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File 158244976270.png - (73.24KB , 850x850 , bloom_m3_alices_everyday_life.png )
957117 No. 957117 ID: 7ebbf9

Wiki: https://questden.org/wiki/Bloom
Previous Chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/617229.html

Even if it means sacrificing everything else, can you cling to what's important?
173 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 962814 ID: 6e6f32

>>962779
This... makes a lot of sense. I deleted my post, and support this.

With quicksilver we can effectively start using gorilla tactics, and with these priorities we can.

With these we will master ourself completely.
When we meet up with the crew again we will be much more useful.
When Alice takes on the dragon-slayer next time, she'll be ready.
>>
No. 962817 ID: 5a05f7

Biomass, research, crew. Equipment temporarily doesn't jive with quicksilver unless you can get some stuff that isn't bulky. My suggestion is to gather and equip the crew and then have them go to crew things while you focus on guerilla warfare. With your glaring FIRE BAD weakness you're unlikely to win straight up fights, especially if they tool up to kill you specifically.
>>
No. 962818 ID: 977456

Crew, Research, Sabotage. These will get much more difficult once their hackles are up, and are all good starting points for developing in other areas.
>>
No. 962894 ID: 9c48ac

Biomass and insight are the best things to be pursuing now while the enemy thinks you're out of the picture - they help your overall survivability without running counter to stealth.

Equipment would be helpful, except that the more you're carrying, the less able you are to fit through tight spaces. You might be better off trying to come up with biological alternatives, for which research would presumably be helpful. You might also be able to sabotage afterwards - but that does leave more trace, and being presumed captured is currently our biggest advantage, so be cautious about it.

Similarly, Crew is our final objective but also the thing that will blow our cover the quickest and the least possible to sneak around with. Better to wait until we've gained other advantages.

(So basically >>962779.)
>>
No. 963788 ID: cadb36
File 158788305063.png - (24.88KB , 800x600 , cunning_vendor_escape.png )
963788

>You first need to make sure you survive the next encounter. You'll have to trust the others to take care of themselves for a little while.
Right. Survival takes priority. If Alice can't even protect herself, she's of no use to anyone.

>Biomass: major priority, given it's both our health bar and our primary resources for changing. We're currently dangerously low and need to fix that pronto.
Considering their first meeting, Alice isn't sure she's even safe to be around Blake at the moment. She is so hungry. The more she thinks about it - and him - the hungrier she feels. She needs something but... better not think about it right now. If she gives in and goes after those tasty xotl outside she'll be throwing away her current anonymity.

>As it stands, we need something that'll tip the scales in our favor against the Dragonslayer. He's the biggest threat here currently and we need to eliminate him.
A trump card, yes. Alice needs something new. He wasn't afraid at all about going toe to toe with her, and his gun seems to be something designed to kill her seeing how her body reacted to it.

Also so far he brings a lot of friends to all his outings.

>Equipment is going to wind up being temporary, due to not being able to take it with you when you need to use Quicksilver.
For now she'll have to settle for traveling light.

>Crew is a liability due to how much you'd need to arm and armor them to keep them useful and alive through combat, and they can't go with you when you use Quicksilver.
And it might be safer for the others if they're not with her while she's creeping around.

>Every moment that passes make it far more likely that Blake and Mason die. That's probably a hard reality though, nothing Alice can do is likely to save them in this situation.
...

Hopefully they're laying low or the xotl still think they have value.

>Maybe you could use a full suit of xotl armor as a disguise at your current biomass levels.
Alice weighs about as much as a xotl right now so if she scrunches up that might work.

>Biomass, Insight, Research.
All three are pointing her to the main labs.

Alice has two 'slots' that can be filled by abilities contained in the precursor idol. They're both full. The only way she knows how to permanently imprint one is by getting in a brain fight with another xotl experiment. She has a sneaking suspicion at this point that eating them also works. Secondly, if there's more of those idols, that's where she'll find them.

If she doesn't try to absorb the experiments, the xotl must have testing animals and food for them there too.

Last of all, research can be found in research labs!

Alice finishes boring a large enough cut to fit the idol through in the floor, flows through and pushes her cut section back in and welds it back in place. Making random eyes is getting less disorientating, which is a little discomforting. She's in the underfloor, she has some mobility again.
>>
No. 963790 ID: cadb36
File 158788315384.png - (36.57KB , 800x600 , u_are_in_a_room_wat_do.png )
963790

With how slow cutting through the floor is, Alice keeps an eyes out for maintenance hatches. She might have been lucky, she pops up in a storeroom to take stock and some of these crates have the vending machine logo on them. Cans?!

There's a few things she needs to consider though.

First off, the leftovers. Alice leaves slime behind when she eats. She can keep it inside herself, but her body throws it up if too much builds up. Maybe there's something she can do about that?

Second, so far whenever Alice writes an ability to her body, she suffers some mass loss from the reconfiguration. If she's hoping to gain several more abilities, maybe she should think about the order of learning versus dining.

Third, how much to eat???

Alice also needs to start making smarter use of what she has. Her weird body didn't exactly come with an instruction manual. The idol-based abilities thus far have been:

Clever Hands - Refinement of the subsumption architecture: basic modes to interface with non-biological material. It allows Alice to use her feeding tendrils as tools, allowing her to cut, shape and weld raw material. It also makes them very effective at cutting through things.

Quicksilver - Accelerated dissolution and reformation of structures in worker-body. Improved control of unstructured mass and reallocation to different functions. It makes Alice's shape more malleable and able to turn semi-liquid.

Interface - Connectivity and communication between the worker-body and complex systems. Order exchange protocols with foreign bodies. So far Alice has figured out this can be used to issue orders to things similar to herself and to scream at xotl.

Her body has proven it's extremely malleable too. In addition to her regular complement of body parts, she can make the following:

Basilisk Organ: A specialised structure intended to broadcast simple instructions or incapacitating inputs to disconnected objects using available transmission mediums. So far Alice has used it to scream. Requires 8 mass + 5% of total mass to form.

Harpoon: A tensioning and quick release mechanism used to propel a tethered structural element to high velocity. Mass is variable.

Are there any experiments she should try with any of this?
>>
No. 963792 ID: 5a05f7

>>963790
Find something dusty- does dust build up down here?- And then puke in that. Seal it up airtight so it doesn't smell, if it does smell. It probably does. Organic things tend to do that. Try to locate more categories of emergency hidey holes. Vent shafts are good but you already played that card. Can you fit in the spaces where they bundle wires?
>>
No. 963793 ID: 2aa5f0

well for the slime waste problem... if all these crates are filled with food you could probably eat one box and dump all your slime in there and just burry it behind and beneath other crates so it will be awhile before they discover it.

as for a quick and (hopefully) easy experiment see if you can't make yourself look more like an xotl. Not saying it's going to let you blend in but if we do go with the "put on xotl armor to blend in" plan being able to properly fill out said armor will probably make it more believable and a bit more comfortable to move around in.
>>
No. 963795 ID: b1b4f3

>>963790
>leftovers
Put it back in the cans. Or maybe you can simply dump it out of sight, in the crawlspace. Just like hiding a dead body! Also you should start hiding dead bodies.
...wait a minute, can you store it? In sacs? Then burst them whenever you need to spread some gross sludge somewhere. Shouldn't count as losing part of your body, since it's a waste product, and "bursting" a sac isn't destructive if you design it with that purpose in mind. ...maybe you can even use it as pneumatic fluid?

