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File 163054550438.png - (122.48KB , 1000x1000 , 495.png )
1009279 No. 1009279 ID: 5fc3a0

6 Months Later

33-67. The first of the preliminary polls came in, and people who want to stay in town outnumber us nearly an exact two to one.
377 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1080528 ID: 8f9bc4

You know a lot about memories, but not a lot about dimensional physics. What happens when it's too late? It would mean disaster for yourself, but what is the danger of an active subdimension to the Phenocosm? What are the stakes here, if you fail?
>>
No. 1080880 ID: ce93a7
File 170511556540.png - (311.47KB , 1200x1200 , 617.png )
1080880

"Your hair is as soft as ever." I hug him. Even if I wasn't going into an unknown place, I don't know when I'll see him next.
>"I'm glad you recognize my efforts. But I am on the clock, here, so you'll have to enjoy my fluff while I carry you to the port to show you your new ship and radio. Tell me what else you need."
"My needs, hm...." I lean in and whisper into his ears. "Money."
>"Money? Haha, you must not have had your outer memories excised recently if you're aware of such extraneous concepts! That is just as well, the candid memories of agents we have on Klivania will do you well. But to answer your request, you will have a zipbox, which is a special sort of chip they use on Klivania to transfer money from a bank account to whatever you put a chip inside. They even use physical coins down there! You will receive a good purse for handling them."
"Good, good. You know, I've gotten as many memories of Pillet as we have, but it just isn't much. I could use some information and tricks to help back it up."
>"Very well, I will arrange for a few memories of on the job agent training. They'll show you the basics. Beyond that, you'll be going in as blind as we are. Paporron's team is a mystery. Even his message to Pillet was vague, but you can ask your first planetary contact about that. Thankfully, you are a memory artificer who's been missing for centuries, and have perfectly plausible reason to have had many of your memories wiped. He has no reason to assume you know what you once did."
"Is that truly the best I'll have? I received all we had on Pillet and her memories, and it was so scarce I would expect Paporron to be incredulous that I made it to him while remembering so little."
>"To be honest with you, I fully believe Pillet has more intact memories. I will be pressing the Phenocosm to supply more about Pillet, but it may be months before I can fill out that vault. I do agree you should have more. But for the time, we have ran this scenario through our encephalon matrix. It has great faith in your success. Remember, they must desperately want a memory artificer. They will take your word in good faith, and any excuses you may have, such as amnesia. If they weren't desperate, I doubt they would be letting you in in the first place."
"And if I fail? What are the consequences of if the active subdimension is sealed off for good?"
>"Who could say? When so many highly skilled, dangerous people of dubious goals are tucked away in a hole in the universe the Phenocosm has yet to find a way into, the potential ramifications are great."
>>
No. 1080881 ID: ce93a7
File 170511557549.png - (192.86KB , 1200x1200 , 618.png )
1080881

I at least know that Paporron had a soft spot for Pillet. In many ways, he was as sheltered as I am, as all soul seers and memory artificers are. The two schools are closely related, but also worlds apart in practice.

Soul seeing is the closest school I feel we have to outright magic. They do X to cause Y, and yet they have no idea what happens between. It's full of rituals, with soul seers running off gut feelings, superstitions and instinct. It is called soul seeing because they are incapable, I believe by design, of damaging a soul. They can see it, pass messages through it as I believe Paporron did some form of this to contact Pillet, hide a soul, bury it, keep it from the afterlife, but the soul itself cannot be harmed.

Artificing, on the other hand, is the full science of what makes a person a person, physically speaking. More terrifyingly, this makes our power over memories, and how the brain shapes itself around those memories, far more absolute. To destroy a person beyond their flesh is still only in the realm of memory artificers. This is why we are so closely guarded, monitored, and our energy levels are kept at an absolute minimum to avoid being able to brute force our way into anyone's head. To do so is sin of the highest order.

That is why I can only imagine there is more at stake than a simple hole in the universe to send someone like me, who has never known privacy, so quickly behind enemy lines.

"So we don't know anything about their group? Do we know anything about this sub-dimension they're building?"
>"They will have a spatial worker that bends physical space, a sealer to seal it off from the rest of the universe, most likely they'll have a fleshcrafter or two to grant themselves immortality of the flesh... not even I know what else is needed. The phenocosm has been attempting to stamp out that knowledge for as long as I can remember, and yet here we are. The details are things you will have to retrieve for us."
"Is that so? I know very little about the Phenocosm, by the way."
>"And I have little clearance and even less time to tell you all that I know, but at the broadest level, we are the rightful rulers of the universe. A lofty statement, I know! But it is true, and with it comes with a great many enemies. We do not judge their character. On the contrary, we appreciate their existence. For without ones like Paporron and his team, our blades would grow dull, and our laurels would wither, and I would be out of a job. It is with gratitude that we hunt them, and with honor we send them to the same afterlife our own citizens earn. And here is your ship, Memory Artificer... Pillet."
"A cargo ship?" It's towering over all of the phenocosm flying habitats like a rust heap.
>"Ha! No. This is how Klivanians build passenger ships."
"How spacious. Thank you, Upper Admiral Shuzenza. How will I report back?"
>"An instant transmission radio is left inside. The other things you requested are also inside. Now, go with my love."
"And be here with mine."
>>
No. 1080885 ID: ce93a7
File 170511569752.png - (70.43KB , 1200x1200 , 619.png )
1080885

It's not spacious at all. Is the hull 2 feet thick? It's not a combat ship, but it seems desperate to keep air in with material alone. Is there no energy seal? Do Klivanians not know how to breathe in space?

>"Hello, I'm your on-board pilot. There is a pending route charted for Klivania. Shall I begin navigation?"
"Please."

I get to studying. There is this 'zipbox' chip as well as a cell phone, with directions on how to use both.

As said, there's also a coin bank under the dashboard that can be exchanged for plenty of goods and services.
>>
No. 1080886 ID: ce93a7
File 170511575669.png - (256.87KB , 1200x1200 , 620.png )
1080886

As we take off and leave Shuzenza's flagship, the pilot tells me to review a package left for me. It contains that instant transmission radio, and directions for me to land on Klivania and speak with my first contact that will guide me to Paporron.

There are also a small handful of memories that have been prepared for me involving some agents running through the basics of spy work, such as code phrases. There are also some things like how to drive, first aid, and other useful bits. Just absorbing the memories isn't the same as personalized experience, but they do make for good training guides.

There are some more non critical documents, telling me about things like Klivanian busses and scooters. There's also some small notebooks that talk about the system and its geographical features, laws and traditions. I don't think I'm going to need to know much here; I'm not pretending to be a native.

It seems that Klivania is a lost solar system, likely inhabited by a rogue ark many thousands of years ago. That explains why its technology is so old. I'm told that my mission depends on not revealing any high tech items. It is unknown what the reaction would be on Klivania, but these documents tell me that most Klivanians are not even aware of the phenocosm's existence. To them, we're aliens. If they find abnormally high tech, the implications from their perspective may cause chaos. Worse still is that when word gets out, the subdimensional constructors will realize the phenocosm has discovered the planet, and that they are in grave danger.
>>
No. 1080887 ID: ce93a7
File 170511577254.png - (331.97KB , 1200x1200 , 621.png )
1080887

That's why this ship appears so low tech, as Klivanian ships aren't even capable of FTL. This ship has no anti-grav drives, energy sealants, non-heating thusters, food replicators... I'm glad it has an on board pilot, at least.

Klivania does scan for objects around planets, though, and that's why my pilot will warp an hour or two away from Klivania and travel the rest of the way using much more modest speeds.

The FTL drive installed is reported to be impossible to find using Klivanian scanners, and they aren't in the habit of invasive investigations. But should the FTL compartment be physically opened, apparently the drive is set to incinerate itself as to prevent its discovery.

The pamphlet continues talking about the system as a whole. Apparently there are only three present planets and a sun that has been dead for eons. The closest planet to the sun is Klivania itself. The middle planet is Doss. It contains signs that it used to be 4 different planets that all had overlapping orbits and crashed into one another, fusing into Doss. It's a resource rich planet that has no native atmosphere or natural habitable elements.

