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File 163937533452.png - (205.37KB , 800x600 , TQ1.png )
1017229 No. 1017229 ID: 7e04cb

The long-abandoned sector's landmarks rear into my field of view as I approach. It was abandoned not long after being set up but not too long enough for looters to have had the chance to pick everything clean. Salvage is profitable but that may not be what I'm here for. As long as I can score something valuable enough, whether that be a piece of forgotten equipment, valuable scrap, still working parts, electronics, or even mineral and ores light enough to carry back, it doesn't really matter.
385 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1020292 ID: 9a2966

Confer with Spooky whether he got the final raider - if not, you'll need to warn the independent guy you sent to gather loot that there's a rogue raider left in the area who could be hiding and hunkering down all paranoid-like at this point. Confer whether that guy wants help flushing the raider out or if this makes the idea too hot to try.

>Spooky
Give them a warm thanks for their aid and timely warnings. Ask: are they the 'Lak' the raiders seemed so scared off?

Spooky also gets a cut of the loot here, as is proper since you wouldn't have dared this without him. Splitting the 500 zeny reward seems a bit much... you can consider giving him first pickings to make up for it?

>Remaining raider
If final raider is still alive, you COULD also do the whole 'driving back, pretending to be the raiders' thing in order to gettem. Clearing the refinery does make it safely lootable again.

>Grateful Napoleon
Guess you really did her a solid. Well, she did say her reputation was on the line on this escort mission. Good thing losing their vehicle support freaked the other raiders. Maybe warn her if you and Spooky left a straggler in the refinery, as she might be passing that place soon?

>Loot
Pick through dead men's pockets, and investigate the car. There was a live one inside - a hostage? Guess you'll have to free 'em and see what their deal is.

>Car
Could be something that could be used for extracting that Neumono? Or something you could sell to someone else, like the mechanic, or someone back at the trading post. So once looting is done, you should probably actually refuel it.

Wait... can you even drive?

>Jerry Cans
Don't forget that you have to pick these up, too.

>Arms & Ammo
If refinery's safe, replace your used clip and maybe pick up a gun with more gas left in it than the current one. Or maybe pick up the gun the driver had if Spooky doesn't claim it.
>>
No. 1020295 ID: ce39da

>>1020285
>>1020287
Ah, good point. Also, assigning cool spy codenames to your contacts is fun.
Set Damyin to 'Skeptic,' his more TV-absorbed buddy to 'Movie Night' (or just 'Cinema' if Movie Night violates a character limit or you can't use spaces), Raph is 'High Torque' (with 'Gas-Guzzler' and just 'Gasoline' as plans B and C) and our devoted fangirl shall be 'Glomper.' (And what the hey, let's assign 'Damsel' to the distress signal's ID.) That should be everyone we've ID'd, right? Save the setting fiddling for while you're in transit, of course, though I realize now that we should head back to the refinery even if the third guy got taken out because A) we need to pick up gas for two vehicles and B) we could just meet Napoleon there if she's headed that way.
>>
No. 1020302 ID: 93ba79

Make sure those who "hauled ass back north" are not coming here.
>>
No. 1020319 ID: 96c896

Take that nail out of your ear.
Ask Spooky if he managed to kill the third raider. If not, someone needs to stand watch.
Then reload your nailgun, and check inside the vehicle. Knock first, tell them you're friendly and not to freak out. Then open the door.
>>
No. 1020325 ID: b01382

>>1020282
Now that we have the vehicle, lets return to the fueling place to get it refueled. Its why the raiders were there in the first place. Ask Spooky if he or she shot the last guy leaving to go get fuel. Does spooky want to tag along with us for a while? We can probably cram all the loot fro thay group of dead tabaks (after spliting with the other tabaks we talked with) and splitting loot between the remaining raiders and their vehicle. Hmmm. Could we take the vehicle while spooky takes some of the better goods? That fair?

Also check on the prisoner. To free them?
>>
No. 1020338 ID: 35f98c

>Tobak eyes regenerate
Oh, that makes the flare guns a lot less scary, then. I thought it was an "everybody's blind now forever" kind of weapon. Still inconvenient, but not life-altering.

>>1020302
Agreed - you're west of the camp, right? Not north? Not that they couldn't circle around, but that seems unnecessary.

Also, hooray! We actually finished one of the side-quests! :P
>>
No. 1020352 ID: 1c0351

>>1020295
>names
High Torque should be GasGasGas, rest are good
>>
No. 1020358 ID: 7e04cb
File 164208319691.png - (185.29KB , 800x600 , TQ65.png )
1020358

>FIRST THING: RETRIEVE THE BERET
fiiiiine.
>Reload gun, refill air pressure.
I load in my other magazine, 30 shots in total remain. The magazines on the raider nailguns use a different calibre and have different magazine shapes. their nailguns are mechanically inferior and have fewer total nails so I decide to keep what I have.
>Check if the engine is still working.
Works just fine. Driver left the keys in the ignition. handy.

