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935776 No. 935776 ID: f0a059

CONTENT WARNING: This quest will contain explicit sexual and violence content unsuitable for minors, and will likely run into situations of dubious consent.
Please minimise this thread if you feel this may be distressing or objectionable.
To minimise a thread, please click the leftmost button that looks like a _ in the subject title.
Spoiler text will be used in situations where the text is not suitable for display on the main /quest/ page.
166 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 938500 ID: f0a059
File 156254076399.png - (36.28KB , 800x600 , v-41.png )
938500

>maybe making everyone pregnant at the same time is a bad idea
It must happen. Biological and existential imperatives demand it. Huh. Why does my pulse quicken and my breath deepen when I think this? Just the thought alone is as if preparing to mate with another Agent.

>vesselmind is dying
Impossible. Even if the entire neural quadrant were to suddenly die away, the fact remains that the Vesselmind remains at least partially composed of the mind of every Agent. If we all died out abruptly, perhaps it would be possible.
That being said, there is a difference between being existent and being sapient. It could be possible that the consciousness of the Vesselmind that is not directly an Agent consciousness could perish, but that would leave us leaderless... I do not want to think about this further. If it did happen, everything would collapse.

>why breed
~Have you considered evolution?~
~Sexual recombination is far too slow a process to produce any real outcomes that the Vesselmind could not replicate itself on a faster timescale. Do you think the Vessel has even existed for millions of years? I know it has existed for at least a hundred and fifty orbits, but I do not think it is quite that old.~
~Random mutation?~
~Again achieved faster and in parallel by modifying designs piecemeal randomly in growth chambers.~
~Lack of dependence on the growth chambers. Survival beyond the death of the Vessel.~
~If the Vessel dies, we will die with it. That is not even an ideological thing. Our biology is supported by the Vessel. We are all symbiotes.~
~Would the next generation of Agents be so tied to it?~
~Indirectly, yes! If the Vessel dies, the Agents die, if the Agents die, anything depending on them for protection and development dies too. This entire idea is ridiculous!~
~And who are we to question the Vesselmind's motives?~
Phi pauses and rubs her head again. ~You are correct. I do worry it is straying from its own path, but I do not know all of the things it knows.~

>decline of vesselmind
~While we are on the topic, however,~ I say, ~how fast and how thoroughly has the Vesselmind declined?~
~Ever since Psi was born it has been less quick to respond to things, and now very recently it is refusing to respond to any queries without just giving broad awareness. It almost feels like it is hiding something from its own Agents, but why would it do so?~
~Perhaps it is related to the rogue Agents.~
~...rogue Agents? What rogue Agents?~
~Agents who are rebelling against the Vesselmind.~
~I do not think that is possible.~

I decide to not press the issue further while mentally categorising Phi as a possible rogue.

>hypocrisy
~Back to an earlier point, after you just pointed out the hypocrisy of the way the remnants treated their own kind, you were quick to point out how ridiculous my existence is.~
~What? No? I am sorry, I was simply surprised, I do not think you are inherently worth less because you are male. Admittedly I have had a rather dim view of males as of late, but you are an Agent, not some broken remnants.~
~Why do you view males poorly?~
~I do not wish to discuss it,~ she says, annoyed, but I can tell not with me.
>>
No. 938501 ID: f0a059
File 156254077874.png - (20.92KB , 800x600 , v-42.png )
938501

>duty
I roll my head up to show my wounds from Delta. ~The Agent Delta attacked me for not fulfiling my duty. If you are not currently busy, let us breed.~
~This right here is why I view males poorly,~ says Phi. ~Apparently your entire sex is focused on breeding when it comes to individuals of a different sex and nothing more.~
~I nearly had my throat torn out by Delta for not immediately trying to breed with her and I have not been alive for very long. I am worried she is going to return and kill me if I do not attempt to procreate with every new Agent I meet as soon as I meet them.~
~Delta is a little deranged,~ says Phi. ~If she actually significantly wounded anyone, Beta would be the first one to tear out any organs she did not need for the purpose of staying alive.~
~The fact she is not lethally harmful does not change the fact she physically and emotionally injured me,~ I blurt out, perhaps too readily.

Phi looks at me again. ~Emotionally?~
~She kept saying all I was was useful for breeding and nothing more.~
~Delta said that?~
~Yes.~
~Well, that is familiar rhetoric. And furiously disappointing to be coming from an Agent.~

I suddenly realise tears are flowing down my face. Perhaps I was more affected than I thought I was. Phi's expression softens.

~Omega, I can feel that.~
~I just want to do what I was made to do and be someone and something useful, not a failure to the Vessel and the Vesselmind. Before I was even born some of the Agents tried and succeeded in sabotaging my creation.~ I am venting and bleeding more and more emotion than I want to. ~Every Agent I have come across so far has treated me as a broken machine part and now you too are considering me a useless breeding machine.~
~Do you actually want to breed, Omega?~
~My function is to--~
~No, let me ask the question again. Do you want to breed? Not does the Vesselmind want you to breed. Do you, Omega--~
~Yes. No. Yes. It is complicated. Not now. In general, yes. If I do not I will die. Three days. I do not know. I have to mate or I might die and I will be a failure and Delta will kill me. Mu wanted me dead.~ I cannot keep secrets under duress. This is another bad property for an Agent to have, I believe. ~Not dead. Stillborn. A failure to even live. I have not met even half of the other Agents and most of them want me dead or crippled or comatose or sterilised or something. What did I do, Phi? Why is everyone else like this?~

