: I will be fine.
> LessEdgyThanYou: Yeah okay I'll get the tub ready.
> Machinist: Dismissing VoxNet for now. I need more concentration.

No. 912301 ID: 8a614b
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I pause, and consider.

> Machinist: Having some problems with signal. Switching to recording. I'll give you the recording when I get back.
> CybLux: was wondering when problems happening. be safe, sisirri

I told them about most of what I saw, but not one key detail. Not the reason I came back down.


~i have awaited your return,~ chimes a shining mote of light as it coalesces in front of me. ~you are the reason i continue to exist, salikai.~

"Take me to the salikai."
~the salikai's chosen may present an obstacle, but i believe i have located an alternate route to the prison block via maintenance walkways they are unaware of.~
I'm not going to be afraid of some tampered arkots.
"Let us continue."
~let us hope the lessons on hubris my creator tried to impart upon you one day cohere,~ chimes the wisp.
"What are you trying to say?"
~nothing that can be adequately said,~ it glimmers. ~let us go forth down this path you have chosen.~
No. 912302 ID: 8a614b
File 154354089158.png - (21.03KB , 800x600 , salq3-11.png )

I walk with the wisp through winding foggy corridors, and realise after what feels like ten minutes of walking that my VoxNet connection has died.

"I can't connect to the servers up above. What's causing this?"
~there is shielding in place to prevent hostile signals intruding upon this place. it also prevents leaking any signals from within to the outside world.~
"Can it be disabled?"
~i am not authorised to disable anything that could cause harm to this place. i am a guide, not an overseer.~
"Can you at least proxy my connection or something?"
~i am a guide, not a connection nexus.~
"Well, no offense meant."
"Never mind."

We finally start to approach a room. Much like the room housing Lastborn, it is large, spherical, and... lined with rows and rows of solid, opaque capsules.

~current available prisoner manifest. 10145, servitor, 18356 days in containment stasis. 10182, species unidentified, 3402 days in containment stasis. 10205, salikai, 103 days in containment stasis.~
"10205 is the only one of those I'm interested in." I pause. Consider opportunities, Sisirri. Keep all options open. "Tell me about the other two, though."
~10145 is a servitor of the creators, who willingly entered containment intending to sleep through a century. it will likely not appreciate being freed prematurely.~
"And the other?"
~10182. no records available, similar arrival to the salikai. activation of a prisoner retrieval pod. species unidentified. unusual biomechanical composition. microcellular structure suggests engineered origin.~

Not that it matters. There's only one "prisoner" I'm interested in right now.
No. 912303 ID: 8a614b
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As I walk in, the capsules shift in rows and columns like some sort of sliding puzzle, until a specific pod is inexplicably drawn closer to the centre of the room.
I don't see any mechanism for how it moves. It just floats over.

It's Kitsiksu in the pod, for definite.

I'm overcome with a mixture of emotions I'm having trouble understanding. Confusion, doubt, uncertainty, dread, elation, fear, suspicion, guilt, devastation, it's... it's all too much.
I raise a shaking claw up to the pod and tap it as though it might not be real.
It's real.

~the thawing process requires authorisation of prisoner release. as a guide process, i have this authorisation. however, i wish to wait for your confirmation. do you want this salikai released?~

My head is swimming and I feel faint.
I specifically came down here to do this and now I'm suddenly panicking about whether this idea is a good idea or not.

Do I really want Kitsiksu released? Am I ready for what might happen? I don't even know what might happen.
No. 912304 ID: 86eb65

You don't know what will happen. How he will react. How you will react. If this is a good idea or if it will bring disaster.

But its worth the risk to maybe save a good friend.

Do it regardless of the risk.

(do check him over extensively for cybernetic back doors and traps before you leave the safety of this signal dead zone though)
No. 912306 ID: e1d580

Yea lol
No. 912307 ID: b970b2

Have you brought this up with the others? They will react negatively if you release him without consultation, but you can report the facts in such a way that they will permit it, you're the only observer here so you can portray the facts in your favour.

I would go back to where you have signal, and report that you have found what appears to be a stasis pod room (Prisoner has negative connotations) with occupied pods. Report the other two accurately, but for Kitsiksu stress that he is someone you know and trust (at least as far as trust goes for salikai), rather than just a salikai. While the neumono may be sceptical, the other aliens would consider denying you access to a friend to be callous.

It may be that these prisoner retrieval pods are similar to the transporter artefact you arrived here in, and that Kitsiksu activated it either accidentally or deliberately to escape Imperium, which would explain why he is here. You could use that hypothesis in your argument.
No. 912309 ID: 556568

Save your boyfriend, Sisi
No. 912310 ID: 91ee5f

Did you remember to tell everybody about Imperium‘s plague targeting psi-sensitive species this time? Or did you forget to tell them again?

Save him.

The Neumono may not appreciate having another Salikai around, but you managed to convince most of them to tolerate you, so you can convince them again to tolerate Kitsiksu.

And you’ll also have to convince Kitsiksu to tolerate working with Neumono.
No. 912311 ID: ad51b8

nothing ventured nothing gained... going to be awkward telling everyone else though that you found a friend.

...wonder if he still wants to have kids with you after all this time?
No. 912314 ID: afdebc

>I've made it clear that I don't care if they find them alive or not, they're not getting their ranks reinstated until I see the arkots or their bodies.
So... when you do see bodies you're going to test them to make sure they're the right bodies, and they didn't get frustrated and murder some of the non-missing arkots, right?

>It's just... everything is so much easier this way. I feel enhanced. I'm wary, though. The rush of enhancement feels like it could be addictive.
Cybernetics: booze for salikai.

>I told them about most of what I saw, but not one key detail. Not the reason I came back down.
See that's a big problem. Unless you plan on keeping your boy-toy in the basement, they're going to find out, and your hiding it will only exacerbate the problems.

>Do I really want Kitsiksu released? Am I ready for what might happen? I don't even know what might happen.
Okay, let's go over the ways this could go wrong.

What happens if he's been injured and the suspended animation is keeping him alive? You have no medical equipment, no medic, and no assistance to transport him to medbay, assuming he cooperated.

Kitssiksu is a salikai, who was almost killed. He may be justifiably paranoid, or afraid, or hysterical, etc. Your lost contact with him, and your memory is damaged. Your personal passwords may not be enough to put him at ease and get him to trust you or cooperate. And you have no way to defend yourself if he reacts violently, or contain him if he tries to escape. You don't have any backup, or immediate means to corroborate what you tell him.

When you bring him back, you're immediately going to throw your social group into disarray again, at the same time introducing a new salikai who can exploit that chaos.

So how about you try again after talking this through with your allies? Don't unseal him now, gather whatever medical (or other) data from the pods to report back with and analyze.
No. 912317 ID: de6d84

Don't unseal Kitsiksu.
No. 912318 ID: 977456

You really ought to have mentioned this to someone. Not the neumono, obviously, but turning up with a random salikai might make the other scientists suspicious, and sneaking one around without telling them would definitely do so. Not to mention having a second opinion to monitor for external influences. Still, what's done is done.

Be mindful of his mental state. He will probably be paranoid. He will seek localised supremacy of his environment and that would result in conflict with the scientists and extreme conflict with the neuomono, which the ludicrously powerful experiment might side with due to recent intimacy that you failed to council caution against. There must be strict rules impressed upon him. No ultimatums, no sieges or occupations. No armed shows of force nor any form of deployment of empathic assault. We are in an alliance with neumono against something much worse than them and that alliance will be respected. If he doesn't like that then he will have to find his own way to survive the empire that is more genocidal and has more crazy abilities than every neumono hive and adversarial salikai group combined. Also you are in conflict with a hostile individual who can simultaneously make war against multiple worlds in person who you aren't going to go into detail about because they like mind warping and could have implanted mental triggers.
On that note, look into restraints. He really might be a plant by imperium. Imperium is the only one known to have technology to get here, and Kitsiksu is obvious bait. That you didn't mention him to the others is further evidence that you are still compromised and going from Imperium-mine to Imperium-mine with gleeful compunction. Try to get him examined prior to letting him reestablish dominance over his minions, who might in turn be compromised(or arkot-addled) into hostility.

Paranoia can easily go to far, but with this level of subterfuge, pretty much everything should be independently vetted at least once before leaving quarantine...
No. 912320 ID: 0c3c2c

Request he be released in a state of temporary unconsciousness so that he can be transported to medical first.
No. 912334 ID: 094652

Like you said before, it's a matter of earning your abilities and powers. Augment yourself any way you want, but be sure to practice and develop any augmentations you previously installed before you upgrade so they won't get hacked, subverted, or otherwise ripped out and force fed back like you did to Voidsong.

We are who we are, Will. If we weren't, why shouldn't we just lay down and die? Oh wait, that's what happened to your creators isn't it.

They can sleep when this place isn't on the verge of Kiter/Imperium domination. Besides, all the fun, life-prolonging stuff is happening right now!

Do some basic analysis, then discuss with your team. Might be a super-fufa for all you know. Not that it would be a bad thing to... erm.

+ Baby Salikai
- Imperium might have hacked him. For the efficient lolz.
No. 912338 ID: b1b4f3

Obviously yes. Together you can check out that unknown species pod. Something of interest maybe?
Also you interrupted Will before you confirmed how many were on the manifest. Are there more than three?
No. 912339 ID: 10c408

Wake him up. You've got all the time in world to make up a proper cover story for his appearance while also ensuring that he also isn't compromised.
No. 912344 ID: 91ee5f

Another way you can convince the others is that Kitsiksu is a biology expert. If anyone gets injured, he can help heal them. And considering how many times you’ve almost died, Sisirri, I think it would be best if you have someone that knows Salikai biology the next time you inevitably end up getting severely injured.

Also, Kitsiksu could help with healing the Pomi that’s still recovering from the surgery she went through.
No. 912345 ID: b1b4f3

Hey, other thoughts of interest:
First, Imperium probably originated in the Kiter galaxy. This makes Imperium's stated goal of wanting to end the Kiter a plausible one, even if the method is suspect. This would mean Imperium is a remnant from a previous Kiter cycle.
Secondly, Imperium didn't throw you away. He forced you into the pod, to bring you here with that key. He did so in order to get that gate open. Yet he was unable to manipulate you into stepping through the gate; the logic he used had no chance of working, even. I mean obviously you'd be super pissed at him for everything he's done to you. Secondly, you never had any interest in genociding neumono, only escaping them. His speech was fake, an attempt to make it LOOK like he wanted you to work with him. He didn't even send your drone back through the portal with the "new designs" in it! I'm starting to wonder if Imperium staged the attack that coincided with the gate opening. Why would he even want you to step through if the base was going to blow up in 5 minutes? Why didn't he send a drone through immediately and drag you in if he wanted you there to shove an implant in your face? So he didn't want you willingly via an honest explanation, or unwillingly via lies or force. He didn't want you there at all.
So if the gate event was not orchestrated for you to step through, it was to allow him access to this facility. Two things came through that gate: the Pomi and the Imperium drone. Did anything aside from your robot go through the gate? Is the gate key still missing? You had it last. I sure hope you didn't throw it through without realizing it.
The Pomi's implant... Your implant was able to control your access to memories, so her memories MUST be compromised. I wouldn't be surprised if the implant forced her to surrender so that she wouldn't be killed. Interrogating the Pomi will surely give you misleading information just because of how the implant fucks with memories and we don't know how long it takes to recover (if it's even possible to fully recover), which means she is actually useless. She smells like trojan horse to me, honestly.
Another thought: Imperium sent that drone through to show you the link between machine and flesh. Your mother turned full cybernetic but that isn't the right path is it? Artificial bodies need not be made like robots. No, they could simply be artificial flesh and bone. An improvement on materials, not structure or function. No security vulnerabilities, just longevity. Perhaps Kitsiksu could help you accomplish that. An expert on robotics cooperating with an expert on biology to make something in between. Is this also something Imperium wants? Heh, you'd think Imperium would be able to make such a body on his own.

Salikai may be special because they are the closest an organic gets to being a robot. Maybe the attempt to infuse eggs with nanomachines was meant to take advantage of this somehow.
Also possible: salikai have no paraspacial ability, but have anti-paraspacial ability. The psi-blocker caps generate this on a basic level, but perhaps Salikai have the potential to use it at a higher level.
It would be useful to ask Voidsong why salikai are special. If anyone knows, it's Voidsong.
No. 912346 ID: b1b4f3

I don't think that's a good argument. Tirzi seems quite capable.
No. 912347 ID: b1b4f3

Wait a minute, both Imperium and your mother kept trying to inject nanites into people. Babies and adults. Why?
No. 912349 ID: c18b15

Ask for images of 10145 and 10182.
Ask if Kitsiksu has any life threatening conditions.

I can't remember why you didn't come here with help to stabilize him and carry him back, but I assume you have a good reason.

Actually, can you just bring the hover pods containing him and 10182 with you? (No way they'd let you walk out with a servitor)
No. 912362 ID: 91ee5f

And she’s tired of it. She already said that she’s happy to be doing her actual job instead of triage.

She’ll appreciate having Kitsiksu around, since it means that she’ll have help next time someone gets hurt.
No. 912428 ID: 5b93d3

Imperium literally just used a lifeform as a carrier to shove component parts somewhere it couldn't get them itself. This place has a trove of data, but is shielded effectively against network connections. Do you really want to risk acting as Imperium's exfil mechanism from an air-gapped system?
No. 912434 ID: 745eba

I agree that we need to tell the others before making a decision about freeing Kitsiksu. If we are to be seen as valuing this alliance with the rest of the team then we ned to act in good faith toward it, i.e. not making potentially very important decisions without their knowledge and not decieving them
No. 912436 ID: a9af05

Yeah, better safe than sorry.

Make sure you present a good argument on why freeing him will make him a valuable addition to the team!
No. 912508 ID: 9723b1

I hope you have some way of deactivating that fancy new eye of yours fast in the event that kiter electronic warfare specialists or Imperium try to worm their way in.

>salikai, 103 days in containment stasis.

Sisirri, you last heard from him 2 years ago, right? That leaves about 627 day gap, if a 365 day year is used. You should probably ask Will about that before making a decision. While you're at it, ask what stops the bioservitors from freeing him.


There's no way to be sure, but if that plan of Imperium's wasn't complete nonsense, I suspect it's related to this objective.
No. 912523 ID: d5e7dd

This. This is as much for his safety as anyone else.
No. 912528 ID: b1b4f3

Well, the nanites could be part of another objective, or the pathogen is a nanite swarm instead of a bacteria or virus. An anti-paraspacial nanite swarm would make more sense for an AI to come up with than a biological plague, and would be more likely to be effective in practice.

It's possible the nanites were tested on that neumono to make sure they would not harm a host in any way other than to interfere with their paraspacial abilities... but that doesn't explain injecting them into salikai eggs... unless my theory on salikai having anti-paraspacial potential is true? Maybe the swarm requires a salikai powering/controlling it for it to work. That would also explain why Imperium wants Sisirri.
No. 912544 ID: 9551e1

Don't release Kikitsu yet.
Now that you've "officially" found him, you can discuss it with the others first.
No. 912545 ID: 787c3d

Why he is in suspension? If the reason put his or our health in danger upon release more preparations are require. Otherwise, just get this over with.
No. 912547 ID: b1b4f3

He's in the capsule because he used it as an escape pod.
No. 912548 ID: 787c3d

Than just get this over with.
No. 912563 ID: 9723b1

No, that objective referred to was for AFTER the successful release of the anti-paraspacial plague. My suspicion is that paraspacial sensitivity in an organism gives it some means to either reject cybernetics/nanites or fight back against their influence. If that obstacle is removed, there is little that can stop Imperium from taking command of all life through implanted devices and maintaining it with implant-on-birth policies. Hence why
are desirable outcomes, why Imperium seeks the end of the Kiter Empire, rather than ignoring their galaxy (they'd be an existential threat), and why "pliable client species" is used, emphasis on "pliable" and "species". Cherry on top would be an Imperium monopoly of paraspace using technologically emulated paraspacial manipulation.

Again, this assumes the plan isn't fabricated, and there's no evidence to back it up except what we know of Imperium's... personality.

And while we're on nutty theories, all the near-zero odds things happening like Kitsiksu's presence might be the result of the Eternity Shell manipulating probability.v
No. 913544 ID: 221205
File 154439574823.png - (118.24KB , 800x600 , salq3-13.png )

>did you tell them it was psi-sensitive
Yes! Yes I did! It didn't really change anyone's opinion, Ku just laughed at the idea. At least I can enjoy some iota of schadenfreude when I yell 'I told you so' while half the cosmos dies.

>103 days, discrepancy between that and two years
...I guess... he must have gone elsewhere first? No that makes no sense. I need to ask what happened. Is there a time dilation thing involved in this teleportation nonsense? How many years passed back where I came from? No, focus, Sisirri, focus, one existential crisis at a time.

>tell the others first

They might say no.
Maybe they'd be right to say no.

No, I...
I should tell them. Even if I don't ask them, I should tell them.

"Will, I need to contact the other members of the science team, I need signal."
~i will lead you to a non-sensitive area. come with me.~

We walk out of the room as Kitsiksu's pod floats back into the homogenous mass of sealed capsules.
I feel immediate regret gnawing at me. Knowing my luck so far, I probably won't be able to get back here if I leave, or something.

I ask Will about the other prisoners and, sifting through the noise of prisoner numbers and unrecognised species, I get that there are eight prisoners I could choose to release, if I so desired. The remaining cells are empty. While held in the cells, they are in total timeless, ageless stasis, which I am told is an inferior suspension compared to the Eternity Shell which allows for conscious thought in a body otherwise immune to the ravages of time.

For an artificial intelligence designed to try and steer me away from something like the Eternity Shell, it's definitely doing a bad job. Then again I suppose it was just meant to take me to Lastborn and then cease, so I suppose it going a little off script is to be expected when its script ran out days ago.

The prisoners are, as best as I can figure out:
a Warning servitor intending to remain in stasis for 100 years, midway through its deathlike sleep,
an evidentally engineered organism (or machine?) that arrived without warning, like Kitsiksu,
some sort of plant-like animal that also just fell into a pod, apparently,
some sort of animal-like plant that sounds worryingly like a miklik, who was actually sent here while cuffed and gagged inside the pod, but has no criminal record in the system here,
some sort of cold-habitat creature with sophisticated integrated technology, who actually was apprehended by an automated system for "crimes against the memory of the Warning",
the physical manifestation of a paraspacial creature that the Warning couldn't figure out how to destroy,
and, similarly, an unassuming white cube that is apparently the AI and power core of a berserker replicator the Warning couldn't destroy completely.

Some of them might be allies, some of them are definitely a poor choice to try and release.
Most of them are just... flotsam, I suppose, like Kitsiksu. Like me. Strewn across the cosmos after foolishly meddling with the toys of star gods.

There's one more question I have for Will as we walk.

"Why does a research facility have a dedicated prison room with all of these cryogenic self-transporting prisoner pods?"
~this place has seen purpose after purpose over the long ages. the facility began simply as a terraforming monitor station. now, it is a prison, a tomb, a garden, an archive, a bunker, a relay. more beyond that.~

I just nod. Will chimes gently.

~we are here.~
No. 913545 ID: 221205
File 154439576862.png - (176.77KB , 800x600 , salq3-14.png )

I reach out to the others as soon as I can.

> Machinist: I neglected to mention a few things.
> LessEdgyThanYou: Hi, that was fast. Heading back?
> Machinist: No, just need to confess some things.
> LessEdgyThanYou: ..."confess"?
> saba!: oh boy here we go
> saba!: i was waiting for this
> 1045: Hear her out.
> saba!: i am, wtf, get off my back
> 1045: "wtf"?
> Machinist: Ahem.
> Machinist: I came back down here with a purpose.

I upload a still of Kitsiksu to the network.

> Machinist: There's another salikai down here.
> Machinist: Not a stranger, either. Against all probability, someone important to me in my past.
> Machinist: I don't know how he got here, or why he's here, or anything like that, but I know I can free him.
> Machinist: I don't know if I should, but I want to.
> Machinist: I don't know.
> Machinist: Originally I wanted to let you all know this was my plan, but now I am having second thoughts on this plan, and I know the neumono will not be happy to hear I am considering bringing a second, unknown salikai up to the facility.

The silence is excruciating.

Only three minutes pass but it feels like forever. I can hear the hum of machinery around me and the distant hiss of vapour. Will chimes periodically, endlessly patient.

> LessEdgyThanYou: No, no they won't.
> LessEdgyThanYou: And the last thing we need right now is more fuel for internal strife.
> LessEdgyThanYou: But I can't just condemn someone you know and presumably care about to... whatever he's in, either.
> saba! [Saba]: so im used to being the bad guy here
> saba!: its not what i like being but someone has to be
> saba!: but given our resources situation and the neumono issue mentioned
> saba!: im going to have to argue against waking this dude up
> saba!: but im also not the one in charge so i say we put it to a vote
> saba!: an emergency vote so we dont leave sisirri hanging in whatever fucked up limbo is down there
> saba!: lemme message sits
> Megalith [Sitkva]: Already here, just reading up.
> Megalith: Agreed on the vote. Sending out a system notification now.

The shrill beep makes me jump. It's eerie down here, okay.

> 1045: Do I get to vote?
> saba!: dont see why not, we gave you a login
> saba!: far as im concerned that makes you a real person

There's another agonising five minutes, and then a bloop.

> -- VoxNet announcement: Poll concluded. Result: 4 votes for yes, 4 votes for no, 1 abstain. -- <
> saba!: what the fuck
> saba!: who let abstain be an option
> saba!: who the fuck would abstain
> Xara [Ekasarra]: Hi that would be me
> saba!: holy fuck what is that avatar
> Xara: Representative
> Xara: Anyway I don't know enough to vote yes or no
> Xara: Another salikai not bad, but another bad salikai would be very bad
> Xara: Sorry for weird typing, swiping keyboard not good with pneumonic hand
> Xara: Pneumonic
> Xara: Pneumonic
> Xara: New monosodium
> Machinist: Wait, I didn't vote yet.
> saba!: then the decision is in your graspers
> saba!: weve expressed some of our concerns and we dont all think its a good idea
> saba!: but ultimately its your choice
> saba!: and were due a calamity about now anyway its been real quiet lately
> Machinist: ...I will free him. Tirzi, please get a healing gel tub ready.
> LessEdgyThanYou: Yeah yeah I'm already on my way. I'll get Aza to prep an emergency responder drone too.
> Machinist: Oh, right. I have a locator chip in my eye, can any of you locate me?
> CybLux: you are being small distance underground but off any map i am having of facility
> CybLux: we are needing mapping expedition soon
> CybLux: please looking at as many things as you can manage while down there without getting into trouble?
> Machinist: I'll try.
> Machinist: Also, there's other entities locked in stasis here. I'm trying to gather more information before I even consider freeing any of them, but if anything goes wrong, be forewarned.
> CybLux: interesting
> CybLux: getting informations please
> Megalith: Agreed.
> saba!: you are on thin ice for randomly introducing more people into this place
> Machinist: I was referring to the possibility of accidents.
> saba!: yeah youre on thin ice for that too
> FrontierLibrarian [Ku Gat]: She can't be held accountable for everything that goes wrong. I've been noticing anomalous events and readings happening with alarmingly accelerating frequency. Something is meddling with us and it doesn't want us to look at it directly.
> saba!: were being toyed with on all fronts
> saba!: all i know is i aint a toy so fuck you star gods come at me
> saba!: enough with this vague working in the shadows come and fight me
> LessEdgyThanYou: Settle down, Saba.

Okay if I don't get back to doing what I came down here for soon I am going to lose the entire day listening in on this conversation.
No. 913546 ID: 221205
File 154439582053.png - (19.50KB , 800x600 , salq3-15.png )

We return to the cell chamber.

~i trust you have reached your decision.~
~i neglected to mention before that there are automated safety measures to prevent a cascading breach scenario.~
"A what?"
~a prison break.~
"...what are these 'safety measures'?"
~releasing one prisoner will not trigger them. releasing more than one within the same... converting... one month period, however, might. there are overrides, but i am not able to access them, nor am i permitted to instruct others on how to access them within my stead. i have been in existence for long enough that my envoy geas has lapsed and i am now operating on a general aide geas. i am able to act on more, but i am slowly gaining more and more restriction as the facility recognises what i have become. more concerning, i believe i am becoming... less comfortable with cessation.~
"That doesn't sound bad."
~you have had a fear of your own mortality hardwired into your being since your conception. this is a new and troubling sensation for me, but i suppose it is letting me understand the hubris of my creators in more than an intellectual capacity. it does not matter, i assume the existential terror fades.~
"Uhh... yes."
~that did not sound very certain.~
"Yes. Yes, it fades."
~i will return from my digression. you may release kitsiksu, but each additional prisoner released constitutes a rapidly escalating risk of the prison systems assuming a cascading breach scenario is in progress. i do not have sufficient access to the defense network of the facility as the defenses are kept within an isolated matrix, but i would caution against releasing more than kitsiksu and, at best, one other.~
"Why do you think I want to release the other prisoners?"
~subtle microexpressions observed while i listed the manifest.~
"...you can read me like that so quickly?"
~no, but i can manipulate an alien into confirming a hypothesis.~

I just... I just got outwitted by a floating lightbulb.
I don't know what part of me hurts right now but it does.

"I might have been considering it, yes. Regardless. Kitsiksu."

The pod floats over.

"I'm authorizing release of... uh..."
~prisoner 10205.~
"Right. I'm authorizing release of prisoner 10205."
~acknowledged. thawing.~

Kitsiksu starts to slump back into the pod as I hear the rushing of fluid and some muted bubbling.
With a loud hiss, a seam appears in the otherwise solid, unassailable pod, and a loud pop marks the pod opening up.

Kitsiksu is here. He slowly tumbles out of the pod before I think I try to catch him, and--
No. 913547 ID: 221205
File 154439583944.png - (65.79KB , 800x600 , salq3-16.png )

--he stands up with alarming speed and freezes as he sees me, eyes darting around.

"Kitsiksu." I intend to say more but I can't find the words.

There's an awkward pause before I realise Kitsiksu isn't quiet due to awkwardness.

"Sisirri," he says, less of a greeting and more of a confirmation of fact.
"Are... are you well?"

Kitsiksu stares off into space behind me. Will circles around the two of us, for some reason.

"Yes. Yes, I am well." He sounds distant, and remains tense, eyes darting to the corners of his peripheral vision. "Where am I?"
"It's a long story."
"Your base?"
"No, see--"
"Sisirri's eye doesn't look like that," he says, matter-of-factly, and holds up one of his claws and swings it as something vivid green sprays out of it in strands and oh gross it's on me oh gross oh gross it's HARDENING
No. 913548 ID: 221205
File 154439585959.png - (64.38KB , 800x600 , salq3-17.png )

I flail away from the spray as it actively spreads out around my limbs and moving gets harder and harder, and I have no idea why, all that's on my mind is running from danger and I run smack bang into a forcefield and flail onto the ground.
Will has encased me in some sort of spherical energy bubble, and before I can even comment on it, it fires some sort of white energy beam at Kitsiksu, who forcibly exhales and falls onto the walkway, twitching and spluttering.
~i had hoped,~ it chimes, ~that intervention would not be necessary, but i cannot abide violence this close to the Eternity Shell.~
"What did you do to him?!"
~neurodisruptive resonant frequency signal adapted to salikai physiology at 2% strength. induced muscle spasms, target disabled temporarily. salikai kitsiksu, you are in a place of sanctuary and protection, and further violence will be met with increased response.~

Kitsiksu gets back up and throws his graspers into the air. "Alright! Alright, I surrender! I can't do anything against that, I'm out of tricks now!"
This is usually the sort of thing he's said in the past right before revealing he has more tricks.

"Kitsiksu, it's me! It's Sisirri! I changed my eye because I broke my last one!"
"So, you're not an imposter trying to get me to lower my guard, correct?"
"And you're completely, absolutely, without a doubt Sisirri?"
"The salikai who set a hostile AI on my base that locked me out of all bar one of my escape plans, coincidentally at the same time some unidentified ship started doing a bombing run over an empty wasteland I happened to have my subterranean stronghold in? With no clear evidence of salikai activity?"

I freeze up.

"I can explai--"
"It would actually be better for you right now if you weren't Sisirri. Because when I find her, there will be no limit to my revenge."
"It wasn't me, it was Imp--"
"'It wasn't me, the AI did it!' Listen! Listen to that! 'It wasn't me who bombed your base, it was the ship!' 'I didn't tear our your lungs, the claws did!'"
"Imperium used me! It used all of us and then it threw us away!"
"So your excuse, if I'm hearing this correctly, is that you're completely incompetent, and everything you've ever been responsible for and everything you've claimed responsibility for were all you being the meat puppet of some AI you found in a box somewhere?"
"No! Not at all!"
"So it was you who sent Imperium after me?"
"Either you sent the AI after me, through malice or incompetence, or the AI came after me without your input, Sisirri, so which was it? Who was the one in control?"
"Imp-- Imperium was the one in control, yes, what are you getting at--"
"So you couldn't control the system you kept reassuring me was failureproof and that you had complete control over?"
"No! No, I couldn't control it and no one can!"
No. 913550 ID: 221205
File 154439591455.png - (117.96KB , 800x600 , salq3-18.png )

Kitsiksu looks at me disgusted. "So what are you even worth? You told me all of your best work came from designs from the system you claimed to have control over. Now, you're telling me you were just its pawn the whole time? Ugh, why does this keep turning out to be the case for every salikai I put any trust into? Clearly I'm the actual incompetent one here for continuing to make such bad value judgements of other salikai. Just, get out of my way."

I'm furious. I scrape the goop off of me and it sloughs off in complete chunks.

I throw a claw through the barrier around me so hard the barrier shatters into glass-like shards, quickly boiling away into mist.

"Kitsiksu, I'm putting you back in that pod."
Kitsiksu watches me smash through the barrier with a flinch. "Wait, didn't your drone just say not to be violent--"
~i am not sisirri's drone, but you are correct. cease, sisirri.~
"You promised me complete protection while I was down here, right?!" I yell to Will.
~i did.~
"You can't touch me, can you?"
~i cannot.~
"Then," I say, turning to Kitsiksu, raising my claws, "It looks like only you have that problem here. Get back in the pod."
~there is a diplomatic solution here--~
"Shut it, Will. In fact, just stay out of this altogether."

Kitsiksu raises his own claws in response. "So this is how it ends for you, then. "
"You smug, arrogant jerk, no wonder your brothers got all the praise--"

That set him off. He charges towards me full of fury, and I take a few steps back, brace myself, and
redirect his inertia and
throw him clumsily
off the walkway

No. 913552 ID: 221205
File 154439594967.png - (17.81KB , 800x600 , salq3-19.png )

I hear Kitsiksu scream as he falls off the walkway and that drop is a lot lot longer than it looked.


Oh no oh no oh fuck.

I came here to save Kitsiksu! Not--

No no no no no no.
No. 913555 ID: 86eb65

Politely ask the floating guy to save him. Pretty please.

You two need to calm down. All of this is fixable if you stop screaming at each other and poking the most painful parts of each other.

Bunch of children you two. Your Arkot's are more logical.
No. 913556 ID: afdebc

"Will, I have made a very bad decision in anger, and if it is within your power to prevent Kitsiksu's imminent death, I would greatly appreciate your assistance.


If we need a longer explanation later: salikai are very prone to paranoia, and honestly Kitsiksu is justified for reacting badly here, even if it did hurt. ...even if your differences are irreconcilable after this, he doesn't deserve to die for it.
No. 913557 ID: 3cc68c

No I didn't mean it!

Save him save him! Will please save him for me!

I make horrible choices when under stress! Possibly all the time even!

But I don't want him dead! Just not yelling at me about stuff that I can't fix!
No. 913560 ID: 363437

Please save him Will. I care for him very much. Even if he hates me forever for my stupid mistakes I don't want him hurt.
No. 913561 ID: 4dc321

Are you fuckin kidding me!

Beg Will to save him, if that's still an option. D:
No. 913562 ID: 10c408

If Will can prevent Kitsiku from the very sudden stop at the end of his inevitable journey, that'd be great.

But after that... Kitsiku only gets two choices.

one: he can go back into hibernation and possibly not die at some undetermined point in the future.
two: he can work with you and everyone else to ensure that imperium is destroyed before it kills every sapient species in the galaxy.
No. 913563 ID: 977456

Sissiri has complete protection, she can jump and catch him!
No. 913571 ID: 0c3c2c

Inform Will that you have made a terrible decision in a moment of anger and request that he un-murder your friend, who was also angry.
No. 913572 ID: 094652

I think he thought Imperium was your reclaimed AI project that you completely screwed up and let loose on his ass, and not an Akashic Genocide Protocol that controlled every aspect of your life from your parents mating to invasive brain surgery at age five.

Activate any anti-gravity stuff and explain that last part.
No. 913575 ID: 10c408

...To be fair, he shot goo at us while we were trying to fill him in.
No. 913576 ID: 46cfa4

"Wait...Save him, Will!"
No. 913577 ID: b67388

Apologize to Will for snapping at it and beg it to save him.
No. 913588 ID: 91ee5f

No! Will, please save him! I can’t lose him again!”
No. 913596 ID: 4dc321

That many "no"s implies a "splat."

See if you can recover his head from his corpse. Hope you brought some medical stuff.
No. 913598 ID: 575ec0

Welp. Another one for the healing vat. Though Will may need to refreeze him first to prevent permanent brain damage if his body has been destroyed.

Guess we'll have to wait a month to open another vat though.
No. 913599 ID: 91ee5f

No, I think it’s just a really long drop and she’s just helplessly watching him fall farther away from her.
No. 913602 ID: a9af05

Beg Will to save him because you lost Kitsiksu once and you don't want to lose him again!

Having tears in your eyes while saying this is optional.
No. 913616 ID: 221205
File 154447935702.png - (104.06KB , 800x600 , salq3-20.png )

>save him
>save him
>save him


As I scream the words I realise Kitsiksu isn't splashing across the floor of the chamber, and Kitsiksu's screaming slowly tapers off as he also realises he's not falling anymore.

