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File 154414998242.png - (172.45KB , 800x800 , 152.png )
913306 No. 913306 ID: 470289

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

“Mac!”

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

“Sock!”

Socrates.
Expand all images
>>
No. 913307 ID: 470289
File 154415001192.png - (195.21KB , 800x800 , 153.png )
913307

“Sock’s a cooler name than Socrawhatever!”

“Socrates is a great name. It has tons of history behind it-”

“Stupid history! Some guy died a billion miles away and now poor Sock is stuck with a dumb name? How’s that fair?”

“We’re all named the same way dingus, of course it’s fair. You can’t just rename everyone in the Hive because you’re jealous.”

“Watch me! And I’m not jealous!”
>>
No. 913308 ID: 470289
File 154415004079.png - (300.64KB , 1200x800 , 154.png )
913308

“Just leave it alone, Leo.” She grimaces at Orgo using her obviously superior name. “You know what she’s like after a fight. We should just take Sock home alone. Mac can get back to the Hall herself.”

“No!” Leo shouts as I say. “I don’t need to cool off!” She shoots me a stinkeye and I flip her off.

“The Queen said we had to walk home together and that means we’re all going to walk home together, even if someone’s being a baby about it.”

I’m not being a baby, I just want to be alone right now!
>>
No. 913309 ID: b1b4f3

OBEY
>>
No. 913310 ID: 86eb65

So what famous dead guy am I named after?

(pleasant dreams by the way.)
>>
No. 913312 ID: afdebc

Suddenly, you're at school. And you didn't prepare for the test. And you're naked!
>>
No. 913313 ID: 10c408

If empathy range is larger than visual range, they can just deal with you being at the extreme edge of it. That is ALL the compromise you'll give.
>>
No. 913315 ID: 91ee5f

>>913308
>fight
Ok, what happened? Did you criticize someone’s art in art class?

>walk together or walk alone?
Jeez, do you know how dangerous it is for a kid like you to be walking home by yourself?! Someone could come kidnap you and take you away from your hive!

Walk together with your hivemates!
>>
No. 913316 ID: c1212a

...give you something to be a baby about...

Fine, you patsy-boyscout-stooge, try and keep up.
>>
No. 913319 ID: 977456

Continue being fierce-adorable fierable!
>>
No. 913341 ID: 2202fb

Broadcast killing intent, then take a deep breath, and calmly apologize about making fun of Socrates's name (guess you were being a hair too Machiavellian) and then tell them you need to have a few moments to yourself. Then walk away and punch a wall.
>>
No. 913343 ID: 0c3c2c

>>913308
Try and fit in more with your friends.
>>
No. 913345 ID: e1d580

>>913341
Hey I know this isn’t related but is your irl name brad because you super seem like a brad
>>
No. 913357 ID: 2202fb

>>913345
It wasn't, last i checked.
>>
No. 913407 ID: a9af05

>>913308
>Fight
Did you criticize someone's art project or something?

>Alone or together?
Stay with your hivemates.
>>
No. 913419 ID: 470289
File 154427874636.png - (241.37KB , 1000x800 , 155.png )
913419

>So what famous dead guy am I named after?
Some soldier my mom knew, and absolutely no one else cares about.

>Suddenly, you're at school. And you didn't prepare for the test. And you're naked!
School’s over. We’re walking home from our grade’s fieldtrip to the zoo.

>Fight
Some aliens said our Hive was full of weirdos because we don’t act like they’re made of glass or jump out of our seats to get them stuff when they ask. I told them off. Without punching this time, even. Then they jumped me when I was alone, and the teacher acted like I started it.

“Give you something to be a baby about…” I say under my breath.

“Do you want to eat dirt again?” She thinks I’m bluffing, and since we both know she can beat me up, I guess I am.

“I’ll stay in sight but let me walk alone.”

“What if a wild animal or something came and attacked. You’d be too far away to help.”

“There’s no wild animals this close to Queenwood.”

“Maybe there was a breakout at the zoo after we left, and something with a lot of teeth like a geffer is coming for us right now! What would you do then?”

“We’d all die, Leo. Mac being a little bit away from us wouldn’t change anything.” Leo shoots him a glare and he shrugs.

“You’re being paranoid!”

“I’m in charge so I have to be paranoid. If anything happens to you guys it’s on me.”

“You’re the oldest but that doesn’t make you the boss. It just means you suck at math and got held back.” Orgo chimes in.

Leo gives a low growl, but her empathy says she’s not going budge on me walking with everyone. My empathy makes sure she knows I’m going to be stubborn too, Orgo’s is saying he’s slightly annoyed at everyone, and Sock...
>>
No. 913420 ID: 470289
File 154427877711.png - (157.92KB , 800x800 , 156.png )
913420

“Mac, stay with us. Please.”

Sock’s doing the dumb pout he uses to get extra dessert and really wants us to stop fighting.
>>
No. 913421 ID: 470289
File 154427883391.png - (163.56KB , 800x800 , 157.png )
913421

I start walking again, but slower this time, and everyone follows me without comment for once. Sock starts talking to Leo about the songs the birds he saw were singing and she nods along even though she doesn’t really understand what he’s talking about when he says harmonic series. Orgo walks up next to me.

“What’s your problem with those guys anyway, Mac? They’re stuck up, but you can just ignore ‘em.” Orgo asks me.

“Even when they tell the other hives that we’re pansies because we live in a theater, or that we can’t afford stuff?”

“We can’t afford stuff, though. Building a Hive Compound is expensive.”

“That’s not the point! They’re tarnishing the name Storytree!” Leo’s listening and almost butts in with something snide about what I’ve been doing to our names, but it’s a totally different thing! Orgo cuts her off.

“So? They’re dumbasses. Let ‘em talk.”

“You don’t get it. If we let them talk freely then the story that everyone ends up knowing us by is theirs. We have to protect our legacy.”

“You getting beat up from fights you start whenever Leo and I aren’t looking is a pretty bad legacy.” I don’t say anything because he’s right, but it pisses me off. He scratches his ear absentmindedly before continuing.

“Listen, let’s say Leo and I beat up Jeeks and his cronies, or we got the whole hive in on it and started whaling on anyone who looked at us funny in the entire school. We’d go from the poor hive to the tribal hive, assuming we didn’t get kicked out. Which we would by the way. It’d be a different story for ‘em to tell, and just as wrong.”

“We’d have at least some respect.” I say as I kick a rock.

“Do we need respect?” He goes silent and waits for me to answer.
>>
No. 913422 ID: 470289
File 154427886241.png - (113.20KB , 800x800 , 158.png )
913422

Sock notices something and I look up to see a dock nearby. He wants to take a break there to look at the water, but Leo wants to keep heading home. Orgo doesn’t care where we go.
>>
No. 913426 ID: 86eb65

I guess the only respect we need is for our art.

Go look at the water before heading back.
>>
No. 913428 ID: 6c5a99

No playing near the water without adult supervision!
>>
No. 913430 ID: afdebc

>“Do we need respect?” He goes silent and waits for me to answer.
Really depends on who's giving it, Mac. Not all respect is created equal.

>>913422
Yeah sure, give Sock what he wants.
>>
No. 913436 ID: 0c3c2c

>>913430
Chat with Soc.
>>
No. 913439 ID: 91ee5f

>>913422
Let’s go to the dock with Sock.
>>
No. 913449 ID: 2202fb

Will orgo to go with you and sock.

--

You know, they are right. Open warfare isn't the way forward. If everyone resorted to that, we would be no better than animals.
What you need to be is cunning. Strangle them in wordplay that not only makes them look bad, but also makes you look smart.

--

I think you need to vent a bit. Talk to Orgo about his pronouncing your name wrong and the double standard of you and sock. Tell him you want the hive to be great and awe inspiring; to show the world how wonderful the arts can truly be, and it just kills you to see people who wont give you a chance. As for yourself, you just want friends; someone to be in your corner and help you back up once the world knocks you down.

--

Are there any carpenters or electricians in your hive (woodcarvers, metalworkers, sculptors, stage techs, electronic artists)? If so, you could potentially start working on self improvement rather than paying someone to do it. Raw materials are a lot cheaper.
>>
No. 913455 ID: 977456

Check Sock's eyes. If resistance is possible, resist.
>>
No. 913457 ID: c1212a

"what the hell else do we have?"

Go with sock.
>>
No. 913464 ID: 8d6f6d

Showing someone they hurt your pride with just words is weakness, not strength.
>>
No. 913466 ID: 10c408

>>913464
Did you miss the part where they jumped Mac after she told them off for being obnoxious little shits spreading falsehoods?
>>
No. 913468 ID: 908948

Gotta keep moving.
>>
No. 913474 ID: 15a025

Go with Sock and enjoy the view. It'd probably help cool the conversation a bit.
>>
No. 913681 ID: 2842df

>>913466
No, that was the point.
>>
No. 913711 ID: 2202fb

>>913464
>>913466
>>913681
I think i can clarify here.

They meant:
>Showing someone(mac) "they hurt your pride with just words"(i.e. beating the shit out of someone who only used words) is weakness, not strength.

Second guy thought first guy meant:
Showing someone(not mac) "they hurt your pride" with just words (i.e. trying to get back at someone who just beat the shit out of you with just words) is weakness, not strength.

Slightly ambiguous depending on how you chunk it.
>>
No. 913712 ID: 10c408

>>913711
What I meant was that if you make a claim and someone else refutes it you do NOT attack that first person. That they did so absolutely demolishes their position. Mac didn't (seemingly) attack anyone and only defended herself.
>>
No. 913726 ID: 470289
File 154456131838.png - (226.97KB , 1000x800 , 159.png )
913726

>Not all respect is created equal.
I know that! But it doesn’t make ignoring them any easier.

"What the hell else do we have?"

“Over a thousand years of history you don’t pay attention to?”

“I pay attention! But we aren’t tribals or in the war anymore. We gotta set ourselves apart some other way to show everyone we’re the best. Make better stories to tell. And if people don’t respect us, they won’t respect our new stories or our old ones.”

He grunts and lets the topic drop. He doesn’t agree with me, but I don’t think he has any other arguments. He’ll bring it back up later when he thinks he can win. He tries to hide it, but he hates losing even more than I do.
>>
No. 913727 ID: 470289
File 154456135237.png - (100.36KB , 800x800 , 160.png )
913727

>Check Sock's eyes. If resistance is possible, resist.
…It’s not possible and I don’t even try.

I tell the others I want to go to the dock with empathy and Sock lights up as we adjust our path to take us to it. The dock is kind of old, but it isn’t rotting or anything. Leo makes sure to step on it first and jump up and down a few times to test it.

“We can’t stay too long, we’re already late in getting home. And don’t get too close to the edge.”

“I’m not going to fall!”

“Don’t care. Stay near us.”

It rained yesterday so the water is kind of choppy, but Leo would be controlling even if it was a placid lake.
>>
No. 913728 ID: 470289
File 154456143202.png - (294.91KB , 1200x800 , 161.png )
913728

>Are there any carpenters or electricians in your hive.
Some. Whenever an adult isn’t working, they’re at the compound building stuff. It’s why we’re walking home. There isn’t anyone free to pick us up.

“Why’d you want to come down here, Sock? It’s just water.”

”It’s pretty water! It looks like one of Aunt Levran’s paintings with the buildings in the background.”

“I guess. Missing a ship sinking or the giant storm on the horizon.”

“It’s close enough!” He gets an idea and takes his backpack off. He digs through it until he finds his flute and gives it a few test whistles. “The theme is ‘River’.”

Leo and Orgo perk up at the challenge. One game our hive plays is telling stories whenever someone prompts us with a theme. After a bit for everyone to get prepared we present in order and vote on the winner. Sock’s a couple of years younger than us but he’s already won a few times against older kids, so I can’t slack off if I want to win. Leo is digging through her backpack for her sketchbook and Orgo is staring off in the distance deep in thought. He usually tells a story about one of his namesakes for this game, since he’s lucky enough to have a Hive name. I’m not sure what I should do. I could draw something, tell a story of my own, borrow Sock’s flute after his turn, or do something else. Whatever medium I pick, I also need to come up with a story to tell that fits the theme.
>>
No. 913731 ID: 2202fb

>>913728
Well, before we decide, we need to know your strengths and weaknesses. You dont ask a musician to paint a masterpiece or a sculptor to write a bestseller.

Whatever you decide (i.e. author doesnt want to give us strengths to work with), use your emotions. Feel how they flow and ride the waves like a surfer in water. Use your own feelings to breathe life into your cast and then simply let them tell their own story.
>>
No. 913732 ID: 2202fb

>>913731
Regardless of how you do however, try to have fun and relax. This is a great time to organize your thoughts and calm down.
>>
No. 913737 ID: c1212a

I do hope you're appreciative of the work the grownups are doing.

It depends on if your fingers are messed up from punching. If they're fine, get out some paper and draw. You can make a fable that proves your point, or take the challenge seriously and drop it- I'd suggest being mature and doing the latter cuz you don't want to upset socks.
>>
No. 913767 ID: e95cec

Well, I suspect you're best at art, so there's that. Feel free to decide differently.

Hmm, "river". Um, something metaphorical about culture getting washed away in the rising flood? Sounds depressingly serious. Um, a story from the point of view of a river? This river, perhaps? River spirits, rivers of blood, rivers of tears, space rivers, land of rivers and lakes, dams, beavers, river animals, a river hive....
>>
No. 913776 ID: 977456

The Tale of the Lonely Merchant. Tell a story about a trader with a small boat who has to take things far from their hive, to trade for, oh, lets say warm pelts for frozen weather, that the hive needs for the children to survive. Every tribe they meet they extol a different virtue of their hive, but is mocked for being alone. And then they die moments from getting home, lamenting over each of the virtues they proclaimed, that they will never see them again, because they died alone. You wanted to go all-in for a theme of reputation, but remembered that sad endings always win. As always, try to throw in some rhyme, alliteration, and metre.
>>
No. 913788 ID: 470289
File 154463107673.png - (148.64KB , 800x800 , 162.png )
913788

>We need to know your strengths and weaknesses.
That’s easy, I’m good at everything. I pick things up fast like J’raine. The only weakness I can think of is violin since I only started learning last month, but I don’t have one in my backpack anyway. Whatever idea I come up with, I can do.

>Try to have fun and relax.
That’s easy, I like this game. I take out my sketchbook and sit down to doodle while ideas flow. Trying to articulate my point about our Hive sounds nice, but it doesn’t really mean much if I don’t communicate it through the art in a concise way. I’ll go with the Merchant idea for now, but I’m still not sure about the medium. I could draw it out, in which case I’d need to encapsulate everything I want to say in a single image and would need to have a good description to work off. Or I could tell a regular story which is easier but anything more complicated like making it rhyme or being creative with wordplay would take too much time if the specific embellishments don’t occur to me.

I kind of lose track of time working but eventually Sock hops up, stands in front of us and we all focus our attention on him. He takes a short bow and starts with low, repeated notes before layering in more breathy sounds. It takes me a few moments before I get what he’s doing. He’s copying the sound of lapping water and the breeze that’s around us right now. Unfortunately, the flute isn’t the right kind of instrument for the sounds water makes as it brushes against the docks. It sounds slightly off when the actual water is still in the background. He also isn’t riding the music off his empathy. He’s too excited and happy, when he should be projecting a clam and serene mood. The melody itself is good, if short, but it’s not his best work.

As soon as Sock finishes Leo puts her head down and starts scribbling more frantically. I think she misjudged how long it would take her to draw whatever she’s doing. Orgo is signaling he’s going to go next but isn’t quite ready yet.