Phi stares at me, mouth opening and closing a little. ~You are different, Omega.~
~What does that mean?~
~It has been many orbits since Psi was born, the former youngest of the Agents. You are a different thing to Agents that have come before and you have a purpose not every Agent will understand. You threaten the way things are.~
~By existing?!~
~Yes. It is not your fault. Delta is the worst. Delta has been operational without sleep for too long. We have tried to convince her the damage she is doing to herself but she considers us all beneath her. She considers the idea of not maintaining constant vigilance an affront to not just the Vesselmind but all within it.~

I grab my head, tears still streaming from it. ~Maybe it would have been better if I had not been born.~
~The Vesselmind made you for a reason. I have come to learn, or at least I think I have, that the original directive is never just what the Vesselmind wants from its Agents. Else it would have just designed and produced servitors to come and... do whatever it is to us. You have a deeper purpose, Omega, I just know it.~
~What purpose?~
~You need to find it.~

Phi gives me a hug and, emotional wreckage that I am, I find myself responding emotionally well to her comforting embrace, while biologically I feel pulsing and swelling as my genitals emerge and lengthen, brushing against Phi's inner thighs.

~Biomechanical response,~ I abruptly blurt out. ~I cannot control that.~
Phi nods. ~This situation is not even remotely arousing to me so I am going to ignore that.~
~What is arousing to you?~
~I have no idea, the idea of sexual intimacy has always felt sort of disgusting to me after all the things I have seen the male avian remnants do to their females. I will reluctantly go along with your more immediate purpose if it will make you feel better, however, but you better have a plan for what you want to do to me. One that I can agree with.~

I... On the one hand, my function, on the other, I do not know, for some reason even with the physical arousal I do not... I do not feel like I want to keep doing this.
>>
No. 938503 ID: b1b4f3

>>938501
>Delta is actually sleep deprived
Well let's fix that. We can force her to sleep for a few days with Mu's most recent weapon.

>Phi doesn't think rogue agents are possible
Perhaps it was due to the way you defined it. It's not that they're rebelling, it's that they're knowingly acting against what the Vesselmind has decided. Imagine 10 creatures deciding between red and blue. 7 of them want red, 3 of them want blue. Those 3 aren't rogues just for wanting blue, but if one of those 3 tries to force the choice to go their way they'd be rogue. Rogues are those that put their own ideals and reasoning ahead of the group's directives and choices. In this definition, Delta might be considered rogue since she believes she is above the group, but she also believes she's upholding the group's choices, so it's very mixed. Mu is definitely considered rogue since she's knowingly acting directly against the group's choices, but she thinks she's doing it to protect the group. It's a kind of twisted loyalty, which is probably the only way rogues are possible in the situation.

>don't really want to fuck right now
Do it later then. We have established clearly that your purpose is not time-sensitive. Also we have a more time-sensitive task at hand-- subduing Delta. It occurs to me that your secret ability is especially useful for keeping track of the movements of Agents. You can easily ambush Delta, especially if you have the aid of one or more other Agents.

Go retrieve the weapon, find Rho and Psi, ask for their help giving Delta some sleep before she murders Mu.
>>
No. 938505 ID: 745eba

Since neither of you actually want to, and it probably wouldn't actually help your emotional state anyway, say no
>>
No. 938507 ID: 8d4593

No. But, Maybe we could just stay. Like this. For a little while. Maybe sit.
>>
No. 938513 ID: 7fb87a

>>938503
if we drug delta like that we could measure our lifespan in moments after she wakes up
>>
No. 938514 ID: ae9bd9

>>938501
You know what, lets keep talking about our feelings instead. Lets talk about how we talked to Mu and how we weren't what she expected and how we may have changed her mind on things. Talk about the outsider we found and were trying to interrogate until Delta came and abused us for trying and how she wanted to kill it. Talk about everything.
>>
No. 938515 ID: 1ed92d

>>938501
Maybe just cuddle? You were emotionally abused and sexually assaulted by a vicious elder, after being poisoned by an incompetent and homicidal elder. You could use some relaxation without the adrenaline high that comes from mating.
>>
No. 938520 ID: b1b4f3

>>938513
Not if we have the support of the majority of the other Agents. Then it's basically the same as following the orders of the Vesselmind. ...we should go get the support of the majority of the other Agents. We'll have to talk to everyone and take a vote. Just gotta make sure while we're doing that, Delta doesn't murder anyone.
While we're at it we should take a vote on what policy to take regarding rogues going forwards.

We should get Psi's vote on both right now. Force Delta to go the fuck to sleep? Kill rogues or just keep them under control?
>>
No. 938533 ID: e6b8d9

Mating has a mental and emotional component as much as a base physical one. To push yourself to go through it when you are not in the right mental and emotional state will, at best, mean it will not be as good as it could have been. At worst, if you're forced like with Delta, it'll be psychologically damaging. You won't ask Phi to mate when she doesn't feel like doing so, and you won't force yourself to mate when you don't feel it. You need to make a good emotional and mental connection before the physical one. Perhaps such is needed much more for Agents than other species due to your telepathy.

Tell Phi that you aren't in the right mental and emotional to mate right now, and even if you were you have no idea how to get her into the right mental and emotional state. You won't ask her to mate when she doesn't feel like it. You won't do even a bit of what... What Delta did. You can put off mating to whenever. For now, you just want to keep hugging.

Ask Phi if she'd keep sharing a hug with you. To hug and nuzzle and talk. Er, you just need to adjust your penis to a less intrusive position for her during this. Back up a bit, reach down and point it upward so it'll be between you two. ...That's not much better, is it? Ah, well, it's just gonna be in the way while you embrace. So be it.

