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File 151885100177.png - (461.24KB , 1600x1600 , IntroMountainrange1 - Copy.png )
868099 No. 868099 ID: 6e59e3

Daylight is coming. Visibility will be poor.
The light will be harsh and the snow will be blinding to the unprepared.
The radiation levels spike again as the white star bathes this side in UV.
The communications network is quiet but for the background noise.
174 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 885227 ID: 6e59e3
File 152679849063.png - (311.74KB , 1440x1440 , tozolrush2.png )
885227

It's child's play to grab it before it can raise an alarm.

I remembering all the practice the Wise One, our mother, taught us. She always resisted, always taught me.

Memories flash through my mind about how our melee combat was difficult, with many practice throws failing for the sole reason that they were against someone better.

I feel a moment of fear as I grab the Other, fearful that I haven't practiced enough, that my mother's warnings were true.

That melee is dangerous.
>>
No. 885228 ID: 6e59e3
File 152679849191.png - (504.21KB , 1600x1600 , tozolrush4.png )
885228

I slam it into the ground.

I hear something break - but the creature doesn't choke like before. It might have broken a rib...
... I'll worry about that never.

One of maybe six down. Knocked out.
I will restrain this one with the heating cable, unless there are any better ideas.

I don't believe a captive will be of any use - I cannot speak their language.
>>
No. 885230 ID: e1c8f7

>>885228
Bury it. Face down. Close to the walls. Keep moving.
>>
No. 885232 ID: 0c3c2c

>>885228
Do not kill. Interrogation is necessary. Restrain with heating cable. Neutralize next several targets quietly and quickly.
>>
No. 885234 ID: cb585b

Best to restrain them well for now, worst case scenario use them as a hostage, even if they're utterly useless for information.
>>
No. 885240 ID: 166e1c

If nothing else those guys could be useful by teaching you their language. One of them, maybe two if you fear they will be uncooperative, you don't need more.

This will be a funny experience. A restrained and wounded soldier recover consciousness to discover himself as a prisoner of an enemy superior in every regard, only to be asked in gesture to say the word that describe simple objects like a child game.
>>
No. 885318 ID: 2007b6

>I cannot speak their language.
If you're forbidden from doing so, or physically unable to reproduce the sounds or gestures or whatever, that's one thing, but if you just don't know how yet then a prisoner could be extremely useful. Learning the language opens up a lot more tactical possibilities. Might even be able to hack their minds into giving you what you want without a fight, either by trickery or in exchange for what you have that they need.
>>
No. 885456 ID: 66d39c

Restrain them and save them for later. Even if you cannot speak their language now, a captive could still be useful. Put the bird out of sight and proceed to the shuttle.
>>
No. 885477 ID: 28c2ea

>>885228
I'm not so sure capture is a good idea at all. Wouldn't a quick kill make sense?
>>
No. 886686 ID: 6e59e3
File 152755216529.png - (316.29KB , 1600x1600 , TieThatFucker.png )
886686

While it's stunned, I tie it up, gagging it with a cable so it can't cry for help.
>>
No. 886687 ID: 6e59e3
File 152755217078.png - (905.57KB , 1600x1600 , Foundathing.png )
886687

I recover a small chip off of the Other. It reminds me of the port on the laptop.
Oh. And more rations.

The first warrants investigation later.
>>
No. 886694 ID: 6e59e3
File 152755341605.png - (407.58KB , 1600x1600 , Options.png )
886694

The camp isn't clear. This is one of maybe six disabled.
The camp may still hold valuables, but at this point time might be a factor. Judging by the loadout on this one, they do not seem heavily armed.

Maybe a research crew.

I now have the laptop, a chip of sorts, some rations, and a hostage, plus what we looted above. We can still exfiltrate - I can climb the walls with the captive, and maybe I can figure out the snowmobile up above, which would be the only way to get clear of the area quickly with the captive in hand.

But time is a factor. I could raid the camp and see what else I could carry by myself. The captive is too heavy to get out of here quickly, though, and I'm not sure if delaying on the snowmobile above would be a clean getaway. We would want to abandon the captive to get away cleanly.

To add to the raid, we could ambush their rescue team. Neutralizing the camp and setting an ambush for the rescue team would let me pick through the wreckage and the camp at my leisure. I could still keep my captive, too. This would involve a gunfight with whatever vehicle they're transporting their rescue team in. I don't know if my scavenged rifle would work on their rescue transport.

Exfiltrate - Leave with all our spoils and our captive (Some loot, keep the captive)
Raid - neutralize the camp and loot what we can. (No Captive)
OPTIONAL: If we raid, do we want to lay an ambush, or leave immediately afterwards? (Gunfight, keep the captive, more loot)

>>
No. 886703 ID: 0c3c2c

>>886694
EXFILTRATE. We kinda need that captive to learn the enemy Battle Cant.
>>
No. 886704 ID: e1c8f7

>>886688
I don't think the captive will be of any use. I really don't want to start a gun fight either. I really want to explore that ship though. Hard decisions must be made. We ditch the captive and clear our schedule for a bit of bird hunting and looting after that. Raid and ambush.
>>
No. 886730 ID: 5fa661

Exfiltrate, ditch the snowmobile partway with the throttle jammed on, so it leads potential rescuers in the wrong direction.
>>
No. 886731 ID: 074011

Exfiltrate. We don't know their targets, numbers, distribution, resources... anything. They have had ample opportunity to broadcast an alert, so we can't rely upon exhausting their forces. Get out, review the intelligence, contact Wise Mum, and formulate an effective deterrent. We have already inflicted enough damage to repel them if doing so is easy.
>>
No. 886745 ID: 38c24c

>>886703
The ship is more important than the birb. Let's raid, but let's do it quietly. We are a wraith, after all.
>>
No. 886777 ID: 5f2c24

>>886694
Exfiltrate. Seems wisest without having more intel on them.
>>
No. 886909 ID: 54e0e2

Uhm... Why do we want the man again? To learn their language?