Finally, the outermost planet is Threeshell. Interestingly, evidence makes us think it used to orbit another star entirely, then was knocked off course for who knows how long before stabilizing around this sun. This might have something to do with how it used to be a gas giant, but is now a crystallized hunk of complex rock and ice that, though smaller in volume than Doss, is dense enough to make it the heaviest planet in this system.

And farther out from Threeshell is where Admiral Shuzenza and his two lower fleets have formed a cloudy shell around the Klivanian system. They are keeping themselves hidden with a mix of cloaking equipment and hiding behind the natural bits of space debris that slowly float around the outer regions of the solar system.

I can try my regular radio once I land. For now, I test my instant transmission radio instead, and make contact with Shuzenza's flagship, Heaven's Jurisdiction. Their communicators reply and confirm it works. Like the ship, this radio exterior is made to look like a regular Klivanian radio, but with a modification inside for instant transmission. This allows instantly being able to talk with anyone with an appropriate receiver anywhere within a solar system's range. And just like the ship, it will explode if its instant transmission module is tampered with. Its note tells me it's best not to open the radio if possible.

And finally, a cellphone, completely Klivanian. No Phenocosm tech here, just a plain talking device with the range of a single planet, infrastructure willing.
>>
No. 1080888 ID: ce93a7
File 170511578482.png - (755.82KB , 1200x1200 , 622.png )
1080888

After I warp and spend an hour reviewing these documents, I can see Klivania clearly. I review my orders for how to approach this. It's been awhile since I've seen another planet outwardly like this.

The planet is surrounded by a set of lamps that are set to rotate slightly faster than the planet itself. This keeps the planet lit up in a stereotypical day-night cycle, and although it supplies some heat as well, my pamphlet tells me that most of the planet's heat is from its slow burning core.

To the side of the planet Klivania, I think I'm seeing a star or two in the distance die down. There's a conspicuous black splotch where stars are missing. Remembering the pamphlet's descriptions of the system, that must be Klivania's cold, dead sun.

So far I've learned concerningly little about my mission or what I'm to do. I simply have to trust that our flagship's brain matrix is correct about me needing to know so little going in. Or perhaps this is a desperate measure, and my chances of success are actually low? If they force information out of me, it's best that I know as little as possible. But... no, it's not my place to second guess my superiors.
>>
No. 1080889 ID: ce93a7
File 170511579408.png - (436.59KB , 1200x1200 , 623.png )
1080889

I enter the atmosphere.

"Ellie to Space Port VSI, requesting space to land." A cover name just for the space port, apparently. I shouldn't be using the name Pillet so freely, even in such a backwater place.
>"VSI to Ellie, granted. Land on Bay 30."
"Landing on bay 30."

The ship lands using a mix of gimbal thrusters to slow its speeds down so that it uses a small stretch of runway. I guess without any wind dampeners, the gimbal thrusters just wouldn't be safe to use right next to the ground crew. I have to admit, it was still a very smooth landing.
>>
No. 1080890 ID: ce93a7
File 170511580487.png - (139.34KB , 1200x1200 , 624.png )
1080890

My instructions weren't long, and it just ends here telling me to make a phone call and introduce myself. I use my low tech cell phone and look through the contacts. I notice a lot are password protected, so I input that and see several additional contacts after a warning screen asks me to make sure no one can see my screen.

I find 'Spokesperson Varther' as directed, the elected official to speak for a large region of the planet. He'l be my primary contact outside of Paporron. He's the Phenocosm plant who rose through the ranks of Klivania. I call.

>"Who is speaking?"
"Memory Artificer Pillet."
>"Ahhh 'kay, about Paporron."
"Can you tell me about how exactly he sent a message to me?"
>"Oh, yeah, he had to do it through me because I supplied some materials for him. I don't really get how he did it, something about souls being everywhere and nowhere, and if you can tell a soul something, you can send it anywhere instantly.... the details are beyond me, all I know is it was like the metaphysical equivalent of Paporron dropping something off in a shady alleyway. Anyway, Paporron's accomplices are careful, but I pulled in a lot of favors to get you a direct route inside. You'll get a single chance to show up. Let's see, you'll want to arrive at an old trolley station at 2 PM on the dot, meeting a man named Hart... ah, here we go."

He reads off an address and a code phrase to make contact with Hart.

>"He'll take you the rest of the way. Don't ask questions, do as you're told. The messages I got made it sound like if you generate the slightest hiccup in the process, the whole thing will be called off. Could be total bullshit, I know how that goes. But it could be true. These guys are up to something above my paygrade, and I don't want to know about it. It sounds like the kind where people go in and never leave. But I've got more pullable strings, and I'll find an out for you. Could take weeks or months. If you need to get out sooner, you'll have to figure that out on your own."
"Okay, thank you."
>"If you've got questions, call me again.

I can't think of anything right now, so I hang up.
>>
No. 1080891 ID: ce93a7
File 170511582141.png - (74.01KB , 1200x1200 , 625.png )
1080891

I take my belongings and leave. No one seems to mind me, so I keep walking. The cell phone manual has directions on how to look up addresses, and it looks like there are bus lines that will bring me there. ETA 2.5 hours of travel, and it's in... over four hours.

It might not be as hard as I thought. There are signs everywhere. On Shuzenza's ship, everyone is expected to have the labyrinthian place memorized, I think intentionally in case it's ever boarded by an enemy.

This is the first time I haven't been under surveillance since... some time shortly after my birth, I think. It's kind of scary.

The idea that no one's watching me, or watching out for me. No one's telling me to keep my neck straight. Anything can happen. I wonder if Pillet felt this way, too? Although I don't think she was always a memory artificer, so she may have felt strange entering constant surveillance.

It seems like I have a couple of hours of spare time, and there's a lot of entertainment areas in this spaceport. Is that a casino? Gambling? That's illogical. A public library? For the public? Wait, that smell...

Oooh, a bakery? They just sell treats? No permits required? People just... buy them? It smells really good. I don't know if the trolley station at my destination will have such amenities. Perhaps I can kill some time here and see how people behave when they aren't watched by an ever vigilant encephalon matrix.
>>
No. 1080898 ID: d1bdfe

>>1080891
Baked goods sound good. But make sure not to go crazy over them. Much.

Maybe browse your phone for news too? People don’t always get knowledge beamed into their brains. Or you could check out that library, look at a history book or something. Curious about what the locals know about how their system and how it came to be.

Plenty of possible distractions. So many you should probably put a reminder timer on so you don’t miss the meet.

…maybe you COULD miss the meet on purpose. Get to experience this world a little more., build your Pillet personality. If they’re so desperate for you they won’t give up recruiting you immediately. And you have a possible excuse if you say you must’ve memory shaped so that the meet-up didn’t seem like a critical thing - for reasons you can’t recall.
>>
No. 1080900 ID: 273c18

>>1080881
>our energy levels are kept at an absolute minimum to avoid being able to brute force our way into anyone's head. To do so is sin of the highest order.
Oh dear! And present-day "Pillet" can do that now. ...and might be why she wanted power so much.

>Do Klivanians not know how to breathe in space?
Well, that's certainly an interesting concept. Breathing in vacuum.
...also boy is the tech level high out there. We've got catching up to do. Though, it might be a lost cause. Also, the existence of energy dampener specialists means there could be a bunch of them right outside the pocket dimension, which means it'll be very difficult to fight; especially since the tech level we have in here is inferior. We won't be able to bolster our forces that much with equipment unless it's a comparable tech level to what's out there. This is honestly the most valuable information yet. We have an actual TARGET for how strong we need to be to stand a fighting chance. Though, also, since "Pillet" was sent in as a spy, and was married to someone quite high rank, she might be able to negotiate a peaceful exodus as well.

>>1080891
Bakery is low risk, and you need to see how people behave around here so you can fit in. Get ye treats.
>>
No. 1080902 ID: 53560f

Make small talk with people while you’re lined up for baked treats and make sure to ask for recommendations.
>>
No. 1080907 ID: df45e0

Hmm sorta wondering if that Threeshell planet is part of the reason the rebels are doing this here. Wonder if it has any old secrets worth making this the location of a new sub-dimension?

