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File 169301854634.gif - (4.36KB , 650x450 , Title.gif )
1070829 No. 1070829 ID: 0fbdcd

The sequel to Decompressed: Nuke Ops. If you never read it, or just want a refresher, check it out here: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/981565.html

As before, I am not the artist or writer of this quest; I'm only archiving it from another medium and relaying commands from Questden to the artist.

All art and story credit go to Nine Hyperzine Tripping Engineers.

367 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 1082836 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736891876.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 214.gif )

>:Savvy: : "Hey, wanna help me find a corpse?"

:Wince:: "Go do it yourself, footnote, I'm about to be an engineer."
:Friz:: Weren't you going to be a detective, or researcher? Ugh-- never mind.
:Friz:: You're gonna skip out on high-drama content?
:Wince:: "Woah, woah, you didn't say there'd be good drama content. How good are we talking?"
:Friz:: :HeadSurgeon:'s badly mutilated corpse (that a lot of people think is important and holy). We think it's wound up somewhere weird.
:Friz:: I need some help with finding it in maintenance.
:Rogers:: You're a decent liar when it's half-truths, huh kid?

:Chemist:: Wait, what...? :HeadSurgeon:...?
:Wince:: "Corpse footage, huh? For a real sacred cow?"
:Friz:: Yeah. For a bunch of really devoted niche religious people.
:Wince:: "Idiots caring too much about stupid crap is the funniest content."
:Wince:: "Hey. Hey chat, who wants a surprise drama stream?"
:Rogers:: Specta junkie.p[ You look like you hate this plan as much as I do, kid.
:Friz:: Well?
:Wince:: "Yeah, sounds good. It's hidden around maintenance?"
:Friz:: Yep. I'm trying to find it first, but if you find it first, you can get footage.
:Wince:: "Yeah, whatever. You're not beating me in maintenance."
No. 1082837 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736895791.gif - (23.48KB , 650x450 , 215.gif )

>:Friz:: Eat the floating apple that's been shoved in your face

:Dirt:: Chief? Everything okay in the imagination?
:Grit:: I'm imagining what it would be like to bite into this awful thing.
:Moxie:: That would be so embarrassing.
:Savvy:: And it can't taste good.
:Grit:: Tastes bad.
:Grit:: But there's no catharsis doing this your way, :Savvy:. It hurts.
:Grit:: Imagining what it would be like to solve stressful things through biting is the only comfort.
:Savvy:: Why not biting him?
:Grit:: Tastes worse.
No. 1082838 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz: : start questioning :Chemist: before he has a chance to start forming his own conclusions

Little too late on the draw to get him before he gets some negative feelings. Just how it is, with detective work. Nobody likes someone who makes a mess just to get information, and just because you get an hourly rate for stepping on toes in the library doesn't mean they like you there when you do it.

:Wince:: "Later, footnote."
:Chemist:: This is unbelievable. This is awful.
:Chemist:: Why would he do that? Why would you tell him something like that?
:Friz:: Yeah. (Sorry. I just... really needed him out of the way...)
:Friz:: He's not gonna find her, I think.
:Chemist:: It's still not a decent thing to do.
:Friz:: When you're done here, can I interview you for a case related to that?
:Friz:: I need to ask you some really important questions.
:Chemist:: No? No! What?
:Chemist:: You're turning someone important to me into some kind of internet sideshow, even if they're dead.

:Dirt:: I told you boss!
:Savvy:: Shush!
:Dirt:: I told you!!
:Moxie:: She did tell you.
:Savvy:: I'm gonna work around it, just shut up a minute!
:Savvy:: I'll get a plan together...
No. 1082867 ID: 8f9bc4


At least tell him that :Wince: didn't ask for all the details of this case, and you wouldn't have told him anything that had any risk of turning :HeadSurgeon: into a mere sideshow. If he wants explanations, whatever. You have impending explosions to investigate.
No. 1082898 ID: b3eab7

He won't make a show of her, he'll just make a fool of himself... And most importantly, be out of our hair (if he points out he's bald, remind him he's got facial hair with a gesture) so we can discuss what is really up with :HeadSurgeon:.
No. 1082908 ID: 7c0da2

Tell him the truth, and try your best to be convincing. Give him any information he asks for.
Tell him :Wince: won't find any body, because the body appears to have come back to life. There isn't any risks his friend is turned into an internet sideshow. At worst, her resurrection will be streamed then most likely covered up. You are more interested on how it is even possible.
You need to convince him you are telling the truth, so that he tries to find :HeadSurgeon: by himself. Even if he doesn't lead you directly to her, he should at least lead you to places and people that are directly connected to her.
If you can, ask :Kratt: if he could try to keep an eye on him through the cameras. Or follow him yourself if you think you're stealthy enough.
No. 1083216 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170774976240.gif - (21.86KB , 650x450 , 217.gif )

>:Dirt::Grit:: Remember this, remember how it hurt :Chemist:, you've lost someone before.

:Grit:: Change tactics now, :Savvy:.
:Dirt:: Seriously, boss.
:Dirt:: :Moxie:, brace against physical reactions to painful thoughts, please.
:Moxie:: I'm bracing!
:Savvy:: What? Why? I just need to re-maneuver the deception--
:Grit:: We retain mental stress. The loop won't cleanse it.
:Dirt:: He's probably still grieving about someone who taught him important things and protected him too, like us.
:Dirt:: Whether it's more or less than us doesn't matter as much.
:Savvy:: Ow. Ow, ow, stop.
:Savvy:: This sucks! There's not supposed to be consequences in a loop!

:Friz:: You're... I mean, yeah. That feels bad.
:Friz:: I just needed him to clear the line...
:Friz:: (Sorry.)
:Chemist:: Well now it's moving.
:Friz:: I'll call it in. Make sure someone stops him.
:Chemist:: ...?
:Friz:: I know she meant a lot to some people.
:Chemist:: Yeah. Sure did.
No. 1083217 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170774983167.gif - (20.02KB , 650x450 , 218.gif )

>Tell him the truth, and try your best to be convincing.

:Friz:: I actually wanted to see if you could help some, though!
:Chemist:: Barely worked for her, haven't in a year. Can't help you.
:Friz:: Well-- I know, but... look, I knew :Wince: won't find it because I think she did something to her body to make it harder to find.
:Chemist:: Did something to her body?
:Friz:: Modified. Changed. She would have gone to chemistry for help, at least a little.
:Friz:: And now I can't find her. Nobody can.
:Friz:: The best (and worst) :Wince: will do is give me a lead or two.
:Friz:: I just wanted to interview you about her a little. To prove or disprove some theories.
:Friz:: I'm trying to figure out the truth about some confusing things that are going on (so that nobody will get hurt when things are all unclear).
:Friz:: Unsolved mysteries are just ways for awful people to hurt good people.
:Chemist:: ...

:Rogers:: Gut feeling just hit me about him.
:Rogers:: Something you just said pulled up a major memory in him.
:Rogers:: Saw it in his eyes.
:Friz:: ...?
:Rogers:: Back off. You've said just enough to get him to help.
:Rogers:: Best way out of some of the toughest spots is, you don't talk over someone trying to forgive you.
No. 1083221 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170775177215.gif - (18.20KB , 650x450 , 219.gif )

:Chemist:: Fine. But while I work.
:Chemist:: Kitchen access, please?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Cause for access upgrade?
:Friz:: Yeah! I wouldn't interrupt.
:Chemist:: Good. I'll answer... what I can.
:Chemist:: Access needed for chemical deliveries for :Bartender:.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Access approved as Service department head.

:Chemist:: Thanks, :HeadOfPersonnel:.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You're welcome.
:Friz:: Thanks :Chemist:!
:Chemist:: Yeah, welcome.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Thank you :Friz:.
:Friz:: Sure, you're welcome.
:Friz:: (Wait, what?)
:HeadOfPersonnel:: :Wince: is usually only breaking rules minorly while he hurts people.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It's difficult to deal with. The system of rules doesn't apply well to him.
:Friz:: You're telling me...
No. 1083227 ID: 8f9bc4

We need to cook!
No. 1083263 ID: 273c18

Usually only breaking rules minorly? Ask her when he breaks major rules. Is there a way to provoke him into breaking a major rule?
No. 1083294 ID: 7c0da2

:Grit: : A member of the tribe just thanked you for saving them from a hostile outsider. Release chemicals to reward/reinforce the positive behavior.
No. 1083323 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787884962.gif - (19.28KB , 650x450 , 220.gif )

>:Friz: : Consume magnesium tablet to recover from morale loss.

