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File 166016789938.png - (87.00KB , 500x500 , a_smaller_quest.png )
1040516 No. 1040516 ID: 899c9f


One small step for Sam, one giant leap for Formican-kind.
Expand all images
No. 1040517 ID: 899c9f
File 166016809177.png - (139.43KB , 500x500 , a_short_rest.png )

It's been an interesting few days since arriving on the Formican homeworld. First I get shrunk to an inch tall, then I get sent on a quest to cross a buried ancient kingdom on foot. My guides seem to know what they're doing, but we're all in unfamiliar territory now.
The hatch brought us out into a courtyard sandwiched between the walls of the lab and a long line of buildings that stretches off to the right further than I can see. They resemble huge, blocky apartment buildings sandwiched end to end, abandoned and in ill repair. Each one has a courtyard like this one behind it, separated off by a low fence.
After a long day of maze running, Anet's set up camp just outside the maintenance access hatch. Jaina thinks it would be safer for us to rest down in the tunnels, but Anet insisted. I think she's just eager to feel some real grass beneath her feet instead of fuzzy mold. I don't blame her. We've plucked some giant leaves from the plants growing along the wall to form a shelter, as the overhead lights are still a constant here. Well, okay, they're not giant leaves, they're more average sized for what looks like ivy, but it's hard to keep that frame of reference in mind when some things are built to our scale and some aren't. It climbs up the back walls here, creeping out onto overhead cables that hang between the habitation blocks and some heavily obscured power sockets. The greenery drops off sharply at the shadow cast by the habitation block.

Jaina sits by our small fire warming up a meal. “These terraced buildings remind me of home, just with a lot less product placement. Maybe our ancestors didn’t live so differently.”
“Perhaps,” I nod. “They just did it on a much, much bigger scale…”
No. 1040518 ID: 899c9f
File 166016824766.png - (166.35KB , 600x500 , area_discovered_the_overgrown_city.png )

We’re woken up the next day by a chime that echoes all around us. Then, a strange voice says something in a language I don’t understand.
“Who’s there?” Jaina springs into action, waving her spear around.
Anet listens to the voice intently. “Calm down, she’s just telling us good morning.”
Suddenly, it clicks to me what’s happening. “It sounds like a PA system!”
Jaina tries to ask, “What’s a PA system?” when Anet holds up a hand for her to be quiet. “Shh! ‘The time is… 0400, on the twentieth day of… twenty four thousand, six hundred ninety five. Have a pleasant day.’ I think I will.”
After the morning announcements are over, we climb the nearest building to get a good look at the city. Each level has a sheltered balcony that runs all the way around, connected by an external staircase. We take the stairs about halfway up and then walk around to see the city sprawling before us. The hab blocks repeat themselves in endless rows, covered by a veil of green vines that cross the floor as well, turning the lab into a vast urban jungle.
The abandoned city has an eerie beauty to it, but the vines choking it might be a problem for our forward progress. According to our maps, we’re in sector twelve and we need to get across the city to sector four. We’ll stick to the edges of the city as long as we can, but we’ll need to decide how best to cross from one building to the next.

>The Terrace Bridges: There’s a system of walkways that cross between the buildings at the upper levels, and they seem intact for the most part. Jaina recommends we stay high to avoid the plants blanketing the floor and keep an eye on our surroundings.

>The Penthouse Skyways: Anet suggests we climb even higher up first before taking the walkways. It’s a bit of a detour, but maybe we can look around in the buildings and find some neat relics.

>The Lower Levels: We could just climb back down and walk along the floor to get where we’re going. I don’t see why not, the city looks abandoned and we wouldn’t have to worry about bridges, right? The roots seem a little thick but we could just climb over them.
No. 1040553 ID: 15c72a

Looks like the water tanks are still working. What automated systems broke down that became a problem, I wonder?

Why don't we take the skyways and do some archaeology.
No. 1040555 ID: 8483cf

No. 1040560 ID: 629f2e

Skyways seems the most fun.
No. 1040728 ID: 4c0dea

The penthouse skyway.
No. 1040731 ID: a715f8

The Penthouse Skyways
No. 1040842 ID: 10a040

No. 1041133 ID: 899c9f
File 166078899151.png - (122.03KB , 500x500 , pieces_of_gear.png )

We climb back down to break down our camp and travel a little further along the edge of the lab. While I’m helping Jaina roll up the sleeping mats, I notice Anet’s taken the mystery orb and is holding it over the suitcase. We never did find the key to that… Suddenly, the luggage pops open with a click!
“How’d it do that?”
“No idea! I just wanted to see what would happen if I combined them. This thing must be an artifact like the clicker, only really short ranged!”
No really, how’d it do that? An RFID tag? Sorcery? Who knows what technology the Formicans kept lying around. For now, we do recover two intact items from inside the luggage: a set of spare clothes and some kind of energy pistol. The suit’s made of a light fabric and seems very comfy to wear. It’s even got proper pockets, though they can’t carry much.
Anet’s vibrating with excitement. “Cool stuff! Let’s see what else we can find in the city itself.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Jaina says.
“Absolutely! We’re the first people from our colony to see this place in ages! We have an obligation to learn what happened to our ancestors.”
“You just want to find more stuff.”
“It’s a healthy bonus incentive!”
I’ve handled a gun once or twice before, so Jaina trusts me with holding the thing. For now. The luggage can be closed again and functions perfectly well as extra storage.
>Obtained: ancient go-bag
>Obtained: ancient jumpsuit
>Obtained: ancient sidearm
No. 1041134 ID: 899c9f
File 166078899756.png - (77.70KB , 500x500 , someone_thinks_theyre_clever.png )