Exfiltrate. I think we have everything useful they have that we could safely take.
>>
No. 887162 ID: 9fa486

>>886704
Hmmm this actually sounds good. That pod could contain valuble info. Or cookies!
>>
No. 963376 ID: 124fab
File 158771946176.png - (472.74KB , 1600x1600 , PerkeleResume1.png )
963376

((Let's get this show on the road))
ARU1: 'Base, ARU1 registers distress flare caught on RADAR. Enroute.'
>>
No. 963378 ID: 124fab
File 158771951912.png - (650.77KB , 2400x2400 , Resume2.png )
963378

>ARU2: "ARU2 is tracking transport movement on TacMap. Hailing..."
>ARU1: "Base, ARU1 receiving weak radio signal near flare origin. Crew confirmed in crevasse. Transport seems renegade."

>Base: "ARU2, this is Base. Divert and investigate the transport, try establishing radio contact. ARU1 proceed-"
>>
No. 963380 ID: 124fab
File 158771965457.jpg - (664.23KB , 1600x1600 , TozolQuest1b.jpg )
963380

>>ARU2: "Break-Break: ARU2 Reading a heat spike on the tacmap from the transport. ARU1, continue to signal flare. Clear the zone. Base, we have possible casualties and hostiles. Prepare REZ1 for sortie.'
>>BASE: "ARU2 confirmed, Base scrambling further recovery assets."
>>ARU1: "Base Acknowledged. ARU1 approaching outpost site."

>>ARU2: "ARU2 confirming that vehicle is in distress. Landing now."

<ARU2-Kel-4: Hostiles? Out here? This place is a hell-hole!>
<ARU2-Kel-3: I've never seen a rampaging enlek set fire to a transport...>
<ARU2-Kel-2: You haven't seen them in season then... but an engine is much.>
<ARU2-Kel-3: Think it could be our ghost?>
<ARU2-Kel-2: You've been rumor-mongering again, Kwol. Our 'ghost' is snowstorms and animal migrations. Still... be ready for a hot-drop.>
<ARU2-Kel-4: Hot would be an improvement. Only liquid around here is ammonia>
<ARU2-Kel-1 (Actual): Quit your bitchin', rook. Be glad there aren't actually ammonia pools, or we'd be adding chemseal to your gear.>
>>
No. 963381 ID: 124fab
File 158771975211.jpg - (296.27KB , 1600x1600 , TozolQuest1bActual.jpg )
963381

>>Extract

"Hff."
After an eternity, I manage to scale the side of the ice with my captive in tow. I don't believe anything saw me from within. I toss the captive up first when we near the ledge, then haul myself up.

Something tingles in the back of my mind. I can feel... something. Radio, maybe. High-powered. Something that stands out amidst all this background noise.

Backup must be near.
>>
No. 963384 ID: 124fab
File 158771992473.jpg - (334.79KB , 1600x1600 , TozolQuest1a.jpg )
963384

The captive will be cold, but it should live.

I check the snowmobile - a rapid exit will be necessary. I can run fast, but this snow will slow me down. Also, the Others have proven weak so far... I do not want it to freeze.

Also... their vehicles seem warm...

It unlocks without much fuss when I touch the glass - maybe it is something on my clothes. I felt a spark of near-range radio when I came near the vehicle.

I stow my gear and the recovered items, then toss the captive in the back seat. The interface looks simple enough - pedals, steering wheel... a screen. I instinctively recognize this all - I have never seen such a vehicle in my life, but I know enough I get the engine going.

Time to leave.
>>
No. 963386 ID: 124fab

((Correction: KEL team should be attached to ARU1. They are within the ARU1 transport, approaching the crevasse.))
>>
No. 963388 ID: b8c780

It’s great to see this quest back up!

Get the Hel out of there, peddle to the metal like you’ve got a lead foot. But try to use terrain for cover, limit your vehicle’s exposure, stay out of the open.
>>
No. 963427 ID: b1b4f3

>>963384
If backup is near you're going to want to avoid being spotted.
>>
No. 963436 ID: b34040

Try not to get spotted and lead them right back home. You'll have to worry about the trail you're going to leave too.
>>
No. 963811 ID: fa2754

>>963386
Not sure what else can be done here. Do we have enough rations for yourself and your friend there? Don't have time to dwell, make yourself hard to track. Still kind of wish we got to explore more down there..
>>
No. 964041 ID: 124fab
File 158805205129.jpg - (121.17KB , 838x838 , perkeleprequel4.jpg )
964041

>>Rations
I acquired some. I have some back at base - the ones I found are certainly compatible

Speaking of gear, I've found a collapsing tube-style launcher of some sort. Something tells me this is another one of their distress flares.

