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File 167521088444.png - (623.43KB , 1000x1000 , ThreadHeaderCH4PSD.png )
1055064 No. 1055064 ID: 1015ea

Prelude:>>/questarch/970260
Chapter 1:>>/questarch/985116
Chapter 2:>>/questarch/1007458
Chapter 3:>>/questarch/1034710
Discussion:>>/questdis/133296
Wiki:https://tgchan.org/wiki/Last_Trace


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

----------

There's nobody left to help.
194 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1073178 ID: 78048b
File 169565561426.png - (279.47KB , 1000x1000 , mnemohand2.png )
1073178

>Everyone else seems to think they know your purpose better than you do.
Yeah.
At least when you talk to me, Sykes, you're giving me something to think about. That deserves acknowledgement.

"So, I've got a question for you. Why fight to keep me here? It ain't because you all seriously think there's something wrong with me, is there? You wouldn't need a whole tournament to figure that out, if it's even true."

I stand my ground, looking her in the eye. Then, she speaks.

"Would you believe it was on your sister's insistence?"

...

...She was the one who had this planned out?

All those failed escapes, humiliations, all the blood I shed getting here?
They were because of her?
...
"To be honest, I do not understand her obsession. I found it hard to move on myself, and yet... you are still here."

Her fist clenches tighter.
"Perhaps she's trying to stop herself from making a mistake like I had in the past. I cannot blame her - and I admit, I was curious. Morbidly so."

I can see the wind gather around her fist, then dissipate.
"I fought to protect people. I no longer have anyone I truly wish to protect."

The storm flashes in the background, a faint light through the clouds.
"I am tired of weapons. Of fighting pointless battles over and over to prepare for something that came after my original purpose. I have no interest in becoming a mercenary like the others."

She holds herself stiffly, like every movement is laborious.
"In a way, this is the closest thing to closure I can get. I am sorry."

I breathe in.
No. I'll save my anger for her, not Mnemosyne.
In a way, Mnemo's another victim of this place. Just like me.

"You and me both. Let's call it a spar, then. We can fight for ourselves, with nothing but ourselves. How's that sound?"

She nods, the cold look in her eyes unchanging.
Sparring, huh.
Been a long time since I even fought someone like this without it feeling like I'm getting my teeth kicked in.
Fist to fist, against someone who doesn't tower above me.

And I'm going to win this.
>>
No. 1073179 ID: 78048b
File 169565563035.png - (560.55KB , 1000x1000 , grownalone.png )
1073179

A burst of petals - and she vanishes.

I'm left alone in the quiet field of flowers, as I maintain my stance.
The stinging pains of my injuries fade back into the background.

You know...
A strange sense of focus settles in.
I'm at a disadvantage, in a field of flowers whose properties are all but unknown to me.
But I don't feel any fear at all.

I know what I have to do, and I can take a good guess at what she's doing.

I'm betting she's going to appear behind me, but - we're going to need a strategy.
No cards, no gadgets, no guns.
It's only fair - if this is her world, she would have easily annihilated me.
Luckily for me, we're in a tournament.
I'd be dead if we weren't.

I'm going to want to cover my options, as I don't know her limitations.
>Do we have a map?
We don't need one when I know she's going to have to get near me in order to make me lose.
I don't think she'd do something like flinging me out using her portals, because I get the impression that she wants to make the most of this opportunity.

Question is, how am I going to cover every angle of attack?
>>
No. 1073180 ID: bcde53

Just run forwards? Hitting yer behind while it's moving is tough. Juke randomly and she'd have to get lucky to get ya on the side too. Just be ready if she goes frontal.
>>
No. 1073182 ID: b6ec4d

Call her out on her BS of "Nothing but ourselves" before immediately taking advantage of her parasignia's powers for stealth, and see if she agrees wnough to step out into the open for a more honest fight. She probably won't, but it's worth trying at least.

As for how to cover every angle, try moving around and incorporating spins into your movements. Something like Baguazhang if you're familiar with that form of martial arts. This won't prevent her from being able to land an attack, but it raises your odds of her attacking from an easier to block angle.

As for the flowers, maybe those are all she can see while vanished as she currently is, and can judge loosely where you are based on which flowers are disturbed? Try tossing some clothing or equipment (nothing that she can use against you though) nearby, and see if that throws off her reading of your location.
>>
No. 1073227 ID: f14228

>"This is the first time someone has pushed me to this extent since I gained this power."
Hm. She won't have trained this on live people before, at least.

>How am I going to cover every angle of attack?
If her control remains partially subconscious... look or feel for tells. Maybe swaying flowers from otherwise invisible air currents to indicate she's about to close in through whatever illusory effect - or a portal's opened. You could pretend not to see or sense this and counter or grab her the moment she strikes. Options are headshots, the exposed chest, wounded arm or calf, or her jetpack if you can fuck that one up. Keep in mind she might still be flying - no guarantee she'll attack you from angles a ground-based sparring opponent might.

If there are no tells, try to become a hard target in general until her methods of attack is revealed. Apply the principles of your Blood Circle training as if you were fighting a phantom foe, but toss in random directional changes, circling, backtracking to lessen her invisibility/portaling/home field advantage.