Our path is settled, then: we’ll climb the buildings all the way up before crossing the skyway.
Anet and Jaina pry a door open at ground level and we head inside to look for a stairwell. Jaina peers back out at the foliage as we step inside. “...Glad we’re finally heading in. Feels like I’m being watched.”
The interior is divided into several large rooms including a lobby with a whole line of elevators and escalators leading upward. It’s hard to tell what most of the rooms were used for, as so much of it is stripped bare except for trash. There’s one room that looks like a parking lot for rows of bikes, so that was probably a vast fitness center at one point.
We take one of the escalators up and the floors above are residential apartments, all with an identical room layout copied over and over. We’d never have time to search all of them! Like the bottom floor, they seem to have already been stripped of value. From here, we find a staircase that goes all the way up the building.
As we reach the top floor, somewhat exhausted, Jaina pulls me back.
“Sam! Hold it! Look at the top step. Someone’s laid a wire across the doorway.”
Ironically, this is the first sign of civilization we’ve seen all day. I wonder how old it is… and what it’s hooked up to.
“What happened here that made people start booby trapping the hallways?”
“Nothing good…”
We could just step over it carefully, but there could be more traps ahead. There’s no telling what disarming it or setting it off from a distance would do. What if someone’s around to hear us set it off?

>Avoid traps
>Disarm traps
>Set off traps
No. 1041150 ID: e5709d

Set it off from a distance.
No. 1041182 ID: 8483cf

Avoid the traps, but CLEARLY MARK THEM.
No. 1041196 ID: 58dd24

examine trap. Avoid it just long enough to get to the other side, then look around and SEE what it is hooked up to. Generally tripwires are not complicated, and not terribly stealthy from the other direction.
No. 1041222 ID: b1542c

No. 1041236 ID: 629f2e

No. 1041390 ID: 204754

Should the trap be lethal/wounding, disarming would be playing it safe.
Should it be to alarm, that means people are/were here to be alerted. Perhaps they left, though. Either way, avoid 'til we're sure they're either gone or not hostile.
No. 1041459 ID: 4c0dea

Avoid it, whoever put it there will know it was activated.
No. 1041675 ID: 899c9f
File 166131954369.png - (125.18KB , 500x500 , office_space.png )

Best to play it safe until we know who and what we’re dealing with… I step over the tripwire very carefully, making sure to lift my tail. Following the tripwire up from this side leads right to a box perched over the doorway, with a lot of little round balls. Marbles? Makes sense, they would make a lot of noise and be a major tripping hazard as they rolled down the stairs. I motion the sisters over, and we creep quietly down the hall, watching our every step.
After what feels like forever, we make it to the first door on this floor. It’s cracked open just a tiny bit. I try peering inside, but can’t make out anything. Jaina taps me on the shoulder and points up - her keen eyes have spotted the trap again before I could walk into it. She carefully reaches around the doorframe and lowers something heavy to the ground: a large plastic jug, half-filled with dark and disgusting looking water. If I had opened the door and walked through, that could have really hurt!
It seems like it’s safe now, so we search the room, some kind of old office. There’s two things that stand out here: a large stack of flat, rectangular blocks clutched by a disembodied arm. The other is a working computer terminal! I turned it on by accident when I was sweeping old food wrappers off the desk. The interface is familiar, with a keyboard that projects itself on the desk and two squares of light that seem to move two separate cursors across the screen when I wave my hand through them. I suppose the interface is doubled because Formicans had four arms. The computer is easy to use even if I can only work it at half efficiency, and Anet translates the words on screen for me. There’s only one file on the virtual desktop, so we check that out first. Anet translates the title, as, roughly, “To whoever finds this” and reads it out loud:

I have done my duty to queen and colony and defended to the last the keys to our future. The very foundations upon which the pyramid of knowledge can be rebuilt! One by one, I have painstakingly salvaged every lab I dared venture into (within this hab block). It wasn’t easy, with the fighting growing closer every day. Now things are so bad outside that I dare not leave this room. Hopefully the defenses I’ve engineered will scare off the monsters beating down our doors and eating whoever they catch. I hold out hope that one day, these TPS reports will be collected by the survivors and then properly filed into the back catalog, so these data slates can be reused to take notes on new experiments. My one regret, is that there are no games on this machine… Perhaps there was a better location to have stockpiled these in. I guess I’ll never know.

“Sam,” Anet asks, “What’s a… ‘TPS report’?”
“...I’m not entirely sure.”