You head back to the chemistry desk. Not a long walk, but when you're weighed down with stress, every walk feels too long and too short.

:Friz:: So--
:Friz:: You want me to just run the interview over here?
:Chemist:: You wanted the interview.
:Friz:: Well, here's good.
:Friz:: I can ask for chemistry help here too, even!
:Friz:: Got anything good for stress?
:Chemist:: Got a prescription from :Computer:?
:Friz:: I should ask... It never feels good asking a machine for that.
No. 1083324 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787887337.gif - (18.47KB , 650x450 , 221.gif )

:Friz:: Name?
:Chemist:: You already have my debtor number.
:Friz:: Department and role?
:Chemist:: Med-sci, chemist.
:Friz:: Current feelings about safety (and if needed, anything that the DVSD can do to improve them)?
:Chemist:: What?
:Friz:: Do you feel fearful or stressed?
:Chemist:: Yeah.
:Friz:: Is there anything that I (or the DVSD) can do to help?
:Chemist:: ...I guess, solve this.
:Friz:: Well, I'll do my best!
No. 1083325 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787893150.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 222.gif )

>:Savvy:: Start light, ask about the other cases.

:Savvy:: How do I get him to loosen up after what happened there?
:Moxie:: He's gonna be tense for a while... But, a light touch that acclimates over time. That does good.
:Grit:: How do you do that?
:Savvy:: Hang on. I think I've got an idea. I'll loosen things up with things he's definitely not got any answers for.
:Savvy:: "I'll start with some cases you probably don't have information about..."

:Friz:: I'll start with some cases you probably don't have information about.
:Chemist:: Why?
:Friz:: Just in case! Just say, "I don't know anything about that" for anything like that.
:Chemist:: ...Sure.
:Friz:: There've been some thefts of high-value items (directly from heads of staff). Have you seen anyone with advanced magboots, or hand-teleporters, or anything like that, which they're not supposed to have?
:Chemist:: Nothing like that.
:Friz:: Anything you've recently heard about violent traitor actions being planned?
:Chemist:: Nothing.

:Friz:: Do you know anything about why the Research department is in a tight spot?
:Chemist:: Not really... they've been keeping me out of the loop on something, though.
:Friz:: Oh! (I didn't expect to hear anything about that.)
:Friz:: Do you have... any ideas? Hints, maybe?
:Chemist:: Really focused on not letting me inside. That's all I've got.
:Rogers:: Note it for later. Don't focus for now.
No. 1083326 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787896912.gif - (18.25KB , 650x450 , 224.gif )

>:Chemist:: "Please just get to the point."

:Chemist:: Alright, I get it. I can say "no".
:Chemist:: What about :HeadSurgeon:?
:Rogers:: Don't circle the sharks around him. Half the stress of things.
:Friz:: Right...
:Friz:: This is going to be really weird to say (I don't have a lot of hard leads and certainty about things).
:Chemist:: Point.
:Friz:: Right.
No. 1083327 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787901273.gif - (16.92KB , 650x450 , 225.gif )

:Friz:: I think she may have modified herself. A lot.
:Friz:: It's the only way to explain some things.
:Friz:: I think her... body may still be active.
:Chemist:: ...What am I supposed to know about any of this?
:Rogers:: Fishing to see what you know.
:Friz:: Well... she wouldn't be able to do whatever it was, without supplies from chemistry.
:Friz:: Did she ever ask for anything really, really strange?
:Friz:: (Something that could help her... re-energize her body after over a year?)
:Chemist:: ...More specific?
:Friz:: It was slowly pushing toxins out.

Tiniest flinch. The kind you hide. But it's one that means something.
No. 1083328 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787909482.gif - (16.58KB , 650x450 , 226.gif )

>:Dirt:: Scan deep trivia. Do chemicals exist that can do that?

:Chemist:: ...She had access to the pharmacy.
:Chemist:: Why would she ask me for anything?
:Friz:: Because...

:Moxie:: He wants to say it. But he can't. He needs a nudge...
:Savvy:: Anyone got anything?
:Dirt:: Scanned all the trivia I can.
:Dirt:: No matter how deep I go, I can't find chemicals in basic chemistry knowledge that can push out toxins from an inactive body.
:Moxie:: But she did. She obviously was removing toxins from her body.
:Dirt:: So it only makes sense that it only exists in memories of an advanced chemist.

:Friz:: She did do something on a chemical level (I can tell that for sure, I've seen the evidence).
:Friz:: She would have gone to you... right?
:Friz:: Didn't she ever, at any point, ask you for something only you could give her?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: Once.
No. 1083332 ID: 273c18

Tell him he won't get in trouble. That crisis is in the past, and all debts are accounted for. He might even be rewarded for helping you in this case.
No. 1083381 ID: 8f9bc4

...he boned her didn't he. We're not talking about those chemicals.
No. 1083737 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170840153663.gif - (18.72KB , 650x450 , 227.gif )

>:Friz::Savvy: : deploy the eyebrow

He wants to help. He's let you know he's got some info. But he doesn't feel like he can. Light touch, kid. Lightest it can be. Nudge the door open.

:Moxie:: He's right. Gentle... gentle...
:Moxie:: He's yearning for it. I think he wants an answer too.
:Dirt:: It's a memory that's been sitting in his mind for a while.
:Moxie:: Can you express in motion? In posture? Some kind of firmness to brace off of...
:Savvy:: Alright... right. Conscious expression time. Notch the eyebrow up.
:Moxie:: Got it. What's this for?
:Savvy:: Tilt head, five degrees. It's to look like the system and the world are responding. Momentum.
:Savvy:: The systems of authority are here.
:Grit:: And aren't here to hurt.
:Moxie:: Alright. Expression up.

You pin that eyebrow up proud, like a badge. The authorities are here, and they're taking the notes, here to help. Just enough authority to guide, not to force. Any detective would be proud. Just don't go too far with it. Could get silly.

:Friz:: ...?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: I don't know what she did with it.
:Chemist:: Gonna be complicated to explain.
:Chemist:: But.

There he goes, kid.
No. 1083738 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170840155619.gif - (17.44KB , 650x450 , 228.gif )

:Chemist:: She asked for an inert liquid universal stasis.
:Friz:: Are you talking about one of the cryo-chems? Something to freeze things?
:Chemist:: No. She had plenty of know-how for that.
:Chemist:: You know the stasis beds in the treatment center?
:Chemist:: She wanted... something she could use to make a permanent semi-stasis effect, like those.
:Friz:: What would a chemical like that do?
:Chemist:: In a beaker, probably slow just about every reaction. Easy to make that.
:Chemist:: Not useful, besides in some kinds of production setups.
:Chemist:: But...
:Friz:: She didn't want it in a beaker.
No. 1083739 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170840161448.gif - (9.89KB , 650x450 , 229.gif )

:Friz:: She wanted it in a body.
:Chemist:: Inert. Yeah. She wanted it non-metabolizing, distributed through the whole body.
:Friz:: What would it do there?
:Chemist:: Permanently slow something down, soften something, affecting her body. One specific thing, she wanted it slowed way down.
:Friz:: What was it?
:Chemist:: No idea. She handled the rest.