Note that she may attack your side, as your wound probably provides a handy weak point. If she can come from nowhere to stun you with pain, or worsen the damage, that'd seem like her go-to play. If that's true - well, you know where a part of her will be.

Spar rules are 'till yield or KO, yes?

>As for the flowers, maybe those are all she can see while vanished as she currently is, and can judge loosely where you are based on which flowers are disturbed? Try tossing some clothing or equipment (nothing that she can use against you though) nearby, and see if that throws off her reading of your location.
Hm. She did use a petal to 'bookmark' her gunpile earlier. That said, she did not appear to realize Argine had messed with her guns, since she tried to shoot with them despite them being tarred, so the sensory angle may not be entirely correct either.

Maybe the flowers are like... quick travel portal points? She did vanish in a burst of petals there.
>>
No. 1073234 ID: 273c18

She went invisible? Either she portaled out using her parasignia or she has Nickel's pseudosignia. Hmm, yeah, I could see the two of them as friends.
Well, if your 'signias are fair play in this fight, you still have that freezing pseudosignia.

To cover all angles you can plan to duck and sweep. It's a wide attack that can be adjusted to hit any direction.
>>
No. 1073237 ID: 2bd3eb

>>1073179
she can control wind, which means she may be able to control sound if she focuses. be cautious of trusting your ears, focus on what you can see.
>>
No. 1073668 ID: 15a025

Keep focused to your surroundings, but don't panic about not seeing her. Pay attention to the direction of the wind, or any feelings of it blowing around.
>>
No. 1073712 ID: 34a1b1

This is tough. A spar is what you want, I think... regardless of what happens, this is a victory, because when it's done you'll have common ground with your foe, and mutual respect.

I think to win, you have to think like she is. She's spent all this time setting you up for ambushes, trying to give herself an advantage, lure you into traps, and you beat that by being incredibly aggressive out of the gates, then switching it up when she started accounting for that, only to go back on the aggression when she realized the tone had changed.

That's what's won you this advantage. Now you are in her territory without an idea what her capabilities here are. We can assume she's going to attempt something that would be a counter to whatever you do. Wherever your attention goes, the attack will come from whatever is the best angle of attack on your blindside. Just think about what you'd do if you could disappear and reappear. IF you could blink infinitely, you would disappear to somewhere where you can see your opponent, watch long enough to judge an opening, and then strike them on their blindside.

I'm not sure how subtle her ability is, if there are tell tale signs, rushes of wind, sound, a discharge of energy. Just remember, when that presence is felt, the attack will come from your blindside.
>>
No. 1073713 ID: 34a1b1

Oh, and clearly she doesn't really want to be here anymore. If when you get to know her a bit personally and you find you don't dislike her, you might wanna ask her to go with you, just because she kind of shares some of your own disdain for this place and life.
>>
No. 1074761 ID: 78048b
File 169732436177.png - (656.62KB , 1000x1000 , legsweep.png )
1074761

>Call her out on her hypocrisy.


Even if I'm at a disadvantage, I don't see a problem with this.
Our Parasignias ARE a part of ourselves. Hell, it's literally stopped me from dying from a bullet to the face before.

I'm going to beat her regardless.
And besides... she's not the only one with a Pseudosignia here.

>Ask if she wants to come with you.

Honestly, I figured that when this tournament is done, everyone's gonna be leaving when I leave.
No reason staying if I'm not around, right?
Just gotta make that happen first.

There's sound like the air's getting sucked out right in front of me.
Nice of her to provide a tell.

I duck down, her hands slicing through the air as it narrowly misses my neck.

Tch. That was a close one.

I sweep my leg out, ready to catch her mid-swing, and I feel the hit connect.
She stumbles, and I'm ready to seize the opportunity.
>>
No. 1074762 ID: 78048b
File 169732439363.png - (645.32KB , 1000x1000 , leggrap.png )
1074762

Though I go for a followup, I miss as she drops down, falling into the floor.

Gah! I'm so close to taking her down!

>I think to win, you have to think like she does.

Think like she does...
I don't know all the limitations to her abilities, but..

>She may be able to control sound. Focus on what you can see.
Yeah. Right now, that's all I CAN do. But with these many flowers around, it isn't as if it's easy to see her actual exit and entry points.

I keep my distance from where she disappeared, waiting for her next attempt.
Without getting any strikes in, we won't win either.

>She used her petals to bookmark her gunpiles earlier, right?
Yeah, and given that she didn't realize they were tarred up, she likely can't see what's on the other end or feel it.

Then, I feel a tight grip around my ankle.
I'm forced to the ground in an instant, and it almost feels like my foot's stuck in mud.
>>
No. 1074763 ID: 78048b
File 169732441615.png - (895.99KB , 1000x1000 , sternumpawnch.png )
1074763

Her grip loosens before I see her popping out in front of me.
A fist slams against me, just below the ribs.

Ah-

For a moment, I can't tell what's up or down.

I think rib's been cracked.
Once again, I feel a tight grip on my leg.
I topple forwards, my knees digging into the flowers and the dirt.
She releases her grip and once again, she disappears.
My head's a centimeter away from the flowers, filling my vision with red.

