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File 164826988572.png - (218.25KB , 800x600 , TQ1.png )
1027307 No. 1027307 ID: 77a030

We head west from the Vehicle yard in the direction of the nearest elevators, 13 and 14. After a short while, I can see the light blocking field that surrounds the elevator doors to stop light from flooding the caves. I've got enough valuables from today to last me a while until I need to get more, plus also this alien, who I'll be bringing back to his company depot.

"Can you tell me how I'm feeling right now?"
>"I'm... not sure. Are you upset from me giving you all that trouble?"
"Nah. I just heard you guys had telepathic powers, and just wanted to see if you could read my mind."
>"O-OH! Well... I mean... that's not quite accurate! Neumono have the ability to feel what other nearby neumono are feeling. It's called 'empathy'."
"I can empathise too. Usually when people do something super embarrassing and I can't help but feel it second hand. Or like those times when I puke after seeing somebody else puke."
>"N-not quite the same thing!"
Expand all images
No. 1027308 ID: 77a030
File 164826992062.png - (208.56KB , 800x600 , TQ2.png )

I look down at another map my scavenging partner gave me for this area. We are on the left side going to the west. He told me to take the main road next to the bottomless pit, but that if I did, there was a chance for Highway raiders who would try to collect a toll. They usually try to rob trucks, but robbing smaller vehicles isn't unheard of.

"You guys have knights?"
"Neumono hives. I heard you have queens and kings and stuff."
>"Oh! Well, we only have queens, we don't have kings or knights like royalty or anything like that."
"What about princesses?"
>"N- oh, wait, yeah! we do, sometimes. If the hive is big like mine is."

My scavenging partner has also marked a "shortcut" that can only be accessed by foot or smaller vehicles. There isn't a chance of bumping into raiders, but the trade-off is the chance of encountering wildlife and the remnants of tribal tobaks. Not a bad idea if I feel like going hunting this late into the scavenging run.
No. 1027309 ID: 77a030
File 164826993882.png - (156.80KB , 800x600 , TQ3.png )

>"Soooooo... I'm... Sorry about the whole... Hug thing..."
"Huh? Oh. Don't worry about it. It wasn't entirely unpleasant."
>"I know, it's just that... neumono usually only do that to each other. Not to aliens, not to anyone."
"Are tobaks an exception? Or am I the exception?"
>"W-well, to be fair, I still don't know what you look like! So, it's really easy to imagine you as one of us, y'know? You're short and fuzzy, kinda like us."
"Does that make me some kind of 'cave neumono?'"
>"hah! funny you should say that. You're an honorary neumono in my eyes, Dowser. Would you like me to call you 'Dowser the cave neumono' from now on?"

He hasn't mentioned the Data Bank yet, it's like he forgot all about it. He seems to be in high spirits, which I prefer to how he was before when he was trapped in that building.

>"...And another thing... a-and I really hate to ask this from you, because you've done so much for me already! but... you don't have any more food, do you?"
"You already ate and drank all the stuff I had."
>"S-sorry! Forget I asked!"

He's probably stress eating because he's missing a couple limbs. I don't mind sparing a few unused rations to help him cope better. hopefully his healthcare allows for robotic replacements. No shame in it, Tobaks get them all the time.
No. 1027310 ID: 8483cf

Demand an Honorary Neumono Certificate in exchange for more food.
No. 1027313 ID: 96c896

We might want to try to get some batteries for his goggles.
Go to the shortcut, hunt some meat for- what's his name?
No. 1027314 ID: 5bdbbc

Nah, get cyberlimb insurance instead. Space technology is cool.
Let's take the wildlife-infested path because I am a cheapskate and we looted so many cool guns! Razorworms aren't on the menu, right?
No. 1027317 ID: 36784c

>He's probably stress eating because he's missing a couple limbs.
>Hopefully his healthcare allows for robotic replacements.
Nope! You’re wrong about all of that! Neumono can regrow their limbs! It’ll take a while, depending on how badly they’re injured, but if they have access to plenty of food, their bodies can use all those extra calories to start regenerating!

……I mean, that’s all just a bunch of rumors. You might want to ask Kiero, your Neumono buddy, if any of that is true.

>What do?
That depends. If you’re going to elevator 15, it’d be better to stay on the main road. But if you’re going to elevators 13 and 14, it’d be better to take the shortcut.
No. 1027318 ID: 36784c

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! Have you gotten any messages from Clover? Did she manage to safely get away from the Razorworms? Is she planning on meeting up later or anything like that? She helped you to pay back that favor she owed you, so she won’t be asking for a payment this time, but I’m sure she’ll eventually want to meet up to hang out or something.
No. 1027320 ID: 894419

I would also like to know if tobkao made it out alright
No. 1027321 ID: 2aa5f0

well if the neumono is hungry it might not be a bad idea to take the shortcut route and see if you can't grab him something to eat. Even if you don't find anything it is a short route (right?) so you'd be able to get him somewhere he could grab some food quicker. I mean the guy did just lose some limbs and then was trapped for who knows how long basically bleeding out and blind I feel he deserves some sympathy.
No. 1027322 ID: 5d9787

>what's his name?

>Would you like me to call you 'Dowser the cave neumono' from now on?"
Honestly this doesn't have a good ring. Coming from you this is a nice gesture but I'm not looking forward to explain this title to strangers. Maybe save that for special occasions.

>So, it's really easy to imagine you as one of us, y'know? You're short and fuzzy, kinda like us
We do look similar, at least superficially.
If my appearance make you feel more at easy it's even more strange that of all the aliens your hive seem to have avoided contact with us the most. Maybe familiarity wasn't the feeling you got when you actually saw one of us.

I'm sure you can have some fun with the culture shock circumstance, including the oddity of interacting with someone who can't see you at the moment, but eventually ask about Kiero in particular.
Is he an explorer? Scavenger? Prospector? Programmer?

Is there any safe place along the way to buy supplies?

Considering we are in a motorized vehicle and have some nails left (I think) the wildlife sound less threatening than the raiders. However, considering how vicious the worms were, it's very likely that I'm underestimating the local fauna.
When you say tribal, what exactly are you referring to? Can you communicate with the? Any risk of cannibalism?
Maybe the main road is safer after all...
No. 1027323 ID: 77a030
File 164828283140.png - (140.58KB , 800x600 , TQ4.png )

>What's his name?

>Neumono can regrow their limbs!
I don't know much about these kinds of aliens, but that seems too good to be true. Alas, I mustn’t be in denial on his behalf, he is probably going through the stages of grief all on his own, the poor guy.

>Elevator 15
We'll stay away from that one for now, that only goes down, not anywhere close the higher levels.

>How's Clover doing?
My PDA is still getting it’s signal blocked by the jammer, so I'm not sure. If I want to check, I need to turn it off. If I do that, the mechanic will probably notice the signature given off by the ore. I don't know how he'll react to it, so I need to decide if it's worth it. In regard to Clover though, it’d be a miracle if she got out of that without a scratch, so I am a little worried.

>Demand an Honorary Neumono Certificate in exchange for more food.
"Hey Kiero, how's about this; We'll take a detour to get you some food If I can get an honorary neumono certificate."
>"You know it doesn't work that way! But if you'd like, I can try arranging a meeting with my hive's queen, and then we'll see if we can't work something out!"
Half joking or not, that answer's good enough for me! Besides, main roads are overrated.

>The shortcut doesn't have razorworms on the menu, right?
Not likely, they prefer open areas with sand or soft dirt, this area is a lot more enclosed with a hard ground.

I shuffle over to the front, close enough to speak to the mechanic. I tell him to take the detour on the map so that we can hunt some quick game.
"Sure thing! Just try not to take all day, I still need to pick up the others after I drop you guys off."

We change course for the untamed shortcut. Kiero seems very excited about the detour, However I don’t think I have the heart to tell him that most of the wildlife on this layer of the planet taste awful.

>"Oh, and another thing Dowser, unless it's too much of a personal question, feel free to not answer, but who was it you were talking to earlier? It sounded intense. And how did you get a signal? I could barely get any myself when my devices still had battery."
No. 1027324 ID: 96c896

Tell him some weird rock you have is talking to you.
No. 1027325 ID: f373c9

When you two have a bit of privacy, let him know some funny rock projected a dead guy into your head, and that you are DEFINITELY not going insane or anything...

Also that they wanted you to leave him for dead.
No. 1027326 ID: 9a2966

Definitely don't. Half-truth seems to be the name of the game. Let's not expose our new headbud just yet. For MANY reasons, not least of which 'that sounds freakin' insane'.

Go with something like this:

"There's some weird new tech down here that apparently allows comms of sorts for Tobaks - something to do with our magnetic sense, I think? I scavenged it not too long ago and me and a new friend of mine - related to that find - were arguing a bit about what to do with you, that's all. Might consider selling it, might wanna keep it, we haven't quite decided. How's your hive deal with strange new acquisitions?"
No. 1027327 ID: 96c896

Yeah, "a weird rock is talking to me" is a half-truth. What you just suggested there is a full on lie.
No. 1027328 ID: 1c6255

Just tell him you'd rather not say "for now".
No. 1027329 ID: 9a2966

I'm saying if we admit anything, make it more vague and don't mention the rock, i.e. the thing that enabled us to talk to someone was magnetic, we don't understand it because it's a recent scavenge and probably some kind of weird new tech that we may want to pawn off - and it enabled us to talk with a new friend who we met in connection to that find. Implying it's some kind of underground comms system that only works for Tobaks.

All of these are truths with omissions aimed at negating the existence of our headbud, hence "half-truths" - we can even say later that we're still in touch with them, or excuse any outburst to our new 'comms tool'.

We don't have to apply all of these excuses either, it's just a way to ease into the truth later "So you know how I said..." style, if we decide to try to offload the rock onto the Neumono hive, who at least aren't gonna be affected by it in the same way tobaks seem to be.

Frankly, just mentioning that this 'comms tool' is a magnetic-based thing recently scavenged carries a certain risk if anyone with actual knowledge about the rock hears about the find.

Also, remember that if we reveal the existence of the rock to Kiero, we would probably also reveal it within earshot of the mechanic (unless we lower our voice some, I guess). The more people know the more it's possible the truth leaks out!
No. 1027330 ID: 2aa5f0

just tell him you were trying to figure shit out and thinking out loud. Not to bring up bad memories but razor worms do kind make any situation more stressful then they already are.
No. 1027332 ID: ce39da

Yeah, stick to half-truths, for now, revealing as much as you can without telling him explicitly about the rock or that the voice is entirely in our head. Of course, there's the danger that he calls us out on the jammer blocking magnetic waves, to begin with, but we can respond with "it has something to do with physical touching, I think."
No. 1027335 ID: 0618ef

This sounds more reasonable.
No. 1027337 ID: 50af53

Oh, you were just "talking to yourself". It helped while trying to quickly think things over, sorry for the confusion.

Oh and it'll probably happen again, just a heads up.
No. 1027340 ID: 5bdbbc

We must use a different frequency on our devices than you guys, better attuned to cave coverage.
Take the jammer off to see if Clover’s okay, if he asks about it it’s just a funny rock.
No. 1027342 ID: 10a721

I am also on the side of the half-truth.

Tell him some new guy in the caves has been butting in on your business and monitoring your activities. You seem to be stuck scavenging together.
No. 1027343 ID: 5d9787

It does sound like a bad idea telling him about signs of madness. Let's not do that.

The rock itself bring some problems. It would be best to keep it secret, but I'm not sure you will be able to with a jammer in a Neumono hive.
How much longer will the battery function? Does it have enough juice for the trip back? Can you find a buyer for the rock on the upper layer?

How about a compromise: "It is a very personal question, but I will tell you more if we have a moment alone. Please keep that conversation in secret."

>drop you guys off
So the return trip won't be this convenient...

>arranging a meeting with my hive's queen
Will you really get in contact with a political leader for a silly title?
No. 1027400 ID: 15a025

Lets just say they're a very persistent colleague we're stuck with for now.
No. 1027408 ID: 77a030
File 164836449074.png - (248.57KB , 800x600 , TQ5.png )

>How much battery does the jammer have.
Not much. Less than an hour, maybe 45 minutes. It uses less power the more I lower the range, but it's already set to the minimum.
>Enough juice for the trip back

>Can you find a buyer for the rock on the upper layer?
Most likely. The most direct and obvious way is to find a buying at the depot. Seeing as they buy just about anything, they'll surely be able to identify it and give me a good price.

>Half truth
That sounds like the way to go. I like to be honest, but not if it'll make people think I'm crazy.

I decide to
"Oh, that? It was... Some new, experimental thing that got rolled out... Not completely sure how it works, but it allows me to communicate... through myself, without a phone or exterior device! Only seems to work for tobaks though, our biology is different, you know how it is."
>"Oooohhh, I get it! Tobaks have wires in them, right? I once heard someone say that you guys were practically built for cybernetics. They are rolling out all sorts of stuff for you guys, like cyborg parts and brain chips. What company did you work for to get those kinds of benefits?"
"I didn't receive it for working at a company! The only company I've worked for was Edevane, and that was a few years ago. Let me tell you, mikliks, on account of being weird, mutated plants, do not give good healthcare. I obtained this thing... elsewhere."
>"Well ok! It's good to know you aren't crazy."

I'm not crazy. I'm not.

"Dowser! I have just made a personal discovery! I think neumono are amazing! Do they make a noise? What noise do they make? Can you ask him for me? Please?"

If I Just ignore him, he'll go away.

"Nope! Also, do they lay eggs?"

I'm not crazy I'm not crazy I'm not crazy.

I think to turn off the jammer and message Clover, but I'll leave it until after I explain what the ore is to the mechanic, just so it doesn't set off any alarm bells. I'm a bit surprised he hasn't brought up the fact that I've had a jammer turned on this whole time, but I'm sure he respects my privacy.
No. 1027409 ID: 77a030
File 164836450529.png - (162.39KB , 800x600 , TQ6.png )

Shortly after heading into the wild territory, it doesn't take long for us to spot A something that catches my interest. Looks like a tribal has already gone through the effort of taking down a Mudskimmer. He must've chased it for quite a while, they usually don't hang around dry areas like this.

The tribal is staring directly at us, sending us the universal tail signal for "Get lost."

This could either be one of a few things, either this guy chased that thing with at least one other, had the other haul off the leg while guarding the body by himself, or he is setting up a trap for other animals and there are other tribals hiding nearby.

Mudskimmer meat tastes... alright, actually. depending on if you eat it raw or not. It's suuuuper lean and low in fat, but it is good overall, so long as you don't cook it and make it too dried out and tough to eat.

This guy probably won't hand any over easy, but he must sooner or later learn that sharing is caring!

The mechanic looks over at me. Interesting. You have a plan?
No. 1027411 ID: 5d9787

What do you mean? Are you planing to just steal from the guy? Since when you've being hiding this dickish side?
If we are going with this maybe threat him with your weapon. I'm not sure.
You could shot in his general direction and have Raph take the meat while you keep this guy away.

Maybe he is willing to trade a limb. Do you have anything to offer he might want? Maybe the cigarettes?

How does that work? I can't imagine you have a long tradition of staring at campfires.
No. 1027415 ID: 96c896

The most reasonable, ethical thing to do would be to trade. What have we got he might be interested in? A spare nailgun perhaps?
No. 1027416 ID: 1c6255

If you have nothing to trade, simply ask him where you can find your own mudskimmer. You can communicate, right?
No. 1027422 ID: 77a030
File 164838132963.png - (325.51KB , 800x600 , TQ7.png )

I take a closer look at him, boy is he untidy. He has never tried a candy bar in his life, and it shows. It's hard to believe that I would have turned out that way had I been born a single generation earlier.

>Are you planning to just steal from the guy?
And ruin my streak of good deeds? No way! I'm on a roll and it feels so good.

>Threaten him with weapon
I don't think he understands that nailguns are a thing. I get the feeling that even if I did threaten him with a weapon, he still wouldn't back down. These savage types will just about die on any hill.
Could work. Wish I had brought a deck of cards or something to show him some magic tricks. I would need to get creative if I wanted to go down that route.

>You can communicate, right?
Let's see

"Do you speak?"
>"Lep let to dakto za lepdak!"
I don't understand what he said, but subtle queues tell me that he is disgruntled.

Guess I have no choice but to break out the tail signalling.


I use my tails to signal the possibility of a trade. The translation comes out to something more along the lines of 'take for give piece'

>'What give for piece'

'What want'

He pauses for a moment.

>'Give sharp'
No. 1027426 ID: 1c6255

Sounds like he's interested in your pickaxe. How cheaply can you re-acquire one?
No. 1027427 ID: 9a2966

>I'm not crazy
You're not crazy. Your headbud just appears to be discovering the joys of learning new and exciting things that YOU don't already know and forming their own opinions about them. You should try to humour him a bit - like, aren't you actually genuinely curious and their own curiosity may be based off of that?

It's a fairly legit question to wonder how alien species are. Of course, you could just look up details later instead of asking a possibly embarrassing personal question.

(There's also a non-zero chance headbud could be trolling you.)

>Tribal doesn't appear to know much about civilization
Sheez, guess even if mining has been ongoing for a bit this is still a pretty wild region? Or he chased his prey pretty far. Or they avoid contact for the most part!

>Mudskimmer meat
You should ask Kiero if he knows what a Mudskimmer is and if he knows if it's safe for Neumono consumption - does his people forage on-planet at all?

>Trade pickaxe
A reliable pick (and weapon) for a hunk of meat may be a poor trade for you, unless it's easily replaced or he wants to trade a large part. Doubtful, given that it's HIS hard-earned kill and tribals live more hand-to-mouth. Then again, he MIGHT be stuck on the 'this is gonna be a pain to bring back home from here' aspect of it all, in which case you have an advantage in bargaining.

Do you have anything smaller and more immediately useful to the tribal? A knife, cloth, anything of the sort that'd actually LOOK useful or interesting to the tribal? You could also ask if the Mechanic has anything of particular use to a tribal. Again, knives and such tend to be useful tools, and mechanics tends to have a well-equipped toolkit. You can pay him back in actual money once you return, seeing as you've had a rather successful scavenging session.

>Danger sense
A secondary concern is that this tribal could just be here guarding the kill while a fellow hunter goes to fetch more people from his tribe to dress it. How freshly killed does it look? If it looks like it's been lying there for a while and he hasn't started to butcher it, you should resolve this fairly quickly before his buddies can show up to object to the deal. It's not worth spending time haggling (poorly, by way of tails) for a more hostile encounter.

>Doing the trade
Don't do anything to antagonize him. Indicate how much of the mudskimmer you want, agree to the trade (with something less valuable/useful if possible and do it without haggling too much if it seems he's just guarding the kill and waiting for his fellows). Indicate that he should cut off the parts of the beast that you agreed on. Put the pickaxe down outside yours and his reach and indicate he do the same with the portion you've traded for, over to the side. You can both approach your trades from different sides and pick them up without getting too close to one another.

Also, do the tail symbol for name and introduce yourself. You're Dowser!
No. 1027429 ID: bed092

Check inventory.
No. 1027430 ID: ce39da

Ah- Maybe get your buddy to do the actual exchange; exposure to the rock or the jammer might freak him out. (Ask if he has a cheap knife on him before you hand him the pickaxe.)
No. 1027436 ID: 127044


Boyfriend mode engaged.


He wants weapons. A knife or similar would very likely suffice, particularly since I imagine he doesn't have (nor wish to risk) more sophisticated stone tools for butchering his catch here (which might be why just a leg is missing, at the moment).

If we've got a knife or two to spare, I think that's a fair trade, and could go a long way to establishing better relations.
No. 1027438 ID: 5d9787

As versatile and cool the pickaxe look it still should be a fairly common tool around a mining operation. Not only you should be able to buy a new one, you've being finding so many tobak corpses that your chances of stumble upon one with a similar tool should be pretty high. It's an acceptable trade, although I would expect a significant portion if not the rest of the carcass for it.

Trades like this are the kind of situation Clay criticized you the most and believe himself to be more capable. Why don't we take this small event as an opportunity to see what he can do? Not that he earned any trust so far, but better to try it now than never.
No. 1027444 ID: 34dfce

Lets just leave the guy alone and find our own. He isn't blatantly hostile, so lets just keep going.
No. 1027446 ID: 96c896

Pickaxe or knife, I'd say.
No. 1027456 ID: 0618ef

Pretty much all this. Don't know about presenting yourself, i don't think he cares. You are also o crazy, this is just a consequence of interacting with an artefact. It's completely external to you.

Hey, Dowser, have you ever thought of tried dating a xenos before? Neumonos come in all sizes and shapes.
No. 1027457 ID: 5d9787

Hold on! Kiero is nice and all, and with his name there are a lot of jokes to be made, but I already have high hopes for Clover. That girl is precious.
No. 1027464 ID: 77a030
File 164842755702.png - (200.57KB , 800x600 , TQ8.png )

>Also, do the tail symbol for name and introduce yourself. You're Dowser!
Unfortunately, there aren't any ways of conveying names in tail signals, it's entirely just a system for conveying simple concepts.

>Check inventory.

Let's see... Pickaxe, dimming goggles, PDA, maps, an empty water canteen, antivenom, 2 bandages, nailgun with one full 30 nail magazine, a tobak jammer as well as 1(one) neumono alien missing 2(two) limbs. No knife.

>Ask mechanic if he has a knife
"A knife? Not exactly. I have a toolbox sitting in the back with a saw you can use to cut off a piece, but I'd appreciate it if you could get it back to me."

>Give pickaxe
I guess it's the closest thing I have to something a tribal would want.