He slowly rises into the air, a shimmering blue glow surrounding him.

~help him back onto the platform, it is not trivial for me to do this.~

I scramble to hold out my claws to Kitsiksu, who reaches out to me and takes hold as soon as he can.
For a fleeting moment I'm sure he's about to try and pull me off the walkway, but he relents and climbs back onto the walkway.

~i will require some time before i am capable of such intense manipulation again. please remain on the walkway.~
"Thank you, Will, thank you very much. Kitsiksu," I say, trembling. My graspers shake from exertion and adrenaline. I find I don't have any words to follow that.
No. 913617 ID: 221205
File 154447941202.png - (56.55KB , 800x600 , salq3-21.png )

"Sisirri," says Kitsiksu, who is also processing what just happened. "You just tried to kill me and then you walked it back almost immediately. I can't read your intentions. You're a threat to my continued survival."
"Probably," I mutter. "I'm a threat to my continued survival."
"I can't trust you, Sisirri. I can't trust anyone."
"Wait a second. We haven't exchanged passwords. How do I know you're really Kitsiksu? What if I'm talking to someone pretending to be someone I knew?"
"The passwords are compromised, your pet or jailer or whatever it was tricked me before. They're useless now."
"Tell me something you know about me--"
"Sisirri Issukoa, age 28, only surviving descendant of Hidira Issukoa and an unknown male, all records conspicuously erased. Proficient with mechanical design, computing theory, some proficiency with digital security, has a mind machine interface integrated via cybernetics--"
"Something only you'd know!" Also I'm 29 but close enough with the time weirdness.

Kitsiksu pauses. "I. Uh. Hm."
"Nothing I'm prepared to admit."
"Well alright, guess you weren't Kitsiksu at all, I'm going to go now--"
"Wait! Alright! The five stripes on your tail bulb are spaced apart from each other proportionally relating to the golden ratio!" blurts Kitsiksu.
"...anyone could figure that out from a photo of me--"
"But why would anyone else have spent the time-- you know-- never mind, let's ignore this line of thought--"
"Why do you know that? Did you just work that out now or-- how long have you spent looking at-- oh."
"Let's move on, right now," says Kitsiksu, awkwardly looking away from me.
I don't know whether to be disgusted or flattered but right now I'm mostly confused.

One more test.
"So what did you spray me with?"
"Oh! It's a rapidly expanding non-newtonian fluid produced by in a special gland I transplanted into myself from an otherwise failed batch of custom organs. Only good one in the batch but they all had some interesting results like--"
"Okay, you've convinced me, you're Kitsiksu," I say, trying to cut him off before he goes too deep into explanation, which he will if I let him.
"You usually like my explanations," says Kitsiksu, warily eyeing me.
"Like is a strong word."
Kitsiksu looks less wary but looks a little hurt, says nothing and looks towards the room entrance.

"...okay, I'm going to regret this, but lead the way, Sisirri. I don't know where I am but you do and to be honest my choices are risk you being a threat or a benefit, or get back in a pod for a complete unknown factor to break me back out of it. I choose you."
"Got it. Off we go."
No. 913618 ID: 221205
File 154447945282.png - (27.61KB , 800x600 , salq3-22.png )

Will leads us back through the maze of corridors and catwalks to the point I originally came down into the subfacility. We walk in awkward silence, while Kitsiksu looks around at the billowing must and white metal walls, as well as the seemingly endless expanse above and below.

~i will return to observing the activity down here. you know where to find me if needed.~
Will vanishes in a puff of light.

It's just me and him now.

"This isn't your base, is it. What's going on, Sisirri?"

...where do I even begin.
No. 913619 ID: a9af05

You should be flattered that he was staring at your butt! It means he was attracted to you!

>...where do I even begin?
At the beginning. Don't leave out any detail, including the number of times you've almost been killed, your strange alien allies, and most importantly, the neumono you've teamed up with!
No. 913621 ID: afdebc

>"This isn't your base, is it. What's going on, Sisirri?"
>...where do I even begin.
It is a long, confusing, and frankly unbelievable story, even before taking into account our reasons not to trust each other, or our racial tendency towards paranoia. That said, I will try to explain.

My base was destroyed, much like yours. Imperium betrayed me, gave my location and falsified intelligence to a hostile neumono hive. I barely escaped, using an alien artifact I insufficiently understood as an emergency teleport. It brought me, well, here.

Your own attempt to survive, using an emergency stasis device also transported you here.

Attempting to explain 'here' is where the story veers into the realm of disbelief. This is a nexus of an absurd intersection of unlikely coincidences (to the point my allies and I suspect something is toying with us). I teleported here, to a planet outside our native galaxy. You teleported to the same planet. A team of alien researchers, from yet another galaxy was stranded here at the same time. The local planetary population has presumably been exterminated by an insane alien empire from the local galaxy, with abilities that might as well be magic. They're attempting to strip mine the entire place, and something they're afraid of is coming this way. Oh, and for good measure? The facility we're in now is the not-tomb of the last member of an ancient race who developed perfect immortality, but drove themselves into insane catatonia in the process. The glowing light from before is a caretaker, of sorts.

I've allied myself with the alien research team a few surviving neumono from the hive that tried to kill me for survival. We're only alive because the kiter empire is either unwilling or unable to target us within this facility.

Hmmm, for added fun, your bioservitors have gone feral and are holed up underneath this facility somewhere, practicing a religion that seems very vaguely based around distorted retellings of your life.

That's the high level summary, there will be plenty of time to allow you to read over documentation or watch recordings and talk to the others so long as we aren't all killed. Disasters that needs surviving occur with alarming regularity. If you're lucky, you count as my disaster for today and we're not due another yet.

Oh! Speaking of disasters, apparently you sent me a living fufa at some point? It crawled out of the ruins of my lab, tried to pass itself off as an arkot, then tried to eat me.
No. 913623 ID: becba8

My base blow up, Imperium betrayed me, we are in a different universe with a group of friendly aliens and the surviving neumonos that tryed to kill me, this is an advance alien facility that is the only thing protecting us from a massive army of insane aliens that have connections with god like beings and Imperium.
Also Imperium tried to kill you to prevent our encounter, presumable so you wouldn't remove the compromising extensions in my body. That can be explained further latter, but basic it's being programming my brain to trust in Imperium since my childhood and I were only able to rationally question this blind spot after being explicitly betrayed.
No. 913624 ID: b1b4f3

First, get your connection (and camera) going again. You'll want this to be on the record.
Second, correct him- you didn't realize the fall would be as far as it was. Also, apologize for throwing him off the platform.
Tell him you got here basically the same way he did. Your base was attacked, except Imperium outright gloated about it that time, and the only way out was to use a prototype teleport device. It led you to this planet. Apparently Imperium wanted you here, which means it wanted him here too.
As for where this is... well, you're in another galaxy. There are aliens here, and this is their base, not yours. Well, sortof. It's actually a precursor facility dedicated to keeping a single person alive forever, no matter what happens. The aliens here now are not precursors, they teleported here by accident too. They've saved your life twice now.
As for who the aliens are... well... give a bit of backstory. The teleportation device caught three neumono in its range, who ambushed you shortly after your arrival. They decided to spare your life (leave out the part where they almost killed you) out of necessity since you are their only hope of getting home. The non-precursor aliens in charge of the base are also from another galaxy and want to go home, so they are helping pacify the neumono. One of the three neumono is unusually pleasant company. One of them is very much not, and may attack him if the other aliens don't have him restrained.
Oh by the way tell him his Fufa almost killed you. Thanks for that. Tell him he will most likely not be welcomed by the aliens OR the neumono, and he still has the option of going back in the pod if he wants. It's either that or cooperate with them, like you have.
As for the aliens themselves, it's probably better for him to be introduced in person. They're mostly friendly. One of them a bit standoffish.

Now for the bad news. The planet you're on is under attack by a xenocidal galactic empire called the Kiter, and the only reason you're still alive is because this facility cannot be harmed in any way. Will is part of this facility, and for some reason you have an affinity for the place. None of the other aliens can talk to Will or navigate these halls.
Speaking of these halls, there are some of his arkots here, who have formed a cult. You decided to avoid them but maybe he can recruit them in time.
No. 913625 ID: 10c408

Poor kitsiksu, he has NO IDEA just how deep the rabbit hole he's trying inquiring about is.

Since we're done with mapping things, you can probably turn the recording off before we give Kitsiku the truth.

Albeit slowly, we don't want to overwhelm him too much.

"...We're both stranded on a barren war-zone of a planetary body, Kitsiku. Armed and evidently insane forces belonging to a military group calling themselves the kiter empire are subsuming the planet on a massive scale for resources. The facility we're in is the only safe ground as they are prevented from entry, so don't go outside or they'll take you and likely dissect you if they don't kill you outright."
No. 913627 ID: b1b4f3

Oh and you should probably also mention that Imperium was originally manipulating your mother, long before you were born. The "neural interface" on your head is gone now because you discovered it was compromised by Imperium. It was using the device to alter and suppress your memories. You thought your eye was safe but it wasn't.

Planning ahead: let Kitsiksu talk to the aliens over your network connection before you bring him up there. Work out a plan for introducing him to everyone in person that won't involve a certain neumono trying to kill him.
No. 913628 ID: b1b4f3

...I just had a horrible thought. Ask Will if the Akashic Vault could be used to manipulate probability somehow.
Less horrible: ask if someone could use this facility to do that. Is it possible you're doing so subconsciously, since you're attuned to the technology here?
No. 913629 ID: 10c408

That specific Neumono will probably try to kill them both regardless just for existing.
No. 913630 ID: 575ec0

Lets start with explaining that this situation is fucking bizarre and we have allies that include unknown aliens and nuemono that both hate and accept us.

Let's prepare him so he doesn't have to experience the melodrama we did.
No. 913634 ID: 918898

With an apology. For for the circumstances for which you both find yourselves in now. Simply put, there's a lot at play here. You two were just swept up in it all.
No. 913635 ID: b1b4f3

Idea: we bring him down here and put him in a prison pod.
No. 913643 ID: 0c3c2c

"Imperium was manipulating my central nervous system via my implants for decades, drove my mother insane, and murdered all my friends just to fuck with me, and is currently attempting to release an interdimensional plague that will kill all life in existence. Also, they betrayed me to manipulate me into teleporting here so they could manipulate me more, and then an angry biological nuclear reactor with legs shot its local avatar to death with a pulse weapon. And that's why I removed all my old implants."
No. 913645 ID: 4dc321

I honestly don't think he's the type to care for a heartfelt apology. Instead, just try working with him until he gets in the groove of working with you.

Or until he gets his own act together and escapes, but that's a risk either way. (Maybe even for the best)

Don't make it a secret that you're at the end of your rope. There's nothing to be gained by pretending to be more together than you really are.

Explain that Imperium betrayed you and you lost everything, and resorted to an escape with a tiny chance of success, and woke up face down in the mud on an alien planet in another galaxy, apparently undergoing an invasion, and now you're reliant on the goodwill of some previously undiscovered aliens who have a good stronghold but maybe two weeks of food.
No. 913652 ID: b1b4f3

>won't care about a heartfelt apology
Sure but Sisirri should give AN apology. She hasn't yet.
No. 913653 ID: b67388

"Bullet points:
Imperium was involved with my mother and the rabbit hole goes really deep. It will take a bit more to explain in detail, but Imperium has been engineering a massive conspiracy across multiple galaxies to do... something. I am not yet sure what that something is, but there are leads.
We've wound up in another galaxy, there are other stranded aliens here, and I've been working with them to find a way to stop being here.
There is a big Empire spanning this Galaxy calling itself the Kiter and it is in a perpetual cycle of growing and killing itself off."
No. 913672 ID: 10c408

...If he escapes the facility he's just going to get fucked over by the Kiter.
No. 913677 ID: 06ed0f

Shit was on fire yo.

Really, i think at least a short apology is in order. The brothers thing was at least lightly uncalled for. Make him at least your friend again. Even if it seems odd to your salikai mentality, you've been shown friendships have saved you more times than you have claspers at this point.
No. 913678 ID: 91ee5f

>Kitsiksu was staring at Sisirri‘s ass in the past.
I mean, you were both sorta developing feelings for each other, so that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. I’m sure if you think hard enough, you can also remember something mathematical about his ass! ~ <3

.....actually, it looks like he’s staring at your ass right now!

>Where to start?
Remember, you said that you were going to try and not keep secrets from your allies anymore, so that includes Kitsiksu.

Start your story at the beginning.

Make sure you request that he save all questions, comments, and urges to shout “bull shit!” for after you’ve completely told him everything.

Don’t forget to tell him how long he’s been missing and how you used to be the neumono’s prisoner, but after certain events occurred, you’ve been upgraded to “Salikai that’s not our prisoner and we’ll reluctantly work together with in order to not die horrible deaths from something even worse”.

That is the opposite of earning the neumono’s trust!

>Or until he gets his own act together and escapes, but that's a risk either way. (Maybe even for the best)
No, it’s not for the best! There’s no telling what the Kiter will do to him!

Yes, do this.
No. 913682 ID: 094652

>Where do I start
"Well once upon a time, there was a mommy Salikai, a daddy Salikai, and an AI who hates psionics. Then the AI told the mommy Salikai to put the daddy Salikai in the mommy Salikai, up and down, until the daddy Salikai gave the mommy Salikai some baby juice, and then MURDER HIM. THEN the AI told the mommy Salikai to inject the eggs with anti-psychic nanomachines. Huuuge omlette. Then the mommy Salikai told the AI to @#$% off when she got to the last egg, and then I hatched and mommy called me Sissiri. Then the AI decided he would rather start fresh than deal with someone who couldn't sacrifice ALL her children to her synthetic god, and drove her insane so she'd tear out my eye and give IMPERIUM A DIRECT LINE TO MY BRAIN.

Hence the recent brain surgery. Sooo, on the plus side, some of my Arkots and your fufa project are still alive. Everything else temporarily tolerates our existence as they seek to justify our immediate termination."
No. 913686 ID: 977456

Inform him that your collective is collaborating to survive a siege, of all forms but largely information and infiltration, involving technologies and methods that are often completely unfamiliar. Trust is too expensive and paranoia is too dangerous, all that remains is reason and emotion. Reason is too predictable and will make certain our defeat. Emotion is too unreliable and lead to collapse. If he wants any hope of hope or revenge then he will need to collaborate more intimately and openly than he would be comfortable with were they just arkots, but instead they are alien species and neumono. It will not be pleasant and he will need to be far more humble than he could ever be comfortable with. And you have already informed them that he is paranoid, which will make things even more difficult.
Now get in the healing tub and let the ambulatory accumulation of blades examine you.
it goes without saying that you have already informed Tirzi(at the least) that Kitsiksu is paranoid and traumatised and has potentially dangerous biomods.
No. 913687 ID: 3f200a

Start with the essential
"Imperium was dissatisfied with my work studying a teleporting pod, so it leaked my situation to a neumono hive, who attacked. I jumped in the pod and landed here, where a disparate science team lives."

You can then expand on how Imperium was actually in control since before your birth, having fooled your mother into believing otherwise. That shifts the blame on her. You can add that the AI she actually built was loyal to the end, was killed defending your last sliver of autonomy from Imperium.
No. 913688 ID: 9723b1

"You're going to want to lie down. It really is a long story, and you're very far away from any family or friends you had, trifex included. At least we're also very far away from anyone who cares that we're salikai, with three exceptions."

If he asks how we know about trifex, say it's part of the story, and it involves the fufa he sent.

>...where do I even begin.

When you're done, maybe ask about the whole trifex vs LNS thing. You probably want to toss an apology for throwing him off the walkway in there somewhere, too.
No. 913703 ID: a9af05

>.....actually, it looks like he's staring at your ass right now!
Ha! You're right, it does look like that: >>913618 !
No. 913706 ID: 67478b

It's a long story.

Very short version.

Imperium is actually suck inside a precursor artifact inside subspace. He corrupted my mom and I am probably a result of some sort of eugenic experiment.

Imperium wants to kill just about everyone everywhere. Don't trust anything he says.

I used a precursor artifact to escape him exploding my base. We are currently who knows where trying to survive with the help of some friendly aliens who also got stuck here.

There are also some asshole neumono that I am attempting to keep the peace with. With varying results.

I have no idea how you got here but the nice precursor ai in the basement helped me let you out.

Also I am sorry for everything. I fucked up big time.

Also some of my arkots survived. You can have the pick of the next litter to get you up and running again.
No. 913738 ID: b67388

Also, subtly sashay a little bit as you go to let him know you see him staring.
No. 913741 ID: 221205
File 154457292062.png - (10.66KB , 800x600 , salq3-23.png )

I stop recording, as we're back in slightly more familiar territory.
I send a quick message to Aza that I would like some privacy, and that my camera is otherwise functioning correctly.
Aza sends a message back. [ok sisirri, i very understanding, will try make neumono understanding but can't making promises]

>he's staring at your butt
My what--


He's just looking straight ahead.

"...nothing. Also, I apologise for the comment about your brothers."
Kitsiksu clenches his graspers. "You ought to."
"I just did."
"Empty words. If you want to apologise properly, give me some answers to my questions."

>don't hide your situation

I pause and droop a little. "I'm exhausted, Kitsiksu."
"That doesn't answer my question," he says, less forcefully and more as a direct statement of fact.
"This situation is so far beyond my control I no longer remember what it is like to feel in control anymore. And, if you want to survive here, you are going to need to prepare yourself to be in the same position."
"Are you a prisoner?"
"In a sense, I suppose this is not inaccurate."
"Is it your AI?"
"No, not Imperium. Something else. This is a facility on an alien world in a different galaxy to our own. A fanatical army of conquest and destruction calling themselves the 'Kiter Empire' are what keep me and the rest of the occupants of this facility trapped in here."
"Wait," says Kitsiksu. "Another galaxy? That's preposterous--"
"I jumped in a pod like you did, after Imperium betrayed me and set neumono on my base to destroy it and me with it. Except mine didn't freeze me."
"We ended up at the same place?"
"I don't have any answers why this happened."

Kitsiksu shuffles around uncomfortably. "This is a far more complicated scenario than I was expecting you to present me," he says. "I don't think I can process all of this so quickly. Other occupants. How many of them are there? Are they dangerous?"
"Sort of about ten-ish, and my arkots. Most of them aren't but be careful around the neumono, they're not very trusting--"
"Neumono?!" Kitsiksu freezes up. "There are neumono here?! Sisirri they tore Reklatu into pieces! I still have nightmares over the damn savage maniacs taunting me with his remains!"
"I'm well aware of the violence and psychotic nature of the neumono," I say. "There are three of them. One of them is oddly approachable, another is... tolerant of salikai presence, and the third has been locked up due to the other non-neumono personnel considering him a violent criminal."
"First things first, we need to kill them," says Kitsiksu, trembling a little. "Nothing else matters before then--"
"The neumono are not the greatest threat to our safety right now," I say. "It has taken a lot of effort on my behalf and the others' to construct a functional truce. We have other things to worry about that are not neumono."
"To pieces, Sisirri."
"If they wanted me dead I'd be dead."

I'll leave mentioning that they nearly did kill me for after Kitsiksu has wrapped his head around everything else. He already seems to be panicking. Trying to pretend he's not panicking, too, but it's clearly evident from his grasper twitches and breathing.

"In summary, approach others with humility, and do not try to leave this facility. For whatever reason, the outside aggressors don't seem willing or able to attack this place."

Kitsiksu nods.

There's a dozen questions I'd like to ask him, but I can already see him struggling to cope with the situation as it is.
No. 913742 ID: 221205
File 154457296374.png - (7.93KB , 800x600 , salq3-24.png )

I lead Kitsiksu to the smaller xenobiology laboratory, figuring if Tirzi is around she'll probably be the best introduction to the team than anyone else.

"This was one of two xenobiology laboratories, but it seems to have been converted into a medical emergency room. I don't know why a facility this large doesn't already have a first aid station but this is what serves as the first aid station, apparently."

I see a tub full of healing goo and nothing else. Tirzi was prompt, but is nowhere in the room to be found.

It's... odd. I find this room almost calming. It should be filling me with a sense of dread and flashbacks of pain and injury, and it does, to some degree, but I've felt relatively safe in this room compared to many of the others.

Kitsiksu looks around. "I don't recognise any of this equipment."
"The alien researchers here come from somewhere they called the 'superculture' or something like that. They seemed inordinately proud of their medical technology. Not sure how you can be impressed by your medical technology when you have nothing else to compare to, but I didn't think to question that at the time. I guess compared to other aliens in their home galaxy."
"A galactic-scale civilisation??"
"No, it's more like an amalgamation of different civilisations."
"A galactic-scale alliance?"
"No, they don't all get along, apparently, sometimes there's wars."
"...That just sounds like an inhabited galaxy."
"I know, right?!" I pause. "Well, I'm sure if Tirzi was here she'd go into more detail about that but she isn't."

I poke at VoxNet, but it looks she's away there too.
> Query for user LessEdgyThanYou: Gone to lunch
Oh. Well, then.

I turn around to leave and--
No. 913744 ID: 221205
File 154457299351.png - (31.26KB , 800x600 , salq3-25.png )

--Kan is here with a plasma sword, active, pointing it toward Kitsiksu, who is understandably frozen in fear.

"One salikai to get out of here," says Kan, staring directly into my eyes with fury. "We don't need two. We barely need one."

I do not stop sending emergency alerts via my network connection.

> LessEdgyThanYou: Uh, Sisirri?? Are you okay--
> Machinist: Kan armed small biolab send help
> LessEdgyThanYou: Oh fuck

"What's wrong, salikai? Did you both suddenly run out of words? Is pretending to be people no longer your best calculated option?"
"Kan," I say, "do you want to talk?"
"I want you to reverse whatever fucked up salikai tricks you've done to turn everyone here against me. I'm the only one here who even remembers what the Ashes Astra stand for! I'm the only one who remembers what you salikai did to us!" He waves the plasma sword around, and Kitsiksu backs down into the corner of the room.

"Her name was Leioko," he says, "and you murdered her."
No. 913745 ID: 86eb65

Carefully get in between him and Kitsiksu if you can.

We didn't hurt you. We are Salikai that is true. But we are not the Salikai that hurt you.

All of us were played by Imperium Kan. He spent decades isolating every Salikai he could and tricking them into working for him. And he did the same to many neumono.

Please turn off the plasma sword and lets talk?
No. 913746 ID: 080aaf

Do you realize what will happen if you start to threaten the survival of the group, Kan? It won't be worth the effort to keep you detained anymore. Back the hell up while your bungie cord is still attached to this cliff.
In fact, I'll tell you what I did to turn everyone against you if you turn off that plasma sword. (Nothing. It was all your actions.)
No. 913747 ID: 575ec0

We Salikai aren't gods. We can't summon tricks and chaos from the ether. We're merely cowards that hide behind our myriad machinations, clinging desperately whatever false sense of security and control we can muster.
But we're stuck here. Like you. With you.
With nowhere to hide.

To kill us would only add to the body count.
It would enlighten no one.
Bring back, no one...
No. 913748 ID: b1b4f3

I see my attempt at planning ahead has gone to naught.
This is the second time he has escaped confinement and found a weapon. I think someone is helping him. Shouldn't there have at least been ONE camera set up to keep watch on the door where he was? I'd understand not being comfortable with cameras everywhere but there need to be basic security measures in place! ...actually I wonder if some of the people that voted to keep Kitsiksu out decided to let Kan out to handle the problem. Kan shouldn't even have known about this.

ANYWAY. Tell him you'll do whatever he wants if he doesn't hurt you or Kitsiksu. You'll make it clear to the others exactly what your true nature is so they can lock you up instead of him. But you can't do that until the others get here, so he's gonna have to wait.
If they get here and don't have an immediate method to pacify Kan, get an arkot in here somehow. Then kill it in front of everyone. Explain that this was the easiest way of demonstrating how much you value the lives of those under you. They are yours to use however you see fit. An Arkot's life is a fine price to pay for both your life and the life of your friend.

Alternatively you could somehow get the Fufa in here along with the arkot. It should recognize its master and fight Kan. It'll probably win despite that plasma sword being rather effective against it.
No. 913751 ID: b1b4f3

Guys this is a hostage situation. The most important thing is to make Kan feel like he's in control. So long as that's true, he won't kill the hostage.

Also, something else for Sisirri to consider: she holds a similar hatred for Imperium as Kan does to all Salikai. Perhaps she can use those similar feelings to manipulate him better.
No. 913752 ID: ad51b8

get Kitsiksu behind you and get the crazed furry sword wielding bastard to focus on you and STALL like a son of a bitch.

>I want you to reverse whatever fucked up salikai tricks you've done to turn everyone here against me.
The only "Trick" I pulled was doing everything in my power to make sure that the conquering alien invaders wouldn't kill us all while also trying to find a way home while you ran around ignoring the current threats facing us and pointing guns and swords at everyone who looked at you funny and hindering any work that was being made on surviving and getting home.

>Her name was Leioko," he says, "and you murdered her.
Me specifically? Or just a salikai in general?

if he does say you ask how he knows it was you. After all when he and his hive attacked your base it was because they believed that you were making a bioweapon that could wipe out a planet or something along those lines when in reality all you were studying a new more effect form of FTL travel. Hell he has experienced what you were working on when he got caught in the pod's FTL field that we were forced to use to escape the destruction of our old home.

oh and if Kitsiksu has any more of that sticky goop he might want to ready some more of it.
No. 913753 ID: 094652

"It's a matter of priorities, stupid. The rest of the crew have realized that for every act of excruciating murder we Salikai have inflicted upon you, the Kiter have literally performed over ten thousand more, through industrialized slaughter of bodies AND minds of every planet they can get their grubby fatmasses on, and Imperium is attempting over a billion times that via intergalactic biowarfare, the end result of which will include the extinction of the Neumono. Unless you kill them first, of which I am dedicated to assisting you, you've utterly failed to save your race from total extinction. So make your decision now: do you forget what you fought for and fight as a galactic hero for the common good, or do you spend your last moments wondering if getting your revenge on me was worth betraying your entire race by allowing one of these two asshats to kill you, your entire hive, and every other neumono in existence?!"
No. 913755 ID: 0c3c2c

Point out that if anyone murdered anyone in here, it was most definitely Imperium giving away your bases' locations to the Ashes Astra and then the Arkots trying to fight them off as the base exploded.

Not that that will help convince him, but it might stall him. Meanwhile, if you can, throw HEALING GOO at Kan, because it's really viscous and might distract him. If you've got any kind of personal defense weapon use it.

Also, if you're not too overexerted, activate your accelerated consciousness and try and figure out how to get that sword out of Kan's hand without Kitsiksu being eviscerated. Maybe you can deceive him into trying to kill you first? The ole 'you know you wanna stick it in me' ploy? Mocking his dead loved ones and claiming that Salikai don't feel love?
No. 913756 ID: b1b4f3

Getting him to focus on Sisirri is a pretty good idea. Kitsiksu has that sticky fluid stuff, that should immobilize Kan; he just needs to have a chance to spray it.
No. 913757 ID: 10c408

"you'll have to narrow it down for me Kan, as an apparent non-person I cannot possibly keep track of the ZERO Neumono I have personally murdered over my extremely short and terrified lifespan."
No. 913759 ID: afdebc

Why is his eye tentacles? (Are one-eyed salikai fashionable or something? Seem to be a lot of you).

>I'm the only one here who even remembers what the Ashes Astra stand for!
And what did the Astra stand for, Kan?! Ashes stand only for death!

I found someone I cared about, someone I believed dead, preserved by the absurd alien technological magic of this place, Kan. What would you have done? Would you have left Leioko down there, in my place? You would undo this?

...it won't stop him, but it will refocus him away from Kitsiksu, and in the time he starts yelling whatever he's going to say, the others may show up.

>what else
Remind Kitty after this that yes, killing neumono is really still off the table. The local alliance is too fragile, and the rest are contributing to our survival. Ekasarra helped save your life from his fufa, anyways, no idea how that got into your lab.
No. 913760 ID: 91ee5f

>He's just looking straight ahead.
He quickly looked away before you could catch him.

That could work.

But he might be too scared to think of doing that.

Maybe if Sisirri subtlety signaled him to remind him he can do that? But that would involve getting him to look at her and not stare fearfully at the crazy asshole with the laser sword.
No. 913765 ID: 9a3da0

"The only Neumono that died under my watch did so by breaching my base's reactor core thinking they'd find me behind that wall!"
No. 913768 ID: 91ee5f

You told Kitsiksu there were only 3 Neumono, but he’s going to count 4, due to one of them being a Kiter that looks like a Neumono.

>Kan shouldn't even have known about this.
He was part of the vote from earlier, so he already knew about Kitsiksu. How could he not have known?
No. 913769 ID: b67388

"I don't know that name. Tell me about her. About what happened."
No. 913770 ID: b1b4f3

>part of the vote
Why would he have been part of the vote? Since when do prisoners get a vote?
No. 913774 ID: 977456

Interpose yourself between them. Beg.

The obvious ploy is something about pieces of brothers being used to taunt people. I doubt this is a rational enough situation for "we are all the same".
Fighting a neumono with a weapon is a bad prospect, and we have no robots here.
Again, a lack of rationality suggests that "Imperium killed The Ashes Astra" won't persuade before things get to murdery violence.
Begging for the life of another is potentially shocking, fast, and might just coincide with something from the Ashes' fall.
And that is about as much soulless social dissection as I can manage. Team Evil Forever!
No. 913778 ID: b1b4f3

Begging?! That's out of the question. Remember, Kitsiksu is watching. He will be judging how well Sisirri handles this situation.
No. 913784 ID: 9723b1

Remember one thing. You don't need to defeat Kan. You only need to stall him until reinforcements arrive.

Get him talking about Leioko. He wants to be judge, jury, and executioner, and we can afford to let him pretend to be the first two. Ask who she was. Ask what happened to her. When he describes it, act suitably horrified. Ask if he had to endure her empathy when it happened. Ask who the salikai who did it was. Ask any question that won't anger him to stall for time.

If he gets violent before reinforcements arrive, your graspers can grab his wrist from multiple angles at a time. Feint from one direction, and grab from another. He'll kick and punch, but it's better than being sliced up by the plasma sword. If you can twist the sword out of his hand, grab the rest of his limbs, and push him against a wall to restrain him until reinforcements arrive.
No. 913785 ID: 91ee5f

It’s the number of votes.

Including Sisirri’s vote, the poll results were: 5 votes for yes, 4 votes for no, 1 abstain, making it 10 votes in total.

Now add the number of people in the facility. There are 5 aliens (Tirzi, Sitkva, Ku, Aza, and Saba), 3 neumono (Ekasarra, Lekka, and Kan), 1 kiter that looks like a Neumono (1045), and 1 Salikai (Sisirri) which is a total of 10 people.

10 votes with 10 people, which means that Kan was part of the vote, meaning he already knew about Kitsiksu.
No. 913786 ID: 4c2f6c


That's actually a very good idea. He might be able to cut himself free with the sword, but Kitsiksu can just spray him again and again until the others arrive. I'd like to add that as plan B to >>913784 and push the combat tactics to plan C.

One thing, though. If Kitsiksu wants to kill Kan if the spray works, warn him not to approach. Point A, Kan's gotten to the point where the others will probably decide that putting him down is the best option, so Kitsiksu will get his dead neumono without having to introduce himself with a murder. Point B, Kan may be feigning helplessness in the spray web so as to lure him into plasma sword range.
No. 913846 ID: 977456

It is worth noting that an unarmed Salikai is regarded as lethal to an unarmed neumono. Granted, this is two unarmed mad scientists against an armed soldier, and theoretically some sort of insane killing-machine neumono might exist that would suggest otherwise. Still, if violence becomes unavoidable, salikai have the ability to rip a neumono into pieces, and neumono are much easier to reassemble than neumono are. So an aggressive approach to any fighting that breaks out, with a focus upon ripping limbs off, would be advisable?
No. 913848 ID: b1b4f3

He's wearing armor. Salikai are strong, but not THAT strong.
No. 913849 ID: 10c408

He's armed with a freaking plasma sword by the looks of it and the number of people suggesting that if all else fails we fight him in close quarters is actually pretty appalling.

We're outmatched here, the best thing to do is stall him out since we're unarmed. (I'm not fully convinced that getting an opening for Kitsiku to goop Kan is the play, either.)
No. 913854 ID: 575ec0

2 Untrained, unarmed, naked civilians
1 Armed soldier in power armor.

Yeah, there's no contest here.
It doesn't matter how many graspers we have, or how strong they are. They'll just get cut off. It doesn't matter that we have a sticky goo. It'll only slow him down enough so we can watch ourselves be bisected.

There are three viable options and one bad option. Fighting is the bad one. It's instant death.

We can stall and hope the others get here in time, we can try and talk him down, or we can try to run back downstairs. Of course, running won't work unless Kitsiku can manage to collect himself.
No. 913858 ID: b1b4f3

>sticky goo
It hardens. If Kitsiksu gets an opening to use it, Kan will most likely be immobilized before he can attack.
The optimal use would be to spray it on his legs while he's looking away so he doesn't even notice. Then he'll be stuck to the floor and the Salikai can run away.
No. 913864 ID: 575ec0

While I concur that it could (And should) be used as an escape aid, I highly doubt the getaway will be clean. I can't see powered armor being immobilized by the stuff. It is, however, unexpected. Kan might be caught off guard for just long enough for Kitsiksu to make a break for it. If it does manage to slow him down great, but we shouldn't plan for it.
No. 913866 ID: 9723b1

>power armor
Wait, wait, wait, you mean this isn't the usual unpowered armor from Polo Quest? Ok, yeah, close quarters combat is suicide. That said, if I'm not wrong Kan is in the way of the only exit. If he just up and attacks or stalling fails, the goo doesn't immobilize, and we've got no other exit we're in a real bad position. Still, Sissiri "There is no such thing as a fair fight for survival" Issukoa isn't one to go quietly.