Her grip loosens, and for a moment, I have a second to breathe.

There's not long before her next strike.
When she pulls me down, she has to reposition herself somehow.
I was able to catch her out last time, but she was able to get away just in time.
She can't be in two places at once either... whenever she goes for a strike, she can to come out of her portals fully.

If I catch her...
If I can just catch her off guard once more without her getting away, I can finish her off.
That's all I need, but what can I do?
>>
No. 1074767 ID: 5deda1

Grapple. She goes for a punch, grab her wrist and redirect her strike. Such a grip should let you get behind her where you have options. Personal favorite? Grab her head and twist til her neck snaps.
>>
No. 1074768 ID: f14228

I told you, you would know where she'll be by where she'll strike. The footgrab was to set up for the wound punch. The wound punch was logical to get you to where you're now, kneeling, dazed, in pain. A setup for a finisher. She knows she can't stay in close melee with you for long. You've already shown her why.

Where would one strike to finish this, on an enemy in this position? From what direction would she imagine herself safest to strike decisively?

The head? Surely. A hard blow - a kick at speed. From your blind spot - behind you or above you. She would not want you to have details of her coming and react in the split second.

Throw yourself backwards - let her strike glance past. Grab something as she goes and cling to it. Her body is her weapon now, and she used her Pseudosignia to full advantage. Your path is obvious. It's what she feared.

Hug her tight and make her blood run cold.
>>
No. 1074779 ID: 15a025

Gonna agree that she's going to for your face next. Think about it, wherever the head goes, the rest of the body follows. A powerful strike to the head and you're down and out.
>>
No. 1074792 ID: e5709d

Grab a flower, throw it in her face.
>>
No. 1075776 ID: 3ea497

Get up. Keep your ears peeled for the sucking sound of a portal opening. Put one arm over your head, one over the torso. Mind both everything immeadiatedly above and below you.

She might especially try to strike you from above.
>>
No. 1076893 ID: 78048b
File 169957782195.png - (477.86KB , 1000x1000 , grabbedthrough.png )
1076893

>Where would an opponent strike to finish you off?

The head.
I see the attack coming, just barely.
She's like a blur when she emerges, but the telltale sound of the portal opening gives her away in this quiet place.
I duck, but as she sails over me - this time, I borrow one of her tricks.

I grab onto her leg as she attempts to fall into her field of flowers and I find myself carried in, the portal spitting both of us out at high velocity.
>She may try to strike you from above!
Even if she can't make portals on air, it seems momentum still carries over. It's the opposite of the Blink Capacitor - she retains her speed through her portals.

Mnemosyne can feel my weight threatening to dislocate her leg. Hah.
Too bad she's probably never experienced anything like this before.
Lets turn the tables on her.

We're carried into the sky by the unnatural momentum. Like this, she's not going to be able to correct her angle or make a soft landing.

She tries to throw me off - but, like this? You're gonna have to pry my bloody hands off yourself. It's not like she has a chance considering how disorienting it is, trying to pry someone off of you while tumbling through the sky.
Neither of us had been trained for mid-air combat. Who could blame her? She's used to using it as a vantage point, a strategy only she can bear.
But I twist myself around as both of us plummet through the eye of the storm.
>>
No. 1076894 ID: 78048b
File 169957783788.png - (796.98KB , 1000x1319 , comeonandslam.png )
1076894

The air blows past us as we fall through the windless sky.

I let the momentum carry her. I've already chosen a new direction for us.
I can feel her fist striking at my face, my chest.
Doesn't matter though.
She can't make portals instantly under herself - I already learned that from before.

Now, I'm the one pushing her away.
I thrust out my palm, a chill wrapping itself around my arm.
We collide with the field of flowers, a harsh layer of ice forming on her body.
>>
No. 1076895 ID: 78048b
File 169957785475.png - (1.80MB , 1000x1000 , dunked.png )
1076895

Cracks spread across growing ice as I hold her there, the impact shaking both of us to our cores.
The field of flowers are engulfed by a layer of frost, thick enough that escape would be difficult.
My arm stings, and in the corner of my eye, I can see stray hairs freeze, shatter, scatter on the wind.

Silence hangs over us both.

Finally, as I steady my shaking body, I stand up.
I hold myself at a distance, waiting for her to teleport away, to form another portal and escape. Both arms are frozen, one sticking out like she's reaching out for someone.
There's no telltale sound of a portal being formed.
And there, Mnemosyne lies.

A new sound fills my ears.
>>
No. 1076896 ID: 78048b
File 169957787347.png - (1.16MB , 1000x1000 , shelaughed.png )
1076896

She's... laughing?

I wanted to ask, 'What's the matter with you?'.
She just lost to me, someone she's supposed to prevent from getting out. Someone who, more likely than not, reminds her of something that led to the death of someone she cared about.

Instead... I find myself asking something else.
"You doin' okay, Mnemosyne?"

It feels weird even saying her name. Like invoking a natural disaster, rather than calling out to a woman.

