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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?
Expand all images
>>
No. 957118 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158244984590.png - (31.42KB , 600x750 , xotl_eye_view.png )
957118

This may not be a survivable situation.

Alice screwed up. Blake has hopefully escaped with Mason. Alice has not.

The thought is cycling endlessly through her head. Alice screwed up.

She waited too long, grabbing supplies that might have helped them in the future when enemies were closing in. Too strung out from her fight with the xotl's brain hacking basilisk and her additional set of frequently cannibalistic alien instincts.

While she frittered away what little time they had, a xotl heavy squad came complete with a Fafnir drone and an elite cyborg, a dragonslayer.

He pulled her through a reinforced window, threw her into the opposite wall and is now pointing a very large and probably very deadly gun at her. The rest of the xotl are pointing guns at her at a slightly safer distance. Alice is trying not to move in the gaze of so many gunsights. She lies on the hard floor and tries to imitate a statue, letting her broken approximations of ribs heal.

They haven't started shooting her yet.

That could be worse. It suggests she still has value as a specimen to them. That there's something buried in her mutated brain and body that they want. The thought fills her with dread.
>>
No. 957119 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158244987647.png - (21.38KB , 800x600 , peeka_boo_i_see_you.png )
957119

To Alice's surprise, the dragonslayer speaks. His words are cold and mechanical, perhaps machine translated.

"Are you able to understand language?"

->FIGHT
->TALK
->ITEM
->RUN

>>
No. 957120 ID: 1774cd

I'm very tempted to say "No" but that would be unwise under the circumstances.
>>
No. 957124 ID: 9caba2

>>957119
How about Seduce? Think you can work your womanly charms in this situation?
>>
No. 957125 ID: 2aa5f0

let out a deep sigh and nod a little. Not like you can talk and I'm positive they'll shot you if you try to grab your data pad.

honestly curious why they haven't just blown your head off. Especially seeing how you woke up in an incinerator.
>>
No. 957126 ID: 10c408

Don't move. Don't fight. You have to buy time. Blink, once. These assholes probably won't be able to comprehend your mangled vocal cord efforts and nodding might be twitchy enough make the dragonslayer shoot you.
>>
No. 957127 ID: 10c408

>>957125
Alice was only being carted to the incinerated because they honestly believed that the experiment they subject her to had failed and killed her instead of producing a resulting hybrid they could work with for whatever it is they are doing.

Sadly, while they've been oh so very wrong on that point we still got pinched by this actually competent cyborg commando.
>>
No. 957129 ID: 977456

->Item -> Own body
You hit the wall pretty hard, do you think that you could maybe squeeze some of your mass between some bent panels or something? If you can assemble a second head in the wall panelling, you might be able to fake your death.

Does anyone have a list of our items on hand?
>>
No. 957131 ID: 10c408

>>957129
Alice was pulled through a window and tossed onto the very solid metal floor. There are no "wall panels" to even try something like that. And that's not even accounting for how time consuming something like that would be.

Also? Not pictured is the giant death robot that's probably still pointing it's laser cannon at her.
>>
No. 957141 ID: 015bf2

>>957119
Shit. Distract. Do not move much. You lost connection to the meatpuppet, right?
“Ahhlize Diehhtrizzz. Hhumanhh.”

List off your dog tag number, using finger twitches or voice, whichever gets it across better.

“Dahhta paad. Cahhn thyyp.”

Can you form the Basilisk organ without making it obvious? If ever you needed an incapacitating area of effect attack, it’s now.
>>
No. 957149 ID: 0fae41

List items.
Give a cool, confident "Hey."
>>
No. 957163 ID: 903810

"...Ow."
>>
No. 957167 ID: b1b4f3

>>957119
>TALK.
Say yes.

If you are of value to them maybe you can use that to save the rest of the crew? Promise cooperation if they release them?
>>
No. 957171 ID: 1ed92d

>>957119
"It wasn't nice of you to lock Mason in a sensory deprivation tank."
>>
No. 957173 ID: 10c408

>>957141
The basilisk organ doesn't do what you think it does. This isn't a videogame.
>>
No. 957174 ID: 015bf2

>>957173
The Basilisk's shriek seemed to have a clear, if very temporary, effect on Mason and the armored soldier xotl, and if that is replicable, then stunning the goon squad for a few moments might be the kind of edge she might need to at the very least try to escape.

And let's face it. The xotl are not going to let any of the humans leave their secret weapon research base alive. Rescuing the crew and recovering The Penguin for an escape attempt is the only option available to Alice and the others.
>>
No. 957177 ID: 10c408

>>957174
Even IF the laundry list of assumptions you are making of something we've never tried are correct and we can disable the dragonslayer AND his goonsquad for a couple of seconds, then... congratulations, we bought a couple of seconds before getting killed by them because Alice isn't in any condition to run?

And that's not even accounting for the fafnir drone they brought along, or that there's nowhere to safely run TO that the dragonslayer can't follow and then eliminate us.

We have to buy time. They've wanted Alice alive (but certainly not in one piece) for quite some time now, which is a fact that we can exploit.
>>
No. 957195 ID: 015bf2

>>957177
I agree we need to buy time short-term, but in mid and long term Alice should not want to be under these guys' thumb. At all. Going back to a cell and being a good little research subject will likely end very, very poorly. These guys are not good guys, we know that already.

So, yes. Even a chance at allowing a second or two for Alice to stun, then rip and tear into these clumped-up goons would be infinitely better than nothing. Your presumption is Alice should run. Mine is the opposite. Don't forget Alice IS a lean, mean fighting machine who can turn every limb into a drill that goes through heavy armor like Fine Hands through butter AND she can restore mass on the go if it comes to it. A scrap here shouldn't be impossible to win. Just... potentially very costly.

That said, if we don't use the Basilisk organ right away, it could come in handy if there's a later and better opportunity to unleash it. I won't deny it's a risk. It'll cost 8 biomass to create and Alice's innards rearranging may take a while and might even be observable to the dragonslayer's, I dunno, supersoldier x-ray vision or whatnot. And as you've pointed out, Alice's version is untested. Maybe it works on the goons, but not the dragonslayer because of its cybernetics. Maybe it's SUPER EFFECTIVE against the dragonslayer, its cybernetics being weirdly compatible! We don't know! It's a gamble, but sometimes you take those when you're out of good options.

>Fafnir
As for the Fafnir, don't forget it got fire-naded with its laser protection open, then panic-gooped up. Alice hasn't had a look at how operational it currently is. Even if it'll keep firing while the goon squad is stunned, if Alice can at least get the goon squad between her and Fafnir's line of fire, it might not fire due to unclear firing line or at the very least they might take a shot or two instead of her.
>>
No. 957197 ID: f57349

Say "I am." If an appropriate opportunity arises, recite your name, rank, and serial number, and otherwise behave in a manner consistent with a prisoner of war under the spacefuture Geneva Convention equivalent.

If it's possible to do so discreetly, use Clever Hands to start chewing a hole in the floor. Drag out negotiations long enough and you might be able to resume the escape-tunnel plan, or at least flip some deckplate sections up as cover.
>>
No. 957203 ID: 10c408

>>957195
my suggestion wasn't to run, it was to buy at least a little time by admitting to the dragonslayer that yes, we can understand them.

And with that time we might be able to repair alice's ribs or very possibly enact an escape plan that I think is a more worthwhile approach then trying to fight the dragonslayer, his squad of goons and the fafnir drone with nothing more than a damaged body, tenacity and a brief attempt at "look, your shoes untied!"
>>
No. 957204 ID: b1b4f3

>>957203
Dear god, really?
The basilisk did way more than that, buddy. If you're gonna argue with people for basically no reason at least be polite about it.
>>
No. 957205 ID: 10c408

>>957204
it did that to US, because the one commonality between Alice and it was the precursor shit. It did fuck all to stop the xotl from sawing us in half with it's flechette gun or blake from shooting said xotl.
>>
No. 957207 ID: f133dc

every second is a second to heal so talking with him is going to be necessary, if only to buy a few more moments to act.

