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913306 No. 913306 ID: 470289

Wiki and previous threads: https://questden.org/wiki/The_Rogue

“Wait up! You’re going too fast! Max!”

“Mac!”

“Whatever we call you, stop walking so fast. Socrates is tired.”

“Sock!”

Socrates.
590 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1009574 ID: e2f5cc

Basically just repeating my previous post >>1006478 here. I don't know too much about law but I'm pretty sure they'd have a good case against you if you willingly choose to not inform them about a group of dangerous psychopaths, not to mention the moral issues if they kill innocents because of your inaction.

Even if you think they're all bastards, unless they're complete caricatures there's absolutely no way they'd turn a blind eye to this. Shit even if they are, this sort of op is probably the shit they dream of in the academy. If you're worried about yourself, that's what protective custody is for.
>>
No. 1009753 ID: ce39da

Right; don't suppress the anger, but redirect it into righteous outrage as you hand out fliers.
>>
No. 1010014 ID: c0641b

>>1009489
>>1009574

Might be best to talk to the rogue-integration agency that helped place us with Luvi, and just ask if they're aware that she was, you know, working with a group that basically just tried to murder you (and one another) for fun. And you've probably still got the fur and skin between your teeth to prove it.
>>
No. 1010093 ID: 094652

>>1010014
Send by anonymous message. They must have known, Luvi isn't exactly an obscurity with her overwhelming empathy.

Give the scoop to the alien news networks. This kind of story is dramatic gold, they won't resist broadcasting because they won't get flak from the Neumono government for posting an outlandish sob story about one mentally-ill rogue. But it will raise awareness for those in the know.
>>
No. 1010216 ID: 5a95b8

>>1009489
Lie to people and tell them that there's free stuff at the thing Kark wants people to show up for. He probably doesn't care if they're actually interested, he just wants numbers to make it seem like he has public support.
>>
No. 1010265 ID: 15a025

Save and project your anger for whatever is going on in town hall.
>>
No. 1013188 ID: 2452af
File 163468565645.png - (191.32KB , 1000x1000 , 315.png )
1013188

>Just look at her cute widdle face, can you really stay mad at that??
Yes. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cool down a little bit as I walk.

I use my phone to guide me back to the Office of Rogue Services. If nothing else there will be a big pool of people to talk to and recruit.

Or, well, I thought there would be. There are definitely still people around but the crowd from earlier is gone and the building isn’t locked anymore. I can walk right in and see my potential targets, none of whom I recognize from this morning. I’m… more tired than I should be for how early in the day it still is. I don’t want to waste my time asking everyone in here if they’re open to go to the town hall, so I just empathetically check who seems willing to put up with a few questions. Two people I can see are fine with me talking to them for a minute.

>Lie to people and tell them that there's free stuff at the thing Kark wants people to show up for. He probably doesn't care if they're actually interested, he just wants numbers to make it seem like he has public support.
There might be free food, I guess? Lying to another neumono is dumb though, because they’ll be able to tell. I suppose I could lie to aliens, but the pomi receptionist is the only one I see and Kark wasn’t too enthusiastic about convincing aliens to come anyway. I mean I won’t lie to anyone, but at least he wouldn’t instantly call me out on it.
>>
No. 1013189 ID: 2452af
File 163468579103.png - (227.97KB , 1000x1000 , 316.png )
1013189

I approach three people to talk to before I head to the Town Hall.

-----

Pomi Receptionist
I get in line to wait for the receptionist, and in the few minutes it takes to get to the front I start stewing and getting angry again. But under the anger I feel an undercurrent of frustration that just grows the more that I think about my situation. When I get to the front of the line I’ve put my situation into perspective.

>”Hi, how can I help you?”

>Might be best to talk to the rogue-integration agency that helped place us with Luvi, and just ask if they're aware that she was, you know, working with a group that basically just tried to murder you (and one another) for fun. And you've probably still got the fur and skin between your teeth to prove it.

>I don't know too much about law but I'm pretty sure they'd have a good case against you if you willingly choose to not inform them about a group of dangerous psychopaths, not to mention the moral issues if they kill innocents because of your inaction.
>Call the swat team on these dangerously mentally unstable psychopaths immediately, and remember that Luvi is clearly insane so unless she does something completely stupid she can just plead that in court. If you really want to do something with your life you can use this case to drum up support for better mental help for rogues.