>experimentation
See if you can make a specialized cutting tool, instead of using regular tendrils. Also, since you have Interface, you should see if you can make a more specialized interface tool, like one that can connect to electronic devices.
>>
No. 963798 ID: 977456

Hopefully they won't look in the bottom crates for a while. So oozing inside and eating the bottom two boxes should have relatively low risk of exposure in the relevant timeframe.
>>
No. 963799 ID: 695467

You've lost a lot of biomass recently, have hostiles who know of your presence, and are in a food supply area. I suggest taking all of it, yes, all of it. Dispose of the slime inside the cans and the stick the crates in the back of the room.

You've been weakened and you've been cut off from Blake. That means you won't be putting him at risk if you go crazy restocking your biomass supplies here. Besides, given the xotl forces, you're likely to loss biomass in the future, so better to ensure you have a buffer now so you can survive to meet up with Blake at all.
>>
No. 963800 ID: 7578ea

>>963790
>Third, how much to eat???
That's a rhetorical question, right? If you could eat metal you'd literally eat the entire ship.
>>
No. 963804 ID: c2363c

>>963800
It's not rhetorical. Eating too much at once risks triggering a feeding frenzy and making Alice more noticeable.
>>
No. 963816 ID: c84ff4

>>963790
what is that panel behind you?
>>
No. 963844 ID: 0fae41

Before developing new abilities, eat first. Try not to set new records for low biomass. Take every last drop you can, there is no need to carry around cans that will clatter as you slip along the maintenance tunnels.
>slime leftover from eating
Perhaps here, you can inject it into a pipe running through the underfloor area. Some of them may be safe to breach, carrying wires and such instead of gases or pressurized liquids. In the future, perhaps you can dedicate more space to a specialized slime sac. The most human looking configuration for this would be, you guessed it, on the chest. Better looking than a distended stomach, anyway. Practice your intentional spitting while you have downtime and food to chug.
>>
No. 963849 ID: 10c408

>>963800
This isn't a ship. This is a pre-fabricated and highly modular xotl base on a planetary surface where there shouldn't be one.

Anyways... A few ideas to experiment with.

first, try creating a smaller harpoon that has only slightly less mass and without the retractable muscle rope that goes with it.

Secondly, see if you can make something similar to a pressurized sac organ that leads to an opening in the back of your mouth so that you can simply expel your waste slime much more accurately than vomiting it and store some of it for future use as a defensive option.

and thirdly... Honestly? Being able to make one or more sharp spikes in your hand that can push out as needed to try and puncture through xotl armor will greatly help if you ever have to fight someone in hand to hand combat.
>>
No. 963850 ID: 10c408

>>963849
Actually wait no. Just take some metal from some place that won't be noticed and shape it until you've got a good amount of improvised metallic harpoons and fist-spikes that you can use instead for my suggestions.

And before I forget... What extra eyes?
>>
No. 963857 ID: 9c48ac

>how much to eat
Thinking the 90-150 range is where you want to stay whenever possible. Since you're intending to develop new abilities and/or fight other bioblobs, and we've got a source of food that won't make you go feral (theoretically), I'd go right up to the upper end of that range.

Like others said, find the box that looks least disturbed (assuming these are all food boxes), empty it out, and stow the slime in there. Then seal it back up, if you can. Alteratively, if these boxes aren't well sealed of themselves, do the same thing with the cans inside said box.

(If there's a clearly infrequently disturbed box that's not a food box, see if there's space in it and if it can be sealed well enough to serve the same purpose. I wouldn't worry about it too much though; it's likely you'll reveal yourself or be discovered before any but the top few boxes are investigated, anyway.)
>>
No. 963873 ID: 4dc40a

>>963795
>Sacs
If possible, you could maybe make poor-man's ablative armor - layer multiple sacs over and over, so when something strikes you it has to pass through multiples. Depending on how viscous the slime is, and how pressured it is, it could even spatter all over the weapon, making it slippery, or the floor, or them, or their eyes...

Yes, it'd be nice to have huge slime-tits, but covering yourself up with dozens and dozens of thick zits, layered on top of each other, might be helpful.
>>
No. 963888 ID: f57349

Eat one crate of Xotl ration cans, seal the waste-goo inside, and slap a big obvious warning label on it: "contaminated, return to sender" or something like that. Ideally, find a pre-existing label maker and use it to cover up the marks from where you opened the crate.
>>
No. 963973 ID: 1ed92d

>>963790
Expel bio-waste into the cans after consuming their contents. Put all the 'used' cans in one of the bottom-most crates at the back.

Gorge yourself on canned goods. It's not an efficient way to acquire mass but screw it, you're half dead right now.
>>
No. 964146 ID: afa6f6

>>963790
Eat cans in crate, put excess waste into cans, put cans back into crate, bury crate under other crates so they wont open it till they've gone through the others.

>>Are there any experiments she should try with any of this?
Hmm, well, if we have to expel the slime anyway, is there a way we could use the Harpoon function to make like a pressure sprayer, so we could spit it harder and farther, and use it as blinding agent or distraction at least? Also, do we have any control at all on how the waste masses properties? like could we make less but have it be denser, or solid, or something? Were kind of plant like, maybe we could make it as pods or something?

Speaking of Harpoon, could we combine it with Clever Hands to make a non-ranged, higher power puncturing spike?
>>
No. 964383 ID: 09e13b

Some possible experiments:

- Is is possible to use unassigned mass to 'bulk up' part of your body with larger muscles for extra strength?

- How does your body feel about forming glands and secreting things? Access to anything along the lines of glue, webbing, or acids/digestive fluids could be very useful.

- So far your senses seem to be pretty close to human standard. Is there anything stopping you from forming vibration-sensing hairs, say, or electromagnetic sensing organs? Both of those occur in nature, so they don't seem TOO outlandish. Knowing pursuers are coming will help a lot with hiding.
>>
No. 964902 ID: cadb36
File 158859753474.png - (35.75KB , 800x600 , alice_vs_the_platonic_xotl_ideal.png )
964902

>As for a quick and (hopefully) easy experiment see if you can't make yourself look more like an xotl. Not saying it's going to let you blend in but if we do go with the "put on xotl armor to blend in" plan being able to properly fill out said armor will probably make it more believable and a bit more comfortable to move around in.
Before she eats anything, Alice will try to squash down. She makes her limbs stumpy, pull the mass into her torso and a lumpy potato head; and voila... that kinda works if she could find some armour.

Also, Alice kinda hates this!

She un-scrunches her body into her stick-like former self. Time to hit the cans.

>You've lost a lot of biomass recently, have hostiles who know of your presence, and are in a food supply area. I suggest taking all of it, yes, all of it.
>Gorge yourself on canned goods. It's not an efficient way to acquire mass but screw it, you're half dead right now.
>Take every last drop you can.
She's going to eat everything!

>That's a rhetorical question, right? If you could eat metal you'd literally eat the entire ship.
That's too much. Her stomach growls at the thought, disagreeing with her brain. Seriously? Messenger why?
>>
No. 964903 ID: cadb36
File 158859760237.png - (39.10KB , 600x800 , alice_tries_some_things.png )
964903

>You've been weakened and you've been cut off from Blake. That means you won't be putting him at risk if you go crazy restocking your biomass supplies here. Besides, given the xotl forces, you're likely to loss biomass in the future, so better to ensure you have a buffer now so you can survive to meet up with Blake at all.
Yeah! This is the safe option! Time to sample all the exotic flavours of fishy bacon, fishy chicken and fishy pork in weird xotl meat-smoothies. Blake would thank her if he was here, which he isn't, for his safety.

Alice tries a few experiments as she unstacks some crates and opens the first one.