I put my PDA away and I get a good look at Spooky. He certainly is not an ordinary tobak. The antlers should've given it away, but our friend 'Spooky' is a subspecies of tobak- a glade tobak. It's strange seeing one of those guys down here, but I'm sure he has his reasons for being far from his bright and cosy home. I Turn the jammer back on, as to not give my new friend a hallucination to match my own.

>"Hi. My name is Axyl. Nice to meet you. One thing I want to get out of the way, is that uh, you got guts, dude! And I think we made a pretty good team."
"The feeling is mutual. Thanks for your help."
>"Sorry if my messages came off as unusual, my space key is broken so I use hyphens instead."
That wasn't the only reason his messages were unusual, but I accept the apology.

>Ask him if he got the third raider
"Know what happened to the third guy?"
>"I didn't see him walk out, he probably didn't notice his buddies driving off. I stuck around a little while, but I didn't see him leave. Maybe he got a message and left through the back?"

>Let spooky get first pick
Sounds like a good place to start. "What did you have in mind for what you wanted out of this?"
>"Well... I kind of really wanted the vehicle. I know that's a lot to ask! but... It'd certainly make my life a whole lot easier. If for some reason neither of us can keep it, I know a guy who would buy it and not ask questions, and we can split that. That’s really all I want, you can have the rest."
If he gets the vehicle I may as well keep the 500z reward a secret for now.

>Head back to refinery for refuel, pick up rest of loot.
I don't want to push our luck. We got a good score and I get the feeling that we could make the same mistake the raiders did in not seeing an ambush coming. We should secure this score ASAP.
>Jerry cans
I haven't forgot, I hid those at the place where I drew up the plan.
>Nicknames
I'll take care of those as I send out messages to those in need of nicknames.
>Take that nail out of your ear.
Out it comes. I'm really not a fan of ear piercings.

>"So, uh, is someone alive still in the vehicle?"
"You felt that from over here?"
>"These antlers aren't just for show! My range goes pretty far, around thirty metres, forty if I concentrate. It's the reason I prefer long range weapons."
"I guess we should check that guy out before we divvy things up?"
>"Lead the way."
>>
No. 1020359 ID: 7e04cb
File 164208322530.png - (251.68KB , 800x600 , TQ66.png )
1020359

"So... does the name 'Lak' mean anything to you?"
>"I'm afraid not. You looking for someone?"
"More like looking out for someone."
>"Sounds like a male tobak name, if that helps."

"You wanna tag along with me for a while Axyl?"
>"Sure, so long as I'm in the area. Which might not be too long, I want to get this out into a safe area before any more raiders come to take it back."

>Guy behind the door could also be someone hostile so approach carefully. Ask who he is and if he is hurt.
Right. Me and Axyl walk up the door and give it a knock.
"Hey, someone in here? You alright?"
No response. It could be a raider setting a trap, but it wouldn't explain why the door is locked from the outside. Or it might be someone too scared to respond. Seeing no other choice, I use my pickaxe to bust open the lock. I pull the door up and Axyl and I peer inside.

...

>"uhhhh... I'm not touching that."
It's just a naked guy, but I understand where he is coming from.
>>
No. 1020360 ID: 7e04cb
File 164208327344.png - (245.66KB , 800x600 , TQ67.png )
1020360

"mmph! mmmmph!"

There's a guy sitting there, all tied up and without clothes, fortunately save for a pair of boxers. He has a rubber band around his muzzle preventing him from speaking. This little room also has a bunch of computers and storage containers.

I take the rubber band off. just for funsies I guess.
"PLEASE! I can't do what you want from me! It's impossible! It can't be done!"
"Woah, hey-"
"I'm a senior coder who works with AI, a slightly gifted but overall mediocre one at that! I work in making artificial intelligence, b-but-"
>"H-hey, you should really slow down and-"
"I don't know who told you I could do it - but I can't make a CAI for you! B-BUT WAIT! I-I... I know where you could get one... so... let’s talk?"
>"Listen, we're not-" I place my hand in front of Axyl to signal that I mean to interject.

A Compilation AI? I heard those are... pretty pricy. I mean, obviously super illegal too, but if the companies don't follow the intergalactic laws, then I don't see why we should either. He is under the assumption that we are involved with the raiders who took him, or maybe he even thinks we are counter raiders. I guess we... look the part. He might even think we are from any number of companies or crime families, and that us being interlopers that stumbled upon him by complete chance is the most unlikely possibility.

Obviously neither Axyl nor I want to hurt this poor guy, but if he thinks we're gonna hurt him, it might just be that much easier to have him spill some information, information meant for those of a much higher paygrade depending on how important this guy is.

The less economical choice is that we tell him we took care of the raiders and that he can go, I'm sure he'd thank us for being his saviours, but he would probably be less thankful if we did that after extracting info from him. Either way, it'd be good to know what his situation is and where he sits in all of this.
>>
No. 1020361 ID: 484c28

Knowledge is power and this sounds like very powerful knowledge. Which usually also means money. Firmly tell him to keep talking. Be imposing. Maybe vaguely threaten him by grabbing your pickaxe. Obviously were not actually going to hurt him.

