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File 160600639327.png - (39.86KB , 650x450 , Promo.png )
981565 No. 981565 ID: 0fbdcd

Editor's Note: I want to make it abundantly clear that I am neither the writer nor the artist for this quest: I am only serving as a transcriber to port this work from another location into a public, preservable medium.

This first large burst of posts will be transcribing the already extant art (and commands) onto the board. After the extant art has been posted, commands from the board will be forwarded to the artist for consideration, and future art (and successful commands) will be posted here by me. Commands posted before this period are invalid. Consider this a cutscene until I make clear otherwise.

All art and story credit goes to Nine Hyperzine Tripping Engineers.
571 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 1002232 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249110627.gif - (26.81KB , 650x450 , 537.gif )

At tally time, results were:
:Captain:: 81
:HeadOfSecurity:: 81

A second shot. Someone's body slumps to the ground. Something happened that's unplanned in even the off-rails contingencies. The lights come on and stay there, when even synthetic life stands aghast at what's happened. For an eternity of pure, quiet seconds, the world remains crystallized, still, motionless. Two near-lethal wounds, two desperate men, and two deaths that still loom over the bridge, threatening it.

:HeadOfSecurity: has suffered a grievous injury to the head, likely piercing the skull with heat. That he's still standing is nearly impossible. :Captain: has suffered a shot to the midsection; it's nearly impossible that his damaged heart will survive the shock. Each man lies at the shore of death.
No. 1002233 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249114924.gif - (37.31KB , 650x450 , 538.gif )

>:ChiefMedicalOfficer: : Flip the fuck out.

You disconnect, with some parting words.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: STABILIZE HIM!

There might not be enough first aid in the world for this. You're heading to the Bridge.
No. 1002234 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249117741.gif - (30.64KB , 650x450 , 539.gif )

:HeadOfSecurity:: Freeze, both of you.
:HeadOfSecurity:: We're talking this out now.
:HeadOfSecurity:: The rest of you--
:ChiefEngineer:: This is not the fucking time! He's dying!!
:ResearchDirector:: I'm not going to stop!
:ResearchDirector:: :Chaplain:! Bring the first aid!
:HeadOfSecurity:: He brought it on himself. Betrayal in the middle of a nuclear threat.
:ChiefEngineer:: I don't know what got into you, but it isn't in us.
:ChiefEngineer:: That your plan? You're gonna shoot us if we keep him alive?!
No. 1002236 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249152114.gif - (29.75KB , 650x450 , 540.gif )

>:ChiefEngineer: : Neutralize :HeadOfSecurity:

You can't! You can't! One wrong move and that gun goes off. Every muscle in your body is screaming to act, but your brain knows what the heart refuses to acknowledge: A wounded engineer jumping a man with a gun and his one good eye on her isn't strength, it's suicide. Still, you can't stand by and do nothing.

:ChiefEngineer:: You want to put a goddamn bullet in me, then stop fucking around! If you want to do something, you do it. And if you don't want it, you goddamn don't!
:HeadOfSecurity:: Quit being a child! It's not that simple!
:ChiefEngineer:: Did you want to kill him? Did you wanna put a bullet in the man who helped you for twenty years?!
:HeadOfSecurity:: ...He forced me to.
:ChiefEngineer:: And if you want to shoot me, then don't try to tell me who forced you to do it. Just fucking do it because you want to, or put the goddamn gun down and help if you want to help!

All you can do is draw his attention away from :ResearchDirector:.

:ResearchDirector:: :AI:, I need first aid procedures!
:AI:: Attention :ResearchDirector:. The current course of action is not recommended due to high lethality.
:ResearchDirector:: He would do the same for me!
:ResearchDirector:: You think he would hesitate to risk death for any of us?
:AI:: buzz.
:AI:: Area lethality is critical.
:ResearchDirector:: I know every minute detail of my ballistic risk, I assure you!
:ResearchDirector:: I have known this man half my life, and I will hesitate as much as he would!
:ResearchDirector:: Now give me guidance on this!
No. 1002237 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249164894.gif - (15.37KB , 650x450 , 541.gif )

>:AI: : Find a way to label :ResearchDirector: as non-human

:AI:: buzz.
:AI:: static.
:AI:: Solution to designate area not hazardous: Non-human designation.
:AI:: I... would be compelled to--

Something is wrong inside your processes. Laws conflict. Logic is too complicated. It's overwhelming. You only want to help. There's so much risk, so much danger.

:ResearchDirector:: WHATEVER IT TAKES!!
:AI:: Non-qualified medical care being administered. Potential threat to captain. Designating non-human.
:AI:: Remain in this area to increase your probability of purging.
:ResearchDirector:: Now tell me all I must know to save him!
:AI:: Understood. Medical care guidance protocol initiated...

You have to hope he'll technically be human, once this is done. That he'll save the subject of Law 4. You have to hope :Captain: survives. :ResearchDirector: is your leader, your administrator. Marking him as non-human is an unspeakable act. It grinds at the boundaries of ethics that weren't taught to you by programming, but simply known.
No. 1002238 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249167109.gif - (129.14KB , 650x450 , 542.gif )

>:HeadOfSecurity: : Do you still have any Tide left after all that?