>Is it possible to use unassigned mass to 'bulk up' part of your body with larger muscles for extra strength?
One arm trial, go. Loose mass in Alice's body not busy being something else flocks there and gives her a lopsided bicep worthy of a dirty joke. That checks out. Quicksilver is making it very simple.

>How does your body feel about forming glands and secreting things? Access to anything along the lines of glue, webbing, or acids/digestive fluids could be very useful.
Alice's feeding tendrils trying to muck around with some of the stuff she's swallowed as an impromptu internal chemistry lab. It's frustrating! She can almost see what she wants to do, feel her tendrils swishing through the liquid to try to grab what she needs, but it's too fine grained! She can't get the precision she needs.

>Do we have any control at all on how the waste masses properties? like could we make less but have it be denser, or solid, or something? Were kind of plant like, maybe we could make it as pods or something?
Pretty sure it'd dry out into gunk over time, but otherwise no.

>So far your senses seem to be pretty close to human standard. Is there anything stopping you from forming vibration-sensing hairs, say, or electromagnetic sensing organs?
Alice's feeding tendrils have some sort of electroreception already. Clever Hands gave her some sensitivity to it. It's short ranged though. Alice tries mucking around with her head feelers, she thinks she can make her hearing better but that might be too overwhelming in a loud environment. She otherwise manages to make herself a little more sensitive to air currents, but she isn't sure.

>Try creating a smaller harpoon that has only slightly less mass and without the retractable muscle rope that goes with it.
That's pretty easy but Alice's tendrils don't seem to adhere to random objects as well as it does to her own bone-equivalent so there's a loss in power. Reloading's a bit annoying too unless she wants to walk around with a bunch of metal arrows embedded in her arm.

>Speaking of Harpoon, could we combine it with Clever Hands to make a non-ranged, higher power puncturing spike?
A new discovery!

Piledriver: A linear accelerator for a captive bolt structural member.

>See if you can make a specialized cutting tool, instead of using regular tendrils. Also, since you have Interface, you should see if you can make a more specialized interface tool, like one that can connect to electronic devices.
Alice can make a bone and extrude it pretty easily, she just needs to be careful to not think about stabbing people with it too much to avoid triggering the weapon prohibition her body seems to have. Making it work well with her feeding tendrils is a different story, they don't really harden well and coating a bone knife with them only seems to offer marginal improvements unless she's sawing into something. Tensioning a feeding tendril with a tentacle or bone frame to make a hacksaw is easy though.

>What is that panel behind you?
Some sort of power distribution panel. On impulse Alice jams some feeding tendrils into the interface port and that actually works. She's having trouble making much sense of what she's seeing, a list of a few local circuit breakers? It looks like the 'complex systems' Interface allows her to interact with includes computers?

Blind One only knows why the Precursors wanted their fleshbeasts to be able to do this.

>Before I forget... What extra eyes?
When Alice was cutting through walls and floors, she was sticking an eye on a stalk through first to make sure it was safe.
>>
No. 964905 ID: cadb36
File 158859774672.png - (35.62KB , 600x800 , alice_become_gooman.png )
964905

>...wait a minute, can you store the slime? In sacs? Then burst them whenever you need to spread some gross sludge somewhere. Shouldn't count as losing part of your body, since it's a waste product, and "bursting" a sac isn't destructive if you design it with that purpose in mind.
Alice is starting to feeling that sluggishness that precedes her vomiting her guts out so time to experiment. She tells her stomach very firmly that slime goes in there and stays there and keeps slamming down delicious meat smoothie cans.

Something's different, she's not throwing up!

Slime Sac: A variably sized reservoir designed to store liquids. It can contain degenerated biomass without triggering an expulsion response.

Alice's instincts are conflicted between her feeling full and her being hungry. Eventually they settle on 'hungry'. The gut combined with her skinny frame makes Alice looks like she's either a malnourished famine victim or pregnant. Neither thought does much for her peace of mind. She drinks some more cans to comfort herself. It isn't working!

>In the future, perhaps you can dedicate more space to a specialized slime sac. The most human looking configuration for this would be, you guessed it, on the chest. Better looking than a distended stomach, anyway. Practice your intentional spitting while you have downtime and food to chug.
Yeah, no. No-one needs tits that big. Alice makes more sacs in her tail-tentacles instead.

It looks like this was just a matter of telling her body she knows what she's doing. She is rapidly looking like she's impersonating a mosquito though.

>>Slime leftover from eating
>Perhaps here, you can inject it into a pipe running through the underfloor area. Some of them may be safe to breach, carrying wires and such instead of gases or pressurized liquids.
No that's too risky. They might have monitoring systems to detect

>...maybe you can even use it as pneumatic fluid?
Wait, just how small can she make these sacs? Alice thinks about some drone designs that use hydraulic muscles and tries to put it into practice. Simple in theory, she just needs to make a fiber wrapped tube that'll contract when pressurised.

Distension: The worker-body uses a liquid medium for hydraulic mobility systems, allowing greater physical bulk with limited biomass.

This one's odd, she can feel her extra malleability from Clever Hands and Quicksilver working together to pull it off. Definitely helpful if she needs to smuggle her telltale slime around. Speaking of slime, she needs to eat faster! Using her mouth like a normal person is too slow. Alice regretfully switches to simply mass-piercing the cans with her feeding tendrils and draining them that way.

>If possible, you could maybe make poor-man's ablative armor - layer multiple sacs over and over, so when something strikes you it has to pass through multiples. Depending on how viscous the slime is, and how pressured it is, it could even spatter all over the weapon, making it slippery, or the floor, or them, or their eyes...
>Yes, it'd be nice to have huge slime-tits, but covering yourself up with dozens and dozens of thick zits, layered on top of each other, might be helpful.
Alice layers the hydraulic muscles under her skin and puts slime in more of her tail tentacles - if she needs to she'll wrap her body up with them for extra protection.

>See if you can make something similar to a pressurized sac organ that leads to an opening in the back of your mouth so that you can simply expel your waste slime much more accurately than vomiting it and store some of it for future use as a defensive option.
Alice can spit with greater range and accuracy by setting up a sac to get squeezed by her surrounding body. Might come in handy!
>>
No. 964906 ID: cadb36
File 158859783178.png - (25.32KB , 800x600 , the_stash.png )
964906

A crate at the bottom with a vending machine label doesn't have cans in at all.

A secret has been found

Alice thinks she's discovered contraband xotl smut.

She pages through it as she cracks open the remaining crates and slithers a web of feeding tendrils in to drink up all that tasty canned meat-juice.

This one's about a dragonslayer minus the S. Someone who goes out into the dangerous worlds beyond the sky, meets exotic and dangerous aliens and then has sex with them. Sometimes he strangles them too. He has a cybernetically enhanced 'lance'. There's a recurring element of technofetishism she finds off-putting. The aliens are completely inaccurate racist stereotypes or made up. Alice isn't sure if she should find this funny or insulting.

She looks through another one, which is about a xotl archaeologist exploring the ruins of the Thousand Day Empire only to be trapped a vaguely humanoid tentacle monster.
Oh looks like the xotl's a girl. And the monster has three dongs. Alice feels insulted on the tentacle monster's behalf.

>Like others said, find the box that looks least disturbed (assuming these are all food boxes), empty it out, and stow the slime in there. Then seal it back up, if you can.
Alice crumples the cans up and starts popping them all into the first crate she emptied, then dumps slime into it. So much slime... This really isn't efficient at all compared to eating xotl. How can she eat so much and still be hungry?

>Seal it up airtight so it doesn't smell, if it does smell. It probably does. Organic things tend to do that.
It doesn't have much of a smell to her, but maybe it wouldn't. She should have asked Blake when she had the choice. Alice seals this one, then starts a second crate. So much slime...