>Ask Clay how to handle it.
I suppose I should give it a try, seeing as he does criticize my way of doing things. I don’t fully trust him, but I may as well use him while I have him.
"What do you think, Clay?"
"Oh, you're asking me? That's new. Not that I mind. Let's see... I think the most obvious choice is to give him the pickaxe."
"It's not like it's your only pick. You do own a few spares."
"Those are cheap, I don't own anything of good quality like this one, seeing as I had to borrow this from Lyvy."
"Your scavenging partner is a jerk."
"Still, it's bad form to trade his pick to a tribal. Imagine how pissed he'd be."
"Once you get paid, you can buy him a better one."
"Not a bad idea, but a newer, better one would cost 100 zeny, at least."
"Think of the long term. Neumono share emotions with other neumono, right? If you can get Kiero to warm up to you, you can get his hive to warm up to you as well. They might be willing to offer you more than just a pickaxe as compensation."
No. 1027465 ID: 96c896

Yeah true. We should be able to get a replacement, and some good vibes go a long way. Go on then, do the trade.
Even if you don't get a bigger reward, better relations with the tribe will be rewarding on its own. Connections, yo!
No. 1027468 ID: ce39da

Yeah, as long as the guy doesn't storm up to us demanding his pickaxe back the moment we ascend that elevator, there shouldn't be a problem with trading it here. Make sure you get a decent portion, though.
No. 1027470 ID: 46407b

Yes, i agree. A pick should be a common tool in this parts, you'll find or buy a new one soon enough.
Remember to hold the pointy end of it, don't show any aggressive sings.
No. 1027480 ID: 5d9787

I'm glad Clay is in agreement, but what I want to see is his negotiation skills. How much meat can he get out of this exchange.
No. 1027481 ID: 404641

Consider the idea of giving tribal Tobak hallucinations.
Stop considering, that's a horrible idea.

Anyway if this is really for a trap then he won't need to other three legs, or the tail, he can keep the rest though.

Be careful though, this Tobak seems more savage than other savages, I mean, he doesn't even clean his weapons, even cavemen realize that neglecting your weapon ruins it.
No. 1027491 ID: 10a721

Motion for "gimme BIG chunk of meat."

Clay has gotten a lot more mellow and positive since a few hours ago.
A surpris, to be sure, but a welcome one.
No. 1027500 ID: ffc7d3

Give the lad the pickaxe handle first for a big-o-chunk of meat.
No. 1027507 ID: ba2bc3

Is really worth trading to get part of that hunt piece? I mean, we don't really need the meat, is only convenient. We might find more animals in the road in exchange of some nails and time.
No. 1027509 ID: 9a2966

>Long term
Long term thinking is good if it works out, agreed. Fine point about the Neumono empathy possibly leading to some sympathy from the hive.

The convenience factor is high though, with our jammer's quickly ebbing battery. You probably want to have some juice left for going through the elevator / into the city, so the rock isn't detected as contraband or whatever.

If we'd had something better to trade, I'd suggest going for it, but unless our aggressive tribal friend is interested in an empty canteen, bandages and antivenom... hey, if the antivenom could be communicated he might be interested, that's not exactly something that'd be easy for a tribal to get their hands on, and I'm guessing you carry that for A Reason around here.

Either way, make the trade, no need to leave Kiero starving (and you might go for a nibble yourself). Use the mechanic's saw to speed up cutting up the parts of the kill that are edible, if needed. Don't forget to clean it up afterwards! It's only polite not to leave giblets on your new friends' tools, after all.
No. 1027558 ID: 77a030
File 164851952484.png - (237.81KB , 800x600 , TQ9.png )

>He doesn't even clean his weapons, even cavemen realize that neglecting your weapon ruins it.
Looks like he just used it, So I can't blame him for being lax in that regard. He himself on the other hand, looks and smells like he could use a shower.

>Clay has gotten a lot more mellow and positive since a few hours ago.
I've noticed that too. Since he stopped pretending to be some kind of company mercenary, he is developing a personality of his own. If I were to guess, he's being influenced by all the positive interactions I've had with people.

I decide to give him the pick, it wasn't like I need one now that I'm heading back.

I hold it out, pointing the handle end at him first. He reluctantly moves over to me. As far as tribals go, this is as trusting as they get.

>Get a big piece
I'll try to negotiate for as big a piece as I can get.

'Big piece' I signal with my tails.
>'Half leg.'
'Full leg.'
'Full back leg.'
>'No. half.'
'Full tail.'
>'No. leg.'
'Full head.'
>'Full front leg.'

Haggling, the oldest trick in the book. I motion to hand over the pick, and he takes it.

>'I remove piece. you stay.'

>Is really worth trading to get part of that hunt piece?
Maybe, maybe not. I doubt I can kill anything on my own with a nailgun, which are more or less designed to puncture vital organs, as opposed to instantly killing wildlife. If I brang a harpoon, that might be a different story. the trade may be a little steep for meat that doesn't taste that great, but it's the only way I can get decent food down here.

He hacks off a front leg with the pick and hands it to me. I'm satisfied, not the best deal ever, but it's a decent enough piece, and I'd like to see Kiero try eating it all before we get off the elevator.
No. 1027559 ID: 77a030
File 164851954079.png - (196.49KB , 800x600 , TQ10.png )

I walk over to the bike, leg over my shoulder.

>Our jammer's quickly ebbing battery. You probably want to have some juice left for going through the elevator
That's a very good point... I shouldn't be keeping it on when I don't need it on. In the interest of saving the battery for later, and also so I can send messages to Clover, I'll turn it off.

I turn to the mechanic and tell him beforehand about the ore

"Hey, so uh, you've probably noticed the jammer I've had on, right? Well, I found it, and I've been using it to hide an emission given off this item I found."
>"The rock?"
"Oh, you know about it?"
>"When you walked into that razorworm nesting area and I was by myself, I noticed the jammer was on and went to turn it off to save the battery. That's when I noticed that there was something giving off a signal. Sorry for invading your privacy, but my curiosity tends to get the best of me sometimes!"
"So... you won't mind if I turn it off now?"
>"Not at all! don't worry, I won't try to take it from you. To tell you the truth, I've never seen anything like it. It's a curious object, isn't it? Very colorful... very smooth."

"... On an unrelated note, have you noticed anything weird lately?"
>"You've noticed it too? It's fine. If we keep moving, it'll probably stop following us."

huh... anyway, what message should I send to Clover?
No. 1027564 ID: 96c896

Oof, you don't have the ore back in its box? You're gonna need to put it back before you get to any more Tobaks, to limit the spread of whatever it does.
Ask the mechanic what he's been seeing. Can he point it out to you? Is it something... familiar, maybe? Something he heard about before? He may be affected already, which means you're going to need to explain what it did to you so he doesn't freak out.
No. 1027565 ID: 34dfce

kk, so lets make sure that we are on the same page. What is following us? If it is an apparition, great, we know. If it isn't, then that is something that needs addressed.
No. 1027577 ID: c92a02

"Thanks for the save back there, hope you're not dead. Let's meet up topside at my place."
No. 1027581 ID: 36784c

>"You've noticed it too? It's fine. If we keep moving, it'll probably stop following us."
What’s he talking about?

>what message should I send to Clover?
Let the mechanic know that you’re going to use your PDA, so that he knows to put on his goggles. Don’t want to accidentally blind the guy driving!

Then thank Clover for her help and make sure she isn’t hurt.

>Oof, you don't have the ore back in its box? You're gonna need to put it back before you get to any more Tobaks, to limit the spread of whatever it does.
Can’t do that. We only grabbed the ore, we never picked up the box.
No. 1027584 ID: 5d9787

Raph, I appreciate the discretion, but I should explain the jammer was less to hide this thing and more to avoid exposing us to it's effects. I don't think the hallucinations stop when we are no longer subject to the magnetic emissions. The thing following you must be the result of the brief period you turned off the jammer. It get more intense. I'm really sorry.

Good, but do we have a place up topside?
Tell her next time you will invite her for something nice for a change.
No. 1027588 ID: c43628

I think that momment in which you chosed to save Kiero was what made the change. You weren't being trully altruistic before that, and Clay reacted to that. I think he was traying to see what made you tick, and you showed him, your true self.
You might not be a saint, but you are a very good person, Dowser.
No. 1027591 ID: 77a030
File 164854109876.png - (264.40KB , 800x600 , TQ11.png )

"What exactly are you seeing?"
"I don't mean to concern you! I'm just seeing things in my old age is all."
He looks both ways and leans in for a whisper.
"I haven't looked at it directly, but I think there's something back there with you guys, hanging off the back." The whispering is unnecessary but I decide to play along.
"What does it look like?
"I don't know, I can see right through it. Whatever it is, I can only see its outline occasionally. It's small and isn't adding weight to the vehicle."
Are you sure you're ok?
"I may be getting old, but I don't doubt myself, not for a minute. Be careful back there."
"Right... Well, I'm going to be using my PDA for a bit, so watch out for some of the light it may give off."
"No problem! It shouldn't be bright enough to affect my sight."

I need to be careful with where I keep the ore in the future, lest I expose others to its effects.

I hand the meat over to Kiero.

>"Hold on... is this your arm or something?"
"It's meat. Picked fresh from a dead wild animal carcass. Dig in."
>"Oh, Dowser, this is... Wow I... you might wanna look away for this."

I let him dig in while I go through my PDA contacts.

First off, I send Clover a message.

'Dowser(You): thanks for the save back there, I couldn't have done it without you. hope you're not dead.'
>'Clover:I'm not dead! O\︿/O'
'Dowser(You): are you hurt?'
>'Clover: only a scratch on my arm, no biggie! I hardly noticed because the bio armor worked so well.'
She is typing pretty slowly.
'Dowser(You): mind telling me how bad it is?'
>'Clover: It's still mostly attached <3'
'Dowser(You): do you... need a doctor?'
>'Clover: Scientists are basically doctors, right? I'll just make my way 2 them.'
'Dowser(You): well alright. would you like to meet up together some time.'
>'Clover: Sure!! name a time and place!~~'

We are on the road again and nearing the checkpoint. It shouldn't be long before we reach the checkpoint, but I still have time to burn.
No. 1027592 ID: 5d9787

How about you offer Kiero a hand? It must be hard to eat with only one arm in complete darkness. It will be an even harder task when we start to move again.
Just be careful to not get bitten. You wouldn't want to wait for your fingers to regrow.
No. 1027593 ID: 5d9787

Do you know a medical doctor? Asking a favor from one is the only timely thing you can do for Clover at the moment.
Not sure why we didn't regroup after escaping the worms. In hindsight we should have taken the wounded for a check up before travelling to the elevator...
No. 1027594 ID: 96c896

Take a look at the back of the vehicle, to confirm it's an ore-hallucination. You're gonna want to tell him about it eventually... Also take a look around, see if anything's nearby.

Also chat with Kiero a bit, ask about Neumono biology. Confirm/deny rumors.
No. 1027595 ID: 5d9787

And tell Ralph he need to make peace with his ghost. This will keep following him, so he should be at least mentally prepared.
No. 1027596 ID: f38941

Maybe the bar near the entrance to this cave system would be a good meeting place.

Now that you have light, make a funny face at Kiero.
No. 1027598 ID: 30b9f6

>Meeting place
Definitely somewhere where you can reward her for her stupidly brave and literally life-saving favor. Pick a bar, restaurant, mess hall or something similar that serves food and drink. If you can find somewhere where they sell something sweet and luxurious like desserts, that'd be ideal. Oooh hey, actually, does Kiero know of a food place that could fit the bill? Heck, if his Hive runs any side businesses maybe you could get to eat exotic food at an alien restaurant!

As for time... uh, this evening or tomorrow for breakfast/lunch? Whichever allows her to get medical attention and you to make preparations as well as enough time to resolve Kiero's situation, figure out a way to deal with the rock magnetism (need a faraday-style container, probably), fetch your reward of zeny from Napoleon, do some purchases and resolve any other matters awaiting you back home (like 'where's my pickaxe'). Keep in mind that Kiero's hive might want to send you back out there with some well-equipped worm-killin' people to fetch that valuable data that was left behind!

They might keep following him and come closer. We don't know how much exposure to the rock is required to fully form someone like Clay after all, whether it's just a matter of time, or if these shadows can fade in time if not exposed further. Didn't seem to have fully triggered with Axyl, after all, who also reported seeing a shadowy figure simply from getting close to the refinery, so that's... kind of an indication of this rock's reach.

>Warning Axyl
You could probably pop off a message to them and ask if he's seen any more shadows and tell him not to panic if they get closer and reveal themselves. Just assert you think there's some funny business going on, but whoever it is might not be inherently hostile, just to clue him in.

Meanwhile, out of the other Tobaks you've been with so far, Raphyl's definitely been the most exposed, so... you have to deal with that. Sure, it's his own fault, but it was due to a mix of curiosity and kindness, so some warning definitely seems warranted. He appears smart so you might as well suggest some things to him rather than have him panic at a new headbud before he can put two and two properly together.

>Warning / including Raphyl
To avoid the 'being seen as insane' thing, just tell him that truth be told, after getting the rock you started seeing a shadow too, and another Tobak reported something along the same lines who you think got close-ish to it. It seems like something about the magnetic nature of the rock does it and it may get more intense with more exposure, which he accidentally inflicted on himself. But you think that if he stays calm and keeps cool things will be just fine, even if things get a little weird.

Hopefully it won't be too troublesome to figure out. You don't think he should, uh, bring attention to those effects until you can figure out what this rock really is and does. Still, if it's fair to say the four - uh - two of you should keep in touch, yeah?

>Pass time
Definitely observe with increasing awe as Kiero devours that leg. If there is time left over and he doesn't end up in a food coma, ask him some edging-on-personal questions about his hive. What're they like?!
No. 1027608 ID: 5d9787

A Faraday Cage is not capable of containing magnetic fields generated inside of it.

Axyl was exposed to the rock effect from far away because of his sensitive antlers. It's not an indication of the rock's range for cave tobaks.

It's a good idea to warn Axyl.
No. 1027609 ID: 90db68

Good point on the antlers. «Faraday-style» as in ‘like a Faraday cage only for magnetism, however that would work’, yeah. Should have clarified.
No. 1027618 ID: 77a030
File 164861424113.png - (211.91KB , 800x600 , TQ12.png )

>Do you know a medical doctor?
Eh, not really. All the good ones work for mining companies. The only one I know of is... less than legitimate.

>Take a look at the back of the vehicle, to confirm it's an ore-hallucination. You're gonna want to tell him about it eventually... Also take a look around, see if anything's nearby.
I look at the back, but I don't see anything.

I turn to Raph
"Uh, I think what you may have seen might be the symptom of interacting with something with hallucinogenic properties..."
"I didn't put anything like that in my vape. You have a nailgun, right? Why don't you fire a few shots, just to be sure?"
"Look... I went through a similar thing before, ok? It started with me seeing a shadow too."
"This thing isn't a shadow. It's like... an outline, but I only notice it at the corner of my eye. It doesn't work if you try to look directly at it."
"Well, uh... Make peace with your ghost, however long it may follow you."

I imagine this is how I'd sound if I told anyone about Clay, more the reason why I should keep it to myself.

>make a funny face at Kiero.
He seems too concentrated on eating than to see me do something foolish. For the best, perhaps.

>Warn Axyl about effects of ore.
I don't know if he has been exposed to it though. He did describe seeing a shadow, but that might just have been a person. I still don't know if the ore only effects Tobaks or not. Its full effects and origins are still completely unknown to me. Is it even from this planet? I sure hope it's worth something for all the trouble.

How about you offer Kiero a hand?
"Need a hand with that?"
>"It's ok! You've already done a bunch for me, I should be able to do this by myself."

"I wanted to ask another thing. What's your hive like?"
>"My hive? I suppose you could say they are a lot like me. We tend to be pretty serious at times, but we each have a softer side who we only show to those we trust. Some of us are pretty small like myself, with origins from jungles, while others are a lot taller, like some of the red grass and snow guys. Not to mention the queen! But in general, a lot of us are on the shorter side, at least compared to a lot of the other aliens. Let's see... We have some history, but in general, we have been a hive that got comfortable around caves since the primitive days and tried to become an asteroid mining company sometime after a really big hive war. The asteroid thing didn't pan out so well and we became an interplanetary excavation company soon after, and we came to this planet during its big 'gold rush' so to speak."
"I think I've seen a few of you guys working for the other companies."
>"Really? We don't... Oh, you're probably thinking of rogues. As far as we know, my hive is the only hive operating on this planet."
"What's a rogue?"
>"In simple terms, someone who is exiled from their hive, and is on their own. It's the last thing a neumono wants to be. It's... not a good existence, from what I understand. Many prefer death than to be alone."
Seems to describe my scavenging partner, even though he isn’t an alien.
>"I don't mean to bum you out! As much as I dislike feeling the empathy they give off, I try my best not to contribute to their misery. Next time you meet one, try to be nice to them, ok?"
No. 1027632 ID: 5d9787

Look dude, if this is a matter of pride I will let you struggle, but holding the meat near your face is very simple task for me. I got nothing to do other than watch you attempt to separate meat from bone with your teeth in a shaking mine car when you are completely blind. I'm worried you might stab your face.

So you guys used to hang out in dark caves without dark vision? How did you menage that?
Were those three variants of neumono already part of the hive since the primitive days? When and why did they join together?
A big war sound like an interesting event. What was that about?
What was the problem with the asteroid?
What is so special about our planet? Why is better to mine here than anywhere else?
No. 1027634 ID: f38941

What can possibly drive a hive to give a neumono such a cruel fate?

Of course, we should ask if neumonos make a noise and come from eggs. Clay asked, after all.
No. 1027639 ID: 96c896

Ask neumono biology questions.
No. 1027644 ID: 30b9f6

>Don't give solo Neumono any guff

Helping him eat is really no bother, but he's free to finesse it himself if he feels fine. Sounds like he's got a good hive, though!

(And definitely sounds like they might be interested in strange magnetic minerals.)

I think perhaps we should get Clay to specify what kind of noise he means if that is to be asked.

>Will he be okay?
So, not to bring him down or anything, but will he be fine without an arm and a leg? Tobaks are 'almost built for cybernetics' or whatever - if they can afford 'em! - but how will getting prostheses work out for him? You don't exactly know a lot about Neumono biology.

>Tell Kiero of Clover and Raphyl
They were both really essential in his rescue as well, but he didn't so much see it. Give them their fair shake!

>Ask for diner tips for your meeting with Clover
Say, while he's chowing down, does he know of a good place to eat, someplace serving anything sweet?
No. 1027652 ID: c43628

I'm starting to think that the reason why everyone was dead in the place were we found the stone is because that shadow in the corner of their eye.
Maybe they all got in contact with the stone and produced massive paranoia.
At the beguining you saw it too, but now, you only see Clay.
No. 1027665 ID: 30b9f6

Dowser's shadow was never see-through, was it? It was a uniform grey mass that came closer and cohered into Clay the more he paid attention to it.

Maybe our headbud's the result of a more special case, such as being exposed to the rock WHILE thinking hard about the shape at the edge of his perception? We'll have to keep in touch with Raphyl (and possibly Alyx) and see, I guess.
No. 1027723 ID: 77a030
File 164874280540.png - (263.29KB , 800x600 , TQ13.png )

"So, you guys used to hang out in dark caves without dark vision? How did you manage that?"
>"Oh, we didn't live in caves or anything. We just got more comfortable exploring them than other hives. I guess that was our specialty. There are no cave neumono, but I guess there are caving hives.
"Were those three variants of neumono already part of the hive since the primitive days? When and why did they join together?"
>"Oh... I don't know. I'm actually one of the younger members of my hive, so I wasn't around when all this happened. My queen would probably know, she's been around a while."
"A big war sounds like an interesting event. What was that about?"
>"There were plenty of hive wars, but there was a big one in particular which made us decide to make the jump off world. I couldn't tell you how it ended, since the details get all murky, all I know is that the war hive started it."
"What was the problem with the asteroid?"
>"Asteroids aren't like planets, they are built all sorts of different, and tend to have little quirks that are insanely difficult to work around. It's too risky for a small company like ours."
"What is so special about our planet? Why is it better to mine here than anywhere else?"
>"Because you have a very special planet. Abundant with all sorts of goodies, it’s no wonder why the first company to find out about this place tried to keep it a secret for so long. It's still fairly unknown, seeing as hardly anybody in the outer galaxy knows about tobaks or any of the other sapient species that live here. I think that’s because the big companies agreed to keep the cheap and readily available labourers a secret from governing eyes.

It only took a short while, but we arrive at the edge of the light field

"This is as far as I can go. I need to head back and return to the others."
"Thanks for the ride."
>"Yeah, much appreciated!"
"If you ever have a salvaged vehicle that needs work done to it, take it down to my shop on level three. You have my contact info if you need it."

I take my stuff and wave Raphyl goodbye.
No. 1027724 ID: 77a030
File 164874283134.png - (278.62KB , 800x600 , TQ14.png )

I slip my goggles on and we walk through the light blocking field into an open area with roads and a booth. I make my way over the building to gain access to the gate.

>"I-I can see again! I thought I'd never see another thing here again! Let me tell you, I've never been so happy to see caves again! Oh, I can see you now! Oh... sorry for getting blood on you."
"It's no problem. Just try not to get any on my goggles."

"I should probably let you know that Raphyl there and another tobak by the name of Clover were crucial in your rescue. I can’t take all the credit."
>"More than one tobak huh? I had no idea you were all so nice..."
"Not all tobaks are nice, but independents like to watch each other’s backs and help where we can."

"Say, where'd that meat go?"
>"I was full. It tasted a little funny, but I won't complain! I left what I couldn't finish back in that vehicle for the other guy to finish off."
"Awfully nice of you..." He does actually feel heavier, but I won't say anything. Don't want to hurt his feelings after all.
"On a semi related note, do you know any good places to eat?"
>"I don't suppose my company cafeteria counts. Well, other companies have semi-public restaurants, but those are usually too classy and expensive for normal tobaks."
"I won't lie, alien food beats tobak food by miles. Which explains why lots of us prefer to get paid with food."