The rest of the file system is inaccessible due to some kind of server error. The only thing we can open is an offline copy of a database of names and numbers, likely addresses of which families lived in the apartments below. It's more than a little out of date... Anet tries searching her own family name. Surprisingly, the Plutons did have an apartment, on this very floor!

I feel a bit sheepish knowing that nobody was left to hear us set off those traps, but we’ll still have to keep an eye out for more. Luckily for my sense of direction, the hallways are painted with several colored stripes that lead to different areas on the floor. Which path should we follow first?
>Data Center
>Labs 801-824
>Administration Quarters
>Medical Center
>Entertainment Center
No. 1041678 ID: 8483cf

No. 1041706 ID: 9a2966

Blame the mention of games, but... yeah, this.
No. 1041884 ID: 261d45

>I feel a bit sheepish knowing that nobody was left to hear us set off those traps
Not true. Remember that note mentioned monsters being somewhere around here. Those would've heard the traps and would've come running towards you guys!

Let's see what kind of entertainment they had around here.
No. 1041920 ID: 899c9f
File 166156511735.png - (125.88KB , 500x500 , gamed_by_the_system.png )

That note's as ancient as the person who wrote it! No way the monsters have stuck around for this long...

The entertainment complex is intriguing. How did the Formicans blow off steam? I wouldn’t mind trying some of their computer games either.
We run across another trap on our way there, hidden rather conspicuously under the only rug I’ve seen in these halls. The way it sags in the middle is a dead giveaway for the hole it covers. Clearly, this trap did not age well. We step around it and carry on.
The fabled entertainment complex is huge. The main floor is filled with hundreds of terminals sitting idle. To the sides, smaller rooms for other forms of entertainment line the walls - dozens of small theaters, something called a ‘virtual suite’, and a ‘concrete space.’ I think this would be a pretty cool place to hunker down, but it would definitely be a lot of space to defend.
I wake up one of the computers and browse the programs with Jaina as Anet wanders off to explore the side chambers. This computer is stuffed to the brim with game titles. There’s so many to choose from - BLOOM 2: Reconstitution of Evil, SimFormican, Formican Space Program... But when I try to launch any of them, I only get a server connection error. Noooo!
While we’re scrolling through game titles I can’t play, Anet comes back from the concrete space carrying a small box. “Hey guys! Any luck with the computers?”
“No… they’re all dependent on a central unit that probably broke ages ago.”
“Aw, that’s too bad. I brought good news, though! There’s a room over there decorated with holograms, and one filled with rows and rows of board games! I even recognized some of them. Look at this: Snakes and Tunnels. We have a set just like this at home, but way more worn out. It’s a real classic!”
We’ve explored this area pretty thoroughly. There’s one thing that bothers me: while you could fit a couple hundred people in here all at once, that’s only a tiny fraction of the building’s residents. What would the rest of them be doing in their spare time? If they had spare time…

>Where to now?
>Data Center
>Labs 801-824
>Administration Quarters
>Medical Center
>Challenge Anet to a game of snakes and tunnels
No. 1041948 ID: 15c72a

Ugh snakes and tunnels is pure RNG, terrible board game.
Let's go to the medical center. IIRC we don't have much for medical supplies so it'd be good to stock up.
No. 1041958 ID: 9a2966

>Challenge Anet to a game of snakes and tunnels
It may not be a wise investment of time, but as someone who has longed to study an ancient culture - what was game culture like and what kind of clues can be garnered about ancient ant society - or subsections thereof - from it?

It must've truly been a classic if Anet's ancestors decided to bring it along in their escape.
No. 1042159 ID: 4c0dea

Let’s pllay a little, then to the medical center.
No. 1042161 ID: 8483cf

>Challenge Anet to a game of snakes and tunnels

This is the only real option
No. 1042327 ID: 899c9f
File 166191786799.png - (138.93KB , 500x500 , game_night.png )

“Cmooon, let’s play a round.”
“We don’t have time for this. We should keep exploring-”
“Pleeease? It’s been so long since we played.”
“It’s all up to random chance anyway. What’s the point?”
“I bet Sam’s never tried it. Want to play, Sam? I’ll even let you play the snakes! I’m kidding, that’s not how you play.”
“So play it with him…”
“But the more the merrier, Jaina!”

After much pleading, Jaina is convinced to sit down and go exactly one round with us in snakes and tunnels. We head to the room Anet found it in to play, inside is a brightly colored lounge that seems designed around what we're doing right now. The floor and lower walls are painted mostly tan, with one edge painted blue. A few holographic palm trees still flicker back and forth in a virtual breeze, framing a painted sunset.
“I like the decor of this room. It makes it feel more open,“ Anet declares.
“It looks sort of like a beach,” I say.
“Oh, is that what one looks like? Huh.”