Tell Phi that your first time mating was with Psi and you feel you owe her a apology for it. It was right after you were born, when she came into your birthing chamber. She was confused and ignorant about what mating even was and overwhelmed by the alien feelings and physical responses she had. You were running half on raw instinct and neither of you knew what it meant or what the consequences would be. Right after Mu told her what mating would mean for her, she ran off to speak with Rho and cut channels with you. You just feel Psi deserved better.

Ask Phi if the Agents have tried communicating with the Vesselmind via more intrusive ways? You remember it told you to seek out its ganglia if you had need to speak with it. (At the very least you'd want to connect with it to ask how to use your sterilization ability.)

It's unfair to just dump out your mental baggage on Phi. Perhaps she could unburden herself to you as well. Let out her feelings and fears and troubles and issues. ..Hm, perhaps one of your purposes is to help with the mental health of other Agents. There hasn't been any dedicated means of psychological aid for them before, right? Ask what the general mood has been on Vessel and among the Agents recently and over time. Are there other Agents who've become deranged similar to Delta or are heading that way?

Ask if and how the other Agents have tried to get Delta to sleep and if they've considered more direct means to force her to for her own good and the good of all of us. Does Phi feel that it's gotten to that point yet? If so, tell her that Mu made a coma toxin that'd put you under for two or three days as a backup to contain you which could be used on Delta. But then what happens after Delta wakes up? Is she gonna go on a rampage against those who were in on the plan to drug her? Is it just gonna make things worse to force her to sleep in such a way?

>Why does my pulse quicken and my breath deepen when I think this? Just the thought alone is as if preparing to mate with another Agent.
You've just discovered what mentally sexually arouses you. Makes total sense it'd be impregnating female Agents and then them being pregnant, given your purpose. Well, now you can fantasize about all that when you're going to mate to really get yourself going.

>>938520
>We should get Psi's vote on both right now.
You mean Phi, right?
>>
No. 938539 ID: e3e99e

>>938501
~I met a rogue agent. They intentionally damaged the vesselmind's ability to produce agents. It was not the first time they damaged the vesselmind. They seek to destroy it, and spoke as if they had others working with them.
We can not live without the vesselmind, but if we were able to reproduce and then protect the offspring until they were able to act on their own, then they would be able to survive even the destruction of the vesselmind.
It is also possible that our design has proven unreliable, and the vesselmind wishes for us to have a sustainable population before replacing us as he did those others.~

~For now, we must determine if breeding is safe and effective. The rogue scared Phi by asserting the birthing process is painful and deadly. She needs reassurance, and to be monitored through the course of the reproductive cycle. Can you assist me in helping her?~
>>
No. 938549 ID: 7dc36a

You could ask if Phi could give you a tour of the ship or around the habitats She should know where the quiet parts are), if she can spare the time. Inquire about what she likes and find some form of entertainment, before you mate.
At least, talk about any crew you haven't met yet.

>deeper purpose
As you said to Mu, to extend your parameters means your purpose would be to become a proper dad somehow. So far, this looks like it would involve maintaining the emotional and physical well-being of and relations between Agents, especially Rogues, in order to care for the aftermath of breeding, pregnancy and childcare. This would also mean cultivating an environment for the children's physical, mental and social development.
The why seems right, but the how is difficult.

>>938503
Do keep in mind, Mu is currently in her weapons lab and knows Delta better than you. I would be surprised if she wouldn't be able to, in not likely prepared to, defend herself. May have saw your "betrayal" coming even.
>>
No. 938568 ID: e6b8d9

Ask how the attack and capture of the less than half dozen Agents five years ago effected Vessel, Vesselmind and the remaining Agents. You're all connected in a telepathic mesh, so having pieces ripped out like that must have hurt. What has been the psychological toll on all of them?

And before Omega it was twenty years since the last Agent, Psi, was born, so have there been other Agent deaths or losses in that time? Have our numbers been falling over time? How long does it take to grow a new Agent in a growth chamber? Have there not been new Agents born to replace the lost ones due to it taking a long time to grow them or for some other reason?
>>
No. 938598 ID: 0fae41

>>938572
Spoiler text exists, you know.
>>
No. 938599 ID: b1b4f3

>>938533
>you mean Phi?
Right.
>>
No. 938636 ID: c93e4c

You have support from at least one other agent. You don't need to accept Delta's threats. See if you can get information from Phi about the societies living in the vessel, and then see if you can do something about Delta
>>
No. 938658 ID: 4e56df

It seems the best solution to the Delta situation would be to have a second Delta. That is, another Agent with Delta's functions and capability so that Delta could feel that she could safely sleep because another can take up her position of vigilance. Frankly, it seems like a serious oversight that the Vesselmind didn't create two Deltas, or even three, so they could rest in turn. Having such a single point of failure seems like a major mistake. ...Ah, but it's too late now. We're not gonna get a Agent that could take up Delta's duties, and it's doubtful Delta would accept any current Agent temporarily taking up her duties. ...Maybe we could convince her to show and teach another Agent or two what she does, so that if by some fluke she's incapacitated, Vessel won't be completely without one who could do Delta's functions.
>>
No. 938676 ID: b1b4f3

...actually, isn't Omega especially suited to working security, with the way his secret ability works?
>>
No. 938700 ID: a274c9

>>938676
Yes, it would be great for security. Trouble is, he can't use it as a reason he should be part of Vessel's security because it'd lose a fair chunk of its effectiveness if the Agents knew about it. And Omega wouldn't have much reason right now to be on security besides his ability to sense bioresonance signatures.

...Wait a second. Omega sensed two of those odd bioresonance signatures that turned out to be Outsider signatures. Figured the second one was in Outsider containment, given it's general location. But what if it wasn't in containment and just happened to be in the same general area as Outsider containment?

