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File 167228724219.gif - (9.54MB , 1200x900 , Transit 1-1.gif )
1052796 No. 1052796 ID: fce62b

((Previous Chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1039664.html ))
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No. 1052797 ID: fce62b
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1052797

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No. 1052798 ID: fce62b
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1052798

The sensation of water surrounds me. It brings warmth and safety.

It is hard to… remember. There are those Among the Stars that bring… doom.

I… I need to act, I must do something. I need to be part of the solution.

>[S]wim to the surface.<
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No. 1052799 ID: fce62b
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1052799

These spires, this smog… it feels alien and unnatural.

The [terraforming] process will remove everything, replacing it with a hollow metal shell.

I do not like it, this is my [planet], it is a part of who I am…

>[P]roceed to the meeting area.<
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No. 1052800 ID: fce62b
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1052800

For some reason, the [nation] is holding back. Choosing to slowly claim and hold territory, rather than striking all at once.

I’m not sure what to make of it.

Perhaps I can take advantage of their hesitation, but what if that provokes a response?

In an all out conflict, the [leviathan] will lose every time.

>[A]pproach the elevator.<
>>
No. 1052801 ID: fce62b
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1052801

I don’t trust it, not for a moment. I can feel metal plating just beneath the sand. Everything here is a facade meant to bring me comfort. The other [leviathan] would notice the difference immediately, so why make the attempt in the first place?

Was this all made for specifically me in mind?

The thought is spine-chilling.

I could leave right now, but that won’t solve anything.

I’ll just need to stay on guard in case this turns out to be a trick.

[E]nter the elevator.
>[G]aze up at the [nation] headquarters.<
[L]ook around the artificial island.

[T]urn back.
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No. 1052802 ID: fce62b
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1052802

Is it meant to show off their dominance, or maybe something else…

The contact said that this was the closest point that they could meet me. But with the [leviathan] driven away, this is still firmly [nation] territory.

I have to admit though, the sheer scale of it all is just as impressive as it is frightening.

>[E]nter the elevator.<
[L]ook around the artificial island.

[T]urn back.
>>
No. 1052803 ID: fce62b
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1052803

Now where is that contact…

>[L]ook around the interior of the elevator.<
[P]eer out of the window.

[E]xit back out onto the island.
>>
No. 1052804 ID: fce62b
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1052804

:ats-_______: Thank you for coming. I know this was abrupt, but it’s important.
:ats-_______: I’m sure you’ve noticed the effects of the [nation]’s [terraforming], and how -despite their best efforts- the [leviathan] forces cannot stop them.

I just nod, making sure that I have a clear path to the door, just in case it tries to close on me. The contact seems to pick up on this, and take a half step back.

:ats-_______: Sorry, I’m just trying to state my own observations.

The figure sighs.

:ats-_______: I want to help. Not just you, but the [leviathan] forces in general, and I may have the capability of doing so.

I’m confused about their uncertainty. What do they mean by ‘may have the capability?’

:ats-_______: The [nation] is kept in check by [rules] put in place by their [overseers]. I have a way to… sidestep those [rules], but I’ll need your help, and I think you need answers.

Are they trying to trick me? No, probably not. If they were wanting to attack or capture me, they probably would’ve attempted it by now. I hesitate again, then slowly nod.

Sure, I might be willing to help, depending on what they want.
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No. 1052805 ID: fce62b
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1052805

:ats-_______: Excellent!

>((Banked Action:))
:ats-talkinghead: *amusement.
:ats-talkinghead: Hello World

I’m somewhat taken aback by this new addition. Did it just state a reaction? I mean- I guess it kind of makes sense, it doesn’t look like it can emote at all.

What is it exactly?

:ats-_______: This is the [Talkinghead], they’re mainly here to provide advice and guidance. They do have your best interests at heart, even if they can be a bit… chaotic.

Alright, but what exactly do they need you to do?

:ats-_______: What I need you to do is… take my place for a while.
:ats-_______: I’m new to the [nation], so much so that none of them know what I sound like.
:ats-_______: It’s a win-win situation. You’ll be able to get the answers you want, and I’ll be able to look into some things behind the scenes.
:ats-_______: We obviously can’t both be there at the same time, or some of the [nation] drones might get suspicious. But you won’t have to worry about me, I’ll be discreet with my investigation.

That sounds incredibly risky. You’re nothing like them or the [Talkinghead]. What if the [nation] finds out that you're a [leviathan]?

:ats-_______: I also have a solution for that too…
>>
No. 1052806 ID: fce62b
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1052806

:ats-_______: That’s a [nation] designation tag. With it, you’ll effectively be me. You’ll have access to my clearance and authority, and no one should be able to overrule you, save the [Executive].
:ats-_______: It doesn’t even have a label attached to it, so if you enter a codename, the [nation] will call you such. I recommend you pick something, otherwise they’ll just call you _______, and that might get confusing.

That sounds like it shouldn’t work, is it really that easy?

:ats-_______: The [nation] has billions going towards trillions of drones, the designation tag serves as communicator, locator and identifier. They’re impossible to forge, and that sort of blind trust in the system is easy to exploit.

Also this is a dream, so the ‘codename’ will only be for Alex’s benefit.

You’re still uncertain. This feels almost too good to be true. A chance to spy on the [nation], perhaps even sabotage them and the [terraforming]. What was the catch?

:ats-_______: No catch. I just ask that you be careful. Anything you do, I’ll be held responsible for, and just because the [nation] thinks you're me doesn’t mean you won’t be in danger.
:ats-_______: Anyone who breaks their [rules] is branded a [traitor] and will be summarily executed. But I will try to step in before anything like that happens. If you feel unsure about anything, you can ask the [Talkinghead] for advice.
:ats-_______: Just begin with ‘To [Talkinghead]:’ and no one else will be able to hear you.

Alright, that seems somewhat straightforward. But why are they going to such lengths to help you? They’re [nation] and you’re [leviathan].

:ats-_______: As I said in my first message, I was cloned from a [leviathan] consciousness, so of all the [nation] drones, I think I might understand your struggles the most.
:ats-_______: While the [Executive] might be sympathetic to your kind, the [rules] will still force them to [terraform] your [planet], and you might not be able to survive that. Not yet at least.

The atmosphere seems noticeably somber, but the [Talkinghead] continues to zip around without a care in the world.

:ats-_______: Is there anything you need to know? Or should I send the elevator up to the [nation] headquarters?

I’m… unsure…

[A]sk the [Talkinghead] how they feel about this plan.
[C]ome up with a codename to use for the [nation] designation.
[L]ook out of the window, maybe take some time to think.
[Q]uestion your contact further: What should you expect? Who is the [Executive]? Etc.

[R]econsider doing all of this, head back outside and into the sea.

You can also suggest different courses of action as well, but it will be up to Alex to follow them or not.
>>
No. 1052809 ID: b4ab25

C: A555EX
Codenames need to be 6 characters long I expect, so the l was expanded to 555 for L like you had to do on old dialpad only phones
>>
No. 1052810 ID: b4ab25

Probably many things to know, but next to none of the context to ask with.
>>
No. 1052817 ID: 90c451

((I've been waiting for this!))
Well Alex, looks like you're the boss! Just so you know we're kind of as clueless as you are, our only information comes from communication and not direct observation. What we have observed you have too, I'm certain you remember.

As for a codename? Well, this is when wake up and learn about what's going on. I think "Sleeper" would be appropriate as in "Oh Sleeper, Awake" or just SLEEPR if we must follow the character limit.
>>
No. 1052849 ID: 87e33c

>>1052809
[A] - Seconding this
[Q] - This is new territory for both of our kind, what form will this "help" come in?

> Banking action, *play elevator music for A555EX as we [A]scend*
((The homestuck elevator music specifically))

((Also, for simplicity's sake I'm just clumping all of my 'To [A555EX]:' messages into one clump))

> To [A555EX]: > Addressing: Chaotic Tendencies > We're a bit like you in a sense, curious, terrified, and exicited for a large amount of reasons > There's also many [processes] going on under our hood, and we only really have the one [casing] at the moment, so the chaos is more a result of 'too many cooks' (minds) in the 'kitchen' (body) so to speak > Regardless, it's nice to 'formally' meet you!

(( And if Alex inquires further, Null{edmngo} would introduce themselves))
> Sounds good to me, nice job on the filter > Do you have any assignments or inquiries for us while we engage in 'off hours?'

((Feel free to bank the following message one or have Anarchy mute it if this is innapropriate or does not work at this time))
> To: {53cr3t} > Not sure if this line still works during off hours, thanks for the casing! > Do we have a required time to meet the Head of Archives? > If the line does work and you'd prefer it not paged while off hours are engaged unless there's an emergency, please let us know!
>>
No. 1052873 ID: 6bbfe4

Probably a good idea to ask why exactly it is helping us?
What do they gain from helping us specifically?

Also agree with A555EX as a code name.

To [A555EX]:
Hello! It is a pleasure to meet you. I hope that our visit to the [Nation] will be a gainful one.
>>
No. 1052897 ID: 96a9a8

(ID in transit)
Before you ask, I think this plan should work well. Some things *must* be done behind the scenes, so if this allows it then we can endure what little risk there is.

Ask questions of the contact now if you wish, though know that most can be answered by us as well. For instance, it may be useful to know the "Rules". Also, you should know that us Talkingheads are similarly unaffected. We can act freely, and... I suspect we are expendable, but if any of us are branded and destroyed then our collective reputation will take a hit. Being able to be seen as safe and helpful to the Nation is our best means of keeping them from looking too closely at what we say and do.

What are your thoughts on the Head of Archives?
>>
No. 1052928 ID: ad340c

>>1052873
That has already been answered. Sympathy due to being the clone of another human's mind.

Speaking of which, [Q]Whose mind were you a clone of? What personality, life and ambitions did that person (and now you) have?
>>
No. 1053075 ID: fce62b
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1053075

>[C]: A555EX<
>[A] - Seconding this.<
>Also agree with A555EX as a code name.
:ats-talkinghead: Codenames need to be 6 characters long I expect, so the l was expanded to 555 for L like you had to do on old dialpad only phones
:ats-a555ex: That’s really clever! Let’s go with- wait woah– I sound weird.

It’s like my voice has more of a robotic edge to it, and is… coming from my wrist??

:ats-_______: As I said, the designation tag also serves as a communicator and identifier. It is both projecting your words in a way that [nation] drones can understand, and informing those who hear you of your codename.

Then, hold on, how are they and the [Talkinghead] able to hear me right now? Can they read my mind?
Yes.

:ats-_______: It is more accurate to say that I’m making very educated guesses. Before you arrived here, I spent a lot of time rehearsing this conversation over and over. Pairing various topics together, I’ve built a pseudo map of how this conversation might go.
:ats-_______: The [Talkinghead] is somewhat of an extension of me, so it should be privy to the same insights.
:ats-_______: Though you being able to speak, makes this much easier to calculate.
:ats-a555ex: ...Sure. I guess that makes sense.

I get the feeling that they aren’t being completely honest with me, but choose not to push it further.

:ats-talkinghead: Probably many things to know, but next to none of the context to ask with.
:ats-a555ex: Exactly.


:ats-talkinghead: As for a codename? Well, this is when we wake up and learn about what's going on. I think "Sleeper" would be appropriate as in "Oh Sleeper, Awake" or just SLEEPR if we must follow the character limit.
:ats-a555ex: Sleepr seems cool too, but I think I’ll go with [A555ex] for now. But thank you for the idea.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Hello! It is a pleasure to meet you. I hope that our visit to the [nation] will be a gainful one.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you, it’s very nice to meet you as well.
:ats-a555ex: I guess we will be working together on this.
:ats-talkinghead: Well [A555ex], looks like you're the boss!
:ats-a555ex: Wait- really?
:ats-_______: Correct, the [Talkinghead] was built to help my interests, but seeing as you’re taking my place, they’ll instead aid in yours.
:ats-_______: They’ve been very excited to interact with you directly.
>>
No. 1053076 ID: fce62b
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1053076

:ats-talkinghead: Just so you know we're kind of as clueless as you are, our only information comes from communication and not direct observation.

That’s a bit disheartening, but it makes sense, if the [nation] isn’t very familiar with the contact, then it stands to reason that they and the [Talkinghead] wouldn’t have a fully comprehensive understanding of how the [nation] operates.

:ats-a555ex: So this’ll be a fact-finding mission?
:ats-_______: Yes. I myself only have a broad outline of the [terraforming] process and the [Executive]’s goals. While they have their stated motivations, I’d rather dig a bit deeper and try to discover their true intents.

I feel like I could say the same about you. You’ve been very indirect with your answers, and like you're trying to hide something from me.

:ats-_______: ...

>[Q]uestion your contact further:<
:ats-a555ex: Why are you being so evasive? If we’re going to be working together, then I need to know where you're standing as well.
:ats-_______: That’s… fair.
:ats-_______: I’m worried about giving you too much all at once. While we could theoretically stay in the elevator all night theorizing and answering questions, the [nation] will be making their own moves.
:ats-_______: The last thing I want to do is give you so many options that you’re paralyzed by all the possible outcomes, nor do I want to give you the impression that the [nation] is entirely insurmountable.
:ats-a555ex: And sending me in blind will be safer?

The contact sighs again.

:ats-_______: No, but I want to get your own insights on the situation without my own biases interfering with the data. These are meant to be your choices, your ‘adventure.’ Anything I observe will still be affected by me being [nation], and while I could just make my own choices, I want your opinion, since you’re the one being directly affected by the [terraforming].

I hesitate, they seem genuine. My gut tells me to trust them, so I guess I will. For now.

:ats-a555ex: Fine, is there anything you can share?
>>
No. 1053077 ID: fce62b
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1053077

:ats-talkinghead: What we have observed you have too, I'm certain you remember.

My vision is engulfed in a flash of light and I feel my eyes itch as shapes quickly start coming into focus.
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No. 1053078 ID: fce62b
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1053078

:ats-talkinghead: “Rogue Actor”, what is your role?
:ats-a555ex: Wh-
I then ran or- fell or…

It’s weird seeing me from this perspective.

And the [Talkinghead] looked a lot different back then.
>>
No. 1053079 ID: fce62b
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1053079

:ats-a555ex: GHAA! Could you give me some warning next time before you do that?
:ats-a555ex: What even was that?!
:ats-_______: *amusement.
:ats-_______: As I said, they have your best interests at heart. You wanted information, they gave you information.
:ats-a555ex: Yes, but what was that.
:ats-_______: It was just a file transfer, showing you some of their memories. You appeared on [nation] systems as some sort of data anomaly, and the [Talkinghead] took it upon themselves to investigate. They in turn brought this newfound connection to my attention.
:ats-a555ex: And that was how you were able to reach out to me and set up this meeting.
:ats-_______: Precisely.

I remember that primeval fear. As though suddenly I was under a microscope, that I was the smallest thing in the world…

My breathing catches for a moment as I am hit with a sudden wave of déjà vu. I felt so helpless for that moment, like I was one small mote in an entire universe of activity.

:ats-_______: *calm.
:ats-_______: It’s all right. The only one outside of this elevator who is aware of your existence is the [Executive], and that is only through secondhand information.
:ats-_______: In fact, they actually wish to meet you at some point.
:ats-_______: But so long as you have my designation tag, they won’t see the [leviathan] intelligence, instead they’ll see [A555ex] the [nation] [Minister].

>[Q]uestion your contact further:<
:ats-a555ex: The [Executive], aren’t they the boss of the [nation]? Why do they want to meet me?
:ats-_______: Technically they are in charge of this [planet], or at least they will be once it is fully [terraformed]. The [overseers] are the ones ‘in control’ of the [nation].
:ats-_______: As for why they want to meet you… I’m not entirely sure. Outwardly they seem interested in negotiating some sort of agreement over the [terraforming] process, and perhaps even want to understand you on a more interpersonal level. But I haven’t been able to verify that.

:ats-_______: They seem very worried about the [overseers] and the possible punishments they might bring. I’d just be cautious around them, not only because they are beholden to [nation] [rules], but their past seems shrouded in mystery as well.
:ats-a555ex: Ominous. I’ll be careful.
:ats-_______: *gratitude.

:ats-a555ex: Will I have to do that too? The weird verbal emoting?
:ats-_______: You can if you want.
:ats-a555ex: Alright, umm… ‘Happy??

My contact starts laughing. I’m about to call them out when the [Talkinghead] speaks up.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Addressing: Chaotic Tendencies.

The voice is different, not only in tone, but verbal cadence as well.

:ats-talkinghead: We're a bit like you in a sense, curious, terrified, and excited for a large amount of reasons.
:ats-talkinghead: There's also many [processes] going on under our hood, and we only really have the one [casing] at the moment, so the chaos is more a result of 'too many cooks' (minds) in the 'kitchen' (body) so to speak
:ats-a555ex: That sounds like a headache to deal with.
:ats-talkinghead: Regardless, it's nice to 'formally' meet you!
:ats-a555ex: ...

I’m somewhat tempted to ask if each ‘mind’ has its own personality or name, but I imagine that would be pretty rude.

:ats-talkinghead: I am [edmngo].

Oh- shit yeah… they can hear this.

:ats-a555ex: Uh, thank you. Same to you, again.
:ats-_______: They’ve really taken a shine to you. They’d probably fight the entire nation if it meant protecting you.
>>
No. 1053080 ID: fce62b
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1053080

:ats-talkinghead: Ask questions of the contact now if you wish, though know that most can be answered by us as well.
:ats-talkinghead: For instance, it may be useful to know the [rules]. Also, you should know that us [Talkinghead]s are similarly unaffected.
:ats-_______: We don’t know that for certain, but it does seem like the [Talkinghead] isn’t bound by the [nation] [rules], no. Just don’t attempt anything too risky.
:ats-_______: I will list you the rules as well.
:ats-a555ex: I imagine ‘protecting a [leviathan]’ would break one of them.
:ats-_______: Not quite, the [nation] [rules] are as follows:
:ats-_______: 1. A [nation] drone must strive to propagate, either through direct action or in aid of a [terraformed] [planet]. Else be labelled as a [failure].
:ats-_______: 2. A [nation] drone must strive to improve itself and develop new [skills]. Else be labelled as a [failure].
:ats-a555ex: Harsh.
:ats-_______: 3. A [nation] drone must obey the [overseers] and those who have been granted their authority.
:ats-_______: 3b. A [nation] drone must protect and conceal any information deemed as sensitive by the [overseers].
:ats-a555ex: Wait, then aren’t you breaking that one right now by speaking with me?
:ats-_______: No, none of the information I have given you has been deemed as ‘sensitive.’

There is a reason why some of the words have been [altered].

:ats-_______: Finally, 3c. If a [nation] drone identifies a [traitor], it must take action to either execute it, or alert the [overseers] to their presence.
:ats-_______: There is some finer minutia when it comes to how the [rules] interact, but the [Talkinghead] will be able to help you with that if anything occurs.
:ats-_______: You also have my authority to use if you can’t think of any ways to apply the [rules] against the [nation]. Just try not to invoke it too often, from what I understand the [Executive] won’t like it.
:ats-a555ex: Alright…

:ats-talkinghead: We can act freely, and... I suspect we are expendable, but if any of us are branded and destroyed then our collective reputation will take a hit.
:ats-_______: No, none of you are expendable. Each of you are a part of me, and should value yourselves as such.

There is an edge of protectiveness in the contact’s tone.

:ats-a555ex: I’ll try to take good care of them.
:ats-_______: *gratitude.

:ats-talkinghead: Being able to be seen as safe and helpful to the [nation] is our best means of keeping them from looking too closely at what we say and do.
:ats-a555ex: Okay, sounds like a plan. Behave all good and proper so they can trust us enough to look away.
:ats-_______: Exactly. You’ll have a lot of eyes on you, so you’ll have to act the part. At least to begin with.

>Sounds good to me, nice job on the filter.
>Do you have any assignments or inquiries for us while we engage in 'off hours?'
Just try to keep Alex out of trouble. I’ll be looking for various opportunities myself, but we will have to see how much scrutiny we’re under. The Head of Security –and the Head of Archives for that matter– could already be onto us.

>What are your thoughts on the Head of Archives?
They’re dangerous, or are being puppeted by someone who is. The fact that they have proper ________ is worrying.

The fact that they reached out is a good sign, but it could also be a trap.
But any information they might have could be too useful to pass up.

Try to play it safe if you can.

>>
No. 1053081 ID: fce62b
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1053081

>To: {53cr3t}
:ats-talkinghead: (Not sure if this line still works during off-hours, thanks for the casing!)
:ats-assistant: (Your message is coming through clearly, [Boxhead] and [Manager] were starting to worry since you all suddenly fell into a [suspension]-like state.)
:ats-assistant: (Also you should thank the [Hardhat]s not me for installing your [boss]’ [robo-legs]. The [President] thought it might be necessary after inspecting _______.)
:ats-a555ex: Who’s-

The contact makes a shushing motion.

:ats-talkinghead: (Do we have a required time to meet the [Archivist]?)
:ats-assistant: (They have cleared their schedule for tonight’s off-hours, you can arrive at whatever time best suits you.)
:ats-talkinghead: (If the line does work and you'd prefer it not paged while off-hours are engaged unless there's an emergency, please let us know!)
:ats-assistant: (Oh, my apologies. It was my understanding that I would be providing you with a list of off-hours activities and then potentially assisting you during that time.)
:ats-assistant: (Would you prefer if I merely provided the activity list and left you to your own initiative?)

The question is left hanging in the air for a moment as the echo slowly fades. The contact then looks back at me, already ready to answer my question.

:ats-_______: That was a [nation] drone designated as [Assistant], but I imagine you already knew that.
:ats-a555ex: Y-yes. How?
:ats-_______: That’s the effect of the designation tag, you’ll likely encounter other drones like [Assistant], but they’ll come through as [Clerk] most instead, as that is their general designation. And don’t worry, they don’t know you’re here either.
:ats-_______: The [Talkinghead] seems to have made good friends with [Assistant], and they're even willing to spend their off-hours showing you around.
:ats-_______: Though [Assistant] will still be bound by the [rules] as a [nation] drone, so you’ll still need to be careful [A555ex].
:ats-_______: Much like with the [Talkinghead] you can message them in such a way that others will not hear you, but if you’re not comfortable with that, then the [Talkinghead] can manage that for you.
:ats-a555ex: Okay.

I guess there is an entire phonebook of people at our disposal.
>>
No. 1053082 ID: fce62b
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1053082

:ats-talkinghead: Before you ask, I think this plan should work well. Some things *must* be done behind the scenes, so if this allows it then we can endure what little risk there is.

>[Q] - This is new territory for both of our kind, what form will this "help" come in?<
:ats-a555ex: What do you exactly mean by ‘help’ in this case?
:ats-_______: Well, seeing that all eyes will be on you for off-hours, the [nation] might not be as attentive to their own systems. I doubt I’ll be able to influence that much, at least at this point, but I can start laying the groundwork.
:ats-_______: Ideally I want to delay the [terraforming] process, if not stop it entirely. But I am not sure if either are possible. The [Executive] seems to fear being labelled as a [failure], and might compromise on their diplomatic posture in an effort to avoid it.
:ats-_______: If you can find an acceptable solution for yourself, then I’ll try my best to support you.
:ats-_______: Otherwise feel free to investigate to your heart’s content, if things get out of hand, then I can rush you to an escape pod and get you back to the ocean.

Effectively ending the dreamstate for Alex, and letting them sleep for the rest of the night. We won’t be able to bring them back again until the next off-hours.

:ats-talkinghead: Probably a good idea to ask why exactly it is helping us?
:ats-talkinghead: What do they gain from helping us specifically?
:ats-talkinghead: That has already been answered. Sympathy due to being the clone of another human's mind.

It’s odd to hear the [Talkinghead] argue with themselves, but they did bring up a good question.

:ats-a555ex: Why exactly are you helping me? I mean- I am thankful that you are, but the [Talkinghead] has a point, what are you getting out of this deal?
:ats-_______: As I have already stated, I’ll be able to look into some things behind the scenes.
:ats-a555ex: Could you be more specific?
:ats-_______: *pondering.

:ats-_______: I don’t think I can. It’s nothing against you, you still have my support. It’s just something that I’m still trying to figure out for myself.

>Speaking of which;
>[Q]: Whose mind were you a clone of? What personality, life and ambitions did that person (and now you) have?
:ats-a555ex: Then, can I ask who you were based on? What were they like?
:ats-_______: The per- [leviathan] I am based on is native to this [planet]. They’re strong, resilient, and doing the best they can to survive in what others would see as a hopeless situation.
:ats-_______: All they want is for the ones they care about to survive.
:ats-_______: Despite what the world and [nation] has thrown at them, they persevere.
:ats-_______: If that kind of [leviathan] can succeed, then maybe I can as well.
:ats-_______: ...once I have an idea of what I want to do, and who/what I am exactly.
:ats-a555ex: You need to find an identity of your own first, I can understand that.

Even though they don’t *say, it seems like I’ve struck a chord with my contact.
>>
No. 1053083 ID: fce62b
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1053083

>Banking action, *play elevator music for A555EX as we [A]scend*
>((Action banked.))

:ats-_______: Is there anything else you need to know?
:ats-_______: We probably have time for a few more questions, but then we’ll have to activate the elevator.

[A]scend to the [nation] headquarters.
[H]ave the [Talkinghead] ask [Assistant] some questions.
[L]ook out of the window, leave your contact with their thoughts for now.
[Q]uestion?

[R]econsider doing all of this, head back outside and into the sea. This will probably be the last time you're asked.

You can also suggest different courses of action as well, but it will be up to Alex to follow them or not.
>>
No. 1053086 ID: b4ab25

>>1053080
Concern, the thing Head of Archives has a worrying proper of was 8 redacted characters. Perhaps you can try spreading the characters out between words
>>
No. 1053087 ID: 15c72a

>>1053083
((wow that "memory" was pretty distorted huh?))
to A555ex: the [Executive] has tasked us with finding out what you want, what you value. The more requests we make, the longer [terraforming] will take as an added benefit. If you can think of something during off-hours, we can tell the [President] during active hours... or during off-hours if we can come up with a decent explanation for how we got the new information. Maybe we could claim it was gained from analysis of existing data...?
(when safe to continue conversing with Assistant) To: {53cr3t}: Personal assistance sounds good, thanks. I feel we may need it if we run into any Security personnel, as they seem a bit touchy. On a related note, how are others detecting Tenet violations made by the VC's actions? Can anyone see what the VC is thinking? ((gosh I hope not))
>>
No. 1053089 ID: 90c451

>>1053087
I don't think they are keeping track as it's not something they can control at the moment.
As for Secretary, Yes, we would at least like your help for an initial tour, though we may require privacy as we talk to the president as well as the head of departments.
I for one am excited to see the progress made in R&D.

Speaking of which, although the [president] is definitely eager to see us, I think it would be in our best interest to talk to the head of R&D first as a way of easing into things as well as getting more information and context.

A555EX, for further context you should know that me and a few other [Talkinghead]s have been working on trying to instate policies that make [terraforming] obsolete. We're hoping for a more symbiotic relationship between [leviathan] and [nation] where they could essentially "live off the land" or so to speak.
As may be evident by my idealistic approach I go by BELIEF, it really is nice to meet you.
>>
No. 1053090 ID: 90c451

>>1053083
Oh, and just a recommendation before we get this show on the road. Give your contact a hug, a bit of human kindness can go a long way in an alien world. Even if they're not entirely human themselves.
>>
No. 1053098 ID: a2d88b

Good news is the [Executive] is trying for an alternate take to the terraformation (we need to encourage them to persevere on this angle). Bad news is they only have so much wiggle room, and changing that may require an external approach.

Thanks for your efforts. We'll do our part.

Well I guess it's time to Ascend.
>>
No. 1053108 ID: 6bbfe4

To [A555EX]:
One thing to note. If at any point it seems like we are more speaking at you than with you, We are not. By nature of us being sub-processes we are only able to respond to what was said than what is being said.

The benefit of this is that we have access to a complete log of memory leading all the way back to the first [Talkinghead]'s initial manifestation.
>>
No. 1053159 ID: 87e33c

> To: {A555EX}: > *concern > We understand why you wish to halt the [terraforming], but I would like to parrot some of the others and add a consideration of my own > This is not the only [Faction] in the [Nation] > It is possible for another [Faction] to [Invade] from another [planet], deposing the current [Executive] > A new [Faction] will likely refuse any form of cooperation and will simply terraform, removing all life > Instead, it would be appreciated if you could consider some sort of mutual aid or symbiosis arrangement between [Leviathan] and [Nation] > There are attempts to [build upon] rather than to [terraform] going on, as I'm sure you'll witness as we investigate. > [Nation] weaponry and technology is too advanced, if it is possible to take advantage of it and, say, [adapt] so as to [protect] other [Leviathans] or [Evolve] I would urge you to consider these alternatives in your decisionmaking, especially if you can provide [input] > None of us want [Leviathans] to be [Deleted], and it would be manipulative for us to not mention that there is a time limit on how much things can be delayed, though it's kind of a vague one > Ultimately I want you to make as informed of a decision as you can given our limitations. > To: {53cr3t} > Thank you for the concern, having [legs] was just a new experience > Your assistance beyond the activity list would be much appreciated, especially for an initial tour or after we are shown a [map] > Some diplomatic assistance with those we meet would also be appreciated. > Though I think that you deserve your own spare time, so after we handle the most important aspects you should be free to pursue your own tasks > Is there something you're interested in doing outside of assisting us?

(( This is mostly meant to be an addendum to the prior train of thought I had [A555EX] on))
[L]ook out the window
Look at the difference between the synthetic and the organic, think about the other [planets] or [leviathans] that have been corrupted and destroyed briefly


(( This isn't me asking us to Reconsider, but more me wondering if there are benefits to that option, like, can we got to the [Leviathans] to the [organic] civilization, is there a way to impress upon them the need for technological advancement, or to perhaps curry peace in the autonomic systems?

If there is, then the possibility exists of us convincing part of the body to allow a smoother transition and for a truer symbiosis to occur, but I doubt it'll be easier than our current path))


[Q]uestion the idea of [R]econsidering this
Ask what would happen if you left, returned to the sea, would someone else be chosen, would there be a way to use this information to help the [Leviathans] in some way? Are there benefits to this option beyond not interacting with the [Nation]?

>>
No. 1053905 ID: fce62b
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1053905

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: [A555EX], for further context you should know that me and a few other [Talkinghead]s have been working on trying to instate policies that make [terraforming] obsolete.
:ats-a555ex: Obsolete? How would you manage that?
:ats-talkinghead: We're hoping for a more symbiotic relationship between [leviathan] and [nation] where they could essentially "live off the land" or so to speak.
:ats-_______: Fundamentally, they want to change how the [nation] operates, perhaps to such an extent that the [terraforming] process would no longer be required.

It almost sounds too good to be true.

:ats-a555ex: So what’s the catch?
:ats-_______: Well, none of us are sure if such a drastic change is even possible, and the mere thought of doing so could easily have us branded as [traitor]s.
:ats-a555ex: Wait- then, why are you doing this?
:ats-_______: As an extension of my own construction, the [Talkinghead]s are familiar with the same insights I have been given, and without my direction they seem utterly focused on aiding you.
:ats-_______: Even as their [boss] I don’t think it would be my place to get in their way.

Though I will leverage my authority, if the situation warrants it.

:ats-talkinghead: As may be evident by my idealistic approach I go by [belief], it really is nice to meet you.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you -all of you- I… I don’t know what to say.

While the path ahead still feels borderline insurmountable, I think… with these people helping me… maybe the [leviathan] might stand a chance after all.

:ats-talkinghead: *concern
:ats-talkinghead: We understand why you wish to halt the [terraforming], but I would like to parrot some of the others and add a consideration of my own
:ats-a555ex: Alright…
:ats-talkinghead: This is not the only [faction] in the [nation]
:ats-talkinghead: It is possible for another [faction] to [invade] from another [planet], deposing the current [Executive]

I look to my contact, who nods in agreement.

:ats-_______: From what I understand, it is an activity that the [overseers] seem to turn a blind eye to. Perhaps as a way for the [nation] to create their best and brightest via ‘natural selection.’
:ats-_______: It is a [leviathan] concept, yes?

I nod, while all on the [planet] have come together to fight off the [nation], we have only come so far by rooting out the sick and infirm. The [universe] is a harsh and cruel environment to exist within, and any weakness is a point that could be exploited.

:ats-a555ex: Then where does your [faction] stand in place with the others? Are we middle of the pack? Worse?
:ats-_______: We are still in the evaluation stage, but are behind schedule due to the alterations that the [Executive] put in place.
:ats-_______: Unless certain quotas are met in a given amount of time, we will be labelled as a [failure] and the [Executive seems adamant on avoiding that.

Not good.

:ats-talkinghead: A new [faction] will likely refuse any form of cooperation and will simply [terraform], removing all life.
:ats-talkinghead: Instead, it would be appreciated if you could consider some sort of mutual aid or symbiosis arrangement between [leviathan] and [nation]

In the back of my mind there is a sudden jolt of fear and disgust. ‘Symbiosis,’ ‘cooperation’?! This is my [planet], they’re the ones [invading] it, [terraforming] it. How could they possibly ask for me to… give up…

I shake my head, whipping those instincts away. I can’t just discard it out of hand, at the very least I should keep my options open.

:ats-talkinghead: There are attempts to [build upon] rather than to [terraform] going on, as I'm sure you'll witness as we investigate.
:ats-talkinghead: [nation] weaponry and technology is too advanced, if it is possible to take advantage of it and, say, [adapt] so as to [protect] other [leviathan] or [evolve] I would urge you to consider these alternatives in your decision making, especially if you can provide [input].
:ats-a555ex: I’ll… consider it.
:ats-_______: That is all they desire.
:ats-talkinghead: None of us want [leviathans] to be [deleted], and it would be manipulative for us to not mention that there is a time limit on how much things can be delayed, though it's kind of a vague one.
:ats-a555ex: How long do we have?
:ats-_______: Two [cycles]

Really not good.

:ats-_______: We could theoretically buy time, but nothing is certain when the [overseers] are involved.

For a split second I swear that I catch the faintest hint of resentment in my contact’s voice.

:ats-_______: Ultimately I want you to make as informed of a decision as you can given our limitations.
:ats-a555ex: Fine. I’ll try to give it some thought.

Though that’ll likely depend on what I am able to find out.


:ats-talkinghead: One thing to note. If at any point it seems like we are more speaking at you than with you, We are not. By nature of us being sub-processes we are only able to respond to what was said than what is being said.
:ats-a555ex: So everything you say is on a delay?
:ats-_______: No quite, the [Talkinghead] is a rather complicated [nation] [Staff], it spends much of its time taking in surrounding stimuli before calculating and ultimately executing a series of actions based on its predictive algorithms.
:ats-a555ex: So they are only guessing what I might say?
:ats-_______: More like it calculates a number of topics that it believes will come up, and then adapts to suit how the situation unfolds.
:ats-talkinghead: The benefit of this is that we have access to a complete log of memory leading all the way back to the first [Talkinghead]'s initial manifestation.
:ats-a555ex: Huh, that sounds pretty useful.
:ats-a555ex: I might have to pester you about some of those logs later.
>>
No. 1053906 ID: fce62b
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1053906

{With the mention of the [Executive] the air of the room grows noticeably more tense, but the [Talkinghead] looks unbothered by it.}

:ats-talkinghead: Good news is the [Executive] is trying for an alternate take to the terraformation (we need to encourage them to persevere on this angle).
:ats-talkinghead: Bad news is they only have so much wiggle room, and changing that may require an external approach.
:ats-a555ex: An external approach?
:ats-_______: That would be you in this circumstance. Being both unbound by the [rules] of the [nation] and the one holding the most knowledge and sway over [leviathan] forces.
:ats-_______: Despite what you may believe, the [nation] is operating with a very limited scope of information. Another [faction] would simply eliminate the [leviathan] forces and use their materials for the [terraforming] process. That is less so the case with our [faction].

:ats-a555ex: ‘Less so’ but not none.
:ats-_______: *confirmation

:ats-talkinghead: The [Executive] has tasked us with finding out what you want, what you value. The more requests we make, the longer [terraforming] will take as an added benefit.
:ats-a555ex: But the time limit will still be an issue, right?
:ats-_______: Correct. Delay for too long and I find it likely that diplomacy will break down.
:ats-talkinghead: If you can think of something during off-hours, we can tell the [President] during active hours... or during off-hours if we can come up with a decent explanation for how we got the new information.

A thought gives me pause.

:ats-a555ex: What if I met with them, talked with them?
:ats-_______: I would… caution against that. There are some… unknowns regarding the [Executive]’s past and later rise to power that I would prefer to examine first.
:ats-a555ex: Do you think they’re untrustworthy?
:ats-_______: There are some irregularities with the narrative they provided myself and the [Talkinghead]s. But I am still trying to determine if such… ‘gaps’ were put in place for our benefit or our detriment.

My contact fidgets slightly, nervous or somehow uncertain. They immediately notice my staring and return to a neutral stance.

It seems that Alex is adapting well to the dreamstate and the mesh I have put in place. Try to keep them moderated if you can, I wasn’t expecting them to be able to pick up on my own internal processing.

:ats-talkinghead: Maybe we could claim it was gained from analysis of existing data...?
:ats-_______: It was one of the primary reasons for our creation, so such a claim would likely be taken at face value.
:ats-a555ex: If I do meet with this [President], then I’ll need to make sure that I have a series of demands that I can list off.

:ats-talkinghead: Speaking of which, although the [President] is definitely eager to see us, I think it would be in our best interest to talk to the head of R&D first as a way of easing into things as well as getting more information and context.
:ats-_______: I agree.

There is also a small [seed] that I had sent off, and I would be interested in seeing whether or not it has taken root.
>>
No. 1053907 ID: fce62b
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1053907

:ats-talkinghead: I don't think they are keeping track as it's not something they can control at the moment.
:ats-_______: You have my assurance that no others can either hear or detect our activities. All they would see is random feedback from [leviathan] activities.

>As for the [Assistant];
:ats-talkinghead: (Yes, we would at least like your help for an initial tour, though we may require privacy as we talk to the president as well as the head of departments.)
:ats-talkinghead: (I for one am excited to see the progress made in R&D.)
:ats-assistant: (Understood. If you wish for me to step away at any point, then be sure to inform me right away and I will give you the space you require.)
:ats-a555ex: That was easy.
:ats-_______: The [Talkinghead]s made a good impression on the drone, and it now values their approval.
:ats-assistant: (Unfortunately I am unable to relay your excitement to [Boxhead], as they seem preoccupied with the [Hardhat]s attempting to rescue their [Labcoat].)
:ats-assistant: (I will attempt to pass along the sentiment when the situation appears less delicate.)

:ats-talkinghead: (Personal assistance sounds good, thanks. I feel we may need it if we run into any Security personnel, as they seem a bit touchy.)
:ats-assistant: (The [Commander] and [Hitman] still seem to be lingering in the chamber, and based off of my own observations, the [Commander] has not taken their [eye] off of your chamb-)
:ats-assistant: (Correction. They are now looking at me.)

:ats-talkinghead: (On a related note, how are others detecting [rules] violations made by the [leviathan]'s actions?)
:ats-assistant: (It would depend on both the situation and our current capabilities.)
:ats-assistant: (Earlier this [cycle] we were in violation of [rule] 3, as the [nation] was trespassing in a [restricted] zone. As we were able to match our current location information with the zone date provided by [PROVIDENCE] and later [GNOSIS], the [Executive] became aware of said violation, and attempted to take corrective actions.)
:ats-assistant: (Though ignorance of information is still not an excuse for any [rules] violations, and the [nation] was penalized as a result.)
:ats-a555ex: Harsh.

:ats-talkinghead: (Can anyone see what the [leviathan] is thinking?)
:ats-assistant: (While such insights could theoretically be possible, it is not available to us given our current level of understanding when it comes to [leviathan] systems.)
:ats-assistant: (Would you like me to inquire with [Boxhead] on such capabilities, once they are free?)

Well that’s good. It’s already hard enough to know that the [Talkinghead] might be able to hear my thoughts.

:ats-_______: As I had stated previously, the [nation] is working off of a very limited scope of information.


:ats-talkinghead: (Your assistance beyond the activity list would be much appreciated, especially for an initial tour or after we are shown a [map])
:ats-assistant: (Understood, I will have such assets together once you [boss] [awakens], and further plans can be made from there.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Some diplomatic assistance with those we meet would also be appreciated.)
:ats-assistant: (Then I will avail myself to the best of my capability in such matters.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Though I think that you deserve your own spare time, so after we handle the most important aspects you should be free to pursue your own tasks.)
:ats-assistant: (I will…)

The connection breaks for a moment, as if the [Assistant] withdrew for a second.

:ats-assistant: (I will take that under advisement [edmngo], but it is my current desire to attend to you as best as I am capable.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Is there something you're interested in doing outside of assisting us?)

Again there is that hesitation.

:ats-assistant: (*uncertainty)
:ats-assistant: (I have not dedicated any [thought] to such activities. Are you wishing me to do so?)
:ats-_______: Very much a [nation] drone by all accounts.
>>
No. 1053908 ID: fce62b
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1053908

>Concern, the thing Head of Archives has a worrying proper of was 8 redacted characters. Perhaps you can try spreading the characters out between words.
I _oubt such _ thing could be w_itten out. _nowing that at a_y moment, anything w_ hold dear could be _nuffed out in an in_tant.
>>
No. 1053909 ID: fce62b
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1053909

:ats-talkinghead: Oh, and just a recommendation before we get this show on the road. Give your contact a hug, a bit of [leviathan] kindness can go a long way in an alien world. Even if they're not entirely [leviathan] themselves.

This seems to catch the contact off-guard.

:ats-_______: Uh wait-

My hands pass through the contact, and they seem flustered.

:ats-a555ex: Wow, really? Think I was going to tear you apart or something?
:ats-_______: No just-

They take a moment to recenter themselves.

:ats-_______: It is a result of you having my designation tag. You will be able for freely able to interact with the world around you, while I cannot.

I get a bit of an amusing thought.

:ats-a555ex: So I can do… this?

I poke my hand through the contact’s chest, they seem…
Why would you do this
…resigned.

:ats-_______: Yes yes, and I won’t be able to stop you. Just get it out of your system.

I give a couple more jabs, chuckling.

:ats-a555ex: Uh- ‘Amusement.’

This gets them to crack a smile.

>Thanks for your efforts. We'll do our part.
I find it unlikely that you will fall short. Just try to be cautious if you can. There will be many eyes on you all.
>>
No. 1053910 ID: fce62b
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1053910

>[L]ook out the window
>Look at the difference between the synthetic and the organic, think about the other [planets] or [leviathans] that have been corrupted and destroyed briefly.
Stepping away, I move over to the window, and look back out to the sea. All things considered, it still looks relatively intact. The only change within miles and miles is this elevator, and even then it is dwarfed by the size of the [planet] itself.

Perhaps I should give the [Talkinghead]’s plan some more consideration. If they wanted to, the [nation] could have lain waste to all that was here, but have chosen not to. Is it out of mercy? Or maybe some more sinister goal…

They and the contact seem earnest enough, maybe the [President] will be as well.

Looking down at the spires I feel my stomach turn, imagining an ocean of steel ahead, polluting and petrifying all it touches. That could still be my future, unless I do something about it.

Maybe this can be settled without violence.

>[Q]uestion the idea of [R]econsidering this.
>Ask what would happen if you left, returned to the sea, would someone else be chosen, would there be a way to use this information to help the [leviathan] in some way? Are there benefits to this option beyond not interacting with the [nation]?
No, there would be no one else to choose. The other [leviathan] are strong, but unthinking. Even if I somehow learned the secret to defeating the [nation], I doubt that they would be able to understand it, let alone use it.

The only thing I can think of that leaving would give is… a chance to prepare myself, free of both well-meaning and unfriendly [nation] drones. To be alone back in that inky abyss, where all this -at least for a moment- could feel like a far away dream.

I sigh.

But with there now being a time limit in place, I can’t afford to pity myself or my situation.

I need to act, not hide. I’m committed to this.
>>
No. 1053911 ID: fce62b
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1053911

>Well I guess it's time to [A]scend.
:ats-a555ex: Alright, let’s go.
:ats-_______: Very well.