Go get a snack at the bakery! What sort of permits would you normally need for this sort of thing? And why would a public library be odd?
>>
No. 1080909 ID: df45e0

Hmmm a thought for you. Pillet is dead correct? Or at least that is what is claimed. If she was killed was it by the government for her crimes when they found this mess? A secret trial perhaps?

If she is dead has she gone off to a "better" place or is she in a jar somewhere on the governments shelf? Maybe several jars if one is the soul and many others her hidden memory copies. The afterlife appears to be known and souls able to be quantified so... how sure are we she is off the playing field?
>>
No. 1080910 ID: d1bdfe

>>1080909
Bah. Can’t be thinking like that or before we know it we’ll be suspecting we ARE the real Pillet, thinking we’re Pillet’s sister, made this way because memory manipulators are too useful to kill and/or because we needed like, Inception levels of memory meddling tiers to get past the vetting process here - needing to actually be the real Pillet (cuz, say, soul stuff we don’t understand), but not have her loyalties.

Hm. We can manipulate our own memory right? Maybe having a low-level belief we actually are some version of Pillet would be useful for the cover. Since we possess some of her actual memories it wouldn’t even be altogether untrue, just a matter of bringing those personality traits more to the fore, and hide away the actual memories for a bit. Not something needed to commit to right away though.
>>
No. 1080917 ID: cbe5b1

>>1080910
We're going to have to do whatever we can to put this stuff to the test anyway, the moment memory manipulation existed and these memories got handed to us from someone else it became impossible to trust any of it.
>>
No. 1080920 ID: 8f9bc4

Ooh, a library? A bakery? Did Pillet like bakeries? She seems more the type who would like bars. Is there a bar? A place of ill-repute? Where you can purchase substances that fog your mind, and loosen your inhibitions?

Wait no I'm talking about the bakery again. What distinguishes a bar from a bakery?
>>
No. 1080923 ID: debc82

>>1080891

Baked goods best goods.

But heck, yes, let's spend a bit of time familiarizing ourselves. Don't want to seem like we've never been here before, after all!
>>
No. 1080926 ID: ce93a7
File 170518487461.png - (46.03KB , 1200x1200 , 626.png )
1080926

I'd better spend a little time familiarizing myself with the local culture, and the best way is to get some experience in a safe environment. I walk into the back of the line and wait.

I can see from my surroundings that making small talk is common here. Usually the only people who speak to me have clearance to do so, or because it's an emergency. For the same reasons, I don't talk to others unless I have reason to. But I am pretending to be a normal, everyday citizen.

"Hello!" I say to the man ahead of me, who turns around.
>"Hi, yeah?"
"Hello, I'm just saying hi. I'm - Ellie."
>"... Okay. I'm Buks. I'm married."
"I'm happy to hear that."
>"Not like it's that good of a marriage."
"Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that."
>"It's still a marriage, so I'm going to turn order my cinnamon rolls now."
"Alright!"

What an unusual conversation!
>>
No. 1080927 ID: ce93a7
File 170518489045.png - (36.92KB , 1200x1200 , 627.png )
1080927

I patiently wait for him to finish ordering and carefully watch him pay. It looks like he's using chips. Which is confusingly named. Chips are both coins as well as what the zipbox is. Klivania also can refer to the planet, the system, and I think even the star. It's truly a confusing, retro culture.

Buks gives me a strange look and quickly walks away, and that means I go up to the counter now.

"Hello!"
>"Hi, miss."
"...."
>"Can I get you something?"
"Yes! What do you recommend?"
>"I uh...." He looks at the food. "Don't... know. I haven't really had anything from here yet."
"What? I don't mean this poorly, but isn't it a bad sign that you won't even eat your own food?"
>"Well, it's not mine."
"Huh?"
>"Miss, I just make the - I mean, no. I don't make the food. I just sell the food. The menu's up there, if you want anything."

Hmmm. The first thing on the menu is usually the safest option on Heaven's Jurisdiction, so I'll go with that.

"One chocolate dough nut, please."
>"Alright. Just one?"
"Am I allowed to get more?"
>"I - think? Yes? I... hold on. Yes. I'm sorry, it's my first day. I wasn't ready for that question, you can get as many as you want."
"As many as I want?!"
>"... As long as you can afford it. And as long as we have it in stock. And, uh... no, I think that's it."
"I will take..." Hm, they don't look that big. "Eight donuts."
>"That will be... 48 chunks."
"... I'm sorry, I don't think I have chunks."
>"... ummmm. If you can't pay, thennnnn?"
"Do you accept chips? Or... wait, is it bits?" The taxi service used bits, not chips. Oh no, it's confusing!
>>
No. 1080928 ID: ce93a7
File 170518490433.png - (75.47KB , 1200x1200 , 628.png )
1080928

>"Ma'am." Ah, someone behind me is speaking.
"Hello, I'm speaking with the Melle, right now."
>"Chunks is just slang for chips. You got coins or a zipbox, right?"
"I sure do. What are bits, then?"
>"Some crap they use under Pirania, 4 bits is one chip or something like that, but if you have chips, just use those."
"I'm learning a lot, thank you."
>"Great, so please, go ahead. Pay. Most of us have places to be, girl."

Rudely spoken! So this is what it's like to be treated like an everybody. It certainly feels different having such vitriol thrown at me personally, rather than through a memory. Truly, the material universe can be an unforgiving place.

These coins are 20, these are 10... I'll just use 2 20's and a... no, let me fish out 8 1's. Ohh, Melle does have some efficiency to him, he's getting the dough nuts while I gather change.

>"Here you are."
"Thank you. Is... no, nevermind." Usually I have to give my seal for approved transactions, but I do not even have my stamp with me.
>"Oh um...." The Melle stops me after I take a single step away, and I can see the poor man in a hurry tilt his head back in pure frustration. I'm glad this isn't a violent culture, otherwise I'd be in trouble about now. "My name is Melle. I'm not 'The' Melle, this is a nametag, not a title."
"Oh! Sorry, Melle. You have a nice day, now."
>"Y-yeah, you too."
>>
No. 1080929 ID: ce93a7
File 170518491814.png - (82.74KB , 1200x1200 , 629.png )
1080929

I walk over to where I think I see the public dining area. I'm beginning to think I might not be good at this, so it's good that I used this experience to learn. Once again, I can only put my faith in the matrix and Shuzenza that I am able to succeed here. I'm certainly not not a natural at this.

On the bright side, there are enough memories from Pillet to get a grasp on her personality. Just reading them is little better than reading a detailed book, but if I internalize them, it's a different story. Molding them against myself, and myself to them, will make it more as though I lived them. It's still not quite the same, but it can be further helped if I also externalize my own memories. I won't lose them, but it will flip which memories shape me and my personality.

The process is close to perfect, but only close. It'll mess with who I am, and there are some things sacred that should not be so easily performed. To change a personality and who I am whenever it's convenient can potentially cheapen my sense of self. However, if destroying the subdimension is as important as I am being led to believe, then just as the fleshcrafter shaped my body to physically reflect Pillet, perhaps changing my brain to fit Pillet is worth it.

There's that bookstore again. I don't know if normal phenocosm citizens are allowed such things. Perhaps it doesn't matter for less controlled professions, but I am a memory artificer. All high skills like these are controlled, and 1 person may only know 1 protected skill. A fleshcrafter cannot learn space bending, a memory artificer cannot dabble in soul seeing, and so on. The information fed to us is highly controlled, and one cannot just enter a public vault of information and have free reign of the place. But this public bookstore? What combinations of valuable skills lay within that one can just learn on their free time? I think I will look through their window at their examples to find out.

'1001 Funny Jokes You Can Tell at the Dinner Table', 'The Doomed Expedition', and the sequel to the first, '1001 Funny Jokes You Can't Tell at the Dinner Table'...?

Wait, these are books for fun?! Such things exist? Oh, my donuts are getting cold, I will have to investigate that later.
>>
No. 1080930 ID: ce93a7
File 170518493979.png - (46.73KB , 1200x1200 , 630.png )
1080930

Ahh!

These are really good! It feels like they sacrificed all nutritional value for pure, dense sweetness. And what is this stuff at the top? Is that the chocolate modifier? It's cheating its way into tasting too good, and it's completely available to the public for what I think is an affordable price? Amazing.

I take another bite. I'm halfway through the first donut.