"So, are you really going to be ok with just an arm and a leg?"
>"Trust me, I think I'll be just fine! "
It's good to be optimistic at even the worst of times.
No. 1027725 ID: 77a030
File 164874285602.png - (170.98KB , 800x600 , TQ15.png )

I walk up to the counter, still carrying Kiero on my back. Why in the world do they build these counters so tall? I can only just see over it.
"Uh... hello?"

>"Anything to declare?"
It's an alien. One of those funny looking ones.
No. 1027726 ID: ce39da

This isn't a company depot, right? Just an elevator checkpoint. So, declare your weapons and jammer, plus an injured person who we need to escort to an actual doctor; no need to tell them about anything else.
No. 1027743 ID: 9a2966

>Anything to declare
"One rescue and that Razorwyrms remain terrifying."

What else to declare... uh, a nail gun? A jammer? Does that count? Actually, no, that's working equipment. Should be, anyway.

Assorted minor salvage, you guess, from the bits and bobs you picked up? You sort of prioritized the rescue this time, and had a cash-in from ambushing the bandits.

Maybe only declare things you have to, and definitely don't declare the rock. Keep the jammer on for now. If prompted about why it's on, say you forgot, if pressed to turn it off, do so, if it's just the alien here, then turn it on again once you're past.
No. 1027744 ID: c43628

Wait, aren't we going to take him directly to his hive?
No. 1027746 ID: 5d9787

You know what, let's not assume anything. Ask what he mean and tell the minimum amount of information necessary.
No. 1027748 ID: 708905

Aren't all aliens funny looking? What kind is behind the counter? One of the taller species I bet.
No. 1027753 ID: a9af05

>Why in the world do they build these counters so tall? I can only just see over it.
It's not tall, you're just short.

>"Anything to declare?"
Tell them what you've got with you.

We've still got to get past this checkpoint and go up the elevator first.
No. 1027762 ID: c28082


Let's see ... a rescued neumono, some assorted junk, a few good deeds, and not much else.
No. 1027768 ID: 90c451

>Anything to declare?
Just some funny looking ore we're hoping to get appraised, and a jammer. Don't specify whether the jammer is on or not unless directly asked though.
No. 1027782 ID: 77a030
File 164877487182.png - (288.56KB , 800x600 , TQ16.png )

>This isn't a company depot, right?
Just something put in to stop raiders and the like from freely traveling between the levels. To my knowledge, the Saxum Overwatch isn't a company, more of a loose police force of sorts to keep things in check. Which isn’t to say they aren’t bought and paid for by all the big companies in some form.

>Wait, aren't we going to take him directly to his hive?
Some of his hive are at his companies depot station, my plan is to bring him over to them and they can bring him to their HQ or whatever.

>It's not tall, you're just short.
I always forget that when I hang around people who are just as short as me all the time.

>Aren't all aliens funny looking? What kind is behind the counter? One of the taller species I bet.
They are all taller than us, with some neumono being the exception. Maybe Yich eaters too? I don't know, I've never seen one before.

The one sitting before me is a human. He is looking down at some kind of paper as he talks to me. I have a clear view of his boots, which by the look of it, seem as though he has never taken a step in any dirt or rocks judging by how clean they are.

>Ask what he means and tell the minimum amount of information necessary.
"Anything I should know about what you're asking?"
>"Just standard procedure. Just need to know if you're holding onto anything you're not supposed to like unapproved equipment or prohibited substances or whatever."
"Let's see... I have a nailgun, a tobak jammer, minor salvage, and small items I came in with like my PDA and bandages. I also want to declare that razorworms are terrifying."
>"You said it. I hate those things."
"Oh, also I have this rescued alien who needs to see a doctor."
>"Really, is that so-"
He looks up and sees Kiero.
>"Oh. It's just a neuomono. You want an aspirin or something?"
He sits back and stares at the both of us.
>"...This is the first time I think I've ever seen a space rabbit and a space goat next to each other. First time for everything, I guess. Is he wearing lipstick?"
"S-something like that."
>"Whatever. They don't pay me enough to care about who puts what on their face. One last order of business before I let you two through. What are your names and where are you two headed? It doesn't really matter if I'll be honest with you guys. I just need something to put on paper."
No. 1027783 ID: 96c896

I guess there's no reason not to give your name, and state you're going in to finish the rescue mission and maybe look around a bit?
No. 1027784 ID: c92a02

Kiero and... Bowser.
No. 1027786 ID: 5d9787

If it doesn't matter then our names are Yellow and Green. Two "L"s and two "E"s.
We are going to wherever the hive neumonos are.
No. 1027787 ID: 894419

I'm John Doe
He's Johnny Doe.
No. 1027788 ID: c43628

I always thought that neumonos were like dogs.
No. 1027789 ID: ce39da

Odd phrasing, given we're nowhere near the goatiest species out there.

There actually is a reason not to give our real name here; someone trying to look into who brought the supernatural rock back from the group that got disappeared (assuming word gets back to the Heef and/or Pomi) will think to investigate recent arrivals at this checkpoint, given we'd have to go here if we were at the meeting place.

On that note, we want an alias that isn't painfully obvious, like one letter off or a physical descriptor. "Call me Nemo." (Plausibly sounds like a real name, while also being cheeky. At most, they'll figure out that this is a classic 'nobody' alias.) "I need to get this guy back to his hive. Maybe they'll finance him some cybernetics? I dunno."
No. 1027804 ID: 36784c

>"Oh. It's just a neuomono. You want an aspirin or something?"
The fact that he's offering an aspirin to a guy that's missing an arm and a leg should let you know that Kiero's injuries probably aren't as bad as they look.

Or maybe he doesn't like Neumono for some reason.
No. 1027806 ID: 90c451

We can give Kiero's name, I doubt they know that we saved him.
We can also give our name because they don't know our name either.
I mean seriously, they probably wouldn't know who took it, giving a fake name just gives them a lead.
"Dowser and Kiero."
No. 1027812 ID: fec07f

I mean asprin is a blood thinner so it seems a terrible thing to offer someone with fresh limb stumps
No. 1027830 ID: 1c6255

>There actually is a reason not to give our real name here; someone trying to look into who brought the supernatural rock back from the group that got disappeared (assuming word gets back to the Heef and/or Pomi) will think to investigate recent arrivals at this checkpoint, given we'd have to go here if we were at the meeting place.
That said, no one will learn about the rock until well after it's explicitly out of our hands, and they'll most likely learn about the buyer first (like, learning "company X bought the rock" will be how they learned it turned up in the first place)
No. 1027880 ID: 30b9f6

Lying about your name is weird, especially when you'll be going back and forth here in the future and people more observant than this fellow may catch on. It's Dowser and... (allow Kiero to name themselves on the off chance he DOES want to lie).

Man, that guy is REALLY just a wrinkly bag of skin, isn't he? Barely any fur at all! And where are his ears?!
No. 1027899 ID: 77a030
File 164883555862.png - (315.84KB , 800x600 , TQ17.png )

I decide to let Kiero give real identity because he already has his company affiliation, no need to hide it. I, on the other hand, who may have done something perhaps wrong along the line pertaining to property damage, may want to distance myself from it.
>giving a fake name just gives them a lead.
It's fiiiine, people put down fake names all the time. It isn't like I'll stand out.

"I'm Kiero! from the hive company."
"And I am... Jane Dow...ser..."
>"How original. That doesn't even sound like a tobak name. Where are all the y's?"
"Uhhh... Jany Doy."
>"Much better."
He writes our names onto a sheet.
>"Now, where you two headed?"
"To a depot area toward whichever elevator is heading up. Maybe hang around a bit while we wait for the elevators."
>"Thank you for your cooperation. You can head through."

"Isn't aspirin a blood thinner? Wouldn't that be bad for someone with open wounds?"
>"I wasn't offering it to the neumono. I was offering it to you, for that headache you got from stressing over such a thing."
"Huh? Do you dislike neumono or something?"
>"You must be new to aliens. You'll figure it out. We all do eventually."

"When's the next upward elevator arriving?"
>"Let me check... Elevator fourteen, in about fifteen minutes."
"Thanks. Well, have a good afternoon." I say, picking up my things and getting ready to head to the gate.
>"It's morning actually. Is there a reason you have a jammer, by the way? Eh, never mind. I don't actually care."

>Man, that guy is REALLY just a wrinkly bag of skin, isn't he? Barely any fur at all! And where are his ears?!
All of this is very true. Does he even have a single tail to balance himself with? I won't say any of this aloud, I don't want to hurt his feelings. He is very unfluffy. Would not hug.
No. 1027900 ID: 77a030
File 164883557203.png - (246.54KB , 800x600 , TQ18.png )

We head on through the gate into a larger area. There are a whole bunch of people, species from this planet as well as lots of aliens, almost all of which are taller than me and my green friend. I think we almost have one of everything besides some of the more fringe species, but for the most part, the area has loads of tobaks, around 80 percent from what I see.

There are all sorts of things like vending machines and lockers for people to use. I'll be on the lookout for miss Napoleon-complex who owes me half a grand in zeny, but it may take a while to spot her in a crowd. (Being so short and all!)

>"You know, being in public now, maybe this blood all over my face isn't a great look."
"It totally looks like you chewed off your own limbs."
>"Oh, wow it totally does."

I guess I need to burn 15 minutes before the elevator gets here.
No. 1027907 ID: 9a2966

Look for a water closet to wash Kiero off a bit. Also look for Napoelon.

Side thought: How much charge left on the jammer? Will it last you all the way up?

Hm. Can you recharge it here somewhere in a socket? And/or position yourself somewhere so that it being on isn't terribly obvious to all of the many, many Tobaks waiting on this lift?
No. 1027913 ID: 5d9787

Tose interstellar companies have an uncanny talent to attract an almost uniform number of each of their member species to wherever they go.

Unfortunately our payment will have to wait another meeting opportunity. Fifteen minutes is not a lot of time to wash blood on fur. We will be spending this time in the bathroom getting soaked from a sink and wasting all the paper towel just to go from covered in blood to partially smeared.

I bet your own arm would taste much better than the one you ate.
No. 1027917 ID: a9af05

>"You must be new to aliens. You'll figure it out. We all do eventually."
You should ask Kiero what that guy was talking about.

Ask Kiero if he sees anyone from his hive.
No. 1027918 ID: 34dfce

Wow, they really don't give a shit. They seriously let you through with an ewar suite. You could really fuck things up if you turned that on high, what with gumming up all the comms in the vicinity.

By the way, does the jammer have eccm (counter-jamming, so using it to unjam an area if there is another jammer) and/or false positive creation capabilities?


Well, we only have fifteen minutes, so lets hoof it to the elevator.
No. 1027920 ID: c28082


There a washroom or somewhere Kiero can get cleaned up?
No. 1027922 ID: 96c896

Wash dirty neumono.
No. 1027944 ID: c28082


Tolbak sighted! But who is she?
No. 1027945 ID: ded0c8

Let's get that blood of your face. You have to be... half presentable when we encounter your hive.
No. 1027966 ID: 36784c

Ask Kiero if they’re a male or a female. You’ve never met any neumono before, so you’re not sure how to tell the boys apart from the girls yet.

Someone we don’t know.
No. 1027985 ID: fec07f

We already know he's a boy
No. 1028021 ID: 77a030
File 164891260563.png - (310.60KB , 800x600 , TQ19.png )

>Tobak sighted! But who is she?
I don't know. Some hired hand by the looks of it. probably waiting for someone to show up or for the elevator like all the other contractors that hang around here.

>How much charge left on the jammer? Will it last you all the way up?
For sure. it's more what comes after that which I'll need to be quick about, I'm not really comfortable with giving everyone around me imaginary friends.

>Hm. Can you recharge it here somewhere in a socket? And/or position yourself somewhere so that it being on isn't terribly obvious to all of the many, many Tobaks waiting on this lift?
There are a few places where I can charge stuff, unfortunately I don't seem to have a cable that'll plug into the jammer. Having it set to the minimum range and avoiding people is good enough for people not to notice I don't have it turned on. Some of the tobaks walking past notice, but they all know to keep to themselves.

>Those interstellar companies have an uncanny talent to attract an almost uniform number of each of their member species to wherever they go.
Must be a pride thing. Then again, you won't see any tobaks on any other worlds. Or any of the others for that matter. If we ever do go offworld, it's usually for jobs in dark places where nobody ever sees us, like vents or sewers.

>Ask Kiero if he sees anyone from his hive.
"Do you see anyone from your hive down here?"
>"Nope, and I wouldn't expect to, they don't know I would be around here after all. I do see one neumono, but she looks like she works for security."
"By the way, what did the guy at the desk mean about me figuring something out eventually about aliens? I feel out of the loop."
>"Us neumono are made of sturdy stuff! Not to say I didn't almost die myself before you rescued me, but we do have like... twelve hearts or something."

>Is there a washroom or somewhere Kiero can get cleaned up?
All I can see are these big 'bathroom' houses they put up everywhere. I don't know why they call them that, I would seriously not recommend bathing in there. But beggars can't be choosers, and it does at the very least have a sink in there.
"Try not to take too long to wash all that off, elevator will be here soon. Feel free to waste as many paper towels as you like, they let you do it."
>"Feel free to wander around, I'll still be here!"
No. 1028022 ID: 77a030
File 164891262257.png - (247.66KB , 800x600 , TQ20.png )

>look for Napoleon.
I have yet to meet this Napoleon guy, and I am yet to know why he was so complex, but I'm sure we'll have a chance to meet someday.

In the meantime, I look for Louise, which doesn't take long, as I spot her signature red hat. She seems to be with an alien, a Pomi if I'm not mistaken. I don't know much about pomi, just that they import good sea food.

I try not to laugh, she's so short. I succeed for the most part, but I did crack a smile. She's like what, 5 foot something?

>"As promised."
She says, handing me the zeny chip.
"Pleasure doing business, Louise. Say, is that alien your escort?"
>"Oui. She is a geologist that needed protection while she came down to take cave samples."
"Awwww, Louise, who's your friend? He's adorable!"
>"Dowser? He is... Perhaps more... an associate."
"Why do you speak so funny?"
>"I speak eight languages, but I need more practise with English, as my French tends to show through a lot."
"Neat. I only know how to speak human."
>"je vois. I'm glad you were there to help me today. I did not want to have to ask Clover for help."
"Why not? Are you afraid she would say no?"
>"Non. Have you ever seen her say 'no' to anybody? It is just that she and I have history. She is nice, but her flaws put her on a path that I cannot foresee leading to any place good."
"You're probably just jealous because she's taller than you."
>"That too. She is unnaturally huge, why wouldn't I jealous? However, I do not envy being a scientist's pet."
No. 1028024 ID: c92a02

Which scientist is petting Clover? You should introduce yourself to this one too.
Anywhere to spend these credits? Maybe on a lead lined box?
No. 1028035 ID: ded0c8

She should give Clover some credit, she helped a lot against those worm things. She might be too friendly, yes, but she is reliable.
I hope she gets safely back soon.
No. 1028040 ID: 34dfce

Please don't use that color for the Pomi text. It is really hard to read.

>english, french, only speak human
You are adorable.
No. 1028041 ID: c28082


Allow me to recommend the "Nice" or "Pony" theme for maximum pomi-text viewability.
No. 1028056 ID: 9a2966

>Scientist's pet
You dunno, it seems to come with awesome benefits? She has a Tobak biosuit and a railgun now! Crazy stuff, came in real handy when she basically took one a whole nest's worth of razorwyrms. Well, besides the BIG one the radio tower fell on.

(just stop and consider that this was something that actually happened)

Wow... yeah, that was wild. What a trip this has been.

Anyway, glad to see their scientist came out of it alright! Got any good core samples out of that run, ma'am? Say, if she'd like to avoid the raider danger in the future, maybe she should just hire some local, trustworthy independent Tobaks to take her samples for her?

(Also, you're a local, trustworthy independent Tobak.)
No. 1028057 ID: 96c896

If the jammer's going to run out before you're clear and you don't have the shielded box anymore, then you need to ask someone for help. Hey you're talking to someone who can probably keep a secret why don't you ask her?
No. 1028060 ID: 5d9787

Dowser, you are kind of mean to the ladies. What is that about?
And you seem to have a very specific size preference.

What did you do to attract raiders with their pants down? Those guys were low on fuel, caring a hostage and afraid of be killed by someone name Lak.

Clover is a bit too wiling to take risks, but the things she is capable of doing are incredible. I asked her help expecting some cover fire, she end up wrestling razorworms and won! I never see anything like that.
No. 1028095 ID: ce39da

> Ms. Napoleon complex speaks French primarily...
Oh my god, it keeps getting better. You can't not have her down as "Napoleon" in your PDA!

> I only speak human. :v
Humans have a lot of languages, actually! The one you're speaking is English, which was adopted by pretty much everyone. French is another, but it's a lot more niche, so I'm not sure how Louise came to learn it and... wow, six others before getting around to English. You should compliment her on her progress towards becoming a polyglot, BTW!

"By the way, Clover's scientist wouldn't happen to be a Yicht Eater, would they?" If so: "Ooh, yeah, that thing he said makes sense, now."
No. 1028139 ID: 77a030
File 164896328974.png - (245.66KB , 800x600 , TQ21.png )

>Dowser, you are kind of mean to the ladies. What is that about?
I am? Maybe I've picked up some of Lyvy's mannerisms by accident. He isn’t mean to ladies, but he is mean to everyone.

>you seem to have a very specific size preference.
I don't know about that! While being tall is considered an attractive attribute in females, most including myself aren't super picky about it.

"Being a scientist's pet seems to come with some pretty awesome benefits. Have you seen the equipment they let her use?"
>"It's all neat now, but it'll go bad before you know it. Scientists push buttons and wait to see what goes wrong, it's their job. She signed every contract they handed her, so they can do whatever they want, like a full lobotomy or brain transplant. I distanced myself from them the first chance I got."
"You were around Clover's team of scientists?"
>"Yes, we were in the same control group in a study which examined the correlation between physical development and intelligence. I'd say the results speak for themselves if Clover's size and room temperate IQ are of any indication. Though that was years ago, I've moved on to other things."
"Give Clover some credit, she went above and beyond and wrestled razorworms today."
>"Yeah, that sounds like something she'd do..."

"What did you do to attract raiders?"
>"Exist, I assume. Perhaps they thought we were holding onto something valuable, or perhaps they would try take us hostage. Your guess is as good as mine."

"Hey Pomi lady, if you'd like to avoid the raider danger in the future, why don't you hire some local, trustworthy independent tobaks in the future? On an unrelated note, I am all those things."
"Is that an offer, is it? Perhaps we could work something out once I'm done with my job for today."
>"I would appreciate it if you didn't steal my clients, as much I can appreciate the hustle. If you're looking for work, you should maybe look into all those tobak disappearances. I hear they are paying for any clues you send in."
"Disappearances? What disappearances?"
>"People have been hanging up missing posters all over the place for at least a month or two. If you feel like playing detective, maybe look into that."

>Anywhere to spend these credits. Maybe on a lead lined box?
I don't see any shops down here, but I am thinking about all the new equipment I should get. I'm thinking a new PDA and goggles with all sorts of features. The only place I could spend any of this new cash are one of the various automatic vendors.
No. 1028141 ID: f373c9

>Tobak Disappearances

Say... were any potentially in possession of mysterious packages, or killed with a nail shotgun and/or shot to the head, that are known? Or simply vanished to never resurface, body and all?
No. 1028143 ID: 15a025

Any fancy pick axes around? Or other mining tools you could use.
No. 1028145 ID: 96c896

Ask her if she knows where you could get an EM-shielded box.
No. 1028150 ID: c92a02

Don't ask about the box down here, then. Save your credits and grab one of these missing posters to look into.
No. 1028154 ID: 5d9787

I just realize how strange those head wounds should be Dowser. At the time it was just a passing remark, it wasn't obvious to us what should be to him: if that was a bullet mark it meant it was done with a fire weapon that would blind any tobak around.
I don't think he could make the leap of logic to conclude it was a cattle gun. Is there even slaughterhouses for large animals around here? Maybe it's a component of the nailguns...

>missing posters
Do you know how many corpses I came across just wandering? It didn't even occurred to me anyone cared around here.
There is even some scientists interested in tobak corpses. That is what happened to those raiders, by the way. Although admittedly the guy who took them was a kidnapped scientist himself, so some of those could be alive.
What is the job? Locate their respective demise coordenastes? That is simple enough. Identify the dead? Very few I could do from memory. Discover who did it? There are so many answers for that one...

>steal my clients
You are a body guard. It's not like I can do what you can. I just fetch stuff.

>lined box
That wouldn't work.
Imagine if Dowser were to use a tinfoil hat that doesn't touch his horns. This tin Faraday Cage would prevent Dowser from sensing any other male tobak, but his own magnetic emissions would still be sensed by the others.
Just by explaining the properties we want for the box we would be revealing we are trying to hide something small that emit electric or magnetic signals. It shouldn't be a common item, so buying one would leave a paper trail for any future investigation.
If we want to keep this secret for much longer the best we can do is recharge the jammer. So if anything we should buy a cord.

>new PDA
If you can get one with non-luminous screen it would be a great improvement.
Just save some money to buy chocolate for Clover.
No. 1028167 ID: 77a030
File 164898406444.png - (240.70KB , 800x600 , TQ22.png )

>Ask her if she knows where you could get an EM-shielded box.
I think it could be a good idea to know, but I feel like she'd only ask questions instead of giving answers. It's also a tad specific, I don't know where you could acquire one in the first place.

>non-luminous screen PDA
If there is such a thing, it'd be a convenient thing to invest in. But if I had the cash to shell on something fancy like that, I might as well get cool cyborg eyes, so I don't have to worry about light exposure in the first place.

I look around for the missing posters, and it doesn't take long to find a wall with a bunch. I can even see someone nailing a few of his own on the wall, he looks very uneasy though, probably the shy type who would rather not be here but misses someone too much.