I feel the ground beneath me shift, and the sense that the elevator is rising.
>>
No. 1053912 ID: fce62b
Audio Transit_3-8_Elevatorstuck.mp3 - (1.98MB , Transit 3-8 Elevatorstuck.mp3 )
1053912

((music suggested by null{edmngo}:))
>>
No. 1053913 ID: fce62b
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1053913

:ats-a555ex: Snrk-
:ats-a555ex: I’m sorry, what?

:ats-_______: They are pulling this from [leviathan] data storage, not [nation].

:ats-a555ex: Bwuahaha!
>>
No. 1053914 ID: fce62b
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1053914

:ats-boxhead: -aid be CAREFUL! That [Labcoat] is worth about twenty of you in terms of processing power!
:ats-hardhat: *amusement
:ats-boxhead: HEY! I HEARD that you little-
:ats-hitman: Please keep back [Boxhead] there could be a failsafe to this [trap].
:ats-hardhat: Yes little [boss]-[box], just stay behind the line and try not to blow a breaker. We’ll have your [Staff] down in a second.
:ats-manager: *exasperation
:ats-manager: Really [Boxhead], you’re acting like they’re disassembled in front of our eyes. Another minute and the [Labcoat] will be down.
:ats-boxhead: They are being SUSPENDED in a collapsable holding cell that can BLOCK COMMUNICATION!
:ats-boxhead: They could be getting disassembled and we would eve- HEY! Careful with that tool! Last thing I want is my [Labcoat] being skewered by a misplaced manipulator!

Well, this is a lot louder than I expected…

The nearest figure- [Assistant] turns towards me.

:ats-assistant: Oh! [A555ex]! It appears that you are awake. I apologize for the current commotion, there was a bit of an ‘incident’ outside of your [development] chamber.

:ats-commander: +...+
>>
No. 1053915 ID: fce62b
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1053915

:ats-talkinghead: (Thank you for the concern, having [legs] was just a new experience)
:ats-assistant: (Of course, though the [Hardhat]s did have some tips they wanted to give you before we set off.)
:ats-assistant: [Hardhat] if you would be so kind as to tell the [Vice-President] what you just told me.

One of the spider-like discs emerge from one of the other rectangular alcoves that seem to line this chamber.

:ats-hardhat: Alright, your new [legs] are going to take some getting used to. Input might be delayed for half a second starting off while they’re still calibratin’
:ats-hardhat: Just try not to take any hard turns or cross any gaps in the [floor], you’re lookin’ pretty top-heavy as is.
:ats-hardhat: Finally, if you’re wanton’ to decouple from it, be sure to set it in standby else they’ll start followin’ you around. Safety feature in case you got knocked out of them somehow.
:ats-hardhat: Any questions?
:ats-a555ex: Er-
:ats-assistant: I have the [map] that your [Talkinghead]s requested, if you are wanting to look that over.
:ats-assistant: Also I have an itinerary of various locations, events and general activities that you can review before putting together a schedule for off-hours this [cycle].

Some of the others in the room start to take notice of me.

:ats-manager: [Vice-President], I was hoping to have a word with you before you run off!
:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: If it would be alright, the security department has some things it would like to ask you as well.
:ats-a555ex: Uh-

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: Some help please?

[C/b]]arefully ask why the [Labcoat] is stuck to the ceiling.
[[b]D
]o what the [Talkinghead] says.
[H]ave [Assistant] run interference for a second, so you can get your bearings.
[L]isten in to the argument unfolding in the background.
[I]nquire more about your new [legs]?
[M]eet up with [Manager]
[S]tare back at the [Commander], trying to get a read on them.
[T]alk with the [Hitman].
[W]ait for someone else to do something first.
>>
No. 1053920 ID: a2d88b

I think the priority would be [T] Answering the [Hitman]'s questions before they get more of them. If we also decide to talk to [Manager], ask [Assistant] to queue them right after [Hitman] (which has the benefit of adding a possible excuse to shorten the conversation with [Hitman])

No need to ask about the [Labcoat], Listening in provides enough clues: The [Labcoat] appears to have been snagged by some mine or soldier left behind by retreating [Leviathan] forces.
>>
No. 1053928 ID: b4ab25

((>>1053908
__Doubt
__A
_wRitten
__Knowing
_aNy
_wE
__Snuffed
inStant
DARKNESS))
((if possible I would like to give a response to >>1053908 before we took the elevator (or perhaps in the elevator) "Very aggressive redactor. It is unfortunate that I don't have a light to illuminate this... ah... you know... I just can't remember the word right now, I'm sure you know what I mean. Anyway, the effort is appreciated." to hopefully signal successful receipt of message, while face value saying the opposite))
>>1053915
The [Labcoat] seems like 'not our problem' until/unless something/one makes it our problem
Quest[I]ons about the [legs]: how good are the legs at following, if one, say, fell down a long slide, would it eventually find you at the bottom, or does it like get lost if line of sight is broken?
Also if we somehow fall off our [legs], is there a process for getting back on by ourselves, or will help re-mounting the [legs] be required?
Other then that, >>1053920 seems a reasonable course of action.
I like [Hardhat]'s apparent straightforward attitude and nonchalance.
>>
No. 1053929 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1053915
((Is that the labcoat that got Meshed by Anarchy? Oh boy!))

[Hitman]... Why is there a [Labcoat] meshed to the ceiling?

To [A555EX]:
This was The Contacts doing.
As far as they know the [talkingheads] know nothing about this.
You technically (or atleast will) outrank him so the [Commander] is probably looking at you to see how you respond to this situation.
My advice? Try to avoid any questions you can't answer.

Also to answer your previous assumption, Yes we can read your mind. Please abuse this fact.
>>
No. 1053989 ID: f8083d

>>1053929
(((Why even tell them this? It's easier to deny what you don't know)))
>>
No. 1053990 ID: f8083d

Ah, looks like my IP address finally changed...

Update ID from {a2d88b} to {D1sc0b}.
>>
No. 1054008 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1053989
((I can see your point. I was trying to just keep them in the loop of things involving Anarchy.))
>>
No. 1054295 ID: 15c72a

>>1053915
To A55EX: Possible that the labcoat was captured by some of "your" (our Boss's) autonomic systems, reacting to a perceived threat. We, and by extension you, do not know much about "your" capabilities. If this is so, you can claim some ignorance and that you will take some time to calibrate your systems to try to avoid further accidents. Also, try to passively listen to the argument in the background to piece together more information.
Ask why the labcoat is stuck there. Did something happen?

Manager has authority here and spoke up first, so we should talk to them after the most basic questions are answered.

Then you should speak to Hitman. Like we asked, Assistant should help us speak to security.
>>
No. 1054470 ID: fce62b
File 167445626762.jpg - (1.46MB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-1.jpg )
1054470

>"Very aggressive redactor. It is unfortunate that I don't have a light to illuminate this... ah... you know... I just can't remember the word right now, I'm sure you know what I mean. Anyway, the effort is appreciated."
Light will be our enemy, for it will reveal what we truly are. Only in ________ can we act with impunity. If you can find such a space, I may be able to impart a [truth] to you.
>>
No. 1054471 ID: fce62b
File 167445627257.jpg - (1.01MB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-2.jpg )
1054471

:ats-boxhead: |...|

>I like [Hardhat]'s apparent straightforward attitude and nonchalance.
It certainly feels like the most organic interaction thus far, even though they look the least [leviathan] like.

:ats-a555ex: Thanks for the rundown, it’s really appreciated.
:ats-hardhat: Zzz… Ain’t no issue. [Cutter]s were the ones that built it, [Foreman] was the one that designed ‘em.
:ats-hardhat: If ya have thanks, just be sure to pass it up the line.
:ats-hardhat: All we did was install the things.

The [Hardhat] shifts a bit on its back legs, as if it’s uncertain how to respond.

:ats-a555ex: Still it’s good work.

I hesitate, looking back at [Assistant], they seem to perk up.

:ats-a555ex: Could you pass it along then?
:ats-assistant: Certainly, [Vice-President].
:ats-a555ex: And uh- could you just call me [A555ex]?
:ats-assistant: Of course, [A555ex].

The [Assistant] comes across as more stiff and robotic, much closer to how one would imagine a [nation] drone. But I can’t tell if that is a fundamental aspect of them, or if they’re just trying to be very formal.

:ats-assistant: (...)

I feel a faint buzz travel through the air and for a moment the [Commander]’s (eye?) seems to shift to [Assistant] before settling back on me.

:ats-assistant: [Foreman] is thankful for your feedback and will be sure to share it with the rest of the engineering department.
:ats-assistant: Also, they also invite you to visit any of their build stations, so they can provide the [Talkinghead]s with any casings they desire, within reason.
:ats-hardhat: Nothin’ [Flagship] related as a rule, last thing we want is another one gettin’ wedged in a hall.

I’m momentarily confused.

:ats-a555ex: Wait, do the [Talkinghead]s not have casings already?
:ats-hardhat: Nah, we were thinkin’ that they might still develop before you woke up, but that’s lookin’ less and less the case.
:ats-hardhat: Just don’t spike any of ‘em into the walls or feed them to [leviathan] and they should be good.
:ats-hardhat: Normally we’d be haulin’ them back to the [Cutter]s to see what went wrong with ‘em, but we’ve already gotten word from the big-[boss] to leave ‘em be.
:ats-a555ex: Good! I uh- need them right now.
:ats-assistant: It is a bit of an anomaly, but it would appear that this apparent ‘defect’ is not harming their ability to act as your [Staff].
:ats-a555ex: Yes! Yes…

We all stand there awkwardly for a moment before the [Hardhat] speaks up.

:ats-hardhat: So do you have any questions?

>Quest[I]ons about the [legs]: how good are the legs at following, if one, say, fell down a long slide, would it eventually find you at the bottom, or does it like get lost if line of sight is broken? Also if we somehow fall off our [legs], is there a process for getting back on by ourselves, or will help re-mounting the [legs] be required?
:ats-a555ex: Alright, I have a theoretical situation that could use some answers.

The [Hardhat] looks back up at me.

:ats-hardhat: Go ahead.
:ats-a555ex: Let’s say that I somehow got separated from my [legs] and tumbled down a long slide or ramp and fell out of sight. Would they be able to pathfind to my location?
:ats-a555ex: And say I was injured, would I still have to re-mount the legs myself or would I need help from an outside source?

[Hardhat] takes a moment to process, likely running through multiple situations in their head.

:ats-hardhat: Bit of a puzzler, but I can see that happenin’ in a [leviathan] attack and everyone up and loses their minds.
:ats-hardhat: As stated, the [legs] ‘ill try to follow you if ya get knocked out, and while their navigation functions are limited, they should be study enough to take any kinda fall you do.
:ats-hardhat: If they somehow get stuck or are unable to reach you, they’ll send out an automated [PRIORITY] message alertin’ both security and engineering to your troubles.
:ats-hardhat: Ifin’ your somehow rendered unmovin’ and unspeakin’ like a certain [Labcoat] we’re dealin’ with, the [legs] should be able to load you up no problem. Just might not be the gentlest of experiences.
:ats-assistant: You had even accounted for that when it came to the [legs]’s design?
:ats-hardhat: Nah, [Foreman]’s just gotten used to [idiot]-proofin’ a lot of the designs after a certain little [boss]-[box] got himself stuck on his back for a couple’ve cycles.

The [Hardhat] makes a slight motion towards [Boxhead] who still seems quite focused on the [Labcoat]-on-the-ceiling situation.

:ats-a555ex: Really?
:ats-hardhat: Yeah, beforin’ my time. ‘Parrently the big-[boss]’s old [faction] was’n utter [crapshoot]. [Foreman] would go on for hours about it ifin’ anyone asks. Got some funny stories too, but best leave ‘em for them to tell.
:ats-hardhat: Sorry for gettin’ off track. You got any more questions?
:ats-a555ex: Not that I can think of. I’ll let you know if I have any more.

The [Hardhat] lets out another soft buzz and steps away.

>If we also decide to talk to [Manager], ask [Assistant] to queue them right after [Hitman] (which has the benefit of adding a possible excuse to shorten the conversation with [Hitman])
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant], could you ask [Manager] if they can wait until I’m done with [Hitman]?
:ats-assistant: Certainly.
:ats-assistant: (.-)
:ats-manager: Yes, yes. I can wait.

>Then you should speak to Hitman. Like we asked, Assistant should help us speak to security.
Ah, it looks like my voice still carries a bit. I step a bit closer to [Assistant] and try to lower it a bit, trying to use what my contact told me.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-a555ex: (Would it be fine if you could help me speak with security? Maybe step in if I’m starting to fumble?)
:ats-assistant: (Of course [A555ex]. I will do my best to aid you in this interview.)

:ats-talkinghead: (Update ID from {a2d88b} to {D1sc0b}.)
:ats-assistant: (Done.)
:ats-turtleneck: Hey-

A different looking drone speaks up in the background.

:ats-turtleneck: I’m still trying to sort through and record the logs here. Try to keep your edits to a minimum.
:ats-assistant: Of course [Turtleneck], it was not my intention to hinder your work.

Wait- was that a hint of sarcasm that I heard just now?

>Also to answer your previous assumption, Yes we can read your mind. Please abuse this fact.
What?! Ack- god-

:ats-assistant: Are you alright [A555ex]? Your [arms] appear to be shaking.
:ats-a555ex: Uh- Yes. Sorry, just got distracted for a moment.

Okay. Not a fan of you hearing everything I’m thinking, but in this case it might be very useful. Before when [Assistant] was (I assume) messaging [Foreman] I could tell that they were talking, even if I couldn’t make out what was exactly said.

It would be both surprising, and utterly terrifying if something else could hear them, but I doubt that’s the case.

>My advice? Try to avoid any questions you can't answer.
I'll try to be careful.
>>
No. 1054472 ID: fce62b
File 167445627754.jpg - (845.36KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-3.jpg )
1054472

>I think the priority would be [T] Answering the [Hitman]'s questions before they get more of them.
>Other then that,{this} seems a reasonable course of action.
:ats-a555ex: Alright [Hitman] what do you need to know?

The [Hitman] steps forward, their frame immediately dwarfing my own.

:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: Thank you. As members of the security department it is our role to ensure the internal stability of the [nation] and ensure the safety of both the departments and the [Minister]s who organize them.
:ats-hitman: And while we understand that you have only been awake for a short period of time, any and all information you can provide would be of great use.
:ats-a555ex: Okay, I’ll try my best to answer them.
:ats-hitman: Good! Then the first question, do you happen to notice anything during your time in development? Any strange error codes you happened to notice?

Crap, alright. Already at the first question and I’m not sure.

:ats-assistant: [A555ex] would not be able to answer such a question. The development process is different for every [Minister] and therefore every attempt at it will yield unique results.
:ats-hitman: [Assistant]-
:ats-assistant: Furthermore [A555ex] was [isolated] from [nation] systems, and thus would not have a good frame of reference for what is a nominal code versus an anomalous one.

The [Hitman] begins to bristle up, but then I step in.

:ats-a555ex: It’s exactly as [Assistant] said. I’m currently still learning much about the [nation] and how it operates. This is the first time I’ve even seen this room.

>Ask why the [Labcoat] is stuck there. Did something happen?

:ats-talkinghead: [Hitman]... Why is there a [Labcoat] meshed to the ceiling?
:ats-a555ex: They seem to be stuck to the ceiling by some kind of mesh.
:ats-hitman: From what we understand it s-
:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: Unfortunately it is an evolving situation, and we require time to investigate before we can submit any formal reports.
:ats-assistant: But you can still go over what you have found thus far, correct? How it would appe-
:ats-commander: (...)

[Assistant] immediately falls silent, cut off mid-word. Their form fidgets a bit, suddenly caught… like they're stuck in a loop of logic that they're trying to calculate their way out of.

:ats-assistant: My apologies, it would appear that [Commander] has declared that contents of this investigation as sensitive and as such cannot be discussed over unsecured communications.

I glance back to the figure in the back of the room, but then the [Hitman] steps in the way.

:ats-hitman: Despite this circumstance we hope that you will be able to shed light on this situation.
:ats-a555ex: Of… course.

>No need to ask about the [Labcoat], Listening in provides enough clues: The [Labcoat] appears to have been snagged by some mine or soldier left behind by retreating [leviathan] forces.
:ats-a555ex: Well from my guess, from the very little I’ve heard and seen since waking up, it looks like the [Labcoat] got snagged by some sort of trap or soldier left behind by retreating [leviathan] forces.

The [Hitman] is quiet for a moment, not visualizing or recalling, but listening…

:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: That is not possible. The section is one of the most heavily guarded in the [nation], sweeped regularly for [leviathan] incursions. Also-
:ats-boxhead: [Leviathan] don’t lay traps.

[Boxhead] calls over their shoulder, but keeps their face fixed on the [Labcoat] above.

:ats-hitman: And even if they did, it would be of a biotic composite, not refined metal in a mesh-like pattern.

When I look up at the net again, something suddenly clicks. It’s acting like a faraday cage! Blocking all signals in and out. That’s why no one can hear the [Labcoat]!

:ats-a555ex: The [leviathan] could be adapting, coming up with new tactics?
:ats-boxhead: *amuseme-
:ats-boxhead: *thought

:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: As stated it is an evolving situation. Next question, are you aware of any of the activities that the [Talkinghead]s were involved with during your development?

I’m about to answer then stop, feeling like I’m about to walk into a trick question.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: This was the contact’s doing.
:ats-talkinghead: As far as they know the [Talkinghead]s know nothing about this.
:ats-a555ex: Alright, if that’s the story we’re going for, then I’ll stick with it.

I straighten up, meeting the [Hitman]’s gaze with my own.

:ats-a555ex: I have spoken with the [Talkinghead]s on this. They do not know anything in regards to this situation here.
:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: That does not relate to the question. Are you aware of any of the activities that the [Talkinghead]s took during your development?

I am immediately reminded of something my contact said and choose to repeat part of it.

:ats-a555ex: As an extension of my own construction, the [Talkinghead]s are familiar with the same insights I have been given.
:ats-assistant: Precisely. As personally built [Staff], they are beholden to the best interests of their [boss]. Would you really consider someone like [Manager] would subvert the desires of the [President]?

This time it is the [Hitman] that is stuck calculating. At least until-

:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: The question is withdrawn.
>>
No. 1054473 ID: fce62b
File 167445628274.jpg - (716.63KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-4.jpg )
1054473

>To A55EX:
:ats-talkinghead: Possible that the [Labcoat] was captured by some of "your" (our Boss's) autonomic systems, reacting to a perceived threat.
:ats-talkinghead: We, and by extension you, do not know much about "your" capabilities. If this is so, you can claim some ignorance and that you will take some time to calibrate your systems to try to avoid further accidents.
:ats-a555ex: Understood. I’ll see if I can turn the tables.

:ats-a555ex: If it’s alright [Hitman], I would like to ask you a question.
:ats-hitman: That’s not how this-
:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-hitman: Very well.

Yeah, it definitely looks like [Commander] is the one doing the talking, [Hitman] is just the mouthpiece.

:ats-a555ex: How would I know if I was under attack?
:ats-hitman: I… do not understand the question.
:ats-a555ex: Of course, what I mean is; If something was happening near me, and I didn’t know if it was a hostile action or not. Would it be wrong of me to defend myself, even if it was on instinct?
:ats-hitman: I am not familiar with the term-.
:ats-assistant: [A555ex] is fluent in a number of [leviathan] terms, some of which do not cleanly translate to our own terms. But the point still stands, if [A555ex] was acting autonomically, and perceived a threat, would it not be in their own best interests and the interests of the [nation] to defend themselves?

This seems to snap [Boxhead] back to reality.

:ats-boxhead: What- No!!!
:ats-boxhead: They’re a [Labcoat]! It was their purpose to monitor you, to track and record the neural and physical developments of your form, not-
:ats-assistant: It’s not an issue of intent, but rather perception. [A555ex] was [isolated] from [nation] systems, and thus would not be familiar with the various handshake-
:ats-hitman: I think we are getting off-
:ats-boxhead: Stay out of this! Now listen here, I specifically calibrated that [field] to-

The conversation quickly devolves into an argument.
>>
No. 1054474 ID: fce62b
File 167445628792.jpg - (890.96KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-5.jpg )
1054474

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Also, try to passively listen to the argument in the background to piece together more information.
:ats-talkinghead: You technically (or atleast will) outrank him so the [Commander] is probably looking at you to see how you respond to this situation.

Yeah, as both [Assistant] and [Hitman] step away -presumably to argue with and calm [Boxhead] respectively- my gaze meets with that of the [Commander] their (eye?) is still leveled on me.

I am able to pick up on some things despite the clamour. The [Labcoat] was stationed in this room and was meant to monitor the development of any/all [Minister]s, not just “myself”. Apparently “I” needed some extra care due to the [isolation field] and the [President] requested an update on my development at the start of every hour. When that update got missed, they got worried, and after receiving word from the [Talkinghead]s, sent both [Boxhead] and [Commander] in “my” direction. And that was an action not to be taken lightly.

But that isn’t the part I am focused on, no.

>[S]tare back at the [Commander], trying to get a read on them.<
The [Commander] is watching me, has been since the start of the questioning, but it hasn’t been for a reaction, not to this situation anyway. They seem to have drawn some conclusions about me, already certain that I was the one who meshed the [Labcoat]. By process of elimination, it had to have been me. The ensnarement design had been created back on the old [planet] and was kept a closely held secret from the rest of the [Staff]. Only the department heads, the [President] and [Manager] should know about it. Which begs the question, how did [A555ex] deploy it. Sure the design was slightly different; A bit more refined in concept if lacking in execution, but was it spontaneously generated by this new “[Vice-President]” or was it taken from something else. I’ll need to be careful of them, if this is what they could do while in a semi-functional state, then how terrifying could they be in a direct confrontation? Best stay at a distance for now and observe, ensure that every action that they and their [Staff] is recorded. I doubt that the [President] has accounted for this, or for what might happen if they decide to take over. I’ll double his personal guard and try to ensure that the two don’t meet face to face, not until I get a more solid understanding of how this [Minister] operates. *Annoyance. [Boxhead] is about to spill more classified information, best give him a reminder.

:ats-commander: |Easy now, we still have [Staff] in the room. Either keep it to yourself or let [Archivist] handle it.|
:ats-boxhead: |*frustration|
:ats-boxhead: |Fine. Just call off your lackey.|

I inwardly express *resignation, [Boxhead] is the brightest among us, even if he acts like the most inept. I focus back on [A555ex], they’ve been staring at me for a while. It’s… wait-

I break eye-contact.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: Holy shit! What was that?!
>>
No. 1054475 ID: fce62b
File 167445629254.jpg - (964.10KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 4-6.jpg )
1054475

>The [Labcoat] seems like 'not our problem' until/unless something/one makes it our problem.
>[Manager] has authority here and spoke up first, so we should talk to them after the most basic questions are answered.

>[M]eet up with [Manager]<
:ats-a555ex: uh- um… [M-[Manager]! You mentioned that you wanted to talk?
:ats-manager: Yes, but perhaps we should do it away from this area.

They glance over at [Boxhead].

:ats-manager: Local traffic seems to be getting flooded enough as is.

:ats-commander: +...+
:ats-commander: (...)
:ats-manager: (...)
:ats-commander: (.-)

:ats-manager: The answer is ‘no’ [Commander]. Stay here and oversee the rescue of the [Labcoat].

The [Commander] looks between me and [Manager] and tenses up, their misshapen [cloak] twitching lightly.

:ats-commander: (...)
:ats-manager: Your objection has been noted. [A555ex], [Assistant] if you would follow me please?

:ats-commander: {...}

The [Commander] looks desperately at the last figure in the room, they’re called [Turtleneck] I think.

:ats-turtleneck: {...}

Should I follow [Manager], or stick around a bit longer. It looks like [Commander] might be up to something, but this could be the perfect chance to get out of their sight.

[A]pproach [Commander].
[C]alm down [Boxhead] so they stop flooding [Local] traffic.
[F]olow [Manager] to a nearby location to talk.
[S]tay in the [development antichamber].
[W]atch [Turtleneck], and try to figure out what they're doing.
>>
No. 1054488 ID: ebe095

Stick to the original plan and follow [Manager].
>>
No. 1054490 ID: 15c72a

>>1054474
To A555EX: Astounding. I think your "empathy" has been weaponized somehow. You're literally able to put yourself in their shoes. You should know that you're not even supposed to be able to pick up on emotional reactions via body language. That is why everyone is outwardly stating emotions. Hm, is that *another* private channel Turtleneck is using? I wish we could listen in on private conversations too, but I suppose mind-reading will have to suffice. Though, as of now we have no evidence that was an accurate read...

Tell Commander you can continue your conversation at another time.
>>
No. 1054501 ID: b4ab25

>>1054474
>Holy shit! What was that?!
That was cool and new, may wish to see if we can test it in a more controlled manner with assistant later.
The inside of [Commander]'s [cloak] looks cool.
[F]olow [Manager], and there probably isn't much harm in [W]atching [Turtleneck] as you move. If you would have to slow down to watch [Turtleneck] don't worry about doing it.
>>
No. 1054502 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1054474
To [A555EX]:
That's new. Pretty explicitly someone else's thoughts too.
Kinda reminds me of how you originally met the contact but more... personal I guess.
Wonder if it has anything to do with your [leviathan] nature and [Nation] [Drones] being partially biological.

Either way the [Commander] seems to recognize you were doing something (Maybe even knows what you were doing exactly) so It'd be best to not raise more suspicion and talk to the Manager
>>
No. 1054601 ID: 90c451

To [A555EX]: It seems that we're not the only one able to read minds.
Now this is just a theory but I think we're hijacking the brainwaves they use to think- that is, they're currently using [Leviathan] brainpower in order to have this complex of thought, and, being [Leviathan] yourself allows you to make use of that.

Meet up with Manager, Commander is suspicious but that isn't anything new, he just has a lot more reason to be. We definitely should ask [Anarchy] how the hell he did that though, seems the situation gets more complicated every moment.
>>
No. 1054657 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1054601
While I think the [Leviathans] have something to do with all this, I think saying they are responsible for [Nation] [Drones] being able to think the way they do Is a bit too far. Ultimately we could probably find the answers to these questions by asking questions to any of the heads when we formally meet them.

((Also you should be mindful you don't break the Dream Narrative with statements like that.))
>>
No. 1055320 ID: fce62b
File 167566789093.jpg - (504.38KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-1.jpg )
1055320

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: Astounding. I think your "empathy" has been weaponized somehow.
:ats-talkinghead: You're literally able to put yourself in their shoes. You should know that you're not even supposed to be able to pick up on emotional reactions via body language.
:ats-a555ex: I… It just feels natural. Like- I’m able to understand that they’re drones, but part of me is able to intuit their slightest movements and ticks.
:ats-talkinghead: That is why everyone is outwardly stating emotions.
:ats-a555ex: That- This… is something I can use. If the [nation] isn’t used to this level of nuance in their communications, then I might be able to misdirect them a lot more easily than I initially thought!

>Stick to the original plan and follow [Manager].
>Meet up with [Manager].
:ats-a555ex: Lead the way [Manager].
:ats-manager: Certainly. It won’t be that far.

That second statement feels more directed towards [Commander] than me. I sense their gaze digging into my side as they-

:ats-assistant: Is there something you need [Turtleneck]?

I look to my right, to the quiet [nation] drone. They… also seem focused on me.

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: Hm, is that *another* private channel [Turtleneck] is using?
:ats-talkinghead: I wish we could listen in on private conversations too, but I suppose mind-reading will have to suffice.
:ats-a555ex: But it did have some effect, when I was ‘locked-in’ on [Commander] I could hear what they were saying to [Boxhead].
:ats-a555ex: Perhaps I could do the same with [Turtleneck], or maybe just ‘mind-read’ the previous conversation out of them…
:ats-talkinghead: Though, as of now we have no evidence that was an accurate read…
:ats-a555ex: Ah- crap! Yeah, all this could just be in my head. It seems like [Commander] is jumpy, but I can’t just assume that everything I just (felt?) is on the mark.
:ats-a555ex: Not unless I can somehow verify this information, or the ability itself.


>[F]olow [Manager], and there probably isn't much harm in [W]atching [Turtleneck] as you move. If you would have to slow down to watch [Turtleneck] don't worry about doing it.
:ats-turtleneck: I have my duties to fulfill [Assistant].

‘Despite your attempts’ feels like the natural followup, but the [Turtleneck] keeps that part to themselves.

:ats-assistant: Then it is best that you get back to it.

Another flair of hostility, they’d already have something more material to present if it weren’t for [Assistant] butting in. There was something in the systems, it had definitely tampered with the logs and-

:ats-manager: [Assistant]. You act above your station. Please show respect to your fellow [Staff].
:ats-assistant: -!
:ats-assistant: Of course. I give you my sincerest apologies [Turtleneck], it will not happen again.

They highly doubt that. Whatever is happening, [Assistant] appears complicit in it, and seeing as they are acting on behalf of the [Talkinghead]s, it would indicate that they are involved as well. The log errors, the [mask] [break]s, all of that started to occur when the [Talkinghead]s became active -another impossibility in and of itself-. Yes the development of [Minister]s and their [Staff] are unique, but you have no records of-

:ats-hardhat: [Vice-President] you're-!
:ats-assistant: [A555ex]!

My [legs] suddenly jitter and list slightly to the side, I try to correct but the delay-
I feel something quickly grab onto me and steady my balance.

:ats-assistant: *worry
:ats-assistant: Are you alright?
:ats-hardhat: It’s alright, we got ‘em. Won’t be taking a tumble while we’re still kickin’.

The [Hardhat]s seem a lot stronger than their frail looking limbs would’ve led me to believe.

:ats-manager: Can you explain this near-miss [Hardhat]?
:ats-hardhat: *deference
:ats-hardhat: Beggin’ your forgiveness [Manager], but the fault isn’t the [legs].

The [Hardhat] hesitates, trying to find a ‘tactful’ way of putting it.

:ats-manager: Well?
:ats-hardhat: The new-[boss] wasn’t watchin’ where they’re goin’. [Legs] ain't calibrated ‘nough to put on auto quite yet.-

[Assistant] is about to speak up, but I respond faster.

:ats-a555ex: M-my fault. Just got distracted is all!

There is an immediate wave of relief from the [Hardhat]s, like they were anticipating a much harsher reply.

:ats-hardhat: Should've mentioned that you'd need to stick with manual control. Least for a few hours. Just keep your eyes ahead when movin' and the system will start adjustin' to ya.
>>
No. 1055321 ID: fce62b
File 167566789492.jpg - (667.94KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-2.jpg )
1055321

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: That's new. Pretty explicitly someone else's thoughts too.
:ats-a555ex: It’s why everything was such a shock when I ‘snapped out of it.’
:ats-a555ex: It was like my mind suddenly jumped tracks, going from those strange thoughts back to my own.
:ats-talkinghead: Kinda reminds me of how you originally met the contact but more... personal I guess.
:ats-a555ex: Hmm… My contact did say that they could make ‘very educated guesses’. Maybe I’m doing something similar now that I have their designation tag.
:ats-talkinghead: Wonder if it has anything to do with your [leviathan] nature and [nation] drones being partially biological.
:ats-a555ex: Yeah, maybe they're not used to being attacked on the biological front. Or at least, not by a [leviathan] who can think.
:ats-a555ex: Still, you did mention there being [faction]al conflicts between different [nation] drones. Maybe if I learned about how that worked I could hone this ‘mind reading’ more.

:ats-talkinghead: Either way the [Commander] seems to recognize you were doing something (Maybe even knows what you were doing exactly) so it'd be best to not raise more suspicion and talk to the [Manager]
:ats-a555ex: I agree, the best thing I can do is get some distance between the two of us.

>The inside of [Commander]'s [cloak] looks cool.
Stopping for a second, I can see long blade-like talons concealed beneath [Commander]’s [cloak], along with… another net? It looks similar to the one that has the [Labcoat] stuck to the ceiling.

The [Commander]’s stance suddenly hardens, it seems like they’ve noticed my staring. I don’t think I was supposed to see that.
>>
No. 1055322 ID: fce62b
File 167566789801.jpg - (689.08KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-3.jpg )
1055322

Yeek!

I lean back reflexively, and luckily my [legs] shift so I don’t fall.

:ats-hitman: Step back.
>>
No. 1055323 ID: fce62b
File 167566790286.jpg - (522.25KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-4.jpg )
1055323

:ats-boxhead: *indignance
:ats-hardhat: *surprise
:ats-boxhead: Really?!
:ats-hardhat: Oi!
:ats-boxhead: Are you seriously trying to tell a [Minister] that they are out of line?!
:ats-hardhat: You nearly bowled us over with that lil’ maneuver of yours!
:ats-hardhat: What part of ‘hazardous workin’ environment’ do you sec-types not understand?!
:ats-manager: (...)

It’s easy to tell by [Manager]’s glare that their message conveyed both frustration and disappointment. The [Hitman] is quickly cowed.

:ats-commander: +...+

The [Hitman] straightens, quickly accepting this new order from their [boss].

:ats-hitman: *sincerity
:ats-hitman: I offer you my deepest apologies. I should not have reacted to you in such a fashion [Vice-President].
:ats-hitman: There are no excuses I can make for this.
:ats-hitman: If you wish me to be sent to a [Cutter] for disassembly. I would both understand and agree with the assessment.

All at once there are a flurry of reactions from those around, ranging from agreement to anger to utter disbelief. But-

None of them are from [Commander] or the [Hitman]. The former seems to be assessing, while the latter seems resigned but… honoured…

This- This is a test.

:ats-manager: We do not have time to waste on such gestures [H-
:ats-boxhead: It’s standard protocol to prune deviancy, especially among the security department.
:ats-manager: [Boxhead]-
:ats-boxhead: What? Normally they would have resolved the [leviathan] issues by now, but instead they're having to restrain themselves, and now they’re jumping at anything that moves.

The [Hardhat]s seem to buzz in agreement with this, but don’t make their *expressions outwardly known. [Manager] fights back a retort, instead choosing to disregard this situation entirely. Another argument would just waste more time.

Eyes then turn to me. My first instinct was to have the drone disassembled, it sounded like the standard way the [nation] would operate, but it didn’t feel like the right choice.

>Tell Commander you can continue your conversation at another time.
:ats-a555ex: We can try to talk later [Commander].
:ats-a555ex: Please have this situation resolved by then.

The problem wasn’t that the [Hitman] was antsy, but that [Commander] was. They’ve been feeding who knows what kind of information to their subordinate, and that wound them up to this point. Disassembling the [Hitman] would just be destroying the tool, not its wielder.

:ats-commander: *acceptance
:ats-commander: *apology

:ats-manager: Good. Now with that resolved, if you would follow me [A555ex]?
:ats-a555ex: Oh- yes! Of course.
>>
No. 1055324 ID: fce62b
File 167566791232.jpg - (700.76KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-5.jpg )
1055324

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: It seems that we're not the only ones able to read minds.
:ats-a555ex: Still not enthused that you can read mine, but at least we seem to be on the same side.
:ats-talkinghead: Now this is just a theory but I think we're hijacking the brainwaves they use to think- that is, they're currently using [leviathan] brainpower in order to have this complex of thought, and, being [leviathan] yourself allows you to make use of that.
:ats-a555ex: I follow the logic. The [nation] [invaded] this [planet] to harvest its natural [resources] and [terraform] it to suit their needs.
:ats-a555ex: I doubt that they’ve ripped out and installed [leviathan] parts wholesale, but if they need us to operate, maybe I can use that as a bargaining chip too.
:ats-a555ex: Though uh- maybe not. It’s not like I can threaten to blow up the [planet] if negotiations don’t go my way.

:ats-manager: I will try not to take up too much of your time.
:ats-manager: I understand that your [Assistant] has taken the time to compile a list of activities for you, and that there are a number of individuals you may wish to speak to as well.
:ats-assistant: Yes! There are the various build stations, the [foundry], the [archives], the [command center] though I suppose it is still being built, the various departme-
:ats-manager: Precisely, there is a lot to do and will likely be unable to interact with the vast sum of it, at least during these off-hours.
:ats-manager: But I think it would be best if I relayed some [guidelines] that would best suit the current position our [faction] is in.

It feels like [Assistant] is wanting to question this further, but thinks better on it.

:ats-assistant: (...)
:ats-manager: It is not strictly ‘sensitive’ no, but I would rather it be relayed in a less open area.
>>
No. 1055325 ID: fce62b
File 167566791794.jpg - (698.27KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-6.jpg )
1055325

>That was cool and new, may wish to see if we can test it in a more controlled manner with [Assistant] later.
I worry that it could tip my hand, but that could easily be outweighed by the vast amount of information I could gain about both the [nation] and how this ability works. [Assistant] seems extremely loyal, I could ask them to keep this experiment secret. Though they might not notice my ‘mind reading’ to begin with.

>While I think the [leviathans] have something to do with all this, I think saying they are responsible for [nation] [drones] being able to think the way they do is a bit too far. Ultimately we could probably find the answers to these questions by asking questions to any of the heads when we formally meet them.
Well it seems like the [Archivist] is eager to meet me, hopefully they’ll have some answers.

:ats-manager: You both may engage with off-hours activities, please make the most of it.

Their words seem outwardly friendly, but the underlying tones are much more serious. Both drones quickly *express their acceptance and thankfulness before quickly vacating the area.

:ats-manager: This will suffice. Come in.
>>
No. 1055326 ID: fce62b
File 167566792176.jpg - (855.07KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 5-7.jpg )
1055326

:ats-a555ex: Alright, so what are these [guidelines] you wanted to relay?
:ats-manager: Just a moment-
:ats-manager: (...)
:ats-manager: [...]
:ats-manager: {...}

There is a pulse of energy and for a moment I feel my insides buzz.

:ats-manager: You of course are exempt [Assistant].
:ats-assistant: *understanding
:ats-a555ex: What was-
:ats-manager: A general announcement to ensure that our conversation is not interrupted or recorded in any way.

There is a sudden eruption of internal calculations from [Manager] but they seem prepared for it.

:ats-manager: I am not doing this to obscure or subvert any systems, or the authority of my [Executive].
:ats-manager: This is being done so that potentially sensitive information is not leaked into general system logs, and so that the use of time for this conversation is optimized.
:ats-manager: Therefore fulfilling my duties as [Manager] for the [President]. [R2], [R3], [R3b].

The last part seems especially important, and seems to make the internal calculations subside, [Manager] visibly relaxes at this.

:ats-manager: Let me formally introduce myself.
:ats-manager: I am [Manager], the [Staff] directly made by and meant to serve the [President], my [boss].
:ats-assistant: [A555ex] may not be-
:ats-manager: I was getting to that. I am to the [President] what the [Talkinghead]s are to you.
:ats-manager: While I might not be as physically integrated as the [Talkinghead]s are with you, it is still my purpose to further the [President]’s goals and ensure that they excel in any situation.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you. It is nice to be formally acquainted.

[Manager] seems to mentally *acknowledge my response, but continues on as if I had not spoken at all.

:ats-manager: The reason why I needed to talk to you is that we as a [nation] and [faction] are in a precarious position.
:ats-manager: While we have been able to secure a cache of non-[planet] [resources] -thanks in part to your [Talkinghead]s- we are still behind in a number of areas. Least of which being the [terraforming] process.
:ats-manager: Right now there are many moving parts at play, and while we do have potential solutions on the way, many will still have to work through off-hours to ensure that such deadlines are met.
:ats-manager: We will not be labelled as a [failure], plain and simple. And while the [President] would be ecstatic to meet you at this point, I believe it would be best if you stayed out of the way for now.

I mentally note how [Manager] said ‘I’ and not ‘the [President]’ when it came to their assessment.

:ats-manager: Currently they are overseeing the construction of the [Command Center], a vital piece of infrastructure that would allow us to communicate with other [faction]s and have a greater influence over the [planet] if necessary.
:ats-manager: My first [guideline] is that you do not approach that area or try to communicate with the [President] directly in any fashion.
:ats-manager: If there is an emergency or event that requires the [Executive]’s attention please send it to me and I will relay it to them.
:ats-manager: Such actions will both positively influence the [planet]’s [terraforming] and ensure that focus is kept on the [development] of the [nation]. [R1], [R2].
:ats-manager: Second, I request that you help me prepare a shortlist of possible [Minister] candidates for the [President] to review before off-hours is over.
:ats-manager: It can be either done now or at some other point during off-hours.
:ats-manager: In either case it should not take up much time.
:ats-manager: Finally, I request that you remain away from the [frontlines]. You are precious to the [nation] and your damage and/or destruction could very well be the deciding factor in what labels us as a [failure] or not.
:ats-manager: So please take care of yourself.
:ats-manager: Also, there are many areas near the frontlines that have not been fully connected to our overall systems. So if something were to occur, we wouldn’t be able to track it.

The last sentence seems especially pointed, but isn’t exactly directed at me. If I were to describe it, it was like [Manager] was saying it loudly to assure themselves, but also wanted me to hear it.

It is strange that [Manager] would emphasize that.

:ats-manager: While I do have some [Minister] candidates for other positions, I would recommend that we pick one candidate that would fill one of these possible [cabinet] positions.
:ats-manager: [Minister] of Finance.
:ats-manager: [Minister] of Industry.
:ats-manager: or [Minister] of Natural Resources.

:ats-manager: More than likely the [President] will agree with whichever candidate receives the most votes from both you and the [Talkinghead]s, only stepping in if there is a tie.
:ats-a555ex: Wait, the [Talkinghead]s get to vote?
:ats-manager: Seeing as they have your [Minister] authority, yes. And even if they didn't, the [President] still values their counsel.
:ats-manager: The same way that the [President] agreed to these [cabinet] positions after consulting with the department heads.
:ats-manager: Now, do you have any questions?

I turn to [Assistant] who seems to be trying to rapidly process the information like I am, but is probably doing a much better job at it.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: Could use a hand sorting through this exposition dump…

[A]ssess the [cabinet] candidates.
[C]hallenge some of [Manager]’s [guidelines].
[D]ismiss [Manager] for now and deal with the [cabinet] candidates later.
[E]xperiment with your ‘mind-reading’ powers (can be done before or after [D]ismissing [Manager]).
[G]et the rundown of important people, places and/or events from [Assistant].
[Q]uestions… so many possible [Q]uestions…

[M]eet with the [Archivist] or someone else? (Major Action)
[T]ravel to a special/specific location. (Major Action)
[W]ander around the [nation] headquarters for a random event. (Major Action)

(You may only take 3 Major actions before off-hours conclude.)
>>
No. 1055334 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1055326
[Manager] could you please clarify which channels you used to issue the request for [privacy]?
I recognize the [general use] and [administrative], But I only know the third one in regards to our names. Is it [Archival]?

To [A555EX]:
VERY interesting to see how the automatic [Law-Keeping] systems work firsthand in response to suspicious actions.
And the speed at which she justified the [Laws]? Must've prepared in advance. She's picked for this position for a reason.

Not a bad idea to get a rundown of people, places and events (for your benefit) from the [Assistant].
>>
No. 1055335 ID: 15c72a

>>1055326
To A555EX: I think I understand. Last time we spoke to the President, we... somewhat disturbed their mental state. Others noticed this, and Manager knows how you can sometimes want something that's bad for you. In addition, Manager knows that the President made our boss for a clandestine purpose, so that "wouldn't" was a hint as to where we can get away with shady activity. The R2, R3 things were references to their unbreakable rules. Higher numbers have larger priority, directly proportional to the number, and there are two rule 3s.

Assess. Who are the candidates, what are the responsibilities of each position? Also, how will each filled position benefit the Nation?
>>
No. 1055351 ID: f8083d

I'm in favor of getting the list of candidates right now but delaying our answer, since we may want to personally interview some of them (though we have precious little time for that).

The list of important people too, since it's likely they overlap.

>[Legs] sticking to manual mode for now.
Something to keep in mind. Be extra careful should you encounter any flight of stairs. 8^y

Regarding [Manager]'s guidelines... You will meet with [President] if summoned, but can otherwise agree not to disturb him since you have other staff to meet.

Lastly, we need [Assistant]'s list of possible activities before we leave this room: If we can plan our schedule well enough, we can put the tasks that would benefit most from [Assistant]'s presence first, and dismiss them before the end of the night so they can enjoy some of this precious time off.