Oh also didn't that lady friend of yours say she was protecting some nerds? Maybe this is one of them.
>>
No. 1020362 ID: 5d9787

Spooky actually look fine. After that comment I was half expecting him to be deformed.

"Who own this CAI?" "Where is it?" "Why would they think you can make one?"
>>
No. 1020363 ID: 93ba79

No lies, only omissions.

Gesture to him to keep talking, pull out a knife. Once he's spit out some more info, use the knife on his bonds and show your red tailband.
>>
No. 1020366 ID: 9a2966

>Alyx's quad goggles
They're cool. Do they give him extra sideview or something?

>Dead tobaks
Did you flip the bodies, check 'em for loot and zeny? One had the alien cigs. Guess that's pretty rare, might sell for a few zeny or be a nice gift to someone.

>Reward split - vehicle for Alyx
Give it to him! In exchange for a favor or somesuch. Such as: he can help with the neumono rescue (get-there driver and/or getaway driver) you have half-planned.

Say you can split the value of the car contents or the reward from the (current) rescue 50/50. That should null any guilt for not mentioning the 500 zeny additional reward you secured. If he wants a cut of the neumono rescue that can be discussed, but you'd prefer to keep most of the credit to that one.

>Scared AI programmer
Don't be a doochbaggle, hunting down a CAI sounds like a pipe dream besides. Point to your red indep-bandanas and tell him he's safe and start freeing him... but cheerfully state that if he wants to keep talking, you wouldn't mind a great tip-off to something valuable BEING part of your rescue reward! No malicious undertone, just ride that wave of gratitude whenever he realizes you're serious.

Also ask what his whole deal is - is all this computer stuff his as well? Will there be a reward for returning him AND it? How does an AI programmer with SERIOUS KNOWLEDGE of a CAI end up in the sticks captured by raiders like that? Sounds like those guys had some kind of wacky plan for him that would've ended up poorly!

Like, seriously, you're glad you risked life and limb to save him! Those raider guys mean business. Mean mean business!

>Grim looting
Ask whether he wants to stay naked or have the blood-stained clothes or the bloodier-stained clothes (indicating the two dead Tobaks here). He should probably pick up some goggles as well, there's been an awful lot of fire being used around these parts of late, so better safe than sorry.

>What next
Go back to the refinery to refuel, hunt down final raider and use the car to score the bundle of guns and stuff (Alyx can get a cut by driving it home)...

...or you could just refuel at the refinery, drive to the vehicle yard and dump this programmer guy with the mechanic while you work on the Neumono rescue together with Alyx (if he takes the favor) and the guard lady whose favor you're owed.

>The Refinery
If you deal with the Refinery loot - or deal with the lost raider there by, say, returning and pretending to be the raiders who left him behind by dressing up a bit - then you really need to send off a message to the TV-watching buddy you tipped off. Either that you secured it due to Circumstances, or that there might be a clueless leftover hostile from the recent raider incursion around.
>>
No. 1020368 ID: 55e0d4

Don’t keep up the charade, but before anything else: where is this CAI?
>>
No. 1020371 ID: ce39da

> Eyes, Antlers
Aha. Under the assumption that Tobak jammers only block one's ability to receive magnetic signals (and not the signals themselves), this explains the figure Axyl was seeing from all the way outside the refinery. At the same time, assuming that Glade Tobaks aren't so good at seeing far in total darkness, a "shadowy figure" being an actual person suddenly becomes quite possible.

> What Do
Yeah, don't be a jack-ass, he'll tell you anyway if he's grateful enough. However, there is one question you'd like to ask while you're heading in to untie him: "That wouldn't happen to have anything to do with a deal that was supposed to go down between the Pomi and Heef corps, would it?"
>>
No. 1020372 ID: 36784c

>>1020358
If he wants the vehicle, he can have it. As long as he gives you a ride so you can go pick up your Jerry cans and drop you off at the mechanic that wanted the fuel.

You’ve still gotta meet up with the guard lady that owes you a favor at that location, so that you can bring her with you when you go to rescue that Neumono that sent out the distress signal.

>>1020360
>extract info?
With the loot you’re bringing in, do you really need to know about where a CAI is? Since it’s illegal, if you somehow managed to get it, you probably wouldn’t be able to sell it without setting off a lot of red flags and having someone come hunt you down for knowing too much.

Getting a lot of money would be nice, but I don’t think the price of “always needing to look out for a government hired assassin” is worth it.
>>
No. 1020378 ID: c0641b

>>1020360

What, did those raiders like, pack up his whole place and toss him in the back, or something?

They sure seemed like the sort to think he'd be able to work in that position.
>>
No. 1020379 ID: 1c0351

>>1020358
Okay, if he wants the vehicle, fine. He can have it(vehicle is including the gun). However, if that is what he wants, we get the rest. The vehicle would be a huge boon for anyone and thus is worth quite a bit. He also needs to help us transport it (plus the jerry cans) since we can't exactly carry it all on foot.
Make sure to load the driver's corpse into the vic so we can loot them later. At the very very least, the helmet seems very useful for obvious reasons.