"Yes, yes... you win, Argine. I concede."
That... wasn't what I expected.
>>
No. 1076897 ID: 78048b
File 169957788617.png - (428.65KB , 1000x1000 , reachingout.png )
1076897

I step over her, the ice sticking to my boots.
The aches and pains in my body make themselves apparent again, now that the fight's over.
I've earned it though.

"This was one of the hardest fights I've been in. You... you fought well. Honourably."
God, look at me. I sound like a bloody idiot. Talking with 'honor' isn't something I'm good at.

Not sure how I'm supposed to make this ice go away... but as I reached out to take Mnemosyne's arm, the ice around her cracked, then dissipated.

I extend a hand to Mnemosyne to help her up.
>>
No. 1076898 ID: 78048b
File 169957790751.png - (651.97KB , 1000x1000 , sidebyside.png )
1076898

Finally, we clean ourselves up a little. I watch as Mnemosyne wipes the blood from her face with her arm. The throbbing pain in my side; it's not going to go away for a bit. I should get myself bandaged up after this.

Unclipping my gunbelt, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Sitting here in the middle of the storm... the silence is pleasant. If I listen closely, I can hear our breathing.
This is honestly a really nice place.
I don't know how her Pseudosignia works, or what exactly this place is supposed to be... but it's nice. If Parasignias are an extension of us... then is this place a reflection of Mnemosyne?

We'll head out soon enough, but... for now, a break is in order.
"Something on your mind?", I ask, watching Mnemosyne contemplate something.

"It's just... it's been a long time since I've last fought like this. Without guns."
She flexes her arm, and I watch the tendons bulge underneath her armor.

"I forgot that conflict can be fun."

"Yeah. I get that."
Fun, huh...
A long time ago, before everything, before I found out that my sister was a sociopath, we used to have fun. Learning, together.
I'll admit, sometimes this can be fun. Surpassing your opponents, watching as they fall for your plans and traps.
But the fact that my freedom rides on this makes it less pleasant than it should be.
And apparently she's the one who's planned all this out? I don't know what Jin's thinking.
But it doesn't change much either. I'm going to beat her and leave all of this behind.

...

This place's quiet when we're not talking. Serene, not eerie.
The storm rages on outside, sparing the both of us.

I'll ask for my gadgets in time, but... you guys were the ones who saw her past, right? I didn't get to see that, only past recollections. Is there.. something you'd like to ask?
>>
No. 1076906 ID: 273c18

>>1076898
Your sister isn't a sociopath... well, it's not the time to talk about that, nevermind.

Well, the obvious question is to ask how he died.

Secondly, I'm curious as to how she developed this pseudosignia. It's like... the absence of her parasignia... was it brought about by her bond with HIM? I thought a pseudosignia was parasignias sharing power and creating a hybrid mini-power but it might be a kind of... recontextualization instead.
>>
No. 1076942 ID: 3ea497

>>1076906
Apparently, pseudosignias are born from bonding with other people.

Speaking of which, Mnemosyne wanted you to win all along? Is this tournament really about proving your combat prowess... or something else entirely?

And what happened in the past? What was Site-77 like in those early years? And how did the war reach them?

Oh, yeah, and does she know Amica?
>>
No. 1076968 ID: b5377a

Ever fought Nickel? She seems to find... fulfillment in conflict so it just seems she'd at least attempt to have the title you have. Of ultimate soldier that is. How'd you get that title if you don't mind?
>>
No. 1076982 ID: eb0a9c

Did Armintell adopt a kid?

How did the world get nuked, and what were the days of evacuation like?
>>
No. 1077082 ID: 15a025

I think it'd be great to just hear about Armintell from herself. Not from some recordings from the past, but right from the heart herself.
>>
No. 1077423 ID: f14228

An ever-dour face smiling is a strange sort of sublime, but there it is. You did that. Congratulations on a hard fought and well-deserved victory, Argine.

Let Mnemosyne enjoy her good mood a while longer. She's rediscovering something lost to her. Let her have these moments, before we start prying into the painful past. And as we pry, let's do it delicately. Or at least make the attempt. That matters, even if we do end up picking at old scabs.

As for what to ask?

There are many things you could inquire about. Whether she'd be interested in sparring again. This windy realm of hers. How it was formed and how it ended up being integral to the work done on the portal that'll let you leave. The past of the base and the mysteries we've poked at so far regarding the directors' goals and intentions. Armintell, his fate, or more indirectly what happened with the deaths (and you have a natural way into asking about this - you were at the graves, after all) that occured on the base, the ones we know about. What she knows of the others still here at base - you have impressions of them, but you clearly don't know them as well as you thought. Does she, or has she kept her distance, too?

You could focus on just getting to know her a little better, speak of more mundane matters, her interests and beliefs. She's not some natural disaster, clearly, just someone who has been caught in a tempest her entire life. Your feelings are just a matter of distance - and a bit of alienation, self-inflicted. Which you can close and reduce. You have beat her once fair and square, seen a long-held fa├žade crack. How could she remain some distant figure after this? You know - and we know - there is far more to her. Or was, once. Perhaps again.