>>Floor it and hide

I get a glimpse of them on the HUD - Radar, likely, before I duck the snowmobile behind a snow bank. I will keep moving for now while I decide what to do.
>>
No. 964042 ID: 124fab
File 158805205907.jpg - (293.43KB , 1266x1278 , PerkelePrequel3.jpg )
964042

I flee the camp, knowing that vehicle contact isn't more than a few minutes out, and I don't know how fast they can travel.

I check the onboard mapping software - There are snow banks ahead, but little map data past the mountain. We can hide, but we don't want to linger too long either.

Speaking of mapping, this vehicle has onboard radar. Should we drive blind and try to hide? Or should I keep it on to try to navigate?

>>Wish we could have had more time down there.
I can come back. There is no guarantee they won't take everything with them - or that they won't reinforce this position.

I take a mental checklist of what I have so far.


Weapons
-Axe
-Knife
-Launcher (Distress flare?)
-Rifle
-Sidearm
-Ammunition + charge packs for the guns
-Me

Clothing
-Survival clothes
-Fur-lined Greatcloak
-White winter clothes (found)
-Black soft-armor vest


Important
-Communication PDA
-Storage drive
-Captive(?)

Misc
-Backpack
-Tozol rations (three days)
-Other rations (unknown quantity)
-Rope+Grappling Hook
-Heating cable (in use)
>>
No. 964047 ID: 124fab
File 158805590848.jpg - (307.03KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel2.jpg )
964047

I floor it away from the camp.


I have no doubt they'll want to catch us, but I have no idea how persistent they will be nor what they are armed with.
I also don't know this area too well.
Lastly, we have a limited amount of fuel - half a tank by the gauge, but I have no idea how much that means.

What's the plan?
>>
No. 964054 ID: 094652

Find a place they won't immediately bother following you, like a crevice. Then find a way to fake your deaths.
>>
No. 964056 ID: 3a7feb

Your pursuers are going to be coming in vehicles of their own, with fuel, likely bringing additional [ opfor / potential-captives / new-friends / field-rations ] with them. They can track you using radar, and your own radar will be obvious to them. You probably can't flee with your radar on, and visibility is probably too poor for you to make it to safety with radar off.

Although you are a tozol, you have not yet mastered Brutality, so even if you can lure your pursuers in to an ambush on your terms, it'll be risky - and we should only take risks if we need to.

Continue a policy of avoidance. It suits your skillset. Use the radar until you can get to an area you know better, and then cut the radar and evade by dead reckoning.
>>
No. 964222 ID: be9b9d

>>964041
Kill any sort of active radar, along with any broadcasts the vehicle may be transmitting. No radar, radio, gps, etc.

We can keep passive linked radar on however since it shouldn't give away our position since the info wouldn't be coming from us.

While moving, we should try to stay in the low-ground and prevent any sort of line of sight from them to us so we don't show up on ground radar as an unknown. If the vehicle has any sort of masking gear (unlikely) or radar countermeasures like ecm deception (more likely) we should activate them.

We should try to keep the vehicle if we can, which would probably mean ditching it somewhere we can find it later and covering it with snow or ice to mask the ir signature it will give off.
>>
No. 964223 ID: be9b9d

>>964222
ecm deception is different from jamming in that you broadcast the inverse of what your radar signature would be in an attempt to nullify the return signal so as to effectively be invisible, rather than jamming which gums up all of their radar which will immediately alert them. The caveat with the deception method is that it is tricky and no system is perfect.
>>
No. 964225 ID: b1b4f3

I don't see how radar will help with navigation. It'll help you spot enemy vehicles, that's all.
You should just leave it off, and use your formidable eyesight to spot pursuers.
>>
No. 964289 ID: be9b9d

>>964225
Assuming we only use passive, datalinked radar (basically seeing what the other vehicles' active radars are seeing without using our own radar), we could potentially use it to see the terrain, since it will return a 3D map of the nearby area. Ofc, this is only if we can keep receiving the datalink from the other vehicles without actually broadcasting to them.
>>
No. 964396 ID: 9c48ac

>>964054
Kome has the right of it. Aim the snowmobile at somewhere difficult and preferably dangerous to follow, like a deep crevasse, and jump out, leaving it to crash.

Just make sure you cover your tracks for quite a ways afterwards. (Also, obviously, unload your "cargo" beforehand.)
>>
No. 964421 ID: 9c48ac

>>964396
Oh, but drive it out a couple minutes first. You'll need the head start.
>>
No. 964562 ID: 124fab
File 158836245710.jpg - (244.29KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel6.jpg )
964562

>Evade, Radar-Off
I flick the radar off and floor it, racing for the mountainside. Bailing out of the snowmobile might not be a good idea with a captive - much less a tied one we want alive.

If we bail on the snowmobile so far from camp, this alien is little more than rations to me.

>Passive Radar
I lose several navigation instruments when I turn the radar off. Terrain highlights and weather mapping - and the navigation map itself loses contouring and detail. A small price to pay for avoiding a confrontation.

>Headstart
I push the engine hard, and it takes a long ten minutes for me to catch a glimpse of orange hull - they're gaining on me, as expected, but I have a good head start. With the distraction and the lack of stealth, they have trouble just following my trail.

Unfortunately, as we start rounding the mountain, the weather starts taking a turn for the worse. Mist builds to haze, haze builds to fog...
>>
No. 964565 ID: 124fab
File 158836331336.jpg - (272.76KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel5.jpg )
964565

>Only take necessary risks.
The haze grows. We have a blizzard ahead. I can barely see, even with this cockpit HUD.