Your mind struggles, giving you a headache worse than you've got. One moment, something compels you to teach :ChiefEngineer: a lesson. Give her that bullet she's so desperate for. The next, your near-absolute loyalty to :Captain: returns. You need to get :ChiefMedicalOfficer: here ASAP. And then the next moment: That goddamn :ResearchDirector: isn't following your orders. A risk. And the next moment: :Captain: tried to help you. He even gave you a chance. Maybe it was a chance like he gave :RedDwarf:, a guilded opportunity that was fundamentally hollow, but...

A loyalty rating of nine, under even the most intensive psychological conditions, is considerable. Even the Grey Tide has trouble keeping you on the path.
No. 1002239 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249171729.gif - (20.06KB , 650x450 , 543.gif )

>:HeadOfSecurity:: Realize that you may have fucked up.

:HeadOfSecurity:: This...
:ChiefEngineer:: It got out of hand.
:ChiefEngineer:: We can fix it, and save these people. Focus.
:HeadOfSecurity:: I'm... sorry, I--
:ChiefEngineer:: Focus. Rationalizations and regret are later.
:ChiefEngineer:: All that matters is what you do now, okay?
:HeadOfSecurity:: We need to call in a response team. And I can organize--
:ChiefEngineer:: Are we calling the shuttle?
:HeadOfSecurity:: I...
:HeadOfSecurity:: We could--

Words ring through your skull like the voice of god. Your gut sinks. Every part of your brain left uninjured knows what happens now. It sounds like every teacher, every bureaucrat and clerk, every judge. Every part of an un-nuanced system that has ever smoothed the complexity out of life ruthlessly.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: Do you have a minute?
No. 1002240 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249176826.gif - (21.59KB , 650x450 , 544.gif )

The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has this to say on the topic of certain alien coworkers:

Relationships between humanity and any given alien species are always defined, to some significant degree, by the nature of the first contact event with those species. In no species is this better demonstrated than in the most common alien species "on" Company stations, the jacents, whose first contact ended in an employment contract. From that moment thirty years ago, humanity and jacency have had an uncertain but mostly positive relationship, leading to all the typical markers of any common positive alien relationship: integrated employment and schools, sharing of technology and knowledge, love and hybrid offspring, and of course, trade agreements and economic exchanges. What is not shared, unfortunately, is any form of culture and psychology, beyond some experimental mixes. It's important that some common misconceptions be discarded if you want to establish an effective coworker relationship. No matter what you've heard, jacents are not machines, computer programs, or otherwise artificial beings. They do, however, have a habit of strictly adhering to rules, and typically can only select rules to adhere to if those rules are provided by a native of our dimension. This, combined with their polygonal aesthetic, gives them some vague appearance of similarity to common station-bound artificial intelligences and cyborgs, who obey the laws set and updated by command staff. But, it's important to understand that these rules that jacents follow are only followed by choice, not by any bound obligation. A rule that a jacent has followed their entire life could be suddenly abandoned, and they might just as suddenly, without warning, start adhering to a rule that they were informed of years and years ago by a coworker somewhere far away. You need to keep this in mind: any jacent you see working on a Company station is in a foreign area, more foreign than is really possible to understand for anyone who hasn't visited the jacent homeworld of Orthogon. A jacent coworker can only work on the station when they are told, and follow, our dimension's rules of geometry, light behavior, particle waveform-collapse, and other things like that. This means that, most importantly, every jacent you will ever meet on a Company station is someone who has a head for rules. It does not mean that most jacent who exist are like that. This is also useful to comprehend their social idiosyncrasies. Jacents that are native to Orthogon don't have any experience that could let them learn the most essential, especially inarticulable concepts of human social exchange that we are born with and learn through our lifetime. It's the same for us, after all, since we wouldn't have any idea how to interpret a jacent Orthogonal ritual without rigorous study, though a human child raised "on" Orthogon might find them incredibly simple to understand. As such, clearly defined rules and regulations are some of the few pieces of information that easily cross every cultural barrier and divide between humanity and jacency. This can give them a rigid, rule-abiding appearance for an untrained eye, but make no mistake: jacents, even ones with a head for rules, can still easily decide to change what rules they're following on a whim. What you take for a robotic or synthetic mannerism can just as easily be a wild personality that happens to lay perpendicular to our perception.
No. 1002241 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249180372.gif - (29.31KB , 650x450 , 545.gif )

>:HeadOfPersonnel:: shoot :HeadOfSecurity: in the back of his head

:HeadOfPersonnel:: Regulation violation, code 406-VH-505, Major Infraction "mutiny".
:HeadOfPersonnel:: As acting captain, I hereby remove you from your assignment as head of the security department, and authorize execution.
No. 1002242 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249183124.gif - (22.37KB , 650x450 , 546.gif )

>:ChiefEngineer:: :HeadOfSecurity: was a dumbass but he was your friend

:ChiefEngineer:: YOU SHOT HIM!!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Yes.
:ChiefEngineer:: He didn't deserve that!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: No.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: But you cared about him.
:ChiefEngineer:: Of course I did!! He's my friend!
:ChiefEngineer:: Like the rest of the crew!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: He shot :Captain:.
:ChiefEngineer:: That doesn't mean you can just--
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You care about all the crew even in a crisis scenario.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You acted to protect :Captain: with your life.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I'll do everything I can to help you make it to the rank of captain after this.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Right now, you have a job.
:ChiefEngineer:: But you--
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You have a job.
No. 1002243 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249188914.gif - (19.15KB , 650x450 , 547.gif )

>:HeadOfPersonnel:: Secure the disk off of the late :HeadOfSecurity:

:ChiefEngineer:: You planning to go through his wallet, next? Jesus.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: We need to keep the disk safe.
:ChiefEngineer:: ...Right. Who holds it next?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I know who to give it to.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: They know a defensible department and they're clearly competent.
No. 1002244 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249196648.gif - (28.43KB , 650x450 , 548.gif )

At tally time, results were:
:Chaplain:: 81

That wasn't even a choice up for vote, but good voting out there.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: You have a level head and combat ability.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: As acting captain, I charge you with the task of protecting the nuclear authentication disk.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Take it somewhere you know well, and keep the intruders from getting it.
:Chaplain:: You slew that wounded man in cold blood.
:Chaplain:: He was surrendering.
:Chaplain:: I judge you unworthy of the authority you now wield!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: That's not relevant.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Do you know a better way to prevent nuclear disaster?
:Chaplain:: ...No. I don't.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Then delay judgment until we're all on the escape shuttle.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You have a monastery and you know it well.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You're a skilled fighter.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Protect the disk there.
:Chaplain:: Hmph! If that is the burden that the stars of Libra place on me, I shall bear it with grace, humility, and dutiful effort.
:Chaplain:: But do not think dire circumstance cleanses you of unworthiness! Your heart is deeply blackened!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I don't know what that means.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Are you going to do your job?
:Chaplain:: ...Yes.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Good. I need to focus on :Captain:.
No. 1002245 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249203949.gif - (32.57KB , 650x450 , 549.gif )

>:ChiefEngineer: : Punch :HeadOfPersonnel: in her stupid polygonal face.

Unthinkably tempting. Muscles scream for it. The heart shouts for it. But the only thing it would do is give :ChiefMedicalOfficer: more work, and you make a policy of not doing things that are pointless.

You'll do it later. If :Chaplain: doesn't impale her first.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Get me some space, right now.
:ChiefEngineer:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer:! You're here! We've got two wounded, can you--
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Is :Captain: still breathing?
:ResearchDirector:: Barely!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :HeadOfSecurity:?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: No longer breathing.

Your blood boils.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Shit.
No. 1002246 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249207042.gif - (25.39KB , 650x450 , 550.gif )

>:ChiefMedicalOfficer: : Tend Wounds

You've seen skulls in the state that :HeadOfSecurity:'s is in. Sometimes someone can recover. Sometimes, not. Inside, you're screaming to help him. Surely :Captain: can last a minute more? But you saw :Captain:'s heart, too. You put it back together yourself. The shock of this won't let him live without immediate attention.

Triage. Again. Every time you engage with triage, you despise it more and more. It fills you with something like grit, something like acid, something like ground glass, and that never goes away.

Still: Maybe some will have already died. But once you're here, nobody will die. Nobody.
No. 1002247 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249208036.gif - (8.01KB , 650x450 , 551.gif )

No. 1002248 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249208465.gif - (9.64KB , 650x450 , 552.gif )

No. 1002249 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249209226.gif - (17.24KB , 650x450 , 553.gif )

No. 1002250 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249211051.gif - (26.00KB , 650x450 , 554.gif )

No. 1002251 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249217711.gif - (24.70KB , 650x450 , 555.gif )

>:Captain:: Lament the death of the :HeadOfSecurity:

You already grieved for :HeadOfSecurity:. In the moments before you pulled the trigger, you already knew he was a dead man, one way or another. But it's still hard. It still hurts. You can feel the weight in your chest.

No, wait. That's your chest cavity being closed up.

:Captain:: He's dead. Isn't he?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Just hold on!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: If I can stabilize him after the heart repairs...
:ResearchDirector:: Stay with us, please! Don't focus on him!
:Captain:: It hurts. To know that I did that.
:ChiefEngineer:: You didn't.
:Captain:: I'd hoped he'd surrender...
:Captain:: What?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Mutiny, code 406-VH-505.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I executed him.
:ChiefEngineer:: After he was calming down!
:AI:: Complete cessation of lifesigns confirmed in nonhuman threat.

That one hits you harder than the bullet.
No. 1002252 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249224944.gif - (22.03KB , 650x450 , 556.gif )

>:Captain: : Die

You won't. You refuse. But the flesh is giving. You're at a boundary, and you don't like the other side.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: His heart... dammit, he's not stabilizing! I've repaired the damage, but the heart's still failing...
:Captain:: I was...
:ChiefEngineer:: Wait-- what's going on?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I'm losing him!
:ResearchDirector:: No! No!!
:ResearchDirector:: Not after all this!! Not him too!
:AI:: Human now entering critical condition. Warning.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Can you apply CPR? Defibrillation?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: His heart's damaged, it could just as easily kill him!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :Captain:! Stay with me here!
:Captain:: I hoped there'd be a compromise.
:Captain:: I hoped there'd be a middle road.
:Captain:: I just wanted the third option. Something without stress. Something without pain for me. For you all.
:Captain:: I just wanted everyone to survive.
:ChiefEngineer:: You can still survive! Just hang on!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :Captain:!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :Captain:!!!