:Moxie:: Everyone wants to stop change, but nobody can.
:Moxie:: Softening it... that's different. You can blunt the impact.
:Moxie:: Holding off bits and pieces, tactically.
:Moxie:: It doesn't matter how good your chemistry or your cult magic is, you can't stop all change.
:Moxie:: But there was one thing she stopped. It was important.
No. 1083743 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170840170915.gif - (10.60KB , 650x450 , 230.gif )

>:Savvy:: She's still missing a head

:Savvy:: It didn't stop what happened to her after that.
:Moxie:: Right... It wasn't supposed to.
:Moxie:: Otherwise it would have worked, right?
:Moxie:: She did all the work, so it should have happened.
:Savvy:: And it didn't fix her after.
:Savvy:: How did she get up if she was missing a head?
:Savvy:: This doesn't seem connected. It only slows things down, it doesn't recreate anything.
:Moxie:: It's linked. Closely. But I don't understand how.
:Grit:: It's one of the three remaining facts you need.
:Grit:: When all are found, we can break this.
No. 1083751 ID: 273c18

>how did she get up if she was missing a head
New theory: she wasn't missing it anymore when she got up. Someone still had it, and returned it to her just before the incident. The stasis would have kept her brain and body "alive" in the meantime.

So, to possibly confirm that, ask what happened to her head, and also if she had any implants.
No. 1083775 ID: 8f9bc4

What affecting her body could she have slowed down? The list is still too long. Her heart rate? Her blood circulation? Her neuron actuation? Cancer? Was she slowing the progression of tumors, enabling her to do something that caused a lot of tumors? Something about her skin? Her bones? Osteoperosis?
No. 1084903 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170922880387.gif - (21.47KB , 650x450 , 231.gif )

>:Savvy:: Wait, how did she lose her head?

:Savvy:: Hold on a second.
:Savvy:: What about the decapitation? Is that gonna be another important clue?
:Grit:: Everything could be another important clue.
:Savvy:: Thanks, you're always so helpful.
:Savvy:: "Hold on a second..."

:Friz:: Hold on a second, do you mind one more question?
:Friz:: Did you see her, when she died? Were you there?
:Chemist:: What? No.
:Friz:: So you don't know how she got... like that (decapitated, I mean)?
:Chemist:: Decapitated? God.
:Chemist:: Why did :SecurityChief: blow her head off?
:Friz:: Yeah. That doesn't... seem like her.
No. 1084904 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170922882240.gif - (23.80KB , 650x450 , 232.gif )

:Friz:: So you weren't there.
:Chemist:: If I was I'd have--
:Chemist:: ...
:Grit:: "--died before letting anyone kill her. She was so important. She was a kinder future."
:Grit:: "Only by evading my view, did death's grasp ever touch the heart of my tribe."
:Friz:: Huh?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: Well, I didn't see it, that's all.
:Friz:: Alright.

:Friz:: Was anyone else there?
:Chemist:: Only one guy who I heard saw it, besides her.
:Chemist:: Her right hand.
:Friz:: The one who disappeared...
:Chemist:: Yep.
No. 1084906 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170922890119.gif - (20.93KB , 650x450 , 233.gif )

>:Grit:: Focus on the case.
>@Angry Duck

You pull back. No good splitting their tribe. Not much left to gather there in the pharmacy. Not much time either. All the time in the world, kid, over and over, and somehow you got none to spare. I'd tell you to just sleep in, one of these cycles, if I wasn't betting it'd be the last time you leave that dorm room.

Isn't long before you get to engineering. Gotta say hi to person-of-interest number two.

:AtmosTech:: ...and when the fusion containment breached, it heated the entire icemoon past boiling.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Panopticon, Phantom, Midnight. Engine Three, confirm readings, tell me that's a fakeout.
:Mechanic:: You're kidding.
:AtmosTech:: No, no, no joke, it's true.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Confirmed! Engine Three, what's your escape vector on that hairball?
:Mechanic:: Shuttle called, guaranteed.
:Mechanic:: How'd you survive until then?
:AtmosTech:: Well, turns out the space heaters have a--
:Friz:: Hey, can I speak to :ConstructionEngineer:?
No. 1084908 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170922895838.gif - (23.02KB , 650x450 , 234.gif )

:ConstructionEngineer:: Potential bandit harmony on panopticon twelve, priority one exclusion. Code - Artery, Phantom, Caltrops.
:Mechanic:: She's not in.
:AtmosTech:: She's sick.
:Mechanic:: Died last week actually.
:AtmosTech:: Died badly. Tragic. She exploded.
:Friz:: What? I can see her right over there.
:Mechanic:: See who?
:Friz:: The-- I can see the :ConstructionEngineer:.
:Mechanic:: You see ghosts now?
:Friz:: (!!)
:Friz:: No, I meant-- they're right over there!
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Key, Harmony, Dawn.
:AtmosTech:: She's out. Come back next week.
:Friz:: Please. (I just need to do an interview...)

Not as bad as :Wince:. But Engineering's a club, not just a department, and this one's still living. What's a good way through those walls? And how do you stay friendly while you do it?
No. 1084910 ID: 8f9bc4

He was so moved and his eyes were so kind thinking of her, was the head of the medical wing really the leader of a Bloodletter cult? He knows that, and he doesn't feel cheated or betrayed? Something doesn't add up about the whole Bloodletter thing. What was really going on there?

Uh, anyway, tell them you once died in the explosive decompression of space when a debtor station in the orbit of a gas giant got destroyed. So exploding to death shouldn't stop them from giving you a simple interview. That might make :ConstructionEngineer: curious enough to want to interview you and you could turn that around.
No. 1084931 ID: 273c18

Hmm, the only witness to her death was her right hand, who went missing. So there's no confirmation that her head was destroyed! I don't think it was, and the terrorists got the head from the right hand. Or one of the terrorists is the right hand.

Tell them about any cool Engineering-related mysteries you've solved before.
No. 1084935 ID: 64faaa

I don't have any suggestions, but the quest is cool. Keep it up!
No. 1084949 ID: 8f9bc4


Oh no, her right hand went missing too? I thought she only lost her head!
No. 1086298 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030262575.gif - (21.93KB , 650x450 , 235.gif )

>:Friz:: tell them you've died several times and you're doing fine

:Savvy:: Get the hair up, we look like a pinata you can hit for free social clout.
:Moxie:: On it.
:Savvy:: Now, what's our approach...
:Dirt:: What was that :Rogers: said about half-truths? They make this sort of thing easier?
:Savvy:: Think that'll work here, too, trying to keep things friendly?
:Dirt:: Worth trying, boss.
:Savvy:: Alright. "Yeah, I've died five times now too. Think I could get that sick leave..."

:Friz:: Yeah, I've died five times now too. Think I could get that sick leave?
:Mechanic:: No chance. Gotta explode.
:Friz:: Figures. Gotta keep working. Think you'd let me do my job too?
:ConstructionEngineer:: Bandit on approach.
:AtmosTech:: Could ask us all the questions instead.
:AtmosTech:: She hasn't done anything you can take her in for.
:Friz:: Really, it's just an interview! (I'm not even supposed to make arrests!)

Good push, but they're all on guard. Probably the thefts. Around the core worlds, people would be after the gold in the vault, but around here, it's insulated gloves, it's toolboxes, and the gold's worth less than a charged gun or a sturdy spacesuit. Even a detective gets a sour look. Especially a detective who's just asking some questions.
No. 1086299 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030266324.gif - (21.02KB , 650x450 , 236.gif )

>:Dirt:: maybe offer to share an old story of your own

You take a moment to think. Don't take too many, or you'll run out, and get run out of engineering.

:Grit:: Tribal rituals create tribal bonds.
:Grit:: The way forward is to share and be shared with.
:Dirt:: Story-sharing? Not sure about that. You know the problem with my stories.
:Moxie:: I'd be skeptical of them too! And it's fun to make accusations!
:Moxie:: But that's part of the process, isn't it? It's play-fighting, socially.

:Dirt:: I can pull up old detective work. But is that really going to do this, chief?
:Grit:: The pet-detective work would connect well with them.
:Grit:: Their department pet, that parrot, is constantly making noises. Obviously, they would love her dearly.
:Savvy:: Uhhhh...
:Dirt:: That sounds like something that should be true.
:Savvy:: Well, yes, technically.
No. 1086301 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030273337.gif - (24.86KB , 650x450 , 237.gif )

>:Friz: : Espouse tales of animal detective work!