We sit down and Anet explains the rules to me. It is a simple race to be first, essentially, taking shortcuts through tunnels and being chased back out by snakes. I wonder if the snakes were really this big... We pass the time by talking about life in the village again.
“Formican life is pretty rigidly structured. Everyone is told where to go, what to do and when, and they strive to use their time and resources as efficiently as possible. That’s why our dad’s job is so important.”
“So it’s always been like that?” I ask.
“I guess so. I thought it was something that began as an emergency measure when we left the city, but it looks like even our ancestors had to ration their fun.”
“…you’re not a fan of it, are you?”
“No, it’s pretty stifling,” Anet admits. “Scavenging gives me lots of freedom, and there’s nobody watching over my shoulder. Except Jaina.”
“I prefer to think of it as watching your back. If we didn’t come back when we promised to, our family would worry," says Jaina.

The race ends with Jaina coming in first. Anet gives her a hearty pat on the back. “See, aren’t you glad you played after all?”
Jaina shrugs. “Sure, I guess. What do I win?”
"Hmm... You get to pick where we go now!"
No. 1042328 ID: 899c9f
File 166191787311.png - (103.54KB , 500x500 , my_ant_sense_is_tingling.png )

Satisfied with our game, we pick our way carefully through the halls to the medical center. As we reach the double doors, Jaina’s antennae twitch.
“Did you hear that? Sounded like... a bunch of marbles spilling on the floor.”

>Duck inside the medical center
>Search a different location: ___
>Search for the exit
No. 1042329 ID: 8483cf

Search the labs!
No. 1042332 ID: 14f8f0

Details. Was it inside the med area, or outside?
For outside, go in ASAP. Door will be a good barrier, though peeking out before you close to see what it is would be useful, plus med supplies will help if you're forced to fight whatever it is.
For inside, go to the labs, should be stuff to improvise weapons.
No. 1042333 ID: 15c72a

Go in the med center.
No. 1042345 ID: 30b9f6

Duck duck go!
No. 1042348 ID: dc9df3

Mes center
No. 1042616 ID: 726f7c

Duck inside the med center!
No. 1042723 ID: 1d5bb3

Hide in medical!
No. 1042787 ID: 515982
File 166225017278.png - (156.45KB , 500x500 , doc_in_a_bot.png )

We definitely aren’t alone up here anymore. I hurry inside as Jaina barricades the door behind us with assorted furniture and a wheeled cart. Then we wait, hiding behind the front desk. We don’t hear anything else for long enough that it seems safe to move around.
The medical center is a very small hospital, with only two dozen beds or so. There’s a track in the ceiling overhead that leads from the front desk through the rest of the rooms and offices. As we explore I come across the reason for it, a robot doctor. It’s offline and appears to have been so for a long time. Its second and third pairs of arms are tipped with various surgical tools, and where its legs and abdomen should be it instead ends in an armature that hangs from the ceiling, like a hand puppet. Jaina discovers two more like it in an office and a closet.
As for salvage of interest, there’s lots of advanced equipment that can be wheeled about but I can’t make heads or tails of what any of it does, and none of it works. The medicine cabinets are all empty, but we do find some old bandages sitting in the back of the closet, along with a crude catapult made with rubber hose and bits of plastic. The robots’ surgical arms also have a lot of sharp bits we could probably pry loose.
The front desk has another terminal, and once again most of the files are unavailable due to a server error. There is one local file of interest…
No. 1042788 ID: 515982
File 166225018148.png - (95.72KB , 500x500 , it_was_the_worst_of_times.png )

—MSC Medical— -Inbound patient log for quarter 4, 23456- Reminder: ask patients for block + floor number! 13-04: One patient with sprained ankle from the sports court. Block 15, mid level. 13-15: Walkway canopy collapsed due to shoddy repairs. Twelve with minor head/limb trauma, middle to lower floors, blocks 15 and 8. 14-12: 30 injured in demonstration turned violent. Blocks 13-16, 4 upper, 2 middle, 24 lower levels. Overflow patients diverted to creche. 14-14: One patient with severe internal bleeding, seizures, diagnosed with rejected gene treatment. Lower floors. She was a goner before she came in the door. 14-20: Nobody came in today. The riots are getting worse. I heard they tried to storm the main genetics lab, and the first generation of successful test subjects came out to meet them… There was nothing left to bring to the clinics. Is this really the choice we’re forced to make? Evolve or die? Evolve *and* die, more like. I’ve seen what happens if your system rejects the changes. I tried fortifying the front door, but Dr. Emma vetoed it, insisting it could badly hurt someone seeking treatment. I had already wired up the buzzer to the power socket though, and couldn't defuse it safely, so I just covered it up. I hope nobody rings it on accident... 14-23: I’m leaving. I wanted to stay, but Dr. Emma insisted I should look for less homebound allies. It’s not just her confinement to this facility that’s got her worried, though. She’s been getting slower over the years, but over the last few days she’s become noticeably more sluggish. Even the servers are suffering in these dark times. She said she’ll try to help anyone who shows up for as long as she remains online. Good luck, doc. I’ll miss you.