We can lose them in the white-out - but the lack of visibility is almost as dangerous for us as it is for them. At least I don't have to deal with the howling wind to drive. This is dangerous though - extremely dangerous. Conditions change fast, and I don't know the layout well, not in this snow.

The blizzard is not the only option though.

This is the other side of the mountain from our second communications relay. If we follow the slope, there will be places to bail, hide, or fight, and we'll avoid the worst of the storm. But we risk drawing further attention to this mountain, no matter the outcome, and that would risk our communication network.

I don't know what would be worse, to risk the vehicle and myself in a snowstorm, or to possibly compromise our communication relay.
>>
No. 964567 ID: fa2754

>>964565
If we can find some decently safe spot to bail and hide I say we go for that.
>>
No. 964569 ID: 3a7feb

Killing your captive and suffering exposure is a more tolerable risk than compromising your communication network. You can get new captives and heal from exposure. You do not have a reliable supply of spare parts for the communication network.

It would be nice to keep the captive - murdering him after taking him captive feels rude, cruel, inappropriate - but the alternative would have been to just murder him immediately when you first encountered him, so aside from the aesthetic grotesquerie the moral difference is small.
>>
No. 964570 ID: b1b4f3

What if you deliberately crashed the vehicle and killed the captive in a way such that it looks like the captive was a traitor, stole it and was fleeing the scene?
>>
No. 964590 ID: d186fc

>>964565
We could try and lose them in the storm and then weather the storm in the vehicle. This would give us a chance to keep the captive, lose the pursuers, and keep the vehicle if we want. Once we lose them, we just power off the snowmobile and let the blizzard pile snow on us which should insulate us until it passes.

While waiting we could try to disconnect the vehicle's systems from their network and patch it into ours. Only do this if you are positive you can do it though. If the vehicle is military (and not research) it may have failsafes in place that may compromise your network if done improperly.
>>
No. 964715 ID: 124fab
File 158847489991.jpg - (97.59KB , 1600x1600 , perkeleprequel7.jpg )
964715

>Weather the blizzard
Weighing the options, it seems that weathering the blizzard and maybe losing the vehicle and captive is better than losing the vehicle, the captive, AND drawing attention to our communication array.

We drive the snowmobile into the blizzard. Hard. I floor it, counting aloud three minutes, watching the gauge that seems to measure speed.

Then, I veer hard left, pointing the vehicle in what I believe is the direction of the mountain. It's impossible to know for sure how steep of a turn it is, but we should be aimed in the right direction.
>>
No. 964718 ID: 124fab
File 158847540026.jpg - (541.85KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel8.jpg )
964718

Then I kill the engine, turn the heat low, and idle.

And idle.

We have time. The minutes go by, the only sound being breathing and the quiet clink of hard snow against the glass. No thrusters overhead nor gunfire. The cockpit is the world, and the cold white is our wall. I am used to this.

>Plug in to our network

I don't know how to switch channels yet - or whether that is a smart idea to do so. I will maintain radio silence until Mother and I have a chance to speak.

While the snow builds on the cockpit, this is a good opportunity to pause and think. Maybe I should review anything we've acquired from the camp while I wait out the pursuers?
>>
No. 964719 ID: 3a7feb

I know one thing you've acquired from the camp: a captive. They're still just sitting in the back, right?

Now seems like an opportune time to start picking up the opfor codec. See if you can pick up any language from them. Be gentle - these creatures are delicate, and if you're going to kill it, you should kill it humanely.
>>
No. 964740 ID: 7490b5

>>964718
Completely power off the vehicle once it is totally covered. it will conserve fuel.

Try to take stock of what is in the vehicle in terms of food, medical, and survival gear.

Also strip-search the captive (offscreen) to see if they have anything useful and make sure they have nothing dangerous. Dress the captive once you are done.
>>
No. 964810 ID: fa2754

>>964718
Inventory time. Pick out a few things to get the translation ball rolling.
>>
No. 965543 ID: 124fab
File 158882665061.jpg - (193.53KB , 1221x1162 , PerkelePrequel9.jpg )
965543

>>Captive
I check it for anything I missed in the first frisk, but I don’t find anything. Junk, mostly. I take the makeshift muzzle off.

The prisoner immediately begins babbling.

>”Tan ktan zwen tak bah dan ket all Toozool! Toozool neyt kwen-”
>”Toozool, neyt kwen mi, neyt kwen- kwen mi,” it continues to babble.
Well. It clearly knows what I am.

I gesture to myself. “TOH-ZAWL,” I emphasize… then I point to it.
>”...Y-yennik. ”
“Yennik. Tozol.”
It looks confused at this exchange. It bobs its head… rapidly.

>”Geezhel prem uhal hey na?” It asks in a different voice.

A… different language? Still one I don't recognize, but less harsh than its clackish babbling.
“Nope.”

>>Killing the captive.
The… yennik?... lives as long as it is useful. But there’s no promising that it will live - and no sense in making its death any more cruel than necessary.

I spend a few more minutes talking to it - and aside from exchanging some simple words like ‘vehicle’ or ‘gun’, I don’t think I will get much more out of it for now.
>>
No. 965544 ID: 124fab
File 158882665330.jpg - (153.85KB , 667x667 , perkeleprequek10.jpg )
965544

Ration
Mmmm.. polymers and carbs. Much better than the beasts Mother and I bring home, and it tastes less like powdered dust than our own, old ration bars. It’s almost disgustingly sweet… but it awakens in me a hunger I’ve never known before.

