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910512 No. 910512 ID: 891b91

Chapter 0: >>/questarch/886861

Discussion: >>/questdis/123379
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Dead_Dust
Inventory: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Dead_Dust/Inventory

Yesterday was a blur. They ended up keeping you in the infirmary overnight, so they could monitor your health; between the frequent examinations and the steady trickle of well-wishers showing up to ask how you were doing, you didn't get much opportunity to make sense of your current situation, let alone ask any of the growing number of questions floating around in your head. Of all the things puzzling you about this place, the people themselves are the greatest mystery. They've been friendly and welcoming, sure; but sometimes it feels like they find you familiar in some way. They keep calling you Sigarzghar,, too, and you have no clue why.

But these confusions don't trouble you -- you find the others more worrying, such as why you were in a coma for three days, or why all your posessions are missing from your pockets. You wonder how long you'll be stuck in this place, but you don't have much in the way of leads to figure out where else to go -- there're Delaney and Quincy over on Gansett shelf, the tentacle twins on the Concourse, and... that's about it. You're not sure how you'd get to either of those places from here, so you certainly feel stuck. Right now, more than anything else, you need answers.

You suppose that's why you're waiting here. They discharged you from the infirmary shortly after you awoke this morning, and led you here, telling you that Cider has invited you to her quarters to discuss a few things. You get the impression she's in charge around here; surely she can help you make sense of why you're here and how you arrived, and perhaps what to do next. At the moment there's already a visitor in there with her, judging from the muffled sounds of conversation; you wager it's been 20 minutes already, and you hope it isn't going to take much longer.
917 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 956266 ID: e7c7d3

So our "blade" is to find the other blades and bring them together, And in the darkness bind them. Seems like we'll have a choice of either having the other blades work together in harmony, or forcible taking them.

Ask if these mysterious figures are the other blades. Also say you don't know who contacted you, you just call them "Dollar"
No. 956267 ID: 3ce8ff

My guess is they may be other blade bearers. I guess let's say hello
No. 956268 ID: b1b4f3

Ask bellwether where they are. You won't decline their invitation.
No. 956271 ID: ce39da

"Who's Typhon?"
No. 956278 ID: 801ba1

Bellwether is the location, the name is unknown.
No. 956291 ID: 10c408

Take a moment to collect yourself, and also enjoy getting dream-laid by Omen.

"Uh, hello everyone. What is happening?
No. 956292 ID: 9b97e0

These guys are...

Ask them why they're so bewildered by your appearance; isn't this situation to their advantage?
No. 956295 ID: 0fae41

Ask them how to do chat effects. Then, tell him it was Ligma's doing.
No. 956296 ID: 2aa5f0

and you all are?
No. 956297 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, in that case... maybe it's better to remain silent and try to cut the feed. We saw a map earlier which showed our position, so they can probably figure out where Penny is if we give them time to do so.
Of course, Omen found Penny on her own anyway so maybe it doesn't matter.

Asking who Typhon is might be a decent question though.
No. 956299 ID: 10c408

If they had seen the map, they would have seen Omen and the spiritual congress going on at the time. Their dialogue thus far is indicative that they were simply unaware of Penny at all until the barrier between her and her blade was destroyed.
No. 956301 ID: fd5772

Reach higher planes of consciousness through psychic sexytimes, Penny!

"So am I psychic now? Are you all psychic? What's with these blades I just found out about?"
No. 956303 ID: b1b4f3

Oh my god don't talk about the blades. Penny's supposed destiny involves STEALING them from the others. Last thing we want is for them to expect that.
No. 956304 ID: f2f5ae

This, let's just get straight to business and act like we totally know what we are doing and didn't just coom so hard we jumped dimensions
No. 956333 ID: 864e49

These are either other blades or Hands that pull.
Introduce yourself as Spades.


Yes blame Ligma.
No. 956334 ID: 015bf2

Stop! Don't just blurt things out. Relax in the afterglow and think and use your senses.

And be careful with what you reveal. They probably can't see you clearly, just as you can't see them. Or if they can, you should cloak yourself real quick using that blade of illusion if it's at all accessible. Maybe swap through a bunch of indistinct shapes.

