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File 165486684307.png - (732.10KB , 1000x1000 , Chapter3OpeningImageFinal.png )
1034710 No. 1034710 ID: 73aaab

Chapter 1:>>/questarch/985116
Chapter 2:>>/questarch/1007458

Discord: https://discord.com/invite/x9QHPvzhdD

Things were different before. But now, I'm going to have fun caving her head in.
Expand all images
No. 1034711 ID: 73aaab
File 165486687646.png - (402.71KB , 1000x1000 , ch301altaltalt.png )

>The lone soldier marches grimly onward.
>Day after day, week after week, no answers were ever given. But now there's change. The SAI, Amica and the prototype, the corpse she was handed last night.
>Even though she had wanted it for so long - having grasped that difference herself, she found nothing but a bitter taste in her mouth.
No. 1034712 ID: 73aaab
File 165486689515.png - (181.63KB , 1000x1000 , Chapter3Map.png )

...It's time again, isn't it?
I was... a little worried that whatever happened last night knocked you out of my system for good. Would've had an excuse to sneak away if the Weave Nexus wasn't on full lockdown.
But if we're going to fight, I'd rather have some backup than nothing at all.

I know there's... probably a lot to think about, with what happened last night. But we have to focus on what's ahead of me first.

And so I've got to fight Astrolysis, the so-called Foundry Sector Boss. We didn't exactly get that much gear to use against her, but - this fight's going to be straightforward. I've gotten more skilled - more equipped than I when I had first fought Astrolysis in front of you Sykes.
We do have a primitive floorplan of the area that we can use. Given how it was just a blueprint for the shape of the sector, it probably won't give us much information on what the area actually contains besides the general shape.

...I know there's a lot we haven't accounted for. Her Parasignia, how she fights, what her weaknesses are... but we have to bite the bullet and go in, as prepared as we can be.

We didn't get any standard-issue equipment or sub-items that'll help us out here, so I don't have to list 'em.
Whatever Astrolysis' fighting style is, she's a melee combatant of some sort - she can't aim at all. As such, it's probably a good idea if we stay outside of the rooms where we have the advantage.

My current equipment:
Twin Revolvers - The Sound and The Fury
Shotgun - The Creirwy D-3
Sniper Rifle - Prototype H-ED DSTR
Auxiliary Melee - Silkweave Gauntlets

Deck of the Storyteller:
2 Solburst
3 Frozeneye
3 Breezecycle
2 Briarspirit
2 Voidsplit
4 Echoscribe

If I forget anything or get a number wrong, let me know. It's hard keeping track of everything on me, you know. Part of why I like having my Parasignia is not having to count my ammunition.
No. 1034714 ID: 73aaab
File 165486701957.png - (778.96KB , 1500x1000 , ch302.png )

And here's my gadgets - you know how the drill goes, yeah? Pick some main gadgets, cram the others in the main ones to give 'em extra properties. That's how we get the show on the road.

Oh, almost forgot to mention - I got a bundle of clothes this morning. Apparently you lot made them for me? That's... weirdly nice of you. But I guess Judicium had to actually put whatever crazy designs you've got into reality, huh.
Still, I appreciate it - I'll put it on while you guys figure things out.

Barrier Generator - Projected Forcefield.
Beam Unit - Long-ranged Beam Attack.
Explosive Discs (3) - Throwable plastic explosives.
Pitch Prefect - Wrist-mounted tar launcher.
Blink Capacitor - Short-ranged teleportation and intangibility.
Blade Printer - Aerodynamic disposable knife creation.

Alright, Sykes - let's figure out a loadout using all of this info.
Any recommendations?
No. 1034717 ID: e5709d

Here's the gist of what we learned on our intel review:
This hellhole is not a 'hero factory', it is a Psionics laboratory. They stopped caring about winning the war and obsessed over developing the perfect brainwasher. Good thing that didn't work out. I think.
The two main explanations for why you are all biologically born female are (A)females develop psionics better or something, or (B) someone sabotaged all the male test samples to slow this project to a crawl.
Testemillion became a Machiavellian sociopath due to the war. He got the other project leaders to put a memetic self-destruct in your minds, in case any of you went rouge. The trigger has to do with murdering innocents or betraying allies, or some other war crime.
One of the base's captains was a royal princess. You might want to find her.
Diagram may be a clone of her older sister - apparently, she had Banshee's Grasp. We don't know if she made it.

First off, I'm setting up a challenge for you; try to beat your next opponent without using more than three cards. The fact that you're permanently sacrificing magical artifacts to pass a test is something I am extremely uncomfortable with; even if this is the most important test of your life, the admins are going to look at your conspicuous spending and indirectly grade you by shredding their letters of recommendation. Nobody will trust you with shiny objects if you vore them like aspirin.
>Opponent is a dedicated melee specialist
Hm... that's too good to be true. She's a veteran. She's trained with Nickel. She'll have traps or a drone rig to compensate for ranged attackers. And since you don't have any melee supports beyond your own gauntlets, her best bet is to find ways to outsmart or bypass your defenses and just get in for a spine-breaker 'bear hug'.

My favorite part of our prep sessions; let's customize this Transistor!

General Teleportation For OMGWTFBBQ
* Blink Capacitor
** Barrier Generator
** Beam Unit
You need an exit strategy. If you get cornered in this fight, Astro will take a chunk of your health before you can disengage and can pursue like a killer from then on. You need a few GTFO charges to reset your position. Increase the BC's range so you can teleport across the entire sector and add a barrier so you can bypass any traps in your way.

Torgue's Butterblade Dispenser
* Blade Printer
** Explosive Discs
This is the kind of toaster you'd expect Mister Torgue Flexington to store his knives in. Why does he keep his knives in his toaster? "Why do you not have a grenade launcher?" You'll get less explosive damage from your blades, but you can spam them or make near-unlimited explosive traps. Which can detonate...

* Pitch Perfect
And be sure to spread some goopy cheer. She'll expect you to soup this gadget up with mods to pin her down. Don't fall for it.
No. 1034719 ID: e51896

Oh good. The glitches stopped.

Yeah, when you grabbed that gift from Amicia, our visual got glitched up a bit, making it a little hard to see. maybe we got damaged somehow.

but just to make sure, can you hear us alright? I W̴a̷n̸t̵ ̸t̶o̸ ̵m̷a̷k̴e̷ ̸sure our audio didn't get damaged either.
No. 1034811 ID: c1b6b2

The classic Pitch-Perfect/Explosive Discs burning tar projectiles could help a lot against her heat sense.

Same goes for Beam Unit/Barrier Generator for heat-emanating force fields.

Unless there is a better combination that could throw her off in that fashion.

Before the battle begins, allow us some words of encouragement:

Uhm... what's important is to participate!
No. 1034814 ID: 273c18

Here are the tags again:
Beam Unit - Focusing, Energizing, Pinpointing
Explosive Disc - Explosive, Volatile, Destructive
Barrier Generator - Reflective, Protective, Repelling
Pitch Prefect - Slowing, Sticky, Congealing
Blink Capacitor - Displacing, Replacing, Intangible
Blade Printer - Replicating, Cutting, Aerodynamic

I like this loadout, tbh. We need a strong teleport because we are going to have a lot of trouble keeping away from her, having defense-piercing explosives is a no-brainer, and spreading tar (burning or not) is a great strategy against a melee opponent.

We can ignite the tar with the exploding blades!
No. 1035014 ID: 73aaab
File 165525732724.png - (356.33KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryRoom.png )

>Oh good, the glitches stopped!
Yeah... that thing.
Something still feels different after that. Maybe it's just me. I haven't seen any glitches on my part, but I'll have to keep it in mind.

>Change can be imperceptible. Like cracking a geode - sometimes it is necessary to damage something to uncover the secrets within.

>Intel Review
Huh? Just what kind of things are you seeing while you're not around?
From the sound of it, I guess you're talking about the past Project Leaders. I don't know much about them and I guess the classes about them weren't especially interesting so I'm not sure I'm actually understanding everything you're talking about.
Given that there's only one woman in the Project Leads, you're talking about Leeza, right? Never heard anything about her being a princess sort - and I don't actually know what happened to her, considering she's left her stuff in the locker last we went looking. I'd have to ask Ozone about it, which isn't exactly something I want to do.
All of this... greater stuff, I'm going to have to consider it later. For now, I've got a Sector Boss to defeat. We'll review it when I've got time to look into it.

>Try beating Astrolysis without using more than three cards.
Are you kidding? What's the point of having these things if I don't actually use all of them? I get saving a few for the next fight, but resources are meant to be spent. I'll try, but if I lose because I didn't use enough of 'em, it's on you.

Alright, let's take a look here...

From the suggestions you've provided, I'll be taking this loadout:

Blink Capacitor, with Barrier Generator and Beam Unit integrated into it.
With some quick tests, the effects are clear - when I teleport in to an area, it ends up creating a short-lived barrier around me that means I won't be surprised by anything unpleasant. And the Beam Unit slotted in there means that the teleport's fairly quick to use - so I don't have to wait around all too much.
The Beam Unit's effect doesn't really improve the Blink Capacitor's range however, so we'll still be operating within a similar range as before.

The Blade Printer simply has the Explosive Discs in it so they become timed-detonation knives. No matter how good Astrolysis' defenses are, a point-blank explosion'll do a lot of damage to anything.
I didn't think it would've been this easy getting sticky bombs of a sort, but hey, this'll help teach that beast who's the real boss around here!

Finally, I take the Pitch Prefect (you guys do realize it's Prefect, not Perfect?) since the tar'll help slow Astrolysis down. It would actually be nice to mod it a bit more, but I just don't have the gadgets for this.

Still - with this loadout? I'm sure I've got a good chance behind me of succeeding. So it's go time.

Getting the new gear on - I think it feels pretty good. Easy to move in. Haven't really had a change of clothes in a long time so.... thanks. I don't think I've gotten a present like THIS before.

>Once, heat flowed forth from the doorways leading in and out of the foundry, the war machine fuelled through the production of weapons and equipment.
>Though it lays dormant, the only war machines left are the people who dwell in the facility itself.

