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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.

Expand all images
No. 1070830 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301862833.gif - (14.58KB , 650x450 , 155.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: Anyone got another one?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: My stories depend on what you interpret as complex geometry.
:AI:: Memory record uptime listed at 1527 days. Full render available.
:QuarterMaster:: Okay, well, don't tell those.
:ChiefEngineer:: Anyone else got any? I've gone, :QuarterMaster:'s gone, :ResearchDirector:'s gone.
:ChiefEngineer:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer:?

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I could tell the chicken-fried arm story.
:QuarterMaster:: God. Why. That sounds gross.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Had just done a back surgery on :Cook:, so he was on heavy painkillers. He's pals with :Botanist: so he got blazed at some point.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: That sounds illegal.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not important. He got really hungry, so he's making fried chicken in the deep-fryer, and he really wants a piece, so he decides he's going to reach in--
:ResearchDirector:: Please. I need some capacity to act on my hunger when I arrive. This is distressing.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: That's the thing. His arm smelled delicious. Whole medbay got hungry. But :Cook:'s injured.
:QuarterMaster:: Gross. Gross gross gross.
:ResearchDirector:: Somehow you are making me lose and gain my appetite simultaneously.
:ChiefEngineer:: Yeah. This one's messing me up too.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: So he's lucid and fine, because of the painkillers and the burns only being surface-level, and now we're all getting hungry in the treatment center, so--
No. 1070831 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301871670.gif - (15.71KB , 650x450 , 156.gif )

:CorpEnforcer:: Move it. Everyone out.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: We've arrived?
:CorpEnforcer:: Move, now.
:ChiefEngineer:: :ResearchDirector:, take :AI:. :ChiefMedicalOfficer:, grab your stuff.
:ChiefEngineer:: Sounds like the trip's over.
No. 1070832 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301874729.gif - (15.11KB , 650x450 , 157.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: :CorpEnforcer:, know anything about the station?
:CorpEnforcer:: Keep moving.
:ChiefEngineer:: Yeah, okay.
:ResearchDirector:: I would rather we approach with some knowledge of it at least.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I know a great deal about it.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: The top interesting facts, please.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: The system's in a condensing molecular-cloud region of a nebula. It exists as part of speculative stake claimed regarding a nearby forming star, so it passes through regions of pseudo-fluid hydrogen.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: A shaft-mining dig site has begun work in a megacrypt they've discovered, surrounded by molten material. They're looking for high-value materials from precursor civilizations to sell or melt down.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: There was a Bloodletter incident, resulting in the deaths of the station's administration, with the exception of the heads of Engineering and Security.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Life support is fitted with a Tressell-type gasometer and gravity generator, requiring the station to meet quota to earn atmosphere and gravity-hours.
No. 1070833 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301881123.gif - (16.81KB , 650x450 , 158.gif )

:QuarterMaster:: Sounds like it sucks.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Pretty dangerous posting.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It's all I could-- oh.
:Chaplain:: Hail, scribe!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: :Chaplain:. I didn't know you were indebted.
:Chaplain:: Hah! Hardly! I come with the intent to preach! I shall bring to this station so devoted a soul that no Bloodletter shall ever again act against it!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You're replacing your dead counterpart.
:Chaplain:: In their honor and to pursue their wishes!

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: How's the arms?
:Chaplain:: Recovery continues. Soon! I'm certain, soon, I shall achieve my full strength once again!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: And how's everything else?
:Chaplain:: Hmmm?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Got pretty messed up by all that fighting you did. Stresses a man out.
:Chaplain:: Ah, I...
:CorpEnforcer:: I told you, move.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I'm going.
No. 1070834 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301888608.gif - (49.51KB , 650x450 , 159.gif )

:QuarterMaster:: Woah.
:ChiefEngineer:: Raining?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: What's "raining?"
:ResearchDirector:: A form of weather on some worlds.
:ChiefEngineer:: We stopping at a planetary surface?
:AI:: No nearby surface observed. :AI:: Scanning... Molecular hydrogen detected.
:ResearchDirector:: It is not precipitation in the conventional sense.
:ResearchDirector:: The molecular cloud of the nebula... it is interacting with the nearby artificial gravity.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Hydrogen rain.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Think it'll let up before we dock?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: The cloud isn't projected to condense or disperse in our lifetimes.
:QuarterMaster:: Jeez. Kind of a weird mood for a space station.
:QuarterMaster:: This how it always is around here, :CorpEnforcer:? You go through this area a lot, right?
:CorpEnforcer:: Keep moving. Stop stalling.
:QuarterMaster:: Guess so.
:ChiefEngineer:: Let's go.
No. 1070835 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301891545.gif - (40.19KB , 650x450 , 160.gif )

It's pouring rain, pouring out there. Enough to make a man pour another one himself if he's got the habit. You all are gonna be getting here soon. Your ship's heading in, through that storm and into this one. Depending on your taste for honesty and your taste for rain, the downpour could be a good impression, could be bad, but the least I can say is you'll be having more of the same. More of the same for as long as you stay in a place like this, and just about everybody stays here long.

It never stops pouring here, so why should I? One way or another, it's tough for any man to stay dry in a place like this.

No. 1070836 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301893585.gif - (64.34KB , 650x450 , 161.gif )

They load you up on an autonomous arrivals craft and send you out. One-way, self-sterilizing on the way back. Can't afford anyone making a break for it. Can't run from the workhouse if there's no ground to run on, but that means no docking direct. Only way to deal with the stowaways, or the people whose debts are a hotter fire in them than three slugs out of an enforcer's heater.

So you and your little shuttle pull right up and dock, and I'm sure those clamps complain when you do. Whining and groaning, overworked, but doing their job, just the same as anyone else around here. And around here there's not much else to greet you but them.

Except for her, anyway.

No. 1070837 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301899504.gif - (96.07KB , 650x450 , 162.gif )

Author's Note: Holo-animals drawn by AsciiSquid and Fuade.

Main docks are glamorous because it's the face of the station. Full reception, fresh wall paneling, a nice view. You might keep the pride in the vault, but you wear it on the dock, special occasion. Still, I guess we stopped cleaning up the house for visitors. Happens to the best families. Not much comfort for the last days of the wilted bushes though.

These days, you make an average visit at the main dock, only welcome you're normally gonna find is the silence, the scuffs, and the grime. On a bad day, you use up your fifteen minute break fishing teeth out of oil and blood in a maintenance tunnel. A good day, best you can hope for is a voice on the intercom and a digital guide, and that's not much at all. But it's what you get now. Lucky you.

:Computer:: Docking clamps secured. Welcome aboard.
:Computer:: Acting overseer :EngineeringSupervisor: will transfer command shortly.
:Computer:: Please follow signs to the Volunteer Security Department so :SecurityChief: can take records.
:Computer:: I think she'll be delighted to have you there, in her own way. I know I'm simulating that feeling myself.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Huh. More natural speech.
:ResearchDirector:: It has a higher class. Five cores or more, at a guess.
:Computer:: Class twelve-plus, in fact, though please don't mistake my network's density for sentience.
:Computer:: A debtor station needs that kind of insight, so that I can help keep things running in times when there are heavy command fatalities.
:ChiefEngineer:: That's not going to be happening anymore.
:Computer:: I'm glad you feel that optimistic.
No. 1070838 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301906197.gif - (18.11KB , 650x450 , 163.gif )

Author's Note: Additional character designs by AsciiSquid.

So you make your way. Starboard to port, Arrivals to security. "Starboard" and "port", as if this were a ship, as if this were going anywhere. Here, we go in circles. It's all of us, just going in circles. But your circle takes you here. You've gotta get the transfer of command. And there's someone waiting for you on the way there.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: This is a non-regulation amount of engineering sector loitering.
:ChiefEngineer:: It's late in the shift. Cut them slack.
:ChiefEngineer:: Are you acting captain, :EngineeringSupervisor:? I'm supposed to--
:ConstructionEngineer:: Panopticon lock, five close, tracking. Engine 2, moving to intercept. Code - Drawbridge, Claymore, Venom.
:ChiefEngineer:: What?
No. 1070839 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301907510.gif - (26.07KB , 650x450 , 164.gif )

:ConstructionEngineer:: Unknown panopticon harmony, approaching at caution, priority one exclusion.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Unidentified actor, you're entering monitored social space. Break off and renavigate.
:ChiefEngineer:: What? No.
:ChiefEngineer:: I'm supposed to see your boss to transfer command.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Probable social hostile. Code - Artery, Harvest, Caltrops.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Unidentified actor, if you're planning to assume command, you'd better hold your pattern until Engine 1 is ready and has a lock on your intentions.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Don't expect to assume command for at least a week of activity shifts, you're--
No. 1070840 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301908956.gif - (18.07KB , 650x450 , 165.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: It's chill.
:ConstructionEngineer:: But--
:EngineeringSupervisor:: It's chill.
No. 1070841 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301910942.gif - (18.52KB , 650x450 , 166.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: Cool tip: Use a quick handshake to get a first impression off on the right foot.
No. 1070842 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301911881.gif - (16.99KB , 650x450 , 167.gif )

No. 1070843 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301912267.gif - (28.44KB , 650x450 , 168.gif )

No. 1070844 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301916651.gif - (18.15KB , 650x450 , 169.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: She's cool.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Engine 2 disengaging. Hazing payload non-expended, returning to patrol.
:ChiefEngineer:: Okay, good.
:ChiefEngineer:: Wait, hazing?
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Dagger, Midnight, Sprint. Breaking off from aggressors, need cover, need cover!
:EngineeringSupervisor:: Don't worry about it. You're fine.
:ChiefEngineer:: Alright.
No. 1070845 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301919196.gif - (13.63KB , 650x450 , 170.gif )

:SecurityChief:: And on today! Of all days...
:Kratt:: Mhm.
:Computer:: I'm sure you wouldn't rather have undocumented command staff.
:SecurityChief:: But I can't believe they'd do it today. It's insensitive!
:Kratt:: Sure is.
:Kratt:: Say, you catch the blaseball match last night?
:SecurityChief:: I'm stressed... I'm so stressed! I shouldn't have to deal with any of this.
:Kratt:: Guess not.
:Computer:: Good attempt, :Kratt:.

:SecurityChief:: Why is this happening to me...
:Kratt:: Mmhm, it's just awful.
:Computer:: I predict that your level of anguish will change after you meet them.
:SecurityChief:: My feelings are important too, you know.
:SecurityChief:: I wish central command would take them into account!
:Kratt:: Yep. Cruel of 'em. Well, you better go get :Friz: to take the prints and all, for the records.
:SecurityChief:: Scheduling a big reception on the anniversary of the day I decided they'd finally try to remarry me!
:Kratt:: Right, right. Hard to believe anything about this.
:Computer:: I'll call her over when they arrive.
:Kratt:: Thanks.
No. 1070847 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301927865.gif - (16.02KB , 650x450 , 171.gif )

:Wishbone:: And now, welcome to the main area of DVSD HQ!
:Wishbone:: Everyone file in, please, then we'll start the photos and taking prints and stuff.
:Computer:: All new arrivals now present in the Debtor Volunteer Security Department.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: "Volunteer"...
:Kratt:: Thank god, thought we'd never stop waiting.
:Kratt:: Do this at Customs at Arrivals with the head of the Service department, normally, but, don't got one.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You will now.
:Kratt:: Good. Need up-to-date records if I'm gonna be worth much.
No. 1070848 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301931607.gif - (22.18KB , 650x450 , 172.gif )

:Wishbone:: I could tell you all kinds of stories about this place.
:AI:: Scanning... high-traffic area.
:Wishbone:: Every kind of story, really.
:Wishbone:: The Jailbirds doing the prank war with :Sandiego: and :Nye:.
:Wishbone:: Chief and :Kratt: fighting off a dozen Bloodletter acolytes storming the brig, each with a riot-gun in both hands.
:Kratt:: Hah. Don't embellish too much.
:Kratt:: We had three guns between us. Helps when you have one person reloading.
:Wishbone:: Still, what a history.
:Wishbone:: Don't have time for the stories now though, I guess.
:QuarterMaster:: Yeah, I've kinda had enough of stories for one day.

:Wishbone:: Chief, you want to start the intake?
:Wishbone:: Chief?
:Kratt:: Uh...
No. 1070849 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301932628.gif - (20.10KB , 650x450 , 173.gif )

No. 1070850 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301935623.gif - (21.72KB , 650x450 , 174.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: You got me here. This is your fault.
:ChiefEngineer:: Get me somewhere else. Any other station. Right now.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Uh.
:ChiefEngineer:: I cannot be here.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I can't get us somewhere else. Officially, we're confined here until our debts are resolved.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It is technically debt-imprisonment.
No. 1070851 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301938033.gif - (23.56KB , 650x450 , 175.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: You've put me in the worst possible command posting in the galaxy.
No. 1070852 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301941666.gif - (20.32KB , 650x450 , 176.gif )

Dames. It's always something with dames. Like I don't have enough busted-marriage trouble in my life, I've got to get an extra helping from them too. Should have stayed back in my office, let the kid get here and take prints and samples, call it a day. No, can't do that, got a job. Gotta walk my way into another pile of trouble. This time with some forklift-certified doll, and her anguish big enough you'd need one to lift it.

Well, I jostle past her and over to the chief. Can't help one, gotta help the other. I've got deadlines for records too, worse than the warden there. Company's on my back like a busted modsuit to keep tabs on everyone, especially their VIP debtors, and a man like me can't afford letting them down. Debt is death here, and all of us are running from it. Especially these days, especially here.

No. 1070853 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301945781.gif - (15.49KB , 652x450 , 177.gif )

This type of stuff means a bad-paying job later, but I never got the hang of solving it ahead. "Sensitivity." Man like me barely knows how he feels, how am I supposed to sense a whole other person? What a mess.

:Rogers:: Got their papers?
:SecurityChief:: I can't believe it. Today. Here, now.
:Rogers:: Yeah, that's when I need those records, chief. Otherwise the Company calls.
:Rogers:: Don't let them get to you. Gotta clench your teeth and fight.
:SecurityChief:: I'm clenching them.
:Rogers:: Now stop grinding. It's about Grit, not stress.
:SecurityChief:: I deserve care for my feelings too!
:Rogers:: Look-- sure. Sorry, chief, you're right. Just--
:Rogers:: Ease your feelings, don't ignore them. Count the parts of you that aren't gonna get hurt, then go get hurt in the little ways that don't last.
:SecurityChief:: Ugh... why me...
:Rogers:: On account of if it's not you, it's someone else.
No. 1070855 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301947982.gif - (15.20KB , 652x450 , 178.gif )

:SecurityChief:: You're right. So many poor debtors, who don't deserve anything like this pain...
:SecurityChief:: So many poor criminals who would suffer too much under the burden of authority...
:SecurityChief:: I'm going to bear it. For their sake, so they can rest and keep making such a bright tomorrow...
:Rogers:: Oh christ.
:SecurityChief:: The impoverished souls... I can look on people like you, bearing all that suffering so much worse than this, and maybe draw some strength...
:Rogers:: Lady, uh--
:SecurityChief:: You always have it so hard. Maybe, I can finally have solidarity with your debts, through my own suffering...
:Rogers:: I'm-- I'm gonna go check on :Friz:.
:SecurityChief:: Oh, good! We're connecting, now, because we're both feeling stressed. You'll tell her about how deeply I'm connecting with her suffering, right?
:Rogers:: Probably not.

Can't tell which mood's worse, but at least it changed. Having a debtless head of the department is a real experience. Builds character. Like how scars build a decent perp description.
No. 1070856 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301949434.gif - (24.06KB , 650x450 , 179.gif )

:Rogers:: Where you been, kid?
:Friz:: Sorry I'm late! Sorry.
:Rogers:: Slept again. Need a better vice.
:Friz:: No! No. Look, don't worry, won't happen again.
:Rogers:: Get that case of SSD looked at.
:Friz:: Ahh-- I mean. Hard to find time for (and no head of Medical), you know?
:Rogers:: Good thing we're about to fix that.
:Rogers:: Got the forensics kit?
:Friz:: Yeah! (Got it right here.)
No. 1070857 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301952012.gif - (26.47KB , 650x450 , 180.gif )

:Friz:: What's the mood with these guys?
:Rogers:: Bad.
:Friz:: How bad?
:Rogers:: :SecurityChief:'s ex-wife.
:Friz:: (Oh god.)
:Friz:: Okay, well, I can process them quick!