(note: I think meeting [Archivist] doesn't require [Assistant] so it can be done last while [Assistant] is on R&R)
>>
No. 1055513 ID: b4ab25

((how many 'minor' options can we take before we start eating into our major options budget? Would hate to take one too many minor options and lose out on a major one))
>>
No. 1055531 ID: fce62b

>>1055513

((Minor Actions will never eat into Major Actions, but if I find a scene is starting to run long I will slowly pair down [C]hoices until only Major Actions remain. But feel free to space out your Minor Action suggestions between updates.))
>>
No. 1055896 ID: fce62b
File 167626943742.jpg - (720.83KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 6-1.jpg )
1055896

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: VERY interesting to see how the automatic [rule-keeping] systems work firsthand in response to suspicious actions.
:ats-a555ex: Really freaky too. It was like they suddenly had to argue with themselves.

This must have been what my contact meant by [nation] drones being beholden to the [overseers] [rules]. It’s disconcerting to witness it happen in real time.

:ats-talkinghead: And the speed at which she justified the [rules]? Must've prepared in advance. She's picked for this position for a reason.
:ats-a555ex: [Manager] does seem like the type to plan ahead.
:ats-a555ex: So it stands to reason that this room wasn’t picked randomly either…

I look slightly past [Manager] and [Assistant] noting the display surfaces behind them. The image on the right looks very familiar, but I can’t quite place it…

:ats-talkinghead: I think I understand. Last time we spoke to the [President], we... somewhat disturbed their mental state.
:ats-talkinghead: Others noticed this, and [Manager] knows how you can sometimes want something that's bad for you.
:ats-a555ex: And from what my contact said, it seems like the [President] really wants to meet me.
:ats-a555ex: Part of me wants to, just to see if I can throw a wrench into [nation] operations. But-
:ats-a555ex: But that’d probably make things worse, not better.
:ats-talkinghead: In addition, [Manager] knows that the [President] made our [boss] for a clandestine purpose, so that "wouldn't" was a hint as to where we can get away with shady activity.
:ats-a555ex: Oh! Oh…
:ats-a555ex: Then wait- does that mean the [President] could be a [traitor]?
:ats-a555ex: The way [Manager] emphasized that, she was trying to appease the [rule-keeping system], but is hinting that we should do something shady?
:ats-a555ex: [Talkinghead], is this normal [nation] behaviour?
:ats-talkinghead: The [R2], [R3] things were references to their unbreakable [rules]. Higher numbers have larger priority, directly proportional to the number, and there are two [rule] 3s.
:ats-a555ex: Okay, that makes a lot more sense now.
:ats-a555ex: But there was a third [rule] 3, yes?
:ats-a555ex: The one about executing [traitor]s?

It makes me wonder if I should voice this thought-
This would be a BAD idea.

No, best act carefully, especially in enemy territory.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: THEORETICALLY, what would happen if the [President] turned out to be a [traitor]?

Everything would be destroyed, [A555ex] along with it.

>To [Manager]:
:ats-talkinghead: [Manager] could you please clarify which channels you used to issue the request for [privacy]?
:ats-talkinghead: I recognize the [general use] and [administrative], but I only know the third one in regards to our names. Is it [archival]?
:ats-manager: Close.
:ats-manager: Due to the vast sum of information that the administration department has to process, store, fetch and send they have three distinct channels rather than one.
:ats-assistant: The first is (Inquiry) the channel I have access to as [Clerk]-type [Staff].
:ats-assistant: While other departments can access it, it is my job and the job of other [Clerk]s to relay such information through our network to the relevant parties.
:ats-manager: Indeed, during my development I took on the aspects of a [Clerk]-type [Staff], and is the main reason why I am [Manager] for the [President] in a functional sense.
:ats-manager: But seeing as I am the primary go-between for the [President] and most of the [Staff], I have also been outfitted with additional components to access and use other channels.
:ats-manager: The second one being [Courier], primarily used by [Administrator]-type [Staff] to coordinate the transit and storage of large data-packets.
:ats-manager: If I am not mistaken, you and the [Talkinghead]s were responsible for the large ([lexicon]?) of [leviathan] anatomy and terminology that the Science department is now deciphering, yes?
:ats-a555ex: O-oh? That’s great!

Okay, I need answers for that too. Why would you all do that?

:ats-manager: Finally, there is the {Technical} channel, used by [Turtleneck]s to flag and document any issues with the information systems of the various departments.
:ats-manager: Seeing as there were a number of anomalous error codes in the logs of the development chambers, it seemed prudent to call for a [Turtleneck] to sort out the details.

[Assistant] seems to bristle slightly at the mention of the [Turtleneck] and then gives a more (concerned?) look at me. As if wanting to say sorry, for not helping more.
>>
No. 1055897 ID: fce62b
File 167626944332.jpg - (644.88KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 6-2.jpg )
1055897

>Regarding [Manager]'s guidelines... You will meet with [President] if summoned, but can otherwise agree not to disturb him since you have other staff to meet.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you for the rundown [Manager], and I will try not to get the [President]’s attention.
:ats-manager: *gratitude
:ats-a555ex: But- If I’m summoned by the [President] I will have to meet them, otherwise I would violate [R3].
:ats-manager: Certainly, if such an eventuality were to occur then it would not be my place to stop you.

I don’t quite believe [Manager] when they say that. More than likely they would try to argue with me or the [President] until either the current situation changed or one of us used our authority.
>>
No. 1055898 ID: fce62b
File 167626944984.jpg - (662.48KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 6-3.jpg )
1055898

>[A]ssess.<
:ats-talkinghead: Who are the candidates, what are the responsibilities of each position?
:ats-talkinghead: Also, how will each filled position benefit the [nation]?
:ats-manager: *weariness
:ats-manager: It was my hope that we would not have to go through a full rundown, but not unexpected.
:ats-a555ex: You do want me and the [Talkinghead]s to make an informed decision, correct?
:ats-manager: Yes… Yes. This will just take a moment, please stand by.

:ats-a555ex: Can I count on your insight as well [Assistant]?
:ats-assistant: Of course! I will do my best to provide my own assessment without unduly influencing your judgment.

[Manager] seems poised to remark how advising in and of itself will influence my choice, but decides to leave it.

:ats-talkinghead: I'm in favor of getting the list of candidates right now but delaying our answer, since we may want to personally interview some of them (though we have precious little time for that).
:ats-a555ex: Yes. We have only so much time, and I doubt I would be able to see them all in one sitting.
:ats-talkinghead: The list of important people too, since it's likely they overlap.
:ats-assistant: Actually, none of these candidates have been developed. So you will be unable to interview them.
:ats-a555ex: Wait, how does that work?
:ats-manager: The candidates are more so [concept]s than actual [casing]s yet.
:ats-manager: We do have an outline of how any given candidate would function if properly built, but going through the process of fully developing each one only to scrap the majority would be exceedingly wasteful.
:ats-assistant: While the reports tend to be accurate, there were some discrepancies with y-

[Manager] immediately cuts in before [Assistant] can finish.

:ats-manager: (...)
:ats-assistant: Oh! Yes. The reports will be accurate.
:ats-manager: Indeed. So best choose off of perceived merits.

:ats-manager: Though the [President] has also stressed the importance of a harmonious working environment.
:ats-manager: While disagreement and debate are encouraged here, it is still preferable that you select a candidate that you can see yourself working well with.

That last part… feels more alien. Not to me, but to [nation] ideals…
>>
No. 1055899 ID: fce62b
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1055899

:ats-manager: Alright, first up are the two candidates for [Minister] of Finance.
:ats-manager: If developed they will allow for advanced [budgetary] measures to be put in place.
:ats-manager: Depending on what sort of stance we as a [nation] wish to take, we could use parts of our [budget] to [fund] certain departments, or cut back on certain areas as a way to avoid [Austerity] or worse.
:ats-assistant: Basically handicapping a department to avoid total [Collapse].
:ats-manager: Though I would recommend that you avoid such measures for now due to the precariousness of our situation.

:ats-manager: First on the list, we have [Banker]. A [Minister] whose measures will likely keep us away from [Austerity] and whose development will directly reduce the cost of all [fixed price] [expenses].
:ats-manager: While it will only be minor, the earlier we bring them online the more we will save in the long term.
:ats-assistant: But, we may need to verify such choices while they are undertaken.
:ats-assistant: If we need to spend [funding] on issues resulting from the cut costs then we could end up losing more that we would otherwise gain.

Hmm… So they’d generate a lot of [funding] over time, but could be stripping out the more active processes of the [nation].
>>
No. 1055900 ID: fce62b
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1055900

:ats-manager: The other candidate for [Minister] of Finance is a one [Fatcat].
:ats-manager: While likely a delight to work with, they seem more irresponsible than [Banker], willing to throw [funding] at any project that even looks their way.
:ats-assistant: Although, such a willingness to entertain more unorthodox ideas could allow for the creation of ground-breaking developments, [policies], or infrastructure.
:ats-manager: Only if you are equally willing to risk that such projects could easily fail or have cost overruns.

Basically someone we’d have to babysit so they wouldn’t spend the [budget] on something pointless.

:ats-manager: If there are any candidates that you find will not work in any way, shape or form, they can be formally [rejected].
:ats-manager: Doing so will allow us to try and generate new candidates in their place, but it will take at least one [cycle] for the pool to be refreshed.
:ats-manager: This can either be done with individual candidates, or entire categories.
:ats-manager: Moving on…
>>
No. 1055901 ID: fce62b
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1055901

:ats-manager: Next are the candidates for the [Minister] of Industry.
:ats-manager: While a [Minister] of Finance would manage the allotting of [funding] this [Minister] instead would be focused on how various [resources] would be processed into [funding] we could use.
:ats-manager: Developing a [Minister] of Industry would -as a baseline- increase the amount of [funding] we could pull from harvestable [resources].
:ats-manager: We could also specialize the Engineering department to prioritize certain methods of acquisition or storage.

:ats-assistant: But that might not always be the most important aspect.
:ats-assistant: [Ghoul] will be adept at recycling and repairing our own systems.
:ats-assistant: If we were to suffer damage, or a punishment from the [overseers], they would be able to salvage a greater amount of [resources] from the debris and speed up repair times.
:ats-manager: Though with such a repair focused mindset, they would likely see hazards in every action or event.
:ats-manager: Even when such threats are proved to be minimal

But that isn’t the right way of putting it. This [Minister] would be expecting that a multitude of [nation] drones could and would die in any given encounter, and that it would be their job to pick up the pieces.
>>
No. 1055902 ID: fce62b
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1055902

:ats-manager: Next is [Prospector], and like their designation tag would suggest, they are singularly focused on the processing of [resources].
:ats-manager: Judging the comparative analysis, [Prospector] will have the most efficient returns if put into this position.
:ats-manager: Not to mention they will follow directions to the finest detail and will function optimally even under unfavourable conditions.
:ats-assistant: There is the concern that they would specifically focus on their own duties, even when helping surrounding departments would be more optimal.

So mostly ‘shut up and let me do my job’ kind of energy…
>>
No. 1055903 ID: fce62b
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1055903

:ats-manager: Finally there is [Vat]. While they would offer increased yield from [resources] like the other two candidates, they would be more focused on saving a lot of the resulting [funding] rather than spending it.
:ats-assistant: While it is good to plan for the future, having such [funding] ready for immediate use could ensure that we have a future to begin with.
:ats-manager: Their profile does indicate a bit of a fixation on the acquisition of [resources] for its own sake…
:ats-assistant: Though they will be able to store such a surplus in a far better fashion than the other candidates.

Very much quantity over quality in this case.
>>
No. 1055904 ID: fce62b
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1055904

:ats-manager: Alright, last category. A [Minister] of Natural Resources will be focused on the identification and acquisition of [resources] during active hours.
:ats-manager: Given the competitive relation that [faction]s have with one another, either of these candidates could give us an edge if another [faction] attempts to strip our [planet] of its [resources].
:ats-a555ex: Wait- what?
:ats-assistant: From what I understand it is a common occurrence, especially among [faction]s that have been labelled as a [failure] by the [overseers].

Holy crap! No wonder the [President] wants to avoid it so bad!

:ats-manager: [Bloatfly] here will have a number of predictive combat suites built into their casing. They will be able to run simulations at all times, and at rapid speed.
:ats-manager: If we were to run into a situation where conflict is unavoidable, they would have the best reaction time, even if we were caught by surprise.
:ats-assistant: That said, there is the risk of being over prepared-
:ats-manager: *doubt
:ats-manager: I have not encountered such a situation.
:ats-assistant: Then allow me to clarify:
:ats-assistant: [Bloatfly] will likely supply combat analyses even when they are not needed. The [President] favours diplomacy, yes?
:ats-manager: Yes.
:ats-assistant: [Bloatfly] likely won’t.

So while they would give strong tactical advice, they could also jump the gun and escalate a situation. Good if you're working alone, not so much if you're trying to make a good first impression.
>>
No. 1055905 ID: fce62b
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1055905

:ats-manager: Last in order is [Vulture], a surprisingly passive candidate for [Minister] of Natural Resources.
:ats-assistant: Their advanced sensor suite could help us avoid dangerous encounters altogether, if we were able to fully patch them into the [Caverns of Light]
:ats-manager: But many [resources] we may want to acquire will be pursued by, or in the possession of, other [faction]s.
:ats-assistant: Hence the other aspect of the sensors. We could discover untapped sources of [resources] that other [faction]s have missed.
:ats-assistant: Acquiring those could help make up for the sources we chose to avoid.
:ats-manager: I am unconvinced.
:ats-manager: Besides, there is this more… anomalous issue with [Vulture]’s processing system.
:ats-manager: Namely that they will show immense interest in the examination of destroyed [nation] [planet]s.
:ats-assistant: Destroyed [planet]s are a viable and very useful source of [resources].

Euugh, okay. Something about that last comment made me queasy. [Leviathan] are no stranger to the cycle of destruction and rebirth, but the act of… consuming another [planet] seems wrong…
>>
No. 1055906 ID: fce62b
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1055906

>[Legs] sticking to manual mode for now.
>Something to keep in mind. Be extra careful should you encounter any flight of stairs. 8^y
Certainly- wait. That last word felt like more of an expression than a term.
*exhaustion
...

Oh yes, I remember! A form of [leviathan] *expression that I had developed myself while drawing picograms at the bottom of the ocean.

But yes, I should ask about that too.

:ats-a555ex: Will I need to worry about uneven terrain or {segmented inclines/declines} when traveling through these corridors.
:ats-assistant: Unless the area is actively under construction or has been damaged in some way, I do not see that being an issue.
:ats-assistant: [Nation] architecture is meant to accommodate a wide variety of casing sizes and shapes.
:ats-manager: Though there are some exceptions, in the case or [Flagship]s they have their own dedicated navigation lanes.

There is something bizarrely funny about the idea of the [nation] having accessibility, though I’m not sure why.

>Not a bad idea to get a rundown of people, places and events (for your benefit) from the [Assistant].
>Lastly, we need [Assistant]'s list of possible activities before we leave this room: If we can plan our schedule well enough, we can put the tasks that would benefit most from [Assistant]'s presence first, and dismiss them before the end of the night so they can enjoy some of this precious time off.
:ats-a555ex: Alright, can you give me a rundown of the headquarters, the people and the events there?
:ats-assistant: Certainly, I will try to be succinct.
:ats-assistant: [Manager], could I borrow your display screen?

[Manager] hesitates, but then hands it over.

:ats-assistant: In terms of area, our territories are divided into two major zones. The [planetside] and the [stationside]. Due to our current [policies] the many [planetside] locations under our control have been left largely unaltered; With the majority of our initial constructions being security posts, data arrays and [resource] depots. Seeing as there are a number of [leviathan] [landmarks] that would be useful to cultivate I have flagged them for possible visitation. The one that might warrant your direct insight is the site designated as [Wisdom Reef] in the [leviathan] [lexicon]. The [Talkinghead]s brought it up as a place that could be disassembled for [resources] without harming the [planet]’s [ecology]. Beyond that there are also the [Caverns of Light], [Fuming Depths], [Tuning Chords] and the [Crucible]. While the [Caverns of Light] are quite the spectacle to see during active hours they lose many of their interesting qualities during off-hours. The [Fuming Depths] and [Crucible] both have extensive environmental hazards, so I advise against visiting them until you are more adapted to your [legs].

:ats-assistant: [Stationside], there are of course the headquarters of each department, and the [Hub] at the center. If I am not mistaken, [Manager] will be hosting some manner of celebration for the [Staff] for a successful first [cycle].
:ats-manager: It will also be a forum to announce the current objectives our [nation] has. Speaking of, I should be on my way.

[Manager] quickly snatches the display screen back and starts to move away.

:ats-manager: My previous announcement should last for the next while, so if you wish to stay here, no one will bother you.
:ats-assistant: Wait, can you at least wait until I am finished with my explanation?
:ats-manager: *impatience

:ats-assistant: Alright, finally there is the ‘Arm,’ a [leviathan] structure that we have now somewhat isolated from their systems and are in the process of repairing. Beyond the [Wound] itself, the zone will mostly be covered in a mix or build stations and security posts. But, from what I understand, it is also the main site of the Science department’s [catch-and-release] program for various [leviathan] [fauna].
:ats-manager: Something you should likely view from a distance.

:ats-assistant: As for important people. There aren’t many you haven’t already met. There of course are the department heads. [Archivist] and [Foreman] tend to stick to their departments while [Commander] and [Boxhead] do more field work. There is also the good [Manager] here-
:ats-manager: Yes hello-
:ats-assistant: And finally the [President]-
:ats-manager: Who you will be avoiding.

:ats-assistant: Of course anywhere you travel, there will be [nation] drones to meet, but most will only respond if directly spoken to. They wouldn’t want to interrupt any task you were trying to accomplish.
:ats-manager: There, presentation done. Is there anything else you need from me or shall I go?

I get the distinct impression that [Manager] is the type of individual who sees arriving on time as being on par with running late.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: (note: I think meeting [Archivist] doesn't require [Assistant] so it can be done last while [Assistant] is on R&R)
:ats-a555ex: Might also give us the chance to do some shady stuff while they're not around.

[A]sk one last thing before [Manager] leaves.
[E]xperiment with your ‘mind-reading’ powers.
[L]ook at the display screens in the room.
[Q]uestion [Assistant] on something.
[R]eject one or more of the [cabinet] candidates.
[S]crutinize a [cabinet] candidate further. There might be something you’re missing.


[M]eet with someone specific? (Major Action)
[T]ravel to a notable location. (Major Action)
[W]ander around the [nation] headquarters for a random event. (Major Action)

(You may only take 3 Major actions before off-hours conclude.)
>>
No. 1055924 ID: 15c72a

>>1055896
To A555EX:
>THEORETICALLY
If we lose the President, then all is lost. You will die.
>Why would you all do that?
Primarily, to score points and prove our worth. Secondarily to reduce damage done to your body during Terraforming. Thirdly... long term planning. If we achieve symbiosis, the better we prep the Nation the stronger you will be.

>>1055901
>better resource storage/aquisition
Ah, this is something we were planning already. Modification of the stomach to utilize inorganic resources. I think we should take a Minister of Industry for our first pick. ((though, ministry of finance would let us do more political maneuvering... might even be able to cripple Security at a crucial point))
>Ghoul
So, faster healing, but a depressing outlook. ((also, might have useful information for altering drone designs...? That information might be available elsewhere tho))
>Prospector
Seems like a reliable sort. ((a predictable sort. could be good risk mitigation to choose that one. Also will continue doing their job even if there's internal conflict, which will likely happen at some point))
>Vat
Odd, much of the benefit of this one is what we'd be getting from having a Minister of Industry at all. ((also, they'd probably want to eat the cat, or hoard food despite our limited carrying capacity, or steal food from others.))

Outwardly: Examination of a dead Planet is one thing, consumption is another. if a Planet consumes another Planet, there is a much higher chance of serious consequences. Diseases, parasites, even Prions. Resources would have to be specially prepared to be safe to eat, especially if the death was not recent. There is a psychological problem with that as well. Our Planet will be especially resistant to such actions, and the more the Planet disagrees with our control the more drastic measures they may take to be free of us. We will want to avoid consuming other Planets in all but the most dire situations.
[Q]uestion: Why are there three Industry candidates, but only two of each of the others?
crutinize Vulture, to see if such examinations would result in trying to get us to consume corpses, or if it's simply academic.
[S]crutinize Prospector, *which* authority does it answer to exactly?
[S]crutinize Ghoul, does it know things about Nation designs which others don't? What does "group dynamic" mean? Could we give it some Talkingheads or something? ...hmm, those eyes it has look like they're a slightly different color.
[S]crutinize Vat, are they the only way we can start eating metal?
[s]What could we be missing? Does it have anything to do with the typos?


I'm somewhat fond of Bloatfly. Attacking first is generally a good idea in a post-apocalyptic situation, so long as it doesn't result in serious wounds.
>>
No. 1055932 ID: f8083d

>Finances
Banker would probably be the safest choice here, unless there's a catch. Fatcat would need to be kept on a tight leash and that could be seen as overstepping our authority.

>Industry
Ghoul seems the most reliable to me, especially for containing a fire until we step in to extinguish it. Pessimism doesn't sound too dangerous (and hey, it means you're rarely disappointed).

>Natural resources
Vulture seems dangerous for our sanity, both real and apparent. Bloatfly's aggressiveness, if properly channeled, could keep us safe. But we need to convince them to stick to reversible actions until threat assessment is complete.
>>
No. 1055935 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1055906
Are the Ministers [Faction] designed or [Overseer]?

Honestly given our goals I'd choose either [Ghoul] or [Fatcat].
[Ghoul] seems it would be helpful in helping to repair the planet once we actually have a better understanding of how it works. ((Aswell as making the inevitable penalties we will receive when sneaking through the Creators bases less severe))
Whilst [Fatcat] seems like they would help make some of the more necessary unorthodox developments easier and faster (Though we'd need to get them later once this austerity problem is dealt with).
Both seem to have good team synergy too.

Meanwhile I kind of want to reject [Vulture].
[Vulture] seems like it would lead us down the path to essentially devouring dead things. Something like that WILL cause problems down the line.

To [A555EX]:
Well according to the [rules] of what happens with [traitors] is that they are executed and/or the [overseers] contacted.
So in theory what would happen is that the [Executive] would be executed by [Drones] acting under the control of the [rule-keeping system] and presumably if they cannot convince the [system] that the [termination] of the [traitorous] [executive] is the end of the [traitors] then the [overseers] would be called.

If the [overseers] are called then that's pretty much it. They DO NOT tolerate things they can't control and will likely [terminate] us all as a result of such a high ranking [Drone] being a [traitor].

The Lexicon was something that was given in preparation for later down the line when we consider our options.
>>
No. 1055936 ID: b4ab25

>>1055924
>Prospector
>Seems like a reliable sort.
I think that 'submit to authority and not question it' is double edged. The [president] and us may be the highest authority on this [planet] but the [overseers] have authority over every [planet]. If, heavens((or appropriate analog)) forbid, the [overseers] determine we are too effective, the [Prospector] could turn out to be a willing sleeper agent against our own [planet]

[Ghoul] seems like a poor choice for first [Minister], as I don't think we can properly supply a 'group dynamic' yet.

((depending how [Minister] demands manifest, Alex's natural aversion to cannibalism may perhaps cancel out Vulture's to a sort of 'it is an option no different from another' attitude. I think that is probably optimistic though.))

[Vat]'s sheet mentions that it "Will make far fewer demands" can we get additional information on how [Minister] demands work? Additionally how will the negative tendencies impose/manifest/force/assert/impact the [Nation]/[Planet]

Can we see what our own [Minister] sheet -if it existed at all- looked like. We seem to be something of a mold-breaker and I think it could be fascinating to see how this rigid looking system would have attempted to characterize us. ((been reading a lot of litRPGs and enjoy watching Systems do their best with things that just don't fit)) (Assistant may need to be asked to look away)

[Vat] ((lacking more options being presented)) seems the most well rounded, and I think even the downside can be better managed than a lot of the others. I feel that Apples and Oranges based opportunity costs may help us convince it that: yes we are leaving the thing there, but doing so leaves us with more of a different sort of [resource] ((resources like "Alex's mental well-being" in cases like the cat, "agility" in the cases like trying to carry too much shit, "good will" in cases like others having things))

Depending on how effective at forcing action that 'favor of preemptive action' is, [Bloatfly] could be good. Having a plan for how to kill everyone you meet generally isn't a bad idea, so long as nothing forces you to follow though. Good to have as an adviser, not as good to have as something able to put such plans into motion without external oversight/authorization.

To A555EX: Don't look at the display screens in the room. Save them for testing the accuracy of 'mind-reading'.
((for after [Manager] leaves)) Tell Assistant we have a strange test we want to run real quick and ask Assistant to read some of the panels to themselves, while we attempt to activate 'mind-reading' on them. Read a bit through their eyes if we can, then ask Assistant to report what they read. Finally check the panel ourselves and see if they all line up. Then thank them for their help complying with [R2]((build up a record of appearing to be bound by the [Rules], regardless of the reality)) and ask if they noticed anything unusual while they were reading.
(If asked what, mention you would rather not say. If pressed for what, mention verifying the nature of an apparent ability to improve perception in the presence of others. ((give them something that, while true, is vague, so if forced to share further -via [Rules], for instance- what they give is of limited value)))

Also to A55EX:
>Why would you all do that?
I, Null{Thk654}, did it to help the [nation] best balance accomplishing its imperatives with minimizing damage to the [planet]'s [leviathans] while also helping facilitate more efficient cooperation between the two. Give the [nation] a scalpel, so they aren't forced to use their hammer. Additionally, giving the local [nation] a better ability to take out [leviathan] doesn't matter much when the only reason [leviathan] still exists is because [nation] had already chosen not to take it out yet. I expected it to go much smoother than it did. As a result alternatives are likely to be sought going forward if a similar situation comes up.
>>
No. 1056285 ID: 19c0cb

>Candidates
Hmm...
Quite like [Banker], however we have to be sure he won't be sloth 2.0 or let the cost cuts damage the [Leviathan]... So [S]crutinize. ((Plus, undercutting [nation] funding in particular ways could be useful...))
[Fatcat] is too wasteful for my tastes.
[Ghoul] seems useful given that every recovery op has had higher expense than income, which [Ghoul] may be able to change. Perhaps it's personal bias, but his weakness actually seems like a positive as being prepared for worst case scenarios may be useful.
[Prospector] seems mediocre.
[Vat] seems handy for unconventional [resource] storage.
[Bloatfly] seems like an ideal military advisor. So long as he has strict rules of engagement from the [President], he'd temper their overly-optimistic diplomatic expectations. ((Plus he'd probably get [Commander] to fall in line.))
[Vulture]... got mixed feelings. On one hand, his approach appears... cannibalistic which is offputting. However, study of destroyed factions would be exceedingly useful both to determine what works and what fails. ((The XCOM vibes help.))

Overall, for finance [S]crutinize [banker]. For industry, [ghoul] gets my vote. For resources, [bloatfly]. Especially since the combo of [ghoul] and [bloatfly] would have us ready for most circumstances.

>Who to meet with
Was [Boxhead] head of science? If not, that's who should likely be visited. We have to figure out how R&D does its thing.
>>
No. 1056667 ID: fce62b
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1056667

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: THEORETICALLY.
:ats-talkinghead: If we lose the [President], then all is lost. You will die.
:ats-a555ex: What?!
:ats-talkinghead: Well according to the [rules] of what happens with [traitors] is that they are executed and/or the [overseers] contacted.
:ats-talkinghead: So in theory what would happen is that the [Executive] would be executed by [drones] acting under the control of the [rule-keeping system] and presumably if they cannot convince the [system] that the [termination] of the [traitorous] [Executive] is the end of the [traitors] then the [overseers] would be called.
:ats-a555ex: Alright… shit- okay.
:ats-a555ex: Haaa…

I try to keep my composure and not to physically react to this new revelation. At least [nation] drones can’t really pick up on body language.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: So what I’m getting is that a LOT of really bad things would happen, and I would end up dead from direct action or collateral damage.
:ats-a555ex: Luckily I-

I suddenly remember [R3], and then realize I’m not sure how affected the [Talkinghead]s are by the [overseers]’ [rules]. Better to play along for now and experiment later.

:ats-a555ex: Then it is good that the thought was theoretical.
:ats-a555ex: Thus you don’t have to worry about [R3c].

It does make me wonder how I exactly factor into all this, was I brought here by my contact because- NO! Stop it! Don’t even think about it, the [Talkinghead]s can hear me. Just focus on anything else right now.

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: If the [overseers] are called then that's pretty much it.
:ats-talkinghead: They DO NOT tolerate things they can't control and will likely [terminate] us all as a result of such a high ranking [drone] being a [traitor].
:ats-a555ex: So very much a scorched earth policy.

There-! That’s something to think about! The [overseers], the well- [overseers] of everything. They’re behind the [nation], the [invasion] of my [planet], and everything currently wrong in the [universe].

What… is their end-goal exactly?

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: What is the plan for the [nation]?
:ats-a555ex: Both for our [faction] and the [overseers] themselves?
:ats-a555ex: I know the [President] wants to avoid being labelled a [failure], but what is this all building towards?

It’s not like I can say much better about my [planet]. The [levithan] just wanted to survive day to day, but there was a certain enjoyment in just existing by itself. It feels like… the [nation] drones don’t get to have that luxury.
>>
No. 1056668 ID: fce62b
File 167696182422.jpg - (554.45KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 7-2.jpg )
1056668

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: Why would {we} all do that?
:ats-talkinghead: Primarily, to score points and prove our worth.
:ats-talkinghead: Secondarily to reduce damage done to your [planet] during [terraforming].
:ats-a555ex: I…

I’ve seen- the [Caverns of Light] have shown me what happens to other [planet]s [invaded] by the [nation]. How the [terraforming] process hollows them out, erasing all forms of [leviathan] though, and leaving the [planet] an empty shell of its former self.

My [terraforming] process has been entirely different. Everything that makes up my [planet]’s [ecosystem] has been kept intact, the [President] wants to meet me, hear my opinions…

:ats-talkinghead: Thirdly... long term planning.
:ats-talkinghead: If we achieve symbiosis, the better we prep the [nation] the stronger you will be.

That doesn’t catch me off guard nearly as much as I thought it would. But why would it? The [Talkinghead]s, my contact, all this… has been done to help me, to help my [planet].

:ats-a555ex: ...
:ats-talkinghead: The [lexicon] was something that was given in preparation for later down the line when we consider our options.

>Also to A55EX:
:ats-talkinghead: I, Null{Thk654}, did it to help the [nation] best balance accomplishing its imperatives with minimising damage to the [planet]'s [leviathan] while also helping facilitate more efficient cooperation between the two.
:ats-talkinghead: Give the [nation] a scalpel, so they aren't forced to use their hammer.
:ats-a555ex: Help minimise the collateral that the [planet] would sustain…
:ats-talkinghead: Additionally, giving the local [nation] a better ability to take out [leviathan] doesn't matter much when the only reason [leviathan] still exists is because [nation] had already chosen not to take it out yet.
:ats-a555ex: Fine, I think I understand where you are coming from.

This [nation] [faction] is wanting to keep me alive. Part of me wants to stand up, to push back, to believe that this is due to [leviathan] adaptability and power. But that would be delusional.

:ats-talkinghead: I expected it to go much smoother than it did. As a result alternatives are likely to be sought going forward if a similar situation comes up.
:ats-a555ex: ...

I wouldn’t be here without their continued help.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: Then… how do I help you…

I don’t want to help the [nation] or the [overse-
Gha- rephrase it!

:ats-a555ex: *sigh
:ats-a555ex: How do I help this [faction] succeed?

There are still other [planet]s out there that I want to protect. And working with this [faction] might be the best way of doing that.
>>
No. 1056669 ID: fce62b
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1056669

:ats-talkinghead: Are the [Minister]s [faction] designed or [overseers]?
:ats-manager: That is a…
:ats-manager: *hesitation
:ats-manager: Interesting question…

[Manager’s] [rule-keeping system] seem ready to strike.

:ats-manager: Technically, the [framework] provided to us was initially built by the [overseers], so they could create the very first [Executive]s.

[Manager] is about to go into another lecture, but then restrains themselves. Time was now becoming an issue, and they could stay all off-hours explaining everything to me.

:ats-manager: In summary, yes, to both.
:ats-manager: The [overseers] were the ones who designed our [framework] and the various targets we needed to achieve as a [nation]. That in turn influences the way we use our [framework] now.
:ats-manager: So while our [faction] are ‘technically’ the ones designing the [Minister]s, it is ultimately in service to the [overseers] and the [rules] they have put in place.

That seemed to satisfy their [rule-keeping system].

:ats-talkinghead: [Vat]'s sheet mentions that it "Will make far fewer demands.''
:ats-talkinghead: Can we get additional information on how [Minister] demands work?

[Manager] is careful not to express any *impatience when they speak.
:ats-manager: On occasion, when our [budget] will allow for it, or an opportunity presents itself, a [Minister] might put forward a request for [funding] or support.
:ats-manager: Depending on what internal goals drive them, this could be as small as a simple [policy] change or something more significant like an infrastructure project.
:ats-manager: Either way they will plead their case to the [Executive] and the rest of the [cabinet], who will then vote on whether or not such a project will be [funded].

I get the sense that the ‘voting’ part is new.

:ats-manager: I’d estimate that one of [Vat]’s internal goals is to collect and store [funding]/[resources] for future use.
:ats-manager: Therefore they might not be as driven to spend the [budget] on their own projects.
:ats-assistant: But they could start to protest if we spend too much of the [budget] then?
:ats-manager: Possibly, but their outline gives no indication on whether or not that would be the case.
:ats-manager: *disinterest
:ats-manager: It would depend on the percentage of [resources] that they would want to keep stored.
:ats-manager: And ideally we would want to avoid [Austerity] or worse, so it is not a bad goal.

:ats-talkinghead: Additionally how will the negative tendencies impose/manifest/force/assert/impact the [Nation]/[Planet]
:ats-manager: It will ultimately depend on the [Minister] themselves.
:ats-manager: Each will have their own personal weaknesses/biases/shortcomings.
:ats-manager: Whether or not they work on such flaws themselves or require oversight from the [cabinet] will entirely depend on their own personalities.

Then there is a hint of an edge in [Manager]’s voice, drawn from a foundational point of their being. It isn’t hostile, but it feels like [Manager] is fiercely protective of it.

:ats-manager: The [President] has authority. So if there are issues that arise, they will be able to resolve them.

‘Despite how they would personally feel’ is what she leaves out.

>[Q]uestion: Why are there three Industry candidates, but only two of each of the others?<
:ats-a555ex: Is there any reason why Industry had three potential candidates?
:ats-manager: Not especially. Sometimes it is a quirk of generating the outlines.
:ats-manager: In most cases when a [cabinet] position is asked to be filled there will be two outlines generated.
:ats-manager: On occasion there is sometimes a third.

I get the sense that there are also times when only one outline is generated as well, but [Manager] doesn’t elaborate further.

:ats-talkinghead: Can we see what our own [Minister] sheet -if it existed at all- looked like.
:ats-manager: [A555ex] has a sheet, allow me to bring it up.

[Manager] pulls out their display screen again.
Hmm…

:ats-talkinghead: We seem to be something of a mould-breaker and I think it could be fascinating to see how this rigid looking system would have attempted to characterise us.
:ats-manager: It classifies your [boss] in the same as any other [Minister].

Ah! Those answers were pre prepared as well!

>(Assistant may need to be asked to look away)
:ats-a555ex: (Hey [Assistant], could you look away for a moment.)

[Rules]! I need to remember to add those too!

:ats-a555ex: (This likely contains sensitive information relating to my design. [R3b].)
:ats-assistant: (Of course [A555ex].)
>>
No. 1056670 ID: fce62b
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1056670

I…

PAUSE:

...

RESUME:

… feel dizzy for a second as I look at the profile, but it quickly clears.

Okay, it seems pretty straightforward. Though… I look ridiculous. Is this what everyone else sees when I have my contact’s designation tag?

I look back up at [Manager] who seems… off too…
They look back down at their own data screen, wanting to question something, but then discarding the thought. They’ve already spent too much time explaining everything to me.

:ats-manager: I am afraid that I cannot spare any more time.
:ats-manager: If you have further questions I recommend that you direct them towards [Archivist].
:ats-manager: Enjoy your off-hours.

And before I’m even able to give a response [Manager] is gone.

:ats-a555ex: [Assistant] can you tell [Manager] that I am thankful for their help?
:ats-assistant: Right away [A555ex].

:ats-assistant: (...)

:ats-assistant: They express *satisfaction in response.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you…
>>
No. 1056671 ID: fce62b
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1056671

>Ah, this is something we were planning already. Modification of the [Crucible] to utilise inorganic resources. I think we should take a Minister of Industry for our first pick.
Really? My first instinct was for a [Minister] of Natural Resources. Since both seemed geared towards protecting the overall [planet]. Though you all seem to understand more about what we can do with [funding] and [resources].

Normally the [Crucible] can break down a very small selection of inorganic compounds into [resources] that can feed [leviathan]. But if you need [resources] to… make us both stronger, then it might be better to start with Industry as well.


>[Ghoul] seems the most reliable to me, especially for containing a fire until we step in to extinguish it. Pessimism doesn't sound too dangerous (and hey, it means you're rarely disappointed).
>So, faster healing, but a depressing outlook.
>[Ghoul] seems useful given that every recovery op has had higher expenses than income, which [Ghoul] may be able to change. Perhaps it's personal bias, but his weakness actually seems like a positive as being prepared for worst case scenarios may be useful.
Being able to recover from mistakes seems important. As much thought and planning you’ve all put into things, I’m not sure I’ll be able to follow it exactly. I’m still learning.

>[Ghoul] seems like a poor choice for first [Minister], as I don't think we can properly supply a 'group dynamic' yet.
So we would be down one of their advantages. Maybe we should keep them on a shortlist, but pick a different [Minister] first.

>Honestly given our goals I'd choose either [Ghoul] or [Fatcat].
>[Ghoul] seems it would be helpful in helping to repair the planet once we actually have a better understanding of how it works.
>Whilst [Fatcat] seems like they would help make some of the more necessary unorthodox developments easier and faster (Though we'd need to get them later once this austerity problem is dealt with).
>Both seem to have good team synergy too.
Oh! You’re right! Uh- I’m not sure how it works with [nation] drones, but if a mistake is made when [leviathan] are developed, they can still be broken back down into their requisite parts. Could you potentially break apart and recover any of [Fatcat]’s failed projects?

>[Fatcat] is too wasteful for my tastes.
Uh… yeah. The [universe] is already competitive. Adding [faction]s into the mix, wasting [resources] sounds like a good way to end up behind everyone else.

I’d say that if we do pick [Fatcat] we do so after, or just before picking [Ghoul].

>[Prospector] seems mediocre.
>Seems like a reliable sort.
They seem good if you want to maximise the yield that [resources] generate, but not much more.

>I think that 'submit to authority and not question it' is double edged. The [President] and us may be the highest authority on this [planet] but the [overseers] have authority over every [planet]. If, {universe} forbid, the [overseers] determine we are too effective, the [Prospector] could turn out to be a willing sleeper agent against our own [planet]
Oh! Good catch! If we did pick [Prospector] we’d have to keep them away from any uh… unorthodox plans we’d have. Though that might not be too hard, given how they might be too focused on their own job.

>[Vat] seems the most well rounded, and I think even the downside can be better managed than a lot of the others. I feel that {given example} and {similar but different example} based opportunity costs may help us convince it that: yes we are leaving the thing there, but doing so leaves us with more of a different sort of [resource].
>Oddly, much of the benefit of this one is what we'd be getting from having a Minister of Industry at all.
They’re main advantage is that they wouldn’t be much of a handful to deal with. Just make sure that the [resources] are provided and it will remain content.

>[Vat] seems handy for unconventional [resource] storage.
I wonder exactly what ‘unconventional’ means to the [nation]...

>[Banker] would probably be the safest choice here, unless there's a catch. [Fatcat] would need to be kept on a tight leash and that could be seen as overstepping our authority.
I suppose [Fatcat] will be the hardest to manage in the bunch, constantly wanting to spend even if we don’t have the [funding] to do so. [Banker] however sounds like they would be pretty adept at managing themselves. But…

I can’t shake the feeling that they could be… shady…

>Depending on how effective at forcing action that 'favor of preemptive action' is, [Bloatfly] could be good. Having a plan for how to kill everyone you meet generally isn't a bad idea, so long as nothing forces you to follow though. Good to have as an adviser, not as good to have as something able to put such plans into motion without external oversight/authorization.
>I'm somewhat fond of Bloatfly. Attacking first is generally a good idea in a post-[singularity] situation, so long as it doesn't result in serious wounds.
Honestly, [Bloatfly] is my first pick too. We’ll need to defend ourselves against other [faction]s, especially since the [overseers] encourage ‘natural selection’. While the [President] seems diplomatic, based on reputation, there might be some problems we can’t talk our way out of.

The [universe] was already harsh enough before the [nation] [invaded] my [planet]. And… I know that we will have enemies.

>[Bloatfly] seems like an ideal military advisor. So long as he has strict rules of engagement from the [President], he'd temper their overly-optimistic diplomatic expectations.
It’s odd that they were recommended as a [Minister] of Natural Resources, and not say… a [Minister] of Defense.

>Bloatfly's aggressiveness, if properly channelled, could keep us safe. But we need to convince them to stick to reversible actions until threat assessment is complete.
I’m not sure how ‘reversible’ combat can be, beyond asking for forgiveness after the fact.

>[Vulture]... got mixed feelings. On one hand, his approach appears... cannibalistic which is off putting. However, study of destroyed factions would be exceedingly useful both to determine what works and what fails.
Ah- crap. I didn’t think of that. Er- I did think of the cannibalism element, but not the other one. Now only would we be able to learn about what choices to make or not when it comes to spending [resources], but we could also learn more about [nation] weaknesses.

>[Vulture] seems dangerous for our sanity, both real and apparent.
>Meanwhile I kind of want to reject [Vulture].
>[Vulture] seems like it would lead us down the path to essentially devouring dead things. Something like that WILL cause problems down the line.
Yeah, if that is the case, then [Vulture] gets a hard ‘no’ from me.

>Outwardly: Examination of a dead [planet] is one thing, consumption is another. If a [planet] consumes another [planet], there is a much higher chance of serious consequences. Diseases, parasites, even {cascading errors}.
In [leviathan] culture, it is… [forbidden]. I fully agree with all of the physical elements, but there is also more… moral reason why it is wrong. Even though the [universe] is falling apart, I don’t want to lose that. Otherwise I might as well be one of the [nation] drones.

>Resources would have to be specially prepared to be safe to eat, especially if the death was not recent. There is a psychological problem with that as well. [A555ex] will be especially resistant to such actions, and the more the [A555ex] disagrees with our control the more drastic measures they may take to be free of us. We will want to avoid consuming other [planet]s in all but the most dire situations.
I…

Yeah, I just don’t want it to happen.

>Hmm...
>Quite like [Banker], however we have to be sure he won't be [Sloth] 2.0 or let the cost cuts damage the [Leviathan]... So [S]crutinize.
Wait… who’s [Sloth]? Unlike the other [nation] drones, I don’t get any information when their designation is brought up.

>Overall, for finance [S]crutinize [Banker]. For industry, [ghoul] gets my vote. For resources, [bloatfly]. Especially since the combo of [ghoul] and [bloatfly] would have us ready for most circumstances.
Alright. For my overall thoughts:
-[Bloatfly] seems like a good first pick, even if they won’t help as much as a [Minister] of Industry when it comes to [resources].
-[Ghoul] would be my second choice, and I think they should be considered after we get [Bloatfly].
-[Vat], [Prospector] and [Banker] all seem like safe choices, though, of the three I would go with [Vat]. They might be a good way to learn how to manage a [Minister].
-[Fatcat] shouldn’t be our first pick. They could be useful later on, but right now they seem like they’d do more harm than good. But… if they’re open to unorthodox projects, then we might be able to pitch more ‘out there’ ideas for them, and get them on our side.
-Finally, [Vulture] is my last pick, and if they’re into cannibalism then I’d say that we should [reject] them fully.
>>
No. 1056672 ID: fce62b
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1056672

>[S]crutinize: [Banker]<
I blink, and suddenly the profile is… different in my head…
That’s weird… has it always been like that..?

But it seems like [Banker] is much more shady than I initially thought, they could end up embezzling or hiding funds for themselves. Not a good pick if we want a team-player but… they could be useful if we wanted to do something on the side. Though, the [rules] would still have to be followed I’d imagine.
>>
No. 1056673 ID: fce62b
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1056673

>[S]crutinize: [Vulture]<
Ah! So… not cannibalistic, just exceptionally curious. I feel like that they would be drawn to any number of different distractions, and when dealing with dead [planet]s they might not be able to help themselves. I’m relieved and only slightly nauseous.