Unless I get hit with some other inspiration that I like more, I should keep developing my current idea.
>>
No. 913789 ID: 91ee5f

>>913788
>Trying to articulate my point about our Hive sounds nice
Do not try to do that! This is supposed to be a fun activity! Don’t ruin it by trying to prove a point you had in an argument earlier!
>>
No. 913815 ID: dd75f8

>>913789
Yeaaah, probably a good point. Furthermore, it might make more sense to spend longer developing your argument before presenting it.
>>
No. 913894 ID: c0641d

I think you should do a story. Perhaps a series of verses with varying meters and tempos to match the hive he’s encountered this time. Not sure I have any specific lines for you, but coming up with that sort of stuff manually comes a lot easier when you set out a rhythmic framework to restrict yourself by.

Something along the lines of... this? https://youtu.be/PUZn1I6llJs

You don’t have to carry this particular tune if you don’t like it (or suspect that you’d get caught- never mind, don’t think about it too hard). Perhaps open with a merchant bemoaning a lack of wind to carry his sail upstream, and supposes that he’ll just drift downstream. He’ll meet an art hive merely curious where he’s going, then another merchant hive keen on exchanging wares and a little rival ribbing. He might be egged into a race with a war hive (the frantic section), be ignored by a hive too stoned to care about anybody, and pass by a cuddle hive who want him to stay with them (the upbeat 4/4 time section), finally finishing with another art hive who ask him the same question as at the beginning (“Where are you going?”), but receiving a different answer to the one he gave the first time. If that’s too much to write in such a short time, you’re free to cut verses.
>>
No. 919472 ID: 470289
File 154886077067.png - (119.65KB , 800x800 , 163.png )
919472

I don’t have the time to do something too complicated, but I can start something and develop it later if it comes out decent. I won’t win with something incomplete, but that’s not a big deal. I start writing while Orgo empathetically indicates he’s about to go.

“Sock, do some punctuation for me.” Sock nods and puts his flute to his mouth again.

He closes his eyes and takes deep breaths, trying to get his empathy in the state he wants it. It takes a few minutes before he’s radiating solemnity. Sock does a few low notes to match his new mood.

“Long before her death at the Sunken Rock, Orgo the Bow, then known as Orgo the Twelfth, faced a river with her hive.”
>>
No. 919473 ID: 470289
File 154886080656.png - (142.11KB , 800x800 , 164.png )
919473

”We travel for weeks from our old home into new trees and dangers, both from our old enemies and our new allies. The Hive who would take the name Outrider-“

Anger. Leo and I give the customary growl and Sock blows a harsh note.

”-are the most persistent. Harassing us as we step onto their territory and long after we leave their land. From the jungle to the plains we fight to protect ourselves on the promise of those alien to us. We leave blood and bodies in our footsteps.

“We break through and see the refuge that was sworn. On the horizon we see a flag waving surrounded by trees, displaying a bullet-scarred shield. But the Outriders
- we hiss- still follow.”

>>
No. 919474 ID: 470289
File 154886085665.png - (136.83KB , 800x800 , 165.png )
919474

”Between us and a new home lies a gorge. Death at our backs and a new forest ahead, not quite within reach. At the bottom of the gorge a river rages between jutting rocks, frothing and promising death. And there is no bridge.

“The War Queen tells us to prepare for a fight, and we begin to clean and load the guns we had long gotten used to. Makeshift fortifications go up and we prepare to fight to the death. But…”


Apprehension.

”When she was young, Orgo the Twelfth was arrogant. She knew the stories of Tredde Sharpeye and Roat the Stringsinger, that their skill with bows and arrows were unparalleled and their bravery matched only by other great heroes. When she was young, she thought she was better than them. Now that she was older, she knew she was better.”

Pride.

”While her Hive prepares Orgo sneaks away from where the children load the guns for the coming fight. She steals away with a bevy of ropes, her bow, and her last three arrows. Her Hivemates had laughed when she refused to give up the old weapon for the new ones made of steel and rubber. They are wrong.”

Determination.
>>
No. 919476 ID: 470289
File 154886094558.png - (151.86KB , 800x800 , 166.png )
919476

”She goes to the edge of the gorge and sights her target, a solid old tree. The distance is massive. Too far to jump, too far to throw, and too far to shoot. But Orgo squares her shoulders and takes her first shot.”

Confidence

”It falls short and is lost in the waves below and the current pulls the rope from her unprepared grip.”

Dismay.

”She takes sight again, chastised. She hears the enemy approach in her mind. She feels her hive die around her. She takes her second shot.

“The cliff below the feels a sting as the arrowhead shatters against the stones and the shaft bounces off to join its brother below. Orgo pulls the rope back and takes her last arrow from it’s quiver. She nocks it on her bow and pulls it until the feathers tickle her cheek. She squints at the tree that will save her hive and swings her bow upwards to the clear blue sky. She lets it fly.”


Fear

”The arrow takes its time, traveling in an arc far higher than it’s siblings. The rope streaks behind it like a comet’s tail and for a moment Orgo loses it in the sun’s glare. When her eyes open and the light-spots dim she sees it embedded deep in the wood of the old tree.”

Elation!
>>
No. 919477 ID: 470289
File 154886098405.png - (129.91KB , 800x800 , 167.png )
919477

”She ties the ropes around the rocks and trees near her and takes her journey across the gorge on the thin bride she just made, ropes slipped into her belt. Hand over hand, with the cool breeze swinging her back and forth. The journey takes minutes that feel like hours.”

Resolve. Courage.

”On the other side Orgo lets herself smile as she ties her ropes to trees to make bridges. She has given The Hive that Tells Stories at the Tree a new tale to speak, and she has given us the chance to speak it.”

Orgo closes his eyes and exudes satisfaction.
>>
No. 919541 ID: 977456

Panic!
>>
No. 919550 ID: 631909

Slow clap. Competition or no, that was a fine story.
>>
No. 919561 ID: 91ee5f

Well, shit. Now you’ve gotta tell a story and you still haven’t that of one!
>>
No. 919563 ID: c0641d

Acknowledge his storytelling, but don’t stop writing your own; this isn’t lost yet - after all, the river itself figured as more a setpiece obstacle than a central theme. Maybe reduce it to just three hives encountered if you’re strapped for time. Make sure to describe how the river flows in each section to help sell the feel of transition, but other than that, most of your creative energy should be poured into making the empathy you plan on using nuanced and flowing, a transition as smooth as the shifting mood of a river itself - this won’t work if your empathy jumps to the next emotion haltingly when it should be drifting to the next destination. Don’t be afraid to ask for Sock’s fluting again. Let Leo go next while I try to solidify some real details for the dialogue - I’m thinking this will be less poetry and more natural dialogue.
>>
No. 922093 ID: 470289
File 155052375432.png - (310.98KB , 1200x800 , 168.png )
922093

>Slow clap.
No need, he can feel how impressed I am. Sock gives him some rapid claps while Leo is still totally spellbound by him. I don’t think I’ve heard any part of the exodus story told that quickly before. Even small parts of it can take hours, but he did it in only a few minutes without butchering it. He stripped Orgo the Bow’s story down to the bare essentials so he could focus on making it compelling with his empathy, and he mostly succeeded. I felt the story more than listened to it.

But I can do better.
>>
No. 922095 ID: 470289
File 155052383927.png - (133.46KB , 800x800 , 169.png )
922095

”With broken mast and sail, his old boat runs
the river’s narrow length toward home, and such
a hometown craves his wares, and he their touch,
for vessels sailing rivers carry one

and only one. Town’s workmen wonder where
he floats, and back again, pursued by greed
at every turn: the river’s pirates heed
no god nor law in suit of prizes rare.

Banks make quick graves of men and greedy fools
who heed no warning issued from the piles
of pirates’ polished bones in waters deep:

the lonely merchant’s empty ship spells doom
to thieves whose coveting turns ghostly smiles.
It’s on these rivers all alone we sleep.”



Sonnet by B. Baylor, used with permission.
>>
No. 922096 ID: 470289
File 155052387695.png - (130.36KB , 800x800 , 170.png )
922096

I had to cut some of my ideas to get it to fit into the classic format, but it came out pretty good. And I focused on the river a lot more than Orgo did.

”Wow, that was really good Mac!”

”Did you write that just now?” He feels suspicious. I didn’t think Orgo was the type to feel jealous.

“Of course I did!”
>>
No. 922098 ID: 470289
File 155052391742.png - (139.88KB , 800x800 , 171.png )
922098

“Leo, you’re up.”

My voice snaps her out of her captivation with my sonnet, and she answers me with frantic scribbling on her paper. We give her a few minutes, but I’m pretty sure she’s not actually making any progress. She’s still going back and forth between erasing and drawing, and she feels panicked.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any better, Leo, just show us already.”

“It’s not done.” She’s gritting her teeth.

“We don’t have the years it’d take for you to be satisfied with one of your dumb pictures, Leo. Just show us so we can finish up.”

Shut up Mac. I think she’s gritting her teeth.

“Yeah, shut up Mac.” He’s sending strong vibes that I’m not helping.

“This is just playing around, Leo. If you were still having fun it’d be okay, but I think you’re just worrying yourself over it now.”

Leo stops her sketching and pauses for a second. Then she gets up. I mean I basically said the same thing as Sock, but Orgo sends me a glare before I say that out loud. She takes a deep breath and flips her sketchbook over.
>>
No. 922099 ID: 470289
File 155052396275.png - (191.81KB , 800x800 , 172-2.png )
922099

Wow, that looks like shit.

“Hey, you’ve gotten better!”

“Yeah, I can recognize myself. I like the way you did the water.”

”It’s-“

“Shut the fu-” She glances at Sock, “-freak up. Let’s vote and go home.”

Finally. I-
>>
No. 922101 ID: 470289
File 155052399223.png - (192.58KB , 800x800 , 173.png )
922101

>”You little shits!”

Jeeks! Where did he come from?
>>
No. 922103 ID: 2202fb

>>922099
you shouldn't be so mean. If you can do better, you could try to coach her on it, or maybe drawing just isnt her forte. Maybe singing, dancing, or writing might fit better.

>>922101
be polite and then just leave. Dont make a stand. Definitely dont throw anyone under the damn bus.
>>
No. 922104 ID: 2202fb

>>922099
She seems one step away from tears so show compassion and dont be a bitch to her.
>>
No. 922111 ID: c1212a

Who the fuck's talkin' to you Jeeks? We're trying to have a vote over here!
>>
No. 922112 ID: 094652

Safety in numbers, retreat. Keep everyone from killing each other.
>>
No. 922120 ID: b1b4f3

LEG IT!
>>
No. 922135 ID: 2202fb

>>922111
Not this. This gets us alienated and beat up more.
>>
No. 922330 ID: 83bf07

Sock needs to bail ASAP. You and one other can stall them for a safe get away.
>>
No. 922331 ID: 470289
File 155060002472.png - (143.03KB , 800x800 , 174.png )
922331

>Don’t be a bitch to her.
I’m not! Being honest with my opinion and giving constructive feedback will help her improve more than struggling to point out the few things she didn’t mess up on.

>Retreat
>LEG IT!
That might work if we weren’t on the wrong end of this dock. I don’t know about the others, but I can’t swim.

>Sock needs to bail ASAP. You and one other can stall them for a safe get away.
"I can hold them back while-"

“Don’t make this any worse, Mac. We're not going to leave anyone behind.”

Leo puts her sketchbook down and walks in between us and the bullies.

“We don’t want any trouble.”

>”Too bad. That green rabbit over there threw my bag in a pile of shit, and she’s gotta learn her place. You stay in our way and we’ll teach you neumono the same lesson.”
>>
No. 922332 ID: 470289
File 155060007610.png - (157.54KB , 800x800 , 175.png )
922332

Leo takes a second to glare back at me, but I’m just confused. I didn’t do anything to any bags, and Sock wouldn’t do something like that.
>>
No. 922334 ID: 470289
File 155060018717.png - (110.80KB , 800x800 , 176.png )
922334

*Snicker*
>>
No. 922336 ID: 465a14

>>922334
Okay, here's the plan. Run for it, then beat Sock up yourself so he learns not to make trouble for his hivemates.
>>
No. 922338 ID: 83bf07

Now is not the time to be splitting hairs. See if you can talk your way onto dry land. Promise them you'll go quietly if you can get off the dock. (Don't actually go with them)
>>
No. 922340 ID: 465a14

>>922336
actually I just realized that might be Orgo or whoever so the actual point is to beat up whoever's responsible for this situation later
>>
No. 922344 ID: 10c408

Tell them honestly you didn't do shit to anyone's bag. Empathy proves your honesty here.

Of course if these assholes don't care about that then we're going to have a make a big scene about it to get attention from anyone else because we're not getting past them and off the dock.
>>
No. 922345 ID: 2202fb

>>922334
shoot a glare

tell them you have no idea what they are talking about. Exude honesty. Throw in some innocence.
>>
No. 922350 ID: b970b2

...How did you get caught by surprise by those neumono? You should've sensed their empathy. And why are they so indistinct anyway?
>>
No. 922351 ID: 2202fb

>>922350
they seem to be kind of far away. They might not be close enough for it to be pervasive enough for them to notice.
>>
No. 922358 ID: a9af05

>>922334
If Orgo is responsible, then those guys need to get their eyes examined because Orgo isn't green!
>>
No. 922361 ID: 2202fb

>>922358
he is teal, which is kind of green, but it doesnt matter. Everyone is innocent till they are proven guilty and we can only do that once we solve the current crisis.

How about this. Mac, despite your innocence, just go over and get beat up. Take one for the team. Everyone will probably like you more for your self-sacrifice.
>>
No. 922375 ID: c1212a

god dammit Orgo I don't want to hear a single word out of you about how I handle bullies until the day I drop dead

Best case scenario is to warn them off; you didn't do it, they should go bother somebody else. This will probably end in a fight though, so get ready to shove some people into the drink and book it when you have an opening.
>>
No. 922376 ID: b1b4f3

>>922334
What the fuck Orgo.
Suggest a deal: they let all of you go, and you'll teach him a lesson yourselves.
>>
No. 922377 ID: c1212a

>>922375
Almost forgot; you could try and throw some other poor bastard with green fur under the bus by blaming them, if you know any.
>>
No. 922426 ID: 2202fb

>>922375
>>922377
lets not fight back, and definitely not blame it on someone else. We should try to save our integrity first rather than our physical safety. Lets just take a hit.
>>
No. 922432 ID: c1212a

>>922426
Running away while cornered on a pier didn't work, can we try confronting the problem in some capacity instead of just letting events overtake Mac & co.?
>>
No. 922445 ID: 2202fb

>>922432
Not saying we should run. Mac should go over and get the shit beat out of them. They only want Mac. Mac is also a neumono so this shouldnt cause permanent damage. This should make everyone else view Mac in a more positive light.
>>
No. 922449 ID: c1212a

>>922445
And the fact that Leo already said they'd leave nobody behind? Also the fact that Mac didn't do it?
>>
No. 922452 ID: 2735ca

All of you jump in the river!
>>
No. 922454 ID: 91ee5f

>>922445
>They only want Mac.
No they don’t. They want Orgo.
>>
No. 922457 ID: 977456

>rabbit
>teach you neumono
They are getting kind of specist there, especially for neumono. At least they look like neumono from here.