Pwah. Feels like a layer of dust's starting to settle now that nobody's around any more. No need to make more weapons on a bigger scale - nowadays all of the new stuff being put together's what you can do yourself. We're lucky there's still enough parts lying around to do stuff with.

And there, in the middle of the Sector... there she is.
Astrolysis... she's all by herself.
She's got a wrapped thing at her side - is that a weapon?

She's all armored up. Guess she's as serious as me.
I warily approach, but she doesn't need to see me to feel me coming.
No. 1035015 ID: 73aaab
File 165525738537.png - (957.31KB , 1000x1000 , AstroKneeling.png )

And there she is.
That bundle by her side. Is that a sword, or a club? It's so big, I'm not sure which it is.
"Yo. Wirehead. So we're doing this, huh?"
It's strange seeing her so calm. Like a sleeping monster.
There's not much desire for smalltalk between us. I guess, in spite of everything, we're on a similar wavelength when it comes to beating the tar out of someone.
I stay a safe distance away, ready to get my guns out at any moment. But first, there's a lot of other stuff to sort through.

"Yeah. We are. You got the weapon for me, like you promised?"
I don't forget what I'm owed.

"Yeah. Right here, take it."
She reaches behind and kicks something over to me - it's long, but - it's not even in a case. It's a leather sheath of some kind.
No. 1035018 ID: 73aaab
File 165525751860.png - (765.58KB , 1000x1000 , swordpickup.png )

I go to pick it up and...
This is... a sword?!

I look up at her.
"I thought you were making me a gun?"

"Did I say that? All I remember's you begging for a weapon made by me. And so I made the thing I'm best at making."

I turn the thing over and back in my hands. It's certainly something - if anything, it is well-made.
Swords... can't say I find the appeal in them, given that guns are so much better in the kinds of engagements we're familiar with, but melee weapon training was included early on in our curriculums as cadets. I can use this thing as competently as anyone else.

"Alright, fine, I'll take it. How'd you make it anyway?"

"Had an idea or two in mind. Took some inspiration from a friend."
I wonder who it is?
"You make this yourself?"

"Yeah. Got a little bit of help, but making it's something I learned from the best."
The metal shines under the light. Interesting colour.
Hard to believe that she put this together mostly by herself though.
No. 1035019 ID: 73aaab
File 165525753176.png - (506.29KB , 1000x1000 , plugacquired.png )

Holding it up to the light - this thing's... it feels right holding it.
A few practice swings, and it's like the sword's already an extension of my arm.
"So... what's it called?"


"The Plug?"

"No, just Plug."

...Somehow I feel like she's telling me to go stick this in an electrical outlet.
"Go on, do your whole magic thing to the sword - I can wait a few more minutes."

I glare at her as I disassemble the sword - but the construction of the sword is fairly simple. Good quality, too. Maybe it's because of how simple its construction is, but I think I can manifest it faster than my other weapons.
Feh. I'm tempted to rename this thing, but that doesn't feel right to me - a name's like a mark you put on the weapons you create, right? I didn't make this, and it would be wrong for me to just rename it, even if it's got a weird one.

Not sure what's going to happen if I start using Guns Blazing to combine my other gear with it - it's been a long time since I've had a sword of this quality.
No. 1035020 ID: 73aaab
File 165525755810.png - (524.86KB , 1000x1000 , AstroChoice.png )

The sword's finally been integrated, so I take a step back.
My revolvers reappear in my hands, but Astrolysis stops me.

"Wait. Before anything else..."

"You've got to make a choice."
I leer.
"A choice? This isn't the cafeteria line, Astrolysis."

Her grin continues.
"Hey, I like my fights like my meals - on time, and prepared to my tastes."

Her armor jangles as she makes a quick flourish. Two options, huh?
"Here's the deal - we can fight each other the cowards' way."
She spits. "Using Parasignias, running and hiding as you try to plink away at me with those peashooters of yours from a distance. The way you probably thought you were going to fight me."

"Or. We can do this the way that these tournaments were MEANT to be fought. Two soldiers, two living weapons armed with nothing but blades and sticks, trying to maul each other."
She's proposing that I fight her in her area of specialty? Get real!

"Yeah? And what's in it for me? My Parasignia's specced for modification of gadgets and weaponry. Why the hell should I agree to your conditions when I'm going to be at a big disadvantage up close?"

She shrugs. "Feh. You can keep your little toy gadgets if you want. I just want to enjoy myself, not chase you in circles as you gradually wear yourself out."
Oh, like you're not going to be the one who's eating facefuls of bullets each time we run around.

"Point is - I want you to fight me with the weapon I just made for you. And if you're not going to agree..."
She leers, showing all her teeth in that signature smile of hers.
"...I'm not going to hold anything back. You'll regret it."

>The rebel stares the behemoth before her down, pondering the possibilities. A duel for the ages, an echo of a past neither know for themselves.
"Don't give me that look. You think I'd really sabotage the best opportunity I have at having a good fight? You can fight however you want, wirehead. But if you're listening to those little voices in your head, then you'd better hope that they give you a decision that you're going to be happy with. "

"What about the sword? Does it still count if I jam something else into it?"
She shrugs. Awfully casual about all this for someone who's setting the rules.
"Eh. You sure you can keep your guns jammed inside a perfectly good sword that long? Still a sword in my book, even if it's got pieces glued on to it."

So, the question is... whether or not I actually take her offer.
I can fight her with just my gadgets and that new sword, or I can actually go at her with my full kit.
Pssh. I mean, she has to be kidding, right? Why the hell would I fight her with just a sword?
No. 1035021 ID: e51896

do it for honor
No. 1035023 ID: e5709d

Strange, I could smell a fortune cookie or something while you were talking about the glitches clearing up...
No really, and I don't know what that was about.

>Blade or Bludgeon
Tanto Markings, rectangular guard, it's wearing a scarf... pretty sure that's a blade. Since it's a long-ass weapon and she covered it in cloth instead of a scabbard, I infer this is probably an Odachi - Lightweight Greatsword, if you can believe those exist.
Their low durability and lower optimization for high-quality materials makes them ineffective in heated fights... when the wielder doesn't have powers. She has powers. This is going to suck. Expect strong, faster-than-average long-range strikes. And according to the datalogs, swordplay schools use Odachi like fast-flying hammers, so expect downward strikes.
Or maybe she just chose this because she thinks you're going to charge like a rabid animal - apparently these were made to cut down tamed beasts.

Dang. Still, we have some blueprints for modernized swords. I told you about Trick Weapons, right?

I dub thee... The Linker Sword!
... It's a joke. You do NOT want to choose The Baiter.

I get the feeling that she's purposely trying to hold back just so beating you up will be sweeter.
But don't take the deal. You don't have secret melee training, and she's physically stronger than you. A straight fight is suicide.
We'll just have to push you to your strategic limits on this one.
No. 1035024 ID: a53150

>The rebel stares the behemoth before her down, pondering the possibilities. A duel for the ages, an echo of a past neither know for themselves.
I'm sorry, who are you again and why are you butting in to say this stuff?

Honor duels are meant to b fought in equal terms. Same weapons, same fighting style, and the one who is most skilled or talented wins.

But I leave it up to you, Argine, do you want to win abbiding to the rules of the duel or abbiding to its spirit?
No. 1035026 ID: 273c18

I think this deal is to your advantage. Considering Nickel's bullets got multiplied, I'd say Astrolysis can clone herself. Force multiplication AND defense multiplication-- you won't be able to win a fight against five of her. You just won't.

Ask her what happens if someone breaks the deal once it's taken. What's stopping her from changing her mind halfway through the fight?
No. 1035058 ID: 5bc683

Heh. She's actually playing into your personality a bit here. So play into hers.
"We could always spar later. Besides, how could I pass up a chance to fight you at full strength? Even better, how could I pass up a chance to beat you at full strength?"
No. 1035179 ID: 73aaab
File 165543284142.png - (539.40KB , 1000x1000 , ArginePush.png )

>Who are you again?
Uh... you sure you're thinking right, Syke?
>Consider me a spectator. I've been here all along, much like you have. The host cannot hear me - and we should hope that she cannot. For when she can - that's a sign of worse things to come.

I ain't hearing anyone else you're talking to. Whatever, moving on.

>Honor duels are meant to b fought in equal terms. Same weapons, same fighting style, and the one who is most skilled or talented wins.
If this was fist-fighting, I think I would be given a couple of handicaps, given how much larger Astrolysis is compared to me.

>You don't have secret melee training, and she's physically stronger than you. A straight fight is suicide.
>We'll just have to push you to your strategic limits on this one.

Actually, I DO have secret melee training. With Nickel, remember?

Break and Blood Circle - respectively, it lets me escape grapples with people larger than me, getting to a safer distance, and lets me take less hits because I'm better at dodging and weaving than I was before.
You're still right though - Astrolysis is at far more of an advantage when at these ranges. I can't take this choice, regardless of how 'honourable' it is.

>Ask her for more details.
"So what happens if one of us breaks the rules after we agree to it?"

"Can't talk for you, but I don't have any other gear I'm planning to use. If you break the rules, then I'll just go all out, like I said."

Feh. She's not exactly being very specific about it at all, is she?

>I think this deal is to your advantage.
I'm not so sure it is.

>Heh. She's actually playing into your personality a bit here. So play into hers.
Time to see how she'd respond to this -
"We could always spar later, if that's what you really want. But we don't get to go full force often - why should I pass you up on that? Better than that - what's better than me beating you at full power, with everything I've got?"

This gets her thinking for a bit - not that she has much going on in that cake-shaped head of hers.
"You really think you can do this, huh?"

She shakes her head, that stupid grin of hers plastered over her face.
"Your funeral. I gave you a choice."

I continue to stare at her, watching for her next move.
"We gonna do the pledge?"
The words are still etched into my mind.


No? First time I've ever heard that.
"Stop clinging onto the past, Argine. We ain't living there. I'm going to be destroying you now, not years ago!"