Can you cut a hole in the floor clandestinely using whatever is contacting it, while buying time by talking to him?
>>
No. 957209 ID: f57349

Actually, thinking about it a bit more after reviewing previous threads...
->ITEM
-->Precursor Holocron
--->Megastructure Mode
Talk to stall for time while that downloads and installs, get ready to spew the waste material into somebody's eyes as a distraction once you're fully armored up.
>>
No. 957211 ID: 6c9030

>>957119
"Of course, heretic."
>>
No. 957212 ID: 094652

"Yes. I wish those 'scientists' used translators and not flamethrowers when we first met, and I do not want to die for their idiocy, but 'here we are' - what happened can not be changed, only apologized."
>>
No. 957213 ID: 86794b

Hooray, it's back!
"Yesh"
While I'm inclined to see what the plan is, and am kinda risk averse, the others are probably correct in saying that you don't want to spend one more second with these guys than necessary. What the best escape plan is, though.... Well, according to
>>872323
>>Blake and the xotl are not firing, perhaps affected by the same vertigo.
the Basilisk scream seems to affect "normal" people, too. If you can form a basilisk organ without being detected, that might be a good plan to start on.

Maybe see what he's gonna say, first, though. Still, keep an eye out for a good opportunity.
>>
No. 957216 ID: 10c408

>>957213
I cede the point, and apologize for being argumentative about fighting everything after opening up with the basilisk disable.

I still don't think it's a good idea. Even if we fight everyone here and somehow win, it'll only make the xotl's ramp up their efforts at combating us. A fact that I consider to be highly dangerous to the penguin crew and also poor long term strategy since our ultimate goal has been about escaping and not the complete elimination of this xotl base and everything in it that isn't on our 'side'
>>
No. 957237 ID: 015bf2

>>957216
>fight the entire base
Don’t forget about their warship, too. Which, if it hadn’t gotten the drop on The Penguin, the survey vessel could have outrun. Which is why we want that ship back.

Anyway, no-one’s said that so you’re making as many assumptions about our intentions going forward as you claimed we were with the basilisk hack. It might come to it, but if we can get out of here being sneaky, all the better. But we do need to deal with threats right in front of us.
>>
No. 957238 ID: 015bf2

>>957209
Didn’t Blake have the holocron?
>>
No. 957239 ID: 10c408

>>957237
My assumption isn't that we'd actually choose to "fight everyone", my assumption is that if we fight this group and somehow win then sooner or later the xotl's will make that choice for us.

Even though we used the alarm for the opposite side of the base as cover for our activities, we've left a trail of goop and empty uniforms behind starting from the incinerator room to here where we've got an energy weapon pointed at our head.

Whoever is in charge of the xotl patrols on this side of the base? They've noticed that, and have steadily increased not only the number of soldiers in each patrol but also the number of patrols, what each patrol is armed with and the accompanying elite troops. (first actual patrol had a fafnir drone, which would have undoubtedly killed Alice if she wasn't capable of firing harpoon bones and managed to pierce the focusing lens)

There's going to be a tipping point sooner or later. And if we keep aggressively eliminating almost every xotl we come across? Then we'll hit at that tipping point. And I don't believe the penguin crew will survive it.
>>
No. 957256 ID: 6c227a

Evidence suggests that you are a successful sample of the horrible experiments they have been trying: A hybrid with this plant stuff who has still maintained your mind and reason. You are valuable for that reason. You should uh.. downplay just HOW successful they were. Do NOT recite any names, dog tags, or witty banter.

Indicate the affirmative, but do so in a way that suggests it is more difficult for you than it actually is. Nod, if that is a gesture these guys will understand, or if you respond verbally, enunciate badly and with theatrical difficulty. This may also help stall for time while your ribs heal.
>>
No. 957264 ID: 1ea4de

>>957119
this fucker is not playing around.
there is no fighting, there is no running. nothing you have on you will help.
remain calm, try to buy time until you find an opportunity. being surrounded is not an opportunity.

talk, Alice. you need to talk.
>>
No. 957265 ID: c4c8ec

Talk.
Do you know any words in the xotl language? I wouldn't trust machine translation with your current voice (you're pretty much a talking CAPTCHA for now) so if you can bypass it if needed...
>>
No. 957266 ID: 015bf2

>>957256
Hm. I wonder if they're at all keen on intelligent hybrid variants as much as weapon technology they can control and command. One of the main issues they may be running up against could be the instinctual revulsion Alice feels regarding creating anything like actual modern weaponry.
>>
No. 957267 ID: afa6f6

>>957256
I agree with this idea. indicate affirmative, nod or a simple "yes", maybe hiss it up, but downplay the extent or your intelligence, if only to not give them any more information then they have already. If we have to fight our way out, which we probably will, an opportunity will probably come more easily if they just think your a particularly dangerous animal, rather then in complete control of your faculties.
>>
No. 957279 ID: 0fae41

>>957149
Wait, better idea. Parrot him. "You are able to understand language?" It's a legitimate question, you're just as surprised as he is.
>>
No. 957285 ID: c4c8ec

>>957279
Bad idea. Sounds too much like blind repetition, which is, NOT understanding.
Plus, even without machine translation, there's nothing surprising in having one enemy act as translator.
>>
No. 957287 ID: 0fae41

>>957285
Other than the fact we are changing the order of the words, that's kind of the point. Too middle of the road to judge us one way or the other.
>>
No. 957555 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158294457168.png - (20.50KB , 800x500 , some_of_the_guns_pointed_at_alice.png )
957555

>If you are of value to them maybe you can use that to save the rest of the crew? Promise cooperation if they release them?
Xotl promises are worthless.

>You hit the wall pretty hard, do you think that you could maybe squeeze some of your mass between some bent panels or something? If you can assemble a second head in the wall paneling, you might be able to fake your death.
Not here, further along maybe?

>Can you form the Basilisk organ without making it obvious? If ever you needed an incapacitating area of effect attack, it’s now.
Yesss? Need unallocated/unstructured mass. Use of attached mass in interfaced xotl corpse? Reallocate existing structures?

>Can you cut a hole in the floor clandestinely using whatever is contacting it, while buying time by talking to him?
Slow, slow. Would he cooperate?

>Does anyone have a list of our items on hand?
Shotgun, goo gun, hand gun, shock glove. Precursor idol, data pad, air horn. Helmet, armour. Tethered dead xotl (eating), uh, pouches?

>Evidence suggests that you are a successful sample of the horrible experiments they have been trying: A hybrid with this plant stuff who has still maintained your mind and reason. You are valuable for that reason. You should uh.. downplay just HOW successful they were.
How much do they already suspect? He asked if she can talk, they know she was cooperating with others.
>>
No. 957556 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158294458784.png - (21.75KB , 800x600 , commit.png )
957556

>->TALK
Cooperate in the hope of an eventual opportunity to escape.

Are you sure?
>>
No. 957557 ID: 1774cd

>>957556
Put brain inside tethered Xotl. Hollow it out. Now that I think about it, talking may be ill-advised if it will draw further attention to you. On the other hand, the attention drawn to you will likely be less fatal as they seek to capture you.
>>
No. 957558 ID: 0fae41

Confirm. Take it slow, restate whatever he's saying to you. Focus on acquiring that unstructured mass.
>>
No. 957559 ID: 1774cd

>>957558
Ooh, split the difference. Repeat his words back to him. Indicates a level of cognition but not as much alarm/interest as comprehending the words would.