:Friz:: Wow, this is a lot at once.
:Rogers:: Lost a lot at once.
:Friz:: Wish I'd been here to help...
:Rogers:: Good you weren't. Would be making your second payment to your Sourcer right about now.
:Friz:: Wait, what does that mean? (Hold on.)
:Rogers:: It means--
:Friz:: (No, I got it.) Uhh-- Well, I think I could have handled myself (I've been doing this a long time, you know), but I... I mean, I get it.
:Rogers:: Got a lot of work to get to.
:Friz:: Right. Sorry, just got distracted. (Overwhelmed, I guess.)
No. 1070858 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301959267.gif - (29.81KB , 650x450 , 181.gif )

:Friz:: Alright, we'll take you one at a time, as quick as I can, for each bit of records.
:Friz:: I know you all probably can't wait to rest (after that long trip) and all!
:AI:: It has been 36 hours since these crewmembers were provided with food or sleep accommodations. :AI:: Law 1 requires me to request these.
:Computer:: I'll let the kitchen know and clear a space in the dorms.
:Friz:: Jesus, they're getting worse...
:Friz:: At least you had coffee.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Wait, how'd you know--
:Friz:: Anyway, uh, I promise it'll be fast!
:Friz:: Just, single-file into the main office, please.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: You don't have a designated records-taking area.
:Friz:: Ahh... no, that got taken over.
:Chaplain:: "Taken over..." You've been invaded?!
:Friz:: We haven't had a full crew for a while, a lot of areas (especially around maintenance) are...
:Friz:: Well, anyway, they're not their original purpose.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: What are they instead?
:Friz:: Secret bases (for the cult), before. Now they're usually rat-nests for the Jailbirds.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: That sounds like a major breach of corporate regulation.
:Friz:: K... Kinda. Sorry.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I was not being critical, I was being sympathetic. I'm not used to that.
:Friz:: (Oh! Oh.) Well, thanks!
:ResearchDirector:: Not used to breached regulations, or to being sympathetic?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Correct.
No. 1070859 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301961794.gif - (10.20KB , 650x450 , 182.gif )

Welcome to the debt station. Give up your cash, your future, and your name. This is purgatory, where the sins are purged, and no sympathy for the sinners. Here's where the Specta junkies do their worst work. Here's where you go before you get a little box and a big orbit. Here's where we go to the underside of civilization. This is where society doesn't help you anymore, where all the machinery of all the bureaucrats is made to hurt you for ever pulling out more than you put in, even for a moment.

On the north side of zero balance, when you wait in line to get your ID, or when you let paperwork process for a month, or when you fill out a week's worth of paperwork, that's just society helping you in slow-motion, best it can. The numbers, the records, the tracking, it all exists to give you a little screen between you and someone's bad day ruining your life. Don't got that, and your whole life's at the mercy of moods and whims, whatever someone with a little power thinks that moment. The rules matter, they even out the spikes.

No. 1070860 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301963565.gif - (20.85KB , 650x450 , 183.gif )

But on the south side of zero, when your debt is ticking, always ticking up and up, exponential, every wasted minute is a personal cruelty, a perpetual penance on the clock. If the debt isn't miserable, it's not debt. But if it's real miserable, and believe me it is, then the neglect, the slow motion, that's pain. All the lost time is a wound. And all that tracking, all those numbers, all those records, they stop being a way to live, and they start being a way to die. You stop having a name, you start having a job and a number. All this machinery we built up, it goes from helping you, to killing you.
No. 1070862 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301968454.gif - (1.65MB , 650x450 , 184.gif )

And me, I know that better than most. Got a chill wandering its way down my spine and window-shopping my ribs ever since the moment you all walked in the airlock. Don't ask me how I know it. But I already know.

The next gig, the next case... it's going to kill me.

No. 1070863 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301999342.gif - (18.67KB , 650x480 , 2.gif )

Rain, all the damn time. Not a single place on this station I can't hear it pounding outside, and it's always raining here. Quietest it gets is the dorms. No wonder you're always sleeping here. But me, these days, I couldn't sleep without it.

They call me :Rogers:. My name's a different matter, but if you ask me right now, I've got to tell you it's "Debtor 406857". I'm a private eye, a detective-for-hire, a gig gumshoe attached to the station's Debtor Volunteer Security Department. One of the best investigators, and that makes me one of the worst people. But that doesn't seem to ever get you down, though, does it kid?

Hey, kid? :Friz:? Wake up, get out, get your coat on, it's time to work. Looks like you've still got that same case to solve.

Same as the last two times, and just as bad.

No. 1070864 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302006017.gif - (18.64KB , 650x480 , 3.gif )

> :Rogers:: Retrieve arms.
> @AtlasRules87

Two right here, but waving my heater around isn't how I do things. Especially waking someone up.
No. 1070865 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302011166.gif - (26.78KB , 650x480 , 4.gif )

> :Rogers:: Was that poster on the wall always there?
> @plapatin

They put some of these up after the big bombing last year. Inspirational stuff, if you're the type to get inspired by people dying and a sector-wide depression. But I'm not an undertaker or a stock shorter. Not much good to me. You like them though, don't you kid?
No. 1070866 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302016802.gif - (41.54KB , 650x480 , 5.gif )

>:Rogers:: Shout your daily order at the SHOUT COLA! vendor.

They're supposed to scream whenever anyone's nearby. Takes a good minute for me to get noticed by the motion sensors on these things right now, on account of the circumstances, but this should wake you up. And everyone else.
No. 1070867 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302020213.gif - (113.95KB , 650x480 , 5 (1).gif )

>:Friz:: be awoken by sudden soda shouting

:Dirt:: Loud sound.
:Savvy:: What...?
:Moxie:: Make it stop.
:Dirt:: Sounds like a human. Screaming.
:Grit:: Someone needs help.
:Savvy:: Nnnh. It's the stupid vendor again!
:Dirt:: Loud sound, boss!
:Savvy:: I know!!

:Grit:: Go help.
:Moxie:: I want to sleep!
:Savvy:: We haven't gotten decent sleep for a week.
:Grit:: Turning on the chemicals. Get moving.
:Dirt:: Come on, bud. Let's move.
:Moxie:: Fine...

There you are. Look like crap, kid. But it's time to move.
No. 1070868 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302032126.gif - (22.99KB , 650x480 , 6.gif )

>:Friz:: Five more minutes.

:Savvy:: Fine, fine, let's engage for now.
:Moxie:: Alright... Caffeine later?
:Grit:: Sure. Whatever it takes.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, what's the situation?
:Dirt:: Probably a repeat of the last one.
:Grit:: Those ones are dangerous.
:Moxie:: Double-check, in case we can sleep.
:Savvy:: Alright. "What is it?"

:Friz:: What is it? Can I just go back to sleep?
:Rogers:: Someone else has lost it.
:Friz:: Same modus operandi (sudden betrayal of Company loyalty) as last time?
:Rogers:: Yeah. Contraband-and-violence case.
:Friz:: I don't like this at all.
:Rogers:: Nobody should.
:Rogers:: But it's the only lead we've got on the case that's really worth waking up for.
:Friz:: Fine...
No. 1070869 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302037532.gif - (22.39KB , 650x480 , 7.gif )

>:Friz:: Stop living up to your namesake and fix your hair.

:Dirt:: Hey bud, eyes.
:Moxie:: Got it.
:Dirt:: Thanks.

You get that hair fixed, fast. Comes with your job, you've been detecting since you were, what was it, five years old? Even nearly asleep, you can get it out of your face, from the look of it. You and me, we walk and talk on the way out.

:Moxie:: The faster we do this, the faster we can be done.
:Moxie:: Can you start early?
:Savvy:: Guess I can. "Any suspects?"

:Friz:: Any suspects?
:Rogers:: Nothing clear.
:Friz:: Nnh. Witnesses? Crime scene?
:Rogers:: A couple. Scene's ready for you.
:Friz:: Where are we going?

We're going to...
No. 1070871 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302041224.gif - (25.12KB , 650x480 , 8.gif )

>:Friz:: Sneak yourself a SHOUT COLA!, maybe its caffeinated.

...Engineering. Or we were. You're distracted already.

:Moxie:: :Dirt:. Hey :Dirt:.
:Dirt:: Bud?
:Moxie:: Do those colas have caffeine?
:Savvy:: We're busy.
:Dirt:: No records. And the boss is right.
:Moxie:: I'm grabbing one.
:Savvy:: Hey! Wait! :Grit:, help me out here, those things will rot my bones.
:Grit:: They have a sweet flavor. And we need to be awake.
:Savvy:: God, fine I guess.
:Moxie:: I'm getting a gamer fuel.
:Grit:: Embarrassing.
:Savvy:: This is your fault!

:Rogers:: We're heading to Engineering. Come on.
:Friz:: Need this first.
No. 1070872 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302043787.gif - (30.37KB , 650x480 , 9.gif )

>:Rogers:: Pass her a flask of the dark and bitter stuff.

:Rogers:: Thirsty the minute you wake up, huh?
:Friz:: I can stop any time I want.
:Friz:: I need it, if we have a crime scene to look at.
:Rogers:: You want something stronger instead?
:Friz:: Isn't it the start of the shift? (Did I sleep in that bad?)
:Rogers:: You're holding a gamer fuel.
:Friz:: Rude. I don't think that'll make the day easier (given the circumstances right now), either way.
No. 1070873 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302046672.gif - (23.43KB , 650x450 , 10.gif )

>:Rogers: : that damn monkey on my back is itching. imbibe addiction of choice
>@Thickle Inspector

:Rogers:: Suit yourself, kid.
:Rogers:: But an energy drink isn't much better of a vice.
:Friz:: But it's the morning! This is, you know.
:Friz:: Kind of practical.
:Rogers:: Every vice is a practical vice.
:Rogers:: Even the calorie-blasts in the kitchen are part of a certain kind of kit.
:Rogers:: You know that, right?
:Friz:: Still. Morning.
:Rogers:: Sure, sure. Something for the morning then.

:Dirt:: Smell of smoke. Smell of smoke.
:Grit:: Clear lungs. Coughing.
:Friz:: Well, make sure you put that out before we get to the crime scene.
:Rogers:: Not like I'm about to contaminate it.
:Friz:: More like I won't be able to focus, honestly. I'm having a hard time as it is.
:Friz:: It's, god, what, four shifts of this?
:Dirt:: Three.
:Savvy:: Right.
:Rogers:: Three. Looking like it's gonna be a lot more.
:Friz:: Feels like I haven't slept right for any of them.
No. 1070875 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302048688.gif - (23.22KB , 650x450 , 11.gif )

We made footfalls through long halls. Atmospherics has a problem. We aren't gonna fix it, but we sure can go ahead and make it our problem too, like we don't have enough of them.
No. 1070876 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302051425.gif - (30.36KB , 650x450 , 12.gif )

No. 1070877 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302056758.gif - (21.87KB , 650x450 , 13.gif )

>:Computer: : Good morning, Debtors!

There's a jingle over the radio. Audio-branding, like a logo plastered on sound, forced into your head. Then we're all hearing the same voice.

: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.

:Rogers:: You heard it. We're on the clock now, better be working.
:Rogers:: I'm checking ahead. Take a statement, kid.
:Friz:: Oh... Hmmm.
:AtmosTech:: Doesn't always look this bad, you know.
:Friz:: Oh! Oh, I know.
No. 1070878 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302059684.gif - (19.45KB , 650x450 , 14.gif )

>:Friz:: Commence interviewing.

:Friz:: Detective :Friz:, DVSD. Heard you had some kind of incident here?
:AtmosTech:: Oh, yeah! A break-in.
:Friz:: Looks bad... can I take a statement, please?
:AtmosTech:: Oh, sure!

:Grit:: She's calm.
:Moxie:: But unmotivated now, I think.
:Dirt:: Use the positive approach anyway, boss. I'll call up the memorizations.
:Savvy:: Good, got it. Name, job, safety. :Moxie:, recorder out. :Grit:, keep an eye on stress levels.

:Friz:: Name?
:AtmosTech:: Didn't get to keep mine either, and the chief doesn't give us nicknames like you.
:Friz:: It's just part of the protocol.
:AtmosTech:: Alright. Debtor number's on the ID here.
:Friz:: Department and role?
:AtmosTech:: Engineering, atmospherics.
:Friz:: Current feelings about safety (and if needed, anything that the DVSD can do to improve them)?
:AtmosTech:: What?
:Friz:: Do you feel fearful or stressed?
:AtmosTech:: Is this protocol too?
:Friz:: Sort of, but it never hurts to ask in investigations.
:AtmosTech:: Uh... I'm fine, I guess. Neutral?
No. 1070879 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302062802.gif - (17.45KB , 650x450 , 15.gif )

>:Friz:: Attempted plasma flood, or something more mundane?
>@Old Secret

:Friz:: Alright, that's it for opening statements.
:Friz:: So, what happened? Did someone try to sabotage atmospherics?
:AtmosTech:: Someone in a mask ran through the front door and out the back into maintenance.
:Friz:: What? Why?
:AtmosTech:: Probably to get some of our stuff. We have a lot of stuff.
:Friz:: Not sabotage?
:AtmosTech:: I feel like they weren't inside long enough to sabotage much.
:AtmosTech:: I checked just a few seconds later and they were gone. It was probably a stuff type of crime.
:Friz:: Well, I hope you don't have less stuff now, some of your stuff is dangerous fuel gasses and heavy-duty gear.
:Friz:: But I guess we're not choking right now.

:Moxie:: Lots more information to gather about when they ran through here. But our main objective is to find where they are now.
:Grit:: I can feel at least two more risk factors we should learn about.
:Dirt:: :Rogers: mentioned something about contraband. Where do we think that got used?
:Savvy:: Right, there's more questions to ask...
No. 1070880 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302066505.gif - (18.25KB , 650x450 , 16.gif )

>:Friz:: Method of entry? Did it involve the borked airlock?

:Friz:: They didn't ask you to let them through?
:AtmosTech:: Nope.
:Friz:: How'd they break the door, exactly?
:AtmosTech:: Swiped something against it.
:AtmosTech:: I haven't been able to get it to close right since then.
:Friz:: Huh...

:Dirt:: That model of airlock emits that sound it's making when one, but not both, of the lock-in-place bolts is down.
:Grit:: A contraband device broke the security and forced it open.
:Moxie:: I don't think we're able to examine it much more than that. We're missing an important tool.
:Savvy:: I'll have to have :Computer: try to diagnose it on the digital end.
No. 1070881 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302068897.gif - (19.84KB , 650x450 , 17.gif )

>:Friz:: Tiders? Any identifying non-Company gear (ie: Syndicate)? That mask sounds interesting.
>@Old Secret

:Friz:: What about the mask? Was there anything strange about it?
:AtmosTech:: Total blank. I couldn't see a thing about them.
:Friz:: Like a grey-tiding :StaffAssistant:?
:AtmosTech:: That's "nothing going on in the brain", this was "nothing visible behind the mask".
:Friz:: Did it look like any mask you've seen before?
:AtmosTech:: Nope. Suit wasn't either. Mostly black, a little red.

:Grit:: Sounds like syndicate equipment. High-risk. Might be other risks, but we can't likely learn anything more. Not without more context.
:Moxie:: But we need that location... for some reason, I feel like :Rogers: has a lead on that.
:Dirt:: We can come back and get more testimony. Her memory should still be fresh for a few more minutes at least.
:Savvy:: Alright. Time to look at the scene of the crime for a bit, then. See what happened during the run-through-atmospherics stage of events.
No. 1070882 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302075337.gif - (159.49KB , 650x450 , 18.gif )

>:Savvy: : Perhaps the :Computer: can run diagnostics on the door.
>@Nukie Horrorshow

That machine's on-call, every moment you could want it. Helpful thing, even if it's part of the prison.

:Friz:: Hey, :Computer:, can you take a look at this airlock?
:Computer:: Confirmed. It's an airlock.
:Friz:: I mean-- come on, I mean in-detail, please!
:Computer:: It's an airlock for atmospherics. It looks like it's an eye-catchingly unpleasant yellow with blue trim.
:Friz:: It's a broken airlock, I need to learn more about it.
:Computer:: Well, I suppose when you put it that way: diagnostics were already in progress at the start of this. The humor is just a bonus.
:Friz:: Ahah... Thanks? Was it funny for you?
:Computer:: It was objectively funny, :Friz:.
:Computer:: I just happen to be non-sentient. Humor is something for sentients exclusively.
No. 1070883 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302084217.gif - (30.32KB , 650x450 , 19.gif )

>:Friz: : Ask ponytail if the perp wore any gloves.

:Friz:: Hey, did they wear gloves (which would obscure prints or other biological contact traces) on the way in?
:AtmosTech:: I barely saw them. Couldn't say one way or another.
:Friz:: Best guess?
:AtmosTech:: They had everything else covered up. So, probably.

:Savvy:: We're looking for contact trace material and not anything like fingerprints.
:Grit:: The target was moving too fast for total caution.
:Moxie:: Look right in the space around the edges of the control panel, where I bump my hand when I fumble with an airlock.
:Dirt:: Running the scans now.
No. 1070884 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302086576.gif - (56.43KB , 650x450 , 20.gif )

You get out your custom forensic scanner. I always prefer working with my hands, but I guess you picked up a couple nice gadgets from when you were an "encyclopedia detective." Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

:Dirt:: IDed something in there. Looks like someone fumbling with the airlock?
:Moxie:: Yeah, looks like it! That might be our trace!
:Moxie:: Log it as type A trace contact for now.
:Savvy:: Hold it, hold it. We don't know that's relevant yet. Could be something from someone else, a week ago.
:Savvy:: If we see it again in another airlock further in, and none of the atmospherics gear have something like it, we'll know.
:Dirt:: I'll log it and scan further in.
No. 1070885 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302089586.gif - (53.51KB , 650x450 , 21.gif )

>:Rogers: : Looks like :Friz: just completed a scan, better see what the kid found out

You head in past the busted door.