"Yeah? And how do you expect us to do things if we're not looking at what past heroes have done?"

"It's easy."
She takes a step forward and I raise my guns in response.

"We do things OUR OWN WAY!"
It's like a blur -
I'm knocked back, and there's a throbbing pain in my chest.
How can she move so fast?!
No. 1035180 ID: 73aaab
File 165543286202.png - (698.17KB , 1000x1000 , ArginePushed.png )

I grunt as I push myself off the ground.

"The hell happened to the idea of honor and ceremony?", I shout as she kneels back down like she didn't just shove me a meter away.

"You really think I'M the sort to care about that kind of thing? I'm here for a fight, not talking. You turned down the offer, after I made such a nice sword for you too!"

I'm trying to recover, but wherever she hit me - I feel pretty damn disoriented.

"So, what do you want, Argine? Are you really just fighting to be... some kind of hero? Didn't think you were serious."

I grit my teeth. Now she's asking?
"That's damn right. Me, when I'm getting the hell out of here, I'm going to be a hero. Someday, people are going to look up to me - respect me, because there'll be nobody who can stop me."

My revolver's gone - I can try to reform it, but - if needs be, I can go and re-manifest the sword - it's simple, so getting it back together should be faster than my revolvers.

She laughs, and a chill runs down my spine.
No. 1035184 ID: 73aaab
File CompressedAstroFinalIntro.mp4 - (17.53MB )

(Compressed Videofile attached)
Youtube Link & Full Resolution:
No. 1035185 ID: 73aaab
File 165543343401.png - (105.99KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap01.png )


>Assessment Phase initialized. Displaying environmental data.

>Relevant data to current opponent rendering...

>Parasignia Classification: ???
>Preferred Weapon archetype: Bladed (Longswords)

>Potential Weaknesses (Subject to change):
>- Blind - alternative sense of sights in use. Can be exploited.
>- Aggressive - can be baited into attacks.
>- Blade can be disarmed, lowering reach and firepower.

Ghh- what the hell!
Just as I was trying to get a breather.
Options, now!
No. 1035190 ID: 273c18

Blink into a room, use Pitch Prefect to goop up the entrance she's most likely to use. Either hit her with your sword as she's slowed, or use an explosive knife.
Actually, you should prefer to use any tools that boost your Parasignia's charge. You probably won't be able to win without that big burst of damage.

Hmm, you seem pretty decent at blocking with that sword, so maybe you could use its quickdraw advantage to do that with it? You need to get better at manifesting it into your hand... you had to pick it off the ground back there.
No. 1035193 ID: 8483cf

Bait her into attacking and try to tire her out. Buy time!
No. 1035202 ID: e5709d

Hold off on using Blink, or she'll figure out how to subvert it quickly - especially since she's a blind warrior. Save it for a moment when you can cash in on a major sneak attack.

Instead, ask if whoever blinded her stuck their sausages into her eye holes, or if she overcompensates for being a simp to princess jut-out-your-juggling-chainsaws.

Run like hell and squirt brown juice behind you.

This is intentionally offensive. If Astrolysis is reading Argine's thoughts with hypertelepathy, let's creep her out and get her to show a tell of disgust.
No. 1035580 ID: 462c22

I'm going for this strategy.
Bait her into a tar-smeared chokehold and shoot her full of holes.
No. 1035586 ID: 73aaab
File 165581577407.png - (597.64KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineRunning.png )

Even from blocking one swing, my arms feel sorer than they should. What kind of force is she putting behind her attacks?
I turn to run, but I can feel the burning edge of the blade bearing down on me.

>Blink into a room!

I can't blink through solid material!
But I can use it to get some distance!

With a quick swipe of the hand, I activate the Blink Capacitor, teleporting back and into a safe distance. But a quick glance behind me, and Astrolysis is ALREADY sprinting full force towards me, her sword at the ready.
If I were to fire the Pitch Prefect at her now, I'd have to slow down a bit, and that's even MORE liable to get me caught.

>Hold off on using Blink, or she'll figure out how to subvert it quickly.
Too late for that! If I didn't use it, she probably would've cut me in half!
I'm not sure how 'seeing' a blink would look like from her perspective, but I don't have the time to just play around and find out.

I keep running toward the nearest room, but Astrolysis' speed means that she's gaining on me.
Not much time before she's going to try and thrust that thing through my chest!
No. 1035587 ID: 73aaab
File 165581578949.png - (491.19KB , 1000x1000 , closedadoor.png )

I duck inside the room, slamming the 'lock' button.
The doors slam closed and I quickly survey my surroundings, taking a breather.

From the looks of it, this specific room seems to be full of boxes of building materials.

There's boxes of nails, some cans of paint and adhesive tape rolls. Maybe I could go and create a diversion using them? But I won't be able to beat Astrolysis just from running around all day.

>Actually, you should prefer to use any tools that boost your Parasignia's charge. You probably won't be able to win without that big burst of damage.
Good suggestion, but - she hasn't actually USED her Parasignia properly yet, not from the looks of it! I'm going to have to play keepaway as she tires herself out, or at least I figure out WHAT she can do!
So that means ideally, we'd try to -
No. 1035588 ID: 73aaab
File 165581580782.png - (592.87KB , 1000x1000 , closedadoorPENETRATE.png )

There's a sickening crack as her heated blade penetrates through the door.
A muffled shout from behind the thick metal greets me.
"Playing hide and seek, wirehead? I thought you weren't a coward, that you were going to push me over and keep walkin' forwards?"

And there's THAT again. Damn it, I feel like I need to respond to all of that - running her bloody mouth, dissing how I live my life!
She's trying to psyche me out like that - and I hate it.

I can hear her grunting from the other side - whatever the door's made of, it's going to buy me some time at very least.
No. 1035589 ID: 73aaab
File 165581584030.png - (90.59KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap02.png )

She's trying to pry the doors open - I've got only a few seconds to come up with something against her - but unless I can turn the flow of battle against her, I'm not going to win this fight.
Being indoors is NOT a good situation - normally, her sword would get caught on the shelves and furniture of the room, but with how that thing gouged a crack into the concrete floor? Yeah, I think that thing's going to go through objects like butter.

A few options come to me -

1. I can try to gum up her sword using the Pitch Prefect's tar while it's stuck in the door. This should buy me some time to reposition elsewhere and try to gain an advantage.

2. I could probably fashion a quick trap out of the materials in this room, but you're going to have to give me the best choice out of what we've got - with paint, nails and tape.

3. I could try to argue with her about what she said before the fight started - trying to buy some time for me to slip out the back as she's explaining what the hell she even means.

4. Maybe you've got an idea that I haven't thought of yet?

Whatever it is, we're going to have to move fast - that door doesn't look like it's going to last much longer!
No. 1035590 ID: e5709d

>I can't blink through solid material!
That would have been nice to remember five minutes ago!

Oh wait, problem solved. This idiot will poke enough holes to induce tryptophobia. Port through those.

>Damn it, I feel like I need to respond to all of that
Mouth shut, eyes open, improvise with what you've got.

For now, grab as much stuff as you can from this room and bug out. I have an idea, but we don't have the time.
No. 1035593 ID: e5709d

Oh right, and hide an explosive knife in the nails.
No. 1035666 ID: 798908

Is there a source of water or something nearby? I imagine that sword would quickly become a hindrance if steam became a factor. Even if she's blind, a significant enough amount of steam and mist should obscure most extra senses.

There should be big water pipes around, foundries use a lot of it.

Use that to slow them down, we may have to resort to a LOT of collateral damage here.
No. 1035673 ID: c5322d

If any of that paint is spray paint, it sure would make your explosive knives more explosive.
Otherwise, nails would make good improvised caltrops.

Though if you really want to go big, why not blow that sword of hers to pieces with your knives?

That's be worse for Argine you dope, she can't shoot what she can't see!
No. 1035675 ID: e35782

Quick clarification:
Tape explosive knives to her blade.
No. 1035680 ID: c1d4af

Let's use the Pitch Per-


the Pitch Prefect on the door and floor, it will give us time to prepare some projectiles to throw at her while she tries to move past the tar.

We should also use the Barrier Generator to ram her out of the way so we can leave the room.
No. 1035697 ID: 30b9f6

Mmm. Hell of a thing going down here. Astrolysis, whatever you hope to get out of this: may it be more than you expected - and twice as funny.

>Another plan
Pull out Plug and a Voidsplit card. Argine, no matter who you are and what you want, you can take Astrolysis' point and impale her with it. Make her have to acknowledge that you drew first blood, just the way she wanted, in the way she wanted it... when she supposedly wasn't even holding back.

>Edge against the edge
Brush the 'unlock' button just as Astro's blade slices through. Yes, it slices unnaturally, but the molecular dividing effect must run along the edge itself, not the whole thing. Just make sure the blade is such that the movement of the door can yank it.

>Singular moment of awe
Activate the card, spend your next act lunging out the opening door, using Plug to draw first blood (however bad a blow you can deliver) and from there - second action - dodge/parry Astro's inevitable counterstrike, kick or elbow. She's a melee monster with blind-sense, I refuse to believe she won't have an interrupt on the way no matter how fast you go. If for whatever reason she does not - draw blood again, but do not be tempted for a third blow. You need your third act to be your getaway.

>Strike and disappear
Run past her and scatter her feet and your line of retreat with explosive knives on short timer. Use those explosions to shift yourself around in directions you weren't going before; make her have to guess where you're headed - make YOURSELF guess where you're headed so she can't read your body language. Even if Astro powers through it all and picks the right way to follow, at least you'll have dinged her or slowed her down.

>Breathing room
Make for another room, another door, and set up a similar-seeming situation. It is only AFTER drawing first blood that you should use Astrolysis' easily riled aggression against her. Maybe with a pitch prefect trap for her to step into. Just don't pop your back against a wall or door - she's not been showing you the full extent of her sensory capabilities - or her wall-busting ones either. I will damn well bet on that.
No. 1035698 ID: 30b9f6

Ugh, and if you wanted to be dead boring you could instead use those three acts to sticky her stuck with the Prefect, step back and fill her and her zone full of quick-timed explosive knives and THEN run like heck and hope she doesn't manage to somehow avoid the 'splosions and stay on your tail.