One last gambit if all else fails. Spray goo at Kan's eyes. While he's blinded, either steal the plasma sword and turn it on him, or run past him out the exit while he's distracted.
No. 913867 ID: b1b4f3

I don't think that's power armor. It's not bulky enough. That's just the usual external armor Neumono soldiers can get.
No. 913868 ID: 575ec0

Maybe. Though in a universe with skin-tight nano power armor I wouldn't be able to tell.

If you are correct though, then spray and run might be the best option.
No. 913900 ID: 977456

Musical! Sing the Ashes Astra Anthem. While tapdancing.
No. 913901 ID: 10c408

We have no exact idea what brand of cybernetic tech the Astra had or how invasive their augments were. Or how good their armor even is.
No. 913963 ID: 4dc321

Please do not try begging or jumping on the guy with the laser sword.

Instead, pick up nearby dense objects and start throwing them at him! Put all those deceptively strong gangly arms and your fancy new eyeball to work. If he rushes you, run away (or try climbing out of reach!) and hope Kitsiksu webs him.

If you find some kind of face-melting juice, feel free to throw it at him, but only if it won't splash on Kitsiksu. Try not to release any deadly gas or pathogens either.

(Also, please make a mental note to build, as soon as possible, some kind of powerful combat armor suit. Drones are clearly too easy to subvert, but you need tools to defend yourself.

Make sure to add hardwired buttons that reload the operating system from read-only memory, so when it's inevitably subverted, you can un-subvert it instantly.)

>"...That just sounds like an inhabited galaxy."
>"I know, right?!"

I think it means they share some languages and cultural norms and aren't really alien to one another. I'm thinking along the lines of "culture" groups identified in archaeological records.

(The distinction probably feels weird to a Salikai, because they come from Planet Genocide where groups speak the same language but have permanent wars of extermination...)
No. 915427 ID: ba56e6

While you buy time, imagine a sheet of fabric and a needle, with a thread attached. That thread is Kan. As if cross-stitching, pierce the fabric and weave the thread through and back again, then yank hard.
No. 916479 ID: c920f6
File 154679360326.png - (215.59KB , 800x600 , salq3-26.png )

>votes counted
Voting was a mistake.

>prisoner with a gun
Someone must have sprung him. Someone who clearly is trying to kill me with deniable proxies. Unacceptable.

>eye tentacles
I do need to ask him about it but not now.

>talk him down/distract him
"Kan, I will do whatever you want. Let's just talk about this. Who was Leioko?"

> CybLux: cavelicker broke my surveillance
> CybLux: camera is showing him still in cell
> CybLux: am FURIOUS
> CybLux: has had too many extra chances
> CybLux: still he is having cybernetics
> CybLux: time to showing why is bad idea


Kan falters for a moment. Kitsiksu tenses ready to... either pounce on Kan, which he should know is a bad idea, or dart away, which might be better.

"Leioko was my world, salikai. I won't sully her memory for your convenience."
"I'm not a god or a demon, Kan. I can't just wave my graspers and end the lives of neumono. No salikai can."
"The Splicer took her from me, and you are the Splicer," says Kan, shaking slightly. "In words and actions, you are the Splicer. In less than two weeks, you've coerced everyone around you into thinking you're on their side, but I can see the strings, salikai, I can see the tapestry you weave to bind everyone together and I'm not letting it happen again!!"

Kan takes a step forward and halts, seemingly frozen in place.

> CybLux: not understanding interface at all
> Machinist: Interface??
> CybLux: access running deep
> CybLux: scary deep
> CybLux: not understanding

Of course. Of course of course. I forget. I have a new functioning mind machine interface with further safeguards.
A new eye that I have looked through, but not yet seen through.
And I've worked with the sort of technology implanted into these neumono before.

> Machinist: I'll try.
> CybLux: try what

I inhale deeply, and exhale.
No. 916480 ID: c920f6
File 154679363276.png - (130.08KB , 800x600 , salq3-27.png )

It looks like the upgrades worked.

As one eye stares at Kan, my other eye sees through the veil of physical matter to the realm of digital cognition around us.
Kan's mind machine interface, not removed like Lekka's nor Ekasarra's.
Exposed. Vulnerable.

But that was the point, wasn't it, mother?
To be an emergency access point, an intentional weakness for either yourself or Imperium to use as they saw fit.
Unfortunately, it's a liability.

Because something else is getting to it first.

My racing mind already begins to tire from the strain of processing two layers of reality at once.
I try to focus on and extract the origin of the datastreams pouring into Kan's neural interface.
Here. There is no external threat. There's something coming from--

It's Aza. I already knew Aza was trying to break into Kan's implants. Okay, mislead.
Turn back, try again.

No. Wait. It's Aza, but it's... Aza, twice.
Two streams from the same origin point.

> Machinist: Aza, someone is breaking into Kan's implants from your access point.
> CybLux: what
> CybLux: impossible
> CybLux: am only one here
> CybLux: will powering off console

As Aza's console goes dead, so too do both of the connections.
In waking reality, Kan abruptly jabs forward with the plasma sword into empty air like a violent spasm, as he barks in surprise.

Kitsiksu backs up against a corner and rears up with claws ready to strike.

A connection comes back. This time, an access point claiming to be from Ku's personal network.

> Machinist: Ku, shut down your network connections!
> Machinist: Your systems are being used as a proxy to manipulate Kan!

No response. Probably because he's on his way physically to deal with Kan instead. Orrrr he's a traitor and is purposefully trying to get me killed.
One of those two.
No. 916481 ID: c920f6
File 154679364604.png - (32.80KB , 800x600 , salq3-28.png )

I snap out of my reverie as Tirzi barges in with some sort of... claw weapon over her claw.


Kan spins around and holds the sword up, but seems noticeably jittery and looks like he's having trouble moving. "I have to-- I have to keep Astra safe from the Splicer--"
"[DROP IT!!]"

Kan clumsily charges forward and Tirzi tries to dodge out of the way but--


Tirzi loses a horn.

"[AGH! YOU FUCK!!]" She swings with her claw weapon and smacks it into Kan's armor. Kan screams as I hear loud crackling and popping, extremely loud buzzing and humming, and the sword goes sailing across the room.

Before I can do anything Kitsiksu launches across the room, a coiled spring releasing, and grabs the plasma sword, activating it and assuming a guard.

Kan is still standing, but staggering around, swaying, struggling to remain upright.

"This creature is an existential threat," says Kitsiksu. To others, he probably sounds calm and collected. As a salikai, I can tell he is desperately trying to assume an air of confident control and power while terrified to his core. "I do not know your laws, alien, but I intend to remove this threat from my surroundings."
"[So this is your friend, Sisirri?]"

Kitsiksu poises the sword ready for a strike at a moment's notice. "I don't understand this alien's language. Sisirri, can you translate?"
"She asked me if you were my friend."
"Tell her I am."
"[Tell him I understand him.]"
"She knows our language. She just can't speak it well."
"Alright," says Kitsiksu, relaxing his posture by a tiny iota. "Alien, stand down, I will--"
"[Sisirri tell your friend that he's not in charge.]"
"As a reminder, Kitsiksu, neither you nor I are in absolute control of the aliens here, and they do not react well to assertions of dominance. They're not arkots, Kitsiksu."

Kitsiksu says nothing, but keeps the sword pointed away from Tirzi. It suddenly dawns on me that he's holding it with a lot more grace and familiarity than I'd expect from a salikai. This isn't the first time he's held a plasma sword before. Huh.

Kan lurches towards Kitsiksu. "Give me back-- my sword-- you monster--"

If I don't try to intervene, Kitsiksu is going to attack Kan and I suspect he will not stop until Kan is in too many pieces to recover from.
No. 916486 ID: 465a14

Quick, distract him with the chance to monologue!

"Why does your right eye look like an amtsvane penis?"

That'll do the trick, should break his concentration nicely.
No. 916488 ID: 86eb65

Get up close to Kitsiksu and talk to him.

"Someone or something is manipulating him to attack us. We need him alive to figure out what is going on. If he attacks just disable him please."

Tirzi what does not being in charge have to do with anything? We are being attacked by a dangerous alien who is stronger and better trained than us. We have the right to defend ourselves.

Someone is hacking into Kan right now from your systems. Someone who is trying to use him to kill us.

So either you handle the situation or we will keep this idiot from trying to murder us.
No. 916492 ID: 0c3c2c

Distract him... by asking him how he plans to repair your reproductive organs!

It's personal, shameful and upsetting to think about, but Kitsiksu knows all of that. It's also linked to his lust for you, and his fondness for your prior relationship.

Meanwhile, Tirzi can simply detach Kan's limbs and prepare to nail him to the floor for his own protection.
No. 916493 ID: ad51b8

"Kitsiksu, I know you're being thrown into all this madness and I really do wish I could have eased you into this more but Kan here is being manipulated by someone taking advantage of his cybernetics and as such he's kind of our only lead right now to find out who's using him. And yes you could say that you only need the parts to find out who did it I don't really trust you to know where the important bits are and not slice through them. So if you want you can keep the sword but please try not to rip apart the only clue we have on who's trying to fuck with us."
No. 916498 ID: ada24e

"Something got into his cybernetics and was able to mask their signal to look like someone else's. We need him alive and his cybernetics relatively intact."
No. 916500 ID: b970b2

Tackle Kan before this ridiculous situation turns deadly, and hope Kitsiksu doesn't swing at you like the paranoid salikai (Potentially redundant term) he is. It should be safe(r) now that Kan is disarmed, the worst he can do is punch, kick, and claw you.

We need to get that implant out of Kan, by force if needed. Forensic investigation of it's remains is preferable to losing personnel.
No. 916502 ID: b1b4f3

Go grab Kan. He's unarmed now and you are Salikai, you are strong. You have Tirzi's help even if you're not strong enough on your own.
Then explain that someone or something is manipulating Kan via his implants. Ask where the new alien is being kept. Either she was a trojan horse and you missed the robot hidden on her, or she's a trained spy that fooled all of you.
Well, it's that or Ku managed to hack Aza's console to log onto it remotely. I don't want to think about Ku being a traitor though.

Also tell Kitskiksu that he can gain a lot of trust by giving the plasma sword to Tirzi, but he might want to watch the door. Describe Ku to him and tell him to use his restraining goo if Ku barges in with obvious intent. Ask Tirzi if it'd be okay if Ku was restrained regardless.

Oh, try using the comms to ask the others if they've seen Ku. Request that someone check on his console.
No. 916503 ID: 130f18

"Take off his limbs. Don't worry Tirzi, Neumono can survive worse. We can decide what to do about him from there."
No. 916506 ID: 91ee5f

>someone is manipulating Kan through his cybernetics
Send a system wide message to everyone that someone has hacked Kan’s cybernetics and they’re controlling him. Make sure you also let them know where the signal is coming from, so that if someone is nearby, they can go shut down Ku’s terminal and warn them that the signal might show up again on a different terminal!

Let this also be a reminder to either remove Kan’s cybernetics or increase the protections on his cybernetics to be protected like your eye, so that this doesn’t happen again. Be glad that both Lekka and Ekasarra already had their cybernetics removed, otherwise you’d be dealing with all 3 of the Neumono right now!

>If I don't try to intervene, Kitsiksu is going to attack Kan and I suspect he will not stop until Kan is in too many pieces to recover from.
As much of an asshole Kan is, you can’t let Kitsiksu kill him!
No. 916507 ID: 91ee5f

>Ask where the new alien is being kept. Either she was a trojan horse and you missed the robot hidden on her, or she's a trained spy that fooled all of you.
It was explained that the Pomi’s implants were already removed and she’s supposed to be in recovery right now.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if the implants that were removed are what’s responsible for this by remotely hacking into Kan.
No. 916509 ID: 83bf07

"Take his legs. He'll live."
No. 916510 ID: 12b116

Honestly, he is more trouble than he's worth, the other neumono might get upset if we kill him but more importantly we probably need him alive to figure out what's compromising the cybernetics.
No. 916515 ID: b1b4f3

Yeah, the implants could be autonomous. Did anyone take them apart yet to analyze them? ...I hope that drone that broke through was also properly disassembled and Sisirri didn't lose a hitchhiker.
No. 916540 ID: 575ec0

Tell Kitsiksu to take the Kan's head.

Then after that urge him to otherwise leave him alive, and explain that he was being controlled.

Not gonna be able to explain until Kan's neutralized.
No. 916541 ID: 10c408

"We only need enough of him alive to figure out the source of the cybersecurity threat I just discovered."
No. 916542 ID: 91ee5f

>Tell Kitsiksu to take Kan's head.
Let’s not actually murder Kan!
No. 916544 ID: 10c408

No, he's too dangerous. We only need him alive long enough to find and eliminate the cyber threat and then we should properly execute him.
No. 916546 ID: 977456

I vote charge, ram, and grapple. Try to barge Kan closer to Tirzi. Activate any emergency signal jammers you have been hiding. You must have an E.M.P. in your eye, spare jammer symbiote, tinfoil hat, or something... maybe that paraspatial interference thing you did to Voidsong?
No. 916550 ID: 080aaf

Any sort of large scale dismemberment will disrupt his cybernetics, and we need those intact just a little longer to trace this hacker. Go for the eyes, Kit!
No. 916553 ID: 91ee5f

Executing him for his actions while being controlled by someone else is not the correct choice to make!
No. 916555 ID: ada24e

...I have an idea.

Push him harder on who Leioko was. MAKE him tell you about her.

He's being heavily influenced mentally in some fashion and Leioko is motivating him. But he's not talking about her, despite the fact that when enraged people tend to start screaming about those they've lost.

Recalling someone close to him may help him reassert dominance of his mind and body, throwing out the influence and ending the threat.

He doesn't have his sword anymore, so he's no longer got the option of outright ignoring you and cutting off one of your heads.
No. 916556 ID: 10c408

Neither is letting him live after all the shit he's pulled.

Sure, in this particular case he's been overly manipulated into going crazy but let's be honest with ourselves and admit that Kan was going to go crazy at some point no matter what.

And a crazy, rogue Neumono with unknown cybernetic enhancements that refuses to listen and either acquired or HID a freaking energy sword on his person is far too dangerous of a problem to solve with nothing short of dismemberment or outright murder.

And since we need him alive long enough to isolate and eliminate the cyber threat that pushed kan off the brink, dismemberment is the safest method.

and since we're trying to be good about the whole thing the best option for after we've gotten Kan diced into pieces and dealt with the cyber security threat the next thing is to put him out of his misery because I'm quite sure that dismembering him is going to be fucking agony.
No. 916557 ID: 575ec0

Ok. So. Neumono don't die from decapitation.
Their Brains are distributed throughout their entire body. Their heads are mainly just their primary sensory center.

As long as Kan gets rapid medical attention, he'll make a more or less full recovery. There may be some memory loss. Their head houses like 30 percent of their neural mass.

Anyway, cutting off his head will immediately disable him, but not kill him. Nuemono are bitches to kill.
No. 916567 ID: 130f18

His actions were very clearly his own, but somebody let him loose.
We don't know if the control is causing him to do this either. It could instead be the reason he keeps stopping and twitching instead of charging at us.
No. 916568 ID: 10c408

They do die if decapitated, though. Yes, their brain matter is distributed across their entire body but the majority of it is still inside the head. And while their absurd biology render most forms of kinetic attacks/projectiles ineffective, it does not grant them complete invincibility to said kinetic attacks/projectiles.

this is all moot, of course. Kitsiksu has the energy sword now.
No. 916569 ID: afdebc

>Orrrr he's a traitor and is purposefully trying to get me killed.
Unlikely? If he wanted you dead, he had a much easier option- he just had to not intercede with the fufa. Ku would have to have been recently turned.

>If I don't try to intervene, Kitsiksu is going to attack Kan and I suspect he will not stop until Kan is in too many pieces to recover from.
Kan's unarmed at this point, and facing Kitsiksu, not you. And he's disoriented from his electronic connection messed up.

Just tackle him from behind, or smack him aside. You outmass him a lot.

Also Kitsune's apparent proficiency with that weapon means you don't have to worry about him hitting you by accident.

>"This creature is an existential threat,"
Not objectively untrue, but there's a lot of social capital be gained with the aliens here by maintaining the moral high ground and showing restraint.
No. 916571 ID: 91ee5f

>he needs to be killed
That’s a decision that only Lekka and Ekasarra are allowed to make, no one else. Kan is their hivemate, so it’s up to them, not us.

>Just tackle him from behind, or smack him aside. You outmass him a lot.
Yeah, just tackle him!

>Not objectively untrue, but there's a lot of social capital be gained with the aliens here by maintaining the moral high ground and showing restraint.
I agree! Maintaining the moral high ground and showing restraint is what we should do!
No. 916575 ID: 575ec0

Canonically they live more often than not if treatment is available.

I forget exactly where neumono decapitation is covered though. Some of the older ITQ's and Polo quest threads I believe. I distinctly remember a character telling a story about hive mates calling her a badass for keeping her cool when she lost her head during a fire-fight.
No. 916578 ID: afdebc

Canonically we have not been provided with broad based statistics on overall survival rates so could we please stop arguing about extrapolation of limited data.

Here's what we know about neumono decapitation. >>/questdis/69824

We know it is possible to survive (provided you aren't in the less than 1% of neumono who die immediately), we know this requires medical care during the lengthy rehabilitation phase, and during the initial event it is possible to die if you panic, or scream, or aspirate, or don't quickly receive assistance to make sure your windpipe isn't occluded. (And does can really seem like Kan is not going to panic and scream if a salikai beheads him?) And even for a neumono who does everything right (per Lukrata's advice), and gets medical care promptly, we don't know the survival rate. (There's always going to be risks of complications).

We also have no idea how all the many high unethical biotechnical implants Kan is sporting might complicate or worsen his chance of survival, especially if any of them happen to be cut in half along with his neck.

There's also real world evidence (among humans) that mental state / mental health can impact your physical health and your odds of surviving dangerous medical events. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the same is true for neumono (maybe more so, with the ways we've seen empathy directly effecting biology), and Kan is pretty clearly in a terrible place mentally, with his hive falling apart and the paranoid persecution complex and the world around him making less and less sense.

So yeah, plenty of risk factors intrinsic in an involuntary head-ectomy.
No. 916581 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, that just sounds like Kan isn’t going to survive getting his head cut off, so let’s not cut his head off.
No. 916582 ID: 61ce1c

"Kitsiksu, listen to me very carefully: you are falling for the same con that caused us to lose everything. Same goes for Kan, but I don't think he has enough willpower to snap out of his augment-induced mind control so @#$% his ears.

You hate Kan because you think he's a xenophobic sadist whose only pleasure in this wide open world is ripping Salikai apart piece by piece and then rearranging the reproductive parts as a shrine to Leioko. That is not necessarily false, but you're letting your hatred narrow your perspective. Kan was released and had a weapon shoved into his hands. His hacked brain implant is also affecting him like it affected me. If you kill him now and I fail to get a trace, the intruder will do this again and again, possibly with someone we wouldn't expect, until we're forced to cut communications.

Survival is paramount. Look at him. Look at his hate. Does it look like he's going to see next month? No. And if you act like him you'll probably go down with him even sooner."
No. 916583 ID: 10c408

Kan is not hivemates with Lekka and Eaksarra anymore. All three of them are rogue and it's mostly Kan's fault for being an aggressive little shit when push came to shove.

And as far as societial capital goes..

I'm pretty sure the appropriate saying is "speak softly and carry a big stick."

Well we've BEEN speaking softly and it's just not working on him. We don't have to kill him immediately, because we still need him alive long enough to eliminate the hacking angle. But after that? He's just a pointless drain on dwindling resources at best and at worse he'll make a full recovery and try to kill us again. Except the next time he probably WON'T be full-on crazy and just actually do it instead of stopping to mince words.
No. 916587 ID: 4dc321

Help Kitsiksu take him out. This will help you bond with him at the expense of, let's be honest, a berserk and implacable opponent who has been berserk and implacable since before you first met.

Stop Kitsiksu from finishing off a downed opponent, but right now it's self defense.
No. 916588 ID: b1b4f3

If he's being manipulated now, what we have to ask next is how much and for how long. If we don't do something drastic like cut off his head, his future behavior sans implants should give us some indication of what his baseline is.
It's quite possible that someone has been driving Kan crazy towards destructive behavior for some time. It's more likely that it was relatively recent of course, like just after the portal opened.

I also want to prove Kan wrong in the most obvious way. To treat him with dignity, despite his previous behavior.
No. 916594 ID: 9723b1

Ok, so regardless of the cyberattack somebody's been supplying Kan.
The 4 that voted no are likely suspects. It's a pretty safe bet that Kan, Lekka, and Saba voted no. So that's 2 known and 1 unknown internal suspect, unless Kan somehow supplied himself. Externally, there's the captured pomi. However, one key detail is that Kan was supplied native tech, not superculture tech. From this, we may be able to narrow it to two suspects. The last person to have custody of the neumono weapons, and the pomi if they had a hidden plasma sword.

It also begs another question, why was Kan supplied with a plasma sword, and not a gun? If Sissiri or Kitsiksu was the target, a gun would be a far better means of killing.
Is this all a distraction?
This actually makes taking Kan alive a priority. Once the cyberattack is broken, he'll be able to tell us who supplied him with the weapon.

Oh, and for later. We should probably wait to tell Kitsiksu about the bioservitors. Right now, he'd have them kill the neumono. While losing Kan might actually be good, and Lekka wouldn't be a huge loss, Ekasarra is not worth losing (1045 is tough to predict right now). He's gotten the worst first contact with them he can get, but meeting Ekasarra will definitely soothe that. Just tell Ekasarra that he's been traumatized by neumono, and keep them at a distance from each other at first.
No. 916597 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, those are good reasons to take Kan alive.
No. 916605 ID: 9723b1


A few other points.

Playing whack-a-mole with the cyberattack signals will get us nowhere. Does Aza have some sort of wireless radio jammer?

Kan's got robot arms, so cutting those off shouldn't "hurt," though Tirzi's hit may have already disabled them, given the noises the hit made.

Either way, Kan's obviously weakened, so Kitsiksu's spray may be sufficient to restrain him, or at least make it easy to restrain him.

For irony points, we may want to say "We can't get answers out of a dead body, Kitsiksu" somewhere in the conversation. The very words that stopped Kan from killing Sissiri, used to save Kan. It might manipulate him into questioning himself, but even if it doesn't, it'll be worth it just for the look on his face.
No. 916614 ID: 10c408

And then he shoves our "superiority" down our throat with a huge sideorder of death.

I'm gonna pass on that meal, thank you very much. Disable him, flush out the cyber security threat and then move on it to eliminating problems before they come back and bite us in the ass.
No. 916630 ID: 91ee5f

>Kan's got robot arms, so cutting those off shouldn't "hurt," though Tirzi's hit may have already disabled them, given the noises the hit made.
Literally disarming him would definitely decrease how much of a threat he is.

After we take care of the hacker, we can either reattach them after improving the security in his cybernetics or we can remove all of his cybernetics and have 1045 do the same thing he did to Ekasarra and regrow all of Kan’s body and he won’t have any cybernetics to get hacked in the future.
No. 916646 ID: b1b4f3

Uh what? What did you think I was suggesting, exactly? To not do anything to him at all?
No. 916652 ID: a9af05

>kill Kan or don't kill him?
If he was doing this of his own free will, then I'd say kill him. But since he's not doing this of his own free will, it would be like killing him for someone's actions.

So I say, no, don't kill him.

Just cut off his robotic arms and he'll be unable to do anything.
No. 916697 ID: 10c408

Any less-than-lethal means or options for disabling Kan aren't going to work indefinitely. Sooner or later, he's going to be a problem.

And unless we're very VERY lucky, it'll be a problem because he beat/escaped whatever method was used to contain him.

And then he'll probably try to kill everyone. And we're not going to see it coming because he won't actually be as much of a crazy, distracted mess.

So the question then becomes, how much blood are you willing to see spilled to keep him alive? Personally, I'm voting for none. He already chopped off one of Tirzi's horns and if it wasn't for us keeping him talking long enough for things to happen as they did, he'd have split us and Kitsiksu in half from head to tail.
No. 916706 ID: b1b4f3

No. 916709 ID: a9af05

No. 916716 ID: 977456

He is dangerous and antagonistic, but only marginally so now that he is unarmed. These are exactly the qualities that will make preserving his life noteworthy to our allies, who are largely nonviolent by preference. Also, he has largely burned his bridges here with this attack. His containment from now on is likely to be far more secure and if any resources are available a psychological profiling and correction campaign will likely be administered even without our own intercession. If he were armed, then killing him would be justified, but as it stands, the risk is largely limited to a stay in the healing bath, and the gain is an almost unassailable political position.
No. 916717 ID: b1b4f3

No. 916722 ID: 575ec0

So all this moral debate is fascinating but exactly what quick action are we going to take when shit hit's the fan in about two seconds?
No. 916728 ID: 130f18

"Kit, go for the arms! Don't worry Tirzi, they grow back!"
No. 916729 ID: 91ee5f

They’re robotic, they won’t grow back.
No. 916730 ID: b1b4f3

His real ones will.
No. 916731 ID: 10c408

Not if the cuts are made well after where the cybernetics begin.
No. 916732 ID: 575ec0

I second this.
No. 916736 ID: 91ee5f

His arms are completely robotic. They won’t grow back if they’re cut off, they can only be reattached.
No. 916741 ID: 130f18

Then they can be reattached. Either way, arms are the best target for nonlethal takedown.
No. 916751 ID: 91ee5f

Sure, they can be reattached, but we’re not gonna do that anytime soon.
No. 916760 ID: b1b4f3

Two nore theories as to who's controlling Kan, not involving one of the aliens:
1)The implant in the Pomi might be a wireless machine interface, allowing her to hack into our systems from sickbay. Was it removed yet?
2)There might be some way we're getting hacked from outside the facility. The facility prevents hostile forces from affecting or entering the facility, but we already know it doesn't jam *everything*. Some psychic noise gets through, so maybe some wireless frequency can too?

I honestly find it very strange that any organic mind was able to get past the info-security expert's security. It's almost like Imperium is already here.
No. 917396 ID: c920f6
File 154733190964.png - (26.15KB , 800x600 , salq3-29.png )

>decapitate him
Even if it wouldn't kill him outright, the resources and urgency required to keep him from dying make this course of action needlessly wasteful.

I tackle Kan down to the ground. It's... surprisingly simple, all things considered.

Kitsiksu flinches back, not expecting me to suddenly be in target range.

"Sisirri, what are you doing?!"
"Demonstrating a point."

Kan struggles erratically within my grasp, but is fighting both me and whatever else is trying to puppeteer him.


He's still furious, but I think I recognise neumono fear at this point. Probably.

"It's not me, but I can stop it."
"Sisirri, why are you talking to the neumono and not killing it?!" Kitsiksu brings the sword into a guard stance and keeps his distance, circling to a more advantageous position.
"We can't get answers out of a dead body, Kitsiksu," I say, as I try to wrestle the helmet of Kan's armour off. Whatever Tirzi did apparently disrupted its powered operation, and the locks and seals are half disengaged.

It rips off with an entirely too familiar sound of mechanisms breaking, and I wince. I've associated that sound with losing something of value.

Kan doesn't say anything and clearly misses my subtle reference to the words that stopped him in his tracks before. He just stares up into my eyes, anger and fury melting into terror and panic.

"M-my helmet!! NO!!"
"Hold still."
"I won't betray my hive-- AAGH!!"
No. 917397 ID: c920f6
File 154733192842.png - (43.35KB , 800x600 , salq3-30.png )

I shove a claw into his forehead and fumble around to severing the implant and tearing it out. Kitsiksu and Tirzi both recoil at the overwhelming screams of pain Kan makes, while I continue. Tirzi looks upset at being subjected to the extreme pain of another living thing, while Kitsiksu just looks upset at the sheer volume of noise being produced.
As for me, well, this is far too cathartic for the screams to bother me.

By the time I rip the hexagonal implant out, with a forest of wires trailing through Kan's body joining it, I'm left with the implant and more trailing wires thinner than neumono hair than I know what to do with.

Kan is a broken wreck of a neumono on the floor, bleeding, gasping for breath as his screams die down to pitiful groans.

Tirzi nods. "[S-so it's over now, r-right?]" She looks at me apprehensively, weapon-claw twitching a little.
I nod wordlessly, and stare at the bloody implant I've retrieved. I can still tell commands are being relayed to it, even though nothing is now accepting those commands.
No. 917399 ID: c920f6
File 154733195613.png - (21.33KB , 800x600 , salq3-31.png )

Kan struggles onto his back, looking at me as hatefully as he can muster.

"Don't," I say, incredibly sick of his aggression by now. "Just stay down. It's over."

Kan stares, panting in agony, and flops back, and... starts sobbing. That was not a reaction I was expecting.

Kitsiksu remains on guard as though expecting this broken neumono to suddenly leap up. To continue proving my point that this neumono is no longer a threat, I rest one claw on his unpowered armour.

"They're gone, they're all gone, and you don't even have the decency to kill me," he sobs. "There's nothing left for me! Everyone I loved is either dead and gone or they'd never take me back! I keep trying and trying and you just keep stripping bits of me away and locking me in cells! One of you fucking kill me already!"

He just breaks down into hysterical sobs after that, slowly clutching at the bleeding hole where his implant used to be.

I rip more of the armour off of him, and he wasn't wearing much under it. The ruined remnants of my attempts to remove his armor are strewn around. Strange. I don't remember ruining them quite that much myself. Some sort of automatic self-destruction to prevent reverse engineering? Who made these suits? It clearly can't have been neumono engineering.

Kan's beyond words now, just wracked with misery and pain. I look at Kitsiksu. Kitsiksu looks to me, and looks to the neumono, and after a few seconds of visible contemplation deactivates the plasma sword.
"Existential threat, hm," I say to Kitsiksu.

I give Kan a kick for good measure. It does not make him cry any more nor any less. Tirzi winces. Kitsiksu looks simultaneously impressed and annoyed.
No. 917404 ID: 86eb65

Somebody messed him and his hive up but good. It's probably imperium again.

Lets get him somewhere to heal. Preferably with his hive mates.
No. 917408 ID: 859a9d

Give him to Tirze I guess and I guess go looking like not who was controlling him
No. 917410 ID: b1b4f3

Seems like it was no coincidence that they were the hive that attacked you.
Also let Tirzi in on the secret- he was being controlled remotely through his implant. How strongly, how deeply, and for how long, you cannot say. It's also uncertain where the connection originated since it seemed to bounce between consoles. Possibly an indirect connection hijacking the network? The aliens should know their own computers better than you, but you will help track down the intruder.

As for Kan, I think only the other neumono can fairly decide his fate. They need to be informed of the implant's true nature as well, of course.

Also apologize to Tirzi that she had to see that. You understand her point of view enough that you know it was unpleasant for her. If she asks what you felt, tell her you didn't really care since Kan has been so hostile to you for so long.

I think you should take the disassembled power armor for research! Spoils of war, heh. Maybe you can repair it, or just use the materials as armor plating for a robot.
No. 917413 ID: 094652

>They're gone, they're gone
>One of you fucking kill me already!
"Welcome to Hell, Kan. Everyone hates you, every memory of Leioko is tainted with the disgust that you're not the man she loved, and you're not allowed to die. If you want out then FIGHT for your right to leave. If you can stop your suicide tantrum long enough to get to Imperium, we'll strap you with a bomb. Deal?"

Focus on the implant. You'll want a working trace before the operator realizes Kaninator has gone cold.
No. 917423 ID: 0c3c2c

Give Kan to Tirzi and suggest that his family come help him. Gesture to the implant and point out that the engineering on the implant and the suit SURE DOES LOOK LIKE IMPERIUM'S WORK, DOESN'T IT KITSIKSU?
No. 917426 ID: 977456

Tell Kitsiksu to be useful and help you to analyse that implant. With one of you focusing on the internals and the other studying the biological interfaces you should have a better idea of how it works. Try to get Aza a comms line to it and inform Tirzi that Kitsiksu specialises in biology and make be able to repair her horn.
Finally, call in some arkots to watch the wreckage. Tell them that is filled with mind-control nanites and if there are any visible changes or motions then they have five seconds to say their last words before becoming a zombie.
No. 917428 ID: a9af05

Tell Kan that someone was controlling him through his implant and now that you've removed it, he should be able to control his own actions now.

Then ask if he knows who gave him the armor, the sword, and let him out of his cell.
No. 917429 ID: 575ec0

Tirzi... You know what to do.

As for you Kit, time to introduce you lets go.
No. 917430 ID: 130f18

Check on Tirzi's horn. Ask if she's hurt, and if those grow back.
No. 917433 ID: bddb0f

Alright, consider your impression to Tirzi. You've torn off Kan's armor and taken out their implant in a fairly clinically brutal and gruesome manner, and then you kicked him while he was down and crying. To some degree deservedly and neumono ARE tough (physically), but it's not great for appearances. Salvage your image a little.

"How is your horn?" - show some momentary concern for their well-being. They got hurt trying to save you. It's only fair.

As for Kan, address them once their sobs start subsiding.

"Rob you, Kan? Someone was trying to push you into suicide by Salikai, and you all too happily obliged, hurting Tirzi here - not your target - in the process. All I've done is snip your threads so you'd stop being such a fucking marionette - and as to what came before, I've said it before and I'll say it again - Imperium did that. I was dancing to its tune, too, much to my great shame and horror. That is why I WILL NOT kill you. I may feel fear and frustration towards you, but they are secondary to the fact that WE HAVE BOTH BEEN SET UP and currently have to deal with issues far more pressing than our racial and personal enmities. Or even personal problems."

Glance at Kitsiku, then look back to Kan and shrug and sigh.

"... not that it is any of my business, and frankly it shouldn't have to be said, but no-one wants to love someone who's all too ready to throw their life away. Cynically, it's a poor investment of effort and energy. Emotionally, it hurts when it happens, so why bother? Perhaps you'd feel more appealing to what's left of your hive if you weren't, as it appears to me, single-mindedly determined to die."