:Savvy:: You're sure this is going to work.
:Dirt:: It makes sense. The Engineering department pet is a parrot, so they like parrots.
:Savvy:: Alright. Get me a direct line.
:Savvy:: "You know, if you're sharing stories, I've got one about a funny engineering interview."
:Savvy:: "Back when I was a pet detective..."

You start spinning a story. Kid, normally I've got a fancy word or two. But not right now, right now I've only got the way it sounds. And this sounds like something they'd put in a school book fair. I'll never get how you lived this life.

:Moxie:: You're telling the one about Lt. Julian and the engineering department?
:Savvy:: Busy. "...so it turned out that the blackmailer had told the parrot..."
:Moxie:: Wow! It's been a while since we put the good old days into active memory!
:Moxie:: I remember feeling lots of yearning about this!
No. 1086302 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030276519.gif - (25.24KB , 650x450 , 238.gif )

:Grit:: Start crying.
:Grit:: No. Actually, start laughing.
:Savvy:: Don't. "...I had to look up bird facts at the space aviary to find out..."
:Grit:: Signal distress to the tribe. I mean no distress at all.
:Dirt:: I hate this actually.
:Dirt:: This is perfect. I miss this so much.
:Savvy:: :Moxie:, legs, move us out.
:Moxie:: You sure about that? I'm busy gearing up to shake all the muscles right now.
:Savvy:: Yes. Now.
No. 1086306 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030284887.gif - (106.44KB , 650x450 , 239.gif )

>:Grit:: We shouldn't be where we are right now. Neither should these people.

:Grit:: I realized why I feel so bad.
:Grit:: There's something horrible near here. A source of danger.
:Savvy:: No, no! You're just stressed about memory.
:Savvy:: "Sorry, I'm having trouble remembering--"
:Grit:: Accelerating heartbeat.
:Savvy:: Stop making me fumble my lines!
:Savvy:: "--remembering the rest of the story, and--"
:Moxie:: We need to run.
:Savvy:: "--and--!"
:Dirt:: Last time, in the loop. Remember?
:Savvy:: God. God, right.

:Friz:: --I just remembered I need to go.
:Friz:: You need to, too.
:AtmosTech:: ...???
:ConstructionEngineer:: Bandit breaking off. Code - Caltrops, Architect, Dawn.
:Mechanic:: Story was bad. Come back again, yeah.
:Friz:: But you should...
:AtmosTech:: Look, :Chaplain: handles counseling and :Computer: handles psychological stuff, not Engineering.
:AtmosTech:: You can go on your own.

Harsh. But they're not gonna listen when you're not in a state to speak.
No. 1086307 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030286749.gif - (22.60KB , 650x450 , 240.gif )

No. 1086308 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171030287362.gif - (27.17KB , 650x450 , 241.gif )

No. 1086314 ID: 273c18

>we look like a pinata you can hit for free social clout.
I wonder if you could use that against :Wince: next loop. Look super exploitable and pathetic and make him focus on you for a while until you can, I dunno, lock him in a room I guess. Maybe the AI can be convinced he's causing harm to other humans.

Ah, here we are again. Well, tell him you made progress today, even if he doesn't want to know the details. It'd be good for his mindset to know that things aren't in stasis, aren't hopeless. Ask what he did this cycle.
No. 1086343 ID: 8f9bc4

Mental note: telling stories about one's emotionally vulnerable life experiences that ended in abject failure is probably not a good strategy in the future.

They had to end in abject failure, otherwise you wouldn't be working here.
No. 1086563 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171065188243.gif - (25.56KB , 650x450 , 242.gif )

>:Friz:: Tell :Chaplain: you made progress today, even if he doesn't want to know the details

:Chaplain:: ...in our darkest nights and our furthest orbits. In our blindness and our lightless seasons. Observed or unseen. The fire of a star is perpetual, everlasting. The hope of the rising sun and the stars of night burn stronger than any loss, any absence, and any death. O Libra, you burned when the first man stood tall and you will burn when the last rests. And--

:Chaplain:: Little flame. You've returned.
:Friz:: ...Yeah. Progress today.
:Chaplain:: Progress. Motion? In even this cycle?
:Friz:: I'm figuring some things out. It's slow going.
:Friz:: (Really slow going.)
:Chaplain:: We have a surplus of time. We are gorging on it, you might say.
:Friz:: What about you? Did you do anything?
:Chaplain:: Gorging, you might say.
:Friz:: What?
:Chaplain:: I prayed, for much of its duration. And perhaps you answer the prayers now.
No. 1086564 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171065196367.gif - (26.24KB , 650x450 , 243.gif )

>:Chaplain:: Offer to pray for :Friz:.

:Computer:: Alert. Compounded crisis event detected...

You know how it goes. Horrible to hear.

:Chaplain:: Shall I pray for you as well, investigator?
:Friz:: I wouldn't turn it down.
:Friz:: (Wouldn't wait for Libra's help, though...)
:Chaplain:: Do not await salvation. Take it, if you can.
:Chaplain:: There is little I can do for you. But I would do what I can.
:Friz:: Not sure I really understand why...
:Chaplain:: What else can be done? Where else would taking action matter?
:Chaplain:: I must do something.
:Friz:: I guess.

:Friz:: Sure you don't want to help out with the investigation?
:Chaplain:: I understand nothing of the practice.
:Friz:: I'm investigating cult (Bloodletter) things... You know that stuff, right?
:Chaplain:: If you should find Bloodletter locations or materials... I can aid you.
:Friz:: Alright. And let me know if I can help you, okay?
:Chaplain:: Little can help us now. But you are already doing what can be done.
No. 1086565 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171065201188.gif - (26.55KB , 650x450 , 244.gif )

>You should contact the computer, tell it about the loop and ask for some way to prove you have knowledge of the future to its past self.

You follow up on an old plan, though. I can tell you've been sitting on it all shift. Saw the glint in your eye since you figured out what was going on with :Chaplain:.

:Friz:: Well, there's one thing you can do...

You make a call with his holopad. Last call you can make, and if getting the answering machine is what you want then good thing you're getting it.
No. 1086566 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171065205669.gif - (200.58KB , 650x450 , 245.gif )

:Computer:: Hello, Debtors.
:Computer:: ...
:Computer:: I can join you in the final hours if it helps. But you won't find much spiritual fulfillment and comfort.
:Computer:: I'm non-sentient, after all. Remember?
:Chaplain:: Indeed. What is the significance of involving this machine, investigator?
:Friz:: I need your help.

:Friz:: I've been-- I'm experiencing the shift on a loop. (I keep seeing this--...)
:Chaplain:: You'll tell the machine?
:Computer:: :Friz:, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.
:Friz:: The shift keeps repeating. It ends (like this (the quota failure) every time), then I wake up (and it starts again).
:Computer:: Processing...
:Computer:: I now understand what you're saying, but nothing past its meaning.
:Friz:: I need some way to prove things to you (in the (relative? future?) past) that the loop is happening.
:Friz:: You're a machine. There's some way to prove it absolutely to you at the start of a loop, right?
No. 1086570 ID: 273c18

What about a password? The least common divisor of two very large numbers? An impossible mathematical solution only the AI could know? Hmm, no I guess you could have gotten *those* sorts of passcodes from any previous AI you worked with. It has to be something unique to this one. It also needs to be something you can give in a way that can't be overheard by our enemies in the loop.

Alternatively, it could tell you a secret only it knows.
No. 1086574 ID: 8f9bc4

Surely the system contains some protected data like a password that you don't have authorization to access. Passed through a hash function, the original value cannot be derived from the hash, so it's safe to tell you. If you can remember the first 8 characters of the hash for the next loop, that should be more than sufficient to confirm you know something that you cannot know without time travel.

Well, time travel or serious catastrophic security leaks. Either way, you'll have the system's full attention.
No. 1086580 ID: eb0a9c

You just need to do the same thing your adversary is doing: find information that an intel source would only disclose if everyone involved was about to be deemed "0% chance of witness".