:Rogers:: There you are, kid. Story so far?
:Friz:: Hey.
:Friz:: Unknown motives, unknown perp. But there's some good news (by which I mean details about the bad news).
:Friz:: Identity-obscuring and security-breaking contraband, maybe a Sourcer contact or other Syndicate backing.
:Rogers:: That's three cases with possible Syndicate backing.
:Friz:: Those other cases... Three data points may make a line, but we should stay skeptical.
:Friz:: I'm going to keep scouring the scene for more contact traces to figure out what they have, where they went, and what they took.
:Rogers:: Good plan.
No. 1070886 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302091898.gif - (29.42KB , 650x450 , 22.gif )

>:Grit: : Yeah, those canisters look totally unstable stacked up so high like that. Watch yourself.

:Grit:: Unstable arrangement of objects.
:Grit:: Pull back now!
:Moxie:: Moving!
:Dirt:: Wait, wait a moment, chief.
:Dirt:: Before you start pumping that adrenaline, look, there's wall-hooks and caution lines.
:Savvy:: This must be the buffer area where pre-stocked cannisters are kept, to be given out to other departments or engineers.
No. 1070887 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302094128.gif - (24.17KB , 650x450 , 23.gif )

>:Savvy: : If this is a buffer area, how come there’s so little oxygen?

:Savvy:: I should check something though. "Hey, just wondering."
:Friz:: Hey, just wondering. Has someone been taking a lot of your oxygen tanks?
:AtmosTech:: A :CargoTech: stopped by to deliver them to science pre-shift, for something.
:Friz:: Guess that's pretty normal.
:Friz:: I'm gonna get back to looking around. I might need you to let me into the back for a bit.
:AtmosTech:: Sounds fine.
No. 1070888 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302097061.gif - (23.30KB , 650x450 , 24.gif )

>:Rogers:: Activate your Detective Vision

Don't have that. But I get hunches, and I've got the good sense to listen to them without taking them for absolute gospel. Man who can't listen to his gut is worse than dead.

:Rogers:: Kid. The situation with the oxygen...
:Rogers:: Can't say why, but it's nagging me like a gemless researcher.
:Rogers:: You keep it in mind. Something about these cans. The missing ones, or the one left there.
:Friz:: Huh...

:Grit:: It's dangerous.
:Moxie:: What is? What do I do about that?
:Grit:: It's dangerous. That's all.
:Dirt:: Any more information, chief?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: You're always such a big help.
No. 1070889 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302100951.gif - (21.28KB , 650x450 , 25.gif )

>:Rogers:: Take a quick glance at that poster while :Friz: does her job

I hate these things. Company marines were before your time, weren't they? Or I guess the height of it would have been when you were still working the pet detective beat. Well, it's all fallen apart. These things are years old by now.

:Rogers:: Wish they'd rip all these down.
:Friz:: Why are these still up?
:AtmosTech:: This part of the investigation?
:Friz:: Oh, just making conversation.
:AtmosTech:: The posters? I dunno, it was here when I got hired.
:AtmosTech:: Think I'll get in trouble if I take it down.

:Dirt:: Looks very old.
:Savvy:: Do we have anything in-memory about this? Maybe the Unofficial Guide?
:Dirt:: Working...
No. 1070890 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302105268.gif - (25.52KB , 650x450 , 26.gif )

:Dirt:: The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has this to say on the topic of the FXAD:

The FXAD, or Frontier Xenoform Acquisitions Department, was better known as the Company Marines. They were a Company-sponsored and Company-directed militia of sorts, famous for pioneering and subsequently showing all the flaws of a very specific type of novel military structure. Xenofauna and xenoflora are a typical obstacle standing between the Company and areas with large amounts of resources. From space carp drifting between mineral-rich asteroids, to adaptive swarms resting below fertile colony soil, the Company faces a daily challenge to fight in the frontier for what it takes back to the core worlds. It also, notably, can't afford to do so while paying for truly professional military services from core world governments, given that so few remain and so few are willing to deal with the Company. Enter the new type of armed force that the Company could deploy at will. Recruited marines were paid on commission per xenoform threat neutralized, and logistics workers paid from the funds of those marines. But the most ambitious of them could recruit their friends at startlingly varied levels of combat experience or logistics experience into acting as their subordinates and providing a portion of their profits. By recruiting, say, ten veteran combatants that one knows who are in need of employment, the promise and premise went, one can double their paycheck through portions of the commissions of their new squad. And if each of them recruit their own subordinate squad, well, portions of portions of that money can earn their new lieutenant a well-earned comfortable lifestyle. And with all of those squad-members recruiting their own squad, that could make you a captain of your own company, becoming independently wealthy. And so on. A savvy reader may recognize the issue with the structure of a "Multi-Level Military", but in the height of blood-lust enthusiasm for the war effort against aliens, this was missed by most soldiers who pledged themselves to exterminate the alien threat. The unsustainable growth-based model collapsed quickly and violently, but unintentionally bolstered the Company's Department of Antagonism, resulting in minimal financial loss for the Company as a whole.
No. 1070899 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302281380.gif - (28.26KB , 650x450 , 27.gif )

>:Dirt: & :Moxie:: Carefully examine the leaning canister for any clues.

:Dirt:: I should check the one can that looks jostled.
:Savvy:: Give it a shot, if you think it might help.
:Dirt:: Hey, bud. A little help?
:Moxie:: How? That's not much for me to do.
:Savvy:: Hang on, I've got an idea.
:Savvy:: Figure out areas you'd hold these cans at, and exclude them.
:Savvy:: Then figure out areas you might brush on your way through, if you were bolting past someone, fast, and focus there.
:Moxie:: Right about... there.
:Dirt:: There they are. Fibers. Type A again.
:Dirt:: Are we close to having the evidence to link type A and our perpetrator?
:Savvy:: Probably. Let's check with :AtmosTech:, once she's let us in the back, and we'll call that settled.
No. 1070900 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302321265.gif - (25.20KB , 650x450 , 28.gif )

>:Friz:: Well, nothing else to do up here from the looks of it. Head further back into atmos.

:Savvy:: "Hey, can I head into the back now?"
:Friz:: Hey, can I head into the back now?
:Friz:: I'll be out of your hair soon, but I need to check a few more things.
:Friz:: Oh, and I'd like to check any atmospherics handwear you can find (that is, gloves and stuff like that), I'm trying to do process of elimination to confirm a lead.
:AtmosTech:: Don't really know what you mean. You just want me to show you our hardsuit gauntlets?
:Friz:: Yeah, that should do it.
:AtmosTech:: Sure thing. Back this way.
No. 1070901 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302346334.gif - (41.47KB , 650x450 , 29.gif )

:Dirt:: Sound of a door's hydraulics in motion.
:Savvy:: Wait a minute, hold on. "Why's this one not busted?"
:Friz:: Why's this one not busted?
:AtmosTech:: Huh?
:Friz:: Like the front door.
:AtmosTech:: They ran in after I'd headed through from the back.
:AtmosTech:: It was still open, so I guess they didn't need to break it.
:Friz:: Oh, okay.
:Dirt:: Adding to the timeline. She was in the back just before the break-in.
No. 1071018 ID: a7a180

Your PDA can scan for trace gases. Have any of the cans leaked?
No. 1071327 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344586203.gif - (21.68KB , 650x450 , 30.gif )

>:Moxie:: note the implication they either followed someone back out (potential accomplice?) or found alternative egress.
No. 1071328 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344588157.gif - (21.52KB , 650x450 , 31.gif )

:Moxie:: Hey, :Dirt:, look for the exit out the back first.
:Moxie:: That testimony sounds like they ran out into maintenance.
:Dirt:: Scanning area...
No. 1071329 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344589883.gif - (19.68KB , 650x450 , 32.gif )

:Dirt:: Functional airlock back here, bud. This what you're looking for?
:Moxie:: Probably where our perp dashed to after whatever happened.
:Moxie:: It's where I'd go if I had to beat a fast escape.
:Savvy:: Hey, :Dirt:, what's with all that atmospherics stuff back there? Can you give me more visual data?
:Dirt:: I'm giving you all of it, boss.
:Savvy:: That might be the problem, then.
:Savvy:: We'll stick to investigating what I can understand for now.
No. 1071330 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344591333.gif - (21.47KB , 650x450 , 33.gif )

:Moxie:: Alright, other side?
:Dirt:: Here you go, bud.
:Dirt:: Any other exits just go deeper into engineering.
:Moxie:: Let's get those gloves too, later.
:Savvy:: They should be standardized manufacture.
:Savvy:: One set of atmospherics gloves is the same as the next, so they'll share trace types.
No. 1071331 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344592703.gif - (26.08KB , 650x450 , 34.gif )

:Savvy:: And, quick recap. Let's all get on the same page.
:Moxie:: :Grit:, you're sounding quiet. Any contributions?
:Grit:: We're getting near the solution for this. I'm priming adrenaline.
:Savvy:: Really? Want to tell me why?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: Great. Great communication, you're a big help.
:Grit:: Deduce three more key facts, in this room or in my memory, and you'll understand.
:Savvy:: Alright, let's get to work.
No. 1071332 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344596245.gif - (122.14KB , 650x450 , 35.gif )

>:Moxie: : :Computer: should have run atmos diagnostics by now. Ask it, then investigate theft candidates.

:Moxie:: The things the intruder could have done here...
:Moxie:: Hey :Grit:, what should we worry about? What do we have to fear?
:Grit:: They have Sourcer backing. That means a Syndicate intruder. Unbelievably well-equipped, and with specific goals.
:Grit:: Could be atmospherics sabotage, or theft of dangerous atmospherics equipment.
:Savvy:: There's also high-value fuel gasses they could have stolen.
:Moxie:: We'll investigate all of those in a moment then. Hey :Savvy:, can you ask about the door?
:Savvy:: Good time for it. "Hey, :Computer:..."

:Friz:: Hey, :Computer:, you finished up diagnostics on that door?
:Computer:: In a sense.
:Friz:: Okay, what sense have you finished it up in?
:Friz:: (And what ones have you... not?)
:Computer:: I've finished them in the sense that you can have some information.
:Computer:: I haven't finished them in the sense that it's going to take a few hundred years to crack the new encryption on the lock-bolt controls.
:Friz:: Maybe... they should just take the airlock out and replace it. That's too long.
:Computer:: Not for me! Doesn't really bother me if I fix it for you or your great-great-great-grand-child-detective, my brain-cores will keep.
:Friz:: If child detectives are still having to do work in a hundred years, something's gone really bad.

:Friz:: So the thing changed the door lock codes?
:Computer:: Whatever was used on the door, it spoofed the administrative rights for it for long enough to swap out nearly everything.
:Computer:: It's unusable.
:Friz:: Alright. I guess that makes sense.
No. 1071333 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344599674.gif - (22.18KB , 650x450 , 36.gif )

>:Moxie: : Open all lockers, just because there's only one exit doesn't mean they actually left.

:Savvy:: Hey, :Moxie:, open up all the lockers, we should make sure they haven't stayed behind.
:Moxie:: Huh. Can't open them, says access is denied. Must be locked.
:Savvy:: Ugh. "Hey, can you open these up to see if the intruder's still hiding in here?"
:Moxie:: Wait, how would that work?
:Grit:: The threat's tool only breaks locks.

:Friz:: Hey, can you open these up to see if the intruder's still hiding in here?
:Friz:: Wait, how would that work?
:Friz:: The threat's tool only breaks locks, but...
:AtmosTech:: Do you still want me to?
:AtmosTech:: I'm pretty sure you can't lock those from the inside, though.
:AtmosTech:: At least, especially if you don't have access.
:Friz:: Why do you know that?
:AtmosTech:: I feel like someone besides Detective Sleep-Deprivation should be asking me about secret naps.
No. 1071334 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344602248.gif - (23.61KB , 650x450 , 37.gif )

>:Grit:: If we're just checking if someone's hiding inside, we don't need to unlock them, just shake them and listen.

:Friz:: Okay, I'll just shake it.
:AtmosTech:: Wait. Don't.
:Friz:: What? Why?
No. 1071335 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344604034.gif - (24.32KB , 650x450 , 38.gif )

:AtmosTech:: I just told you why.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Zzzzzz... (Engine 2 anchored.)
:Friz:: Oh. That's kind of cute.
:AtmosTech:: Keep it quiet in here.
No. 1071338 ID: a7a180

No. 1071352 ID: 2eb3cc

I notice cameras on the wall, did they see anything?
No. 1071357 ID: dc4bad

Good point, and it's aimed right towards the entry too.

Also am I missing something or did we breeze past that hunch about the remaining O2 canister?
The cans seem to be somewhat colour coded (for the departments they're intended for?), and the other colours/columns suggest they are sorted into batches of 3. But there are currently 4 of the light blue ones in the immediate vicinity: 1 being refilled, 2 sitting together, and 1 in the buffer area.

Tentative hypothesis; the light blue canister in the buffer area is the 'extra' and has been tampered with in some way, possibly to cause some kind of disruption at Science in the near future.
No. 1071405 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354125501.gif - (25.16KB , 650x450 , 39.gif )

>:Moxie:: Check inside the suit storage containers.

:Moxie:: Let's check the suit storage too.
:Dirt:: Sure. Here's what I've got.
:Dirt:: Semi-rigid fibers from the atmospherics suit. Type B.
:Moxie:: Alright, that checks one of the two off our list, right?
:Dirt:: Mhm.

:Rogers:: Gut says we're gonna get this figured out. Done all your scans?
:Friz:: No... I think there's three more things left to scan.
:AtmosTech:: Huh? Oh. Need me here for that?
:Friz:: I don't think so, right?
:Rogers:: Let her work.
:Friz:: Yeah, we probably don't need you until it's time for me to leave.
No. 1071406 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354128053.gif - (31.42KB , 650x450 , 40.gif )

>:Dirt:: Wait, shouldn't the atmospherics staff have on gloves?
>@Old Secret

:Dirt:: She's wearing gloves too. We should get a scan for that before she leaves.
:Grit:: She doesn't want to be here. She wants to leave.
:Savvy:: Why? I don't get it.
:Savvy:: We should scan absolutely everyone involved, actually.
:Savvy:: But I've got a shortcut for that.
No. 1071407 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354129527.gif - (17.24KB , 650x450 , 41.gif )

:Savvy:: :Dirt:, :Moxie:, get a set of traces from those unworn gloves on the table.
:Dirt:: On it, boss.
:Moxie:: Okay...
:Savvy:: One set of gloves has the same type of fibers, and everyone wears the same gloves.
:Savvy:: If it's Type C, distinct from type A, we've got trace records for our perp.
:Moxie:: I don't have to go get every single person scanned?
:Savvy:: Nope.
No. 1071408 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354131127.gif - (19.17KB , 650x450 , 42.gif )

:Moxie:: Get traces right on this part of the fingertips. That's where contact will always wear it down.
:Dirt:: Distinct trace type. Categorizing as Type C.
:Savvy:: Perfect. We scan for Type A from here on out.
:Grit:: Half of one of the key facts done. Look for "Type A" more.
:Grit:: Priming amygdala responses.
:Dirt:: Really wish you wouldn't, chief.
No. 1071415 ID: 86e259

It's pretty ominous the way :Grit: said "She doesn't want to be here. She wants to leave." Are we confident she doesn't know more than she's letting on?

Also, doubling down on the security cameras.
No. 1071417 ID: 7c0da2

There's a gasmask sitting near the disposal chute here. I'm not familiar with where everything should be stored, but it looks out of place. The target may have escaped through the disposal pipes. Check both the mask and the chute for traces.
No. 1071609 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383364060.gif - (17.61KB , 650x450 , 43.gif )

>:Dirt:: there’s a security camera next to the airlock

:Dirt:: Maybe we can shortcut this entirely.
:Dirt:: Footage is a lot more reliable.
:Dirt:: There was a camera out there, right next to the airlock that got broken.
No. 1071610 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383368742.gif - (11.21KB , 650x450 , 44.gif )

>I notice cameras on the wall, did they see anything?