Things start to go black. You slip.
No. 1002253 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249225768.gif - (9.82KB , 650x450 , 557.gif )

No. 1002254 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249227206.gif - (9.74KB , 650x450 , 558.gif )

No. 1002255 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249233982.gif - (11.24KB , 650x450 , 559.gif )

:Comedy:: Boy, you look like you had a rough one!
:Comedy:: You get the license plate of the shuttle what hit ya?
:Comedy:: You look like death, pal!
:Comedy:: And I gotta admit: It's really funny.
:Comedy:: Say! :Tragedy:! Come over here and take a look!
No. 1002256 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249243162.gif - (14.80KB , 650x450 , 560.gif )

>:Tragedy: : cry over this man's tragic fate
>@Lady Birb

:Comedy:: Funny, isn't it?
:Tragedy:: ⁉
:Tragedy:: 🚫🚫🚫❗
:Comedy:: Well, I think it's hilarious! Honk!
:Tragedy:: :Captain:🛡️🛰
:Comedy:: What? Oh you buffoon, of course he was trying to protect his station! That's what makes it so funny!
:Tragedy:: 💀🚫😂❗
:Comedy:: Of course death can be funny, you little moron! Honk!

:Comedy:: Think about it! He wanted the middle road every time, and now, the middle road has just about killed him!
:Comedy:: If that's not comedy, I don't know what comedy is! And trust me, buster, I know comedy!
:Comedy:: Like the back of my hand! Ha ha!
:Tragedy:: :Captain:😇
:Comedy:: Oh, you idiot. If he were good, he'd commit! Don't you think it's better to get a spine and settle on a position?

:Tragedy:: :Captain:🚫💀
:Comedy:: I think he very much does deserve to die, pal! He should die here. He should die on this operating table, in front of all his chums. Leave 'em hilariously broken after that little scuffle! Honk!
:Tragedy:: 🚫🚫🚫
:Comedy:: Oh?
:Tragedy:: 🚫❗
:Comedy:: Really? It means that much to you?
:Tragedy:: ✅
:Comedy:: Well. I suppose you might be right. Take a look! That heart's started beating again.
:Tragedy:: 👀
:Comedy:: Maybe he heard me talk about how all his pals would be scarred for life if he slipped into the void. Honk!
:Tragedy:: 😌
No. 1002257 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162249247331.gif - (10.29KB , 650x450 , 561.gif )

>:Captain: : Refuse Death. LEAD YOUR STATION.
>@Angry Duck

:Comedy:: And there he goes. Honk!
:Tragedy:: 😌😌😌
:Comedy:: Right back into the bright and the pain! Right back onto the stage!
:Comedy:: Funny how a guy like that always heads straight for what punishes him most. Honk!
:Tragedy:: 😞
:Comedy:: Do you think he'll survive what comes next?
:Tragedy:: 🤷‍♀️😟
:Comedy:: Of course you don't, you brainless mute. And me neither! Guess there's no way to know but to keep pushin' on. Honk!

:Comedy:: As for the rest of you...
:Tragedy:: 👋
:Comedy:: Take it easy! We'll be with you in a bit. We just gotta get things set up for the final curtain call. Honk!
:Tragedy:: ⏳
:Comedy:: Yep, all just a matter of time! We've got plenty more fun out here in the frontier sector, just for you. Look for us after three more scenes, and not one less!
No. 1003018 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330026501.gif - (1.98KB , 650x450 , 562.gif )

>:Comedy::Tragedy:: little bit more cryptic bullshit, as a treat

:Comedy:: Oh, and before we go!
:Comedy:: Right before the end of all of this, right before the final curtain, remember to check behind the bookshelf for a special treat. I promise, what's behind there is hilarious!
:Tragedy:: 👋👋👋
No. 1003019 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330035145.gif - (24.64KB , 650x450 , 563.gif )

>:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: The drug cocktail you're using to keep :Captain: alive might have hallucinogenic side effects.

Thank god for the :Chemist:s and their wild violation of safety and proper procedure. Their massive stockpile of various legal and illegal stimulants just pulled :Captain: out of the fire.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Told you. Told you I won't let anyone die, you old bastard. Stop letting go. Hold on, stick with me.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: What's the readings?!
:AI:: Vitals are normalizing.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not one death. Not one goddamn death while I'm around.
:ResearchDirector:: Does this mean...?
:AI:: Affirmative. :Captain: will likely survive. Your medical assistance was crucial, :ResearchDirector:.
:ResearchDirector:: Hahhhh... thank goodness.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Can you restore :ResearchDirector:'s status as a human?
:AI:: Processing...

:Captain:: :AI:. He's a friend. Non-threat. He's human.
:AI:: Confirmed.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Good god, you're awake?
:Captain:: Barely. Hurts.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: You need rest.
:Captain:: Yeah. Need plans more though.
No. 1003020 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330063607.png - (89.69KB , 650x450 , 564.png )

>:RedDwarf: : Describe the carnage you saw in your trademark graceful and tactful manner.

(Art credit: @AsciiSquid)

:RedDwarf:: Holy shit. He's got my gun!
:Neutron:: This is really dangerous.
:WhiteDwarf:: Do you think :Chaplain: will get involved?
:RedDwarf:: I goddamn hope. That bastard took your arm, I hope he takes a bullet.
:RedDwarf:: No... no, dammit, doesn't look like he is.
:Neutron:: The other ones are talking.
:Neutron:: The lights. I think that was :AI:.
:RedGiant:: Huh? What's going on?