I can tell this lady that their ORS’s former employee put me in a dangerous situation and have them call the police and get Rocker arrested or whatever for assault. But if I do that, I don’t think even Luvi would let me stay in her house after that. Assuming she doesn’t get taken in too. Which means I’m back to square one, with only temporary housing from the ORS available instead of the indefinite housing Luvi’s offered. What if I can’t find a job to support myself in two weeks?

No matter how angry I am is it actually a good idea to get the authorities involved? A part of me wants to. It’s not especially big but it is there. But a big part of can’t help but think of the consequences of doing so, and be scared.

>”Uh, ma’am are you okay?”

I don’t know what to say. Maybe I should just invite her to town hall as an excuse. She can’t tell I came up here thinking about something else. I guess I would need to give her a good enough reason to take her lunch break or whatever to go to it, since she’s working right now.

-----

Bored Neumono
The first neumono I approach is sitting, reading a magazine.

>”You got any cigs, kid?” [Have a craving.]

“No, sorry.”

>“Shame. What do ya want.”

“My name’s Mac. I wanted to invite you to a town hall this afternoon.” She gives an empathetic sigh.

>”Hraim. That sounds boring as hell.”

Which isn’t her saying she won’t come. Hraim’s apathetic, but I get the feeling that’s her general vibe, and not directed particularly towards the town hall or me. She’s also a bit distracted, not with the magazine but with another neumono that’s not in the room who is focused on her too. That neumono seems insistent about something.

Do I try to talk up the town hall as interesting, or some other tactic to get her to say yes to coming?

-----

Pink Neumono
This lady has a pretty friendly vibe and was coming out of the back.

“Hi, did you want something?”

“I wanted to ask if you were free for the next few hours. There’s a town hall starting soon and I’m trying to find some attendees from around town.”

“Sure. I took the day off anyway. I don’t like, live in this district though. Is that okay?”

I don’t know if that’s okay.
>>
No. 1013209 ID: ce39da

> Receptionist
No need to say anything. Thinking back on it, you weren't in any (permanent) danger; yeah, Rocker's a bit unhinged in private, but permanently harming a neumono is notoriously tricky. Yeah, he's dangerous, but not that dangerous unless he gets his hands on explosives for some godforsaken reason.

Just ask him about showing up to the meeting.

> Hraim
Where's this neumono who's insisting on something? Maybe there's an avenue through them that will get someone to show up at the meeting, whether it's Hraim or their buddy.

> Pinky
"I don't know, maybe? I'm just a messenger - I guess you could ask the protest organizer when you get there."
>>
No. 1013211 ID: 53560f

Receptionist: just ask them if they’e willing to show up. I get the feeling Kark was counting on rogues but I don’t see why he’d refuse anyone showing up.

Hraim: if she’s gonna be waiting here a while while her buddy does something then offer to fetch her a pack of smokes if she’s willing to show up to town hall later. Ask preferred brand or whatever it is she wants, otherwise, see what her friend is here for.

Pink Neumono: Third verse same as the first, Kark likely isn’t going to refuse anyone showing up and I don’t recall him specifying. Tell her there’s no reason she wouldn’t be allowed.
>>
No. 1014733 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659672342.png - (201.25KB , 1000x1000 , 317.png )
1014733

-----

Pomi Receptionist
> No need to say anything. Thinking back on it, you weren't in any (permanent) danger. Just ask him about showing up to the meeting.
>Just ask them if they’re willing to show up. I get the feeling Kark was counting on rogues but I don’t see why he’d refuse anyone showing up.
“Hi, I’m looking for people to attend a town hall this afternoon. I wanted to know if you would be able to attend?” I make sure to put an obvious smile on my face. Aliens like cues like that, if I remember correctly.

>“It’s a shame but I can’t. There’s just too much to get done. I hope it’s not turn out goes well though. Citizens talking to their representatives is important for the health of a community. Why, I wish we got a bit more-“ An impatient neumono coughs behind me. “Oh, I’m sorry but if that was all can you let me serve the next person in line.”

After I step away it occurs to me that maybe I could have like, appealed to her civic duty to convince her, since she seemed pretty patriotic in her answer, but the moment to ask has already passed.