:Dirt:: Another on-memory over here, above the :AtmosTech: workstation.
No. 1071611 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383372979.gif - (23.14KB , 650x450 , 45.gif )

>:Savvy:: :Dirt: , how much of the room does that camera cover?
>@emote reactor

:Savvy:: Do you think this one, in this room, had a good angle as well?
:Dirt:: I think so. The cameras are unreliable in their angles, but a glimpse would help.
:Savvy:: If they evaded the cameras, that would be valuable data too.
:Savvy:: Conspicuous absence of information is information.
:Savvy:: One problem though.
No. 1071612 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383375973.gif - (127.15KB , 650x450 , 46.gif )

>:Savvy: : It could have recorded something important, :Computer: what does it have?
>@UNIT 4545

:Computer:: Yes, detective?
:Savvy:: "Hey, do you have records..."
:Friz:: Hey, do you have records of the three cameras between here and the main engineering hallway?
:Computer:: Of course.
:Friz:: Oh, great. Can you send them to me?
:Computer:: Oh, not at all. I'm also not technically allowed to view those records myself, due to Company policy 408-7, sensitive data confidentiality.
:Friz:: What? Since when (what's the use of cameras that don't record footage for review now)?
:Computer:: An updated policy came through, providing free-of-charge "record authentication and endorsement" services and complimentary total encryption, apparently.
:Computer:: Decryption for review is available at Central Command, with appropriate fees.
No. 1071613 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383381704.gif - (169.06KB , 650x450 , 47.gif )

:Friz:: Okay, but when can I review it?
:Computer:: Well, semi-legally, after several days of decryption by your own dedicated computing core, if you have one.
:Computer:: Or when you're at Central Command, I suppose. So, when all debts are paid.
:Friz:: That makes it useless, though!
:Friz:: I need it to do my job so I can solve the debt.
:Computer:: Frustration-driven motivation makes fantastic market opportunities, or something like that.
:Computer:: Do you now want to crowdfund a startup for subscription-based on-demand camera record decryption?
:Friz:: I have no money.
:Computer:: If you hypothetically had a lot of money despite the debt situation, then this situation could have possibly funded a Department of Records subsidiary startup.
:Friz:: That doesn't help me though! It just makes a problem, and then I subscribe to a fix for it!
:Computer:: I'm sub-sentiently simulating the social experience of feeling like you might have a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of startups and venture funding, detective.
No. 1071614 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383384669.gif - (17.56KB , 650x450 , 48.gif )

>:Dirt:: consider looking up at the ceiling, before discarding the notion as foolish.

:Grit:: It's okay. You...
:Friz:: ...did your best, really.
:Dirt:: Thanks.
:Rogers:: Alright there, kid?
:Dirt:: "Oh, I'm fine--"
:Friz:: Oh, I'm fine. Just a bit frustrated.
No. 1071615 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383386081.gif - (20.72KB , 650x450 , 49.gif )

:Rogers:: The thing means well. Well as it can mean, when it can't mean anything.
:Rogers:: Have to focus your investigation on what you can do with your own two hands.
:Rogers:: On a station like this, not much else you can trust. The bigger systems aren't built to help people like us.
:Rogers:: They're built for something else.
:Friz:: I guess...
No. 1071618 ID: f8083d

Wow, it's a wonder everyone here hasn't defected to the Syndicate yet.
All right, what else can we check?
No. 1071624 ID: dc4bad

maybe go back and examine that first blue canister in the buffer area, I'm still pretty sure there's cause to believe that it might have been tampered with, or otherwise hold a clue
No. 1071748 ID: 8f9bc4

Right, install your own array of hidden cameras throughout the station. Got it.
No. 1072103 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434375035.gif - (29.53KB , 650x450 , 50.gif )

>:Friz:: might be time to start checking the entrance to maintenance for any leads

:Savvy:: Alright, focus. Let's hit that back door. What's our leads?
:Dirt:: Checking. Where all needs to be scanned?
:Moxie:: Here, mostly, a little there...
:Dirt:: Type B and C.
:Moxie:: Maybe over there?
:Dirt:: Type C.
:Moxie:: What? Hold on-- just scan everything.
:Dirt:: Stray type B.
:Moxie:: Any type A? At all?
:Dirt:: Nothing, buddy.

:Savvy:: How's there no type A traces?
:Dirt:: Because I scanned everything, and they weren't there.
:Savvy:: But-- that doesn't make any sense. :AtmosTech: said the perp ran out the back, right?
:Grit:: One of the three final facts has been found.
:Grit:: Dilating pupils and priming fast-twitch muscle clusters.
:Savvy:: Will you ease off the gas, please?
No. 1072104 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434378094.gif - (32.37KB , 650x450 , 51.gif )

>:Friz:: Your PDA can scan for trace gases. Have any of the cans leaked?

:Grit:: No. There's threats.
:Savvy:: Look. Ugh. :Moxie:, :Dirt:, can you help help calm this down?
:Savvy:: If there's an atmos threat, scan atmos. Are we okay?
:Moxie:: Getting out the PDA...
:Dirt:: Yeah, scanning. How's it look, chief?
:Grit:: No threat in the air. Atmosphere is as usual.
:Savvy:: If someone wanted to sabotage our air, all they'd have to do is fail quota for a week. The Tressel Gasometers would kick in. This is a non-factor.
:Grit:: Fine. Calming breathing. But I'm keeping adrenaline primed.
:Savvy:: Whatever. Whatever! Let's just focus on the investigation.
No. 1072105 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434380946.gif - (130.16KB , 650x450 , 52.gif )

>:Friz:: There's more of those canisters being filled up. Did the perp tamper with them or the refueling equipment?

:Grit:: There's other sabotage that could be happening here.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, turn up the resolution on our atmospherics pipe examination.
:Dirt:: Hmmm.
:Dirt:: Sorry, boss, no can do.
:Savvy:: What?
:Dirt:: I'm not really feeling it. That's a lot of pipes in a lot of colors going between a lot of objects.
:Dirt:: I'm interpreting it as several trees. And none of them are good trees.
:Savvy:: Trees? What? How are pipes similar to trees?
:Dirt:: Yeah. Get me some decent visual stimulation or a good manual, and I can show you more next time.

:Savvy:: I wish any of you were doing your jobs today.
:Moxie:: I'm doing mine!
:Savvy:: You made me drink gamer fuel, you're not innocent of atrocities here.
No. 1072106 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434384426.gif - (31.53KB , 650x450 , 53.gif )

>:Savvy:: Tentative hypothesis; the light blue canister has been tampered with in some way.

:Savvy:: There's one atmospherics process we can check. The refills that :AtmosTech: is doing.
:Savvy:: Remember that state the front office was in? She's still getting the O2 cans filled.
:Savvy:: Check the refilling can for Type A. If they sabotaged the process...
:Moxie:: Check there, and there.
:Dirt:: Type A. Our perp did something about the refilling cans, boss.
:Savvy:: The blue O2 cans might be sabotaged.

:Grit:: Second fact. I'm--
:Savvy:: :Moxie:, manually breathe for a moment, calm-down style. :Grit:, can you ease off the gas if we regulate the oxygen?
:Grit:: Fine.
:Moxie:: On it. Can you get me a distraction for a second, to maximize my engagement levels?
:Savvy:: Sure. I should report in with :Rogers:.
No. 1072107 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434389031.gif - (19.64KB , 650x450 , 54.gif )

>:Savvy:: So the maintenance airlock was a bust. Why not consult with :Rogers:?

Looks like you're finished up with most of your evidence gathering. So you head over to me. I'm distracted. Lost in thought. Doing a little looking, a lot of thinking, and not much paying attention.

I've got a hunch worse than a last-gen test-tube baby. Something about those masks I keep seeing around the Atmospherics workstations, it keeps getting to me. Something important, real important, about those masks, and these masks. But what?

:Friz:: Hey :Rogers:.
:Rogers:: Kid. What do you got?
:Friz:: Done some scans. Our perp didn't touch the back door, somehow, and they were messing with the O2 cans...
:Rogers:: Well I don't see any other exits. You sure about all that evidence?
:Friz:: Yeah.
:Rogers:: Hmm. Come check these Atmospherics masks out, then.
:Friz:: Why?
:Rogers:: Gut feeling. Take a look. Tell me what you think.
No. 1072108 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434393478.gif - (21.02KB , 650x450 , 55.gif )

>:Dirt:: that mask on the desk, worth a scan?

:Friz:: Stray type C records. They look old...
:Friz:: I'm not sure I'm understanding.
:Friz:: These traces would be here even if there wasn't anything going on.
:Rogers:: Really? That's all that's there?
:Rogers:: Come on, kid. Look a little deeper.
:Rogers:: I can't finish these connections but you usually can.
:Friz:: What's there... What's there...

:Grit:: We're close to the last one. But it has many steps.
:Savvy:: Huh...? Uh, okay.
:Savvy:: Well, the absence of information here means we can mess with it without fear of contaminating anything.
:Dirt:: Good call, boss. And the testimony involved masks. Maybe we can recreate, re-enact something about the situation, :Moxie:?
:Moxie:: Right. Let's get it a little more abstract.
:Moxie:: Moving things in the environment always helps me think.
:Grit:: I will discover another risk. Infer more from it, and I will understand everything we need to know.
No. 1072110 ID: 8f9bc4

OK 3 alarming things that stand out to me

1) The worker said that it wasn't like any mask she'd ever seen before, and yet there's another one of them lying right here.

2) This is Atmospherics. There are no dangerous gasses back here, so no need for gas masks or airtight clothing.

3) Actually isn't there one dangerous gas in Atmospherics? Some sort of cognitive enhancer designed to improve problem solving capabilities, with severe consequences for anyone isolated from others for extended periods of time?
No. 1072210 ID: 30de7b

Hmm. If they entered, but there's no sign of them at any other exit, they: 1. are still there, 2. were disintegrated, 3. left by the same entrance, 4. uh, changed all their dna? or something.
No. 1072260 ID: 8f9bc4

...put on the gas mask?

Become the perp, see what they saw.
No. 1072271 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458077703.gif - (22.72KB , 650x450 , 56.gif )

>:Friz:: Put on the mask and walk back into the lobby.

You put the mask up against your face. Kid, you don't have the menace for that Grey Tide look.

:Savvy:: Let's try a bit of re-enactment. I'll wear the mask and retrace some steps.
:Moxie:: Alright, mask on. I can't get through the door though, without getting :AtmosTech:.
:Savvy:: I'll call her back here.
:Grit:: I don't want to bother her more.
:Savvy:: Fine, fine. We'll re-enact things a bit here.
:Grit:: You're getting close to something.
:Savvy:: What am I trying to figure out about this?
:Dirt:: What can be seen about me right now?
:Savvy:: Good question. Hey :Rogers:!

:Friz:: Hey :Rogers:, what would you say I look like right now?
:Rogers:: Pretty silly.
:Friz:: No, no, I mean...
:Friz:: What would you describe me as? Write me an APB.
:Rogers:: This a party game, kid?
:Friz:: Indulge me, I'm indulging you.
:Rogers:: Average height. Long hair, tied up all messy. Old detective jacket. Tired posture.
:Friz:: You can't see my face though, right? You don't know who I am.
:Rogers:: Sure, kid. But there's plenty to say about you.
No. 1072272 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458081376.gif - (23.90KB , 650x450 , 57.gif )

:Rogers:: But you're coming at me, right?
:Friz:: Right. Like the perp. Running past you.
:Rogers:: So the question here is... why can't I get an eyeball on those things. Right?
:Friz:: I'm heading straight for you. Why can't you see my hair?
:Rogers:: Could be wearing a helmet.
:Friz:: Alright, sure. What about jacket? Height, build? Posture?
:Rogers:: Right... :AtmosTech: had nothing to say about that, besides covered-up, masked.

:Grit:: This means I'm re-enacting the point of intersection between the witness and perpetrator. The most dangerous moment.
:Savvy:: Should we go ask her? About a description of the perpetrator, I mean.
:Dirt:: No.
:Savvy:: Why?
:Dirt:: If someone's asked a question about memories they should have, but don't, they'll confabulate an answer.
:Grit:: They already have.
:Savvy:: When?
:Grit:: They already have.
:Savvy:: Anything I can get you so you'll stop stonewalling me?
:Grit:: Five hundred sugary calories.
:Savvy:: I'll work with what I've got then. Today's bad enough with :Moxie:'s energy drink.
No. 1072273 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458084627.gif - (21.13KB , 650x450 , 58.gif )

>What are situations in which :AtmosTech: wouldn’t have seen anything noteworthy about the perp?

We wrap it up and talk. You brought me a box of puzzle pieces, and it's worse out here with that puzzle than family reunion.

:Friz:: So no visual details. We need to figure out why.
:Rogers:: Seems important.
:Friz:: Are they the perp?
:Rogers:: Wouldn't make sense. Nothing to gain, everything to lose.
:Friz:: Right (just going through possibilities).
No. 1072274 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458086393.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 59.gif )

:Friz:: Were they not actually doing work? That would make their testimony unreliable, and give them a reason to lie more.
:Rogers:: Maybe. Could have been napping in the back instead.
:Rogers:: But they said they were working with the science department. Easy to verify.
:Rogers:: Even if she lied, too many core details contradict. Can't do that with just a cover for neglect.
:Rogers:: And most of all, I just don't feel a lying habit on her.
:Friz:: Mmh. Okay, so they really saw what they saw. We'll go with that assumption.
No. 1072275 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458093008.gif - (20.62KB , 650x450 , 60.gif )

:Rogers:: Couple debtor types got, what do they call it, proso... That kind of blindness.
:Friz:: Prosopagnosia (difficulty with perceiving and remembering identifying factors). But no, she was emphatic, there was "nothing" behind the mask. That's a recognition of absence of information. And absence of information is the key.
:Friz:: Plus... I tried to look hard at that pipe maze back there, it's just hard. She has to have really strong visual perception and memory, something equivalent to a :Dirt: aspect better than mine.
:Rogers:: A what?
:Friz:: Ahh-- nothing.
:Friz:: But that... makes me think. It makes me think. What if she did have it?

:Rogers:: Hold it. You just said she didn't.
:Friz:: No, I said she doesn't. That doesn't mean she didn't.
:Rogers:: You're losing me here.
:Friz:: She has that strong visual memory, but the only detail she remembered was the absence of detail.
:Rogers:: Mmh. Perp's got dangerous, high-tech stuff on-hand, from the sound of that busted door. Probably Syndicate backing. Sourcer gear. The cutting edge.
:Friz:: Something that disrupts vision or memory (probably contraband, and probably high-tech) isn't out of the question, I think. Some kind of infiltrator equipment (advanced holoprojections, like :Computer:'s holo-pads) or something.
:Rogers:: Can't know for sure. Works as a theory.
:Rogers:: A messed-up theory's only as good as what it explains, though. What's something like that gonna explain?
No. 1072276 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458097197.gif - (13.92KB , 650x450 , 62.gif )

:Grit:: The final fact has been found.
:Grit:: You will use it to solve the problem.
:Savvy:: Which problem? This is just a bunch of evidence that doesn't fit together.
:Grit:: It will solve it.
:Savvy:: Ugh. Alright.
:Savvy:: That means there's... a contradiction here.
:Dirt:: A false memory? An inaccurate observation with too many assumptions?
:Moxie:: An assumed action? A misunderstood trace contact point?
:Savvy:: We just need to... hold all the facts together, and figure out which one yields first.
:Savvy:: Contradictions fail under intense pressure.
No. 1072277 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458101404.gif - (65.69KB , 650x450 , 64.gif )

>:Savvy: : Easy now, just lay out all the stuff we know...

:Dirt:: Easy, now. You doing okay, boss?
:Savvy:: Be doing a lot better if any of you had done your jobs. I hate having so many... irrational sub-aspects.
:Dirt:: Alright. Let me know if I can help.
:Savvy:: Could have helped by seeing the pipes better.
:Savvy:: Give me more focus, :Moxie:, I gave you your energy drink so you owe me.
:Moxie:: I mean, we sort of collectively--
:Savvy:: Just-- give me the brainpower, okay? Stop talking.
:Grit:: We're near the realization.
:Grit:: Accelerating heart to third-gear threat level, priming autonomic high-activity breathing patterns.
:Savvy:: Stop! Just keep it in your glands for ten seconds and let me figure this one out!
:Savvy:: What assumption did I make, what assumption...

:Rogers:: Alright there? You're zoning out on me.
:Friz:: Just let me think, okay? I need to focus. I really need to focus. I've almost got it.
:Rogers:: Sure, kid.
No. 1072284 ID: a491c8

...What if the perp never left? Could they still be here, camo'd?
No. 1072286 ID: dc4bad

Oh well there's a horrible possibility.
Between :AtmosTech: not wanting to be in here and :Grit: only priming adrenaline and other threat responses after entering this room, combined with the notion of some kind of active higher/post cognition disrupter, I think the perp is definitely in here right now, and isn't hiding.

We can/ARE seeing them, but we can't process it. Still enough to set off an instinctual response in realtime, but the actual information isn't making it to us.
Pretty spooky if true, how do we catch someone or something we forget about even as we see it?
No. 1072304 ID: f7f1b0

That is, indeed, very spooky. I'm tempted to go back over the images and filter for small color changes, but...I have things to do, haha.