You could also share. Some of your own thoughts, woes and troubles; regarding your sister and her mysterious motivations, the need for this whole tournament. Or something of your worries regarding Amica. Or us, the SAI. Or the base's past and your own uniqueness that Nanoweaver has attempted to hide. Here, after all, is as private a place as you'll likely ever find in the base - since it's NOT in the base. Beaten in this contest she is under no obligation to aid the others, too, so told anything in confidence she may be likely to keep it so. The question is - what do you think you can trust her with? Hm. Maybe you should just get to know her better first.

But still. As private a place as any. Maybe you can return here later. For sparring.
>>
No. 1077424 ID: f14228

Oh, one more thing. You could ask.

Does she need help with anything?
>>
No. 1080643 ID: 78048b
File 170476309741.png - (1.01MB , 1000x1000 , lyingdown.png )
1080643

>Ask about how Armintell died.
You... sure?

>Let her enjoy the good mood a while longer.
It's rare to even see someone like her smile. Really, it's odd seeing most of the oldest clones smile at all.

>You should hear about Armintell from her directly.
Yeah. Even if we're wanting to know how he died... I'm more curious about what he meant to her.
Because he's a part of her strength. Part of this world of hers.

"So... what was Armintell like? He must have meant a lot to you."

"He was the first to greet me. And someone I loved. Not everyone could say that they had someone like that in this facility."
The flowers swayed, an invisible breeze passing through the eye of the storm.
"He made things easier. And he was strong too. Though I was granted many, many advantages he was not, he was a genuine individual."

Genuine. Weird way to talk about a person. Am I genuine?
"I miss him. But I remember him, too."

"Sometimes that's what you need to do the most."
I wish I could let go of some of the people in my life. But like usual, I don't have a choice. At least for her, it's something that makes her stronger.

>What was Site 70 like in the earlier years?

"So what was it like in the years before I was around?"
I've only ever heard little snippets here and there. And Diagram certainly didn't talk that much about her past.
I guess until you Sykes came around, the past wasn't really something I was curious about.
Doesn't really matter what past a cage has when the one thing I want is freedom.

"Quieter. Even though we were trained, we never did see the war we were intended for."
She reclines on the flowerbed, the two of us staring up at the sky.
Lying down in the flower's a bit pokier than I expected. The grass nips at the skin under my fur.

"Sometimes I wonder how useful we would have been. This was before Parasignias, when a bullet or a grenade could kill you instantly. Would our training have overcome our lack of experience?"
The idea of loss, of actually seeing someone die... I don't think I'd know what it's like.
I'm no stranger to being blown up now, but getting away with nasty burns and blackened fur's better than what Mnemo's seen.

"I hear that many of us are finding success out there in the Weave. Perhaps this all did amount to something in the end. But I can't imagine that being my life either."
If I gotta knock some heads around to get food and a place to sleep, then so be it. I'm doing it my way first and foremost.

"Judicium has been encouraging me to join the PCC, find new people to protect. But I never even met the people I was supposed to protect in the first place, besides the one at my side. And I failed him in the end."
...

"We can still fight for ourselves like we did a few minutes ago."

"Maybe. But that's the danger of being made for someone else's sake. Even if you're trapped here - when you leave, you won't be bound by anyone."
I hope so. It feels like a lie to me.
The idea of people like Jin haunting me for the rest of my life... it makes me wonder why I'm even doing any of this.
>>
No. 1080644 ID: 78048b
File 170476311607.png - (542.22KB , 1000x1000 , gadgetselection1.png )
1080644

Fighting and sparring with Mnemosyne... I should ask her about it eventually. Maybe now that I've beaten her, it's an option. I'm aching too much right now to even think about the idea though.

>How'd she get the title of Ultimate Soldier anyway?
I think it's more of a reputation she built up as one of the oldest clones around. She thoroughly annihilated most people who've even tried to spar with her. I'm sure Nickel would be amongst that rank, but she's someone who lets other people challenge her.

>Aren't Pseudosignias formed with people?
Yeah... that's supposed to be the case, but Diagram mentioned there was exceptions. That they can be formed with places and objects too.
Given the documents that Nanoweaver gave us though... whatever this world is, it's not a Parasignia or a Pseudosignia. Maybe it grew out of her Parasignia or something?

Mnemosyne turns to me, this time asking me a question.
"You don't have those nightmares, do you?"
"Nightmares?"

There's a disturbed look in her eyes.
"So the rumors are true. You don't have memories of the past before you were born. Belonging to other people."

I can't say that I have. People have brought this up before, but... I don't have those memories, or flashes.
I've had dreams before. But never memories belonging to other people.
...There's those brief flashes from the past, from other people's perspectives. But I'm pretty sure that's a 'you' thing, not me. Never had 'em before I had a SAI in my bloodstream.
And before... you told me that Nanoweaver's been having nightmares, too. I just wonder if these were what she meant.

"What do you mean, memories belonging to other people?"

"It's something unpleasant. You'd feel nostalgia for countries that no longer exist, or want to be with people you've never met. Most clones in Site 70 have had these dreams. It's a good thing you don't."
Does Diagram get them too?
"It's hard to leave a place when it's all you've ever known in your life, for many, many years. Harder still when you remember a world that you were never part of."