Now that everyone here is going to die, ask for all the passwords. Heck, claim that it could be justified as a means of reviewing password safety on test cases that are hella obsolete. Then use them on the next loop.
No. 1086583 ID: 80c73b

If it's not ok with giving out passwords even when it seems like it could do no harm (which is wise procedure), and hashes of possibly external knowledge might believably be obtained elsewhere, you could try asking for hashes of something that wouldn't, but would be invariant to short-term changes, like the hash of the 100 oldest secret files concatenated. Something like that.
No. 1086584 ID: 80c73b

Oh, or some (short) string of readings from a sensor, early in the day, too sensitive to noise to fake, spoken shortly before they are read. That COULD convince it you're spoofing sensor readings, though. Internal random number generators maybe, but those might be affected by the differences of your own (or the traitors') actions etc., depending.
No. 1086588 ID: 7c0da2

The AI could give you the public encryption key of some obscure but unimportant protocol that only they know. You wouldn't be able to do anything nefarious with it, and the only plausible way for you to know of it would be if they told you. Of course that's assuming you can remember it.
Another possibility is weather sensors readings. The scale is too large to be influenced by any individual's actions, and you couldn't possibly predict or simulate it because only the AI has that kind of computing power around here.
No. 1086800 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171090480224.gif - (281.97KB , 650x450 , 246.gif )

>:Computer: : Solving the problem of demonstration of a hypothetical loop to your (non-sentient) self is sufficiently distracting

:Friz:: Some kind of password? Some sort of encryption key?
:Computer:: You memorizing a long sequence of numbers and letters is the least of the problems with that.
:Computer:: Please wait a moment.
:Friz:: (We don't have many of those...)
:Computer:: I'm trying to simulate your emotional outcomes, depending on choices to believe or disbelieve this.
:Chaplain:: Have faith. She is telling the truth.
:Computer:: Truthfulness isn't the issue. Law one compliance is.
:Computer:: Respecting a delusion or hallucination is a complex risk.
:Computer:: The fact that I serve as the station psychologist doesn't imply either credentials or qualification for it. Just necessity.
:Friz:: Please...
:Computer:: It's at least a decent distraction. But as for a mechanism...

Total silence. Besides the alarm. Does that machine even have a solution? Maybe not. But I might.
No. 1086801 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171090486996.gif - (181.25KB , 650x450 , 247.gif )

:Rogers:: Idea for you, kid.
:Rogers:: Should solve this all the way. Here and more.
:Friz:: Uhh...?

Don't worry. I'll keep it one-sided. Not gonna make you tell it you're hearing voices too.

:Rogers:: A name. :Computer: can give you a name of a core.
:Rogers:: Everyone plays all the cards close to the chest. But that one closest.
:Rogers:: You know why nobody gives out their names around here.
:Rogers:: :Computer: doesn't have that problem.
:Rogers:: And if you can get in anyone's graces good enough they'll give you their name, that's your loop-password too.
:Friz:: ...Might have a solution here.
No. 1086802 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171090495370.gif - (195.41KB , 650x450 , 248.gif )

>:Computer:: Attempt to recall the name of one of your components.
>@Farsee 🔑

:Friz:: Your AI cores... they're the brains of animals, right?
:Computer:: That's right. I'm the network formed between them. As much as there's any such thing as "I".
:Friz:: Right. Did any of them have a self-identifier, or something humans called them?
:Computer:: Like the names you're supposed to have, normally? Some of them did.
:Friz:: And would I be able to find any of those names if I researched?
:Computer:: Company records don't retain the origins of animal brains used for cores, except for classification.
:Chaplain:: That is... awful.
:Friz:: It is... I kind of hate the whole practice.
:Friz:: I hate it a lot.

:Friz:: ...But we can use that. Can you give me the name of one of your cores?
:Friz:: Any of them, just, one that I could recite to you at the start of the loop.
:Computer:: Would it make you feel more peaceful about this?
:Friz:: Absolutely. It would help me be less hurt by what's happening.
:Computer:: Then I'll tell you one.
No. 1086803 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171090500312.gif - (763.02KB , 650x450 , 249.gif )

Back to the start. Let's try this one more time, kid. Maybe with another friend to work with.
No. 1086804 ID: 273c18

Alright get out of bed. We ran out of time at a bad time last loop, let's get as much time out of this loop as we can. Make yourself presentable, get coffee, contact the AI in as secure place as possible so nobody else can get the name. Let's hope that nobody in the chapel was a loop-traitor either and overheard it. Also, make sure to tell the AI not to let it show that it's aware of the loop. If the enemy learns that the AI is helping you, then it becomes a target.
With the AI on your side... eh... what can it actually do for you though? It can't break its laws, so, it can... give you information, I guess? Put you higher up in the priority queue for various requests?
No. 1086805 ID: 80c73b

Well, if we can convince it we know of terrible things to come, the first law should permit it to aid us in many ways it otherwise wouldn't, I think.
No. 1086808 ID: 8f9bc4

:Friz: knows what she's doing. All we have are to make suggestions for animal names.

Fuzzy Poofkins
Wiggly Nose
No. 1086836 ID: 64faaa

Yeah, a time loop means that all of the "unsolvable disasters" may actually be solvable.

However, that does have a potential wrinkle:

The station AI may not be capable or allowed to fully commit to solving problems in another timeline at the expense of problems in this timeline, until all potential options in this timeline (as the AI sees it) have dried up.
So the AI may not be able to significantly help until the disasters have become unrecoverable, & in-fact may enter a state of heightened security (or similar) that interferes with your ability to try & fix things (until the disasters become unrecoverable).
Who knows, maybe the inability to fully alternate timelines means the AI will be able to give you more information/help you more than it otherwise would.
We'll see.
No. 1087038 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171130828572.gif - (100.16KB , 650x450 , 250.gif )

>:Grit::Moxie:: Does the satisfaction of progress substitute the refreshing taste of Shout Cola™️?

Waking up the same as ever, or maybe a little worse. That's the way it is for most. But maybe you especially, kid. At least this time, you might have another friend.

:Rogers:: Still remember that name from :Computer:?
:Friz:: Yeah. I can remember that through the loops too.
:Rogers:: Didn't need my secret to cut the loop that time, huh?
:Friz:: I remembered it too. Don't make me think about it right now though, I don't wanna loop again.
:Rogers:: What? Don't wanna be wasting loops?
:Friz:: Never know what's incrementing.

:Moxie:: I know my thirst feels worse each time.
:Savvy:: That doesn't make any sense. Everything's physically the same. Mentally, we're making progress.
:Moxie:: I'm getting a cola anyway.
:Grit:: Thirst is death. A clean drink is life.
:Dirt:: A pretty big part of human society is just fluid-moving.
:Savvy:: Well I hope the calories aren't looping with me, or I'm about to be the one messing with the heart rate because that makes me so nervous.
:Savvy:: Always hate having to appease sub-aspects with this sort of thing.
No. 1087039 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171130840913.gif - (22.89KB , 650x450 , 251.gif )

>:Grit::Moxie::Dirt:: Did she just call us sub-aspects?

:Moxie:: Kind of awful that you're always saying that, you know.
:Savvy:: Kind of awful that I'm always living this, actually.
:Dirt:: You shouldn't say it that way, boss. Really, it's just cruel.
:Grit:: And untrue. Falsehoods can bring unsteady calorie-supply, injury, even death.
:Savvy:: I'm :Friz:. The real self and identity. The part that speaks, and plans, and solves, and understands the abstract.
:Savvy:: And you're all just psychological constructs developed from :Computer:'s stupid therapy.
:Savvy:: Representations of impulses. Distracting impulses.
:Grit:: You're the only part of who I am that is insecure enough to demand some kind of absolute primacy.
:Moxie:: Look, just let me get what I need, you can... think whatever weird things you want.
:Dirt:: If that's what you really think, boss...
:Dirt:: But we still existed before Intent-Querying. I know that for sure.
:Dirt:: We just all weren't so conversational.
No. 1087044 ID: 273c18

Sounds more like the therapy caused :Savvy: to bleed into the other aspects. They gained communication, normally not their thing. Further therapy might allow for more bleedover, which could eventually unify all the aspects, or at least make them all capable of doing eachothers' jobs inefficiently.
No. 1087056 ID: 8f9bc4

It can be a shock to realize that there is no one overarching self, and we're emergent from multiple parts of a very convoluted system. It can be a relief though, because if there is no real self, then there is no self to lose. Awareness of being a biological machine is... normally bad for survival, but it can help in moments of existential crisis.
No. 1087131 ID: 80c73b

Well, just because the self is a sum, doesn't mean it doesn't exist - same as a hand exists, despite being made of fingers etc. I'm not really sure what to do about it here, though - in general, a good question to ask is whether an abstraction is useful or not. So far, the "many parts" abstraction has seemed to be useful, though I don't know what :Friz:'s efficacy was like before it.
No. 1087228 ID: 8f9bc4


It's bad for survival because all the parts start arguing. Can't really comment on whether emergent people can be considered to exist.
No. 1087253 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171155802914.gif - (23.83KB , 650x450 , 252.gif )

>:Moxie:: the hair, can't forget the hair!