-----

Hraim
>Where's this neumono who's insisting on something? Maybe there's an avenue through them that will get someone to show up at the meeting, whether it's Hraim or their buddy.

> if she’s gonna be waiting here a while while her buddy does something then offer to fetch her a pack of smokes if she’s willing to show up to town hall later. Ask preferred brand or whatever it is she wants, otherwise, see what her friend is here for.

“I have some time, I can probably go pick up something for you. Got a brand?”

>“Trying to make feel like I owe you so I’ll go to the dumb meeting.” [Curious]

“Yes.” She barks out a short laugh.

>“Blunt. I like that.”

“Enough to come?”

>“Eh.” She shrugs. “I don’t think it’d be my kind of scene.”

“What about your friend inside.” She frowns.

>“It’s... probably her kind of scene.” [Grudging Admission]

“Well, please mention it to her when she comes out. It’d really help us out to have more participants.”

She gives an exaggerated sigh but I can tell she’ll pass it along to her friend.

-----

Pink Neumono

>Pink Neumono: Third verse same as the first, Kark likely isn’t going to refuse anyone showing up and I don’t recall him specifying. Tell her there’s no reason she wouldn’t be allowed.
"I don't know, maybe? I'm just a messenger - we can ask Kark when get there."

>“Kark?”

“He’s… the organizer, kind of? He’ll know what’s going on at least. But I can’t imagine he’d have a problem with you coming.”

>“Well, if you’re sure, then I’m all for it. Lead the way!”
>>
No. 1014734 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659677573.png - (313.05KB , 1175x1000 , 318.png )
1014734

Vinessca waits outside with me for a minute as Hraim and her friend talk inside. We can tell they come to an understanding before they leave the building and we all start walking together.

“I’ve never been to a town hall before, what are they like? Oh, my name’s Vinessca by the way. You can call me Vin.”

“Uh…” I still don’t have an answer by the time Hraim and her friend Yvnette finish introducing themselves to her.

“Mac, don’t tell me you’ve never been to one either? Why the hell are you out panhandling for one then?” [Amused]

“Well, why are you coming?” I shoot back. “I thought it’s not your scene.”

“I can still change my mind and you’ll lose a body.”

“She’s bluffing. I’m going and Hraim is joined to my hip. And I’m definitely going. There aren’t many community events and I’ve been missing them since we left our hive. I wish ORS spent it’s time organizing those for the town instead of dragging us in for tedious interviews.” [Irritated]

[Curious]

“When you work for a hive there’s all sorts of regulations. Usually they aren’t too annoying, but the interviews are one of the worst ones.”

“It’s an hour of answering banal questions about if you’re mistreated or overworked or discriminated against, phrased in a dozen different ways, after you’ve already waited at least an hour in the lobby. With travel time it can be half a day wasted on bullshit.”

“Isn’t it good that they’re checking on you?”

“I’d rather have half days pay.”

“Your hive doesn’t comp you the time? Oh, no wonder you’re so annoyed.”

“What, are you salaried?” [Disbelief]

“No, I’m just a handyman, but the Foodbowl’s are really generous with me.” [Bashful]

“Huh. You sound pretty lucky.”

Vinessca keeps the conversation going talking about her job and other smalltalk and it occurs to me as we talk that these people are normal. I think they’re the only normal people I’ve met since yesterday. It’s been less than two days but it feels so much longer and I relax a little as we head towards the hall.
>>
No. 1014736 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659695170.png - (233.59KB , 1000x1000 , 319.png )
1014736

Kark beelines towards me as soon as he feels me. He pauses once he’s close and I can feel a flash of confusion come from him for a second, before frustration and anger overtakes it again.

“If I knew you’d find the most annoying cunt on in the city I wouldn’t have asked you to look for people.”

“They all came then?”

“The cultists and the vet? Yeah.” He throws a thumb towards the building. “Everyone’s gathering inside. We’re starting soon. Grab seats if you can, should be some left.”

“You’re Kark? I wanted to ask-“

“Don’t fucking care. Go inside.”

The three of them give us some looks, which Kark ignores and I try to , and they go inside. Vinessca waves as she leaves.