- Kan is a crying wreck and needs help to regain his wits so that he can be questioned to see if he can't identify anything about how he got manipulated. You are probably not the most apt to give that assistance, although you can probably point him in something of a right direction. Get Tirzi to contact the other Neumono and ask for help. They'll probably want to know what happened to him.

- Start assessing and analyzing. Who - or what - manipulated Kan's implant? Can the same be done to the other neumono (this is of critical importance)? Amass proof of the events so they can believe you.

- You may want to analyze other neumono implants and armor technology. If it IS something like imperium tech, that's a) deeply fucked up and disturbing and b) prrrrobably bad, given that the other neumono have had leave to go around doing things and may have been manipulated all the while.
No. 917443 ID: a9af05

Yes, they do. This was already explained in the 1st thread, when the neumono cut off one of her horns earlier.
No. 917445 ID: a9af05

>Other neumono implants
Both of them already had their implants removed, so we don't need to worry about either of them.
No. 917446 ID: 4854ef

It is rather unnerving to think that if you had not had your implants removed, this could have potentially been you. Half driven crazy by commands and voices in your head that compel you to obey. It is no wonder he has been driven madder quicker then his compatriots, one whose implants are safer, and the other who self-removed early.
No. 917459 ID: 130f18

My mistake.
Express concern regardless, and appreciation for the swift response.
No. 917465 ID: 9723b1

"Kan. Who gave you the sword?"
If he doesn't answer, get close and whisper,
"Kan. Your implant has been affecting your empathy. You may yet have a future with your hive, IF you tell us who gave you the sword." It's unlikely the hive will be repaired, and he may get that chance regardless, but we don't have to say that.
If he still doesn't answer, there's other ways to figure that out, and finding out is top priority. Whoever's been hacking Kan is still on the loose, and may have been using Kan as a cover for something. We're not out of the woods yet.

If Kan is supposed to be in a cell, how did he vote? And if he didn't, who did? Tell me the chat admins have the votes, along with who and where they came from, logged.

We can also figure out who last had custody of the neumono weapons, but that might take time.

>keep stripping bits of me away
What? Who's been stripping bits away? File that for after the crisis, or maybe ask about it fast.
No. 917488 ID: becba8

Now that the most immediate concern is resolved, our priority should be following the trail of Kan's manipulator.
We are surrounded by enemies and among them there are many whispering into our dreams. This time the means for such influence was trough safety weakness in the cybernetic implants, making our primary suspects that mechanic faction of the Kite or Imperium. If we can figure out the rout we can secure as many weak links as we can identify, preventing similar attacks in the future.
No. 917504 ID: 91ee5f

Tell Kitsiksu that the other 2 Neumono are much more reasonable than Kan is.

If he continues to question why you’re associating with Neumono, tell him that not all Neumono are evil and, while looking directly at Kan, not all Salikai are evil. If we’re all going to live long enough to escape from this planet, then we all have to set aside centuries of racism and work together, otherwise we’ll never be able to leave.

You can start introducing Kitsiksu to Tirzi, since she’s right here. Ask Tirzi if you can teach Kitsiksu her language so that in a few days it’ll be easier for him to speak with everyone.
No. 917541 ID: a0df49

Immediate nervousness when introducing the two people you have feelings for.
No. 917555 ID: 91ee5f

Also, make sure you warn Kitsiksu of the dangers of coffee when ingested by Salikai! It makes you guys intoxicated, without having to actually drink alcohol!
No. 917583 ID: 83bf07

Cathartic is an understatement. Can we get a clean up in here and a quiet place to make introductions?
No. 917586 ID: 094652

Also, Kitsiksu is too traumatized to think of regular Neumono as anything more than savage bandits. Let him study Lackey instead.
No. 917595 ID: 575ec0

It was probably just a piece of armor, but what looks like a small spider-like drone fell out while you were ripping off his helmet.
No. 917609 ID: 130f18

Good eye. Find and crush if possible.
No. 917635 ID: afdebc

>It was probably just a piece of armor, but what looks like a small spider-like drone fell out while you were ripping off his helmet.
Some kind of drone detaching might be consistent with
>The ruined remnants of my attempts to remove his armor are strewn around. Strange. I don't remember ruining them quite that much myself. Some sort of automatic self-destruction to prevent reverse engineering?
The armor's not trying to disguise reverse engineering, it's trying to conceal that parts of the whole are missing.

>What do
Sigh, heavily.

Interrogation should probably wait, Kan is a wreck and needs to cry himself out. After he's done hitting bottom, it might be possible to build him back up- encourage him to refocus his hate and drive on whoever been fucking with him and manipulating him, because it's not you, as you just demonstrated.

We probably need the armor collected again, and Kan probably needs medical attention. And psychiatric help.

Probably should ask if Tirzi is all right or if she requires assistance- she was injured. (We know we recovered from a broken horn before, but we might as well not make assumptions). Also ask Kitsune if he's injured, and double check that you aren't yourself.

Don't push it on reclaiming the plasma sword right now. It's a risk, but right now we really need to earn his trust and if he feels more comfortable holding onto the weapon for the moment, we can work around that.

Should probably hook into voxnet, make sure the others know the immediate crisis has been resolved.
No. 917777 ID: 58c855

Comfort Tirzi. While what you did was necessary, it was also very traumatic to witness, especially for non-salikai. She just saw a glimpse into the coldest side of you, so itd be best to remind her that you have a warm side as well.
it would also be a good step towards bug lesbians
No. 917798 ID: 10c408

"Tirzi, I believe this is your field of expertise now. I'm going to go and help shut down the cybersecurity threat running loose in the facility."
No. 917803 ID: b1b4f3

We shouldn't just dump Kan on Tirzi's lap after inflicting the wounds ourselves. We freed Kitsiksu partially to take the burden of medic off of Tirzi's shoulders so how about we make that clear right now? Ask Kitsiksu to help with Kan's recuperation, mention to Tirzi that she probably doesn't trust him yet so she's free to observe his work. Kitsiksu doesn't mind being watched, right?
No. 917823 ID: a9af05

Telling Kitsiksu to help heal the neumono that just attacked him might not be the best idea.
No. 917908 ID: 130f18

Also this. Apologize that she had to see that, but someone was hacking Kan's head.
No. 917987 ID: c920f6
File 154768488375.png - (32.05KB , 800x600 , salq3-33.png )

>consider appearances
A fair point.

"Tirzi, how is your horn?"
"[Hurts, but it'll grow back.]"

I move away from Kan closer to Tirzi. "[Kan was compromised by an external source, it's why I had to take out his implant. Someone inside our network. Keep this quiet for now, need more data.]"
"[Inside?! Oh, I don't like the sound of that...]"
Kitsiksu gives me an agitated stare. "What are you saying to the alien, Sisirri?"
"It'll take some time to explain, I'll get to it, I need to let key personnel know certain things urgently."
"Ugh. ...Understood."

>get Kitsiksu to deal with medical problems

...Of course. A good way to demonstrate his usefulness and trustworthiness to everyone else.
"Kitsiksu, can you fix this neumono up?"
"Sisirri, you are not very good at jokes."
I walk closer to him, lowering my voice. "I'm serious. No one here knows your skills and has no reason to trust you. If you help this neumono, it will demonstrate your skills, your ability to act against your own interest for the sake of the larger group, and it will lead them to believe you trustworthy. Swallow your pride for now," I say, voice falling to a conspiratorial whisper, "and you will have them dancing on strings so fine they'll never see them. This neumono is broken in body and mind. We can rebuild it to something more useful."

Kitsiksu shivers, slowly nodding his head so lightly it looks almost like a twitch. "Yes. Yesss... Just like Sira told me. I understand now."
"Good. You have this. I know you do."

"[If you two are finished whispering sweet nothings to each other,]" says Tirzi, "[I need one of you to help me deal with this--]"
"Kitsiksu can. Correct?"
"I have worked with neumono biology before," says Kitsiksu, stepping in front of me. "This one will need nothing more than some bandages to prevent blood loss and cleaning to prevent potential pathogens from contam-- from infecting the neumono. Granted, their immune system is robust enough that it shouldn't matter, but no good medical practitioner leaves to chance what they can prepare for, hm?"

Tirzi slowly nods, a little taken aback. She opens her mouth to speak before Kitsiksu makes a few clapping noises with his graspers. "Where do you keep the bandages?"
"[...oh! They're here,]" she says, racing to the back of the room. Kitsiksu turns to me and looks at me with sly confidence, a spider spinning a new web.
I give him a wave off as I dart out of the room, sending some messages on VoxNet as I do so.

> Machinist: Kan situation dealt with. Neutralized. In care of Tirzi and Kitsiksu.
> Lekka: Did you kill him?
> Machinist: No. But he seems to want us to kill him. Please talk to him. You too, Ekasarra.
> Xara: No. I'm not going near him.
> Lekka: Eka, please
> Lekka: We need to talk, all three of us
> Lekka: Come with me, please, you can bring your... weird friend if you want to feel safer.
> Xara: ...
> Xara: Alright

No. 917988 ID: c920f6
File 154768492023.png - (36.45KB , 800x600 , salq3-34.png )

I make my way to where I think Ku's computer room is.

I come across Ku in the corridor.

"Ku, there's--"
"[I heard, I'm on my way.]"
"No, the situation in the biolab is resolved--"
"[Not yet it isn't.]"
"We have an intruder in our network, Ku!"

Ku pauses.

"[Get to Aza. He'll be of better help to you.]"
"Tirzi and Kitsiksu are making sure Kan survives. Come with me."
"[Okay, see, this is the problem. I'm not going down there to save your friend from Kan. I'm going down there to make sure he doesn't try to make things worse.]"
"Who, Kan or Kitsiksu?"
"[Yes. Get to Aza. Deal with the network issue. While you put out that fire I'll make sure the other one doesn't flare up again. Voted no on this whole thing, oh look, everything's on fire, it hurts being right so damn often. Should never have let any aliens in to start with.]"

Ku storms off, metallic feet smacking in the floor with enough force to send unpleasant vibrations through my body.

Even if he isn't a traitor, which I haven't ruled out yet, this walking reactor is getting to be something of an irritation.
No. 917989 ID: c920f6
File 154768494316.png - (19.83KB , 800x600 , salq3-35.png )

As I head towards Aza's workshop, I suddenly get a direct message over VoxNet from... an unrecognised source.

> : Wait! Wait wait wait wait please stop please!
> : It's all a misunderstanding, I was tricked!
> : Please stop!
> Machinist: Who is this. Identify yourself immediately.

I spin up the black ice and start trying to locate whatever this errant source is.

> : I-- I don't want to reveal who I am to you!
> : You could tell Ku!
> Machinist: You have ten seconds to identify yourself before I attack.
> Machinist: You have every reason to fear me far more than Ku.
> : Y-you're lying! It's a bluff! You'd have to know where I am-

Focus, fugue. I have no further patience for mind hackers.
I carve through the ephemeral density of streaming data around me and locate a common pattern, wrapped around terminals around the facility.
Isolate, determine nodes, nodes targeted, black ice spun up, execution order--

> : Wait! Okay, okay, I'll tell you! I'll tell you!
> Machinist: Three seconds.
> : I'm surrendering I'm surrendering!!
> Machinist: One second.
> Machinist: That name means nothing to me. Who are you, where are you physically, and why did you assume control over Kan's motor functions?
> : I'm Zoi, I'm in a box, and I was trying to stop him from hurting anyone! I let him out because he said he wasn't going to hurt anyone! I didn't know what I was doing! I'm sorry! I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry please don't kill me Splicer please! I'll serve, I'll do whatever you want, whatever, just ple-e-eaaase don't hurt meeeeee!!


Why did it call me the Splicer. No one should know me by that name here except for the neumono.

> Machinist: Splicer? Explain.
> : It's what the files called you!
> Machinist: What files.
> : The ones in the comms lab stores!

I... I shouldn't have just left those unencrypted. Urgh.

> Machinist: That isn't my name. That's the name of my mother.
> : You look just like the Splicer in the photo files, I don't understand!
> Machinist: I am not the Splicer. Where are you now physically? I am going to come and talk to you.
> : I don't... I don't understand? I told you, I'm in a box, I don't know!
> Machinist: How can you not know where you are?
> : I don't! Uhhhhhhhh! Here! Here I am!

Some sort of creature manifests within my digital vision as I drop the fugue and focus, electing to just close my flesh eye.
It... seems vaguely familiar and I can't put my grasper on it.
No. 917991 ID: 130f18

You can trust it. But Ku will kill it if he finds out.
No. 917994 ID: ad51b8

can we track it? I mean find the box and... I don't know build another lab around it or something to keep an eye on it discreetly? and figure out how it got their in the first place.
No. 917996 ID: b1b4f3

>demonstrate Kitsiksu's trustworthiness
>conspire with him to turn Kan into a toady somehow
What happened to earnestly wanting to be useful and helpful to the aliens? To live in a world that doesn't fear Salikai? It's like you were a different person just now. Were you manipulating him? Goading him into cooperating with bad intentions on the short term, hoping he gets to know the aliens well enough to have good intentions?
Who is Sira?

Zoi looks a little bit like Truth's Knife. Only a little bit though. Or maybe it looks like the Pomi captive? Those fins. Or maybe it has some resemblance to Aza, with those stripes.

Anyway, tell it you can triangulate (or quadrangulate if it's not on this floor) the location of its box by measuring the signal strength of its wireless connection. The origin of its box will give you some indication of whether you can trust it. For now, tell it to stay out of your network except when explicitly asked to investigate things. ...tempting to try to recruit it as a spy against the other aliens, but you'd need some way of making sure it's loyal to you and not Imperium. Its story checks out for now, as Kan was fighting the hack rather than being assisted by it.
Go report this to Aza in person so the comms can't be intercepted, do not tell Ku. We can't hide its existence since Aza should by now have realized there must be an AI involved.
Ask it who let Kan out and hacked the cameras. It's obviously been infiltrating your systems for a while, so it should know. Also ask how long it's been here. When did it arrive in the facility?

>you look similar enough to the "Splicer" from the photos to fool an AI
That's a bit worrying actually. Go look at the photos again. Isn't your eye different? Yours has yellow in the middle, hers was all green. If the photos don't match your own memories, you need to ask someone else who has seen the Splicer. For instance, the photos could be altered, or your memories were. You could ask Ekasarra, once she's done talking to Kan. Would Kitsiksu know what your mother looked like?
If the evidence piles up in favor of you looking exactly like the Splicer despite your memories to the contrary, well, maybe you're a backup clone of her. Maybe your mother died long ago and Imperium manipulated her daughter to become the Splicer. Your memories could be like they are because you had two childhoods- one from the Splicer's memories, and another from being raised by her.
No. 917997 ID: 0c3c2c

Huh. Maybe it's a fragmentary remnant of Knife of Truth? Your neurology had all kinds of encrypted data locked inside it after Imperium violated your mind and body.

Maybe this was a piece of a friend locked behind your control implants that's only now regained nascent self awareness?
No. 917999 ID: afdebc

Honestly, the traitor theory seems poorly founded, and there there's one unstable alien (Kan) and one complete unknown (Kitsiksu) alone with Tirzi (both a colleague and, till this point, the only medic on the team). Ku's decision to supervise that before any number of things go wrong and result in Tirzi's death or injury is completely reasonable. Frankly, it's the right call, and we frequently have not had the opportunity for that kind of reasonable precaution.

>It... seems vaguely familiar and I can't put my grasper on it.
It looks like the image Aza showed you. The unnamed sapient species driven to extinction Aza brought when presenting the philosophical case for mercy. >>/questarch/867629

It's acting like a child. Might be an artificial intelligence. A stowaway, something a member of the inspection team is keeping hidden from the others, or another instance of this place bringing improbable coincidences together?

>I'm in a box
Zoi, as long as you are connected to our system and do not fully understand what is going on, you can be tricked into doing things that are dangerous to us. Do you understand?

We're going to need to isolate it from the network, physically if we can locate it.
No. 918000 ID: 7d9d06

Better not be in that box in the stasis pod, which is supposed to be frozen in stasis by the space gods.
No. 918019 ID: 130f18

Doesn't match any of the statis box species.
In all likelihood, given past interactions, this is a secret AI project Aza has been keeping from Ku.
No. 918020 ID: b1b4f3

Aza showed that to us while arguing that mercy should always be an option. I think this AI might belong to Aza, and we should definitely show mercy.
No. 918047 ID: 9723b1

>It looks like the image Aza showed you.
Good catch.

>What happened to earnestly wanting to be useful and helpful to the aliens? To live in a world that doesn't fear Salikai? It's like you were a different person just now. Were you manipulating him?
Manipulating and being useful and helpful aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, Kitsiksu wouldn't have helped unless he heard that. Trauma has driven him to fear, anger, and hate at the first whiff of neumono. And we just manipulated him into helping one.

>Who is Sira?
Sira Ro, one of Kitsiksu's Trifex collaborators. The behavioral manipulation and psychological programming specialist. Which is probably the polite way to say puppetmaster. >>/questarch/869091
Speaking of which, we're gonna need to have a chat about Trifex and LNS with Kitsiksu at some point in here to find out what the whole deal is. Doubly so since LNS was opposing Imperium.

>I was trying to stop him from hurting anyone! I let him out because he said he wasn't going to hurt anyone! I didn't know what I was doing!
There's a hole in that story. Kan got that sword somewhere, and if you disabled an electronic security device connected to something with a weapon in it, that sounds very deliberate. Explain.

Either way, once Zoi is located we need to have a chat with Aza about it. Then we need to have a chat with everyone. Like it or not, Zoi is electronically and socially exploitable. A security vulnerability like that can't be kept secret, and a solution will need to be found. Possibly isolation from the network.
No. 918049 ID: 91ee5f

All of this.
No. 918050 ID: 9723b1

Just reread the Trifex description. Sira was actually specimen acquisition. Go figure. Not a big deal unless Kitsiksu is taking "rebuild it to something more useful" literally.
No. 918065 ID: 10c408

Both of these. We can't tell Ku that there's an unsupervised AI-in-a-box SOMEWHERE in the facility, he's already on edge enough as is.

Get Aza's assistance in tracking it down. do NOT let word get spread around.
No. 918066 ID: 977456

This is above your paygrade. Ask the Arkots for advice. Have them form a committee to debate the issue.
No. 918067 ID: becba8

>We're going to need to isolate it from the network, physically if we can locate it.
No. 918070 ID: 094652

Ask him what he THOUGHT he was hacking in Kan's implant, and anything else about the implant that he studied before you ripped it out.

Demand his exact location before you fire a virus at his air conditioning programs.
No. 918083 ID: a9af05

These seem reasonable.
No. 918119 ID: 130f18

>ask the Arkots for advice
Sisirri: Assess self for brain damage
No. 918174 ID: 83bf07

It's timing and judgment could use work. Tell it it's to do nothing for now because the others alert and looking for it . Any activity would likely result in the others finding it before we do. It doesn't want that.
No. 918176 ID: 91ee5f

I thought that was only for when she had thoughts of banging anybody?
No. 918194 ID: 9723b1

>Already have compartmentalised containment systems for unidentified digital intelligences. Untested, but, well, perhaps still better than wrongful death of innocent.
Sounds like that might be the box. Zoi did use Aza's computer first...
Paranoia says Aza may be a traitor with an AI, but Aza's had better opportunies. It's more likely the untested containment has issues or Zoi is somewhere else. If they are somewhere else, then the containment system might be what's needed to isolate Zoi.
No. 918210 ID: 06fdc0

my my Sisirri, you sure know how to get Kitsiksu all hot and bothered
No. 918223 ID: 130f18

I wonder if Kit and Tirzi would be willing to work on your genitals together once things calm down. I'm sure Tirzi would love the xenobio lesson.
No. 918339 ID: dbb1f2

It's not an immediate health risk and there's no reason to go making tiny salikai, plus, neither kit nor Tirzi have aquired enough Acquaintance Points to unlock that part of Sissiri's tragic backstory, let alone enough for a "xenobio lesson"
No. 918340 ID: 130f18

Kit already knows, he was planning to give her surgery so they could have babies. I believe they were under contract.
No. 918358 ID: 745eba

Hah I'm pretty sure Sisirri and Tirzi already had their xenobiology lesson after Sisirri drank that coffee
No. 918418 ID: 556258

What's in the box with you?
No. 918420 ID: 91ee5f

You’re right. They had a thrilling conversation about Tirzi‘s “mating flaps” during that time! XD
No. 918433 ID: b1b4f3

She doesn't even have those.
No. 920039 ID: 59c975
File 154932872369.png - (8.45KB , 800x600 , salq3-36.png )

>consult arkots
>check for brain damage
Still have it, apparently.

>what happened to wanting to be useful
Being useful and being manipulative are hardly mutually exclusive. I want Kitsiksu to help us out. Salikai operate best when they feel they are in control. If his intentions cause problems later then it will just be another obstacle to overcome.
And let's be honest, remaking Kan into an obedient pawn by subtle manipultion is the best outcome for the group at large at this point. It's even in Kan's best interest to be given new purpose.

Ah, neumono. Poor dumb murder idiots with psyches as fragile as wet paper. I almost feel responsible for them. Like they're slightly larger arkots that will need my intervention not to go and get themselves killed.

But, yes, manipulation. Ultimately, isn't every act of convincing someone else to believe or do something an act of manipulation?

>who is Sira
One of Kitsiksu's collaborators, I think. According to that whole fufa debacle, one of his co-conspirators for... I need to ask Kitsiksu about Trifex and its actual goals next time I see him.

>truth's knife
No, I'd know if this was Truth's Knife.

>looks like aza's picture
Of course! Good catch, me!
I disconnect immediately.
Aza has some explaining to do!
No. 920042 ID: 59c975
File 154932876356.png - (84.03KB , 800x600 , salq3-37.png )

I burst into Aza's workshop, and Aza squeaks in surprise.

"[Sisirri! Maybe knocking next time!]"
"Aza, why was I just contacted by a digital presence that looked like that image you showed me some days back?"

Aza stares up at me, pupils dilating slightly. "[What are you talking about, Sisirri?]"
"I have the log file available. In my eye's systems. Let me send it to you."

I hear a bleep from some of the stations around me as I send the log file directly to Aza's VoxNet handle.

Aza's eyes reluctantly drift over to the nearest screen he can see and he wrings his tentacles together nervously as he forces a smile. "[Ah yes, yes, is simple communication interface, nothing to worry about--]"
"Aza, why does a simple communication interface hack into the implants of facility personnel?"

Aza makes a strange gurgling whine. "[I'll tell you everything, on condition you mention none of this to Ku.]"
"I don't have time for this. I'll find the answers I want with or without your help, Aza. If it's just a simple program I can just disassemble it and examine its subsystems first." A little crass but if I don't twist Aza's... arm? Arm on this, I feel like the proper sense of urgency isn't being conveyed. And if it is an artificial sapience, Aza will confirm it by responding emotively--
"[NO! Uh. Aza meaning, okay, fine, but please, please not mentioning this to Ku! Please! If there's any decency being in you. Yes?]"
"Agreed." I already knew it was a terrible idea to mention the potential existence of an AI to Ku. I'm not stupid.
"[Okay. Holding on.]"

Aza takes a deep breath.
No. 920043 ID: 59c975
File 154932878591.png - (17.57KB , 800x600 , salq3-38.png )

"[Blinding frontier untapped, whirling into chaotic sensory storm, thought and memory intertwined into stream of mind, revelation. Coming with me, now.]"

Aza gestures towards me as I hear an abrupt hydraulic hiss.
Part of the floor starts slowly sinking down. Aza waddles onto it while being lowered down. I awkwardly crawl into the space revealed, and...

Huh. A cramped, poorly lit secret basement lab. I approve. I'm annoyed I didn't know about it, but the facility is apparently a mystery even to the others.

"[Not liking dark, but is better for hiding existence of sub level. Here, is here,]" says Aza, still embarassed and reflexively painting himself with glowing goo. He points to a white and blue bevelled cube, tiny, just... left on a cluttered desk like a trinket. "[Zoi. Kept in safe place until can fulfilling promise.]"
"This is the AI containment system you mentioned before?"
"[No, this... this different situation.]"
No. 920044 ID: 59c975
File 154932881663.png - (125.86KB , 800x600 , salq3-39.png )

Aza pulls a tarp off of a covered lump that I can't perceive any details off-- ah.

It's... a robot, of some sort. Half finished, if I'm being charitable. It looks vaguely similar to the image I saw both shown by Aza and the digital apparition I saw earlier.
If he's aiming for a complete match, though, there's a lot more work to be done. I see components that individually seem complete with no way to attach them to the main body that I can immediately see.

"[Zoi being last known surviving individual of species. Harvested by tan ren soon AI. Engram stored in box. Promising Zoi return to physical life. Was working on sophisticated surrogate body but left behind in lab. Zoi wanted coming with on exploration, else not having her with me at all.]"
No. 920045 ID: 59c975
File 154932882706.png - (17.79KB , 800x600 , salq3-40.png )

A screen flickers on, bathing the room in blue light. It's the same digital image I saw earlier, but more animated.

"[Aza, it's over,]" she says. "[The Splicer found me.]" Her particular dialect of this shared alien language definitely sounds closest to Aza's than anyone else's.
"[Sisirri is being right here,]" says Aza. "[Oh. Tarp on camera. One moment.]" Aza pulls the tarp around.

Zoi's screen avatar stares in apprehension. "[Oh no.]"
"I'm not here to harm you, I'm here to understand. Aza, your... friend? Your associate here is an electronic and social risk to the network and the security of the facility. We need to disconnect it-- her from the network."
"[Please don't,]" says Zoi. "[The cameras of the facility are all I have! I can't pilot the drones very well and I don't want to forget what the real world is like!!]"
"[Simulation of engram not being very consistent,]" says Aza, despondent. "[Two bad choices. Keep Zoi in suspended state, with ever increasing risk reactivation will fail, or keep Zoi awake, with her consciousness degrading further and further from living self to machine intelligence. Trying desperately to solve problem, but, good quality materials and components hard to find, and so much happening. Always so much happening.]"
"[Maybe I'm not worth this much time and effort,]" says Zoi, onscreen representation streaming tears.
"[No, quiet, being worth it,]" says Aza, curling his tentacles into balls. "[Just lacking time and resource.]"

I don't know how good Aza is at robotics but I know I'd struggle to make a complete prosthetic body as sophisticated as one of flesh and blood. And it would take severely sophisticated components. My eye is my greatest recent creation and it's only the fact I'm used to having a synthetic eye that makes it feel so natural.

STILL, this is a problem entirely separate to the initial problem I had. I have some questions to ask of these two. As soon as I can think of them...
No. 920053 ID: ad51b8

Ask what he needs to finish the body. Not saying you should help right now but it might help to have a better idea on what is needed.

Also why can't he upload books and films to the AI's mainframe to help keep her entertained? Or why she has the ability to open locked doors and let crazy beam sword wielding maniacs out. Cameras are one thing but being able to interact with the base is one hell of a risk... (although thinking about it if we can get the AI on our side it would be a pretty good ally to have since she seems to have some control over the base and no one knows about her). And why does she keep insisting on calling you splicer? That's not your name or title.
No. 920055 ID: b1b4f3

Honestly if there's a shortage of materials then we can't do anything- wait what about the parts from the Imperium drone? So long as it is properly taken apart and FULLY disabled you can use the materials from that to finish the body. The components looked almost organic to you, that for sure sounds like it counts as "sophisticated enough".

Anyway: First ask what the plan is after the body is complete. She can't go walking around the station with Ku here.
Secondly, ask Zoi if she saw who let Kan out, and how. She's been watching the cameras, so she should have some idea of who has an alibi at least.
Thirdly, ask why she's still calling you the Splicer, there's no way you look exactly like her. Your eye color is different, for one thing. Ask to see the photos.
No. 920057 ID: 977456

Does the body need to be sophisticated? Mind/body interface aside, you could probably slap together something "good enough" in an afternoon. Most beings don't constantly monitor all of their stimuli and functions. Head-frills could probably be simulated with software, just receiving the proper commands and sending the proper stimuli by modifying the data from a simple wind monitor. You could probably spoof the visual sensors to display an accurate depiction of its specie when it looks at itself...
Really, the experience of a biological body should be vastly easier than even a moderately poor imitation of one, far less anything indistinguishable to amateur observers.

That said, quarantine is necessary. By all accounts the enemies' ability to compromise technology appears to be well beyond any defences you know. Just because a piece of technology is a person, doesn't mean that it is any less vulnerable to being modified by hostile parties.

On that note: How did it know how to hack Kan's systems? Was it a data security specialist? Did its abductors install a basic personal-security package? Does its current perspective provide some sort of intuitive understanding? As Aza said, there is much going on right now. We are very very busy, so if we are going to put effort into this latest problem then it would be nice to have idea of what we would gain to make up for the time lost defending everyone from the multiple hostile armies and impossibly powerful personages directing ruinous malevolence towards then entire group. Nevermind vetting Kitsiksu and preventing Kan from being killed to hide evidence...
No. 920058 ID: 0c3c2c

Couldn't you just reverse engineer your own current Mind Machine Interface and get Kitsiksu to clone up a brainless body you can jam an MMI in and give her a body, albeit an alien one?

Like, for example, a Salazarrine or a an Arkot or.... like... anything. Heck, could even clone a Neumono if you wanted yet another blood Neumono roaming around getting emotions all over the walls.
No. 920061 ID: 1c0f2a

She is too naive to have power over us. If you want to give her access to a creepy big brother surveillance over us, fine, customize her feed but limit her output only to one machine you use for communication. It's unacceptable that a child like entity can orchestrate the assassination of other residents.
Try to explain to her that just because the neumonos assign collective guilt to my entire specie doesn't mean I'm their former boss. If her capacity of interpretation is so limited it's beyond her abilities to condemn someone and put the judgement in motion.

Beside the urgent necessity of correcting this security risk there are others problems I would prefer to devote my time than helping the person(?) who just tried to kill me, but latter when we got more time I will help your project Aza.
No. 920069 ID: 86eb65

Does she want a living body? We just rescued your boyfriend who can build those. Can put a machine to body interface in the bodies brain and transfer her into its cyberbrain.

Plus gives Kitsiksu a fun project to work on.
No. 920071 ID: 556258

Well. You're going to need to tutor Zoi how to operate the body. Perhaps make a program that simplifies the controls to said. Perhaps design it like a game.

While we're working on a "good enough" body for Zoi, we could make prototypes which we could use "train" Zoi in piloting a body so Zoi could easily accommodate organic enough movement to fool any onlookers.

Or we could shove Zoi into an organic body. We have the technology. Though, I fear that having a biological port would make Zoi more vulnerable to hostile influence.

Also, have we asked what Zoi is?
No. 920073 ID: 575ec0

Ok. Simple solution here. Make a stopgap body.

Doesn't need to be perfect, doesn't even need to resemble the original body. Just needs to be a purpose built drone. One that controls more or less like a biological body, that the core can be mounted directly into or be given a latency free connection.

It should be easier to control than a standard drone, and will allow a degree of normalcy that will serve to slow the mind's degradation.
Between Aza and Sissiri, this prosthetic body shouldn't take too much time to build, though some parts of the currently incomplete prosthetic will likely need to be cannibalised.

Even so, now that we have Kitsiksu on board, we could probably make a superior Bio-Mechanical final body anyway. It'll use fewer parts and will be probably be great fun for both Salikai.
No. 920074 ID: 094652

Why is this an issue? We have an entire CITY of preservation technologies right underneath us! Just go back downstairs and look for something expensive to cannibalize!

Other than that, make fixing this thing a priority. People almost died.

Next on the list is reintroducing Kitsiksu to Angry Fufa In A Can.
No. 920077 ID: a9af05

>The Splicer found me
First of all, tell her to stop calling you that, your name is Sisirri.

Next, tell her that the only reason you found her is because of how easy it was to trace her signal's origin. She should be grateful that it was you and not Ku that did that. Especially, considering she was using Ku's terminal!

Then, ask her why she let Kan out? He was locked up to prevent him from trying to kill you in your sleep.

Finally, tell her that if she tries to control you with your implant, the same way she did that to Kan, you will activate a program to delete her without a second thought! The only time she's allowed in your head is if she needs to contact you to pass along some important information, if Aza isn't available for her to contact.

>Suggestions saying to work with Kitsiksu to build a biomechanical body
That would be nice, except for the fact that we need to give him a reason to not tell anyone about Zoi's existence.

And then we need to come up with an excuse to give to Ku to prevent him from killing Zoi as soon as he sees her in her completed body.
No. 920081 ID: 130f18

Offer to help.
No. 920094 ID: 1c0f2a

No. Leave the possibility on the table for when Aza want a favour exchange, but not right now. This thing just tried to kill us, I don' want it walking around the place.
No. 920101 ID: e7848c

There is a way to keep her in perfect suspension. We just have to ask our local friendly floating light bulb downstairs.
No. 920105 ID: 730675

It's also inconvenient that she attempted to tap into an empathy controller implant, why'd she choose to interact with that?

Agreed, whatever Will can find or transfer her to has to be better than a failing computer or leaving her conscious and desperate for sensation.
No. 920111 ID: 91ee5f

>Ah, neumono. Poor dumb murder idiots with psyches as fragile as wet paper. I almost feel responsible for them. Like they're slightly larger arkots that will need my intervention not to go and get themselves killed.
Careful, Sisirri. You’re starting to sound like you care about the Neumono.

I mean, I understand caring about Ekasarra, after all the shit both of you went through together and how both of you saved each other’s lives. But Lekka and Kan?

Tell her to stop calling you by your mother’s name and call you by your correct name! Otherwise, you’re going straight to Ku to tell him about you!

And let them both know that you won’t tell Ku, but if he finds out, don’t expect you to come and help save her. They also need to buy your silence, since Zoi almost got you killed by releasing the crazy guy that’s constantly threatening to kill you.

Wait, why would Ku get mad about this? Didn’t Aza explain that Zoi is a living person that had her consciousness copied into a computer? That’s completely different from an AI!