Like all my life I’ve been a starved beast that just learned to deal with it, suddenly presented with… actual food.

I resist the impulse to eat all of these rations immediately… and also squelch the desire to eat my less-than-helpful captive. The yennik is spared for the moment.

Tablet
I pull out the tablet - and the storage drive from earlier, which fits snugly into a port.
>>
No. 965545 ID: 124fab
File 158882665889.jpg - (656.69KB , 1600x1600 , Perkeleprequel11.jpg )
965545

Now that we're out of that hellish daylight, this interface looks more colorful. It might just be my eyes not needing to filter light so harshly, but I can see color better.

A message appears on the screen, alongside what looks like a button… Curiosity gets the better of me, and I press it.

What plays is static… but it tickles my brain. Like I should know this - like someone is yelling to me over an avalanche. The sounds sound… right. Like they’re in the wrong order, but… scrambled? I play it back over and over again, and there’s just… something I’m missing, maybe. Like if I look at the audio analyzer right, I’d understand.

I feel like I should.

>”Bekka quan taka deuel,” my passenger says after the fifth time I play it, clearly annoyed at my obsession with static.

The audio is giving me a headache - or maybe that’s just the interface.

We have plenty of time still - should I keep playing with the tablet? I might see if I can figure the interface out - or this message.

Or is there anything else we should examine?
>>
No. 965547 ID: 3a7feb

The captive is likely to be more amenable to analysis than an encrypted audio signal. Or whatever it is. That might just be static and you're looking for patterns where there are none.

See if you can figure out how this creature counts. Does it have words for zero, or one, or so on?
>>
No. 965548 ID: b1b4f3

>>965545
>headache
I feel like Tozols shouldn't get headaches so easily. Don't play the audio anymore, but look at the waveform, analyze that. Looks like there might be some regular frequency changes...
>>
No. 965551 ID: 9c48ac

There... are points there with more than one signal at once. That's not possible with the sort of audio encoding I'm used to. So you might see if there's a way to separate the signals.

The headache is worrying, though. So be cautious with playing it, especially as it is now.
>>
No. 965575 ID: fa2754

>>965547
Seems fair. You're laying low and you have company. Learn the readouts of the cockpit.
>>
No. 965585 ID: b34040

>>"neyt kwen mi"
I think this is "don't kill me". Happy to oblige, for the moment.

>>hunger
Chocolate maybe? I could understand having a mini-revalation for chocolate.

>>965551
Specifically, about 85% of the way along where an ascending wave crosses a descending wave. Is that a visual glitch? Try to focus on that.

>>What do?
Search the cockpit. See if there's something in there you missed.
>>
No. 965600 ID: 4033f7

>>965585
While they are probably saying something along the lines of "dont kill me" the order could be different depending on the flow of their language. (eg kill me not, dont make dead, death shant become, etc.)
>>
No. 965748 ID: 124fab
File 158892670852.jpg - (679.80KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel13point5.jpg )
965748

I take a short break from the static to check the console - and the rest of the cockpit.

>>Controls
They’re pretty simple. I can’t ID a few of them - there are some buttons that adjust climate, and do some other things that aren’t readily apparent. The big concern is the keypad that accepts… number input?

>>Search Cockpit

There’s not a lot here. I found a launcher in here - It seems to be the launcher for a distress flare - but I don’t see any survival kits or weapons or anything otherwise useful. It’s likely this vehicle isn’t intended to operate far from a larger transport.

>>Chocolate
I do wish I found another ration. I have more... but I want so many more. The thought of whatever this food bar is... I need more.
I find myself licking the wrapper clean - then eating the wrapper. It brings me joy, but not relief.
>>
No. 965749 ID: 124fab
File 158892670993.jpg - (334.38KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel13.jpg )
965749

>>Opfor Codec
>>'Don't kill me'.
Distracting myself from the limited nature of my foraged supplies, I think on its words earlier.

I guess I got a little further than I expected.
“Neyt kwen mi.” I say to it.
>It looks confused for a moment, then nods its head. “... Beyt kwen tohzawl,” it says back.
“Beyt kwen yennick.”

It doesn’t trust me, but at least this is mutual progress.
Still, this doesn’t take it off the menu yet.

I hold up a finger near its face. “One,” I say.
>The bird stares back at me for a moment.
I reiterate the gesture - then do two.

>It says nothing, staring at me obliviously.
I wish I spoke its language so I could tell it to speak the Utility Language. This language barrier… is going to work against it.

This is going to be hard to just come up with ideas for exchanging language.
>>
No. 965751 ID: 124fab
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965751

>>Tozols shouldn’t get headaches.
It’s- It’s not a headache, but it’s… hard to describe. I instinctively strain to hear it. My ears focus on it. There’s a pattern there. Straining to hear it is like overthinking it. It's almost like eye-strain.

>>Encrypted audio signal.

… that’s what this is. I pull up the tablet again, and play it again - I know I shouldn't, but I do.
It’s like one I know, but isn’t one I recognize. There is a pattern here, but I'm missing pieces. This... is this scrambled?