Also someone check the past chapters to find out what all those guns are. Could be important.
>>
No. 957560 ID: 0fae41

>>957559
Almost, just give him a little more to work with. >>957279
>>
No. 957561 ID: b1b4f3

Those guns... none of them are flamethrowers. You have a LOT of spare biomass. Remember, getting shot in the head does not kill you! Fighting may be a viable option here. Make a fighting retreat, try to just disable their guns and stun or disarm the foes while you run.

If you can quickly turn the dead xotl into a basilisk organ, do so while not saying anything, then use it as your first move in your fighting retreat. Do not confirm their hypothesis, so that they continue to underestimate you.
>>
No. 957562 ID: 2aa5f0

every gun is currently trained on you, they may have more incendiary grenades, you are flat on your back without a weapon in hand so any tool you try to grab will probably have them all open fire on your ass. So unless you can fire sharpened tentacles out of our body in every direction to try and impale everyone around you I don't think their is much you can do but wait for a better opportunity to escape.

Sorry kid but you're up shit's creek without a paddle right now so the best I can see happening short of you finding some magic bullet type deus ex machina with your new biology I think your best option is to bide your time until the rapids calm and you can make an escape.
>>
No. 957563 ID: 10c408

>>957561
Alice has an energy weapon pointed directly at her head, and one of the xotl's we killed earlier was using fired fletchette rounds.

And we still don't know if the fafnir drone got cooked or not.

Form a new tendril close to the location of the precursor idol and then poke a hole into whatever pouch or pocket you stash it in with the tendril. Then briefly create a brand new eye on the end so you can look at it.

While you do that, tilt your head slightly and gape at the dragonslayer so you look confused as hell. For added effect, say "concussion" in a long drawn out and barely enunciated attempt at speaking.
>>
No. 957571 ID: 1ed92d

>>957117
Committing to assisting him is a bad plan.

Run

Escape is preferable to mind control and imprisonment in a sensory deprivation chamber forever to be made into some kind of anti-human weapon.
>>
No. 957575 ID: 977456

With my social background, I can say with certainty that talking is far too scary to attempt. Abort! Abort!
RUN!
But try to be subtle about it. Feel free to burn through items and do the mimicry thing to buy time. But not too much time, they have more reinforcements than, well, zero.
>>
No. 957580 ID: ca4acd

Talk to buy time while you perform your biomass manipulation.
>>
No. 957668 ID: 094652

>>957557
Yeah this. Have a non-lethal back up plan ready to go. It's not treachery, it's self-defense.
>>
No. 957672 ID: 298857

>>957556
Yes
>>
No. 957760 ID: 86794b

>>957580
I agree; talk as a stalling tactic. If he says anything particularly interesting, we MIGHT change plans. I dunno; I feel like our options narrow the longer we stay with them, though I'll grant that they're already not great atm. Given what they did to us, and the others, I'm really not liking our chances with them.

If it's actually feasible to
>>957557
put a brain in the xotl, that seems like a potentially interesting route, but also kindof implies that you're sacrificing the rest of your body, which would be a major setback, even if it IS survivable. BUT, it MIGHT throw them off the trail.

Repurposing existing flesh into a basilisk organ seems like the best bet, really. How long will it take, though?
>>
No. 957929 ID: 015bf2

After some consideration.

FIGHT, but as cleverly as you can.

Use attached mass in interfaced xotl corpse to create Basilisk organ, employ as soon as able. Talk to buy time, make noises to distract. Carefully raise a hand (not the one attached to xotl) in a human sign of 'hi' or surrender and to get them to pay attention to it as you 'sit still' and pull out the sticky data pad. Try to to hand it over to the dragonslayer and make wiping motions to get it to use one of its hands to hold it or check it out - it'll probably get a goon to do it, but that's at least one less gun immediately aimed at you.

Surreptitiously move internal tendrils to be ready to pick/move and fire stashed guns (those with ammunition, I think the goo gun needs a reload) from unusual angles around your body. Target whatever seems reasonable.

Dragonslayer's by far the greatest threat, so once stun hits jsut go full facehugger and go for its eyes and any other weak points of armor (joints) and use their body as cover against the Fafnir, with any luck it'll fire off a shot and hit BOTH you and it. You are armored and can survive shots from the goon squad, who should be slightly stunned by the basilisk anyway.

Your greatest danger after dragonslayer is goons pulling inferno grenades. Target with prejudice.
>>
No. 958092 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158348079550.png - (29.44KB , 800x500 , TALK.png )
958092

>->TALK
"Yeh." Alice says.
>>
No. 958093 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158348083270.png - (33.17KB , 640x640 , an_alixotl.png )
958093

>Talk to buy time while you perform your biomass manipulation.
Alice extremely slowly moves a hand to her throat. Nothing shoots her yet. "Cannhgh spekgh wehl."

>Use attached mass in interfaced xotl corpse to create Basilisk organ, employ as soon as able.
Alice's attached tail tentacle has been merrily turning the xotl into more Alice since going through the window, paying no heed to her furious thinking or emotional state.

10 biomass consumed. 6 mass gained. Mass total is 85

The xotl's about half eaten, it seems like just enough. It twitches as her tendrils stop trying to approximate the shape of a xotl and speciate and bulge into various extra organs.

Hopefully the xotl think that's normal for xotl that have come into contact with a mutant fleshbeast.

>Put brain inside tethered Xotl.
Alice tries to think the xotl is a very important part of her. Does that work? She doesn't know.
>>
No. 958094 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158348087008.png - (45.47KB , 800x550 , eye_to_eyedol.png )
958094

Alice lifts her hand from her throat - two of the xotl tense - and mimes writing something. "Wrigh?"

>Form a new tendril close to the location of the precursor idol and then poke a hole into whatever pouch or pocket you stash it in with the tendril. Then briefly create a brand new eye on the end so you can look at it.
Easy, the pouch is in amongst her tail-tentacles under her poncho.

Optical channel open. Basal modification available. Specification of instruction subset required.

Select one:

[ ] Megastructure - Improved cohesion and linkage of the worker-body. Template for formation of hardened structural elements. Probably makes Alice stronger and tougher, and allows her to armour herself up.

[ ] Quicksilver - Accelerated dissolution and reformation of structures in worker-body. Improved control of unstructured mass and reallocation to different functions. Probably makes her shape more malleable and able to turn semi-liquid.

[ ] Cancel
>>
No. 958095 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158348096390.png - (26.86KB , 600x750 , the_guy_who_litstens_to_orders_from_that_guy.png )
958095

While Alice is busy with interfaces, the dragonslayer speaks again. "Stand up, face the wall and put your arms out."

The dragonslayer switches to Xotl and turns his head fractionally to address one of its shotgun armed subordinates. "If it does not stand in five seconds, shoot it."
>>
No. 958097 ID: cdabe3

well

shit

any way to determine if they’re using incendiary ammo?
>>
No. 958098 ID: b1b4f3

>>958095
Those are actually very convenient orders. You wanted to stand up anyway, didn't you? You can wait a few seconds before doing that. But don't turn around just yet. Wait until the basilisk organ is finished, then turn around and activate it. Use the stun to run away, while looking for somewhere to melt into so they can't follow.

[x]quicksilver
>>
No. 958102 ID: 10c408

Do as the scary cyborg command says

Then [X]quicksilver.

When that's done, if the basilisk organ is ready don't use it just yet. With your enhanced senses, can you hear where Blake got off to? His location (or lack thereof) changes how we should proceed.
>>
No. 958103 ID: eb4a6c

[X] Cancel

I'm... skeptical Alice can reprogram on the fly without spasming weird and probably losing coherent external sensory data. Seems a bad time to do it.
>>
No. 958105 ID: 2aa5f0

>Optical channel open. Basal modification available. Specification of instruction subset required.
doesn't this take time? I can't remember
>>
No. 958181 ID: 33056f

Quicksilver. Now stand and deliver! (A basilisk shriek. While bolting through their ranks.) Hopefully improved regen is able to keep you running through this withering volume of fire.
>>
No. 958183 ID: 1774cd

>>958103
It's quick but she does spasm a little. Blake was concerned. I'd have her stand up and face the wall before accepting- a bit of compliance will hopefully make them less trigger happy.
>>
No. 958319 ID: 977456

Spasming while standing would be a useful delay and make her appear weak without being overtly obvious that it was due to anything other than being poorly structured to stand up.
>>
No. 958323 ID: b4bdd8

>Megastructure
Seems good for a fight
>Quicksilver
Seems good to escape (or become THE BLOB)
So we'll have to either Doomguy or T-1000 our way out.