Stall them. Maybe someone else will come and scare off any violence. Nonsequitur to put them off balance.
Take a step forward, bow, and recite your story to them.
>>
No. 922515 ID: 470289
File 155069109886.png - (248.28KB , 1000x700 , 177.png )
922515

>Beat up whoever's responsible for this situation later.
Orgo probably did it as revenge for them beating me up earlier when no one was looking. No one is going to beat him up for that, and certainly not sell him out. I will tell him off later though after all his lecturing. He should have told us. If we didn’t stop at this dock we’d be home and safe right now.

I try to start inching Sock over to the side where the dock meets the sand that the bullies aren’t on. If we get an opening we can run and maybe get home before they catch us. Leo and Orgo catch on and try to block their view of Sock and me.

>…How did you get caught by surprise by those neumono? You should've sensed their empathy.
Neumono? Jeeks is a pomi.
>>
No. 922518 ID: 470289
File 155069125632.png - (106.15KB , 800x800 , 178.png )
922518

>Why are they so indistinct anyway?
They… are, aren’t they.

“I- I didn’t do anything.” I say quieter than I mean to. I don’t think they heard me.

“Mac, are you okay? You’re feeling weird.” Sock whispers.

“Look, I’ll pay for your bag. I’ll bring money to school tomorrow or-“

>“Like your shitty little hive can afford to pay me back!”
>>
No. 922520 ID: 470289
File 155069134158.png - (277.22KB , 1000x800 , 179.png )
922520

>We’ll take it out of your flea-bitten hides!”

Jeeks grabbing Leo jolts me out of my confusion and Orgo instantly stops snickering and goes on edge.

“Hey don’t touch her! If you want me I’ll go with you but leave them alone!”

“Shut up, Mac!"
>>
No. 922527 ID: 556568

Mac, wake up.
>>
No. 922528 ID: b1b4f3

He's turning grey. Get in there and stop it.
>>
No. 922529 ID: c1212a

no, wait, there's stil a chance we could get in a circle and sing kumbaya!

Try to keep in mind that Pomi don't heal like neumo do when you kick his ass into the drink. Get a big hit in while he's busy grabbing Leo, if his goons try to intercept you just tip them off the dock, then you'll have a numbers advantage.
>>
No. 922531 ID: 86eb65

Tackle that asshole!
>>
No. 922535 ID: 977456

Devour their hearts and absorb their power!
>>
No. 922583 ID: e32936

Jeeks is preoccupied with Leo, use the opening to get Sock and yourself on the bank. Tell sock to run, then attack Jeeks groupies from their flank. This will spread them out and give you, Leo, and Orgo fighting chance.

Your superior regeneration gives you a marked advantage. Even should you be injured, you will quickly heal. Not so for Jeeks and friends. They have more to lose.

Attack aggressively enough from the get-go and you should quickly dissuade them from a prolonged melee.
>>
No. 922601 ID: 719d94

There's a beauty in the moment you realize you're dreaming. When you start noticing the details slip away, and watching one thing become another as you find yourself peering through the gaps in reality.

That realization can be a great time to wake up, but it can also be a great time to take over. Your life has undergone some big changes recently. Anything you want to do? Any people you miss? Grab the reins and dive into your subconscious.

I mean, assuming this is a dream anyway. You might just be hallucinating. Are you crazy? Done any hard drugs lately?
>>
No. 922603 ID: 91ee5f

>>922520
Grab Leo and pull him away from Jeeks! Have Orgo help you!
>>
No. 922637 ID: a9af05

>>922603
Do this!
>>
No. 922639 ID: 2735ca

Focus their anger on you. Tackle the guy and try to slip through onto their other side.
>>
No. 922940 ID: 15a025

There's three of them and four of you. Get up there with Orgo and give Socks a the chance to run to safety. Also body slam right into Jeeks.
>>
No. 923082 ID: 470289
File 155104259387.png - (137.21KB , 800x800 , 180.png )
923082

>Grab Leo and pull him away from Jeeks! Have Orgo help you!
I take a step forward to do this, but Leo is already throwing a punch into Jeeks face. She wants Sock and I to get to the bank, and Orgo gets in-between us and the other bullies.

Sock has his eyes glued to Orgo doing his best to block two guys bigger than him and stumbles as I drag him away. Once we get to the bank, I give him a running push to his back.

“Go!”
>>
No. 923083 ID: 470289
File 155104262404.png - (205.70KB , 800x800 , 181.png )
923083

Orgo is wrestling with one of them, trying to keep from being overpowered while Leo is working out all her anger on Jeeks face. Everyone is focused on fighting and has forgotten about us, but the unoccupied bully is circling around to grab Leo with his back turned towards us.
>>
No. 923084 ID: 470289
File 155104265444.png - (130.21KB , 800x800 , 182.png )
923084

>Anything you want to do?
Help them!

>Any people you miss?
I don’t have to miss anyone! I can fix this!

I charge in to tackle the one nearest me from behind. If I can knock him into the water, we’ll have the upper hand in numbers and-
>>
No. 923086 ID: 470289
File 155104267436.png - (134.34KB , 800x800 , 183.png )
923086

>>
No. 923087 ID: 470289
File 155104269379.png - (171.55KB , 1200x800 , 184.png )
923087

>Mac, wake up.
>>
No. 923088 ID: 465a14

>>923087
Read the note from your new girlfriend.
>>
No. 923102 ID: b1b4f3

Realize there are some things you can't fix.
>>
No. 923115 ID: 91ee5f

>>923087
You might want to consider getting some pajamas to sleep in, since it’s probably uncomfortable to be sleeping in your normal clothes.

Also read the note that Luvi left on the table.
>>
No. 923127 ID: fd2d31

>>923087
You wouldn't have those problems with a gun.
See if Luvi's frantic friend has another one stashed in the house.
>>
No. 923140 ID: afdebc

>>923087
Read note, hug pillow.

Cry.

Go take a shower or something, you must feel kinda gross after sleeping in your clothes.
>>
No. 923142 ID: 5907f9

Breath, sit up, contemplate.

Then read that note.
>>
No. 923143 ID: c1212a

-Find the will to move

-Read note

-Bathe
>>
No. 923148 ID: 2735ca

Put your face back on, darling. All the world's a stage and all that.
>>
No. 923156 ID: ac10e5

Hug pillow, read note
>>
No. 923205 ID: bad12e

>>923087

The hell did we eat last ...?
>>
No. 923239 ID: 83bf07

Stretch.
>>
No. 923284 ID: c0641d

Note, clothes, shower, breakfast. See if you can push your "mask" a little farther away from baseline (i.e. adding new traits and quirks like "new me likes to jog in place" or "new me laughs really hard at even the worst jokes"); I wanna see how far we can take this.
>>
No. 923290 ID: fd2d31

>>923284
Imitating Luvi isn't gonna be healthy.
>>
No. 923291 ID: c0641d

>>923290
Those were just examples. Others include "sense of humor dried by x2," "likes sour drinks," and "enjoys people-watching." All random examples... except the last one; a habit of observing many different neumonos' behavior and empathy can help us hone our craft.
>>
No. 923317 ID: 470289
File 155113550734.png - (114.82KB , 800x800 , 185.png )
923317

>There are some things you can't fix.
I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house with the clothes I’m wearing making up a good half of what I own in the world. It’s obvious I can’t ‘fix’ anything.

>See if you can push your "mask" a little farther.
I don’t see much point in doing this. I’ll still be me underneath, and the more I try to fake new traits the more obviously hollow I’ll come off to other neumono. Yesterday was mostly just thought control to keep me from crying; Subtraction instead of addition which doesn’t broadcast as strange.

If I had some rolling paper I would smoke some of the bitterweed Stiles left to calm down. I haven’t felt as… comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time. The memory of it is fading and dulling the stark difference between the dream and how I feel now. Which is too tired to even be properly frazzled by how weird it was.

It wasn’t a memory. Or it was more like a bunch of memories jammed together? I got beat up as a kid and hung out at a dock once or twice, but I’ve never walked home with Leo and I was alone when I went to the dock. And Jeeks was a bastard not a weird neumono-pomi hybrid. There’s a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t fit together or was just false, but I just sort of accepted it.

I’m not going to get back to sleep, but it’s still dark out. My phone, which I forgot in my pocket, says it’s about a half hour before the sun comes up. I move to the edge of the bed to read the note Luvi left for me.

Hey Mac! Sorry to sneak into your room like a creeper, but I wasn’t sure when you were going to get up and you deserve a good rest after the day you had. I might not be around when you wake up and I wanted to make sure you knew that my home is your home as long as you’re here. Feel free to use anything on the first and second floor (I set out a toothbrush and some essentials for you in the bathroom), and if you need things like extra clothes you can raid my closet. Of course, maybe I am home, in which case hope I don’t wake you up grabbing this note back! Or...

It rambles for a few more lines using more dot hearts in one place than I’ve seen before in my life.

A shower is the next thing on my docket, but before that I should decide whether to wash my clothes and wear them again today or take Luvi’s offer. Also, I guess I should figure out just what I’m going to do today. Ideally the first thing would be something to take my mind off this dream for a while.
>>
No. 923318 ID: b1b4f3

>>923317
Check Luvi's closet to see if she'd miss one set of clothes.
>>
No. 923319 ID: 465a14

>>923318
This. And today, you look for a job.
>>
No. 923325 ID: a9af05

>>923317
>You can raid my closet!
You better hope she has something in your size! Otherwise that offer won't be very helpful to you!

And you'd better also hope that she doesn't have anything with a bunch of glitter or a weird cartoon/design on it!
>>
No. 923327 ID: bcc41d

>>923317
Up and at 'em! Get a whole some breakfast! Do some basic calisthenics! Do you have a charger for your phone? Then charge it while you can. If you have phone internet - or Luvi does and you bum from her - you can do additional rogue/jobhunt research online. Check the daily news and consider whether there are any other practical recently-rogue'd tasks you should be doing.

You could also try to get in touch with Kark and Marassa again. If nothing else, helping out keeps you busy and makes you meet people.
>>
No. 923332 ID: 2202fb

I mean, there is no shortage of guns here if you really want to give up on everything (would probably be a rather long and painful process though).
>>
No. 923344 ID: e7848c

>>923317
You're going to nab a shirt, sweatpants and towel for when your current clothes are in the washer and you get out of the shower. Write a thank you note, use your fancy handwriting and leave it in Luvi's room.
>>
No. 923393 ID: bad12e

>>923317

>Even her writing is insufferably cheery

Well, at least we know it's hers. Let's wash up, make sure our clothes aren't smelly, and ... eat, I guess.
>>
No. 923397 ID: 91ee5f

>>923317
>I haven’t felt as…comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time.
Honestly, the way you’re talking makes it sound like you haven’t had sex in a long time. So maybe if you go get laid, you’ll feel better?
>>
No. 923457 ID: 7f0aac

>>923397

I think we call this "clinical depression."

>>923317

On that note, when's the last time we saw a doctor, and does being a rogue change things?
>>
No. 923458 ID: 5176d9

>>923317
Get some fresh clothes from Luvi. Yours probably haven't started to stink yet, let's keep it that way, Da?

Next on the agenda is finding something to do. I mean long term something to do. Maybe a job, maybe a hobby, maybe someone to do~.

The point is, you need a thing. Everyone has a thing. You seem to have both an aptitude and inclination towards art, so perhaps that is your thing.

You'll never know until you find it, so go find your thing.
>>
No. 923466 ID: a9af05

>>923397
Ha! You're right, it does sound like that's what she's talking about!
>>
No. 923474 ID: fd2d31

>>923466
Short term solution would be a "personal massager"
>>
No. 923513 ID: 977456

>>923474
For a longer-term solution it has been said that you can potentially double its projected life-span by getting your bunny fixed.
>>
No. 923686 ID: ecd116

>I haven’t felt as…comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time


wait do you mean in past tense as in you use too a while back? or present tense as in you are feeling it right now?
>>
No. 923873 ID: a9af05

>>923317
Why don't you go eat some ice cream? That's what sad people do to make themselves feel better, right?
>>
No. 924021 ID: 15a025

Time to wake up with a nice warm shower Mac.
>>
No. 924505 ID: 719d94

>you deserve a good rest after the day you had
...says the woman who just got fired that very same day. Her energy and selflessness are the stuff of legends. Also nightmares.

The sooner you get yourself a job, the sooner you'll get back on your feet, and the sooner you'll be out from under her overwhelming kindness.
>>
No. 932311 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736265675.png - (118.98KB , 800x800 , 186.png )
932311

>Maybe if you go get laid, you’ll feel better?
I had sex a few days ago with someone I love. Banging a stranger won’t make me feel any better.

>When's the last time we saw a doctor?
Never? When I was a kid Gh’zan gave me a check-up to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with my reflexes or general health. He does most of the medicine stuff for our hive since he was a medic in the army. But that’s pretty much it.

>Wait do you mean in past tense as in you use too a while back? or present tense as in you are feeling it right now?
As in I felt it when I wasn’t a rogue.

>Why don't you go eat some ice cream?

I’m not a kid, I’m not going to eat ice cream for breakfast. I’ll check on what Luvi has in the fridge when I go downstairs. I did have a charger in my bag, so I set that up in the guest room before I leave. Getting in touch with Kark again isn’t the worst idea, but I don’t have his number.

I knock on Luvi’s door, just in case she came back and went straight to sleep, but I’m pretty sure she’s gone which is confirmed once I enter. The room is more spartan than I imagined. There’s no pink wallpaper or big bean bag chairs or anything. Just a normal room.
>>
No. 932312 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736273418.png - (95.32KB , 662x781 , 187.png )
932312

I pull a shirt and some sweatpants out of her closet for immediately after I finish my shower. Luvi is smaller than me but I’m pretty sure I can fit in most of her clothes. She does have a distressing number of shirts with cartoons and stuff on it, mostly from some show called Tekbeasts, but there’s normal stuff too.
>>
No. 932313 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736279199.png - (162.44KB , 800x800 , 188.png )
932313

I’m about to leave for the shower when I spy a box in the closet I didn’t notice when I opened it up. There are probably more clothes to choose from in that. It’s not taped up or anything, so I could look inside without breaking into anything.
>>
No. 932319 ID: c1212a

Your expectations of Luvi have been subverted so many times by now I'm wondering why you're still holding on to them.

Unless you can permanently put what you find out of your head by the time you next see Luvi, I wouldn't. Besides, if it's not somewhere she won't want you snooping, it'll be somewhere you'll regret snooping, if you catch my drift.
>>
No. 932329 ID: 91ee5f

>>932312
You’re gonna end up stretching these clothes out and Luvi won’t be able to wear them anymore. She’ll just let you keep them.

>>932313
The box says “Panica‘s presents” so it stands to reason that they’re either presents from Panica or presents to Panica. That means that box isn’t meant for you.
>>
No. 932330 ID: 91ee5f
File 155736801293.png - (98.70KB , 662x781 , 86AE3BDF-C04E-4B0E-9493-97E198CC8F70.png )
932330

>>932329
Oops! Forgot to include the picture!
>>
No. 932341 ID: 7fb87a

>>932313
don't bother with the box.. She's so open about everything you could just ask her about it later with a clear conscience, and empathy.
>>
No. 932349 ID: 977456

The important thing is a toupee. Aside from that... Dressing-gown and a towel?
>>
No. 932363 ID: 1ed92d

>>932313
It will be guns. You KNOW it will be guns. You might as well just go ask her if it's guns. It's probably just guns or sex toys.
>>
No. 932383 ID: 2202fb

Why all Neumono be so stupid sexy thicc.