>>Waveform, pattern.
I read the signal over and over again. There’s a pattern here. On a whim, I mouth the noises - and find I can reproduce the clicks and hisses.

Perfectly, in fact. It's a familiar cadence. Clipped, curt, to the point. There's meaning here.

With that in mind I listen closer - this audio is heavily scrubbed, so it makes this hard. It’s almost mechanical in nature - but it’s not. These patterns aren’t radio broadcasts or machine clicks or synthesizers - they seem machine-like, but organic in nature. Slight pauses that are… imprecisely precise.

Something nags me. This is far too familiar for my liking.

Where… where have I heard this before? What's this like?
>>
No. 965753 ID: 3a7feb

Is this your birthright-tongue, the battle cant? A limited codec specifically for transmitting critical tactical information as quickly as possible in extremely noisy environments...
>>
No. 965754 ID: fa2754

>>965751
Does this bird of yours have a clue? If not that, maybe an idea of the red caution alert on the display.
>>
No. 965756 ID: b34040

Try this: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a battle. You have a squad, and are trying to communicate with them as succinctly as possible. One of them is saying something to you. Now listen to the recording, what are they saying?
>>
No. 965760 ID: 9c48ac

>>965748
>Keypad with number input
I'm guessing that's their ignition security system. Try not to let the engine shut off, you may not be able to start it up again.
>>
No. 965766 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965760
More likely to be the radio. The keypad would let one switch to specific frequencies quickly.

--

So you talk about learning the language from this guy, but is that something you are actually capable of doing? Learning languages is a long and hard process (aside from the battle cadence, you literally should have that ingrained from before you were born, unless something happened...?).

--

Is the flare gun metal? If so, you should be able to use like-caliber shells with it if you find any. Depending on the caliber, that would either be shotgun rounds or grenade launcher rounds. Both of which have a large overlapping variety of ammo (bird/buck shot, flechette, slugs, explosive, napalm, triball, etc) although the grenade launcher calibers will probably be rarer and more likely explosive, smoke, or flares, while the shotgun caliber would be shot or slugs.
>>
No. 965779 ID: b1b4f3

>>965751
Obfuscated morse code? Battle chant of a different species?
>>
No. 965783 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965760
Military vehicles generally dont have any sort of ignition security or even keys. The most deterrent they may have would be a padlock on the outside if that and instead depend on base security and such to keep people from stealing hardware. Chipped cards and badges, along with keypad codes are not infallible since it would be digital, and keeping separate ignition keys would make them a target.
>>
No. 965785 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965779
The idea that another species could have a battle language is a rather disturbing thought. As is the possibility that another species could learn or crack it, let alone utilize it. It could be something akin to morse though, although the captive's annoyed reaction to our listening to it probably means this isn't the case unless there is a third, unknown factor.
>>
No. 965859 ID: 124fab
File 158898378207.jpg - (352.57KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel14.jpg )
965859

>>Battle cant/battle language

… Yes. This is absolutely tozol battle language. I can… feel… the ordering. It’s not obvious at first - I should be able to instinctively understand this, but I don’t. Even when our Mother switches keys mid-speech, I can pick up on it.
.
<Status update: Banshee / Hidden in light-armor vehicle / analyzing unknown intelligence asset>
I play the first five seconds of the message again.
>“-..__*.._..._---..--..**--..__.__--__*” it says - and I repeat it, in time.

It’s the same cadence. Definitely a tozol speaking - there’s noise and static, but I think I hear it. But it’s definitely not Mother. I would never have trouble understanding her, and I have a full grasp of battle cant.

At least, I think I do. This is still a mystery.

Now the captive is very concerned at all the clicking noises I am making.

>>Learning language from [captive]
You’re right. That’s a matter of weeks to months, if Mother and I didn’t have to constantly hunt for ourselves, evade patrols, check on comm buoys, or find new places to hide.

Small phrases are easy, but not that easy. If I kept this up for a week or three, I might be able to snatch bits and pieces if I overheard radio chatter, but I wouldn’t count on it. Even if I could mimic its words, I don’t know what it is saying exactly.

The biggest worry is that they know a tozol by sight.
And this one knows one is on-planet.
>>
No. 965860 ID: 124fab
File 158898379233.jpg - (122.87KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele15.jpg )
965860

>>Flare launcher
The flare launcher is tucked in a small case in the floor. Pulling it out is trivial, but I lack the room to really examine it. It is less of a gun or grenade launcher and more like… a missile launcher? This fits with what I saw from the crevasse earlier. It’s practically a metal tube, with a trigger and some rubbery grips - the launcher does not even have sights. This thing is barely a weapon by any definition.

There is also a pack with two extra ‘rockets’ - they smell of a few compound chemicals and metals that make me hungry just smelling them. I… think I smell strontium and phosphorus, but there’s something much more here complicated.

I cannot believe how good my sense of smell is when my nose is not freezing over.

Or how hungry that ration made me.

>>Caution
That alert has been there since turning off the radar control. I saw similar warnings on the screen for obstacles.

>>Keep engine on/ignition system
The engine was off when I commandeered the vehicle. It unlocked on my approach, and I worked the ignition without problem - which is further underneath one of these handles, and doesn’t seem to need a key. Additionally, though we turned off the engine when we stopped, I have no problem getting it started again.


Speaking of.