I pick one of the posters off the wall and look at all the others. One thing becomes clear very quickly, all those who have gone missing were not affiliated with any company, or in other words, were independents. That explains why I haven't heard about this and also who no big investigation has happened, seeing as the companies have no reason to care.

All the disappearances range from going missing 50 days ago to as recent as 2 days ago. Apparently, they all just vanished without a trace, no bodies or big clues have been found. It seems to only happen to male tobaks who were by themselves, or very small groups that go missing all at once. Attempts to trace electronics always fail, so these guys aren’t all just getting lost.

Just then, I hear a familiar voice speaking frantically from an enclosed alley.
"It's fine! Everything worked out! Well, not everything... we can get the key back."
Another voice responds, a female, the species of which I am not familiar with.
>"Forget the key. We can get it back. You being out here and running your mouth is what might become a problem. You speak so much when you feel threatened, you know that? We didn't expect the raiders to turn on us soon, but had the circumstances been different, Stair would've locked you in that server room with a bomb collar strapped to your neck like your assistant."
"Th-that won't be necessary!"
>"I'm just telling it like it is. So. who besides the raiders knows about what you do."
No. 1028168 ID: 1c6255

Uh-oh. Keep listening, stay out of their sightlines if possible.
No. 1028169 ID: a9af05

Sounds like the tobak with no pants that you rescued is here. At least we know he arrived safely. And it sounds like he's being scolded for running his mouth.

On one hand, I think you should reveal yourself to try and get a reward for rescuing the guy with no pants. On the other hand, I'm worried that the alien female might only threaten you to keep you from mentioning anything the guy with no pants said to you.

It might be best to just ignore them and go get Kiero, so you can be ready and don’t have to worry about missing the elevator.
No. 1028170 ID: 5d9787

>I might as well get cool cyborg eyes
Maybe I should start to collect those old e-books readers. Apparently they will be worth a fortune in the distant future.

Targeting unaffiliateds could be done by many opportunistic criminals, but to clean after imply a more methodical approach. Unless those people are really dedicate to avoid be investigated they likely have a use to the corpses. Which coincidentally remind me of Kell.

Just poke your head to see if he is about to denounce us for knowing too much. Although ironically bossy lady just made more incriminating comments than he ever did.
No. 1028171 ID: ce39da

You should keep listening, for sure. I don't know if you can effectively peek without sticking your snout or horns out super far, however; it'd be gambling on who's facing the entrance.

... Maybe arm your nail gun, if you still have it?
No. 1028178 ID: 9a2966

>Secret laboratory, assistant with bomb collar, working with the raiders, Kell actually wanting to keep the bodies
It's getting more and more verified that Kellie is not exactly working for great people here! He didn't seem too terrible himself, at least. More stuck in a sticky situation (what with also being threatened with bomb collar!).

Let's hang back a bit and see if he'll actually blab (he might not, despite being a blabberer - you did after all, not act like a dick with him and also rescued his life). Maybe take a peek on who he's with? Not sure we should get involved in a longer conversation here. We do need to get back to Kiero before the 15 minutes are up and I really don't think we should miss our elevator, given the jammer battery situation.

Though you could rip the bandaid premptively and decisively get to know who this 'seems like trouble' lady is by peeking in 'by chance' to see him (plus whoever he's with!), then say 'Oh hey, it's that guy I rescued! You still doing okay there, buddy?' and just wander on up and get introduced to his skeevy and clearly criminal alien lady friend. Gives you a chance to control the narrative and steer it away from Kell having blabbed about the CAI.

Weird magnetic rock that affects Tobaks weirdly. Tobaks that won't be missed (much) going missing.

Is someone kidnapping test subjects in the area?
No. 1028179 ID: c28082


Oh shit. Miiiiight be time to make ourselves scarce, since there is NO WAY, Pantless Mc Nerdface isn't going to recognize us and start babbling incoherently (again).
No. 1028180 ID: c92a02

Is he about to spill the beans on us? Stick around and find out!
No. 1028211 ID: 34dfce

>ebook reader
Seriously, electric ink screens aren't that expensive. Rare maybe, but not expensive.

>EM Box
I mentioned before that we just need some fine metal mesh and line a box with it. It should make a decent faraday cage. The mesh could be off of window screens or computer filters.

keep flipping thru the sheets, but put your full attention on eavesdropping the conversation. Make sure you DO NOT get caught. They sound like the type that would reward your heroism permanently.
No. 1028213 ID: 96c896

Well, we could do that, but we'd need to know what wavelength the ore is outputting, to ensure the cage is thick enough.
If we can get a box made of a high enough purity ferromagnetic material, that'd work too.
No. 1028214 ID: 77a030
File 164905460257.png - (202.55KB , 800x600 , TQ23.png )

>... Maybe arm your nail gun, if you still have it?
I have it on me. I hold it close, but I hopefully won't need to use it.

I'm curious about the conversation, but I don't want to make myself known to them. I do want to take a peek, just to confirm that the voice belongs to who I think it does.

It's the pantsless guy. I actually forgot his name, I guess he wasn't really that memorable to me. He isn't looking my way, so he doesn't see me. I can't see who he is talking to, as she seems to be standing opposite to him just out of view. they are both in a dead end, I'm currently standing next to the only way out.

"Calm down, I didn't tell anybody directly about what I do. I may have said that I have a general interest in CAI, but I didn't talk about the project, I didn't even tell the raiders about what we've been working on." Luckily, he keeps mention of Axyl and I out of the conversation.
>"Good. Just wanted to make sure the tobaks that rescued you were still in the dark. But while we're on the subject of the raiders, what did you do with the two bodies?"
"I got that glade tobak to dump them at one of the dropoff points, they might be usable still. I was told that the third raider got off with the backpack, so I don't know what happened to him."
>"Don't worry about it. We're sending one of the fixers to take care of it."
No. 1028215 ID: 77a030
File 164905462227.png - (175.86KB , 800x600 , TQ24.png )

"So... you weren't serious about the bomb collar thing, right? because I think I'm allergic-"
>"Half serious. As much as you should be kept on a tighter leash, Stair insists on giving you special treatment despite you being the most incompetent, inept, and quite frankly, moronic tobak I have ever met. He must know you're too stupid to conspire against him."
"Ah, that's a relief!"
>"The elevator going down will be here soon. It looks like I'll be taking the one going up. I despise aliens with every fibre of my being, so I'd really not stay here babysitting you any longer than necessary."
"Stair is an alien... do you hate him?"
>"Stair is a Yich Eater, one of the exceptions. his species don't have a company, and they certainly weren't around during the dominion wars. I respect him, and our goals happen to overlap."
"Why can't you be more like tobaks? Most of us don't mind the aliens."
>"We're getting off topic. You know where to go from here, and we're keeping an eye on you. I would suggest you refrain from any conversation involving CAI."
”…We still have a few minutes to burn… So… you watch any good shows lately?”

It seems like they are still talking, and the elevator will be here in a few minutes. I could rip the band aid and go in, getting Kellie to vouch for me being a stranger while I can meet this bossy lady, and see if I can get information on these guys. That or I can simply move on with my day.
No. 1028216 ID: c92a02

I don't think they're hiring right now. In fact I think they're clearing house. With a nail shotgun.
Let's go to the elevator early so we don't meet them walking out of the alley, and take special note of all the aliens who take the elevator up with you.
No. 1028221 ID: e06420

>You speak so much when you feel threatened
>who besides the raiders knows about what you do
Stealth would be counterproductive here. Your name's about to come up regardless, and then somebody's going to start on a plan for silencing you permanently. Better strategy is to let them know that trying to kill you would cause far more problems for them than it could possibly solve.

Walk into the alley, interrupt that conversation, name-drop one or more of the organizations your recent heroics have aided to such an extent that they might plausibly investigate if something terrible were to happen to you. Maybe something like this:

"Oh, hey, it's my friend the pantsless computer programmer! You telling these nice folks about the raiders I rescued you from? Certainly wouldn't mind getting paid twice, by two separate alien science security teams, for such a quick little side gig, but I can't stay and chat for long. Soon as the elevator gets here I've got to finish escorting somebody to the queen of the Hive Company. Probably going to invoice 'em for a replacement pickaxe, too. There were significantly more razorworms in that nest than I expected. Client's missing an arm and a leg, but, eh, you know how neumono are. Say, would you happen to know where I can find a spare power supply for a military-grade ECM backpack?"

Lots of threats implied, but nothing directly hostile or provably false. Verbally juxtaposing the razorworms and lost pickaxe implies unreasonable levels of hand-to-hand combat skill on your part, which is a lie of omission, but close enough to the truth that inquiry into events might seemingly confirm it.

>Rare maybe, but not expensive.
Limited global supply, high local demand, and megacorps probably don't want the barely-uplifted natives to become fully independent if that might interfere with extracting maximum profits from them. Seems plausible fully tobak-eye-friendly screens would be prohibitively expensive.
No. 1028222 ID: e06420

Ah, I guessed wrong. Deterrence might still be worthwhile, though.
No. 1028225 ID: 96c896

I think you should pretend you didn't hear any of this, and maybe pretend you've never met Kell before either. Getting yourself involved is likely to result in threats of bodily harm if not outright assassination attempts. We don't know enough to report them to the authorities aside from the CAI research which is... probably illegal?

What's the moral thing to do here? I wonder if you should try telling the authorities. You don't have any proof though.
No. 1028226 ID: 1c6255

Walk away so they don't know you heard thme, but if possible keep an eye on the alleyway's exit to see what this middle-manager looks like.
It sounds like you'll be sharing an elevator with them.

Ideally we should avoid getting seen by Kellie (who'll be taking the other elevator so it's doable); at least we don't want him to introduce us to his boss.
No. 1028228 ID: 9a2966

I'm a bit torn, but it seems less complicating to just leave. Sounds like their business is skeevy enough that you could do with avoiding it! Kellie did say he might put you in contact with his boss, so it's not like you HAVE to have this conversation now. (Though, geez, now you have to hope they don't just want you for your body!)

>Chat with someone else to burn last few minutes
Maybe a quick chat with that shy Tobak who posted a disappearance note to see if there's any more information to gain? Or check in on Clay. You could just pretend you're on a hidden communicator as you ask how they're holding up.

>Dominion wars
What were the dominion wars now again? Whoever this was seems to hold a grudge against "aliens", which is weird if they are of an unfamiliar species to you! Could they be another intelligent species from your planet?
No. 1028230 ID: 5d9787

Note the details of this conversation, we are revisiting it when it becomes more relevant.

I'm not sure if this xenophobia and war commentaries is a reference I'm missing or something Dowser might know about. If dominion wars is the alien take over of this planet than she belong to a local sapient specie, but for what I know it could be a reference to an event in one of Lagotrope's quests.

It seems we will be sharing the elevator with boos lady. Try to pay attention to the female aliens you see there.

Let's get our soaked one arm friend.
No. 1028238 ID: c28082


If we go that route, best to slink back a good few meters and walk a little loudly, to make it seem like we're just now happening upon things and recognize this doofus' voice.

If NOT, then ... yeah, boyfriend material Kiero still needs a hand (and leg) to get out of the toilet-hut and into the elevator, after all.
No. 1028240 ID: 36784c

This seems like something we shouldn’t get involved in.

Let’s go back to Kiero, he’s going to need help to get out of that bathroom house you left him in.
No. 1028250 ID: ded0c8

This guy... was talking about using the bodies of the tobaks we killed... Now he mentions a drop-point... And they are talking about it as a frequent occurrence.
You think that the desapearences of tobak are related to this? It's too much of a coincidence.

I would suggest to get away from there. You don't want to know about that. Not much you can do about it either.
No. 1028252 ID: ce39da

A "project" that involves CAI and needs lots of dead Tobaks... That's... No, it can't be... But then your kinds' reputation for being "made for cybernetics," plus your personal experience with doing screwy electromagnetic necromancy shit with your mind, uh... paints a pretty suggestive picture. Could a male Tobak effectively become a biological CAI under the right conditions? (Maybe our "Clay" iteration has some input on this theory?)

And I agree with >>1028228's assessment that we need to be on the lookout for a female non-Tobak native of this planet when we're on the elevator. How familiar are you with your planet's various sapients, Dowser? (We also have context, now, for some of the suspected bosses that raider was spitting at us - the "damn Yich Eater" is likely Stair or one of his associates, and it's possible that "Lak" or "one of those corporate hitmen" is the cleaner this lady was referring to, given that these raiders "betrayed" their group.)

Given that these guys were cooperating with raiders and need dead Tobaks - possibly where all the missing independents went - we don't want to be noticed by them if we can help it. If it's possible to head back to the toilets while keeping an eye on that alley's entrance, it'd be great to discreetly confirm our mystery woman's identity. If not, however, just head back to the toilets anyway.
No. 1028715 ID: 15a025

Stroll on in, Dowser.
No. 1028786 ID: 77a030
File 164963329811.png - (381.19KB , 800x600 , TQ25.png )

>What's the moral thing to do here? I wonder if you should try telling the authorities. You don't have any proof though.
Doing the right thing does give me a warm, fuzzy feeling, but I can't tell exactly what these individuals are up to. If they did do something wrong, there aren't really any proper authorities to tell. Closest thing we have is the Saxum Overwatch, which is a 'neutral' organisation which is completely toothless when it comes to anything other than handing out fines.

>You think that the disappearances of tobaks are related to this?
Correlation isn't always causation, but I wouldn't dismiss it entirely. Just who is this Kellie guy I rescued?

One thing I know for certain, I do not want to get involved with whatever those two are up to. I already have enough on my plate as is, and a hunch is telling me that they are a dangerous crowd. Just to be safe, I'll pretend I never heard any of this, and that I never met whoever this Kellie guy is. I leave and try my best to avoid being seen by Kellie, lest he try involving me.

>Whoever this was seems to hold a grudge against "aliens", which is weird if they are of an unfamiliar species to you! Could they be another intelligent species from your planet?
Tobaks certainly aren't the only intelligent species from my planet, but I would say that we are the favourites of the aliens, judging by how close to 75% of all uplifted species on this planet are a number of tobak variants. I know of about three other intelligent lifeforms besides tobaks, and two of those don't visit these parts much.

>What were the dominion wars again?
When the companies were in a big rush to set up operations within the ‘22 line’, there were a whole bunch of direct conflicts between the bigger corporations, a whole lot more fighting than they do now. There were team ups, betrayals, some companies even got kicked out of Saxum for good. While things eventually resolved, some parts of the environment never recovered.

>take special note of all the females who take the elevator up with you.
That sounds like a good idea. I'll be sure to be on the lookout.

As I go back to pick up Kiero, I stick around a little to see Kellie leave the alley, which he does in his usual timid manor. I wait to see if the other person that was talking to him leaves, but I never see anybody else walk out.

I pick my no longer bloodied friend and we get ready to head up to pay his little hive a surprise visit. A crowd of other independent tobaks builds up around the elevator as we all wait for it to open up. I get a few weird looks here and there from guys who have never seen a neumono outside the depot before.

The elevator doors open, and out comes an entire army of armed company tobaks. It isn't the most tobaks I've ever seen in one place, but there must have at least been hundreds packed into that elevator. They go on for as far as the eye can see. I can even see some vehicles here and there.
No. 1028787 ID: 77a030
File 164963331518.png - (242.57KB , 800x600 , TQ26.png )

This whole thing looks... Excessive to say the least. I'm pretty sure these are the Heef company guys. I know hardly anything about Heefs, but if their actions are anything to go by, I get the feeling that they are hyper militaristic. Makes sense that their company specialises in making weapons, equipment, vehicles, and spaceships. That aside, I have never seen this level of escalation before. What are they doing? I'm sure there is someone in charge around here if I care to look.

A minute goes by as the whole army is marching past the other onlooking spectators and I. One group that passes by is what looks to be over a hundred different Sect from a hive. Not like a nuemono hive, but a Sect hive. Admittedly they have a bunch of similarities, but they work very different from all the info Kiero has told me. The fact that they are working alongside this army means that their Queen must be nearby.

One of them slows down to look at me. Creepy! what in the world is going on here?
No. 1028788 ID: c92a02

Sect must have some sort of empathy sense too, like tobak and neumono. Maybe they can sense the rock too, and the jammer's only covering certain frequencies.
Just smile and wave! Their fluff puts neumono and tobaks to shame.
No. 1028793 ID: 90c451

I doubt they have empathy sense, that's a specialized evolution and if you gave off empathy Kiero would be able to tell, they probably have something similar to your magnetic radar bout for communication though, which is probably what those antenna before, so we can expect hive response times on par with neumono.
Anyway yeah, just let them pass, probably eyeing you because you're really out of place, what with the wounded neumono and jammer and all.
Don't respond, just enter the elevator once they all leave, don't give them more reasons to be suspicious of you.
No. 1028794 ID: 2aa5f0

tilt head in confusion
No. 1028796 ID: 96c896

Well you have their attention, ask what's going on.
No. 1028807 ID: ce39da

> In Full Force
Considering the (I assume) high-stakes deal that wound up dropping off the face of Saxum (as far as they know), I wouldn't be surprised if the Heef thought the Pomi betrayed them in a significant way. You might be holding one of several MacGuffins that's about to spark a war!

> Your Response
Just smile and wave. The jammer's probably messing with them just like the other psychic species. Even if the "hive" nature of their abilities likely makes this a particularly unpleasant experience for them, we shouldn't just give them an opening to ask that we turn it off by asking if there's something they want or whatever.
No. 1028827 ID: 8b763d

"You need something?"

Man this day just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
No. 1028835 ID: 1c6255

> I get a few weird looks here and there from guys who have never seen a neumono outside the depot before.
They may also be close enough to sense you're carrying a running jammer.
Hey, if anyone asks about *that*, maybe you can bullshit that it's because you're carrying a neumono?
No. 1028836 ID: 1c6255

>Big armed force
I think some raiders messed with the wrong company, so they've decided to synergyze an enterprising taskforce to advertise what happens when you fuck with them. And they're sending a big excessive force because if they don't spend this year's nail budget, it will be reduced next year.
No. 1028838 ID: 5d9787

This might have something to do with the Heef and Pomi sour trade. That would mean either a war escalation between the two companies or the persecution of a third party.

Since you haven't established any wireless transmission abilities for the Sect yet I will not assume she (I'm just assuming they are infertile females because bees) did not notice the jammer but instead is looking because of the neumono trying to hide behind your back. Don't forget Kiero also have secrets of his own.
We don't even know what we should be hiding (other than the obvious) so just be naturally confused and answer any question with the minimum amount of information possible.
No. 1028841 ID: b01382

Shoot the shit as they say, make some small talk. Ask them if they like what they do. Any surplus mil tec store places they know where we can buy gear on the cheap?

So selling the junk+raider truck, selling the location to the dead tobak and their loot, us earning 500 muny just recently by helping the science group. How much are we going to earn for the previous two things? What happened to all the weapons and gear from those bandits? Were we not going to keep some of their weapons?

You said something in the last thread. Something about how females are probably the only ones strong enough to wear and utilize the the bio armor suits. Whay can we get if not those? Ceramic armor? Kevlar? Anything to stop nails and bullets? Power armor?

Regarding tobak anatomy and general anatomy, looking at something bright enough can make you go blind right? Well, what if we bought one of those flashlight torches? You know, those hand held torches bright enough that it can make fires or permanently blind you? Im thinking whats stopping us from using this as a weapon? People using nightvision goggles will probably get blindee if we shine the light in theirs goggles. For tobaks it would peobably blind them regardless.

You mentioned cyber eyes a few posts back. It might be worth investing in at least one cybereye. How much does a single one cost?
No. 1028842 ID: 77a030
File 164966813705.png - (240.59KB , 800x600 , TQ27.png )

>Their fluff puts neumono and tobaks to shame.
It's true. I feel outclassed.

>I think some raiders messed with the wrong company, so they've decided to synergize an enterprising taskforce to advertise what happens when you fuck with them. And they're sending a big excessive force because if they don't spend this year's nail budget, it will be reduced next year.
I would seriously not put it past some companies - this company in particular, to pull something like that.

>This might have something to do with the Heef and Pomi sour trade. That would mean either a war escalation between the two companies or the persecution of a third party.
One thing is for certain, these guys know more about something that I don’t, and I better move out of their way if I don't want to get trampled on.

>They may also be close enough to sense you're carrying a running jammer.
The Sect don't have any sort of electrical sense, at least none that I'm aware of. The surrounding tobaks don’t even notice because of the sheer volume of people in the area, making it hard to pin down where things are going by magnetic frequencies alone.

Man, this day just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Hopefully it only gets more normal from here… maybe I’ll need a long break after this.

I meekly smile and give him a little wave
He doesn't do anything in response
I tilt my head in confusion
He doesn't do anything in response
"You need something?"
Again, he does nothing to respond.

I guess it should come without surprise that he won't respond to anything I do to him, he is after all, completely unaware of anything is he doing, being a part of a hive mind and all. Another reason he wouldn't be able to speak is that he doesn't have a voice collar on. As a matter a fact, I'm surprised that he can see me at all considering how bad their eyesight is. Maybe he smelled me or something.
Kiero looks down at me.
>"What's with these guys?"
"The Sect? Just your average hive minded species. I think these guys are a little different from you though. A lot less individualistic. There is a queen around here controlling them all, that much is certain."
>"Can he understand us?"
"Probably not. Look into his eyes. See that glazed look? It's like the lights are on but nobody's home."
>"Can we snap him out of it?"
"It's possible. But if you think neumono rogues have it bad, you don't wanna know what these guys do to their rogues. I'll give you a tip though, it's the same thing they do to their injured."
>"That sounds ominous..."
"You know what, I might as well tell you. They straight up eat them."
"Yeah, these guys are wild."
No. 1028843 ID: 77a030
File 164966815837.png - (258.01KB , 800x600 , TQ28.png )

A jeep comes down the road and sitting in the front seat are three distinguished figures. A tobak of some importance, similar to the real Clay, judging by his outfit. I'm guessing he is a somewhat high rank in his chain of command judging by the beret. In the middle is the notably large Sect hive queen, also wearing some kind of distinguished uniform I can see she has a voice collar on, so she must be speaking to the others in some capacity. On the other end is a Heef, of the same species that owns the company. I still don't know much about them, other than that they are always angry looking, and it hurts when they peck you.