When we go back for the cans, we should grab some more guns and ammo since we can load it in the vic (not all of it though, that would be selfish).
Also check under the eyepatch Clay's corpse had oh. I am kind of curious. It is probably just some sort of accident or something, but it could be a cybernetic which would be pretty valuable.

Do we have a home or a base of some sort to drop stuff off at? If not, we should ask if we can squat over with the mechanic for the time being since he probably isn't going anywhere soon.

For the time being, put the gag back on this guy and then grab the stuff. We should probably save questioning/helping him for when we are in a more secure spot. Ideally somewhere with clothes that aren't straight off the corpse.
>>
No. 1020380 ID: 583eb4

Valuable info is nice, and it's tempting to just let the cute nerd spill his guts, but if he does that under duress, you may have to kill him so he doesn't tell someone that he told you some very illegal info (which you could be hunted/arrested for), and at that point, you lose some of Axyl's trust, and have killed an innocent who is worth a lot to someone (monetarily if not emotionally). Even if you get the nerd to not immediately report you when he goes free, the info would become less usable, as it would paint a target on your (and Axyl's) back if you use it, potentially getting the nerd killed anyway.
So, don't keep up the charade, and figure out who he is, if he knows what the stuff in the back of the car is, and where would be best to take him. Probably should move somewhere safer before you chat though.

And no problems with Axyl getting the vehicle.

Also, not something that can be checked right now, but I'm wondering how 'Clay' is holding up under the effects of the jammer, or if it's having any effect outside the obvious suppression. They may not be physical, but they seem aware enough... and having a separate consciousness attached to your mind go crazy is obviously bad.

>>1020371
So, Axyl may have been exposed to the stone as well? That and his range may be worth keeping in mind when handling the stone/turning off the jammer in future.
>>
No. 1020381 ID: b01382

>>1020360
>rape
Nah
We tried stopping him from yammering, so we might as well let him continue. Ask avout where we can find some CAI. Not like we can do much with the information. After that we can tell him we're not really raiders and we're freeing him. He can steal clothes off the two dead dudes of course.

Wheres he from? Those his computers? I wonder how hes going to carry all of those back.
>>
No. 1020385 ID: 96c896

>>1020360
Let him talk. Only after you get some good info should you let him know you're not raiders.
>>
No. 1020404 ID: ba605b

>>1020360
Rape
>>
No. 1020405 ID: e3eaff

Maybe we could use the vehicle to help out the dude whose stuck behind the worms, and then give it to our new friend.

As for the guy whose yammering... we probably could get more of a benefit if we stop him now and let him know we're independents, since it seems he's spilling info about what he can't do for the raiders, and it'll make his gratitude more genuine.
Not sure how we could prove it, show him our ID's or untie him?
>>
No. 1020406 ID: a9af05

>>1020405
>Maybe we could use the vehicle to help out the dude whose stuck behind the worms, and then give it to our new friend.
That depends on how powerful the gun on the vehicle is. Is it strong enough to penetrate the razor worms' armor and kill them? Is there enough ammo in it to take out an entire swarm? Can it out run the worms if they decide to chase us?

We've gotta know these things so that we can decide if the vehicle will help us or just get in the way.
>>
No. 1020411 ID: 34dfce

>>1020404
Wtf no
>>
No. 1020414 ID: 692918

>>1020360
knowledge is power but it can alsp be dangerous.

-CAI tech is illegal
-he knows our faces
-he is an established blabbermouth
-he WILL mention that he told us he knows about CAI shit when he's back with whoever he works with
-They will PROBABLY NOT want such a loose end out there

in short, let's not play it smart, let's interrupt this idiot before he gets us killed by letting him know we aren't raiders
>>
No. 1020415 ID: 12eb7b

Knowledge is power but contacts also are. You will get 500 just because you know a merc in the area.

Lying to him will make him angry and you will show your new companion a very bad side of yourself. Also in the future, it might be worth to have a computer sciencist friend, he can advise you about computer stuff you find and even be a contact to one company which can end in some jobs.

Also, don't be a jerk, this guy is really scared.
>>
No. 1020419 ID: 7e04cb
File 164216492631.png - (182.00KB , 800x600 , TQ68.png )
1020419

>didn't that lady friend of yours say she was protecting some nerds? Maybe this is one of them.
She said she was being a bodyguard for an alien nerd. Since this is a tobak I'm guessing he is unrelated.

I decide I don't want to be a jerk to this guy, partly because he is scared and partly because I don't want to show my new friend the side of me that lies, or at least employs the use of omissions.