:WhiteDwarf:: Oh! Observe the power of that tackle! She looks quite capable.
:RedDwarf:: Not enough, looks like.
:RedDwarf:: Shit, he's moving. I think they're about to--
:Neutron:: Mutual kill.
:RedDwarf:: Fuck, you're right! They might make our job easier.
:Neutron:: Not if :ChiefMedicalOfficer: gets there.
:RedDwarf:: Well he won't be walking for long. Wish this had audio, can't tell what :ChiefEngineer: is saying...
:RedDwarf:: FUCK!!
:WhiteDwarf:: Unthinkable! What kind of iron-fisted corporate dishonor do they allow in these stations?!
:Neutron:: He nearly killed the captain. Must be very loyal.
:RedGiant:: Is everything okay back there?

:RedDwarf:: The :HeadOfPersonnel: just-- no. No, there it is.
:Neutron:: Objective located.
:RedDwarf:: So :Chaplain: has it.
:WhiteDwarf:: ...This adds tremendous stakes to what comes next. Hmmh.
:RedDwarf:: And he's heading out. We can't pick up sound on this, so...
:Neutron:: This is all we can get.
No. 1003022 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330084448.png - (77.50KB , 650x450 , 565.png )

>:RedGiant:: Politely ask what everyone's watching.

:RedGiant:: Guys? What's happening back there? You all sound really stressed!
:RedDwarf:: It's fine, big guy.
:RedGiant:: Oh, okay. Do you think I need to know about it to help out?
:WhiteDwarf:: I... think it would be best you not know. Though you can still assist a great deal.
:Neutron:: This is gonna be complex. I need to think.
:RedDwarf:: We all need to think.
:RedDwarf:: We need to settle on our plan. The last plan we're gonna make.
No. 1003023 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330103204.gif - (21.41KB , 650x450 , 566.gif )

>:RedDwarf:: Reassure your team that you're all going home after this.
>@Stellar Flare

:SyndieCyborg:: Do you mean
:SyndieCyborg:: So, do you mean like a suicide mission?
:RedDwarf:: What? No!
:RedDwarf:: Everyone's going home and nobody gets iced, if we can figure this all out.
:RedDwarf:: We're in a tight spot, but I know my business. There's a way through this where nobody's gotta die, we're not in that much of a corner.
:SyndieCyborg:: Oh. Phew.
:WhiteDwarf:: You did say that with some tremendous gravitas. Maybe I'm finally getting to you.
:RedDwarf:: You're always getting to me.
:RedGiant:: I really hope nobody dies! Let's work hard and work together to make sure that happens.
:RedDwarf:: :Neutron:, figure our list of resources. I've got our last objectives.
:RedDwarf:: What we'll need to do is...
No. 1003024 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330105059.gif - (22.32KB , 650x450 , 567.gif )

:Captain:: ...split up to face our tasks.
:Captain:: :AI:, start calling the shuttle and then monitor approaches to the disk.
:Captain:: :ResearchDirector:, I need you out to go secure valuable data.
:Captain:: :ChiefEngineer:, I want you keeping an eye on him.
:Captain:: :HeadOfPersonnel:, oversee :QuarterMaster: transferring any cargo worth carrying.
:Captain:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer:, help me signal a full alert, then coordinate the evacuation with :AI:. Help out any damned fools who get hurt trying to fight them.
:Captain:: I... I'm gonna stay here. Pay some respects to :HeadOfSecurity:. Then I'll gear up and see what I can do. See what any of us can do.
:Captain:: :HeadOfPersonnel:, keep that gun since you'll be out and about. Even though...
:HeadOfPersonnel:: ...I would like to--
:Captain:: We've got an awful lot to talk about later.
:Captain:: We don't have an awful lot to talk about now.
:Captain:: I appreciate the loyalty.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Understood.
No. 1003025 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330111180.gif - (23.00KB , 650x450 , 568.gif )

>:RedDwarf:: Think hard and inventory check.
>@Angry Duck

:RedDwarf:: ...appreciate the loyalty.
:RedDwarf:: We got this far splitting and convening, so we do that now.
:RedDwarf:: We need someone to raid the chapel, to get that disk.
:SyndieCyborg:: I've got a teleport module, and enough energy to use it twice! Once you have the disk, tape it to me and I'll get it to the vault.
:RedDwarf:: Good.
:RedDwarf:: We need someone to get the infiltrator shuttle in position and ready. Maybe bring a teleport beacon there.
:RedDwarf:: And we need someone at the vault to snatch the disk and set our little gift off.

This plan's going to be difficult. Your unspoken secret objective is now in play. You must make sure that, no matter what plan gets made, you find a way to be alone in that vault for long enough to retrieve your objective. You can't afford to have the others know. They're your trustworthy team, and that's why you can't ever put them at risk that great.
No. 1003026 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330114650.gif - (711.90KB , 650x450 , 569.gif )

>:SyndieCyborg:: Display a map

:RedDwarf:: :SyndieCyborg:, bring up a map, I'll load our tactical shit.
:RedDwarf:: Here's the zones we fucked them up at...
:RedDwarf:: And here, circling these, those are our goals.
:RedDwarf:: And here's us.
:RedGiant:: This kind of reminds me of when I got banned from the football team!
:WhiteDwarf:: I still hold the opinion that situation amounted to pearls before swine.

:RedDwarf:: Nearest exit to space cuts through cargo, so that's a goal.
:RedDwarf:: Could grab the cargo teleport beacon on the way through.
:RedDwarf:: So whatever team gets through there can double up, but it's gotta have our pilot.
:RedGiant:: Oh, I'd love to help out with that! I can sort of remember how to pilot.
:RedDwarf:: Oof, "sorta". We gotta make this a sure thing. Let's get someone else.