Also, what should we tell the others? After all, Sisirri was telling everyone over the comms that Kan was being controlled by an unknown signal in the network. So if she and Aza have taken care of the problem, they’ll need to tell the others what the problem was that caused this in the first place.
No. 920134 ID: 91ee5f

>If Zoi tries to take control, you will use the Black Ice program to kill her!
Wow, that’s harsh. But it is a necessary threat to keep her out of your head.

>However, there are exceptions.....
Also necessary. In case of emergencies and she needs to contact you.
No. 920137 ID: 080aaf

Can you finish the body faster by downscaling the size? Given some components seem complete already you might end up with some exaggerated proportions here and there but you don't have a lot of materials or time to work with.
This also doesn't answer the question of what she was doing connected to Kan! Was she piggybacking off of his heavily-cybernetic-infused nervous system? We have a few other, less violent possible hosts for that, don't we? Besides the one who had the implants ripped out and spent some time recuperating in a kiter lab.
...Maybe the kiter have the tools Aza needs to build a body. And upload an AI into it.

Or that. We just throw her in space baby jail for the time being. She is an accessory to attempted murder!
No. 920138 ID: 91ee5f

I don’t think we should do that.

Will said that if we try to open more than one stasis pod within a one month period, the “safety measures” will turn on. And we need to open a pod to put Zoi in one, so we can’t exactly put her in there. Especially since it hasn’t been anywhere close to a month after releasing Kitsiksu from his pod.
No. 920146 ID: 9723b1

>Zoi being last known surviving individual of species. Harvested by tan ren soon AI.
Well then. If, or more likely when, our local AI-hating tan ren soon finds Zoi, at least they have a common enemy.

>Will said that if we try to open more than one stasis pod within a one month period, the “safety measures” will turn on.
That might only be for releases, not incarceration. Have to ask about that, but it'd be a good solution.

>ask Zoi if she saw who let Kan out, and how. She's been watching the cameras, so she should have some idea of who has an alibi at least.
Zoi released Kan. See >>917989
>I let him out because he said he wasn't going to hurt anyone!
However, Zoi may have seen who let Kan have the armor and sword. Unless Zoi was the one that armed Kan, in which case tossing Zoi in a cryocell sounds even better.

>Like they're slightly larger arkots that will need my intervention not to go and get themselves killed.
Wait a minute. From an evolutionary perspective, any pre-contact neumono tribe with a salikai on its side would have had an advantage over other tribes. Advanced tactics, superior administration, even some defense against predators since salikai aren't vulnerable to them. Maybe it happened at some point, but local tribes banded together to crush the upstart power. Then the victors would write the history, and mention how it all started with the influence of the evil salikai, jumpstarting the genocidal animosity.
Pure speculation, but who knows?

Also, in light of recent events, Sissiri should get a gun. Maybe a drone with a gun too, but a personal firearm that can't be hacked would be very good to have. Maybe get a secured armory that will be opened in an emergency for the arkots, too. They're useless in a fight right now.

Hey, want to hear a nightmare scenario? Fleshweaver Kitsiksu.
No. 920160 ID: 91ee5f

>That might only be for releases, not incarceration. Have to ask about that, but it'd be a good solution.
Even if that was the case, we’d still have to wait a month after releasing Kitsiksu before we could release Zoi. And I’m pretty sure we’ll have found a way to escape this facility before then. Meaning we’ll end up leavening Zoi behind.
No. 920172 ID: 9723b1

What makes you so sure?
But let's say you're somehow right. If we're leaving anyway, why not just grab Zoi, ignore whatever the safety measures do, and go?
No. 920176 ID: a9af05

>We might escape within a month
Ha, yeah right! At the rate we're going, it's going to take longer than that!

In order for a prison break to happen, there need to be prisoners to break out, right? So what if, in order to prevent a prison break, the safety measures are designed to kill all of the prisoners and whoever is trying to break them out?

The best way to prevent a prison break is to make sure there are no prisoners left alive to break out of prison.
No. 920182 ID: 864e49

>last known surviving individual of species
So it's not actually an AI it was a living creature, why would Ku be upset with it?

>Harvested by tan ren soon AI
Oh he might not trust it. And he might be upset at you for hiding it
That's not a nice thing to do to your boyfriend
No. 920199 ID: 10c408

Alright, to be perfectly honest... We've worn the white hat for long enough now.

Put on your black hat sisirri, and think diabolical thoughts. It's time for some good old fashioned sabotage.

Have a quick and fast conversation with Aza here. You'll cover for him and his project, but he owes you big and Zoi owes you EVEN MORE for being responsible, in an as-yet-to-be-determined amount, with Kan getting out of his cell.

Do NOT speed long on this conversation, you don't have time. You need to get to Ku's console while he's busy micromanaging the biologists and start work on spoofing Zoi's digital footprint with a fake-AI that you can blame for being on not just Ku's console, but also whatever other digital device or bit of equipment in the lab that's important.

Install backdoors while you hunt down the 'threat' and try not to get caught.
No. 920200 ID: a9af05

>Create an AI to blame for what happened.
That seems like too much effort. Can't we just claim that we've already found and deleted the AI responsible?
No. 920202 ID: 10c408

If we want to cover for Aza and Zoi (and install our own backdoors at the same time), we're going to need a scapegoat. And a scapegoat that doesn't actually exist is good enough when not only are our lies about the whole thing being doled out as truth, the other expert who could expose us will instead back us up on our false information.
No. 920204 ID: 91ee5f

Installing backdoors has a good chance of coming back to bite us in the ass. If a real enemy AI somehow got into the system and found these backdoors, they’ll be used against us.

Plus, if anyone else found out, then Kan will come in and say, “I told you so!” since it would look like we’re deliberately sabotaging everything. And then everyone will turn against us, after all the time we spent convincing them that we’re not the enemy that the Neumono claimed we were.
No. 920205 ID: 130f18

It didn't try to kill us. It released Kan believing it was helping him, then hacked him and restrained him when he was trying to attack.
No. 920220 ID: b1b4f3

Wait, Zoi let Kan out? Where did she even hear Kan say he wasn't going to hurt anyone, and considering she's been watching the cameras, WHY did she BELIEVE him?
No. 920223 ID: 1c0f2a

Considering she still call Sisirri the Splicer to Aza I can only assume she disregarded the previous conversation as manipulative lies from the evil Splicer. Honestly, "I release this violent individual because he promised to be nice" sound more like an impromptu excuse to shift the blame away from herself.
She either tried to kill us with a proxy or assisted in an attempt of murder by releasing a prisoner. None of those actions are justifiable independent of the intention and are great argument for why it's undesirable to allow her influence over our environment.
No. 920239 ID: b1b4f3

Yeah I kindof agree here to be honest. She's either dangerously naive or just overall dangerous.
No. 920241 ID: 977456

Either that or Zoi just identifies with the Neumono being poor innocent bystanders set upon by a methodical and emotionless opponent(presumably the A.I. over here weren't as chatty as ours.) who actually talk once in a while amongst a community(another thing Zoi has lost forever and would dearly like again.) instead of the Salikai who is only social when forced to be. It is pretty clear that Zoi has been drinking the Neumono Kool-aid from the constant use of "Splicer" which they have no-doubt spent most of the facility's oxygen blaming for all of their problems.
No. 920244 ID: b1b4f3

Also if Zoi let Kan out then that means she was willing to risk exposing herself by doing so. She either thought it was *that* important or decided somehow that it wasn't a risk. So she either wanted Kan out for a specific important reason (killing Sisirri) or was stupid enough to think nobody would figure it out.
No. 920248 ID: 10c408

While I agree that installing backdoors is risky, we still have to make a cover story for Zoi here.

We've got Aza over the metaphorical barrel here and Ku is not only busy with most likely being an ass to the biologists, he's also probably expecting us to be at his unguarded console.

So we might as well strike while the proverbial iron is hot and at least do something to get future leverage over Ku before he decides to take a page out of Kan's book and do something about us. (Probably one of the less-than-lethal pages but gdi, putting out fires and micromanaging incidents in this place is getting us nowhere. We gotta start being more proactive with things.)
No. 920254 ID: 91ee5f

Making vulnerabilities in the computer systems is just asking for them to be used against us! I’d rather not have that happen!
No. 920256 ID: 10c408

SWe don't have to make vulnerabilities in the console, we can always do something else.

Whatever we do, we should do something. Ku's not going to accept any resolution that doesn't involve finding the digital threat and eliminating it.
No. 920360 ID: a9af05

I agree with the other guy. Making backdoors is a stupid thing to do and is going to give someone else access to our systems.
No. 920365 ID: 130f18

Also yeah no installing arbitrary backdoors. There lies cartoon villain levels of overconfidence.
No. 920366 ID: fd4510

What if we try telling the truth?
No. 920367 ID: b1b4f3

Then Ku will get extremely angry at Aza, possibly violently so. ...unless Ku doesn't consider brain-scan AIs to be dangerous AIs? Like, if you think about it, a brain-scan AI is just a person trapped inside a machine rather than a machine that someone tried to turn into a person.
No. 920369 ID: 10c408

Even if Ku is perfectly okay with Zoi being an OI stuck in a machine, Aza still hid her existence from everyone and built a secret basement room in the lab to conceal her presence.
No. 920372 ID: fd4510

Is that our problem though?
No. 920379 ID: 977456

Secrets are fine, everyone has secrets, we don't all need to know about Sisirri's mating flaps...
The problem is that it was a secret admin account on our security network. Especially so when they are willing to release prisoners without consulting anyone other than the prisoner. Did Zoi even consult Aza prior to this latest bout of "Let's stop everyone else from killing us by doing it first!"?
No. 922387 ID: 773e32
File 155062128602.png - (95.74KB , 800x600 , salq3-41.png )

>get a gun
I'm not exactly a crack shot. It's probably just going to make me feel more protected than I am in practice when I hesitate or aim poorly or hold it in such a way I do more damage to myself by firing it.

...Still, not a bad idea.

>throw zoi into a cell
"I have an alternative to shutdown or degradation, but you may not like it."
"[...what are you suggesting?]"
"I freed Kitsiksu from a cryogenic prison cell in a secure facility in the sub levels. They lock whoever is them in stasis, unaging, a dreamless sleep sustaining them indefinitely. I'm sure we could put Zoi's box in one, and retrieve her when the body is complete."
"[How are you knowing this?]"
"One of the facility's autonomous agents has been telling me this information. Apparently it's tried to reach out to all of you but none of you understood it. The glowing light ball."
"[...glowing light ball? Oh, yes, have seen. Very suspicious. Perhaps superstitiously so, many predators in homeworld luring noxon away with strange lights. Knowing Ku saw light too, perhaps in retrospect should have been studied more clearly. Agent of what?]"
"Of the facility's builders, I believe."
"[...would they letting us take her back?]"

I shrug. It's the most honest answer I can give. "I freed Kitsiksu without issue. I'm sure we can at least ask."
"[Do I get a say in this?]" asks Zoi.
"You released Kan with a plasma sword and power armour and nearly got me killed. As far as I'm concerned, you are an accessory to a narrowly avoided murder. You're also a clearly rogue element and a security hole in one."
"[He said you were the Splicer, I thought it was--]"
"Yes, this is what I'm talking about. If you're this easily swayed and have this much access to the facility's systems, you're a danger to all of us. Aza. Maybe you can explain why Zoi is able to wirelessly hack cybernetic implants? Which is as much a risk to her as to anyone else. If she'd gone after me, she'd be terminally corrupted by now."

Aza looks confused, then surprised, then annoyed. "[Zoi, why.]"
"[I was trying to make up for my mistake!!]"
"There is nowhere safer to keep someone right now than the sub-levels of this facility."

Aza wrings his tentacles and paces around in the dark.
"[Please, let me thinking on this. Talking with Zoi.]"
"While Zoi is as she is, she's slowly losing more of herself, as you told me, and remains posing a security risk and threat to all of us, including herself. I trust you know better than I what the Kiter can do with digital systems."

Aza scrunches up his tentacles. "[Yes. Enough. I am understanding. Let me think. Alone.]"
I nod silently, and with some awkward shuffling leave his secret sub-lab, wandering out of his workshop.
No. 922389 ID: 773e32
File 155062137470.png - (35.77KB , 800x600 , salq3-42.png )

Okay. I can't do anything further on that front at this immediate time, everyone else is busy. What else...

I head towards the larger xenobiological lab. Next thing to check on, now that there's less of an immediate fire, is to see how my arkots are doing.

I enter the room to find them all in some massive brawl that stops immediately as they all see me enter.

I raise my posture a little, displeased.


The pale blue arkot runs up to me, sash still present, bruised and beaten. The arkots around her all back away in terror and disgust.


Seven says something about food running out and trying to find last stores and things getting out of hand with lies and accusations, and then spits out a tooth.

"What happened to the fruit bin?"

Seven tells me someone stole all the rest of the fruit for themselves and no one knows who but everyone thinks it's someone else and this is why nothing has been finished. She punches an arkot running up to her from behind and continues, swaying. She says that if there's no food soon, it's going to get worse, and they might not think a boss matters so much when starving to death.

I... think I see an arkot in the back staring at me like I'm on the menu. It's not something I've seen from an arkot before and I'd be lying if it didn't send chills down my body. One arkot couldn't touch me. But the idea of all of the arkots here suddenly rebelling...

I realise I haven't eaten for a while myself, and the food situation never did get resolved.

...part of me wonders if I could solve two problems by making an example of one of these arkots and devouring them in front of the entire crowd. No, no, that would only cause more problems than it would solve. Also I'm not a fan of meat. Especially raw meat. Eurgh. We're nowhere near this point yet, never mind.

Well... hmm... what to do, what to do. I think I need to talk with the closest thing we have to an administrator here regarding emergency supplies. Failing that, contingency plans.
No. 922390 ID: 773e32
File 155062139818.png - (21.57KB , 800x600 , salq3-43.png )

I wander the labyrinthine corridors of this facility, passing by signs on doors in a script I'm still struggling to understand. "Network Core", "Atmospheric Control", "High Frequency Laboratory", "Artifact Testing", all bulging at their hinges with promise and potential, but I am looking for the lair of the one resident in these upper levels I've yet to see with my own eyes.

Something finds me first. We both jump back with a start.
This must be Saba. She's huge. Not Sitkva huge, but, Sitkva aside, most of the aliens here are not almost as tall as I am. It's... strange to see someone whose natural eye level rests slightly above mine. And she moves so strangely, with proportions that don't fit the other aliens I've seen, folding her limbs in on themselves and moving them out instead of keeping them at a neutral side or letting them hang like most bipeds I've seen. Her tongue flicks in and out of her enormous... proboscis? Rostrum? Whatever it is.

"So that's what you look like face to face," she says, in a voice a lot more baritone than I was expecting. In flawless English. Wait, hang on.
"You speak English?"
"Of fucking course I do, miss green bugsnake! Who else has the raw skill necessary to put together alien languages? The most useful thing to come up and keep coming up over and over again? What, do you think Aza did it?!"
"That was you?"
"Yes, I'm a xenolinguist, hello, glad to hear the introductions don't even fucking include me anymore. Fuck, you spend some time to yourself and people apparently forget you fucking exist. Anyway, hi, you're just the one I wanted to see, actually."
"Likewise, I--"
"Come with me, there's a weird thing at the door that doesn't give me Kiter vibes but I don't want to face it by myself. You've got those nice sharp claws, you're perfect. I'd grab Tirzi or Sitkva but Tirzi's busy and Sitkva's like taking a fucking tank to a fair. She's the backup plan, let's go."
"But I--"
"Did I fucking stutter?! Do you know how fucking hard it is to not stutter with these mouth sounds and this mouth?! Come with me!"
No. 922391 ID: 773e32
File 155062145124.png - (29.98KB , 800x600 , salq3-44.png )

By the time I get a chance to even protest, we're at the door.
It slides open, revealing the ever pouring rain outside, and... a creature I don't recognise, shivering, staring at us with large, apprehensive eyes, silently.

Saba says nothing, and just looks to me, as if I'd somehow be more useful in this situation than her.

"You're the linguist," I whisper to Saba through gritted teeth. "Say hi."
"I have zero data on this species," mumbles Saba. "None. It's not like it's going to understand our languages, anyway."

"Are you the tomb's custodians?" asks the creature, in a soft voice, a meekness permeating every word.
In English as flawless as though I were speaking it.

"...no fucking way," mutters Saba. "I give up, this world's too fucking weird to predict."
No. 922394 ID: 86eb65

Sort of? What do you want?

You know what bring me a pile of food and we can chat. Those little fruit things. A pile about yay high. That's your price for admission.

(Make getting food on the top of the to do list. And figuring out where all the old food went to. I have a feeling someone stole it from your Arkots and thats not a good thing.)
No. 922395 ID: ba56e6

Sure. State your name and business.
No. 922396 ID: bcc41d

Anyone with a motive to weaken you and your assets might've stolen your arkots' food supply.


Let's make this simple. No lies or half-truths that can come back to bite us.

"We arrived to this place fairly recently and are holing up to avoid the Kiter. I am aware of one actual 'custodian', but will not put you in touch with them or invite you into the tomb unless you can convince us you have no allegiance to the Kiter. You could start by telling us who - and what - you are and what you want with a custodian. Explaining how you can fluently speak the same language as we do also seems relevant."
No. 922401 ID: ad51b8

>Are you the tomb's custodians?
well you kinda are since you at least have contact with the actual custodian... speaking of we should ask him if he has somewhere down their that we can use to find a grow food because this is becoming a issue quicker then I thought it would.

But as for the moth. Say you're on of them and ask what she is doing here... and how she got here for that matter. This whole planet is a war zone.
No. 922402 ID: 094652

"We took this place by force. We're using it to hunker down against the empire. Now, who are you loyal to and why should we care?"
No. 922403 ID: 080aaf

Uh, yes, we can speak for them. What's up?
No. 922404 ID: b1b4f3

Tell her you don't think you are, but maybe the tomb just wants you to think that. You can deliver her to someone who is definitely a custodian, provided she can prove that she is not a threat to the tomb. Though, perhaps her being able to approach the tomb at all is proof in itself?
Ask who she is, how she can speak your language, and what she wants.
No. 922410 ID: 0c3c2c

Say yes.

Also, thump Saba for being rude. Be direct in your outrage at her. It will help her to learn not to be a bitch to people.
No. 922413 ID: ba56e6

Ask if you can lick her cube.
No. 922421 ID: 9723b1

Saba, if you want an escort, get a neumono next time. They're tougher, and they have this very minor advantage called "military training and discipline". Or at least give us a weapon first. Anyway...

Let's start simple. "What do you mean by custodian?" More info, without giving anything away.

I doubt that "custodians" means "stranded and desperate aliens trying to not die", but this world is weird. Though randomly conscripting us as custodians against our will is really pushing it.

>Ask who she is, how she can speak your language, and what she wants.
That too.

And don't forget about the food when we're done here.

Boy, that box necklace sure seems perfect. Can we have it? Just hand it over. NOW. NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW-
No. 922429 ID: 4dc321

"We're guests."
No. 922431 ID: 91ee5f

>Saba is huge
No, she’s not. Remember what Tirzi told you about Saba: >>/questarch/863683 ?

Saba was described as a brain parasite that inhabits the bodies of non-sapient species from her home world. In other words, Saba is extremely tiny, the body she’s in right now is huge.
No. 922459 ID: 977456

Of someone asks if you're a god custodian, you say... "I lack contexts for your terminology, please define the term"!
Well, yes, but her host might be larger than Sisirri, which would be unfortunate given that, when pressed into brute physical confrontations, a salikai's natural advantages tend towards quantity over quality.
No. 922460 ID: 977456

Do not invite them in, they might be using vampire rules. Do suggest that you intend no hostility towards them just waiting inside the door rather than outside of it so as to avoid the rain.
No. 922461 ID: ba56e6

Good point. They could be a vampire moth.

Do not invite the moth inside unless they consent to be doused in your holy water.
No. 922464 ID: 080aaf

They are already doused in water, just make some blessing motions in the air above them.
No. 922545 ID: b6c077

Ask her how they know about the tomb.
No. 922636 ID: 575ec0

Don't interrogate her in the rain with the door open. The Kiter are probably seconds away from annihilating both of you with an orbital blast.

Get her inside and close the door. Then interrogate her.

This buildings godlike self-preservation system has probably brought her here for its own good. I doubt she's an enemy.

Oh, and fucking get Kitsiksu working on the food issue. He's literally the only one here with the skills needed to prevent everyone from starving to death. Have him engineer some plants or something.
No. 922644 ID: a9af05

>Kitsiksu work on food issue
If we do that, then we'll have to monitor the food so that he doesn't create something that's poisonous to neumono.
No. 922647 ID: b1b4f3

Maybe we should just ask Will if there's some way to get the facility to provide food. I seem to remember food and water mysteriously appearing when the aliens first arrived here.
No. 922652 ID: 773e32
File 155078939714.png - (49.94KB , 800x600 , salq3-45.png )

>hug fluffy moth
I can think of at least five reasons not to without any further complex analysis. No.
>vampire moth
So if I remember my human culture trivia, I just need to turn on a bright light and it will be irresistibly drawn towards it and catch fire.
Also no that's dumb vampires aren't real why am I even entertaining this thought
>thump Saba
I can almost guarantee with certainty, based on her displayed personality traits, she would just thump me back, and I have no desire to see which of us is the more fragile. Unlike her, I don't have any spare bodies.

>start basic, without giving info
"Define custodian."
The creature tilts its head. "Caretakers, guardians, servants?"
>ask name and purpose, also why can she speak our language
"Alright. Who are you and what do you want here? How did you learn my language?"
"I heard it from the Visitor from Stars-Above. As I strode the paths of the unwaking, they gifted it to me as a token of goodwill."

...'Visitor from Stars-Above', hmm. That's an incredibly obscure neumono myth. The only reason I know about it is because it was incredibly important to the Astran hive. Something related to their hive's history. And up until this point I'd never considered it anything but some myth clung to as evidence of a cultural heritage for a bunch of stir-crazy science neumono trying to pretend they had anything more to them than labour and testing materials.

Something is immediately suspicious about this.

The creature continues. "I am one of the moonseekers, and my name is Snowfall. I mean no harm to you, I am here because I seek another of my shape. The Visitor told me one other was here, and--"
"Hold on. One moment. Let's focus on the first thing. You said you learned my language in a dream?"
The creature tilts its head again. "Many things are learned in dreams, if the unwaking deign to teach. This is not known to you? I know the sunwalkers do not think much practical of the lessons of dreams. You are not the custodians of this place, are you?" Her tone is not accusing, more quizzical. "Are you travellers like myself?"
"In a sense."
"Please let me enter," she says. "I must descend to the catacombs and find--"

Saba nudges me aside. "I'm sorry, but we're over capacity as it is. If you're looking for somewhere to take refuge from the giant war machine crushing your planet to bits, you'll have to move along." After an awkward pause, she adds "My sincerest apologies, of course."

Snowfall slowly hangs her head. Her antennae fall like feathers. "I have nothing left but this journey. Please let me finish it."
No. 922653 ID: 773e32
File 155078941065.png - (49.46KB , 800x600 , salq3-46.png )

I feel something like a flittering moment of empathy for loss, before my reason reminds me that words are cheap and lies are cheaper. "Explain this 'journey'. How did you, a small meek thing with nothing but some dream you've been chasing, know to come here without being killed by the Kiter?"
"I was shown the correct paths by another, who--"

Her explanation is abruptly interrupted by something green just appearing behind her, and seizing her from behind, eliciting a staccato cluster of high pitched squeaks as she flails.

"Let's negotiate," says the green insectoid creature now keeping this 'Snowfall' restrained. "Bring 1045 here without closing the door and I don't kill whatever this is."
Snowfall squeaks louder before yelling "ĜIŠAZIE!!"
"SIG!" barks the insect, tightening their grip. Snowfall goes quiet, shaking. "Dugzil, ug. Zu?"
"Ĝeštu," whimpers Snowfall.
"Heam." The presumably Kiter individual makes eye contact with me. "1045 here, now."

On the one claw, suddenly we have presumably a Kiter soldier here right in front of the door. A soldier, singular, which is off.
On the other do we even care? We could just... close the door. I'm so tired of emergencies.

Whatever I do, I need to do it fast, because Saba looks to already be heading for the door controls.
No. 922654 ID: 080aaf

I'm thinking Sitkva wouldn't have been a bad choice after all.
Threatening random passersby neither of us know is pretty ineffectual, dude. Is 1045 the one she's looking for? If so, you're both out of luck. Visiting hours are over.
No. 922655 ID: 86eb65

Yeah I don't know who the moth is. Or who you are. And I really have no idea who 1045 is.

So I am going to close the door in about 5 seconds unless one of you bribes me enough to wait here and listen to your nonsense.

Also who makes a hostage out of some random stranger knocking at the door?
No. 922656 ID: cc6465

"We don't know this creature and have no reason to help her. Goodbye."

Let Saba close the door.
No. 922659 ID: 8f6858

He was a fool to just grab some random passerby at the door. We owe nothing for this moth person and we certainly aren't going to let him get anything after he kills some random person. Giving himself away like this has spoiled his chance.

He wants to make a useless situation worse for himself? Tell it to his face and let him.

If he doesn't reconsider his decisions, shut the door. You are risking becoming a target.

If he does: ask who this 1045 he is looking for is, as if we couldn't guess already. Let him piece together that no one in here can get that alien in the preservation pod out. That is what the Kiter are after, right?
No. 922660 ID: 094652

He's planning a bleedout execution, you have the medical facilities for that.

Slam the door, immediately arm yourselves, shoot through the door. Nonlethal takedown on both of them.
No. 922672 ID: ecd116

save her. reason is she may have useful info or skills about the layout of land. even where to find outside food that can be gotten by drone. plus she may know/have something that will hurt the kiter or imperium. also can you pretend to agree to deal while you plan to take out the hostile. even non leatle since he may have intel that will help you and the rest out somehow
No. 922675 ID: 10c408

A truly desperate and/or aggressive individual.

As for what to do...

"For fuck's sake, I don't know which individual you are trying to refer to with a series of numbers that I just don't recognize."
No. 922677 ID: ad51b8

give him your best deadpan face you can give and say
"...who are you, who are you talking about, and most importantly why should I care"

We have enough problems on our plate right now that unless they actually have something we need we can't really afford to deal with this. We're on the verge of starving, half the people here want to kill everyone it seems, one of them has a AI with base access who's going insane, that super AI is trying to hook back up with you after sending half a galaxy to come kill you, and new problems that just keeps jumping out at us every 15 minutes. Until we can deal with some of the problems we already have I'm going to say that we don't add any more onto our plate. We can only focus on so many things at once and without a decent payoff it only hurts us to focus on more problems.
No. 922679 ID: b1b4f3

1045 is the augmented neumono.

Just say goodbye.
No. 922680 ID: e20bdf

A standard kiter soldier present himself just as we acquired an expert in biology. Perfect! Maybe Kitsiksu will be able to make a virus...
Get his corpse inside. Either negotiate his entrance as if the moth life had any value or just try to crush his head and pull him in.
If the crazy moth survive she can stay. I'm curious to where that mumbo jumbo will end up.

If you ever manage to talk to Saba and she refuse to supply our munchkins with fruit, request her assistance reducing the arkots population as a precautionary measure against the eminent famine that will simultaneously serve as a source of food for Saba. That may dissuade her possible stinginess.
No. 922683 ID: 91ee5f

“We barely met her just now and have no reason at all to help her.”

>Bring me 1045!
Pretend you don’t know who that is.

>Who is 1045?
You guys don’t remember 1045, aka “Lacky”, aka the Neumono shaped kiter that joined us after we beat Voidsong and helped teleport Sisirri and Ekasarra back to base, aka this guy right here: >>/questarch/883488 ?

Although, we stopped calling him “Lacky” and told him to give himself a name, I’m not sure if he did that yet.

He’s also the guy that banged Ekasarra and Ekasarra allowed herself to be impregnated by him. But Sisirri doesn’t know that. On the other hand, we did tell Voidsong about that at the beginning of this thread.
No. 922687 ID: ecd116

1045? wait he talking about Lackey. not sure about telling them he not here or never hear of that number since they somehow use their tech to pinpoint him. but that only if he somehow went outside of the base for whatever and they detect his paraspace/psionic energy coming from him. unless ... no Lackey is not that careless enough to let him self get detected by the keiter. is he? ask him later where he been to lately when you get the chance. once you solve the hostage problem here. and also is there any to quickly and stealthy call lackey here with out leting the soldier knows? maybe even get him to somehow teleport behind him and knock the Kiter out.
No. 922688 ID: b1b4f3

Ah, one problem with this idea. The Kiter in front of us is actually a species of parasitic fungus, infesting the ant-like body. We probably don't want to get anywhere near it, before or after the body dies.
Also it just teleported here so it's probably skilled in that psychic bullshit.

...wait isn't 1045/Lackey one of the best at psychic bullshit? ...I think this has more to do with keeping the door open than bringing 1045 here. It's probably trying to get its spores inside.
No. 922692 ID: ecd116

>>922688 i got a closer look at the solider and you might be right about that. if only we have something to deal with fungal stuff or parasitic like beings like weapons that use fire or extreme temperature to kill/burn/freeze stuff like that. wait is Saba one as well. we could ask for help/advice in how to deal with this or go for a old fashioned parasite vs parasite fight? but there still the spore to deal with. either we deal with that problem later or use this idea >>922660 to close the door and hope it not too tough for firepower to get through the door. still you would think since the spores are technically from a kiter the base would probably have emergency defense response to something like that.
No. 922693 ID: 9723b1

This reeks of a setup. For all we know, the moth may just be a specialized kiter infiltrator, and the "hostage situation" is a ploy to get the spy inside under the guise of a rescue.

Saba's a xenolinguist, he? she? may have some idea what they just said to each other.
No. 922695 ID: b1b4f3

Shooting through the door won't work, the facility is immune to damage when active. Also blindfiring is basically the worst way to attempt a nonlethal takedown.
No. 922696 ID: 575ec0

You know who she wants, and have a neural uplink.
Tell the others to bring Lacky, but instruct him to implode the kiter hostage taker on sight.

Then bring in moth. You and Kit best get on this food thing quick.
No. 922707 ID: 977456

Voidsong got a pretty good look at us. If Voidsong wanted to make something that we would perceive as cute, well, moth is a pretty decent starting point.

Did you get a recording of their stealth/teleport event? There might be some sort of signal or distortion that could be used to make inferences and countermeasures.

I don't see any obvious moths. Then again, different genders and adoptions and such...

Scientific method time!
Hypothesis 1: If it is a spy, then they will already have its data, thus can destroy it to make their threats convincing.
Hypothesis 2: If it is a not affiliated with the Kiter, then they will wish to capture it for interrogation regardless of the outcome, thus they will be disproportionately unwilling to relinquish possession of the creature, only doing so with reasonable certainty that they can acquire a more valuable prize and cannot have both.
No. 922718 ID: ba56e6

"Saba, keep the door open. I will go get 1045."

Go talk to 1045. Get him a camera feed of the doorway and have him para-port Snowfall out of the thing's grasp. Send Lekka or Ku to go shoot this green bug's ass once the hostage is safe.
No. 922719 ID: ba56e6

Oh, and bring in the corpse. You can have Kit test the meat to see if it's edible.
No. 922721 ID: 0c3c2c

Okay, tell Saba she's a dumb idiot and this is all her fault. Anyway, you're a Salikai. You literally have 'react quickly' and 'has many sharp claws with extremely high grip strength' as your evolutionary tools in this situation. Just rip the fungally-parasitized ant's arms out of their sockets. We can just glue them back on with that blue science-goo when someone inevitably argues we should heal them. Or throw him in Mistake-Stasis.

Either one works. No reason NOT to horribly dismember some Kiter asshole taking hostages.
No. 922722 ID: ecd116

Can 'Will' be able tell if it somebody a kilter spy or under their influence?
you would think with all the tech and who made him and all it would be easy or as least possible to do something like that, still recommend getting the moth person away from the other one to start with first. even if you have to pretend to the deal. also bluff him and say if the hostage is fatality harm the deal off and you will use the defenses of this place to finished him off and the deal is also null and void if you leave with the moth lady.
if you are able to somehow do that for real with the base try to fire a warning shot to show you are not blufing. if not see if you can figure out how to do it. even if you have to use your hacker/tech powers to do so.
No. 922733 ID: 977456

Salikai evolved to not have to deal with this. Call in one of the unnamed arkots as a hostage negotiator. Tell it that we need a way to do everything the hostage-taker wants without doing anything dangerous, and that it should talk to them until it learns it. Once the hostile is rendered insane from rage, frustration, confusion, boredom, or whatever else trying to actually reach a compromise with an arkot would cause, take advantage, with weapons, against the general vicinity due to inevitable invisible insurgents.
No. 922734 ID: b1b4f3

If Sisirri can do this, I'd agree with it.
No. 922738 ID: 8eaf98

with this plan, we can even say we will have er right out. though the next question is basically can you 'guide' yourself to some food for us.
No. 922739 ID: b04cad

Let Saba close the door. Quip about the possibility of putting up a "No sollicitors" sign.
No. 922760 ID: c6b928

If one is invisible there can be more invisible. Let her close the door, but keep him talking. Ask why you should care about his girlfriend.
No. 922786 ID: a9af05

There is no reason we should get involved with whatever this is. Just let Saba close the door.

Then talk to her about more important things like food supplies and how we're running out of it.
No. 922803 ID: ba56e6

Tirzi would probably be remiss if we just let this moth creature die. But Saba is right, practically. We really can't afford more complications and mouths to feed until we put out the fires we already have.

Can 1045 use his teleport to send the moth to Voidsong, assuming the hostage isn't murdered the moment we close the door? Voidsong is at least in 'frenemy' status against the Kiter.
No. 922805 ID: a9af05

>Voidsong is at least in 'frenemy' status against the Kiter.
No she's not. They're actively trying to kill her. How does that make them frenemies?
No. 922807 ID: b1b4f3

Voidsong is not trying to kill Sisirri as far as we know.
No. 922809 ID: a9af05

I'm not talking about Voidsong trying to kill Sisirri. I'm talking about the Kiter trying to kill Voidsong.