"Calm down, we’re not raiders, and we're not working for anyone. We're freelancers. See?" We show him our red cloths.
"O-oh... I didn't... So, you guys aren't gonna..."
>"Hurt you? No way, dude! We're just a little confused, and curious, I guess."
"What about the raiders? I heard stuff going on outside, but I couldn't tell what because my magnetism was blocked."
"We took care of them. Well, most of them. One of them stepped off earlier."
"Does that mean I'm free to go? That's great! Is-... What's with that look you guys are giving me? O-oh, the whole CAI thing? My mouth can get a little loose at times, hahah, you can ignore all that stuff!"
Axyl and I turn to look at each other and at the same time, turn back to burn him with an intense look of disapproval.
"Alright alright! You guys were being honest with me, and you did help prevent me from becoming a code slave, So... I'll let a few more details slip. I'm... grateful that you guys aren't going to murder me."

>"You talked about a CAI, what exactly is that?"
"What's the best way I can put this... It's like a computer with lots and lots of independent AI inside. Like, a ridiculous amount of independent AI. But that's not what's so special about a CAI, what's special is that each of those independent voices is sentient. Making sentient AI is extremely hard to do, and the process of doing so is very poorly understood. But owning a CAI is very beneficial to anyone who can get their hands on one, as they can essentially generate the best possible decisions for any given scenario."
"You mentioned that you knew where we could get one?"
"Did I mention that CAI are extremely rare? That being said, there are three on the entirety of Saxum Eight. Exactly zero of which are known to anyone off-world. I wasn't lying when I said I knew where you could get one, but I don't know how you could get it. Two CAI are being closely guarded in top security company bunkers, and the third? Well... Nobody actually knows where that one is. There are clues, but nobody knows where it went since it parted with its previous owner. But I assure you, if you could obtain a CAI, you would be very, very well off."
"You're a bit of a blabbermouth, you're not going to tell us that we know any of this information to whoever you work for, right? Seems like it could be dangerous for us to know."
"Don't worry! I won't tell who I work for what I told you guys for the same reason I won't tell you guys who I work for, because like you guys, I could get in a lot of trouble!"
>"Are all these computers and machines yours?"
"God no! My kidnappers were bringing it with us so they could force me to use all of it somehow. It's a good thing it never came to that, because this junk is too ancient for me to use properly."

"Since we're moving on and taking the vehicle, do you want something? Uh, clothes, maybe?"
"All my clothes are in that box across from me. I wouldn't want to put anything on from those dead guys, seeing as what's left is a little... bloody... Say, did any of those guys have a black backpack on them? If not, don't worry about it."
Axyl rummages through the box to retrieve his belongings while I untie him. While I do, I ask him something that has been on my mind.
"Neither you or a CAI had anything to do with that deal that was supposed to happen between the pomi and heef corps, right?"
"Huh? No, I wouldn't know anything about that. I don't work for any of the mining companies, not anymore."

Axyl pulls out a lab coat, goggles, and a floral shirt from the box.
>"Sorry, I couldn't find your pants in here."
"Oh- don't worry about it, I don't wear pants."

...

"What? I'm a programmer, I sit at a computer all day in a hot server room, is it a crime to do what's most comfortable?"

We'll tally up all of the loot from the bodies and decide who'll get what by the end of the day. This is a pretty good haul, maybe I don't need to spend days down here after all. All that's left is to rescue the alien holding out at the radio tower and we can probably call it a day. We do need to decide what to do with this guy, though. The loot is for sure going to be something I can't carry on me, so I'll need to stop somewhere to drop it all off. I'm probably going to avoid the refinery for now, not much there I feel I can gain.
>>
No. 1020420 ID: 5d9787

We have a promise to fulfill and a few promised favors to receive. Let's go deliver the fuel canister to the mechanic then pick up our girl friend for the hero play.
Our smoking friend may be willing to check our vehicle for defects we aren't aware of, and might be interested in the cigarettes.
Unfortunately we could be short on fuel for the noise machine. Fortunately mounted heavy nailgun.
>>
No. 1020421 ID: 36784c

>>1020419
>Say, did any of those guys have a black backpack on them? If not, don't worry about it.
Yeah, one of them had a black backpack on. He got out at the refinery to get fuel, but was left behind when we spooked the driver into stepping on the gas.

>We do need to decide what to do with this guy, though.
After you get dropped off at the mechanic’s location, Axyl can take him to the cavern’s exit.

You could also ask if the programmer guy is able to call someone to come pick him up wherever he gets dropped off. Or ask for his name, then send a message out to your guard friends to see if they know if someone is looking for a missing/kidnapped programmer with this guy’s name.

>The loot is for sure going to be something I can't carry on me, so I'll need to stop somewhere to drop it all off.
Maybe the mechanic can keep an eye on your stuff while you’re off being a hero?

>I'm probably going to avoid the refinery for now, not much there I feel I can gain.
Except for the jerry cans full of fuel that you left near there. Better hope someone didn’t randomly find them and take them while you were gone!
>>
No. 1020422 ID: 9a2966

What's the coder's name? Introductions are in order. Who knows? Maybe you could use a code chum one day... especially if you do end up finding that CAI!