Armor may fail to resist flames, so I semi-favor T-1000 to avoid those.
>>
No. 958333 ID: f57349

Megastructure, because Alice is still only one angry syllable away from being shot with a whole lot of bullets, and that powerset seems far more likely to allow endurance of such a contingency.

Visibly comply ASAP with the order to stand, but feign weakness/injury while you do so. Wobbly balance, shivering, strained breath, propping yourself up incrementally rather than in a smooth efficient motion, that sort of thing. Basilisk wasn't exactly a ballerina and Blake's the only one who's seen you fight and lived to tell, so that might be a plausible bluff, and even if it wasn't, this seems like exactly the wrong time to make yourself look threatening, so you might as well lean as far as you can in the opposite direction.
>>
No. 958384 ID: 977456

>>958323
Thermal fluctuations were about the only thing to more than mildly inconvenience t-1000. Our physiology seems weak to incendiaries, so armour formed from it will probably burn away with haste, but insulations is still insulation and will help a lot more against thermal attacks than permeability will. Running seems safer short-term, even if the 'slayer was thick enough to get into close-quarters with a shoggoth just to be extra intimidating, to a shoggoth, but all else equal I would always bet on armour over rapid reconfiguration for thermal resistance.
>>
No. 958409 ID: 6e6f32

Quicksilver. We are constantly thinking of wacky ways to utilize Alice's body. With this she can finally put some of those ideas into motion.
>>
No. 958493 ID: 3743c7

>>977456
I mean we avoid flames. By stealth escape.
>>
No. 958766 ID: 1ed92d

>>958095
Quicksilver

so you can zip out of here.
>>
No. 958806 ID: 015bf2

[x] Cancel, due to fears of it setting off the fight too early.

That said, if the modification does go ahead, start getting up quick-slowly - if there is weirdness going on in your movements or behavior it should be while you're 'trying to follow orders' so it can count as hesitation. If the bastard shoots you for being slow, twitching or whatever, so be it, you can take shots from one shotgun. Just hiss in pain and say 'waigh, waigh, ahm kohmplieghing' and continue to appear to follow orders so that you can squeeze some benefit out of your sudden modification.

If it really goes pearshaped apply Basilisk ASAP.
>>
No. 959052 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435658571.png - (23.07KB , 600x750 , compliance.png )
959052

>Any way to determine if they’re using incendiary ammo?
Getting shot. They haven't used it with shotguns so far.

>With your enhanced senses, can you hear where Blake got off to? His location (or lack thereof) changes how we should proceed.
Not sure. Alice would have to jump back through the broken window and crawl back in that hatch into the tunnel she made.

>Quicksilver. We are constantly thinking of wacky ways to utilize Alice's body. With this she can finally put some of those ideas into motion.
>Seems good to escape (or become THE BLOB)
Quicksilver then.

>Spasming while standing would be a useful delay and make her appear weak without being overtly obvious that it was due to anything other than being poorly structured to stand up.
It's not something she really has to fake, Alice feels plenty shivery. She slowly gets her feet underneath her and turns to face the wall, tugging her xotl puppet with her.

She slowly stands as the shivers intensify, feverish as the idol presses its knowledge into her, largely ignoring her conscious mind. A pressure behind her eyes as her body transfigures, consuming some of itself in the process.

8 mass lost. Mass total is 77.

She needs to raise her arms or that xotl is going to shoot her.
>>
No. 959053 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435661623.png - (26.39KB , 720x650 , fashionable_butt_xotl.png )
959053

>Wait until the basilisk organ is finished, then turn around and activate it. Use the stun to run away, while looking for somewhere to melt into so they can't follow.
Feeling a scream build within her, Alice acts. It starts at registers she didn't know she was capable of, the xotl staggering as she twitches her tail-tentacles up. Her basilisk organ pops out of the xotl armour like a grotesque lure as its broadcast reaches full force, an affront to the senses.

She throws herself into the ring of guns, already running. A gun goes off and misses her by miles. The xotl seem too stunned to react.
>>
No. 959054 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435668005.png - (47.43KB , 900x500 , xotl_responding.png )
959054

The Fafnir is affected worst by the sensory static, slumping and slewing sideways. The dragonslayer is crouched and the other xotl staggering, affected to varying degrees.
>>
No. 959055 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435673104.png - (28.89KB , 800x600 , scream_and_run.png )
959055

This might actually work. Alice just needs to get to the end of the hall. Get around the corner, get that little bit of breathing space to figure out her next steps.

She wiggles her basilisk organ around, trying to use its armour as a bullet catcher.

It's getting loud. Bullets are flying, volume and accuracy slowly improving. They're trying to take out her legs. One glances her calf but the remains of her xotl meal easily offset it.
>>
No. 959056 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435675317.png - (12.67KB , 800x500 , the_part_where_he_kills_you.png )
959056

There's a sound, like thunder.
>>
No. 959057 ID: 7ebbf9
File 158435680410.png - (95.87KB , 550x800 , this_is_that_part.png )
959057

There's a pin-point speck of pain in Alice's back and then corruption blossoms inside her, guts unraveling in horror around the point of impact.

20 mass lost!

Alice's upper body flops backwards, the partial erasure of her spine leaving it connected only by a flap of flesh.

This isn't fair! She's so close! She pushes onward, almost at the end of the hall. She can do this, she just needs a plan, she just needs to get out of sight for just a moment and she'll hide or fake her death or melt away through a vent or walk through the walls or something?!?
>>
No. 959058 ID: 094652

Well for starters, eat the poor hostage since he's got a hole to start grabbing flesh from, but move into serpentine and when you get far away from the mooks spread your body mass so further attacks from the dragonslayer will have less effect.
>>
No. 959059 ID: 2aa5f0

uh... can you pull you mass from your useless lower half into your upper half and grow some spider legs or something out of your back to scamper ahead or would that take too long. Would really help to know what the rate of fire on the cannon is because I'm pretty sure he has you zoned in and if he can fire that thing off like a semi-automatic then I'm pretty sure you're already dead.

Only other thing I can think of is to detach you lower half but have it grow and shift into... well anything attention grabbing really. Like a mass of writhing tentacles to act as a smoke screen for you to crawl away and make it around the bend while the other guys hopefully shoot it instead of you. Think of it like how an octopus will remove one of it's legs and throw it at a predator to confuse and distract them.
>>
No. 959060 ID: 1ed92d

>>959057
Stop panicking. That was a severe injury but you're not even close to dead. The alternative is not life or this pain, the alternative is life spent making humans suffer while suffering yourself or victory here.

Line of sight is crucial. Cartwheel forward. Hopefully that should make aiming more difficult for the greatest threat here. You're not far away from escape now.
>>
No. 959061 ID: 1774cd

>>959057
USE YOUR MELTING!
>>
No. 959064 ID: 015bf2

>The gun that pierces the heavens
Precursers dammit, that ended about as well as I expected when the Basilisk hack wasn't used for an alpha strike. Keep on getting out of the firing line, flopsy!

>Plan
Figure out that new upgrade of yours - flow some skin-bone-ligament-muscle (or whatever) back into stabilizing your spine/body, and start making your whole body a bit more like putty, in case you find a vent or something. With your new upgrade you might be able to squeeze through. And once you're in a vent, you can pretty much carve your way into any other part of the base it passes through (and you'll want to, because odds are they'll try to flush you with a fire grenade or something).