Can you cloak your voice as well? If they peg you're female, that's half their suspects gone.
No. 956385 ID: 7ae67b

Those people are probably the "interference" that Omen mentioned before you used "spiritual congress" to get a more direct connection. Its probably a good idea to not give them any usable information if at all possible. Try to use your illusion powers to hide, or to give them incorrect information.

Also "Nemo" is "Omen" backwards as someone else pointed out, so they might already known something about her, and might consider her, and by extension you, their enemies.

The person asking you to kill them is probably crazy. They might actually want to die, or it might be some kind of trap. Probably a bad idea to do what they ask without more information.
No. 956392 ID: 7ae67b

I have a theory about what is going on.
Dust is some kind of nano-technology. It permeates most things, or at least most people and the surface of the planet.

In people it carries out certain functions. Some kind of basic firewall meant to protect your dust from being hacked, the one that capture-glyph bypassed and them patched. The virtual measuring tape that Roz has. Being able to effortlessly remember digital addresses. Making a backup of your brain so it can be put in a new body if the current one dies. The personal dust-network of a person is probably the thing you perceive as their rhythm or wiggling.

I you can perceive it, you might be able to mess with it. Even it you can't mess with it, you might be able to get information from, like what state they are in, or if they've be hacked, or if they have one of the blades.

However I don't think all of this dust is actually under control. I think its something along the lines of lost technology, or something that grew out of control. People these days can work with it, but the system as a whole isn't under anyone's control.

I think the surface suffers from "rhythm" because the huge network of dust on the surface has rogue programs or virus spreading and screwing with it all the time. Presumably the network or distributed computing of the dust is really robust and capable of adapting, otherwise the whole networked would have stopped working completely. So the network in an area adapts to whatever was breaking in last time, then a new/mutated virus spreads to it and makes the dust do something unpleasant to anything in the area.

The "blades" are programs that are able to manipulate the dust network in particular ways.
The "Gordian knot" is probably the inability to control the network as a whole.
The "hands that pull" are people that people that would like to have that power, some of which would be people who already have a fair amount of power, some might be crazy people who think their cause is right, etc etc.
"seek to stay your hand" would be people who want the status quo to continue, probably because they benefit from it.
"others to guide it" would be people who would try to get you to change the network in their favor.
"to cleave the knot in twain" could mean to modify the network to clear up the issues on the surface or other such things that would get rid of huge problems for everyone, because then those hands that pull would no longer be in power, which is why few of them want the knot cut in twain.

The people you are seeing now are likely either others who hold blades, or work for those who holds blades, or are likely to somehow get the information about you to the people who hold blades.
As for where you currently are, it's probably some kind of VR/simulation type thing happening in the network. Before you had some kind of secure connection between you and Omen, but now you've got a public connection that anyone in the network can look into if they want too.
It's a good idea to re-establish a secure connection, or leave immediately and talk with Omen again later.
No. 956394 ID: 15a025

Ask why one of them seeks destruction?
No. 956424 ID: e7fbf6

Realize you almost forgot that you are still naked and in front of these group of hooded(?) Strangers. Ask for something to wear.
No. 956486 ID: b24d69

Support, god I got a good laugh from this
No. 956548 ID: ce39da

You don’t need to ask. Just will some clothes on.
No. 956562 ID: cdabe3

No. 956574 ID: 13059a

Roll with something like those.
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and if some weird ghost version of you gives you a mindblowing orgasm into another plane, roll with it.
No. 956725 ID: 891b91
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>Realize you almost forgot that you are still naked and in front of these group of hooded(?) Strangers.
At first your stomach drops when your realize that you're naked (and partially soaked) in front of all of these people -- a feeling that isn't assuaged by the fact that this is your dreamscape body, considering its identical appearance to your waking body.

But then you look down at yourself and discover that your body has again lost definition -- you appear the same as the strangers. You would be alarmed by the sudden change, but the fact that it obscures your previous appearance is reassuring to you. With any luck, it's obscuring your identity, too.

>Cloak yourself with blade of illusion
You can feel the... presence of some facet of yourself that you never noticed before -- it's as though you have a new limb. You try to flex it, and you feel it do so, but there is no apparent effect.