--

>>932363
It could be sex toys for guns. I cant really post links, but in my voyages of the interwebs, i have seen tacsack gunballs, tactical dildonets, and recoil driven fleshlights.
>>
No. 932385 ID: fd2d31

>>932312
Take off all current clothing, find the fanciest hat Luvi owns, don it.
There, now you're dressed for success.
>>
No. 932399 ID: a9af05

>>932311
>I’m not a kid, I’m not going to eat ice cream for breakfast.
But you're a depressed adult! Depressed adults are allowed to eat ice cream whenever they feel sad!

>>932312
>Luvi is smaller than me
That's right, you're bigger than her in both height and width.

Whatever clothes you wear, you're going to end up stretching them out, to the point that Luvi won't be able to wear them anymore.

You're gonna have to think of a way to pay her back for any clothes you take.

>>932313
>Box
Don't mess with it. You might upset her and she'll kick you out. Then you'll be back at square one with no place to sleep.
>>
No. 932401 ID: 891b91
File 155743415615.png - (216.98KB , 636x972 , cool_mac.png )
932401

Thankfully, Luvi has enough variety in her wardrobe to allow you to express your true self!
>>
No. 932402 ID: 891b91
File 155743424515.png - (125.03KB , 607x778 , preppy_mac.png )
932402

(Alright, maybe Mac isn't that much of a party animal. Here's a more serious suggestion: a pair of khakis with the legs rolled up to turn them into makeshift shorts and a classy striped polo.)

>>932399
>Don't mess with it. You might upset her and she'll kick you out. Then you'll be back at square one with no place to sleep.
I find it difficult to believe that Luvi gets upset about anything. Still, it's best to leave the box alone, out of respect for Luvi and the enormous kindness she's shown you. You could always ask her about it later, anyway.

>You're gonna have to think of a way to pay her back for any clothes you take.
Maybe there's some kind of favor you could do for her, or maybe you can get her a token of your appreciation once your financial situation is more stable.
>>
No. 932409 ID: bcc41d

>>932401
As tempting as it is to transfer half of Luvi's closet to the trash, remember it's impolite and you mustn't. You absolutely mustn't.

>>932313
It's either something for Panica or from Panica, and it's being stored. It doesn't seem like any of your business to meddle with, especially since you seem to be covered in the clothing department already.

>>932402
This outfit's nice, for example, though the shirt's a little tight-looking... maybe grab a slightly baggier backup shirt in your vest, even if it's got cartoons, in case this one tears.

>getting in touch with Kark again
Well, you know where you'll probably find him later in the day. Assuming it's not too far away from Luvi's place.
>>
No. 932416 ID: 58b4f3

>>932313
It's not your box, so you shouldn't go snooping through it.

>>932330
This wouldn't be so bad, if you made a few changes to it.

Switch the colors of the heart and the shirt, except for the sleeves, and make the heart have a crack run from the top down to the middle of the heart.

>>932409
>Don't throw away Levi's clothes!
Yeah, Miss Art Critic, don't throw away any of Levi's clothes, no matter how badly the cartoons are drawn.
>>
No. 932422 ID: 91ee5f
File 155744375149.png - (101.19KB , 662x781 , 37EFAD37-2D40-4B96-85D6-3D4BB31BA196.png )
932422

>>932416
>changes
You mean like this?
>>
No. 932423 ID: cb6404

>>932402

This gets my vote.
>>
No. 932424 ID: c8d2b2

>>932402
gotta be this one
>>
No. 932488 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155751350008.png - (167.98KB , 800x800 , 189.png )
932488

I skip on prying into Luvi’s stuff. There were more than enough clothes in Luvi’s closet anyway. I’ll put what I picked on before I leave for the day. I finish my shower and go downstairs to get some food but I still want to take my mind off things for at least a little while, so I turn on the tv.
>>
No. 932489 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155751354185.png - (189.89KB , 800x800 , 190.png )
932489

>”We can open the gate again, can’t we? Gulp survived in the Green Mage’s swamp, he can survive there until we can go back to him, right?”

”That’s not how this works, sweetie. I saw him before we went through the portal. There’s… nothing left to bring back.”

>”Why are you okay with this Thrasher? I thought he was your best friend!”

The rabbit is quiet as her friend continues to sob.

>”I don’t know if I can keep doing this without him.”

”You’ll figure it out. We all will. Eventually.”


This show, Tekbeasts I assume, started playing as soon as I turned the tv on. Seems weirdly depressing for a kid’s show, but the animation looks decent. I’m not too interested in watching cartoon animals cry as I eat breakfast though. I figure out how the remote works after a minute and find some shows that sound interesting to watch.

Our Roots: My little sister’s favorite show. It retells The Ultrahive Wars our Ultras were in. It’s on the educational channel since its government funded, but it really, really shouldn’t be.
News: I should probably keep myself informed. But also, I don’t really want to watch the news.
Zorya! Warrior Queen!: This is the current Zorya adaption. I heard it’s mostly network-driven and a lot of the comic fans are outraged, but it got a second season anyway.
Sports: I never actually watched a sports channel so early. Maybe something weird will be on.
>>
No. 932490 ID: 03b86f

Fuck it, change of scenery could probably do you good right now. Try on the sports channel.
>>
No. 932492 ID: 891b91

Given that you're now basically without a social safety net (Luvi's nice and helpful, but she can only do so much and now she's in free-fall too), staying up-to-date on current events is probably much more important than it used to be. So if you don't watch the news now, you should try to learn what the latest headlines are at some point today.

That being said, forcing yourself to watch something you don't want to probably isn't a great way to start the day, especially given your circumstances, so let's just go with sports for now.
>>
No. 932493 ID: 91ee5f

>>932489
Sports
>>
No. 932498 ID: 465a14

Ridiculously dangerous neumono sports time
>>
No. 932500 ID: 0fae41

Our Roots, for science. And social studies.
>>
No. 932502 ID: 2202fb

I kinda want to watch the news and see if any crossovers are possible.
>>
No. 932504 ID: fd2d31

>>932498
I'd be almost disappointed if it doesn't involve explosions.
>>
No. 932506 ID: a9af05

>>932489
Look at some Sports.

Maybe you'll find something you'll like and you'll become a sports fan that buys all the merchandise of your favorite team?
>>
No. 932510 ID: 86eb65

Sports!
>>
No. 932514 ID: 977456

Ugh, these are all terrible. Turn on the news but turn the sound down so that you can ignore it. Focus on breakfast and just use the news as back-ground music unless something forces your attention.
>>
No. 932533 ID: 1ed92d

>>932489
The Sports Channel sounds like it might be fun. Who knows, maybe someone invented a sport Neumono from differing hives can play that doesn't immediately devolve into bloodsport.

....And maybe Santa Claus will fly in from Earth to dispense presents to all the good little Neumono girls and boys.
>>
No. 932534 ID: 5ba090

*Sports*
>>
No. 932548 ID: 22d3a4

News. What's wring with Our Roots? Propaganda, or just in poor taste?
>>
No. 932561 ID: 83bf07

Gotta be responsible. Watch the news
>>
No. 932562 ID: bcc41d

>>932533
Now you've made me want to see the Neumono equivalent of pleasant, safe sports like tennis or curling.

>>932514
I like this idea of watching the news, but not having to really listen to it unless it seems interesting/relevant.
>>
No. 932566 ID: fd2d31

>>932562
>Now you've made me want to see the Neumono equivalent of pleasant, safe sports like tennis or curling.
I have a feeling most of what's considered extreme sports or contact heavy sports to humans are considered safe to them.
>>
No. 932586 ID: 6ec38e

At least check in the noise for a moment. Then hate on the new adaptation of zorya "unless it doesn't actually suck"
>>
No. 932591 ID: cb6404

>>932311

>Weird rifle.

>Always, creepily, awkwardly happy.

>Pink-ish.

Could Luvi secretly be the ex Pink Ranger?!?!
>>
No. 932612 ID: 864e49

>>932591
Or a failed experiment to create the ultimate Pink Ranger?
>>
No. 933302 ID: 15a025

Sports!
>>
No. 936166 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080848601.png - (173.13KB , 800x800 , 191.png )
936166

>What's wrong with Our Roots? Propaganda, or just in poor taste?
It’s not the only problem with Our Roots, but a big one is Ultraking Az is a main character. The real Ultraking I mean, not the fake show version. He plays his younger self on the show. He’s not the worst actor, but the show is written like a drama and he hams up all his acting and makes things kind of hard to take serious. Plus, this is a Storytree specific problem, but my little sister always rants over anything he says about how historically inaccurate everything is or how the writers are bending the events over backwards to make him look good. She acts like the dumb educational end section at the end of each episode that goes over the actual history, but you can’t turn her off.

I think OR was meant to be propaganda, but it’s also half a vanity project, half an actual historical recreation, half insane action, and half baffling plot twists. It’s a mess of a show. A very fun mess since it’s popular, but a mess.

”Ultimate Hive fans, the Ruby League rogue they call Peace certainly isn’t being peaceful today! She’s suckered punched Tall Boy Gorn after he expertly knocked the regulation stave right out of her hands! Gorn goes in the drink and Peace is getting a talking to by the ref. She doesn’t even seem to care that she’s racked up two red flags already, and cost her adopted team six points! One more flag and the entire Monsoon hive will be disqualified! I bet now they’re regretting taking on such a maverick of a substitute player for her Emerald League debut, even if she’s already taken out three opponents by herself! The ref lets her go on her way and Peace balances her way carefully across the moat, ready to get back in the game!”
>>
No. 936167 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080849575.png - (226.58KB , 800x800 , 192.png )
936167

"Obern’s lance crashes into Yolea’s shield and sends her flying off her motorcycle for the third time, making her dreams of victory skid on the dirt beside her! He’s taken his third win in this bout, and with three points this best of five match ends in his favor.”

>“It was an excellent showcase of both traditional offense and defense against Yolea’s more reckless style. The old-guard schooling the young blood on how to properly Cyclejoust.”

“Yolea seems to be cradling her arm from her fall, but she and Obern still head towards the center of the tilt barrier to shake hands. Such sportsmanship almost brings a tear to my eye. Truly, this is one of the noblest sports.”

>>
No. 936168 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080851078.png - (195.32KB , 800x800 , 193.png )
936168

"Number 34 is gaining on 16, and 18 is right behind them both. But back a ways, two offroaders are taking a shortcut! Lucky 13 is gaining on 41. But 41's side passengers are taking off their seatbelts! They're grabbing onto the back, and crouching like they're going to jump! They've already expended their weapons, but they've still got their bodies! We don't know if this will work against number 13 or not, but two things are for certain, 41's driver is about to shed some weight, and ambulances are pre-emptively flying their way!"
>>
No. 936169 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080852614.png - (96.89KB , 800x800 , 194.png )
936169

I finish my breakfast and decide that I’ve had my fill of mindless sports reruns Once a bit of light starts leaking in through the curtains. I flip the channel to the first 24/7 news channel I can find so it can run in the background while I wash the dishes and try to decide what-

Oh hell, someone’s furious. Wait, I recognize the empathy. He starts pounding on the door.

“Luvi, wake the fuck up and get out here! Mund pulled a fast one on us!”
>>
No. 936170 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080853953.png - (137.04KB , 800x800 , 195.png )
936170

Kark doesn’t seem surprised I’m opening Luvi’s door, but it might be hidden under the anger he’s radiating. He looks even more tired than when I saw him yesterday and is still wearing the same suit.

“Go wake Luvi up. And scream directly in her ear to charge her fucking phone overnight.”

“Luvi’s not here, she left before I woke up.”

Kark growls under his breath and pinches the bridge of his nose. Lots of frustration bubbles up through the anger.

“Are you okay?”

He answers with a deep sigh. “You busy?” He pauses for half a second to check my empathy. “No. Good. There’s a town hall this afternoon. We need as many rogues as we can get to come, and Luvi is one of our few sure things. Go find her and get her there by three, along with any other rogues you can wrangle. What was her fucking schedule? Forget it, you can go to Luvi’s office and ask them where she’s ended up or check their shitty housing projects. If this is a vacation day for her she’s probably volunteering at the geezer house or visiting her sister at one of those cult churches on the east side. Think it’s the one with the bird on top.”
>>
No. 936180 ID: b1b4f3

Uh, yeah, she won't be at her office either, she got fired.
>>
No. 936181 ID: 465a14

Probably best not to mention Luvi's situation. Ask which geezer house.
>>
No. 936205 ID: bcc41d

>>936170
Mund was the local law enforcement kingpin, as I recall. As for the issue now, I'm guessing she's trying to change some municipal law. That's a town hall thing, right? Whatever it is must be bad for rogues in order for Kark to give a shit. The question is - do you give a shit?

...

Oh hey, a distraction that'll keep you busy and not thinking about certain things!

And, to be fair, you owe Kark a little for dinner and the run-down on rogue life - maybe not this much, but what goes around comes around, hopefully. You need info, but first of all - exchange phone numbers. Anything he doesn't have the time to answer, he might be able text you if/when he finds time.

Possible questions to ask:

*What's the issue at hand? (and be ready to ask for a pitch summary if he tangents for too long, he seems to tend towards lecturing once he gets going)
*Town hall where?
*"Geezer's house" where? Who they?
*Any recruiting tips? Useful ones - like where people with odds of caring can be found?
*Would props help? You can whip up posters and/or protest signs, with at little time and materials. (Would give you an excuse to drop by the Artist's Loft and drop off that particular job application.)
*Oh - and would aliens count for purposes of town hall meetings? They live here too, right? (That miklik shopkeep may repay the favor - or their family might. Sounded like his father was a local storeowner.)

Possible bad news to pass on:

*Tell him Luvi got fired from her office, apparently. Yesterday.
*Tell him Luvi said youth gangs will have it in for you since you foiled a robbery and got one caught. Some kid named Jazz did a dumb. Also, you calling Luvi pissed off some Officer Glint.
*Tell him he really needs a few hours of sleep. (Or don't. Maybe don't.)
*Also, his pamphlet's design is okay, but not great, and falls short of what he wants it to do. (Definitely don't say this. Not today.)

...Oh, and leave a note for Luvi, in case you miss her.
>>
No. 936222 ID: 094652

Ask him if her job is an essential part of the 'voting process'
and then tell him this is probably not going to matter so you'll get it done for money
>>
No. 941717 ID: e5e15e
File 156521092727.png - (162.57KB , 800x800 , 196.png )
941717

“Do you need Luvi for a vote?”

“Vote? Do you know what a town hall is?”

“It’s, uh… where towns elect their mayors?” His empathy tells me that this is wrong and he’s thinking something rude. He checks his watch and snarls.

“I don’t have time to school you in Civics 101, just fucking show up and pay attention.” I grab his shoulder as he turns around.

“Wait, I still have some questions.”

“Quick.”
>>
No. 941718 ID: e5e15e
File 156521096013.png - (138.90KB , 800x800 , 197.png )
941718

“Geezer House?”

“Gentle Pastures. It’s where we get dumped once we’re too old to think straight. Awful fucking place, but Luvi gets off on ‘helping’ the poor bastards there. Check ORS first though.”

“I don’t think she’ll be there. She got fired yesterday.” I try not to let my guilt about that leak through my empathy.

“I’ll deal with it tomorrow.” Kark says after cursing under, well, over his breath for a minute. “Go by her office anyway. She’s soft enough to go and help out her co-workers for free.”

“Should I try and get aliens to come?”

“What? Why?” He’s confused. “Whatever, if you can find some, bring them.”

“Is there anywhere I should look in particular?”

“If I knew of a place full of engaged, politically minded rogues with no jobs chomping at the bit to go to a town hall I’d be there, not here.”

“Alright. So is this a favor or like, a…” I drop the sentence. Begging for money is harder than I assumed.