Other than that... hm. How's your technical-know how for basic emergency stuff? Are there - and can you fuck with - any kind of emergency bulkhead/door and then jam / shoot the controls to prevent the goon squad from following? Dragonslayer's gun might fire through it, but it'll definitely take them longer to chase you down.

If you can manage to hide away you might gain a lot by doubling back - they probably won't expect you to and there's the dead guard in the guard room that you can convert to mass. You also may be able to reconnect with Blake.

Can you Basilisk scream again, and when if so? As far as I can see it didn't get completely obliterated.
>>
No. 959065 ID: 10c408

Lunge forward now and dive, you can't take anymore hits like that and if we can turn the corner maybe we can escape still.

(We've got 65 mass in total left now, btw.)
>>
No. 959068 ID: c84ff4

we just got the power to reform quickly, just ya know, a new spine real fast.
>>
No. 959079 ID: b1b4f3

>>959057
Maybe you can use your arm harpoon to stick into a wall, and retract it to pull yourself forward? Or at least your upper body so that your lower body can keep running.
Also yeah the quicksilver upgrade should be enough to reform structurally.

Also that gun is very nice, I wish we could steal it.
>>
No. 959086 ID: 0fae41

Dammit. Just carry your top in your butt tentacles, regen will sort it out later. A grate really would be great right now, the loss of your current equipment is unfortunate but let's be honest, it was some trashbags and a door. Blake's still got his stuff.
Don't you go shortstack on us, dammit!
>>
No. 959088 ID: 977456

Inflate your butt. Explode the xotl, just pry open that armour as much as you can and splash it to the walls and ceiling and try to get a grip before severing it to act as soft cover. Hopefully there is enough armour to stop them just destroying it and it will spread out enough to prevent clear visibility of you.

See if you can overpressurise the xotl to blast you forwards.

A lump of flesh in front of the harpoon gun could hopefully be launched at the nearest corner, where it can hopefully use a better grip and leverage to pull you forward and around fast enough to make up for the recoil pushing you back, and being pulled by your upper half should be easier on your balance than being pushed by your lower.

Try sticking your gun into the hole to act as a splint.

Strip off your heavier armour to reduce weight.

Laugh maniacally! It is amazingly therapeutic in tense situations and you could use all the calm that you can get.
>>
No. 959091 ID: 903810

Does the ceiling have any pipes u can use your arms to "tarzan" your way foreward?
>>
No. 959104 ID: b1b4f3

Also use the goo gun to prevent them from chasing you around the corner. Either shoot it directly at the Xotl forces or cover the ground with it.
>>
No. 959129 ID: 4d24ab

Something to possibly try is shooting a harpoon connected to us around the corner, thus shooting some of our mass forward in/on that harpoon then pulling our body to speed up the escape. At the same time it puts a part of us safe just in case. Maybe we might also be able to move our mass to the other side of the connection too speeding up the escape further.
>>
No. 959138 ID: 33056f

Do you have grenades remaining? Drop them now. Hold onto the pins though, they may be important later.
>>
No. 959193 ID: b24bc3

>fake her death
Why hide? You got shot. Go still. Act dead.
>>
No. 959194 ID: 3c7186

>>959193
Problem: They're likely, this time, to try and finish the job.
>>
No. 959199 ID: 015bf2

>>959138
I don't think we do, but if so, then goddammit, as that would've been the perfect thing to leave behind as we ran originally.

And grenades might be better employed as booby traps for those who follow as they cross corners or open doors. Good means to slow down pursuit and/or attrition enemy forces.
>>
No. 959205 ID: 10c408

>>959138
We could just... throw the one grenade behind ourselves and at the xotl's now that we've put almost the entire hallway between ourselves and them?
>>
No. 959215 ID: fdf07f

>>959194
Either way's a risk. Move, get shot at more. Take a bad hit, it's over. Go limp, maybe they study the "body". Maybe they shoot her to be sure.
The last hit makes me doubt escape as-is, plus these guys seem to love biotech way too much, so I say fake death is the way to go.
>>
No. 959216 ID: 91ee5f

Throw grenades if you have any. That’ll make them stop and run the other way before attempting to chase again. And by then, you’ll be long gone.

If you don’t have any grenades, shoot the goo gun to try and immobilize them or at least create obstacles they need to avoid and slow them down.
>>
No. 959217 ID: 015bf2

>>959216
Goo gun got emptied due to Fear of Fire and hasn't been reloaded to my recollection.
>>
No. 959219 ID: a9af05

>>959057
Whatever you do, do not drop and play dead! The only thing that will do is allow the enemy to shoot at a stationary target to make absolutely sure that you do not get back up again!
>>
No. 959220 ID: 015bf2

>>959219
Agreed.
>>
No. 959231 ID: 977456

I could see them opting for containment rather than destruction, but I really don't see "oh jolly good! The threat has been neutralised! Let us away from here to enjoy tea and cakes, leaving but a single inept guard to sweep up the mess." as a plausible scenario of playing dead. It will almost certainly leave us back at the start of this thread, but with less mass and more alert guards.
>>
No. 959242 ID: f57349

Fall down, pull the pin on a grenade, drop it somewhere behind you (ideally among xotl, but don't slow down to aim), harpoon a wall past the next perpendicular hallway, retract the harpoon tether to keep moving, and Geordi-roll into cover.
>>
No. 959256 ID: 91ee5f

>>959219
Well, yes, that’s just common sense. When being shot at, don’t make it easier to be hit!
>>
No. 960027 ID: b1b4f3

...well, if the goo-gun is out of ammo maybe Alice can produce a goo-like substance of her own? Like, maybe she can modify that gunk she pukes up to make it more slippery or sticky, and spray some behind her.

Also I wonder if Alice can quickly get a bulkhead door closed so they can't chase her.
>>
No. 960300 ID: cadb36
File 158573422840.png - (27.74KB , 800x550 , i_find_this_morbidly_hilarious.png )
960300

>Keep on getting out of the firing line, flopsy!
Duh! Alice pushes her flopping body onwards, leaking slime as she goes.

>Stop panicking. That was a severe injury but you're not even close to dead. The alternative is not life or this pain, the alternative is life spent making humans suffer while suffering yourself or victory here.
Alice is hurt! But she's not down. The xotl are still shooting semi-effectually, taking more little chips and chunks out of her. The dragonslayer's gun might be slow firing, it has failed to disintegrate her further.

5 mass lost. Mass total is 52.

>Dammit. Just carry your top in your butt tentacles, regen will sort it out later.
Alice awkwardly slides some of her tentacles up and around to better support and brace her upper upper.

>Do you have grenades remaining? Drop them now. Hold onto the pins though, they may be important later.
Last one! Fire will slow them down! Fire is terrifying!
>>
No. 960301 ID: cadb36
File 158573428175.png - (38.68KB , 600x800 , which_one_will_she_chose.png )
960301

Alice is at the T-junction, xotl, acrid smoke and fire just behind. Left or right?

That fire isn't going to slow the xotl down for long. She's half expecting the dragonslayer to just jump through the flames. Who would do that?!

>Figure out that new upgrade of yours - flow some skin-bone-ligament-muscle (or whatever) back into stabilizing your spine/body, and start making your whole body a bit more like putty, in case you find a vent or something.
Her body seems to largely be doing that by itself, whipping anchors across to draw things back together. Alice pushes one hand to the wound as it tries to spaghetti back together to help hold it together.

>Can you Basilisk scream again, and when if so? As far as I can see it didn't get completely obliterated.
The xotl seemed to build up some resistance to the scream as it went on. Guess Alice needs to wait a bit.

From what Alice has figured out about this place, she suspects it was constructed out of a bunch of pre-fabbed modules that were shipped out here. Modules are connected by heavy duty bulkhead doors. Rooms off the corridors may have been subdivided and juryrigged for their current functions in at least some of the cases.