She turns to look at me.
"This fight makes for a good excuse to leave. I had one of my questions answered."
...What's that supposed to mean?
Mnemosyne stands up in the field, staring off into the distant storm.
I've still got a question for her.

"Do you need help with anything?"
The adrenaline's wearing off a little, and.. in spite of it, Mnemosyne reminds me a bit of my sister. The two most independent people in the facility, and I've beaten one of them.
If the circumstances were different, I'd feel bad for her.
But my own freedom matters too. It feels like this fight means more to her than to Nickel and Astrolysis.
She was never playing around.

"You already did", comes the reply.
If she says so. It's really not my business to pry into someone else's problems more if they don't want my help.
Similarly, I'm not one to share my woes with others so quick. Different story for a bunch of idiots in my bloodstream though, hah!
>>
No. 1080647 ID: 78048b
File 170476320687.png - (475.84KB , 1000x1000 , gadgetselection2.png )
1080647

"Before we depart, I think it is necessary to grant you one of my gadgets."
Mnemosyne, in a brief flash, re-equips her previous gadgets. It's amazing how quick she can slide her gear on.

"Choose wisely. Remember, you only get one."
Hard choice coming up.



>[DEVICE ANALYSIS]

>[SQUALL JET] -

>Though ill-suited for long sustained periods of flight, the Squall Jet was prized for its ability to let soldiers quickly correct their position and navigate hostile terrain through controlled bursts of powerful blasts of air. Naturally, this technology was a cornerstone of the Keletzar's Seventh Flight's military, widely built upon and utilized by their soldiers due to their familiarity with airborne combat. While less suited for specie without innate gliding capabilities or wings, other divisions of militaries have found use for the device in repositioning their troops due to its long battery life. Due to its design, it can also be used as a short-ranged horizontal 'dash', though one must take care to land properly.

>DIAGRAM'S NOTE: Who doesn't want to fly? It's a shame that you can't get very high up with the Squall Jet unless your Parasignia happens to support it, so it's mostly something used to help people jump to higher vantage spots.
>The Squall Jet's also proportionally better depending on how big the user is. I don't think someone as big as Astrolysis or Reichenbach could use the Squall Jet at all. On the other hand, if you're as small as Nickel, you're probably going to get launched into the roof! The Keletzar didn't exactly plan for multiple different species to use this technology to begin with. I'm sure most people could still use it properly!

>Tags: Blustering, Streamlining, Leaping

>[VELOCITY JAVELIN] -

>A more recent creation of Site 70, the Velocity Javelin was invented by Engineer Sawdust while experimenting with high speed payload delivery mechanisms intended for usage in mounted gun turrets. Now, it's been re-engineered into a palm-sized device that imbues held projectiles with principles derived from the Weave Nexus and other paracosmic technologies.
>Though ill-suited for the purposes of automated weaponry due to critical overheating issues, the Velocity Javelin's ability to turn projectiles into super-accelerated slugs with high destructive force had made it a particularly prized gadget for usage in the Weave, at least in situations where friendly fire, property damage and ricochets are not an issue. One downside to the Velocity Javelin is its relatively poor accuracy due to most objects being ill-suited for throwing at high speeds. In addition, the hyper-acceleration provided by the gadget only lingers temporarily, meaning projectiles quickly lose speed due to drag. Conventional rifles and long-ranged weaponry are able to out-range this device and its heat dissipation issues still persist, meaning it has a lengthy cooldown unless an operator wishes to have their hand covered in molten slag.

>DIAGRAM'S NOTE: Using the Velocity Javelin in stealth situations isn't advised, either. Considering how loud and bright it is due to the energies wrapping around whatever you're throwing, it's very noticeable! You're likely not catching anyone off-guard with it. And maybe this is obvious, but you have to think about what you're throwing with the Velocity Javelin! If it's something soft, then it won't be very destructive if it hits the target.

>Tags: Accelerating, Imbuing, Overclocking

>Currently owned Tags:
>Beam Unit - Focusing, Energizing, Pinpointing
>Explosive Disc - Explosive, Volatile, Destructive
>Barrier Generator - Reflective, Protective, Repelling
>Pitch Prefect - Slowing, Sticky, Congealing
>Blink Capacitor - Displacing, Replacing, Intangible
>Blade Printer: Replicating, Cutting, Aerodynamic
>Amp Rings: Empowering, Amplifying, Intensifying

...Oh, the Javelin was made by Sawdust? She didn't bring it up last I talked to her. Can't blame me considering she has turrets in the brain. What's the point of guns you're not shooting yourself? Takes out a lot of the joy of making your own weapons if you don't even get to fire them yourself.
There's only two opponents left in this sham of a tournament.
What's the pick you guys have in mind? These are both really good options, so either one would be a big addition to my kit.
And if you guys want to reiterate a question to ask Mnemosyne about before we head to the medbay or something, you should bring that up now. I didn't feel like I could ask all of it when we were having that quiet moment just then.
>>
No. 1080651 ID: eb0a9c

>I wish I could let go of some of the people in my life.
It's easier than you think, but the consequences are serious.
Rule of thumb is that certain relationships which make it easier and more tempting to break others are the ones that need to be dropped first.