Kark narrows his eyes. “If you can find five whole chucklefucks to bring to this thing I’ll owe you something. Now are you done with the questions?”
>>
No. 941719 ID: e5e15e
File 156521097947.png - (170.15KB , 800x800 , 198.png )
941719

He gives me his phone number and the meeting place for the town hall before he walks off grumbling. I could try to do posters to advertise, but it’d take more than a few hours to actually finish any good ones and they wouldn’t have much time to be seen before the afternoon.

Where should I check first for Luvi, and should I walk, grab a bus, or get a taxi? Walking will take longest but getting a taxi will cost the most. Also… I noticed it this morning, but Luvi put the gun I found last night in a holster and laid it out on the kitchen table. I think I could stuff it under my pants if I wanted to bring it.
>>
No. 941726 ID: 5985bd

Get to walking. You don't need a gun.
>>
No. 941752 ID: bddb0f

>Kark's phone number
Social link get!

>Just show up and pay attention.
Some kind of info meet, then? Combined with voting for something? Kark's in no mood to explain, so I guess we'll find out.

>>941726
Yeah, why would you need a gun? Luvi's kind, but that's ridiculous, and you're not particularly well trained with one - though perhaps you could act like you know what you're doing. Maybe Luvi prepared it for her gun-nut friend?

Anyway, plan of action. You're headed for the Office of Rogue Services first, then Gentle Pastures. Though... is today a Monday, Wednesday or Friday? Luvi's 'legally required' opening spiel mentioned them being open from ten AM to four PM on those days for drop-in consultations, and if today's a not-open day (or too early) we may want to reconsider Kark's advice. Also, do we know where the offices are? Check for the address if not - ideally get a map app of the city and a buss schedule / ticket purchase app DL'd to your phone.

>Transportation
Walking will take a long time, but it's free. You'll probably have to hustle a bit, mind, to get everywhere you want to go. Also, you might run into someone from that youth gang you've probably pissed off. (Huh. Maybe that's why Luvi prepared a gun? She was considering your safety?)

Taking a buss will ideally take less time at the small price of 50-something zeny, and you'll wait at buss stops and hang around other neumono on the way. This could potentially be turned to an advantage if you can pitch rogues to show up to the town hall. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Taxi is expensive, but fast and, assuming you have the right address, precise. You won't get lost, or accosted, and will have more time to spend recruiting Neumono wherever you go. I feel this is a good fallback if bussing proves less ideal than hoped.

Given the above, I think I prefer the Buss.

Hm. Recruitment idea-wise, perhaps you should consider the Rogue Dorms run by the ORS as your third destination? Though everyone there will be in a funk or worse, they probably won't have jobs getting in the way of them attending. Getting out and engaged with something might actually do them a world of good.
>>
No. 942212 ID: 15a025

Leave the gun. It might suck a ton if slip and let that info leak out through your empathy.

I'm not sure she'd go to work after getting fired. Maybe she's visiting her sister like Kark suggested.
>>
No. 942218 ID: a8d8b4

i don't see a real reason to get the gun. it's not like you're looking for trouble. just take a bus to ORS and see if luvi is there
>>
No. 942226 ID: f57349

Walk, recruit people you encounter on the way.
>>
No. 942251 ID: fd2d31

>>941719
Unless you got a permit for carrying a shooty-shooty bangbang and that isn't the one with serial number conveniently removed or a stolen one, then don't bother with with the firearm.
I guess you could walk while attempting to convince groups of rogues you meet on your way to come & vote or whatever Kark wanted.
>>
No. 946909 ID: 282e0b

definitely skip the gun, you don't need it
>>
No. 950507 ID: e5e15e
File 157496366437.png - (117.71KB , 800x800 , 199.png )
950507

I’ll head towards ORS first. It’ll take a little bit to get there, but that’ll let me I can chat up any rogues I find, so it’s two birds with one stone. And I’m leaving the gun. I’d probably shoot myself by accident trying to stuff it in my pants, anyway. It’s not like I’m going to get mugged.
>>
No. 950508 ID: e5e15e
File 157496368725.png - (258.56KB , 800x800 , 200.png )
950508

>10 minutes later.
I think I’m going to get mugged.
>>
No. 950509 ID: 35a827

I think you need to get out into the open, rather than a alleyway (from the looks of it), is there a main road nearby you can take?

It'd be a longer route potentially but better than being mugged.
>>
No. 950510 ID: 2202fb

>>950508
Well, on the bright side, they look female so statistically, you probably arent going to get raped. Plus, if that is a weapon they are sporting in that case, it isnt something they can easily pull out. Keep walking and go towards a more crowded street. Then loop back and for fucks sake get yourself a weapon. Buy a holster or carry some pepper spray or something.
>>
No. 950511 ID: 12b116

What's their empathy feel like? We should always bring the gun in the future
>>
No. 950514 ID: 11cc32

How are you going to get mugged when you don't have anything to steal?
>>
No. 950518 ID: 77e37e

Well, you're at risk of being mugged and sexually assaulted. The only defense is to mug and sexually assault her first. Grab her boob and punch her face. Or vice-versa, either way works.
>>
No. 950524 ID: 015bf2

>>950508
Why do you think so? Is it just that you're being followed? Are they giving off a 'I'm going to rob you', vibe? Could just them being a rogue that gives you that feeling. Or you're being paranoid. For all you know this is a fellow rogue you could sell on the whole town hall thing.

That said, better safe than sorry - and you don't need a gun to give yourself an edge! Just keep walking while they follow, but get out your phone. Hold it up and take a selfie shot over your shoulder of the one following you, then send it to your own e-mail account, or to Luvi or somesuch. That way you've got something to identify them with to friends and authorities if they try anything.
>>
No. 950526 ID: 1e3468

Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything? Make them think you're not worth the trouble?
>>
No. 950535 ID: e6f1ef

>>950508
Are they threatening you with that guitar? Do you have a guitar allergy or phobia?
>>
No. 950591 ID: 15a025

Guess it's a good thing there isn't much to rob from you? Run out into the open and try to get lost in the crowd in case there's a gun in that guitar case instead of a guitar.
>>
No. 950648 ID: cd9a79

Be sure to keep your eyes and empathy out to make sure if there are any more of them around here. I would hardly think a neumono would mug another by themself, even if you're alone. They could have an alien accomplice.
>>
No. 951811 ID: 0e24f3

just book it
>>
No. 951819 ID: 864e49

Could that be another rogue from your hive?
>>
No. 952708 ID: d3866d
File 157817967531.png - (127.53KB , 800x800 , 201.png )
952708

>Well, you're at risk of being mugged.
I know!

>And sexually assaulted.
...I am?
>>
No. 952709 ID: d3866d
File 157817971588.png - (217.55KB , 800x800 , 202.png )
952709

>The only defense is to mug and sexually assault her first.
It is???
>>
No. 952710 ID: d3866d
File 157817975249.gif - (248.40KB , 800x800 , 203.gif )
952710

>Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything?
Yeah, that’s it. The person who’s a victim isn’t me. I’m comfortable on these streets. I walk them every day and I radiate toughness. That is the beginning and end of me.

And this bitch doesn’t know who she’s messing with.
>>
No. 952711 ID: d3866d
File 157817978490.gif - (274.74KB , 800x800 , 204.gif )
952711

“You trying to start something?”

>“Nothing much. Just thought you might like to share some of your cash with a fellow rogue. Solidarity and all, right? Sticking together.”
>>
No. 952712 ID: d3866d
File 157817982359.gif - (261.34KB , 800x800 , 205.gif )
952712

”Yeah, I get it. Stick together. Or else someone…”

>“Uh…”
>>
No. 952713 ID: d3866d
File 157817984906.gif - (198.28KB , 800x800 , 206.gif )
952713

“Is going to get torn apart.”
>>
No. 952714 ID: d3866d
File 157817988030.gif - (61.75KB , 800x800 , 207anim.gif )
952714

>Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything?
And then she takes out a knife or a gun and I get stabbed and shot or headbutted and get robbed anyway. No way am I doing that.
>>
No. 952715 ID: d3866d
File 157817991847.png - (198.30KB , 800x800 , 208.png )
952715

>Are they giving off a 'I'm going to rob you', vibe?
Their empathy is wavy and they’re broadcasting weird. She’s on something, but I don’t know what.

>How are you going to get mugged when you don't have anything to steal?
I brought the 3000 zeny I took out yesterday and my cellphone. That’s more than enough to get robbed of!

I speed up and take out my phone. It takes me a bit to get the map app open. I fumble a lot more with the buttons when I’m nervous. At a glance if I cut across another this small street next to this alley I’ll be out in the open at least. I snap a pic while my phone is up and I think I got a decent one. I’m trying to open my texts when I feel someone else’s empathy in the direction of the bigger streets. And I think I recognize them!
>>
No. 952716 ID: d3866d
File 157817993694.png - (156.77KB , 800x800 , 209.png )
952716

It’s that cop from yesterday! I’m safe!
>>
No. 952717 ID: d3866d
File 157817997096.png - (196.68KB , 800x800 , 210.png )
952717

>“Damn, is that Rouille? And you know him? Small fucking world, buddy.”
>>
No. 952719 ID: 977456

Stress-induced vomit as a weapon? Nobody expects the vomit inquisition!
>>
No. 952720 ID: 86eb65

It's just some stoned musician. You are not going to get raped.

Also you don't know how trustworthy the cop is.

Relax and see what miss handsy wants.
>>
No. 952722 ID: b1b4f3

>>952717
I think she was just going to the same place you were.
Just ask her to please not touch you, and let her go first since you're nervous.
>>
No. 952727 ID: 015bf2

>>952717
They seem high indeed - and receptive, if they're picking up on your empathy that well. Then again, I guess touch helps.

Keep walking forwards towards... Rouille? Try to break physical contact. Scrape up some annoyance and ask why they've been tailing you. It still might not be a robbery; especially if they're this comfortable around a cop. (or maybe the cop is dirty or doesn't care, but if that's the case there is very little you can do about it except for grin and bear it)

Just in case, send the picture to a cloud - if it doesn't auto-upload, that is! If it does auto-upload, just lock your phone so they can't easily delete it after they've taken it from you.
>>
No. 952735 ID: e7848c

>>952717
Wonder what she's on. Ask her how she knows the cop. Slip out of her grip if you can.
>>
No. 952736 ID: 015bf2

Also, gonna have to admit it took me surprisingly long to process and realize that the wiggly imagination sequence was drawn by teegee. For some reason my brain went 'Oh, that's neat, Lagotrope is copying her style to differentiate between imagination and reality'.

Cool to have her chip in, though!
>>
No. 952756 ID: 15a025

I get the feeling our musician friend probably knows this cop on bad terms. Try to build up a little annoyance and ask what they want?
>>
No. 952775 ID: 0e24f3

We are not her "buddy", just shrug her off and walk away.
>>
No. 953058 ID: fd2d31

Does the cop feel like he's in a powertrip mood?
if not enquire on what the hell's going on with all the tape and if you should be aware of something odd.
>>
No. 953073 ID: 2202fb

Just figured i'd add that that cop could be compromised. Stoner might know the cop cuz the cop is willing to turn a blind eye to things.
>>
No. 953261 ID: 8e095e

>>952717
I'm not your buddy, guy!
>>
No. 953877 ID: 470289
File 157948315907.png - (255.59KB , 1000x800 , 211.png )
953877

>Ask her to please not touch you.
>Slip out of her grip if you can.
>Try to break physical contact.
>>
No. 953880 ID: 470289
File 157948391539.png - (171.98KB , 800x800 , 212.png )
953880

“Wh-what do you want?” Her grip strength is insane!

“In a minute, Spot, in a minute. I ain’t seen this jackass in, like, months! Lemme say hi and then we can get down to business.”

“Why do you know hi- wait, business?”

“Probs jail. Don’t remember. Mighta sucked his dick in an alley or something, I guess. Wait, he got a bit horny when he felt me, so I def sucked his dick. Good friend.”
>>
No. 953881 ID: 470289
File 157948396224.png - (234.00KB , 1000x800 , 213.png )
953881

>“Civilians aren’t allowed through. Go around.”

“Hey, Rooey Gooey,” I don’t think this chick even notices the spike of anger that cuts through the unease he’s trying to hide. “Introduce me to my new best friend Spot. And what’s with the tape and shit?”

>“Fucking leave, both of you.”
>>
No. 953882 ID: e7848c

"Is she going to mug me?"
>>
No. 953883 ID: 1d7c77

"I'd like to but I really don't have any input on that right now, sir."
>>
No. 953886 ID: 465a14

Insist on calling him Gooey Rooey as you ask him what's up.
>>
No. 953887 ID: cdabe3

>>953882
This
>>
No. 953888 ID: b1b4f3

Again, tell her to stop touching you.
>>
No. 953890 ID: 0e24f3

looks like murder mystery time!
>>
No. 953891 ID: fd2d31

>>953881
Get Stoner McWeedston to blow the cops doucheflute.
That way she isn't clinging to you like saran wrap anymore, and the cop will be distracted so you can go on your merry way.
>>
No. 953898 ID: 891b91

Calmly point out to the kind officer that using one's genitals to fraternize with the public represents an enormous conflict of interest! Even if said genitals are not enormous themselves!
>>
No. 953905 ID: 3b7091

>>953898
How about we NOT antagonize the officer and instead ask for help getting our of that iron grip?
>>
No. 953918 ID: 015bf2

You definitely should've taken the bus.

>Git
Smile stiffly. Say you'd love to, but this person you don't know is now LITERALLY holding you captive for some reason! Can't he DO something about that? Or call someone who can? In fact, why don't he call someone to get you two out of his hair? Right now is fine.

>>953882
With sad resignation in your empathy, is also fine.

>>953898
Best only get lippy with him if all else fails, I think. I'm not sure if risking getting arrested is better than whatever hustle Grippy is/was going to pull! The latter might leave us penniless, but the former might leave us penniless anyway AND with a black mark on our record, if the local police are as semi-corrupt as has been suggested.
>>
No. 953922 ID: ce39da

"I'd love to, but this person doesn't seem to want to let me."
>>
No. 953924 ID: a0dfd2

>>953881

Silently send your totally reasonable request to PLEASE GET THIS STRUNG OUT LADY AWAY FROM ME because he's a cop and he can do that for you.

Also ask if everything's okay, because sometimes the stupid question is the right one, and we're just a hapless civilian, as he so obliged to note for us.
>>
No. 953950 ID: 75ea94

Fuck'n punch the bitch
>>
No. 954499 ID: 509e5e
File 158006537999.png - (210.56KB , 800x800 , 214.png )
954499

Trying out something new. Background empathy will be denoted by brackets “[]” when relevant instead of being directly described unless Mac is focusing on it. May change back depending on how it comes across.

“I’d love to leave sir, but I don’t have much input on that right now. I think I’m getting mugged.” I try to give a smile but it’s not a great one.

“By friendship. Now gimmie the skinny on the sitch, bruv.”

>“What? Are you so fucked up you’re talking nonsense now? Fuck off Gys, or I’ll put you in cuffs for consumption of narcotics in public.”

“Naaaah. I don’t do cuffs unless it’s a party. Guild rules or something.”

>“I. Will. Arrest. You.” [Serious]
>>
No. 954500 ID: 509e5e
File 158006543320.png - (164.88KB , 800x800 , 215.png )
954500

“You suuuure about that, homeslice? I could use a place to crash but…” [Amused]

>[Confusion]

She mimes until it’s clear Rouille doesn’t get it, and then keeps doing it. Her voice is muffled as she speaks because she won’t stop. “I’ll tell your hive about that time ya let me out of jail for a blowjob. Cops gotta be more on the ball when they’re getting blackmailed, Rooey.”