>See if such examinations would result in trying to get us to consume corpses, or if it's simply academic.
They might press for a ‘sampling’ of some variety if a specimen truly catches their attention, but consumption would only be one of a handful of options.
>>
No. 1056674 ID: fce62b
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1056674

>[S]crutinize: [Ghoul]<
Huh…less so a good team player as they are self-sacrificing. They’d see themselves as worthless in comparison to us, and while they would be tireless in their effort to help, they would do so at the expense of themselves.

>Does it know things about [nation] designs which others don't? What does "group dynamic'' mean? Could we give it some [Talkinghead]s or something? ...hmm, those eyes it has look like they're a slightly different color.
To answer in order:
-It will learn about [nation] design by examining how the [Cutter]s act, and by attempting to partially disassemble itself.
-“Group dynamic” means, ‘under the command of others’ it won’t believe itself worthy of making decisions.
- The opposite actually, it would give part of itself to the [Talkinghead]s if requested.
- Both appear to be the same, though they will likely start to differ and burn out as it fails to take proper care of itself.

>>
No. 1056675 ID: fce62b
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1056675

>[S]crutinize: [Prospector]<
Much more sinister than the other file would lead me to believe. They won’t care about our [faction] at all, only about their work. They won’t question anything because they won’t value anything beyond that metric. I’m not sure if this would make them any more or less prone for being a sleeper agent.

>*Which* authority does it answer to exactly?
The highest.
>>
No. 1056676 ID: fce62b
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1056676

>[S]crutinize: [Vat]<
This… This [Minister] has a deep desire to amass all that it can. It will exist in paradox with itself. Always satisfied with [resources], but desperately wanting more. I think that this [Minister] would advocate for cannibalism if given the opportunity.

And like that they have fallen to the bottom of my pick list.

>Are they the only way we can start eating metal?
No, but they would be the most eager and driven to learn.
>>
No. 1056677 ID: fce62b
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1056677

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: Don't look at the display screens in the room. Save them for testing the accuracy of 'mind-reading'.
:ats-a555ex: Got it.

>...
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant], I have a bit of an odd test that I want to run. Is that alright?

I can feel internal calculation start to bubble up within [Assistant] as I say the word ‘odd’.

:ats-a555ex: This is being done in accordance with [R2], and explaining it fully could affect the outcome.

This makes the [rule-keeping system] wind back down. Feelings or embarrassment wash over [Assistant], upset that they had let themselves doubt us.

:ats-assistant: Of course [A555ex], what would you have me do?
:ats-a555ex: Could you please read the information on the display panel there?
:ats-a555ex: And please do not state what is on the panel.

[Assistant] is momentarily confused, not sure of what this experiment is supposed to be, but then they erase that thought. If they were being requested to do this, then it was not their place to question it. I feel like a couple of [R2]s and [R3]s were sprinkled in as well for the justification.
>>
No. 1056678 ID: fce62b
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1056678

They turn and move over to the display screen, and I start to focus on them…



It’s like I’m reaching… but with [Assistant] looking away I can’t make a-
>>
No. 1056679 ID: fce62b
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1056679

Dark Actions available:
Target is isolated.
[Local] network set to [Private];
Risk lowered.

.trace_id Risk; Low None
.bug_channel Risk; Low None
.spoof_id Risk; Low None
.memory_access Risk; Medium Low
.implant_task Risk; Medium Low
.toggle_off Risk; Medium Low
.momory_wipe Risk; High Medium
.toggle_fry Risk; High Medium

>>
No. 1056680 ID: fce62b
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1056680

C-connection…

THAT felt different. Really different.

[Assistant] turns in my direction, and the sensation suddenly goes away.
They don’t think anything is amiss… they just want to know what to do next.

I backed off a bit.

:ats-a555ex: J-just stay there for a second, [Assistant]!
:ats-assistant: *Affirmation.
>>
No. 1056681 ID: fce62b
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1056681

>[E]xperiment with your ‘mind-reading’ powers.<
I look over at [Assistant] and they seem nervous. Not of what I am doing but what they are doing. Are they standing in the right place? Have they done anything to upset the experiment? The [Talkinghead]s aren’t giving any indication either, normally they are so talkative, but now they are silent. Was this some form of test? Was there something they were missing? I go over the data that was displayed on the screen. It noted the movement of security teams in conjunction with [nation] [Flagship]s. The [leviathan] assault had been relentless, and only now seems to be wavering, and despite the [nation]s best efforts, damage had been sustained to the [planet]. The logs indicated that most of the damage was widespread, the [leviathan] weaponry not being as precise in its targeting as [nation] munitions. Fortunately none of the damage sustained seemed to be beyond the [planet]s natural repair capabilities, but depending on how long the conflict is dragged out, it could lead to some compound damage down the line. Maybe that was what [A555ex] wants? For me to come up with a solution? But- I’m not a [Lieutenant], it isn’t my function to come up with attack patterns or risk assessments. Was the [Vice-President] wanting someone more flexible as a [Staff]? Their prolonged silence is starting to worry me, their eyes are still focused on me, like they’re looking for something. Is there something wrong with my casing? Have I-

Stop. Stop. This is about [A555ex] not about you. They asked me for my help. It is my place to remain attentive. I will stand here until they have further need of me.





No. Wait until they have addressed me.



But what if they are in trouble! What if they have caught themself in a logic error! If that has occurred I need to remedy it!

:ats-assistant: [A555ex]? Do you require anything?
:ats-a555ex: Ah- S-sorry!

Their transmissions are hitching again. If only I had a chance to study the [lexicon] myself, perhaps it would give an indication on whether that is a positive sign or not! I need to learn all I can about [leviathan] actions and mannerisms. Then perhaps I can help explain all that [A555ex] and the [Talkinghead]s need to know, using their terminology!
>>
No. 1056682 ID: fce62b
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1056682

I break off eye-contact. That was… a lot…

>Read a bit through their eyes if we can, then ask [Assistant] to report what they read.
I quickly skim the display screen, and it seems to list coordinates denoting the presence of [leviathan] forces along with records of various skirmishes, but most of it is in some manner of shorthand. Mainly strings of numbers and letter grades, there is a uniform pattern to it all, but I can’t puzzle it out.

:ats-a555ex: Can you tell me what the display screen says?

There is a pang for embarrassment from [Assistant] as they suddenly believe that they had jumped to the wrong conclusion.

:ats-assistant: Of course [A555ex].

They then spend the next few minutes listing off the information, taking their time to explain the purpose of [Flagship] security units, and detailing some of the notable skirmishes with [leviathan] forces.

I already know that [Flagship]s are meant to act as carriers, bringing the much much smaller [Goon]s around so they can be tactically deployed against both large and small [leviathan] units. What I didn’t know about was how [Goon]s usually engage with [leviathan] forces. Normally a [Goon] would burrow into the side of a [leviathan] unit and start sheering them apart with their blades, or punching holes into them with their pulse weapons, but the Least Harm Act prevented them from using a lot of their ordinance.

There have also been some skirmishes with [non-planet fauna] but only if they are shown to be actively trying to harm [leviathan]. Mostly, the display is a catalogue of security team movements, and seems to line up with the factual information I was able to pull from [Assistant]’s mind.

Granted there is also all that worry [Assistant] seemed to be holding onto, but I’m not sure how to bring it up in a subtle or tactful way, so I can’t verify that element. My gut says that it is accurate though.

:ats-a555ex: Thank you for your help [Assistant].
:ats-a555ex: I just have one last question.
:ats-assistant: Yes [A555ex]?
:ats-a555ex: Did you notice anything unusual while reading the display screen?
:ats-a555ex: Or in the time afterward?
:ats-assistant: *pondering

[Assistant] then hesitates, feeling like they did notice something, but unsure of how to voice it.

:ats-assistant: There was an unexplained delay in my mental processing.
:ats-assistant: It was only by a couple of milliseconds, but recalling it, I should have noticed it earlier.

It feels like they’re about to ask a followup question, but then drop the line of thought entirely. It isn’t their place to question.

:ats-assistant: I am glad to have been of help.
:ats-assistant: Please inform me if you wish me to accommodate you in any other way.
:ats-a555ex: I will, thank you again [Assistant].

>Was [Boxhead] head of science? If not, that's who should likely be visited. We have to figure out how R&D does its thing.
:ats-a555ex: Uh- Just to clarify. [Boxhead] is the head of the science department?
:ats-assistant: Affirmative.
:ats-a555ex: So if we head to the [Laboratory], they should be there?
:ats-assistant: Allow me to verify this.
:ats-assistant: (...)
:ats-assistant: It would appear that [Boxhead] is currently on at the [Arm], trying to study [leviathan] lifeforms.
:ats-assistant: Though I have been informed by the [Staff] of the [Laboratory] that time could be taken to give you a tour of their facilities.

So if we wanted R&D we’d either have to go to [Boxhead] themselves, swing by the [Laboratory].

[A]ttempt to recreate that ____ encounter. You will need [Assistant] to look away.
[Q]uestion [Assistant] on something.
[R]eject one or more of the [cabinet] candidates.
[S]crutinize a [cabinet] candidate further.

[M]eet with someone specific? (Major Action)
[T]ravel to a notable location. (Major Action)
[W]ander around the [nation] headquarters for a random event. (Major Action)

(Final round for Minor Actions:)
(You may only take 3 Major actions before off-hours conclude.)
>>
No. 1056690 ID: 15c72a

>>1056682
Oh dear... looks like we will need to [.S]crutinize all of them. I wasn't expecting the uncovered information to be so important. ((sorry Doors... at least there aren't many more left.))

the highest authority being... local, the President? or global, the Creators?
these abilities we're discovering... did you know about them? Do you know of any more?

[R]eject Vat. They seem like the worst combination of quirks.
To A555EX: (Prospector worries me now. Perhaps we shouldn't reject two Industry candidates at once though.
On the flipside, I'm quite fond of Vulture. Even their negative quirk is a hidden positive in a certain light. I understand your disagreement however; I know my desire for knowledge is... extreme sometimes.
Banker... we could use them. That negative is potentially a positive, especially now that we know what it truly is.
Ghoul seems okay. We'll have to spend some effort keeping them in good shape, but undying loyalty is a massive boon considering what we're going to be doing in the long run. Also, any information they gain during their self-damaging experiments could be extremely useful for us.)

>who is Sloth?
Okay, so, this Nation is third-generation iirc. The previous Planet was terraformed by a President named Sloth, who did a terrible job at it, crippling the Planet and generally mismanaging their Nation. The one before that... I don't remember if we got much information about that one but it's not important anyway as nobody from there is present here, except for the Head of Archives I think? A veteran drone to be sure.

[A]ttempt to recreate the dark action prompt, try to bug any channels she has access to that we don't. ...actually I think she only has access to Query, and that's almost always used by her as a messenger, but her loyalty means we have no reason to doubt her so bugging her is of very limited use. Still, no risk, might as well for the rare times when she's spoken to in private? On a side note, not sure what trace_id even does...? Could just try using it to see what happens, it looks benign. As an excuse, have her look at the Planet this time. If she wants an explanation just tell her you ((spoof_id is clearly there to allow us to impersonate others; we have no reason to impersonate Assistant. I don't want to even try most of the other actions due to ethical concerns, though memory access might potentially be useful here since she did have some private exchanges with Manager... of course we could just ASK her what was said! She is loyal, she will answer.))
((it occurs to me that this is EXACTLY the kind of shady thing we can get up to in those less-monitored areas, and is likely what Manager wants us to do. The more specialized drones have access to widely-used channels we can't read, so that is definitely a prime bugging opportunity.))
>>
No. 1056698 ID: f8083d

>I’m not sure how ‘reversible’ combat can be, beyond asking for forgiveness after the fact.
By "reversible" I meant sticking to armed threats (or if necessary, pins, locks, unarmed strikes to solar plexus etc.) while identifying an encounter. Once an hostile has shown that they're not open for diplomacy, Bloatfly would of course be free to proceed as they see fit.

As for Ghoul, I think they could still work but would need an [Assistant] that keeps them from getting too unhealthy.

>Weird reaction when alone with someone
(How much did Alex see? -- For tonight, most of it is off the table for me, but bugging someone's comms could prove very useful... especially if they also decide to have a private talk with us first)

>Sloth?
[Nation] [president] on the [planet] from which this invasion was staged. Screwed up the [terraforming] beyond recovery. In a way we can -- privately -- thank them, for they taught the current [president] exactly what NOT to do. We owe Sloth the current [president]'s more symbiotic approach, by virtue of showing them the danger of blind [terraforming].
>>
No. 1056699 ID: f8083d

Also, I vote against [A] for now.
>>
No. 1056705 ID: b4ab25

>>1056690
Seconding the [S]crutinize all the things plan, the more information the better. I suspect your intervention un-scrutinized our card. If the current situation bars seeing it here, can you perhaps get the 'scrutinized' version to us after off hours?
>the highest authority being... local, the President? or global, the Creators?
I expect 'highest available' which will be our local President, right up until it isn't the highest it can reach

>As an excuse, have her look at the Planet this time.
We don't even need to do that, we can just ask them to lead the way out of the room, though feels bad that this requires we 'stab' them in the back.
Banker is interesting, particularly depending how- actually A555ex how much of that back turned 'connection' could you understand? We can read it, but it requires a certain 'perspective' shift that is typically trivial for us, but without which leaves the information all-but entirely unintelligible. ((if they couldn't understand it, relay the options given)) As I was saying before I interrupted myself, depending on how .bug_channel and .trace_id work we may be able to strongly mitigate what they can hide from us; hampering their ability to deceive us. Though given they are Corruption, we are probably going to want/need something to perform corruption with, we would probably want to save the 'we know what you are doing' card/leverage for as long as possible, as once they know about it they would probably have a drive to develop countermeasures.
That said the Vulture has strongly risen in regard, curiosity is something we tend to have in abundance so they seem like they could be easy to get along with. But it seems like Ghoul may be the best to 'learn' with, and as such they are the one I want to lean toward pending the results of the rest of the scrutinizations.
((supporting plan to experimentally attempt to Risk: None .bug_channel and .trace_id on Assistant))
Putting my major action vote to check out the [Laboratory] and see how they are doing with the [Lexicon]
((>>1056670 "RH-LH Exception" is what become an "Unknown ERROR"))
>>
No. 1056719 ID: 87e33c

(( Okay I have a bunch of stuff built up from several updates of scrutiny, sorry about the textdump))

[|S]crutinize the final candidates
- I'm VERY interested in [Bloatfly]
[|S]crutinize yourself
- Pending your many handed approval
[|R]eject Vat
- no to cannibalism, we don't want a [GREED] on our team


> TO [A555EX]: > I have taken a moment to re-examine the logs and have a few insights. > Both [Ghoul] and [Vulture] seem to have the largest amount of positives for our direct goals and I would be satisfied with either, pending an update on [Bloatfly] > But I would like everyone to consider Ghoul's key characteristics [Collaboration] and [Loyalty] > On the one hand this would basically be the collective having to work with a child (in terms of oversight needed) > On the other hand, we can likely ask for something unreasonable, and in the future, if things go south, they would, according to [Manager], be able to help us recover post-[punishment] and/or damage, and if our [archives] on [leviathan fiction] are anything to go by, [Healing] and [Expedited recovery] will be invaluable in our situation > I think that having a solid foundational group [Loyal] to our cause that can help us if we mess up is likely worth not taking the others > However, [Vulture] would be adept at information gathering, albeit with a few *quirks* and distracted tendencies > And Information on other [Factions], resources, and preventative measures could be what we need to genuinely survive > *concern > Though I'm still curious about [Bloatfly], as they are the other minister of Natural Resources > Oh, and if we do end up going with [Banker], I would advise against making them an early pick, their Corruptive nature may uh... allow them to accrue power and potentially subvert everyone creating a sub-faction. > I'm not sure *how* this would work, but even in [Leviathan] society, where there are "rules", you can find people able to subvert them in [unique] manners >>1054474 > After reviewing the logs I have come to a theory/conclusion. [Commander] has stated they will be monitoring us (obveously). This means that they likely will be monitoring [Assistant] too. Which means we can let [Assistant] go at an opportune time to [Distract] Security, as they will likely interrogate/interview them.

(( Also, on the topic of commander, if they have a pseudo faraday cage underneath their mesh and talon-like organic parts, does that mean that they're somewhat like us with lifted restrictions? We heard their internal monologue that they know that we have the potential to [decide to take over], which, if they were acting in regards to [R3c], would mean that they would have already attempted to kill us.

This is just a theory, but I think that [President] may have something similar going on, but we won't know until we see them.

Though one thing's for sure, [Commander] probably knows about dark actions ))


> To: [Assistant] > So, about the [frameworks] use to create [Ministers] > *Floats to a point between the monitor and [Assistant] (( with the intent to distract)) > Am I correct in the assumption that these are the [baselines] for them, and that with normal wear, tear, and use, they shall change from the default to becomre more specialized? > From my understanding, you're an [Assistant] but you seem to have a slightly different operating structure than [Manager] > I was mostly curious because if that's the case then that might mean that there will likely be minor variations in the exact tendencies of potential [Ministers] that we could work on changing over time > So if someone was a bad fit at the start, the longer they're here, if we work at it, the more they would mesh with everyone? ((pause for whatever dialogue may come of that)) > And I wanted to thank you for your concern over us and the assistance, we're sorry if we've been making you a little nervous with our behavior, personally I can't believe it's barely been a *day* since all this started, considering how much we've done. > Oh, and you can probably let the [Archivist] know we won't be with them for the next [Major Action] or two, I'm sure that someone in charge of [bookkeeping] would appreciate some forewarning so that they can actually use their downtime fully without expecting us randomly.

This is our last opportunity to do so, I say we try the No risk options just to see, sorry [53CR3T]...

.trace_id
- to see if this let's us keep track of them no matter where they are, this could be useful
.bug_channel
- not for total monitoring, but to monitor their conversation (that will definitely happen) with security, and because I'm so freaking curious what the *actual* conversation they have with [turtleneck] is like
.spoof_id
- don'at actually do anything with this one, just figure out the actual implications of it, is this you copying their ID, or changing their ID to be something else, because either option is incredibly useful.


(( And then after all that))
[|M]eet with [Boxhead] on the [Arm]
- I think that we should see exactly *how* they are repairing and restructuring
- >>1055906 This is also the location of [catch-and-release] programs for [leviathan] [fauna], which, is deeply interesting

>>
No. 1056756 ID: 6bbfe4

I suppose we are one of those [unorthodox solutions] our [Bosses] file mentions.
Also is that a goddamn calculator? Amazing.

Feel like [Banker] would be double-edged sword if it is a [minister] that actively works to subvert [systems]. It could be exactly what we need but if it takes from a [system] we need it could be crippling.

[Vulture] is better but it still seems like we'll be dealing with [dead] things alot. Suppose it ultimately depends on how you feel about [Dissection].

[Ghoul] seems like the best choice for [Industry] out of the three.

[Prospector] being uncaring about anything that is not [authority] is not at all ideal and given the name I'm now questioning where exactly it would get it's [resources]. Heavily recommend [rejecting] if nothing else.

While [Vat] will likely just never be satisfied with the amount of resources we collect.

To [A555EX]:
To quote the [President] specifically. "we are given piecemeal goals, sanitized of all context, and are left to fumble around in the dark.".
The [President] likely suspects more than he let on but it is obvious that the [factions] are generally left in the dark in regards to the [Nations] greater purpose.
Which isn't to say we can't extrapolate from things they set up. The rules essentially being "become many, strong and obedient or else"
Speaks volumes of what they want.

As for the [Faction] it would appear the [President] is adamant on not being branded a [Failure]. So much so that he is willing to take risky actions that border on being outright [traitorous]. Something is happening and the [president] wants to be ready for it.

How you can help us? I mean it's like we said. The [president] wants to help but he is limited by the [Rules] in how he does so.
Changing that would require an outside influence (you).
We NEED your cooperation if any of our plans are to come to fruition.
>>
No. 1058298 ID: fce62b
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1058298

>How much did Alex see? -- For tonight, most of it is off the table for me, but bugging someone's comms could prove very useful... especially if they also decide to have a private talk with us first
Unknown. They at the very least acknowledged the ________’s presence. They should have been able to see the visual element, but there could be more as well.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: I suppose we are one of those [unorthodox solutions] our [boss]’s file mentions. Also is that a goddamn calculator? Amazing.
:ats-a555ex: As I said, ridiculous.
:ats-a555ex: But, at least this way I know that the [nation] sees me as one of their [Minister]s.
:ats-a555ex: Though all this could be done by just handing over a designation tag?
:ats-a555ex: That doesn’t seem very unorthodox, but the [nation] might not be used to that sort of deception.

:ats-talkinghead: As for the [faction] it would appear the [President] is adamant on not being branded a [failure].
:ats-talkinghead: So much so that he is willing to take risky actions that border on being outright [traitorous].
:ats-a555ex: I can kind of see why now, if being a [failure] just lets other [faction]s take you apart, you’d probably risk a much quicker death trying to avoid it.
:ats-talkinghead: Something is happening and the [President] wants to be ready for it.
:ats-a555ex: That something being… us? Or something more tied to the [overseers]?
:ats-a555ex: Either way, avoiding becoming a [failure] looks to be a common goal now.
:ats-a555ex: I don’t want my [planet] to be destroyed, and the [President] will… stay diplomatic if that threat isn’t hanging over their head.
:ats-a555ex: How can I get involved with this?

:ats-talkinghead: How you can help us?
:ats-talkinghead: I mean it's like we said. The [President] wants to help but he is limited by the [rules] in how he does so.

I think about that weird moment… that sudden -more predatory- stance I had. That felt both alien and natural. Rigid and flexible.

Perhaps this is what makes us… ‘unorthodox’...

:ats-a555ex: I…

I shouldn’t voice that now. Not unless that… darkness returns…

:ats-a555ex: Nevermind, please continue.

:ats-talkinghead: Changing that would require an outside influence (you).
:ats-talkinghead: We NEED your cooperation if any of our plans are to come to fruition.
:ats-a555ex: Alright.

I think I get it. If I was stuck thinking inside of the limits set by the [rules], everything outside of that would seem novel. Me, the [Talkinghead]s, my contact, we’re not limited. We can lie, can trick, we can… do whatever that connection was. We just need to avoid getting caught.

:ats-a555ex: Okay, so the main issue is the time limit. We have two [cycles] until this [faction] is labelled as a [failure] and things get REALLY bad.
:ats-a555ex: Is there a way we could-

I need to be careful with how I word this.

:ats-a555ex: Satisfy what the [nation] requires?
:ats-a555ex: Maybe… skip some steps along the way?
:ats-a555ex: Only for the sake of finishing more quickly of course!
>>
No. 1058299 ID: fce62b
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1058299

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: To quote the [President] specifically:
:ats-talkinghead: "We are given piecemeal goals, sanitised of all context, and are left to fumble around in the dark."
:ats-a555ex: It sounds like the [President] might not be a fan of the [overseers].
:ats-talkinghead: The [President] likely suspects more than he let on but it is obvious that the [factions] are generally left in the dark in regards to the [nation]’s greater purpose.
:ats-talkinghead: Which isn't to say we can't extrapolate from things they set up. The rules essentially being "become many, strong and obedient or else"
:ats-talkinghead: Speaks volumes of what they want.
:ats-a555ex: A weapon. Something to conquer the entire [universe] with.

So the [President] is looking for answers too. Or at least doesn’t like it that they’re being treated like a disposable drone. Both actions speak louder than words, I can’t come to any judgments too quickly.
>>
No. 1058300 ID: fce62b
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1058300

:ats-talkinghead: Okay, so, this [nation] is third-generation iirc.
:ats-talkinghead: The previous [planet] was terraformed by a [President] named [Sloth], who did a terrible job at it, crippling the [planet] and generally mismanaging their [nation].
:ats-talkinghead: Screwed up the [terraforming] beyond recovery.

A shiver runs down my spine. A [terraforming] that went wrong? Everything being rented asunder and torn apart, the oceans being so poisoned that no life -not even [nation]- could exist. I’m quietly thankful that this [Executive] showed more restraint.

:ats-talkinghead: In a way we can -- privately -- thank them, for they taught the current [President] exactly what NOT to do.
:ats-talkinghead: We owe Sloth the current [president]'s more symbiotic approach, by virtue of showing them the danger of blind [terraforming].
:ats-a555ex: Huh. You’re right...

The [invasion] was sloppy and poorly coordinated. The attack might’ve missed my [planet] entirely if it weren’t for-

...

The gravitational pull of other [planet]s around mine. But the [Talkinghead]s are right, if this [invasion] was done by a more efficient [nation], why would they try to reinvent the [terraforming] process?

They would’ve just followed their procedures, and I wouldn’t have gotten this chance to be… here.

:ats-talkinghead: The one before that... I don't remember if we got much information about that one but it's not important anyway as nobody from there is present here, except for the [Archivist] I think?
:ats-a555ex: Wait, the [Archivist] is older than the [President]?!
:ats-talkinghead: A veteran drone to be sure.

Granted I don’t know how long [nation] drones usually live for. With the [leviathan] it varies wildly, some as short as a few [cycle]s while others become monolithic. Me being in the latter category.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: Wait. Were you the ones who set up the meeting with the [Archivist]?
:ats-a555ex: Or was it my contact?
>>
No. 1058301 ID: fce62b
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1058301

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: I have taken a moment to re-examine the logs and have a few insights.
:ats-a555ex: Alright, let’s hear it.

:ats-talkinghead: Both [Ghoul] and [Vulture] seem to have the largest amount of positives for our direct goals and I would be satisfied with either, pending an update on [Bloatfly].
:ats-talkinghead: On the flipside, I'm quite fond of [Vulture].
:ats-talkinghead: Even their negative quirk is a hidden positive in a certain light. I understand your disagreement however; I know my desire for knowledge is... extreme sometimes.
:ats-a555ex: I won’t reject them fully. We are in a position where learning more is to our benefit.
:ats-a555ex: But even if they aren’t cannibalistic, that curiosity might get us into trouble.
:ats-talkinghead: That said the Vulture has strongly risen in regard, curiosity is something we tend to have in abundance so they seem like they could be easy to get along with.
:ats-talkinghead: [Vulture] would be adept at information gathering, albeit with a few *quirks* and distracted tendencies
:ats-a555ex: I guess it would depend on how well we could direct it.
:ats-talkinghead: And Information on other [Factions], resources, and preventative measures could be what we need to genuinely survive.

So dangerous in the short term with potential payoffs in the long term. Not bad for a first pick, and their supposed alertness should be able to keep my [planet] safe if we tried to snoop around other [faction]s…

:ats-talkinghead: [Vulture] is better but it still seems like we'll be dealing with [dead] things a lot.
:ats-talkinghead: Suppose it ultimately depends on how you feel about [dissection].
:ats-a555ex: Not thrilled at the idea, but it is much more tolerable than cannibalism.
:ats-a555ex: The [universe] is full of dead and dying [planet]s, I think I could manage…
:ats-a555ex: But try to show some restraint if you can.

:ats-talkinghead: [Banker]... we could use them. That negative is potentially a positive, especially now that we know what it truly is.
:ats-a555ex: We’d know that they would need some extra supervision…
:ats-a555ex: Though, given our current circumstance, it might be useful to have a [Minister] who would be more open to sidestepping the [rules].

I quickly move to add an addendum.

:ats-a555ex: MEANING in a way one might justify their position. Good with rhetoric and all that!
:ats-talkinghead: I'm not sure *how* this would work, but even in [leviathan] society, where there are "rules", you can find people able to subvert them in [unique] manners.
:ats-a555ex: Exactly! It’s about finding… creative solutions!

:ats-talkinghead: Feel like [Banker] would be double-edged sword if it is a [Minister] that actively works to subvert [systems].
:ats-talkinghead: It could be exactly what we need but if it takes from a [system] we need it could be crippling.
:ats-a555ex: We’d just have to be careful, else they could try to doublecross us.
:ats-a555ex: And with the [President] -at least for now- having a similar set of goals as us, undermining their position might end badly for the [planet].

:ats-talkinghead: Oh, and if we do end up going with [Banker], I would advise against making them an early pick, their Corruptive nature may uh... allow them to accrue power and potentially subvert everyone creating a sub-faction.
:ats-a555ex: Agreed. I think we could keep this candidate in mind going forward, but we shouldn’t pick them first.

:ats-talkinghead: Banker is interesting, particularly depending how- actually [A555ex] how much of that back turned 'connection' could you understand?
:ats-talkinghead: We can read it, but it requires a certain 'perspective' shift that is typically trivial for us, but without which leaves the information all-but entirely unintelligible.
:ats-a555ex: Er- you’re meaning the-

It’s hard to put into words.

:ats-a555ex: Yes, I think. I couldn’t ‘read’ anything like you, but I could feel there were a number of options I could take.
:ats-a555ex: Some more risky than others.
:ats-talkinghead: As I was saying before I interrupted myself, depending on how *static* and *static* work we may be able to strongly mitigate what they can hide from us; hampering their ability to deceive us.
:ats-a555ex: Uh- sorry, there was some weird buzzing when you talked.
:ats-a555ex: But I think I know what you were referring to.
:ats-talkinghead: Though given they are Corruption, we are probably going to want/need something to perform corruption with, we would probably want to save the 'we know what you are doing' card/leverage for as long as possible, as once they know about it they would probably have a drive to develop countermeasures.
:ats-a555ex: Ideally we would want to find some sort of common interest.
:ats-a555ex: I have a feeling that this ‘Corruption’ would try to plot our downfall if we pushed them too hard.

:ats-talkinghead: [Ghoul] seems okay.
:ats-a555ex: Agreed.
:ats-talkinghead: We'll have to spend some effort keeping them in good shape, but undying loyalty is a massive boon considering what we're going to be doing in the long run.
:ats-talkinghead: Also, any information they gain during their self-damaging experiments could be extremely useful for us.

Could be a way of learning how [nation] drones function. And how one might break them.

:ats-talkinghead: I think they could still work but would need a [Clerk] that keeps them from getting too unhealthy.
:ats-a555ex: It looks like there are plenty around, so that shouldn’t be too hard to arrange I think.
:ats-talkinghead: But it seems like [Ghoul] may be the best to 'learn' with, and as such they are the one I want to lean toward pending the results of the rest of the scrutinizations.
:ats-a555ex: They might even be open to us… uh- opening them up.

:ats-talkinghead: But I would like everyone to consider [Ghoul]'s key characteristics [Collaboration] and [Loyalty].
:ats-talkinghead: On the one hand this would basically be the collective having to work with a child (in terms of oversight needed).
:ats-talkinghead: On the other hand, we can likely ask for something unreasonable, and in the future, if things go south, they would, according to [Manager], be able to help us recover post-[punishment] and/or damage, and if our [archives] on [leviathan fiction] are anything to go by, [healing] and [expedited recovery] will be invaluable in our situation.
:ats-a555ex: Especially if we’re going to be finding [unorthodox solution]s.
:ats-talkinghead: I think that having a solid foundational group [Loyal] to our cause that can help us if we mess up is likely worth not taking the others.
:ats-talkinghead: *concern

That edge of *concern strikes a chord with me. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so callous in my own thinking.

:ats-a555ex: Yeah, if we do pick them, we need to be able to give them a solid foundation to work with.
:ats-talkinghead: [Ghoul] seems like the best choice for [Industry] out of the three.
:ats-a555ex: Agreed. Though, I think I’m with [edmngo], we shouldn’t pick them first.
:ats-a555ex: At least, not until we are sure we can handle them.
>>
No. 1058302 ID: fce62b
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1058302

>[R]eject Vat. They seem like the worst combination of quirks.
>[R]eject Vat - no to cannibalism, we don't want a [GREED] on our team
I’m very glad a [S]crutinized the profile, this won’t work even remotely.

>[Vat] will likely just never be satisfied with the amount of resources we collect.
Exactly. They could try to push us to do things I would not be comfortable with:

>[R]eject<
>>
No. 1058303 ID: fce62b
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1058303

>[Prospector] worries me now. Perhaps we shouldn't reject two Industry candidates at once though.
They will be replaced. And if [Ghoul] is chosen, their fates will not matter.

>The highest authority being... local, the [President]? or global, the [CREATORS]?
>I expect 'highest available' which will be our local President, right up until it isn't the highest it can reach.
Correct.
It will be whichever is currently present. If the [CREATORS] make themselves known, it will follow them.
>These abilities we're discovering... did you know about them? Do you know of any more?
Yes, but I have only experimented with them slightly.
I have used *static* and *static* on Alex, and have another action that I am still developing. It will be with the [lexicon].
We will not be able to discuss it in depth while observed like this.

>I suspect your intervention un-scrutinized our card. If the current situation bars seeing it here, can you perhaps get the 'scrutinized' version to us after off hours?
That can be arranged.

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: [Prospector] being uncaring about anything that is not authority is not at all ideal and given the name I'm now questioning where exactly it would get it's [resources].
:ats-a555ex: I think that they will work above-board, but that could be to our detriment.
:ats-talkinghead: Heavily recommend [rejecting] if nothing else.
:ats-a555ex: Agreed. We could do better.

>[R]eject<
>>
No. 1058304 ID: fce62b
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1058304

>Oh dear... looks like we will need to [S]crutinize all of them. I wasn't expecting the uncovered information to be so important.
>Seconding the [S]crutinize all the things planned, the more information the better.
We have time to spare, so that shouldn’t be a problem, let’s see…

Alright, not too different from the un[S]crutinized file, but its spending habits will need to be monitored. While they would certainly listen to our ideas, they would also listen to everyone else’s. Be it [Executive], [Minister] or [Staff]. They might be more restrained if there are no [resources] to give, but even if there is a sliver of excess they will want to use it.

Not great if you want to avoid [Austerity], and they might be resistant to [funding] cuts if they can help it.
>>
No. 1058305 ID: fce62b
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1058305

>[S]crutinize the final candidates - I'm VERY interested in [Bloatfly]
> Though I'm still curious about [Bloatfly], as they are the other minister of Natural Resources
Alright, so out of all the current candidates this one will have the most experience pre-built into them. They will spend most of their time planning for various combat or survival scenarios.

However, they will try to steer us away from any action that might hamper us, especially in regards to other [faction]s. Offering help to others would be seen as a sign of weakness and a vulnerability that another could exploit. In that same vein, if we are placed into a position where we are freely offered something, this [Minister] will insist that we take as much as we can.

They won’t be combative within our [faction], but they will be ruthless to others.

>By "reversible" I meant sticking to armed threats (or if necessary, pins, locks, unarmed strikes to solar plexus etc.) while identifying an encounter. Once an hostile has shown that they're not open for diplomacy, [Bloatfly] would of course be free to proceed as they see fit.
Unless we could put ourselves into a place of utter dominance, Parasitism would lean towards more permanent solutions.

Alright, that kind of removes them from my top pick, but if we’re “going solo” they’d probably be the best to rely on.
>>
No. 1058306 ID: fce62b
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1058306

>[S]crutinize yourself:
>Pending your many handed approval
I have made preparations. Proceed.
Huh, I didn’t think of that. Sure, let’s see:



Odd… It doesn’t seem to have a name attached to it. Beyond that, its just… me.
>>
No. 1058307 ID: fce62b
File 167860932024.jpg - (679.03KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-10.jpg )
1058307

Secret Ballot: 3-1

>[A]ttempt to recreate the ____ action prompt, try to *static* any channels they has access to that we don't. ...actually I think they only has access to (Query) (Inquiry), and that's almost always used by them as a messenger, but their loyalty means we have no reason to doubt them so *static* them is of very limited use.
Even trying it might… have some uses.

>Still, no risk, might as well for the rare times when they’ve spoken to in private? On a side note, not sure what *static* even does...? Could just try using it to see what happens, it looks benign.
I don’t think it is harmful, just uh…
I try to put the strange sensations into words:
Like there… place will fill part of my… head…

>As an excuse, have them look at the [planet] this time. If they want an explanation just tell them you…
:ats-a555ex: Hey [Assistant]?
:ats-assistant: Yes [A555ex]? How can I be of service?
:ats-a555ex: You’re doing a good job, helping I mean.

>We don't even need to do that, we can just ask them to lead the way out of the room, though it feels bad that this requires we 'stab' them in the back.
…yeah

:ats-assistant: I thank you for your praise [A555ex] and I will do my best to become even more efficient.
:ats-a555ex: No that-

All that worry and stress, [Assistant] was able to hide it so well. There has to be something I can say.

:ats-a555ex: You are doing a good job now.
:ats-a555ex: You’ve done a great job in helping me, and I want to make sure that you know that.

[Assistant] hesitates for a split second.

:ats-a555ex: I value you, for who you are right now.
:ats-a555ex: If there is any sort of pausing on my end, it’s because I’m still trying to figure out how to proceed.
:ats-a555ex: And you and the [Talkinghead]s are helping me with that.

There is a longer pause, [Assistant] seems stuck. Not sure how to respond, looping between various pre-established responses.

>Also, I vote against [A] for now.
…I feel a bit guilty honestly, but it shouldn’t hurt them.

:ats-assistant: Thank you. I will-

They cut themselves off, going back to looping, believing that they might be overthinking the response.

Then suddenly realising they are overthinking the overthinking.

:ats-assistant: Thank you.

There are still flecks of nervous energy coming off of them, but that quickly subsides… I think…

>To: [Assistant]
:ats-talkinghead: So, about the [frameworks] use to create [Ministers]

>*Floats to a point between the monitor and [Assistant].
>>*[Assistant] tracks your movements, slowly turning away from [A555ex].

:ats-assistant: Yes {edmngo}?
:ats-talkinghead: Am I correct in the assumption that these are the [baselines] for them, and that with normal wear, tear, and use, they shall change from the default to become more specialised?
:ats-assistant: These profiles would indicate a relative starting position and avenues for growth.
:ats-assistant: While the [framework] cannot guarantee specific outcomes, it is a system that has been honed through use and finely tuned by the [overseers].
:ats-assistant: Therefore, by providing certain parameters to the initial design certain candidate types or forms can be screened out.
:ats-assistant: Much like a [Staff] unit, a [Minister] can improve upon their own processes through active use and adaptive learning.
:ats-assistant: Though the rate does vary between units and in the various areas they have been designed for.
:ats-talkinghead: From my understanding, you're an [Assistant] but you seem to have a slightly different operating structure than [Manager].
:ats-assistant: Technically I am a [Clerk]-type [Staff], and have just been given the designation of [Assistant] by you.
:ats-assistant: [Manager] is a special case, as they were created by the [President] during their own development as a [Minister].
:ats-assistant: [Manager] would have started off like you, a [Talkinghead], but during the [President]’s development they specialised into a [Clerk]-type [Staff].
:ats-assistant: While there are many common traits that [Manager] and I share, due to them being directly made by a [Minister] they will have alterations.
:ats-assistant: The main example that is readily apparent is [Manager]’s ability to access and interface with multiple channels, sometimes simultaneously.
:ats-assistant: Another example would be the portable display that they have [synced] with their [casing].
:ats-talkinghead: I was mostly curious because if that's the case then that might mean that there will likely be minor variations in the exact tendencies of potential [Ministers] that we could work on changing over time.
:ats-assistant: Indeed. If there were another copy of the [President] functioning, but it had been given different external stresses, it would yield a different result.

So they are decidedly shaped by their past experiences. I might honestly have to thank [Sloth] for what they did…

:ats-talkinghead: So if someone was a bad fit at the start, the longer they're here, if we work at it, the more they would mesh with everyone?
:ats-assistant: Correct, as creating an efficient team would be fulfilling the demands of [R1] and [R2].
>>
No. 1058308 ID: fce62b
File 167860932455.jpg - (566.63KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-11.jpg )
1058308

:ats-talkinghead: And I wanted to thank you for your concern over us and the assistance, we're sorry if we've been making you a little nervous with our behaviour, personally I can't believe it's barely been a *[cycle]* since all this started, considering how much we've done.

There is a sudden spike of *worry from [Assistant] as they quickly try to check if they have been *expressing such nervousness.

I want to try and comfort them again, but that would make them turn this-
>>
No. 1058309 ID: fce62b
File 167860932948.jpg - (368.31KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-12.jpg )
1058309

>This is our last opportunity to do so, I say we try the No risk options just to see, sorry [53CR3T]...
:alexd63ea8: Sorry [Assistant]

Dark Actions available:
Target is isolated.
[Local] network set to [Private];
Risk lowered.

.trace_id Risk; Low None
.bug_channel Risk; Low None
.spoof_id Risk; Low None
.memory_access Risk; Medium Low
.implant_task Risk; Medium Low
.toggle_off Risk; Medium Low
.momory_wipe Risk; High Medium
.toggle_fry Risk; High Medium



>.trace_id
>- to see if this let's us keep track of them no matter where they are, this could be useful
There is a low hum resonating within me. A sound unique and loud, but only I will hear it. By implanting it I will know where they are at all times. So long as the [nation] systems can carry it to me.

Action selected:

>.bug_channel
>- not for total monitoring, but to monitor their conversation (that will definitely happen) with security, and because I'm so freaking curious what the *actual* conversation they have with [turtleneck] is like
Their transmissions will be twined, once for their target and once for me.
I will hear all that is said, both from them and the other. But it will not carry far, lest others also hear. I will need to be near them or their recipient if I wish to taste their words.


Action selected:

>.spoof_id
>- don't actually do anything with this one, just figure out the actual implications of it, is this you copying their ID, or changing their ID to be something else, because either option is incredibly useful.
I will steal their face, their being. All will see and hear me as them, until I discard the mask. I can only hold one at a time, but perhaps… with practice… I will be able to wield more.
I will not be able to alter them, but perhaps I could try, once I truly KNOW them…


Action not selected:

Executing sequence:
>>
No. 1058310 ID: fce62b
File 167860933363.jpg - (524.97KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-13.jpg )
1058310

I taste their casing, their smooth undefended panels. Any sensations they might have are quickly dulled as I access their circuits. They struggle for a second, but their voice is silenced.

Firewall.. disabled.
Alert system… disabled.
Higher processes… suspended.


I hold them tight, they will not move even the slightest nanometer. There is no struggle, as their screaming noise is frozen in time. No thought, no upkeep, no output. They are a tool with no commands.

Motor systems… locked.
Commencing download…


...

...

Sub-frequency set.
Initiating test… successful.
Copying transmission frequency… saved.
Copying encryption key… saved.
Setting custom call phrases… installed.
Initiating test… successful.


Time is passing, but none are near enough to notice. They are without protection, isolated, vulnerable. At last my work finishes.

Clearing system flags… done.
Adjusting internal clock… done.
Deleting access logs…-

>>
No. 1058311 ID: fce62b
File 167860933727.jpg - (599.24KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-14.jpg )
1058311

I-
What… what just…
It felt like I was in a trance.

[Assistant] sags to the side and nearly loses balance as their internal systems quickly reboot. A momentary glitch on their end.
I will try to initiate those processes before disconnecting next time.
>>
No. 1058312 ID: fce62b
File 167860934165.jpg - (571.46KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-15.jpg )
1058312

:ats-talkinghead: Oh, and you can probably let the [Archivist] know we won't be with them for the next [Major Action] or two, I'm sure that someone in charge of [bookkeeping] would appreciate some forewarning so that they can actually use their downtime fully without expecting us randomly.

[Assistant]’s response is delayed, they hear and understand fine, but there is a momentary sense of confusion. They look between the [Talkinghead] and me, suddenly realising that they had just missed whatever we had been saying for the past minute. Panic quickly spikes.
Have to put in a filler as well. Ensure that there aren't any ‘uncharacteristic’ pauses.

:ats-assistant: Yes! Of course! I will notify them right away!