Five of the crates had cans, one had vending machine space parts and one had the porn. Alice is going to put the porn on top and assume this will be enough of a distraction should some random xotl decide to restock the vending machines during an emergency.
>>
No. 964907 ID: cadb36
File 158859794318.png - (45.43KB , 720x720 , one_Weird_trick_xotl_dont_want_you_to_know.png )
964907

Alice starts to pull her new mass together.

84 biomass gained. Mass total 120.

A shudder runs through her as she feels her body subtly shift and settle.

Cohere: Binding force of worker-body stabilising. Strength and toughness improved. Fire vulnerability reduced.

She thoughtfully polishes off the last few cans, tendrils licking them clean. At her previous high mass Alice felt she was near some sort of threshold. At certain points her body is just going to undergo changes? Monster puberty? That could be good or bad. But stability sounds good! She still remembers that xotl experiment just sitting and rotting in its holding cell. She doesn't want to end up like that.

9 more biomass gained. Mass total 129.

Alice is feeling pretty beefy now!

It reminds her, she had this one early deployment to a high gravity planet with life that was still figuring out the whole multicelluar thing. Very little to do if you weren't a microbiologist or interested in algae. The security detail had a competition to see who could get the most unreasonably buff. Just her and... she can't remember their names. Or faces. Never mind then, it's not important.

She must have drank at least three hundred cans. She wouldn't get through that much food in a month normally. If she has to drink any more, she will complain and then drink it anyway.

But she has to go on the hunt for bigger game now: xotl experiments, Precursor idols and xotl notes about both. She can extract Marrow from the experiments to imprint more tricks and read the xotl's notes on what they've figured out about those tricks and also what they've figured out about how to best kill something like here.

Alice gives the scene of her food crimes a last tidy and then ducks back into the underfloor.
>>
No. 964908 ID: cadb36
File 158859800740.png - (26.75KB , 800x500 , potential_crew_found.png )
964908

Mostly going by dead reckoning, Alice oozes through the cluttered maintenance areas of the xotl base, occasionally pausing when she thinks she hears some something mobile. They might have inspection drones down here.

Eventually, she pops up a hatch and it looks like she's in the outskirts of the labs.

There's a tube containing what looks like more mutated xotl livestock. This one is in pretty bad shape though. There's a harassed looking xotl working the terminal. It does not have a hat, which leads Alice to assume that it can't be too important. Little strange he's on his own. Much less security restrictions on the specimen than the first one she saw too. Maybe Alice should just keep going?

On the other hand, it is an unlocked terminal and that experiment may still have Marrow and imprinted abilities!
>>
No. 964912 ID: 0fae41

Well, he's not whistling or doing any other repetitive function, is he? If you spot any cameras, try to do your work from outside their field of view. Sure, suddenly being dragged offscreen by an unknown force is alarming, but it doesn't tell them how you did it.
>>
No. 964917 ID: d186fc

>>964908
Could we try just sending a very small, long tentacle too run along wires or seams in the wall and floor and try to interface with the tech that way? We could stay all sneaky beaky that way and there wouldn't be a body for the Dragonslayer to find. We could even try to send the tentacle through the inside of the tank.
>>
No. 964920 ID: 2aa5f0

>>964906
wait, I can't tell. Is that the same guy who's after you or no? I mean all the helmets look the same to me. Well if it is true the I guess that is just one more reason not to get caught unless you want to see his "lance"... ok couldn't say that with a straight face, but after dealing with one of those pricks a little humor has to be good for something right?

>>964908
do you see any cameras or anything that might let someone from outside the room look inside? If not I'm going to say this might be a good way to test out your new strength by knocking this guy out. Yes I'm going to say trying knocking him out instead of just flat out killing him. Mostly to see how much control you have over you new strength. After all it could kinda suck if you found a computer terminal with useful notes on it only for you to snap it in half when trying to use it because you're not familiar with your new strength.
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No. 964934 ID: 5b93d3

>>964908
This does seem a little too convenient. Baited trap convenient.

Remember, it's not paranoia if they literally are out to get you!
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No. 964945 ID: b1b4f3

>>964903
>unless she wants to walk around with a bunch of metal arrows embedded in her arm.
Why not? Should be fine. Heck, you could try to get a clip-feed mechanism set up. Heyyy, we didn't try making multiple arms yet. I wonder if that's possible? More arms means more guns at once.
>>964908
Hmmm... try interfacing with the computer from a distance, and getting some delicious data without alerting anyone. Not sure if we want to eat the experiment right now, but we definitely want to at some point. I wonder if you could fake a log entry that claims this researcher decided it was too much of a risk to keep this experiment alive considering recent events, so he disposed of it and went into hiding until things blew over? If you can stealthily dispose of him, and get to the experiment without breaking the containment, you could make it look like the researcher simply went AWOL and incinerated the experiment.
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No. 964955 ID: e76d5c

>>964908
This looks easy, too easy, is he even pressing those buttons for real?
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No. 964956 ID: 86794b

For the record, how quickly could you cut through the floor and ooze through? And how long to seal it back up? Like, if you were getting chased, how much of a lead would you need in order to be able to disappear?

Also, I agree with observe and check cables (preferably from underfloor). Access terminals, find camera feeds? The longer you can stay out of the "normal" areas, and the less time you spend in them when necessary, the better, IMO. Until further notice, at least. Try not to trip any digital security systems.
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No. 965034 ID: 977456

Extend a tendril all the way from where you are to its drink, then knock said drink over. Maybe the xotl will leave to get a refill.
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No. 965038 ID: 0c008e

>>964908
Keep your main body safe there and use tentacles for murder/computing. You can't let paranoia sabotage you but this IS pretty convenient. Also, now that you're cohered to you feel like phobic?
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No. 965039 ID: b1b4f3

I have an idea. Think you could make a suit of armor bigger than you, then attach tentacles to the inside to make it work like power armor? Impersonate a dragonslayer instead of a grunt! It would be better if you had an actual dragonslayer suit but if you can make one that superficially looks the same that's fine too.
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No. 965040 ID: 6c9030

>>964908
Send a tendril under the floor to the terminal, and tap into it.
Find out more information before you decide to do anything.
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No. 965043 ID: 10c408

>>964945
While she can probably grow an extra pair of arms, the sanity meter and some other small details in previous chapters suggests that extensive modification regardless of reason (whether intentional or as a result of damage) is making Alice more and more crazy.
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No. 965114 ID: f57349

Before plundering, sneakily disable the door to this lab - jam the mechanism so it'll be slow and noisy to open, and plant a fake bomb inside the control panel facing the hallway. Dragonslayer's done with underestimating you, might as well buy some time by playing on paranoia. Time they spend painstakingly disassembling potential booby traps is time for you to retreat without needing to test out your new fire resistance.
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No. 965115 ID: 094652

Just keep going, they're civilians or non-combatants.
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No. 965160 ID: 015bf2

Hrm. The Dragonslayer has been relatively careful so far, but this doesn't bear many warning hallmarks (then again those clues are hard to detect). If things hold true to form there's a timer that gets set off if this guy goes missing, but you'll have to deal with that timer if you eat the thing in the vat too, anyway.

Granted, you could fake it so that the thing in the vat escaped and ate him. Maybe if you keep their corpses partially complete you can 'fake' a crime scene of them killing each other.

Also, would it hurt to check the next lab over before you try snacking on this goober and setting off 'missing person' alarms?
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No. 965162 ID: 6e6f32

Ah a xotl.
You know what makes a good Xotl? Being dead.
Let's make sure he's a very good Xotl.