Pillet would've enjoyed these. I do wonder why the vault had so few of her memories. I know many of mine are locked away in a vault that no memory artificer can access. Reviewing what I recently learned, I can remember that she was intercepted during the attempted subdimension Paporron was involved in a few centuries ago. A speedy trial led to an immediate, quiet execution. I don't have her memories of this, and the vault's documents glazed over that process. That's likely because as far as my cover is concerned, this part never happened.

Despite the gaps in my knowledge regarding her death, I must believe she is dead. Her soul should be at rest by now in the afterlife, and I believe the phenocosm's soulseers can monitors specific souls in the afterlife. For a short while, Pillet was public enemy number 1, so I should imagine her soul is under considerable surveillance. And as Shuzenza said, our enemies enjoy the same afterlife we do. The phenocosm is not vindictive. There is no such place as hell.

... oh, no, Pillet! I just remembered! Her body!

I got 8 of these donuts thinking it was for me, Aelsaw. Pillet's body is so tiny and thin, I can feel that I'm going to be full after 3, maybe 4 donuts! Maybe I should sell some of these donuts back to Melle.
>>
No. 1080932 ID: 5ebd37

Hmm, Melle might find that rather rude. Better to hang onto them, maybe you can give them to your next contact as a gift.
>>
No. 1080933 ID: debc82

>>1080930

Nah, keep 'em for later. If you like them this much, they might make a nice gift for when we meet our contact!
>>
No. 1080945 ID: 273c18

>>1080930
Do you see anyone selling stuff to Melle? Don't blow your cover by acting weird enough to start people talking about you.
>>
No. 1080948 ID: 8f9bc4

There's a rich ancient tradition called "day old donuts." Just save the extras for later. No one will suspect a thing!

They would also make excellent gifts too, if you think Pillet was the generous type of personality.
>>
No. 1080949 ID: df45e0

So did the phenocosm make their own afterlife or are just able to peer into the one that exists naturally?

As for the extra donuts keep those carefully wrapped up for later. In general custom baked goods like that are probably not returnable unless defective.

If this sub dimension is such a big issue they might be expecting you to end up very close to Pillet to keep your cover. You can no doubt get by on excuses of lacking memories to hide from the phenocosm at first. But be prepared for deep cover especially if Pillet left a set of backup memories here.
>>
No. 1080964 ID: 15a025

Hold onto the extra doughnuts for now. They'll make a great gift to share with others you form companionship with later.
>>
No. 1080970 ID: b12e8c

Wait, if Pillet is dead and soulseers can keep tabs on souls, wouldn't the enemy know about it?
So either they actually put Pillet in stasis instead of killing her, or this mission is doomed from the start.
>>
No. 1080985 ID: 8f9bc4

>>1080970

The Phenocosm's soulseers have Pillet's soul imprisoned for all eternity, so any rogue soulseers wouldn't be able to find her flitting about the afterlife.
>>
No. 1081011 ID: 273c18

>>1080985
>imprisoned for all eternity
What makes you say that?
>>
No. 1081021 ID: 8f9bc4

>>1081011

Well I mean, the afterlife doesn't end, does it? Why would they release her spirit, if spirits like her are known to cause trouble?
>>
No. 1081033 ID: 19ea25

>>1081021
There's also the wording. "We send them to the same afterlife our citizens earn". They could be sending said souls to a specific one they made.
>>
No. 1081055 ID: b3eab7

You don't need to know to which afterlife the soul went to know something's amiss: You merely need to know it's crossed over and isn't in the world of the living anymore. And I was under the impression that's pretty knowable for soulseers.
>>
No. 1081057 ID: 273c18

>>1081021
???
Why would anyone care what a bodiless soul gets up to? And what gives you the impression that souls can be captured at all?
>>
No. 1081115 ID: 8f9bc4

>>1081057

Because... she could warn the soulseers working for the rebels, that Aelsaw is an impostor?
>>
No. 1081160 ID: 273c18

>>1081115
I suspect souls cannot interact with the physical world on their own, mostly because we haven't seen them doing that yet.
>>
No. 1081183 ID: ce93a7
File 170543913259.png - (57.73KB , 1200x1200 , 631.png )
1081183

>Did the phenocosm make their own afterlife or just able to peer into the one that exists naturally?
I have no idea!

>If Pillet is dead and soulseers can keep tabs on souls, wouldn't the enemy know about it?
I suppose that depends on if a soul seer can detect whether any specific soul in the universe has passed on. I don't know if they can. It would worry me greatly, but my mission was reviewed by both the phenocosm and our encephalon matrix. I trust that they would not make such a grave oversight with the knowledge they have.

I watch a few more people approach Melle. I don't see any signs that they're selling him anything, so perhaps I will not. I'm not certain why. In the phenocosm, we can sell food back and they put it through the biosplit -

Ah, yes, Klivania would not have this tech. I think I will spend these next few hours thinking hard about it. While I believe Shuzenza's words that I can use an excuse of amnesia to get far, I will have to work on my personality. Of course, if Pillet was alive and showed up, I can't imagine she would know how Klivanians do business. Still, my personality is simply a mismatch.
>>
No. 1081184 ID: ce93a7
File 170543918285.png - (108.63KB , 1200x1200 , 632.png )
1081184

I think on what she's said, and relive some memories a little closer as I slow down my eating.

"Try again! We can't afford mistakes on this, you gotta do it 100 times perfectly in practice before I let you try the real thing!" Pillet tells a hacker who biologically interfaces with common electronic devices.

There's a long memory of her training her artificing in a sensory deprivation chamber. I skim through the 2 day long memory, but there is no change, and nothing that hasn't been done by every artificer before.

"Hey, you! Did you just spit gum on the ground? Turn around, fucker!" Pillet's yelling at someone. He pulls out a knife, she pulls out a gun, and the memory fades. In heated moments like these, she is far less careful than I would have imagined.

Then there's a memory of just under an hour of Pillet in shock. I don't know what happened. She didn't think anything.

There's a short memory of her driving through a snowy planet without a speck of air pollution in the night sky, just to get away from things for awhile.

She seemed to have an eventful life outside of memory artificing. These memories are so scattered yet subtly impactful. It's like Pillet had her life flash before her eyes, and these are the memories that got bottled up, stowed away, and made their way to me. And for all I know, that's exactly what happened. It's merely a small hunch. It could just as well be that she or someone tried to destroy her memories, but it was not thorough and these are the ones that the phenocosm could restore.

No matter the specifics, I feel like if I internalized these memories too thoroughly, I would just become an echo of a dying woman's final thoughts.
>>
No. 1081185 ID: ce93a7
File 170543919830.png - (37.07KB , 1200x1200 , 633.png )
1081185

I return my focus to the present and - I've had 6 donuts?! I will cherish this memory as both a great food experience, as well as a grim reminder to the dangers of such indulgence. I fear this body will soon pay the price of so much sweetness.

Perhaps I will give a couple to Hart, or Paporron. Oh, two is too few, but... I shouldn't waste my funds by throwing them out.

These should last plenty of time, and my closer worries are how to go about going towards the meeting. Perhaps the bus? The taxis seem reliable, but expensive.

I have much to learn and have been given an inadequate amount of time to do so. I think I will freshen up in the washroom, although I hope it's cleaner than this area. The undersides of these tables are simply filthy.
>>
No. 1081186 ID: ce93a7
File 170543920676.png - (94.26KB , 1200x1200 , 634.png )
1081186

It is dirtier in here. It should be okay. While I dislike this area immensely, I have greater concerns than the smudges on the mirror and soap grit spotting the counter. The most effective way is simply to make new memories to acclimated myself. I get some odd looks from people who walk in, see me staring at myself in the mirror, then leave watching me still stare at myself. Pillet also would not mind them.

I am glad I have the raw memories of agents who dealt with basic travel and interactions on this planet. If not for that context, I would fear that these individuals in the bathroom think my behavior suspicious, and that they are leaving and reporting it to their local commander. Such is life in the phenocosm, but here the typical course of action is to avoid me and my business. This is good for me, although I do wonder if Klivanians are in it for themselves in life.