If it works, I dare say that'd make her flaming mad too - especially if the pitch lights from all them 'sploses.
No. 1036463 ID: 73aaab
File 165651029772.png - (382.11KB , 1000x1000 , AstroSwordStuck.png )

>That would have been nice to remember five minutes ago!

>Find big water pipes, that should slow her down!

Good idea, but there's no pipes in THIS specific room. If we find one, you bet I'm going to use it to my advantage.
Too much of it'll make it harder for me to shoot her, but with enough... I imagine she'd have a tough time figuring out where I am, since I think she 'sees' through heat-detection.

>Tape explosive knives to her blade.
And how to you expect me to do that without my fingers getting chopped off to begin with?

>We should also use the Barrier Generator to ram her out of the way so we can leave the room.
Newsflash, the Barrier Generator's in the Blink Capacitor so that I get shielded when I warp somewhere. Which, incidentally, is still briefly on cooldown, but it should be ready again real soon.

>Brush the unlock button just as Astro's blade slices through.
That'll do it!
The metallic creaking around me grows louder as her sword gradually cleaves it open, Astrolysis chuckling to herself on the other side.

"You got any presents for me, Argine? I'm DYING TO GET SOME!"
I slam the button, right as she's ready to retrieve her sword.
I wince as a horrible grinding noise comes from the door mechanism, now that Astrolysis' sword is caught in the gap.
From the combined force of the door trying to close and the sword trying to cut a big enough hole for it to slide back out - it's stuck for now.
No. 1036464 ID: 73aaab
File 165651038568.png - (822.97KB , 1000x1000 , RGSlash.png )

>Make her have to acknowledge that you drew first blood, just the way she wanted, in the way she wanted it...
Probably too late for changing the rules, but...
Time to put the plan in action.

I draw from the deck - the very card I wanted appearing in my fingertips.
One Voidsplit card has been consumed.
I'm down to my last Voidsplit card. Whether it's in this fight or in the future, you'd BETTER make sure it's used for the right reasons.
Time slows down, and for a moment, it feels like every moment I'm experiencing is as clear as day.

And so I strike.

I run in, sword at the ready - and swing.

Another metal scrape -
She's wearing armor under that robe of hers!
Plug - whatever the hell it's made out of - STILL gouges a cut through the plating, though it feels like I'm grinding it against concrete.

I expected her to yell in anger, but instead, her laughter chases after me as I quickly step back, still empowered by the card's magic.
"Using your sword? Too late to go back now, wirehead!"

She's got a point. Still - I can't believe how well the damn thing cuts.

Time for step two.
No. 1036465 ID: 73aaab
File 165651042475.png - (321.55KB , 1000x1000 , RGKnifethrow.png )

A safe distance away, the next instant I leap back after the strike, I manifest the Blade Printer.
One, two, three.
I gather the blades in my hand, feeling the air rush past me as I'm carried backward by my initial jump.

I only need one arm to throw these.
The aerodynamic blades sail out, the glowing tips a reminder that - these things aren't just a practical joke of a weapon any more.
No. 1036466 ID: 73aaab
File 165651049065.png - (695.90KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineSplosion.png )

And there's the blast.
Feels like I get one of these every fight, but I ain't complaining. I'm starting to really like riding the aftershocks of these things, but i'm careful to land on my feet.

I don't bother watching the smoke clear as I make my escape, but her voice's as loud as usual.
There's a coughing, and a growl.
"What the hell was that?"

Keep guessing, big girl.
No. 1036467 ID: 73aaab
File 165651055015.png - (101.70KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap03.png )

I've secured some breathing room for myself - Astrolysis is going to be a LITTLE dazed after that onslaught, right? There's another room above me that seems to be where a lot of the material in-flow exists. Not that we're going to be able to get molten steel or something since there's none of that, but at VERY LEAST, water should be piping through it perfectly.

But I've got a few options for movement here -
1. - I can maneuvre into the next room with the water pipes, in hopes of making use of them against Astrolysis. Her heated edge means that the steam will help disrupt her blindsense, and I could potentially use it as an opportunity for an offensive play.

2. - I instead, go out back into the open and try to use my head start to deal damage to her with my ranged weapons. While the pipes are an option, being stuck indoors with nowhere to run - especially if I get caught by a locked door and I don't have my shotgun out to blast it down - I'm going to be in a pretty bad situation.

3. - Maybe there's another route? Going up on top of a building is possible but these things aren't suited for climbing - I'd have to blink up there. While Astrolysis wouldn't be able to attack me immediately, I have a feeling like she'd be able to do something crazy like using her sword to climb, or being able to actually jump up there. That'll leave me stuck, and it's high up enough that I'd probably get hurt if I tried to jump off.

4. - Something else I haven't thought of yet.

What's the best option?
No. 1036531 ID: 3c6a01

>And how to you expect me to do that without my fingers getting chopped off to begin with?
Probably should have elaborated. Oh well. Still, the insult is too clever to go to waste...
Ever slapped a flat strip of tape to a wall? Like that, except there's a knife on the flat piece of tape, and instead of a wall, it's the blunt side of a blade.
Seriously, it's a sword Argine. Just like your brain, there's a large section that's not sharp. Little late now, though.

Either way, go for the open area, you'll have room to dodge and places to fall back to.
No. 1036539 ID: 8aba56

Er... replace "blunt side" with "flat side"
No. 1036544 ID: 273c18

I'm predicting that if you get in a hot steamy room she'll either refuse to stay there (negating your advantage) or start using her parasignia. In an enclosed space, you don't want any surprises like that. After you find out what her parasignia does, then the steamy room becomes a good idea.

Go out in the open. Don't try to shoot her with bullets, instead see if you can hit her with Pitch Prefect to slow her down, or start covering the floor with it. In the open, you can use your blink to retreat if necessary, like to the other locations you said would be useful.
No. 1036577 ID: e5709d

>Blindness means she doesn't realize those are exploding knives
I have an idea. Her 'echosight' might be a superior form of alternate vision, but it isn't vision. She probably doesn't 'visualize' trajectories so much as witness them in interpolated motion. Which means...
Throw the knives into the walls so they form a path, but take a wildly different one. A standard soldier would see that they stick out in a way and deduce that they're being misled. Astrolysis is literally blind; she'll notice the explosives by echolocation but won't realize they're all planted so that they clearly form a path. She'll think she just needs to follow the knives to catch up to you, and then BOOM.
No. 1038028 ID: 73aaab
File 165775938807.png - (624.83KB , 1000x1000 , arginerockshooter.png )

>Either way, go for the open area, you'll have room to dodge and places to fall back to.
>Go out in the open.

You got it. Staying out's important if we don't know what Astrolysis can do yet.

>In the open, you can use your blink to retreat if necessary, like to the other locations you said would be useful.
Still gotta be aware of the cooldown, but the Beam Unit being slotted into it makes it far more useful in these circumstances. It's still not quite ready yet.

>Don't try to shoot her with bullets, instead see if you can hit her with Pitch Prefect to slow her down, or start covering the floor with it.

For now, I only need two shots - while the Pitch Prefect has a finite amount of ammo, I'm not going to worry about it just yet.

Even without slotting any other gadgets into it, the burst shot modification I made before means it's going to be spreading out real well.
Astrolysis won't see it coming, literally.
No. 1038029 ID: 73aaab
File 165775942115.png - (770.14KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineShowdown.png )

I stand out in the open, pulling out the HED-DSTR and taking aim.

From the smoking doorway, I watch her emerge, her armor a little misshapen from the heat.

"Nice trick, Wirehead. When I'm done with you, they'll have to scrape you off the walls."

The Prototype isn't exactly a rapid-fire weapon, so I'm going to take my sweet time aiming this thing. If I miss... then it's gonna be a while. Even if I've optimized it so I can fire it while standing, this thing creates so much heat that I can't reload it even WITH my Parasignia, and it would take longer to reform it if the gun jams or breaks.
No. 1038030 ID: 73aaab
File 165775944452.png - (867.97KB , 1000x1000 , AstroParaStart.png )

Wait. She stopped?
She stopped before the tar pools, before she stepped in.

Even if she didn't fall for it -
Now's my chance.
I take the shot - and it's like a lightning strike.
A crack sounds through the empty Foundry.

>Like the strike of a hammer against the anvil.

The gun's recoil hammers into my arms and I wince - this thing's NOT easy to deal with.

I lower the gun, and...
The bullet had no effect?!

Astrolysis growls, shouting to me.
"If that's all you have up your sleeve, you're dead!"

I look around, trying to figure out what just happened - and I can see the burnt remains of the round I fired, dropped down to her feet.
She's got an effect just like the Solburst cards I have! My shots can't get through right now!

But instead of rushing forward and into the trap I've splattered over the ground, she lifts her sword, tracing her fingers over the flat end.
"I gave you a chance, but you just had to go and make this fight boring. Nothing but running, hiding, and more running. Where's the fun in any of this?"

There's more important things than fun.
"Like I said, I gave you a choice. So we'll do things the hard way."
No. 1038031 ID: 73aaab
File 165775946389.png - (808.90KB , 1000x1000 , AstroWindupWithIcon.png )

She raises her sword above her head, a glow gathering around her sword.


Damn it, I need to get out of here before she does it! The Blink Capacitor's still on cooldown!

I make a break for it, running for cover away from her.
No. 1038032 ID: 73aaab
File 165775949111.png - (1.97MB , 1400x1220 , AstrolysisSwingFlipped.png )

Even though I can't see it - I feel it.
She swings her sword, and...

Fire. Lots of it.
A cracking shockwave travels through the foundry.

I turn to see what's happening behind me, and -
It's an explosion. Her Parasignia creates EXPLOSIONS.
The tar that I had placed before, it too, catches fire, popping and crackling as it seeps into the cracks before it too, creates another blast.