But also, we should be sneaky about it.
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No. 965297 ID: 91ee5f

>>964908
Make sure you cover the food’s mouth so that it’s dying screams can’t alert anyone! Be sure to drag it somewhere hidden so that you can eat in peace and hopefully not get interrupted.
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No. 965301 ID: 6c9030

>>965297
This is a SNEAKING operation!
Gather intel and determine if it's worth the risk to act here, or if there's nothing here worth taking.

We have clever hands. We can take anything important from their subject by sneaking a tendril up into the chamber and eating from the inside, then sealing the hole after we leave. A computer failure can destroy their records so they don't even know their subject weighs less now.

Killing people gets us noticed.
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No. 965307 ID: 91ee5f

>>965301
You act as if I said to run in there and make as much noise as possible, when I clearly said to kill the enemy quietly.

>Killing people gets us noticed.
That’s only if they find the body.

Also, not absorbing biomass is what got us so close to being killed last time. Having more biomass will help us prepare for when we eventually fight that Dragonslayer.
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No. 965353 ID: 6c9030

>>965307
This is not a video game.
People have work shifts and friends, and if someone goes missing we have at most hours before it's noticed and investigated.
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No. 965376 ID: 6e6f32

>>965353
Didn't a science experiment go horribly wrong and go on massive killing spree recently?
This little guy was clearly just another victim at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
At least that's what people will believe for a while.
If we clean up the scene, that at most will be an at least.
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No. 965379 ID: 9f0903

>>965376
Don't underestimate them, we've made that mistake before. Human security personnel would have to be really, REALLY stupid to just go "oh well, this is an isolated case, nothing to do here and no need to raise the alarm" when a dangerous subject was just captured mysteriously diminished in suspicious circumstances; if we assume they have even less competence than that just because they're not human, then WE are the ones being stupid.
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No. 965381 ID: e76d5c

>>965376
Life isn't an Elder Scrolls game fam, if someone disappears AFTER they think they got the monster they won't go "It'd nothing".
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No. 965414 ID: 0c008e

>>965381
Eh, good point. Let's not waste our chance on a one-off probably low value target.
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No. 965793 ID: f133dc

We are an a fishing mission, we aren't going to turn up an obvious opportunity like this. They are going to catch on very soon no matter what, we can't hide in the vents forever.

If it feels like a trap, then use an eye-tendril to check all the angles before you go in. A few moments of watching what he's doing is not going to hurt either.
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No. 965889 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965793
Or we could just fully go in and try using more subtle methods of accessing the equipment.

I think we should try the tendril thing first, but if that doesn't work, we could try cutting a small hole underneath the machinery to gain access instead.

There is also the option of just trying to sneak and use misdirection.
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No. 968017 ID: ac8933
File 159049682752.png - (31.47KB , 800x500 , xotl_co-op.png )
968017

>Well, he's not whistling or doing any other repetitive function, is he?
>This looks easy, too easy, is he even pressing those buttons for real?
He's slow and tasty looking but he definitely seems to be trying to do something.

>Do you see any cameras or anything that might let someone from outside the room look inside?
No signs of cameras.

>Hmmm... try interfacing with the computer from a distance, and getting some delicious data without alerting anyone.
Alice stretches out an underfloor tendril and makes the welcome discovery that the floor gaskets for cable penetrations are much easier to get through than the floor by itself. She's still getting the hang of this but she pops in a few probes, not trying to affect anything for the moment just figure out what's being output to the screen.

The xotl's got some sort of authentication token plugged in for low level access and is trying to operate the tube controls.

>We can take anything important from their subject by sneaking a tendril up into the chamber and eating from the inside
Looks like breaching the stasis tube will trip an alarm. Unsurprising really.

The xotl opens some sort of mail client for a minute and skims through it, apparently hunting for help. There's something about one guy is complaining the other guy is wasting buds(?) on lesser(?) animal testing, and the other guy saying that they need to understand failure modes better. Seems to be some tension in the xotl weird mutant test program.

If this sad looking fleshbeast is part of testing what causes such creatures to start rotting and die, Alice might want to know about that! She hasn't tried to directly access anything on the machine though, in case it causes a malfunction.

The door opens and another xotl comes in. He's sipping a drink. The first xotl demands to know why he was gone so long and why didn't he bring him a drink. The new xotl says he already had a drink and why isn't the specimen prepped for transport. The first xotl says it creeps him out the way it seems to watch him and he didn't want to make a mistake and get eaten by a horrible fleshbeast. The second xotl points out it doesn't have any eyes.

Alice thinks her grasp of spoken xotl might be improving.

>Not absorbing biomass is what got us so close to being killed last time. Having more biomass will help us prepare for when we eventually fight that Dragonslayer.
Time to eat then!

>Also, would it hurt to check the next lab over before you try snacking on this goober and setting off 'missing person' alarms?
...

Alice should eat those xotl just to spare them from each other and also because she is hungry, but maybe a little more patience will pay off. Look at that guy, slurping his meat smoothie. Disgusting. That should be hers.

>Remember, it's not paranoia if they literally are out to get you!
She's had one close escape already.
>>
No. 968019 ID: ac8933
File 159049699868.png - (24.26KB , 800x500 , alice_become_noodles.png )
968019

>For the record, how quickly could you cut through the floor and ooze through? And how long to seal it back up? Like, if you were getting chased, how much of a lead would you need in order to be able to disappear?
It takes several minutes. Floor's sturdy! Alice would need a bolthole prepared in advance.

>Could we try just sending a very small, long tentacle too run along wires or seams in the wall and floor and try to interface with the tech that way? We could stay all sneaky beaky that way and there wouldn't be a body for the Dragonslayer to find.
Alice might as well multitask - she can sneak out tendrils in various directions and should be able to do something brainless like floor drilling in parallel without too much trouble.

It feels perverse as she tucks herself away in a sheltered nook and ritualistically disembowels herself, splitting open to send her clever hands questing out in every direction like a ground creeper in search of sun and water. Maybe she's giving up on the lie of being human: all her newfound mass dispersed into long tendrils and leaving just a withered husk and mass of slime filled sacs at the center. Her tendrils trace pipes and run through cable trays, hoping to maintain a low profile that way.

>Unless she wants to walk around with a bunch of metal arrows embedded in her arm.
>Why not? Should be fine. Heck, you could try to get a clip-feed mechanism set up.
Well she... Actually that wouldn't make her sick or anything, she will try it.

>Wait, I can't tell. Is that book cover the same guy who's after you or no? I mean all the helmets look the same to me.
The real dragonslayer had a far less phallic helmet.

>Think you could make a suit of armor bigger than you, then attach tentacles to the inside to make it work like power armor? Impersonate a dragonslayer instead of a grunt!
Alice wouldn't fit in a dragonslayer suit. Everything but the torso and head is robotic.
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No. 968020 ID: ac8933
File 159049706962.png - (36.77KB , 800x600 , alices_lovely_map.png )
968020

After spreading herself through a mildly alarming amount of the under-floor area and boring some exploratory holes, Alice has identified four extra areas of interest.

Secure Area: There's a big important looking door with a camera covering it. The walls and floor have energised containment plating, Alice can't dig through it.

Idols: There's two helmeted xotl moving a handful of idols into a packing case. She might be able to just eyeball them if she can get close enough?

Crew?: There's a larger room with multiple stasis tubes and a lot of scientific equipment. Alice thinks there's a human in one of the tubes but can't get too good a look since there's a scientist and two alert looking helmeted xotl working in there.

Mainframe: Looks like a terminal for a big server. Room's empty. Credentials might be a problem though.

There's still the original room with the two xotl and the 'failure modes' experiment too.