I should not think so poorly of them. They have been sometimes terse and crass in their speech, but even the person behind me in line offered helpful information, and I have seen not a single touch of violence since getting out of my ship despite so many people in this starport. They have been showing me much more good than bad, and no one is bothering my self reflection in the bathroom. Some hardly even look at me even on their way out. This girl behind me merely gives me side eyes as she walks by.
>>
No. 1081187 ID: ce93a7
File 170543921481.png - (27.30KB , 1200x1200 , 635.png )
1081187

... She left without washing her hands.
>>
No. 1081190 ID: df45e0

Bunch of savages for sure. Wash yours extra well... wait would Pillet have given her shit for that? Bet she would have it's not quite littering with gum but still...

How much money do you have on hand for taxi's and other expenses?
>>
No. 1081194 ID: b3eab7

She probably feared getting too close to you would result in worse trouble than dirty hands.
>>
No. 1081195 ID: debc82

>>1081187

Oh dang. Oh gross. That's the absolute worst.

She's totally going to touch things, too! Like the door or whatever (provided there was a door to enter/exit the washroom), which WE will have to touch, too ...!
>>
No. 1081198 ID: dbabb8

Ok, that is gross but you can deal with it. Wash your hands, then use your elbows for the door if it's a push, or grab the handle through your sleeve if it's a pull. Simple way to do it, there's no need to make a fuss about it.

Now, this is something you need to make a bit of a mantra. What you see here is normal, it may seem unusual to you, but your from a different context, it's normal to everyone else here, internalise that. If there is a public library, that is because it's normal. If people don't wash their hands, that is because a lack of consequences make it normalised even if it's gross.

Dampen your wonder and surprise and just accept things. The real Pillet would've experienced things like this before, she wouldn't be surprised, and you've got to catch up enough to her for you to plausibly be her.
>>
No. 1081202 ID: 273c18

Tell her to get back in here and wash her hands. That's something Pillet would do.
>>
No. 1081209 ID: d34a79

>>1081187
Because you were being a weirdo by standing in front of the sinks and staring at yourself. She was too freaked out by you to want to go near the sinks.
>>
No. 1081225 ID: a7a180

According to your memories of Pillet, you need to pull a knife on her for poor hygiene. For your cover.
>>
No. 1081226 ID: 8f9bc4

Oh noooo you've prevented her cleanliness!
>>
No. 1081238 ID: e83474

Wash your hands and make yourself scarce.
>>
No. 1081246 ID: ce93a7
File 170551149445.png - (63.30KB , 1200x1200 , 636.png )
1081246

I must treat things I see as normal. Unless it is obviously wrong, I will just have to not act with wonder and curiosity about every little thing. I know from personal experience that Pillet could roll with the punches, anyway.

... Could. She did get riled up over things like that bubble gum incident. If I'm to act like Pillet, then perhaps I should be more outspoken. I walk to the door and push it open with my elbow, and call out to that woman.

"Hey! Wash your hands!"

The woman looks at me, aghast. Some other people are staring, now. Oh no, Pillet's memory involved someone who pulled a knife, but I don't have a gun, and the woman is coming right at me. Pillet wouldn't shrink away defensively, but -

>"I forgot!"
>>
No. 1081247 ID: ce93a7
File 170551150315.png - (56.50KB , 1200x1200 , 637.png )
1081247

The girl rushes past me to furiously scrub her hands and avoids eye contact with me. I think that was still an improvement. It might not be perfect, but it's much more like Pillet than Aelsaw! The only flaw is that my heart is racing. And that she might have not washed her hands because of my suspicious behavior.

Pillet doesn't look that scary, does she? Even if I stared at the mirror for so long, right in the middle of the counter, possibly not blinking enough... in hindsight, perhaps I was too harsh on her even by Pillet's standards. Nonetheless, it was enlightening. I think that helped. Now I should move on.

It's time that I begin pondering my trip to the abandoned train trolley. I've got about 5,000 chips in pure coins, and about 20,000 available in my zipbox, and supposedly I can take out loans if I somehow need more than 25k.

Let's see... the first option is a series of busses and railways. It's admittedly complicated, but there will be no issue with my memory and accuracy in following its directions. It's very cheap, perhaps 200 chips total.

The taxi service will be very direct and easy. Converting their strange unit of taxi-money... 3700 chips? Wow, they are expensive. I could get 600 donuts with that kind of money.
>>
No. 1081248 ID: 9e2c52

Look up if the taxis have some sort of special feature or service that makes it worth that much extra.

If they don't, might be a good time to do the bus trip. It would also give you a chance to feel out a civilians around this planet and get a bit more Pillet practice.
>>
No. 1081251 ID: debc82

>>1081247

Donuts seem more economical than taxis. Let's take the not-taxi route.
>>
No. 1081263 ID: a7a180

I bet you could barter for a taxi ride for way less than 600 donuts.
>>
No. 1081264 ID: 8f9bc4

Pillet would not apologize for calling her out on such an affront to justice, but she might apologize for hogging the sink.
>>
No. 1081505 ID: 15a025

Take the busses and railways. It might be a bit more complicated to navigate the routes, but it'll give you more time and chances to observe and interact with others.
>>
No. 1081691 ID: ce93a7
File 170602993691.png - (78.37KB , 1200x1200 , 638.png )
1081691

I'll take the bus and rail system, as I could use the social practice and I don't think the taxi system accepts haggling. The route is clearly labeled, so I hop onto shuttle A-25 to get to the nearest bus stop, and take route P-99 until it drops me off at the train station. There's a couple others here, but one is talking and the other is napping, so I won't harass them with Pillet's unruly personality.

It's a clean shuttle at least, and I hope I can expect the rest of my trip to be so smooth.
>>
No. 1081692 ID: ce93a7
File 170602995223.png - (58.90KB , 1200x1200 , 639.png )
1081692

10:40 AM

Thankfully the Klivanian tradition of good signage continues. According to this display, there will be a bus here in about 5 minutes here to take me along a route called P-99.

I'll wait, and I notice how low energy everyone around me is. I hadn't noticed at all until I sense a strong spike in the building behind this bus stop. They are on about the 20th floor. Their power doesn't match the average soldier on our flagship, but it's enough to overshadow all of us low energy folks I can see down here. I am surprised there's such an uneven distribution curve.
>>
No. 1081693 ID: ce93a7
File 170602996112.png - (55.54KB , 1200x1200 , 640.png )
1081693

As I take a seat, I find a clue based on this box in the back of the enclosed bus stop.

It's crackling with energy rivalring that of the mystery person in the building. I can see that it is laden with traps to prevent those who would attempt to break into it and take its power. It's labelled as an... amnesty box?

Ah, it has further information. Klivanian law dictates that civilians are not to exceed a certain energy level, much like memory artificers. This is so that civilians can discard excess energy as to not run afoul from the law. I must presume that the energy is occasionally gathered and sent to the elite. The limit for a civilian is apparently an energy level of 200. I find out that my native power falls short of this legal amount at a healthy 160. I'm glad I have a buffer, as that food I ate might increase this by a few.
>>
No. 1081694 ID: ce93a7
File 170602998723.png - (53.90KB , 1200x1200 , 641.png )
1081694

With that oddity seen, I turn to speak with this other individual.

"Hello, m - there." Casual. Pillet doesn't call people 'miss' like that.
>"Ah, hello."
"I don't mean to pry, but you look a little down."
>"Oh, it's nothing."
"No one's down for nothing, do tell me about that, and your name! I'm Ellie."
>"And I am Nishyu. If you must know, my husband has passed."
"Oh!" Oh shoot what would Pillet say? She'd at least not be too coarse about it, right? Let's see... "Awful. Sorry to hear that, may he rest with you and may you both reunite when the time comes." No, still too formal, but Pillet would have some kind of wishes to give.
>"Ah, you didn't strike me as religious."
"Religious?"
>"Is there any belief in the afterlife without religion?"
"It's real, faith isn't required."
>"Mm, I don't know what your angle is, but I just don't have the energy these days, please."
"No angle, just killing time for the bus. In fact, I'd like to listen. If you have your husband on your mind, would you like to talk about him?"

She's oddly suspicious of me, but she opens up enough to miss one of her ears flopping over her shoulder. I learn much. The average Klivanian lifespan is a paltry century long, and so it is no small feat out that many of those decades were spent married to her husband, Goyl. It also seems like concepts like the afterlife has entered the realm of myth, and many people here believe that when they die, that is it, it is over.