Company malitia leaders are usually called 'war bosses' by tobaks who don't bother to keep up with the proper terms, and you usually don't see more than one of them leading a large group. Seeing three war bosses in one spot, combining their forces together is an unusual sight to behold. They are talking with one another, but I can't hear what they are saying over the noise. The tobak of the group is holding some kind of device, I have no clue what it is.
No. 1028844 ID: 060b37

Lets hope the device the tobak has is not something that is tracking the magic rock. Man we need a new case for that thing that is lined to block it out.

If they stop and all start looking over at you its time to sink into the crowd and leave. As it will prove its a device that can detect the rock.
No. 1028846 ID: 96c896

Maybe you should start slinking into the crowd and leaving.
No. 1028847 ID: 2aa5f0

yeah this looks like something that is quickly escalating. Best we get going and return green-y back home before a bomb or something goes off and everyone starts shooting everyone. I'm exaggerating of course but if someone is marching around with this many bodies and this many guns you know that someone is probably about to have a bad day and I don't want to be anywhere around them incase their bad day becomes your bad day as well.
No. 1028848 ID: 4245ce

Oh, okay, guess the Sect are mammalians.

How many funny designs do the tobaks come in?

Let's try getting closer and watching what's happening.
No. 1028850 ID: 53819e

That Tobak is getting squished up against the side of the jeep by the large Sect lady. I wonder if he hates it or if he's enjoying being so close to those huge boobs?

......damn, those things are huge! Try not to get caught staring at the giant lady's boobs.
No. 1028851 ID: 90c451

I think it's best to leave before you get noticed, try to get closer to the elevator, or if they're still pouring out then try to just stay away and wait for a moment to leave.
If they are after that rock then you're a dead man, if they aren't you're still probably a dead man for tampering with the scene, let's just hope they go after the bandits thinking they have the rock instead.
No. 1028857 ID: 983dbd

Compliment the queen’s huge… armies where the drone can hear you. Then shuffle off into the elevator crowd. They might be more interested in seeing the neumono than you.
No. 1028865 ID: b01382

I had no idea hive queens were so top heavy, wow just. WOW! Those are some....attractive features. God I feel bad for the one button keeping hee shirt together. That must be one hell of a button.

Try looking normal and dont draw attention to yourself. As much as a mole alien carry a gree space dog can look.
No. 1028866 ID: a9af05

>The Sect eat their injured.
It's possible the drone is staring at Kiero and it sees that he's injured, so it's wondering if Kiero is your food. You should head towards the elevator before one of those drones try to eat Kiero!
No. 1028869 ID: f3f534

Damn! Those boobs are bigger than your head!

Whatever the war boobs bosses are doing, you don't want anything to do with it. Let's leave before you're caught looking at the Sect queen's chest.
No. 1028871 ID: 36784c

>the Sect eat their rouges and injured
I don’t think eating the injured is limited to their own species. They might also eat injured members of other species. Which means that Kiero might become a potential meal if you don’t start moving away and going towards the elevator!

>notably large Sect hive queen

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
No. 1028877 ID: c28082


Somewhere, somehow, shit is about to get REAL for someone less fortunate than ourselves.


Jeez, these guys ARE creepy. And I thought Clover was a giant.

Anyway, looks like they're just making a perimeter to let their units move unobstructed. Might as well wait to join everyone else in what is apparently a really, really huge elevator.
No. 1028879 ID: 1c6255

Hm, could this mysterious boss lady be a Sect queen too? Possibly one who was ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL on one dude rather than go in person?

That, or Kellie had her on speakerphone, in which case wow, he really is that unwise.
No. 1028880 ID: 77a030
File 164970812960.png - (243.16KB , 800x600 , TQ29.png )

>Somewhere, somehow, shit is about to get REAL for someone less fortunate than ourselves.
I almost feel bad for whoever incurred the wrath of this particular company, but they must have really done something bad.

>If they are after that rock then you're a dead man
I'd rather not think of that possibility!

>That Tobak is getting squished up against the side of the jeep by the large Sect lady.
I'd hate to be in that position when they take a sharp turn.

>I had no idea hive queens were so top heavy
I mean, they are big, and don't move around a whole lot. I think she might be the same size as Clover, maybe bigger. Certainly wider, that's for certain. All the other sect females are closer to my size though.

>Those are some....attractive features
I'm can't say I see myself falling for a sect queen, but I do know a rogue or two who might be interested.

>Compliment the queen’s huge… armies where the drone can hear you
I do so, but the drone doesn't respond. Rude!

>Let’s hope the device the tobak has is not something that is tracking the magic rock.
None of them are looking my way, so that might mean I'm good. Whatever they are looking for, it is likely something unrelated to me.

>Let's leave before you're caught looking at the Sect queen's chest.
Looking at what? her - oh, I think she noticed me.
Uh oh we just made eye contact, she's looking at me.
She smiles and turns up her speaker.

>"Take a photo, it'll last longer! Or would you prefer an autograph? Only if you have a pen."

I didn't really care for either but now I'm upset that I lack a camera or pen. I need to bring those down next time. The sudden attention is too much for me, so I slink away into the crowd.
No. 1028881 ID: 77a030
File 164970815185.png - (249.77KB , 800x600 , TQ30.png )

>It's possible the drone is staring at Kiero and it sees that he's injured, so it's wondering if Kiero is your food. You should head towards the elevator before one of those drones try to eat Kiero!
Oh hell no, they aint eating my buddy! I make a bee line for the elevator, shoving my way past the Sect and tobaks to the elevator door.

Almost in the elevator, I slow down when I notice a very out of place tobak. He isn't from the company because he is wearing a red cloth around his neck with a distinctive lack of uniform. His left arm seems to be robotic, and he is wearing some sort of gas mask and cloak, equipped with something that is definitely not a nail gun. In his other hand is a device, the same device that was being used by the tobak in the jeep, same shape and color.

He stands still and looks at both of us. His intentions don't seem hostile but it's hard to tell. He doesn't say anything, he just looks intently at Kiero and I. Does he hate aliens or something? He better not be a neumono hater, because one of my friends is a neumono. After a while it's clear he doesn’t want to say anything, so we could walk right past. It's weird, I feel like I've seen this guy around before. I don't think he is going scavenging or spelunking, he doesn't have the right equipment. Maybe he's just an amateur?
No. 1028882 ID: 8eb91d

This would be General Clay’s lot, right? I wonder if he went rogue and they’re here to hunt him down. Did you keep anything of his that might, uh, smell of him?

Insects tend to have a good sense for smells and pheromones. Maybe move discreetly away from them. Something twigged the one guy on you, after all.
No. 1028883 ID: 96c896

Ask him what the strange device is.
No. 1028884 ID: 8eb91d

Skilled bounty hunter? Seems important if he’s got one of those doohickeys while the three warleaders are sharing one. Plus all that bionic tech can’t have come cheap.

Ask if you’ve met before or if he just has one of those faces.

Try to keep a minimum distance, given the jammer and rock. You could also just try to give him a wide berth, but maybe you can ask what the heck all the hullaballo is about, since you’re both indies?
No. 1028891 ID: 50af53

He may be one of those heavy duty merc types, watching over the proceeding army. I mean if he can afford a robotic arm and what seems like a normal gun, he's probably got resources closer to what clovers getting from those nerds.

Speaking of clover, has it been long enough that she may have gotten some kind of treatment yet? If so, send her a text if you can. She's a sweety, and I worry for her.
No. 1028892 ID: 5d9787

Dude, just say something. I don't know why you guys are even paying attention to me.
No. 1028893 ID: 50af53

How hard would it be for Louise to disguise herself as the opposite gender?
No. 1028897 ID: c92a02

Act casual. "Boy, a lot of interesting characters on this lift today!"
No. 1028899 ID: ce39da

> Sensors
Sure, you can assume it's unrelated to you, but it's equally likely that the jammer is blocking the rock from detection. And this guy is much more likely to take note of that.

> Response
Don't pry beyond "you look familiar - have we met?"

If he doesn't hold up his end of the convo, just move past him with a "must be imagining it." Keep your eyes peeled for a female non-Tobak native to walk over that threshold after you at some point.
No. 1028917 ID: 36784c

>Sect queen caught you looking at her chest
Look on the bright side, at least you learned something. You learned that this one specific Sect queen doesn’t mind you looking at her chest, since she wasn’t insulted enough to have one or more of her drones beat you up for doing that.

And you also learned that you really enjoy women with large boobs! If you could just find a woman with large boobs that would be willing to be your girlfriend, you’d be very happy right about now!

>strange tobak
>It's weird, I feel like I've seen this guy around before.
A big robot arm is hard to miss. Do you know anyone from the contact list in your PDA that has a robot arm like that?
No. 1028960 ID: 2aa5f0

well the odd guy has a real gun so he's either a merc that deals with things that need more then a few nail guns to handle, in the same kind of boat as clover, or some kind of hunter. Also pretty sure the reason he was staring at you is probably because it's not every day you see a crippled Neumono riding a tobak so was probably tying to figure out what the hell was going on there.
No. 1028999 ID: 77a030
File 164974821154.png - (242.94KB , 800x600 , TQ31.png )

>This would be General Clay’s lot, right? I wonder if he went rogue and they’re here to hunt him down.
That is a very interesting theory. Unfortunately, I may never know if this was the case, it's possible the whole thing will be covered up.

>How hard would it be for Louise to disguise herself as the opposite gender?
Considering she's still like a solid foot taller than a male, pretty difficult. She could maybe fool a few people if she folded her ears and crouched down just right.

>A big robot arm is hard to miss. Do you know anyone from the contact list in your PDA that has a robot arm like that?
I know plenty of guys with cybernetics, but most if not all work under a company. Independents with cybernetics are pretty uncommon.

>Skilled bounty hunter? Seems important if he’s got one of those doohickies while the three war leaders are sharing one. Plus, all that bionic tech can’t have come cheap.
>He may be one of those heavy duty merc types, watching over the proceeding army
Good points, seems this guy isn't here looking for salvage. Admittedly he looks the part to be some cool bounty hunter merc. I wonder what the gas mask is for - is it to hide his identity? Now that I think about it, his whole body is covered. Is he some kind of celebrity that doesn't want to be recognised? I am so getting a camera next time.

Kiero looks to me.
>"Dowser, I think... No. Never mind."
"What's up?"
>"I thought I picked up on something. False alarm."

"You look familiar - have we met?"
He shakes his head. At least he is responsive.
"Boy, a lot of interesting characters on this lift today!"
He does some sort of affirming nod. Is he a mute?
"Let me guess, you're looking at the neumono?"
He does a slow nod
"What does that device do?"
Confronted with a question that needs more than a yes or no answer, he thinks for a minute.
..."Is it a tracking device?"
He nods his head.
I wave him goodbye. He waves back and proceeds to walk away. So strange...

Kiero and I enter the elevator together and take a seat. The elevator fills with a mixed bag of tobaks and a variety of aliens. I try to keep track of all the alien females and non tobak natives that come in, but I can't see them all. When everyone is in, the elevator door closes, and we begin to ascend.

I look to Kiero beside me, he has an expression of discomfort. I don't need to be an empath to tell that he is feeling something he wants to get off his chest.
"Are you good, Kiero?"
>"Y-yeah... I'm just thinking about stuff is all."
"The data bank?"
>"Huh? Oh, no, not about that. I forgot all about that if I'll be honest."
"So, what's on your mind?"
>"Well... I think I'm just... among other things... trying to think of a way to properly, y'know... thank you."
No. 1029000 ID: 284627

> trying to think of a way to properly, y'know... thank you."

We’ll do you think you’re hive could pay me? I don’t mean to sound like an asshole trying to advantage of you or your hive but I only have around a months worth of cash left before I’m out on the street and starving. The whole reason I was down there was to find enough scrap to make ends meat but kinda put that on hold to help you out.
No. 1029001 ID: 96c896

Tell him that once you're somewhere more secure there is something you want to talk about, something his hive might be able to help with.
No. 1029006 ID: 5d9787

Honestly I expect some form of monetary reward. It costed me some resources and I got some favors to repay as result. It's not that I can't get over if you can't pay though, so don't take this as a literal debt.
It would also be nice if this result in recurrent jobs. As an independent scavenger profit isn't always consistent. Maybe you will think of me next time you decide to walk across razorworm sands.
But if you are talking about something less professional we could hang out. You look like someone nice to be around, and I already miss how talkative you were before you started feeling self-conscious and shy.
No. 1029019 ID: b01382

I'unno, suprise me. Know how I can get some protection?
No. 1029020 ID: 8eb91d

>Masked, entirely covered, Kiero reacting oddly
Coooould they have been a rogue in disguise? Neumono bionics are rare but not unheard of, right? If they were giving off a Tobak vibe (you wouldn’t know due to jammer)... well, we know something that does that. Don’t state this out loud, though.

Really, for goodness’ sake keep any indication of the rock on the down low. Given the military response from the Heff corp... eesh. Better make sure nobody even has a hint you have something until you decide to show it to someone who can actually handle it. This elevator is still a public place!

Uh, well, you can’t exactly complain no matter what he feels will be suitable. But as an independent you can always use... well, a lot of things! Friends, money, tools, a place to offload decent salvage, heck a place to stay in a pinch. Not that you expect his Hive to instantly turn around and treat you super well. It’s a family business and all, and you’re an indie. But you hope one positive impression will count for something.

If he has to give it out of his own paycheck, eh, you wouldn’t want to be a huge economic burden and all - he’s gonna need those bionics, after all - but an introduction to his hive as a dependable guy would be cool. You’d be more than willing to help out on occasion for proper compensation.

Honestly you’re pretty stoked just at the prospect of having an alien buddy. First proper! (Except for the voice in your head.) If he’d put up with answering a bunch of probably stupid questions that’d also be awesome.
No. 1029022 ID: c4c97f

Money or gear is fine. Would you prefer a steady job with benefits to the life of an independent, Dowser?
No. 1029023 ID: a057e4

Going by the goggles I'd say a more likely (though still strange) explanation would be a tobak, though with cybernetics that allow some neumono-empathy <-> tobak-magnetosense interplay.

Just see what he's thinking. He might have something more interesting to offer then you may think.
No. 1029024 ID: 36784c

A new pickaxe would be a nice start.
No. 1029027 ID: 93d09b

>"I thought I picked up on something. False alarm."
"You would know about that more than i do, but if you ask me, i would pay attention to whatever your empathy picks up. This has been a really weird day, full of weird people and aliens."

>thank you
"If you are thinking about a proper compensation, you let the hive think about that, that comes with the job. But you are my buddy now, so don't worry your pretty little head about that. Or you could pay me with some alien food. Or you can introduse me to some neumono ladys. Is the Queen single?".
No. 1029028 ID: 93d09b

Hey, you think your hive would have some jobs for me? I am open to employment.
No. 1029036 ID: c28082


If it's some kind of communications device, it could be a short-range radio-like thing. Maybe he's an independent that's signed on for whatever ... Big Queen is about to do?


Awww ... poor guy. We're already friends and we've been hugging for at least the last hour, right? We'll figure it out.

But now I'm wondering if Mr. Robak (that's his name now) might not be a neumono in disguise. Did we get a good look at his tails, or were those covered, too?
No. 1029049 ID: 77a030
File 164979374490.png - (127.48KB , 800x600 , TQ32.png )

>I'm wondering if Mr. Robak (that's his name now) might not be a neumono in disguise. Did we get a good look at his tails, or were those covered, too?
'Mr. Robak' being a disguised neumono is a bit of a long shot. I couldn't see his tails because he was covered, head to toe with a long coat. I think it's possible he has some sort of medical condition, like if light touched him, he'll explode or something. It's also possible he is a full robot under there, or my personal favourite theory, a big pulsating mass of alien fungus.

>Would you prefer a steady job with benefits to the life of an independent, Dowser?
It has its pros and cons. In the past I worked for Edevane Chemicals as an excavator and later a sapper, all for a few years. but I got sick of being paid with company credit, especially for how dangerous the work was. I became independent to avoid being exploited, but if I can find a company that treats me right, I'd be on board.

"You're looking for a way to thank me?"
>"You did more than save my life. You saved my life, stopped me from starving, walked me to safety, and took care of me. I can't think of a reward that can make up for all that."
"I'unno, surprise me. Know how I can get some protection?"
>"Protection? Like armor? Sure, we got some stuff that can fit you, so long as you don't mind having our logo all over you. Unless you wanted Bio armor, but there's no way that wouldn't kill you. I tried putting on low grade stuff once and passed out from the pain. Maybe you can have some of the hive war hand-me-downs that suit you."
"A new pick would also be a good start."
>"When we get back, you can have mine. I'd give you all my equipment if I could."

He leans forward and looks down.

>"You know how I was all... fallen into despair and ready to die and all that... And I asked you to take that data bank instead of me... You think you can leave that part of the story out when I get back to my hive? We should keep it between us, I don't want them knowing I had preferred to let my hive grieve over some cave samples and ones and zeros."
"Oh. Yeah... we can keep that between us if you want."
>"You know, Dowser... I really thought that I would never see my hive again. I was fully prepared to die in there. We get a reputation for being tough, but I had never been so scared and alone in all my life. I'm surprised I hadn't starved when you found me. I could have been hours away from... yeah. I wasn't expecting anyone to show up, but you came for me when I needed someone the most. It might be cheesy to say or whatever, but... you're my hero."


"Well, if we're thinking compensation... We'll let your hive work that out. You've been good company, and it's nice to travel with someone for a change. I did a lot of stuff, and it wasn't all easy, but I've not done my job yet, I still have to deliver you to your hive, remember?"
>"Huh, I guess so."
No. 1029050 ID: 77a030
File 164979375966.png - (228.97KB , 800x600 , TQ33.png )

"You guys can thank me with a reward later, but if you were talking about something less professional, we could hang out. You look like someone nice to be around, and I already miss how talkative you were before you started feeling self-conscious and shy."
>"O-Oh! Really? y-yeah! We should definitely hang out after I recover! Honestly, I'd really like it if we could- ... um, I'm not sure if you'd want to try it but..."
He looks away shyly.
"Hey Kiero. Is your company hiring?"
He jolts up and whips around to look at me, excitedly.
>"I THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER ASK! I-I mean... We don't really have a lot of non-hive employees but- I’m sure I can convince the others that we can definitely use someone like you! If we can't make it happen, maybe we can arrange a contract for the occasional job! You don't have to decide yet, but either way, I'd love to introduce you to my hivemates! We have these movie nights, and you should come to one, we got food and these cheesy movies where-"
He starts to ramble excitedly about movie nights.

"He's adorable."
Clay is making it appear as though he is some sort of Sect drone. I'm getting the impression that he is just very... impressionable. If I met more jerks, he’d probably start acting a bit more aggressive.
"I don't want to kill the mood, so whenever you're free, there's something I wanted to bring to your attention. It can wait though. You should ask him about what it's like off world."
I can't say other planets haven't gotten me curious, and it seems Kiero is more than receptive to answering more of my probably stupid questions.
No. 1029052 ID: 5378af

You gotta agree with Clay, he is super adorable.
No. 1029053 ID: f373c9

Ask about how Neumono reproduction (and his relationship status) works :V

But do definitely ask about what offworld is like, and/or his honest impression of YOUR Homeworld.
No. 1029054 ID: 8eb91d

So your ultimate reward for skipping a movie night with Tobaks may be many movie nights with aliens...? Karma sure is weird! Sounds fun though.

He can tell you more about the world up-elevator, and what it’s like traversing the stars from one planet to the next.

Also tell him he shouldn’t feel too bad for despairing though. He did power through it in the end! If he ever feels in the pits again, always remember it’s not over ‘till it’s over.
No. 1029055 ID: ba2bc3

The Clay you meet in the in the radio tower was a danger and something to get rid of. The Clay you have now is nice and is worth the effort.

Satisface Clay's curiosity asking for him!
No. 1029056 ID: c28082


Fuzzy-buzzy mode engaged.

Yes, let's ask our boyfriend best friend about what it's like off-world. Kiero did mention they had done like, asteroid mining and stuff in the past, right?
No. 1029058 ID: 84374e

Clay has a solid point, but here's a counterpoint: Clay is Adorable, with a capital A. Actually, all three of you are Adorable.
>he is just very... impressionable
Something to bear in mind then; seek out allies and friends, avoid jerks, and see about getting him some outlets, somehow. His mental health is a part of yours now. Don't know when or if he might go from Clay to Brick.
Slip Clay's question in when you get the chance; surely you're curious as well, right? Clay really does seem interested in getting off this world, is that your desire or his own? Don't stress about it, just ponder the thought.

For Kiero: Movie nights seem fun, but what else do him and his hive get up to? Let him ramble, it seems good for his mood. Also, what sort of work do Tobaks/non-Neumono's usually do for his hive/company?
No. 1029059 ID: f99475

You like bees, Clay? I got to admit, i wish i had a camera to take a picture of that drone lady. And yeah, he is way too adorable.

Anyway, let's ask about the outside world. The more we know the better, don't want to look like an ignorant grunt.
No. 1029061 ID: 5d9787

>... there's something I wanted to bring to your attention
As long as you can tell me without making me look insane in public go ahead. With some luck Kiero will keep talk about movies I never watched for long enough for my absence of attention to pass unnoticed.

Ask what was like to travel through space, what differences he between planetoids were more noticeable to him and what world he enjoyed the most.

Maybe he have some culinary opinions to share. Maybe he could help you chose some nice sweets to repay Clover. You got to present them later, after all she got hurt saving his life.