The heat feels like it's burning my fur off!
I- I can't dodge an attack THIS huge!
No. 1038033 ID: 73aaab
File 165775951087.png - (1.22MB , 1000x1000 , ArgineSplodedAgain.png )

No. 1038034 ID: 73aaab
File 165775953176.png - (748.94KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineCratered.png )

>A most sonorous slam sounds out as the soldier is sent soaring into a slew of supplies.
>Boxes of unforged material cascade down around the soldier. Unforged bullets surrounding an unfired weapon.
>For a second, she wasn't sure she was alive. But the stings and pains of her body anchor her to reality.
>She's still well into the fight. In times long past - fights would end even more quickly, whether through bullets or bruises.
>Perhaps she should thank the universe, for making things more accomodating for her reckless ambitions?

Agh.... ow.
What the hell was that? How the hell does her Parasignia work like that?

Breathe in...
There's a stinging in my back, but it probably won't be worse than some bruising - ain't like I've got broken bones down in there.

Okay, so, we've learned SOMETHING about Astrolysis' Parasignia:
She creates bloody EXPLOSIONS by cutting things.
Those cracks in the floor - a sword can't cut into concrete like that normally, right? So her Parasignia seems to be increasing the effect of cutting edges, to the point where they create explosions?

...I'm not sure if that's how it works, but my sword didn't break when we had clashed earlier. Does that mean it's somehow immune to her effect, or is it because being integrated into my Parasignia makes it resistant?

Fah. But the question is how I'm supposed to approach Astrolysis like that?
Even if I still actually HAD the Barrier Generator to block it with - I'm not sure it could even handle more than one or two of those blasts at all!

Gh... she knocked me INTO one of the sector's rooms. I don't think I'd want to stick around - you know what happens when explosions happen indoors, right? All that explosive force and hot air has to go somewhere. Makes it extra-deadly.

I can't play keepaway forever, so what's the plan? She's going to start using her Signia to blow me up if I just stay here.
Maybe... we have to disarm Astrolysis somehow. If her Parasignia occurs through cutting things - if she can't cut anything, then that means we've removed her main form of protection, AND her main way of attacking me.

The question is... HOW we go about doing that, while making sure I'm not blown to pieces?
No. 1038041 ID: 15c72a

Ah, her parasignia is the concept of "splitting". She is the master of cutting, even atoms! Cut atoms tend to explode, Argine... and because it's "splitting", Nickel's pseudosignia allowed her to "split" her shots. A different interpretation of the concept. The bullet protection... I'm not sure how that happens. It's like she's using a stronger version of Judicium's power, which is just cheating. Also, it didn't protect her from your knives? ...I don't get it.

It's weird that the Blink Capacitor is still on cooldown. It's been kindof a while since you last used it? Oh well. Bait her into using that attack again, and use the Blink Capacitor to GET CLOSER. Remember, it creates a shield around you, which will give you an opening to try the disarm, since that's what you want to do. Perhaps Plug can cut her arms or hands enough to make her drop it, or you can use your explosive knives in the same way?

Why did you use the Pitch Prefect on the ground instead of directly on her like I suggested? And you tried to shoot her despite me advising not to do that?
No. 1038116 ID: 8299f0

...With a power like that, it's surprising she's not damaged by the back-blast of the initial slice...
However, we've just learned it has limitations that could be put to good use.
First, it follows the ground, seemingly in a straight line without going up a wall. Otherwise, the wall would have blasted you towards her, rather than you going through the wall. Which means being on top of a ceiling will limit her ability to hit you with the parasig. She could attempt to collapse the room to put an end to that safety, but that'd probably hurt her too since collapses usually have a zone of collateral damage.
Second, the range is limited, otherwise it would have kept following you into the room, and you'd be *way* worse off. Stay far away as you have the ability to.

Say, if you'd like to defeat her in the most humiliating way, you could fool her into defeating herself. With a power that destructive, all you'd have to do is get her into a room, and get her to hit a load-bearing wall. Her own power would cause the room to collapse on her head! Of course, the issue is how to do so without being in the room when it collapses.
Oh wait, better idea. Lure her into a pool of Pitch Prefect and goad her into using the parasig. She'll cause the Pitch to explode! Just make sure the teleport's cooldown is done so you can actually dodge.

Say, where's the tacmap?
No. 1038120 ID: 15c72a

>lure her into hitting pitch with it
She just did. Totally ineffective, because she's cheating somehow.
No. 1038128 ID: 8fd6c0

...Seems I can't even give you partial credit on that response.
She was not standing *in* the pitch when she used her parasig. One look at the 5th image makes that clear, even if the text was ambiguous. Point blank explosions may differ from ones at a distance. Of course, given that there was no description of the pitch explosion's effect on the hostile, only a description of the explosion itself, the blast wave may have had effects that simply went unnoticed. Especially since the only thing we're sure her defense had an effect on was the round fired, which undoubtedly differs greatly from an explosion and its blast wave.
No. 1038131 ID: 9a2966

>Say, where's the tacmap?
Looks like the structure to the right on the previous map is our most likely location. No corner door evident where it should be, so Argine's dodge must've brought her towards the right, then she got knocked through the whole dang wall by the blast. Unless I'm misreading the perspective here.

>Through a wall
>ain't like I've got broken bones down in there
You might be sturdy, but wall vs meat is not a fight typically won. You could have fractures all over whole dang body, so I'd argue to pop a Briarspirit for the health recovery so you can move properly again, but you be the judge of that - take a moment to actually assess - as we haven't got great analytics of your bodily state.

>I can't dodge a blast this large
Of course you can - it's a cone-shaped strike, right? You just need to be closer to the source so it'd be easier to sidestep - heck, you might even manage it mid-range if you're lucky and can feint out her strike. Long range you're straight screwed unless you've got a Blink ready. Behind a wall you might even be screwed - at least you'd want to hide behind crates to take on shrapnel or have a barrier up in case she takes down something load-bearing and the roof caves in... hm.

>Celestis Cataclysmica
That is, by the way, a spectacular ace for a melee monster in a semi-enclosed space like this. That coupled with her little bullet-eating trick. But... there should be ways to counter both. Nor should we presume she can keep doing this forever. Like most things, there's probably a recharge period, a limited time of effect or a limited number of charges available to her. Same goes for her Solburst-like aura - at some point it's gotta fade.

>Next move?
Probe her a bit. Swap to the Sound & The Fury. Pummel her with rapid fire pistol shots as you try to keep to a mid-to-close distance and circle her - mainly to see if you can spend that solburst thing or see if it has any fluctuations in effect. You do need to be light on your feet for that sort of a direct challenge though, hence the recommendation for the Briarspirit's healing effect (though on second thought, maybe the barrier effect would be better, in case that helps with the heat aura). Also, with S&F you could if need be gunkata her if she chooses to close the range. You also have Break and Blood Circle to get away again in that case.

>Keep her riled
Continue with the smack talk, since you don't mind her knowing where you are at present. Anything like this may do:

"So that's it? Your epic tale is starting to sound like a buncha hot air, 'sis."

"Doesn't look like your parasignia can quite cut it. Or did I need to step into it? Was that what you wanted, trying to get me into a swordfight with that up your sleeve?"

"You keep talking about fun, but remind me again - why should I play things YOUR WAY? If I need to run and hide - I will. If I need to stand and fight - I will. If you say we can do things OUR OWN WAY - I AGREE! But I sure as heck don't need to do things YOURS. Unless you think you can MAKE ME?"

>The plan
>disarm her
>take down something load-beating
More long-term, if you can position yourself so that one of her Celestis strikes will take out one of the structures' walls (the partially destroyed one already might be best), maybe you can then goad her into a melee fight in the half-deconstructed building, then use explosive knives to drop the roof on her. THEN you move to disarm her as she's blast-vaporizing the roof or trying to dig out of the rubble. If you can get your hands on her blade, taking it and Blinking away sounds like the way to go, honestly. Puts some immediate distance between you again... plus if her heat aura's on you don't want to be too close too long.
No. 1038133 ID: 9a2966

It would, incidentally, be way funnier if you made her drop the roof on herself, but that'd mean fighting her in an even more enclosed space.
No. 1038180 ID: cf96b6

Seems we are going to need to fight her with something of lesser speed, like the knives or melee.
Taunting her into attacking you directly, then Blinking behind her (or at least to an angle she can't reach you and makes it less obvious you just used a gadget to evade her), might be the best idea.
Go for the arms with your sword, maybe?
No. 1038569 ID: 73aaab
File 165823199680.png - (117.66KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap04.png )

>Hey, where's the tacmap?
Ah, damn, you're right.
I breathe in, trying to focus... and there it is. Guess the blast knocked me a bit dizzy, but I think I have to be actively trying to seek out the map to access it. Remember how it went when I got locked in by Ozone? Same deal there, it popped up when I was trying to get out.

>Why did you use the Pitch Prefect on the ground instead of directly on her like I suggested? And you tried to shoot her despite me advising not to do that?
Hey, I had a chance to set up a trap for her in advance, as well as checking whether she could actually see those tar pools or not. We got info from it - she doesn't seem like she does!

>You got knocked through a wall?
I didn't get knocked through a wall, the door was open to this room. Seems like someone didn't actually take care of her Sector like she was supposed to!
Saved me the pain of having to slam right into a steel door, so I can't complain.

Now that she's used her Parasignia - I can too. And with more weapons than before! Plenty of combinations.
But don't forget that these things are give-and-take! If I use it ineffectually, she'll be refuelled and ready to keep hitting me with bloody huge explosions!

>Astrolysis doesn't seem immune to explosions.
But her sword IS, considering that thing's what makes her Parasignia work.
Considering this, the previous idea we had of sticking explosive knives to the sword wouldn't have broken it at all. I still think that our best bet is getting rid of her sword somehow, because that severely limits her combat effectiveness against me.

>Maybe Plug can force her to drop the sword?
I'm not sure she'd ever actually drop that thing - her pain tolerance is probably something intense, and I wouldn't even be surprised if she glued the sword to her hand.