"Uh, hello everyone. What's happening?" Your voice echoes uncomfortably across the abyss.

A couple of the figures give each other a glance, then look back at you. The others continue to stare silently.

"Ahem, well anyway, can you tell me where you are, Bellwether? If you really want me to uh, kill you."

A couple moments of staring pass, and then finally, you get a reply.

oh uhh really?? cool like i said im on bellwether shelf, they keep me on the center floor i think. just watch out for the guards
Stop using your voice in here. You're broadcasting your location to us, you dolt.
Ooh, she's on Red Shelf, how interesting~
She's lucky she isn't in my neck of the woods. If she was I'd be on my way to apprehend her as we speak.

No. 956729 ID: e7c7d3

Try to project your thoughts, then. Say that you're obviously new here, so a quick run-down of the rules would be appreciated. Unless they get off on be cryptic dicks about it.
No. 956733 ID: 4286b4

Yeah, try imagining sending a text message to people here instead of using your voice.

>I'd be on my way to apprehend her as we speak
Reply with something like "I'm sorry, I'll be a good girl, please don't tie me up and touch me in weird places as roughly as the last time~~"

Saying it like that may mislead them and/or cause the other figures to comment on it, revealing more information about us or the person that just spoke.
No. 956781 ID: b1b4f3

Fuckballs. Just cut the connection.
No. 956787 ID: a80696

No. 956808 ID: 0fae41

Try thinking what you want to say. Titty sprinkles. If that doesn't come across, it's not like you can hide your location now.
Apprehend us, huh? What are you, a cop? You have to tell me if you are.
No. 956814 ID: c8b64e

The teens sure know how to show a girl a warm welcome. This is an opportunity to say something unexpected. Maybe confusion can help you out here. Tittysprinkles was a great suggestion!
No. 956820 ID: cdabe3

try to mentally project your thoughts. if that works, ask them if you can join their spooky DnD club
No. 956834 ID: 891b91
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>try imagining sending a text message to people here instead of using your voice.
It feels weird, but you try composing a text message in your head... and it seems to work. Stranger yet, you become aware of a... running log of communications, and a clearer sense of who said what.

d01c35: Titty sprinkles.
ff358f: What.
32b0cc: Looks like we've got a lewd one~
32b0cc: I like her~
d01c35: Sorry, I'm new to this. A quick run-down of the rules would be appreciated.
ff358f: There are no rules. I was simply astonished by your stupidity.
32b0cc: Don't be such a meanie! What our dear '58f was trying to say is that there are certain precautions we must all take to avoid compromising ourselves!
ff358f: No, I meant what I said. Although you are right about precautions. Those who don't maintain some semblance of secrecy... well, they don't last.
d01c35: What did you say before about apprehending me? Are you a cop or something?
ff358f: ...No, of course not. I simply don't tolerate intruders.
32b0cc: Oh d01 darling, we are all above the level of being policed by anyone but our own kind~

No. 956838 ID: 4286b4

>I like her
32b0cc you're nice, I like you too! Wanna meet up? Or ERP?

>I simply don't tolerate intruders
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I didn't know that I could come so hard that... anyway, if you guys don't want me here then I'll leave.

>by anyone but our own kind
Then what about the guy that's being held on Bellwether? Did you guys put him there?
No. 956841 ID: a17ca4

Yep. These guys, or at least some of them, are definitely not friendly and also very powerful.

Don't say/think anything to them right now, we would just be giving them more information about us. We can come back and chat when we know enough to not give away the wrong info.

Look around to see if Omen is still here. If she is, try to get closer to her and communicate with only her.
No. 956844 ID: 9a21f9

I knew talking was a bad idea! Now they know you're a woman, that you're on Red Shelf and that you're pretty lewd. (Best to never reveal the latter to anyone anyway!) In the future, in here, be more careful. You've got no idea what can be traced back to you and anything you say will probably be sifted through for clues so if you ask about any of the things you've discovered so far and then go around asking about it outside this realm they might connect it to you.

Absolutely do not mention you have the blade of blades or imply you can control other blades. They may know you can anyway, but no need to announce it! Frankly, you may need to just lurk moar around here before getting involved in any deep chats. Or at least until you can figure out how to ask questions that doesn't reveal you're a newly-minted zombie, which puts you into a small number of potential targets.