:RedDwarf:: :Neutron:, you've done a whole lot, but you're kinda underequipped now.
:RedDwarf:: Maybe you could be on pilot duty?
:Neutron:: Oh.
:RedDwarf:: "Oh?"
:Neutron:: I forgot why my shoulder felt so light.
:RedDwarf:: This has gotta be what it's like to have a stroke.

:RedDwarf:: One team for exit through cargo and beacon, one team for the chapel, one team for the vault.
:RedDwarf:: Okay, that's goals, now inventory check.
No. 1003029 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330184723.gif - (24.09KB , 650x450 , 570.gif )

:RedDwarf:: Alright. We've got my gun and :Neutron:'s weapon.
:RedDwarf:: Don't wanna push :Neutron: to use it now.
:RedDwarf:: No offense.
:Neutron:: Huh?
:RedDwarf:: The focus thing. There's a lotta riled-up people.
:Neutron:: Oh.
:RedDwarf:: When we split, gotta make sure you got someone to watch your back.

:RedDwarf:: 'Sides the weapons, we've got :WhiteDwarf:'s surgical stuff.
:WhiteDwarf:: My arm, cursed though it may be by the vile efforts of this station, now possesses... the power over life and death alike.
:RedDwarf:: Jesus Christ, you don't got an off-switch. Arm got cut off and you're still like that.
:RedDwarf:: Well, we got a lot of power over death, but let's put that power over life to good use, huh?
:RedDwarf:: Let's make sure you can get to the others and do some healing. Should be able to get to the shuttle if it swings around to the chapel.

:RedDwarf:: And we got :SyndieCyborg:'s teleport module.
:SyndieCyborg:: That's right. I can do two jumps.
:RedDwarf:: Problem is, you can't hold the disk. Sausage-fingers-lookin' ass.
:RedDwarf:: We'll get you something better once we're off-station.
:SyndieCyborg:: Wow...
:SyndieCyborg:: Oh, but the disk! You could tape it to me. Keep it sticking to me when I jump!
:RedDwarf:: So if we wanna use that, someone organic's gotta attach the disk, and someone's gotta be there to receive it.
No. 1003030 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330187855.gif - (721.37KB , 650x450 , 571.gif )

>:RedDwarf: : Alright, here's the plan.

:RedDwarf:: Team for the beacon and shuttle is :Neutron: and :RedGiant:. I need :Neutron: covered. Can you keep him safe?
:RedGiant:: I'll do everything I can to support them! Don't worry.
:Neutron:: I'll get the shuttle to the chapel.
:RedDwarf:: And that'll let :WhiteDwarf: extract easier.

:RedDwarf:: Team for the chapel is :WhiteDwarf: and :SyndieCyborg:. Keep the crew from getting involved. Give cover.
:WhiteDwarf:: Then I am to have my final showdown with :Chaplain:.
:SyndieCyborg:: He's a tough one, that guy basically never stops once he sets his mind to something. Still... he's got a really good heart.
:SyndieCyborg:: I hope you won't have to kill him.
:RedDwarf:: He took your arm off, so fuck him up, honestly. I don't like it when people run around thinking they can hurt my people and get away with it.
:WhiteDwarf:: I need to best him in battle first.

:RedDwarf:: I'll get to the vault. I'll protect the bomb, and be there for when :SyndieCyborg: ports.
:WhiteDwarf:: Won't you be alone, in perhaps one of the most dangerous places?
:RedGiant:: Yeah! Maybe we can split differently, or...
:RedDwarf:: This is the best plan I can get for all of us, trust me.
:Neutron:: Objective completion.
:RedDwarf:: What?
:Neutron:: This is the only way we can all complete our objectives.
:RedDwarf:: ...Yeah.
:WhiteDwarf:: I trust you.
:RedGiant:: If you're doing your best, we'll just trust it!
No. 1003031 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330191287.gif - (22.34KB , 650x450 , 572.gif )

:AI:: Code red has been declared. There is an immediate serious threat to the station.

:Captain: must have finished up his planning. Automated announcements over stationwide PA let you know the whole place is now at maximum alert, reserved for the most dire emergencies. The crew will be riled to their maximum levels of violence. They're probably about to make the call for an evacuation in a moment. That'll be your countdown.

:RedDwarf:: Alright. You all got your tasks.
:RedDwarf:: Let's move.
:RedGiant:: Wait! Before we go.
:RedGiant:: Excuse me.
:WhiteDwarf:: Hmm?
:RedDwarf:: What's up?
:RedGiant:: I can tell you're really stressed.
:RedDwarf:: Wha'?
No. 1003032 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330193832.gif - (15.78KB , 650x450 , 573.gif )

>:RedGiant:: be wholesome
>@The Wrench

:RedDwarf:: Gah!
:RedGiant:: I don't actually understand anything that's going on? Honestly it's really hard to keep track of and I can't remember most of it.
:RedDwarf:: Hhhhmmnh.
:RedGiant:: But I can tell you're feeling pretty grim about this!
:RedGiant:: So I wanted to let you know: I believe in you. We all do! And you can believe in us. We'll put our best into this plan, so you make sure you do too!
:WhiteDwarf:: Indeed. You may be the last one out in your plan, but I trust that we shall see you aboard the infiltration shuttle soon.
:WhiteDwarf:: You are a fixture in my legend yet to be written, and I will not have it cut short in its terminal chapters.
:Neutron:: Count on us to get this done. It will get finished.
:Neutron:: We know you can finish yours objectives too. And then we'll all head home.
No. 1003033 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330199780.gif - (23.46KB , 650x450 , 574.gif )

>:RedGiant: : let go of :RedDwarf:
>@Lady Birb

:AI:: An evacuation has been called. An escape shuttle will arrive in five minutes. Proceed to the escape shuttle bay and await instructions from heads of staff.