>Drop the roof on her!
If Diagram or Judicium were here, they'd be lecturing me about the risks of casual explosive use.

I don't have another plan that's as effective for immobilizing her, so we've got to give this a proper shot.
No. 1038570 ID: 73aaab
File 165823202031.png - (869.72KB , 1000x1000 , Arginethonking.png )

First, let's do some quick thinking on what her Parasignia's shown to do so far. At least the whole planning thing means I can sort my thoughts out a bit more quickly, but we don't have all the time in the world.

She can somehow get rid of or nullify the effectiveness of bullets that go toward her - but I'm not sure what extent she can do it yet. It's probably worth testing it out further.

>It's like she's using a stronger version of Judicium's power, which is just cheating. Also, it didn't protect her from your knives? ...I don't get it.

Let's think about this point a bit more. There's no way she literally just has a better version of what Judicium has, right? Their elements are also the opposite of each other - she deals with explosions, Judicium freezes things. Hot and cold.
Judicium, the way her Parasignia works is through SLOWING projectiles coming towards them until they have no more momentum. Literal freezing, right?

Astrolysis though - when I fired that shot, the round was burned to a crisp, basically slag. Which means that something hot, like an explosion, pushed it back and also made it lose momentum. Same end result, different means.
But - it didn't stop the knives. Which means: there's a size cap on the projectiles she CAN stop, which I don't think Judicium would have.
Feh. Of course the only melee fighter in the whole facility ALSO happens to have an ability that lets her nullify her most glaring weakness.
I... don't think it's from her main Parasignia since I didn't see any big explosions. While I said it worked similar to the Solburst cards, the Solburst is still like a big explosive wave - I didn't see anything like that from it.
That means it has to be a Psuedosignia of some kind, right? Which means it has to be the one associated with Nickel's. But how the hell does invisibility do anything to bullets?

I don't have the time to think that out fully, I'll leave that to you, Sykes.
I've got a new plan to put into action.
No. 1038571 ID: 73aaab
File 165823204165.png - (1.12MB , 1000x1000 , ArgineTaunting.png )

With my two guns in hand, I'm ready to put things into action.
I laugh, loud enough that the brute can hear it.
"Hah! Nice Parasignia, chump! Looks like it didn't quite cut it, did it? Ain't got any broken bones here, so it looks like you still can't aim, even if you're a sword! Ha ha ha ha!"

That last part definitely seems to have pissed her off, as she's already walking toward me.
"Oh? Taking a stroll? I thought this was a fight, not a sight-seeing tour. Not that you'd be able to see anything!"

Not my best material, but I'm coming up with a lot of this on the spot.
Astrolysis hefts her sword onto her shoulder, with seemingly no worry about the heated edge being close to her body, nor whatever threat I could pose to her.

"You call that trash talk? You run your mouth like how you fight!"

...The hell's that supposed to mean?
In response, I take a shot or two - but, without even lifting her sword, the bullets drop down, reduced to a flaming lump.

...She's coming closer. But my Blink Capacitor's off cooldown now, so I can hop back whenever I need to.

Instead of coming at me with a strike though, she stops, sneering.
"You really think I'll follow you in there, Wirehead? No wonder why you have that name. Come on then - you've got your little peashooters. I thought you were going to keep scurrying around and poking me like a chump."

...She's not biting.
But she's not advancing any further either.
I don't like this - I feel like if I continue to stand here, she's going to just start swinging - and I think having to deal with an explosion indoors is the exact opposite of what we want right now.
No. 1038572 ID: 73aaab
File 165823205989.png - (95.94KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap05.png )

She's closed the distance. I don't have much time to make a decision, but if she's not going into the room so we can collapse the roof on her, we're going to need another plan.
The explosive knives alone probably aren't enough to break the walls, and she'd see it coming from a mile away if I start out like that.

I'm starting to figure out what the hell Astrolysis is doing with that Parasignia of hers to protect herself from my attacks.
Given that she doesn't seem to actually need to swing her sword to protect herself, something automatic's happening that we can't see. That would line up with Nickel's Parasignia being tied to invisibility, yeah? So Astrolysis has some kind of invisible protective force around her, I think. Question is how we're getting past that...

So, a few options come to mind right now -
1. - Using the Pitch Prefect to push the offense. Last time, I wasn't able to shoot at Astrolysis directly since I was setting up a trap - this time, I can try again, especially since she's got her guard down a little.
2. - Switching to the Creirwy and seeing just how resilient her defenses are. As it's multiple pellets, it does mean there's a chance she can't block all of it, or it could be blown away by an invisible shockwave.
3. - Maybe something else comes to mind? Not sure if there is a way to bait her into the room or not, but I can't just sit here and eat more explosions to the face.

Remember, I can make use of my Parasignia right now!
If you're going to suggest using it, give me a weapon combination out of two of the ones I already have and tell me what the plan is. A shiny new weapon means nothing if I can't actually get anything out of it!
It could make for an effective followup for whatever plan we've got cooked up as well, since then we can really hammer her with lead when her defenses are down or negated.
No. 1038573 ID: e5709d

Remember the Elephant Gun I talked about yesterday? Make one now.
Combine your shotgun and sniper rifle. Choose Slug Shells for ammo. Those have enough mass and size to overcome the heatshield.

I remember now. Heat-based mecha was annoying to pilot, but I remember. Do not take any frontal melee opportunities, no matter how stunned Astrolysis looks. If she's using a Scorch kit, she can temporarily set up a hand-held shield with a temperature akin to magma. Keep flanking her, and do not give her enough time to set up gas traps, or power through them so she can't detonate in time.
No. 1038606 ID: 15c72a

>size limit on projectiles
If only you had a rocket launcher. Or shotgun slugs, those might be big enough. Hmm, can you combine the rifle with your shotgun to produce a bigger bullet?

I considered using echoscribe but I don't think either the flash grenade or the holo-cloak would do anything against astrolysis. You COULD use it to get a single-use Explosive Disc though? That could allow you to blow up the room.

Gooping her up directly with Pitch Prefect seems like a good idea. Then when you hit her with more knives it'll do extra damage! The goop might potentially make it harder for her to use her sword, too.

OH, I bet her shield doesn't prevent point-blank shots. If you can stun her with a Solburst then you can get in and unload directly into her face.
No. 1038687 ID: ffa1c0

...So she's effectively immune to firearms and explosions at a distance? Sounds like it beats the pants off of solburst, getting yourself an equivalent would do wonders for survivability in general.

Either way, while the sword may be immune to point-blank explosives (whatever it's made of, get yourself armor made of that material!), the sword's user would probably at least be hurt by them, so covering her in pitch would be a good tactic if the pitch goes through her defense. Even if she realizes the threat, she either has to take the hit to attack outside of close range or not use her parasig, which is nothing but good. Downsides are she may take the hit if she's sure she has a way to finish you off, and that you only have so much pitch to use.

Slighty concerning is her tactics now. She's not rapid firing her parasig at your location, not dashing to melee, she's just slowly closing the distance. However, that may just be because she has nothing else to do while her parasig reloads.

So for now, toss explosive knives followed by heading for the door at the opposite side. Distance is your best ally here.

Overall, despite her aces, you've still got the edge, especially if you avoid parasig usage to maximize her reload and avoid close quarters.
She attempts to close the distance? LOL RUN AND KNIFE SPAMMING
She uses her parasig? LOL PITCH AND BARRIER TP
Perhaps it's a bit dull to just whittle away, but the more you bore her, the more likely she is to give up.
No. 1038721 ID: 36784c

You once mentioned that the little holes on the end of Astrolysis’ snout allow her to sense heat and she has an innate sense of echolocation. This means that it would be impossible to sneak up on her just by turning the lights off.

However, I’m guessing large amounts of heat and lots of noise will disorient her and make it harder for her to “see”. You know what causes large amounts of heat and causes lots of noise? Explosions.

Now, I’m not saying you should try to sneak up behind her, that’s a bad idea when she’s got a stinger on her tail that could stab you. But what I am saying is that creating explosions will give you an opportunity to get away from her if you need it.

>the bullets drop down, reduced to a flaming lump.
Seems to be the opposite of the ice queen, Judicium. Instead of freezing your projectiles, Astrolysis is somehow melting your projectiles.
No. 1038722 ID: 15c72a

Yeah they're melting, but just melting a bullet won't *stop* it, if they were just melting then they'd continue forwards and splatter Astrolysis with slag. So it's melting it AND stopping it.
Huh. An invisible force that stops things while heating them up? Sounds like friction.
No. 1038755 ID: 9a2966

Argine speculated on this - if it's not just melting, but some manner of invisible explosive counterforce, much like the Celestis strike.

>petty trash talk
So she says, but making light of her melee prowess did seem to get a rise. She's felt the sting of something there before.

>"I thought you were going to keep scurrying around and poking me like a chump."
Perhaps the chump pitying the champ will bite her harder. Words to that effect, at least.

Think about it. While she's a superb melee fighter, Astrolysis has a deadly serious handicap in a future that's all but given up on the kind of close quarters battles she seems to prefer. Before Parasignia - heck, maybe after - war was all about ranged firepower. Even if Astrolysis has her 'signias now, previously 'scurrying around' and 'poking her' until she was done for was the strategy to nope out of her medieval gimmick. Given volume of lethal fire, distances guns can be effective at and the likely limited range of whatever blindsenses she's got... Astrolysis is kind of terrible modern soldier material, at her base.

That badass 'I fight to kill,' comment hides a bitter truth - in a modern war she'd probably get killed just trying to get TO the fight. The 'signias make her somewhat more viable for assault actions, but even so. Even still. No matter how hard she trained - how badass her magic swordswings, her armour and her shield...

Would this battle maniac ever have been fielded in the way she'd wish?

She might have stopped caring - war's over, she'll never have that chance anyway - but I suspect the question has a sting to it and may be part of why she's all 'fuck da rules, I make my own'. Why she - rather literally - overthrew the last Sector Boss of the Armoury and got the people here to make her the cool shit she needed to be equipped to do her thing - and why she tried to tempt you into making this a straight melee by offering you Plug and the deal.