Her husband lived a plain life, but Nishyu remembers their time too fondly for that to matter.

>"But that is enough of me. What of you?"
"Me? Oh, I'm new in town. I'm still getting the hang of busses, I've just got to get to my job."
>"Oh, where do you work?"
"At a..." Let me remember a job from one of the agent's memories.... ah. "A dry cleaner."
>"Hmm. There are so many of those around, you don't have to go far, do you? A young girl like you should keep those legs working. I sat around too much, and now I've got to take this old hunched back on the bus each day just to get to the store."
"You don't have family to help?"
>"An estranged son that joined the military. I do wish he'd reach out to let me make amends for my foolish statements, but that's a different story less fit for casual conversation. Do consider walking, young girl, if you'd take the advice of an old woman." Oh, I do feel oddly nice at being called young.
"Thanks, but I've got to report in too soon for walking. It's a decent 4 kilometers north, and I don't want to show up to my first day panting."
>"That far north? I certainly hope you're not travelling alone at night over there."
"Is it that bad over there?"
>"Oh, no, I don't mean to worry you. I just think our law enforcement does not do enough to prioritize the safety of the streets the further north you go."

I'm somewhat worried about this danger, but she speaks so plainly that it sounds like I, as a native, should be obviously aware of whatever dangers lurk in the streets up north. The mention of law enforcement seems odd for unspeakable dangers that crawl out of the shadows at night, but why would I have to worry about people breaking the law? Do they not practice safe driving? The possibilities are too many to ignore, so I contemplate how I will ask this woman about why I should be careful. In any case, Ellie is nothing more than a cover and I can't expect I will see this lady ever again, so perhaps I can act odd and ignorant again in front of her for the moment.

Before I think of how to frame my question, the schedule board gets my attention with a sharp ping, and I glance up to it.

Bus Route P-99 Cancelled

"Ah. My route is cancelled." That's a little concerning, but there's another bus coming in 10 minutes that serves an alternate route. It does appear that it will get me to my destination, but with only 20 minutes to spare.
>>
No. 1081696 ID: debc82

>>1081694

About how fast do you suppose yourself able to walk that 4km distance?

Considering the notice we received when we landed, having more than 20 minutes (in case of further unforeseen problems) might be advisable.
>>
No. 1081698 ID: 8f9bc4

Bus routes don't get cancelled without a very good reason. It's possible that there's something damaged, preventing the bus from travelling that route, which might mean that other bus routes that way might also be cancelled soon.

The law enforcement probably are allowed to maintain a higher energy level, so they must not only enforce the law, but also defend people who are disempowered, when they get attacked by said unspeakable dangers. A better title might be public defender. (Surely that won't lead to any confusion at all.)

Get angry at the schedule board, telling it loudly that you might have to leg it at this point. Then turn and ask the lady just how dangerous would that be? You've never been up north, so you don't know what to expect.
>>
No. 1081710 ID: df45e0

Lots of interesting info from that encounter. You would think that the afterlife being known would be bigger news. That being said this is a artificial planet around a old star so maybe they are just backwards enough to not have universal internet.

She is probably worried about hoodlums, rapists, thuggish individuals, roving packs of feral teenagers, serial killers and such. That or corrupt cops or gangs. When the lower class is restricted to such a low power level they are easy to abuse by anyone with a bit of authority and thus strength.

Hmm walk or bus that might not show up if the other one went down. I would walk it and just remember that Pillet is tough and not afraid to walk through bad parts of town.
>>
No. 1081826 ID: ce93a7
File 170620279904.png - (58.49KB , 1200x1200 , 642.png )
1081826

I could make that 4 kilometer run in maybe 5 to 10 minutes if I ran myself ragged and used my energy as well. I wonder if using energy is some kind of faux pas, I've seen virtually no one do it.

I stand and look at the board to make sure everything is as I now understand it. "It looks like I might have to run after all. I'm not afraid of bad parts of town, but what's so bad about it?"
>"Violent crime. Layabouts who don't want to earn an honest wage could try and mug you."
"Are there not laws against that?"

The second I say that, her face tells me I said something astonishingly naive. She walks up to me and fishes out some coins.

>"You're a kind girl. If you find yourself on the north side in the dark, please get yourself a reputable hotel and stay indoors."

I don't entirely understand, but I push the money back.

"No, I have money. I haven't even done anything kind!"
>"No one listens to an old woman's life story like you have."
"That's...." Depressing? Sad? She doesn't want my pity. "Unfortunate to hear."
>"Don't worry, you've lifted my spirits. My bus is coming soon. I hope to see you at this bus stop again, and most of all not see you on the news."
"Why would I be on the news?"
>"As a crime statistic, goodness, don't make me say it."

It can be difficult for souls to find their loved ones in the afterlife. The longer that time passes between each death, the more difficult it is. If Nishyu hangs on for too long due to Klivania's rampant ignorance, they may never reunite. Because of this, wishing an imminent yet peaceful death is a common sentiment of good will to ones in Nishya's situation.

I am thankful I have the presence of mind to not blurt this out at her, who lacks this context. This would ignore her wishes for reconciliation with her son, but I think I have spent long enough with Nishya.

"I think I'll just get up earlier next time and walk, so we may never see each other again. But I'll be fine, and hope you are too. Goodbye!" I get to running. I have never been late in my life, and I won't let a single setback like this ruin my perfect record. Pillet was also punctual, so I cannot use Pillet as an excuse!
>>
No. 1081827 ID: ce93a7
File 170620281106.png - (125.75KB , 1200x1200 , 643.png )
1081827

11:44 PM

Rail Route F-31 Delayed +10 minutes

Bus Route FN-B Delayed +40 minutes. Best Alternative Route: Bus Route LRP (cancelled) (

Taxi Service: Unavailable In This Area

Rail Car KO-39's last departure: 4 minutes ago. Next KO-39 service in: 21 hours and 8 minutes.

How does this society function?! Is that why the taxis are so expensive?! I don't know if Pillet's body can handle how much running I have to do!

Ah, this is a good sign. I'm getting riled up and fidgety, just like Pillet was. I will have to remember this moment well.

There are at least subterranean pedestrian tunnels with moving walkways that allow rapid movement, but they are spotty and do not always lead me in the right direction. Some of them also look rather shady, and in light of Nishya's worries, I steer clear of those.
>>
No. 1081828 ID: ce93a7
File 170620282478.png - (71.84KB , 1200x1200 , 644.png )
1081828

I find a useful bus to get on. It isn't much faster than me running, but I can't run the whole way. Somehow I'm still making okay time. Say what I will about Pillet, this girl could run! She might even go faster than the busses do. I thought the name bus stop was because people stopped to wait for them, but the busses themselves are designed to stop as well! It must be for people like Nishya who don't seem like they can move too quickly.

So many people here look tired and far too busy, like the mere act of travelling is a somber duty. I do not know what this society has done to make them act like this in such a situation. Perhaps I do not need to know; my business is with the constructors.

I decide not to speak with strangers now, and instead use this time to educate myself on the news, in regards to what Nishya was warning me about. Crime statistics, hm...

The population of this city is 4 million. 2,000 a year are killed by... other... citizens? Just, people?

There's other statistics like, mugging, assault, kidnapping... These numbers are even bigger than murder!

Forget questions about how this society functions. It is completely dysfunctional. I now understand why Nishya was so worried. While I think I am only now experiencing culture shock, the chances of me meeting an unfortunate fate in the next hour or two of travel is still low. Nishya seemed to indicate traveling alone made it worse, but moreso at night. I merely need to make it to the construction site, and I should hope that they are able to run a better civilization in which one does not have to worry about their own civilians murdering one another.

>"Attention passengers. This bus is being diverted to route E-12 after we stop at Sunspot Road. If you have to go past Sunspot Road, get off the bus and wait for the next one. One will show up in..... one will show up."

For goodness' sake.
>>
No. 1081830 ID: ce93a7
File 170620285394.png - (93.50KB , 1200x1200 , 645.png )
1081830

1:32 PM

I have to run the rest of the way! After reading the news, morbid thoughts have been left rattling inside of my head. The surroundings are doing little to help, what with these buildings and streets in various states of disrepair. Whoever is responsible should be ashamed, but I feel this is another naive thought that old, sheltered Aelsaw would think up.