“Where’s Luvi?”
>>
No. 1014739 ID: dfbac0

You let her know about the town hall but you also just fully figured out exactly how wrong in the head she is so she might be late because she's being a living stress ball for a murderous neumono.
>>
No. 1014745 ID: ce39da

"I found her, but I don't think her demented ex-crewmate wanted her to come."
>>
No. 1014788 ID: 2de4fd

Doing her own thing. Can we go now? It's probably pretty clear from your empathy alone that this past interaction was not a great one.
>>
No. 1014791 ID: 53560f

She told me that she hasn’t forgotten and will be around later. She was uncontactable because as it turns out, there’s no reception underground.
>>
No. 1014796 ID: 094652

"She's busy getting her backside plowed by that trigger-happy boyfriend of hers. They're even worse than the cultists."
>>
No. 1015059 ID: 15a025

Underground with no reception. What are the odds we get a good outcome here today Kark?
>>
No. 1020332 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203722724.png - (222.51KB , 1000x1000 , 320.png )
1020332

“She was underground. No reception down there. She said she’ll be coming later.” [Don’t want to talk about it.]

“Fuck. I wanted to brief her before she spoke. Whatever. I underestimated how many people we could bring out anyway. We’ll make do.”

“What are the odds we get a good outcome here, Kark?”

“Going to be honest, the turnout being so high is already a better outcome than I anticipated.” Something almost like embarrassment pokes through his angry empathy. “We’ll see how the Q & A goes. I want you to go up first, since you’re the freshest rogue I got. Tell ‘em about your experiences. Don’t ask any questions. Statements only. Then get off the mic before they answer and let the next person go up.”

He turns and leaves before I can say anything back, yelling to someone else about something.
>>
No. 1020333 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203724607.png - (237.12KB , 1000x1000 , 321.png )
1020333

I go inside to find a seat. People are filtering in and it looks there’s going to be a full house. There are some people currently on the stage talking to each other and glancing at the crowd. The Neumono are surprised. After listening for a few minutes, I gather they’re some of the elected officials, and pomi is the mayor of Jirak. And Jirak is, uh, here. I thought this roguetown was called Shattersteel, but it’s apparently just slang that caught on after the Shattersteel hive took over the police force. Speaking of, I don’t need to listen to any of the chatter to see that the Shattersteel queen is the big neumono on stage. She exudes authority.
>>
No. 1020334 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203726924.png - (228.28KB , 1000x1000 , 322.png )
1020334

Once everyone who wants to has found a seat and things have quieted down a bit the mayor taps the mic to get everyone’s attention.

>“We have such a… surprising number of participants today. Which is great!”

She drones on for a while about things her administration has done for Jirak and thanks the other people on the stage for their help. I can barely keep myself paying attention. Her voice is practically calculated to bore me.

>“Well, now that we’ve broken the ice a bit, it’s time for the Q&A portion of the day. Everyone who wants to will have a chance to come up to the microphone and ask questions of the Jirak leaders and help us help you.”

Kark told me to go up first and I think he spread it around because there’s a sense that the other neumono are waiting for me to get in line first. But I didn’t actually agree to it! What would I even say?
>>
No. 1020335 ID: 62b53b

Tell people that the breaking point was your hive not liking your play then you got kicked out and told to fuck off by the government.
>>
No. 1020336 ID: 96c896

We don't actually know what happened that got Mac kicked out. The play caused a blackout.
>>
No. 1020339 ID: 53560f

You can probably omit details regarding the initial ‘breaking point’ but maybe you could talk about the events that followed and led to where you are now.
Also try not to think about the fact that this is probably being broadcast or recorded and that your old hive may see it.
>>
No. 1020347 ID: 39c55a

>>1020334
Keep it together. Focus on what’s happened recently. Best way through is to just get it over and done with. No need to act or overact on this one, you’ve lived a heck of a day and change, and maybe some of that -is- worth sharing. Whatever Kark wanted that’s what he’ll have to get.

Get up and introduce your stingingly monosyllabic name: Mac. You’ve recently been forced to avail yourself of the city’s rogue support services. Speak of the questionable experiences you’ve had in your short time, from good (getting found, getting support from other rogues, a place to stay, essential advice, things to do) to bad (seeming lack of support options, how awkward it’s been to seek help without a hive, finding out about the supposedly depression-inducing mess that is rogue housing - so much so that some people would rather live underground, which you got to verify today - and your crazy supportive rogue support service personnel getting fired while taking care of you). You’ve been thrust into a situation where you’re scrabbling to find steady ground, have had had several scares - moments like trying to take a step down a precarious ladder and finding a rung missing - and even so you get the distinct feeling you’ve been lucky. There were so many things you just had no idea about until...