>CAI Corps
Who're the cool corps with CAIs? You're not gonna mess with them, just curious who's sitting on that sort of an advantage.

>3rd CAI clues
I suppose he knows some of those clues, then? Wouldn't have mentioned them otherwise, right?

>Loot dropoff
Stash it with the mechanic in the vehicle yard - or just trust Axyl to bring it all the way and to someone else you can trust there - it'd be better to trust ONE of them with the transport outta here, anyway! Saves you some hauling and the intent is to be splitting the stuff in the car anyway, right? Sure, either could screw you... but lugging stuff around and taking round trips is a pain!

Granted, if you get Axyl's buy-in on the whole "save the Neumono" plan definitely stash stuff by the vehicle yard, just so it won't get trashed in case something bad happens to the car.

>Programmer dropoff
He fine with being driven to the vehicle yard, from where he can get a ride with the mechanic and/or Axyl to the depot?

(Actually, IS Axyl headed back towards the depot?)

>Refinery avoidance
Fair enough, but you should still warn the guy you tipped off about the possibility of a solitary raider presence there now!
>>
No. 1020426 ID: b01382

>>1020419
Yeah m8 shits fucked. The living bandit got youe backpack. Was that yours? Hope it wasnt important. I guess we can go looking for it, but i got no clue how far he xpuld have gone.
>>
No. 1020440 ID: 34dfce

>>1020419
How canon is this quest? CAIs are a really really big deal in the Asteroidverse, and the fact that there are three of them here unknown to anyone offworld seems to mean that if the secret gets out, the whole world would be turned upside down. Depending on what happens later on, could this end up having repercussions in the mainline AsteroidQuest (Particularly Penn Quest, assuming Lago didn't abandon it)?
>>
No. 1020454 ID: 7e04cb
File 164222944945.png - (241.39KB , 800x600 , TQ69.png )
1020454

>How canon is this quest?
Canon compliant currently.

He puts his clothes and goggles on
"Back on my feet once more! Boy, it’s been so long since I’ve looked at a screen, my eyes have regenerated enough that I don’t need these glasses anymore."

"So, these CAI, are they... real?"
"Heck if I know. Here's the thing, I've never actually seen one, I've only ever heard of them. See, they are like, the holy grail of artificial intelligence. And when you get something so rare and sought after, you get a lot of... fakes. Are the three on our world genuine? Statistically speaking, odds are that most if not all are really convincing imitations. The reason we are so uncertain is because each and every one of them was obtained illegally, as you might expect."
"If they are fakes then I guess that means they're worthless."
"Nnnnnnot necessarily. A good fake is still fairly useful. But the real deal is infinitely better. Chasing down a real one is a pipe dream anyway, if you want ways to make some serious cash, I can help you out with that."

"Actually, one of those guys did have a black backpack. I saw him walk into the refinery."
"Oh thank god. Don't go after it, whatever you do."


"Is there a radio around that I could use?"
"There is... was one."
"Don't worry, I can find one on the way out of here. You guys don't mind dropping me off close to the elevator, do you?"
>"That's where I was planning to go. You fine with that Dowser?"
"So long as you can drop me off. I promised I'd deliver some fuel to someone at the vehicle yard, so just bring me there. You can drive right?"
>"Sure can"
"Good, I have no clue how to drive something like that."
"You guys seem alright, want to keep in touch? My name is Kellie. Kell is fine. Both of you seem capable, and my boss is always looking for capable guys going out and about. So long as you don't mind bending a few rules."
"Sure, why not."
>"Sounds good."
He sends both of us friend requests over our PDAs. I also get a request from Axyl.
>>
No. 1020455 ID: 7e04cb
File 164222948801.png - (172.82KB , 800x600 , TQ70.png )
1020455

>Alyx's quad goggles
I think they do give him some kind of better side view. I can tell they are pretty advanced, possibly due in part to how different glade tobak eyes are.

>Check the bodies
Neither of those guys had too much on them. Loose change, candy wrappers, the works. I take the gunners cigarettes, but I might just resell those instead of smoking them.

>Warn the guy you told about refinery loot.
I send him a message about the situation, and he understandably hesitates, but ultimately hangs back.

We pick up the jerry cans I had stashed by the road, luckily nobody found them. We start moving towards the refinery. I sit in the machine gun seat where the others can't hear me well over the engine.