While you're here, focus to see if you can get an options menu or a gut feeling as to what your illusion power can do. And see, once you're done talking, what can be done to... shut down the broadcast signal and go dark again.

"So... this is it? We sit around talking smack all day trying to trick one another into saying more than we should? Can't say that's what I expected out of this!

I am a tad curious, though. How DO people typically 'not last' by revealing who they are?

If you were that keen on killing each other, wouldn't someone have gone looking for bellwether already? Or are they just that blatant or bad of a honey trap? It does strike me that they haven't exactly given me much of anything, y'know, useful. No offense honey, will totally gently sink you into the sweet embrace of oblivion if I can find you, xoxo love, some random murder-happy stranger."
No. 956850 ID: 0e24f3

hey, wait a minute, those name tags look like html color codes.
No. 956851 ID: e7c7d3

Alright then, a shadowy consortium of monarchs. Any reason we're all gathered here today?

I was thinking they were board ID's. Is this metaphysical QuestDen? :V
No. 956864 ID: b1b4f3

Ask what they do, anyway. Is there any central organization or plan, or are they all independent actors?
No. 956877 ID: ce39da

`So, Bocci, Triple-F, are we the only ones using this feature or does someone else feel like actually telling me what this all is? Call me "Dulcinea" or "Doll" if you want to call me anything since those seem like the closest things to actual names I can construe from this letter spaghetti.`
No. 956892 ID: e4423f

Hex triplets could be several things, but in context, the similarity to the questden poster IDs is hard to ignore.
No. 956904 ID: 891b91
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>Look around to see if Omen is still here. If she is, try to get closer to her and communicate with only her.
You don't see Omen anywhere. Maybe she's one of the figures standing in the distance -- but you can't tell them apart anyway. And you can't contact Omen privately, because you don't know what her... callsign is, you guess.

>While you're here, focus to see if you can get an options menu or a gut feeling as to what your illusion power can do.
You can't sense an options menu or anything like that, but you feel like you can manipulate the illusion power in your mind, somehow. It really does feel like you have an extra limb -- you can bring it close and examine its properties. When you look closely enough, you become aware of what you guess is a technical description of what it does, although it's fairly cryptic: it has something to do with manipulating "spiral 5-vectors" and using those to create "orthogonal wave interference". You suddenly have a vague idea why nothing happened when you tried it earlier, though -- this ethereal space you're currently in, whatever it is... it features "recursive topology" that causes the spiral 5-vectors to "self-intersect," which you intuit somehow causes them to collapse in on themselves uselessly.

>Bocci, Triple-F, Dulcinea
You think it might be best to avoid forcing nicknames on the people here for the time being, but it occurs to you that you can use these names to help you make better sense of who's who in the conversation log. If it comes up, though, you'll try to get the others to refer to you as Dulcinea.

Penny (d01c35): I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude... if you don't want me here then I'll leave.
Triple-F (ff358f): Quit it with the passive-aggressive shit. I didn't say you were intruding, Red Shelf isn't my turf. But if I find out you are in my territory I am going to treat you as a threat.
Penny (d01c35): Okay, so where is your territory?
Bocci (32b0cc): That'd be one of those things we avoid talking about~
Triple-F (ff358f): Unless you want one of us knocking at your door. Which you probably don't.
cc45d0: i do
Triple-F (ff358f): Maybe so, but I'll remind you that you deserve your predicament and I'm not risking my hide to rescue you from it.
Penny (d01c35): Is cc45d0 one of the ones who... didn't last?
Triple-F (ff358f): No, he let those fanatics on Bellwether capture him.
Bocci (32b0cc): The ones who didn't last simply disappeared, darling~
Bocci (32b0cc): Their whereabouts became common knowledge, and... poof!
Bocci (32b0cc): Where'd they go? What happened to them? Who did it to them? No one knows~
Triple-F (ff358f): Right. That's why I won't hesitate to put any of you down, should I discover you closing in on me. One of you is behind all of this, and I'm not going to let you win.
Penny (d01c35): But I'm new here -- why suspect me?
Triple-F (ff358f): Are you? Can you prove it? Maybe you've been here all along, listening and never talking. Maybe you're the one who's been picking us off, one by one.
Triple-F (ff358f): You seem pretty enthusiastic to kill our crybaby friend over there, after all. Maybe this is just your next gambit: pretend you're new and confused, to try to make us slip up.