Omega better check his bioresonance sense for the location of Outsider signatures and ask Phi if they've got any Outsiders in containment, 'cause if they don't then there's a second one loose on Vessel.
>>
No. 938702 ID: b1b4f3

>>938700
It wouldn't lose its effectiveness if the other Agents knew about it. We're hiding it right now because Omega doesn't know the current state of things and it might make him even more of a target.
>>
No. 938836 ID: c49ece

No, for some reason preforming my duty out of mutual obligation feels wrong, somehow. This is fine.

Maybe... I'll look for that runaway outsider?
>>
No. 939092 ID: a62ed0

You know, Psi was so overwhelmed that she didn't want any extra attention, and Delta just wanted it over with. We've had an interest in exploring our partner's body. Ask if she'll consent to let you fondle her breasts.
>>
No. 943204 ID: 3e9573

Stay like this for a few seconds longer, then thank her for her shoulder and leave.
>>
No. 949576 ID: b08aaf

Can we just sit in seclusion and embrace each other for a bit longer? The erection will fade with time, but the comfort will stay.
>>
No. 965210 ID: 21ac91
File 158872186537.png - (25.06KB , 800x600 , v-43.png )
965210

>don't breed
>just cuddle
~I cannot do it,~ I say, tearing up again. ~If I cannot convince myself, I will never be able to convince you. And I feel like I may have already doomed Phi. Mu told her that birthing is dangerous and lethal. I do not know if it is or not. I didn't know I was going to harm anyone. I just wanted to perform my function.~
Phi hugs me more tightly. ~It is fine. I am not concerned. Delta has other things to worry about. And as for birthing, I have never seen it happen for an Agent before. Only... less well designed beings. I can see how it could be lethal, but if the Vesselmind wills this, and I know you believe it to be the truth, this must have been planned for.~

We stay hugging for a while, and the arousal fades. I don't need to say anything, she can feel my need. I'm not hiding it well. Then, we sit on the warm floor together.
>>
No. 965211 ID: 21ac91
File 158872188854.png - (32.49KB , 800x600 , v-44.png )
965211

>let it all out
>ask Phi for more information
~The first Agent I mated with was Psi. I ran on instinct. I feel guilty that I might have tricked her into it without her full awareness of the consequences.~
~As I said, this is apparently the will of the Vesselmind. And the will of the Vesselmind is the will of the Agents is the will of the Vesselmind. If she wanted information, surely she could have asked the Vesselmind.~ She pauses. ~Oh. This happened recently, didn't it. Well, that's a problem. Well, nothing a visit to Rho can't clear up. Rho is very good at what she does.~
~I just feel she deserved more information first.~
~We all make mistakes. Especially the first time we do something. None of us are beyond error. Even the Vesselmind can make mistakes.~ She pauses again. ~Usually on a timescale beyond our immediate understanding, though. And typically relating to prediction of the behaviour of things outside the Vessel. A collective ignorance, that.~
~The Vesselmind makes mistakes?~
~Agents make mistakes. Agents inform the Vesselmind. The Vesselmind acts on erroneous information. Do you understand a little better now?~
Okay. Phi might be a rogue.
~I can hear you thinking that. Stop it. This whole idea of 'rogues' is artificial. We can't disobey the Vesselmind or harm it any more than we could harm ourselves or each other--~
I pointedly tap at the bite marks from Delta and frown. She falters, and her link is full of half-formed thoughts and concepts before she regains coherency.

She looks away from me, to the walls. ~Fine. Fine, I'll stop pretending. I resent the term rogue, and I further resent the idea that it's a state requiring at best forcible correction and at worst being treated as some contagious disease requiring drastic amputation or sterilization. I'm not rogue, incidentally, by the commonly used criteria for rogues, but I'm not hiding my sympathies. Some of us have had to deal with psychologically taxing tasks without the proper support for extended periods of time.~
~What are the criteria for being rogue?~
~Being closed off from the Vesselmind, which is a moot point as everyone seems to be closed off from the Vesselmind at the moment. Ignoring the wishes of the Vesselmind, which, again, we can't correct our behaviour without instruction. Considering the Vesselmind to be a slavemaster instead of a connecting consciousness, which, I have to admit, is the one aspect of the rogue definition that troubles me. It strikes me as neurotic. Hating that your arm is your arm. That sort of disconnect. The Vessel is a part of our environment and sustains our bodies. The Vesselmind is a part of our environment and sustains our minds. If it were to disappear, we may all die from the psychic shock of losing such a part of ourselves.~
~So you consider yourself not rogue because of these criteria?~
~Yes.~ She looks at me, annoyed. ~Don't listen to Delta. Well, do, but take her words lightly. She's suspected me of being a rogue Agent for a long time, but I do my work well.~
~What is it you do, anyway?~

I can feel her mood improve significantly as she recalls a bewildering set of memories and symbolic concepts.
~I oversee the diver servitors as they collect resources vital for the Vessel's functioning. Food, mostly, most of it goes into the digesting pools, but the good stuff, that goes to Kappa. That, and various samples for analysis and further understanding of the oceans of the world. There's still so many things to learn about the oceans of this world, but that's not my department. I get requests from Sigma for specific examples of specific biomes, and anything I find that's clearly not of natural origin, I give to Zeta. Same for Outsider remains. I don't usually tend to find living Outsiders in my work. The few that successfully get in don't tend to come in via the mouth of the Vessel.~
~That sounds... a little tedious.~
~If I ever get bored I just link myself directly to a diver servitor and control it manually.~
She pauses, closes her eyes, and something slides up behind her, standing tall as she blearily opens her eyes again.
~It's only really boring when we're in a desert, which we're in at the moment. Hypoxic. Not enough life in the water to sustain an ecosystem. I end up having to look for something else to do.~