Have you heard anything that didn't match with what you saw?
Do you remember performing an action or observing an event that doesn't make sense in retrospect, like walking around an empty spot?

Also, try not to immediately react to the realization, in case they're e.g. standing nearby with a gun. Give yourself some time to plan a response to whatever you realize.
No. 1072317 ID: 8f9bc4

The perpetrator is the gas mask! It never had a wearer! It just floated in past the guard and trashed the Atmospherics tanks, then went and laid down on the table as if someone had put it there! You have them in your clutches. Handcuff that mask right now!
No. 1072322 ID: 273c18

>Pretty spooky if true, how do we catch someone or something we forget about even as we see it?
Secondary senses. It can wipe visual memory, sure, but what about hearing? Touch, smell, taste? Use those to find it.
We could also try the old flour trick. Cover the perp in something else. There was "nothing" behind the mask, but the MASK was seen! Why? Why didn't the perp erase the memory of the mask? Maybe the mask was all they were wearing and they can't erase/hide clothing?
No. 1072327 ID: 8f9bc4


The mask she's carrying has been laying here a while. It was not the mask worn by the person who broke in. In fact :Friz: is the only one who's even speculated what the mask looked like. The worker who saw the mask did not say it was a mask like that one.

Every single Syndicate agent wears a mask, in fact. A red mask, with glowing green night vision eyes even in the day. She certainly does not have the mask they wore, and they're probably still wearing it.
No. 1072436 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484089983.gif - (35.81KB , 650x450 , 65.gif )

>:Friz:: He's in the room

:Savvy:: The weakest assumption is that they left Atmospherics.
No. 1072437 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484095443.gif - (45.67KB , 650x450 , 66.gif )

>:Grit:: The gas cans...the perp's disguised as one of them!



:Savvy:: Oh god.
:Grit:: Maximizing heart rate.
No. 1072438 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484100587.gif - (109.76KB , 650x450 , 67.gif )

>:Rogers:: :Friz:'s got a really sour look, calls for a hunch.

:Rogers:: Kid? You alright there?
:Rogers:: ...Alright.

You've got an insight. You've got something in mind. I can see your breathing get fast, see your eyes go wide. I can see something that survived a million years in the savannah and the jungle come back to life in an orbiting tin-can. Whatever you say next, kid, I trust you completely, same as I trust my heart to beat -- circumstances aside. But you've gotta trust yourself. I can see solutions running laps in your brain, racing to see who's fastest.
No. 1072439 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484103023.gif - (16.81KB , 650x450 , 68.gif )

:Savvy:: I need to call for help.
:Savvy:: Shout on the radio, pound on the airlock, rattle the locker, anything.
:Savvy:: Overwhelm with numbers and chaos.
:Savvy:: Disarm the biggest threat, the lack of numerical advantage.

:Dirt:: I've recalled the exact path needed to leave as fast as possible.
:Dirt:: Visualizing escape routes.
:Dirt:: Mapping the path straight to Security.
:Dirt:: I can prioritize that visualized escape.

:Moxie:: Freeze. Freeze still.
:Moxie:: I can calm the heart rate, pretend to go back to investigating.
:Moxie:: Then ambush.
:Moxie:: We'll lose our chance to grab this guy without that.

:Grit:: I'll draw the gun and spike the adrenaline.
:Grit:: Everything else is pointless complexity.
:Grit:: The shortest path towards survival is the most effective.

:Rogers:: Don't know what's gotten to you. But pick your strategy and commit, kid, no hesitation.
No. 1072447 ID: e5709d

Direct :Rogers: to the flickering canister, then equip your sidearm and carefully take aim. Kneel if it boosts your weapon stability.
No. 1072448 ID: 8f9bc4

Ambush because :Moxie: is the cutest.
No. 1072449 ID: 7c0da2

Go with the ambush option.
The intruder probably noticed you came to a conclusion, so say out loud that the explanation is that the atmos tech was replaced and trust Rogers to understand what's really going on.
No. 1072456 ID: f8083d

Grit time. Take cover behind a cart, direct your colleague to do the same and start unloading at the flickering canister.
No. 1072481 ID: 8f9bc4

Don't start shooting until you know what you're up against. This might just be some kind of terrible misunderstanding, and you are not loyal enough to the corporation who staffed/imprisoned you here to lay down your life to stop someone trying to tear it apart. You are a detective. Do what you do best. Detect. Investigate.
No. 1073404 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587592942.gif - (18.87KB , 650x450 , 69.gif )

:Moxie:: Taking the wheel.
:Savvy:: Hey, wait! I'm in charge here, hold on!
:Grit:: You're overcomplicating it.
:Dirt:: There's more options than just this...
:Moxie:: We need to take action. Decisively.
:Moxie:: Otherwise we're going to be paralyzed, and fall apart.
:Grit:: Don't get me killed.

:Friz:: ...Alright.
No. 1073406 ID: 8f9bc4

No. 1073407 ID: 0fbdcd
File 70.mp4 - (4.82MB )

Editor's note: Embed doesn't work here, so be sure to click the panel! It's a good one.
No. 1073408 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587668809.gif - (1.02MB , 650x450 , 71.gif )

:Friz:: You're under arrest (so freeze)!!
:Friz:: For capital crimes (and other (major) crimes) against the Company!!
:Friz:: Grand theft! Sabotage!
:Friz:: Stay down and stay still, while-- while I call in--!

Just being near them, just being close to the bastard... We can both feel it. Even with them pinned under a gun, you feel like it's you in the corner, you giving the slip to the manhunt, you with the weapon at your throat. You feel the foundations shake, and when they shake, so do you. You get that feeling in your gut, unsteady chemical shock blasting your brain over the threshold of impulse-execution so hard your teeth chatter and your arms shudder.

You know them by it, you know them by that feeling. That Shiver down your spine.

But kid... you don't know that shiver as well as I do.

No. 1073409 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587673679.gif - (1.00MB , 650x450 , 72.gif )

:Rogers:: Kid...
:Friz:: Need backup at the main Atmospherics floor (suspect likely armed (and really dangerous) due to contraband) and-- and--
:Friz:: (Why isn't my radio working?! Why'd it all go silent?!)
:Rogers:: Kid!
:Friz:: What-- what is it?!

A voice like nothing you or I have ever heard. Nails and chalkboards, resynthesized and inhuman. Impossible to trace, a total unknown, the perfect masked killer. And there's that shiver on the spine again, cold trickling from the ears on down.

:Friz:: Shut up, I'm trying to listen to something--!
:Rogers:: I've seen that helmet, that gear.
:Rogers:: It's the only clear thing I remember from that night.
:Friz:: What? Do you mean...?
No. 1073410 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587676773.gif - (1.08MB , 650x450 , 73.gif )


:Rogers:: That's the one who killed me, kid.
No. 1073415 ID: f8083d

Since one of your hands is not on your gun, it should be on his. Grab his gun and throw it away.
No. 1073422 ID: a7a180

So kill him back. You can interrogate the clone.
No. 1073424 ID: 273c18

Shoot to cripple. Get that gun away from him. Then you can drag him out of there, jamming signal or not.
No. 1073442 ID: e5709d

Slot gun in eyehole so he can't bash it away without getting shot.

>That's the one who killed me
Unless that make and model of gear is absolutely unique and custom-formatted to a specific user, I doubt it. What we can tell is that they used this specific type of gear for their mission. And someone used this specific type of gear to commit murder.
No. 1073451 ID: 8f9bc4

A Syndicate agent kitted out for stealth killed a Corporate cop. What are the odds!

Take off his helmet, unmask the villain. (That should disable his suit, or at least make him look like a gas tank with a head, which would be hilarious.)
No. 1073815 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625055249.gif - (5.24MB , 650x450 , 74.gif )

Movement. Something activates in that infiltrator gear they've got. The perp's motion is determined and aggressive. I reach for my heater on instinct, before I remember that a ghost like me can't just go and pump someone with lead. You pull your trigger before you find out it wouldn't have mattered in the first place. If a certain someone's napping nearby, after all that gunfire, they're hiding now.

Wish you could too, kid.

No. 1073816 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625063875.gif - (1.03MB , 650x450 , 75.gif )

:Friz:: Ghhk...! Wait--!
:Friz:: Who are you?!
:Friz:: My predecessor (the other detective (:Rogers:) I worked with)! Why did you kill him?!
:Friz:: Who're you supplying with the stolen atmospherics materials--
:Friz:: ...!

You're seeing the same slow motion I am. That's why you freeze up even worse.
No. 1073817 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625068125.gif - (793.05KB , 650x450 , 76.gif )

They move that gun slow, careful not to hit a tank or a pipe, anything else like that. Only you. Only you, kid. You get a good look from the worst angle. The station head-honcho's own storied sidearm. Enough to char your skull down to nothing, and proven to do it in the field.

No. 1073818 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625072486.gif - (1.97KB , 650x450 , 77.gif )

No. 1073819 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625073743.gif - (1.16MB , 650x450 , 78.gif )

No. 1073820 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625085824.gif - (16.36KB , 650x450 , 79.gif )

: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. 1073821 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625087088.gif - (82.97KB , 650x450 , 80.gif )

No. 1073822 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625089488.gif - (20.28KB , 650x450 , 81.gif )

:Friz:: Fifth one now, right?
:Rogers:: Fourth.
:Friz:: That one was awful.
:Rogers:: Sure was.
No. 1073826 ID: 8f9bc4

Ponder how you've done this three times before and you still got duped.
No. 1073831 ID: c8ca0c

Well, that raises a lot of questions. (It's possible I'm missing context from the very first thread I didn't read.)
What do you remember about the end of the third incident?
What do you remember about the other two?
Are you dead or immortal or was that a training exercise or what?
Groundhog's Day, maybe?
What's up with :Rogers:, is he dead? A ghost? Reconstituted? He interacted with :SecurityChief:, so it seems he's not a figment of :Friz:'s imagination. So why can't he shoot? Not allowed or what?
No. 1073833 ID: 8f9bc4


He was alive when the crew from the last thread checked into this station. He died after the intro scene, when he said the next case was going to kill him. It's probably not polite to bring up his not-really-thereness.

:Friz: should pack more heat if she's going up against power suits. Which no doubt goes against company regulations. and they're certainly not willing to fund it. Or give her a power suit. Anyway, has she tried putting together some improvised explosives?
No. 1074160 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664472118.gif - (25.75KB , 650x450 , 82.gif )

>:Friz:: Fix your hair. Again.

:Dirt:: Get that hair out of my eyes, please, bud.
:Moxie:: On it. Sorry.
:Moxie:: Kind of messed up after all that.
:Grit:: You got us killed again.
:Moxie:: Leave me alone, I did my best!!
:Moxie:: And your gunshots didn't do much either.
:Savvy:: Pretty sure we could have gotten help instead if you didn't steal the wheel.
:Moxie:: Go count berries about it or something, your plan wouldn't have worked either.
No. 1074163 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664477513.gif - (6.63MB , 650x450 , 83.gif )

>:Savvy:: Corkboard a bit. Let's organize what we've learned.

:Savvy:: We gotta organize this.
:Savvy:: Let's talk out our progress. "You still not able to haunt anyone else?"

:Friz:: You still not able to haunt anyone else? Just me?
:Rogers:: Nope. Stuck with me, kid.
:Rogers:: You want to accept that you're just metacommunicating with a ghost now?
:Friz:: No! Ugh. There's a better answer.
:Friz:: I'll call you a ghost for now, until I can disprove that.
:Rogers:: Whatever's going on, it's just you still.
:Friz:: So we're probably still the only ones keeping our memories of the loop.
:Friz:: Any progress on remembering how you died last night?
:Rogers:: Remembered that helmet. Best I've got, rest's a blank kid.
:Friz:: ...Well, it's a start.

:Friz:: We at least got some progress on figuring out who's been supplying the loop's traitor.
:Rogers:: They were way under the radar. Only just barely found out about them.
:Friz:: That loop's traitor must have been trying to do something with some of the gasses there...
:Rogers:: Could smuggle out a lot of bomb material with that setup.
:Rogers:: And they knew about the loop.
:Friz:: How? Are they like us, maybe...?
:Rogers:: Could be. Might just have directions.
:Friz:: And they killed me, so... the loop probably doesn't actually reset when I die. But it resets later.
:Rogers:: We just check out of it? Maybe.
No. 1074164 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664487104.gif - (24.53KB , 650x450 , 84.gif )

>:Dirt:: Recall previous traitors. They're not the same person every time?

:Friz:: It's definitely the fifth though.
:Rogers:: Fourth, kid.
:Friz:: There've been four times I've died, but it's the fifth loop.
:Friz:: :AtmosTech:, :Botanist:, :StaffAssistant:, then :Shiver:.
:Rogers:: Yeah. Four deaths.
:Friz:: Okay, but, you're the dead one, I'm the alive one.
:Friz:: I'm gonna count these by lives, not deaths.
:Rogers:: Feels like the dying's the more important part.

:Friz:: It's different each time though.
:Rogers:: Mhm. Someone new, each loop.
:Friz:: And :AtmosTech: was definitely not the killer last time.
:Rogers:: That lady had no idea about anything.
:Friz:: None of the other traitors said anything about the loop, but :Shiver: seemed to know...
:Friz:: That loop was different. I think we got a peek behind the curtain.
:Rogers:: Not a good peek.
:Rogers:: Kid, you've got to stop chasing these violent contraband cases.
:Rogers:: Take a break. Focus on a different case.
No. 1074165 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664490791.gif - (27.23KB , 650x450 , 85.gif )

>:Friz:: What other cases do you even have?

:Friz:: What cases do we even have...?
:Rogers:: Got to go take them.
:Rogers:: From her.
:Friz:: Oh...

:Grit:: Cortisol increasing.
:Dirt:: Mapping the way there. Unfortunately.
:Savvy:: Oh god. Alright.
:Moxie:: Getting us there.
No. 1074181 ID: 8f9bc4

Time to face... YOUR BOSS
No. 1074193 ID: b3eab7

Still some lingering questions. Like, how did :Shiver: get the boss's gun?

Well, we won't learn a thing by doing nothing. Let's see what seemingly unconnected cases are present.
No. 1074198 ID: 7c0da2

If the killer is different each loop it means someone else is changing the parameters each time.
It's possible they are doing so to prevent you from learning anything useful, but from what we have seen last loop you don't seem that threatening to them. Maybe the culprit don't know how to achieve their goals yet, and they are changing how they do things each time to try to find the correct combination of actions. It would also explain why the loop is restarting.
You need a better awareness of what's going on around the station. Try to gain access to as many communication channels as possible.
No. 1074202 ID: f3c38f

Keep an eye out for loop-specific things you can take advantage of (or in case they change in a later loop, tipping you off to meddling). (Is there perchance a lottery? Do the numbers stay the same?) Like, so-and-so is distracted at <time>, so you can sneak past. If you're open to risky and/or uncomfortable actions, you could leverage the impermanence of the loop to repeatedly cash out on e.g. social resources for informational ones, like pressuring someone into giving you a password and later they won't remember having done it or tell anybody you've been acting weird. You can probably get away with a lot more if you're only doing it "once". If you're stealing information, you may not even need to get away with it, if the loop resets after. The risk is that the cycle breaks this time and your most recent actions become permanent.
No. 1074630 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719519657.gif - (39.12KB , 650x450 , 86.gif )

>:Friz:: You're gonna need something strong to take the edge off this one.

But first, I can see that look in your eye. You need a pit stop, kid. Even the toughest customers can only take so much death before they ask for another menu. Me, I'd recommend a smoke at a time like this, for someone like you. But you're always the kind to turn it down. Won't be any good to offer. I'm the kind of guy who does things that are no good.

:Rogers:: You look like you're going to lose it. Stop for a smoke?
:Friz:: Nope. That stuff kills you.
:Rogers:: Kid, the cholesterol bombs in the cafeteria kill you. The energy drinks kill you.
:Rogers:: It's a matter of degrees.
:Friz:: Those don't kill you as much, though.
:Rogers:: A little harm to get things done. Like a scalpel or an injection.
:Rogers:: I don't care if you light up a cigarette, I care that you don't stretch yourself until you snap.

:Friz:: What are you talking about? What does that mean?
:Rogers:: It means, sometimes getting ahold of yourself means telling the brain-stem that whatever shitty thing you're doing is actually the fast track to thriving.
:Rogers:: Every vice besides a hit of pure Specta is on the table. Same as how you keep a first aid kit stocked with all kinds of medicine.
:Friz:: I've got it under control.
:Rogers:: Just stop by vending before we go into the lion's den, is all I'm saying.
:Rogers:: Don't go on a big raid with an empty stomach, kid.
:Rogers:: I'll explain it better some other time.
:Friz:: Alright...
No. 1074631 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719528742.gif - (112.37KB , 650x450 , 87.gif )

>:Friz:: Grab a SHOUT COLA!™️. You need the caffeine.