If his near death experience got he thinking maybe he will simpatize with your insecurities about how cheap the lives of your kind seem to be. You try to find some humor in the macabre, but whenever you come across a dead tobak a part of you is always conscious that could very well be you.
This could be the reason going off world is such an attractive prospect: the chance of be just another alien instead of the cheap and disposable local.

>He's adorable.
You know what, HRWNE was right: you should ask Kiero on a date. I'm not giving up on Clover, but since you are not a monogamous specie maybe this mess could work somehow.
No. 1029062 ID: 84374e

Also, forgot that it came up, but a rugged (non flash/Tobak safe) camera, and markers, could be invaluable. Maybe not useful all the time, but a camera could help with recon and identifying people, and markers could be useful for yourself or others.
No. 1029073 ID: 6d1ee5

>"He's adorable."
He's not a female, but yeah, he's pretty cute.

>Clay is making it appear as though he is some sort of Sect drone.
Just for fun, see if you can make him look like the Sect queen with the large boobs!

>You should ask him about what it's like off world.
Might as well ask and see what Kiero knows.
No. 1029075 ID: a9af05

>suggestions saying to ask Kiero on a date
Woah! Slow down everyone! We just barely met the guy! Let's get to know him first before we go asking him on a date or anything like that!
No. 1029076 ID: 2aa5f0

sure, go ahead and ask about off world. Maybe also ask what his plans are after he gets back home. I mean with half his limbs missing I'm not sure how much more exploring he's going to be able to do.

Oh and he did say his have has some non-hive members working for it. Are these guys tobaks like yourself or other aliens. Guess I'm just curious who some of our potential future coworkers might be.
No. 1029079 ID: ce39da

'If it's about someone on the elevator, get it out now. But yeah, otherwise, save it for later.'

If it's nothing urgent, proceed to ask about other planets.
No. 1029128 ID: 03c50e

If you go offworld you're gonna some REALLY comfortable goggles. I'm sure you're familiar with the sun and stars and how the average alien keep things lit?
No. 1029132 ID: 2a24a2

Date date date date!
Also asking about what it's like offworld would be good. Kiero would probably be happy to tell you.
No. 1029134 ID: 686c73

Hey Kiero, that fully outfitted Tobak had the right idea. Does your hive have anything me sized? Id like to get a helmet, a compatable rebreather system combined with a set of light dampening goggles. Body armor would also be ideal.

Can we check out how expensive torch flashlights or flare guns are? Those could be useful in a fight against tobak raiders a d foolish tribals.

Do you know what k8nd of gun that mute tobak had?
No. 1029187 ID: b01382

I dont think we asked this question yet, but what does our boy eat? Tobaks mostly want to buy food because the local food sucks. What's stopping him from making a bulk purchase of good food and using it to bargain goods? Someone else or some company already does that? Does Kiero's hive/company have good food? Are robaks omivores or carnivores? Why did we have a pickaxe as a melee weapon? Is it most for breaking through entrances and opening things like a crowbar?
No. 1029196 ID: 34dfce

He is adorable, but lets be clear, that doesn't translate to 'i wanna fuck the alien.' Especially with how strongly hetero we have been so far.

All of that being said, I think our rescuee may be crushing on us, probably due to transference and such just from being rescued (can't find a specific word for it, but it is sort of like stockholm syndrome with the rescuer instead of a captor or reverse white knight syndrome).


How do you feel about leading your own company? So what I am thinking isn't exactly that, but what if you headed a new semi-autonomous branch of the hive company comprised mainly of tobaks? Could help gather together the freelancers that are interested and you all would retain a pretty decent level of self-determination.
No. 1029197 ID: 34dfce

On the subject of sexing aliens and such, do we even have compatible genitalia? I mean, it seems like several alien species have the probe/drogue type system, but we could also have something different like laying eggs and then fertilizing the eggs after they are laid like a fish, or a cloaca system like birds, or even some other strange system that isn't any of those things.

I think we can rule out mitosis and asexual reproduction, but beyond that, all bets are off.
No. 1029200 ID: 5d9787

>Especially with how strongly hetero we have been so far.
Have we? Dowser was a little annoyed by every female he interacted so far.
He hate Clover's writing style, feel infantilized by her protective attitude and feel insecure because of her size. Louise is worth mocking for her small stature, he consider her egocentric and he didn't show much interest in developing a more friendly relationship.
The most hetero thing he did so far was accidentally stare at the sect queen boobs. He hasn't show much interest in anyone.

>do we even have compatible genitalia?
That would be a fascinating subject to explore but the more exotic sexual strategies are not really stimulating. I doubt anyone feel excited by insect genitalia or the courtship of octopuses.
The majority of species in this kind of quest will have breasts, and all will have penises and vaginas that work by rubbing one inside the other.
No. 1029214 ID: a057e4

I'm a fan of the "date the green dog" vibe we've got going on here, but for now we should probably ask about important stuff like his thoughts on the tobak disappearances, or like, specifics of his hive's structure and capabilities. Offworld info would be valuable.

Are there any grand ambitions you've got? Something medium scale like >>1029196
mentioned would be fine to. I think we can leverage our gains to survive for a while without too much difficulty, but surely you want to get up to something a little more challenging. Risk it for the biscuit, and whatnot.
No. 1029215 ID: a9af05

>He is adorable, but lets be clear, that doesn't translate to 'i wanna fuck the alien.' Especially with how strongly hetero we have been so far.
I agree with this.

>Have we? Dowser was a little annoyed by every female he interacted so far.
Being annoyed by certain females doesn’t mean that Dowser doesn’t like any females. He's allowed to not like certain females and still be hetero.
No. 1029219 ID: c92a02

Let him ramble on about movies and just listen to Clay.
No. 1029236 ID: 36784c

>Are we hetero?
>Dowser was annoyed by every female he interacted with so far.
So? That only proves that Dowser finds Clover and Louise to be annoying. That doesn’t prove that Dowser isn’t hetero.
No. 1029238 ID: b01382

Dowser for sure find "endowned female tobaks" to be attractive, like that one time he imaged Clay into looking like a nicely stacked female.

Is there anything stopping Dowser from THINKING words to Clay instead of saying them outloud? That way people don't look at him funny?
No. 1029253 ID: 34dfce

I will have you know that Mikliks have been established to have whatever the fuck they want so weird shit imo is not off the table (also this isn't a smut quest so I don't really get what you mean by 'this kind of quest').
No. 1029284 ID: 730355

kiero's so cute, time to make this gay
No. 1029285 ID: f99475

I think we are derailing the Quest a little here. This subject should be on /questdis/, not here.
No. 1029410 ID: f03203

He really is very cute....

Anyways we really do need to try and take advantage of his hive in a meaningful way. Everything we've heard so far indicates that they're a small operation just making ends meet, so they're probably not involved with whatever weird shit's been happening with this rock and the Original Clay and all of the other background strangeness Dowser is getting clued in on. This makes them a great private liaison from which to acquire something like that EM-blocking container mentioned earlier in the thread without setting off any alarms or arousing suspicion from corporate monitors, and maybe they could help gather information on Dowser's behalf too.
No. 1029414 ID: 6a78d7

I've been thinking for a while, I'd basically want to avoid talking to anyone or drawing any attention until we offload this rock. Feels like carrying around a target. Do you have a plan for where to find someone to buy it, that won't get infected with hallucinations?

But also, listen to hive stories from your friend, on the way up the elevator.
No. 1029415 ID: 6a78d7

Or rather, unless you decide to KEEP the rock, because you want to get further involved in the skulduggery afoot, or whatever. Risky, of course.
No. 1029502 ID: 15a025

Tell Clay now's not the time to be a buzz kill. Ask our new buddy about other planets.
No. 1029548 ID: 77a030
File 165023347932.png - (426.60KB , 800x600 , TQ34.png )

>You gotta agree with Clay, he is super adorable.
I guess, but Clay seems to have more of an affinity than I do.

>Satisfy Clay's curiosity
I signal for clay to continue with what he was going to say when Kiero looks away. As long as you can tell me without making me look insane in public, go ahead.

"Right, I'll make this very quick."

He moves off the bench and starts pacing around the crowd.
"I think we're being followed. I've been keeping a separate eye on everyone on the elevator for whoever was in that alley. I think I can see it, sometimes through your peripherals, hiding in the corner of your eyes. Someone invisible."

You better not be gaslighting me again, Clay.

"I swear, I'm not trying to mess with you! I think we're being followed, but I can't figure out how they are doing it, or why. I can only really see it when you're not looking directly at it. It's... weird. But yeah, that's all I have to say. Be careful."


>Just for fun, see if you can make him look like the Sect queen
As much as I try, I cannot change his appearance anymore. Seems he has that level of independence.

>Clay really does seem interested in getting off this world, is that your desire or his own? Don't stress about it, just ponder the thought.
I ponder it lightly, wondering if Clay is also picking up on my thoughts.

"It couldn't just be my own desire, right? I'm sure in some capacity, we are all curious about what's out there, and to see it all for ourselves. We can't all live in our own heads."

I have wanted to leave. But I've felt that even if I did get the chance to go off world, a chance almost no tobaks get, that it wouldn't be in any free or favourable circumstances. I'm a little unique in this perspective when it comes to tobaks, many of us wouldn't ever consider leaving. as far as most are concerned, nothing outside the surface exists. Nothing besides the imported alien goods. Tobak life has always felt cheap, I've always wondered if leaving would give me the chance to be just another alien instead of a disposable local.

"It would be nice. But the choice is yours. Ultimately, you're the one who decides your quests in life. No matter what you do, I will encourage you so long as it is you feel it is right."

>If you go off world, you're gonna need some REALLY comfortable goggles. I'm sure you're familiar with the sun and stars and how the average alien keeps things lit?
Oh, I'm aware. If it ever came to that point, I'd probably want to get eye implants that let me see at that light level without blindness. Unfortunately, that procedure is absurdly expensive, so goggles it is for now.
No. 1029549 ID: 77a030
File 165023351120.png - (261.04KB , 800x600 , TQ35.png )

"Can you tell me what the universe is like? like, traversing stars and planets and such."
>"I'll have to admit, my hive and I have been around, but we aren't spacers. We've been to asteroids and made the occasional stops at other planets, but the only places of note have really only been my homeworld where I grew up, and your homeworld. Did you know that my homeworld is on the complete other side of the universe? it's a bit sad to think, but my hive is probably farther away from home than any other hive."
"Huh. What can you tell me about your homeworld?"
>"Oh, where to start... We have two small moons. You know what moons are, right?"
"Kinda. Not sure."
>"Ok well in terms of suns, we have - wait, you don't know what a sun is either, do you?"
"I've never seen a sun before, nope. Have you seen the sun orbiting my planet? I hear we got a really big one."
>"Yours is huge! It's actually a big problem for getting in and out of this planet. Anyway, my home world has lots of life, really intelligent life, too! But more importantly, a lot of dangerous and aggressive life, to which I guess we're no exception. I can't remember much, I was a lot younger when I was on my world..."
"What is your honest impression of my homeworld? How does it compare to yours? Do you like mine or yours better?"
>"W-well, it's nice! Better than Asteroid mining, at least we can all breathe down here. The wildlife is a bit... Similar to my homeworld if I'll be honest. At least you don't have any neumono Predators. Or Salikai. But that's not to discredit razorworms or anything, those guys scared the hell out of me. I'll be honest, I really miss the sun, but we never run out of work here, so that's nice. It's a bit close but... I think I like my world better. Just by a bit."
What in the world is a Salikai
"What about your world's food? I wonder what you guys eat."
>"Meat! Well, we eat a lot of stuff, but meat is our favourite. We did lots of hunting, as we didn't do much besides the occasional foraging."

I'm not sure. when you're underground all the time, it's hard to tell what day it is. I also barely notice the time to begin with, I think it's pretty arbitrary, but the aliens seem to love it for some reason.

>The other kind of date
Oh. With Kiero? Can't say he's my type - He's pretty short. And also an alien I just met, which is probably more important. I don't think I'm a xenophile, but I also can't say I think about forming those sorts of relationships. I'll put it on the maybe pile and probably keep it there. I'll see how my other considerations turn out first.

"I would totally date him."
Yeah, but you're not real.
"I can still dream!"
No. 1029550 ID: 77a030
File 165023354416.png - (304.14KB , 800x600 , TQ36.png )

It takes like half an hour, but we reach the level with the neumono company depot. It is located around many other buildings, and the area looks very empty on account of it being so early, most people are either asleep or out working. There are also some equipment stores around that are open, and I can find equipment I can buy with my newly acquired wealth.

>Can we check out how expensive torch flashlights or flare guns are?
Usually pretty cheap, the problem is with obtaining one and sneaking it around. The Saxum Overwatch considers light emitters contraband and will take them before you enter a dark area. They return them when you come back though. A torch might be 15 zeny for something cheap, and 30 for a flare gun with a few flares.

>Do you know what kind of gun that mute tobak had?
Can't say I do. Looks like it fires something like bullets, or even lasers of some kind.

>Why did we have a pickaxe as a melee weapon?
For killing small property and breaking and entering. And maybe mining the occasional loose mineral.

>How do you feel about leading your own company? / Headed a new semi-autonomous branch of the hive company comprised mainly of tobaks?
Sounds like a lot of work, but it's possible. I could get Lyvy to help, he has connections to lots of independent guys.

>EM-blocking container
I should think about getting one of those pretty soon... I only have about 10 minutes or so until the jammer runs out.

>Do you have a plan for where to find someone to buy the rock, that won't get infected with hallucinations?
Good question. If I get a container for it, I can keep it until I decide what to do with it. I can also try to find whatever company depots are open right now to see which can appraise it and give me a good price. I could also sell it to the neumono company, but I really doubt I'll get a good price.

Kiero sees the buidling and lights up
>"There they are! One of my hive is at the front there! We're just outside of empathy range, but if you bring me closer, she'll notice us if you don't call over to her first."
No. 1029552 ID: 77a030
File 165023361132.png - (202.71KB , 800x600 , TQ37.png )

She seems to be in conversation with a tobak. To be more specific, A mossy tobak, one of a few subspecies of tobak. He is a little far from his biome, usually they really dislike dry areas, so I wonder what brings him here.

There isn't much noise in the background so I can hear them speak pretty clearly.

"You sure you can't go any higher? Maybe check the purity again."
>"I have already checked multiple times. one-thirty is the best price I can give you."
"Your scale must be off, Armada would give me twice that!"
>"The Armada company might be more interested. We are only really willing to throw around so much, we are more interested in cave samples and data at the moment. Sorry. You can take this to another place if you would like."
"Screw it. Like hell I'm gonna wait in line for an hour. You don't have a line, so at least you guys have that going for you. The sooner I can unload, the sooner I can get back to mining. And before you ask; no, I do not take company credit."
No. 1029554 ID: b01fd1

Invisible stalker. Great. Fantastic. When did this first begin? At the elevator?

Just trundle on up without saying much. See that Neumono empathy in action!

Say hi when that concludes and ask if you can be let in to deposit one Kiero. You don’t want to interrupt a business transaction ‘n all, but the lad needs more help than you can give.

...Is that Moss and Fungus growing on that other Tobak?
No. 1029561 ID: 96c896

>I only have about 10 minutes or so until the jammer runs out.
Get a box or charge the jammer immediately.
No. 1029563 ID: 1c6255

Hey, this might be the right place to ask if they have something to plug and recharge the jammer. At least enough to last until the next company depot.
No. 1029564 ID: 90c451

A follower? Might be reason to turn off the jammer despite the risks.
Wait, or try and see if we can't get this other tobak out of the way and then turn off the jammer to see if we can sense anything or if Clay can sense/see anything.
No. 1029565 ID: c92a02

I'd say you should never trust cybereyes, but it seems that due to your magnetic sense or some other quirk perhaps your eyes already can't be trusted. Tell Clay to give you a warning next time they catch a glimpse out of your peripheral vision. Other people have mentioned feeling it too, vaguely. Perhaps you could thwart the effect if you were to use the jammer's remaining power in a wide area burst?
So, there's a symbiotic relationship going on with that moss, right? Or does this just happen to any tobak that doesn't shower?
No. 1029569 ID: ba2bc3

Let's hope Clay don't get the same allucination he was born off. There are any known source of camuflage against Tolbaks? Like something dampening electomagnetial fields or blocking your googles?
No. 1029571 ID: ce39da

Not hard to imagine how we picked up the invisible stalker; they must have spotted us eavesdropping on the alleyway convo, seeing as we only assumed it was just Body-Tag and the lady.

I'd wait until this dude's business is concluded, but I feel uncomfortable not having other people's eyes on us at the moment. Walk up and wait your turn - assure her that she should wrap up what she's doing before she launches into a heartfelt reunion if she tries to initiate one.
No. 1029585 ID: 5d9787

If you can't see the stalker directly but can see something in your peripheral vision that suggest this less likely to be a physical camouflage and more likely to be an hallucination. What is the cause of it is hard to tell. if the cause is external it can't anything transmitted in a frequency blocked by the jammer.
The most dangerous possibility is that our perception of someone is being obfuscated, so we should assume this is the case until we find ourselves in a safe enough environment to be less paranoid.
It's possible it's the thing Ralph was talking about. In this case I don't know what it might want, because if it was the the stone it had plenty of opportunities to take it.
Might be worth recruiting Kiero's help. Mention to him you think someone might be following us, and ask him to warn you if he see anyone out of place. Maybe he is even aware of some tech that can camouflage against tobaks.

The stone not only have some interesting properties, it have intrigue associated with it. Whoever buy it might also be interested in the circumstances you found it and who else want it.
Before approaching ask Kiero if he knows her and if he thing you can trust her with a sensitive matter. If affirmative ask her to talk inside the building, the outside acoustics is not congruent with a private conversation.
You should discuss with the two neumonos what you have with you and if the Hive is interested. If the item is too hot for them ask for help with the container and for their discretion.
Guess that would also be the opportunity to clarify our earlier lie to Kiero.

If we end up going our separate ways after this give Kiero a hug when you say your farewell.
No. 1029589 ID: 2aa5f0

just get closer and wait for someone to notice you. I mean you're carrying a cripple on your back so you should stand out plus it would probably be rude to interpret a business meeting.
No. 1029590 ID: a057e4

Try and sweep your peripherals. See if you cant get Clay to get a better look at. If it is only visible in your periphery then it might be cloaked like, relative to your pupils. By keeping an image in phase with each eye's pupil cloaking from one set of eyes isn't even too exotic of a concept.
Those teeth. Unf. Clay knows what's up.
Just let them finish their conversation. See if you can't figure out what "purity" he's talking about, but otherwise you're here on other business.

On an unrelated note I want to eat the mushrooms on this man's ears.
No. 1029591 ID: a057e4

Gah wait you've got goggles on. Messing with your goggles seems more likely then. Unless you're just going insane.

...more insane.
No. 1029592 ID: 060b37

Try to ignore the stalker for now, lets deal with the jammer's low battery and getting our bud back to his lot. If anyone following us thinks we are on to them, they might act now rather then when we don't have to help our green friend around.
No. 1029606 ID: b01382

>The Saxum Overwatch considers light emitters contraband and will take them before you enter a dark area.
That is bullshit! Just, WHY!?!?! Why would it be considered illegal- oh....right painful for Tobaks. Yeah that sort of checks out, but guns are dangerous too. Some BS right there.

>And before you ask; no, I do not take company credit.
I feel your pain, brother from another biome. Lets get closer to the lady. Can we ask if there's an outlet for where we can plug in our thingie so it doesn't run out of juice?

>we are more interested in cave samples and data at the moment.
Hmmm. I wonder if this weird rock counts as a cave sample. I wonder how much it's worth.
No. 1029649 ID: 77a030
File 165032658568.png - (209.94KB , 800x600 , TQ38.png )

>...Is that Moss and Fungus growing on that other Tobak?
It would appear so. Most common tobaks really don't like being covered in that junk, and having your fur be really wet and matted feels awful but mossy tobaks enjoy it for some reason.
>There's a symbiotic relationship going on with that moss, right?
I've been told so. Besides being very good for camouflage, I've heard that there's some kind of protective element to it. I've also heard it being a good emergency food source, and that it's also a considered attractive among those types of tobaks to be completely caked in moss and mushrooms... I certainly do not partake.

>Let's hope Clay doesn’t get the same hallucination he was born off.
That would be on so many levels of strange. Let’s hope this is not the case.

>Just trundle on up without saying much. See that Neumono empathy in action!
Now seems a better time than any to see those magic mind reading powers before my very eyes, so I approach slowly.

The neumono going through the transaction stops mid-sentence, perks up with a confused expression. She looks up at us and her face lights up. She stares for a moment in disbelief and excitement.

"Huh? Ok. Looks like I'm waiting a bit after all.
No. 1029650 ID: 77a030
File 165032659725.png - (230.45KB , 800x600 , TQ39.png )

She jumps over the counter and sprints over to us. I let Kiero off my back and they hobble over to each other. Once they reach each other, they seem to engage in some sort of physical grasping ritual.
"Hi Akki!"
>"I can't believe it! We all thought you were dead!"
"Thanks to my new tobak friend, I'm fine!"
>"Hold on, you have an arm and a leg missing! What happened?"
"It's a long story! Sorry about the data bank - I couldn't bring it with me..."
>"Forget the data bank! We'll all just be so glad to know that you're alright! Especially the expedition team, they've all been feeling awful since they returned without you."
"It wasn't their fault, I shouldn't have gone off on my own when we got separated."
>"I'm glad you're back... this is just what we needed right now, things haven't been going smooth as of late, so this news will help..."

Dang. I'm totally being ignored. I'm just standing here.
"Uh... Hello?"