I am in no hurry to leave, but the snow is starting to cover the cockpit. It’s been thirty minutes since turning off the engine. I cannot tell if the rescue team is gone now, but they clearly have not tried to seize this vehicle yet.
>>
No. 965878 ID: 124fab

Clarification: That is Banshee speaking in the first italicized line.
>>
No. 965890 ID: b1b4f3

>>965859
Is there any reason a tozol would have to hide battle chant from another tozol? Or is there something wrong with Mother's version of it?

...did the snow stop?
>>
No. 965893 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965860
If it is fully covered, it should begin to warm up again inside of the vehicle since you are now insulated. Eventually, try to dig a tunnel out from a hatch to the surface so you can know when the storm is gone and when it would be safe to uncover the vehicle and keep moving.

--

For the audio, is it possible that there is also some sort of audio scrambling going on as well? If there are other tozols, they may consider your mother (and by extension you) as hostile or at least not an ally and thus would need to turn towards more crude means of encryption instead of relying on the encrypted nature of the battle cadence. The problem with this theory though is that this would mean that the bird things are working with (a) tozol(s). The bird did seem to recognize you as a tozol. Encryption could be as simple as playing the file in reverse or flipping the waveform, since this does seem to have the right rhythm.

The other possibility I can think of is that this file is incredibly ancient and this is some sort of proto-battle cant. In this scenario, that tozol vessel you found in the excavation may not have been yours. Instead it was an ancient craft the birdies dug up in some sort of archaeological dig searching for tozol tech/vehicles/structures. This would also explain why the pigeon instantly knew you were a tozol. The apparent military presence here would, in this scenario, be for defending or responding to any failsafes or weapons that the archaeologists may trigger.

Third possibility is that we just dont have enough information to truly know what is going on at the moment. I mean, why are the birds even here in the first place? Did they know about us? If so, why didn't they come sooner and why are they not armed to the absolute teeth? If they are working with tozols, why didn't the tozols themselves go after us? They would have a much better chance at not only surviving, but succeeding. If the birds didnt know about us, then why do they know about tozols and why are they digging?
>>
No. 965894 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965890
The intro to the quest could be interpreted as implying that the mother deserted some battle and fled here, which could mean that all other tozols (assuming there havent been any particularly enterprising individuals that have splintered their faction) may consider us enemies. Since all tozols speak the battle cant from birth, they would need extra layers of encryption to send messages if they think a hostile tozol may intercept.
>>
No. 965932 ID: 094652

While you wait, research the vehicle. See if there are any emergency distress signals that could compromise you, or if a power leak could drain the heat shields early.
>>
No. 965982 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965932
>Beacon
It probably has one, but we would also probably know if it was on.

>Heat shields
I could be wrong, but I think this thing uses more conventional (read: unpowered) means of insulation. I dont think this planet is quite that cold.
>>
No. 966116 ID: 124fab
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966116

>>Still snowing?
Yep, the blizzard is still going, which I count as a blessing. Who knows how long it will go for, though?

>>Wait, then dig a hole
I 'dig a tunnel' to the surface.
By which I mean I open the vehicle. It needs a bit of a push to open with snow on it, but the springs are good, and as long as the snow doesn't get too deep, we're safe. I don't want to wait for it to be fully covered though, because this is a fold-open door, not a hatch, and it's hard to tell when 'deep' becomes 'too deep'.

My captive squawks its protests about the sudden biting cold in the warm cockpit. I agree for once, and close it immediately. This is the first time ever I've been this warm, and it is growing on me.

>>Reasons for battle language
>>Known Unknowns, Unknown Unknowns

I've never known battletalk that I can't understand, and there is no rationale that works in my favor. Every implication is bad.
That just means we should treat every tozol as potentially hostile, then. 'If you don't know who your allies are, you don't have allies'.

It would just be me and The WIse One- ergh. Mother.

I wish I could meet other tozols though...
Maybe Mother would have more input on this.

Should we wait longer? Maybe an hour or so?
Or
Should we go for the mountain? Now that we've lost the trail, maybe we won't be leading them to the comm antenna.
Or
Something else? Like retreat to the cave from earlier, or return to the camp and see if they're gone?
>>
No. 966122 ID: b1b4f3

>>966116
If you're sure we lost the trail, go for the mountain.
>>
No. 966124 ID: b34040

Just go as soon as you're sure you've lost your tail. The longer you're out here the higher the risk of discovery. Also realise that if you take you captive to the comm antenna, you can never let him go.
>>
No. 966126 ID: 0c0a56

>>966116
OpSec. Re-blindfold your captive, driving some dummy loops to get his internal compass messed up some more. Head to the comm relay as the first stop. Need to confirm it's not compromised.
>>
No. 966131 ID: 094652

Return to the mountain, they won't follow in this snowstorm.
>>
No. 966133 ID: f98f1e

We can't be sure this vehicle doesn't have a tracker of some kind in it. We shouldn't take it to any location we don't want potentially compromised.

If you really want to check on the beacon, park at a distance and go check it out on foot (and make sure the captive is secure before you leave him in the vehicle). Going back to the cave might be better, especially if you have a place you can lock up the prisoner, but that also ties you down more - you have to be there to feed him and so on. But, if you can learn their language, that could prove to be invaluable later...
>>
No. 966176 ID: f07f0b

>>966116
>shitty tunnel is shit
I kind of assumed the blizzard had buried the vehicle under several feet of snow by now. Of course the style of door the vehicle has would have ruined my plan anyway, so this is moot.