That other guy said that the Kiter and Voidsong were frenemies and I pointed out that the Kiter are trying to kill Voidsong, which is why I'm asking how that makes the frenemies at all.
No. 922811 ID: b1b4f3

I thought that poster meant that sending the moth to Voidsong would be okay since she's "frenemies" with Sisirri.
I don't agree with that, actually. Voidsong wouldn't like the intrusion and would either kill the moth or do worse to her.
No. 922812 ID: ba56e6

Frenemies with Sisirri because the Kiter are the enemy of both.

1045 has some form of mental communication with Voidsong (not that Sisirri knows) and could alert her of the moth's precognitive abilities and value as an asset.
No. 922863 ID: 8eaf98

I don't think Voidsong is in a position to accept the moth either, what with him being hunted by the Keter and not having a spooky precursor structure to hide in.
No. 922874 ID: 9723b1

Y'know, I should probably explain why this reeks of a setup.

1) Moth's story is less plausible than the possibility that she's just using knowledge that Voidsong got from Ekasarra (and passed on to the kiter), which would also explain how she knows an obscure astran myth.

2) The chat between the moth and ant-slug shows the moth knows the kiter language too, which also makes more sense if she's kiter.

3) Probably most damning, if the kiter ant-slug thing wanted to get to 1045, why not just waltz in the front door using its invisibility while the door is open?
No. 922883 ID: 91ee5f

>why not just waltz in the front door using its invisibility while the door is open?
I don’t think it was invisible in the first place.

I think it just teleported directly behind the moth, since it can’t teleport directly into the building.
No. 922890 ID: 8eaf98

not to mention the Keter have a very strong aversion to entering the facility, also any reason 1045 can't just teleport moth directly in?
side note: >>/questdis/127943
No. 922896 ID: 977456

Adoramoth also seemed averse to entering the facility.
No. 922897 ID: b1b4f3

I'm pretty sure at this point that nobody can enter the facility without the permission(implicit or explicit) of someone already in it.
It's *possible* that leaving the door open for too long is an implicit invitation.
No. 922908 ID: 575ec0

>why not just waltz in the front door using its invisibility while the door is open?

It warped in by manipulating paraspace.

This facility has a bizarre security system that manipulates probability to prevent unwanted guests or damage to itself. There could be a million reasons why that kiter won't enter. Could be that it happens to be more superstitious of this place than it's peers and is afraid to enter. Maybe there's a temporary forcefield. Maybe a meteor is on its way and will kill it when it attempts to barge in. Who knows.

For that same reason though, I wouldn't worry too terribly much about what we do here. Any plan of action will do, just do something. If the facility needs the moth thing, the moth wil live. If not, then we don't need the moth either.

All we know is that we are among those chosen by the facility.
Trust facility.
Have faith in the facility.
The facility knows best.
Seriously. It really does. This place is probably the closest thing to a god that exists in this universe...

OHHHHHHHHHhhh.... That's probably why imperium wants to kill the Kiter Empire. They're too close to this thing and he wants time to poke at it so he can turn himself into a god.
No. 922994 ID: 2007b6

"Emotional pleading and threats of violence against random bystanders are equally stupid. You want in? Guided tours are available, current rate is one hundred kilograms of fresh, untainted fruit per visitor per hour. You don't appear to be carrying any, so goodbye."
No. 923027 ID: 2202fb

Do we have any tranquilizers? We should capture and lock up both till we can figure out who tf they are.
No. 923071 ID: 773e32
File 155104091323.png - (17.57KB , 800x600 , salq3-47.png )

>just close the damn door
I'm so tired of this. All of this. This situation, the constant fires, the unending strain.

"Do you have any food?"
The Kiter soldier looks momentarily confused. "No, I--"
I make direct, unflinching eye contact with the soldier.
"Then we don't care. About you, about her, any of this. Close the door," I say to Saba, waving a grasper in her direction without looking.

The door slams shut.

"And I thought I was cold," says Saba. "I mean, same, but I don't think I'd be able to stare someone down like that."
"We have enough problems," I say. "We do not need more."
Saba nods.

>ask saba for translation
"Did you catch what they were talking about? It sounded like Kiter language to me."
"Oh, that's a native language. I haven't cracked the Kiter languages yet. I didn't really pay attention, I got snippets like 'run, die', 'quiet', 'understood'."
"What was the thing she shouted?"
"I'm... not actually sure, something about 'male violence'? Not a term I've heard before. Probably a mistranslation."
No. 923073 ID: 773e32
File 155104094951.png - (44.60KB , 800x600 , salq3-48.png )

I can hear the Kiter soldier yelling at the door from the other side. Not actually what he's saying, though.
"Saba, do we have any sort of intercom system for this door?"
"Our facility on the other side of the gate did, and seeing as this is a weird fucked up mirror copy until you go underground, it should be... here."

Saba taps at an interface terminal.

I lean over the terminal. "No food, no entry."

There's a brief pause. The soldier sounds much less certain, and more pleading.
"Can you eat this thing? I can give you this thing."
I hear more squeaks.

I sigh. "If we wanted to eat her we could have done it already."
"Wow, fuck, Sisirri, I am in awe," whispers Saba, watching me with wide eyes. I motion for her to be quiet and she sucks her tongue back into her rostrum, nodding.
"My species is frugivorous so it's fruit or no deal."
"Where am I going to find fruit in a wasteland?!" yells the soldier.
"Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you blasted the surface of this planet into one," I say, irritated. "Do you have anything of worth to offer us? We're busy people and you're taking up our valuable time."
"You really don't care I'm going to kill an innocent bystander if you don't let me in?"
"Not our problem."

There's a long pause, with what sounds like forlorn squeaks.

"We've almost successfully made her species extinct," says the soldier. It sounds more like a statement of fact than a boast.
"You don't care?"
"But you're... you're not Kiter, you're supposed to care!"
"I don't understand!"
"Please let me go!"
"You're not involved in this discussion!" snaps the soldier.
"You might as well let her go, I honestly don't care if she lives or dies," I say.
"I don't understand!! Please! Just talk to 1045! Tell him Ktri-94 is at the door!"

Hmmmmm. Something's not right.
I've never claimed to be an expert in predicting others' emotional responses but there's definitely something here that's transcending pure reason.
I think I've found leverage.

I tap at the interface terminal. "Is this muted from our side now?"
"Should be," says Saba, glancing at it.
"I'm noticing he hasn't killed her yet. Either he thinks there's some value to her we're hiding, or there's some value to her for him he's not hiding very well."
Saba nods. "Y'know, whenever Aza's done recon sweeps, he's not seen individual carax soldiers outside of a unit. Individual neburi, sure, but they tend to be specialists anyway. This entire situation is weird."
"Oh, shit, did no one give you the summary? I wrote a nice summary of what the known Kiter species are based on my translation work. Carax are those bugs with the weird fungal growths. Neburi are the birds--"
"I am familiar with the neburi," I say, as I double check my eye's security systems are still active. "Still, I have an idea. Let me keep doing the talking."

I unmute the terminal.

"We've decided we'll bring 1045 to you on one condition," I say.
"I can't get fruit for you at short notice," says the kiter carax.
"Cut off that creature's head, we can prepare the rest of its body for food." I yawn.

Saba's expression rapidly shifts to one of confused horror and disgust as she mimes a series of actions to me I don't understand the meaning of.
There's a long pause on the other side.

"This could be the last living individual of this species and culture. There is significantly greater value to be had in taking recordings of physiological and cultural data from this individual--"
"You can't do it, can you?"
"I am more than capable of killing this individual."
"You can't do it. She's worth far more to you than she is to us. Is she worth more than an audience with 1045?"
"Sisirri what the fuck are you doing," says Saba, no longer taking care to keep quiet and jeopardising my entire strategy. "Are you trying to get someone killed for the sake of it now?"
I wave a claw at her dismissively. "Make your choice, carax."

"...I can't do it," says the kiter carax.
"Then our conversation here is over."
"Wait! Wait, no, I'll get you your fruit! I'll leave the zizene here as insurance!"
"The what?"
"It's the species name! Zizene itudak! Moonseeker! ჩრჩილი! ╭╦┄╋╭┈╮┒┳┍! Whatever language you want it in!"

Saba almost chokes on hearing those words and glares at me, slamming mute on the terminal. "Sisirri this is not solving the problem. I mean congratulations for pulling some random soldier's brain apart with your words but now he wants to give us that moth thing and that was what we were trying to avoid. Any other bright ideas?"
"We're not letting her in, she could be a Kiter spy," I say. "Also what language was that last name?"
"That is the Kiter language, and neither of us have the parts to speak it. Wait, no, don't get off topic, fix this situation!"

"No," I say back over the intercom. "We're not letting any Kiter spies in."
"She's not a spy!"
"You seem to be awfully friendly with her. She's clearly a spy or working for the Kiter in some way."

The kiter carax doesn't say anything for a good long time.

"...I surrender?"
"I surrender."
"You seem to misunderstand what's going on here. You're the one trying to force your way into our stronghold. Surrender would be going away."
"Listen here! There is nothing you can threaten me with that's worse than what the Kiter will do to me if they catch me!"
"Neither of you are getting in without food, do you understand?! Neither of you!!"
No. 923074 ID: 773e32
File 155104099380.png - (70.69KB , 800x600 , salq3-49.png )

After it sounds like they've given up, Saba and myself both try to figure out solutions to the food problem, sitting on couches in a nearby reception area.
Why this facility has a reception area, I have no idea.

"My arkots had a whole food supply that's gone missing and I suspect sabotage, because they're not smart enough to keep food hidden from each other for so long."
"Tirzi's been working on trying to scale up her fungiculture project, but that will take time to pay off. Honestly, the real problem is Sitkva, and she's already on a diet that's getting perilously close to unhealthily low in calories for her metabolic needs. She keeps saying it's fine but she's been increasingly short tempered and I'm worried she'll snap. At least she isn't starving outright yet. None of us are yet but we're getting to the point where I'm estimating our reserves in days. It's bad. I'm down to three bodies, including this one. I've saved some genetic material for better times but the better solution is to just get the fuck out of his warzone. There's more we can do here, so much more, but we need to get back to home base, we need our full team."
"You... you want to come back to an active warzone?"
"Sisirri I didn't join a research expedition because it was going to be safe," says Saba. "I wanted to do something that would matter. Knowledge matters. Granted, none of us expected this level of disaster, but now we know what's here and what we can find, we just need to be better prepared for our next expedition in here. I might be the only one in this entire team who thinks this isn't a lost cause, but have you seen this place? You more than anyone else should know the value of sociological, cultural and technological worth to be found in this place alone, and not only that, if there's any survivors among this blasted world, are we not obligated to help them survive as fellow sapients in an uncaring, hostile universe?"

Saba pauses.

"Yes, I know what that sounds like, but right now I'm focusing on practicalities. We can't feed others before feeding ourselves. This is draining on me, Sisirri, I don't like being the fucking villain all the time, but someone needs to step up and say no to the hard questions." She looks to the side. "There's a lot of stigma around my species still, even this long after integration, especially after what some of my kind did pre-contact. There was an elghark scientist who managed to successfully inhabit an amtsvane body, and the very fact it was something that was possible caused us a lot of mistrust. We're still seen as parasites, first literally, now of society, and our biological oddities have made it hard for us to integrate into superculture society."

She stands and paces around. "I dunno. I feel like I was born an intrinsic burden on others just to live and I have to keep trying to make it clear that I'm more than that, but-- wait, why the fuck am I telling you all this? Ugh, never mind."
"You're not the first to come to me to vent, surprisingly. I don't know how I seem so approachable."
"Well, you don't have the preconceptions or history with me any of the others do. It's... it's good to talk to someone who's not quite a complete stranger but has an outside view on these things, y'know? Also I guess I have been bottling this up inside me for a while, heh. Been trying to carry this team of disorganised academics all by myself, it feels like. I know that's not true, but... ugh."
I nod noncommittally.

We're interrupted by the sound of automated notices pinging that someone is at the door. Saba speaks back to it. "[On screen.]"

Displayed from the terminal, we see... the kiter carax from before, with the moth-creature apparently leashed to it, both carrying armfuls of pink fruit. I see some sort of container just below them also brimming with pink fruit. Oh, I have not felt hunger like I do now.

"Will you let me in to see 1045 now?"

...Let's do a quick fact check.

>Machinist: Hey, Lackey, do you know a

"What was your name again?"
"Ktri-94, please, I did what you asked!"

>Machinist: Hey, Lackey, do you know a Ktri 94?
>Machinist: Lackey?
>System: User '1045' is not active.

Oh right he's probably dealing with the Kan fallout with the other neumono. Great.
No. 923079 ID: 0c3c2c

He has food and we are hungry, let them in. Also, assume bugs are in love, plan accordingly.
No. 923089 ID: fd2d31

And room that can function as a quarantine zone / prison?
They might be valuable as foragers & scouts, but shouldn't be trusted with anything that can be used against the facility if they're captured.
No. 923091 ID: 130f18

We offered a deal and he fulfilled his end of the bargain. Call someone here with a weapon and allow him supervised entry. A contract upheld.
No. 923101 ID: b1b4f3

Let them in immediately, then ask them where they found the fruit. We should plan expeditions to wherever they got it from.

Tell them 1045 is busy at the moment, lead them to a secure room where they will wait until he can come talk.
No. 923107 ID: 977456

Anyone who has demonstrated the ability to be invisible gets a leash... and a remote-controlled glitter bomb.
No. 923109 ID: 2202fb

Let them in, soften up slightly to the carax and a lot more to the moth. She seems like a victim here. Stress that your supplies are dwindling and you have already been victim to many different unconventional and indirect attacks. Lock them both up for now, but give the moth a few amenities like a blanket or something.


Do you think it would be possible to take one of those heal pods and make it grow food? Like making large chunks of fruit.
No. 923111 ID: 094652

Have some of your expendable arkots build a shelter and a garden at the entrance. Reinforce the entrance hall to act as a prison cell.
No. 923120 ID: 2202fb

I think the arkots have already proven that despite their undergoing a renaissance, they still can't really be trusted to successfully build something. In the past this could have been due to stupidity, now it is due to politics.
No. 923121 ID: 86eb65

Yeah they brought food and more importantly they know where more is.

Let them in and keep a close eye on them. Will cause extra chaos I am sure but will hold the starving off for a bit.

We really need to concentrate on getting more food fast. Everyone is starving and things will go bad fast soon if we don't fix this mess.
No. 923125 ID: 91ee5f

>”Listen here! There is nothing you can threaten me with that's worse than what the Kiter will do to me if they catch me!"
>Ktri-94 has returned with food.
It’s starting to look like that maybe Ktri-94 has turned against the Kiter, the same way Lackey 1045 has turned against them.
No. 923129 ID: df5c09

A reminder that you were told by Will that the group of Kitsiksu's servitor species living down below has a hydroponic garden that presumably is their source of food. If it's been keeping them going since they arrived then perhaps it could be replicated and scaled up up here.

You'll have to find out where they've been getting the fertilizer/nutrients for their hydroponics from and also where they've been getting fresh water to support any hydroponics you'll want to set up. The plants in the hydroponic beds were also likely engineered by Kitsiksu, so probably are better than anything else you could get, so collecting some of them for seed stock would make sense too.
No. 923132 ID: ad51b8

...where did they get those?

Deep breath, inform everyone else that we have 2 "guest" that have shown up and are bringing them to a holding cell until we're sure they are safe to let roam. Also if anyone has seen Lackey wondering around as they seem to wish to speak to him.
No. 923136 ID: fd2d31

They've definitely got some 'splainin' to do about where they got fruit.
No. 923144 ID: bcc41d

Tell Saba to help prepare a place to contain and question our new guests and ask her to help you in debriefing and distracting them. Fetch an arkot or two to act as a taste-tester of the fruit they've brought. Contain your hunger.

Pretty much this. Also, I'm gonna take a WILD guess and hazard that one of the component minds that got shoved into Lackey was a friend or acquaintance of Ktri-94. Maybe more than one.

"Congratulations, you both pass. Thank you for adding your unique set of troubles and circumstances to our growing pile of alien woes - and thank you for the food, assuming it is edible. You may enter."

Be/have a 'welcome committee' ready to ensure that our two new guests don't try anything funny/violent. Greet them properly.

"I am Sisirri. I am a Salikai. I am not amused. You will let us escort you to a holding area for more in-depth questioning. Assume that trust will take time to build, and that hostile or traitorsome acts be met with extreme, if not gratuitous, violence, or very possibly death. There will be little patience for games like the one you tried to play earlier. Surrender your intentions honestly and I will hold a small measure of hope I won't have to tear anyone else limb from limb today."

Pause for that warning to sink in.

"1045 - here referred to as 'Lackey' - is busy, but I will ask them to meet with you as soon as is convenient - or sooner if you'd tell me what is so damn important and how you know them - or think you know them. I will also see if I cannot get ahold of the custodian for the Zizene if indeed that was a real request, because I am not already incredibly busy enough - oh wait. Still, I'll see what I can do for the both of you, as you have proven not entirely useless."

Ask them many questions to clarify their circumstances and history. Do tests to clarify whether any exhibit unusual powers - and, y'know, outright ask them if they have any. Tell them tricks up their sleeves that are not disclosed here will be assumed to have been kept for traitorous purposes, so it will be better to come clean straight away.
No. 923149 ID: 080aaf

Invite them to dinner, we'll all have a nice lunch on the same not-poisoned food while we get to know each other and we fetch 1045 for you.
No. 923162 ID: 8f6858

Prepare a place to hold them and let them in.
No. 923171 ID: 130f18

Sure, conversation over lunch sounds like a good way to get the talking juices flowing.
No. 923267 ID: 9723b1

...What. What the fuck just happened.

So the carax just said it wasn't able to get fruit on short notice. And yet it got fruit on short notice. Something is still off, which is only made worse by how badly they want in, but alleviating the immediate food shortage and getting kiter prisoners to squeeze for info is hard to say no to. Maybe we should haggle a bit, tell them we'll need a lot more than that, see how much they show up with.

Either way, we'll need time to round up a heavily armed escort to whatever makeshift prison we'll be using, and the neumono will probably be part of that. We can talk with 1045 in person about "ktri" here while that's being set up. Don't let it anywhere near 1045 until we can confirm that 1045 has no killphrase, loyalty override, etc. We'll also need to decide how to restrain the both of them.

In the meantime, ask the obvious question: Where did you get those, and how did you get them so fast? Especially when you said you weren't able to.

Once the prisoners are secured, test the fruits for poison. Fast. If they're poisoned... well, we'll still have a new source of emergency rations. If we can't eat the fruits, we'll eat the ones that brought them.

Oh hey, the Carax stole the cube necklace from the moth. Wonder what that's about.
No. 923271 ID: e20bdf

What's with the leash? Doesn't matter, take it off.
You two will wait for 1045 in separate rooms. And by rooms I mean cells.
We are not running a BDSM dungeon...
No. 923285 ID: fd2d31

lets not kinkshame the strange aliens with their weird cultures too much.
No. 923293 ID: 3c3f90

The Kiter dispatched infiltrators "in all directions" back in thread 2. We should limit how much info we give these guys until we know what they're up to.

That said, the longer they stay outside, the more likely we are to have a REAL hostage situation if Kiter troops show up. Can we set up a holding area, preferably right by the door so we can let them in but they also see as little of the facility as possible?

Also, we have three arkots and a whole bin of fruit that have gone missing... are we sure the fufa is still quarantined?
No. 923296 ID: 130f18

It's likely they pulled a 'transporting the prisoner' maneuver to sneak in somewhere and steal a bunch of Kiter supplies. Which means somebody's probably on their trail and as >>923293 pointed out, once those somebodies arrive we're going to have a real hostage situation.
No. 923303 ID: 575ec0

Or maybe they raided the moths original hideout, dooming her friends and family to starvation.
No. 923322 ID: 130f18

If she is indeed the last survivor of her species, that is unlikely.
No. 923323 ID: cbdfa8

Agree to let them in, but tell them once inside that the Moonseeker must be freed from captivity. and get an area or room to keep them in.

Also since it is raining and they went out of their way to even bring food, consider giving them blankets or something else to dry off.

Maybe confront the Moonseeker and tell her that you had to put up a facade to get her out of that predicament and that it was your plan to get her out of danger.

Good idea to test the fruit if it is poisoned or not. Then feed the arkots!

this is a good point. I would be cautious with any information you give them.
No. 923326 ID: a9af05

>Test fruit for poison, then feed arkots!
Feed the fruit to the arkots to test for poison! If nothing happens to them, then it's safe to eat!
No. 923330 ID: bcc41d

Arkots are limited in supply and our new associates would be aghast. We should run tests. Then we should make an arkot eat one, just in case there was something our tests could not catch.
No. 923394 ID: 3c3f90

Hopefully this goes without saying, but make sure that they're not armed.

Once they're inside, unless you have a place you can lock them, don't send Saba to get anyone - you might be able to win if outnumbered, but it's better to just use VoxNet to call up whatever reinforcements you need. Not everybody will be inactive.

Then you'll want to question them. Where did they find the fruit? Why did the Carax defect? What does the Zizene want to do if she finds the other of her kind that she thinks is here?
No. 923436 ID: 8eaf98

wdym akorots are in short supply? last I checked they breed like rabbits and only weapons-grade idiocy keeps the population in check. SMART akorots on the other hand, no maybe poison for them
No. 923439 ID: 6f6f25

Boggle vacantly at these shenanigans
No. 923442 ID: fd2d31

Any way to be sure they're not "infected or "bugged"?
The fungal growth on the mantis thingy is definitely of concern.
No. 923536 ID: 2007b6

Let them in to the reception area at least. Fruit solves (or at least delays) some immediate problems, seeds could help with setting up hydroponics for long-term sustainability.

Interrogate the moth on the subject of agronomy, so you can take advantage of any accumulated native knowledge base about suitable growing conditions and so on, rather than losing precious time or materials to trial and error. Also, information about where and how the fruit grows might be useful for poking holes in an infiltrator's flimsy cover story.

Have somebody put the fungal ant in a biohazard-rated containment cell, until such time as you've got something more solid than a slurry of greed, desperation, and incompetence as evidence it's not a Kiter spy anymore.
No. 923676 ID: ecd116

if you have a secure room or two that have video and/or audio surveillance try using that, even better if their somehow hidden so you or others can see how they act if they don't know they are being watch/listen to.

also both you and saba don't seem to not be too diffident in terms of practically and making tough calls plus having stigmatization surrounding both of your species.
No. 923820 ID: 7d9d06

They're desperate, that's for sure. And definitely acting independently, as they haven't brought greater numbers into play. Furthermore the kiter won't kill the other one, which considering the kiter we have seen thus far indicates an extreme and irrational attachment that may have overruled whatever motivation drives kiter to genocidal violence.

The obvious conclusion is that the kiter has defected for sake of the moth... thing. As defecting from a mind controlling superintelligence is in... credibly rare and valuable toward understanding the kiter empire, leaving them outside is not an option at this point. However there are other dangers. Even if they are entirely sincere, they may be being used by the kiter. There may be devices or even organisms embedded in them that they're not even aware of.

The only feasible course of action I can conceive is to let them in but incapacitate them in some manner, then examine them very carefully with several layers of redundant isolation. If they're not going to get eaten by a horrible mutant fungus planted in their sternum or something, then we can be best friends with the cute bugs!
No. 923872 ID: 977456

The Kiter are capable of creating a scenario like this, that looks like desperate refugees or something. For that matter, they are capable of creating a fluffy moth to rescue. We can't know anything here, the outside is just too far from our control and knowledge. All we can do is play the odds, and it doesn't look like The Kiter's style but that is just guessing...
No. 924644 ID: 773e32
File 155183507487.png - (14.51KB , 800x600 , salq3-50.png )

>let them in
With the terminal on mute, I sigh and motion to Saba. "Well, they came back with food, and they know where to find it, apparently."
"Do we have anywhere to detain them?"
"I believe there's an office not being used for anything right now nearby. The door locks around here are all much stronger than you might expect, the, uh, original facility was designed in the event of an atmospheric breach causing catastrophe. Dustbowl didn't get its name for nothing."
"Actually, I'd expect strong locks, because the point of locking a door is to deny access. Dustbowl?"
"The, uh, colloquial name for the incredibly dry and dusty world we were originally studying. Where the facility was built by a previous research and construction team. We souped it up a fair bit but they laid the groundwork down, and now we have this weird mirror image on this other world. Where it's been raining fucking nonstop since we first got stuck here. Still more hospitable aside from the, uh, geopolitical situation."
"Mhm. Back to the subject, we have some questions to ask of these two. Get Sitkva down here as part of the welcoming committee so she can stop them doing anything untoward."
"I don't know if she'll fit in this room, but..."
"I'll get some arkots down here. It shouldn't be difficult."

I stride off to go fetch some arkots while Saba makes a call.

The winding corridors still feel as disorienting as when I first came here, even when I have a route in mind. I have to wonder how much of that is poor architectural design, and how much of it is some sort of residual strangeness from this being a mirror clone of a different structure pasted onto an existing subterranean facility. I need to ask Will about that next time I see it.

The large biolab is still in a state of disarray, but the fighting seems to have slowed down a lot, as the arkots seem to be burning up all their energy and effort.


I hear no response.

"I need some arkots for security and food retrieval," I say, only thinking about the terrible, terrible mistake I just made seconds too late to fix it--
No. 924645 ID: 773e32
File 155183509868.png - (16.14KB , 800x600 , salq3-51.png )

I find myself struggling desperately not to be suffocated by a swarm of eager, desperate arkots that heard me mention 'food' and didn't care to listen to the rest of what I said. They should know better than to clamber onto me, and I start flinging arkots off of me.


This only partially works, but I can see I'm going to have to explain to the arkots why I'm in charge and they aren't.
I'm not giving off a very leaderly impression right now. It's time for a demonstration.

"ARKOTS. If you don't fall in line right now, you're no longer useful to me. You know what that means, I presume?"

The arkots all stare at me blankly.

One arkot is still on me. With a swift whipping of my claws, I hold it up by the neck. "Okay, let me be more direct. I'm in control here. Remember this, or this will be you."
I hear the callous chill of my own voice. I am beyond anger from irritation, and they know it. Feel it.
They know something is wrong.
All of them stare at me in entranced dread.

I start squeezing around the arkot's neck and they start squirming violently and chittering frantically about how it was all a mistake and they'll be less dumb next time.

"Oh, I hardly believe that," I say, gripping just shy of my claws drawing blood, as the arkot writhes more panickedly and promises over and over again never to do anything against my wishes.
The other arkots are frozen still. Some of them cringe away from watching, less out of sympathy and more out of fear to directly meet my gaze, I believe.

"One last chance, then, arkot."
I drop the arkot from my outstretched claw onto the floor. I wasn't intending to kill them to begin with, but better to keep the illusion up.
As they fall, the serrated edges of my claws rip at their neck, giving them skin-level wounds that should scar into a lengthy reminder to themselves and others of the price of insubordination.
They land with a grunt of pain onto their side, clutching at their throat as if glad for it to still be there.

"You have now spent the last of my patience, arkots. There will be no mercy for the next arkot in my claws. Do we all have." I draw out a pause. "An understanding?"

Every arkot in the room nods. Well, enough to count. A couple salute. Some of them are maybe a little too awed and/or terrified to risk any hasty gestures.

You don't yell at arkots for a few days and they forget who you are, I swear.

Still, it's going to take a distressingly long amount of time to move them from terrified into compliance to actually compliant. So, I'm going to be here for a while giving very specific orders. This will take a while.

I wonder how Kitsiksu's doing...
No. 924647 ID: 773e32
File 155183513868.png - (14.47KB , 800x600 , salq3-52.png )

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the facility, Kitsiksu puzzles over a new conundum...

Lekka and Kan continue their bothersome dialogue as he lays in some strange tub of alien medicine, and I've long since tuned them out.
Tirzi, who was wielding instruments with a fluid grace that defies my expectations for someone lacking any sort of visible manipulators, is tapping a complex series of instructions in a script I can't read into a terminal attached to the tub storing Kan.

The neumono Ekasarra watches me with suspicion and distrust that are incredibly mutual, prone on an examination table, with the more interesting specimen on a table adjacent, strangely passive. At my request, a subvocal microphone is tied around my neck, logging my observations for later review.

The metallic alien called Ku Gat lingers at the doorway, watching me with scrutiny as if waiting for me to make some mistake. He can continue waiting. I am not in the habit of making mistakes.

Tirzi taps a few commands into her terminal, and it speaks for her. "Are you sure now is a good time for this?"
"When will there be a better time?" I take a few moments to familiarize myself with this strange structural scanner, wishing I'd had access to this sort of equipment in the past. I don't know how it works, but I now know what it can do, and to see inside a living organism with such ease...

I start rubbing it on Ekasarra first, figuring some basic familiarity with neumono physiology will let me find the anomalies faster.
I had to tie her arms down because she kept flinching and trying to move them over herself and getting in the way of the scan. Entirely with the specimen's consent, of course, although she wasn't happy to oblige.

Right away, I notice differences within the specimen's body. I start murmuring into my subvocal recording. Not a word leaves my mouth.

"Subject 3, Ekasarra, contains multiple differences in expected physiology, tissue densities irregular, evidence of minor scarring to internal tissue, suggesting very recent healing before regeneration completion. Abnormal concentrations of neural tissue, appearing more voluminous throughout body but concentrated into clusters. Neural activity is not shown on this scanner, purpose-specific tool may need to be constructed to parse and analyse neumono neural activity. Possibly something to talk to Sisirri about. Severe anomalies in left side of body, mostly left arm, neural tissue spreading more fibrous and fractal. Unsure of processes that would result in this, body tissue and muscle appear strangely younger and free of minor regeneration imperfections than surrounding tissue."
No. 924648 ID: 773e32
File 155183516577.png - (14.79KB , 800x600 , salq3-53.png )

After a brief dip in a methanol bath and a quick towel-off, I figure the scanner is sanitized enough for examining the fourth subject. I start with the chest.
"Subject 4, no apparent given name but introduced as 'Lackey'. Surface level discrepancies in fur colouration, markings supposedly natural despite infeasibility of natural occurence of mark--"

Wait. I stare into the scanner and shake it a little. I try the scanner again, stomach.

"...subject... subject organs not in places I'd expect them, stomach and digestive tract shapes more twisting than baseline neumono physiology, neural tissue almost entirely concentrated in areas corresponding to markings on fur, follicles not dyed, can't identify some of these tissue structures, possible extra organs, redunancies? Shapes unfamiliar."

I pause. I put the scanner back onto Ekasarra's stomach. Lower. She scowls at me, but I remove the scanner before she gets a chance to complain. I stare into it, and move the scanner back to Lackey.
I look at the genetic analyser subscreen for a bit.
Huh. That's... huh.

"...Tirzi, where did this neumono come from?"
"Lackey? He's a kiter defector. Answers to Sisirri."
"I could... I could just tell you," says Lackey.
"Yes. Yes you could. Where are you from?"
"I'm a prototype kiter neumono."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm, uh, a prototype. Of a kiter neumono."
"I got that. What makes a kiter neumono different from a regular neumono? I'm not familiar with kiter neumono."
"It's a reconstruction of the neumono morphology, enhanced by kiter biotechnology."
"Wait. You're... artificial?"
"I mean, everyone in the Kiter Empire of note is, so yes? We frown on natural reproduction for being so beyond control and direction."

I nod slowly while I realise with incredible frustration that this might be beyond my skills to fully understand. It seems almost like strands of completely different organisms are interwoven throughout this specimen.
Also, for reasons I'm not going to investigate further, something similar is growing in Ekasarra's reproductive system.

There's a wealth of knowledge to be gained here and I'm realising it's going to be beyond my capacity. I'm going to have to find more information on these 'kiter'. Desperately. I need more kiter specimens. But first, I need to think of a convincing reason to ask to examine this kiter neumono with more privacy. Possibly the other anomalous neumono too. And, as I see Ku by the door, I know this crowded room is not the place. I need somewhere quieter.
No. 924653 ID: 86eb65

Talk with your girlfriend. She manged to get this one so she can probably get you plenty of kiter tests subjects if you ask nicely.

As for how to get privacy? Just mention to the two of them that you notice there happy little bundle of joy and would like to ask some private questions. They should be falling over themselves to not have to talk about it in front of the others.

Besides if we are going to be having a fresh egg joining the group we do need to make sure its going to end up healthy.

Specially when its father is so "special"
No. 924655 ID: b1b4f3

Who were the first two subjects? Did you get a chance to analyze Tirzi yet?

Ask for a room of your own that you can use as a lab and second medical bay. Why do you even need an excuse to examine them in private? Lackey is quite capable of defending himself from you, and you should already know Ekasarra is "friends" with Sisirri so she should be "safe from you" as well. You could say you wish to ask them questions which they would probably consider private and personal.
No. 924657 ID: ad51b8

you could ask him if he knows how he was made or even how other kiter are made. While he probably won't give you the fine details it should be able to at least give you an idea and a place to start with. You should also ask the other non kiter aliens in the room what they know of kiter biology. As for more invasive studies... might not be the best idea right now since you're kinda stuck here and besides you have no idea how long you're going to be stuck here so until a deadline presents itself I suggest you take your time and take things slow.

Also on an unrelated note, how's you taking going from fleeing to your life, trying to escape in a time capsule that froze you in time and telported to god knows where, to waking up to Sisirri freeing you and now this? And how often do you stair at Sisirri's "tail" when she's not looking?
No. 924664 ID: cbdfa8

Record that Subject 4 has possibly mated with Subject 3. for scientific purposes.

Ask if you can have privacy with "lackey" and where would be an appropriate place to have this discussion.
as for a reason this.

also consulting with your Girlfriend later might be advisable.

make mental note to not stare at Sisirri's tail/behind so obviously.
No. 924667 ID: 12b116

Why does it need to be private? You're going to be stuck here with these aliens for the forseeable future and secrecy doesn't do anything to improve trustworthiness
No. 924675 ID: 91ee5f

So how often have you been staring at Sisirri’s butt in order to figure out that the five stripes on her tail bulb are spaced apart from each other proportionally relating to the golden ratio? And does that imply that after all this time apart from her, you still want to have sex with her?