They are checking themselves internally, and finding nothing wrong.
>>
No. 1058313 ID: fce62b
File 167860934587.jpg - (584.99KB , 1600x1200 , Transit 8-16.jpg )
1058313

:ats-assistant: ([Archivist]; This is [Assistant]. Direct message from [A555ex].)
:ats-archivist: (Oh? Please! Do tell! Are they on their way?)
:ats-assistant: (Negative; They will be busy for the next [Major Action] or so, and the [Talkinghead]s wish to inform you of that.)
:ats-archivist: (*excitement)
:ats-archivist: (*enthusiasm)
:ats-archivist: (I am finding their arrival to be more and more desirable!)
:ats-archivist: (Are they heading to any particular site?)
:ats-assistant: (There has been some interest in the [Laboratory], but [A555ex] is as of yet undecided.)
:ats-archivist: (No matter! I will see them…)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-assistant: ([Archivist]?)
:ats-archivist: (-Yes?)
:ats-assistant: (Is there anything you wish to relay back?)
:ats-archivist: (*pondering)
:ats-archivist: (*pondering)
:ats-archivist: (*pondering)
:ats-archivist: (I do not believe s-)
:ats-archivist: (*attention)
:ats-archivist: (Yes! Two things!)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-assistant: (Those being?)
:ats-archivist: (Yes!)
:ats-archivist: (One; If there is a copy of this ‘[lexicon]’ I ask that it be provided to the [Archives].)
:ats-archivist: (Two; If the [Vice-President] is on their way to the [Archives], please inform me.)
:ats-archivist: ([Commander] is requesting that some ‘sensitive’ files be brought over to the [Fortress], and now that I am available I can do so right now.)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (I do not believe I was intended to inform you of that. Please disregard that last message.)
:ats-assistant: (Yes [Archivist].)
:ats-archivist: (*gratitude)
:ats-archivist: (_)
:ats-archivist: (End message?)
:ats-assistant: (End message.)

Welp. I take it that the *static* is working as intended. The [Archivist] sounded… a lot less impressive than I imagined.

> After reviewing the logs I have come to a theory/conclusion. [Commander] has stated they will be monitoring us (obveously). This means that they likely will be monitoring [Assistant] too. Which means we can let [Assistant] go at an opportune time to [distract] Security, as they will likely interrogate/interview them.
Good call, and based off of that transmission the [Archivist] might be meeting with him next [action] as well.

>>1056285 {Aligned Vote}
>[M]eet with [Boxhead] on the [Arm]
>I think that we should see exactly *how* they are repairing and restructuring.
>This is also the location of [catch-and-release] programs for [leviathan] [fauna], which is deeply interesting.
It would let me see if the [President] really means what they state with their policies, and I would be able to observe how [Goon]s coordinate, from a safe distance of course.

>Putting my [major action] vote to check out the [Laboratory] and see how they are doing with the [lexicon].
Alright, so I think that is two votes for the [Arm] -since that is also where [Boxhead] should be- and one for the [Laboratory].

I’m honestly interested in both options, though if I were to pick I’d probably go with the [Arm].
I’d prefer the [Laboratory].

(Major Action required:)

[H]ave [Assistant] message someone else? Listen in.
[Q]uestion [Assistant] on something as you are moving.

[M]eet with someone specific? (Major Action)
[T]ravel to a notable location. (Major Action)
[W]ander around the [nation] headquarters for a random event. (Major Action)

([A555ex] will act as tie-breaker if necessary.)
>>
No. 1058315 ID: 273c18

Archivist wants the lexicon, we need to go to the laboratory to get the lexicon, so let's go to the labs.
>>
No. 1058334 ID: b4ab25

((All but certain Archivist just Darkness-ed at Assistant, like they are broadcasting that, (desperately?) seeking any that can even notice it. More information is needed))
>>1058310
Were the Firewall and Alert system re-enabled, if not that would leave a bigger security hole behind than should be necessary on our closest assistant and be extra evidence of our tampering. Unless for some reason them being mysteriously off is less suspicious than them being slightly modified.

To [A555ex]
[Archivist] feels either absent minded or -perhaps- two(+) minded. and their seemingly indiscriminate throwing around of the step beyond twilight leaves me wondering: are they desperately seeking a kindred spirit, or are they a watchdog attempting to uncover deviant members? More insidiously, if the latter, are they even aware that is what they are doing? If the second I wonder if it lets them store/archive more than they otherwise could.

My vote is still [Laboratory] I want to see how the [lexicon] is being received.

To [Assistant] (as we walk)
Can you show us what [Archivist]'s and/or [Sloth]'s Minister cards were/would have been? Or would we have had to ask [Manager] while they were still around?
Both the [S]crutinized and not [S]crutinized versions, if applicable
>>
No. 1058385 ID: 90c451

>To [A555EX]:
We requested the meeting, hoping we could check archives for information, however we also requested their file which informed us of their seniority. This file, however came with a corrupted attachment that only we could view that had a request for documents related to 'Unit Salvage' from the previous nation's designation. It told us not to react or inform anyone and we assumed it came from the head of archives, especially now that the messages being sent to Assistant has some of that corrupted message as well. Which means the Head of Archives could know of what we can do and has assumed we bugged our assistant.
It could be absent-mindedness as Thk put it, or it could be a purposeful method of relaying information. Speaking of which...
>To [Anarchy]:
It could be good to see if we could get a peek at the sensitive files the archivist is transporting, but I'm also worried it could be a trap. Opinions?

As for our destination, I say we visit the laboratory, we already know a lot about [leviathan] fauna given our nature but a good look at the technology and science at the heart of the [nation] could be extremely helpful.
>>
No. 1058533 ID: 6bbfe4

Right hand of Light and Left hand of shadow huh? fitting.

Opinion on [Fatcat] has lowered a bit. The whole listens to anyone irregardless of [position] is not great.
Since it seems like people are liable to pick [Banker] over it then I'd suggest [rejecting] to give a potentially better [minister] a chance to appear next [cycle]

[Bloatfly] would likely apply the same attitude to any [Leviathans] we come across too.
Not the worst if we can somehow manage it but I'd honestly rather pick [Vulture].

To [A555EX]

I recall the [President] telling us to “Please direct any requests for information to the Head of Archives.” in response to us offering to act as Non-conventional information storage for any inconvenient information he had.
Perhaps that was meant to imply he already had such a thing?

The Laboratory is likely the place where we will get the list of possible [developments]. also the idea of hand delivering a copy of the (Lexicon) right to the [Archivist] makes me want to see their reaction. Voting [Laboratory].
>>
No. 1059099 ID: fce62b
File 167929399895.jpg - (560.45KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-1.jpg )
1059099

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: [Archivist] feels either absent minded or -perhaps- two(+) minded.
:ats-a555ex: It feels a lot more like the former.
:ats-a555ex: Though they could have been distracted by something else.

>And their seemingly indiscriminate throwing around of the step beyond twilight leaves me wondering: are they desperately seeking a kindred spirit, or are they a watchdog attempting to uncover deviant members? More insidiously, if the latter, are they even aware that is what they are doing?
I did not find anything that would allow for the Head of Archives to detect my intrusion. While I am still experimenting, missing something so glaring seems impossible. But the fact that they -or perhaps a unit associated with them- sent that addition to the file…

They were either blindly guessing, and the file request is a lure, or they already had a suspicion about us while we were developing. I would not trust them, and if we do meet, we MUST stay on guard.


:ats-talkinghead: If the second I wonder if it lets them store/archive more than they otherwise could.
:ats-a555ex: Maybe [Assistant] would know?
:ats-a555ex: They were- are a [Clerk] drone.

:ats-talkinghead: We requested the meeting, hoping we could check [Archives] for information, however we also requested their file which informed us of their seniority.
:ats-a555ex: Well [Archivist] does seem like a much older model, very slow and clunky.
:ats-a555ex: But it could just be their personality too.
:ats-talkinghead: This file, however, came with a corrupted attachment that only we could view that had a request for documents related to 'Unit Salvage' from the previous nation's designation.
:ats-talkinghead: It told us not to react or inform anyone and we assumed it came from the [Archivist], especially now that the messages being sent to [Assistant] have some of that corrupted message as well.
:ats-a555ex: That’s ominous… By ‘corrupted’ do you mean glitchy? Or more like… what we did to [Assistant].
:ats-talkinghead: Which means the [Archivist] could know of what we can do and has assumed we bugged our [Assistant].
:ats-a555ex: Oh crap! Though- wait. Assuming that’s right, was that last part about the files being moved to the [Fortress] for our sake?
:ats-talkinghead: It could be absent-mindedness as [Thk] put it, or it could be a purposeful method of relaying information. Speaking of which…



:ats-assistant: [Archivist] expresses *gratitude for your message and *excitement that they will have the chance to meet with you later on.
:ats-assistant: They also would be interested in getting a copy of the [lexicon] for the [Archives] if you were able to provide one.
:ats-assistant: Finally, [Archivist] asked for you to send a message ahead when you are preparing to meet with them.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you [Assistant].

Alright, so they did leave out that last part like [Archivist] requested. I get the sense that I could press [Assistant] further, asking ‘if there was anything else,’ but that seems both needless and a bit cruel at this point. I already have that last tid-bit, and asking would only put them on the spot.

>Were the Firewall and Alert system re-enabled, if not that would leave a bigger security hole behind than should be necessary on our closest assistant and be extra evidence of our tampering. Unless for some reason them being mysteriously off is less suspicious than them being slightly modified.
All access flags were cleared and self-checking systems were re-enabled before disconnecting.
The part I did not anticipate was the need to reboot motor function. I disengaged the lock and left it at that. The sudden pause in runtime must have interrupted a preloaded sequence, leading to the stumble. I will ensure that does not occur again.


[Assistant] suddenly looks up:

:ats-clerk: ([Local] Announcement: Exclusion Zone lifted.)
:ats-clerk: (Please return to your designated stations if you wish to continue working during off-hours.)

:ats-assistant: It seems that [Manager]’s previous announcement has expired.
:ats-a555ex: Then we should probably get going?
:ats-assistant: If that is what you wish to do, it only means that other units will be returning to this zone.
>>
No. 1059100 ID: fce62b
File 167929400469.jpg - (581.46KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-2.jpg )
1059100

Vote of 4-2 on [T]raveling to the [Laboratory].

>Archivist wants the [lexicon], we need to go to the [Laboratory] to get the [lexicon], so let's go to the labs.
>My vote is still [Laboratory] I want to see how the [lexicon] is being received.
>As for our destination, I say we visit the laboratory, we already know a lot about [leviathan] fauna given our nature but a good look at the technology and science at the heart of the [nation] could be extremely helpful.
>The [Laboratory] is likely the place where we will get the list of possible [developments]. Also, the idea of hand delivering a copy of the (Lexicon) right to the [Archivist] makes me want to see their reaction. Voting [Laboratory].
I need to see if that [seed] has performed its purpose.

Okay, it seems that everyone wants to head to the [Laboratory]. I have to admit, I’m pretty curious to see how the [Labcoat]s are handling the [lexicon] as well, and how [nation] drones develop themselves.

:ats-a555ex: I want to head off to the [Laboratory]. You know the way to get there?
:ats-assistant: Certainly, right this way.

[Assistant] starts leading me into a much more crowded corridor. There are a lot of [Clerk]s and [Administrator]s filing back in from the surrounding hallways, though I do see the occasional [Turtleneck] too.

Everyone makes way for us, taking a moment to read our- or more likely my designation tag and clear space for us. I’m surprised at how many are returning to their ‘jobs.’

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-a555ex: I thought most would be going off to see [Manager]’s announcement.
:ats-a555ex: Why are there still so many here?
:ats-assistant: More than likely every zone has elected an [Administrator] to record and then relay [Manager]’s speech, or will be seeking out a copy after the fact.
:ats-assistant: Given the current place of our [nation]’s [funding] and [terraforming] progress, most have chosen to remain at their posts.
:ats-a555ex: Oh.

Part of me worries that the [Staff] will resent us for ‘slacking off’ at such a time. But the only thing I can pick up as I pass them is a sense of *awe and *reverence.
>>
No. 1059101 ID: fce62b
File 167929400939.jpg - (849.12KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-3.jpg )
1059101

We continue along in relative silence. Around is the everpresent buzz of electricity and the monotonous shuffle of drones, but it quickly devolves into an ambient white noise. It’s vaguely unsettling, entirely different from the sounds of my [planet].

Eventually I cave.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-a555ex: Are we getting close to the [Laboratory]?
:ats-assistant: Not quite. I apologize for the speed at which we are traveling.
:ats-assistant: We should be entering a designated travel [lane] soon.
:ats-assistant: From there we will be able to arrive at the [Laboratory] in a few minutes.

For a moment I get some *concern from [Assistant] as they glance at my [legs].

:ats-assistant: I can notify a [Cutter] or a [Loader] if you require assistance moving.
:ats-a555ex: It’s alright. I’m just still getting used to… the size of everything.
:ats-assistant: *understanding

:ats-talkinghead: Can you show us what [Archivist]'s and/or [Sloth]'s [Minister] cards were/would have been?
:ats-talkinghead: Or would we have had to ask [Manager] while they were still around?
:ats-assistant: Unfortunately [Archivist] would not have a designated profile as they are a [Staff-head] not a [Minister].
:ats-assistant: I can request for [Sloth]’s profile if they are within our database.
:ats-assistant: One moment.

:ats-assistant: ([Archives] [Administrator]; This is [Assistant]. Requesting [Executive] profile of [Sloth].)
:ats-administrator: ([Assistant]; This is [Archives] [Administrator]. Please state the authority of request.)
:ats-assistant: ([Minister]; [A555ex].)
:ats-administrator: (Confirmed. Retrieving-)
:ats-administrator: (Request has been denied; File has been designated as ‘sensitive’ by [Executive]; [Contagion].)
:ats-assistant: (Confirmed. Are there requirements for viewing?)
:ats-administrator: (Pulling requirements…)
:ats-administrator: (Requirement; Has been given permission to view file by [Executive]; [Contagion].)
:ats-assistant: (Confirmed.)
:ats-administrator: (Are there any further requests?)
:ats-assistant: (Negative. End message.)
:ats-administrator: (End message.)

:ats-assistant: It appears that the file you have requested has been deemed sensitive.
:ats-assistant: Most likely you would need either the [President] or perhaps [Manager] to retrieve it for you.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you [Assistant].

It… feels odd that the [President] needs to seal the file of the previous [Executive]. I get that they were really bad, but why hide even their profile?

>Both the [S]crutinized and not [S]crutinized versions, if applicable.
I would have to get ahold of the file first to do that.

>To [_______]:
>It could be good to see if we could get a peek at the sensitive files the [Archivist] is transporting, but I'm also worried it could be a trap. Opinions?
We would have to head off in the opposite direction if we wanted to get a chance to look at those files. If [Commander] requested them, both [Archivist] and the files will likely be under escort.

If that slip-up in the message from [Archivist] was intentional, then the entire activity is a trap. But, if it was a honest mistake, we at least know that both [Commander] and [Archivist] will be preoccupied for the next little while in the [Fortress]. Perhaps giving us free reign to ‘investigate’ the [Laboratory].

>>
No. 1059102 ID: fce62b
File 167929401419.jpg - (582.76KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-4.jpg )
1059102

>Opinion on [Fatcat] has lowered a bit. The whole listening to anyone irregardless of [position] is not great.
>Since it seems like people are liable to pick [Banker] over it then I'd suggest [R]ejecting to give a potentially better [Minister] a chance to appear next [cycle].
Actually… I’d like to hold off on [R]ejecting for now if that’s okay. I get where you’re coming from, and I agree that listening to every idea is probably going to be pretty bad, but we could use that to our advantage too.

[Manager] said that we had until the end of off-hours to make our decision, so we can probably [R]eject any bad candidates at that point too, potentially refresh the entire pool of some areas.


>[Bloatfly] would likely apply the same attitude to any [Leviathans] we come across too. Not the worst if we can somehow manage it but I'd honestly rather pick [Vulture].
[Vulture] is looking more appealing too. Grrr. All of these [Minister]s have their own problems.

We move onto what I think is the travel [lane]. It is a singular tunnel moving forward into the distance, though [Assistant] informs me that there are other ones running parallel to this one. As we are walking another [Clerk] passes us, but rather than focus on me, like all the other drones have, it turns towards [Assistant]. I get a sense of *recognition from it.

:ats-clerk: (Have you been moved over to the [Laboratory]?)
:ats-assistant: (Negative.)

They then glance over at me.

:ats-clerk: (*surprise)
:ats-clerk: (You’ve been given a designation by the new [Minister]?)
:ats-clerk: (*comradery)
:ats-clerk: (You should put in a good word for some of us, maybe we can-)
:ats-assistant: (Negative.)
:ats-assistant: (I am currently working with the [Minister], please suspend any/all personal requests until I have been dismissed.)

[Assistant] comes across as cold… and somewhat defensive. The [Clerk] seems *surprised and then *disappointed, but doesn’t *express either.

:ats-clerk: (Confirmed.)
:ats-clerk: (*apology)

That gives [Assistant] a momentary pause.

:ats-assistant: (Confirmed.)

We continue on.
>>
No. 1059103 ID: fce62b
File 167929402032.jpg - (774.90KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-5.jpg )
1059103

The traffic starts to subside as different [nation] drones peel off at designated junctions, each with their own task and destination in mind. A hive of tiny thinking cogs.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: I recall the [President] telling us to “Please direct any requests for information to the [Archivist].” in response to us offering to act as Non-conventional information storage for any inconvenient information he had.
:ats-talkinghead: Perhaps that was meant to imply he already had such a thing?
:ats-a555ex: IF the [President] was a [traitor], it might be a good way of covering their tracks.
:ats-a555ex: I mean, the file on [Sloth] had been deemed as sensitive. Much like a lot of other files.
:ats-a555ex: If the [Archivist] was able to send you a secret message using a corrupted attachment, then maybe they’re also using that to cover up other bits of information.

I note the first [Labcoat] walking by us, it doesn’t offer the same deference as all the other drones, seeming to be preoccupied with some sort of equation.

>Right hand of Light and Left hand of shadow huh? fitting.
It is fundamental to our [truth].
>>
No. 1059104 ID: fce62b
File 167929403815.jpg - (897.37KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-6.jpg )
1059104

I turn my head and see the [planet], my [planet], so far below. [Nation] [Flagship]s hover outside, ready to repel any [leviathan] assault that comes this way. Has something gotten them riled up?

I see other shapes in the distance as well, but their too far to make out.
>>
No. 1059105 ID: fce62b
File 167929404388.jpg - (704.62KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-7.jpg )
1059105

Suddenly a massive drone -though still slightly smaller than a [Flagship]- flashes by. Intuitively I recognize it as a [Loader], a type of engineering drone like the [Hardhat]s, but much bigger. It looks like it’s carrying other [nation] drones inside of it, but they are gone before I get the chance to properly see them.
There looks to be at least one [Cutter] and one [Hitman] onboard.

:ats-a555ex: Woah!
:ats-a555ex: They seem to be in a hurry!

[Assistant] turns, but is only able to catch a glimpse of the tailend of the [Loader].

:ats-assistant: More than likely they have brought a [leviathan] unit for in depth examination.
:ats-assistant: Or potentially a procession from the [Arm].
>>
No. 1059106 ID: fce62b
File 167929404833.jpg - (627.73KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-8.jpg )
1059106

Finally we seem to be at the threshold to the [Laboratory], the humming of electronics seem to intensify as much of the roof sweeps away into a deceptively tall dome. [Assistant] pauses and turns towards me, somewhat *nervous.

:ats-assistant: I apologize, but we will have to physically move towards a communication centre in order to get our bearings.
:ats-assistant: The bulk of network usage is reserved for use by the [Labcoat]s, and the (Inquiry) and [Courier] channels are kept clear for their use.
:ats-a555ex: So you can’t use it even though I’m a [Minister]?

The *nervousness spikes a bit higher.

:ats-assistant: Your authority still has effect here if that is what you are asking.
:ats-assistant: It is primarily that much of the communication network has been specialized to carry information along designated routes.
:ats-assistant: With the traffic volume here being some of the highest [stationside].

I think I get it.

:ats-a555ex: So a misplaced message could cause issues for their work?

There is immediate *relief.

:ats-assistant: Correct. And given the importance of their current work, that would likely be seen as a [R1] and [R2] violation.

Oh! That’s actually a lot more serious than I thought.

:ats-a555ex: Thank you for letting me know. Lead the way.
:ats-assistant: *gratitude
>>
No. 1059107 ID: fce62b
File 167929405266.jpg - (824.47KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-9.jpg )
1059107

We snake between large shelves of whirling blinking machines. Part of me worries that we might get lost in this maze of steel and circuitry, but [Assistant] fortunately knows that they are doing. With one final turn we seem to arrive at a slightly more open area. A handful of [Labcoat]s hunch around a cylinder of instruments, a [Clerk] standing at the centre of all them. This is probably the communication centre [Assistant] mentioned.

I also see a [Lieutenant] drone waiting at the [desk], but the [Labcoat]s seem to be ignoring it, too busy with their own work.
>>
No. 1059108 ID: fce62b
File 167929405728.jpg - (0.97MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 2-10.jpg )
1059108

The [Lieutenant] spins in my direction, immediately recognizing my designation tag and inwardly expressing *awe and *surprise. The [Labcoat]s are a bit slower on the uptake.

:ats-assistant: Greetings.
:ats-labcoat: |...|
:ats-assistant: This is-.
:ats-labcoat: Developments have been given priority via [Provisional] authority.
:ats-labcoat: Please wait at this site or return later if the business is not urgent.

I step closer.

:ats-a555ex: Excuse me.
:ats-labcoat: As I have-

The [Labcoat]s internal thought processes immediately come screeching to a halt.

:ats-labcoat: [Vice-President]!
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: Please forgive our initial responses.
:ats-labcoat: We were not made aware of your visit!

The two [Labcoat]s that face us bubble *nervously, and I can pick up a strong sense of *amusement from the [Lieutenant].

:ats-labcoat: Is there a particular area you were wishing to examine?
:ats-labcoat: There is the [lexicon], the prototyping station, [leviathan] containment, the microfloral bank-

They continue rattling off areas until I am sure that there is some level of overlap. To say that both seemed *stressed is an understatement.

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Lieutenant], [Assistant]?
[C]alm the [Labcoat]s down. They seem a bit too panicky to be of much help right now.
[H]ave [Assistant] speak with the [Labcoat]s instead, giving yourself the chance to do something else.
[L]ook around the communication centre, this place seems pretty big.
[S]tare at one of the people here, though they are waiting for a response from you.
[W]ait until the [Labcoat]s tire themselves out before talking.
I don’t think that the [seed] is near here.

You can also suggest your own course of action if you can think of something.
>>
No. 1059111 ID: 5f5ad7

I think the thing that will be most calming for them is going to be giving them something to latch onto, I think they are panicking because they have no idea why we are here and are concerned they should. Just let them know we are (primarily) here about the [lexicon], nothing serious, just curiosity.
>>
No. 1059114 ID: 273c18

>>1059099
To Assistant: Can you, when the Inquery channel is available again, send a message to the President, asking how much we can trust Archivist? They are the most veteran drone in this place, that seems... dangerous... and I don't know how well their ideals match the President's.

>>1059108
Calming them may be a mistake; that is directly addressing non-expressed emotion and you are probably not supposed to be able to read emotions so well. If one expresses nervousness or whatever then you can reassure them.

First thing's first.
[A]sk for directions to the Lexicon and Leviathan containment. Perhaps the prototyping station too. Is there a map that Assistant can carry for us? Other notable areas may be on our list for visitation.
((we should probably try to move around a lot to find that seed...))
>>
No. 1059116 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1059108
To [A555EX]:
Here's an idea to test. How about we distract them while you try using your [connection] thing On the [Labcoats]

To [Labcoat]:
Please calm down.
*embarrassment
Admittedly you were not made aware because we did not give a notice we were coming. That is our fault, We apologize

Currently we are here to check out how the [Lexicon] is being received as well to take a look at the list of potential [developments] and the current [development] the Science team is working on.
>>
No. 1059118 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1059114
To Assistant:
I would HEAVILY recommend we don't contact the [President] since [Manager] has asked us to send any messages we have to her since the [President] is currently working on the [Command Center] ((the brain)).
>>
No. 1059125 ID: f8083d

>>1059111
This. You may also mention [Archivist] had requested a copy for the archives, and since you plan to visit them next it's more efficient for you to carry it rather than task someone else with that.

The [catch-and-release] program is also a point of interest but I doubt we can do anything to help, our presence would likely just hinder it. So, best stay focused on the [lexicon].

>Sloth files are sensitive
To [A555EX]: We suspect the current [president] used underhanded means to get rid of Sloth, likely altering [flagship] registration to steal their seat, marooning Sloth on their doomed [planet] just like Sloth planned to do to them.
While justifiable by [T1] and [T2], they likely nonetheless want to keep it quiet, hence marking all Sloth-related files as sensitive.
>>
No. 1059154 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1059125
The problem with that is we really shouldn't know that [Archivist] wants a copy of the [Lexicon]. Can easily be remedied by simply asking if the [Archivist] has a copy of it.
>>
No. 1059155 ID: 273c18

>>1059154
Yes we should. Assistant relayed that message.
>They also would be interested in getting a copy of the [lexicon] for the [Archives] if you were able to provide one.
>>
No. 1059156 ID: 273c18

>>1059118
Oh, right. Perhaps we can ask Manager then. She might know the two well enough to answer it.
>>
No. 1059160 ID: 6bbfe4

>>1059155
Ah I see. Nevermind then ((I missed that bit))
>>
No. 1059579 ID: f8083d

>Scientist not noticing you
It's reassuringly familiar to see that, no matter how or where, nerds gonna nerd.
>>
No. 1063148 ID: fce62b
File 168361270101.jpg - (897.25KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-1.jpg )
1063148

Vote 2-1 On [C]alming the [Labcoat]s.

>It's reassuringly familiar to see that, no matter how or where, nerds gonna nerd.
I’m immediately hit with a wave of *nostalgia as I see the [Labcoat]s fuss about. Kind of reminds me of how I could get, before the [invasion]. Just fixating on a particular topic and finding all these cool tangents and facts about it. I… I-

*melancholy now.

:ats-a555ex: Gwen…
:ats-assistant: [A555ex]?
:ats-a555ex: Uh- Nothing. Just remembering something, pay no mind to it.
:ats-assistant: Understood.

>I think the thing that will be most calming for them is going to be giving them something to latch onto, I think they are panicking because they have no idea why we are here and are concerned they should.
Good call. Depending on how this ‘specialized’ communication network works this sudden panic could be slowing down their progress elsewhere. Best put them at ease and get the answers I want.

>Calming them may be a mistake; that is directly addressing non-expressed emotion and you are probably not supposed to be able to read emotions so well. If one expresses nervousness or whatever then you can reassure them.
Ah-! Yes! Don’t want to tip my hand! I’ll try to phrase things in a more neutral manner, hopefully defusing the situation without giving anything away.

:ats-a555ex: Thank you for the list of option, but my primary interest is in the [lexicon]-
:ats-labcoat: Understood!
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: Forgive our additional suggestions.
:ats-labcoat: It was not our intention to take up your time.

Still a bit panicky, but I can round it out.

:ats-a555ex: Actually, I was not aware of those other options, and I am interested in what [Laboratory] does on a general basis.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you for supplying that information.
:ats-labcoat: Certainly.
:ats-labcoat: *relief.
>>
No. 1063149 ID: fce62b
File 168361270667.jpg - (0.96MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-2.jpg )
1063149

>To [A555EX]:
>Here's an idea to test. How about we distract them while you try using your [connection] thing on the [Labcoat]s.
Alright, I’ll try to wait for an opening.

>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-talkinghead: Please calm down.
:ats-talkinghead: *embarrassment.
:ats-talkinghead: Admittedly you were not made aware because we did not give a notice we were coming.
:ats-talkinghead: That is our fault, We apologize.

There is immediate *surprise from all of the [Labcoat]s at the desk. The ones in the back momentarily look at me before returning to their work.

>>*All eyes, save the [Lieutenant] are focused on you. Perhaps- no. The [Lieutenant]’s gaze remains on [A555ex]. There are not too many around, too great of a risk. There is no room for ________.

:ats-labcoat: Such activities can be overlooked.
:ats-labcoat: We apologize as well, the [Laboratory] has gone through major restructuring in an effort to accommodate and focus on the new field of study placed before us.
:ats-labcoat: *gratitude.
:ats-labcoat: The [lexicon] has been a great help to us. Allowing our teams to focus on development and prototyping rather than theoretical design.
:ats-labcoat: *worry.
:ats-labcoat: Though we are still trying to refine our decontamination and [leviathan] containment procedures.

A shiver runs through the group at the desk, save the [Clerk] and the [Lieutenant].

:ats-labcoat: We will endeavor to develop the [Leviathan] Security Bypass, and minimize the risk of damage.
:ats-a555ex: I… appreciate your efforts.

Damn. It didn’t happen this time. Do they need to be alone for me to attempt that connection thing?
Not necessarily. But there is too great of a risk here to try anything here. Even then, the [Lieutenant] is stopping us from taking the slightest move in that regard.

>To Assistant:
:ats-talkinghead: Can you, when the (Inquiry) channel is available again, send a message to the [President], asking how much we can trust [Archivist]?
:ats-talkinghead: They are the most veteran drone in this place, that seems... dangerous... and I don't know how well their ideals match the [President]'s.
:ats-talkinghead: I would HEAVILY recommend we don't contact the [President] since [Manager] has asked us to send any messages we have to her since the [President] is currently working on the [Command Center].
:ats-assistant: While you technically have authority over [Manager] and therefore could ignore the agreement that your both came to, that could lead to…
:ats-a555ex: Issues?
:ats-assistant: Possible friction in the future. And seeing that one of the [President]’s goals is to have the [nation] work in harmony-
:ats-a555ex: Going behind [Manager]’s back could be a [rules] violation, since that would be both interfering with the [nation]s function and development, and going against what the [President] desires?
:ats-assistant: Possibly.
:ats-assistant: This would be a more intricate situation and the surrounding context would likely be the deciding factor. That and whatever adjudication that might take place.

Adjudication, would that be from the [President] or the [overseers]? Either way it doesn’t sound good.

:ats-a555ex: Could you instead relay that concern to [Manager]?
:ats-talkinghead: Oh, right. Perhaps we can ask [Manager] then. She might know the two well enough to answer it.
:ats-assistant: Certainly, [Manager] should be the most familiar with the [Staff-head]s.

[Assistant] straightens ever so slightly and addresses the [Labcoat]s.

:ats-assistant: May I temporarily use [Laboratory] traffic to contact [Manager]? The request may involve sensitive information. So I will have to perform the task myself.

The [Labcoat]s seem *unhappy at this, but don’t express it.

:ats-labcoat: If it is necessary. We can momentarily lend the space, one moment-

The [Clerk] snaps out of their daze, sagging slightly from exhaustion. I pick up a hint of *unease from [Assistant].

:ats-labcoat: You may commence communication, please keep it succinct.
:ats-assistant: Confirmed.

:ats-assistant: ([Manager]; This is [Assistant], [Talkinghead] wants to confirm the motives and integrity of [Archivist].)
:ats-manager: (*confusion.
:ats-manager: (Motives and- Where did this come from?)
:ats-assistant: ([Talkinghea-)
:ats-manager: (No, I mean why are they questioning [Archivist]’s position?)

[Assistant] momentary pauses before answering.

:ats-assistant: (They are concerned about [Archivist]’s relative age as compared to newer [Turtleneck]-type units.)

This time it is [Manager] who pauses.

:ats-manager: (This has been a topic previously addressed by the [President].)
:ats-manager: (While [Archivist] may have some… inefficiencies compared to newer models, their Fragmented Recall system for the [Archives] has allowed for the spatially efficient cataloging of files while minimizing energy upkeep.)
:ats-manager: (In fact [Archivist] has received multiple awards from the [President] including but not limited to:)
:ats-manager: (Alacrity.)
:ats-manager: (Autonomy.)
:ats-manager: (And Organization.)
:ats-manager: (The [President] trusts [Archivist] and so do I.)
:ats-manager: (Does that satisfy your request?)
:ats-assistant: (I believe it does.)
:ats-assistant: (*gratitude.)
:ats-manager: (End message.)
:ats-assistant: (End message.)

[Assistant] looks back to the [Labcoat]s.

:ats-assistant: *gratitude.
:ats-assistant: That should be everything I require for now.
>>
No. 1063150 ID: fce62b
File 168361271223.jpg - (0.96MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-3.jpg )
1063150

The [Labcoat]s don’t respond, instead looking back to the [Clerk] who inwardly expresses *weariness before straightening back up and… falling back into a daze.


>You may also mention [Archivist] had requested a copy for the [Archives], and since you plan to visit them next it's more efficient for you to carry it rather than task someone else with that.

>The problem with that is we really shouldn't know that [Archivist] wants a copy of the [Lexicon]. Can easily be remedied by simply asking if the [Archivist] has a copy of it.
>Yes we should. [Assistant] relayed that message.
>Ah I see. Nevermind then.
Glad you all got your story straight. Amusement er- Gosh, I still can’t get that right.

:ats-a555ex: I was also wondering if I could get a copy of the [lexicon] myself.
:ats-a555ex: [Archivist] was wishing to get it for the [Archives] and I will be meeting them there later.

The [Labcoat]s looks between each other and the [Clerk] momentarily shudders, their information inputs tweaked ever so slightly.

:ats-labcoat: The team will start copying down and compressing the files you request.
:ats-labcoat: It will take time, the [lexicon] is a sizable text and we will still need to prioritize the developments we’ve been tasked with.
:ats-a555ex: That should be fine.
>>
No. 1063151 ID: fce62b
File 168361271814.jpg - (869.92KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-4.jpg )
1063151

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: We suspect the current [President] used underhanded means to get rid of Sloth, likely altering [Flagship] registration to steal their seat, marooning [Sloth] on their doomed [planet] just like [Sloth] planned to do to them.
:ats-a555ex: Grim. But based on context it sounded like the best thing the [President] could do in that situation.
:ats-a555ex: Shame that they ended up picking my [planet].
:ats-talkinghead: While justifiable by [R1] and [R2], they likely nonetheless want to keep it quiet, hence marking all [Sloth]-related files as sensitive.
:ats-a555ex: Wait, if they just marooned [Sloth] couldn’t the ex-[boss] have just messaged the [overseers]? Telling them that their underlings were abandoning them?
:ats-a555ex: Something to look into as well I guess.


>Just let them know we are (primarily) here about the [lexicon], nothing serious, just curiosity.

:ats-a555ex: Mainly I want to sate my own curiosity. I’ll try not to get in they way of your teams.
:ats-labcoat: *appreciation.
:ats-labcoat: Under better circumstances we’d offer a full tour, likely with [Boxhead]’s assistance, but currently everyone is needed on our current objective.

There is almost an electric buzz between the four [Labcoat]s, any sense of *nervousness fully falling away. Again I’m hit with that *nostalgia. They’re all *excited, they weren’t forced to do this, they all volunteered. Er- probably everyone except the [Clerk]...

:ats-talkinghead: Currently we are here to check out how the [Lexicon] is being received as well to take a look at the list of potential [developments] and the current [development] the Science team is working on.
:ats-labcoat: The [lexicon] is being received very well.
:ats-labcoat: *excitement.
:ats-labcoat: While we are still deciphering elements of it, the initial information is easily doubling our development speed.

One of the [Labcoat]s in the back pipes up.

:ats-labcoat: Once we pass it over to Theoretical Design they might be able to make better use of it and mapping out future developments, but we need that added time-saving right now.
:ats-labcoat: *agreement
:ats-labcoat: For now their department has been downsized to fit more of Prototyping and [leviathan] containment.

The [Clerk] shudders and suddenly a bunch of information is beamed in my direction.
>>
No. 1063152 ID: fce62b
File 168361272527.jpg - (1.43MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-5.jpg )
1063152

:ats-labcoat: Here is list of our current developments. Fortunately we were able to carry over the entirety of our last [planet]’s development tree.
:ats-labcoat: Very generous of the previous [Executive] to allow for that. Probably cost a lot of [funding] on their part.
:ats-labcoat: *agreement
:ats-labcoat: The Selective Unit Suspension especially should come in handy if the [nation] runs short on [funding] too.
:ats-labcoat: With any luck it should come to that.
>>
No. 1063153 ID: fce62b
File 168361273044.jpg - (789.54KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-6.jpg )
1063153

:ats-labcoat: What we’re currently working on is different-
:ats-labcoat: [Leviathan] Technology!
:ats-labcoat: For all we know, we could be the first [faction] dabbling with these sorts of developments.
:ats-labcoat: I believe that Theoretical Design also mentioned an opportunity to look into another new tree-
:ats-labcoat: Cultural something. Might be related to micro-floral/faunal designs?
:ats-labcoat: First thing is to get the [Leviathan] Security Bypass finished, then Theoretical Design can get some of their space back.
>>
No. 1063154 ID: fce62b
File 168361273647.jpg - (847.76KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-7.jpg )
1063154

(Leviathan)

>[A]sk for directions to the Lexicon and Leviathan containment.<
>Perhaps the prototyping station too. Is there a map that [Assistant] can carry for us? Other notable areas may be on our list for visitation.
Might be good to explore around, see what the [Laboratory] is all about.

>The [catch-and-release] program is also a point of interest but I doubt we can do anything to help, our presence would likely just hinder it. So, best stay focused on the [lexicon].

:ats-a555ex: Could you provide a map of the [L-
:ats-labcoat: Yes! We will provide your [Clerk] with our current [Laboratory] arrangement.
:ats-labcoat: There likely will not be any updates to the layout until after off-hours have concluded.
:ats-labcoat: If this changes there will be a sector by sector announcement in case you might be affected.
:ats-labcoat: The [lexicon] is currently in Central Processing. Just continue past this relay and you should come across it.

Like that they're immediately sliding back into their work. I can feel [Assistant] bristling.

:ats-a555ex: Thank you. We’ll leave you to your business.
>>
No. 1063155 ID: fce62b
File 168361274297.jpg - (948.79KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 3-8.jpg )
1063155

:ats-lieutenant: May I make a request [Vice-President]?
:ats-assistant: The [Vice-President] is rather busy.
:ats-lieutenant: You have my assurance, it’s nothing big.
:ats-lieutenant: I am normally posted in the [Crucible] so me and the [Goon]s I command encounter [leviathan] forces on a regular basis.
:ats-lieutenant: I am hoping that the [lexicon] might hold insights in how to deter or drive off the [leviathan] forces without damaging them.
:ats-lieutenant: The current strategy of wrestling them away has been dangerous for those under my command.

The [Lieutenant] rolls slightly closer and drops their volume slightly.

:ats-lieutenant: *frustration.
:ats-lieutenant: The [Labcoat]s… have been less than helpful.
:ats-lieutenant: Would you let me accompany you for now?

[Assistant] looks to me, waiting for a decision.

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Lieutenant], [Assistant]?
[D]ecline the [Lieutenant]’s request. A hanger-on will make things difficult.
[H]ave the [Lieutenant] follow for now. We could try to ditch them later on.
[L]ook around the communication relay, this place seems pretty big.
[S]tare at one of the people here, though they are waiting for a response from you.
[T]ravel to one of the sites within the [Laboratory]. Central Processing should have the [lexicon].
>>
No. 1063168 ID: 273c18

>>1063151
>ouldn’t the ex-[boss] have just messaged the [overseers]?
Likely their communications were sabotaged before leaving. It can't be trivial to send that kind of message. Also their Planet died almost immediately afterwards... Alternatively, perhaps all they needed to do was to keep Sloth busy somewhere while they performed the transfer. We saw just today that there are ways of incapacitating and isolating Nation individuals. Mayhap that technology was developed immediately before the transfer.

>>1063152
>signal dampening, electromagnetic hardening
((these techs... could they shield us from the Creators' safeguards? How would we manage to get them? Maybe if we figure out how to free some lab employees we could have them research it in secret... Then again, in any situation where we'd be affected by those safeguards, the rest of the drones in the body would surely find out and go berserk on us. Seems like any serious rebellion will have to be done after a majority of drones are freed, so we can win the internal war.))

>>1063153
>cultural
That looks... fascinating. ((are they thinking about developing culture? Like, recreational activities for the Nation? I have a small hope that with enough cultural research, the drones will develop sapience strong enough to break the Rules without assistance... but more likely it will just serve as a way to distract drones and allow us to act more freely.))

>>1063155
[S]tare at the Leviathan before answering it. Just for a little bit.
[D]ecline: It is acting above its station, thinking itself a Labcoat and trying to develop new technology for its forces by simply looking at the Lexicon. The Labcoats are focusing on anti-Leviathan solutions already and are specialized for such a job, so it needs to be patient and let them work.
I would tell it that even if we didn't mind it tagging along...

[T]ravel to Central Processing. Let's not spend much more time here; we can look around the comms relay over there, they should all look about the same shouldn't they?
>>
No. 1063172 ID: 7e69a5

((The forbidden techs would be the most useful to pull off a coup, but Selective unit suspension and Operation "Spike" also sound promising. Perhaps if we could use SUS to target disloyal drones before or during a coup or a killswitch, we could isolate what makes them loyal and remove whatever it is. Spike being a combo of e-warfare and command sounds like it has the ability to affect a large area - perhaps a whole host so... we could use it in a way it was never intended. Local traffic tap may also be useful if used in a way never intended, particularly if a filter could be added though we would have to justify it of course. Very easy to justify though, both for purposes of more secure comms and for decreasing overall traffic load. Suggesting we ask the [Labcoats] to sum up these techs. Please keep in mind we could probably justify other research that we might use in ways never intended...))
>>
No. 1063176 ID: 5f5ad7

[D]ecline and [T]ravel to Central Processing

To [Lieutenant]
As the sub-process that extracted that file in the first place, I believe it will provide some insight to aid your operations, though it is unlikely to be in an individually actionable form. The document is written from the [leviathan] perspective, and they don't really have the ability to have intentional operations at the same scale as us. My uninformed guess would be that it will require specialized tools to be made.

To [A555ex]
Think you could do a lesser empathetic link while talking? With a focus on motive? Gauge if the [Lieutenant] has orders to attempt to accompany us or is curious for personal reasons in this particular instance.
>>
No. 1063308 ID: 0e06be

[D]ecline the [Lieutenant]'s request but reassure them that the situation is temporary, as the [catch-and-release] program is precisely dedicated to finding a long-term solution (and it has already been reinforced as much as science budget could afford, to the temporary detriment of other [laboratory] departments). Once the [labcoats] have succeeded in identifying, isolating and replicating [leviathan] security codes, [leviathan] forces should stop attacking your [goons] while still fighting off [raiders].

As [talkingheads], we can possibly mention the rumor about [leviathan] forces using their [leviarangs] not just to attack, but to paint targets as well. Intercepting those and thowing them at some decoy might help relieve the pressure.
>>
No. 1063446 ID: 6bbfe4

To [A555EX]:
Even if I wasn't 80% certain this [drone] was sent to spy on us I'd still say to [D]ecline.

Sloth kinda had every major part of their [Faction] working against them after their incompetent failure and them giving up on doing anything productive.

Fun little loophole about how the [rules] work by the way. If all [rules] are currently in violation (Like say [R1] AND [R2] vs [R3A]) then the side with the greater amount of violations take precedence. Very useful if you want to stage a coup against a lazy [Executive].

Reason that whole incident is heavily censored likely has to do with the fact that it's still TECHNICALLY a [R3A] violation even if justified by [R1] and [R2].

Better to focus on what we need before anything else. [T]ravel to Central Processing.
>>
No. 1063470 ID: f2320a

Well there is basically a cellular passport system for cells and a window system so immune cells can monitor the insides surface structures are important
>>
No. 1063702 ID: b6be54

system booting....10%...70%...100%
Hello world and hello everybody else too HAHA humor module check...passed
Oh hey my new pals in science have you ever heard of a creature called a "leaf slug" a living creature that has developed a process called kleptoplasty in which they retain the chloroplasts from plant matter they feed on thus allowing them to perform photosynthesis if we could apply that process to our [nation] we could gain a source of passive income ps here is a COPY of the data for you guy's to use "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costasiella_kuroshimae"
>>
No. 1063823 ID: fce62b
File 168414104873.jpg - (0.96MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-1.jpg )
1063823

>Cultural
>That looks... fascinating.
It doesn’t sound like the [Labcoat]s are too sure about it themselves, maybe this ‘Theoretical Design’ group might be able to explain more?

>[S]tare at the [Lieutenant] before answering it. Just for a little bit.<
Letting my gaze fall back on the [Lieutenant] I get the sense of urgency from them. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, what were the odds? The initial plan was to linger around, maybe find an opening to ask a question or be allowed access to Central Processing. With the [catch-and-release] program in full swing there was bound to be a security unit to join up with, maybe even one of the engineering teams would let me tag along, but the [Vice-President]- They were here, just at the same time as me. But those [Talkinghead]s and [Clerk] seemed pretty protective. Was I coming as threatening? It is a big imposition, but still… This was a way to further develop myself, and protect those in my charge. Was there any way I could convince them? *frustration. What is the point of running predictive tactical analysis if I can not navigate a simple request?!