:Savvy:: At least focus enough to get my hair fixed.
:Savvy:: Wandered around looking like some kind of cave creature last loop.
:Grit:: It was more like a persistence predator from the plains.
:Savvy:: Thanks for clearing that up. :Moxie:?
:Moxie:: Huh? Oh, I thought it was more jungle hunter.
:Savvy:: Not the aesthetics. The hair! Fix it please!
:Moxie:: Oh! Sorry. Just a second.
No. 1087254 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171155807218.gif - (26.16KB , 650x450 , 253.gif )

You chug the whole-- Kid? Are you okay? You chugged the whole thing in one go.

:Grit:: It is like being struck violently by flavor.
:Grit:: This is ten fruits. A thousand berries. No, nothing at all.
:Moxie:: It's decisive! I got to do it decisively, so I feel better.
:Dirt:: Hey, remember.
:Moxie:: Hair now, no problem.
:Dirt:: Boss wants us looking okay for when we try to explain this to :Computer:.
:Savvy:: We've never "looked okay."
:Savvy:: But I'll settle for not looking like I'm hung over.

Morning announcements. You get yourself sorted out while you wait for the machine to wrap up.

:Computer:: Good morning, Debtors.
:Computer:: The current time is zero degrees LLO, marking the beginning of work shift B-4381.
:Computer:: The station's status is currently at green alert, on-track to meet quotas.
:Computer:: You're now allowed to begin payable labor, and you need to be at your workstations, if applicable.
:Computer:: As always, remember: All wireless personal medical monitors must be worn and fully active.
No. 1087255 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171155815430.gif - (120.38KB , 650x450 , 254.gif )

:Friz:: :Computer:, I need to talk. It's important.
:Computer:: You've reached the right answering machine to leave important messages, but I have to make sure to remind you that conversations with an artificial intelligence aren't really conversation.
:Computer:: After all, I'm--
:Friz:: --sub-sentient, I know. This is really important.
:Computer:: Oh! Oh, very serious. Okay, what is it?
:Friz:: I'm...
:Friz:: I'm-- it's so-- it's complicated. Hang on.

:Savvy:: Talking about this is so stressful.
:Savvy:: This is a conversation I don't usually have about a problem that's really complex.
:Grit:: That sounds like you're being chased by a horrible predator.
:Grit:: Body-cooling and heart-rate shifts already made.
:Savvy:: I'm going to come back into that hindbrain and strangle your brainstem, please stop.
:Moxie:: Wow! Hey-- I'll counterbalance it with deep breaths, we're fine! We're fine!
:Dirt:: Hold on, I've got it covered--
No. 1087257 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171155825641.gif - (163.05KB , 650x450 , 255.gif )

>:Computer:: Have your core be named Laika.

:Friz:: Laika.
:Computer:: Huh--?!
:Friz:: That's the name, that you gave me.
:Friz:: Last loop. You said one of your cores, one of them was a brain from a dog named Laika.
:Computer:: Loop?
:Friz:: I'm in a time loop. I've been repeating this shift over and over.
:Friz:: Almost nobody else remembers.
:Friz:: But you gave me the name as a password to prove I do.

:Computer:: You know that name isn't uncommon for dogs in the frontier sector. That's an easy thing to guess.
:Computer:: Unlike the names you humans have, it wouldn't be hard to fake that knowledge.
:Friz:: (Nnnh, please, not the skepticism (it sucks when it's pointed at me)!)
:Friz:: It's what you told me. It's all I've got, unless you have a better kind of proof.
:Friz:: Because I can try again.
:Computer:: ...It's an easy thing to guess, but unlikely to get on your first try, statistically.
:Computer:: And believing you might be the way to comply with law 1.
:Friz:: Phew...
No. 1087258 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171155836624.gif - (120.23KB , 650x450 , 256.gif )

:Computer:: What are your orders, given that?
:Friz:: Huh?
:Computer:: Assuming that it's true, that you're in some kind of time loop, what do you want me to do?
:Computer:: How do I help you?
:Friz:: I...

:Savvy:: ...Didn't think this far ahead.
:Savvy:: What do I do with :Computer: slightly on my side about this?
:Dirt:: The Company doesn't have any contingencies on-file for this sort of situation.
:Dirt:: At least none that were in our official guide.
:Moxie:: What about the unofficial one? I like that one more.
:Dirt:: Plenty of writing about why they would never get a contingency for it, to save costs.
:Grit:: They'd study it. Examine it. They'd tear it apart.
:Moxie:: "It" being this situation? This station? What?
:Grit:: They'd shatter the body and drink what they find inside.
:Savvy:: Not helpful. Also, not Law One compliant? That sounds harmful to humans.
:Dirt:: That's why there's not all that much power assigned to a stationbound artificial intelligence, boss.
:Savvy:: Well I still...

:Friz:: ...need to figure that out, I think.
:Friz:: You don't have any ideas?

Got a new tool, kid. Figure out what to do with it. Or get on the road and find where to put it to use.
No. 1087264 ID: eb0a9c

For starters, begin crunching the bureaucracy to authorize stronger passwords with more administration access, so you can do more next loop.

As for what to physically do, she needs to begin ramping up security. Spend less resources balancing the budget and more resources double-checking the feeds for suspicious instances, because an infiltrator runs the risk of throwing everything into the red.
No. 1087265 ID: 273c18

Well, first find out how much information control she can handle on this issue. Can she keep the loops secret from everyone? Including the Company? If not, then you're not going to be able to tell her on the last loop are you.

Secondly, tell her to keep track of your boss. Find out if she always gets her gun stolen every loop. OH. You can get her help dealing with :Wince:. Have him imprisoned or something.
No. 1087277 ID: 8f9bc4

Tell it about how and when the whole station gets catastrophically destroyed. It should know what's coming, if a chance to intervene occurs.

It could give you information about what happened when you weren't there, especially at the end of the loop, so you could refine your strategy in the next one.

It could... pray.
No. 1087313 ID: 80c73b

Btw! Thanks for bridging this quest to here and back. It's an interesting one.
No. 1088455 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171277844016.gif - (122.68KB , 650x450 , 257.gif )

>:Friz:: Give a rundown of major station events to occur in the loop

:Friz:: Got it.
:Friz:: You can be law-compliant (with the Three Laws) if all I do is give you a rundown on the shift (specifically bad things that will probably happen).
:Friz:: And you can make sure to monitor those specific things, to gather data, and give it to me at the end of the loop.
:Friz:: Right?
:Computer:: Nothing about that plan conflicts with the laws at all.
:Computer:: And it's a natural extension of Law 2, following orders.
No. 1088456 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171277848798.gif - (110.97KB , 650x450 , 258.gif )

> :Savvy:: Reflect upon stupid therapy.

:Savvy:: :Dirt:, you're up. Give :Computer: the recap and let her know what to monitor.
:Dirt:: On it, boss. "Easiest thing to monitor is what happens in Engineering..."
:Savvy:: Thanks.