It was the only way she could get the sort of battle she really wants.

It's speculation, but Astrolysis comes a teensy bit off as the last knight, the old warrior in a new age, striving to keep themselves relevant still and prove that their way isn't outmoded - or maybe just wanting to prove that she's not all that handicapped after all, when all things are equal (and in a ranged battle they never could be). So yes, if she doesn't want to come closer - poke her with pity and see what kind of fire that lights.

>If I just stand here she might just start swiping explosions again
If that damages the building then this could serve Plan Roof Drop. If need be, use Blink to escape her next Celestis and put yourself in cover by the crates inside the building. Obviously her senses will tell her you've popped back in there, but it won't necessarily give her much details if you rummage around and make noise doing shit, right? She'll just know where you at and making a racket. Probably be wary all the same, now.

>Hidden Demolition
Pop a few crates, dump out crap to make them light enough to be throwable - and at the same time, dump a bunch of timed explosive knives in one or more crates - and then throw crates at Astrolysis when she comes in after you. Those would be big solid objects you could use to test the strength of her explode-melty counterforce - or rather, that's what you'd be trying to look like you'd be doing, when instead that's a distraction to your real goal of making more load-bearing shit go boom. All you need to do is 'fumble' the toss of the explosive knife-crate to where it needs to go.

And if she swipes at it anyway, well, at least you blew her up again. Inside a building you're also inside of. Hm. Maybe save a crate or two for cover? Anyway, if you do lure her in, you might still need something extra to really send that roof tumbling - and you might want to do that at range.

>Possible Weapon combo
An idea. Combine Plug and H-ED DSTR to form a new attack - Cutting Rain - a slicing shot combining the arc of a swordslice with the range and power of a sniper rifle. Is this possible? I dunno, you tell me, it's your 'signia - I just feel something like that COULD probably take a chunk out of something load-bearing. If Astrolysis' armour was like concrete to Plug, actual concrete might be like soft butter to this. Ah, but H-ED DSTR is still on cooldown, right? Maybe you need to delay this until it's ready. Or your other guns could substitute.

>If Astrolysis won't take the bait
She knows you pulled an ambush on her the last time she went through a door, so put yourself in crate cover so you can retreat in either direction in case she just blows more building apart - or cuts through the wall. You mainly want to maneuver so that you can lure her under whatever part of the building's become unstable. Heck, you could still have an explosion go off to reduce structural integrity and just pretend you thought she would've rushed in like an idiot after you - just so long as you can get her in position later.
No. 1039465 ID: 73aaab
File 165905745234.png - (252.47KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineThinking2.png )

The standoff between me and the blind brute continues - I think she knows that I can teleport, so she seems to be holding off for now.

>...So she's effectively immune to firearms and explosions at a distance? Sounds like it beats the pants off of solburst, getting yourself an equivalent would do wonders for survivability in general.

Yeah, sure, let me just twist myself into knots to go and gain that kind of ability. Parasignias are finnicky like that - I'm not going to be able to get an equivalent just because I want to have that kind of power, and I'm pretty sure whatever kind of shields this place can produce won't ever live up to THAT kind of defensive potential. I guess we should consider the deck an extension of what I CAN do - versatility's the name of the game.

>Can you stun her with a Solburst?
Given that it's supposed to be something that works off of light and heat... maybe?

I don't think it'll have the same effect on her that a flashbang would have on a normal soldier though - I'm guessing that it's only going to look like everything's all white for a moment, but not actually 'stun' her because she doesn't have eyes that can be hurt to begin with.

And as for weapon choices...
There's a bit of a split on this then - Elephant Gun or something a little... different. Combining Plug and the H-ED DSTR to make some kinda... sword sniper rifle thing. I've actually got no idea what this'll turn into, since I don't think I've actually had access to a sword AND a sniper rifle of this power at the same time.
...What's an elephant, anyway? Must be pretty big if we're putting a shotgun and a sniper rifle together.

I won't use it now, but these two options have the greatest chance of doing something worth my time.

Speculating on what Astrolysis' powers can do is one thing, but I'm going to take action.

>Pop a few crates, dump out crap to make them light enough to be throwable - and at the same time, dump a bunch of timed explosive knives in one or more crates - and then throw crates at Astrolysis when she comes in after you. Those would be big solid objects you could use to test the strength of her explode-melty counterforce (when actually, it's a distraction to make Plan Roof Drop happen.

This ain't a bad plan, but I feel like moving into the room to start cramming things into a box comes off far too suspicious for Astrolysis not to take a move yet. I'll keep this idea in mind for later.
No. 1039466 ID: 73aaab
File 165905749081.png - (953.73KB , 1000x1000 , pointnlaughgine.png )

>Would this battle maniac ever have been fielded in the way she'd wish?
Good question. Astrolysis talks about how 'things were different before', when people couldn't survive shots to the head. If that's the case, someone like her would be way worse off - a severed finger or two probably couldn't be reattached so easily either, right?

We would have been able to plink her down so much earlier if she didn't have stuff like her Pseudosignia protecting her!

Hm. Gives me some ideas for more insults, actually.

"I feel sorry for you, Astrolysis. You really think you're some kind of fighter? Some badass? You said it yourself - back in a different time, people couldn't just take a shot to the head. And you? You're a blind melee combatant in a world where everyone uses guns. You may as well have been cannon fodder!"

She drops her sword down, the edge cutting a gouge into the floor again.
"Keep talking, Wirehead, I'll separate your head from your body."

She looks mad.

Once she's in range, I'll ready the Pitch Prefect to try and hose her down.

"No wonder why you asked me not to use my Parasignia! It's because you can't fight at all without yours, because little things like BULLETS make you completely useless! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

Before I can continue the stream of insults, Astrolysis shouts at me.

Wait. The hell is she doing?
No. 1039467 ID: 73aaab
File 165905751453.png - (812.75KB , 1000x1000 , AstrolysisBoomJump.png )

Another explosion - this time, centered ON her.
"Thought you were the only one who could do this trick? Nickel told me alllllllll about it!"

No. 1039468 ID: 73aaab
File 165905753778.png - (778.04KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineTeleport.png )

I barely manage to dodge out of the way as she thrusts her blade, causing me to expend the charge on the Blink Capacitor in the process.

She slams against the wall, her sword driving deep into the foundation. What the hell is that sword made of? Cracks are running all along the wall - so Plan Roof Drop can still happen.
I'm still only inches away from a monster with a sword that's nearly as long as I'm tall, so that's just great.
No. 1039469 ID: 73aaab
File 165905757431.png - (115.33KB , 1000x1000 , FoundryMap06.png )

Okay, that's bad, really bad - while outside, she can explosive jump, just like me. What the hell? I thought she wasn't immune to explosions!
...Ah, shit. I think I slept through the class about this, but... I think there's something about how Parasignias protect the user against their own abilities? Isn't that why Judicium is fine even at lower temperatures?

So instead of being able to just whittle Astrolysis down over time, she's now flying at me. This day's just getting better and better, isn't it? But she still isn't immune to MY explosive knives, so she's not invulnerable.

Question is what I can do to deal with her now - she’s much closer in distance than I’d like, and the Blink Capacitor only took me away enough to dodge the attack, which means it’s back on cooldown. I can't just stand here and wait for her to cut me in half!
No. 1039470 ID: e5709d

>What's an elephant, anyway? Must be pretty big if we're putting a shotgun and a sniper rifle together.

Remember, she literally cannot see you blinking.
Too bad your charge is out, because here's the plan:
Slam the door, then blink to the other doorway and sneak your way out of this mess. Repeat multiple times.
Once she catches on and pays more attention to your footsteps, go crazy with sound. Plug your ears and fire your loudest noisemakers. Keep insulting her, add her screams of rage to the cacophony. The more noise you can make, the less she can detect her surroundings.
If you can deafen her, this fight is as good as won.
No. 1039479 ID: 15c72a

She's stuck, now's the best time to load her down with tar. After that, when you get a chance, you can hit her with explosive knives again for a BIG BOOM.
No. 1039513 ID: 34dd50

Also, please be advised. Elephant Guns and Punt Guns and similar are more like... small handheld cannons. There is a reason people don't use them, and instead tend towards emplaced and sandbag supported crew weapons at those recoil levels. The recoil may be injurious, evek if you are correctly braced. People have been knocked over and broken their backs due to recoil from various 'extreme' novelty guns that tend to not be used in military contexts for lots of good reasons. I don't know what you'll do with this knowledge, but good luck. Also an elephant is a quadrupedal land mammal with the mass of a small armored vehicle. Maybe 6 tons or so? Though the word 'ton' means lots of different things in different contexts...
No. 1039518 ID: 118a4e

>let me just twist myself into knots to go and gain that kind of ability
Ha, you say that like you both know the limit of your abilities and that you've already peaked. Or that no gadget you get or gadget combo you make would ever successfully emulate whatever she's doing. Very pessimistic for a person with abilities that break known laws of physics.

>she can explosive jump
Of course, the caveat is she has no ability to change course. Perfect if you have a trap set up behind yourself that she cannot see.