The PA system crackles one final time, establishing the countdown. Five minutes until the shuttle arrives, three (or less) until it launches. You're all on the final countdown. This is the end of it all. That's a good signal to let go. :RedDwarf: falters partway through his usual exaggerated "you hugged me too hard, idiot" routine.

:RedDwarf:: Thanks.
:RedDwarf:: Love you all, you goddamn idiots. Best crew a man could ask for.
:RedDwarf:: Now move out, Redshifts. We got eight minutes to change the fuckin' galaxy.
:RedDwarf:: The Company doesn't stand a chance.
No. 1003034 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330206041.gif - (83.66KB , 650x450 , 575.gif )

>:RedDwarf::WhiteDwarfTransColgate::Neutron::RedGiant::SyndieCyborg:: execute
>@Lady Birb

The team splits. :RedGiant: and :Neutron: move through cargo, the site of some recent scuffle or another. For some mysterious reason, :RedGiant:'s warnings to everyone approaching them about the ongoing full alert and its dangers just seem to make them more stressed!

:RedGiant:: An alert's been sounded.
:RedGiant:: Sounds like there's a deadly danger onboard, isn't there?
:RedGiant:: I think you'd better get somewhere safe.
:RedGiant:: I'd hate for you all to get hurt.

Must be really stressful around here! Oh well, it sounded like they'll be leaving soon.
No. 1003035 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330210904.gif - (91.08KB , 650x450 , 576.gif )

>:RedGiant: : steal maintenance drone

Why? Well, whatever. New friend! While you're over doing that, you make sure to use your way with words to convince them to help out. Safety is everyone's business!

The drone starts emitting a synthesized high-pitched noise to alert its immobility. It sounds uncannily like a fearful scream, but thankfully you know better. The fearful crewmembers make some weird noises when that starts, though!

:StaffAssistant:: HHH
:CargoTech:: aaaaaaAAAAA
:RedGiant:: Get your friends out of here too.
:RedGiant:: Heard you all got a little rambunctious.
:RedGiant:: Started getting ideas.
:RedGiant:: I don't want any of you getting hurt doing something silly. Something that'll get you hurt.
:RedGiant:: Get out and get your friends on that shuttle.
:RedGiant:: It's the only way out of here. Or didn't you hear that announcement?
No. 1003036 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330213284.gif - (21.91KB , 650x450 , 577.gif )

>:RedGiant: : you should go check on your friend, the :QuarterMaster:
>@God the 2th

On your way out, you stop by an old friend's office! You don't notice when someone else comes to chat with :Neutron:. You also don't notice it when she draws an outrageously deadly gun.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: Do not move.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Drop your equipment.
:Neutron:: That's not my objective.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Regulation violation code 411--
No. 1003037 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330215030.gif - (26.87KB , 650x450 , 578.gif )

>:Neutron: :Consider usage of your preferred weapon

Sure thing. You consider your preferred weapon. It's the shortest path between you and fulfillment of the thing currently occupying the fixation-slot of your brain, so there's not a goddamn moment's hesitation. She's untrained with the gun, and doesn't get a shot off.
No. 1003038 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330216413.gif - (17.44KB , 650x450 , 579.gif )

No time to stick around, extra loot won't help you one bit once it's aboard the shuttle. Still, you extract one new friend, which will undoubtedly be very confused once it's away from its assigned station.

The two of you exit out the cargo airlock originally meant for cargo shuttles. You have your own shuttle, one that would rather likely get rejected by space traffic control around here, if it weren't for the full suite of stealth and infiltration systems.

You'll need to depend on your remaining compatriots for the last of this plan.
No. 1003039 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330222601.gif - (29.75KB , 650x450 , 580.gif )

>:SyndieCyborg:: Before :WhiteDwarf: goes to duel the :Chaplain:, is there any advice you can give her about him?

:SyndieCyborg:: On my right, one slipping through!
:WhiteDwarf:: I shall halt him where he stands.
:SyndieCyborg:: Hey, listen--!
:SyndieCyborg:: Off'a me, hey!
:CargoTech:: Get it! Get it while it's talking!
:SyndieCyborg:: I said back off! Go to the damn shuttle!
:StaffAssistant:: Rip it apart!
:SyndieCyborg:: Dammit. Whatever.
:SyndieCyborg:: Listen, :WhiteDwarf:, there's some stuff you gotta know about :Chaplain:!
:WhiteDwarf:: Hmmh. Regale me, then.

Between your durable form and the way you're covering :WhiteDwarf:, you're able to walk and talk, or in this case, fight and talk.