"Quite the adventurous type, aren't we?"
Oh. It's just Clay. I was wondering when he'd show up.
"I know what you're probably wondering. How am I able to come out when you have the jammer on? The case seems to be that I'm completely in your head, and I have nothing to do with your horn's magnetic connection to the ore. In truth, I could have come out at any time. But you've been busy, and I don't mean to distract you. Seems you've met some new friends. I'm surprised you are so quick to trust people you've barely just met."
"Hey, wait a minute, why aren't you a hot chick like I imagined you as?"
"I can control my appearance too. I feel you'll take me more seriously when I'm this way as opposed to you just drooling on the floor."
"Is that all you came to say?"
"Not quite. I've been wondering what I am to you. What are my limits? Do you control me? Or... can I control you? "
I don't like where he is going with this. I don't even need to be looking at him to know he is around anymore. The more I'm around this stone the more real and independent he seems to become.
"Not that I disagree with the way you act mind you. Like you, I care about self-preservation. If you die, I die too. So that's why I decided that keeping us alive is the number one priority. I don't know if I can control you, but if I can? It would be for our own good, yes?"
Maybe keeping this rock might be more trouble than it's worth.
>>
No. 1020456 ID: 96c896

>>1020455
Tell him if he's really just part of your brain, then controlling you won't accomplish anything. So that is an admission that he is more than that, and that implies the ore can think. Also, he didn't know anything before he started talking to you. How could someone with so little knowledge of how the world works possibly be better than you in the driver's seat?
...maybe it's not ore. Could a CAI be hidden in there? A sufficiently advanced AI with access to a broadcasting medium of the appropriate wavelength might be able to hack a Tobak brain via their antlers. Or maybe the "ore" is an egg of sorts, and whatever's inside it is using you to protect itself and learn about the world, while pretending to be a figment of your imagination. In either case I think the jammer isn't jamming everything the ore is putting out. You need to use the briefcase to truly block it.

Tell him if he tries to control you, then you will do your best to ditch the ore and erase him. Maybe you'll even grind it into dust, how'd he like that? It's obviously too valuable to try to sell, because the last people that tried that got slaughtered.
See if threatening to destroy the ore makes whatever it is reveal what it really is.
>>
No. 1020457 ID: 5d9787

You are part of me, so you shouldn't be able to do anything better than me. If anything my perception of you as a character with qualities I do not posses would mean you have a tendency to be less efficient by attempting to do things in an in character manner I imagine would look cooler (like naruto run to go faster but less lame).
It could be possible that your out of body sense of self would allow for more resistance to pain and other circumstantially useful reflex suppressions I'm not capable of. Even if it work like that the last think I would want would be to break my bones for pointless strength accomplishes.
The most useful things you could possible do better than me would be personality dependent: genuine confidence and better delivery of lies. That is if we assume you can project a cool atitude to others in the first place, and do so looking like me and not some dead badass.
In truth this proposal sound very sinister, but in reality this would mean I would be lying to myself and pretending to be someone I'm not.
>>
No. 1020458 ID: c92a02

Don't go abusing your tulpa privileges Clay, or I'll send Jackie Chan in there after you.
So what's priority number two? There may be some thing you know that I don't after all.
>>
No. 1020459 ID: b01382

>>1020455
>doesnt have anything worth taking
Nonsense. Their guns bro. You can take their guns and sell them. Doesnt matter if its pocket change. Thays change you can use for groceries bro.

If you can control me that is and isnt a good thing? You, who we both can hypothesis is a creation of my imagination through this weirs ore, do not entirely gain or lose anything from attempting to control my own body, because at the moment you have no motivations, and any motivations you did have stems from my own mind the moment i saw the corpse and picked up the rock. So, yes and no, but i would like there to be no attempts.
>>
No. 1020461 ID: ee520c

Keeps stone and eventually becomes a fleshy tobak version of a SAI.
>>
No. 1020462 ID: 3a2387

>Can I control you?
Sounds like the worst possible way to find out would be to initiate a mental tug of war during a crisis situation!

...so does he want to try now, while it’s comparatively safe? Like, you’re not keen on giving up your body or anything, but it might be doable for some things? But what’d he even be able to contribute with IN a crisis? Like he admitted, he has no memories beyond your own, just a slightly different perspective, right? Or was that a lie?

Granted if he tries to control and succeeds and then tries to keep your bod for reals, the rock gets yeet’d the moment control is returned. Self-preservation and all, no offense.

Granted, it kinda seems like the rock is a moot point now, if he just somehow IS in your head, jammer or not? Is it a Rock of Give Tobaks Split Personalities?

>Trusting others.
Many hands make for short work, and you felt like you had enough clues to go by as to Alyx’s sincerity. You wouldn’t have taken out the raider vehicle without him, and Alyx could’ve domed you with an x-bow earlier or not given you any warnings.

As for this programmer guy, you’ll be careful, but he seems genuine enough
>>
No. 1020475 ID: 286be8

>I feel you'll take me more seriously when I'm this way as opposed to you just drooling on the floor.
A little sad but completely fair. Still think he was cute/hot and still very badass like that, but better to talk on even terms, and staring at an unseen looming figure would draw the others attention.

There are things he should recognize though. Disagreements and power struggles at inconvenient moments are very likely to get the both of your killed, and if he makes you feel threatened in your own body, respectfully, you may very well panic and get rid of the ore, even if it doesn't wind up helping things. Wanting more agency is natural, all this is just very new and a bit ominous though.

Perhaps there is some utility to having him in control, as an extension of the ore, but that would be impossible to know without trying. Similarly, with practice, perhaps he could help you maintain situational awareness in a fight, warning you of incoming threats. Who knows, maybe he could become your Dowser-Sense.