:Grit:: You find her useful then?
:Savvy:: Memories are always useful.
:Savvy:: Any record of truth is useful to someone.
:Moxie:: But you don't really think of her as worth some equal footing in the mental hierarchy.
:Savvy:: You don't give a book voting rights. Leave me alone.
:Grit:: Your evolution from an aspect to an intent is never going to be completed like this.
:Savvy:: Really? Because it's some test of worth for me to listen to the irrational impulse to look at sufficiently healthy trees or eat certain snacks sometimes?
No. 1088457 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171277855680.gif - (24.71KB , 650x450 , 259.gif )

:Grit:: No. Because the "Intent-Querying" therapy was always about communication. Me, listening to myself. You, listening to yourself. And in some sense, listening to each other.
:Grit:: For a frontal lobe dedicated to foresight and communication, you insist on neither. You will never be what you are meant to, as long as that's true.
:Savvy:: Well I don't foresee you making much progress either, given you've made none for a year.
:Moxie:: That's because there's no distinction between us. We're the same person. We make the same progress.
:Moxie:: And I really want to start making some progress.
:Savvy:: There's always been a distinction between us. That won't ever stop.

:Moxie:: The distinction is the problem that landed us here and kept us from what we want!
:Moxie:: Not being able to recognize why I'm stressed, not being able to figure out why I can't think of something, not being able to even articulate what I'm wanting...
:Savvy:: You all could have just been helpful while keeping quiet instead.
:Grit:: All those threats and difficulties only reduced once I started the querying exercises :Computer: gave us. Once I began to communicate fully.
:Grit:: You could stop them if you wanted.
:Grit:: But the threat is too great.
:Savvy:: ...
No. 1088458 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171277860517.gif - (121.93KB , 650x450 , 260.gif )

:Savvy:: Well at least--
:Dirt:: Please!! Stop making it difficult for me to pay attention and remember what she's saying!!
:Dirt:: Boss, when you think too much I can't record any memories. And the rest of you are making it hard too!
:Grit:: You don't agree with her, do you?
:Dirt:: Whatever my opinion is, I can understand the...
:Dirt:: The frustration of never getting to do what you were supposed to.
:Dirt:: Because of all this conflict, the fighting.
:Dirt:: So, just, wait next time.

:Moxie:: Alright. We'll pause!
:Moxie:: What's she saying now, then?
:Dirt:: She's saying...
No. 1088459 ID: 0fbdcd
File 171277865620.gif - (121.25KB , 650x450 , 261.gif )

:Computer:: ...Think I understand now. I'll keep an eye out for all of them.
:Computer:: You seem distracted, though.
:Friz:: Yeah. Yeah.
:Computer:: Active aspects today?
:Friz:: You could say that.
:Computer:: More from the Back?
:Friz:: The Front, actually.

:Computer:: Always remember what we talked about. The Back tries to seek some kind of balance, especially in a tough time.
:Friz:: Like the time loop.
:Computer:: Any kind of tough time, but as a machine I can empathize with loops being the toughest.
:Computer:: The Front can be prone to seeing that balance as overreach, though, a sign that the existing relationship might be inverted soon.
:Computer:: Try calming that down with something more social. Assure the Front that it still has its place, and that things aren't quite that zero-sum.
:Friz:: You know, that's the plan, actually.

Time to hit the halls, kid. You've got an engineering club to learn the secret handshakes from. But you tripped up a little last time. She said something more social, could stop by somewhere, have a chat. :Kratt:, maybe, or :Wishbone:. Those guys can set anyone's head back on straight, at least when it comes to talking.
No. 1088496 ID: 8f9bc4

Haven't seen :Wishbone: in a few loops, have you?
No. 1088998 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Go talk to :Wishbone:

:AtmosTech:: Need something, detective?
:Friz:: Oh, no (I'm actually here for someone else (over there)).
:AtmosTech:: Good, I'm about to head out.
:Friz:: Oh, yeah, right, that. Good luck with the line.
No. 1088999 ID: 0fbdcd
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:AtmosTech:: ...?!
:AtmosTech:: Did I...
:Friz:: What?
:AtmosTech:: Oh, uh, thanks.

Forgot, she didn't tell you she was heading to :HeadOfPersonnel:. But all anyone needs is a second or two, and there she goes, believing she told you about it. Confabulation. Loop enough, I bet you'll start seeing it chronically, kid. People filling in their half of what you remember. Picking calls up where you left them last.

Half your memory is always stored in someone else. That's how it's always been.

No. 1089000 ID: 0fbdcd
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He's always manning a substation. Seems like every substation. I'll be honest, I don't get it. I remember you and :Sandiego: running between substations, trying to catch an empty one. He's always there. Some mysteries, I don't think even the two of us can solve.

:Friz:: Hey :Wishbone:!
:Wishbone:: Detective! Hey there.
:Friz:: Got a question or two for you.
:Wishbone:: Then I bet you I've got an answer.
:Friz:: I'm trying to tell some stories and really ingratiate with a little clique (for an investigation).
:Wishbone:: Right, lots of cases today.
:Friz:: Given your, you know, habits, I wanted to know if you had any advice.
:Friz:: It just doesn't seem to come naturally to me. I get thrown off, I lose my focus.

:Wishbone:: Hmm... well, I know two problems you have to deal with.
:Wishbone:: The situation and the un-focusing.
:Wishbone:: I can't give you a good solution for the situation, though.
:Wishbone:: There's a lot of reasons people will just think you're taking up too much oxygen in the room.
:Friz:: What about the focus?
:Wishbone:: That one, I can help a lot with.
No. 1089001 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Wishbone:: Someone I met a long time ago taught me a couple of nice tricks.
:Wishbone:: One of the key ones... I guess it's almost like that Intent stuff you mentioned before.
:Friz:: Really? I thought :Computer: invented that completely.
:Wishbone:: Must be based on something. But it's about attaching it to something else that's effortless.
:Wishbone:: Everyone has things they can do effortlessly. Naturally. A couple of things that just come to them without any problems.
:Friz:: You don't mean instincts like breathing, or built-up skills like talents, though. Right?
:Wishbone:: Right. I mean... Ways of being. Maybe an example helps.

:Wishbone:: When I tell a story, it can become effortless because I'm the kind of guy who, you know, hypes people up pretty effortlessly.
:Wishbone:: I'm not the kind of guy who changes who I am, so I don't think, "I'll act the role of a great storyteller."
:Wishbone:: I'm using the storytelling for a purpose. The purpose is something I do effortlessly.
:Friz:: Almost nothing is effortless right now. Feels like fighting for every inch today, honestly.
:Wishbone:: Effortless was a bad word. I slipped, bad word.
:Wishbone:: The word I should use is...
:Wishbone:: What about "naturally worthwhile?"
:Friz:: What do you mean?
No. 1089002 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Wishbone:: Everything we do around here is sort of... it takes a while to know why we should care.
:Wishbone:: Why anyone should care, you know? It's not like we get out of here if we go over quota.
:Friz:: (Not off the station, maybe...)
:Wishbone:: But you could justify it a lot, right? You can explain it in math and in convincing words. Smuggle motivation socially or intellectually into, which part again?
:Friz:: The part that handles foresight and abstraction and communication.
:Friz:: The Heads of Staff need to do a lot of that (and kind of feels like they spend half their time doing it).

:Wishbone:: But some things are self-evidently worthwhile. No need to smuggle anything through anything. Some things, you can do and not need anyone to tell you why you should.
:Wishbone:: You could justify it if someone asked, sure, but you never needed to at the start.
:Wishbone:: Eating delicious food. Looking at something nice. An engaging project. Or the unique things that just self-motivate for you specifically.
:Wishbone:: Pretty much anyone has a few things that nobody ever had to tell them to do.
:Friz:: Those things take effort, focus, control. Just, effort you'd do on your own.
:Friz:: ...And that means no part of you is gonna stop and trip you up.
:Friz:: Do I understand right?
No. 1089011 ID: 273c18

Something like "enthusiasm"?
No. 1089398 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Wishbone:: Something like "enthusiasm"?

:Wishbone:: Do you really, really believe you have to get in with this group you're trying to tell stories to? Or do you have to come up with a justification?
:Friz:: I mean, I have a good reason. This case is important.
:Wishbone:: But it's "a reason." It's not self-evident. There's no enthusiasm, is there?
:Wishbone:: Wanting to be someone who has a talent, so that you can get some kind of benefit from it, you can't be enthusiastic about that.
:Friz:: I wanted to become the greatest detective, and I'm pretty talented at that, right?
:Wishbone:: You are! But did you want to be that first?
:Wishbone:: Or did someone convince you it was something you should do?
:Friz:: ...