Talk about a happy accident. I'll admit, if we hadn't been trying to be sneaky I probably would have tried that buzzer.
Do we do anything else in here? Or do something out there?
No. 1042792 ID: e79147

>subjects for testing
>deadly riots
>evolve or die

...Why does it suddenly seem like abandoning tech to swap to dirt farming was not exactly by choice?
No. 1042810 ID: 15c72a

Oh great. So, the Formecians didn't just screw themselves over with a poorly maintained city, they created monsters by poorly attempted gene-modding. Talk about hubris... Anyway, talk to the others and discuss if you want to maybe head back home and warn the others. The existence of genetically modified supersoldier crazies might convince them to evacuate. Though... on the other hand... considering this is on the way to the only known exit... they'd have to travel through here, and if we don't find a safe passage they won't be able to get through.

It might be wise to treat this as a scouting mission, now. If the monsters have been around for long enough without an easy food source, maybe they started dying out?

Consider breaking bits off of the surgical bot for weapons.
No. 1042872 ID: 629f2e

Talk to Jaina and Anet about the file. Consider if any significant portion of this mission should be dedicated to uncovering the Formican's past, or if any lore you stumble upon is purely a bonus.

Leave, but be cautious. There may be something out there you don't want to meet.
No. 1042873 ID: 8483cf

Check for patient records, see if we can get any information on biology or the gene treatment.
No. 1042931 ID: 515982
File 166234800182.png - (80.82KB , 500x500 , i_can_create_a_scalpelgun.png )

>...Why does it suddenly seem like abandoning tech to swap to dirt farming was not exactly by choice?
I'm glad Jaina's ancestors escaped this place while they still could. Otherwise, there might not be any Formicans left!

>Discuss if you want to maybe head back home and warn the others.
“Ssso, I’m starting to understand why your ancestors fled the city and closed the door behind you. Should we go back and warn your village?”
Jaina shakes her head. “No, if something followed us back it would be big trouble. We have to keep moving forward for now.”
“What were they turning them into scary monsters for?” Anet asks. “They were still hidden from the outside. At least they must have starved by now, right?”
>salvage the bots.
“This saw arm is really sharp. Big enough to upgrade your spear?”
“Good idea, but no, you can’t stab with a round blade. I had something different in mind.”
After prying a few covers off and undoing some screws, we have fashioned the medical bot's tool arms into weapons. Jaina arms herself with a needle-tipped spear, while Anet fashions a handheld surgical axe. Meanwhile, I could… attach this scalpel to my pistol like a bayonet, maybe? …I tie it to Anet's poking stick instead. It feels a little lacking compared to Jaina's spear, but it's worked before.

>check for patient records
Patient records aren't available offline, but we find an old memo dating back a few months before the nurse's log:

–MSC Medical– -FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLIC RELEASE- SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR RETROVIRAL GENE THERAPY Scientists of Block 5's Biological Research Division have made a breakthrough in genome modification which promises to end all resource shortages and reverse population decline within two generations. In order to implement these changes as quickly as possible, a large quantity of test subjects is required to iterate on the modifications. Those who sign up will be well compensated and their families will receive improved housing accommodations for the duration of the trials. If your test results are promising, family members who have not yet volunteered will receive priority on their applications to join and experience the benefits of a high-power, low-maintenance lifestyle. When the going gets rough, Formicans get tougher! Sign up today at your local medical center.

Huh, there's another file dated from the very same day.

—MSC Medical— -FOR MEDICAL STAFF ONLY- ALERT: DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN The following statement is NOT approved by the office of the Colony Overseer. This unofficial announcement has been attached in full in order to aid in identifying unapproved instances of the announcement being distributed to the public. Unapproved instances of this announcement are to be confiscated and destroyed and all members of the public are to be informed of its unsanctioned nature. Block 5's Biological Research Division has NOT been authorized to commence widescale formican testing of any gene therapy procedures. Report any personnel promoting this procedure to citizens at your local security office. UNAPPROVED STATEMENT is as follows: -FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLIC RELEASE- SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR RETROVIRAL GENE THERAPY...
No. 1042932 ID: 515982
File 166234801355.png - (84.81KB , 500x500 , big_steppy.png )

>Should we seek out more lore, or is it a bonus?
I admit, I am burning with the curiosity to learn more about Formican history. I am the first, and possibly only, alien to have learned this much about them in millennia! But I do have to make it back in order to share my discoveries. As long as our supplies hold out, I hope we can keep studying these ruins.

>Leave, but be cautious
...Well, there's plenty of ruins to explore besides this one. Let's not linger any longer.
We follow the hallway straight to the end and start circling the building looking for the skyway access. But then, as I'm looking over my shoulder, I see a spiky, not-quite-Formican limb coming around the corner before anyone else does. That leg definitely belongs to something big and nasty! W-what do I do?!
No. 1042935 ID: 15c72a

That's fucked up. Why would someone do this? An attempt at taking control over the city with their own personal army? Just plain mad science? A misguided attempt at saving the colony? We might never know... unless we go visit the origin.