Make it feel like you were leading up to a question but then just pause and reiterate you had no idea what it was really like being a Rogue, and you still don’t, so for now you’d like to hear what other people who have been living this way for longer have to say and yield the microphone.
>>
No. 1020357 ID: dfbac0

>>1020347
Yeah, mention how it seems like most of the rogues you've met have fostered a sense of community and are willing to help out a new rogue like you, at first we were generally skeptical of well... everything, but to our pleasant surprise you weren't taken advantage of despite being a new rogue that most would see as an easy mark.
Although, it seems as if this happened less of want but of need, rogues need to be supportive of each other because nobody else supports them, everything the government seems to do to help rogues seems to do nothing, and at times detriments rogues rather than helping them.
And yeah, end it with the fact that you're still new to this and your experiences are limited, and for all you know you may be incorrect and these are just your first impressions.
>>
No. 1020374 ID: ce39da

You should probably put on your "Calm Mac" mask for this; yes, it's exhausting, but you can't really afford to break down here (or, worse, leave an opening for it to rear its head again).

>>1020347
>>1020357
These seem like good routes to take, yeah.
>>
No. 1032860 ID: 92c18c
File 165299330785.png - (205.23KB , 1200x1200 , 323.png )
1032860

>Try not to think about the fact that this is probably being broadcast or recorded and that your old hive may see it.
There’s a camera on me, but I put it out of my mind easily. It doesn’t matter anyway. They won’t be watching. Everyone else in the audience though…

My heartbeat speeds up and I can feel myself breathing deeper. Sweat starts to bead on my head and-

> You should probably put on your “Calm Mac” mask for this; yes, it’s exhausting, but you can’t really afford to break down here (or, worse, leave an opening for it to rear its head again).
I am in this moment, talking to these people about my new life. That’s the beginning and end of me.

“Hello. My name is Mac. I became a rogue yesterday.”
>>
No. 1032861 ID: 92c18c
File 165299333523.png - (343.82KB , 1200x1200 , 324.png )
1032861

“I was forced to take advantage of the rogue support services and they were… questionable at best. I think the only thing the city managed to do was find me when I was first wandering around lost. All the advice I’ve gotten and the support I’ve received has been from other rogues. They’ve kept me busy and given me a roof over my head for the time being. Even if it’s hurt them, like getting fired for helping me.”

“I never really thought before about how hard it is to just… exist without a hive. Or maybe that’s wrong. I never really cared before. And now I have to. This is all new to me, and I don’t have that much experience yet. But I think I’ve been lucky so far. And that scares me a lot.”

I leave the podium and am replaced immediately. I tune their speech out though. I’m done with this. I’ve said everything I wanted to. To these people at least.

[Mac! We should talk.]

I have a lot more to say to Luvi once she’s finished going through the line. And I’ll make her listen to me this time.
>>
No. 1032862 ID: 92c18c
File 165299338098.png - (380.19KB , 1200x1200 , 325.png )
1032862

I can finally make them listen to me! Brother Krieg is going to regret passing up this opportunity. I never knew he’d be camera shy. This is precious time to proselytize to the masses the Truth of Om. Plus, the last few speakers have just been complaining. I’m sure everyone’s tired of that by now.

“The problem with us- all of us! Is that we don’t realize just how important and central we are to the universe. Not just rogues but hivers and aliens and everyone. But Om-“

The groan from the crowd almost drowns me out even with the speaker and I have to raise my voice.

>[Ugh, she’s one of them.]

They’re dismissive for now. Obviously. So was I, at first. But planting the seed is important.

“Om’s path shows us all-“

>”Um, thank you but I don’t think this is relevant, miss. Maybe we should wrap up-“

There’s a cough and Mayor Gladsail glances at the Queen on stage and pauses. Her voice is strained when she talks again. Weird.

>”Wrap up and move to the next constituents. Many are still waiting.”