>Question is what I can do to deal with her now
1) Her sword is stuck in a wall. Sounds like a great opportunity to disarm her, quite literally if need be. Her hands will regrow... or at least it seems they should.
2) How many explosive knives can you throw into her exposed back (or head or arms) before she gets her sword free? Once she does, you're right next to a door to escape.
3) Get a holocloak with echoscribe, toss it to a random wall. Have it insult her in creative ways. Smirk as she gets stuck in wall two. However, if this would require prerecording, nevermind.
4) Fire pitch at the corners of the room you're inside. Hit her with pitch too, if you feel it'd help. Goad her into parasigging. Perhaps use your parasig to do extra damage and assure hers is ready to be used. Once you detect she's activating, escape. Laugh as her parasig and the secondary pitch explosions get the roof to fall on her head.
5) Pop a void, combine the previous options however you feel.
No. 1040109 ID: 12b116

How many times are we going to have to shoot at her with no result before we figure out that bullets aren't doing anything against her? It looks like we're going to HAVE to use the sword instead of trying the same thing over and over till we get something important cut off. We need to bait her into charging again and try to get behind her. Trying to stay behind her is probably the best way to get any damage in on her. Might want to cut off her tail tip first though. Definitely toss the tar at her for now, we probably will have to blink behind her because I'm sure she knows how much of a weakness that is.
No. 1040111 ID: 15c72a

can you make a gun that shoots swords?!
No. 1040112 ID: dee951


That only works in settings with a rule of cool based narrative causality, with a very particular definition of 'cool', like bad children's animation!
No. 1040119 ID: e5709d

Make a gun-powered sword, then.
No. 1040239 ID: 15a025

Hear me out. Fuse the sniper rifle with the silk weave gauntlets.

The gauntlets alone might only be able to stop a bullet, but what kind things could we block if that was fused with the power of a sniper rifle shot, or shoot. Maybe even our shotgun? The only downside to this I can see is we might get one hell of a kickback on our shots.
No. 1040561 ID: 9dceff
Audio AstrolysisPart2_SomethingMemorable.mp3 - (5.48MB )

Title: Something Memorable (FURI)
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpbJJmOJLz8

No. 1040562 ID: 9dceff
File 166020315955.png - (78.33KB , 1000x1000 , DramaticThinking.png )

Only a few moments before she gets her sword unstuck and starts blowing me up again.
We have to choose - NOW.

>Ha, you say that like you both know the limit of your abilities and that you've already peaked. Or that no gadget you get or gadget combo you make would ever successfully emulate whatever she's doing.
No, that's not it - I'm talking about what I have NOW. It doesn't matter if there's gadgets out there that can do what she can with the whole bullet-melty thing, when I don't have anything like that right now!

>can you make a gun that shoots swords?!
Uh, no? Swords aren't exactly good ballistic weaponry, BUT...

>Make a gun-powered sword, then.
Like I said before, I get the feeling that if I jam the sword together with the sniper rifle, I'd get something more akin to a railgun instead.

>Hear me out. Fuse the sniper rifle with the silk weave gauntlets.
...Huh. I didn't consider the gauntlets... but they ARE an option. But not one we'll need right now - the gauntlets protect me against bullets, but not explosions. We'll test it out next time.

>Use this as an opportunity to lay into her with tar and explosive knives.
I get what you're saying, but... this is an opportunity. I'm going to roll with plan Roof Drop from before, with a few caveats. The goal is to disarm her - because without her weapon - she won't be throwing out any explosions.

> Her sword is stuck in a wall. Sounds like a great opportunity to disarm her.
Yeah. Yeah, it is. Even though some of you guys are suggesting stunning her with the tar - but when we've got an opportunity like this, I'm suggesting we enact a previous plan of ours - one we've already been working toward.

>How many times are we going to have to shoot at her with no result before we figure out that bullets aren't doing anything against her?
It's kinda like with armor, really. If a shot isn't strong enough to make it through, then it'll bounce off, doing little-to-no damage at all. So I've got something of my own to propose.

Think about it. If her sword's made outta something that's immune to explosions, more explosions aren't going to break it. It's true that Astrolysis' the one who's actually immune to her own Parasignia - but her equipment is still holding up, even now. By extension, even if we broke through the barrier of hers
It's not going to work if we're just gradually increasing our firepower - we're going to max it out in one go.

We're going to go bigger.
No. 1040563 ID: 9dceff
File 166020320386.png - (370.32KB , 1194x1000 , ArginesBlazing1.png )

I breathe in and both the Creirwy D-3 and the H-ED DSTR appear in my hands. Wielding them like this, they're much too unwieldy to fire.
No. 1040564 ID: 9dceff
File 166020325507.png - (826.65KB , 1194x1000 , ArginesBlazing2.png )

But the weight of both guns in my hand remind me exactly what I'm capable of.
A grin creeps across my face.

"Ignition Complex..."
No. 1040565 ID: 9dceff
File 166020329582.png - (900.40KB , 1194x1000 , ArginesBlazing3.png )

"Guns Blazing!"
No. 1040566 ID: 9dceff
File 166020333746.png - (1.02MB , 1194x1000 , ArginesBlazing3point5psd.png )

No. 1040567 ID: 9dceff
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No. 1040568 ID: 9dceff
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No. 1040569 ID: 9dceff
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No. 1040570 ID: 9dceff
File 166020345613.png - (1.39MB , 1486x1000 , ArgineaphantGun.png )

>With debris scattering over the floor, a deafening roar can be heard.
>The doorway, warped by heat gives way as another blast cracks the building.
>From the flames of possibility, new solutions emerge.

>The bloom of a new crimson flower has been witnessed.

I missed this feeling.

A varnished wood stock and all - this thing's a lot more elegant than I thought it was going to be.
I'm going to call this... the Wallflower. Perfect considering that both of the gals that the composite guns come from are total recluses, right?

You don't need to tell me what to do next, either.
The blast created by my entry's probably going to do it's fair share of disorienting the brute in front of me.

>Also, please be advised. Elephant Guns and Punt Guns and similar are more like... small handheld cannons. There is a reason people don't use them, and instead tend towards emplaced and sandbag supported crew weapons at those recoil levels.

I don't have the time to set up something more! This is my chance to get a killer hit in!
No. 1040571 ID: 9dceff
File 166020351268.png - (510.81KB , 1000x1000 , argineschut.png )

I pull the trigger - and it's like a flashbang's gone off in my face. The damn ringing in my ears, the blindingly bright flash - it takes a moment before the crack of the shot even registers to me.
Then, stinging pain.
I stumble back, the kick from the Wallflower threatening to throw me back out of the room.

>The consequences of ignoring warnings provided by your own advisors.

Ah- ah shit, did I break a bone in my shoulder? I've got no clue but I can't see anything but the blast in front of me. It's so bright that it's basically a bloody flashbang when we're in a darker room like this!
No. 1040572 ID: 9dceff
File 166020353754.png - (566.98KB , 1000x1000 , BLAAAAAST.png )

>Searing heat.
>For a moment, that's all Astrolysis could feel, moments after she freed her sword.
>The blast engulfed her sense of self in that moment.
>Though she had never seen it - she knew that what she was standing in front of was like the sun itself.
>A memory crossed her mind, of when she named herself - a declaration that she would have the strength to split the skies themselves apart. But what could a blind soldier do if she could not see her target?
>But here, now?
>For the first time - she saw the sun.
No. 1040573 ID: 9dceff
File 166020357976.png - (716.78KB , 1000x1000 , ROOFSFALLING.png )

Before I'm even done recovering from the hit to my shoulder or the blinding flash, I can HEAR the cracks running through the walls of the building.
Whether it's the shrapnel, the backblast or something else - the amount of dust being kicked up is absolutely enormous.

Another cracking sound, and a rumble. This thing's going down!
I scamper back, still nursing my arm - dunno if the damn thing's been dislocated or just bruised like hell!
But I'm not giving her a free win by getting crushed under the roof!
No. 1040574 ID: 9dceff
File 166020365570.png - (970.51KB , 1000x1000 , ArgineFaceBlock.png )

The rumbling around me doesn't stop as more debris falls, throwing up plume after plume of smoke. It's like we've got a bonfire here, except much more dusty.

Agh- damn it, I can't see anything in all of this smoke, and my Blink Capacitor's still not ready! I don't even know if Astrolysis was downed by my shot, she got absolutely engulfed in the blast! So until we see her, we're not in the clear yet.
And my arm's still hurting like hell, I can barely move it.

Even if I'm out of the doorway, the sheer amount of dust and debris makes it hard to see where the hell I'm going!
No. 1040575 ID: 15c72a

If you can't see to move, then don't. Surround yourself with tar, so that if Astrolysis shows up before you can see she'll get stuck. At the very least that will give you time to blink, but I kindof want to start setting fires too, so that you can blind her with ambient heat. ...it occurs to me that giant blast might have fucked up her heat sensing anyway. Like a flashbang but for heat pits.

Can you get the map working again?
No. 1040576 ID: 398700

you're probably going to have hearing trouble for a bit after that. Focus on feeling for vibration and movement, this girl's tanky as all fuck and even that wasn't a guaranteed down yet.

It may be salient to crouch down, minimize our profile until things clear up enough to safely move.
No. 1040585 ID: 9a2966

That's one hell of a boomstick... but crouch down, then move forward through the smoke! Slither, scramble, stumble, whatever, towards where she might be!

If anything left Astrolysis distracted it has to be this. Do not waste seconds to see - seize the initiative, or she will have it, to feel and poke around for her. You can use Plug like a walking stick - have it at the ready in your offhand to feel your way forward - and at hand to attack, parry and block in case she is still able to feel or hear your approach and lashes out blindly.

You created this scene - this mess - with the intent to do a thing so don't just stand around waiting! Find her and try to disarm her while you can.

(And take shallow breaths - too much dust ain't good for ya.)
No. 1040604 ID: e5709d

The noise will keep her from hearing you set up traps. Now's your chance to mine the floor with tar and knives!

Bait her one last time. Act like you're aiming but set up a goddamn minefield. When she finally charges, Elephant Gun Jump! Keep firing through the smoke, try to bring down the roof, and don't stop until we tell you the test is over!

... Did you know elephants normally can't jump due to their sheer mass? Oh well...
No. 1040605 ID: c35acc

Wallflower used solarbeam!

...How many walls did that blast through?

Either way, the cape will reduce dust exposure if you use it to cover your mouth. Have a briar at the ready, because if she still has fight in her, you'll probably need the arm healed.

Honestly, I'd usually advise getting a fallback area full of traps, but right now you fully have the initiative. Wasting it would be foolish. Sure, she could be baiting you, but the odds of that seem low.
No. 1040646 ID: dec69d

Find an unassuming corner among the rubble and set up a defense there. Make sure to not move until you actually see movement.

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