Gun out, tell them to freeze. You don't know for sure they're still hostile after all this time- they could have evolved to regain their senses, or the situation changed in some other way.
No. 1042959 ID: 30b9f6

It's possible this is a gene-treated ex-formican descendant (wow they bred big), but you don't know if they're sane or reasonable, so you should keep quiet and edge towards an escape route and definitely suggest your friends get in cover themselves.

Unfortunately you're caught somewhat out in the open, or else I'd suggest diving for cover and just try spying on this person/creature. They do appear to be wearing something though - which is a sign of civilization! It might be you can talk with them, for good or ill, if they look about to, I don't know, attack or throw a spear at you or something.

Definitely try to keep your retreat options open - someone that big will move way faster than you. You'll have to use your diminutive (comparatively) size to make your escape, unless you try to fight them.
No. 1042998 ID: 8483cf

This one is solid.
No. 1043018 ID: dc9df3

Tell that thing to stop and point your gun at it.
No. 1043028 ID: 233458

Small corridor behind yourself. Odds are it's too small for the thing. Go quietly, but if it sees you, pedal to the metal.

Shrunk pistol's ammunition is probably way too small of a caliber to cause damage. Hit to the eye might hurt, but it's overall too risky to yell freeze, so have to oppose
No. 1043271 ID: 515982
File 166269742634.png - (134.26KB , 500x500 , let_me_in_im_a_fairy.png )

>Point gun at- wow they bred big, duck for cover!
I push Anet and Jaina forwards and we run as quietly as we can. It’s too late, I can hear footsteps pounding behind us! We find the door to outside and pile through. Anet spots a control panel and manages to lock the door just as our stalker slams into it. They’re still pounding at the door as we run to the sky bridge, but- oh, no!
The bridge’s roof collapsed and took most of the bridge with it! Jaina and Anet can jump across that distance, but I still can’t! I need to think fast, what do I have to get me across this gap?
Well, I still have Anet and Jaina. They might not be able to carry me over, but we could turn and face our stalker, maybe buy ourselves time to build a new way across by fending them off.
We’ve got plenty of stuff in our bags, too, maybe something that’ll help.
I could also try to make it across what’s left of the bridge, the guardrail’s bent but intact across the gap in the walkway. It’s hanging on by a thread, though… actually wait, that’s not even holding the bridge up. That thread’s connected to a pressure plate. It looks like another trap, a springboard aimed at the other building. It’s pretty risky, but maybe getting flung at the other building is just what I need right now! It’s only a, what, five foot drop if I miss, right?
Maybe I don’t risk it at all. The bridge below is still in one piece. I could try dropping down the side of the block to that level, it’d take more time to climb down safely but they might not know to look for me.

>Fight >Item
>Parkour >Run
No. 1043273 ID: 8483cf


Did you bring duct tape? Attach it to a rope, and use the rope to pull some cabling from the ceiling down so you can swing across.
No. 1043274 ID: 15c72a

Drat, confirmed still mindless murdermonsters. Do they just live forever, or are they breeding?

No. 1043290 ID: 580aa8

No. 1043372 ID: a758c7

Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour Parkour
No. 1043927 ID: 515982
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“You guys go ahead! I have an idea!”
“What idea?” says Jaina.
“I’m going to launch myself across!”
“With what?!”
“Just trust me!”

The sisters jump across to the other side of the bridge. I walk back to the doors for a running start, take a deep breath, and sprint for the pressure plate. As I trigger the trap, the string releases the jaws of a binder clip that’s been trying to snap shut for centuries. I’m tumbling head over heels from the launch, it’s impossible to tell which way is up or down. I can only hope I’m headed in the right direction.
Suddenly I land on something hard and feel all my momentum suddenly shift backwards, then forwards, back and forth in a rapidly increasing frequency that leaves me nauseous and dangling over the abyss. I- hurk- unfortunately can’t keep my breakfast down after that. Jaina then shifts me around, so that I can see she has caught me in mid-air, and she is furious.
“What were you thinking! Trusting a trap to get you across safely? Are you trying to get yourself killed again?”
I wait for my head to stop pounding, and look up at the ceiling where we’re currently suspended from a sprinkler head. The rope… from Jaina’s rope dispenser. Oh yeah, I forgot she had that in the heat of the moment. Well, my plan got me most of the way across, Her rant slowly runs out of steam as I just hang there, dazed.
“...That was a nice catch.”
She huffs. “I guess. You're lucky it was.”

We start gently swinging back and forth until we can grab onto the bridge and pull ourselves onto it. Jaina cuts the rope free, leaving a long strand hanging between the two buildings. We head inside to find a layout pretty much identical to the one we just left. That will make it easy to find someplace to rest.
No. 1043928 ID: 515982
File 166330443525.png - (13.07KB , 500x500 , antermission.png )

We find an apartment with two dusty, circular beds. They look quite spacious to me, but Jaina is confused.
“Pretty small for a whole family. And why are there two separate beds? Just make one bigger mattress.”
Anet jumps into the bed abdomen-first and declares, “Good enough for the three of us! Bugger, first that Beformican and then you gave us a real fright there.”
“Sorry, what did you say? Beformican?” I ask.
“Yeah, it’s what I’m calling people like that scary lady! Because she looked like something that came before modern Formicans. Get it?”
“If her ancestors were part of those genetic trials we read about, wouldn’t they be what came after?”
“Look, just roll with the pun, Sam.”