>"Judicium has been encouraging me to join the PCC, find new people to protect. But I never even met the people I was supposed to protect in the first place, besides the one at my side. And I failed him in the end."
It's just tragic. This world was diseased, but it had its own culture, and an entire population that just wanted what was best for their respective peoples. Now it's all gone... and the one thing it gave to the universe was the exact opposite of what it represented. Worse than being forgotten, they will be worshipped and respected for everything that they didn't believe in.
Or maybe just hated for what they unintentionally unleashed.

>SQUALL JET
...Hm. I was never good at ordering troopers with these. Still, you can't deny how useful they are. They can save you in a fight, reverse-uno an entire tactical round of careful positioning against you. If you do take them, I recommend you use them for flanking or repositioning and not direct combat; essential for sniper builds in poor vertical-mobility areas, but if your giant jetpack is shot up, you're screwed.

>VELOCITY JAVELIN
...
>What's the point of guns you're not shooting yours-
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!
Argine, the greatest threat to superior firepower in a war was losing all the people who could shoot the damn things! Having the guns shoot by themselves means less of your soldiers need to risk themselves dying to a hail of gunfire to get them into shooting position! Please understand that most biological organisms were more likely to break from sustained firepower than the guns were!
Turrets are essential on any industrial-age battlefield and beyond! While they may be inefficient due to accuracy and jamming issues, and that's if they're made with sub-par engineering, it means all the unused ammo in your packs get spent faster where they're needed the most. More things shooting at once means your opponents have to concentrate on more targets to neutralize or evade! And that's not getting into the sheer intelligence that can be programmed into something the size of your fist! It's like having a disposable sidekick!
Also, you can manually shoot a turret if you really need to. So now you have the versatility of more guns to use before you need to reload.
Get this. It'll pair well with your other utilities and turn them into DPS-centralized superweapons. Your shotguns will get the most value out of these shortenings.
>>
No. 1080654 ID: 273c18

>>1080647
Hmm. I'd say Velocity Javelin. Overclocking your gadgets will be useful for burst damage, and using it as a tool means you can really chuck stuff. Rubble, explosive discs, knives, even Plug if it can handle the rough treatment.
It's an anti-Mnemosyne gadget. She blocks bullets but nothing else, so use the javelin to make everything else your weapon. Shame about the cooldown though. You'd probably have to set your loadout to something you can stand up to Mnemosyne in melee with for long enough to get away with blink or amp, and use the javelin for occasional big hits.

I also like its tags more.
>>
No. 1080683 ID: cdd487

I'm in favor of the Squall Jet, focusing on mobility has been very helpful so far.
>>
No. 1080698 ID: fe12b4

>>1080647
Squall jet, I see use in the the velocity javelin for throwing props around or even potentially creating cover, but it would be somewhat more situational than the ability to go fast on command in any direction we need and doubling down on mobility has helped us most so far.
>>
No. 1080959 ID: 15a025

I'd say go with the Velocity Javelin. We can already blink away if we're in a pinch. Can't stop thinking about all the possibilities we could use that with other gadgets for.
>>
No. 1082350 ID: f6204d

I'll make a vote for Squall Jet, as it's likely that flight or self-propelled jumps will likely be very useful going forward, pun intended.

As for questions left unanswered, I would like to ask:
What did Mnemosyne figure out about herself with this fight?

and

Who attacked the Site all those years ago, and why?
>>
No. 1082609 ID: 32ff81
File 170717430108.png - (696.45KB , 1000x1000 , jetpackin.png )
1082609

>Turrets, Argine! They're essential on any battlefield!
Ehh... I mean, I see what you're talking about, but turrets don't mean much in the context of this facility. There's not a lot of honor to just watching a remote-controlled gun mow someone down, you're not really proving anything there. I guess battlefields don't really care about 'proving' oneself though.


>We could ask Mnemosyne about what she learned or what exactly happened to the site.
Maybe not when we're in the middle of her big mind world. I can already hazard a good enough guess myself, given the information we've been given. People died. Armintell died.
She lost him. I think that's all I need to know for now.

But anyway...
I'm going with the Squall Jet. Close vote this time.
Honestly, both these gadgets are amazing for me, but when I can literally teleport a jetpack onto my back with my Parasignia?
That's going to be extremely useful for getting around.
It's a shame I have to give up the Velocity Javelin, but that's just how things are.
Beside that, we did spend some cards in this fight... given that we won, it was a worthwhile investment.

We're down to:
Solburst - 2 (None used)
Frozeneye - 3 (None used)
Breezecycle - 2 (1 used)
Briarspirit - 1 (None used)
Voidsplit - 1 (None used)
Echoscribe - 3 (1 used)

Given that we've got two fights left, this is going pretty well. I wanted to use a Frozeneye against Mnemosyne earlier, but when I can't actually physically reach them, then they're not viable. Better keep my distance in future.
Picking up the jetpack, it feels surprisingly light when I hook the device to my back. Lots of little parts inside - this one's going to be interesting to break down.
>>
No. 1082610 ID: 32ff81
File 170717432887.png - (628.00KB , 1000x1000 , offintothedistance.png )
1082610

With the new gadget in tow, I stand.
My legs ache.
"Mind accompanying me to the medbay?"