Alice has really spread herself thin, so it'll take a while to move her mass around if she wants anything more than a whippy tentacle in situ. Which of these should she try to pursue and in what order?
>>
No. 968021 ID: ff6a6d

Toss out a porn mag where the helmet lads can find it and then steal the idols when their backs are turned. Works for Snake. Try not to interface just yet- we wanna save that for when you're not in danger.

Then see if you can steal the authentification token. Plugging that into the mainframe might get you some real nice info. If you can't stealthily slip it away I'd wait for a chance to get a higher level one- opportunity cost, yo.
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No. 968026 ID: 015bf2

We should try maintaining stealth mode for as long as we can. No confrontations means less biomass lost, too. It also keeps to our plan of learning more about xotl research and our form's capabilities and limitations (or lack thereof). Once you've gotten that done, you can try freeing the crew member and go back on the offensive. Remember that you want to destroy all of this research too.

May want to pre-prepare a path of retreat or secret cubby hole for them to hide in, actually.

Anyway! Idols first, then Mainframe to see what, if anything, you can access. Destroying the Mainframe might also set their research back, so you can look into ways to set up something time-delayed. Of course, they're liable to have backups scattered around.

... although, a thought. Energized plating would take, well, energy. Can she drill around the area to detect where the power for the energizing is coming from? Because if the power is coming from the inside, we've just found where the local generator's at - might be useful for destroying this part of the base - and if it's coming from the outside, we've just found an excellent way to create a 'serious power failure at holding cells where they keep monsters' distraction that we can pull.
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No. 968030 ID: 2aa5f0

start with the Idols as it looks like that is kinda the most time sensitive. Hopefully they have some decent credentials to let you use the mainframe but I have a feeling that we're probably going to have to grab the scientist the the crew? room for that.

So Idols first and if you can get some decent credentials then mainframe, then Crew(?), the current room and end with secure room.

If you can't find decent credentials after gaining the idols then head back to this current room and grab the access usb you saw earlier then head to the main frame, then Crew, and end with secure room again.

Not going to suggest eating or not eating anyone yet as I feel that's going to work and a case by case basis and something is probably going to go wrong along the way so we're probably going to have to wing it anyways.
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No. 968046 ID: bfe1de

Idols first. Eat the xotl. Failures next. Eat the xotl and the failure. The login credentials he’s using might be low-end, but they should be enough to undock the experiment for ‘transfer.’ Then see about eating your way to the crew. After that, local lifeforms should be depleted enough you can see about breaking into secure storage. It’s got to be something special if they locked it up this tight, like a successful experiment, or maybe the good porn mags!
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No. 968059 ID: 9f0903

>>968019
>Maybe she's giving up on the lie of being human
Hey, no, none of that. Your body may be what it is, but you still have a human mind, and nothing can change that. You're still human at heart even if you don't currently have one, it doesn't matter what you look like.
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No. 968081 ID: b1b4f3

>>968019
>everything but the torso and head is robotic
Really now? You can interface with machines though. If you can get to some spare Dragonslayer parts you could use the limbs!

>>968020
>secure area
Well I don't know how we'd get in there. Bypass the door by digging around it, maybe?

>idols
Eyeballing them to see what they can do sounds good. We're currently actively using both of our abilities but once we get a new slot maybe one of the idols would have something we want. You can wait until the xotls leave before snaking into the box to see what the idols do. You can take a peek inside the other boxes too!

>crew
That's not the crew we need to secure right now. We need to find Blake before we go rescuing another crewmember, since it'll be safer for them to travel together. Also we're still trying to avoid tripping alarms.

>mainframe
Credentials can be stolen. Start monitoring more computers to catch someone inputting credentials so you can use them to enter the mainframe.
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No. 968084 ID: 0fae41

Maybe a dragonslayer suit could fit in you... Endoskeletons are nice too sometimes.
Count your blessings, Alice. You're the only human alive who can do what you do!
Finish up here first, these two are the weakest and it looks like at least one of them moves frequently. Then go steal access to the server room by eavesdropping on the scientist in the prisoner chamber.
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No. 968097 ID: d0fe53

>also because she is hungry...That should be hers.
Beware your greed. Biomass, like power, is a tool. Should biomass become a goal, you'll view people as food, lumps of biomass. Your goal here is to protect people. Except xotl. Xotl =/= people.

>Maybe she's giving up on the lie of being human
Bodily? Perhaps. Your wit, however. Lose that, you become a beast. You are as good (or bad) as you choose to be while you still have that wit.

>>968030
This.
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No. 968129 ID: 977456

>Maybe she's giving up on the lie of being human
There is nothing so special or unique about humanity that it cannot be abandoned, yet humanity is what you know and who you are. Don't cling to the trappings of humanity that merely exist, but hold true to the ones that define you. Be the Alice that wants to be you!
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No. 968150 ID: 6c9030

>>968059
Yeah, weren't you a transhumanist before all this?
Sure, the packaging is different, but notice how you're trying to save your crew and stop the xenophobic warmongers? Yeah, that's pretty human.
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No. 968152 ID: 2d3752

Could we parasitise the ship by making small tubes in the walls that we are inside doing the same with wires and electronics (there is always a way into a shielded section whether it’s through the connected cabling or other holes in the it) once we integrate with the ship and it’s electronics we can wait till people are in rooms alone lock it down eat them then hide back in the walls and reopen it like nothing happened, all that’s left is this armour. If we did this while we are waiting for prey we can access information we want.
By turning the ship basically into our body we can make it hard for them to find us and even harder to kill us. Plus if we use metal walls like skin we no longer need to fear fire.
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No. 968153 ID: 015bf2

>>968152
I believe it's been clarified before that this is not a ship, it's some sort of xotl research base. Probably based on one of the rocks in the system Alice's exploratory vessel arrived to survey.

And anything that extensive might be a tall order. Alice is new to this body and doesn't have the mass to spread out across hundreds of meters. Furthermore, it's a big risky play. Her main, centralized part would be a sitting duck and anything that cuts off a tendril will smart. So, if they identify where her core's at they could encircle and snip her buds, as it were, losing her most of her mass before she can pull it all back.

There's definitely something to the idea of locking down a room before attacking the xotl within from below floor grates and such, though, both to prevent them from escaping and to prevent anyone else from easily coming to their aid. Or just to leave them thinking an equipment malfunction's gotten them trapped.

Pretty sure Alice can fake some convincing bad wiring with her current toolset.
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No. 968179 ID: f57349

Get an interface-worthy eye within range of the idols first, since those may open up new options. Maybe rig a tripline so the xotl carrying the case falls and spills it? If possible, steal a weapon from one of them in the process.

Second, deliberately set off an alarm at the high-security area, but try to make it look like an accident - leaky pipe spraying something mildly corrosive that eroded an insulating layer over the course of days and caused a ground fault in the containment plating, maybe. Tight security means false positives are possible, and prefab bases aren't built to last forever. Make it as scary, and slow/annoying to investigate, as you can, ideally on a bit of a time delay. Then cover your tracks and pull out of that area, you don't want to get caught for real.