“But I’ve barely started! I have so much more to tell you!”

>[Leave!]
>[Stop talking.]
>[Get her out of here!]

Someone gets out of their chair to grab me and-
>>
No. 1032863 ID: 92c18c
File 165299341753.png - (204.04KB , 1200x1200 , 326.png )
1032863

“Been trying to get a permanent business license for the last couple of years. Keep getting ran around. I’m stuck with the temporary one that needs to be reupped every year. I’ve been passed in a circle three separate times across four departments and your office never answered my messages, Mirai. So now that we’re in the same room, I figured I’d bring it up.” Gladsail looks like she’s been sucking lemons for an hour. Worth it to come up just to see her squirm.

>”Of course. I’d be more than happy to address your concerns, and apologize for the hardship you’ve suffered so far.”

“Glad you think that way, since I got a few war buddies who’ve been jerked around even longer than me. Gonna be a long night for all of us, I’m thinking.”
>>
No. 1032864 ID: 92c18c
File 165299345105.png - (200.31KB , 1200x1200 , 327.png )
1032864

>[What’s wrong with her?]
>[Should be in an institution.]

“Hello, my name is Luvi!”

>[Creepy.]
>[She should leave.]

“I’m not going to give my story or anything, since I was a government worker recently and that seems a bit out of line. But what I do want to say is I’m so, so happy to see the community come together like this!”

>[Freak.]
>[Hate how she feels!]

“I think this conversation will help us all get closer and work out our problems! Together!
>>
No. 1032865 ID: 92c18c
File 165299349688.png - (207.51KB , 1200x1200 , 328.png )
1032865

Little grey guy told me to give my life story as a rogue. Fucking stupid. It’s the same as anyone else’s.

“Been rogue for five years. Shit sucks. Everyone already knows that. Nothing else to say.”

>[That’s it?]
>[Why even go up?]

Yeah, yeah, I don’t have a list of things to yell at people I don’t know. Be as mad as you want, I’m done. No, Yvnette, I don’t care if you’re disappointed. It’s your turn to bitch now if you want.
>>
No. 1032866 ID: 92c18c
File 165299354033.png - (186.94KB , 1200x1200 , 329.png )
1032866

I guess I should be glad Hraim cared enough to stand in line for so long to begin with. I thought she would bail after the first half-hour of waiting, but she stuck it out. If she could put up with that boredom maybe her funk is breaking a bit? It even got to me a little. Gladsail looking like she’s having a conniption got old pretty quick, and checking out pretty girls for too long gets a bit awkward after a while.

“I think the problem we are all circling around is, our system doesn’t work for rogues. It’s almost a mirror of being a rogue. The organizations don’t care and will put in only the minimal effort, you have to jab it repeatedly to get it to maybe do anything, and it always runs out of energy faster than the last time.” Like Hraim. She understands what I’m saying, but doesn’t even fume like she would have a few years ago. “And the people least able to go through the effort of that cat and mouse chase are rogues, especially new ones. Thank you for your time.”

As I head back to sit with Hraim I see a cute pink neumono with an emotional personality disorder talking to Mac in the back of the auditorium. Seems heavy.

[Need help?]

[Private. Don’t come.]

Fair enough.
>>
No. 1032867 ID: 92c18c
File 165299357436.png - (205.99KB , 1200x1200 , 330.png )
1032867

“I um, haven’t really had the same experience as most rogues here. I think my life is pretty good, actually? I have a roof over my head, friends to hang out with, food to eat. I don’t know what else I’d ask for.” Oh jeez, that’s not a popular opinion here, though Ms. Gladsail gives me a little smile.

>[What the hell?]
>[Get off the mic!]

“Anyway, yeah. Thanks!” I leave and hurry back to Yvnette and Hraim. At least they aren’t mad at what I said.
>>
No. 1032869 ID: 92c18c
File 165299362457.png - (336.67KB , 1400x1200 , 331.png )
1032869

Spending all goddamn last night trying to find that timing bug in the code, which fucking *knew* when I was using the debugger and only wouldn’t show up then.

“…We need a responsive government, a stronger community, and people who actually give a shit in charge. You’re running this roguetown like it doesn’t have rogues in it. And you’re failing.” Gladsail’s fuming, babbling something that I don’t bother listening to. She’s gotten most of the flak today, since Mund makes sure to use her as a shield for the shittier decisions. But keeping shit off of you when it’s splashing is pretty fucking hard ain’t it?