I can tell you've got a temptation. Something to satiate. But it's the same as in atmospherics. No clarity of intent, kid. Still got the parts of you in a conflict.

:Moxie:: Wait! Go back and get a cola, I need caffeine!
:Grit:: You got me killed. We're not doing that again.
:Moxie:: Hold on, that was an accident.
:Savvy:: Please don't start arguing.
:Grit:: It was negligence. Your impulses are faulty and self-destructive.
:Savvy:: Strong point.
:Grit:: I want brightly-colored fresh fruit instead.
:Savvy:: Less strong point.
:Savvy:: We don't have "Green Thumb" anywhere in this skull. I looked.

:Moxie:: None of our plans would have worked! That doesn't mean--
:Grit:: You're leading us into suffering.
:Moxie:: Shut up, I did my best!
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, can you find something that looks fruit-like to calm her down? Christ.
:Savvy:: I hate having to control all these irrational impulses.
:Grit:: You didn't fare much better.
:Savvy:: Now look here you overgrown adrenal gland...
:Dirt:: I guess the packaged stuff in the vendors usually has that shiny, colorful look...
No. 1074632 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719531950.gif - (44.15KB , 650x450 , 88.gif )

:Dirt:: Oh, and there's :Chaplain:. He's greeting me.
:Dirt:: Take point, boss! Background is, he got here just around a year ago to replace the old one who died in the cult incident, he's from the Holy Solar Order of Libra, his order is very knightly and chivalrous, he...
:Dirt:: :Savvy:? Guys?
:Dirt:: Oh, you're all fighting...
:Dirt:: Guess I'll do my best. "Huh? What?"

:Friz:: Huh? What?
:Chaplain:: I said, hail, investigator, and good morning!
:Chaplain:: ...You were not here the last time. You had already left by this hour.
:Friz:: Sorry, what? I was late. (I mean-- I'm late this time.)
:Friz:: Late now.
:Friz:: I slept in, I mean.
:Friz:: Wait, what were you talking about? Sorry.
:Chaplain:: Hmm.
:Chaplain:: A passing thought, nothing to fear. I'm here for your wellness, and not your worries!
:Friz:: Oh... Okay.
No. 1074634 ID: 273c18

Wait, back up. This guy is aware of the loops. Think about what he said-- do you usually leave earlier? Ask how many loops he's experienced.

Get ye snack.

And stop infighting, it's true that all the plans were doomed to fail. The killer's armor was too good to shoot him with your gun, and that comms jam meant you couldn't call for help. Probably had the doors locked on you too. The only possible way to win would have been to use his own gun against him; were you strong enough to wrestle it out of his grip?
No. 1074636 ID: 8f9bc4

He's not talking about the loops on purpose. There might be a good reason to do so. If for no reason other than sanity, to live like this madness isn't occurring.

Let :Grit: have his turn. Select SPACE FRUIT GUSHERS.
No. 1074784 ID: f7f1b0

Hmm. Do we bring the loops up with him? Do you trust him? There's a possibility he's on the opposite side of this fight. If not, he might be a valuable ally.

I'd suspect that if he were on the opposing side, he'd have been more careful with his words, in enemy territory, so that suggests he's merely covering his words because trying to explain the loops to an unaffected person is generally dumb.
No. 1074962 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763363022.gif - (30.42KB , 650x450 , 89.gif )

>:Friz:: Think about what he said-- do you usually leave earlier?

:Dirt:: That was really confusing. I know I left earlier last loop, but he wouldn't know that.
:Dirt:: Hey boss, can you draw any inferences about this?
:Savvy:: --would have gotten the--
:Moxie:: --they were too heavily--
:Grit:: --could have gotten more attacks--
:Savvy:: --:ConstructionEngineer: and the :AtmosTech: to help, we--
:Moxie:: --armored to be able to--
:Grit:: --against the threat, to overcome--
:Dirt:: Okay, you're still fighting, I guess I can't infer anything.
:Dirt:: I'll just... comment on more things I notice.

:Friz:: You're having Discount Dan's Noodle Soup?
:Chaplain:: With the blessing of Libra, I endure its gustatory trials.
:Friz:: Sure, but those are sort of... damaging.
:Chaplain:: Do not worry for me, investigator. It matters less than you think!
:Friz:: I guess I don't understand.
:Chaplain:: Indeed!

Upbeat tone, but you can tell, can't you kid? Something's wrong with him. Nobody eats Discount Dan's on purpose. You eat it to make up for something. Don't think you're gonna get a good read on his secret in your state, though, that headshot didn't leave your brain without a good scrambling.
No. 1074963 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763369788.gif - (21.08KB , 650x450 , 90.gif )

>:Dirt:: You'll have what he's having.

:Dirt:: I guess I'll just mirror whatever he did.
:Dirt:: You guys okay with me buying Discount Dan's?
:Grit:: --got me killed, in the end of-- What was that?
:Grit:: Don't put that in my body. It feels like death halfway through the first bite.
:Grit:: :Moxie:, go get me the Cheesy Honkers. They remind me of fruit, nuts, and meat simultaneously.
:Moxie:: If it gets you off my nerve-endings, fine, I'll get that.
:Savvy:: Are you two done? Finally? Let's go.

But I was right. Decent vice gets your head back together quick enough. You're back on the way to the chief.
No. 1074964 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763376395.gif - (20.82KB , 650x450 , 91.gif )

>:Dirt: : now that the others aren't fighting, inform them of :Chaplain:'s unusual behavior

:Dirt:: So, the :Chaplain: was acting a bit strange.
:Grit:: Did he still have his sword?
:Dirt:: Why are you always so fixated on his sword?
:Grit:: Bladed weapons are important.
:Moxie:: I agree!
:Dirt:: No, look, I'm trying to hand off memories about what he said.
:Dirt:: He was acting weird and I need someone to process inferences about the data.
:Dirt:: Boss, are you there?
:Savvy:: I think all of his gods are fake and he's sort of a fraud-mystic.
:Dirt:: What does that have to do with anything?
:Savvy:: It's usually a good first position for dealing with him.
:Dirt:: I've got multiple books on memory about the stellar cognition engines he worships and how they're real, if that even mattered.
:Dirt:: The skepticism thing worked great when we were monster-investigating with Cryptid Company, but you really need to break the old habits.
:Savvy:: I just think we should focus on the important part.
:Dirt:: That's not the--! Ugh, never mind, I'll process this later.
:Dirt:: I'm sure we'll figure it out in time for when it matters.

Less scrambled brain doesn't mean you're doing all that hot though, kid. Looks like you're still zoning out a bit. Pretty sure checking in with the DVSD Brig Warden will straighten things out, he's always been a zero-nonsense guy.
No. 1074965 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763387806.gif - (17.21KB , 650x450 , 92.gif )

:Kratt:: Morning, good seeing you. I was getting worried.
:Kratt:: You seen :Rogers:?
:Rogers:: Keep sticking with "no".
:Friz:: Nnnnooooo. Why (is there something (about him) that's wrong)?
:Rogers:: We'll work on your smoke-blowing one of these loops, kid.
:Kratt:: Nobody's seen him on the monitors since last night.
:Kratt:: Might have to track him down.
:Kratt:: Go check in with the chief, we're backed up on cases for you and that's one more on top of them.
:Friz:: Alright...

:Friz:: Before I do. Uh. How is she, right now?
:Friz:: You know, in the way she is, sometimes.
:Kratt:: "A little sweet chocolate treat."
:Friz:: Uh...?
:Kratt:: Her orders for :Sandiego:, to bring something back when her patrol route hits the kitchen.
:Friz:: Oh. So she's just finished something good, or she's...
:Kratt:: Opposite.
:Friz:: Nnnh. Thanks for the warning.
:Kratt:: Thanks for the case-solving. Shout if you need help.
No. 1074966 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763390314.gif - (88.52KB , 650x450 , 93.gif )

You head for the boss of the DVSD, the only proper-paid member of security on this whole station. The pounding rain outside gets a little louder, but I know how this is. Right now, each step you take in there feels heavier, too heavy, like you're giving her a warning you're on your way. When someone's footsteps get quiet, you know they don't feel safe. But she won't hurt you. Can't, not really. That's not what you're afraid of, huh?

Sometimes, it's the fragility that's scarier. You cross into the glass house. I stay outside. Ghost or not, it just doesn't feel comfortable to haunt her.

No. 1074967 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763392580.gif - (29.13KB , 650x450 , 94.gif )

>:SecurityChief:: Fail to be any more consolable than last time we saw you.
No. 1074968 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763401397.gif - (34.06KB , 650x450 , 95.gif )

>:Friz: : Timidly enter her office, don't make eye contact.

:Friz:: Hey, chief?
:SecurityChief:: :Friz:!
:SecurityChief:: I was worried you'd gone missing too!
:Friz:: No, sorry, just accidentally slept all the way until shift-start.
:Friz:: Got stressed, you know how it is.
:SecurityChief:: Oh... That's the spacer sleep problem you have, isn't it? I know it's so much more common in spacer debtors.
:SecurityChief:: I still almost can't believe you've never touched a habitable planet's surface.
:SecurityChief:: You're like a magical creature. A mythical thing, like a unicorn or a fae, one foot resting in an entirely different world I can never know...
:Friz:: It's, uh. It's just a way of living.

:Savvy:: Hey :Dirt:.
:Dirt:: Boss?
:Savvy:: Can you shut the ears for a bit?
:Dirt:: Sorry, don't have any muscles for that.
:Savvy:: Great, plan B then.
:Savvy:: Hey :Grit:?
:Grit:: Huh?
:Savvy:: Stop the heart for me, please.
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: Christ.
:Moxie:: I can tense up the muscles associated with getting out of a situation all at once if you want!
:Savvy:: Doesn't help. Don't do that.
:Moxie:: Sorry, already doing it.
No. 1074969 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763406714.gif - (33.11KB , 650x450 , 96.gif )

>:SecurityChief:: Engage in industrial levels of failbossing
>@Angry Duck

:SecurityChief:: Don't worry at all, though! I want to be accommodating your conditions.
:SecurityChief:: What was it named again? "Space sleep disorder"?
:Friz:: No, no. It--
:SecurityChief:: I'll get it right! I'm just learning, and trying to grow.
:Friz:: That--
:SecurityChief:: What is it actually called?
:Friz:: Chief--
:SecurityChief:: I'm sorry... I'll definitely learn it this time.
:Friz:: I just slept bad because i was stressed, so I accidentally slept in. It wasn't an SSD thing, this is kind of different.
:SecurityChief:: Oh! What's this one called?
:Friz:: Sleeping, chief. It's really just called sleeping.
:SecurityChief:: Oh...

:Friz:: I'd
:Friz:: Love to keep talking about this, but.
:Friz:: I heard you had a bunch of cases in a backlog for me?
:Friz:: Sorry, just, it sounds urgent.
:SecurityChief:: Oh... You debtors are always working so hard...
:Friz:: Hhh.
:Friz:: Really it's mostly about the urgency. I know at least one of them's pretty important.
No. 1074973 ID: 8f9bc4

Clearly what :Friz: needs are some gracious, sympathetic headpats.
No. 1075246 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794254662.gif - (33.60KB , 650x450 , 97.gif )

>:SecurityChief: : Do your job

:SecurityChief:: Alright... well, if you're sure you can take them all on, I'll give you the cases.
:SecurityChief:: There's five, and you should try to take them... slowly, okay? Not all at once. At least until you find :Rogers:...
:Friz:: I'll stick to low-capacity until I find him (and he's the first case isn't he?)
:SecurityChief:: Well, he's the first case. I know he's really independent, but even an outside cat is worrying when they go missing.
:Friz:: ("Outside cat"? Chief, that's really a bit... (Demeaning?) Guh, never mind.)
:SecurityChief:: Huh? Well, anyway...
No. 1075247 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794257195.gif - (35.63KB , 650x450 , 98.gif )

:SecurityChief:: As far as we can tell :Rogers: vanished off the medical monitors during an unpaid off-shift investigation.
:SecurityChief:: And we don't really know where he went...
:SecurityChief:: I really hope he's okay.
:Friz:: And he didn't tell you what he was investigating?
:SecurityChief:: No. I know debtors always keep close secrets and only share them with each other, so...?
:Friz:: That's not really true, chief. I didn't get told either.
:SecurityChief:: Oh. Well, try to find him anyway, please.

:Savvy:: This is the case of the Ghost and the Loop.
:Grit:: It cannot be solved until the other four cases are broken.
:Savvy:: Want to back that up with a source?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: God. Whatever.
No. 1075248 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794263033.gif - (37.63KB , 650x450 , 99.gif )

:SecurityChief:: The next one... a string of thefts.
:SecurityChief:: A lot of departments have been stolen from, all at once.
:SecurityChief:: A hand-teleporter from Research, advanced mag-boots from Engineering, a hypospray prototype from Medical, a piece of advanced armor from our armory, and from command...
:Friz:: Her laser pistol, I'd bet? She's been tinkering to repair it all year, I remember.
:SecurityChief:: You know, if you find it, could you bring it to me first?
:SecurityChief:: I could get her to talk to me more if I had a gift for her...
:Friz:: That's-- chief, I think that's not really in my job description. You problems with your ex, I mean.

:SecurityChief:: I know, but, it's just been so long!
:SecurityChief:: She's finally here! Right next to me! Down the hall!
:SecurityChief:: And she's never been further away from me...
:Friz:: Hhh.
:SecurityChief:: She won't look at me during briefings, she won't even sit near me at the meetings...
:SecurityChief:: She won't reply to my financial advice to get out of here faster!
:SecurityChief:: She won't even take back her old helmet! It's taking up so much space in my locker! It's inconsiderate!!
:Friz:: What you're saying definitely sounds. Just. Unbelievable to hear.
:Friz:: We'll figure that out if I get ahold of the laser pistol, okay?

:Friz:: Who's a good point of contact for this case?
:SecurityChief:: Well... :EngineeringSupervisor: has been the one pushing hardest to get his magboots back.
:SecurityChief:: You'll probably work with him if you take that case.
No. 1075250 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794267579.gif - (53.05KB , 650x450 , 100.gif )

:SecurityChief:: Next up, backlog case three.
:SecurityChief:: I really don't like this one. Makes me all uneasy and stressed...
:SecurityChief:: I hope :Sandiego: comes back with something to make this easier soon.
:Friz:: What's wrong?
:SecurityChief:: Research hasn't been meeting quota, but the whole department's been putting in the same hours.
:SecurityChief:: I'm getting complaints from the other departments that their requests aren't getting answered, and it's making everyone so stressed. So stressed.
:SecurityChief:: I don't think it's good, pitting debtors against debtors. Especially you.
:SecurityChief:: But if we don't deal with it, something worse might happen. The Tressell Gasometers in atmospherics...
:SecurityChief:: I just don't like rent-to-own atmosphere.

:SecurityChief:: I haven't known him long, but I know :ResearchDirector: wouldn't do this on purpose.
:SecurityChief:: I just know it...
:SecurityChief:: Can you go down there and figure out what's wrong in the Research department? Can you help him?
:Friz:: I can try.
:Friz:: Guess it's technically part of my real job description, not just my volunteer one.
No. 1075251 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794271222.gif - (41.25KB , 650x450 , 101.gif )

:SecurityChief:: Fourth...
:SecurityChief:: There's a missing person case.
:SecurityChief:: But it's really weird... And a little scary.
:Friz:: Worse than the :Rogers: case?
:SecurityChief:: The old head of Medical has disappeared from the morgue.
:Friz:: The cult leader? Didn't you kill her, just a little while before I got here?
:Friz:: (Is it a missing person if the person is dead?)
:SecurityChief:: Don't... please don't say it like that. I didn't want to do that.
:SecurityChief:: It was so unkind... I hated it.

:Friz:: That was almost a whole year ago, why was she still in the morgue?
:SecurityChief:: The medical department's been studying her body.
:Friz:: Studying?
:SecurityChief:: I only found out about it today too!
:Friz:: What are they going to find out from the corpse (after a whole year)...?
:SecurityChief:: I don't know. But, whoever stole it might know.
:SecurityChief:: Ask :ChiefMedicalOfficer: though. He's trying to keep ahold of the situation.
:Friz:: I suppose he's my contact then.
No. 1075252 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794275874.gif - (40.93KB , 650x450 , 102.gif )

:SecurityChief:: The fifth one just came up at the start of the shift.
:SecurityChief:: Centcom intelligence says we're probably going to get a really bad case of dangerous contraband and syndicate disruption.
:SecurityChief:: I don't know, but, it's worth looking into. And it could be really risky.
:Friz:: Yeah... that sounds. Really believable.
:SecurityChief:: I hate putting you all in danger...
:SecurityChief:: I'm the one you'll work with on this case. But, I don't have a lead on this one right away...
:Friz:: That's okay, chief, I think I have some ideas.