While we eat lunch, we should think about our course of action now that we know we aren’t alone in this city. Should we avoid diversions and try to get through as fast as possible? Or is exploring still worth it?
>Pick two activities:
>Read Anet’s jokebook and chitchat.
>Pep talk w/ either sister: Inspire one of them to bolder deeds in near future.
>Allow Jaina to inspect Sam for injuries.
>Examine an item: Practice with/figure out more about an item. (https://tgchan.org/wiki/A_Small_Quest/Inventory)
>Explore the current room some more
>Get some peace and quiet, alone
No. 1043946 ID: e7c7d3

check for wounds and explore room
No. 1043948 ID: 36784c

Sam, stop staring at Anet’s large butt abdomen! It’s rude!

>What do?
Read jokebook and check Sam for injuries.
No. 1043952 ID: 629f2e

Pep talk Jaina, she's one cool gal.

Read Anet’s jokebook and chitchat.
No. 1044016 ID: 8483cf

Anet: Joke and chat
No. 1044018 ID: 01fe07

No. 1044220 ID: dc9df3

Allow Jains to check any injury we may have.
No. 1044318 ID: 515982
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>Quality time with the sisters
I decide to stick close to my companions for now. For safety in numbers, of course.
Jaina insists on giving me a once-over for injuries after the springboard stunt. She instructs me to take off my shirt and lie on the other bed as she presses on various points testing for a reaction.
“Hold still, if we overlook something now it could become a worse problem later. Does this hurt?”
“No. Kinda tickles though.”
“Yes or no only. Here?”
“No. Really, it wasn’t that rough of a catch.”
She squeezes my tail again, a constant source of fascination for Formicans. “You’ve got a lot of muscle in there. They’re much thicker than mine.”
“Is that so? You sound impressed.”
“Not impressed, it’s just different. It might even be too much muscle. Maybe it’s so heavy, that’s why you can’t jump or lift as much. It’s... weird. Now, here?”
“Oof, yeah. Come to think of it, I have been avoiding that side when I turn over.”
“Sounds like this is from something earlier then.”
“Maybe it’s from when you lasso’d me up on Gail’s tail.“
“Oh. …Sorry about that.”
“No hard feelings.”
She digs out some medical supplies and applies a stinging salve to the sore spots. “This will help stop them from getting infected. At least I hope so, I’m not sure if your scaly hide works the same way carapace does.”
“Couldn’t hurt, I suppose. Good thing you carry plenty of spare bandages. Pardon my asking, but why is that all you wear, anyway?”
“For maximum flexibility with my armor on. And they keep it from chafing.”

Jaina finishes her inspection, satisfied that she didn’t toss me around too much, today at least. “Okay, you seem fine to me. Don’t go pulling a stunt like that again, okay? I’ve got enough to worry about keeping you safe.”

>I can look after myself, you don’t have to worry so much.
>You should worry about Anet first.
>Actually it is nice having someone watch my back.
>Hey my muscles aren’t weird, yours are! From an average galactic standpoint, anyway.
>Shouldn’t I check you for injuries back?
No. 1044319 ID: 15c72a

>Actually it is nice having someone watch my back.
No. 1044320 ID: 629f2e

"Shouldn’t I check you for injuries back?"
No. 1044348 ID: b90535

“Shouldn’t I check you back, I mean check if you have any injuries”.
No. 1044352 ID: 36784c

Both of these.
Actually it is nice having someone watch my back.
Shouldn’t I check you for injuries back?
No. 1044366 ID: 5ec37b

Hey my muscles aren’t weird, yours are! From an average galactic standpoint, anyway.
No. 1044595 ID: a7a180
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“I appreciate the save, really. I’m lucky I wasn’t sent out here on my own.“
“I wouldn’t let that happen, even if they did exile you alone.”
“Well, I would be obligated to escort you out of our territory, so to speak.”
“Ah. That's good to know. Now, shouldn’t I check you back for any injuries?”
“Hm, good idea. It’ll be easier for you to spot them. Go ahead then, check my back.” She loosens her bandages and lies down on the bed.
Oh! I was only half serious… I sit there for a moment figuring out what to do. I guess I’m looking for… cracks or discoloration?
Ahem. It’s faster if you use your hands.”
“Okay… Tell me if it hurts.” I follow Jaina’s example and poke her at regular intervals from her shoulder blades on downward. Her carapace feels really smooth, except for where there are small fuzzy patches of tiny hairs.
“Feels like everything’s fine back there. Now don’t forget the other side.”
No. 1044605 ID: a7a180
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After giving Jaina a clean bill of health, I lie on the bed to read a bit. Anet climbs in and curls up against my shoulder.
“Hi! I see you’re reading my book. Need help?”
“-uh! Yeah.”
“Okay! I'll start from the beginning.”
“…Why are you sitting this close?”
“So I can see too. Isn’t this how you read with your siblings?”
“I don’t have any, so I wouldn’t know.”
“Aw, that’s sad! Here, my jokes ought to cheer you up.”