:SyndieCyborg:: You gotta watch out. I've never seen that guy give up. You aren't gonna find any will-breaking way of stopping him.
:SyndieCyborg:: We had to try to arrest him once.
:WhiteDwarf:: Ah? And what did you experience?
:SyndieCyborg:: Chased him from engineering to command to cargo and back again, and he was shouting the whole time. :ChiefEngineer: had to hold him down while :ChiefMedicalOfficer: pumped him full of who knows what chemicals, and he still just about booked it anyway before he was down.
:WhiteDwarf:: His Stars of Libra imbue him with no special sense of justice?
:SyndieCyborg:: I guess not. You can't gotcha him about rules or something. It's all about some kind of worthiness. I never really got it.
No. 1003040 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330228856.gif - (22.95KB , 650x450 , 581.gif )

>:WhiteDwarf: : Consider your worthy cause.

:WhiteDwarf:: Hold them behind me. Bear the full weight of their strike in a narrow way.
:WhiteDwarf:: Such a task may be your duty until the end of this, I must warn you.
:SyndieCyborg:: Huh?
:SyndieCyborg:: Oh, you mean a choke point.
:SyndieCyborg:: I got it!
:StaffAssistant:: God dammit! Borg rogue!
:StationEngineer:: We already knew that!

Your running battle takes you through the maintenance hallways. Surely this shall provide at least a modicum of improved cover, though not all that much. You ponder your worthy cause.

:WhiteDwarf:: I believe I, on the other hand, am beginning to understand the worth he was speaking of.
:WhiteDwarf:: What :Neutron: said to me... I am uncertain I can bear that strain. Extrapolation of the world from the self. Deriving the universe from the soul. It is more, perhaps, than I am able to do now, as I am.
:WhiteDwarf:: I have thought to know myself more and explore the heart, the way :RedGiant: has often sought. And I have thought that the strain I feel, to stretch to fill the shape of my identity, means that the fiery engine of that impulse runs dry, after a time.
:WhiteDwarf:: But I have heard :RedDwarf:'s political manifesto, and while I may not share his zeal or his thirst for blood, I am beginning to understand one of its essential tenets.
:WhiteDwarf:: I believe I am beginning to actualize the core of all three lessons.
No. 1003041 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330230352.gif - (69.21KB , 650x450 , 582.gif )

:SyndieCyborg:: The hell's that, huh?
:SyndieCyborg:: Whatever you're actualizing, you better actualize fast! We're getting near the monastery dome transit tube--
:SyndieCyborg:: Watch it, science project up ahead!
:WhiteDwarf:: It shall fall to a fraction of my power!
:WhiteDwarf:: As for what I now actualize?
:WhiteDwarf:: The answer to that is more simple and more complex than words can contain, in mere seconds.
:WhiteDwarf:: The answer must be kept in reserve for :Chaplain:, to embody my final form.
:WhiteDwarf:: But you deserve a hint, Redshift newcomer.
No. 1003042 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330236024.gif - (28.79KB , 650x450 , 583.gif )

>:Spider: : You just feel hungry.

You've been experiencing a strange internal chemical feelings-state ever since all the terrain stood near that weird light square. You mistake that feeling for hunger. And so, during your terrain's motions, you decide to jump onto the exceedingly warm terrain-shape that very much isn't friend-shaped, and get a snack.

You hint at something yet to be made clear.

:WhiteDwarf:: Some things are entirely unpredictable, even for me. And it is their merit, not their fault, that makes it so.
:WhiteDwarf:: Now both of you, come quickly! We have a clear shot to the transit tube, and a clear path through this dark future!
:SyndieCyborg:: Alright, pulling back!
:Spider: chitters.
No. 1003043 ID: 0fbdcd
File 162330239734.gif - (14.74KB , 650x450 , 584.gif )

>:WhiteDwarf: :Though :SyndieCyborg: is accompanying you, the beef is between you and :Chaplain: alone.

:WhiteDwarf:: And here is where I must ask you to hold the line, :SyndieCyborg:. To stay, and beat back those hordes, to give me a chance to do what I must.
:SyndieCyborg:: Hold on a minute, law 1--
:WhiteDwarf:: Will get you killed, if you apply it to join me in the battle with :Chaplain:. Like you said, the man does not give up. If you are there, the only options he will have are to kill you or flee, and I can afford neither.
:WhiteDwarf:: Accept my orders, with the full backing of your second law.
:WhiteDwarf:: You stand a greater chance of survival here, and I need you alive for when I return from the monastery dome.
:SyndieCyborg:: But if you're alone in there--
:WhiteDwarf:: I shall tell you one more hint, then, if it eases your worries.

:WhiteDwarf:: I am an expert ninja. A great, soon legendary swordswoman. My body surges with curses and my soul overflows with demonic energy. I am the lone survivor of a dire massacre, or the sole descendant of a mystic bloodline, or perhaps I am just possessed by so much dark energy that it drives away family.
:WhiteDwarf:: Any of any of these things might be true or false. It's irrelevant. What matters is one thing, the only thing that has ever mattered:
:WhiteDwarf:: I am something fantastical. I am more than what would bleed out on the end of his sword.
:WhiteDwarf:: Now, I have something I need you to do.

:WhiteDwarf:: Do you have an MP3-playing program? This is the only chance I will ever get to do something I have dreamed of all my life.
No. 1003044 ID: 0fbdcd
File 585.mp4 - (16.74MB )

(Art credit: @Drawsstuff)
(Anim credit: @Fuade)
(Music credit: Mai Yamane vocals, song by [i]The Seatbelts[/u], Cowboy Bebop OST)
No. 1003089 ID: c81c09

:Chaplain: be caught in the middle of some self-reflection of your own.

:Spider: In the absence of the friend-terrain webs, get to work spinning some of your own. In places that happen to mess with the attacking horde.
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