Since the rock is still having some effect through the jammer, it raises the question of whether it's also effecting Axyl and Kell, and whether they'd see something else, or if they'd see Clay. Clay is quite probably a part of your mind, but it's impossible to deny that his presence is linked to the ore, so whose to say it wouldn't make some sort of link like that, a shared hallucination of sorts. He can't 'sense' them can he? Or at least the impressions of others like him.

While he's here though, imagine giving him a hug. It's about the only way you can directly interact with him, and he's gotta be at least a little lonely, so it's a decent way to test that. Self preservation is important, but you gotta value living for it to really matter.
>>
No. 1020477 ID: ce39da

"On the one hand, I'm not entirely sure if you could do anything I couldn't, even if you could take over. On the other, you might turn out to be better at remembering and processing new information than I am, though I doubt you need to take control of me outright for us to make use of that. We could try experimenting with highlighting stuff in my vision, maybe?"
>>
No. 1020486 ID: dfbac0

Okay buddy, let's not get ahead of ourselves, I understand the existential implications of living in someone's mind but taking over my body seems... messy. Why don't we see about other ways you could keep me alive? You're technically in my mind but maybe the stone has some weird magic stuff that allows you to peek around corners for me and see things I can't? That would be a lot more useful to our survival than just hijacking my body.
>>
No. 1020490 ID: 36784c

>>1020455
Ask if they want their own identity? After all, they’re not the real “Clay”, so there isn’t really any reason for them to keep using that form. Maybe we could give them a new name and a different “default form” instead of them always being Clay? Unless they like looking like that?

>>1020486
>allows you to peek around corners for me and see things I can't?
That was already answered here: >>1018936 , when our sexy imaginary friend said, "I know what you're going to ask, and no. I cannot look around corners and tell you what's behind. I only know and see what you know and see."
>>
No. 1020491 ID: 9a2966

Also, you're trying to stay upbeat and not to panic or freak out about all this - it'd be best if this was just one more everyday hurdle. It would be weird if you had a mental breakdown, right? So getting into a bad headspace could be a threat to you both.

With that in mind, he shouldn't aggressively push any 'I can take over your body thing' angles, aight? It's... fine to discuss it, maybe test the waters a bit, as you understand it's a difficult prospect to not ever be large and in charge and you have a hard time even imagining how it's possible to live as a body-less entity - Is it awful? Are they alright? Like, how do you even approach something so far out of context to a lived experience?

What you CAN do is acknowledge they're a person - as far as you can tell - and that you now kind of play a critical role in their survival, as, uh, the hosting headspace, so to speak. And that, in this context, selling or giving away the rock could make Clay consider doing something drastic in order to preserve himself, since neither of you have any idea what's gonna happen. You didn't expect your chance prize to come to a head this way - in your head!

But there's not much you can do about it at this point, yeah? Other than keeping the rock on you forever - and that seems to strengthen the connection bond or whatever - so... if you're REALLY gonna do that:

A) there should be some advantage to it - a recalcitrent 'wanna take over your body' headbud doesn't sound great, a headbud who can, you dunno, pay attention to subtle things you miss, aid your aim, or whatever, DOES sound good.

B) you at the very least need some other way to earn big zeny survival money, making taking risks, like this rescue op, a good thing in the long run, even for Clay, right? Even if it risks you both. And understand: you're pretty cavalier about risks because that's life, and you've gotta make a living. Sometimes people die. You'd like it not to be you, but it's also possible to die of starvation or becoming so desperate that you do stupid shit like join a raider group and then get killed by sneaky clever indeps.

C) You can offer some give and take. Would he like a vote - a way to offer input to plans, modify them, when he feels it's needed? Then he could just input it like... thoughtful advice. You're always entertaining several lines of thoughts anyway, he'd just be adding one more to the mix, really!

D) You have to verify there's no spillover effect on other people. At least, nothing bad or serious. And no long-term brain tumor effects or whatever. So some research will have to be done on the rock, information hunted for. At some point this means it MAY get taken away from you, just to see what would happen - but you'd give them a veto for that.

Anyway, to explain the logic of what's going on right now, with your current plan, since it sounded like they were trying to critique a bit: saved people = rewards and connections. Connections = jobs = money = continued survival. Getting a good rep doesn't hurt either. People are a bit more willing to put their faith in folks who don't screw others over all the time, which is pretty basic uplift 'here is how the social contract work' stuff. You're not out to be a hero just for the sake of being hero (though it does feel nice...).
>>
No. 1020505 ID: 15a025

I don't think I trust Clay here that much. If he thinks of a good plan, he can share with us. No body controlling though.
>>
No. 1020536 ID: a2493c

>>1020455
you realize how SPECTACULARLY evil you sound right now, yes?
>>
No. 1020579 ID: 96c896

...actually, if he IS part of your brain, there is some benefit to him controlling part of your body. Like, aiming two guns at once. Or anything that requires split concentration.
True multitasking!
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