Her adventures in digging revealed that the floor's extremely sturdy but there is a half floor underneath that a lot of the utility connections seem to run through.
>>
No. 960302 ID: cadb36
File 158573433239.png - (27.00KB , 800x450 , option_1.png )
960302

How can she use this though!?

To her left there's a vending machine and a door. These unsecured doors regularly dot the hall here. The handful Alice has looked at so far seem to be storage or small offices, anything more important generally is access controlled.

Maybe she could hide in one? There's got to be another underfloor access around too, the prison had one.

>If you can manage to hide away you might gain a lot by doubling back - they probably won't expect you to and there's the dead guard in the guard room that you can convert to mass. You also may be able to reconnect with Blake.
Alice expects the xotl are going to be examining at the prison thoroughly to figure out what happened in there, but maybe there's some value in retracing her steps?

>Only other thing I can think of is to detach you lower half but have it grow and shift into... well anything attention grabbing really.
>Think of it like how an octopus will remove one of it's legs and throw it at a predator to confuse and distract them.
Should she try to fake her death? It'll have to be... convincing though.

>Inflate your butt. Explode the xotl, just pry open that armour as much as you can and splash it to the walls and ceiling and try to get a grip before severing it to act as soft cover. Hopefully there is enough armour to stop them just destroying it and it will spread out enough to prevent clear visibility of you.
Alice is dripping slime everywhere. She needs to do something to dump that.
>>
No. 960303 ID: cadb36
File 158573440376.png - (24.31KB , 800x445 , option_a.png )
960303

On the right there's...

>A grate really would be great right now, the loss of your current equipment is unfortunate but let's be honest, it was some trashbags and a door. Blake's still got his stuff.
>USE YOUR MELTING!
She probably could just ooze her way in there? She'd have to drop basically everything she's carrying though.

>Other than that... hm. How's your technical-know how for basic emergency stuff? Are there - and can you fuck with - any kind of emergency bulkhead/door and then jam / shoot the controls to prevent the goon squad from following?
Maybe she needs to keep running? If she can find an open bulkhead it shouldn't be too hard to jam it shut. Maybe

>Something to possibly try is shooting a harpoon connected to us around the corner, thus shooting some of our mass forward in/on that harpoon then pulling our body to speed up the escape.
>Does the ceiling have any pipes u can use your arms to "tarzan" your way forward?
>uh... can you pull you mass from your useless lower half into your upper half and grow some spider legs or something out of your back to scamper ahead or would that take too long.
There's many exciting things Alice can try out if she keeps running!

What's the plan? How's she going to lose the dragonslayer and friends?
>>
No. 960305 ID: 2aa5f0

remove the puppet on your back and toss it into the closet along with all your stuff, then quickly melt into the grate. The one good thing about having less mass is it should take as long to melt but you got to leave all your crap in the room with the xotl corpse to make it look like you were trying to hide in their. They might not buy that you're dead but it will buy you time to slip away somewhere else.
>>
No. 960319 ID: c84ff4

>>960305
>>960304
too long, we can't count on that fire to be much more than a smoke screen. Ditch solids into fire then into grate.
>>
No. 960336 ID: 2aa5f0

>>960319
point, still hope we can at least stop our bleeding and fling all our gear down the closet hall to throw them off our trail even if only for a moment.
>>
No. 960370 ID: 1ed92d

>>960303
Slime into a vent, escape into another module, then start working on severing the space station's modules from one another. Cause enough chaos that they are forced to divert personnel from "Shooting the changeling" to "welding the station back together because someone keeps detaching segments"
>>
No. 960389 ID: b1b4f3

I don't want to go into the vent, I don't think the artifact will fit through there and the artifact is way too valuable to leave behind.

Dump all your gear that won't fit in the vending machine and place it in front of the vent, then slime your way into the vending machine. It's got a bigger opening, and contains food.
Also make sure to dump your slime in front of the vent to strengthen the false trail.

On the other hand if you can widen the vent's openings enough to get the most valuable pieces of your gear through it, go right ahead.
>>
No. 960396 ID: 5b0071

>>960303
spill slime and solid stuff in EVERY direction but back in the smoke and then wiggle through the ducts. Maybe try to cover the duct itself with parts of the xotl armor so its a little less obvious
>>
No. 960404 ID: 0fae41

>>960389
Interesting plan. One way or the other, our stuff can go one way while we go the other to throw them off our trail.
>>
No. 960407 ID: 10c408

Rip cover off of the grate, discard your xotl body at the entrance and expel your waste slime.

Then go through the door on the opposite side of the room and close it behind you.
>>
No. 960412 ID: a9af05

>>960389
>Hide inside vending machine
That's actually a pretty good idea. Let's do it!
>>
No. 960439 ID: 9f0903

>>960412
it is a good idea, the problem is it would mean leaving behind the precursor idol
>>
No. 960452 ID: b1b4f3

>>960439
The dispensing area looks big enough to fit the idol through, which is why I suggested it.
>>
No. 960455 ID: 977456

Is that an official Vendco Vendmax? They wouldn't dare trying to extract you without an official Venco Vendmax Vendtech! The required Venco Vendmax Vendtech waivers and hazard pay would slow them down even if they have an official Vendco Lawvend!

Throw your gear at the vent then fill then vending machine with delicious Shogfresh: the drink that will change your life!
>>
No. 960513 ID: 91ee5f

>>960389
Do this and hope it works.
>>
No. 960661 ID: 525fc0

That exceeded what I expected. The slayer's firearm must have a slow reload. Still, good job so far.

I vote grate. We're effectively a guerrilla, escape is key. We'll get our stuff later.
>>
No. 960671 ID: f57349

Lay a thick trail of waste slime toward the vent, maybe with some drag-marks, but be careful to keep your feet clean. Discard your bulky, distinctive helmet and whichever gun has the least ammo remaining right outside the vent, squirt remaining slime into the vent, and gouge up the edges a bit with Clever Hands to make it look like the grating was removed and replaced.

After that, double back to hide in the office, pull yourself together and take inventory.
>>
No. 960679 ID: 9f0903

>>960671
Somehow I don't think she can do all that in the time it takes the dragonslayer to jump through the flames.
>>
No. 960878 ID: 5b93d3

Assume the Xotl can monitor the doors in their own station. Hit the door release, lift the sub-floor cover open and then drop it back mostly down, slime the grate, then continue running to the right. That gives the Xotl 3 things they need to check you haven't done as well as following you one of the two ways you could have run.
>>
No. 960951 ID: 10c408

>>960878
What "sub-floor hatch"? The floor took several minutes of cutting to open in a room we can't reach. We've got the corridor, vending machine and another door to look in.
>>
No. 961468 ID: 9f0903

>>960303
Fuck it. Shove the idol into the vending machine, throw the rest of your stuff somewhere else and go through the grate, you should have enough time for that. Hiding in the vending machine itself is an interesting idea, but it would leave you effectively trapped, you need to go away.
>>
No. 961908 ID: cadb36
File 158686856312.png - (26.23KB , 800x550 , farewell_to_fashion.png )
961908

>Dump all your gear that won't fit in the vending machine and place it in front of the vent, then slime your way into the vending machine. It's got a bigger opening, and contains food.
Armour, helmet and clothes; guns and odds and ends, goodbye. Either way, she can't take it with her.

>The artifact is way too valuable to leave behind.
Alice holds on to the Precursor idol, her and Derby's dog tags, and her old hair clip.
>>
No. 961909 ID: cadb36
File 158686861277.png - (22.79KB , 800x500 , farewell_xotlbutt.png )
961909

>Discard your xotl body at the entrance and expel your waste slime.
Right. Alice needs to be sure her pursuers will take the bait. She has to make this look good.

She starts to soften her body, slims down her connecting tendril as much as she can and then pulls.