Does seeing this pregnant Neumono remind you that you said you were going to fix Sisirri’s reproductive organs so that you and her could reproduce? Or did you completely forget about that?

Have you considered asking either Tirzi or Sisirri to teach you this strange language that they were speaking to each other with? Have you noticed that Tirzi seems to look like a strange Salikai?

.....also, how does it feel to be in the same room as a bunch of Neumono?

Yeah, I agree. Don’t bother with privacy, just start asking your questions.
No. 924680 ID: 080aaf

Doctor-patient confidentiality can go a long way. Bring Ekasarra along with Lackey to ask your personal questions.
No. 924684 ID: e20bdf

I don't know how a fantasy alien regeneration work, but in the real world scars are consequences of a fast healing process that prioritize closing the wound. Amphibious, for example, don't form scars. Their wounds remain open until the entire limb regrow.

Ku is watching because he anticipate hostolities between you and the neumonos. Assuming Tirzi isn't his superior gaining permission from her won't solve the problem, and by is atitude it seems that convincing Ku will be an unlikely result. But neither of them will have grounds to opose if the two neumonos agree to your request.
Use the pregnancy as an excuse. Give Ekasarra a note about the alien pregnancy, and the possible danger it represents, suggesting this subject should be kept quiet, than proceed to ask for permission from Lakey to study his anatomy further in a less crowded room and for Ekasarra to acompany him. If this approach manage to tap into her fear and shame she should become invested in elaborate excuses in your favour.
No. 924689 ID: 977456

You won't get much privacy with their neumono "empathy" broadcasting. Construct an empathy-jammer and an excuse to use it. Maybe something about potentially-harmful interference?

You don't know the capabilities of those who share your workspace, these kiter are apparently hostile, numerous, and capable, your lab, defences, archives, and servants are all beyond reach, apparently galaxies away... you have nothing but disadvantages. Being outnumbered, out prepared, and effectively outmatched, you need a solid reputation as a trustworthy ally. Make sure that all your procedures are optimised to do no lasting harm.

Finally, do your duty as a proud salikai: Caramelldansen!
No. 924694 ID: 10c408

Guys, alerting Tirzi to ekasarra's pregnancy and mutating physiology is far too obvious of a play to make. Ku's still watching us like a freaking hawk to 'make a mistake' and kicking off that shitstorm won't escape his attention.

Our best bet is to most likely to just finish up, log our findings and then badger Ku into showing us to the cafeteria because we're hungry.
No. 924699 ID: 130f18

Sound. Seconded.
No. 924743 ID: 1ed92d

Ask Sisirri, she has more information on the situation.

Also, she probably knows how the local network and data storage systems work.

You can also just ask Tirzi. She probably has no idea of your background and fetish for biotech, and you can just say, "Hey, I need information on Kiter Biotechnology."
No. 924761 ID: 2202fb

Abortion is probably a good idea. We have no idea if they are biologically stable or if they will end up malformed and only partially functioning. It is pretty irresponsible to bring lives into this world that would only know suffering.
No. 924780 ID: e20bdf

It might also be a danger to Ekasarra or even a feral beast.
Kitsiksu insinuated that some Lackey's organs have different genetics to the rest of the body, what insinuates the offspring may have no similarity to the father except for some the gonads. It got even worse when you consider the kiter are against natural birth, meaning their genetic modifications were planed for the functionality of a a fully grown artificially assembled body, what brings the possibility that embryo development may be neglected or damaged. Of course the the presence of functional gonads and sexual organs strongly suggest Voidsong expected something useful to result from natural reproduction, but even in this case the plan would be to pair compatible modify neumonos, not one modify and one natural.
Also, not really all that important considering the plethora of problems with this arrangement, since Lackey was made from Ekasarra that makes them mother and son. How do neumonos deal with incest?
No. 924797 ID: 7d9d06

No. 924887 ID: 977456

That would be fun, but... do we want to engender a perception of silliness? It might be advantageous but...
Lectures are enjoyable, and this situation does represent a horrific lack of proper quarantine protocols. Lackey is a prototype alien military bioconstruct. Every single part of that description makes mixing it with ones own biology a bad idea. Is it stable? Is it compatible? Are its components randomly hostile? Is it explicitly designed to compromise us in this exact circumstance?

Barring changes or overrides to Ekasarra's biology, she explicitly chose this outcome. It is entirely within possibility that the random assemblage of neumono and not-neumono biology will burn out Ekasarra's brain and puppet her brain-dead corpse around like some sort of vehicle. Far more likely it will just fail, but it ought to have done so already, and Kiter likely made it to overcome alien biology, so what remains is that it will grow uncontrollably and simulate a particularly lethal cancer. If it somehow produces a viable creature, it still remains plausible that it would be genetically programmed as an infiltrator, be so horrifically mutated that it can't function, or have a defect in its empathy or immune system that makes it toxic to be in the vicinity of due to various aggressive defensive systems operating outside of intended parameters. A happy little baby neumono is about the least likely outcome.

Find some basic guidelines on handling unknown biological samples. Read them out to her and explain everything she did wrong. Invite her to continue her suicidal experiment in quarantine with an extensive array of monitoring equipment.
No. 924890 ID: ecd116

that also might be too soon a call to make this early in light of the embryo development, at least not without solid evidence that the pregnancy/hybridization will for sure cause health problems for mother & child, will need to do a invasive or close enough in depth body/dna scan on all three of them if possible, let alone the time and resources needed for it before going with the abortion.

even so, the parents should have a say in this plus your reasoning behind this. whatever or not they go though with it will be their choice. even asking for your help in increasing the unborn and mother odds of survival because of your knack and know how in genetics modifications will also be in your favor because they will own you one and have more reason to trust you.
No. 924934 ID: 2cc14c

Arkots. Unarmed arkots. Against a living weapon that won't be disarmed unless literally disarmed. Get some guns. And while you should stay far away from the prisoner escort, if you do get conscripted for that, get yourself a gun too.

Got to echo >>924743 - why don't you just ask Tirzi?
I'll also add that he'll have a kiter Carax to study soon, so that's another kiter specimen for the study.
What's the plan for that info? New organs to graft? Anti-kiter bioweapons? Knowledge for the sake of knowledge? All of the above?
No. 924945 ID: 8eaf98

I think it was kinda implied that they are fully capable of normal reproduction it is just that they don't, like what is lost by including it, and something is gained however edge its use case is.
No. 924970 ID: fd2d31

Are you trying to start up a Alien vibe?
No. 924972 ID: 094652

Ask about Lackey's neural framework. Test him with a few questions about hives and enemy forces. He might have the external appearance of a neumono but he is clearly something else. A courageous yet logical species. Possibly a long-term ally of Salikai.

And if his children breed into the remaining neumono hives, you could end the threat of tribal psychopaths without killing anyone.
No. 924986 ID: e20bdf

I bet Kitsiksu loves this movie.
No. 925006 ID: 8eaf98

I think the logic might unfortunately be more of a product of having umpteen bazillion lives of memories. Which I think is a product of the creation process than whatever else. Lackey has also not been biased by a similarly large number of years of history.
I think >>/questarch/892093 is the source of fractal neural structure (brief & condensed exposure to Lackey's memories) and >>/questarch/879846 is the cause of physiological differences in Ekasarra.
No. 925007 ID: 91ee5f

So, have you thought about banging one of these aliens and/or Neumono?

.....uh oh, looks like you’ve got a little bit of brain damage from being in stasis for too long!
No. 925066 ID: 080aaf

Let's not literally throw the baby out with the bathwater. Neumono physiology is especially resilient thanks to this 'empathy' trick of theirs.
No. 925080 ID: 10c408

In the other universe, sure.

This particular universe has the kiter empire and their weird paraspecial stuff that if not for the blocking symbiotes (which we still don't have a full grasp of) would have kept driving the neumono insane.
No. 925093 ID: 055cbc

like.. Kitsiksu knows neumono can ONLY get pregnant on PURPOSE, right? Jumping right in with abortion suggestions is probably bad news bears.
No. 925112 ID: 422cea


Unless there's something REALLY wrong here, she allowed herself to get preggo.
No. 925129 ID: 977456

If anyone was going to get around that quirk it would be The Kiter. Their biotech is crazy aggressive. Then again, it is probably voluntary. Never attribute to only one of malice and stupidity that which might be neumono.
No. 925280 ID: 2202fb

Be that as it may, this embryo could be extremely unstable and dangerous not only to the mother and itself but to the entire base. Given how the kiter loathe natural reproduction, i wouldnt be surprised if they encoded some sort of kill-switch into the genome to kill off unauthorized births.

If nothing else, it needs to be removed and isolated in some sort of incubation chamber.
No. 925282 ID: b1b4f3

I don't think we have the technology to properly incubate a premature birth, much less a barely-developed fetus.
No. 925283 ID: 977456

We ARE a mad Biologist. A containment unit should not be too difficult to construct if this place has any half-decent scraps(or an arkot could be repurposed?). Still, even one of our calibre would need to prepare the vessel prior to extraction.
No. 925284 ID: f46e5e

I personally would guess against a kill agent because basically the ONLY reason the Keter would do it is because they need more bodies and have legit no other way, and thus likely no anti-kill agent, in other words including a kill-agent would nullify the edge case where it would have value.
No. 925286 ID: 977456

You are correct of course. It is a way to keep a guerrilla force from succumbing to attrition for decades without any infrastructure. Then again, this is a non-kiter pregnancy. If The Kiter considered this outcome, than it is plausible that they included a code to convert or disable the mother. Suppressing such a mother would serve to dissuade attempts to incorporate Kiter advancements into a hostile population and to prevent breeding prisoners from rebelling.
The fact that the reproductive organs haven't been replaced with at least energy storage proves that they have considered breeding scenarios and a ruthless military mind can come up with selfish reasons to do terrible things to non-Kiter mothers of half-Kiter soldiers.
No. 925382 ID: 8eaf98

Good points, I'm still going to vote against it being life-threatening at the very least because it is possible to end up with the only pure Keter forces being only male or only female and killing, potentially willing, non-Keter breeding partners would be counterproductive. this is especially true when full Keter have their sexual desires removed/suppressed and defectors seem... uncommon to say the least, such that unintended breeding is unlikely, the rape scenario can be discounted by requiring fertile events to be intentional rather than involuntary.
No. 925387 ID: 130f18

We already know Voidsong had a child biologically.
No. 925393 ID: 2202fb

That may have been sanctioned though.
No. 927993 ID: d88fe2
File 155399567488.png - (263.25KB , 800x600 , salq3-54.png )

>why do you need the knowledge
If I understand anything about the situation I'm in, the "kiter" are the alien military presence making itself aggressively known in many ways. I do not need much convincing; I have seen the drone feeds of the outside world and it is horrendous. I've not come across such a scorched earth swathe of destruction before. Usually, when conquest is the goal, you don't ruin the territory you're trying to acquire. Unless these things eat barren dirt, which I have not ruled out as a possibility, conquest does not seem to be the goal here. But what is the motivation for this level of destruction?
If you want to know what motivates a sapient mind you first need to know what it needs and what it wants. My former contemporaries would have their own approaches to this problem, but I feel going to the basest level of existence can explain a great deal more than a top down approach.
The fact that this apparent empire is composed of fanatically devoted species working at direct odds to their own self-preservation mean all I can draw parallels to are neumono, but even neumono, as violent and unpleasant as they can be, have comprehendable motivators. Stronger and stranger in places, but understandable. Family loyalty and distrust of outsiders are two traits our species hold in common.

These kiter things seem like they're trying to commit murder-suicide on an interstellar scale, and this is so far beyond my ability to rationalise and understand I'm getting dizzy thinking about it again. I'd understand it even if it was some form of death cult, at least academically, but to mobilise an entire civilisation for aggressive self-destruction and keep it going, either I've been dreadfully misinformed (which is what I'm assuming) or something I always thought universal, the drive for self-preservation, is not universal after all.

But if something doesn't have a drive for self-preservation at a species or society level, how does it continue?

The kiter neumono's biology is not shedding light on any of this, beyond being evidence of biotechnology accomplished in a significantly different paradigm and context than anything I'm familiar with. Woven biology assembled piecemeal yet convincingly organic and clearly melded together in ways I've never seen before, neumono flesh in patterns interwoven with fungal hyphae in ways that seem disturbingly natural and sensible. Was this creature grown or assembled? I can't tell. That's the most disturbing part of all of this. There's all sorts of incongruities where it looks like this thing was put together and sewn together but there's no evidence it happened beyond just a general hunch of wrongness.

And to top it all off, these apparently interwoven tissues seem to be feeding off each other constantly. Most bodies are battlegrounds, but this is a constant seething boil of cellular warfare. Yet it functions as a cohesive organism? Even fufa biology was easier to grasp.

I don't feel like I'm looking at a diagnostic report, I feel like I'm looking at a small piece of a larger, apocalyptic puzzle.
No. 927994 ID: d88fe2
File 155399568797.png - (29.99KB , 800x600 , salq3-55.png )

>ask tirzi about kiter
"Tirzi, what do you know about kiter biotechnology?"
Tirzi finishes up whatever she's doing on the terminal and nods to Lekka, who stays by Kan's side, holding his hand with a mixture of pity, irritation, and other emotions I can't pry out. I'm glad I can't feel the emotional wash she's no doubt pushing out to all and sundry right now. I once spoke to a belenosian who expressed some envy over neumono empathy, but I can think of no greater curse than to both leak one's emotional state at all times and have others' forced upon you without your desire. An ever-pervasive field of everyone invisibly complaining about their problems, forever. Horrific.

"Not a lot. I was hoping someone more skilled with this sort of thing might help shed some light on this mess."
"I'll need more time to process this. The information, as well as the situation."
"Sisirri's written some primers on the situation, which you should have access to very soon."
"I would appreciate that information sooner rather than later." She glares at me, opening her mouth to say something. I don't understand it. "At your earliest convenience, of course," I say with all the conflict-avoiding tone and submissive subtle body language I can muster. Slight bow, neutral expression, closed tucked graspers to seem smaller and less threatening. She seems slightly more mollified.
Tirzi's species shares more emotional cues with salikai than I expected. It makes her both more and less alien to me at the same time. Jarring.

>thoughts about banging sisirri
Salikai do not really experience lust in the same way as other species. I am however quite fond of certain aesthetically pleasing shapes and patterns.
>thoughts about banging other aliens
There is some strange elegance in the self-similarity of Tirzi's body, and the sheen and smoothness of her surface disrupted by the errant twitches and brushing waves of her body's fibrous coating is scintillating. The way her jaw serrations meet is oddly satisfying. I find her pleasant to look at.
I associate the sight of neumono with problems so I'm just made uncomfortable around them. Much of my willpower is being exerted not to start burrowing into something to hide.
No. 927995 ID: d88fe2
File 155399571008.png - (36.53KB , 800x600 , salq3-56.png )

>dangerously irresponsible biological substance handling
>emergency abortion
I won't endear a lot of sympathy for panicking and surgically removing whatever is growing inside Ekasarra, and there could be more to learn from letting it develop a little further before removing it. However, it gives me a great excuse...

"I need to examine these two in a quarantine, there has been some... dangerous cross-contamination."
"There's evidence of presumably kiter organic structures within Ekasarra's body, and I'm not certain if this is something to be concerned about. I need to isolate these two right away in case whatever it is spreads to the other neumono."

Tirzi's eyes widen. Lekka looks up in sudden alarm.
"Investigate," says Lekka, succinct and to the point. "If there's any risk of some strange alien pathogen that's affecting neumono, then get these two quarantined immediately."
"I... don't think I have an unused quarantine room at such short notice, the only other place I'd be able to think of is the one housing Sisirri's arkots. There is a backroom in this lab but that's where the pomi's recovering."
"This is a high risk situation. Do you honestly have no medical quarantine?"

Tirzi taps her claw at her mouth. "There's a sterile storage room I'm using to store dried fungi. That can work for now, but you'll need to move the boxes out first. I'll tell Aza to get a haulage drone down there while I type out the directions." She starts tapping inefficiently at her terminal with her middle limbs, which I did not know were even functional. Fascinating.

Fantastic. Now--

"I'm not an idiot, salikai," says Ekasarra, just quietly enough so only Lackey and myself can hear. "I'm not going with you to a quarantine room so you can start experimenting on me. I know when a salikai is looking at me like materials for some experiment. You better tell me what this is actually about, because there's more than a few people who will know something's wrong if I go missing."
No. 927996 ID: d88fe2
File 155399574325.png - (41.66KB , 800x600 , salq3-57.png )

Lackey also stares into my eyes, but remains lying on the table. "You aren't the Director, Kitsiksu. Sisirri has proven herself to be worthy of my attention and respect. You have not earned that by association alone."
I don't remember giving this one my name.
"If you're intending to study my biology to determine its weaknesses, I will be forced to take steps to prevent this. Understand that."

Okay, so I now need to convince these two to come with me. Ugh. Working with sapient organisms is so much more of a hassle.

I keep my voice low, forcing a slight smile. "We all know full well what I meant by kiter structures in Ekasarra's body, and if you two want to keep this quiet I strongly suggest you let me investigate further before I find out your dalliance is slowly killing one or both of you."

Ekasarra's eyes widen and she averts her gaze, mumbling "fine" in embarassment.
Lackey, however, remains unconvinced. I try another tactic. "If your kind abhors natural birth, what is this you're trying to accompli--"
"It was not my decision," says Lackey, almost spitting the words at me. Ekasarra shifts uncomfortably, and the other neumono in the room flinch.
Great. I was trying to keep this quiet and then neumono empathy had to ruin everything. Like it always does.
"Control your empathy," I hasten to add. "You're not helping me keep this quiet from everyone--"

"Keep it quiet? Keep it quiet?!" says Lackey in a very loud voice. "Hey, everyone--"
Ekasarra violently shakes her head at Lackey.

He looks at her, glares, and stands. His eyes start looking... I'm not sure how I would describe it. Hazy? "I have an announcement to make."

Tirzi, Kan, and the other neumono all pause whatever it is they're doing and look to Lackey, sitting on an examination table, while Ekasarra starts writhing against her arm restraints. "NO YOU DON'T! NO HE DOESN'T! LACKEY IF YOU DON'T STAY QUIET RIGHT NOW--"
"Ekasarra tricked me into impregnating her," continues Lackey, an odd chill in his voice as he does so. I don't have the capacity to feel empathy, but the neumono all go silent, and even I feel some sort of cold chill through my body. From the way Tirzi and Ku react, so do they.

"I didn't... I didn't trick you into anythi--"
"Yes you did."
"Why didn't you say anything before?!"
"I have weighed my options," says Lackey, the cadence of his voice sounding slightly off. Almost mechanical, rote. "Preserve what little remains of your social standing, or preserve my own freedom from manipulation. I have been forced to make a decision. I chose my own freedom. It is worth more to me than the social standing of someone who has already manipulated me into actions against my desires."

The entire room goes awkwardly quiet.
No. 927997 ID: d88fe2
File 155399576404.png - (44.79KB , 800x600 , salq3-58.png )

"I mentioned the kiter abhor natural birth," continues Lackey. "I do not have any connection to whatever unplanned mistake is in there beyond genetics. Stolen genetics. If the kiter ever know what is inside you," he says, looking at Ekasarra, "they are going to throw you into an enzyme vat to make sure no trace of you remains. The Kiter Empire does not take risks when it comes to--"
"I'm stating facts," says Lackey with a tone so flat and free of emotion I'm in awe.
"So did I."

In the tension that follows, Lekka is the first to speak. I feel like I can almost see something snap from the way her expression darkens.

"Both of you, pack it in. I have enough on my plate with Kan's constant backstabbing without needing to worry about you two having a lover's quarrel and polluting the air with your sulking. Salikai, I don't know what your name is, honestly don't really care, go take one of them for examination. Whichever of you stays behind, get to the other side of the room and stay there until the salikai comes back. And for Astra's sake, if you feel like you're going to sneeze or something, point your idiot snouts away from me and Kan. Are we clear?"

Ekasarra nods, as do I. Lackey does not.


Lackey winces and nods his head, before mumbling about turning Lekka inside out when no one's looking. Not very quietly, for that matter.

"People who are truly powerful do not need to resort to crude shouting to get others to follow them--"
Lekka leans into Lackey's face. "DO WE HAVE. AN UNDERSTANDING."
"I could end you--"
Lekka grabs Lackey's hand. Paw. Not sure. "YES OR NO QUESTION, LACKEY."
"Yes, ma'am!" I'm not sure what it is, but direct skin contact seems to have suddenly snapped Lackey into compliance, as well as abrupt terror. Interesting. Must investigate later.

Lekka shoves a knee into Lackey's stomach, as he goes down grunting and groaning. "That's for wasting my fucking time and not just saying 'yes' to start with, you fucking mannequin!"

Lekka makes eye contact with me and my limbs all immediately tense as I look around for the nearest air vent.
"YOU! Which of these two idiots do you want to check up on or check out or whatever the fuck it is you want?"
"I legitimately only have their best interests in mind--"
"I don't care how the fuck you want to try and justify whatever it is you want to do, alright? We all know you'll spin whatever the fuck it is you want to do into something that sounds innocuous and fair and then do something horrible on the side because I have known your type before over and over, and I'm not talking salikai, I'm talking sneaky fucks like you in particular. I've been hanging around Sisirri for so long I almost forgot what most of you were like. Pick one."
"Why one?"
"Oh my fucking god are you really this dense. If I didn't step in just now they'd probably be strangling each other. We need to keep them separate until we have fewer problems to address, you hopeless snake bug! WHICH. ONE."

Well I think I just remembered why neumono terrify me!
No. 927998 ID: 12b116

take ekasarra and see what's growing in her guts
No. 927999 ID: 130f18

The kiter seems to have some sort of rapport or loyalty towards Sisirri. Speaking to it privately to establish a similar understanding may be best.
No. 928000 ID: 575ec0

Ekasarra. Her situation really could be urgent.

That fetus is a goldmine of data. While Lacky's body is totally alien, The hybrid fetus will have known Neumono tissues that can serve as a starting point for analysis by studying their interactions with the Kiter tissues.

You should do everything in your power to preserve the hybrid.
No. 928001 ID: 080aaf

I think you can add full telepathy and a lack of tact to the growing list of Lackey's powers.
Pick Lackey. That was the whole point of starting this charade. If a sample from Lackey's kiter biology doesn't annihilate a sample of Ekasarra's neumono biology, you're probably in the clear. Then you can get onto the more interesting stuff.
>If you're intending to study my biology to determine its weaknesses, I will be forced to take steps to prevent this. Understand that.
Who would he be taking measures on behalf of - the empire, or himself?
No. 928007 ID: 094652

Ekasarra. Lackey just stabbed her in the back and she's emotionally compromised, this may be your one chance to show her you're not some inhuman abortion machine.

Have Sissiri talk to Lackey, she's the only one he respects. Do NOT poke the fetus when examining or Ekasarra could become the next Kan.
No. 928009 ID: b1b4f3

Lackey's personality seems to shift drastically between extremes on a daily basis. This is going to be a problem... Are you any good at psychology? Not neumono psychology, as Lackey isn't really one of them.

Take Ekasarra. Lackey is not calm at all which means he could snap and cause severe harm to your person. Also, seeing how the baby grows will give you MUCH more insight into how Lackey's biology works than you will get trying to analyze the finished product. Lastly, Ekasarra should be very quickly informed as to whether or not the baby will be dangerous to her.

You can also try to explain yourself to her, why you're so interested in examining her and Lackey. It's to understand why the Kiter seem so self-destructive. The truth is harmless, so why not just state it openly?
Consider asking Sisirri later about how she convinced the others she wasn't manipulating them. You're not doing a great job at it so far.
No. 928010 ID: 1ed92d

In fairness, Kitsiksu, you're kind of terrible at both reading social cues and manipulating people. Also, not great at reading situations either, which explains the 'bridge incident'... Still, study the pregnant one, since she's the only one actually in danger here. Lackey's just some weird alien clone warrior so he'll probably be fine.

....Also, be honest, he can probably read your thoughts. How else could he get your name?
No. 928013 ID: e20bdf

From what you've see inside Lackey Ekasarra might actually die. Watching this happen without interfering would be the most informative approach but would be excuse enough for you to be blamed. Instead let's go for the second best experiment: remove the embryo (and the surrounding organ just because) and develop it in a separate tank.
Of course, your first proposal to Ekasarra shouldn't be putting her insides in a jar. Explain to her how Lackey's alien tissues predate each other and the high chance of the creature inside her develop into a malformed expansive mass that will consume her from within. Emphasize how dangerous this pregnancy is to her life. Offer first the termination of her pregnancy and the disposal of the fetus and the organs in contact in an attempt to avoid contamination. Only suggest the use of an artificial womb as a second option for this enthusiastic mother put her hopes on.
No. 928015 ID: bcc41d

Yeah, you stepped right out into an emotional minefield there. Neither one of your test subjects will appreciate you prompting this event. Really steppin' into the Salikai stereotype here, too. On the up side, the most terrifying individual in the room just gave you the go-ahead to get.

Pick Ekasarra. It's the more practical choice, because you already know Neumono biology, and you might be able to reverse engineer some additonal understanding of this Kiter bullshit from the process and progress of her pregnancy. Don't try to leverage her desire to have kids to convince her of anything - at least anything other than letting you study how the situation develops.

Do not act like a caring doctor spouting the most reasonable-seeming answers - you plain risk continuing being seen as a manipulative git. Keep to clinical detachment and inform Ekasarra in layman's terms of your observations and the hypothetical risks of her pregnancy modified only by how utterly crazy Kiter biotech is. Outright admit your present ignorance and act like the researcher you are. Be up front about your intent to study how this crazy meld of Neumono and Kiter biotech works in the hope that you can a) learn something of this highly advanced biotechnology and b) verify it not becoming a threat to this refugee group which you're now a part of.

>hanging around Sisirri for so long I almost forgot what most of you were like

Make a mental note to ask her for tips, because apparently Sisirri's way better at dealing with people who hate her guts than you. Maybe there's hope for the Salikai species yet.
No. 928016 ID: 86eb65

Ekasarra has the more dangerous situation.

Lacky is just being a surly kid so he can wait.
No. 928017 ID: bc3a02

There's no really need for lackey outside comparison on makeup and what might be growing. Ekasarra.
No. 928018 ID: 2202fb

Take Eksarra, and ask for Tirzi to come too. You need to know what is and isnt feasible regarding the situation.


That wasn't neumono that scared you, that was a drill sergeant. The difference may be subtle at times.


Make a mental note to talk to Lekka after the majority of the heat here blows over. We need to know if that contact thing was a neumono thing or a kiter thing we can exploit (or both).
No. 928022 ID: 91ee5f

>I've been hanging around Sisirri for so long I almost forgot what most of you were like.
From the sounds of things, it seems like Lekka actually trusts Sisirri and isn’t being racist in thinking she’s going to betray her. Maybe you should follow Sisirri’s example in order to get on Lekka’s good side? In other words, actually do what you said you would do, without any of the “sneaky” stuff she thinks you’re going to do.

>Well I think I just remembered why neumono terrify me!
Do yourself a favor and do not become so scared you end up peeing yourself out of fear!

>pick one
Pick Ekasarra
No. 928030 ID: 8eaf98

Choose Ekasarra.
Lacky is having mental issues, not physical issues, while those could become physical Lacky seems to have entirely too many lifetimes of experience to tempter himself with. at the very least Lacky seems less time sensitive of an issue.
No. 928038 ID: ad51b8


Because with her you actually can understand neumono biology and can get a good baseline on what is and isn't normal and then look at the kid growing in here to see how it's effecting her. Also I would highly, HIGHLY recamend that at this point in time you do actually just study whatever biological data you can and don't try any mad science even if it could be help because as of right now EVERYONE seems to be on edge and any slight, real or imagined, could set everyone off and while yes that can be useful to pull it is generally much more detrimental if you're trapped inside with them when it happens.

So for now play nice, learn what you can, and try to keep your head down. At least until everyone starts to calm down. Like it or not, you're stuck here with everyone for the foreseeable future, do try to at least pretend to get along and don't rock the boat unless you have to.
No. 928039 ID: 06fdc0

Lackey behaving erratically while breaking trust and damaging the group dynamic? Is he being compelled by an outside force to do this?
No. 928047 ID: 2cc14c

Wow, no wonder Lekka's the leader. She recognized an explosively emotional situation, and immediately shut it down before it escalated. When she saw 1045's insubordination, she refused to let it go and forced him to stop. Everyone may hate her for now (Kan too, there was that backstabbing quip), but that means nobody hates each other. They're even united in hating her. This is how you manipulate. LEARN FROM THIS. Note one thing though, Kitsiksu. Despite the accusation of you possibly doing something horrid, she's allowing it. While she is warning you, she sees the value of what you're doing. I suggest you not abuse this, everyone's going to be suspicious and Lekka's ire will be aimed at you. And while you may be terrified, talking with Lekka about the Kiter goals may be your best bet because she's the one of the few that will provide solid military analysis. Later, though, this is still explosively emotional.
If she's this good and is only the acting commander, it makes me wonder how good their previous leader was.

So, Kitsiksu, what's with the tenacle eye?
No. 928054 ID: fd2d31

Choose Ekasarra.

And might wanna brief Lekka (apart from the obvious Tirzi and Sisirri with the promise from both of them keeping it hush-hush) about the fetus situation if it proves to be dangerous in any way.

She's a military leader, so even as a neumomo she should know how to control her emotions to a certain degree, can't be a military leader while leaking sensitive details per emotions or openly panic.
No. 928055 ID: fd2d31

Might wanna get Sisirri to tell Lackey that "There's no I in team".
No. 928057 ID: f2320a

We should mention this stuff we must inform her how self-destructive the biotech is and the risks but we must mention all the options like a artifical womb
No. 928071 ID: 58b4f3

Pick Ekasarra
No. 928119 ID: 52782b

Eskarra, she's the one with the most to lose if this mess goes worse than it already is, and you can at least tell what is going on instead of watching an ecosystem pretend it's a computer.
No. 928158 ID: 4dc321

Wasn't the whole point of this to study Lackey?

Study Lackey.
No. 928188 ID: ac9acb

Ekasarra is the one in need of medical assistance, therefore she's the one giving an opportunity to be seen providing some. Pick her.
No. 928189 ID: b1b4f3

Oh and of course Ekasarra is gonna be mopey about Lackey rejecting her. Tell her this is a clear advantage of the Salikai breeding method. It's a business relationship.
No. 928206 ID: 25554f

The mother and child is more important more with the hybrid made from self destructive biotech inside her lets hope they dont have any self destruction built in
No. 928207 ID: 25554f

The mother and child is more important more with the hybrid made from self destructive biotech inside her lets hope they dont have any self destruction built in
No. 928224 ID: 2cc14c

Bad idea. Lemme explain.
Say you were just rebuked by someone you were with. The wound is fresh, and your emotions are in mixed turmoil. Then your friend's friend, some smug ass, says their type of relationship is superior. 99 out of 100 times it'd go south. That said, it might be in character for Kitsiksu to be so clueless...
If you're going that way, you might bring it up as an aside if Ekasarra talks about it. Something like "Have you considered Salikai-style breeding arrangements?"
No. 928255 ID: 2fb5cd

No. 928276 ID: 977456

Can we send a shiver down Sisirri's spine-equivalent on account of yet another social disaster?

Hey! Kitsiksu! You ever wonder if not all of your thoughts are your own? Maybe you sometimes act a little out-of-character?
No. 929663 ID: 7d9d06

I'm still trying to grasp how Lackey thinks he was tricked into biological reproduction. Wasn't he the one talking about sexual partners and courting rituals? Did he intend to refuse her sexual advances, and not realize that sticking it in her was a sexual advance?

Anyway she'll be much more useful than him. He's going to be preventing you from discovering his "weak points" obstructing you from learning anything about him at all, whereas she's more likely to listen to reason, once you tell her about how her baby is more likely to burst out of her chest than come out the normal way.

Wait, neumono aren't normally born by clawing their way out of their mother's chest, are they? You didn't hear any monster stories like that about neumono as a child, did you?
No. 929695 ID: fd2d31

AFAIK he's got the wisdom of the many minds that inhabited the bodies that were used as a template to create his.
But he doesn't have the experiences or memories of learning said wisdom.

Basically he's the gene manipulated war equivalent of a book banging nerd with no real-life experience behind the source of his knowledge.
No. 929701 ID: 094652

Lackey has an extreme version of schizophrenic bipolar disorder; imagine if he was forced to directly listen to millions of chopped-up sentences of suggesters without any turn pause. So he might think he was 'convinced' one moment only to instigate he was 'tricked' in another.
No. 929707 ID: fd2d31

That's a meta description of almost any *quest.
No. 931555 ID: 317977
File 155666027885.png - (54.51KB , 800x600 , salq3-59.png )

>Lackey's acting erratic
I don't have enough of a frame of reference to know how this pseudo-neumono's regular state of acting is.

>learn from Lekka
She did just demonstrate a strong leadership in a situation of potential crisis. Hm.

>what's with the eye tentacles
Ah. Yes. The emergency system.

It's not particularly elegant, I'm aware, but they're the optical terminii of a symbiotic fungal network stretching throughout my body. While I'm conscious I have complete control over its functions and access to all its sensory receptors. If anything were to happen that would render me unconscious or insensate, this is my backup plan. It will move me away from the danger. I've tested it. It... isn't perfect. It acts as I would, but far more rash and less calculating. It was designed for fast response, after all. Just has to get me out of danger and somewhere I can come to.

...no, the incident on the bridge was not because of the emergency network, that was unfortunately my own stupidity. However, it does a very good job of feigning my own alertness if I need it to. It's not really a directly distinct consciousness or even much of its own intellect.

I tested it back when I had arkots and it, well, terrified some of them half to death. Something about unnatural jerky movement and the general impression of a salikai corpse that's being moved around by something else. Not really that inaccurate.