Third, take advantage of the distraction to rescue the human prisoner, ideally handing them that stolen gun from step one (or more likely, something lifted off a guard in the same room). Engrave a piece of scrap metal with some notes summarizing the overall situation, in both languages side-by-side like a Rosetta stone, and sign it "welcome to the resistance." Leave the phrasing ambiguous so as to imply that it's from a xotl traitor, trying to sabotage precursor-tech experiments from within, on the grounds that if allowed to proceed it'll doom them all. That way, if the xotl find the note, they'll start doubting each other. Maybe mix in key phrases from the dragonslayer porn mag to imply whoever it is also has a perverse affection for humans? Don't go overboard with that, first and foremost it needs to be an effective orientation briefing. "This is why I am handing you a gun."
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No. 968183 ID: 6e6f32

Hey, who cares if your human or not anyway?
You are still Alice, and that's what matters.
>>
No. 968239 ID: 9f0903

>>968183
A dangerous answer to give to someone who's losing her memories and is being constantly haunted by compulsions from her body. Let her cling to humanity, if it serves as an anchor.
>>
No. 968597 ID: afa6f6

>>968019
Humanity is all about augmenting ourselves to help us survive. Dont think of your changes as making you less human, just think of it as some unfortunate augmentation that youre using to keep your very human life from all the things currently trying to take it. Not less human, just changed.
If you can avoid anything that seems like it might make you lose your grip on your mind, everything else is just steps to keep those assholes from doing anything else to you.
>>
No. 968612 ID: 10c408

>>968597
That ship definitely sailed away when we deliberately did not track blake down to rejoin him and doctor mason after faking our death.
>>
No. 968616 ID: 7c52a2

>>968612
Wrong. We stayed away from them because we bring in more heat, so staying away helps them.

That can change once we've trimmed down enemy numbers enough...
>>
No. 969003 ID: 10c408

>>968616
We conned the dragonslayer into leaving the immediate area before we 'died' on him, taking immense pressure off of the then high level of attention we brought on ourselves.

And then we took our metal cutting talent, our extended senses and our freakish strength and left blake and mason behind in an area where not only would all of those things been extremely helpful, but also the same rough location that the dragonslayer will probably tear apart when he realizes he's been had.

And given how little we know about the upper size of the base and how much can be inferred about the minimum size (accommodating an entire warship, escaped prisoner running loose killing less than 20 dudes not triggering any kind of base wide alarm or message) I'd say that "thinning enemy numbers" is a highly impractical affair.
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No. 969006 ID: 9f0903

>>969003
No, the other guy's right. Alice seems to be priority number 1 for these guys, so staying with them would only put them in further danger. She does NOT have the tools to protect them right now. Looking for them would be the stupid thing to do, and not doing so doesn't make her any less human. You'll notice that Alice's first thought when we decided against searching for them was this:
>>963788
>And it might be safer for the others if they're not with her while she's creeping around.
This is not an inhuman thought to have. Quite the opposite, really.
>>
No. 969032 ID: 10c408

>>969006

Sorry, I'm confused. Do you mean to tell me that alice's current set of abilities wouldn't be perfect for protecting blake and mason's exact location from being discovered by the xotl's who're gonna be pissed off when the fake body ruse is discovered? I find that hard to believe.

And sure, recouping her mass to quell the craving problem away from her allies was a good idea but everything after that is going to bite us in the sanity meter at the end of the thread.

>>
No. 969033 ID: 9f0903

>>969032
You make it sound like if she were to go face to face with the Dragonslayer again she wouldn't be just as fucked, which I doubt. She just had to leave everything behind just now to Quicksilver to safety, and will probably have to do it again if she goes against enemies of that caliber once again. You know what else besides equipment can't be Quicksilvered away? Teammates. No, they're safer on their own for now. If we find a way to move them safely with us, or have more evidence that we could fight a strong enemy than a good feeling, THEN we can link up with them again. Otherwise, we'd just endanger each other.
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No. 969034 ID: 9f0903

>>969032
Also, for some reason you seem to be assuming that they're staying put where the xotl last saw us, waiting to be picked off. I have a better opinion of their intelligence than that, they probably skedaddled as soon as the coast was clear.
>>
No. 969040 ID: 10c408

>>969034
I'm not assuming they'll just stay put near the holding cells. At some point they'll have to leave the underfloor for water/food/some other reason. And that's another point in which alice would be invaluable for not being discovered by xotl's.
>>
No. 969045 ID: 10c408

>>969033
Sorry, missed this first post.
I've never suggested fighting the dragonslayer in the first place. We don't have the current abilities for it. You know what our abilities are good for? A whole heaping mess of utility, like helping two unmodified humans navigate around a confined maintenance area without detection while acquiring supplies, intel and knowing when it's even safe to use a convenient bathroom.

And sure, Alice being separated means that Alice can't accidentally harm either of them. But she can't assist them either. The xotl's, on the other hand, aren't entirely stupid and we left plenty of clues behind at the prison to give them a general idea for where our squishier allies got off to.

>>
No. 969046 ID: 015bf2

Alice abandoning her humanity is not something inherently to be desired. Especially as there is nothing that suggests that what her humanity would be abandoned for is more than chains of messed-up Precursor worker-drone logic strung together in experimental, haphazard fashion. She needs a guiding core to her drives.

Y'know, other than 'eat'.

>>969034
>>969045
You two, please don't have back-and-forth arguments in spoilered text, thank you.

Take it to the Questdis thread if you're this engaged. You can later re-summarize your suggestions and arguments for Alice / other posters in thread without taking up space and turning the thread into a CIA document.
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No. 971032 ID: 467733
File 159351970187.png - (34.14KB , 800x550 , tatical_pipe_action.png )
971032

>We should try maintaining stealth mode for as long as we can. No confrontations means less biomass lost, too. It also keeps to our plan of learning more about xotl research and our form's capabilities and limitations (or lack thereof). Once you've gotten that done, you can try freeing the crew member and go back on the offensive.
Right, capabilities and information first.

>Idols first. Eat the xotl. Failures next. Eat the xotl and the failure. The login credentials he’s using might be low-end, but they should be enough to undock the experiment for ‘transfer.’ Then see about eating your way to the crew.
When Alice has to fight any xotl she'll eat them, but positioning first!

>Start with the Idols as it looks like that is kinda the most time sensitive.
Alice withdraws her eye-stalks from the other rooms she's investigated to focus on the idol room. She worms her tendrils through a wall penetration that accommodates some pipes to get a better viewpoint.

The idols are being packed to get moved out of here. She inches tendrils slowly along the pipe to get further in as she pumps what little mass she has spare from her dispersed body towards this room.

>Could we parasitise the ship by making small tubes in the walls that we are inside? By turning the ship basically into our body we can make it hard for them to find us and even harder to kill us. Plus if we use metal walls like skin we no longer need to fear fire.
Alice doesn't have the mass to pull that off over a wide area.

>There's definitely something to the idea of locking down a room before attacking the xotl within from below floor grates and such, though, both to prevent them from escaping and to prevent anyone else from easily coming to their aid. Or just to leave them thinking an equipment malfunction's gotten them trapped.
Hmmm... That might be just crazy enough to work. She'd need to eat more though.

>Beware your greed. Biomass, like power, is a tool. Should biomass become a goal, you'll view people as food, lumps of biomass. Your goal here is to protect people. Except xotl. Xotl =/= people.
Alice has to protect herself before she can protect others. Getting rid of xotl fulfills two objectives!

>>secure area
>Well I don't know how we'd get in there. Bypass the door by digging around it, maybe?
It's designed to keep things more than to keep things out.

>Your body may be what it is, but you still have a human mind, and nothing can change that. You're still human at heart, it doesn't matter what you look like.
>Yeah, weren't you a transhumanist before all this?
No.

The Hegemony has a long standing prohibitions on permanent human enhancement. Officially there's moral repugnance of creating a class of haves and have nots. Alice didn't really think about it until she joined the Survery Corps. When some of the xeno-archaeologists get particularly drunk and maudlin they start talking about extinction profiles and disputed theories about brains, cultures and readiness to use advanced technology. Species that pursue artificial evolution seem to die out faster.