>>966133
Initially, I kind of dismissed the idea of a tracker since this is hardly a military vehicle, but after doing some research I'd say that there is almost definitely some flavor of tracker on this thing (probably anti-theft and/or emergency distress broadcaster). Probably a small box of some sort with no discernible purpose bolted somewhere under the hood, or on the underside. It would not have any wire connections to the rest of the vehicle since it is all self-contained. As it is, it probably is only broadcasting a location without drawing any attention to itself. However if we do try to remove it, it will probably trigger some sort of anti-tampering measure that triggers an alarm on their end. We should go to a sheltered, unimportant location and try to find and remove it. The vehicle is too big of a boon to simply scuttle it in my opinion. The captive probably won't know where it is or even know it exists since that sort of info is not only classified (even for civ corporations) but also irrelevant to anyone that doesn't specifically work with them.
>>
No. 966177 ID: f07f0b

>>966133
Additionally, if we keep the bird, lets keep them somewhere away from our base of operations.
>>
No. 966791 ID: 124fab
File 158961118848.jpg - (1.37MB , 1408x1408 , Perkele17Actual.jpg )
966791

>Mountain
After checking the vehicle for signals, I dig out some of the front snow, then get back inside. The engine turns on, and I pull the snowmobile out of the storm.

It… seems that we’re in the clear for now. I can’t confirm without exposing ourselves.

Nevertheless, I gun it for the mountains. The blizzard lightens up a bit - the inner gullies are shielded from the worst of the storm, but the haze should at least dull our colors.
>>
No. 966792 ID: 124fab
File 158961120643.jpg - (940.79KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel19.jpg )
966792

>>Find place to remove black box.

I find a snow cave - It's been a long time since I've used this cave. Even with radar off and signals cut, it's best not to bring a vehicle to the comm array.

>>Blindfold captive
I use some of the bindings from the armor, spin him around, and then pull him out of the snowmobile.

>>Black Box, Signals

I don't hear any signals from the vehicle. In the shelter of the snow cave, I take my time to give it a thrice-over. I cannot discern any black box, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

I can feel and hear in a very broad spectrum of EM, among other, non-EM spectra. If it is signalling something, either it's in something I wouldn't notice, or on a time-delay.

Also, I give my spare cloak to the yennik - it's starting to shiver uncontrollably even before we leave the cave. The wind chill up here is fierce, especially in the wake of the blizzard.
>>
No. 966794 ID: 124fab
File 158961163771.jpg - (301.00KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele20.jpg )
966794

After ten minutes of hiking - and several points where I have to haul the captive - we arrive.

This communication array... The weather has not been kind to it, but it is still transmitting. I can feel it as I get closer. It's also putting off some urgent-feeling short-range radio - it must have a message from mother.

The site seems empty, but I keep my gun ready just in case.

Ugh... And after all that warmth in the snowmobile, even I am starting to hate this chill. It cuts to the bone. The cave is insulated, and there are some spots where the rock even breaks zero degrees.

At least the captive stopped stopped shivering. It's just mumbling now. I've had to deal with this for five years - glad to see it can wait. It even has my great coat.

Clear the tunnel? Or check the relay for messages first? Or...?
>>
No. 966799 ID: 3a7feb

If your captive is no longer shivering, they are dying of cold. Its metabolism cannot produce enough heat to compensate for the losses from the environment, even with the great cloak.

Most of these organisms thrive, or at least make do, with an ambient temperature about a quarter of the way from ice to steam. If you want them to remain alive, take them with you in to the cave, build a fire for them to warm themselves near, and hurry. Otherwise, they'll freeze to death shortly, which should be a relatively painless and humane way for your living captive to become a frozen specimen.

Clear the tunnel, preserve your captive's life. After dragging them around all this way, killing your captive by accident just feels... rude. If you're going to kill them, it should be on purpose, because they've been uncooperative.
>>
No. 966800 ID: b1b4f3

>>966794
Check message first.
>>
No. 966802 ID: fa2754

As much as I want to check the message first, we should keep our captive alive. Clear the tunnel.
>>
No. 967472 ID: 7c0903
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967472

I descend - I make sure the yennik follows me, who seems eager enough to get out of the wind.

It gets dark very, very quickly - Mother chose this cave for its depth and darkness. Easy to conceal equipment further in.

... And among other hidden things, I feel something further ahead. Something is making noise - and ultrasonic pulses.
>>
No. 967473 ID: 7c0903
File 159013441283.jpg - (533.07KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele21.jpg )
967473

Mode: Mixed low-light + tozol blindsense

Eugh, these things.

They're some of the endemic life in caves. They're nasty, brutish, and not too picky about what they try to eat. Animals, fungi, storage crates, antennae, generators.

These things are resilient, armored, and deceptively quick. Not me-quick... but I would hate for there to be more than one.

They often come in groups of four.

And I'm sure it's heard my captive behind me, who has the good sense to stop when I stop. Unfortunately, I can feel it making some sort of ultrasonic pulse.

Tactics?
>>
No. 967474 ID: b1b4f3

>>967473
Shoot it.
>>
No. 967475 ID: 3a7feb

Shoot it, then eat it.
>>
No. 967476 ID: 3a7feb

Wait. Also: aim for the nerve stem, and put it down for good.
>>
No. 967477 ID: fa2754

>>967473
Make the first shot, aim for eyes and space between the armor plates.
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