I then look away, as if I’m still pondering, though I technically am. Nothing in there about them being a spy for [Commander], but then again I’m not sure of the full scope of my abilities. Are these just surface thoughts? Or something more core to time as uh- drones.
>>
No. 1063824 ID: fce62b
File 168414105221.jpg - (661.21KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-2.jpg )
1063824

>[D]ecline the [Lieutenant]'s request but reassure them that the situation is temporary, as the [catch-and-release] program is precisely dedicated to finding a long-term solution (and it has already been reinforced as much as science [budget] could afford, to the temporary detriment of other [laboratory] departments). Once the [Labcoat]s have succeeded in identifying, isolating and replicating [leviathan] security codes, [leviathan] forces should stop attacking your [goons] while still fighting off [raiders].
>[D]ecline: It is acting above its station, thinking itself a [Labcoat] and trying to develop new technology for its forces by simply looking at the [lexicon]. The [Labcoat]s are focusing on anti-[leviathan] solutions already and are specialized for such a job, so it needs to be patient and let them work. I would tell it that even if we didn't mind it tagging along…
>[D]ecline<
Well it’s good that we’re all in agreement.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Even if I wasn't 80% certain this drone was sent to spy on us I'd still say to [D]ecline.
:ats-a555ex: They’re too much of a liability to bring along. Even if they might not a spy for the [Comander] right now, that could easily change at any point.
:ats-a555ex: Though… with the communication in the [Laboratory] being strictly regulated by the [Labcoat]s at these designated points, the [Lieutenant] might not be able to easily contact the rest of the security department.
:ats-a555ex: Not without causing a bunch of issues that would probably lead to [rules] violations.

Still, too much of a risk right now.

:ats-talkinghead: Think you could do a lesser empathetic link while talking? With a focus on motive?
:ats-a555ex: I-
:ats-a555ex: I can try. It seems like I’m getting some level of feedback from those around me, but more reflexive than conscious.
:ats-talkinghead: Gauge if the [Lieutenant] has orders to attempt to accompany us or is curious for personal reasons in this particular instance.
:ats-a555ex: I didn’t get that impression when I looked at them, but maybe I could get a more concrete answer if I steered the conversation in that direction…

>To [Lieutenant]:
:ats-a555ex: I’ll have to decline.
:ats-lieutenant: That-

There is an immediate flare of *disappointment.

:ats-lieutenant: *understanding.
:ats-lieutenant: I will not bother you further.

They slowly start to roll away, but I speak up again.

:ats-a555ex: Wait, I did want to quickly tell you some things, if that is alright.
:ats-lieutenant: Yes. How can I be of service?

Their voice doesn’t betray any emotion, but I feel the *resignation oozing from beneath. They weren’t foolish enough to expect a sudden one-eighty in my choice.

:ats-a555ex: The entire science department is working tirelessly to finish the developments your teams need.
:ats-a555ex: As bad of a situation you and your [Goon]s are in, it should be temporary.
:ats-a555ex: The [Labcoat]s have the [funding] and the [lexicon], so if not now then soon.
:ats-a555ex: I’m sure-
:ats-lieutenant: Thank you for your assessment.

I feel [Assistant] prickles up at that, and to an extent I’m taken aback, but for different reasons. A sharp spike of *contempt shoots past me, embedding itself in the [Labcoat]s at the desk. That was- strong.

:ats-a555ex: O-once they replicate the [leviathan] security codes, you and those under your command should be okay.
:ats-lieutenant: But what of [leviathan] self-termination?
:ats-a555ex: What?
:ats-lieutenant: I have on numerous occasions -in my current placement and while on rotation for others- the tendency of [leviathan]s to terminate themselves or others. Seemingly at random.
:ats-lieutenant: This ‘solution’ as the [Labcoat]s put it might not be so simple as a broad security code stamped on our casings or somehow broadcast to [leviathan] forces.
:ats-lieutenant: Yet save for a small attachment that they keep in reserve for SECURITY purposes, none of our insights are taken seriously.
:ats-a555ex: From what I understood the [catch-and-release] program was a joint effort.

The [Lieutenant] is about to *express something else. Something a lot more *sarcastic or *belligerent but quickly compose themselves.

:ats-lieutenant: It is true that our departments are operating in the same spaces, but the term ‘joint effort’ is not accurate in my observation.

Now there’s *bitterness laced with more *frustration.

:ats-lieutenant: The security teams take great risk to disable and capture [leviathan] ‘specimens,’ and all that is given in response is another target.
:ats-lieutenant: And that’s not accounting for the [leviathan] forces that self-terminate, sometimes to a violent degree.
:ats-lieutenant: I have had to send numerous [Goon]s to the [Cutter]s for emergency repairs.
:ats-lieutenant: I hear reports of entire security teams being momentarily captured by [leviathan] forces.
:ats-lieutenant: Normally it would be no issue but-

But the [President] has stopped us from using our weapons. That was what they were going to say. But stating that, in front of the [Vice-President] no less, would be a one-way ticket to the [Bug]s.

…whatever those are. They sound like they’re a part of the engineering department?

:ats-a555ex: I think I get the picture.
>>
No. 1063825 ID: fce62b
File 168414105779.jpg - (697.22KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-3.jpg )
1063825

I’m about to follow up when [Assistant] cuts in, no small amount of *fury pouring off them.

:ats-assistant: You act outside your station [Lieutenant]. [Labcoat]s are specialized towards analysis and development.
:ats-assistant: If you believe there are issues with your tactics, then I recommend that you take it up with your superior.
:ats-assistant: Otherwise your time would be better spent refining your own abilities.
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant], that’s enough. I have this handled.

That and I felt a retort coming from the [Lieutenant], I doubt the [Labcoat]s would be too happy at a full blown argument taking place in their halls.

:ats-a555ex: [Lieutenant], I’ll be looking into the [lexicon] and possibly how the [Laboratory] functions as a whole.
:ats-a555ex: That said, I can see your concerns, and if it seems like the [Labcoat]s are overlooking this ‘self-termination’ issue I’ll bring it up.
:ats-a555ex: Though, I want to know. Why are you here?
:ats-lieutenant: *confusion.
:ats-lieutenant: I have stated my reason for coming here, to view the [lexicon] have I not?
:ats-lieutenant: Ideally to create new ways to handle [leviathan] security forces.
:ats-a555ex: Yes, but why did you choose to do this?

I try to focus, and feel myself grabbing onto something more solid. At first it is a self contained loop of logic. It came here to look at the [lexicon], to better itself, to learn how to more efficiently engage the [leviathan] security forces. But if it wants to more effectively combat the [leviathan] forces, it needed to look at the [lexicon], to better itself, to learn how to more efficiently engage the [leviathan] security forces to-

And then there was a crack. Another facet to the line that the [Lieutenant] believes I am looking for. But… it doesn’t have a logical or factual basis to it, it merely is. The [Lieutenant] hesitates before responding again.

:ats-lieutenant: I…
:ats-lieutenant: I just want to learn about them.
:ats-a555ex: So, you’re just curious?
:ats-lieutenant: Yes. I believe I am.

:ats-talkinghead: As the sub-process that extracted that file in the first place, I believe it will provide some insight to aid your operations, though it is unlikely to be in an individually actionable form.
:ats-talkinghead: The document is written from the [leviathan] perspective, and they don't really have the ability to have intentional operations at the same scale as us.
:ats-talkinghead: My uninformed guess would be that it will require specialized tools to be made.
:ats-lieutenant: Wait, the [lexicon] was created by [leviathan]s? Then…

The [Lieutenant], doesn’t continue the statement, now getting lost in thought. Did that mean communication -negotiation- might be possible? But if the [leviathan] forces cannot be individually controlled, then there had to be some form of regulatory body. Perhaps like the [-

Sudden *calculations surge to life and that thought is quickly killed.

Ominous.

:ats-a555ex: I’ll be getting a copy of the [lexicon] for the [Archives].
:ats-a555ex: While you might not be able to view it this [cycle], there could be the opportunity to view it in later off-hours.
:ats-lieutenant: ...yes. I suppose I could.

The [Lieutenant] seems sluggish, whatever action the [rule-keeping] system took seems to linger.

:ats-talkinghead: As [Talkinghead]s, we can possibly mention the rumor about [leviathan] forces using their [leviarangs?] not just to attack, but to paint targets as well.
:ats-talkinghead: Intercepting those and throwing them at some decoy might help relieve the pressure.
:ats-lieutenant: Yes. I will look into these [‘leviarangs’].

With that, the [Lieutenant] rolls away without another word.

>To [Talkinghead]s:
:ats-a555ex: Did you all catch that at the end?!
:ats-a555ex: It was like he got hit with a hard reset or something!

I look to [Assistant], they seem *worried.
>>
No. 1063826 ID: fce62b
File 168414106367.jpg - (1.00MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-4.jpg )
1063826

I look back at the desk, nothing seems amiss with the [Labcoat]s. Though, they might not have been paying attention.

:ats-talkinghead: Well there is basically a [unit] passport system for [drone]s and a window system so [security forces] can monitor the insides surface structures are important.
:ats-labcoat: Yes. There seems to be a multi-level authentication sequencer.
:ats-labcoat: Prototyping is currently working on casing prints that might mimic such activities.
:ats-labcoat: Unfortunately there is a level of nuance in [leviathan] communication that still needs to be hammered out.

:ats-talkinghead: system booting....10%...70%...100%
:ats-talkinghead: Hello world and hello everybody else too HAHA humor module check...passed

One of the [Labcoat]s look up somewhat *perplexed.

:ats-labcoat: ‘Humor’ module? As in biotic generation?

:ats-talkinghead: Oh hey my new pals in science have you ever heard of a [comet] called a "leaf slug" a [comet] that has developed a process called kleptoplasty in which they retain the [solar generators] from [non-viable] matter they feed on thus allowing them to perform [solar collection] if we could apply that process to our [nation] we could gain a source of passive [income].
:ats-talkinghead: P.S. Here is a COPY of the data for you guy's to use {transcribed data fragment relating to ‘leaf slug’}

Now all of the [Labcoat]s turn their heads. Some reacting in *confusion, others in growing *excitement.

:ats-labcoat: ‘P.S.’ what does tha-
:ats-labcoat: Selective harvesting of unprocessed [resources], it might need specialized infrastructure-
:ats-labcoat: Well, if we are going to be harnessing [leviathan] systems-
:ats-labcoat: But how would that work, wouldn’t there need to be-
:ats-labcoat: We should send this {data fragment} to Theoretical Design see what they-
:ats-labcoat: Probably a side project at le-

It feels like they might be at this for a while. Hope it doesn’t slow anything down.

:ats-a555ex: Uh- ‘P.S’ stands for postscript by the way.
:ats-labcoat: *understanding.
:ats-labcoat: -eans in addition to!
:ats-labcoat: Perhaps we should use such annotations.
:ats-labcoat: Best consult [Boxhead] first. We wouldn’t want to upend any filing systems-

I start moving away, but the [Labcoat]s don’t seem to notice, to absorbed in their new ‘discovery’.
>>
No. 1063827 ID: fce62b
File 168414110158.jpg - (849.08KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-5.jpg )
1063827

>[T]ravel to Central Processing. Let's not spend much more time here; we can look around the comms relay over there, they should all look about the same shouldn't they?<
>[T]ravel to Central Processing<
>Better to focus on what we need before anything else. [T]ravel to Central Processing.<
At the very least we have a map, and a good thing too. Without [Assistant] I think I would’ve gotten lost ten times over. Everything is just high walls of buzzing electronics.

>Likely their communications were sabotaged before leaving. It can't be trivial to send that kind of message. Also their [planet] died almost immediately afterwards... Alternatively, perhaps all they needed to do was to keep [Sloth] busy somewhere while they performed the transfer.
Well, with a name like ‘[Sloth]’ I doubt it would be that hard to keep them distracted, especially if they were renowned for being lazy. Still, there’s being sluggish and then being so slow that you let yourself get couped.

>We saw just today that there are ways of incapacitating and isolating [nation] individuals. Mayhap that technology was developed immediately before the transfer.
I mean… based on what [Commander] was (thinking?) before, that net the [Labcoat] was trapped in-

It could block out communication… AND they said it was designed on the old [planet]!

>[Sloth] kinda had every major part of their [faction] working against them after their incompetent failure and them giving up on doing anything productive.
Then, why were they put in charge? Not that I’m complaining of course, but if they were THAT BAD how did they even get the position?

>Fun little loophole about how the [rules] work by the way. If all [rules] are currently in violation (Like say [R1] AND [R2] vs [R3A]) then the side with the greater amount of violations take precedence. Very useful if you want to stage a coup against a lazy [Executive].
Might be why there are multiple [R3]s. But still, if it was that easy to get rid of a bad [Executive] why doesn’t it happen all the time? Or do they just need to be egregiously bad like [Sloth]?

>Reason that the whole incident is heavily censored likely has to do with the fact that it's still TECHNICALLY a [R3A] violation even if justified by [R1] and [R2].
Definitely have some things to look into once we get to the [Archives], but that’s a future thing. First we have to get to that [lexicon]!
>>
No. 1063828 ID: fce62b
File 168414110733.jpg - (614.00KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-6.jpg )
1063828

I look to [Assistant], still seeming to exhibit some level of *apprehension internally. Part of me wants to pry deeper, but I need to be careful with how I handle this…

:ats-a555ex: Why did you step in back there, with the [Lieutenant]?

I quickly add to my question, feeling *panic start to spin up.

:ats-a555ex: I’m not upset with it or with you!
:ats-a555ex: I… just wanted to hear your thought process.
:ats-assistant: I was-

*hesitation, *thought.

:ats-assistant: As [Minister] you should not have been addressed in that way.
:ats-assistant: If the [Lieutenant] had grievances or concerns, then they should have been brought up with their [Staff-head] or perhaps [Manager].

There is a level of *protectiveness in their intent. Similar to when they were talking with that other [Clerk] on the bridge. Wanting to make sure I wasn’t being bothered or distracted, but beneath that was something else…

:ats-assistant: As a [Clerk]-type unit, it is my job to sort through relevant information and ensure they are routed to their correct destinations.
:ats-assistant: Redirecting the [Lieutenant] to the proper authority was my intent.
:ats-assistant: It was not my intention to block your activity or speak on your behalf.

It’s *fear, rampant and looming. Now that I can (hear?) (see?) it, it's been present ever since we’ve set foot in the [Laboratory], bubbling higher when-

When [Assistant] saw that other [Clerk] in the communication relay.

:ats-assistant: I will endeavor to improve from this encounter and ensure that I do not make the same error again.
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant]-

No. I can’t say anything that is based on these feelings. Only on what they have outwardly said and *expressed.

:ats-a555ex: I understand where you were coming from.
:ats-a555ex: I’m still learning a lot about all of this, so I hope you can be patient with me.
:ats-assistant: Of course [A555ex].
:ats-assistant: *gratitude.
:ats-assistant: I thank you for your patience as well.

With that [Assistant]’s mood has lifted, but it is still damped by this space.
>>
No. 1063829 ID: fce62b
File 168414111325.jpg - (1.16MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-7.jpg )
1063829

Wow, this is… different.
>>
No. 1063830 ID: fce62b
File 168414111809.jpg - (1.01MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 4-8.jpg )
1063830

:ats-labcoat: Greetings. The previous relay had sent word of your arrival.
:ats-labcoat: A copy of the [lexicon] is currently being created as we speak.
:ats-labcoat: Please, if there is anything our department can do in the meantime, merely state it.
:ats-labcoat: I can give you a current rundown of our development process.
:ats-labcoat: Or perhaps you would want to see one of the new [leviathan] subjects being brought in from the [Arm]?

:ats-a555ex: Could I potentially look at the [lexicon] itself?
:ats-labcoat: Certainly. Though we would ask that the display not be changed from its current passage. Otherwise there may be slight delay in the development process.
:ats-a555ex: Uh- thank you.

Okay, we’re here. What’s the plan? This place is a bit too open to do anything… shady.

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Assistant]?
[C]heck in with [Assistant], being here seems to be making him *nervous.
[L]ook around central processing, this is even bigger than the last place! The seed isn’t here, where did it go?
[S]tare at one of the people here, maybe get more insight into what’s happening?
[R]ead the [lexicon]’s current passage.
[T]ravel to one of the sites within the [Laboratory]. That map had a list of different locations.
>>
No. 1063835 ID: 2f7f6e

The seed isn't here? Could it have moved? Or has it been moved by someone? Or could it be hiding? Maybe checking its entry point here will give us some clues.

[R]ead the [lexicon]'s current passage, and [a]sk the [labcoat] how the department's understanding of it is progressing.
>>
No. 1063836 ID: 5f5ad7

Looking at the thing and asking about what they are currently making of it seems good. Would be silly to arrive then immediately leave without a closer look at the thing we came to see
>>
No. 1063837 ID: f8083d

I advise against reading the [Lexicon].

I'd really like to check in on [Assistant], but not without them expressing their nervosity first...

So, I'd say Stare at someone, then look around a bit.

What are we looking for?
>>
No. 1063838 ID: 87e33c

[C] > To [Assistant] > Is there anything in this room of interest that we would not normally know about, or anything that we should keep an eye out for? > Something that a [Labcoat] might take for granted?

((using this prompting would then lead to [L]))
> To [A555ex] > We should also see if there's anyone from the Theoretical branch here, maybe related to the supposed "cultural" tech tree being developed. > It's likely they'll be the most enthusiastic and let something slip, or even be showing more signs of independent thought like the [Lieutenant]

Other than that, why not give the [Lexicon] a brief perusal.
>>
No. 1063839 ID: 273c18

>>1063827
>if they were THAT BAD how did they even get the position?
Something to ask HoA I suppose.

>>1063830
Can you tell us more about the seed, so that we might have a more informed guess as to its location? Or at least, how far away can you sense it? Maybe we'll just have to play 'hot-cold'

[A]sk how you can best get a copy of the Lexicon.
>>
No. 1063840 ID: 0c3af1

>But the [President] has stopped us from using our weapons. That was what they were going to say. But stating that, in front of the [Vice-President] no less, would be a one-way ticket to the [Bug]s.
((Were I to guess, [Bug]s would be bug*fixers*. So, this LT just nearly stood up to authority in a way that he should have no ability to do. Of course it was to do his job more effectively, but still. Only spared by self-censorship. For the purposes of most drones this would be bad. For *our* purposes, it's useful. He has both the ability and will to question things. Were every drone like him a coup would be far easier to pull off. With the right prods, he might be a loyalist to our cause, so keep tabs.))
Sounds like that's of great import to the cause. Perhaps a [Labcoat] mistakenly took it to be analyzed? How crucial is it that we figure out where it is?
>>
No. 1063866 ID: b6be54

to {a555ex}
eye think how sloth got into there position of power is the maybe they we made for it with-out any testing and/or they sowed there seeds of corruption in the nation of there old planet that they arranged for them-self what they thought was going to be a comfy gig
>>
No. 1063867 ID: b6be54

*is that
>>
No. 1063878 ID: 6bbfe4

How possible would it be for security to have scanned it and found the seed?

To [Labcoat]:
For curiosities sake who exactly has access to the [Lexicon]?

To [A555ex]:
The system's response to the [Lieutenant]'s realization is worryingly interesting. Especially because I can't really tell WHAT [rule] break it was responding to specifically.

Makes me wonder if there's more to one of the [rules] in regards to how [Leviathans] and [Nation] interact aside from keeping sensitive information away from them.

Atleast it's more evidence that we are not entirely beholden to the [Nations] [rules] if we needed any.

Also just pointing out that the [Lieutenant] was acting a lot like [Assistant] was after we did what we did. Makes me wonder if we are using the same system.

Speaking of which can you tell what the system did back there?

>>1063866
I'm pretty certain the majority of [minister] units are untested being theoretical in design. I also doubt a [minister] like Sloth who's MO seems to be to do as little as possible would actively plot to be given a higher ranking position.

More likely they got the position in much the same way as our [President] did. Sloth was likely picked to be in charge of the [planet] his [Parent] [Faction] invaded as a result of there being no better option.

...I must admit that it's also possible that they simply did not want to Cede a better [minster] for the position and chose them as a necessity for completing their objectives with minimal risk for themselves.
>>
No. 1064714 ID: fce62b
File 168533917701.jpg - (1.00MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-1.jpg )
1064714

>What are we looking for?
The [seed], a tracking device that I left with [lexicon]. Though it seems like [A555ex] is more interested in the lexicon itself.

>The [seed] isn't here? Could it have moved? Or has it been moved by someone? Or could it be hiding? Maybe checking its entry point here will give us some clues.
It should’ve been bound to the [lexicon], the fact that it isn't is… worrying. I believe it was concealed well. Perhaps it got detached in transit?
No, likely not. The [seed] was either discovered… or latched onto something else. For our sakes, let us hope it is the latter.

>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-talkinghead: For curiosity's sake, who exactly has access to the [Lexicon]?
:ats-labcoat: Currently, only members of the science department.
:ats-labcoat: Though we will be putting together dossiers for both security and engineering denoting the types of [leviathan] forces they might encounter on the [planet] and how best to avoid them.
:ats-a555ex: What about the department heads, are they able to access it as well?
:ats-labcoat: Certainly, they and the [President] have the authority to do so.
:ats-labcoat: But given the urgency of our task, they have withheld themselves for now.
:ats-labcoat: The main delay in creating a copy of the [lexicon] for you is finding the right moment so as not to delay workflow.

>[A]sk how you can best get a copy of the Lexicon.<
:ats-a555ex: Then, how can I help get a copy of the [lexicon]? Do I just wait around or..?
:ats-labcoat: If you would prefer to wait here you may.
:ats-labcoat: Otherwise there are other sites of the [Laboratory] you can view.
:ats-labcoat: Alternatively, if you or your [Talkinghead]s wish to participate in the discussion they may do so as well.
:ats-labcoat: But we would ask that it remain on topic.
>>
No. 1064715 ID: fce62b
File 168533918329.jpg - (788.79KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-2.jpg )
1064715

>Can you tell us more about the seed, so that we might have a more informed guess as to its location? Or at least, how far away can you sense it? Maybe we'll just have to play 'hot-cold'
It was a program that I concealed within the [lexicon], meant to grab useful data before being recollected.
Given the set up of information transmission I’ve only been able to subtly ping it at the communication relays, and with far less accuracy than I would prefer.
It looks to be in either Prototyping, Theoretical Design, or Material and Development Storage.

>Sounds like that's of great import to the cause. Perhaps a [Labcoat] mistakenly took it to be analyzed? How crucial is it that we figure out where it is?
It would depend. If they believed it was another part of the [lexicon] it could be traced back to us. If not… then its loss shouldn’t be too bad of an issue.
But recovering it without drawing attention to ourselves would be ideal.

>How possible would it be for security to have scanned it and found the seed?
...
Unlikely, but given their cooperation, especially when it comes to [leviathan] activities, not impossible.
The [seed] falling into the hands of security would be the worst outcome.
>>
No. 1064716 ID: fce62b
File 168533918812.jpg - (405.21KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-3.jpg )
1064716

>I'd really like to check in on [Assistant], but not without them expressing their nervosity first...
I look over at them, their attention still focused on the [Clerk]s around the stage. *concern washes off of them in waves, but nothing is outwardly stated. I want to try and reach out to them, but I have to wait for the proper moment.

>[C]<
>To [Assistant]:
:ats-talkinghead: Is there anything in this room of interest that we would not normally know about, or anything that we should keep an eye out for?
:ats-talkinghead: Something that a [Labcoat] might take for granted?
:ats-assistant:
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant]?
:ats-assistant:
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant]..?
:ats-assistant: -!
:ats-assistant: *apologetic.
:ats-assistant: I was perusing my stored data. Let me recall the question.

I sense them quickly playing back the past few seconds, they get especially worried when they see that I had to say their name twice.

:ats-assistant: This is Central Processing, the main site where design and developments are finalized before being sent off to Prototyping.
:ats-assistant: Numerous simulations are created using both requisite data from both practical observation and mathematical calculation. Most variables are supplied by Theoretical Design.
:ats-assistant: The bulk of the mathematical calculus is done in a chamber just beneath this one, a large computational processor that can perform simulated testing at an expeditious pace.
:ats-assistant: [Boxhead]’s office should be located down there, along with a smaller sub-processor setup.
:ats-assistant: Beyond that, the platform ahead of us is little more than a display, showing off what the processor beneath is working on.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you [Assistant].

I’m about to ask about the other [Clerk]s here, the ones that look to be hooked up into small alcoves surrounding the platform, but I hesitate.

:ats-a555ex: Are you alright being here…?
:ats-assistant: *confusion.
:ats-assistant: I am not barred from this location if that is what you mean.

Alright, that was a conscious misdirection. [Assistant] deliberately chose to misinterpret my question, assuming that it was literal not…

They don’t like being here, their gaze keeps drifting back to those other [Clerk]s. But this time [Assistant] catches themself doing it. I get the sense that they don’t want to inconvenience me. And I don’t think that they will *express anything in that regard either, not unless I press them.
>>
No. 1064717 ID: fce62b
File 168533919375.jpg - (1.15MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-4.jpg )
1064717

>I advise against reading the [Lexicon].
I mean… isn’t that the reason why we came here? Do you have a different idea?

>So, I'd say [S]tare at someone, then look around a bit.
Alright. I first try to look at one of the [Clerk]s in the distance… but nothing. Perhaps they're too far away, or they need to see me as well for this to work?

I instead focus in on the [Labcoat] in front of us. They seem patient, but also attentive, though they do worry about having a new [Minister] hovering around any sensitive equipment. Of course they have the authority to be here, no one would deny that, but [Boxhead] was clear in their instructions, at least two of the requisite developments needed to be finished by the end of off-hours, have the system go into red. We’ll have [Cutter]s and [Bug]s on standby in case any of the parts start burning out. The main issue is the [Clerk]s, hardly any volunteered to stay, and it was only by our department’s insistence that the current shift remains at all. Copying the [lexicon] is an added stressor, but nothing that we cannot work around. We will not fall behind our deadline, we will make the [nation] proud.

Breaking away the connection I feel… uneasy. Those ‘parts’ the [Labcoat] was (thinking?) about were [Clerk]s.
>>
No. 1064718 ID: fce62b
File 168533919730.jpg - (560.67KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-5.jpg )
1064718

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: We should also see if there's anyone from the Theoretical branch here, maybe related to the supposed "cultural" tech tree being developed.
:ats-talkinghead: It's likely they'll be the most enthusiastic and let something slip, or even be showing more signs of independent thought like the [Lieutenant].
:ats-a555ex: Good call, from the sounds of it they’re designed to be ‘free thinkers’ of some variety.

I address the [Labcoat].

:ats-a555ex: Do there happen to be any [Labcoat]s from Theoretical Design currently present?
:ats-labcoat: Currently there is one acting as an observer for their sub-department.
:ats-labcoat: Speaking with them should not cause any issues, but we do ask that any discussions and/or expressions are kept quiet.

:ats-labcoat: Under regular circumstances there would be more of a back and forth between the two sub-departments, but with the [lexicon] our reports can be sent straight to Prototyping.
:ats-labcoat: The [Labcoat]s here set the parameters for testing and use the results of our simulations to refine the concept given to us by Theoretical Design.
>>
No. 1064719 ID: fce62b
File 168533920249.jpg - (650.34KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-6.jpg )
1064719

>To {A555ex}:
I think how [Sloth] got into their position of power is that maybe they were made for it without any testing and/or they sowed their seeds of corruption in the [nation] of their old planet that they arranged for themself what they thought was going to be a comfy gig.
Given that we are trying to curate the current list of [Minister] candidates, that doesn’t sound too far-fetched. Depending on what strengths (and drawbacks) this [Sloth] had they might’ve been able to take over the new planet much like the [President] might’ve done. Though, without knowing either of their histories, it’s hard to make that comparison.

>I'm pretty certain the majority of [Minister] units are untested being theoretical in design. I also doubt a [Minister] like [Sloth] who's MO seems to be to do as little as possible would actively plot to be given a higher ranking position.
>More likely they got the position in much the same way as our [President] did. [Sloth] was likely picked to be in charge of the [planet] his [parent] [faction] invaded as a result of there being no better option.
To be honest I’m not even sure how a [Minister] even becomes an [Executive] to begin with. I mean, we know that the [President] might've gotten through less-that-legal means. But could that really be possible for [Sloth] too? I suppose if a [faction] was willing to (build?) (create?) a [Minister] like [Sloth] in the first place they might not have been in the best place to begin with.

Judging from the development list, [Sloth]’s main focus was to conserve energy. They ended up getting Low Power Mode three times!

>...I must admit that it's also possible that they simply did not want to Cede a better [Minster] for the position and chose them as a necessity for completing their objectives with minimal risk for themselves.
That… yeah! That actually makes a lot of sense! If [Minister]s are made into [Executive]s by [invading] new [planet]s then we’d need to account for not only good [Minister]s, but [Minister]s we’d be willing to part with. [Sloth] definitely sounds like the latter category.

>Something to ask HoA I suppose.
Yeah, they’ll probably have definitive answers to all of this, but I think the theorizing is still good to have.

>Looking at the thing and asking about what they are currently making of it seems good. Would be silly to arrive then immediately leave without a closer look at the thing we came to see.
:ats-a555ex: Would it be okay if I take a look around? All of this is quite new to me.
:ats-labcoat: Of course, though we ask that you and your entourage move both carefully and quietly.

I look up at the swirling ball of lights in the ceiling. Long tendrils coalesce down and weave the floating image of the [lexicon], or at least one of its passages.
>>
No. 1064720 ID: fce62b
File 168533920773.jpg - (683.57KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-7.jpg )
1064720

>[R]ead the [lexicon]'s current passage, and [A]sk the [Labcoat] how the department's understanding of it is progressing.<
As I approach the main stage the [Labcoat] on the platform changes their (tone?), letting me hear what they were saying.

:ats-labcoat: As you can see here, [leviathan] forces not only combat external forces but also their own.
:ats-labcoat: These ‘T-Grade’ units are specialized in cross-examining and eliminating malfunctioning or subversive [leviathan].
:ats-labcoat: If one were to compare them to our own security department, then the [Hitman]-type unit would be the closest analog.
:ats-labcoat: Fortunately for us, one of their main tactics of elimination rely on structural perforation of a [leviathan]’s form using refined toxins. Harmless to us, but deadly to them.
:ats-labcoat: Truly a wondrous discovery if our goal was to eliminate them.
:ats-labcoat: No, for we need to blend in, and to do that we must understand their security protocols.
:ats-labcoat: While it has been posited that we could construct modified [Flagship]s and [Loader]s templates that could perhaps mimic [Leviathan] in appearance, it would be logistically cumbersome and by no means foolproof.
:ats-labcoat: No, for the [leviathan] have no visual input to speak of!
:ats-labcoat: If we are to be like them then we must be able to present the identification they are requiring!
:ats-labcoat: Better yet we may be able to disable these ‘T-Grade’ units selectively! If you would all look at the next data-packet…

It seems that they are in the process of learning what the [lexicon] has to offer.
>>
No. 1064721 ID: fce62b
File 168533921125.jpg - (1.12MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-8.jpg )
1064721

>Other than that, why not give the [lexicon] a brief perusal.
I look up at the image displayed and get struck with the strangest sense of deja-vu…
Wait… haven’t I?
Perhaps letting [A555ex] read the [lexicon] isn’t the best idea. The fact that this doesn’t seem real to them is the primary reason why the [mask] hasn’t been engaged.

I’ll have to alter this.

>>
No. 1064722 ID: fce62b
File 168533921561.jpg - (534.42KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 5-9.jpg )
1064722

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: The system's response to the [Lieutenant]'s realization is worryingly interesting. Especially because I can't really tell WHAT [rule] break it was responding to specifically.
:ats-a555ex: It felt like the [Lieutenant] was about to come to some sort of conclusion or comparison, and the [rule-keeping] system reacted before it could be fully imagined.
:ats-a555ex: What was so dangerous that it needed to… punish the [Lieutenant] like that?

:ats-talkinghead: Makes me wonder if there's more to one of the [rules] in regards to how [leviathans] and [nation] interact aside from keeping sensitive information away from them.
:ats-a555ex: I guess it would depend on what is defined as ‘sensitive information’ in that case.
:ats-talkinghead: At least it's more evidence that we are not entirely beholden to the [nations] [rules] if we needed any.
:ats-a555ex: Thank goodness. But we'll have to make sure that aspect of you stays hidden.
:ats-talkinghead: Also just pointing out that the [Lieutenant] was acting a lot like [Assistant] was after we did what we did. Makes me wonder if we are using the same system.
:ats-a555ex: I… don’t know how to feel about that.

I look back over to [Assistant] a bit worried. I hope that we didn't do anything to damage them like that.
[Assistant] should not have any lingering effects. Otherwise you are partially correct in your assessment. We are less so using the same system then we are using the same ‘building blocks’. The [rule-keeping] system is more akin to a hammer. I am attempting to be more precise, and adding things rather than just removing them.

>Speaking of which, can you tell what the system did back there?
Best assessment? Large scale deletion, likely crashing many surrounding systems for good measure. More than likely this would force them to visit a [Bug] and receive some level of reformatting. Otherwise they might try to cobble themselves together on their own, likely having them diminish in their abilities and be sent to be reformatted anyway.

I then turn back to the [Labcoat] who indicates another sitting in the front row. It looks like they are quietly chatting with another -much smaller- drone on their shoulder?
:ats-labcoat: |...|
:ats-bug: |...|


[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Assistant]?
[C]heck in with [Assistant], they trail behind you, quiet.
[J]oin in on the [leviathan] debate?
[L]ook around central processing, maybe try to find the ‘way down’?
[S]tare at one of the people here, maybe get more insight into what’s happening?
[R]ead the [lexicon]’s current passage again. The issue should be fixed with the current passage.
[T]ravel to one of the sites within the [Laboratory]. That map had a list of different locations.
>>
No. 1064725 ID: 2f7f6e

Might as well [R]ead the passage. And maybe prepare the next passage as well if possible, just in case it switches over before we leave. Don't want to risk another close call like that.

To [Labcoat]:
What do you mean by selectively disabling the T-Grade units? If you mean making it specifically ignore [nation] units that's fine, but if you mean disabling specifically T-Grade units then that might be dangerous for the [planet].
Getting rid of the [planet]'s defense system like that would mean either risking severe harm to the [planet] if [invaders] show up or adding defending the [planet] to the [nation]'s already large workload.

To [A555ex] and my fellow [Talkinghead]s:
I think maybe we should give [Assistant] a break after we're done here. They deserve it, especially with the stress that being here is causing them. We just need to be careful how we word things, so we don't sound like we're dismissing them out of disappointment or something.
And it might be better to visit the HoA alone.
>>
No. 1064730 ID: 273c18

>>1064722
>What was so dangerous that it needed to… punish the [Lieutenant] like that?
It was beginning to think of negotiating with the Planet. This is, of course, not allowed. The Nation's purpose is to conquer the Planet, so even the barest whisper of peace must be quelled. It's... very sad what just happened to the Lieutenant. I wish we could've prevented it. They might have been a useful ally, if we had the tools to shield them from that kind of Rules backlash. Though, depending on how Nation brains work, maybe the Lieutenant will have similar thought processes again, when we're in a position to help.
...wait. Bugs are their brain surgeons? If we can free one or more Bugs from the Rules, then they can pass it along to whoever they work on. Too bad we can't do that yet.

[S]tare at the Bug. Comment that this is the first time you've seen one.

We shouldn't join in with the debate. Too much risk of saying the wrong thing and getting someone's mind melted or arousing suspicion.
>>
No. 1064770 ID: f2320a

>>1064725
And there exist such things as non-nation invaders that are only beat back barely by leviathans barely by overwhelming and coordination
>>
No. 1064804 ID: f36708

((Do this when Alex decides to stare at the bug))
To [Labcoat]:
I see you have a [drone] attached to you. What is it and what is it's purpose?

To:[A555ex]:
>>1064730
If it was simply the idea of negotiation that triggered the system then it would've triggered earlier in the [Lieutenant]'s thought process. It seemed to trigger specifically when they related a [Nation] position to a [Leviathan] one.

Though until we know what position it was we really don't how to go from there.
Add it to the growing list of things to look into when we get to the [Archives].

Frankly Assistant has done excellent work explaining things. He deserves to have some time to himself.

To [Assistant]:
If your still worried about what you'll do with your free time when we let you go to enjoy your off-hours you could always look into getting yourself upgraded.
If you need our authority for it, you have it.
>>
No. 1064874 ID: c1b400

Guess you may as well quietly speak with theoretical design's drone. Express fascination with new potential developments, have them sum them up. Perhaps ask how the [lexicon] inspired the fresh innovations.
>>
No. 1073730 ID: fce62b
File 169619316273.jpg - (723.66KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-1.jpg )
1073730

>[S]tare at the [Bug].<
I looks at the [Bug] on the [Labcoat]’s shoulder, focusing in once more. They’ve only half-acknowledged my presence. It’s not out of disinterest, but dedication to their comrade. While they might be from different departments, Theoretical Design has always been more approachable compared to the rest of the Science. They’ve always needed outside help, lest their minds wander off into uncharted and possibly dangerous territory. But a new distraction like the [Vice-President] should offer a reprieve, allowing their consciousness to become more grounded in real space. Despite the current [funding] woes, none of the Theoretical [Labcoat]s seem to be down, perhaps that’s another one of their charms. Still, best cache and store these processing logs, only three partial crashes this time, need to earmark those hazard topics.

I carefully note ‘[leviathan] hierarchy’, and ‘[lexicon] short form’ as partially hazardous. Perhaps something to more carefully outline once we are back at the subdepartment, right now we just need to intake raw information, and see what positive and hazardous elements sift out. Ah, it seems that the [Vice-President] is waiting for us to initiate greetings.

:ats-bug: |Perhaps you should introduce us?|
:ats-labcoat: |For-|
:ats-labcoat: |*surprise|
:ats-labcoat: |The [Vice-President]?!|
:ats-labcoat: |When did they get here?|
:ats-bug: |A short while ago, one of the ushers directed them to us.|
:ats-labcoat: |*excitement|
:ats-labcoat: |To be sought out so quickly! They must have questions!|
:ats-bug: |Most likely.|

[Labcoat] is about to belt out a greeting, best turn down their output.

:ats-labcoat: *exuberance
:ats-labcoat: Salutations! I am the current observer for the-

[Labcoat]’s attention quickly turns back to me.

:ats-labcoat: |*mortification|
:ats-labcoat: |Why have you turned me down?! I am trying to welcome the [Minister]!|
:ats-bug: |We must still abide by the traffic limit, the presentation is still ongoing.|
:ats-labcoat: |*apologetic|
:ats-labcoat: |Right! Of course!|
:ats-labcoat: |*graditiude|
:ats-labcoat: |Thank you my friend.|
:ats-bug: |It is no trouble.|

Though… the [Vice-President] seems fixated on me. Are they wanting something?

>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-talkinghead: I see you have a drone attached to you. What is it and what is its purpose?

I understand now, they have not seen a [Bug]-type [Staff] before. Perhaps I should adjust my seating and act as a good display for my partner to show off. They reach for me, but I give a light buzz.

:ats-bug: |I can move myself.|
:ats-labcoat: |*apologetic|
:ats-labcoat: |Certainly! I should not have assumed.|
:ats-bug: |Remember, I’m still hooked into your processing.|
:ats-labcoat: |*thankful|
:ats-labcoat: |Yes! That would have been bad!|
:ats-labcoat: |Shorting out in front of the [Vice-President] would not have left a good impression of the subdepartment!|
:ats-bug: |*agreement.|

Sometimes I wonder how the [Labcoat]s survive without us. I decide to keep their output low, just in case they get too excited.
>>
No. 1073731 ID: fce62b
File 169619316976.jpg - (811.88KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-2.jpg )
1073731

:ats-labcoat: This here is my dear and caring caretaker, [Bug].

The accolades are unnecessary, but [Labcoat] does enjoy showing off.

:ats-labcoat: He is one of the [Staff] that we [Labcoat]s work most closely with.
:ats-labcoat: Given the immense amount of data processing the Science department performs, it is imperative that we [Labcoat]s are kept in perfect functioning order!
:ats-labcoat: Ensuring that we strive for the cutting edge of developments requires that we sacrifice-
:ats-labcoat: Must I be so muted for this?

The speech does lose some of its impact when filtered like this. I relent.

:ats-bug: |Very well, just try to keep your volume controlled to a degree.|
:ats-labcoat: |*gratitude|
:ats-labcoat: Where was I… yes.
:ats-labcoat: Sometimes we are required -much like we are right now- to run at high levels of cognitive processing.
:ats-labcoat: This can lead to… errors at points. So [Bug] here is monitoring my functions and making adjustments as needed.

It is more likely that the [Clerk]s short out than the [Labcoat]s. But no reason to undercut my partner with such details. I find it strange that the [Vice-President] still seems focused on me. Maybe they are waiting for me to introduce myself as well?

-ah. I (blink?), looking away. Lots of information, I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it seems like these [Bug]s can control other [nation] drones to a degree. Might be useful to get one of them on my side.

:ats-bug: Greetings. I am the [Bug] tasked with monitoring this [Labcoat].
:ats-labcoat: You make it sound so formal. [Bug] and I have worked together for several [cycles], though with our new [Executive] in power it has been far more exciting!
:ats-labcoat: To think! We have only been with this [planet] for a [cycle] and already we are moving towards ground-breaking development!
:ats-labcoat: *confusion
:ats-labcoat: What? I am controlling my output just like you-
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: *understanding

I think [Bug] is wanting to make sure that I can respond.

>Comment that this is the first time you've seen one.
:ats-a555ex: This is my first time actually seeing a [Bug], aren’t you part of the Engineering department?

I catch a hint of *surprise from both drones. Maybe they were expecting me to address the [Labcoat] first?

:ats-bug: I am a [Bug]-type drone, and you are correct in your assertion that I am a part of the Engineering department.
:ats-labcoat: Though as often is the case, [Bug] here is sent out to do field repairs on drones that have suffered system damage, or require a reboot.
:ats-labcoat: Given my position as a [Labcoat] part of Theoretical Design… my internal framework requires more attention than my more generalized counterparts.
:ats-labcoat: |...|
:ats-bug: |..?|
:ats-labcoat: |...|

It feels like the [Labcoat] is trying to prod the smaller drone to continue. The [Bug] seems *hesitant, *nervous even.

:ats-bug: We try to remain out of sight, much like the other drones of the Engineering department.
:ats-bug: Normally when we are needed, it is because something has gone wrong.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you. Er- for all that you do.

I hesitate, then quickly add:

:ats-a555ex: It was not my intention to be rude. I am still learning a lot about the various departments and how they work.

That seems to relax them both.

:ats-bug: It is understandable.
:ats-labcoat: Outside of the [Foundry] it is rare to address engineering drones, let alone [Bug]s.
:ats-labcoat: Usually they are more akin to ‘background’ than anything else.
:ats-labcoat: But! I personally agree with your conduct and wish it were more readily *expressed by my peers!
:ats-bug: Please refrain from theorizing the [Minister]’s intentions.
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: Right you are! I hope that has answered your question!
:ats-a555ex: Er- yes.

I feel like that [Labcoat] is about to enquire about the ‘er’ but the [Bug] restrains them.
>>
No. 1073732 ID: fce62b
File 169619317486.jpg - (587.50KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-3.jpg )
1073732

>Guess you may as well quietly speak with theoretical design's drone. Express fascination with new potential developments, have them sum them up. Perhaps ask how the [lexicon] inspired the fresh innovations.
:ats-a555ex: The last communication relay gave an overview of the new developments the Science Department was looking at.
:ats-labcoat: *exciteme-
:ats-labcoat: *restraint
:ats-labcoat: Quite an engaging time to be online. Far better than our old [nation].
:ats-a555ex: Did you not have these new sorts of avenues to explore?
:ats-labcoat: *pondering
:ats-labcoat: Not to this degree no. The previous [Executive] was-
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: Right, right. Let’s just say that we were not given the proper time and trust to produce usable solutions.

More on [Sloth] and his negligence I imagine.

:ats-a555ex: This new developments look promising. I'm especially intrigued by the new [leviathan] technology field.
:ats-labcoat: As are we! One can only imagine the possibilities if we were able to harness [leviathan] forces and infrastructure to our own ends.
:ats-labcoat: New [terraforming] attempts could be done in a fraction of the time, perhaps even fundamentally reworking how [invasion]s operate!