>more than one Delta
~Why is Delta so overworked? Why aren't there other Agents to take her role?~
~There are. Delta is one of the five Primes. They're the largest of us and most powerful.~
~Then why is--~
~Let me finish. Two of them, Alpha and Gamma, are captives outside the Vessel, prisoners of civilisations we can't attack to free them. Epsilon spends her time in the pilot umbilical, locked into contemplation and learning, acting as a research director while connected to the neural mesh of the Vesselmind. That just leaves Beta and Delta.~
~So what about Beta?~
~More erratic in her schedule than Delta. We don't even see her half the time. When we do, she never has time to spare to talk to us, she's always on a mission. So, worse than Delta.~
~This seems... bad.~
~I'm not sure why the Vesselmind hasn't triggered the spawning of a new Prime yet. Maybe it doesn't think the situation is dire enough yet.~
~With two prisoners?~
~It has access to more information than I do as an individual.~

>fun
~What do you do for fun?~
~Well, hijack servitors, sometimes I pay a visit to Eta on her island in downtime, other than that, there's been a few times I've swum out of the Vessel myself. Sometimes I look at the sky. The sky outside is different, Omega. Sometimes it's bright. Sometimes it's dark. Sometimes it's wet, sometimes it's not. Dark and wet is best. Points of light covered by a sheet of sky material, as drops fall and run over your body into the ocean. If only the ocean had less salt, it'd be perfect.~

>wait is that Outsider signature in containment actually contained
I decide not to ask about this, it might raise more awkward questions about why I'd know that. There's other Agents on the Vessel and I don't need to risk annoying anyone else if that's their task.

I have some more time to spare at the time. ...was there anything else I forgot to ask or that I could follow up with?
>>
No. 965221 ID: b1b4f3

>>965211
Her definition fits for Mu, almost solely due to the last criteria. Still, we need a better one since literally every Agent currently meets the first criterion, and could be meeting the second criterion without even wishing to.
How's this for a currently-actionable definition of "rogue"-- An Agent that takes action, either drastic or significant long-term, that cannot be reasonably interpreted as following the will of the Vesselmind either in general or in regards to specific orders, or through purposeful inaction irreversibly fails to fulfill their purpose.
This still fits Mu, since she acted directly against the Vesselmind, in a drastic way, by attempting to put you in a coma and poisoning the Vessel itself to attempt to prevent your birth. Her reasons for doing this were horribly misinformed, but she crossed a line she should never have crossed. A non-rogue Agent in her position could have threatened you with the coma weapon to keep you from breeding with/endangering everyone, but would not have poisoned the Vessel.

I am concerned. Phi is acting suspiciously in regards to the Vesselmind. Discounting the possibility that rogues are even a thing, disrespecting it as if it's a separate entity while claiming it's a combined consciousness, being super evasive on the subject in general... I do not think she is a good target for breeding. Maybe later, once we have a better idea of what she might be doing. Also, once we have a better handle on how to administer sterilization.

I think we should go see Rho right now, since the situation here seems to revolve around her. Ask for directions.
>>
No. 965315 ID: 1ed92d

>>965211
Locate Rho. Hope loudly that the contained intruder is actually contained and not actively hostile or dead.

Also, point out that, philosophically, one could consider the Vesselmind to be a 'slavedriver' in that one cannot refuse its commands due to biological hardwiring, thus in essence lamenting a lack of greater self control.

Delta's still a bitch for psychologically and physically abusing a newborn.
>>
No. 965332 ID: fa2754

>>965211
If we can make it through this week, ask her to take you with her to see the outside. You know that the Vessel is only so big. There's more out there.

Thinking deep down.. maybe the Vessel is preparing the next generation to live on past it. Maybe the spawn you make won't need the link you have to the Vessel. Don't let anyone hear you think that.
>>
No. 974506 ID: 7b2f07
File 159744413135.png - (56.95KB , 800x600 , v-45.png )
974506

>next generation
The Vessel is not showing signs of physical decline that I recognise. I also don't think it would be in the Vessel's interests to have Agents not tied to it. If the Vessel were to perish, it simply would no longer have a use for Agents anymore.

>Phi's acting suspiciously
I try to hide my suspicions, but she does seem to be hiding a lot of her thoughts and opinions for a supposed loyalist.
I'll put her lower on the priority list for breeding, I suppose.

>ask about the outside
~If I'm still alive in a few days, maybe we can see the sky together.~
Phi opens and closes her mouth a few times, before smiling. ~I'd like that.~

>thoughts about the Vesselmind
~I suppose, in a sense, given the Vesselmind is a part of us, the desire to refuse its commands might be a desire for greater self-control,~ I tell her. I know I feel like I've been driven by my libido a lot since my birth. It's not a foreign concept to me.
Phi looks off to the side again, nodding slowly. She doesn't respond over the channel immediately, taking a pause to organise her thoughts. ~It could also be a disagreement with the wider consensus,~ she says, almost in a conspirational whisper, before she pulls her arms around herself and closes her legs. The servitor behind her curls around her more tightly, before it pauses, stretches, and slides off. A command by Phi, I assume.
~You feel incredibly uncomfortable to even have such a thought,~ I point out.
Phi doesn't respond to that at all.