16 mass lost. Mass total is 36.

GHRK! This was a mistake! A hideous mistake! Alice reaches out to somehow cram the vaguely xotl shaped piece back into herself but shakily stops. Fire and enemies behind. Hurt, hungry! A piece of her has to die so the rest can live.

Alice fumbles for what she felt when the basilisk attacked her as she stares at the thing's milky eyes. Run. Move. Hide.

To her surprise, her detached segment starts clumsily oozing into the grate like an octopus, slime trailing behind it. It's dying still, just not as quickly as her other severed parts have.
>>
No. 961910 ID: cadb36
File 158686870027.png - (24.75KB , 550x800 , cherry_cola_alice.png )
961910

Alice feels lightheaded as she scampers to her chosen hiding place. She concentrates on the reflexes embedded into her by her new Quicksilver skill and squirms her ill-defined body into the vending machine. Up and away and round the cans stacked inside to sit on top... it's almost empty.

Xotl voices come almost immediately after.

Alice is still bad at telling them apart but the dragonslayer is very distinctive. The thing in the vents quickly gets their attention though. A camera drone is sent into the vents.

Shortly afterwards there are sounds of violence and metal tearing. The dragonslayer then tells them to freeze and try to stabilise 'Alice'. More worryingly, the dragonslayer says that Quicksilver is the third ability Alice has demonstrated that she shouldn't have. Maybe she's given away too much...

Another xotl says something about suspecting sabotage, that he should have known it was suspicious Dr Sisfi.. srisis... saxifas... Dr X's new trial was so quickly marked for incineration. The dragonslayer tells him to shut up.
>>
No. 961911 ID: cadb36
File 158686874293.png - (19.41KB , 800x550 , hidden_alice.png )
961911

Alice sits in the dark as she listens to the xotl prepare to move the remains of her xotl-butt into containment and bag and tag the "artifacts" she's left behind.

She'd better wait here for a while. It's safe here.

Is there anything she should do or try while she's waiting?
>>
No. 961912 ID: 0fae41

Just you and the cans in here. Rest, and recover precious biomass. Maybe you can jump the cleanup crew for a refill when their numbers have dwindled.
>>
No. 961913 ID: 2aa5f0

just stay quiet and listen. Not much else you can do right now and maybe we might catch some more dialogue between them that might give us a better idea on what's going on around here.
>>
No. 961915 ID: 6e6f32

How many cans are in here? Is it enough to grow yourself a new basalisk organ?
If so, put it in your empty eye hole. Humans have 2 eyes in their skull right? This is close enough. For now.

If not, just eat, excrete slime into the empty containers, and wait.
>>
No. 961920 ID: 015bf2

>>961911
Bore a tendril into the cans silently to restock on biomass. Sabotage the machine so that a hungry xotl can't activate it and suddenly get you squelched by internal machinery - or get a suspiciously empty can.

Take a moment to reinforce your humanity. Can you sleep, perchance to dream?
>>
No. 961922 ID: 10c408

Take a moment or two to just... rest. Restock on food and try to meditate. You've taken an absolute beating to both your physical form AND your mental health.

After you drink all of the cans and restore some of your biomass, see if you can do something about your skin color. Red just isn't your color.
>>
No. 961931 ID: b1b4f3

>>961910
>third ability
Quicksilver and Basilisk they just saw. The third... They must know about Clever Hands? How? Just from seeing your custom armor?

Anyway, wait for them to leave, then start eating out of the cans to recover some biomass before moving on. Then make another basilisk organ. Ahh crap, you left your datapad in the pile.
Maybe you can take this time to compose a mental map of what you've explored of the facility?
>>
No. 961934 ID: 5b0071

>>961911
Sit as quietly as you can. do not sit ON the cans. if one of those xotl get thirsty they may use the vending machine. Anything out of the ordinary could make them wrap up the vending machine and lock it in a lab. At best.
>>
No. 961950 ID: 977456

May as well get to know your new forever-home. Find some good places to grip, see if there are any comfortable nooks or crannies, see if this thing has a communications channel to update home base to refill it if something drinks all the cans and replaces the contents with shoggoth infections.
>>
No. 961954 ID: 5b93d3

Make a start on boring through the back of the vending machine into the room behind. Always good to have more than one exit.
>>
No. 961961 ID: 094652

Relieve tension. Incubate in the soda machine until you can rig it as a giant ninja pot.
>>
No. 962008 ID: 1ed92d

>>961911
Think happy thoughts! Calm down and plot a possible escape from Xotl Station.
>>
No. 962026 ID: 214e17

>>961910
>freeze and try to stabilise 'Alice'
Two key takeaways.
1) They seek to take you alive
2) Look out for cryo assaults

If you're able to get biomass quietly, do it, though leave a bit to drop out if some xotl tries to buy.
>>
No. 962033 ID: c84ff4

>>962026
This and just rest. remember humanity.
>>
No. 962043 ID: 6c9030

>>961911
Rest and recover until after they are gone.
Then consume the cans.
>>
No. 962175 ID: 9c48ac

Eat cans, bore into floor. But only if it's quiet.
>>
No. 962186 ID: a9af05

Isn't the room behind the vending machine a canteen? Couldn't we get there by going through the back of the vending machine and through the wall? I only ask because the canteen could have more food for us to eat.
>>
No. 962210 ID: b5e0a0

>>962186

It's also likely full of enemy opposition, and in our weakened state, it'd be almost certainly the end of us.
>>
No. 962302 ID: a9af05

>>962210
>full of enemy opposition
Yeah, that's what I said, it's full of food.

But with how much noise that's going on in the hallway, they probably evacuated and the canteen is empty. Or maybe there's one or two guys hiding in there.
>>
No. 962306 ID: 10c408

>>962302
And there are some bets you just don't take.

We don't know a thing about the canteen, how many potential combatants are inside or what they're armed with. And this isn't accounting for having ditched most of our gear and losing 2/3rds of our total mass just to trick the dragonslayer and his patrol while we hide inside a vending machine.
>>
No. 962310 ID: a9af05

>>962306
We can always carve a tiny hole in the wall to peek through so that we can see what's in there. We don't have to immediately go into the canteen.
>>
No. 962338 ID: 86794b

>>962175
I'm on board with boring into the floor, as long as it's quiet - though, I forget if we decided they do or do not have sensors down there. If anybody decides to check the vending machine, for whatever reason, you're currently out of escape routes. I'm not yet sure if you should leave immediately or not; maybe see what's down there first.

I'm also not sure about eating the cans - you'd AT LEAST have to take them with you, or not leave them to be dispensed, or it becomes a ticking time-clue as to where you went. I slightly favor leaving them entirely alone, and trying to keep the machine perfectly functional when you cut through the bottom.
>>
No. 962715 ID: cadb36
File 158738054275.png - (22.67KB , 800x500 , gotta_relax.png )
962715

>Relieve tension. Incubate in the soda machine until you can rig it as a giant ninja pot.
What.

>How many cans are in here? Is it enough to grow yourself a new basilisk organ?
>If so, put it in your empty eye hole. Humans have 2 eyes in their skull right? This is close enough. For now.
It'd take about a quarter of her current mass. Alice's head isn't that big!

>Maybe we might catch some more dialogue between them that might give us a better idea on what's going on around here.
They're tight lipped. A little grumbling but that's it. Must be helmet guys.

>Take a moment to reinforce your humanity. Can you sleep, perchance to dream?
No-one could sleep in this situation, human or otherwise.

>Quicksilver and Basilisk they just saw. The third... They must know about Clever Hands? How? Just from seeing your custom armor?
The logs in the room Alice found Mason suggested they were interested in manufacturing possibilities. Plus the dragonslayer gave the order to bag up all the stuff she left behind so he definitely found something suspicious about it.