He’s furious and sputters some half-formed curses. If we were in range of any of his hivemates I might have a shot of getting out of this, but I’m obviously not that lucky. Finally, he gets his words back.

>”What the fuck do you want?”

“I just wanna know what’s up, jabroni. I’m all curious and shit, then I’ll get out of your fur.”

“Please stop touching me.”
>>
No. 954501 ID: 509e5e
File 158006547731.png - (135.79KB , 800x800 , 216.png )
954501

>“There was a shootout a few hours ago. Some gangers arguing over turf or something. We’re investigating, and that’s all you need to know.”

“Wow. Crazy. At least ya’ll will finally have some actual work, huh.”

“I told you what happened. Satisfied? Scram!”

>Fuck'n punch the bitch
I’m not going to punch someone in front of a cop! Especially because whenever the thought passes my mind, she squeezes hard!

[PLEASE GET THIS STRUNG OUT LADY AWAY FROM ME!]

>“Ugh. What do you want from her?”
>>
No. 954502 ID: 509e5e
File 158006552368.png - (141.69KB , 800x800 , 217.png )
954502

“I got a feeling this bird is the type who needs a grade A motherfuckin’ guitar in exchange for a measly grand,” She pauses to read me. “and a half zeny.” That’s half the cash I have on me! That is cheap for a guitar though, assuming it’s a good one.

>“And you’ll leave her alone even if she doesn’t?”

“Toooootally.” [Yup.]
>>
No. 954504 ID: 86eb65

Ask to test the guitar and play your favorite song.
>>
No. 954509 ID: b1b4f3

She's not gonna let you go until you at least check out the guitar, so do so. Also look inside the guitar in case she's trying to offload some goods in the cavity.
>>
No. 954518 ID: 1d7c77

It's really not ethical to make deals with someone who's high on... something, I'm guessing. Maybe she'd regret selling it when she comes down! It could have sentimental value! That'd be super sad.
>>
No. 954533 ID: 015bf2

How good are you at playing the guitar? Is it something you could earn money with, busking or the like, if all else fails?
>>
No. 954534 ID: 86eb65

Buying possibly stolen items from junkies is not the best idea.
>>
No. 954535 ID: c2f1f6

No pigs in pokes. Let's see the hardware before even deliberating.
>>
No. 954559 ID: ce39da

[Confusion] "If that's all, why'd you drag me in front of a cop to do it?" [Fear] "I mean, I will, because I get a bad feeling about what might happen if I don't but..." [Suspecting] "Can I see the guitar at least, so I know you're not trying to scam me or something?"
>>
No. 954562 ID: 094652

She's vulnerable to intimidation from her high. Press the haggle even further; threaten to take the officer's side and testify as a witness to her narcotics, getting her arrested for reals and hauled off to a drug-testing lab for the effects of feeding 'spicy hot dogs' to predators, if she doesn't back off and leave the guitar on the ground, so you can 'tip' her appropriately.
>>
No. 954566 ID: ac10e5

Biggest concerns:
Do you need that cash for other legitimately important stuff right now?
Someone won't come try to repossess it as stolen property.
It actually is a good guitar and works.


The fact that she's super high and might regret this potentially is a concern but the other three are most important. Are you good with guitars even?
>>
No. 954769 ID: 509e5e
File 158027535780.png - (167.22KB , 800x800 , 218.png )
954769

> How good are you at playing the guitar? Is it something you could earn money with, busking or the like, if all else fails?
I’d call myself decent. Easily as good any random subway busker.

>Do you need that cash for other legitimately important stuff right now?
I need to buy food today, but I’ll have more than enough left even if I buy it. I should take out more money from the ATM sometime today anyway since my daily limit reset.

"If that's all, why'd you drag me in front of a cop to do it?" [Confusion]

“’Cuz.” She shrugs. [Felt like it]

“…let me play it first.”

“No problemo.” Gys swings the case off her shoulder and lets me go. I think she’s satisfied I’m not going to bolt now.
>>
No. 954770 ID: 509e5e
File 158027538558.png - (176.23KB , 800x800 , 219.png )
954770

There was a lot of padding in the case, and I can’t imagine it’s all empty space, but I didn’t see anything inside besides the instrument while it was open. The guitar, a parlor type, is a lot smaller than the case. It was probably meant for a smaller neumono than me, but it’s still comfortable to hold.

The guitar itself isn’t brand new but it’s been well taken care of. All the wear and tear I notice is just from use, not mishandling. This is worth at least four thousand zeny now and was maybe double that new. I could get used to this guitar. And having an instrument on me might make me feel more comfortable… considering.
>>
No. 954772 ID: 509e5e
File 158027547002.png - (196.32KB , 800x800 , 220.png )
954772

Oh jeez, this sounds good. I start picking a low and breathy melody, not really focusing on the playing so much as how it feels to play. Strumming isn’t going to be great on this, but it’s a trade-off for being better at fingerpicking. It’s not a popular style but I had an uncle who taught me how to do it. I haven’t used it in a couple of years though. It’s… nostalgic. I could get used to this guitar. And having an instrument on me might make me feel more… comfortable.

>Buying possibly stolen items from junkies is not the best idea.
> Someone won't come try to repossess it as stolen property.
I should keep this in mind as I’m deciding.

> She's vulnerable to intimidation from her high.
She just blackmailed a cop to his face so I’m pretty sure she’s not.
>>
No. 954774 ID: 1d7c77

Play through a good song to get yourself and the other two in a better mood. Then you can ask if either of them have a bit of paper and a pen on them (the cop probably?) and do a receipt for it for you and the girl. Name, address to leave a message, phone, and what you bought for how much. If the cop doesn't have something, you and the girl can pop in somewhere to ask. Then you can buy the guitar and feel confident both that you can return it and that if this girl changes her mind and wants her guitar back she can find you.
>>
No. 954775 ID: 12b116

Don't give her your address that's just asking to get robbed. This is very likely stolen, maybe you should say as much out loud in front of the police here.
>>
No. 954777 ID: c2f1f6

Is nostalgia going to feel good or is it going to hurt?

Haggle first. Try to get it under 800 or something.
>>
No. 954778 ID: 0cf4ee

Honestly this entire situation seems just a little too strange, and you will probably need the money for more important things later on, tell her thanks but you are really not interested. Also it is clear that the cop is not a huge fan of her so if you were to turn her offer down and she does not take it well, then you know there is a chance he would step in.

But if you do decide to buy the guitar try to then see if you can ask some questions and read her empathy to find out if it is stolen, like: "This is a nice guitar, where did you get it?", "Why are you selling such a nice guitar?", "Do you play guitar?" and so-on.
>>
No. 954784 ID: 1d7c77

>>954775
"Address to leave a message", not "address we actually live at".
>>
No. 954804 ID: 49a624

Not gonna lie, you could really use some comfort after what you deal with now. Just get a receipt and witness (cop) and you should go for it.

Do something for your own mental health.
>>
No. 954806 ID: 0cde4d

>>954804
This, in addition to giving you something that can at least potentially earn you some money
>>
No. 954807 ID: e7c7d3

I'd say go for it. Worse case scenario, you resell it if it's worth what you think it is. But a bit of comfort and a way to make some change on the side or in emergencies sounds like only positives
>>
No. 954830 ID: d832f2

Is that a circle theory sticker on the bottom of the guitar? Possibly ask her about that?
>>
No. 954842 ID: 721c60

>But if you do decide to buy the guitar try to then see if you can ask some questions and read her empathy to find out if it is stolen, like: "This is a nice guitar, where did you get it?", "Why are you selling such a nice guitar?", "Do you play guitar?" and so-on.
I think you can outright ask "This guitar isn't hot, is it?"
>>
No. 955254 ID: 15a025

Alright what's the catch here? Something else hiding in that case you need to get rid of or is this stolen?
>>
No. 955255 ID: 015bf2

Well then. It's honestly a pretty decent purchase. You seem to want it for comfort factor alone. It can potentially be useful for busking. Or, hell, you could sell it again, and probably for more than you purchased it for.

The only big thing in the way is that you're honestly worried it's stolen property. Or that you're taking advantage of someone in a really drugged-up state. Can you try to poke them with empathy to see if they can assure you it's not stolen, and that no-one will come looking for this, and that they are sure they want to sell it?

As a final piece of paranoid advice, if you do pull out your wallet to pay for this, make sure you do so in a way that it can't be grabbed from your hands.
>>
No. 955777 ID: 509e5e
File 158114574536.png - (113.58KB , 800x800 , 221.png )
955777

> Play through a good song to get yourself and the other two in a better mood.
The cop still really wants us gone so taking the time to play a song may just make him madder than he already is.

>Is nostalgia going to feel good or is it going to hurt?
I don’t know right now.

“This is hot, right?” I ask, paying attention to her empathy.

“Nah, it’s like...“ She licks her finger and holds it up to the air. “17.3 C, dude.” [Amusement]

“I mean what’s the catch, what are you hiding?”

“Catch is fifteen hundred zeny. Plus tip if you’re feeling generous, babe.” She fucking with me. No stress or nervousness, just smartassery.

“Is this guitar actually yours to sell?”

She sighs. I think there’s a tinge of annoyance? “Yeah bud, it’s my fuckin’ guitar. I know you want it, so decision time. Yes or no, sweetcheeks?”

It didn’t feel like she was lying about it being her guitar. She’s still super sketchy, but I guess it’s not stolen or anything? And I do want this guitar.

I ask Rouille for a piece of paper and pen and he rips a page out of his notebook for me. I’m not going to give a random person my- well, Luvi’s address. I scribble down my name, number, and the price, though. I’ll just type it all into my phone later, so I have a copy.
>>
No. 955778 ID: 509e5e
File 158114579067.png - (231.38KB , 800x800 , 222.png )
955778

Gys snatches the zeny and receipt out of my hand.

“Nice doing business with ya, Spot.”

“Wait, before you go, where’d you get the sticker?”

“What, the circle bullshit? Walk around town long enough and you’ll find this short motherfucker who loves to give out free stuff.” She chuckles a bit as she walks off.
>>
No. 955779 ID: 509e5e
File 158114583988.png - (141.14KB , 800x800 , 223.png )
955779

“See ya on the flipside.”

I start packing up the guitar and making sure it’s secure and doesn’t shift in the case. I can check it for anything hidden when I’m back at Luvi’s, I just want to get out of here now.

>“Hey rogue, real quick.”
>>
No. 955780 ID: 509e5e
File 158114589518.png - (214.61KB , 800x800 , 224.png )
955780

>“You’re not going to speak a fucking word of this to anyone, got it? This never happened and I’m never going to see you again.” [Livid]
>>
No. 955781 ID: 509e5e
File 158114592499.png - (154.66KB , 800x800 , 225.png )
955781

He pushes me away and I walk away shakily. I… I’m going to get as far away from here as possible right now.
>>
No. 955782 ID: 509e5e
File 158114596016.png - (272.00KB , 1200x800 , 226.png )
955782

There’s like a dozen rogues standing around outside the Office of Rogue Services when I get there, all of them some mix of disgusted, irritated, and mopey.

I also remember that I forgot to try and get Gys to come to Kark’s meeting thing. Shit.
>>
No. 955784 ID: 1ed92d

>>955782
Hey, look! The government's mishandling things into a riot again! Ask why we're rioting today.
>>
No. 955787 ID: e7c7d3

Yeah, ask what's going on. Surely Luvi wasn't the only one who worked here.
>>
No. 955801 ID: 13059a

>>955784
> Ask why we're rioting today.
You're trying to start shit huh? actually that could be entertaining.
>>
No. 955808 ID: 015bf2

Approach a disgusted rogue - you're probably more likely to get an answer out of them than the more mopey or irritated ones. Ask why there's a gathering of rogues hanging. Ask if they've seen Luvi.

Tell them that there's a meeting that rogues should attend at the town hall this afternoon at three. Sounded like something was going down that'd be bad for rogues if people don't show up to make a stink about it.
>>
No. 956042 ID: 29dce7
File 158148777896.png - (136.81KB , 800x800 , 227.png )
956042

I approach one of the rogues that looks like he’s been sucking lemons.

“So, why’re we rioting today?” The look he gives says he’s not in the mood for jokes.

>“Apparently, we’re not allowed in to discuss our case until working hours. Even though it’s our fucking livelihoods on the line!” [Anger]

“Case?”

>”They revoked our union license.” [Irritated]

“I see.” He can tell that I don’t see.

>”Union licenses let rogues organize and register as a hive for business purposes. Without it we can’t legally work on any of our contracts. They fucked us out of our jobs, and they don’t even have the balls to face us!”

Every time he yells he turns to the doors.

“Well there’s a town hall this afternoon, maybe you can bring it up there?”

>“You think I have the time to go to a town hall while we’re trying to make sure we can eat tomorrow?”

“Uh…” This got kind of awkward. “Well, have you seen a pink neumono a little shorter than me go into the building?”

>”No, and I’ve been here since it was dark. A couple of aliens went in, that’s it.”
>>
No. 956043 ID: 29dce7
File 158148780102.png - (138.30KB , 800x800 , 228.png )
956043

I try the doors myself just in case to make sure they’re locked and peer through the window. The only person I can see is the pomi at the front desk.

I guess my options are to try and get inside to ask someone if they know where Luvi is or try one of the other places Kark said she might be. Gentle Pastures, the old rogue’s home, or her church her sister is at. I could also take another crack at convincing these rogues behind me to go to the town hall meeting, but I’d need a pretty good argument to convince them. Or at least a bribe or something.
>>
No. 956050 ID: e7c7d3

Maybe try a pied piper routine? Play a calming tune so that the general empathy becomes more reasonable. Maybe then you can talk to people to go to the town hall.
>>
No. 956057 ID: 13059a

>>956043
They're only gonna have a chance to get heard at the town-hall, since it's clear they're getting stonewalled here for the time being.
>>
No. 956058 ID: 4bea11

That front desk lady looks overwhelmed and trying to figure out where things went wrong already. She probably won't be able to help much, this is something happening further up the totem pole.

>>956057
For all we know, the meeting at the town hall involves this very issue. Maybe send a message to Kark asking about it? If so, there's a ready crowd of recruits right here.
>>
No. 956070 ID: c2f1f6

Are you all of different union hives, or can one of you stay and get stonewalled while the rest of you go to the town hall?

Then go inside and ask what happened to Luvi.
>>
No. 956147 ID: 29dce7
File 158157026008.png - (160.56KB , 800x800 , 229.png )
956147

>They're only gonna have a chance to get heard at the town-hall, since it's clear they're getting stonewalled here for the time being.
>For all we know, the meeting at the town hall involves this very issue. Maybe send a message to Kark asking about it?
I text Kark asking what’s in it for the rogues who come to the town hall and if there’s anything that could help with union stuff. He texts back instantly and between the cursing he gives about three actual points.

1.You get to yell at Mayor Rollas and Chief Mund to their faces.
2.Engendering solidarity between rogues in order to strengthen future political capital.
3.You can bring up issues affecting you to the local government and theoretically get them resolved but more likely get ignored to your face. Which he implies is an improvement, I think?

He says if union licensing is their issue no one local can do anything about it, because it’s not up to them. I don’t get the specifics but it’s some kind of jurisdiction issue. So, I can’t really tell these guys the town hall will help them specifically. At least not without them knowing I’m lying. I can still try to get them to come, but self-interest might be the wrong tack to take.