>seek Rho
~Everything about my mission suggests I need to speak to Rho. Do you know where she is?~
Phi remains curled up. ~Stern quadrant, Agent maintenance. You'll know how to find her if you head that direction. If you bump into Tau, please don't think ill of her based on what she says. She loves us all, and I think something went wrong in her gestation. That thing I said about neurotic rejection of the Vesselmind? She has that severely. But all she wants to do is help make us all healthier, and she doesn't let her own doubts interfere with that.~
~So you're saying Tau is rogue.~
~You're better than that, Omega, you've just shown it to me. You know this isn't a dry or wet dichotomy. Please, use your brain before you start putting fellow Agents into categories justifying things we shouldn't be doing to each other.~ She pauses. ~That is the quickest way to end up becoming like Delta.~
~I am nothing like Delta.~
~Keep your mind open and it will stay that way. I wish you the best in your mission.~
~Thank you. Yours as well. Be safe.~

I stand up and walk towards the stern of the Vessel, my sense of direction attuning itself to the various subtle markers strewn throughout.
I feel uneasy. I can't draw a conclusion as to whether Phi is a rogue Agent or not, and after the kindness she just showed me earlier I don't want to consider her rogue. I also understand her concerns, but I have to wonder if she is even fully aware of what Mu did to the Vessel. Did to me. I feel like she may just not understand how dangerous a rogue Agent can be.

~...Omega?~
~Yes?~
~If you need me again, let me know.~ I realise she isn't cutting her channel like so many of the other Agents I've met. ~Let me know when you're near the island again and I'll come visit you if I'm onboard.~
~I shall.~
>>
No. 974507 ID: 7b2f07
File 159744415660.png - (98.34KB , 800x600 , v-46.png )
974507

I walk further towards the Vessel's stern quadrant, skirting around the numerous digestion pools. I understand the reason so many are dotted around the central hub is to act as passive defence. The ones used by the divers are only a small fraction of the total count.
In theory, invading Outsiders trying to charge from the mouth of the Vessel would be less aware of the pools' presence, and likelier to fall into them. It does, however, make traversing a straight line a little more difficult.
I wonder to myself if an Agent has ever fallen into the digestion pools here. If the answer is no, I definitely don't want to be the first.

I keep walking, a little unnerved, into the linking passage between the hub and this quadrant.
I sense another Agent approaching me. I stop walking, and decide to wait for whoever it is.

~Hold it,~ says the Agent, a new channel opened and a new voice coming through. I know this to be Tau. ~You. Male. (Male? Male?! Too soon!!) Omega? (Has to be.) Omega. State your mission and intent. (Confirm the mission parameters. It might not be too late.)~ Her channel is like the others, yet I keep hearing snippets of her voice at a lower intensity bubbling through. I hadn't even thought about how I hide some of my thoughts from conversation, but I don't even think she knows she's telling me so much.
~My intent is that I am looking for Rho. I need to talk to her about my mission. It's a sensitive matter.~
~Rho's busy. (Cannot allow him near Rho. It'll disrupt everything.) As such, I'm now acting as a first responder in the event of a medical emergency. If you need urgent medical assistance I can provide it. (Please just need medical assistance.)~
~No, I need knowledge. The Vesselmind is not responding and I have not found any means to contact it more directly.~
Tau hesitates. ~(They're noticing. They're noticing. She won't like this.) Stay there.~

The Agent I'm speaking to comes out of a passage in the side. Only now do I realise I hadn't felt her bioresonance signature until she just emerged from the wall membrane. She looks over to me and walks over. I try to pretend I don't hear her leaking thoughts I'm sure she doesn't want me to know.

~Arms by your sides, chest out, head up. (Make this freshborn know his place before he starts asking questions.)~
I act confused, but I comply.
She looks at me with clarity of purpose. ~Superficially healthy, but more examination is required for certainty... (Stall. Stall stall stall stall.)~

I consider trying to explain more insistently that I'm not here for medical assistance.
Knowing she's purposefully trying to get in my way does make me consider less diplomatic approaches, such as just ignoring her and continuing deeper into the Agent maintenance chambers. Possibly forcing her aside if she tries to stop me.

She stares directly into my eyes. ~Hold. I can feel your doubt about my intentions, Omega. (He knows he knows he KNOWS.) It is neither welcomed nor required. If you have something you wish to challenge me about, do so. (Greater muscle mass but moves without precision. Knowledge of anatomical weaknesses in Agents must be inferior to mine. Outcome of physical conflict still uncertain, either way will attract attention. Delta might investigate. Delta will make things complicated. Don't need a second scar.) I don't have time nor patience to drag you to diagnostics. Well?~
>>
No. 974508 ID: 7b2f07
File 159744417650.png - (95.88KB , 800x600 , v-47.png )
974508

She's openly (well, unintentionally openly) planning to attack me. Goading me into a first strike, perhaps, even, so she'll look justified and I'll look to be at fault. I don't think I could have found a more rogue Agent example. I think I hate this! I think I really, really hate this--

Ghnn!! The realisation spikes feelings of anger, revulsion and instinctual hatred towards things that threaten the stability of the Vessel. Towards rogue Agents, specifically. Not as strong as the desire to kill the intruder from before, but strong. Strong enough that Tau takes a step back, wincing.

This surge of emotion inspires a sudden revelation on how to administer the sterilising toxin. Sudden throbbing feelings in my jaws reveal the answer: a bite. A bite that sinks into the flesh and allows these swelling toxin glands to release their contents into the victim's body. But it needs to go into the abdomen, and... can I even bite an Agent's abdomen, let alone unnoticed? Doubtful. Good. Not the best design work. I was sort of hoping it was delivered by sexual contact. Or literally anything less violent and less obvious.