>"O-oh! Kiero, this must be your friend."
"That's Dowser. Looks like he's about to meet the rest of the hive. I hope he likes hugs!"
"Don't mind me, just came to deposit one neumono. Also, one quick thing - do you know where I can charge this jammer? Or do you have some kind of box which can block objects that give off signals?"
>"Ummmm let's see... I think we have a cable for charging that jammer, but it might take a while. I think we also have some kind of Faraday Cage somewhere in storage that should work. What do you need them for?"
I need to decide if I tell them what I’m holding onto, or to keep them ignorant to what could potentially get them involved in who knows what.

>Invisible stalker. Great. Fantastic. When did this first begin? At the elevator?
Clay informs me that it was... On the tank bike, on the way to the elevator.

>see if we can't get this other tobak out of the way and then turn off the jammer to see if we can sense anything or if Clay can sense/see anything.
I step far away enough from his range so I can turn the jammer off a bit, to see if I'm able to pick up on anyone. All I can pick up is the ore, and I cannot detect anything else. I prompt Clay to see if he can sense or see anything, but he can't seem to do so. I ask him to give me a warning the next time he sees something, he affirms me that he will.

>Is there any known source of camouflage against Tobaks? Like something dampening electomagnetical fields or blocking your goggles?
I don't know of anything like that. and if such a thing existed, I think Kiero would have noticed something like and informed me.
No. 1029651 ID: c92a02

Lie about it. "My PDA keeps getting bombarded with spam and this jammer is the only solution that's working for me until I can get home and make a new email account. Never click suspicious links, Akki."
What could be fast enough to keep up with the tank bike and possibly even hop onboard while at speed? Maybe you should look up for something that can fly?
No. 1029653 ID: ce39da

> What do.
"Can I come in, for now? A charger or an EM blocker case will do." I'm pretty sure we can trust this hive to shelter us while we figure out what we're actually going to do about the rock.

> Stalker picked up on the way to the elevator.
Wait... no, that's- But then- Did... Did we pick up Hi-Torque's hallucination? Or was he starting to see Clay... and apparently doesn't need to be dead to leave some of his signature behind? Have Clay inform us if our "stalker" has followed us inside.
No. 1029656 ID: 96c896

>On the tank bike
...what, the thing that the driver saw? That wasn't a hallucination? Shit.

>tell the Neumono?
Yes. But only if you can prevent your stalker from overhearing.
No. 1029657 ID: ba2bc3

Don't lie about it. Lying is a bad way to start relations (even buisness relations). You might be working for this people in the future and if they know you are hidding information that might put them in danger you will lose their trust (and you will be sort of a douchebag).

Tell them more or less what you know. "You found down there a suspicious item which radiates a signal. You prefer to damp it until you know what it is exactly". Also don't speak about it here in middle of the street, ask to speak about it inside.

You don't have a lot to loss. They might be potential buyers and even in the worst case if they find that mineral so dangerous that they don't want anything with you because of it... well, then you have a clue that YOU don't want anything with the mineral.
No. 1029660 ID: 90c451

A weird rock I picked up is giving off some EM signature, worried it's messing with PDAs or even worse, a Tobak's magnetic sense. Figure I should keep it contained until I can get it appraised.
No. 1029665 ID: f0172d

Or this.
No. 1029666 ID: 5d9787

>Faraday Cage

Even if they are not the best buyer for the stone the positive impression give us a lot of confidence they are not screwing us. If you can talk in private I think you should tell them at least a little about this thing. If they have any interest in buying you can elaborate on the company conflict circumstance, otherwise just ask for the magical container and their discretion.
No. 1029668 ID: 96c896

Actually, better idea: Lure the stalker somewhere you can trap them.
Maybe we can let Clay shoot them? Since he can spot them just barely, that might be enough to hit them with a nail and thus reveal them to everyone. Only do this in an area with guards. Clay did say it was possible for him to control Dowser's body...
No. 1029675 ID: 36784c

>Maybe we can let Clay shoot them?
Clay is an imaginary friend in our head and only we can see/hear him. This makes it impossible for him to shoot whoever is stalking us.
No. 1029678 ID: fc1eab

>Is there any known source of camouflage against Tobaks? Like something dampening electomagnetical fields or blocking your goggles?
Dude, you are WEARING it. Electromagnetic warfare has been a thing for a very very long time. Another individual with a personal jammer doesn't seem that farfetched.
No. 1029680 ID: 5378af

Tell them that a rock you found messes with your magnetic sense and gives a headache or something.
No. 1029688 ID: 03abcb

Ask if the Faraday cage is portable if if we can carry it hands free.

Also, they got any jobs? Not xompany credits though. Too much bad history sith that.
Get in close so no one hears.
So about the databank. Probably should go back and retrieve it right now before some enterprising svavangers get it. We'll go back and get it, if we can get one or two more of youre guys to help in case we get ambushed. We'll also need to grab another thumper and vehicle.
No. 1029716 ID: e7292a

This seems like the right thing to do.
No. 1029719 ID: 1c6255

Don't lie, just say you're carrying something that's better kept jammed. As for the Faraday cage... well you have no idea if it would work, but you know the jammer does.
No. 1029720 ID: e5709d

"So... when do I get laid?"
No. 1029722 ID: b01382

Chat up the moss dude. See whats going on, you know shoot the shit. Kill any raiders lately? Know any score or jobs he wants to colaborate with?

Do we know what drones or robots are? Can we buy some, or are they too expensive? If we could buy a relatively small wireless, quiet, flight capable drone with an excllent quality camera we could use it for a whole lot of scouting.
No. 1029725 ID: 9a2966

Aw. Warm feels. You did do a good.

>Some sort of physical grasping ritual
Pay attention. This is important.

>I need to decide if I tell them what I’m holding onto
Um, there's an independent witness who can overhear this and a mystery stalker of unknown whereabouts...

Still, if you ARE going to involve the Neumono in some shit it's probably best to come clean and allow them the option to bow out. They're probably not very well placed to get involved in big company shit, sadly. At best what you might hope for is some help with figuring out what this ore is before you decide to pawn it off on someone else (or return it in the hopes of a reward, from like the Heef company Clay came from). They should have ore analyzing equipment, right?

>"What do you need them for?"
Money! Like, you picked up some sort of raider booby trap that might be worth a bit. Explosives are valuable, right? So you yoinked it and planned to just gently disarm the thing, but in-between all the rescues and everything you never got around to it. You've kept the jammer on and are pretty sure you should be waaay out of range of any 'fuck you' signals the raiders might be spamming, but you'd like to, y'know, be absolutely 100% sure before you blow your claws off! So, time is just a teensy factor for you here.

Also, if you really want to tell it to them straight away, you can lean over like you're awkwardly trying to join the hug without actually doing so (by just patting them both on the back), then hiss through the side of your teeth in a whisper.

"Am hiding exotic magnetic ore sample."
No. 1029727 ID: 77a030
File 165035556508.png - (309.77KB , 800x600 , TQ40.png )

Now seems like a good time to tell them about my ore related predicament and lying about it doesn't seem like a good way to start relations, especially business relations if I choose to work with these people in the future. (If I go that way, I might have to get used to seeing a lot of neumono...) On the other hand, it might be good to not get these people involved if what I have could potentially endanger them. Before discussing it further, I think I should ask to be in a private place where nobody - invisible stalker or otherwise - can overhear us.

>Lure the stalker somewhere you can trap them.
If there is a stalker and I'm not just being paranoid, I could look into forcing a confrontation, to see what someone would want from me. I could also just be seeing things. Wouldn’t be the first time.

"This EM blocking cage, is it portable and can it be carried hands free?"
>"Sure, it can be put in a pack no problem. What do you need such a thing for, anyway?"
"I have an item which is giving off an EM signature, my jammer was covering it up but it will soon run out of battery. I need to damp it out so I can find out what it is. Can we please talk in private?"
>"I can help you in just a moment, you may want to step aside!"
"What? Why-"

A sudden stampede of neumono floods out of the building onto the street like some kind of clown car, each of the colorful aliens joining the embrace, making some kind of hug pile in the middle of the clearing. They are all exclaiming their excitement for the return of their returned companion.

"...You guys seem uh... busy. Is there a manager I can speak to, or something?"
"Join in on the pile, Dowser!"
"No, I uh, we tobaks - we don't really do the whole... 'hugging' and physical affection thing a whole lot. We tend to show our affection through other ways... like tail signals." That or I’m just personally awkward.
"Doooo it! We're all cool with it!"
"I have stuff to do, time is a bit of the essence."
"If you're busy, I won't stop you. But I'm telling you, you're missing out!"
Aliens are weird. There's... no way I'd wanna actually join in...

Clay is smiling and urging me to join in.
No. 1029728 ID: 060b37

You can tentatively hug the pile before getting back to business. As we do need to recharge the jammer and get that lined box.
No. 1029729 ID: f373c9

Do it.

Bnuuy Pile time

(also very fluffy, but could be even more so)

Do be careful with the horns though...
No. 1029730 ID: 0a784e

Look towards swap tobak. Apologize about interrupting his business deal. Us it as an excuse to avoid the cuddle pile. fail to notice someone from the cuddle pile shift positions and trip on them… straight into the cuddle pile. Then be consumed by the cuddle pile with no escape possible.
No. 1029731 ID: 9a2966

You totally do. You big weir-do! But yeah, seriously, who can brag about having been part of an alien hugpile? If it wasn't on the bucket list, it is now.

Just sigh, shrug and embrace your new batch of friends - and way of life.

(Though if you still wanna be awkward about it, you could tail-signal in the direction of the other Tobak petulantly: NOT. ONE. WORD.)

Then you should probably get back to business.
No. 1029732 ID: e5709d

Unzip your pants, head to bed. Let them decide from there.
No. 1029733 ID: 96c896

Acquire hugs.
No. 1029734 ID: b01382

>clown car
HA! The idea that Dowser knows what that is greatly amuses me.
Alright so you're not super social. Go read an e-book on Tobak behavior when you have the time to see if you're just a weirdo or not being physically affectionate is typical of your people. Aliens are weird.
No. 1029737 ID: b01382

Agreed. Best we get it charged before everyone around us suffer from hallucination.
No. 1029738 ID: 8271a0

This happens fairly often around neumono. Get some practice in.
No. 1029739 ID: 5d9787

Maybe pat the top of the pile. Jumping on a bunch of aliens you just meet is a bit too much.
No. 1029740 ID: d7dbae

>swarm of neuomono
You wanted to see their "mind reading power" in action, so here it is. Akki, the first lady you met, didn't use any kind of communication device to alert the other neuomono that Kiero was here. They all just happened to be close enough to "feel" that he was here and they all excitedly came here on their own.

>join cuddle pile?
I mean, as long as nobody takes your goggles off by accident, you'll be ok with joining in.
No. 1029744 ID: ba2bc3

Akwardly join?
No. 1029755 ID: 344f1d

embrace the fluffening
No. 1029757 ID: c28082


Peer pressure, dowser, my dude.

Partake of the physical grasping ritual and demonstrate your willingness to integrate. Experience the fluffy.

So. Very. Fluffy.
No. 1029758 ID: 758001

I mean - if you really have not even the slightest desire to join, I guess step away. Otherwise...lean in to check if Kiero is ok, there, not being crushed or nothin', and then be inevitably consumed by The Pile. :P When in Rome, I guess?

Maybe with a side of
>"not one word"
possibly from under several hundred pounds of Neumono.
No. 1029759 ID: 34dfce


Very awkwardly join in, more as a sign of goodwill than anything else.

Then proceed to get smothered.
No. 1029767 ID: f0172d

Fuck it, you won't get many chances as this one. JUMP!
No. 1029796 ID: eae08b

Avoid it entirely and move on. Their hive will take care of them from this point on.
No. 1029828 ID: 798908

two options: don't do it and regret it forever, or do it and regret it in the moment but smile about it later.

I pick the latter every time.
No. 1029829 ID: 77a030
File 165044094218.png - (225.19KB , 800x600 , TQ41.png )

>Just sigh, shrug and embrace your new batch of friends - and way of life.
That's only if I choose to go down this route, I still need to decide if it's a good idea or not!

Naaaah... I have stuff I should really be doing and all, I don't have time for -

"Hey everyone, that tobak there is the one who saved me and brought me here!"
An arm reaches out to me and grabs the back collar of my outfit to drag me into the pile.

"W-wait! Ack!"
No. 1029830 ID: 77a030
File 165044097277.png - (274.61KB , 800x600 , TQ42.png )

I have been pulled in and kept prisoner in this fluffy prison, pressed up to Kiero. At least he hasn't been crushed yet.
>who can brag about having been part of an alien hugpile? If it wasn't on the bucket list, it is now.
I... I guess... But if I start to tell stories about what went down today, I might leave this part out...

"So Dowser, what do you think? Pretty great, huh?"
"A little cramped." But not entirely unpleasant, contrary to what I was expecting...
"I wish you could feel empathy, this might be the happiest I've ever felt!"
"I'm feeling something alright. A sinking feeling if you will."

>proceed to get smothered.
No... must... not... sink in...

Worrying about what the observing mossy tobak might think off all of this, I try to signal out to him with my tails to the best of my ability. 'NOT. ONE. WORD!'
He is looking at me from all the way over there, grinning like an idiot. I can't believe I'm being judged by a guy covered in moss and fungus.
I can't tell if he is crossing his fingers behind his back. Regardless, I try to escape the confines of this alien mass I find myself in to get back to business. I think that the best way out of here is through the bottom, I try to crawl between all the moving legs and arms, my goggles sliding off my face a little, requiring that I screw my eye shut.
"OUCH! H-hey, what was that?"
"S-sorry!" I think I accidentally poked someone with my horns...

A larger hand reaches into the pile and offers for me to grab on. I do so and I get pulled out into the open again.
No. 1029831 ID: 77a030
File 165044099520.png - (256.76KB , 800x600 , TQ43.png )

"Alright, break it up everyone. I know we're all excited to have Kiero back, but his injuries need to be treated and he requires rest. After he is brought to med bay, the rest of you get back to work."
The crowd seems disappointed, but they all follow the orders, carrying Kiero away with a retained sense of excitement.
"We'll meet up again, ok?"
I affirm him with a thumbs up and return my attention to the taller red neumono who pulled me from the pile.

"I have to apologize for my hive's behaviour. They can be rather excitable at times."
"Who are you? Are you the queen I've heard about?"
"No. My name is Ress. I'm the manager of this depot for the time being. I may not be at the highest position in the overall hive hierarchy, but I'm a good start if you have business with us. Which it looks like you do. I have questions that I need answered for the report it looks like I'll need to write, and I'm sure you have your own questions. I'll show you to my office, and we can have a private conversation I’m interested in hearing your account of the story." This lady isn't like all the others, she seems to be a bit more reserved. I thought they would all act the same, but I guess not.

"First and foremost, can I charge this jammer here or get a signal blocking box?"
"Consider it done, so long as you return anything you borrow. I will trust you with some of our equipment for now, but you must still earn my trust."
No. 1029832 ID: 758001

Hee hee. How interculturally experienced you're becoming, Dowser.

My, but the austerity of this lady is sorta jarring in contrast to the others. But cool; charge ye jammer, and get to business.
No. 1029835 ID: 96c896

Well, it'll do for a temporary solution. Are they willing to sell a container, if it works?
Oh right we're gonna need rations later too.

If we can get a secure room it might be a good idea to tell Ress what's going on.
No. 1029836 ID: 798908

honestly, the business is way more our speed. what a relief!
No. 1029837 ID: eaa482

Haha, okay, that wasn’t bad at all. Just gotta learn to keep your head at the edge of the hugpile! Or shave down your horns...

That’s totally fair, sober-minded lady. You’ll take both for now then, and then head for her office. Lots to report. You weren’t the only Tobak involved in Kiero’s rescue, for one, though you did initiate it!
No. 1029838 ID: 2aa5f0

well first thing first, fix your goggles so you don't blind yourself.

Then put on a smile because you've finally met an alien who speaks your language. Hopefully she'll pay you for saving one of her own because you did start this whole thing off trying to find a way to get enough money to pay the bills.
No. 1029839 ID: b01382

Fine by me. Lets get this thing shielded and go along with the meeting thing. Got any fried food? Not the artifical soy supstitue crap.
No. 1029845 ID: 5d9787

Will Kiero come with us? I don't actually know a lot about his side of the story and neither does he about my. We made jokes and talked about food and places the entire trip.
No. 1029847 ID: ce39da

Readjust goggles, check that you still have everything. Not that you don't trust these guys, but you won't discount the idea of you losing something in all that.

"Lead the way. You might want to include Kiero in this - we didn't really get each other's side of the story leading up to us meeting. Oh, do you got any fried food?"
No. 1029858 ID: 4d8523

Follow Ress to her office.

>we should bring Kiero!
No we shouldn't.

Ress ordered the other neuomono to take him to med bay. If she wanted Kiero to come with us, she would've asked for him to be brought along in the first place.
No. 1029865 ID: f0172d

Fair enough.
>Private chat
Lead the way.
No. 1029871 ID: 15d5de

>This might be the happiest I've ever felt!
(Sniff. Me too, little ball of wholesome, me too.)

Well, we might as well offer our services, as well as look for a chance to sell off the stuff we acquired in our scavenging, unless you know a company that might give better offers.

Soooo, tobaks don't do long term relationships, then? What was your family like? Ooh, also, how are your parents and siblings doing these days?
No. 1029875 ID: 77a030
File 165049199824.png - (347.18KB , 800x600 , TQ44.png )

>Just gotta learn to keep your head at the edge of the hugpile! Or shave down your horns...
I'd rather not! The only thing more unattractive to the ladies than being tall is blunt horns.

>check that you still have everything.
Everything is still with me, good to know these guys aren't pickpockets.

>Will Kiero come with us?
It doesn't look likely. I'll just tell her what I know about the situation, and he can fill out the blanks when Ress asks him about it.

She brings me to a room with a desk, chairs and filing cabinets. It doesn't exactly scream 'cosy' but this suits business just fine.
>"Take a seat. Or stand, I don't mind. I would like to preface this with 'yes, you will get something for this.', I know how you tobaks operate. You no doubt want something for your work."
"First, I need to get an item under a jammer before this one runs out. also, do you got any fried food?"
>"What? No. Why would I? You tobaks really do think with your stomachs…"
We get a cable which allows the jammer to charge. It will take a bit before it is at a level where I am comfortable using it again. Ress gets a worker to bring in an EM blocking cage, which looks a bit like the jammer.

>"If you're not comfortable telling me what you need these for, that is fine. However, if they relate to relevant events, I trust you would not exclude that information."
"Don't worry, they are unrelated. It's a good thing you have all this stuff. This EM-Blocking cage looks a lot like a small tobak jammer."
>"They go off of a similar design and work in a similar way. I will also note that tobak magnetism jammers use the same exterior design as neumono empathy jammers. They do function completely different though, so don't expect to use it to block off empathy."
"I would never!"
>"Since the manufacturer is the same, the jamming box is modular with the jammer and can be attached onto the bottom or carried separately. Again, I ask that you return it once you are finished with it."
"Can I buy it from you?"
>"These aren't typically expensive, but this one can block off any kind of signal, magnetism, or radiation, as well as have considerable capacity. If you want this, a replacement would cost one hundred and twenty zeny."

I store the ore inside, careful not to have her see. I turn off the jammer, and the box is working as intended. There are no other signals or tobaks nearby. I spend the next short while recounting the events of what happened while she types up a report on her computer.

>it might be a good idea to tell Ress what's going on.
Regarding the ore? Maybe. She can help me possibly identify what exactly this mineral is, and what its effects are. They probably have a scanner and database which could clue me in, and importantly, tell me what it's worth. They may even make me an offer, but I don't expect it to be anywhere near as good as what other companies would give me.
No. 1029876 ID: c92a02

Show her the rock now that you're in private. These neumono might know more about geology than you, but it's an alien world to them and it's unlikely they've encountered it themselves. The corporations seem to know what it is, though asking them is a bad idea.
How much zeny do you have? It's worth almost any price to have that jam jar.
No. 1029877 ID: 758001

Eh - shrug. You seemed to have other ideas about who to ask, right? Who are they? How confident are you they'll know what it is, want to buy it, and not try to kill you over it? If the answer is "very", I'm leaning towards just keeping quiet for now. Frankly, if it DOES turn out to be a dangerous secret, I don't think you'd be doing the neumono a favor by telling them about it.
No. 1029878 ID: 96c896

Before you tell her everything, ask if she can protect you from a hitmen. What you have in the box is worth killing for, considering you got it off a corpse.
No. 1029879 ID: 5d9787

"This part you shouldn't write it down for now."
"So while I was doing a favor for Ralph in exchange for the thumper I came across this thing. It feels like an living male tobak and it causes hallucinations and worst things. If this interest your hive I'm willing to sell and elaborate further on what I know about it, if not I ask for your discretion on the subject as I look for a buyer."
No. 1029885 ID: 7454bb

Family comes first. This lady seems like business and I'm sure she's more curious how you saved her hivemate than the neat stuff your carrying. Ask about it later, but mention that you most likely will.
No. 1029890 ID: f0172d

I say we ask about the rock, but not sell it yet. I'm more interested in working with them.
Firstly, explain how we saved Kiero. Then ask for job, and possible affiliation later on.
No. 1029896 ID: 36784c

>You tobaks really do think with your stomachs…
I can't help it, I'm hungry!
No. 1029915 ID: 90c451

Don't know why we need to say we got it off a body, just let her know the details of the rock.
It emits magnetism similar to a Tobak and looks weird. We wanna block it because the magnetic signature it gives off may make people think there's another Tobak, or may make them paranoid. No idea, just that every Tobak that encountered the stone unblocked thinks someone else is there. Could just be that the stone messes with Tobak magnetism and our brains compensate by making us think there's something in the corner of our eye, or some dude was actually following you for some reason.
Either way, best to block it and get it appraised. At the very least it's disorienting, but we're hoping to see if we can get a pretty penny off it.