>And see, once you're done talking, what can be done to... shut down the broadcast signal and go dark again.
As far as you can tell, this is an always-on kind of thing; there doesn't seem to be a way to get out of it. Upon inspection, though, you realize that you can will yourself to wake up at any time, and that your presence in this place is somehow parallel to the "real" world, rather than being explicitly some kind of dream realm. Furthermore, you become aware that you can toggle your wraith-like body in this world between visible and invisible states, and that the invisible state acts to temporarily deafen your awareness of incoming conversation -- you guess in case you need to focus on something. It isn't clear to you how you're able to learn these things; it all arrives as sudden epiphanies, as if unearthing an old memory. It's just there and it's true.
No. 956907 ID: b1b4f3

Sounds like there's no downside to waking up, so do that.
Tell them if someone's begging to die then you feel like you need to at least try to help one way or another, and accepting the task was the easiest way to get more info. Ask about the fanatics. If you went to bellwether how hard would it be to get in and out? Any chance of rescue instead of death?
Also point out an obvious truth: anyone new to this group would not immediately have the knowledge required to hide themselves. There's no way someone could have joined and never made their presence known. Whoever the killer is, it's someone they've been aware of at one point, however briefly. Heck, the killer could be someone who "disappeared", since it's quite possible to go invisible indefinitely, isn't it? It's also possible that the missing members aren't missing, but simply got sick of talking to the others and went invis indefinitely.
No. 956910 ID: cdabe3

>Are you? Can you prove it?
wait, are we able to 'hide' ourselves? if everyone is able to enter this... place without the others knowing, there could be literally thousands of others just hiding. if we can't, then their paranoia makes no sense
No. 956913 ID: 60d648

“I’m interested in your friend because if i can help someone who hasn’t wronged me then why shouldn’t i at least consider it? Also cc45d0, if speaking openly is so lethal then why don’t you just do that?” (It would also help prove their location probably)
No. 956918 ID: 4286b4

>That'd be one of those things we avoid talking about
Then, can I at least get your names?

>I'm not going to let you win
Win? Is this some sort of a game?

>Maybe you've been here all along, listening and never talking
Didn't you guys notice me the moment I entered this place? Doesn't that prove I wasn't here the whole time?

That said, you should try inputting a black bar with text hidden in it, I like boobs, like this, to see if it's possible to do that.
No. 956937 ID: a17ca4

Well if you don't want to tell me things that would help me if I was an assasin, how about things that would be really useful for somebody new, and that an assasin would already know?
Like, what should I do to avoid disappearing?
No. 956946 ID: ce39da

Hm, Bellwether + wants to die = "for whom the bell tolls?"/"Death-knell?"

Knell-Tolly (cc45d0)

> I mean, it sounds like he really wanted to die...
> But sorry, I spoke without thinking. Maybe there is a better way to help him, now that I think about it.
> Still, as long as you think everything that comes out of me could be a lie for all you know... I guess there's no proving my innocence, even if I know I am, huh?
> Actually, are you like this with every new person who comes here?
No. 956947 ID: 7ae67b

I propose either Ceecee or Cas as a nickname for cc45d0.
No. 956959 ID: 015bf2

>Just there and it's true
Sounds like it's... kind of programmed into you? And that you have to think about it to become actively aware about it. Keep exploring these feelings and the, uh, user documentation, for lack of better words. Branch of your thoughts into more specific questions, then go back to general questions. Like, what's your power actually allow you to do? Change appearances?

So what's the usual callsigns of those who HAVE shown themselves? You've got a few down already, but you don't want to introduce a new crop if there's already a common protocol. Some names were mentioned, but you don't have their, uh, IDs down yet.

>Wake up.
Should do so soon and put your awareness of this place on passive. We've no idea how much time's passed and it it's straight up real-time, you might start turning into a wrinkly prune and/or worry Roz right about now.
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