Tau looks confused as I experience, and she experiences by proxy, the weird sensation of blood and fluid rushing to an organ I didn't realise I had moments ago. What an oddly familiar sensation. Granted, despite yet more strange biological urges manifesting in less than convenient circumstances, I feel in control. I also feel jumping to trying to wrap my teeth around her sides is a poor plan.

Only now do I realise, after reacting to the emotional surge and the unexpected taste of toxin in my mouth, I probably look like I'm about to kill.
Part of me wants to follow through, which I keep pulling back. If I could avoid killing an intruder, I can overcome this.

~(He's about to attack! I fucked up! He's going to kill me! I need to be on guard!!)~ Tau tries her best to look mildly annoyed, as I feel her panic escalate. If I don't try to descalate immediately, I can tell by her leaking intent and tense body language she's about to fight or flee, and I can't rely on her choosing flee. ...If I'm going to attack her, though, now or never.
>>
No. 974511 ID: b1b4f3

>>974508
Wait. Her punishment can wait until we have Delta to help restrain her. This is dangerous terrain and could result in an accidental death. Also you are inexperienced in combat; she might win the fight. It's not like she can force you to impregnate her anyway, so there's no harm in delaying administering the toxin. I suspect she would not want to be impregnated anyway since she's genetically flawed.

Tell her to get out of your way. You don't have time for this.
>>
No. 974513 ID: 736b7e

Don't attack her but force your way past her. Don't let her stall you any longer.
>>
No. 974521 ID: e7848c

>>974508
Spin on your heel and storm off. You should not engage this way. We have bigger factors to worry about like your self preservation. She doesn't want you to go that way but she won't engage either. Once you've cooled off, maybe you could see about running right past her.
>>
No. 974537 ID: 1ed92d

>>974508
Just yell at her to stop being a jerk, you were born today and you've been either attacked by your own kin trying to assassinate you, or in one case emotionally and physically abused by a supposedly non-rogue Agent.

You are both miserable and irritable right now. Try asking her to go soak her head in one of the digestion pools if she's so excited about hurting people.
>>
No. 974540 ID: dbd72b

>>974537
Visibly restrain yourself, state this, and demand she step aside. No more stalling, her behavior is screaming suspicion at you. You don't want to hurt any other agents, you just want to know what's going on.
>>
No. 974556 ID: c8edab

Turn around and, while facing away from her, apologize to her. Tell her that, among other things, you were assaulted by Delta just a short while ago, so you're a bit on the edge. And actually you should have these wounds checked out, so you'd agree if she could have a closer look at you... in diagnostics.

The reasoning is, well, think about what Phi said. About you becoming Delta. About not thinking ill of Tau. It's likely that what Tau is thinking isn't actually something she'd act on. Who knows, maybe other agents thought the same when they first saw you, only that you don't know about it.

So the fact that you can hear her is actually very useful to you, because it's the first Agent that you can read clearly like this. It means that, if you simply talk to her long enough, she would slowly reveal everything, like why she doesn't want you to visit Rho, what you'd be disrupting, etc.

This means that you need to stall as well and hold back on her. You're not actually in any hurry to get to Rho - you certainly took your time with Phi, so letting Tau take you to diagnostics isn't actually bad. If anything was to happen, it should happen there, and not here, where Delta could come walking by at any time.

>snippets of her voice
Being so transparent... I wonder if other agents get to hear her like this as well. If they do, wouldn't they figure out she's rouge as well?

>abdomen
Well, there is one hole leading to the abdomen that you know of. Your teeth cannot go there, but your tongue certainly could heh. Think about how that might feel. Of course, the current situation isn't the best for that and it will have to wait.
>>
No. 977716 ID: 912101
File 160159578860.png - (126.67KB , 800x600 , v-48.png )
977716

>do not attack
>turn around and face away from her
>demand she step aside
I refuse to attack her, my muscles tensing as I suppress my fight-or-flight instincts. I turn away from her, still seething.
~I was attacked by Delta earlier,~ I say. ~I am in no mood for further aggression or challenges. It has been,~ I pause, and consult the ambient simple information coursing through the veins of the Vessel. ~Less than a complete day since my emergence, and I have endured enough for this day cycle.~ I turn my head towards her slightly, and gesture to the scratches on my neck. ~I just need to talk to Rho.~

She looks at me, still tense. Her internal thoughts continue dripping into the air. ~(Delta attacked him? Is he rogue?? No, reaction in line with loyalists, could be ruse?)~
She folds her arms. ~Rho is, as I have said previously, not available to talk to. (Stall.)~

I fight back another shuddering impulse to lunge at her. ~Very well. I will come back later.~ I swallow the sudden surge of toxin that floods my mouth, trembling in rage and unspent aggression.

I turn and start walking away from her.

~(He's going? He's going. He's going, good, now just watch him leave, make sure he doesn't try to get past me.)~

...ah, that was going to be my next move and she's already anticipating it.
I slow to a standstill and stare upwards at the ceiling of this passage.

~(He's stopping. What is he doing. He was just leaving. Okay, if he's about to sprint then I need to--)~

I sprint as fast as my legs can manage, probably the first actual sprint I've tried, and try to just move past her.

~Wait! Stop! Stop immediately! Rho is busy! Rho is busy!! GET BACK HERE!!~

I keep sprinting and hear Tau start running after me. I hope she can't outrun me.