[Frustration. You’re enjoying this.]

Immensely. I can be smug and angry at the same time, Mund. Smug that I’m fucking you so well on stage and pissed off that cunt Gysbourne pawned my goddamned guitar to someone who’d wave it in my face. Bitch is lucky it was just gathering dust in my closet. Knowing my luck, the next time I go outside I’ll see someone carrying my bedframe or bookshelves. Whatever. I’m not ruining this moment. I can multi-ta-

Mund barks. Sharp. Piercing. Everyone quiets instantly. Fuck.

”I’ve stood here and listened patiently to each and every one of you air your grievances.” She doesn’t move an inch. All she needs to do is raise her voice and every neumono here is listening. *Queens*. “You’re all right, more or less. We haven’t fixed your problems. Because we can’t. In every one of your little speeches, I never heard an ounce of introspection. How can we fix you when you can’t fix yourselves?”

She’s not even *their* queen and these assholes can’t help but look up to her the second she really starts paying them attention. Just because she’s authoritarian and little bit taller than most neumono all these rogues can’t even *think* individually anymore. Disgusting.

“When my hive came to this district it wasn’t on any Queenwood travel guides. Do you remember that? The city hid you. The law was hours away if it ever even came. It was impossible to navigate the roads here with GPS because every street mapping drone sent inside was shot out of the sky. Jirak is where rogues ended up because nowhere else would have you. Dead last in literacy, job opportunities, wealth, *everything*. Shattersteel did not have to step on a single toe to get this assignment. But I wanted it. We came and dragged Jirak kicking and screaming from the lowest ranked district into something respectable in less than a decade. Turned it from a pimple on the ass of our capital into somewhere that you can live with pride. We locked up the killers and traffickers, kicked out the thieves and addicts, and protected the truly helpless. Rogues can make something of themselves here. And if you haven’t, then blaming Mayor Gladsail might make you feel better, but it won’t change your real problem.” [You.]

Mund. You arrogant piece of shit. Not one lie but barely a hint of truth, even if you believe it. You think nothing is ever going to stick to you. Well, I bet you won’t see this coming. I break in during her pause for breath.

“You’re completely fucking right, bitch. That’s why I’m running to be the first rogue mayor.” [Try and stop me.]

Her surprise is so sweet I forget to be livid for a moment. But then it’s back to the beginning. Kili stealing my doll as a kid. Conceited little prick tore it up instead of just giving it back like I asked
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No. 1032870 ID: 92c18c
File 165299365576.png - (375.69KB , 1400x1200 , 332.png )
1032870

I wish I had that bitterweed on me right now. I feel exhausted, emotionally.

“I think,” Luvi says after a few minutes of quiet. “I took advantage of you, Mac.” [Apologetic.]

How long have we been talking? The sun is starting to set, but almost everyone is still inside. Feels like something big happened in there, but I can’t bring myself to care about it right now.

“I love feeling needed. It kept me going for decades, being there for my friends and well, anyone who asked, really. But none of my friends need me anymore. Not even Rocker, I think. And they haven’t for a long time.” [Wistful.]

I told Krieg I’d do his party when he asked after my speech. I’ll just be a guitar player for a few hours or so, and that’ll be the beginning and end of me. Maybe I can turn that into something steady. Support myself.

“You don’t need me or my shit. But I needed a fresh rogue who was scared enough to cling to someone like me. So, I’m sorry.” [Yearning.]

I can tell Luvi still doesn’t get it. She reminds me of J’raine at her worst. You could explain things to her in a hundred ways and she’d nod. Repeat it back to you verbatim if you asked. Then change nothing about her behavior and be confused when you got frustrated at her. She could know something but couldn’t understand it. Her brain just repelled certain ideas like a magnet. I think Luvi’s the same. Maybe it isn’t their fault, but how much does that matter when it comes down to it?

[Joy.]

I know what she wants me to say. Do I want to give it?
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No. 1032871 ID: e07ed2

>>1032870
Not unconditionally, but at least say that you understand and you'd like to stick around. Have a conversation about what you two want/need out of life and each other.
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No. 1032874 ID: 9a2966

Walk her further away from the crowd for what you're gonna be about to say. No need to love bomb everyone that badly. Focus on your guitar while you speak and keep your expression under control.