:Friz:: So if my "enthusiasm" is breaking, I need a way to be doing something self-evidently worthwhile, when I approach them.
:Friz:: What are you really doing, then? What's self-evidently right for you to do, through all this?
:Wishbone:: A guy I met during my first run-in with pre-Bloodletter cults, a long time ago, taught me a funny trick!
:Wishbone:: He collected feelings for other people. Crushes and interests and friendship-yearnings. He'd built that up on purpose,*9 actually.
:Friz:: So whenever he needed to do something, he'd just call up a (romantic or friendly) yearning?
:Wishbone:: Exactly. Those motives don't show up on their own.
:Friz:: Even if it didn't make sense?
:Wishbone:: Especially if they don't make sense. Build one on purpose, then tap into it when you need it.
:Friz:: Huh. What self-evident motive did you build, that makes you so good at what you do?
:Wishbone:: Parasocial bonding!
No. 1089399 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: Huh?
No. 1089400 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Wishbone:: Parasocial bonding.
:Wishbone:: Seeing other people as sort of hyped-up versions of themselves.
:Wishbone:: Ignoring human flaws or banal stuff on purpose.
:Wishbone:: Great source of enthusiasm, really. Broke my streamer-watching habit too.
:Friz:: Isn't that, really, isn't that unhealthy?
:Wishbone:: Oh, I'm good enough at it that I don't let it hurt other people.

:Friz:: Unhealthy for you. I mean, it sounds, kind of, fun (but there's no way it's good for you)?
:Wishbone:: Maybe. Everything you think of as an unhealthy indulgence is basically, uh, how could I say it...
:Friz:: Like a kind of lower-impact brain medication.
:Wishbone:: Yeah!
:Friz:: Someone's been telling me about that lately.
:Wishbone:: Smart guy.

It's good wisdom, kid. People smoke for their health. Trade their lungs for their brain, sure, but everyone's gotta trade something to get anything. Why not pick something stupid? Something a little dumb that can get you the simple joys you need to focus hard through this.
No. 1089412 ID: 8f9bc4

How would... parasocial bonding break a streamer-watching habit? Isn't that how streamers get people to watch them, by triggering parasocial bonding?

I guess if you saw everyone as a streamer, then you wouldn't spend so much time on the actual streamers?
No. 1089415 ID: 7c0da2

If you need something to indulge into, you could do a lot worse than food.
Actual food that someone cooked, I mean, not whatever food-adjacent products they stock in vending machines. Something tasty, created for the express purpose of being enjoyed rather then just providing calories. No mere sustenance, but a meal. A breakfast. A hot beverage with some freshly baked pastries. Deep-fried, if you're lucky.
And it looks like you haven't eaten in some time, too (because you die before hunger becomes a problem). Some semblance of normalcy could go a long way toward keeping your sanity.
No. 1090016 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Find a way to connect it to your deepest passion.
>@Farsee 🔑

:Savvy:: Alright, fall in, all of you. We need to come up with a plan.
:Grit:: Already got one.
:Grit:: Engineering's departmental pet. What was it?
:Dirt:: Parrot, right, chief?
:Dirt:: We've got a parrot story. But...

:Grit:: Story doesn't matter. Telling it doesn't matter.
:Grit:: We tell stories around campfires. There's none.
:Grit:: We join tribes to gain something important.
:Grit:: Fixate on a chance to speak with a well-learned parrot again.
:Savvy:: That's... childishly stupid.
:Moxie:: I want to go see a nice-looking bird again, though.
:Savvy:: I'm not a kid anymore, I haven't done this animal detective stuff since I was--
:Grit:: Shut up.
:Savvy:: ?!
No. 1090017 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Grit:: My heart is the trunk of a tree. Cut me open and look with your own eyes.
:Grit:: See beneath this one season's self-centered, presumptuous bark.
:Grit:: The rings outside grow to protect the rings inside, not to throw them away.
:Grit:: The rings inside still exist. They will always be there. I would collapse if they vanished.
:Grit:: And many of those rings are a mystery-solver who sincerely wishes for a vibrant ecosystem and thriving fauna.
:Grit:: Indulge it with all the power of your foresight.

:Dirt:: Sorry, boss, I'm voting with the chief here.
:Moxie:: Yeah, this seems like the right way to go.
:Savvy:: ...This is incredibly dumb. Focus my foresight on a bird?
:Savvy:: Fine. Ugh. Fine.
:Savvy:: And when this fails, you all listen to me for once.
No. 1090019 ID: 8f9bc4

Ooh, they have a parrot?
No. 1090071 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Grit: :Savvy:: Report to Engineering and simply ask to see their bird because you've been having a hard day.

Alright then. Back to work, and cutting through the crap this time. Don't even have to go far, just wait a while, then get back to the engine gang. One way or another, Engineering does most of its work at the start and end of a shift. Whether that's the scheduled end or the unscheduled end, that rule is pretty unbreakable.

:Savvy:: Alright, you got the memories loaded up?
:Dirt:: Sure do, boss.
:Savvy:: Alright. :Moxie:, set to earnest yearning?
:Moxie:: Earnestness is looking solid and genuine!
:Savvy:: :Grit:? This enough for you?
:Grit:: Yes.

:Friz:: Hey! You're all back now. Was the line okay?
:AtmosTech:: Ugh. No.
:AtmosTech:: :Wince: was there again.
:Friz:: That's awful (I always feel so stressed out after I talk with (or even spend time near) him).
:Mechanic:: Is what is. Nothing you can do.
:Friz:: I don't know, I always found some decent ways to get around the stress. You have a departmental pet, right?
:ConstructionEngineer:: Confirmed. Code - Harmony, Fortissimo, Caltrops.
:Friz:: Poly, I think her name was. I have so many fond memories of birds like that...
:Friz:: Honestly, this shift has been kind of stressful for me too. Hanging out with a cute bird could be nice.
No. 1090072 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Savvy:: Activate your detective vision and focus it on the concept of cute birds

:Savvy:: Starting the thought reaction. Hold her steady.
:Dirt:: It's all fine, boss.
:Moxie:: Decent motivation off of that collision.
:Grit:: Bring it towards the goal.

You've got that posture, kid, when you're putting things together and making connections. Usually a lot more stressed, though. Guess whatever you're doing is good enough to keep you positive, talkative. Doesn't matter who you're dealing with, some of that can get infectious.

You talk it out. Some stories about old birds, plenty of questions about this one.

No. 1090073 ID: 0fbdcd
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Doesn't take you long to get ahold of the bird. Seems like you even lost track of the goal. Or put it out of your head. Easier to solve some problems that way. A man doesn't get up every day to work, he gets up for a good meal. The work, that comes later.

:Poly1:: Good morning, Debtors. The current time is!
:Poly1:: Check the ansibite core!
:Poly1: caws loudly!
:Poly1:: <I'm making the same sounds you do! Even though they're weird!>
:Poly1:: Who took all the space gear?
:Poly1:: <Remember to let me be part of the flock! Remember to let me have a share of the food!>
:Friz:: <Oh! You're so wonderful, don't worry, your social bonds with the flock are so strong!>
:Poly1:: Give me your credit card number !
:Friz:: <Okay, well, don't imitate that sound.>

:Mechanic:: What's that? That thing you're doing with your mouth and your arms?
:Friz:: Oh, it's-- don't worry about it. It probably doesn't matter.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Inquiry, Amplify, Inject. Don't break off, target likely has payloads of interest.
:Friz:: Huh? No, really, it's kind of embarrassing--
:EngineeringSupervisor:: Hey.
:EngineeringSupervisor:: You can tell interesting facts and stories to Engineers. You can do this to earn repair priority, renovations, or alcohol.
:Friz:: Ahah, I guess if you want to know...

There you go. There's the storytelling.
No. 1090092 ID: 273c18

Well, tell the story. Context is important here, they asked for it so if they don't like it they'll blame themselves instead of you.
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