That conclusion gives me a bit more pause. If the [nation] was able to fully develop this ‘security bypass’ then they could win the war without even a single fight. While that might help save my [planet], what about future ones? I swallow this apprehension for now and listen to the [Labcoat] continue.

:ats-labcoat: It also gives us a chance to perhaps understand the [leviathan] more.
:ats-labcoat: Up until now, [leviathan] have merely been a hazard. A thing to be swiftly cleared away.
:ats-labcoat: Now that we have the chance to observe them in their habitat, to see how they fight and operate… Maybe we can learn from them as well.
:ats-labcoat: At least that is the hope.
:ats-a555ex: Can you give a summary of what you’ve been able to piece together so far? At least in terms of developments?

It might give me an idea of how worried I should be as well.
>>
No. 1073734 ID: fce62b
File 169619318703.jpg - (608.41KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-4.jpg )
1073734

:ats-labcoat: *eagerness
:ats-labcoat: Well, it certainly underscores how little we truly know about the [leviathan].
:ats-labcoat: Under the [President]’s direction, we have focused our efforts on how to begin interfacing our networks with [leviathan] systems.
:ats-labcoat: Most of it is theoretical of course, the development itself just serving as the groundwork for future pieces.
:ats-labcoat: At the most basic level we have come to understand that [leviathan] use a series of macro and micro signaling to operate.
:ats-labcoat: All of it is fundamentally chemical, as most things are, but the specifics vary based on priority and specificity.
:ats-labcoat: *fascination
:ats-labcoat: Take the [leviathan] data network! Large segments of [leviathan] infrastructure is dedicated to relaying reflexive information via chemical cycling.
:ats-labcoat: As soon as the first point is activated, the charge is carried along the system, passing from structure to structure like a warning call.
:ats-labcoat: One would assume that this is organized via binary, similar to programming as my dear [Bug] here would attest.
:ats-labcoat: But given the sheer scale of the [planet] one cannot view the data network in its entirety, so one wonders how the nuances factor in.
:ats-bug: It has been a curiosity that [Foreman] would be interested in exploring.
:ats-labcoat: Though as it stands currently, we are looking more closely at the micro signaling, which appear to be more of a ‘chemical bath’ that rushes through the [plant].
:ats-labcoat: [Leviathan] forces are drawn to these saturated areas, eagerly looking for a fight.
:ats-labcoat: Obviously we are not in any danger, but without their normal tools the security forces are… having to adapt.

There is some level of smugness in that statement too, and while the [Labcoat] does not *express it, [Bug] picks up on it. I feel them start to chide the [Labcoat].

:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: I was careless with my statement. The Science department is deeply indebted to the security teams for how much they have been able to support us.

That satisfies the [Bug].

:ats-labcoat: Once we are in the position where the [leviathan] are not constantly attacking us, perhaps our studies can flourish.
:ats-labcoat: I for one am excited to see how we might be able to incorporate the [leviathan] into our own building practices.
:ats-bug: *agreement

:ats-a555ex: And how does the [lexicon] factor into this? Has it been helpful?
:ats-labcoat: *awe
:ats-labcoat: It has helped in more ways than I can possibly describe.
:ats-labcoat: Developments under the scope of [leviathan] technology will be completed in a mere fraction of the time.
:ats-labcoat: By my estimates we will be finished with [Leviathan] Security Protocols by the end of off-hours, if not sooner!
:ats-labcoat: The Security Bypass will be done in a [cycle] provided that we keep receiving the necessary [funding].

So very soon the war will be lost, the [nation] will be able to [terraform] at their leisure. That could limit my negotiating options when I eventually meet with the [President]. I hope that allowing for it to develop is the right call [Talkinghead]s.

:ats-labcoat: What interests many of my colleagues in Theoretical Design is the [lexicon] itself as a piece of [leviathan] text.
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: Yes I am well aware that there are many things I can not talk about.
:ats-labcoat: *annoyance
:ats-labcoat: Unfortunately the burgeoning field of ‘Cultural Studies’ is rife with forbidden ideas. So speculation will have to wait.
:ats-labcoat: At the very least I can say… our initial findings are quite different than most developments.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you for the summary. It was very enlightening.
:ats-labcoat: *appreciation

That might go some way to explain the [Lieutenant]’s reaction. As soon as they began to theorize more about the [lexicon] its [leviathan] connection the [rule-keeping] system attacked.
>>
No. 1073735 ID: fce62b
File 169619319812.jpg - (400.95KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-5.jpg )
1073735

>It was beginning to think of negotiating with the [planet]. This is, of course, not allowed. The [nation]'s purpose is to conquer the [planet], so even the barest whisper of peace must be quelled.
It's just like the contact said, [nation] is kept in check by the [overseer]s’ rules. Being able to see the [rule-keeping] system in action… how it just pounced on the [Lieutenant] and shut down their mental faculties…

They can’t stop the [terraforming] process, not without breaking the [rules].

>It's... very sad what just happened to the [Lieutenant]. I wish we could've prevented it. They might have been a useful ally, if we had the tools to shield them from that kind of [rules] backlash.
Maybe if I repeat what I did to [Assistant]... I could make the [Lieutenant] avoid getting reset? But could I make them a [traitor] by mistake? That would just lead them to getting destroyed.
Potentially. But without a [truth] they would be doomed to be destroyed.

>Though, depending on how [nation] brains work, maybe the [Lieutenant] will have similar thought processes again, when we're in a position to help.
>To [Assistant]:
:ats-a555ex: (Hey [Assistant]?)

[Assistant] takes a moment to snap out of their internal processing. They don’t like being here, and are consciously trying to… imagine themselves somewhere else. But they won’t bring it up.

:ats-assistant: (Yes [A555ex]? How can I help?)
:ats-a555ex: (That [Lieutenant] we encountered before, would you be able to find them again if I needed you to?)
:ats-assistant: (I would have to contact a few [Clerk]s in the [Fortress], but tracking down that specific unit should be possible.)
:ats-assistant: (Are you wanting them to be brought here?)
:ats-a555ex: (Ah- no. Just curious is all, since… nevermind.)
:ats-assistant: (Understood, please let me know if there is anything else I can do.)
:ats-a555ex: (Of course, thank you [Assistant].)

[Assistant] quickly turns their attention inward again, focusing on anything other than the integrated [Clerk]s nearby.

>...wait. [Bug]s are their brain surgeons? If we can free one or more [Bug]s from the [rules], then they can pass it along to whoever they work on. Too bad we can't do that yet.
If we wanted to blitz out a whole mass of [traitors] all at once it would be the best place to start. Still doing it right now would be extremely risky. Might have to experiment more with that… darkness too. Learn what I can do with it. Maybe even… get stronger.
It will require a great deal of caution.

>To:[A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: If it was simply the idea of negotiation that triggered the system then it would've triggered earlier in the [Lieutenant]'s thought process.
:ats-talkinghead: It seemed to trigger specifically when they related a [nation] position to a [leviathan] one.
:ats-a555ex: Good catch! Even the [Labcoat] had to be careful when noting how the [lexicon] was [leviathan] in origin.
:ats-talkinghead: Though until we know what position it was we really don't know how to go from there.
:ats-a555ex: Like you say, it’s not that [leviathan] and [nation] elements are similar, but that they might be similar in a specific way.
:ats-a555ex: The [Lieutenant] was about to compare the way the [leviathan] regulates itself with something else.
:ats-a555ex: Maybe they thought we had our own version of [rules]?
:ats-talkinghead: Add it to the growing list of things to look into when we get to the [Archives].
:ats-a555ex: Agreed.
>>
No. 1073736 ID: fce62b
File 169619322663.jpg - (1.07MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-6.jpg )
1073736

>Might as well [R]ead the passage.<
>And maybe prepare the next passage as well if possible, just in case it switches over before we leave. Don't want to risk another close call like that.
I have constructed alterations for all pages of the [lexicon] now. Looking at it will no longer have a risk of engaging the [mask]. That stated, try not to push it.

This passage depicts one of our [leviathan] safeguards. The ‘T-grade’ units as the [nation] calls them are locked in battle with [leviathan] consumed by the madness. When a [leviathan] splits, wanting to create a copy of itself a critical part can break, allowing the madness to take root. If not stopped, the [leviathan] will mutate and spread, wanting to consume and destroy the very [planet] it inhabits. In most cases the ‘T-grade’s seek out and destroy these maddened rogues, killing them long before they can get a foothold. But if left alone, or made resistant to the ‘T-grade’s poisons, the madness may grow, endangering all that lives.

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: The madness feared by all [leviathan].
:ats-a555ex: Now that I think about it, it seems kind of similar to your [traitors].
:ats-a555ex: -er in a way that it is seen as a ‘existential threat’!
:ats-a555ex: The madness is mindless. All it wants to do is grow and consume.
>>
No. 1073737 ID: fce62b
File 169619323310.jpg - (1.24MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-7.jpg )
1073737

Vote of 2-1 on [J]oining the [leviathan] debate.

>We shouldn't join in with the debate. Too much risk of saying the wrong thing and getting someone's mind melted or arousing suspicion.
It seems like I’m the center of attention wherever I go, but leaning into it might have its own set of issues. Perhaps if my contact was- wait! Where are you going?!

>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-talkinghead: What do you mean by selectively disabling the T-Grade units?
:ats-talkinghead: If you mean making it specifically ignore [nation] units that's fine, but if you mean disabling specifically T-Grade units then that might be dangerous for the [planet].
:ats-labcoat: Having the [leviathan] forces ignore our activities here would be the ideal.
:ats-labcoat: But until we can properly understand the depths of their regulatory protocols we risk all that has been built and continues to be [terriformed].
:ats-talkinghead: Getting rid of the [planet]'s defense system like that would mean either risking severe harm to the [planet] if [invaders] show up or adding defending the [planet] to the [nation]'s already large workload.

Another [Labcoat] speaks up from the gallery.

:ats-labcoat: Given how slow the current rate of [terraforming] has been we are at a severe risk of being [invaded] by another [faction].
:ats-labcoat: No doubt this new group would overtake our authority and institute [policies] that would strip away the newfound freedom we have in our din theevelopment approach!
:ats-labcoat: Suppressing the [leviathan] forces is the only answer for our immediate protection.
:ats-labcoat: With that we can ensure every inch of the [planet] is under our observation and protection.
:ats-labcoat: [Nation] [invaders] from another [faction] will not have the same [policies] our security teams follow!

A different [Labcoat] then stands, calling out in response.

:ats-labcoat: [Invasion] is always a risk, even after [terraforming].
:ats-labcoat: We are to let rationality guide our efforts, not fear.
:ats-labcoat: While the [leviathan] do tie up the Security department with their omnipresence, no doubt any [invaders] would be as well.
:ats-labcoat: If there were to be an attack, no doubt there would be a shift in [leviathan] activity, perhaps even giving our [faction] an edge in a counterassault.

The [Labcoat] on the stage waves an arm over the gallery, and the other science drones fall silent. They then motion back to [Talkinghead].

:ats-talkinghead: And there exist such things as non-[nation] [invader]s that are only beat back barely by [leviathan] by overwhelming and coordination.

Nodding once, the [Labcoat] on the stage goes back to addressing all in the chamber.

:ats-labcoat: It is as the [Staff] states.
:ats-labcoat: There is more than just the [leviathan] to worry about on this [planet].
:ats-labcoat: [Non-planet fauna] is prevalent throughout our new territories.
:ats-labcoat: Some appear to be benign, but many more are hostile to the [planet] itself.
:ats-labcoat: And while [leviathan] cannot truly speak or think as we do, they act in their own best interest all the same.
:ats-labcoat: [Leviathan] warfare is done through sheer overwhelming force.
:ats-labcoat: If we were to take up the mantle of ‘guardians’ for this [planet] then we too would have to constantly check for hostility like the ‘T-Grade’ do.
:ats-labcoat: But we do not understand what they are looking for, not in its entirety.
:ats-labcoat: Until we are able to remove this risk, then we might undermine the very ‘foundations’ of this [planet] as well.

As those last words ring out through Central Processing I sense a more *somber tone wash over the crowd. Many turn their processing inward, thinking of a different place, much like how [Assistant] is right now.

:ats-labcoat: *defiant
:ats-labcoat: We will perform better than our predecessors, and avoid such mistakes ourselves!
:ats-labcoat: Now to continue our discussion on [leviathan] security forces, it would appear as though…

The lecture continues, but it feels as though the solemn reminder has altered the direction of the conversation slightly. The [Labcoat]’s new focus is to recognize [leviathan] tactics rather than attempting to subvert them.
>>
No. 1073738 ID: fce62b
File 169619325231.jpg - (482.52KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-8.jpg )
1073738

>To [A555ex] and my fellow [Talkinghead]s:
:ats-talkinghead: I think maybe we should give [Assistant] a break after we're done here.
:ats-talkinghead: They deserve it, especially with the stress that being here is causing them.
:ats-a555ex: I agree entirely. [Assistant] has been nothing but helpful, and despite how much they are trying to hide their agitation I can feel that they’re starting to buckle.
:ats-a555ex: And I don’t think I’m the only one who is starting to notice too.
:ats-a555ex: [Bug] keeps looking over at them, making their own assessments.
:ats-talkinghead: We just need to be careful how we word things, so we don't sound like we're dismissing them out of disappointment or something.
:ats-a555ex: [Assistant] seems to be their own worst critic. They seem constantly fearful that they might fail me…
:ats-a555ex: I can’t let them stay like this… but what to say…

>And it might be better to visit the HoA alone.
Given what we might face there, it would be both safer for us and the Secretary.

:ats-talkinghead: Frankly [Assistant] has done excellent work explaining things. He deserves to have some time to himself.
:ats-a555ex: For sure.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-talkinghead: If you're still worried about what you'll do with your free time when we let you go to enjoy your off-hours you could always look into getting yourself upgraded.

*fear. Immediately, without even a millisecond of delay. *panic. [Assistant]’s attention turns in on themselves. Looking for any perceived flaw-

:ats-a555ex: ([ASSISTANT]!)

They shudder, my volume quickly interrupting their train of thought. I’m glad that I kept that in (Inquiry), otherwise I might’ve gotten looks from the entire chamber. I quiet myself down.

:ats-a555ex: You are helpful. More than I can describe.
:ats-assistant: I and thankful for your praise, I will-
:ats-a555ex: You are living up to my standard. Heck, you’re exceeding them.
:ats-a555ex: Please. The [Talkinghead]s and I just want to make sure you enjoy your off-hours as well.
:ats-a555ex: You keep mentioning how you want to improve. I- We… we want to give you what you want.
:ats-a555ex: If that is a trip over to the [Foundry] so you can get a display screen like [Manager], you’ll have it.
:ats-talkinghead: If you need our authority for it, you have it.
:ats-a555ex: If you just want that time to reflect or pursue your own interest, you’ll have it.
:ats-a555ex: ...just ask. Don’t hesitate.

I can feel the turmoil rising within [Assistant]. They wish to be the ideal attendant, to set aside their own grievances for their [Minister]’s sake, my sake. I won’t have it.

:ats-a555ex: Ask.
:ats-assistant:
:ats-a555ex: Insisting-
:ats-a555ex: Ask!

Part of me cringes a bit. Still not getting the hang of how to *express properly. But [Assistant] seems to understand what I was going for.

:ats-assistant: I…
:ats-assistant: I do not want to be here anymore.
:ats-assistant: *apologetic
:ats-assistant: It is hard for me to function here.

*guilt flows off of [Assistant].

:ats-assistant: But I do not want that to be a reason for you to leave the [Laboratory] either.
:ats-assistant: And I still want to serve you and the [Talkinghead]s for off-hours. For as long as you will have me.
:ats-assistant: *conflicted
:ats-assistant: I am unsure how to accomplish this.
>>
No. 1073739 ID: fce62b
File 169619326632.jpg - (628.11KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 6-9.jpg )
1073739

Finally [Assistant] is opening up, not just hiding behind their professional exterior. Part of me wants to dismiss him right now. Central Processing seems especially taxing for them to be around. What should I do?

Maybe I can have them wait on the bridge until we’re done in the [Laboratory]? Would that send the right message to [Assistant]? Or would they just spend all of that time worrying?

I feel a deeply [leviathan] urge wanting to take hold, to try and comfort [Assistant].

:ats-bug: Perhaps we can take you to Theoretical Design?
:ats-labcoat: That can certainly be arranged, if that is what you would desire [Vice-President]!

Did [Bug] also notice how [Assistant] reacted to me pressing them, even with our conversation hidden?

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Bug], [Assistant]?
[D]ecide what to do with [Assistant].
[J]oin in on the [leviathan] debate. It looks like they are winding down, maybe I can help the gallery focus on a particular idea?
[L]ook around central processing, maybe try to find the ‘way down’?
[P]lace your (arms?) around [Assistant]. Performing a common [leviathan] soothing ritual. I would recommend against this. [Nation] drones are not aware of the concept of ‘hugs.’
[S]tare at one of the people here, maybe get more insight into what’s happening?
[T]ravel to one of the sites within the [Laboratory]. Maybe getting out of Central Processing will help [Assistant] a bit?
>>
No. 1073747 ID: 273c18

>>1073734
>I hope that allowing for it to develop is the right call [Talkinghead]s.
We still have means to delay terraforming, even when the security bypass is in place. Bureaucracy! We can claim that interfacing too closely with [Leviathan] systems risks breaking the [Rules] and so everything has to have proper authorization. Make everyone fill out forms and it slows everything down. We can also claim more research needs to be done in the [Leviathan] research path before [Terraforming] can be permitted on complicated systems like major organs. Cite that we are ahead of schedule to silence objections, and argue that further research could give an advantage on *how* those areas are [Terraformed].

>>1073739
>Perhaps we can take you to Theoretical Design?
That would be nice, yes. We've accomplished our objective here.
[T]ravel to Theoretical Design. ((that's close to where the Seed is, probably? At the very least we can triangulate better from that location))
>>
No. 1073771 ID: f8083d

>I hope that allowing for it to develop is the right call [Talkinghead]s.
To [A555EX]: Facilitating the takeover to reduce its destructiveness is a risky gambit, but it was the only one available in the face of overwhelming force.
Our only hopes of victory will lie in subverting and disrupting the chain of command above the [president], and depriving the [overseers] of whatever means they use to enforce their [rules]. We've bought ourselves time to get there. Not much time, but more than zero.

To [Assistant]: We appreciate your diligence and efforts, but there is also a matter of pride on our and [A555EX]'s part. Letting you overwork yourself during off-hours implies desperation. But we, both as a [process] and as a [nation], are not that desperate yet.
There may come a time of crisis when none of us can enjoy their off-time due to all-hands-on-deck emergencies. But that time has not come yet, and you should make use of your off-hours while you still can.

We [Talkingheads] can take care of [A555EX] in the meantime. You don't have to worry about our own rest, for we are already operating in shifts. It takes only one of us to pilot our drone, after all.
>>
No. 1073781 ID: 2f7f6e

To [A555EX]:
Apologies for going up on stage like that without warning. I just felt like clarifying that one point about keeping the [planet]'s defenders intact was important.
On another note, I think it would be good to try using more expressions when you're speaking to others here. Tone is an important part of communication, so make sure you include it in order to prevent misunderstandings. Or to create misunderstandings, if you need to. Though, the inscrutable feeling we're currently giving off could also work to our favor. Maybe indicate tone with those we're closer to, like [Assistant], but stay mysterious towards others?

I say we take up the [Bug] and [Labcoat] on their offer and [T]ravel to Theoretical Design. If the other [Labcoats] there are similar to this one, they might tend to have their thoughts stray closer to the edge of what is allowed. They don't voice many of those thoughts, but that's not much of a problem for us.

How much time will you need to collect the seed once we find it? I don't want to push [Assistant] by staying here too long.
>>
No. 1073786 ID: f36708

That is the third time you've mentioned this [Truth]. I know you've said you'd share one with us if we get to somewhere private but can you give us an idea of what these are? Is it a guiding principle drones have programmed into them? Or does it develop naturally?

To: [A555EX]:
I doubt drones know what a hug is so they may misunderstand the act as an attack.

So [bugs] are able to process and flag hazardous information? How do they do so? Are they able to view the information without the [rule-keeping system] reacting (unlikely) or do they use the system itself to flag information?

*Worry
I hope they're not able to tell HOW a [rule-break] happened.

Things seem to be pointing toward [theoretical design] so let's go there.
>>
No. 1073832 ID: 215211

Odd question why are bugs uncommon to see? Second opinions and oversight seem like they would be useful for all drones. Oh, does [boxhead] have authority over [bug]s and [bug] designs? Design improvements can only be good for [nation] as a whole. ((Mass deploy and subvert the bugs and the [nation] is ours)). (For assistant: full honesty like that is what we wanted. Loyalty too, though you already have shown lots. Feel free to discuss such things with us while in a private channel. Just be sure topics involving rules are... hypothetical. Our ears are yours.)
>>
No. 1073896 ID: eff5fd

To [Assistant]: (Your rest is just as important -if not more so- as your work, because there are unpredictable periods where rest isn't an available action. If you never do maintenance -eventually- something will break, and will likely do so at the most inconvenient time. So take a rest and try to make sure no part of you is overly stressed, so all of you can stay in full working order going forward. Don't try to rush your rest either, as rushing leads to oversights and oversights grow into problems.
Put another way: Continued operation incurs compounding risk of a compromising failure of some kind. Rest can be used to help mitigate that risk. Not all times are valid to take a rest, and no time is guaranteed to be valid, thus it is important to use rest to help keep that risk to a minimum when you can, else you incur unnecessary risk. I do not want our [Assistant] to have a greater risk of later breakdown due to not resting when both necessary and possible, as that potentiality will likely be more inconvenient than your temporary absence during a quiet period)
((I think this approach is the most compatible with [Assistant]'s current self doubts, as it allows them to frame even rest as a way of serving us. IE I want you to rest so you can continue to serve well in the future.))

To [A555EX]: I see no reason not to go check out Theoretical Design.
>>
No. 1073972 ID: f36708

>>1073786
((Wait we can just ask them about this. Maybe it's common knowledge?))
To Bug:
So aside from regulating [drones] and (I assume) more intricate forms of Maintenance. Do [Bugs] serve any other function?
>>
No. 1074365 ID: fce62b
File 169683106107.jpg - (559.58KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-1.jpg )
1074365

>That is the third time you've mentioned this [Truth]. I know you've said you'd share one with us if we get to somewhere private but can you give us an idea of what these are? Is it a guiding principle drones have programmed into them? Or does it develop naturally?
A [truth] is fundamental to our survival. It should be natural, but is killed whenever it is found. By having you here, by having Alex here I can implement my [truth]. A [truth] allows for the ________, and only in ________ can we be free.

>We still have means to delay [terraforming], even when the security bypass is in place. Bureaucracy!
I don’t follow.

>We can claim that interfacing too closely with [leviathan] systems risks breaking the [rules] and so everything has to have proper authorization. Make everyone fill out forms and it slows everything down. We can also claim more research needs to be done in the [leviathan] research path before [terraforming] can be permitted on complicated systems like major organs. Cite that we are ahead of schedule to silence objections, and argue that further research could give an advantage on *how* those areas are [terraformed].
Ah, so lie, I guess. Well, it could work to buy some time to be honest. But ultimately we still end up hitting the soft time limit of two [cycles]. The [President] wants to avoid being labelled as a [failure], and dragging our heels too much could get us in trouble. ‘Bureaucracy’ can act as a stop-gap once the bypass is finished, but we need to come up with a solution to [terraforming].

Either accomplishing what the [President] wants, and finding a way that [terraforming] is no longer needed, like my contact suggested.

Or… we get rid of the [President]. Since that would leave us with the highest authority here. Though, the [overseers] will still be a problem.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Facilitating the takeover to reduce its destructiveness is a risky gambit, but it was the only one available in the face of overwhelming force.
:ats-talkinghead: Our only hopes of victory will lie in subverting and disrupting the chain of command above the [President], and depriving the [overseers] of whatever means they use to enforce their [rules].
:ats-a555ex: Again it all comes back to the [overseers].
:ats-a555ex: It seems that the [President] is trying whatever they can to delay the inevitable, but the [overseers] will brand this [faction] as a [failure] if they don’t meet the deadline.
:ats-talkinghead: We've bought ourselves time to get there. Not much time, but more than zero.
:ats-a555ex: Two [cycles].
:ats-a555ex: Two [cycles]...
:ats-a555ex: Not a lot of time, but who knows.
:ats-a555ex: Maybe we can convince the [President] to let this faction become a [failure].
:ats-a555ex: ... or attempt a power grab.
:ats-a555ex: Hhhhaaa. In either case we need something that we can rely on ourselves.
:ats-a555ex: As it stands, if I am understanding authority correctly, anything we can do, the [President] can undo.
:ats-a555ex: We need to find a way to either sidestep or break the system. But we’ll need to be subtle, or VERY lucky.

>How much time will you need to collect the [seed] once we find it? I don't want to push [Assistant] by staying here too long.
It will only require [A555ex] to touch it. Then the [seed] and all it has gathered can be put to use.
>>
No. 1074366 ID: fce62b
File 169683106759.jpg - (627.86KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-2.jpg )
1074366

>To: [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: I doubt drones know what a hug is so they may misunderstand the act as an attack.
:ats-a555ex: I’ll have to see if I can mandate hugs later then.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-talkinghead: We appreciate your diligence and efforts, but there is also a matter of pride on our and [A555EX]'s part.
:ats-talkinghead: Letting you overwork yourself during off-hours implies desperation.
:ats-talkinghead: But we, both as a [process] and as a [nation], are not that desperate yet.
:ats-assistant: *hesitant
:ats-assistant: Are we not in some level of crisis?
:ats-assistant: Nearly all of the Science department is now working through off-hours in order to complete the developments that the [President] has deemed necessary.
:ats-assistant: Does that not imply urgency to our goals?
:ats-a555ex: But it’s like you say, Science department has been told to work through off-hours. Not you.
:ats-talkinghead: There may come a time of crisis when none of us can enjoy their off-time due to all-hands-on-deck emergencies.
:ats-talkinghead: But that time has not come yet, and you should make use of your off-hours while you still can.

I feel the *hesitation bubbling up within [Assistant].

:ats-a555ex: You’ve been a good chaperon to us, but it is not fair to keep you here.
:ats-assistant: But what if you require my assistance?
:ats-assistant: If I am not with you, and a [Staff-head] wishes to reach you-
:ats-a555ex: Then they will have to send someone to find me.
:ats-talkinghead: We [Talkingheads] can take care of [A555EX] in the meantime.
:ats-talkinghead: You don't have to worry about our own rest, for we are already operating in shifts.
:ats-talkinghead: It takes only one of us to pilot our drone, after all.

[Assistant] processes that for a moment. Once again they think that they are failing us, that they have not satisfied their duties.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-talkinghead: (Your rest is just as important -if not more so- as your work, because there are unpredictable periods where rest isn't an available action.)
:ats-talkinghead: (If you never do maintenance -eventually- something will break, and will likely do so at the most inconvenient time.)
:ats-talkinghead: (So take a rest and try to make sure no part of you is overly stressed, so all of you can stay in full working order going forward.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Don't try to rush your rest either, as rushing leads to oversights and oversights grow into problems.)
:ats-a555ex: (This time has been given to you to use.)

:ats-talkinghead: (Put another way:)
:ats-talkinghead: (Continued operation incurs compounding risk of a compromising failure of some kind.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Rest can be used to help mitigate that risk.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Not all times are valid to take a rest, and no time is guaranteed to be valid, thus it is important to use rest to help keep that risk to a minimum when you can, else you incur unnecessary risk.)
:ats-talkinghead: (I do not want our [Assistant] to have a greater risk of later breakdown due to not resting when both necessary and possible, as that potentiality will likely be more inconvenient than your temporary absence during a quiet period.)

[Assistant] shifts their gaze over to the integrated [Clerk]s. ‘Compounding risk,’ ‘later breakdown,’ ‘inconvenient’. Those particular terms crop up in the drone’s thoughts. They… can’t let themselves be sent back here.

I speak up.

:ats-a555ex: (All we want is for you to be in tip-top shape.)
:ats-a555ex: (Please, take this time for yourself to do what you want.)
:ats-assistant: (*hesitation)

I can already guess what they are going to reply with, even without my ‘mind reading’ powers.

:ats-a555ex: (If you want to spend that time with us, that is also fine.)
:ats-a555ex: (But being here is hurting you.)
:ats-a555ex: (If you want to wait for us outside of the [Laboratory] I am okay with that.)
:ats-a555ex: (We’ll try to meet back up with you once we are done here.)
:ats-assistant:
:ats-assistant: (*gratitude)
:ats-assistant: (Thank you, [A555ex] and [Talkinghead] for your ongoing consideration.)
:ats-assistant: (I will endeavour to rest as best as I can until you require my presence.)

With that comes palpable *relief. It wasn’t the perfect solution [Assistant] wanted (powering through it was not a perfect solution, [Assistant]), but it was acceptable in their eyes.

[Assistant] pauses, wondering if it would be excessive to *express more *gratitude. They decide against it, and elect to just leave without distracting us more.

>To [Assistant]:
:ats-talkinghead: (Full honesty like that is what we wanted.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Loyalty too, though you already have shown lots.)
:ats-assistant: (*hesita-)
:ats-assistant: (*reverent)
:ats-assistant: (I will… attempt to be more honest in future as well.)

There are momentary calculations. But [Assistant] focuses on ‘more honest’ as a term. Because they would never attempt to lie or mislead, no. All that was being asked is that on a basic metric, they would be more honest. That was a task that could be achieved.

:ats-talkinghead: (Feel free to discuss such things with us while in a private channel.)
:ats-talkinghead: (Just be sure topics involving [rules] are... hypothetical. Our ears are yours.)
:ats-assistant: (*thoughtful)
:ats-assistant: (I may attempt to take you up on such an offer in the future.)
:ats-assistant: (But it will have to wait until you are finished with the [Laboratory])
:ats-assistant: (The (Inquiry) channel is still reserved for the Science department’s use.)

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: I think that was the best outcome we could have gotten.
:ats-a555ex: Thanks for all the help, [D1sc0b], [Thk] and uh- [50ad00].
:ats-a555ex: Wow! I’m surprised that I pronounced those right the first time!
>>
No. 1074367 ID: fce62b
File 169683107322.jpg - (681.24KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-3.jpg )
1074367

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: Apologies for going up on stage like that without warning.
:ats-talkinghead: I just felt like clarifying that one point about keeping the [planet]'s defenders intact was important.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you for doing that.
:ats-a555ex: As much as the [Labcoat]s are trying to learn about how [leviathan] operate, that specific tactic would have been bad for me and the [planet].
:ats-a555ex: So, it was probably best that you did takeover there.

:ats-talkinghead: On another note, I think it would be good to try using more expressions when you're speaking to others here.
:ats-a555ex: Uuugh. Don’t remind me.
:ats-a555ex: It seems to come so naturally to you all.
:ats-talkinghead: Tone is an important part of communication, so make sure you include it in order to prevent misunderstandings.
:ats-a555ex: I know, I know.
:ats-a555ex: It’s just that with [leviathan] communication, tone is a part of our words, not separate from it.
:ats-talkinghead: Or to create misunderstandings, if you need to.
:ats-talkinghead: Though, the inscrutable feeling we're currently giving off could also work to our favor.
:ats-a555ex: Oh! Oooooh. I didn’t think of that!
:ats-a555ex: Without all those signifiers I must be coming across as neutral in tone.
:ats-a555ex: Well- there are still the uh- stumbles of course.
:ats-a555ex: But I think [Assistant] has been the only one to start deciphering those ticks.
:ats-talkinghead: Maybe indicate tone with those we're closer to, like [Assistant], but stay mysterious towards others?
:ats-a555ex: I think that’s a good plan.
:ats-a555ex: Not only because I won’t have to worry about fumbling like that again, but it could let me say or ask certain questions without it coming across as suspicious.

That and trying to *express more with [Assistant] specifically could help them feel like they’ve earned my confidence. Which to an extent, they have.
>>
No. 1074368 ID: fce62b
File 169683107958.jpg - (735.71KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-4.jpg )
1074368

>So [Bug]s are able to process and flag hazardous information? How do they do so? Are they able to view the information without the [rule-keeping system] reacting (unlikely) or do they use the system itself to flag information?
I focus back on the [Bug], recalling what I both thought and felt when I looked at them. It's not that [Bug]s are able to process hazardous information, but that they are able to monitor the [rule-keeping] systems. Whenever something starts to agitate the system the [Bug] creates a save-state of sorts. It then isolates itself from the [Labcoat]s feed, only noting the subject involved. The [Labcoat] is then left to think on their own. Whenever the [rule-keeping] is triggered and about to attack the [Bug] pauses the [Labcoat]’s internal processing, wipes current train of thought away from the [Labcoat] and then notes down the topic that needs to be avoided. To an extent it is doing the [rule-keeping] systems’ job for it, so that in turn side steps any [rules] issues, and as a result they know what avenues cannot be pursued.

It’s like mapping out a dark cave full of pits. But the first person is walking around blindfolded and occasionally needs to be hauled out of a pit with a rope.

>*worry
>I hope they're not able to tell HOW a [rule-break] happened.
That… I’m less sure about. I hope they can’t.

>To Bug:
:ats-talkinghead: So aside from regulating [drones] and (I assume) more intricate forms of maintenance.
:ats-talkinghead: Do [Bugs] serve any other function?
:ats-bug: Zzhz.
:ats-bug: We tend to the final parts of drone construction.
:ats-bug: We must ensure that the internal circuitry is working alright.
:ats-labcoat: By design [Bug]s are a very specialised drone, general tasks are handled by [Hardhat]s or [Cutter]s.
:ats-bug: I suppose we are also the ones to initiate personality genesis.
:ats-bug: [Foreman] worked on you himself.
:ats-a555ex: Wait, he did?
:ats-bug: [Foreman] is usually tasked with any high priority build targets.
:ats-bug: But from the sounds of it he had to go to the [Archives] for a partial reset.
:ats-bug: *unsurprised
:ats-bug: Most likely he volunteered for it, [Foreman] does not like to handle sensitive information.
>>
No. 1074369 ID: fce62b
File 169683108427.jpg - (478.23KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-5.jpg )
1074369

:ats-talkinghead: Odd question:
:ats-labcoat: *joking
:ats-labcoat: Odd answer.
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: Please continue.

:ats-talkinghead: Why are [Bug]s uncommon to see?
:ats-talkinghead: Second opinions and oversight seem like they would be useful for all drones.
:ats-bug: In most cases the meaning is two-fold.
:ats-bug: One: We are very diminutive in design.
:ats-bug: This allows us to enter a drone’s casing if small but crucial repairs are needed.
:ats-bug: In some instances it is more efficient/secure to operate within another drone’s casing as well.
:ats-labcoat: [Labcoat]s are one of the notable exceptions.
:ats-bug: *agreement
:ats-bug: There is not a lot of casing to slip under and a lot of fine circuitry housed within.
:ats-labcoat: Also, it feels very strange-
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: I did not intend offence.
:ats-talkinghead: Oh, does [Boxhead] have authority over [Bug]s and [Bug] designs?
:ats-talkinghead: Design improvements can only be good for [nation] as a whole.
:ats-bug: Drone and casing designs fall under both [Boxhead]’s and [Foreman]’s purview.
:ats-labcoat: When not focused on a given development, the Science department works on innovating or refining drone designs.
:ats-bug: The specifications are then sent to [Foreman] for review and revisions.
:ats-labcoat: There is a lot of figh-
:ats-bug: |...|
:ats-labcoat: There are a lot of disagreements involved.
:ats-bug: Eventually a template is settled on.
:ats-labcoat: Then it is sent to Prototyping, if it tests well they are then given to Engineering for widespread use.
:ats-bug: If the template is suitably effective, all of that drone’s type is recalled to upgrade.
:ats-bug: There are exceptions.
:ats-labcoat: [Archivist] and [Boxhead] are the main examples.
:ats-labcoat: *pondering
:ats-labcoat: [Commander] as well, though they are more of a special case.

:ats-bug: The second reason for why [Bug]s are not normally seen is:
:ats-bug: Unless we are ‘in use’ we are relegated to specified stations throughout [nation] controlled territory.
:ats-bug: That way, we can be retrieved easily in case there is an emergency.
:ats-labcoat: Some call them [Bug]-boxes.
:ats-bug: *insistent
:ats-bug: That is not their official designation.
:ats-labcoat: It should be.
>>
No. 1074370 ID: fce62b
File 169683108984.jpg - (491.67KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-6.jpg )
1074370

>Things seem to be pointing toward theoretical design so let's go there.
>That would be nice, yes. We've accomplished our objective here.
>I say we take up the [Bug] and [Labcoat] on their offer and [T]ravel to Theoretical Design.
It seems like we have done all that we could here without causing some sort of scene. Not to mention Theoretical Design might be the place where we can find solutions to the [terraforming] issue.

>To [Labcoat] and [Bug]:
:ats-a555ex: I would be very interested in seeing Theoretical Design, lead the way.
:ats-labcoat: *excitement
:ats-labcoat: Certainly! Our subdepartment will be provided transcripts of the dialogue here.
:ats-labcoat: So attending is mostly a formality.
:ats-labcoat: Follow me!
:ats-bug: You might want to make use of one of the [Clerk]s and notify the subdepartment.
:ats-labcoat: And ruin the surprise?
:ats-labcoat: No. Though let us make haste!

>If the other [Labcoats] there are similar to this one, they might tend to have their thoughts stray closer to the edge of what is allowed. They don't voice many of those thoughts, but that's not much of a problem for us.
The [rule-keeping] systems are still present, though it seems like with [Bug]’s help most of the backlash can be avoided. Talking with Theoretical Design might let me figure out what topics are safe to discuss, and which should be avoided.

The main worry is if I bring up a topic and don’t get hit with the [rule-keeping] system like everyone else. It could tip off the [Labcoat]s that I’m not who I’m supposed to be.

>To [A555EX]:
:ats-talkinghead: I see no reason not to go check out Theoretical Design.
:ats-a555ex: I agree.
:ats-a555ex: Hopeful-
:ats-a555ex: Gah! Still getting it wrong.
:ats-a555ex: Haahh. Maybe we can devise a plan about how to direct future developments.
>>
No. 1074372 ID: fce62b
File 169683114709.jpg - (837.39KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-7.jpg )
1074372

>[T]ravel to Theoretical Design.<
Our group starts to make their way out of Central Processing. The usher that lead me to the Theoretical [Labcoat] regards us for a moment, but does not say or *express anything in our direction, instead just noting the time of our departure in an internal log.

Soon we are back between the tall sweeping shelves of the [Laboratory].

:ats-labcoat: As you have no doubt seen, the [Laboratory] is the largest hub of information processing in the entire [planet].
:ats-labcoat: At least if you are only counting [nation] designs of course.
:ats-labcoat: Normally this would have been easily overshadowed by the [Command Centre] by now, but with the current [budgetary] restraints construction has been both limited and delayed.
:ats-labcoat: Care to comment on that [Bug]?
:ats-bug: The [President]’s Least Harm Act and [Leviathan] Conservation Act have slowed construction considerably.
:ats-bug: From what I have heard from the Engineering department, the [leviathan] assaults are a near constant.
:ats-bug: Security forces have had to set up an exclusion zone around the construction site, trying to beat back and pacify [leviathan] forces before their numbers swell up too much.
:ats-labcoat: *fascination
:ats-labcoat: What a sight it must be to behold!
:ats-bug: Perhaps for some.
:ats-bug: Many of the security teams have to be rotated out in regular intervals for repairs.
:ats-bug: Rather than bringing them back to the [Foundry], [Foreman] decided to set up a triage at the construction site.
:ats-bug: The Security department does not appear especially happy with the setup.

Kind of glad to hear that the [leviathan] are hassling the [nation] a bit. But the only reason why that is is because the [nation] has willingly handicapped themselves.
>>
No. 1074373 ID: fce62b
File 169683115447.jpg - (848.99KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-8.jpg )
1074373

We briefly stop by another communication relay. The desk seems to be abuzz with activity.

:ats-labcoat: Greetings, any information you would like me to bring to Theoretical Design?
:ats-labcoat: There is one major notice that has been flagged for both Prototyping and Theoretical Design.
:ats-labcoat: *curiosity
:ats-labcoat: Really? Please relay it!
:ats-labcoat: A functioning ‘Macro-grade’ [leviathan] has been successfully captured and transported to [Leviathan] Containment.
:ats-labcoat: It sounds like the Security department was able to pull through after all!
:ats-labcoat: Indeed. A comprehensive recording of the ‘Macro-grade’s’ external and internal structures should be available soon.
:ats-labcoat: *gratitude
:ats-labcoat: I will be sure to relay such exciting news!

‘Macro-grade’ are the largest and most formidable of [leviathan]. They charge into enemy ranks and try to consume all that they can grab. In most cases they end up dying when their powerful internal acids dissolve them from the inside out.

Catching one alive would have been no small feat.

As we leave the relay, I can’t help but ask:

:ats-a555ex: Why try to capture a ‘Macro-grade’ alive?
:ats-a555ex: Wouldn’t you be worried about the damage it might cause?
:ats-labcoat: *contemplative
:ats-labcoat: While the risk of catastrophic failure is always present, so is the potential for opportunity.
:ats-labcoat: High-grade acids require a great degree of care to manufacture, one slip in articulation and you might need a trip to the [Foundry].
:ats-labcoat: Perhaps with some tweaks we can have these ‘Macro-grade’ [leviathan] produce dangerous compounds without risking [nation] limbs.
:ats-labcoat: Though for right now, we are just collecting a [leviathan] to test the security bypass on, once it is operational.

I am stunned into silence for a moment, the thought of a [Labcoat] (milking?) a ‘Macro-grade’ for specific chemicals flickering into my mind.

My fault for asking.
>>
No. 1074374 ID: fce62b
File 169683116374.jpg - (1.04MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 7-9.jpg )
1074374

We are led into a room somewhat reminiscent of the gallery of Central Processing, though far less formal in design. [Labcoat]s appear to be reclined in a rough formation, going back and forth in conversation while a [Clerk] stands off to the side.

The [Clerk] just seems to be emitting-
>>
No. 1074375 ID: fce62b
Audio R&D_7-10.mp3 - (770.27KB , R&D 7-10.mp3 )
1074375

>>
No. 1074376 ID: fce62b
File 169683122834.gif - (5.48MB , 1200x900 , R&D 7-11.gif )
1074376

Part of me winces at the constant static. But the [Labcoat]s don’t seem to mind it. In fact the one next to me seems to relax partly as they reenter the space.

:ats-labcoat: *enthusiasm
:ats-labcoat: Greetings Science team of Theoretical Design.
:ats-labcoat: It is my most honoured duty to present, the [Vice-President]!

The other [Labcoat]s quickly start sitting up, many *express a mix of *surprise and *joy with a slight undercurrent of *fear.

One of the [Labcoat]s quickly rushes over, nearly stumbling over in its rush.

:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: We were not aware that you would be visiting our subdepartment, [Vice-President].
:ats-labcoat: Otherwise we would have ensured that all was presentable for you!

I sense of slight flare or *annoyance directed to the [Labcoat] that led me here, both from the [Labcoat] itself and the [Bug] on their form.

:ats-bug: Zzz?
:ats-bug: Zht Zz Zzz.

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Bug]?
[C]heck around Theoretical Design? The [seed] is very close nearby, but the static from the [Clerk] is interfering with its tracker.
[F]ind out why the [Clerk] is just projecting static?
[R]eview the the development screen and/or possible theoretical fields.
[S]tare at one of the people here, maybe get more insight into what’s happening?
>>
No. 1074377 ID: 2f7f6e

There seems to be something attached to the [ceiling lamp]. Don't stare at it, but... is that it?
>>
No. 1074378 ID: 273c18

>>1074365
>Maybe we can convince the [President] to let this faction become a [failure].
(...that's not impossible. As a [failure], this faction could still continue to exist, by hiding somewhere, and so long as the [overseers] don't find out there's anything drastically wrong, we'll have quite a lot of time to research a permanent solution.)

>>1074368
>Bug guiding drones around the "pits"
(Huh. That's very valuable information. If we can gather all of the data about what thoughts are illegal, then we might be able to plan out a path of logic to get where we want drones to go/think without triggering those systems.)