> Go inside and ask what happened to Luvi.
How? The doors locked and they have only let the ORS workers go inside. I can get the pomis attention by knocking maybe but I’m not sure what would convince her I’m different from the other rogues out here.

Whether I stay and keep trying to talk to people or not, I have to decide where to go next. Either the church or Gentle Pastures, since I’m pretty sure Luvi isn’t here. I can’t feel her empathy anywhere in the building.
>>
No. 956148 ID: e7c7d3

Try the church. Less chance of running into old people with nothing better to do but waste your time
>>
No. 956150 ID: 48ce40

Church. Possibly more friendly/charitable people around there, so at least you could do a spot of busking?
>>
No. 956176 ID: 1ed92d

>>956147
Seek the church, maybe there will be helpful missionaries there!
>>
No. 956182 ID: 13059a

>>956147
>You get to yell at Mayor Rollas and Chief Mund to their faces.
think you can whip up a guitar/vocal power ballad with that as the main theme? should influence peolpe to go to the town hall.
>>
No. 956400 ID: 15a025

Let's go to church.
>>
No. 956661 ID: 470289
File 158205899319.png - (138.01KB , 800x800 , 230.png )
956661

>Think you can whip up a guitar/vocal power ballad
Not on the spot. I can just play a calming tune to break in the guitar and try out this busking thing. Make it so the trip here isn’t all for nothing. A few people might get annoyed at me, but I’m sure enough will like it.
>>
No. 956669 ID: 470289
File 158205936758.gif - (240.45KB , 800x800 , 231-b.gif )
956669

>>
No. 956670 ID: 470289
File 158205938237.png - (119.91KB , 800x800 , 232.png )
956670

>>
No. 956671 ID: 470289
File 158205941693.png - (159.16KB , 800x800 , 233.png )
956671

The next place to look for Luvi is the church where her sister is supposed to be. I guess maybe Luvi’s old hive goes there? Or her parents got unlucky and had two daughters go rogue. Whatever it doesn’t matter.

>”You okay, kid? You feel like you’re about to puke.” [Concern]

I put the guitar back in its case and throw it over my shoulder. I’m heading straight to where my phone says the churches should be. I shouldn’t be wasting time buying guitars and crap.
>>
No. 956672 ID: 470289
File 158205944416.png - (170.15KB , 800x800 , 234.png )
956672

This place is the only church in the last few blocks with a bird on top, so I’m guessing this is it. I feel two- no three neumono inside. None of them are Luvi, but hopefully one of them knows where she is.
>>
No. 956673 ID: 470289
File 158205946952.png - (167.87KB , 800x800 , 235.png )
956673

I find who I expect, plus a heef.

The girl praying seems disturbed and is trembling a little bit. Her empathy reminds me a bit of Gys. Not in personality, but in how wired she feels. She’s totally absorbed into her own little world.

In front is where there’s a woman excitably talking to the heef. She’s almost manic with how hard she’s gesturing, but she’s not threatening or weird, just super passionate about something.

The guy next to them feels serene. I get the sense he’s a placid person and is taking things in. He doesn’t seem to be part of the conversation but is still standing close? At least he indicates empathetically he’s willing to talk to me, unlike the others.
>>
No. 956675 ID: e7c7d3

Approach the serene one and ask if he's seen Luvi lately.
>>
No. 956682 ID: 977456

Eaves were made for dropping.
>>
No. 956684 ID: c2f1f6

So what happened back there?

Talk to the guy who's willing to talk.
>>
No. 956846 ID: 9a21f9

>>956675
Talk.

Pay half a mind to what's going on. Anything to distract you from... what happened.
>>
No. 956973 ID: 86eb65

Pray to bird Jesus.
>>
No. 957027 ID: 91ee5f

>>956671
So what happened? Did you play anything or did you get stage fright and give up without doing anything?

>>956673
Talk to the person that’s willing to talk.
>>
No. 957104 ID: 15a025

Talk to the one who feels serene. Maybe they know where Luvi's at?
>>
No. 957709 ID: 470289
File 158309939306.png - (158.08KB , 800x800 , 236.png )
957709

>So what happened back there?
I had some trouble breathing for a minute. Things got blurry. I’m fine now.

>Did you play anything or did you get stage fright and give up without doing anything?
I didn’t play anything.

>“I’m sorry Erilet, I know I’m not making sense. I just, I know my purpose now. I haven’t been so focused in decades. It’s amazing.” [Earnest]

>“Congratulations. You’re still not talking to my flock before, during, or after service.” This heefs voice is as grating as the rest of them.

>“But we could help them even better than Erilchacht!”

>“That’s an excellent argument to convince an ordained minister of Erilchacht to allow foreign evangelists steal believers right from under them.”

>“Really?” [Eager]

>“No.”
>>
No. 957710 ID: 470289
File 158309946313.png - (157.99KB , 800x800 , 237.png )
957710

“Excuse me, do you know anyone named Luvi? She’s a really, well, happy pink neumono. Maybe she came here this morning?”

>“I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure. Is she a believer of Erilchacht? My friend Chidi may know her, in that case.”

“I… don’t know?” Is Luvi religious? I didn’t get that impression, but I’ve known her for like a day. “Her sister comes here, I think. I don’t know her name.”

>“Well, we can ask Chidi once she realizes she’s talking to a brick wall.” He chuckles.

We lapse into a silence only I feel is awkward for a minute while the heef and Chidi argue in the background. He keeps focusing on my guitar and the longer we stand here the more obvious it is he wants something from me.

>“Sorry if I’m making you feel uncomfortable,” [Considering how to phrase what he wants] “You’re a musician, correct? Are you good with that guitar?”

“Y-yeah. I mean, I’m decent.” He notices I tripped up on answering but politely ignores it. He believes that I can play at least.

>“We,” He gestures at Chidi. “are having a get-together tonight with some of our friends and I’ve been thinking some musical accompaniment could lift everyone’s spirits. Do you play at parties?” [Hopeful]
>>
No. 957713 ID: e7c7d3

If you think you can get past your stage-fright then say yes and that your rates are low. If not, you can go and try to get past whatever block you have, but for free of course.
>>
No. 957715 ID: 891b91

>>957710
"No, only Bar Mitzvahs."

Then wonder why you're making a joke that invokes human customs and correct yourself: "Just kidding. I guess I might be available, although I need to find Luvi first." Maybe try to signal via empathy that you need some kind of reason why this would be worth your time and effort.

This is all assuming, of course, that you can manage to do the music thing without choking like you did earlier. Seems like the suppressed trauma you've got going on with your former hive might specifically have something to do with performances in general... I guess you must have royally messed up that performance you gave before you got kicked out.
>>
No. 957716 ID: b1b4f3

Wait, why do you even have stage fright? You've been performing all your life. Have you never performed in front of non-hivemates before?
You better explain your Issues before even thinking of accepting.
>>
No. 957717 ID: 015bf2

>Musician? Party?
Recent experience dictates you say no until you've successfully managed to busk a crowd.

Say it's been a bit since you've played, the guitar's a new purchase and you've realized you need to work through the rust. And you have some stuff that you need to get to terms with and you're not keen on being a downer or - side glance - having to deal with overeager conversion attempts.

Not that you wouldn't mind a side gig, but today's a poor time for it.

>Religion, pendant.
What religious denomination are they? Have a look at their pendants.

>What next?
The minister doesn't know Luvi, so she wasn't here recently and probably doesn't speak directly to the clergy. We can wait for Chidi, but if this goes on for more than a couple minutes, go gently bother the girl with the wired empathy. I mean, I refuse to think there's a neumono, even one who lives in their own world, who wouldn't notice Luvi's presence.

Heck, for all we know it could be Luvi's sister herself.
>>
No. 957762 ID: 977456

Play a little first... to check that the guitar works? Yes, that is a sensible excuse.
>>
No. 957767 ID: 094652

Ask the enthusiast if she joined a 'secret religion' (cult)). Then try to convince her to spread more than just the opening pitch, but whatever secrets she has been told.

Tell the minister you can attend, but he'll owe you one.
>>
No. 959713 ID: 470289
File 158519377556.png - (142.09KB , 800x800 , 238.png )
959713

>Play a little first... to check that the guitar works?
The guitar sounds fine.

>Have you never performed in front of non-hivemates before?
I have.

>You better explain your Issues before even thinking of accepting.
It's none of his business.

> Seems like the suppressed trauma you've got going on with your former hive might specifically have something to do with performances in general... I guess you must have royally messed up that performance you gave before you got kicked out.
It was my magnum opus.

>”Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you?” [Surprised]

Dumb. Stop thinking about the play. Stay in the moment.

“No! I just… only do Bar Mitzvahs!”

>“Ohh… kay?” He doesn’t get the joke. I barely get the joke.

“Sorry, I mean, yes, I do play at parties. And have low rates. But I do need to find my friend first. Today might not be the best time.”

>“Of course. We’re meeting in Ispaati Park after dark. If you do find yourself free, I would love if you could swing by…?”

“Mac.”

>”My name’s Krieg.”

“So, you and Chidi are in the same… group?” I’m desperate to keep talking so I don’t have to think about anything.
>>
No. 959714 ID: 470289
File 158519381123.png - (173.10KB , 800x800 , 239.png )
959714

>“We’re Omnists.” [Placating] “And I’m not offended if you are a bit wary. As rogues it’s good to be cautious. But we strive to be a harbor for any lost souls, rogue or not.” As he speaks his necklace catches my eye.

“Is that wood burned?” I ask. “It looks different somehow, do you know how it was made?” He smiles, and I think I’m projecting as normal again.

>“Usually people just comment on the spirals. I think the artist who made mine used an acid process. Design-wise, I wish I could say it represented something like the universality of our beliefs through galaxy iconography, but I think the designer just really liked spirals.”

“Um, is it okay to say that about your religion or whatever? Don’t you have to be respectful about that stuff.”

>“We try to be open about everything in our faith. Neumono are already skeptical about us, no need to encourage it. You see-"
>>
No. 959715 ID: 470289
File 158519385785.png - (168.31KB , 800x800 , 240.png )
959715

>“Are you interested?” Chidi asks as she pushes herself between us. “Omnism is amazing, it’s like, better than having a hive, because you’re important.”

>“Chidi, maybe calm-” [Exasperation]

>“I’m calm! But she needs to know about how much better her life could be!” [Excitement]

>“How about before that you tell her if you know anyone named Luvi who comes here?” Krieg asks her.

>“Never heard of them!”

“She’s really happy, like all the time.” I add and her mood drops.
>>
No. 959716 ID: 470289
File 158519390959.png - (171.92KB , 800x800 , 241.png )
959716

>“Her?” She frowns. [Confused] “Why could you want with that freak?”

>“Chidi.” [Admonishing]

>“Sorry, Krieg. She has just as much value as I do.” She doesn’t seem to believe much in what she says though as she turns back to me. “She doesn’t come by very often. I think she’s one of Erilet Canggu’s charity cases.”
>>
No. 959717 ID: e7c7d3

Alright, and who is Erilet Canggu? And aren't we all charity cases?
>>
No. 959718 ID: 465a14

Why do the arms of the spirals on their pendants keep changing number? It's acid-washed wood, right? Nothing that would change shape from different angles?
>>
No. 959719 ID: b1b4f3

>>959716
Consider joining. Like get some pamphlets to read. Stay focused on finding Luvi though, ask to talk to Erilet.
>>
No. 959721 ID: c2f1f6

I'm unfamiliar.
>>
No. 959726 ID: 12b116

I think that's the heef cleric, if so let's ask him. If not I guess let's find out who this is. You should think about playing for them, it might be a relaxing atmosphere. Just don't go joining their cult right now
>>
No. 959735 ID: ecd116

ask Chidi & Krieg what their life was like before and after joining the Omnists? also what are others groups/organisations opinion about the omnists beliefs and mission, and opinions about luvi and rouges in general? and if this ok to ask in, do they know that girl on the bench and why is she deeply praying for?, and who was both that one neumono & heef talking and what was that all about?
>>
No. 959739 ID: 015bf2

>>959717
Erilet seems to be the heef priest. Krieg mentioned their name earlier.

>Charity case
You don't know about that. She seems fairly well off despite being, well, literally all too happy to help others. You're genuinely grateful for her assistance so far.

Either way, there's some politics thing that's going down at Town Hall this afternoon, you're repaying a favor by running an errand to find her. Speaking of which, would they be at all interested in attending? You honestly ain't got much of a clue what it'll be all about, but apparently it's important to rogues so you were encouraged to invite anyone.

After that, thank them for their help, say you'll consider meeting at the Park and try talking to Erilet, since he must be the one who knows about Luvi and whether she's been her today.
>>
No. 959748 ID: 465a14

Erilet is probably a title- Erilchacht, Erilet. Canggu is probably the heef's name- they said they were an ordained minister. Might as well talk to them.
>>
No. 959960 ID: 15a025

Ask who Erilet is?
>>
No. 964974 ID: 470289
File 158863319867.png - (147.61KB , 800x800 , 242.png )
964974

>Why do the arms of the spirals on their pendants keep changing number? It's acid-washed wood, right? Nothing that would change shape from different angles?
It’s an optical illusion. I think each hole is angled so the appearance changes. It’s interesting.

>Erilet is probably a title- Erilchacht, Erilet. Canggu is probably the heef's name- they said they were an ordained minister.
This makes sense.

“The heef?” I ask, just to make sure.

“Yeah. They went in the back once we finished talking.” They? Oh, that girl isn’t in the pews anymore. “They’re probably in the office, red door.”

“Who was that girl on the bench? She seemed pretty into her praying.”

>”Kiki. She spends all day in here when she falls off the wagon, self-castigating. It’s like clockwork.” Chidi answers, [Dismissive]

“Also, I don’t think Luvi is a charity case. She seems pretty well off to me and she’s really helped me out.” Chidi rolls her eyes. “Anyway, before I go can I ask you what your life was like before and after joining?”

>”It was terrible! I was wandering through life like a ghost, filling myself with cheap causes and faiths, trying to become solid again! Depressed and alone all the time! But now I have a purpose and neumono to share it with! Every day we try to share the truth about neumono and all other sentient creatures and explain how we’re all walking Omni’s Journey together!”

“Uh-huh. Do you have any pamphlets or anything?”

>“We have a website.” Krieg pipes up. “Just look up Omnism and you’ll find it.”

“Well, thanks. Oh, there’s a town hall this afternoon. I’m not entirely sure what about but I was told to encourage rogues to attend.”

>”Afternoon? I should be free at least.” Krieg says. “I’d be happy to stop by.” [Sincere]

“Thank you. And I’ll really try to swing by the park later.”
>>
No. 964976 ID: 470289
File 158863326366.png - (140.98KB , 800x800 , 243.png )
964976

The Erilet opens the door and steps out before I even touch it. I think the glaring is just how heefs always look in real life. One wing/hand thing waves me inside.
>>
No. 964978 ID: 470289
File 158863329858.png - (150.72KB , 800x800 , 244.png )
964978

“How do you know Luvi and why are you looking for her?”

>[Focused on me]
>>
No. 964981 ID: 465a14

"I live with her, punkass."
>>
No. 964982 ID: b1b4f3

>>964978
Why is the text black...?

Tell her she helped you out on your first day as a rogue so she's kindof a friend, and one of her friends asked you to relay a message so you're trying to do that.
>>
No. 964983 ID: b1b4f3

>>964981
I don't think we should give out that information!
>>
No. 964986 ID: 91ee5f

>>964978
Isn’t that Luvi in that picture on the desk?

>>964982
This.