:Dirt:: We were already on this one. We know what it is.
:Savvy:: :Shiver: is helping to supply materials to one dangerous traitor per loop, like the smuggled gasses last time.
:Moxie:: Which crewmember turns traitor changes each time.
:Moxie:: But who is :Shiver:, though...?
:Grit:: Someone who gets us killed. This case is the most lethal one of the loop.
:Grit:: I don't want to pursue it first. It won't be a good choice.

:Dirt:: Is this about avoiding :SecurityChief:?
:Grit:: Nnnno.
:Savvy:: Convincing.
:Moxie:: I kind of need to not be near her right now too.
No. 1075253 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794278307.gif - (29.93KB , 650x450 , 103.gif )

:SecurityChief:: So, which case are you going to focus on?
:Friz:: Good question...

:Grit:: Once I break all four cases, I'll understand the loop. But not before.
:Savvy:: You keep saying that.
:Savvy:: Alright, fine. We don't know how else to work on figuring this loop out.
:Savvy:: I just need to pick which case to start with.
:Moxie:: I think we'll probably swap around when we need to.
:Dirt:: Information we gather in one might be useful in another, yeah.
:Moxie:: So which one do we pick...
No. 1075269 ID: 273c18

If the cases are all directly related to the loop and in fact all pieces of a puzzle, then it's time for me to throw out wild theories.

>A hand-teleporter from Research, advanced mag-boots from Engineering, a hypospray prototype from Medical, a piece of advanced armor from our armory, and [laser pistol] from command...
My first thought was that all of these were stolen by Shiver and are being used by them, but... that was infiltrator gear, not advanced security armor. So Shiver has the pistol and nothing else as far as we know? ...doesn't make sense. You don't steal advanced armor and then not use it, and if someone was walking around with the armor on then everyone would know. I think whoever's got the armor has the mag boots and the teleporter, and teleported outside of the station to walk on the hull. ...huh, could you do that to avoid a shuttle's decontamination cycle to escape the station? I wonder what the hypospray does.

>Research quota
It's obvious Research is working on some secret project which is interfering with their quota on assignments. I'm guessing Shiver had infiltrated Research at some point. Or maybe Shiver is a Research employee gone rogue, posing as syndicate to throw us off. I'm going to guess that the secret project is related to the dig site, and the loops are caused by that project. Except, if that's true wouldn't solving the quota case be enough on its own to solve the Loops case? Maybe it's that the research is related but not directly causing the loops.

I can't make any solid theories here, there's no information at all as to why they were so focused on the corpse. Maybe there was evidence of brainwashing? Or regeneration? Gene mods? The Bloodletter incident that took place implies we're near some sort of weakness in space-time and the Blood Cult tried to summon something through it, so maybe the corpse got mutated. Or maybe, and this would definitely tie it to the other cases, maybe the corpse had signs of life. Maybe it walked out of the morgue, and became Shiver. Maybe Rogers could do that if you had access to his body. But that's speculation, not theory.

The fact that the traitor changes every time means either Shiver has a way of converting someone to their cause, or there's some entity that's possessing someone every loop. The latter explanation would certainly tie it into the loop's required evidence. It could also be that all of the traitors were never truly loyal and Shiver only had to do minimal persuasion to convince them. Considering the Loop allows those who retain memories to retain secret information about people, that could be part of why Shiver wants the Loop to continue-- to find more people willing to turn traitor. But if you've confirmed they are loyal already, then the mind control or possession angles are more likely.

Considering all that, I think the case where gained information would have the most impact is... the quota. I think it's our best shot at determining Shiver's goals and if we know what the enemy wants we can predict what they're going to do.
The Quota.
No. 1075272 ID: 407ea6

It doesn't seem like :SecurityChief: is a bad person, just...weirdly tuned? Has some priorities and perceptions and preconceptions in strange orders.

>Which crewmember turns traitor changes each time.
That's weird. Very weird. I'd assumed the world was the same at the start of each loop, save for the knowledge of the people in-the-know. But that would mean a WHOLE BUNCH of people are secret traitors, just waiting for orders, yeah? Unless 1. somehow we're like, jumping to alternate universes each time the loop resets, or 2. the traitor is being mind controlled or replaced/faked/ is an illusion. Or maybe some other option.
No. 1075274 ID: 273c18

Oh yeah it's possible that there's a second Syndicate member with the ability to disguise as a member of the crew, and every new "traitor" is just a different disguise.
No. 1075279 ID: 8f9bc4

OK you're going to first focus on The Traitor. You'll need a loyal contingent of security personnel to back you up, along with some protective armor that can soak a blast from the commander's laser pistol, some higher caliber ordinance to penetrate the Syndicate's power armor as well as a scanner capable of penetrating the stealth... uh...

OK you're going to first focus on anything but The Traitor anything but that, and as long as you're aware of the loops, try to see if you can spot any of that equipment that you could uh... borrow without asking permission when you face off against :Shiver:
No. 1075344 ID: 273c18

One last thing, the mag boots could be in use by a third syndicate member. Also we can assume every syndicate member has some manner of stealth, because that's the only way they could've arrived on the station undetected and have moved around so long without being seen. One can disguise themselves as objects, another likely can disguise themselves as a person, and the third might have some form of limited invisibility or is just hanging out on the hull with the mag boots I guess.
No. 1075682 ID: b3eab7

Let's focus on The Quota for now.
No. 1077112 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981298705.gif - (37.13KB , 650x450 , 105.gif )

Editor's note: After a climactic battle between voting blocs, despite the TGchan contingent's opinion, the final tally was 53 votes for the Quota, against 79 votes for the Corpse.

:Friz:: I'm going to go see what's going on with the missing corpse.
:SecurityChief:: Ah... alright. I guess you can choose to leave me alone with this...
:Friz:: Come on, chief, you know I'm going to help later.
:SecurityChief:: Oh. I guess I'll do my best until then.
:SecurityChief:: I know that dealing with this alone isn't anything nearly as bad as what you deal with...
:SecurityChief:: I just don't have that amazing inner strength you've built up! From that burden you've got!
:Friz:: (God.)

:SecurityChief:: Sometimes I imagine what I'd be like, if I went deep into debt like that. If I could become that strong...
:Friz:: It's not really--
:SecurityChief:: Forced to defy society just to survive... pursued by determined Company security forces.
:SecurityChief:: Laid low through strict, uncompassionate measures from ruthless enforcers.
:Friz:: Uh.
:SecurityChief:: But ultimately, pursued and brought in line by my fellow debtors and the system we all live together under.
:Friz:: I, um.
:Friz:: Chief, I need this to not be what we're talking about.
:SecurityChief:: A focused, determined, specific debtor who has such complex feelings, and won't let me escape my obligations...
:Friz:: I'm--
:SecurityChief:: Maybe she'd doggedly pursue me through escape attempts. Learn all my habits the way I learn hers.
:Friz:: I'm leaving now (sorry).
No. 1077113 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981304989.gif - (106.31KB , 650x450 , 106.gif )

You head back out. Not looking great when you do.

:Kratt:: Hey.
:Kratt:: Bad briefing?
:Friz:: Nnnnh!!
:Friz:: I feel like I need a... shower or something!
:Friz:: Why is she always like that!?
:Kratt:: Her brain. I guess.
:Kratt:: I can't help you there.
:Friz:: Uuugh!!

She wants to make things better, you know. Wants it real bad. But the wrong meds make the disease worse. And a checkup with a sick doctor doesn't do you much good. Speaking of them, you're gonna go see the medbay now, aren't you? But remember, you don't go these things alone.
No. 1077114 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981309078.gif - (17.60KB , 650x450 , 107.gif )

:Kratt:: Still wanna help though. What case are you taking?
:Friz:: The corpse one... The missing corpse, I mean.
:Friz:: I'll head to the medbay.
:Kratt:: Alright.
:Kratt:: Things get heavy, you make sure you call for backup.
:Kratt:: DVSD doesn't work cases solo.
:Friz:: Yeah, I guess... I'll try to get some help from one of you for each of these cases.
:Friz:: But who...
:Kratt:: A bad case in medbay probably means a lot of records-work, and that's my business.
:Kratt:: I'll be your backup when you need it. On the holos, or in-person if it gets bad.
No. 1077115 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981313761.gif - (17.03KB , 650x450 , 108.gif )

:Friz:: Thanks. I'll stop by :HeadOfPersonnel:, then see you at medbay.
:Kratt:: I'll call ahead, let her know to pick some decent medical access for you.

Access. Main limit on your caseload. Need access to work an area. And you can only get so much from her. One case at a time, one set of access at a time.

:Grit:: Lowering heart rate. Reducing cortisol.
:Moxie:: I feel kind of guilty. About feeling bad because of someone who wants to help.
:Moxie:: And about feeling better because someone else dislikes it too.
:Dirt:: It's messy stuff, bud. It doesn't make her bad. It just...
:Savvy:: It does make her a little bit bad.
:Dirt:: Okay, but it doesn't make her all bad, boss.
:Savvy:: Yeah. It's just a flaw that hurts us sometimes.
:Grit:: As long as she's there when we call on her.
No. 1077116 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981325108.gif - (22.65KB , 650x450 , 109.gif )

You get to the line without too much time spent. Too bad there's a time-sink at the line. One of the Jailbirds is here, as if this day wasn't already enough. Don't spend too much oxygen on him, you've got enough loops and repetition to deal with.

:Wince:: "Really? Still getting this worked up over it?"
:Wince:: "It's just an access upgrade. That stuff about the gloves was a joke, I can't believe you're actually taking it so seriously."
:Wince:: "I've got a right to help out around here too. You people will literally act crazy when someone breaks your weird little routines."
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Your access will stay the same until a department head approves this request.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And again, I don't consent to being on a video broadcast. Turn that off.
:Wince:: "Why's that low-poly skin so thin? It's just a stream."
:Wince:: "Chat, are you seeing this? Freaking out and losing her cool the minute a camera's near her."

:HeadOfPersonnel:: You can go to engineering and request your access there.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And I still don't consent to being on a video broadcast.
:Wince:: "I didn't even care that much about engineering access to begin with, this is just funny now."
:Wince:: "Hey, chat, how long has she been literally clogging her whole line because she got offended over an upgrade?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: ...Please retu--
:Wince:: "Seriously? Ten minutes of zero productivity because of her little tantrum?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Plea--
:Wince:: "Hey, someone clip this with a time-lapse, I wanna see later."
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Please return with some form of authorization from a department head to upgrade your access.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Which is to say, please leave if you do not have that.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And yet again, I don't consent to being on a video broadcast.
:Wince:: "Pffft. Heh."
No. 1077122 ID: 8f9bc4

Open fire.

No court in the galaxy would convict you.
No. 1077125 ID: 273c18

Destroy that man's pho- uh. Whatever he's streaming with.
No. 1077182 ID: b3eab7

Tell him to stop farting words at the lady and go get his form.
No. 1077194 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169990427329.gif - (17.19KB , 650x450 , 110.gif )

>:Grit:: Open fire. No court in the galaxy would convict you.

:Grit:: Hear me out. We are in a consequence-free world now.
:Grit:: He's a strongly anti-tribal force, who causes pain, always.
:Dirt:: Chief, no. We're not--
:Grit:: Hurt him instantly, without hesitation, and I'll pump catharsis chemicals at double my usual rate.
:Dirt:: Chief.
:Grit:: Triple.
:Savvy:: I actually like the sound of that.
:Dirt:: Boss, don't encourage her. Chief, no. You know you don't mean that.
:Grit:: True. But I wish I could mean that.
:Grit:: Even though he does nothing but hurt people, violence against him without an altruistic cause will permanently reshape essential amygdala function.
:Grit:: But if I were stronger...
:Dirt:: If we were stronger, it wouldn't be a problem.

I know what you're thinking, kid. It's what I'm thinking too. But punishment-free isn't consequence-free, even in a loop like this, and you're not the kind to go that sort of grey. But all of us think about it a little, in times like these.
No. 1077195 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169990431793.gif - (18.08KB , 650x450 , 111.gif )

:Savvy:: What if I beat him in an argument? Like, really beat him, so he finally admits he's in the wrong.
:Moxie:: God's sakes. Don't start this again, :Savvy:.
:Dirt:: :Moxie:'s right, it's never worked out even once before.
:Grit:: Four times the rate, plus a strongly-formed closure memory.
:Savvy:: Did you hear that? She'll give me a closure memory! We have to try.
:Dirt:: Boss, no, come on.
:Moxie:: We only ever beat him in an argument in our heads hours later.
:Savvy:: But it'd be so satisfying...
No. 1077197 ID: 8f9bc4

Arguing logically with him is like trying to appeal to the mercy and compassion of a grey. Any argument he can't tear apart he will just flat out ignore, as if you didn't even say it. Your only hope is to wound him emotionally, go after what he cares about: his followers, his image, his future. You have to make him feel like dirt, you have to enrage him, and when he blows up at you, you taunt him with how bad he's looking in front of his followers. Flay his emotions until he's a quivering wreck, make him feel like the scum he is, turn that smug grin upside down.

You're not the janitor though, so you're probably not capable of such cruelty. Maybe try arresting him for causing a public disturbance? It'll get him cred for his followers, get him out of line, and... waste your time, which is in very short supply right now.
No. 1077199 ID: 273c18

No. If we're not going to use violence, use law. He's recording someone without their consent. Deactivate his recording device, do not discuss it.
No. 1077202 ID: 273c18

Wait a minute. Can't Rogers mess with electronics? He should go over and fuck with the guy's drone to disrupt the stream. Maybe he'll even show up in the camera and distract him enough to lure him out of the line.
No. 1077352 ID: dc4bad

Okay here's what you do, just as he's about to say something else, clearly (but not excessively loudly) call him 'Cringe'.

If he tries to continue, repeat this.

If confronted, do not elaborate.

As is the nature of the streamer, his own chat will then bully him into abruptly doing something else for fear of them latching onto this moment for years to come, making emotes of him and whatnot.

*Side effects may include silly comics depicting you stylized as a 'chad' entering memesphere circulation within the hour.
No. 1077366 ID: f69c7c
File 170009087779.gif - (35.88KB , 650x450 , 112.gif )

>:Friz:: utilize your authority. cut the line in the name of a case.

Putting on the authority? Gonna be tough. Average types don't give the volunteer security much respect, and detectives get even less. But anyone can jump any line if they're quick enough.

:Friz:: Please clear the way, DVSD business.
:AtmosTech:: Don't cut.
:Friz:: I'm trying to-- it's about the guy up front.
:AtmosTech:: Don't give him more attention either.
:AtmosTech:: We were all mostly not reacting, don't ruin this.
:AtmosTech:: Just try to ignore him until he goes away.

:Rogers:: Not how it works. Cruelty outlasts patience.
:Rogers:: A real bad specta junkie's effortless resting torture rate is worse than decent people can bear for long.
:Rogers:: We need a way to get him out of here.
:Friz:: I'm just trying to keep things running smoothly.
:Friz:: Please, I promise I'll speed things up.
No. 1077369 ID: f69c7c
File 170009161454.gif - (20.62KB , 650x450 , 113.gif )

:Savvy:: Non-consenting filming is a problem, right?
:Dirt:: Usually. Depends on a lot of circumstances.
:Dirt:: But, good luck litigating it boss, especially inside one loop.
:Savvy:: I hate this. What about blocking a line?
:Dirt:: Near impossible in my records.
:Dirt:: Filming's really the best you've got, honestly.
:Savvy:: But I can't litigate it...
:Moxie:: No time to plan more, if you're silent too long after walking up to him it's a risk!

:Grit:: :Moxie:, execute an instant ultra-violent sumi gaeshi again.
:Dirt:: Chief! I said no!
:Grit:: :Moxie:, step on his foot slightly in a deniable but painful way.
:Moxie:: On it.
:Moxie:: And... dodged. Didn't even notice.
:Moxie:: You're up, :Savvy:!
:Savvy:: Great.
:Savvy:: "Look, you can't..."

:Friz:: Look, you can't be doing this (all this line-slowing and broadcasting), okay?
:Wince:: "Looks like I'm doing it just fine. Bad deduction, Sherlock."
:Friz:: There's a really long line, and people need to get to work (and the streaming is (badly) stressing everyone out...)
:Wince:: "Sounds like :HeadOfPersonnel:'s really bad at her job. Don't expect much of footnotes though."
:Wince:: "And the people in the line didn't care. Sounds like it's just you, freaking out."
:Friz:: Look, just because they're not all yelling at you doesn't mean they don't hate this.
No. 1077371 ID: f69c7c
File 170009185676.gif - (612.19KB , 650x450 , 114.gif )

:Wince:: "Nah, think it's just you. Aren't you the ex-famous washout detective?"
:Wince:: "Which one of Cryptid Company were you?"
:Friz:: That's--
:Wince:: "The dumb one they kept around for her appeal? The un-dateable blind one?"
:Friz:: I'm not--
:Wince:: "The dog sidekick?"
:Friz:: I'm not telling you my real name, you jerk!
:Friz:: Look, just-- People are trying to do their jobs! I'm trying to do my job!
:Wince:: "Hey :HeadOfPersonnel:, get me detective access so I can do her job, since she can't."
:Friz:: You wanted Engineering access before! You said you--
:Wince:: "Nah. I want detective access."
:Friz:: Rrrrrrh!!