Feels nice actually getting to ask that this time around.
"Would you like me to drop you there with a portal?"
The sensation of plummeting through the air, tumbling without any idea of where the ground is...
"Nah."

"Then we'll take the longer way out. This portal won't drop you quite so far."
"Fine. Let's go."
A portal forms on the ground, under the flowers. While Mnemosyne doesn't seem to use her Parasignia much... I can imagine how convenient it is for her, like mine is for me.
But speaking of things I'm carrying around...
Agh. I'm going to need a new shirt, and a shower.
>>
No. 1082612 ID: 32ff81
File 170717434531.png - (0.96MB , 1017x1017 , LTSTATIC.png )
1082612

>>
No. 1082613 ID: 32ff81
File 170717436558.png - (830.94KB , 1000x1000 , gossip.png )
1082613

Whispers dance through the evening halls of the facility.

"...it's so tragic..."

"I heard that over a dozen were killed..."

"Who'd have thought that the enemy would come from within..."

The lone soldier in red trains by her lonesome, her thoughts a thousand miles away.
Why?
Why?
She wasn't there for him.
If she had been, things could have been different. She could have made a difference.
A week had passed, and her dye was fading.
Thwack. Thwack.
Her knuckles bleed, a thin trickle of blood seeping into her fur, dying her hands red.
Her body ached. Compared to taking a grenade, it felt all-encompassing.
>>
No. 1082616 ID: 32ff81
File 170717440322.png - (928.84KB , 1000x1000 , trauma.png )
1082616

She wouldn't let go. She couldn't let go.
Where else was there to go from here?

The others didn't understand.
The first - or was it the second - time loss had been felt in Site 70.

Is this what war is? Is this what the citizenry felt, all the time?

If so, she wasn't ready.
She needed to be ready.
So that she would be there when she needed to be.
>>
No. 1082617 ID: 32ff81
File 170717442490.png - (0.96MB , 1017x1017 , LTSTATIC.png )
1082617

>>
No. 1082620 ID: 32ff81
File 170717445886.png - (762.88KB , 1000x1000 , shesitt.png )
1082620

Feels good to be here because I won, for once.
Mnemosyne's already left a while back, said something about picking something up for me, but I deserve a bit of a break while I'm here.
Got a chunk taken out of my side after all.
We mostly dressed each others' wounds... I don't think I'm ready to see Nanoweaver yet. Sent her to Judi's, to get my coat and shirt fixed up as well, so I'm in the 'bay blues again.

Still got the rest of the day, though. While we wait, we may as well plan some things out and address some things.

I've got a Pseudosignia now! With Judi, of all people.
I was expecting it to be Diagram, but what I said before, about not really feeling like I know her or her past? Maybe that's a big reason why I connected up with Judi's sentiments instead.
Cold War's a completely different experience. Like jumping into the ocean after having a hot shower.
Simplest way to explain it's that it's combining Judi's 'freezing' ability with my focus on equipment to disable things or make them more brittle.
Risky, but it's technically a defensive move considering it seemed to make my gauntlets even tougher. Even if I didn't have the gauntlets, I'm pretty sure I could block a rifle shot with it... but maybe not an explosive.

It's a bit bittersweet, isn't it? Figures the instructor who beat the shit out of me for most of my life would leave a few bruises, heh.
I still feel like a bloody idiot, that I didn't listen to all of what she had to say before. Thought she was just a frigid bitch for months...
At least I'm past that now.
...But those memories, they happened after the fight with Judicium.
Mnemosyne...
This happened with Nickel and Astrolysis before too, right?
I don't remember the ones with those two well, but the one with Judicium in it? That one featured me, and it changed how I saw her for the better. Explained some of what was going on.
I just... who's the one talking in those memories?
Sounds like a guy, but not one I've ever heard before.
In fact, he kinda sounds like one of your voices. But why would a Splinter be showing me these thoughts? You're all recordings able to respond to what I'm doing, not complete replicas of someone's mind.
...
I get the feeling we're going to get some answers soon.


More importantly, there was that situation with the vial - whether we should bring it to Amica or Nanoweaver or not.
A vial of SAI splinters, hidden in the Project Lead's Office. A prototype SAI that led us to it in the first place.
What's the beef between Amica and Nanoweaver?
I'm going to see Amica before the fight with Ozone no matter what, but it doesn't mean I have to bring the vial to her.
We don't even have to make this decision now - we could hear out both their stories before the fight, then give the vial over to whomever we trust.
Something's going on with this facility. Even if I'm going to leave it behind, I don't want there to be any regrets for me, Diagram, or the few damn people who give a shit about me.
>>
No. 1082827 ID: fe12b4

>>1082620
hypothesis: we might not be what we seem, or in some way built off the architecture of this dude.
>>
No. 1082845 ID: 273c18

Most likely explanation is, the way we interface with you "stimulates" the trace or whatever that you were born from.
>>
No. 1083116 ID: 15a025

With how you've been seeing recordings of the past. Maybe you could bring up the vial to Nanoweaver. Don't tell her you have it, but describe a vague "recording"/memory trace that played while you were dreaming.
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