>>964983
Is there a reason why we shouldn’t mention we’re living with Luvi?
>>
No. 964988 ID: 891b91

Keep it truthful but extremely limited. Say you're familiar with her through her social work and you're trying to follow up with her on it.

Don't mention anything else, such as living with her, what other rogues she associates with, the fact that you're staying at her place, etc. This person is either allied with Luvi somehow and looking to protect her, or she's Luvi's enemy, which means she might be your enemy in some way too.

This might seem extreme, but it seems like Luvi has some... questionable contacts.
>>
No. 964989 ID: 891b91

>>964986
>Isn’t that Luvi in that picture on the desk?
Could be, but it's hard to be sure at this distance. Even then, a photo on the desk doesn't necessarily mean this is someone to be open with.
>>
No. 965082 ID: 12b116

She's helped us out and we're looking to follow up
>>
No. 965084 ID: 015bf2

>>964978
Say you’re... well, her charity case, you guess. She offered you a place to stay, and you were in no position to decline. Then, this morning, a rogue acquaintance called Kark came knocking, looking for Luvi. Since you owed him too, and didn’t have anything planned, you got voluntold to go looking. Apparently something will be going down at town hall this afternoon and he wants all the rogues he can gather? Luvi being a sure thing.

Is she really Luvi’s sister?
>>
No. 966015 ID: 470289
File 158907096687.png - (110.38KB , 800x800 , 245.png )
966015

>I don't think we should give out that information!
I’ll start of coy, at least. I can always reveal more info later, but I can’t really take it back.

“She helped me out as a social worker.” I say as I step inside. “I can’t seem to get in contact with her for any follow-up stuff, so I went looking for her.”

The heef glances over at Kiki who just kind of shrugs. “Hmm. And she told you she has a sister here in your capacity as a client?.” I’m not sure how to answer that and not lie, so the glaring and silence stretch out.

Ugh! It’s always hard to read the emotions of aliens but heef are the worst! I can’t tell what it’s thinking! Kiki is just nervous and frazzled, focusing on me insistently in a way that is really rude and she knows it.
>>
No. 966016 ID: 470289
File 158907099756.png - (143.52KB , 800x800 , 246.png )
966016

>Is she really Luvi’s sister?
I hope so, if only so I don’t have to go searching all over again.

I angle myself a bit to get a good look at the photo. I remember that picture from last night. The bigger one, I mean. Luvi had a copy of it on her kitchen table. The smaller one is a different picture of just her and a heef.

I figure there is a decent chance the Erilet is the same heef as in the pictures, but if I say that and I’m wrong this will get a whole lot more awkward real fast. Even worse if there are two different heefs in the picture. And I’m still not totally sure what the heef’s relationship would be to-

>“S-she’s interested in the pi-picture.” Kiki stutters. Her voice is scratchy, like she hasn’t had anything to drink in a while.

“She recognizes it?”

>”I-I think so? Maybe? Em-empathy isn’t really that cl-clear all the-"

“It’s fine Kiki. Thank you.”
>>
No. 966017 ID: 470289
File 158907102923.png - (117.32KB , 800x800 , 247.png )
966017

“Give me your phone. You said you tried to contact Luvi. If Luvi’s number is in it, I will accept you are acquaintances and we can discuss her. If you refuse or it is absent you will leave, immediately.”
>>
No. 966018 ID: b1b4f3

What the fuck was that? That's possibly the worst attempt at holding back information while staying truthful that I've ever seen. You failed after the first sentence.

I don't remember if she gave you her number but you don't have a choice at this point.
At least object to having your privacy invaded like that, when you could just TALK more. You are willing to be more forthcoming since it's clear that Luvi and the Erilet are friends. You were trying to protect her privacy, and you suspect she might have some enemies?
>>
No. 966019 ID: fa2754

>>966017
Fair enough. Pull up her number yourself and show the screen
>>
No. 966020 ID: 4854ef

This is very threatening.
>>
No. 966031 ID: 15a025

As long as you'll promise not to snoop anywhere else in my phone I'm fine with that.
>>
No. 966032 ID: ed763f

I'm really worried what you think warrants this kind of paranoia, but here.
>>
No. 966033 ID: 9e3bd6

Dont even bother, just leave. Luvi is clearly not here and the sooner we finish our list of places to look, the sooner we can just go back to Luvi's house and hope tomorrow is better.
>>
No. 966061 ID: 015bf2

“Er... okay? Is this the one you have? Another acquaintance trying to get in touch said she wasn’t responding and implied she sometimes forgets keeping her phone charged, so I just went looking directly.”

You should probably have tried sending a message, if you didn’t already. Maybe Kark had the wrong number?

Don’t give him the phone, but hold it up and show him the number. In fact show him your call history from yesterday.

“I saw that picture at her place. She said it was of her old spacer crew. The guy in the back is Rocker, and the Pomi is Panic...a, I think. Those were the only two she mentioned, anyway.”
>>
No. 966616 ID: 470289
File 158948423632.png - (120.91KB , 800x800 , 248.png )
966616

> What the fuck was that? That's possibly the worst attempt at holding back information while staying truthful that I've ever seen. You failed after the first sentence.
I tried my best!

“I’ll show it to you but I’m not going to just hand it over.” I pull my phone out and flick up my recent calls, turning the screen to him. “Why are you being so paranoid?”

“Hex.” He answers like that explains anything. After satisfying that Luvi’s number is in my phone and I called her recently he glances at Kiki behind me again and whatever reaction she gives satisfies him. “You can put your phone away. I’m convinced you’re here for honest reasons. Where did you recognize the picture from? And your name?”

“Mac. I saw that picture at her place. She said it was of her old spacer crew. The guy in the back is Rocker, and the pomi is Panic...a, I think. Those were the only two she mentioned, anyway.”
>>
No. 966620 ID: 470289
File 158948436811.png - (144.93KB , 800x800 , 249.png )
966620

“Kiki, you can go.” Kiki lets off a wave of relief and hurries back toward the door as the heef pulls out his phone.

“Wait, no! I still need to talk to her.”

“Why?”

“I need Luvi’s sister to tell me where to find her!”

“I’m Luvi’s sister. Canggu.”
>>
No. 966621 ID: 470289
File 158948439844.png - (88.28KB , 800x800 , 250.png )
966621

“But you’re a-?” I bite my tongue.
>>
No. 966622 ID: 470289
File 158948442113.png - (111.33KB , 800x800 , 251.png )
966622

“I’m a what?”
>>
No. 966623 ID: fa2754

>>966622
"Sorry, made a bad assumption."

Pass the message along.
>>
No. 966625 ID: 015bf2

>>966623
... adopted?
>>
No. 966626 ID: 12b116

I question the biological plausibility of this relationship. How are a Heef and a neumono sisters?
>>
No. 966629 ID: 1ed92d

>>966622
Apologize, say you thought she meant biologically.
>>
No. 966631 ID: e2f5cc

But you're a heef. How does that work biologically? Unless we're talking metaphorical sisters in which case what you are doesn't matter.
>>
No. 966636 ID: 86eb65

Sorry I made assumptions.
>>
No. 966638 ID: 89ae2b

>>966629
This sounds like the best course of action.
>>
No. 966647 ID: 094652

"Good question. From what I've heard, Luvi's hive was a sack of griefers."
>>
No. 966737 ID: 365ffb

>>966629
Yep.

There's no way to talk your way out of this with someone acting this way. Just say you thought she meant biological and try not to make this into a big deal.

If somehow they're biological siblings and they're still mad at you for making assumptions, that's not on you.
>>
No. 966740 ID: 36784c

>>966622
You should at least explain why you’re looking for Luvi.

A rogue named Kark said that there’s a town hall this afternoon and we need as many rogues as we can get to come. He also said that Luvi is one of our few sure things and wanted us to go find her and get her to the town hall by three.
>>
No. 966751 ID: 015bf2

>>966740
He didn’t say no to aliens attending either, though getting rogues were clearly the priority.
>>
No. 966769 ID: 5b0071

>>966622
"You're a lot different then I assumed."
Luvi's a rogue, too. If she has any blood relatives they've cast her out. Luvi's made her own family, even if it's no hive. As odd as she is, she's setting a pretty good example here. Whatever future community you become a part of, doesn't have to be exclusively neumono.
>>
No. 966849 ID: 15a025

>>966629
>>966638
Yeah, agreeing on that here. We should probably explain why we're looking for her now.
>>
No. 966889 ID: 764aca

Heef
>>
No. 967386 ID: 470289
File 159008271289.png - (137.68KB , 800x800 , 252.png )
967386

“Sorry, that was a bad assumption. I thought you meant like, biologically. Were you… adopted by Luvi’s old hive or…?”

“I don’t know them. We met after she got kicked out.” Canggu keeps messing with her phone, eyes glued to it. “You still haven’t actually answered why you’re looking for her.”

“Oh! A rogue named Kark said that there’s a town hall this afternoon and we need as many rogues as we can get to come. He also said that Luvi is one of our few sure things and wanted me to go find her and get her to the town hall by three. You could come if you want, I’m pretty sure it’s open to everyone.”

“Sounds like a great way to waste my time.” She puts her phone up to her… earholes? I hear a sharp screech come from the phone for a second before a gruff voice answers, but I can’t make out its words.
>>
No. 967387 ID: 470289
File 159008272910.png - (110.62KB , 800x800 , 253.png )
967387

“I couldn’t reach Luvi so she must be at your house. I’m calling to confirm.”

“There’s a girl here who wants to find her, so I’m sending her over. Is the entrance still mined?”

“Fine, I’ll just send her to you and you can take her down.”

“Don’t trap your shitty bunker and I wouldn’t have to.”

“Demoiselles.”

“She’s green, in a collared shirt, and has a black guitar case on her back. Name’s Mac. She seems to be one of Luvi’s friends so don’t fuck with her.” The voice on the other end starts saying something but Canggu ends the call and puts the phone back into her robes.
>>
No. 967388 ID: 470289
File 159008277979.png - (118.96KB , 800x800 , 254.png )
967388

“Rocker is at Demoiselle, five blocks east of here. You should hurry up and catch him or he’ll leave without you and you’ll have to wait until Luvi comes back herself, which could be all day.” She says.
>>
No. 967389 ID: fa2754

>>967386
Don't press your luck too much further here. Say thank you. You don't need to say anything about how this group seems rough and tumble.
>>
No. 967390 ID: 86eb65

Thank you.

Get over there quick and find this friend.
>>
No. 967391 ID: ed763f

d...did you say 'mined'?

I'll just go. Thanks.
>>
No. 967393 ID: 015bf2

Thank her and get heefin', er, hoofin'. A light jog, don't do anything that jeopardizes the guitar.

>meeting Rocker, the frazzled gun (and demolition?) nutmono
Man, you're making a lot of strange acquaintances thanks to Luvi. But more acquaintances is a good thing, at least if Kark's jerk circle theory is correct. Run with it. Hopefully this won't be a wild goose chase. Probably isn't. Luvi's friends would know where she'd be.

Hopefully Rocker won't be that bad if you treat him with... something approaching the same kind of blasé disregard Luvi has for his tendencies. And let him perform a full body search or whatever else calms a rampant sense of paranoia.
>>
No. 967415 ID: 1ed92d

>>967388
Thank them politely and leave. Time to go meet the psycho who stashes guns everywhere!
>>
No. 967418 ID: 103eae

>>967388
Tell them to call back damn it! We need to show him that the guitar case has a guitar and not a fucking tommy gun in it, given how paranoid the guy seems.
>>
No. 967657 ID: 15a025

Best get going then and ask any questions you have to "Rocker" when you meet him.
>>
No. 968197 ID: 470289
File 159061777092.png - (114.84KB , 800x800 , 255.png )
968197

“D… did you say ‘mined’?”

“Yes, which is why I’m sending you to that asshole instead of straight to Luvi.” She seems entirely unconcerned about this.

“If he’s that paranoid maybe you should call him back and tell him I don’t have like, a rifle in my case.” I’m not sure if I’m trying to make a joke or if this is an actual concern.

“He’s not paranoid. He just likes to kill people.” She pauses. “Well, he liked to kill neumono. He barely cared about the rest of us.”

I don’t have anything to say to that. After I’ve stared at her for almost a minute she shrugs.

“It’s fine, he hasn’t killed anyone in years. You’ll probably live even if you do pull a rifle on him.” Was that sarcasm? What’s wrong with this bird?

“Uh, thank you. I’m going now.” I’m walking straight out of this church.

“Tell Luvi I said hi.”
>>
No. 968198 ID: 470289
File 159061780954.png - (118.94KB , 800x800 , 256.png )
968198

I almost walk right by this building but my phone beeps and tells me I’ve arrived, even though the sign in front of Kaulo’s… ugh. That explains why I can’t feel anyone’s empathy from inside. My phone must be reading the map wrong or something. This is probably a common problem for them, so it’ll be faster if I just pop in and get directions to the right place inside.
>>
No. 968199 ID: 470289
File 159061785744.png - (164.12KB , 800x800 , 257.png )
968199

The lobby looks like a normal apartment lobby with a few more chairs and stuff, and I guess is relaxed atmosphere, though it’s hard to tell. There’s a couple of people waiting in the lobby and a young guy behind the desk I walk straight up to. I do not want to be stuck here any longer than I must.

“Hi, can I get directions to Demoiselle?”

>“This is it. Our boys are booked up now, but if you’re fine with a girl we have a few choices-” He notices the distressed look on my face. “Uh… are you alright?”

“I’m fine, just… I’m not here for that. I’m looking for Rocker, is he still here?” I almost hope I missed him, I think I can go my whole life without meeting the maniac.

>“Mr. Rocker went up a while ago, but thinking about it his time should probably be up now? He could be dressing or something. Unless you’re in a hurry and want to go up to the room really quick you can wait for him down here.”

I’m surprised he seems willing to just let me go up talk to a customer after walking in from the street.
>>
No. 968201 ID: 465a14

Well, this is weird as hell. Let's do this and get it over with. Worst case Rocker tries to kill you.
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No. 968202 ID: 12b116

Yes this is very weird. Let's just wait here, what's on that monitor?
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No. 968205 ID: b1b4f3

>>968199
The receptionist is probably good at reading your empathy to know your intentions. Just wait out here.
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No. 968216 ID: e7c7d3

Ask why this place has two names. Otherwise, just wait here patiently
>>
No. 968235 ID: 567477

Wait. Maybe they'll let you play some tunes. Got to keep that practice up, and better than just sitting and stewing.
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No. 968259 ID: d186fc

>>968199
Whole place seems like some sort of trap, although I doubt it is for you. Run up and find the guy before they leave through a different exit.
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No. 968262 ID: 015bf2

It is strange that he'd just let her walk in, but perhaps that's less strange and more a service they provide. A walk-in service, as it were! Might even have to pay for it, heh. Doubt this is a kidnapping ring or whatnot. If so she'd just been told to 'oh yes, go in, 'Rocker' will meet you in room X' without being given the option to wait and been none the wiser.

Anyway, thank the receptionist. Mention that you weren't told much of this place, so you presumed something just now, and well, you learned recently that perhaps you should presume less and ask more. What service do they provide and what's the going rate?

(brace for sales pitch)

>>968202
This. Stay in the lobby. No need to rock the boat or accidentally stumble into, uhhh, what we suspect could be going on here. Besides, you could chat up one of the other waiting neumonos and try another recruitment spiel for this afternoon's town hall.

Could break the ice with whichever one looks the most bored.
>>
No. 968565 ID: 15a025

I'd say just wait down here. Probably best to just wait for him.
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