What do you call a Formican with too much time on her hands? A watchmaker!
A Formican asks her friend, “What’s up?” And she replies, “The ceiling!”
A Formican walks into a bar, and the five Formicans behind her go ‘ouch!’ ‘ouch!’ ‘ouch!’ ‘ouch!’ ‘ouch!’
Two Formicans are sitting in a bathtub. One Formican says “Would you get my back?” and the other one says “No way, we’re in this together!”
"…I guess that one doesn’t translate well.”

Anet puts the book down and looks back at me. “So hey… what’s like, the first thing you want to do when you get back home?”

>Beg my professor not to fail me.
>Like, home home? To the bookstore?
>Make good on my promise to hang out.
No. 1044616 ID: abaa91

What I WANT to do? Shower and sleep for a week.

What I SHOULD do? Grovel at my professor's feet and beg him to not fail me.
No. 1044618 ID: b90535

I should make uo a story of how I got lost and beg my professor not to fail me.
No. 1044876 ID: 49e2b5

Beg my professor not to fail me. I've been missing for a while, so I'll need a pretty good story to tell them, without revealing anything about you guys being here.

.....wait, what if no one noticed that I'm missing? They could pack up and leave the planet! Then I'd be stuck here on this planet, away from my family and friends!
No. 1044905 ID: a7a180
File 166433215910.png - (121.77KB , 500x500 , that_worked_a_bit_too_well.png )

“The first thing I’ll do is run to my professor as fast as I can and beg him not to fail me.”
“Fail you? After all the exploring you’ve done? That’d be silly.”
“Well as far as he knows, I just stopped showing up to the digsite, and attendance is a pretty important part of the internship!”
“That's unfair, it’s not your fault you were absent.”
“Yeah, I’m going to have a heck of a time coming up with an excuse. Maybe I’ll tell him I fell through a secret door? He'd probably want me to show it to him. No, I just got lost wandering the temple floors. I hope he buys it.”
"I'd back your story up, if I could..."

I think I'm starting to get the hang of reading Formican, and how convenient too, because Anet found someone else's diary tucked under the bed. I flip to the back to see how their story ended.

Today was soo annoying. First, the season finale of FF5 was a recycled cliffhanger from season ten. Then we were told fizz cakes were getting rationed now. I complained about it online to bloomershooters53 and he sounded confused, he said those have been rationed for years. I don’t know why they would tell people from the lower floors before us, aren’t we supposed to be literally on top of stuff like this?
Leeta said she’s been preparing a stash in her place ahead of the rationing, so we should be set for a while still. Oh, and also my family’s moving soon, apparently they’re shutting this block down and moving us next door to a half-empty one. Whatever, there’s no difference between them. As long as they don’t shut down the commerce plaza, who cares? At least when this place is empty nobody will see us dipping into our stash. I’ll leave this here as basically a time capsule for when we cycle back into this block. Later, diary!

After an hour of reading in bed, I’ve caught my breath and Anet is starting to get bored. There's a desk in this room that should house a terminal, but the building's power is off. That leaves the hallways pretty dark, but if this hab block is identical to the last one it should be easy to navigate by flashlight.
“Why waste the flashlight? Maybe one of these switches will turn the light back on,” Anet says. “Oh, maybe we should try the clicker here!”
I shrug. “We might as well.”
She clicks the button, and… The corridor is lit in a blinding flash of light! What are the odds?
Suddenly, the lights turn orange, and a voice comes on over some speakers. Somewhere nearby, I hear shutters closing. Um, what else did we just turn on?
No. 1044906 ID: a7a180
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Something from down the hall makes a clattering noise. Jaina runs into the room first, brandishing her spear. There’s a hooded figure inside that’s startled at first but soon brandishes a weapon of her own and chitters angrily. I stay outside, looking to Anet to try and figure out what’s happening with Jaina.
“I recognize most of what she’s saying,” Anet whispers. “She said this whole building is her turf and she isn’t sharing. Jaina asked who she is and said we don’t want her stuff.”
Maybe I should say something too? That spear looks pointier than Jaina’s.
No. 1044909 ID: 15c72a

Tell them this is no time to fight. One of the mutants could have seen that flash, so we need to get away from here.
No. 1044911 ID: 8483cf

Shut up and stay quiet, let the responsible one handle this.
No. 1044940 ID: 0441fc

>I think I'm starting to get the hang of reading Formican
Good job! Maybe when you get back, you can demonstrate your ability to read Formican to your professor. I'm sure he'll have a bunch of ancient texts he'll want you to translate for him!

Is that the weapon from Dig Dug? Is she going to kill Jaina the same way enemies are killed in Dig Dug?
No. 1044968 ID: 36784c

>dig dug weapon?
I’m pretty sure that just shoots out the spear. The rope is probably tied around it because it’s her only shot and she doesn’t want to lose it when it’s fired out.

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