>Do I say it?
Need her or not, you... think being her friend is worth another shot. She did you some good, whatever her reasons. And you can solve the 'problem of her' mostly on your own, so it doesn't matter if she's able to listen or not. You can avoid Rocker in the future if he's gonna be a problem. And while her empathy is oppressive, it's not intolerable most of the time and you can always take a wander and go busking if it becomes too bad.

Frankly, yeah, you might be able to put a life back together without her involvement, but you... need someone or something to riff off of. You never were a great solo act and you don't want to get pulled into a depressive funk. Which is probably the last thing that'll happen around someone like her.

This relationship is probably not for forever, but you'll give her - and yourself - a chance and see.

>Internal reflections
While Luvi's support comes with some massive caveats and might come from a broken place and will continue to do so, it's nevertheless support you'd be without and she did put you on the right path. It's an open question where you'd be right now without her and the people she pointed you towards.

You know what's stupid, though? Like, you can't really tell her good things, encourage her much, or similar things. Or, well, it'd come at the very obvious cost of her becoming overwhelmingly happy.

Maybe that's why her friends or people around her are either aliens, sociopaths or grumpy grumps like Kark. It's sheer selection pressure - a nicer and happier Neumono, even as a rogue, might trigger her oversized happiness too often and drive her away - or be driven away.

You probably need to keep a lid on things that really set her off, at least in polite company. If you can suffer the empathy, you might be able - if willing - to let her let off happy steam in private. Maybe you can leverage that into her staying cooler in public.
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No. 1032880 ID: 961cf1

Luvi is one messed up bitch. But so are you.

She is a mess but can still be a friend. Give it a shot at least. You can always change your mind later.
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No. 1032945 ID: 1c6255

>>1032874
This is very insightful, supporting it.
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No. 1032966 ID: f98a7b

>>1032874
Ye...
fucked up, but it's where you're at. Get a life together, Mac
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No. 1032970 ID: f98a7b

>>1032869
Eat your heart out, Mund. That angry little bitch is going to get what he wants if it kills us, if only out of spite.
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No. 1033074 ID: 2de4fd

Yeah, pretty much, Luvi. Even considering how she used you, you still kind of don't have anything better than staying with her if she still lets you. She's needy, but she's not going to stab you. So as long as you can make sure none of her murderously violent friends show up to be problems, she's still probably the best you've got. Especially if you can put an empathy blocker in your bedroom.

She broke your trust. But the way things shook out, she happens to have an opportunity to earn it back.
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No. 1033184 ID: 15a025

Hanging with Luvi isn't your only option Mac. It's probably your most preferable option for now though, since she can get a roof over your head. I would try to keep some distance away in this friendship for now though.
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No. 1034692 ID: 85a6e8

Luvi, Don't process this until I finish my sentence, but- You gave me some hope that being a rouge wasn't a death sentence and things could be alright in what was maybe- in what I HOPE was the lowest point in my life, and I'm not sure if I should hug or throttle you for it. Because I've got a horrible sinking feeling that everything isn't going to be alright and all you'll have done is set me up for crushing disappointment instead of despair.
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No. 1039317 ID: e5e15e
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1039317

“I think… being your friend is worth another shot.” She perks up immediately but keeps her mouth closed.

“I appreciate what you’ve done for me. It’s not lost on me that you’ve helped a stranger at what I hope is the lowest point of my life. Did more than most people would. More than anyone would, if I’m honest. And I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. It’s not like my shit is put together, anyway. It’s like…” I take a minute to try and think of the right words. But then I realize she’s already realized I didn’t say I forgave her. So, nothing really needs to be said.

I’ll stay with her, but I’m not going to be her caretaker. Her problems are hers and mine are mine. I pluck at the strings of my guitar as we wait together for things to die down inside. I know what’s next, and even if it doesn’t work out…

Well, it won’t be forever.
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No. 1039328 ID: e07ed2

Contemplate the steady growth of your racks. Possibly an indicator of something, health-wise.
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No. 1039331 ID: 082ad8

>it won’t be forever
Little is. But try to make it good, at least!
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