The people here do pay more attention to me than I'd like as well. Unlike the south, there's many people here who just do not seem like they have places to be. I get called out to by people who clearly want to interact with me, but I do not think they just want to have smalltalk. A few outright solicit me for company and try to follow me.

I'd rather not have to find out how martially capable the local Klivanian riffraff are. I am highly trained in combat precisely because of my low energy levels. It is a last resort. I am unarmed, being outnumbered is always an issue, and I swear I sense a lot more people around here who are brushing at or past the legal energy limit.

I remain pleased at Pillet's natural mobility. By using bursts of energy and pacing myself, I am able to outrun anyone who seems like they might otherwise try to chase me.
>>
No. 1081831 ID: ce93a7
File 170620286141.png - (127.63KB , 1200x1200 , 646.png )
1081831

There, made it! 1:59 PM! I slow down to avoid any eyes and make my way into the abandoned trolley station, then rest. I don't see Hart yet.

I would not have let my guard around those donuts if I knew what was coming. They have attained incredible taste at the price of feeling unsuitable for digestion.

>"An urban ruins explorer?" I didn't sense that man behind me at all, but it must be Hart. That phrase is precisely the first part of the verbal handshake.
I'm still catching my breath, but I can give the reply. "It's nice to revisit, I... had a childhood here."

Oh, I feel faint. Pillet's biotype apparently does not have internal safeguards against overspending one's own energy. This may be a more dangerous vessel to operate than I'm used to. I do not want to faint here, but...
>>
No. 1081832 ID: ce93a7
File 170620287508.png - (74.09KB , 1200x1200 , 647.png )
1081832

Ah, I'm fine. I just needed a moment. Hart moves to a hole in the wall and looks around outside, then comes back and turns something on. A portable scanner, I think.

>"Are you hiding your energy levels?"
"No."
>"Good. Although your destination is outside of normal jurisdiction, we also enforce an energy limit of 200." He looks at my bag. "You also must leave behind all your material possessions. I can take them if you wish."
"All of them?"

He thinks for a moment, like I just jumped off the script he sounded like he was reading.

>"Yes, all of them. I've never brought a passenger back into town. If you think you're an exception, you can hide your belongings anywhere in this station for your return, but if you leave, I will also leave. Once you finish putting everything away, I will scan you with this wand, hand you your new clothes, and when you are ready to leave, hook you up to a drug dispenser."

New clothes? He must have been speaking precisely when he said 'all of my material possessions'.

"Can you elaborate on that last part? About the drugs?"
>"You must be at least vaguely aware of the sensitive nature of your destination. The drugs are one of many measures we take to prevent our keener passengers from being able to tell where they are going and where they end up. The exact effects vary depending on the scan results, but it is safe. I have never seen or heard of anyone having complications lasting longer than a day."
>>
No. 1081833 ID: e139aa

Well, so far so good. Might as well do what he says.
>>
No. 1081835 ID: debc82

>>1081832

Nothing serious, hopefully, as we've business to conduct once inside.

It would seem that this process is to handle navigation through the proto-fog, as I shall refer to it, before the town was fully sealed. That, or more likely, it's as simple as preventing someone from realizing WHERE it will be.

Also, we have to ask: are the busses ALWAYS this unreliable?
>>
No. 1081836 ID: df45e0

Sounds standard for this sort of cloak and dagger. Agree with him and don't worry about leaving your stuff for later. You just have some clothes some snacks and some cash right? If we need to leave or the mission goes oddly they are not something we should be worrying about much.

Vaguely wish we could leave the cash to Nishyu instead of just letting it rot though. Small kindnesses and all.
>>
No. 1081838 ID: 273c18

>>1081832
Sheesh, that's a bit extreme. Oh well.
Drop all your stuff. Refuse to strip naked.

Oh, don't waste the donuts. Eat them now.
>>
No. 1081842 ID: 8f9bc4

Nekkid time!

It's no big deal. He has cult robes or whatever they wear, so you'll blend in even more. The drug is... disturbing, but not unexpected. There are more efficient ways to dispose of you if they know you're a fake, so this is probably just some sort of narcotic agent and they don't suspect you. Or at least they don't suspect you enough to turn down a memory artificer.
>>
No. 1081984 ID: 15a025

Offer to share your donuts with him. While you could use the energy to build yourself back up, I don't think eating them all yourself is going to be a good idea. Especially if they're going to knock you out for a bit.
Also see if he or someone else can transfer your money, or at least some of it over to Nishyu. If they ask why, just say she helped get you here on time.
>>
No. 1084836 ID: ce93a7
File 170917141753.png - (64.49KB , 1200x1200 , 648.png )
1084836

"I have a couple of donuts in here, would you like one?"
>"No."
"Then I'll finish them. By the way, are the busses in this world always so unreliable?"
>"The ones you took, yes. They'll be more reliable at your destination."
"I see."

He's not one for conversation, so I surrender my bag. I'm concerned about the list of odd contacts I have on my phone, but it should be expected that Pillet would have odd acquaintances. I left my instant transmission radio on my ship, at least.

I think if I refuse to strip, I'll simply be left here. I'm more concerned about the drugs, so I get ready while he calls forward a very old fashioned trolley car. It rolls up as he scans me.

While Hart is coarse around the edges, he seems professional enough to calm some of my nerves.
>>
No. 1084837 ID: ce93a7
File 170917142501.png - (52.30KB , 1200x1200 , 649.png )
1084837

After I put on what feels like cultist's robes, I'm given a one size fits all glove. Hart connects to a bulky cuff that firmly locks around my wrist. It comes with a small display that's faced outwards so that Hart can read it rightside up.

>"This should go without saying, but tampering with this dispenser will be considered a hostile act. I'll lock the controls to prevent you from accidentally pressing buttons."
"Okay."

I'm brought on board, and the dispenser is hooked up to some computer in the driver's area, where Hart stands.

>"Hart here. 2:17 PM. Departing station AP-5."
>>
No. 1084838 ID: ce93a7
File 170917144540.png - (65.85KB , 1200x1200 , 650.png )
1084838

The dispenser and perhaps the scanner are reasonably high tech by Klivanian standards, but it is still the most crude method of information withholding I've ever experienced. Whenever I'm transferred to a discreet location, we have people to simply put me in stasis, knock me out, have sensory deprivation chambers with momentum cancellers...

These drugs don't knock me out, but it does get hard to think. The trolley is moving quickly and shakes along its track like it's trying to get as high as me. I start seeing things in the corners of my vision. The trolley starts feeling smooth. Overall, I do not appreciate having drugs in my system and could do without, but it is at least not physically or mentally unpleasant in the moment.

I think Hart snapped his fingers in front of me. I didn't reply. It was about 15 minutes ago and I just thought of it now. Yes, crude and barbaric as this method is, they are doing their job. I simply have no sense of where we are. I think I will take a nap.
>>
No. 1084839 ID: ce93a7
File 170917146736.png - (65.58KB , 1200x1200 , 651.png )
1084839

>>
No. 1084840 ID: ce93a7
File 170917148170.png - (360.95KB , 1200x1200 , 652.png )
1084840

Present Day

Ow. The memory got scrambled for a moment, there.

This memory was more engrossing than I thought. I'm not eating my words about it being safe, but it's way more engrossing than I thought. This memory felt more real than anything I've felt in here. It's more vivid and... consistent, for lack of a better word. We can see color in here, but it's like it's faked.

This subdimension might have more wrong with it than stagnation and unconditioned immortality.

I already have a lot to report, but I've only read part of the memory. There's a bit more in the first part, but a lot of it is made of segmented memories. Either Aelsaw's memories were messed with around here, or I screwed up extracting this part of the memory when I was on the wheel.

I lean back and stretch. The second my chair creaks, I hear a shuffling from behind me.

Delli nearly started eating my chocolate.
>>
No. 1084841 ID: 065ad8

That's not great, just the realistic possibility of one part being messed with casts doubts on the whole thing. You need a break, anyway. And chocolate.
>>
No. 1084842 ID: 99f29a

EAT IT FIRST
>>
No. 1084844 ID: df45e0

Well what do you think to the idea you might be your sister or not or whatever? Not like it really matters much being ancient history.