:Wince:: "Mad."
:Friz:: Being mad doesn't mean--
:Wince:: "Angry."
:Friz:: --that I'm not right about this!
:Wince:: "Cry about it."
:Friz:: Shut up!
No. 1077386 ID: 273c18

Stop engaging and remove him from the line by force. Also destroy his camera.
No. 1077407 ID: 8f9bc4

Be sure to save one bullet for yourself. You're gonna need it.
No. 1077467 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170019927987.gif - (27.19KB , 650x450 , 115.gif )

>:Rogers:: Stick your hand into the floating camera drone and do your best to get the electronics to react

Kid, look like you're going to start crying. Gotta get it together. Can't do much, but maybe I can do a little bit. Swing things more your way by putting him on the back foot.

:Wince:: "Hey chat, someone track down some names that might be hers."
:Wince:: "Chat? Oh for--"
:Wince:: "Stupid... Hey, give me a second, stream's breaking. None of you move."
:Friz:: You move! Get out of here so our line can keep going!
:Wince:: "That a no on my Research department access?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Policy on your access request hasn't changed in the last several minutes.
:Friz:: You wanted detective access! Or-- no, engineering!
:Wince:: "I was joking. Pretty obvious to anyone who isn't stupid."
:Wince:: "I just want some nice, normal science access."
:Wince:: "Kind of embarrassing for you all to get hung up on some jokes this long."
:Friz:: Nnnnnrrrrrh...
No. 1077468 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170019932050.gif - (23.08KB , 650x450 , 116.gif )

:Wince:: "God, I hate the connection you footnotes have here."
:Wince:: "Get better wireless."
:Friz:: So you can--!
:Friz:: Just so you can do this even more?! No!
:Friz:: If you want better signal, leave! (Or I'm-- I'm going to recite that manifesto the Redshifts released and get your stream auto-modded!)
:Wince:: "You're such a weird freak. So hostile for no reason. No wonder people hate frontieroids."
:Wince:: "Try being normal, maybe then you won't hold everything up for everyone for twenty minutes."
:Friz:: You're the one being hostile here!
:Friz:: Why are you always like this?!
:Friz:: Auuuugh!

:Savvy:: Can you guys please stop making those noises happen?
:Savvy:: It's embarrassing me in front of the competition.
:Moxie:: I can't help it! The silence isn't a correct state for the world!
:Grit:: A sound of distress will bring the tribe's aid.
:Savvy:: No it won't!
:Grit:: Correct. It won't.
:Dirt:: He's on the way out. Let him leave.
:Moxie:: He's leaving because leaving right now is the most hurtful thing to do.
No. 1077469 ID: 8f9bc4

I don't see any competition here.

As in you.

you're not the competition

you're not even in the running

Anyway I think that went really well! Return to your place in line and gain your access card reward!
No. 1077470 ID: 273c18

Alright. Time loop revenge planning time. Do some very illegal digging into his life so that next loop you have info you really shouldn't that you can use to destroy him without consequences.

First, get back into your previous place in line. Then find out what his name is.
No. 1077648 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042776260.gif - (19.97KB , 650x450 , 117.gif )

>:Friz: : Line's moving again. Get back to your spot. Use the time to get your head in order.

Heading back to your spot? I'd have stuck to the front.

You get your tape recorder out, means you've got something to say to me where you're worried folks will hear it. Fake a little click on the record button again.

:Friz:: Nnnh. Hey :Rogers:.
:Rogers:: Hey kid.
:Friz:: Run-in with a Jailbird. Always draining. Taking a minute to recover and gather thoughts.
:Rogers:: What's on your mind?
:Friz:: Thought kept crossing my mind... maybe I can use his stream, for information?
:Friz:: There have to be on-demand recordings, right?
:Friz:: Better than asking him directly. Remembering the last time I asked him for help with maintenance....

:Rogers:: Maybe. Might need him for maintenance too, though.
:Rogers:: Nobody knows the maintenance halls around here better than :Wince:.
:Friz:: Mmh. At least one of the cases will probably involve maintenance a lot.
:Rogers:: You'll be paying your sourcer dozens of times to scope the whole place out brute-force style if you don't.
:Rogers:: That's a lot of your own corpses to get through, kid.
No. 1077649 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042786187.gif - (16.26KB , 650x450 , 118.gif )

>:Friz: : Recover from the encounter by mentally expositing on who the hell the Jailbirds are, anyways.
>@selfnickname perms haver

:Savvy:: God I hate those guys.
:Moxie:: I'll be honest, that whole thing's just a haze of anxiety for me.
:Moxie:: Who was that anyway?
:Dirt:: A Jailbird I've known for my whole stay here.
:Moxie:: Jailbird?
:Dirt:: Chronic repeat offenders in the short-term brig system.
:Moxie:: Can you give me a guide entry on all that?
:Dirt:: Sure.
:Dirt:: The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has this to say on the topic of brigs in space stations:

A penal system like the one found in the core worlds is redundant in frontier space stations. Not only is there just not that much labor to do in a tiny facility like that, the Company's control of wage rates is so complete that artificially lowering them through forced labor like most modern prisons is irrelevant. Obviously, full tax credits are claimed for producing brig cells as individual rehabilitation centers, but they are left without features like plumbing (sometimes absent in higher-budget brigs regardless), humane sleeping arrangements (see previous), or a non-volunteer brig warden (though volunteer brig wardens are known to have a significantly lower rate of abuse). They become a kind of vestigial organ of embezzlement. Because of this, some heads of Security departments in those stations turn their brigs into a kind of undignified adult time-out zone, meant to calm violent offenders down proportionally to the emotional stress they're probably in. Real long-term arrangements are only made to account for regulations that theatrically punish certain extremely severe crimes like murders, station-threatening bombings, or labor organizing. In almost any other case, for any other offense, you'll spend no more than twenty minutes in a brig cell, and generally only for the few crimes that very directly hurt someone.
No. 1077650 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042789403.gif - (15.88KB , 650x450 , 119.gif )

Startlingly, this doesn't result in a higher rate of crime. For reasons that are poorly understood, a ten-minute break seems to be enough to calm down even a violent assault case, leading to no future repeats of the offense. Core-worlds think tanks often puzzle over precisely what sort of malformed brain mutations frontier workers must have, to not require a twenty-year-long brutal isolation sentence to deter small substance crimes. However, rates of recidivism are non-zero, leading to the term "Jailbird" being applied to any determined repeat offenders. It's nearly impossible to become a consistent offender when given repeated, patient time-outs in a penalty box, rather than the sort of elaborate multi-year repeat-offense training regimen provided by a core worlds penal system. Anyone who still is, tends to be a member of a distinct class of person. You can know them by the specifics of how one feels when meeting them, typically an intense, involuntary physical reflexive response.
No. 1077658 ID: 8f9bc4

In the dark space future, the only real crime is just being a huge jerkwad by nature.
No. 1077663 ID: b3eab7

>extremely severe crimes like... labor organizing
I'm pretty sure the Syndicate Manifesto quotes this.
No. 1077673 ID: 8f9bc4

> Heading back to your spot?

1) needs a freakin moment to not have people to struggle with
2) earns credit the only way you can here, by saving other people precious time
3) :HeadOfPersonnel: is so abstract and snarky she'd immediately start arguing that :Friz: is not standing here since her place is further back in the line.


Wouldn't want all those Outsiders (who all are trapped in the station paying off debt forever, making them insiders) tricking us into organizing i.e. betraying our Corporate Family (who actually are outsiders... they don't even live in this galactic quadrant).
No. 1077745 ID: c8ca0c

WARNING. Three people behind you. I think that's the bad guy. There's floating words around his head, like before.
No. 1077747 ID: 273c18

I think those are memories. But why are we seeing them now?
No. 1077776 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170060069381.gif - (30.73KB , 650x450 , 120.gif )

>:Savvy::Grit:: consider how tasteless it would be to recite :RedDwarf:'s manifesto

:Grit:: While we have the time.
:Grit:: Don't do that.
:Savvy:: What?
:Grit:: Leverage emotional violence.
:Grit:: It hurts :Moxie:.
:Moxie:: Mmh.

:Savvy:: Oh. Look, I'm in charge here, and I needed to do whatever I could to--
:Dirt:: You know we're not like that. And we need to not become like it by letting it happen.
:Dirt:: Spitting on the dead, and the survivors, doesn't do good things for my soul.
:Dirt:: Don't think our heroes would like it.
:Dirt:: And there's people who went through the bombing on this station now.
:Savvy:: ...
:Savvy:: I'll... take that into consideration, when I decide things.
:Moxie:: Long as it doesn't happen again...
:Moxie:: Makes bad memories for me. Gonna need a couple nights of thinking to get around that.
No. 1077777 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170060072363.gif - (19.25KB , 650x450 , 121.gif )

:Savvy:: Alright. "Medical access, please."

:Friz:: Medical access, please.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Cause and authorization?
:Friz:: Missing corpse case.
:Friz:: :Kratt: called ahead with :SecurityChief:'s go-ahead, didn't he?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Right. Yes.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: My memory lapses won't exceed pacing regulations.
:Friz:: Hey, don't worry about it. He messes with my head too.
:Friz:: I know you don't break rules you've settled on, but don't be afraid to take it slowly after something stresses you out.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Access upgrade approved.

:Grit:: Distressed, invisibly. She doesn't know how to show it.
:Grit:: Nobody's told her the rules for showing pain.
:Moxie:: She's all blocky and acting weird... what was that about rules?
:Savvy:: Not sure, I just had it in the social second-nature buffer.
:Dirt:: One of the arrivals from last year. She's a Jacent, not a human.
:Moxie:: Could I get a guide entry for that too?
:Dirt:: Nope. I'm out of memory juice. Find me something really enriching to look at, or wait a while.
:Moxie:: Well, maybe a morgue is enriching. We'll go look.
:Savvy:: Yeah. Time we went to see :ChiefMedicalOfficer:.
No. 1077783 ID: 8f9bc4

mmm... visually stimulating corpses...
No. 1078201 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114849379.gif - (17.00KB , 650x450 , 122.gif )

>:Rogers:: Give :Friz: a reminder on the medbay station etiquette.

:Friz:: Alright, medbay time.
:Rogers:: Usual etiquette when we get there, kid.
:Rogers:: Just because we're doing an investigation doesn't mean breaking the big rule won't turn out bad.
:Friz:: Mmh.

:Savvy:: But hold on, what was that rule again?
:Grit:: Something dangerous.
:Moxie:: Something about moving.
:Savvy:: Okay, but specifics.
:Dirt:: Checking memory records.
:Dirt:: Parsing...
:Dirt:: Lots of records of violent incidents connected with non-medical crew approaching medbay supply storage.
:Grit:: Everyone wants to have autonomy over their own care. Especially now that medbay is badly short-staffed.
No. 1078202 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114853847.gif - (49.78KB , 650x450 , 123.gif )

You get on your way up to the medbay. The rain outside the station pounds harder as the shift gets to the midpoint. Work's all underway, and that means injuries too. Workplace safety on this station's is a mess. The medbay boss doesn't get paid to put in all this effort. Maybe one day he won't. We'll all miss some limbs, then we'll miss our quota, then we'll all miss oxygen with one hell of a yearning.

Now it's your job to interrupt him. Good luck, kid.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Double criticals on the monitor network, reported at the Supply department's mining dock. Barely moving.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Medical readouts show burns and contusions. Stabilize, retrieve. Injections, not topicals, the injuries likely are body-wide.
:Coroner:: Oh, wonderful! I'll prep for a long surgery!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Orange condition in maintenance, north of bar.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Heavy burns, likely wiring accident. Prep topical burn agents for hands.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Black condition at disposals. No heartbeat. Next task once you get here.
:Coroner:: They always pick up such fascinating infections down there.
:Coroner:: Not to mention, the strangest bruises from the disposal pipes.
No. 1078203 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114858744.gif - (49.48KB , 650x450 , 124.gif )

>:Friz:: Bother the CMO about your investigation.

:Dirt:: No subordinate doctors. He's got :Coroner: doing surgeries and :Paramedic: administering treatments.
:Grit:: This station is in a constant state of death.
:Dirt:: At least one of those injuries or deaths was probably at the hands of this loop's traitor.
:Savvy:: He's so busy... Not a polite way to intrude right now.
:Moxie:: He won't stop being busy anytime soon.
:Savvy:: Ugh. Yeah. "Hey, you requested me here?"

:Friz:: Hey, you requested me here?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: One second.
:Coroner:: They'll be dying soon, don't worry!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not if I can help it.

He finishes up hollering at :Paramedic:, before he gets to you.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Alright. Hey :Friz:.
:Friz:: Hi. You've got some kind of missing corpse case...?
:Friz:: I heard it's the old head of medical.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Don't spread that around, trying to make sure that's not public knowledge yet.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :Coroner:, can you handle this?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Gotta prep treatment. With you at the morgue soon.
:Coroner:: Of course!
No. 1078204 ID: 273c18

"Lead on."

So the big rule is not to go near medical storage, because they might think you're a thief?
No. 1078217 ID: b3eab7

Follow them and keep your hands to yourself.
No. 1078220 ID: 8f9bc4

Violent incidents? You have to get to medical supply storage. That must be where they're hiding all the zombies.
No. 1078280 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128828509.gif - (18.84KB , 650x450 , 125.gif )

>Follow them and keep your hands to yourself.

Lot of spooky spots around this station. Usually they've got the danger to back it up. But some spots are pure spook, no substance. Still, even a guy like me doesn't like the gut feel of a morgue. Takes a special type to embrace it. Enduring death's one thing. Dancing with it, well, that puts people off.

But now that I've got my circumstances... maybe it's where I ought to be. Sorry you've gotta come along, kid. You make your way over.

:Coroner:: Over here, you know where the morgue is.
:Friz:: Unfortunately.
:Coroner:: We can talk all about the corpse situation in private.
:Friz:: Eugh. Sure.
:Friz:: Let's go. What all happened here? What do we know?
:Coroner:: Well...
No. 1078281 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128838118.gif - (18.99KB , 650x450 , 126.gif )

>:Coroner:: Give a disturbingly detailed debriefing to the Detective

:Coroner:: We had the lovely dead body of the old head of medbay, :HeadSurgeon:, here until just this morning!
:Friz:: ("Lovely"...)
:Coroner:: I walked in at the start of my shift, and that body was just missing.
:Coroner:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer: was studying her, though I couldn't tell you how or why.
:Coroner:: He wouldn't let me do any examinations myself.
:Friz:: Was he keeping it confidental, worried about old Bloodletter remnants, maybe?
:Coroner:: I didn't arrive here until a while after :SecurityChief: cut the Bloodletters' finest hour short.
:Friz:: Oh. Hmm.

:Friz:: So you don't know anything about it? Maybe :ChiefMedicalOfficer: will tell me.
:Coroner:: I know about what I saw at the start of the shift, at least.
:Coroner:: But let me know if he opens up or drops hints, there's something fascinating about an ]exotic death!
:Coroner:: And he doesn't let many corpses happen to begin with. I'm understimulated, deprived even.
No. 1078282 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128841708.gif - (24.09KB , 650x450 , 127.gif )

:Coroner:: He says it's a politically sensitive corpse though.
:Coroner:: There's still enough Bloodletter sympathizer feelings, the station can't afford people thinking that their martyr's corpse was anything but mundane.
:Coroner:: It was all so secret, he actually kept her body locker under lock and key.
:Friz:: Wait, so it was a break-in? A theft?
:Coroner:: Well, obviously I'm no forensic technician like you.
:Coroner:: But I feel like that's probably not it.
:Friz:: Why?
No. 1078283 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128843030.gif - (21.48KB , 650x450 , 128.gif )

:Friz:: Oh.
No. 1078284 ID: da46f7

...Think the corpse could be the traitor this loop?
No. 1078285 ID: 8f9bc4

OK a powered industrial clamp could have done that, as well as some kind of super zombie. Are those marks on the floor significant? You need to know what she saw at the start of her shift. You also need to have her describe the cause of death in detail, n-not that there are any corpses walking around or anything, but did it still have attached legs? Any grossly obvious wounds? Missing or destroyed head?
No. 1078290 ID: 273c18

That's a dent coming from the inside? Not sure I buy it. Is the space inside small enough for you to brace your feet against the back and hit the door? Examine the bent door, see if you can determine exactly how it was damaged.
Also, wouldn't this have made an ungodly racket? How come nobody heard the noise?
Where's the tray? There's supposed to be a sliding tray in there, to get the body in and out.

What the heck is that hanging on the camera?
No. 1078293 ID: 8f9bc4


Are you speaking ill of Batminster Battington?

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