>Eat, excrete slime into the empty containers, and wait.
>I'm also not sure about eating the cans - you'd AT LEAST have to take them with you, or not leave them to be dispensed, or it becomes a ticking time-clue as to where you went.
Ah, better not. At least she'd better take any cans with her when she leaves.

>Two key takeaways.
>1) They seek to take you alive
>2) Look out for cryo assaults
Three: Alice is resistant enough to cold that they haven't been opening with that.

>Bore into floor.
Alice starts on a hole. The underfloor is pretty cluttered, Alice'll need to travel light and quicksilver her way through or be prepared to take circuitous routes if she's going to make a habit of this. It's also more confusing to navigate than the halls.

>The canteen could have more food for us to eat.
It was quite a way back behind another vending machine but it might be worth considering.

>It's also likely full of enemy opposition.
They ordered all non-essential personnel into shelters. While Alice suspects there'd be one at the canteen, the xotl shouldn't be out and about.
>>
No. 962716 ID: cadb36
File 158738060277.png - (18.67KB , 800x500 , ceiling_goo.png )
962716

>You've taken an absolute beating to both your physical form AND your mental health.
Alice's two advantages are the xotl think she's been captured and that she's added a few weird quirks to her new biology thanks to exposure to dubious Precursor technology.

She's otherwise worse off than when she first stepped out of that incinerator.

The xotl know everything she can do, possibly better than she does. They have had the time to experiment. The creatures like her have been kind of stupid, so maybe there's still some wriggle room.

She's also scrawny and extremely hungry. The xotl beat the stuffing out of her. On the other hand, she's always hungry.

Alice found and subsequently lost Blake and Mason. Her best guess about Derby is he was another experiment that got incinerated before her; some of his personal effects were in the trolley she got carted in on. That leaves four more crew who weren't in the prison. Either they've been experimented on, moved, or they're not being kept in this sector. The prison records said five human prisoners, which suggests only one more local.

She needs to think more strategically. There's... six things she could be focusing on.

Equipment: Guns with which to shoot, armour with which to not be shot, and other hardware would be very appreciated right not.
Biomass: The last few engagements have melted significant chunks of Alice's body. She needs to bulk back up. Maybe even hulk out.
Insight: Alice needs to get a grip on what she can actually do now. She could even pick up more tricks if she can find more idols or fleshbeasts to extract them from.
Research: Alice doesn't know enough about what she is, and what her strengths and vulnerabilities are. The xotl have lots of notes on this, she should crib them.
Crew: Alice has to find Blake and Mason but the prison is going to be crawling with xotl so it's going to be hard to retrace their steps. They also could have been recaptured already. She's already fallen for one trap too.
Sabotage: It's clear the xotl are starting to make breakthroughs in their Precursor research. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Unless she manages to be very sneaky, Alice assumes the xotl will discover her again very quickly. What are her top three goals to execute while there's relatively little opposition?
>>
No. 962717 ID: 91ee5f

>>962716
Equipment, Biomass, and Insight
>>
No. 962718 ID: 9caba2

>>962716

Crew, Research, Sabotage

Use your reduced size and fluidity to do some recon to gain an overview so we can formulate a better plan.

Get a bit of a mental map of the place going as you sneak around.
>>
No. 962719 ID: 0fae41

Biomass. Biomass, biomass and biomass are your priorities. Biomass is life. Biomass is fuel for abilities. Biomass is the key to unlocking more abilities. The more xotl converted to biomass, the fewer xotl left to shoot at you.
Other than that, rescuing crew. Using your abilities to help your crew members gives you a purpose, something to anchor your humanity to.
Last would be equipment, since you just lost all of yours. What loadout you need tends to change with how much biomass you have. Right now, the answer is probably... not much! Maybe you could use a full suit of xotl armor as a disguise at your current biomass levels. And a datapad would still be portable enough to carry with you - communication is essential. Did Blake have one on him when he escaped?
If you do manage to restore your biomass reserves, getting your stuff back before it gets locked up would be wise. If you can't find any better armor than drone shells and trashbags, that is.
>>
No. 962721 ID: 1ed92d

>>962716
Biomass, Crew, Research
>>
No. 962722 ID: a9af05

>>962716
You really do need to focus on Biomass and Equipment. Both of those will help you next time you need to fight.

Other than that, finding your Crew would also help.
>>
No. 962725 ID: 2aa5f0

>Insight
>Crew
>Sabotage

research, insight, and sabotage I feel can kinda go together as learning what they know about you would help insight and stealing their notes and deleting the data would be a form of sabotage as well.

Biomass is also important but I don't feel like we should make it a priority seeing how we're going to be gather more mass whenever an opportunity presents itself anyways.
>>
No. 962726 ID: 015bf2

Crew, Insight, Research.
>>
No. 962730 ID: afcf7a

Biomass, Equipment, Insight.

Way i see it, 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.
>>
No. 962748 ID: ba3ee4

Let's see.
>Equipment
Survivability. Armor reduces biomass loss, various firearms + equips add to possible tactics. Also hurts the xotl, they'll have that much less to use. Goes together well with Crew.
>Biomass
Survivability. Obviously.
>Insight
Abilities. Might be a jackpot, might be useless.
>Research
Will give you a better idea of how to use yourself.
>Crew
Survivability. Tactics (as well as item capacity) are limited as a team of 1. Also has a TIME LIMIT, the xotl seem to care little for the life of POWs. (Was Dr X a crew member?)
>Sabotage
Pretty much a prerequisite to escape. However, odds are low that they'll make key breakthroughs by the time you're ready to hit them.

Of course, all of these are valuable, but the top 3 IMO:
Crew, Equipment, Biomass
>>
No. 962750 ID: 9f0903

>>962716
Biomass, Equipment, Research
>>
No. 962756 ID: 10c408

crew, research and equipment.
>>
No. 962758 ID: b5e0a0

>>962716
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.

Insight and Equipment: 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. So long as he maintains an active presence in the area, any of our other objectives will be that much more difficult to achieve.
>>
No. 962771 ID: 10c408

>>962758
He left to go secure 'alice' at an unknown location when he fell for our fake body sceheme. He's not a priority threat.
>>
No. 962779 ID: b1b4f3

>>962716
Equipment is going to wind up being temporary, due to not being able to take it with you when you need to use Quicksilver.
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.
Sabotage can wait until you have a foothold. You can also just... do it while accomplishing the Research objective.

Biomass, Insight, Research.
>>
No. 962782 ID: f133dc

Well ok, immediate suggestion, fuck any indications about not eating the cans, leave maybe one in each slide and consume the rest, and then slowly and quietly dismantle the cans, and then stack them and form them into plates you can place over your center of mass and other vitals. Yout might also be able to make a serrated or barbed cap for you bone crossbow out of one of them, and it'll buy you a few moments to form a plan on getting out. Hell, I'm not sure how much attention this requires, maybe you can drill the hole AND craft this stuff at the same time.

But really, you need to get some biomass back. The only reason weapons is not top priority is because is because you lost a LOT, and really they still might be a better choice since if things go this way you'll keep getting shot and losing mass in the process if we aren't well armed and getting the drop on our targets.

Insight would be nice, and is the only thing we can do that doesn't require us to get in harms way, but maybe in this situation hiding and waiting isn't the best bet. In fact 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. Taking control of the station one xotl at a time seems unlikely when that dragon can so readily stomp Alice.
>>
No. 962787 ID: 7cc58f

>>962779
I'll agree with this.

Biomass, Insight, Research.
>>
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.
>>
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!
>>
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.
>>
No. 964955 ID: e76d5c

>>964908
This looks easy, too easy, is he even pressing those buttons for real?
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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?
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
No. 965115 ID: 094652

Just keep going, they're civilians or non-combatants.
>>
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?
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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".
>>
No. 965414 ID: 0c008e

>>965381
Eh, good point. Let's not waste our chance on a one-off probably low value target.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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!
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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!
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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."
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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.
>>
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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