The memory seems solid enough but... I dunno a lot of things seem suspect. The government went to some pretty crazy length's to keep their elite power users in line. The level of memory editing they had you? do to yourself implies they could have been abusing you for eons without you realizing it. And the fact they would send one of their elite memory users (wife of a high muckity muck no less) on a dangerous possibly forever mission to check out this one random pocket dimension seems to imply that this place or the founders making it or something here was important enough to risk it.

Plus all that talk of the afterlife that Pillet was certain about but others were not? That seems suspicious. Wondering if Pillet was actually caught and executed or if her sister was sent in for other reasons or if any of what the government talked to her about was true?

The whole mission seem sloppy so remember the past you might have been getting lied to.
>>
No. 1084845 ID: d0cff5

Yeah, you need a break, and chocolate! Take your chocolate back from Delli. And also his clothes, in retaliation. Also because it's funny, and double also because you were just naked in your memories so it's the first thing that comes to mind.

TAKE THE CHOCOLATE.
>>
No. 1084847 ID: eb0a9c

Stick the chocolate between your boobs.
>>
No. 1084855 ID: 273c18

>>1084840
Alright, give him a summary of what you've found out so far, and reassure him that you're still the same person he's known since he wiped his memories, you haven't been faking it. Maybe there was some point in time when you knew him where you were faking it, but not now.
You might be married, or maybe you've been declared legally dead and your husband nullified the marriage. Either way it's not like you really know your husband... and... hmm, you might have backups of more memories outside. This is actually a more difficult situation than it appears. If you escaped, you'd get your non-Pillet memories back, and... wouldn't that mean you'd behave more like you did before? Wouldn't you go back to your husband?

Do you think your husband would be amenable to sharing you with Delli?
>>
No. 1084861 ID: 8f9bc4

Noooo the chocolate!

Anyway, the last thing you noticed was strange. Right before the memory glitched out, you suddenly weren't wearing the glove that was supposed to be drugging you. That seems... edited.

I'm not sure what Aumstail thought this memory was going to do to you. Make you want to leave more than ever? If for no other reason than something that (possibly you) someone did that fucked up this world so even the colors were messed up. Whatever they intended to achieve here, all they created was a miserable eternal prison. Your empire was pretty overbearing, but trapping everyone in this puzzle box isn't doing anything but helping the empire who its creators feared.
>>
No. 1084862 ID: 273c18

Oh right, and I think you can say for sure you know why Delli did a chain-suicide and basically erased his own memories. He was devastated that he fell in love with a spy, someone whose very identity, everything he knew about her, was a lie. He had to forget.
But that's not the case anymore. Maybe the real Pillet is dead, but you haven't been faking it with him since he erased his memories. Whoever you are, it's the real deal now.
>>
No. 1084886 ID: fa3034

He better share. Ask for a sittep. This memory is going to take some time to chew through.
>>
No. 1084888 ID: a7a180

My memories have told me it is very important that I must eat that chocolate. Don't question the memories Delli.
>>
No. 1084889 ID: b3eab7

To me, the most problematic thing about this memory is, there likely is a big space empire waiting just outside our pocket dimension to kill at best its founders, at worst everyone. That makes leaving the town a significantly less safe idea than we thought it was.
>>
No. 1084891 ID: 253138

What I don't get about the totally personally inexperienced Aelsaw being sent on a risky secret agent mission to bring Paporron to justice that could easily, and seemingly did, go wrong, is why they even chose to do it this way.

If the goal ultimately was to kill Paporron and secondarily his comrades, then if the risk of their existence outweighs the cost of collateral damage, there's plenty of ways they coulda destroyed everything in the star-system before anyone could react to it. I'm sure a seemingly ultra-tech civilization such as theirs has a few star-system obliterating weapons up their sleeves they coulda used one of here. One magnetic containment vessel holding a basketball sized sphere of antimatter opened up on the surface of Klivania would, at the speed of light, have reduced it and the rest of the star-system to a rapidly expanding cloud of high energy particles, for sure removing Paporron and all his collaborators in one move. And even if he or they were in the incomplete subdimension at the time, they'd be stuck there 'cause the way out is now in the void of space and there's for sure gonna be a empire fleet left behind in perpetuity to blow away anything that pops back out. No, they didn't do it this way 'cause they wanted more than just his death.

Best bet I can think of for them going this route is that they very, very badly wanted Paporron's memories; The memories of everyone he collaborated with, how he did it under the nose of the Phenocosm, and how he was building this subdimension. And they wanted it so badly they were willing to send Aelsaw on this mission and take the big risk of it going sideways, Paporron figuring out what's up, capturing her and holding out for as long as possible to finish what they can of the subdimension before the Phenocosm's forces figure that Aelsaw is MIA and move in. Or, if he figures they're gonna wipe the star-system to get him if Aelsaw misses a check-in, just escape into the incomplete subdimension immediately.

I just don't get why they seemingly didn't consider the possibility of the worst case scenario weighed against what they could gain from this mission: Aelsaw being turned by Paporron and helping him complete the subdimension. Were the odds of that so long it fell below level of consideration? Because that sounds like such a catastrophic failure that it'd have to be considered and contingencies formulated for it.

And what's the reason the Phenocosm is so intent on stopping Paporron, and anyone else, from creating a subdimension, with customized physics or not? If it was just a group of folk that just wanted to get away from the Phenocosm for the rest of eternity and have nothing to do with this universe any more, then that doesn't sound like a risk to the Phenocosm. Now, if it was a group that made a subdimension specifically to crank their power level up to the bazillions such they could pop back in to this universe and turn the Phenocosm to atoms with a flick of their pinkie finger, then the Phenocosm would have a big reason to fear that. But, if that was the case, then why doesn't the Phenocosm do the same thing to counter the possibility and cement their rule for the rest of time? So, if they don't do that, then perhaps there's a inherent risk to the universe from creating subdimensions? Hm, we don't know enough to say at this time.

>>1084847
If anything, that'd make Delli want to get the chocolate more... So definitely do that! I'm all for goat guy sticking his face down Pillet's cleavage to eat that chocolate. Or, if that's too far, just his hand.

>>1084861
>Right before the memory glitched out, you suddenly weren't wearing the glove that was supposed to be drugging you. That seems... edited.
The hose/cable attached to the glove is still present, so it's either a really sloppy memory edit or a art error.
>>
No. 1084893 ID: 8f9bc4

>>1084891

Hah, so maybe when past-Delli went ballistic and destroyed the vault of memories the elite members had hidden off in the fog, that actually made them completely safe from the Empire, since the memories the Empire coveted had been destroyed. But they'd never know it, since they lost those memories, too!

> The hose/cable attached to the glove is still present, so it's either a really sloppy memory edit or a art error.

Or Aelslaw was holding the tube in her other hand, and actively changing the memories of the mook driving her there, so he wouldn't notice the slight of hand. Which is something she "can't" do. That she totally can do now.
>>
No. 1084894 ID: 56db77

>>1084840
Side note away from all the relationship drama this memory has raised, if we're in this pocket dimension thingy does time pass in here at the same rate as out there? The answer to that may make breaking out a lot easier or aoy harder
>>
No. 1084915 ID: debc82

>>1084840

Time for some cooperative chocolate devouring while you engross your cute scamp of a boyfriend with cool tales of Future-Past-Pillet and how ridiculously chill (and nerdy) you were.

Also chocolate. Give it here.
>>
No. 1084997 ID: df45e0

>>1084893

You know the idea that Aelslaw might be acting things up for this memory is a possibility. The cute little harmless memory tech wandering around society not knowing about donuts could just be to make the story told by the memory more palatable. When secretly she is a scheming master manipulator angry at the empire for daring to touch her sister.

The memory tells us that the empire kept memory editors under lock and key but what if that is just what Aelslaw/Pillet wanted people to think?

A few clever ways to hide your own memories of doing it and a sneaky memory editor could be stealing every bit of high command data and making everyone think that the security measures in place were more than protection enough.

All it would have taken is a few early memory masters realizing the danger they were in back in the early days. Make your own flawed containment measures back in the day and made people think they were perfect and that high command had designed them.
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