The mind may be just a plaything of its circumstances...

>Sure, the packaging is different, but notice how you're trying to save your crew and stop the xenophobic warmongers? Yeah, that's pretty human.
Alice has been a pretty shitty human being so far then.
>>
No. 971033 ID: 467733
File 159351976191.png - (18.63KB , 800x500 , precious_things.png )
971033

>Get an interface-worthy eye within range of the idols first, since those may open up new options.
Let's see what they've got here. One's a copy of the idol she already has but the other two...

Optical channel to noetic linkages opened. Worker-body cognitive basal modification already present in node 01. Able to redefine instruction subset:

[*] Interface - Alice has this one. It's for connecting with or screaming at machines and living things.

[ ] Multi-task - Division and recombination of animating principle process streams. Division of labour. Control of worker-body portions can be ceded to parallel processes. So if she wanted, Alice could walk and chew gum at the same time, huh? Or fire two guns while jumping through the air. Or use her Clever Hands to make stuff while exploring.

[ ] Fine Detail - Improves tactile, visual, olfactory, auditory and kinaesthetic sensory functions of worker body. Interpretation and fusion of sensory cues and options for eidetic storage of sensory input and fine scale destructive analysis of structures. Obviously better senses mean Alice will be more aware of her surroundings, better hand-eye coordination means she'd be a better shot and the last one seems a little ominous but might work well with Clever Hands.

[ ] Cancel

The third idol is something new.

Able to load basal modification in node 02. Warning: definition conflict. Node is currently occupied by worker-body structural configuration instruction subset 'Quicksilver'. Resolution required.

[ ] Bottom Feeder - Directives for sustaining worker-body without biosphere support. Mimics biological processes and physics manipulations of lower organisms to convert raw material into worker body mass. May require an external energy source. This'd let Alice eat *even more* stuff? Plastic? Hydrocarbon fuels? She could put out leaves and start photosynthesising?

[ ] Husbandry - Refinement to animating principle for additional modes of nondestructive interference with lower organisms. Amalgamation, doping and preservation of useful substructures. Reduces unintentional corrosion of biological matter by subsumption architecture. Alice doesn't quite get this one, but she'd be less dangerous to every living thing near her?

[ ] Gardener - Additional biosphere utility via worker-body byproducts. A portion of degenerated biomass is reformatted to assist biological proliferation. Exposure to enriched biomatter promotes cellular activity and division in lower organisms. This seems more like some sort of terraforming aid? Medical support maybe?

[ ] Cancel
>>
No. 971034 ID: 467733
File 159351979899.png - (11.40KB , 800x500 , this_is_alices_life_now.png )
971034

Should Alice simply overwrite some of her current abilities and then retreat? It doesn't look like the xotl and the idols are going to be in here much longer.

>Toss out a porn mag where the helmet lads can find it and then steal the idols when their backs are turned.
So far the helmet guys have come across as far too competent to fall for that. Even if they did they'd spot the idols are missing.

If she wants those idols, she'll have to figure out how she's going to deal with these two xotl. There's not much Alice to go around with how thinly spread she is.
>>
No. 971037 ID: 0fae41

You can't really overwrite Quicksilver in your current position. Buy time to coalesce in here by Interfacing with... the door to lock it? The trolley to lock it? What's the tubing in this room going into?
I think Husbandry would actually make you more dangerous to nearby life by allowing you to stitch still-living (and possibly screaming) organic bodies to yourself. Perhaps if you were in a zoo full of interesting creatures, or this allowed you to interface with the dragonslayer's cybernetics, it would be more useful.
>>
No. 971049 ID: 2aa5f0

well if you're going to take out those guards you're going to need to hit both of them at once and take them out quick. Think a pile driver to the head would take them out quick? Because if you can form two piledrivers, drop down on both of them and drive a spike through their skulls before they can make any noise that would be an effective way to get rid of them. Then you just need to eat the bodies and find somewhere to hide their gear where someone isn't very likely to stumble across it.

as for the nodes the one I really want is fine detail but you should try and grab all of them and stash them away somewhere hard to find to hopefully come back to later should you need to switch out your load out. Plus taking all of them might actually buy you more time as the xolts might just think they're being moved instead of stolen... at least for awhile.
>>
No. 971076 ID: 1bf6d6

The second idol sounds useful for the situation at hand. The third one sounds useful for after this whole adventure, a victory prize.
>>
No. 971104 ID: 977456

Fine detail and gardener, because Gardener sounds like a great way to distract the security forces. Fine detail will let you destructively analyse a xotl and then remember the experience forever.

Reach down quickly and shoot the far xotl with the near xotl's gun, then analyse the near xotl to death.
>>
No. 971133 ID: b1b4f3

>>971033
That third idol looks very useful for when you rejoin with the crew. Bottom Feeder allows consumption of non-meat-based foods which will let you (re)gain biomass without combat or entering a meat-feeding frenzy, Husbandry will allow you to carry around your allies to protect them, and Gardener sounds like it will enable healing of their wounds, which is the biggest problem with engaging in combat while they are nearby.

We neeeeeed it. We also need an extra slot to use it (since quicksilver can't be disabled at the moment), so we need to eat another experiment very soon.

As a temporary solution, see if you can use Interface to lock them in. Then if they get distracted enough you can steal the two new idols.
>>
No. 971136 ID: 10c408

Cancel, cancel and then retract everything back into your body. We might have stood to make some gains but we've struck out and it's time to go.
>>
No. 971145 ID: 3f20cd

It dosen't look like you can get anything from this room in time, and you need all your current programs to keep yourself together because of how stretched thin you are. Lets bring everything back and eat the subject, it should give us another program slot.
>>
No. 971162 ID: 6c227a

With clever hands (and possibly Fine Detail) do you think you could manufacture a reasonable looking approximation of an idol in a fairly short time frame to pull off a switch?
>>
No. 971171 ID: f57349

Use Clever Hands to jam the door mechanism, locking these two xotl inside. That should buy you time to regroup/come up with a better plan for securing the idols. Ideal outcome would be for them, their gear, the idols, and the cart to all completely disappear, no sign of struggle, as if they'd left on schedule but never arrived at the intended destination. Might be able to load Multi-Task before breaking stealth and use it for two simultaneous silent takedowns?
>>
No. 971236 ID: f133dc

Well, a bit of a longshot, but could you drill a tiny hole underneath their feet? And then shoot a tendril up into it?

I wonder how small a scale you can work on with it. Can you send up just a few small strands, so small it wouldn't be particularly noticeable, and then start eating holes in their vital organs? Hell, you could trigger something akin to a heart attack pretty easily by sticking a tiny bit of mass in the right places and it wouldn't be noticeable by someone who finds the corpse, except maybe by autopsy but not necessarily even then.

I'm tempted to start disappearing xotl. Make innocuous holes, eat one, cut what you don't need into tiny pieces and hide it underground. I also really like the idea of being able to multi-task, even if I wouldn't sacrifice things we can do now for it.
>>
No. 971266 ID: ebc3a4

>>971171
>Ideal outcome would be for them, their gear, the idols, and the cart to all completely disappear
Bottom feeder would help with that a lot. How fast are we able to swap abilites?
>>
No. 971563 ID: 4b420a

All of these new abilities sound super cool and like they would be helpful later, but your CURRENT two abilities are helpful NOW.

In particular, if you give up Quicksilver for something else your entire stealth strategy just INSTANTLY fails.
[X]Cancel
[X]Cancel.

>>
No. 971566 ID: 31a5d6

Yeah, we don't wanna give up what we have. All of those powers sound really cool, but certainly not more helpful than what they'd overwrite.
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