...I have no idea where Rho is and the Agent signatures in this area are confusing and indistinct, so I decide to charge straight down the corridor.
>>
No. 977717 ID: 912101
File 160159581683.png - (63.29KB , 800x600 , v-49.png )
977717

I wait for a valve door to open while I hear Tau running after me. ~Omega, you are forbidden from entering that room! (That's not even where Rho is! You brainless idiot! Oh, this is bad this is bad, why did he have to go that way?!)~
~I just need to talk to Rho!~
~Rho isn't through here! Rho is in diagnosis, this isn't diagnosis, this is treatment, if you don't stop you're going to barge into a room full of delicate machinery treating sick and injured servitors and Agents, and possibly kill them! Stop! (He has to believe that! He has to!)~

I walk through the valve door and find a room full of pulsating pods, some the size of an Agent, some much smaller, and lots of tiny eye-sized pods around the ceiling migrating between clusters across draped tubes.

I notice a pod the size of an Agent that's cast aside, empty and badly damaged. Almost like something tore it apart from the inside. It looks like it must have happened fairly recently, there's a lot of leaking fluids and torn veins that look fresh and not dried out.
>>
No. 977718 ID: 912101
File 160159584432.png - (55.11KB , 800x600 , v-50.png )
977718

I-- someone just got close to me and is touching me and I did not feel a bioresonance signature at all.

I feel them let me go and back up, and I turn around to face the figure, ready to attack again. The sour tang of toxin drips into my mouth.

They stare into me.

~So, you are Omega, then.~ The Agent tilts their head, bleeding a strange sense of casual dismissal mixed with trepidation, mixed with existential threat/terror, rivalry. Unsure, confusing mix of emotions, all muddied. No, misinterpretation. No, no bioresonance signature, no, signature there, distinct, fuzzy, simultaneous, confusing. Headache.

~Fuck,~ says Tau. ~Fuck, you were not supposed to... Sampi! Sampi, your orders were to stay hidden!~
~They were,~ says the Agent whose name I cannot immediately know as with the others. They are an Agent, they must be, but it's an incomplete picture, things are wrong, this is wrong, this is all very wrong, outsider? No, not outsider. I'm thinking more than I want to, my instinct is to kill, something is too wrong about this.
~Why didn't you hide?!~
~I did. No one specified for how long, did they?~ The Agent - male?? - tilts (his?!) head the other way. ~This is Omega? I am Sampi.~
~Sampi, shut up and do not tell Omega anything!!~
~I will take these orders into consideration,~ says the Agent? Sampi?, a hole in the world, not just a silence but an anti-sound, the more I focus on him the less I know. He projects the air of someone who feels above anyone and anything else.

He's just watching me. I feel like he's staring inside my body. Sometimes he tilts his head a different way.

~So that's your mission,~ he says, specifically to me, on a direct channel I do not recall opening. ~Interesting.~
~Who are you? What are you?~
~Sampi. Agent. Just like you.~
~(Okay okay this is salvageable this is salvageable Omega has no idea what he can do or what his mission is,)~ leaks Tau as she stands off to the side.

~What is your mission?~ I say on the private channel he opened to me, that I keep trying to close and he keeps finding a way to reopen.
~I was asked very politely not to reveal such things, but...~ I feel a shiver run down my spine. It feels like something crawling through my nerves. ~Yes, very similar, yet not quite.~
~Stop it. Whatever you're doing is making it harder to think.~
~Mhm. I see no reason to stop.~
~Please stop?~
~Hm. No.~ He smiles again. ~You took longer to bake, yet you're already two ahead. Mhm. Yes. Is Tau within the parameters of your mission, Omega?~
>>
No. 977719 ID: b1b4f3

>>977718
Flee. These are both rogues, but you can't fight two at once to sterilize or kill either of them. You must report this to the other Agents, then hunt them down in greater numbers so they can be captured and sterilized. Sampi may need to be killed or put in a coma, since he seems to be some kind of mental threat.
>>
No. 977721 ID: 736b7e

Sampi seems dangerous. Leave quickly and continue to try to find Rho. Tau will surely follow and you can seek Rho out by going wherever Tau doesn't want you to go the most.
>>
No. 977730 ID: fa2754

>>977719
Usurper. This guy has a mission to breed more rogues. Your antithesis. You are entirely within your right to tear him apart.

Unless..
We can come to an understanding?
>>
No. 977736 ID: b1b4f3

>>977730
...actually that's an interesting thought. If he's able to screen himself from the Vesselmind... maybe the Rogues can breed their own separate population, and live apart. Like, ACTUALLY apart though, they can't live on the Vessel where they could continue to harm the Vesselmind.
>>
No. 977746 ID: 864e49

Is he an Agent made by other Agents instead of the Vesselmind? Smug OP asshole.

Punch him in the face, "Is this a good enough reason to stop?!". Grab hold of his neck, tell Tau that if she comes near you you'll rip his throat out, start demanding answers; what is he, what is his mission, was he made by the Vesselmind, does he want to have the threesome with Tau, is he a threat to the Vessel, WATS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE?
>>
No. 977753 ID: 1ed92d

>>977718
An enemy fabrication designed for the same task as you.

Tell him that EVERYONE HAS BEEN SO MEAN TO YOU TODAY AND IT IS THE WORST. Almost all of the girls are just SO MEAN.

This obvious Rogue Agent clearly has had it easy in comparison.
>>
No. 977754 ID: 4286b4

Hmm, a threesome wouldn't be bad, but how could Sampi guarantee that Tau would be impregnated by you and not him?
>>
No. 978712 ID: f2320a

>>977718
Rouge agent must be killed his sack clearly sticks out ready for a bite
>>
No. 978717 ID: 9f00f4

>>978712

Not viable. You'd have to lower your head toward his torso, that's a combat move that is much too telegraphed and slow. Attacks from the arms should go to face and upper torso, kicks toward lower part of body if we are instigating violence.

Are we instigating violence? Perhaps something to disrupt his concentration and this effect he's having on us. Attacks to the head? Painful joint locks?
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