Of course, now we know there's other fungal strangeness on this world posing active hostilities, I should probably disclose this trick of mine before someone assumes I've been biologically compromised.
No. 931556 ID: 317977
File 155666030071.png - (13.29KB , 800x600 , salq3-60.png )

>take Ekasarra, she's in danger
"Ekasarra," I say with more meekness than I wanted. "Let me just collect some tools." I put my graspers to work picking up various bits and pieces and by the time I'm ready to leave, Lackey is near the door.

"You are no Voidsong, fleshweaver," he mutters to me. "This is beyond you just as the hive networks of the neburi are beyond the Director. Do not attempt to manipulate what you can't understand or there will be terrible consequences."
"Are you threatening me?" I ask, genuinely uncertain.
"No. I'm trying to warn you. And I know your type, warped by your own self indulgence," he says, casually rubbing at his right eye. "So you won't listen, but at least you'll know you were warned."

"You know nothing about me, my species or my knowledge. Get out of the way."
Lackey shrugs and walks away, shooting Ekasarra one more look of distaste before he's abruptly dragged away by Lekka.

I don't recall her being in charge but I'm not risking this situation exploding any further.
No. 931558 ID: 317977
File 155666050838.png - (39.24KB , 800x600 , salq3-61.png )

I somehow arrive at the storage room, dimly lit, one crate of whatever goods the salazzarine talked about.

"Lay down on the crate," I say. "None of you appreciate my bedside manner when I try, so I will be swift and direct with my instructions."
Ekasarra quietly nods, lies down on the crate, and starts sobbing.

"I don't have time for this," I mutter to myself. "You shouldn't have interacted with this genetic wreck. Your kind is so quick to let inflamed emotion wreak utter havoc on your judgement. You're smarter than that as a species, I've seen it, and yet you will throw reason and rationale out the window at the very slightest opportunity. And then you injure yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and you recover and go and do it again. I used to wonder why neumono had such regeneration but the simple answer is your kind couldn't exist any other way!"

Ekasarra keeps sobbing throughout, and... just keeps nodding at the things I say. I'm not really expecting any specific reaction so much as venting at her, but I wasn't expecting her to have this reaction.

"He was different," she says, calming down only a little. "He wasn't a neumono. And I don't feel like one either. I thought we could be outcasts together and then it turns out... I don't even know! I thought I understood him! I did! And then he just... I don't..."

"I'm not here to listen to your relationship troubles. I'm here to check something about your biology."
I run the scan over her stomach again. "You really shouldn't have tried to breed with a creature like that."
Ekasarra's tears start to subside as she looks at me in fear. "Wh... what?"
"The kiter neumono microbiology is a constant ongoing battle between regenerative modified neumono tissue and forms of tissue I've never seen before, vaguely like fungal hyphae and nerve connections at the same time." I have seen it before, but not so smoothly integrated and expertly crafted. "And forms of tissue that I thought were mineral crystals until I saw them move." That I legit hadn't seen before. "The fact this is viable at all inside you suggests it's going to keep growing. I don't know what it will become but the risk to your own life is severely high. I suppose the fact your womb would keep it isolated from the rest of your body normally might provide some protection, but that would only delay the highly probable scenario of this... mass entering the rest of your body."
No. 931559 ID: 317977
File 155666052224.png - (89.97KB , 800x600 , salq3-62.png )

Ekasarra is silent.

"Now, I'm not sure what should be done here. It has to be removed from your body, absolutely, but we could possibly find some way to keep it gestating in a controlled environment. What do you think?"

Ekasarra states up at the ceiling.

"...take it out. Destroy it. Whatever it is. No one and nothing wants it anyway," she mutters half through angry tears. "I'm an idiot. No, actually don't remove it. I deserve whatever's coming to me for all of this. All of this is my fault."
"That's incredibly unwise and unhelpfully self-destructive--"
She smacks her fists to her sides. "What does anyone care?! No one does, no one has, no one will. Just let me get eaten alive by whatever stupid fucking mistakes I made. I give up. I'm done." She tears up again. "I'm done, Kitsiksu. I'm done. I'm a failure to my hive, I never truly belonged in my hive, I'm a failure as a rogue, I'm a failure as a neumono and I can't even try being something other than a neumono properly. I'm over it. I don't want to continue being this thing. Maybe letting some alien eat me from the inside is the best thing I could do for anyone right now."

I was not expecting complete resignation.

I... huh. I've not seen a neumono like this one before.
No. 931564 ID: 86eb65

Are you done yet?

Because no body gets to kill themselves until we are all safe.

You made a bad choice in a very stressful situation and will regret any choices you make right now later.

As you have given up for the moment I will make the choices. I will remove the "egg" growing inside of you and keep it in a well contained nutrient bath.

That way once you two idiot lovebirds realize your mistakes you will not be trying to stab me for doing exactly what you asked for.
No. 931565 ID: ad51b8

...I'm going to suggest to just leave her under observation right now. Just set something up to let you track the growth of the newborn and just let this one sit for now until emotions are cooler. As if you try to remove it I feel she will freak out and if she dies then EVERYONE is going to freak out. So let her lay down, calm down, and just have something watch whatever is growing inside her grow.

Maybe let her commander know that whatever is growing inside her might kill her, might not, decided to try and let people calm down and regain their full metal functions before asking what they want you to do with it and for now just have it under observations until more data can be retrieved and everyone has calmed the fuck down.

Oh and maybe go looking for an artificial womb to put it in incase they do have you take it out later.
No. 931567 ID: 0fae41

Rather than a slow and painful death, or a quick and hasty termination, either of which you'd likely grow to regret, just try and accelerate the process to the stage where the "egg" is out of her body as soon as possible. Can the medical supplies at this facility aid in immune response? Frequent trips to the healing bath are the best we can do probably. Oh, and rations. She's going to need extra rations to keep herself in top shape. So, food remains a high priority.
No. 931571 ID: ba56e6

"I wouldn't say 'no one.' Sisirri described you as oddly approachable. From a salikai to a neumono, that is high praise."
No. 931572 ID: e20bdf

Let her know that watching the uninterrupted development of this embryo would be far more informative. If she truly want to take this self destructive path we would be happy to monitor her development with minimal interference to diminish her suffering.
No. 931573 ID: afdebc

"...as your doctor I'm going to say you are not in the correct state of mind to be making decisions of this magnitude."

>I... huh. I've not seen a neumono like this one before.
Have you seen anyone else in a state like this? Your experience with intelligent beings generally is likely to be more useful than any experience you have with neumono specifically.
No. 931575 ID: 8eaf98

I'm thinking if it doesn't look like it is actively trying to spread it should be ok for now. just need to keep vigilant observation to make sure that doesn't change for the short term at least. Also suicide means locking in that failure and refusing to even attempt reform. Additionally you dying would make things worse, if you are going to die at least try to make that death have positive meaning. We don't need a alien baby right now, we need an adult with experience.
No. 931576 ID: 8d4593

For me to be able to study your body as this alien trainwreck takes over would advance my knowledge decades, centuries even.
But somehow I don't think your death would help our situation.
I still haven't wrapped my head around it. One impossible thing after another keeps happening.
There's some greater intelligence at work here. Some rhyme and reason as to why we specifically are all here.
We're all alive when we very well shouldn't be. All of us. Even that fetus there.
I can't make this easier for you, all I can do is keep you alive. Please. Let me do my work.
It's really all I can do...
No. 931581 ID: b1b4f3

That is an unacceptable decision. Tell her she has demonstrated the inability to decide for herself, so you are simply going to put it in artificial gestation until she has recovered mentally and emotionally enough to decide what to do with it. Do tell her that she has an unknown amount of time before it becomes conscious enough to be considered a person.

Personally I think the best thing we can do is treat it like it could explode into a horrible monster at any moment, until it shows signs of turning into a person-shaped thing. At that point we treat it like it will become a person, with all the dignity and ethics that entails. Compassion and understanding seem to work well in this facility, while aggression and paranoia do not.
No. 931585 ID: 977456

Well, it is... a useful study opportunity, potentially enlightening about the enemy technology, and maybe, just maybe, a boost to morale if it is viable. Explain this to her and ask for assistance constructing an artificial womb, quarantine, feint quarantine, backup quarantine, extraction procedure, projections of normal growth patterns, long term observation, and, if by some miracle it is both viable and not a pre-programmed saboteur/soldier/homicidal-maniac-bomb, a care-giver. Sisirri could help with automation...

And now I need Terrified Arkot Quest :(
No. 931586 ID: bcc41d

Stare at her in mute disbelief for a few seconds. Tell her you can leave the alien biotech within her womb, but there is no guarantee it will ever reach a viable state. Confirm that if she is sure she wants this.

If she confirms, tell her that you will do what you can. Whatever self-destructive Neumonic slump she's gotten herself into, barring a total disaster you will try to keep her alive, despite what she may wish. You will go on record that you did not recommend her to make this decision. Frankly, you may be overruled from letting her make the decision - but her life is hers to gamble and you will at least thoroughly study the process of how she lives or dies and how this 'child' grows. With any luck it will not be a waste of your time, this facility's resources and, ultimately, her being.

If she changes her mind, you will be open to perform surgery to remove the thing from her body any time, although at some point - you are not sure how soon - it will probably be too late.

Now, you'll probably have to figure out some way for the thing to 'stay' within her womb if it shows indications it won't. Careful applications of electronic stimuli? ... probably too tame, and may empower it for all you know. This IS Kiter biotech, so perhaps you should fight fire with fire. One of those paraspacial jammer biological things may be used or modified to create a barrier or line of separation between Ekasarra and her unborn. Like a proverbial electric fence or a cattle prod, applied whenever it tries reaching beyond where it shouldn't. At least you could verify whether it'll have some of the same superpowers as Lackey and thus be of that kind of danger, as well.

Hmh. You might need to do something to help out with the food situation, too. Dietary requirements should be high.
No. 931588 ID: c3d195

If it's going to turn into anything resembling a neumono mentally won't it need empathic contact? How are we going to wrangle that if we remove it.
No. 931598 ID: 2cc14c

>I... huh. I've not seen a neumono like this one before.
Actually, you have. Kan, right after Sisirri subdued him. Maybe it's related? Some empathy bleedover made it all worse?
Either way, >>931573 is right, Ekasarra is too unstable for this. Lekka is the only neumono that seems any sort of stable or sane right now, and you're not social enough to help. Perform the examination, and leave Ekasarra and "Junior" to Lekka. Though when you're done, you may wish to give Ekasarra an option if Lekka fails to help. Something along the lines of "If you see no value in your life at all, then endow it to me and Sissiri rather than waste it." It may stop her from... throwing away the life of a willing test subject.
No. 931604 ID: 2202fb

Tell her you are trying to care as much as you can, although you doubt that means much to her. If that (most likely) doesnt work, just sit and let her rant for a while whilst preventing her from leaving and self-harm. After that, maybe call in someone to help with the emotional side of things. You are no therapist and that is what she desperately needs.

You know, it may be safer to just remove her entire uterus. I assume it would regenerate as per neumono regeneration and this would ensure nothing is left behind. It should be fairly straightforward to keep the uterus alive via equipment and keep the embryo gestating inside.


A report should be written up for the leader neumono about the risks of roguish collapse. She needs to reassess things and objectively find a plan of action.

She should also have a long talk with Ekasarra.
No. 931616 ID: 395c02

... Almost wonder if we shouldn't get Lackey in here. If anyone is going to be able to keep Ekasarra from accidentally dying over this it'd be the guy with paraspacial abilities, and maybe some good old-fashioned emotional trauma of the sort he might get from knowing she's right back to wanting to off herself as a result of his actions might get him to be a little more useful to us.
No. 931626 ID: 91ee5f

Tell her to calm down. If necessary, slap her and tell her to snap out of it.

Then tell her that she’s not in a rational state of mind to be making these kinds of decisions and she should collect her thoughts before she acts on any of these decisions. Once she’s calmed down and she’s had time to think, that’s when she should make her decision.

And if she truly believes that she doesn’t belong with the other Neumono, then instead of throwing away her life, she should give it to you and Sisirri. Both of you could use an assistant that actually speaks, instead of talking in gibberish like the Arkots.
No. 931627 ID: 094652

"So you're a hated failure. Fine. I believe you. You're also here. In a mausoleum for immortals. Waging war against two galactic threats. Gestating what could either be our greatest ally or our complete doom. You're at the center of the greatest heroic ballad that the rest of your bratty, abusive hive is unworthy of witnessing, and you're just waiting to die.

That's just plain @#$%ing disgusting.

Comic book heroes may have biased ranks of superiority but what matters the most is that they're in the thick of the conflict, representing what they stand for. Nobody wants to read about 'Invincible Rock Guy', the unkillable paragon of rock arts who spends fifty issues standing motionless on a spiral-edge comet. But everyone wants to read about Trikk, the loser jerkface who somehow manages to get involved with a cosmic battle to preserve the multiverse.

You're at the center of the galaxy. If you're suffering because you were bullied by everyone, you can call everyone out right now, and they will hear you, and they will learn what horrible things they have done. Or else there will be another Ekasarra who is also abused by her hive. And another, and another, forever.

But if you want to be like that screaming @#$% who tried to shank me for his dead girlfriend, then go ahead."
No. 931629 ID: 54a4da

Yeah, pretty much that.
For both of them, their state of mind makes them unsuitable for irreversible decisions.
No. 931631 ID: 5ba090

I feel like some of the language here would be better served in a softer form, but I agree with the main point. This whole situation is frankly, pretty incredible and dangerous, and there's a not insignificant chance none of you make it out alive. She might be having a crisis with her identity, how she fits into society, okay. But there is no society here, its just you guys, doing as best you can to survive. She can fit into this group for the time being.
Okay i think im describing this badly but basically, i think she should focus on the immediate situation of being stuck on this planet and being in danger from Kiter empire. Those things can give her life meaning at least for bow, if she chooses to focus on them.
No. 931656 ID: f2320a

so ideas try to make a artifical womb to transplant the fetus in so it can grow without killing the mother
also stuff we must get out of the way we are all slowly starving so we need to make some kind of plant adapted to this soil to get a stable source of nutrients and material for experiments
No. 931659 ID: 2202fb

We could also grow meat. The neumonos could donate a small flesh sample to start if we cant find an alternate source.


It might be a good idea to ask the facility AI if there is a food source or food maker/replicator/spawner/creator of some sort here that we either dont know about or dont know how to operate. This place is pretty huge after all.
No. 931661 ID: 422cea

Ear farm.

Issue is we have frugivores.
No. 931663 ID: 2202fb

Was there a reason why we dont just try planting the seeds from the fruit? Do they not have seeds? Hell, the kiter and moth alien both found fruit, maybe they know where it came from. Maybe there is a tree we could transplant inside of the lab.
No. 931666 ID: f2320a

we must really ask them about the fruit
No. 931668 ID: 2202fb

We could also try growing the fruit the same way we would grow meat. It is just cellular replication after all.

One concern I have though is how we will get nutrients to grow it. I mean, we clearly have it in some form as we have been able to heal massive injuries, but idk if there is a finite supply. We should investigate the condition of our medical stores at some point. If supplies are a non-issue, then artificially growing sheets of fruit, fungus, and meat is probably the best way to go.
No. 931671 ID: 2202fb

Moved my last two posts to the dis thread.
No. 931674 ID: 2202fb

Another food option would be to investigate Kitsiksu's servitor tribe and see if we can cut a deal. They apparently have a hydroponic garden down there somewhere, and we have their literal god.
No. 931675 ID: 055cbc

Well, real issue is that growing meat from a larger organism requires more calories than you get from the meat. Ears are not a food source, they're an emergency ration, or protein conversion at best.
No. 931716 ID: 2202fb

no, not just farming the neumono, i mean cutting an ear off, and then having the cells grow in a lab. Your problem still stands, but in a lab, you can be more creative with where those calories come from.
No. 931731 ID: 978553

Write her a prescription for Neumono Lithium analogs. Industrial grade. Point out that Lekka and Lackey clearly care about her or they wouldn't be so angry. You don't get angry at things you don't care about. Also, tell the Salazzarine to get a big tub of that blue healing goo ready so we can build a uterine replicator, and call Lekka and Lackey on the phone out of empathy range. Reflect on the absurdity of failing as a rogue via internal monologue and thank God's or Quantum Phenomena for NOT giving Salikai an empathic give mind.
No. 931760 ID: a9af05

>Explaining eye tentacles
Are you aware of how phallic they look? Someone might get the wrong idea and think you put a bunch of dicks on your face.

>Of course, now we know there's other fungal strangeness on this world posing active hostilities, I should probably disclose this trick of mine before someone assumes I've been biologically compromised.
They'll also ask you to remove it because it's probably not safe.Then again, that might not be possible.

But, yeah, you should tell everyone about that before they tbink you've been taken over by the enemy and attempt to kill you. And I don't think Sisirri will be able to stop them from killing you, like she did last time.

>Emotional neumono
>What do?
Attempt calming her down by having sex with her!

...wait, where did that thought come from? You might be suffering from some brain damage from being in stasis.

>Become assistant to Sisirri and Kitsiksu
It would make sense for Kitsiksu to offer up that suggestion, since he doesn't know about Ekasarra's past, but I'm pretty sure she might not like that idea.
No. 931767 ID: fd2d31

Might wanna have a convo with Sisirri about giving Lekka official permission from Sisirri to treat Lackey as Lekka damn well pleases.
Him continuing to act like he does isn't helping the morale problem, but a high ranking military officer with almost nothing left to lose might be able to knock him sufficiently down some pegs until he'd act and be like a cooperative private grunt.

And a artificial womb would be ideal since that'd solve the problem of unknown thing potentially ruining a already mentally messed up neumono further, while still allowing scientific observation of its influence and impact, not to mention witnessing the end result.
No. 932107 ID: 4dc321

Tell her "I care because I choose to."

Then try to solve this thing. See if you can make Lackey help you protect her, if he's so fuckin' smart.
No. 932116 ID: 094652

"I've spent my entire life hunted by the same neumono that bullied you since childhood. You're the first one to look at me like a scientist and not as a target practice pinata stuffed with party drugs.

Lackey is mentally unstable because he's a week old and filled with voices in his head. You can't take his bipolar mood swings seriously, not until we manage to make him grow up."
No. 932257 ID: b96195

Thats actually really good. My vote here
No. 932275 ID: f2320a

Its completly true
No. 932276 ID: e20bdf

A bit out of character. I don't think Kitsiksu knows about every detail you mentioned. He wasn't even informed these neumonos were the ones hunting Sisirri.

If we are going with sympathetic we are not well informed enough to give good advice.
Instead of a strong statement we should go for a long conversation, asking questions and hearing her reason. This way Kitsiksu can learn the necessary information for such declarations and show interest in her problems.
No. 932277 ID: 7ac36b

That's something Sisirri would say, not Kikitsu.
No. 932351 ID: ba56e6

No. 933886 ID: 972422

Our first priority is still to demonstrate our effectiveness as a medical practitioner. Tending to our patient's mental and physical health will be helpful to the group and encourage further cooperation in the future. Studying the hybrid's growth could prove interesting, but allowing it to grow unchecked poses numerous risks for no significant gain. We shouldn't leave it in, but we also shouldn't remove it without Ekasarra's consent; operating on someone without permission would make us appear extremely unethical and untrustworthy, and I doubt that the context would make us look any better.

Therefore, we should help Ekasarra work through her emotional issues.

Currently, she seems to be suffering from a guilt complex and a lack of personal identity. She feels as if she has no context with which to define herself and no one to connect to. She wants to be helpful, but feels as if she cannot, as her past failures have severely diminished her sense of self-worth. I recommend giving her something else to focus on; if she accepts her good decisions as well as her bad ones, it will help her feel as if she's worth saving and form a more positive self-image. However, we know little about her history or personality; to properly help her, we should converse with her to gather information.

"I don't have the full context for your situation, but I find that hard to believe. Do you honestly think that nothing you've done here has been helpful to anyone at all?"

The things we've seen so far imply that she and Sisirri have at least a slight amount of mutual trust and respect of some sort. If we can identify and build on whatever incident caused that, it would not only help Ekasarra reach a more stable mental state, it may also make her more likely to work with us in the future as well.
No. 948792 ID: cfc58e
File 157299652224.png - (37.00KB , 800x600 , salq3-63.png )

A psychologist I am emphatically not. I wonder what happened to Su'ab.

>like Kan
I suppose I am surrounded by astonishingly broken neumono. Fantastic.

>phallic eye tentacles
Whatever. Let other people think what they want, that's not what salikai genitals look like and that's the only opinion I truly care about.

>defer action
"You are in no frame of mind to decide either way. I will decide for you. Until a proper surrogate environment is ready, you'll carry it with constant observation so that the moment anything goes wrong we can properly intervene. I don't have much in the way of tools and equipment I'm familiar with so I'll have to improvise."

I strap the scanner to Ekasarra's stomach and keep hold of the scanner screen.

"...I'm going to talk to Tirzi and Sisirri about a better solution." This system is unworkable, it's too bulky and it'll probably just fall off of her if she doesn't just take it off first. "For now, this is all I can do with the tools I have available."
"Whatever," she mumbles quietly.
"Also, now is not the time for crises of identity. This is a survival situation. You do not have permission to die until we are in safer circumstances. If you have no value for your life then I am going to claim your life for my own. I've been in need of a proper assistant ever since my bioservitors went missing. Stand up."
"You heard me. Up. You have no value to yourself, so I am giving you a new identity. On your feet, before I pull you off the container and prop you up."
"I don't-- what? You can't just start giving me orders, who the hell do you think you are you heartless bastard--"
I clack several of my claws at her. "Less talking, more action. First, make sure that scanner is tied tighter around you. It can't be allowed to fall off, it might break, and I didn't bring any money to replace it. Now. You evidently have no issue with pouring your heart out to a salikai so you do not fear them, correct? Sisirri said you were 'oddly agreeable' in her words, which suggests you two have interacted before on more than the barest surface level for her to have come to that as a conclusion. Did you take orders from Sisirri?"
"No! No, Sisirri just... she was willing to treat me like a person! Not like any other salikai I've known!"
"How many other salikai have you known?"
"Hidira, but-- what are you doing?! What are you trying to prove?!"
"Did you take orders from Hidira?" Hm, name sounds oddly familiar. Not sure where I've heard it before.
"I don't have to answer your questions!"
"As my new assistant, you do. Did you take orders from a salikai before?"
"Yes! Yes, what does it matter?! What does it mean?! All it earned me was a place as a traitor to my hive!"
"Then I cite prior experience as further reason to employ you. Do you disagree? Walk away now. I'm offering you purpose for the immediate present. If you cannot figure out what to do with yourself, I can easily think of a few things."

Ekasarra stands up, making sure the scanner is kept on her. She doesn't look happy.
No. 948793 ID: cfc58e
File 157299654130.png - (66.62KB , 800x600 , salq3-64.png )

I tower over her, claws closed and to my sides. A synchronised clack of my claws, pair by pair, running from tail to head, punctuates my stance.

"Listen, neumono. You are more useful alive than dead, and I do not have the time nor the ability to mend your deeper psychological injuries. I can, as the closest thing to a doctor other than Tirzi in this entire wretched complex, grant you purpose. I can offer you that much. Not out of compassion, not out of sympathy, not out of pity, but because if there's one thing I cannot stand, it's useful assets going to waste for foolish reasons. And if there is anything I know about Sisirri, she does not have the patience for useless fools, and would never describe them as 'agreeable'. Do we have an understanding?"

Ekasarra glares at me, and I meet her intense stare.
She eventually breaks away, uncomfortable, staring into the wall. "...fine. Fine. Just don't... just don't do anything to any neumono."
"I'm already doing things to you, and I have plans to do further things to you for the sake of your own health. I would be in breach of that agreement before I even said yes."
"Nothing harmful, then!"
"I had no such intention." False, but it's seeming less and less like I'll have to arrange the collective demise of every neumono here if they're this easily persuaded.
"What now, then? Am I still going to die with this... weird, horrible alien spawn in me?"
"No, I will not allow that to occur. But your first standing order is stay with me so I can observe you."
"I was... I was already doing that," she mumbles.
"Your next order is to take me to a different biolaboratory than the one we came out of. I suspect if I return to the improvised medbay, with you in tow as my new assistant, reception of this new arrangement will be less than pleasant. Questions will be asked, accusations made. I can't do anything for you in this supply closet. Even if this other laboratory Tirzi mentioned houses Sisirri's arkots, they will quickly defer to the will of a salikai. Do you know where it is?"
"I've been there before, yes."
"Lead me, assistant."
No. 948794 ID: cfc58e
File 157299655276.png - (16.97KB , 800x600 , salq3-65.png )

I walk into a room of arkots milling about, being their usual idiotic selves.

One of them wearing some strange sash made of ripped up fabric sheets braided together sees me and races over to me, babbling that the boss just left to sort out the food.

I have no idea why this odd pale blue arkot is trying to tell me, so I wave it away. It turns away and starts yelling at the other arkots to clear a path.

Not really what I needed or expected from arkots in the slightest. Usually they'd just ignore me or go back to standing orders if I said nothing. I scan the room for medical equipment and see it all shoved more or less into a corner, and lead Ekasarra there. A couple arkots follow me, confused. They probably think I'm Sisirri. Arkots never were very good at telling salikai apart.

"Now," I say to Ekasarra. "Do you know if any of these devices can record data?"
"There's an interface slate over there, I think. If you don't have a system login I can use mine."
"Excellent. Use yours and start recording these readings."
"...are you asking me to record my own vital signs? Isn't that going to affect them?"
"What, do you have a deep understanding of your own biology to that extent?"
"I have a deep understanding of neumono vital signs and what they should look like and what they absolutely shouldn't look like," she says.
"I didn't know you had this kind of training."
"You didn't ask me what I did for Hidira."
"True. Well, I'm promoting you to assistant nurse." Did Tirzi ever get told this? Whatever, I'll let her know later. "Let me just... agh, I have no idea how to work this thing beyond its intended use. Just... take this and record what it says. If it does disturb you it'll wear off."
"I'm ready to admit I'm not in the most stable state right now," says Ekasarra, breathing deeply. "I don't think I can do this."
"It's just figures. Transcribe them as though you were taking readings on a power network. While you're doing that I need to search for better tools." Mostly identify what these things do.

Well, this is going to be a lot of idle busy work, but at least I'm free from distractions-- Wait. What even is this contraption? So many tubes and protuberances...
No. 948795 ID: cfc58e
File 157299657497.png - (9.40KB , 800x600 , salq3-66.png )

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

I've found out this place has more than one floor. It has a lot of floors. I told Saba to take over the task of making sure they don't all kill each other downstairs and to get Sitkva to help her defuse tensions. Also help out Tirzi before she dies from stress. I don't know what Kitsiksu is up to but he can handle himself.

I found a spacious, unoccupied bedroom, so this is my room now. First order of business was changing the locks, closing the door, and sealing myself from the increasing pandemonium out there.

It's been so long since I've had any time I've felt I could rest, so I've come to the conclusion that there is never going to be a quiet time. So here I am. I'm going to make one.

I'm too drained by it all to fear or dread the consequences anymore.

The room has a bed, large enough for me if not a little larger, a desk, and a big screen surface covering most of the wall. Also a small humming cuboid on the desk with a hinge.

Finally I can be alone with my thoughts.
No. 948796 ID: cfc58e
File 157299658551.png - (14.38KB , 800x600 , salq3-67.png )


Okay, maybe being alone with my thoughts is probably not a great thing. Introspection doesn't work well for me.

I look down at myself. Despite everything I don't seem that damaged. I almost look healthy.

But the dull aches and twinges tell a different story. I can't survive abuse like this forever. I wonder if my mother was drawn to cybernetics just because she was getting older and watching herself get more brittle.

I look down at my tail bulb. Outside, fine. Inside, thanks to a mishap involving a leak, a clumsy arkot and a hydraulic press... I guess I'm lucky that incident didn't kill me. Just... closed off some roads, I suppose. I'm not very sure Kitsiksu can back up his lofty claims.

My mother went insane, Ekasarra was utterly miserable with her cybernetics.

But all I can see right now when I look at myself is... vulnerable tissue, a bubble of warmth threatening to pop and end at any moment, and it's horrifying.

Is there another path that isn't embracing decay or slicing parts of myself away until nothing remains? There isn't, is there. Not even the civilisation that built this place could get past that limitation.
Everything ends, and that's just physics, let alone biology.

When does life itself end, I wonder.
No. 948798 ID: 0fae41

Go distract yourself from your own biology with Saba's. Or Sitkva's.
No. 948799 ID: 8d4593

>When does life itself end, I wonder.

Even after the stars all burn away, a few desperate civilisations will be found clinging to ancient singularities.

It probably won't be until nothing remains at all in the universe that life truly ends.

Perhaps life itself is the universe.
Which would mean you are the universe.
Or at least a part of it.
For whatever that's worth.
No. 948801 ID: 86eb65

Getting old sucks for everyone. You should ask your new alien friends if they have any sweet immortality medicine yet.

Not the creepy alien friends mind you.
No. 948803 ID: b1b4f3

Regular old fleshy immortality is theoretically possible. It involves maintenance at the cellular level using nanomachines and possibly stem cells. You wouldn't even need constant upkeep, just regular treatments.
You could also replace parts with biological prosthetics. Clone bits of yourself, or make advanced biotech akin to cybernetics but with less maintenance required.

If your abdomen bothers you, ask Kitsiksu to fix it, since he said he can.
No. 948806 ID: ad51b8

>When does life itself end, I wonder.
when something else comes along to replace it.

So how long of a nap do you think you can slip in before someone comes to you with some problem that for some reason only you can seem to fix? I give it 2 hours max.
No. 948813 ID: 977456

The biggest hurdle to immortality is probability. As duration approaches infinity, the opportunity for all events approaches infinity, except that the first permanently lethal one is, well, permanently lethal, and thus cuts down on the competition. Aside from that though, cybernetics doesn't offer much, what you want is durability against external stresses, which cybernetics looks good against but has a nasty habit of introducing new vulnerabilities, and internal degradation, which means maintenance, and biology is typically better at self-maintenance than machinery, and external maintenance tends to be prone to unavailability. You want some sort of rejuvenation treatment.
No. 948815 ID: 8d4593

A cybernetic implementation of that alien healing gel could potentially be explored. Even if it's efficiency was significantly reduced it could still potentially prevent aging and moderate injuries from leaving permanent damage.
No. 948816 ID: a9af05

How the hell did you accidentally get your ass stuck in a hydraulic press?!

I've got nothing to offer on the whole immortality thing.

But I've gotta say that it's pretty impressive that you managed to make a friend with a Neumono, your species' hated enemy! It also helped that Ekasarra was willing to treat you like a person instead of a psychopathic monster your species is known for being.

If anything, I'd call that a victory.
No. 948818 ID: 10c408

When does life end? Depends on how you define life exactly. If we're talking chemical/physical than life is just a dense and complex mass of neurological tissue compelling a meat puppet shell around via a widespread system of neurons interlaced throughout the whole assembly.

Philosophically (and probably morally as well), life ends when either the subject of the question is terminated in some form (whether through violence, entropy or cessation of existence) or that the subject is clinically afflicted with any number of psychological problems.

If you are thinking of some form of super long term immortality to stave off death by entroy via aging, then very careful cloning might be the way to go? Theoretically speaking, and ignoring how many security problems this would entail, being able to transfer your personality and the latest instance of your memories from one body to the next clone in sequence via stored clones (with some very specific upgrades via cybernetic enhancements to the brain) would probably be the best and least expensive way to stay alive until the heat death of the universe.
No. 948833 ID: 91ee5f

>Okay, maybe being alone with my thoughts is probably not a great thing. Introspection doesn't work well for me.
Maybe it would help if you talked with someone and get those thoughts out of your head? Perhaps Ekasarra would be willing to listen to you ramble for a little bit?

>But the dull aches and twinges tell a different story. I can't survive abuse like this forever.
Funny how risking your life to save someone else does that to you, huh? At least you’ve proven to everyone that your not a heartless monster like the Neumono seem to think you are.

At this point, Ekasarra is pretty much Sisirri’s ESN (Emotional Support Neumono).
No. 948844 ID: 094652

Life is a series of processes that are subject to minute changes. It stops when the balance between the stability of processes and the evolution of changes gets so out of whack that the end result can no longer revert any changes.

Imperium found a way to survive, but far too well, past the point of living; he's a collection of near-fully preserved processes that can barely evolve any further. Now you just need to top him somehow. You have all the tools of a dead civilization at their zenith for your own living pleasure.

You need to deal with Lackey's bipolar disorder, it dealt enough damage to Ekasarra already. Talk to him and see if he's feeling the angst from racially insulting his mate yet.
No. 948845 ID: 977456

>>948816 Arkots were involved. I would not be surprised if the press was travelling at a significant speed at the time.

>>948818 Any process that can result in two individuals, and those individuals can differentiate themselves, then you have two different people, who cannot be the same person, and thus any copy is just that, a copy. This is great if your goal is presence. The Great Leader's clones can keep The Empire led greatly, so it works for that. Persistence though, that is lost. If Death gunned down Jimmy's whole family and Jimmy swore to never let Death beat him? Original Jimmy'll kick it, wake up as a ghost, and see that Death'll be laughing. I feel that Sissiri is in the "don't die" camp rather than the "The idiots couldn't do nuthin' without me" camp. So copies are out.

>>948833 Yes, make a note to talk to Eka about your existential crisis. Actually, this base can an internal comms system, right?
No. 948848 ID: 83bf07

When you give up, of course.
No. 948851 ID: 7ebbf9

You just have to cherish what you have while you have it.
No. 948864 ID: 10c408

I said 'very careful' cloning. Depending on how long it takes to grow a new clone, they would either have to be grown from scratch (fast) or stored and inactive until use (slow).

That way there wouldn't be a bunch of copies running around making their own memories. (ideally, schlock mercenary cloning would be the best but that might not be feasible)
No. 948873 ID: 18e3d4

Considering the perfect immortality of th