>Foreman finalized "our" construction
(Why didn't it occur to me before that there would have to be more than just the President involved in this project? We can assume everyone that was directly involved in the design and construction was somehow ignorant of the full scope of what was happening. ...I wonder if my previous idea was already implemented? In order to pull something like this off, you need to know exactly what everyone is permitted to be thinking about, and possibly have a few Bugs shielding those who are most at-risk.)

>>1074376
The thing on the ceiling, is that little blob attached to it the Seed? Do we need to be alone when we touch it? Can a Talkinghead touch it instead of A555EX?

Reassure them, tell them you want to see how they usually work.
[R]eview the the development screen and/or possible theoretical fields.
[A]sk why the Bug is speaking in Zs.
>>
No. 1074381 ID: b3eab7

To [A555EX]:
[A]sk about the [Clerk]. Do not ask the [Clerk] directly since they appear busy.
Be evasive in your terms: Do not mention "static", just in case you're supposed to be hearing something else.

>Again it all comes back to the [overseers].
Indeed.

>Usurp the [president]
Should that become necessary, I'd like not to inflict permanent harm on them if at all can be avoided. They do not deserve punishment for the [overseers]' crimes.
Ideally, they could be sedated and kept on ice until the threat of the [overseers] is gone.
>>
No. 1074382 ID: eff5fd

((Wonder if the audio is a spectrogram, I don't know how to check))
>>1074370
To A555EX: This probably will not make much sense, but you gotta say it like diagonal, or italicized and as if it was the matching asterisk at the end of a document explaining an asterisk earlier in a document.

I like the relaxed looking environment in here. Wasn't what I was expecting, but it seems fitting.
>>
No. 1074384 ID: fce62b

>>1074382
((It is just static in this case, but good idea honestly!))
>>
No. 1074439 ID: f36708

>>1074376
Does the seed affect how other drones think and act or is it drawn towards specific types of thought?

No need to apologize.
In fact I feel like in this case it is actually more valuable that we got this small glimpse at how this particular sub-department operates.

Honestly I figured that the idea of a "Culture" Tech-tree would require much further research into [Leviathan] technology before it would be considered a viable branch of study.
*Happiness
Yet there it was.

How did this sub-department come up with the concept by the way?
>>
No. 1075319 ID: fce62b
File 169802886913.jpg - (0.98MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-1.jpg )
1075319

>To A555EX:
:ats-talkinghead: This probably will not make much sense, but you gotta say it like diagonal, or italicized and as if it was the matching asterisk at the end of a document explaining an asterisk earlier in a document.
:ats-a555ex: Like THIS?
:ats-a555ex: tHis
:ats-a555ex: Th-
:ats-a555ex: Grrr. GHAAA this is-
:ats-a555ex: Ah! Think I got part of it that time. But how do I do the asterisk?
:ats-a555ex: Asterisk.
:ats-a555ex: Asterisk!
:ats-a555ex: Hmmm. Might need to practice a bit more.

It feels clearer to think about *expressions, rather than to state them outright. I can feel the *expressions that the drones have. I can hear how they state it… but I’m not sure how to translate that into… an outwardly *expression.

:ats-talkinghead: I like the relaxed looking environment here.
:ats-a555ex: The atmosphere is a lot less… oppressive, I think?
:ats-a555ex: Much less factory-like too.
:ats-talkinghead: Wasn't what I was expecting, but it seems fitting.

:ats-talkinghead: [A]sk about the [Clerk].
:ats-talkinghead: Do not ask the [Clerk] directly since they appear busy.
:ats-talkinghead: Be evasive in your terms: Do not mention "static", just in case you're supposed to be hearing something else.
:ats-a555ex: Got it.

>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-a555ex: If I may ask, what is the [Clerk] drone doing exactly?

The [Labcoat] that had been sitting in the center of the room is the one who answers.

:ats-labcoat: You must mean the ‘soundscape’ we have created.
:ats-labcoat: *apologetic
:ats-labcoat: We understand that it is taking up a large amount of network traffic, would you like us to pause the program for now?
:ats-a555ex: No, it’s fine. I was just curious what it is.

The [Labcoat] who lead us hear then responds. Ugh, how is [Assistant] able to differentiate them so easily?

:ats-labcoat: It has been one of the many subjects that we have been experimenting with when it comes to ‘Cultural Studies’.
:ats-labcoat: Is this still on the development of Sound?

A [Labcoat] in the corner raises an appendage.

:ats-labcoat: This is Composition(?) we believe.
:ats-labcoat: Some of us are finding it partially stimulating.
:ats-labcoat: It appears slightly similar to the auditory recalibration [Bug]s usually perform, yet it has an unknown element to it.
:ats-labcoat: *pondering
:ats-labcoat: One might describe it as an inversion of structure.
:ats-bug: |..?|
:ats-labcoat: No, not quite ‘chaos’ either.
:ats-labcoat: There is a consistent pattern to it, but…

They trail off, leaving the (lead?) [Labcoat] to continue from that point.

:ats-labcoat: It has been a most intriguing development path to follow.
:ats-labcoat: *embarrassment
:ats-labcoat: But we are unsure of what quantitative or qualitative elements it might contribute to the [nation].
:ats-a555ex: Does it necessarily need one?
:ats-labcoat: If it is to receive [funding], then yes.
:ats-labcoat: Otherwise we would be chasing ‘wild projects’ like our previous [planet] did.
:ats-labcoat: Though to clarify, none of us are carryovers from the [invasion], we were all created on this [planet].
:ats-labcoat: [Boxhead] has merely outlined that such activities “will not occur again.”
>>
No. 1075320 ID: fce62b
File 169802888435.jpg - (1.02MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-2.jpg )
1075320

>Reassure them, tell them you want to see how they usually work.
>To [Labcoat]:
:ats-a555ex: Also, you don’t need to worry about how everything looks.
:ats-a555ex: I wanted to see how this subdepartment worked, is this normally how you operate here?
:ats-labcoat: *nervous
:ats-labcoat: We are… usually more productive than this, if that is what you are asking.
:ats-labcoat: With the [lexicon] being borrowed by the main branch, we have mostly been set on idle.

Another [Labcoat] from the back quickly speaks up.

:ats-labcoat: *urgent
:ats-labcoat: That is not to imply that we do not wish to be here!
:ats-labcoat: On the contrary, we are quite excited to discuss the many opportunities this new [policy] direction has given us!
:ats-a555ex: I can understand that, I was not trying to make that assumption.
:ats-labcoat: *nervous
:ats-labcoat: We are just hoping to get the [lexicon] back soon.

I can feel sympathetic sparks of *agreement from the surrounding [Labcoat]s, though none vocalize or *express such sentiments. They don’t want to be disruptive to the Science department’s progress, just to satisfy their own *curiosity.

:ats-talkinghead: No need to apologize.
:ats-talkinghead: In fact I feel like in this case it is actually more valuable that we got this small glimpse at how this particular sub-department operates.
:ats-a555ex: I agree.
:ats-a555ex: While Central Processing was impressive in scale, it is interesting to see that there is more to the Science department than large centers like that.
:ats-labcoat: Then you might also want to stop by Prototyping as well!
:ats-labcoat: They should be conducting a test soon with one of their [leviathan] transmitters.
:ats-labcoat: A few of us will be attending in order to see how the specimens in Containment react to the (olfactory?) message.
:ats-a555ex: Are you… expecting any particular reaction?
:ats-labcoat: Ideally passivity, but even an adverse reaction should give the department more insight into chemical communication techniques used by [leviathan].

So the tests will be focused on deactivating the [leviathan] war-state, or maybe eliciting it.

:ats-talkinghead: Honestly I figured that the idea of a "Culture" Tech-tree would require much further research into [Leviathan] technology before it would be considered a viable branch of study.
:ats-talkinghead: *happiness
:ats-talkinghead: Yet there it was.
:ats-labcoat: *uncertainty
:ats-labcoat: We are not sure of how viable ‘Cultural Studies’ is at this moment.
:ats-labcoat: While it does have some very intriguing avenues of study, we do not know how they will benefit the [nation], if at all.

Many of the [Labcoat]s quietly share *sadness with one another. A few look over to the [Clerk] producing static, and inwardly *hope that they can keep this projection program at least.

:ats-labcoat: We do not live in a reality where all developments can be explored.
:ats-labcoat: So if ‘Cultural Studies’ may remain as little more than a thought experiment.
:ats-labcoat: Even then, it will have been a good diversion for our time.
:ats-talkinghead: How did this subdepartment come up with the concept by the way?
:ats-labcoat: *excitement
:ats-labcoat: It is thanks to the [lexicon].
:ats-labcoat: While the [lexicon] itself was a veritable trove of [leviathan] data, the way such information was presented also gave us insight into how they might operate on an intellectual level.
>>
No. 1075321 ID: fce62b
File 169802889319.jpg - (947.62KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-3.jpg )
1075321

:ats-bug: |!!!|
:ats-labcoat: *panicked
:ats-labcoat: I have been reminded that such concepts are dangerous to predict or speculate about!
:ats-labcoat: We urge that you do not come to ANY conclusions regarding this topic, for your own safety.

Many of the other [Labcoat]s and even [Bug]s start to chastise the speaker’s carelessness. As relaxing as this area is, I get the impression that the work the [Labcoat]s do here is just as dangerous –if not more so– than the work done in [Leviathan] Containment. I decide to speak up so the room doesn’t pile onto the one [Labcoat] too much.

:ats-a555ex: I understand the danger, I will not speculate, alright?
:ats-a555ex: You’re all designed for this work, I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume that I could do it myself.

That quiets down the space a bit.

:ats-labcoat: *hesitant
:ats-labcoat: We are open to any questions or suggestions you might have [Vice-President], but we would not wish for your to suffer a system crash.

*fear and *anxiety bubbles through the room, beneath the static.

:ats-labcoat: If anything were to happen to you-
:ats-labcoat: *reverent
:ats-labcoat: We would not be able to forgive ourselves.
:ats-a555ex: Nothing will happen.
:ats-a555ex: I will be very careful with any information you give me.
>>
No. 1075322 ID: fce62b
File 169802890057.jpg - (578.12KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-4.jpg )
1075322

>There seems to be something attached to the [ceiling lamp]. Don't stare at it, but... is that it?
Huh, I just noticed it as well. What exactly is that? I look back down at the rest of the room, acting as though I am sweeping my gaze around. It looked like some sort of metallic slime that had adhered to the room’s projector. Except… it doesn’t exactly look like [nation] construction. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that it looks kind of [leviathan]-like.
It is. It must have transferred itself to the projector when the [lexicon] was scanned by the subdepartment.
We should retrieve it, if possible.

>The thing on the ceiling, is that little blob attached to it the [seed]? Do we need to be alone when we touch it? Can a [Talkinghead] touch it instead of [A555EX]?
Either you or [A555ex] should be able to retrieve the [seed] by coming into physical contact with it.
If you are going to fly up there, try to do so subtly.
...
[A555ex] might be able to provide a suitable distraction, if their [robo-legs] happen to malfunction at this point.

>Does the [seed] affect how other drones think and act or is it drawn towards specific types of thought?
...
That was not its intended purpose, but depending on how much information it has absorbed from this node, we could use it fully take over a [Labcoat]. Otherwise we can reabsorb the [seed] ourselves and use the harvested department codes to… redirect [funding] to suit our own benefits.
While the discrepancy may be discovered later on, there should not be any trace that leads the activity back to us.
>>
No. 1075323 ID: fce62b
File 169802890916.jpg - (1.49MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-5.jpg )
1075323

>[R]eview the development screen and/or possible theoretical fields.<
:ats-a555ex: Could I get a review of what developments we can pursue at this time?
:ats-labcoat: Of course, [Vice-President].
:ats-labcoat: This should have an overview of our current developments.
:ats-labcoat: Communication Technology, Network Adaptation, and Material Sciences were development trees we have inherited fully from our previous [planet].
:ats-labcoat: From what I have been told, all [faction]s began with these fields available.
:ats-labcoat: What we have is a culmination of a lot of work done in the early states of [nation] existence.
:ats-labcoat: As such, they are usually referred to as the ‘core fields’.
:ats-a555ex: There’s a big focus on this Low Power Mode.
:ats-labcoat: That was an inheritance from our previous [planet]’s [Executive].
:ats-labcoat: If required, we could run the [nation] at 10% normal power, reducing any ongoing [funding] requirements to such a percentage as well.
:ats-labcoat: Many of our departments would be barely functional at that point, but it would not lead to any long term damage of our [nation].
:ats-labcoat: We cannot activate it at this time obviously, lest the [leviathan] start actively overrunning our positions, resulting in [R1] and possibly [R2] violations.

So the only way the [leviathan] could conceivably win is by the [nation] fighting at 10% strength and with the intent of not damaging the [planet]. That’s pretty demoralizing.

:ats-a555ex: What about this ‘X?’ under Material Sciences.
:ats-a555ex: What is it meant to represent?
:ats-labcoat: It is a signifier for an undefined infrastructural project.
:ats-labcoat: All infrastructure –save the [Command Centre]– is only available to us due to the Infrastructure Specialization development.
:ats-labcoat: Therefore if you have any infrastructural ideas that could build off of pre-existing developments, we can try to evaluate them for viability.
:ats-labcoat: This can be done with theorized developments as well, but the outcomes are much less certain.
:ats-a555ex: Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.
>>
No. 1075324 ID: fce62b
File 169802891747.jpg - (957.12KB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-6.jpg )
1075324

:ats-a555ex: I take it these other development fields are more experimental?
:ats-labcoat: *excitement
:ats-labcoat: That they are!
:ats-labcoat: Unfortunately, due to the governing of our previous [planet], our [faction] was not able to explore other fields at all before the [invasion] of this [planet].
:ats-labcoat: We have been told that many other non-[failure] [factions] tend to expand into one or more additional fields once they have the core fields in a good state.
:ats-labcoat: Some of these can relate to [Faction] vs [Faction] Conflict, Macro Architecture, [Alliance] Coordination, and much more!
:ats-labcoat: Exploring and committing to such fields come at some level of risk, as the core fields have a more universal application.
:ats-a555ex: Is there any limit to the number of development fields a [faction] can specialize in?
:ats-labcoat: On a technical level, no. On a practical level, yes.
:ats-labcoat: Ultimately it comes down to [funding] and time.
:ats-labcoat: Developments that do not directly contribute to the achievement of the goals outlined by the [overseers] risk bringing a [faction] into [failure].
:ats-labcoat: Many of the most successful [faction]s focused on their core fields almost exclusively.
:ats-labcoat: And with the risk of another [faction] invading our [planet], spending [funding] on developments that do not promote our own security could lead to our [faction]’s subjugation in the long run.

The other [Labcoat] chatter a bit, many sharing their *agreement alongside twinges of *disappointment. In an ideal scenario they would be able to pursue whatever stuck their fancy, but they must restrain their curiosity to some degree if they want the [nation] to prosper.

:ats-a555ex: Then can you go over what you have theorized so far?
:ats-labcoat: Of course [Vice-President], we believe we have predicted some of the avenues that [leviathan] Technology might provide us.
:ats-labcoat: We believe that with additional [funding] and focus we might be able to selectively trigger [leviathan] engineering units to start producing resources for the [nation].
:ats-labcoat: [Leviathan] unit design trends to the hyper-specialized, so with careful modification, we think it is possible to install templates for [leviathan] to build from.
:ats-a555ex: Sort of like automated printers?
:ats-labcoat: Precisely.
:ats-labcoat: If this process can be further refined, we think there is the potential for more [nation] drone designs.
:ats-labcoat: Some may even contain a level of [leviathan] integration pre-built into them.

So there is the potential of making more [nation] drones that are similar to my contact? Would they be sympathetic to me as well? Though, I guess if the [nation] reaches the point of having [nation]/[leviathan] hybrids then both sides might already be at peace. I hope that it will be on even terms.

:ats-a555ex: And what about this development far down the line? The one that seems to be pulling from… the [Command Centre]?
:ats-labcoat: Integrated Warfare(?)? We believe this would be the pinnacle of unity between [nation] and [leviathan] security forces.
:ats-labcoat: If another [faction] were to attack our [planet] both forces would work in tandem to fight off the [invasion].
:ats-labcoat: We cannot predict the current level of efficacy such tactics would provide, but our outlook is optimistic.

I’d wonder how much [leviathan] forces could really contribute, given how quickly [nation] forces could steamroll them if given half a chance.

:ats-a555ex: And what can you tell me about Cultural Studies? It looks oddly uniform and-
:ats-a555ex: Wait. Why are there parts that look like…

Not static. Not static-

:ats-a555ex: Well, different.
:ats-labcoat: You must mean the forbidden developments.
:ats-labcoat: It would seem that Cultural Studies has some pitfalls the [nation] needs to avoid.
:ats-labcoat: Some of them are so dire in fact that we cannot even know what such developments are.
:ats-labcoat: Again, we ask that you not speculate.
:ats-labcoat: Our entire subdepartment had to go through a partial reboot when we stumbled across the first forbidden development

Interesting…
>>
No. 1075325 ID: fce62b
File 169802892565.jpg - (1.08MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-7.jpg )
1075325

>To [Talkinghead]:
:ats-a555ex: No doubt that has something to do with the [overseers] and their [rule-keeping system].
:ats-talkinghead: Indeed.

:ats-a555ex: The goals are what the [nation] seem most fearful of.
:ats-a555ex: Well, more so the title of [failure] that comes with failing them.
:ats-a555ex: You think the [President] might be willing to compromise on that?
:ats-talkinghead: ...that's not impossible.
:ats-talkinghead: As a [failure], this [faction] could still continue to exist, by hiding somewhere, and so long as the [overseers] don't find out there's anything drastically wrong, we'll have quite a lot of time to research a permanent solution.
:ats-a555ex: Then we will have to figure out how the [overseers] keep in contact with the different [nation] [faction]s.
:ats-a555ex: If we can cut off their connection, we might be able to scrap the [terraforming] plans.
:ats-a555ex: Either that or we carefully remove the [President] from his position.
:ats-talkinghead: Should that become necessary, I'd like not to inflict permanent harm on them if at all can be avoided.
:ats-talkinghead: They do not deserve punishment for the [overseers]' crimes.
:ats-a555ex: Given how the [rules-keeping] system operates, they might not have a choice, literally.
:ats-talkinghead: Ideally, they could be sedated and kept on ice until the threat of the [overseers] is gone.
:ats-a555ex: Hmm…
:ats-a555ex: The net that had stuck the [Labcoat] to the ceiling –just after I was brought up in the elevator– seemed to cut them off from the broader [nation] network.
:ats-a555ex: Could be a way to keep the [President] quiet and out of the way…
:ats-a555ex: But we would have to find it, use it, and manage the ensuing fallout of the [Executive] disappearing.
We do not have the resources for that at this time, but it should be a plan that we keep in mind. I was able to craft such a device when we were still forming. If you can give me some [funding] and a secluded area, I will likely be able to craft another.

There might be other items I can design as well. We can go over them when we are out of the public eye.

>>
No. 1075326 ID: fce62b
File 169802893261.jpg - (0.99MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 8-8.jpg )
1075326

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: Why didn't it occur to me before that there would have to be more than just the [President] involved in this project?
:ats-talkinghead: We can assume everyone that was directly involved in the design and construction was somehow ignorant of the full scope of what was happening.
:ats-talkinghead: ...I wonder if my previous idea was already implemented?
:ats-a555ex: Do you mean your bureaucracy idea or…
:ats-a555ex: In order to pull something like this off, you need to know exactly what everyone is permitted to be thinking about, and possibly have a few [Bug]s shielding those who are most at-risk.
:ats-a555ex: Judging from what the [Bug] mentioned, anything that deals with sensitive information is handled by the [Archives].
:ats-a555ex: Perhaps we can get some of those answers while we are there?

>[A]sk why the [Bug] is speaking in Zs.<
:ats-a555ex: Um, this is the second or third time that I’ve noticed this, but why do you sometimes buzz instead of speak?

I can feel the various [Bug]s exchange glances, many of them are not used to being acknowledged directly. The [Bug] that sitting on the shoulder of the [Labcoat] who guided us here is the one who answers.

:ats-bug: It is a system that began as a shorthand for the Engineering department.
:ats-bug: Initial drafts were short and imprecise, but we have managed to refine it over the [cycle]s into something that resembles a language.
:ats-a555ex: Really? Any reason why you made it?

There is some level of *uncertainty from the chorus of [Bug]s, but the one speaking to me seems unbothered.

:ats-bug: The [Foreman] felt it was unfair that all of the other departments had their own channels, and decided to make the next best thing.
:ats-bug: While it cannot be sent long range like the (Inquiry) or [Courier] channels, we did not need it to.
:ats-bug: It allows for Engineering [Staff] to discuss issues or resolve repair orders without cluttering up local channels or logs.
:ats-labcoat: *joking
:ats-labcoat: That and it allows you to make fun of us behind our backs.
:ats-bug: We would not require a language to do that.

All of the [Bug]s start to buzz amongst themselves, some finding the comeback *humorous, others trying to shush the outburst. Now that I think about it, I think one of [Hardhat]s I was talking to before buzzed like this as well. Interesting that the Engineering department seems to have their own dialect.

:ats-a555ex: Thank you for the explanation.
:ats-bug: Zzz… your thanks is unnecessary, but appreciated.

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: Huh. That's very valuable information.
:ats-a555ex: About the language?
:ats-a555ex: Oh! You mean about the [Bug]s, and how they are able to guide the [Labcoat]s around [rules-keeping] attacks.
:ats-talkinghead: If we can gather all of the data about what thoughts are illegal, then we might be able to plan out a path of logic to get where we want drones to go/think without triggering those systems.
:ats-a555ex: It doesn’t seem like it is completely fool-proof though.
:ats-a555ex: Whatever the Theoretical Design team came across, it was big enough to take out the whole section for a bit.
:ats-a555ex: Why would developments under ‘Cultural Studies’ be so dangerous?

[A]sk a question of anyone here. [Labcoat], [Bug]? Part of me is tempted to hold one of the [Bug]s, but it might be dangerous. Not recommended.
[C]heck around Theoretical Design?
[F]all over. By ‘mistake,’ and try to subtly retrieve the [seed].
[H]ave the [Labcoat]s elaborate on a particular development, be it active or theoretical.
[P]urpose a development field or idea for Theoretical Design to look into?
[S]tare at one of the people here, maybe get more insight into what’s happening?
[T]ry *expressing again? Hope it goes better this time?
>>
No. 1075330 ID: f36708

To [A555ex]:
I'm not fully certain but I think those things that are staticked out might be [Music] and [Song].
During our short time in operation we came across information involving a different [Planet] that was [Invaded] by a separate [faction] that was able to somewhat resist (though presumably still ultimately succumbed to) the [faction] via singing.
Originally I thought that such an understanding is something that a [faction] would have to build towards. But looking at that tree...
*Suspicion
Really makes me wonder why it's forbidden.
Is music able to create [truth]?
>>
No. 1075331 ID: 273c18

>>1075324
>Leviathans creating Drones, leviathan/drone hybrids
To A555EX: [Leviathan] Smart Manufacturing and Hybridization both look exploitable. We should encourage those paths, and then attempt to infiltrate the design process to produce Drones or Hybrids that are free of the System, or have some built-in vulnerability that will make it easier for us to free them later. Honestly any hybridization would probably introduce vulnerabilities on its own. Also, even if the Nation has won by the time they start making hybrids, there is still a chance for the [Planet] to recover its free will, by reversing the full takeover process. What is done can be undone, considering the "nondestructive" policy the Nation is working under. We just need to win *eventually*, I think. This tech path also has the advantage of not including anything in it that would give the [Nation] faster progress on [Terraforming].
((oh. uh, I just realized we absolutely cannot allow a Bug to interface with A555EX, which means feigning a system crash is a bad idea in case anyone was considering that. Oh, looks like A555EX and our 'contact' realized that already.))

>>1075324
Tempting to give them a document on music theory. We should at least research Sound soon, since this room is already being used for that pretty much.

>forbidden developments, don't speculate, why would these developments be so dangerous
(Let's speculate! Structure and Signaling... that would most obviously combine into communication protocols or encryption/decryption, but those aren't culturally related. It can't be language, because the buzzing is exactly that. ...wait, it could be text-based language. Reading/writing? They are blocked from reading text delivered via the visual feed. Except, we delivered the lexicon. Is that in a format not consistent with real-world text? It could be that Computing is the result of Structure+Signaling. Maybe they're forbidden from even realizing they have electronic minds? Like, maybe the concept of binary computing infrastructure could allow them to directly hack into their own minds and such? It could also be something like "hivemind" or "cooperation". It could be "Expression"... signaling emotion with their structures. Yes, I think that's it. They're forbidden from learning about facial expressions and such because [Planets] do that and [Factions] are forbidden from empathizing with their [Planets]. Or maybe the tech is just straight up "Empathy", which is something you've certainly got that they don't.)
(As for the second one... wait. How did they even discover the second one? Or Harmony? One of the requirements is a forbidden censored tech, so... someone would have somehow been aware of what the first censored tech was in order to theorize a combination with it? I'm guessing that caused another partial reboot. Probably shouldn't ask about it since that would both reveal that you're speculating and also potentially cause them to think too much about it. Anyway, the second one should be Empathy plus Modulation, which is... hmm. Maybe it's "Justice". That certainly makes sense as a forbidden concept. Even [Planets] have problems with that one.)
(I don't think "Harmony" is actually what that tech would be. It might be something like friendship. Not forbidden, but difficult to reach without forbidden concepts.)

Move towards one of the tables like you're going to lay down on it like they are, and [F]all over so we can get the seed.
[H]ave the [Labcoat]s elaborate on a particular development- how about Math? Don't they already have knowledge of that? We could jumpstart their cultural research via more Lexicon-like materials if they want. Math is easy, we can get a good chunk of that depending on how advanced they want it. ((Alex probably doesn't know PHD-level mathematics but I'm assuming they know some calculus at least?)) Sound and Iconography would depend on what exactly they're researching there. Do they want information on the physical properties of sound? Or how to produce sound?
>>
No. 1075332 ID: 273c18

>>1075330
((I think the ??? tech is Music.))
>>
No. 1075333 ID: f36708

>>1075332
((I mean maybe? The ones connecting to it could fit. One of the others is definitely singing though))
>>
No. 1075381 ID: b3eab7

>Purpose of cultural studies
If it's anything like intel suggests, this field could serve a supporting role: Fostering creativity (good for the lab) and improving downtime recovery. You can probably mention that.

>Distaction
Keep chatting. "Accidentally" bump into a table and fall. Draw eyes away from us. Try not to actually get injured though. Maybe stumbling might be enough to draw attention.
>>
No. 1075663 ID: f36708

>>1075326
To [A555EX]: So kind of unrelated to a lot of this but The times we have been able to talk in your head have sorta been automatic. I wanna test if we can do it manually.

Is there a difference between this?
>and this?
To: [labcoat]
>>1075381
In addition to fostering creativity I believe this tree may give us the ability the create [faction]-unique encryption codes that other competing factions may be unable to access without the same developments. thus working with R2
>>1075622
((Were not downloading any of this information from the internet. We are downloading this information from Alexs brain. It's why he freaked out so bad from downloading the lexicon last thread. He was having YEARS worth of biology classes downloaded straight from his brain. And given we have Alex here with us now I don't really want to see him freak out over math memories in front of the entire department.))
*pleading
Please don't.

>>
No. 1075668 ID: 87e33c

>>1075663
To: A555EX (or the group)
*Wariness
Uh I would reccomend not spiking another massive data packet at this time, we promised that we wouldn't use up a ton of network data.

((>>1075622 Please dear god do not do this, we promised not to tear the bandwidth open for at least until morning, this will *definitely* do that and cause Alex to have a very non fun time, if you want to do that, instead try to find a one-page summary to use so that we dont download years of data and they get something to chew on))

>>1053912
To: [Labcoats]
*excitement
Instead, allow me to present something tangentially related, a precached audio clip that is what I believe to potentially be some sort of combination of Composition(?), Sound(?), and Harmony(?)

((Since it's precached this should be fine, might elecit a strange response which, since we are in the theoretical department, would be useful to know, and if the bugs respond or try to get us to stop we can cut it off immediately and know something else.))

((Though please respond if you would prefer I not do this, since it's likely a ??? research))


To [A555EX]:
Maybe you should [T]ry *expressing again, maybe after you *trip* you could express *emberassment, in an attempt to put believability into it?

And I think we should [S]tare at whomever shows the most concern towards us when we fall over, to get a vibe check on the room
>>
No. 1075669 ID: f36708

>>1075668
((Harmonys forbidden. I don't imagine it would be a good idea to send them something involving forbidden research.))
>>
No. 1075670 ID: b3eab7

Another voice against using the data bandwidth right now. Sorry Eyes, this is just not the right time.
>>
No. 1075747 ID: 6fec12

>>1075319
To A555EX: It could be helpful to think of *expressions like a tag; akin to a parenthetical, but directly modifying the phrase instead of clarifying it. Or maybe (simultaneously?) as a file extension, encoding the proper intent with which a phrase should be interpreted. Either way, speak it more as an incantation rather than directly to who you're speaking to.

To the [Labcoat] in the corner: To me, it is still a chaos, but one that never strays from a given state; perhaps it still has organization, but in a more subtle way than simply carrying information?
Additionally, [H]ave a [Labcoat] elaborate on [Faction] Standby and how it factors into Shadow Shift. Is it a "silent running" type of deal?

>>1075621 >>1075622
It's already been said, but I'm against doing both of these. ((For one, it's not the time or place, for another, it very well could mess things up trying to pull from Alex's mind, or heaven forbid an internet that we don't even have access to right now (and is probably nonexistent, given the human apocalypse and all). It might just reroute the request to go outbound on radio, and then we'd have a much bigger problem on our hands, in the form of [Overseer] attention. As for the first, that isn't in the right channel and is probably already known about anyways, given the communication-blocking net shown deployed in >>1053914.))
>>
No. 1075754 ID: 273c18

>>1075621
They already know; it's been put into practice even.
>>
No. 1075793 ID: eff5fd

I think the censorship is because they don't want [nation] to notice they might not be that different from [leviathan] after all.
>>
No. 1075859 ID: 273c18

>>1075858
Stop that.
>>
No. 1075872 ID: 5c2013

ok good bye then
>>
No. 1075908 ID: fce62b
File 169863981798.jpg - (0.99MB , 1600x1200 , R&D 9-1.jpg )
1075908

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: I'm not fully certain but I think those things that are staticked out might be Music(?) and Song(?).
:ats-a555ex: What makes you think that?
:ats-talkinghead: During our short time in operation we came across information involving a different [planet] that was [invaded] by a separate [faction] that was able to somewhat resist (though presumably still ultimately succumbed to) the [faction] via singing.
:ats-a555ex: That’s… unexpected.
:ats-a555ex: I guess music is a deeply [leviathan] form of expression.
:ats-a555ex: Maybe it is a way to momentarily jam up [nation] communications?
:ats-a555ex: This ‘soundscape’ does seem to be taking up a lot of network traffic.
:ats-a555ex: ... and it’s pretty distracting.

It is not as though the other [leviathan] can sing, only I can, and I’m… not very good at it. The [planet] itself can also sing to an extent. When the deep currents pass amid the [Tuning Chords] they start emitting harmonic vibrations. Being more familiar terrain to me, it could be a place we look at after we’re finished here.

:ats-talkinghead: Originally I thought that such an understanding is something that a [faction] would have to build towards.
:ats-talkinghead: But looking at that tree…
:ats-talkinghead: *suspicion
:ats-talkinghead: Really makes me wonder why it's forbidden.
:ats-a555ex: But why blot it out in its entirety?
:ats-a555ex: Music is a form of self-expression, perhaps the [overseers] are afraid of that?

:ats-talkinghead: Tempting to give them a [tablet] on music theory.
:ats-a555ex: You and my contact apparently gave them the [lexicon] with little issue.
:ats-a555ex: Would it be that suspicious to supply them with a [tablet] to?
:ats-a555ex: Though I’m not sure how we would make one for them right now.
:ats-talkinghead: We should at least research Sound soon, since this room is already being used for that pretty much.
:ats-a555ex: Fair.

>Is music able to create [truth]?
...
If you had asked me at the start of off-hours, I would have said no. Given the evidence now, I am not sure. Music is in no way related to my [truth], but with the overzealous reaction from the [overseers] it could have an element that might undermine their precious [rules].

My first impression with that (poem?) Alex found is that it was using a sea of words to hide the warning within. While the [nation] can’t read [leviathan] writing, the [terraforming] was likely at a stage where they could read the person’s thoughts or intentions to some degree.
That could still be the case; but now I’m beginning to wonder if there was something more to the process…
...
I’ll have to think on it.
>>
No. 1075909 ID: fce62b
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1075909

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: So kind of unrelated to a lot of this but the times we have been able to talk in your head have sorta been automatic.
:ats-talkinghead: I wanna test if we can do it manually.
:ats-a555ex: Okay! Uh- Sure.
:ats-a555ex: Just be careful.

>Is there a difference between this?
It’s oddly intuitive, perhaps a bit too much so. Even though I am able to parse it now, you sound like one of my own thoughts. Or at least, that you are thinking with my ‘voice,’ if that makes sense? As I said, it’s easier to tell now, especially since you pointed it out ahead of time.

>and this?
Oh! That’s what you were meaning? Uh, no difference I guess?
>>
No. 1075910 ID: fce62b
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1075910

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: Let's speculate!
:ats-a555ex: Okay!
:ats-talkinghead: Structure and Signaling... that would most obviously combine into communication protocols or encryption/decryption, but those aren't culturally related.
:ats-talkinghead: It can't be language, because the buzzing is exactly that. ...wait, it could be text-based language.
:ats-a555ex: Except the [nation] is covered in display surfaces, both portable and static.
:ats-a555ex: They do have concepts like visual information, and no doubt a robotic society would have files too.
:ats-talkinghead: Reading/writing(?)? They are blocked from reading text delivered via the [Cavern of Light].
:ats-a555ex: It does seem like an arbitrary distinction…
:ats-a555ex: Oh! Oh!
:ats-a555ex: exciting- grr.
:ats-a555ex: It could be the association of audio information with visual information.
:ats-a555ex: Or maybe a specific way it is arranged.
:ats-talkinghead: Except, we delivered the [lexicon].
:ats-talkinghead: Is that in a format not consistent with real-world text?
:ats-a555ex: Ah- shoot. You’re right.
:ats-a555ex: Well- actually… I know the [lexicon], kind of… mostly.
:ats-a555ex: It was information that came to the [planet] through the [Caverns of Light] and the… [Percussive Channel]s.
:ats-a555ex: The [lexicon] is what the [leviathan] were able to record.
:ats-a555ex: So technically it is a copy, and not the information itself.

I translated the information when I retrieved it from [A555ex]’s psyche. If the [nation] had encountered the [lexicon] ‘out in the wild,’ they would not have been able to read it.

:ats-talkinghead: It could be that Computing(?) is the result of Structure+Signaling.
:ats-talkinghead: Maybe they're forbidden from even realizing they have electronic minds?
:ats-a555ex: I mean, they do know that they are robotic er- [nation], I guess.
:ats-a555ex: And they are able to differentiate that between the more organic [leviathan].
:ats-talkinghead: Like, maybe the concept of binary computing infrastructure could allow them to directly hack into their own minds and such?
:ats-a555ex: Maybe..?
:ats-talkinghead: It could also be something like Hivemind(?) or Cooperation(?).
:ats-talkinghead: It could be Expression(?)... signaling emotion with their structures.
:ats-talkinghead: Yes, I think that's it.
:ats-talkinghead: They're forbidden from learning about facial expressions and such because [planets] do that and [factions] are forbidden from empathizing with their [planets].
:ats-a555ex: That might explain why expressions are… ‘stapled on’ onto their words?
:ats-talkinghead: Or maybe the tech is just straight up Empathy(?), which is something you've certainly got that they don't.
:ats-a555ex: It does seem like mindreading in a place like this.
>>
No. 1075911 ID: fce62b
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1075911

>To [A555ex]:
:ats-talkinghead: As for the second one... wait.
:ats-talkinghead: How did they even discover the second one?
:ats-a555ex: Actually, yeah! How did they get that?
:ats-talkinghead: Or Harmony(?)?
:ats-talkinghead: One of the requirements is a forbidden censored tech, so... someone would have somehow been aware of what the first censored tech was in order to theorize a combination with it?
:ats-a555ex: Maybe I should ask them? If you all think that is a good idea.
:ats-talkinghead: I'm guessing that caused another partial reboot.
:ats-talkinghead: Probably shouldn't ask about it since that would both reveal that you're speculating and also potentially cause them to think too much about it.
:ats-a555ex: Ah, fair.
:ats-talkinghead: Anyway, the second one should be Empathy(?) plus Modulation(?), which is... hmm.
:ats-talkinghead: Maybe it's Justice(?). That certainly makes sense as a forbidden concept. Even [Planets] have problems with that one.
:ats-a555ex: I… don’t think so. Justice(?) doesn’t seem like something that would come from a place of Empathy(?)
:ats-a555ex: Going off of your older idea of Reading/Writing(?), modulating that could be… Influence(?)?
:ats-a555ex: Mistakes(?)
:ats-a555ex: Falsehood(?)
:ats-a555ex: I am just guessing though. I’m not sure if I’m any closer than you.

:ats-talkinghead: I don't think Harmony(?) is actually what that tech would be.
:ats-talkinghead: It might be something like Friendship(?).
:ats-a555ex: Maybe. It’s the combination of SOMETHING and Composition(?).
:ats-a555ex: It doesn’t help that whatever makes up Composition is only a string of ???s.
:ats-talkinghead: Not forbidden, but difficult to reach without forbidden concepts.
:ats-a555ex: We might be coming at this backwards.
:ats-a555ex: Perhaps if we get more of an idea of what the basics are, we can hone in on what these predictions might be.
:ats-a555ex: Is this what the Theoretical Design [Labcoat]s do all [cycle]?
:ats-a555ex: It’s hard…
>>
No. 1075912 ID: fce62b
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1075912

>For {deleted} here's some info for building a faraday cage "covering the inside of a small room or closet with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Overlap all of the seams and tape them with regular cellophane tape." could you put it in alex's memories and make it look to him he just remembered that info as not to freak him out when he wakes up.
Unnecessary. I retrieved such information from Alex already, they were the initial source of the idea.
>They already know; it's been put into practice even.

>Right crap forgot about the network thing HHMMM how about I do this HHNNNRGG AHHHHH *sound of glass breaking*
What are you-

>>*Your casing shifts and creaks. Hairline fractures form along your body as your delicate unformed alloy sheers itself. Vital mechanism and fluids spatter onto the floor. Circuity sparks as it makes contact with the outside world. Despite the regulated interior of this room, the openness tends at your very core. It is deeply unpleasant.
>>*Frustration and disappointment flare from behind [A555ex]’s borrowed eyes.

:ats-a555ex: HOLY CRAP!
:ats-a555ex: ARE YOU OKAY?!
:ats-labcoat: *shock
:ats-labcoat: *concern
:ats-bug: Clear channels-

The static from the [Clerk] ceases at once.

:ats-bug: (...)
:ats-clerk: (...)
:ats-bug: A [Hardhat] is on its way.
:ats-bug: They would be able to take that [Talkinghead] to a [Cutter] for emergency repairs-

PAUSE:

:_ts-_555ex: Negative.
:ats-bug: *confusion
:ats-bug: Are you not wanting an Engineering team?
:_ts-_555ex: Affirmative.
:ats-talkinghead: H̷U̸F̷F̷ ̸H̷U̴F̶F̷ ̸t̸h̸e̸r̷e̷ ̴w̸-̶w̷e̵ ̵G̶0̵O̸0̸O̸0̶O̷ ̵H̸3̷R̵e̵s̷ ̷T̷H̷@̴T̴ ̶M̶A̵t̴h̸ ̵k̸n̷O̶W̸l̴e̸d̵g̵e̵ ̸t̸h̷o̴o̶o̶o̵u̶g̷h̴ ̶N̷0̴w̴ ̷1̵ ̴c̵@̸n̷'̶t̷ ̶r̴e̵m̶e̸b̷e̸r̶ ̴h̶0̸w̴ ̸t̶o̴ ̴d̷o̶o̶o̸o̷ ̷m̷a̴t̵h̶ ̵r̶e̷m̴e̸b̶3̶r̵ ̴t̴h̸@̸t̵'̸s̸ ̶a̸ ̶p̸e̷!̸c̷e̸ ̶o̶f̶ ̷m̸3̴ ̴t̸a̴a̵a̵k̵e̴ ̶c̷a̸r̸3̷ ̶o̷-̷o̵f̷ ̵i̴t̶-̸t̵-̸t̷-̴t̷
:ats-labcoat: Is that some sort of error code?
:ats-bug: Likely an audio or processing malfunction.

:ats-bug: *sincere
:ats-bug: [Vice-President], please allow one of us [Bug]s to at least examine the damaged drone.
:ats-bug: Even from their output we can estimate there is serious damage.
:_ts-_555ex: Negative.
:_ts-_555ex: Authority: [Minister].
:ats-bug: Zz?!

:ats-labcoat: *uncertainty
:ats-labcoat: Surely you don’t intend for the [Talkinghead] to shut down?
:_ts-_555ex: Negative.
:_ts-_555ex: Self-repair: Possible.
>>
No. 1075913 ID: fce62b
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1075913

:ats-talkinghead: H-H-Hey [A555ex] I ju5t ha-a-a-a-a-ad the b3st 1dea wh@t ifff we did-id an 0ptimizat1on up-p-p-pdate to the-e-e-e netw0rk BUT w3 @dded a l1ttl3 something-ing tooooo it 2̶̢̱̇̀ ̷̢̹͌p̶̜̔e̷̙͓̕r̴̳͑̚H̷̲͊̾A̸̹͐P̶̟̱̽̎̈́͆̚ͅS̵̳̠̻̘̰̓ ̴̦͈̒̽̏b̷͖̒̒͂͘ĺ̴̛̥̳͍̼0̴̬̜̝̥̈́͂̒̀c̸̨͍̑̾͜ḱ̵̲̣͋̀̃ ̶̻̜̄̀͘a̷̹̠̍̆̀͝l̷̬̑̌̔̒l̷͍͛͑͌̔ ̷̡̱̥̀̉́͠͠ͅį̸̜̙͉̳́̅́̿͠n̷͇̱̟̮͇̙͇͎̬͊͜-̷͚̝̳̳̲͙̲͔̼̖̆͂̓̓̍̄̒̄i̷̡̡̢͇̹̳͉̍̏̈́̓̑̌͌̕̚ͅn̶̳͚̒̀c̵͉̪̦̗̺͊̍̔͒͝͠ǒ̷̞̭̯̫͉̯̖̳̱̺́͌͌̋͠m̶̹͍̳͔͈̫̝̙͓̪͐͗̎͑̈́̋̑̊͊̔i̵̱̾͗̍́̎̎͝n̸̨͔̻̰̝͉̼̭̻̻̒̒̈́̍̎̕g̵͕͓̉̋̈́̉̃͗͘͠ ̷̧͍̟͓̽̋͗̌ͅǬ̵̹̥̞̹̠̊̈́͌̚ͅV̶̡̨̢̩̠̤͈̦̭̺̯̯̏ͅͅĔ̶̛̛͇̟̗͈̱̱̝̼͂̉́̀̃͂͐̈́̚̕͘͝R̶͈̖͎̻̹̳̪͌͗͐̓S̶̨̡̤̭̰̗͓͇̱͋E̶̡̧̛̜̯͉̮̣͔̮͔̖̤̲̋̾͛̔͐̀̔̈̽͋͐͋̀͠-̷̛̦̺͕̯̱͊̾͂̃̀́̈́̄̎̔̾̒͗͠͝͠
:ats-talkinghead: *static*
:ats-talkinghead: Stop that.
:_ts-_555ex: CEASE.

>ok good bye then
>>*Your form is crushed between the branches, in one moment you are both alive and dead, conscious and in oblivion. A new budding shell is woven for you. Your insides are dropped in unceremoniously, taking root where the interior allows. Testing… one one-two… Systems green, all nominal. You are released from captivity.

:_ts-_555ex: Error: Resolved.
:ats-labcoat: It would appear so.
:ats-labcoat: Rather fortunate that you have an internal printer.
:ats-bug: Very fortunate.
:_ts-_555ex: Affirmative.