All of this shouldn't be too alarming. Magnetic rocks are pretty common, and brains often compensate for other senses in hallucinatory ways.
Either way, best not mention Clay.
No. 1029916 ID: eaa482

>tell her (almost) everything
Start with showing her Kiero’s rescue request. You only had a pick to your name as a weapon, so you knew you weren’t going to be able to rescue him as-was. Fortunately, you had a guard friend who owed you a favor and you met a mechanic who could create a device to attract/distract the razorworm hive, but first you had to do HIM a favor, which lead you to the refinery for fuel... and a trail of blood lead you to a massacre of Tobaks!

Secret meeting between corps gone bad or ambushed (flaregun), jammer found on, turned it off, found weird ore on dead General Clay, gave you funny vibes. As in, you’re pretty sure it’s semi-permanently Done Something to you and have indications it Does Things to other Tobaks as well, hence your desire to keep it under tight wraps (plus hoo boy, Heef corp showing up in force at elevator). Hopefully valuable, but you dooon’t wanna get killed over it.

Sidenote: also at refinery, punked some raiders who’d clearly at some point punked some aliens and rescued a guy who may or may not be involved in some illegal stuff along with other aliens. Maybe related to disappearing independents of late?

Then, fuel procured, back to mechanic and Clover, who had gotten a biosuit and friggin’ railgun for testing. You yourself got a ichor thrower for self-defense, then went to radio tower, started the thumper and...

There was a lot of Razorwyrms.

Then you found poor Kiero, hauled his ass out of there (after ichoring up the tower to try and fail to make a safe path), made a mad dash for it, got picked up by the mechanic, got chased by the biggest damn razorwyrm you’ve ever seen... but the dang tower finally fell and landed on it!

And the worrrrst part is that you can tell she thinks you’re exaggerating it all but you’re noooot.

Anyway, rest of the way back was fairly peaceful in comparison, chatted it up with Kiero, traded your pick for some meat for ‘im. Though... you’re not sure, but your Done Something senses tell you you may have picked up a tail on the way back. Does cloaking technology exist?

>ore identifying
While maybe not going to pay you much, the Neumono are probably not susceptible to it’s effects in the same way and can more safety handle it. They’re ideal for the initial investigation side here. Show it to her.
No. 1029918 ID: 36784c

>And the worrrrst part is that you can tell she thinks you’re exaggerating it all but you’re noooot.
Since Dowser thinks Neumono are psychic, he could tell Ress to read his mind if she doesn’t believe him.

And then he’ll be disappointed to learn that Ress can’t actually read his mind.
No. 1029937 ID: 15d5de

I will simply reinstate my suggestions and questions from here.
No. 1029945 ID: 210f04

No. 1029947 ID: fc1eab

>bad offer
Idk, I mean, you did just save one of them. They may give you a more favorable offer because of this.
No. 1029949 ID: 77a030
File 165057218404.png - (200.83KB , 800x600 , TQ45.png )

>You seemed to have other ideas about who to ask, right? Who are they? How confident are you they'll know what it is, want to buy it, and not try to kill you over it?
I can think of a few who are interested in the ore.
-Talion, the heef company. The ore was found on the body of G.Clay, one of their higher ups, so I have no doubt they know what the ore is worth as well as what its effects are. They might want to buy it, or they might want to take it from me. Judging by their actions, they like to use force to get their way.
-Armada, the pomi company. It looked as though they were interested in purchasing the ore from Talion, meaning that there is a good chance they understood its value. Judging by one of their guys having a jammer, they might have understood its effects. They are much more diplomatic than most companies and are likely to make an offer - a generous one at that.
-A separate company such as Edevane, Summit, The Hive Company, or others. They won't care where I got it from, but I think some might know what the ore is. I am only certain that none would threaten or steal it from me.

>How much zeny do you have?
Currently, I'm holding onto 523z. I might want to save some to buy new equipment, unless this rock turns out to be valuable enough to set me up for life.

When recounting the story, I be sure to mention the room of bodies, the raider fight, Clover's assistance, the razorworms, trying as best I can to give the full comprehensive story sparing no detail. I mention the falling tower at the end, but she probably thinks I'm making that part up.
"If you think what I'm saying is far-fetched, you can use your mind reading powers to verify my story."
>*sigh. * Sure.

>Ask for a job
I'll do so after I sort out this ore situation.

>Before you tell her everything, ask if she can protect you from a hitmen
"Before I say anything about what I have here, are you capable of protecting me from hitmen?"
>"I think you are being paranoid. But yes, we can protect you to the best of our ability. We know how to hold our own."

I show her the ore. I briefly explain its potential hallucinatory effects on male tobaks and circumstances in which I found it. I do leave out Clay - I'm trying to make myself appear sane after all.

>"Hm. I've never seen anything like it, and I like to think I have seen just about everything. Seeing as it's my job to make offers for the abnormal offers that come through, I would say you potentially have something special on your hands. But I don't mean to get your hopes up. Does Kiero know about this?"
"No, I've tried my best to keep it hidden from everyone until it was safe to identify."
>"I see. If you want to identify what it is before you decide to sell it to someone, I can bring in our appraiser to take a look at it. In the unlikely situation where he can't identify it right away, we would have to analyse it from scratch. That way we can track down where it came from and what its full effects are. On the other hand, other companies no doubt have more comprehensive mineral databases and can probably identify and offer a price right away. But that is up to you."
No. 1029951 ID: 9a2966

You'd want it analyzed, you think. Mainly because it had some manner of effect on you, and you're curious what that might be caused by. Like... you know for sure that can't be no normal ore.

Does Clay have any input on this situation?
No. 1029952 ID: 96c896

Hmm, try the quick appraisal. If that fails, we can try going to Armada, but I feel like we're best off asking the Hive Company to contact them on our behalf. If we are being followed, and the stalker isn't working for Armada, they'll try to stop us.
No. 1029954 ID: 1c6255

Quick appraisal and Armada sounds good. Let's avoid the militarists.
No. 1029955 ID: 5d9787

That's fine, I can wait if it means there will be less people involved.
I have some concerns about giving something that mess with tobak psychic to an alien company, but unfortunately there are no comparable tobak organization to thrust it with.

On a different subject: Are you the one I accidentally poke with my horns in the hug pile? Sorry about that.
No. 1029956 ID: 6a2a09

is there nothing that's remotely similar to that ore? Not in appearance or effects? There's gotta be a distant cousin somewhere that could give us a start on figuring out what this is and why they had it locked in a box
No. 1029957 ID: c92a02

We're fine waiting as long as you can be discreet about this.
I think you can afford to buy the jammer box, saving Kiero is surely worth more than 120 zeny. You could say it's worth an arm and a leg.
No. 1029969 ID: ce39da

On close examination... I agree with the in-house appraisal as our first choice. I'd hesitate on trusting Armada. While they were one of the victims in that mass-murder scene, we can't discount the idea of the Pomi company being the ones responsible for the shady shit Body-Tag's company seems to be getting up to, given their interest in a stone that can let a Tobak conjure super-tulpas from the corpses of other Tobaks. The picture that starts to form from a project involving CAI and recently dead Tobaks is... pretty suggestive, is all I'm saying.
No. 1029983 ID: 77a030
File 165059622805.png - (240.23KB , 800x600 , TQ46.png )

>Does Clay have any input on this situation?
He seems indifferent.

I ask for the appraiser to take a look at it, mainly because I'm curious about the effects it's having on me. She leaves the room for a bit and comes back with a neumono holding a kit of some kind. The nuemono looks at me and smiles

"Hey! You're the one who brought Kiero back! On behalf of the hive, thank you for what you've done. You really raised the spirits around here! So, got something for me to look at?"
>"He brought in an ore. Needs help identifying it. Think you can do that?"
"Not a problem! You know I enjoy this kind of thing."
We give him the quick rundown on its hallucinogenic properties on male tobaks. I turn on the jammer when I take the ore out of the cage, as not to accidentally effect any tobaks who may somehow walk in. I hand it to the appraiser. He uses all kinds of equipment to measure the weight, magnetism, density, size, just about anything you could test for. He even scans its surface into a computer.

>"So? What is it?"
"I have no idea!"
>"Is there nothing that's remotely similar to that ore? Not in appearance or effects?"
"Physically? Yes. Something that causes hallucinations through magnetic contact? Nope."
>"Seriously? Was there no match in our database?"
"Strangely not. Where did you say you found this again, Mr Tobak?"
"I didn't dig it up if that's what you're wondering. Let's just say I got it from someone whom I am unable to ask, on account of them no longer... alive."
"My condolences! Well, this ore of yours is very interesting! I would really like to study this further - if you don't mind! There are some things that came up positive that I want to look into further. We haven't had something this interesting come through in months!"
>"It's his rock, his call."
"How long would it take for you to find out what this is?"
"Ballpark estimate? I would say... two days if you need it back quick. If we're being very thorough though, it’ll take about two weeks, the same amount of time it'll take for Kiero to recover. But look on the bright side, if I can't find a match, you get to name it! It's all entirely up to you though, you can leave it to me, or you can have it back."
"So, you can't tell what it's worth?"
"The scarcity factor alone bumps up its worth considerably. It's no giant diamond, But I would say its value is at least considerable. "
No. 1029984 ID: e5709d

Have them scan it profusely. You want to be sure of all side effects before you cash it in to somewhere reputable.
No. 1029985 ID: dd7dd4

Take your time, i want to know what it is, what it can do and an estimate price. Again, paranoia or not, we did find the rock in a pile of corpses, so we should be careful around it.

So, what's next? Shal we talk busines?
No. 1029987 ID: 90c451

He says there's minerals that are similar but not the same? If this is really unique then we best get an accurate reading on it.
For that matter, while a more prominent company could get an accurate reading, they wouldn't be as trustworthy.
They could simply lie and say it's a certain type of ore and the effect were pure coincidence or a specific mixture which while giving it scientific value wouldn't give it as much value as an entirely unique ore.

I say we let the hive analyze it, we might not get the best reading but they seem trustworthy enough and this guy seems he's in it for the science.
Besides, it's notoriously easy to tell if a neumono is lying, and we save Kiero's life so I doubt they would even try to scam us.
No. 1029988 ID: 5d2d8c

Let them be thorough, as well as warm them there may be trouble should people track the ore back to this hive.

We can now breath easier and visit Clover.

Or maybe get to know the hive better.

Hey, Dowser, where do you live when you are not working? Do you have family you keep in contact with?
No. 1029990 ID: 5d9787

I'm inclined to accept this offer but I would like to consult Kiero opinion on this. No offense but I don't really understand how this collective thing work and he is the one I actually know and trust around here.

Diamonds should be worth very little for a spacefaring civilization. They are fairly easy to produce, can be found in obscene amounts in some celestial bodies and are already as common as crystals in our world with their value being a result from market manipulation. They are useful as hard material for drills, resilient translucide material for windows and as an excelente solid heat conductor, but none of those uses justify their current price.
No. 1029991 ID: eaa482

Tell Ress it’s her hive’s call. She knows the... risk factors you brought up. You’d love to have it studied and get some straight info from someone you think you can trust, though, whether it’s done on the quick or thoroughly. You somehow don’t think most other corps are gonna keep a few affected independents in the loop here.

They may want to be discreet in their investigations, all things considered. Though... you do have half an idea for a cover story for having used the jammer all the way here if you ever get shaken down: you picked up an explosive raider booby trap to dismantle, but was worried about them sending a trigger signal. You wanted to sell the explosive components! And you totally did.

>giving them the ore
Maybe they can pay you a... deposit for keeping it for study? And then you pay that back - if able - when the time comes, minus whatever that study felt worth it to them?

>two weeks
Wait... two weeks to recover from limb loss? You thought there would be a lot more physical therapy and such involved in getting replacement cybernetic limbs. At least for non-Tobaks.
No. 1029992 ID: 4cfe36

Well hell, if they’re offering to do it for free have them do the full scan. If this is a new one of a kind rock you might be able to pawn it for some good cash and not only be able to make ends meat, but also have enough left over to get some better gear. You did mention that you’d like some more up to date gear while spelunking.
No. 1029993 ID: c92a02

Two weeks to recover from a double amputation? He's going to look so lopsided. I want to see that. Stick around for the full scan, laying low is a good idea besides.
A shame you couldn't bring any of those cool toys from downstairs. Anywhere to get a weapon discreetly up here?
No. 1029995 ID: 96c896

Two weeks sounds long enough to get a few more jobs.
I think you should tell them about Clay, though. You're asking them to investigate a hallucinogenic rock without accurately describing the hallucinations. That's just bad science.
No. 1029999 ID: 758001

Yeah...probably a good idea. And if you haven't, you COULD consider telling them the suspicions about somebody trying to build a CAI - knowing the rock's intended purpose might help figure out exactly how it works.

But also yeah, say you're good with the long inspection, but you'll let Ress, knowing the possible risk factors, make the final call.

How big IS this hive, btw? How many individuals? Dozens, hundreds? Over a thousand? I really don't have a grasp on the scale of things, here. For that matter, how many are in the other companies, very roughly?
No. 1030001 ID: f57349

How much would the Hive charge for room and board if you wanted to stay here during those two weeks? The less you're wandering around out in the open, the harder it'd be for some spook to make you mysteriously disappear.

Could get the info from the neumono analysis, then use that as negotiation leverage when selling it to Armada.
No. 1030002 ID: b01382

2 days? That's not bad. The ore is yours to examine, but make sure a near it and active at all times unless you want to be in for a bad time.
nnnn. nooo? We still need to be compensated eventually for our troubles, and maybe we might get something if we recover the databank thing. I want to try some meat. The good waygu tier stuff with the seasoning and sauce. Not that artificial edible plastic crap.
No. 1030003 ID: 77a030
File 165061575850.png - (140.06KB , 800x600 , TQ47.png )

"I'll opt for the in-depth study. I want to know what I've got here before making any big decisions."
"Yes! I'll get right on it!"

>How big IS this hive, btw? How many individuals? Dozens, hundreds? Over a thousand?
"Out of curiosity, how big is your hive?
>"Over two hundred and fifty, last I checked. I wouldn't classify us as a mega hive, but it's nothing to sneeze at.

>Two weeks to recover from a double amputation?
After today, I'm willing to believe that anything is possible.

>Diamonds should be worth very little
With how common they actually are, I'm not sure where the idea that they are valuable comes from.

"So, about a reward?"
>"We need to verify Kiero's end of the story before giving any sort of compensation, as much as I trust that you have been honest thus far, we need to know the full story. We can offer you money or equipment for your hard work, when all is said and done. Besides that, you have made a good impression.

"One more thing. I wanted to ask if you guys were hiring.
>"Hiring? That is an unusual thing to ask. You do know of how we run our company, right? Family business sort of thing."
"I get that. I'm just curious if there is somewhere that someone like me could fit in."
>"I... It's possible. We do the occasional alien or native contract here and there. As far as becoming an actual employee though? I'm afraid it isn't my call. In the interest of future opportunity, I will bring this up to the queen the next time we meet. It might be a while, as she tends to be hard to get a hold of when she does a job. You are a nice guy, I can tell. I think we would all be interested in trying something out."

"Soooo we'll talk again when Kiero recovers?"
>"Looks that way. I have everything we need from you for now. If you want to contact me, here's a private number you can use. Contact me if you have anything important to say or have any further questions. We will contact you if anything important comes up. Sound good?"
I leave the jammer with them to charge, as it takes a while. I'll probably come pick it up tomorrow and see if I decide to sell it or not.
No. 1030004 ID: 77a030
File 165061580427.png - (296.00KB , 800x600 , TQ48.png )

>Hey, Dowser, where do you live when you are not working? Do you have family you keep in contact with?
I live an apartment of sorts, it's just me and my roommate/mining partner Lyvy for the most part. There are two others that live there, but I hardly ever see them. As for family, I have brothers and sisters running around. I’m not very close with many of them though.

>Two weeks sounds long enough to get a few more jobs.
There is no shortage of jobs or opportunities down here. If nothing turns up, I can always tear out copping wiring from abandoned bunkers.

I begin walking back home alone after what I would call an eventful day. Well, alone except for Clay.

"We did quite a lot today, huh?"
"Speak for yourself. I'm the one who had to do all the literal heavy lifting."
"I was along for the ride, that has to count for something, right? Hey, aren't you going to go to a store to buy some equipment? Like that pick for your roommate, or new goggles, or a new PDA."
"Can't you tell I'm exhausted? The only thing I can think of right now is sleep. Lyvy will get his replacement pick when I feel like it."

"I appreciate the one-on-one conversation, but I still get the feeling that someone is eavesdropping."
"I'm sure you are just seeing things. Which is nuts, the fact that a hallucination can have hallucinations."
"But what if it really is someone? Your privacy could be invaded!"
"My privacy is already being invaded. By you. You're lucky I don't go see a doctor about this."
"Can I give a second opinion? I think I can be a source of positivity. I can cheer you on when you're feeling down!"
"Earlier today it felt like you were trying to sabotage me."
"What can I say. I'd rather be a positive influence than a negative one. Life down here is hard enough as is, you almost died like, twice today."
No. 1030005 ID: 50af53

Hey two head uh. Voice. Thought processes? Are better than one? I dunno. But his input was valuable when it was reinforcing.

Maybe he is noticing something you aren't. I mean if kiero and that other tobak saw or felt something maybe it's real. The saying goes "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you." Be wary, today was surreal, and you can't really rule anything out until you get answers about that mineral.
No. 1030006 ID: b01382

Weird but okay. Time to get a hot dog with questionable meat of origins and a new pick. Lets contact our buds and see whats up, and collect the rest of our cash. Maybe we can get Lyvy to come along with us on our next outing. Our string of luck has been most profitable, so having another pair of hands would be greatly useful. OH! We should contact that crossbow tobak. Maybe we could ambush some raiders and keep a vehicle this time.
We still need to go get the databanks too.
No. 1030007 ID: 4cfe36

Ask what clay is looking for. He seems to be stuck with you but seems to switch between trying to help and trying to hinder with no rim or reason. Ask what he’s hoping to find now that he’s had some time to experience the world for a bit.
No. 1030009 ID: 96c896

Get food, get pick.
No. 1030010 ID: 9a2966

>Almost died twice
A question of risk and reward, though. You think you came out well ahead, so maybe less risk is warranted for a while... but you're never gonna get off this planet and visit the stars without a little risk!

>Positive influence
You'd say he did okay so far. It all turned out well in the end, certainly. You do hope that other one (the mechanic's headbud) turns out similarly alright, as well, if he does get one.

>Double brain stuff
And again agreed that two minds can indeed be better than one. Once you're not so beat and tired, maybe you can spend a bit testing to see how well they can handle various less-than-physical tasks? Beat the high score of your favorite puzzler games, see how quick one can 'math', test reaction times, memory stuff, etc. Make this whole thing work out for you both!

Though you really gotta wonder how it even works... is the brain doing doubletime, consuming more resources, or what even...? You don't seem to be suffering any kind of 'lag' in attention span that you've noticed during these chats, at least. Maybe you should visit a doctor and get stuff verified... though again, eesh, attention? No thanks. Just do some self-assessments first.

>Support your headbud
Anyway, as their sort-of adoptive big brother - or whatever - here, you'll be as supportive as you can. If he needs or wants anything he can just chime in. If you don't hear much, you'll trust they're doing okay and are okay with what you're doing.

>Sense of eavesdropping
Hm. One thought: If our headbud's a permanent manifestation of an ore's magnetic interference with one's brain, he might actually be tuned in way better with all sorts of electromagnetic spectrum stuff.

...have you checked yourself for bugs lately? The 'listening in' kind. If someone was invisible it wouldn't be too hard to sneak up and plant something, somewhere, on you. Can Clay pinpoint roughly the direction of the feeling?
No. 1030011 ID: 5d9787

So why would someone follow us around since the worm and not do anything? This person would have wasted all the opportunities to steal or attack us. Is there anything exceptional about us that could justify the interest and effort from someone who can be invisible?
We can try to ambush or shot at this person. Clay will have to guide us and plan everything by himself. Just make sure you pick an empty place before start fighting things you can't see.

I was half expecting your species to have no need to sleep. How does your sleeping cycle work?

Don forget to contact the TV dude (t-108742-ind) who own you 20% of what he got from the bodies.
Other than that you might be close to Axyl in case you want to see how he is doing, you should look for rations for yourself, buy something nice and sweet to give to Clover and contact her for an update on her wound situation.
No. 1030012 ID: 4bd4c6

Is that Gaetan Molière's expy?
No. 1030013 ID: ce39da

"We should probably address this stalker, at the very least. Hey, can you sense them now that we don't have a jammer strapped to us?" Maybe try to find a remote area where you can ambush them.
No. 1030014 ID: 6fad76

Try and shake your stalker before you go home.
No. 1030017 ID: 758001

>sort-of adoptive big brother or whatever
"How to make this work...I know! We can be ROOMMATES!"
But no, yeah, checking for bugs is probably a good idea, especially since now you're out of the jammer. Hopefully it didn't just save a recording and transmit it once you were out of the jammer.
Also, I'm interested in mind tests, too, though I'm particularly interested in having you both do tests at the same time, compared to individually, and see whether you're splitting resources.

...hmm. It's conceivable they were trying to make an organic CAI. I wonder if continued exposure causes you to develop more headbuds. But eventually the process kills you, or something.

Also, we're not exactly a fighter, I wouldn't recommend getting into a fight if you can help it - at least not very far from help, should you need it. Even an alley, a handful of steps from an occupied street, would be much safer - if trouble, running out into a crowd could discourage most attackers.

ALSO, I recommend talking to Clay via thoughts, at least while we suspect we may be watched or monitored.
No. 1030018 ID: dd7dd4

What DID make you change your mind about not being a dick? You sounded very serious before, and you still do now, but in a complete 180. Why the change of heart?
And what are you exactly? You are not exactly an alusination, you are too consistent, and you have ideas, feelings and tastes of your own. I am no psychiatrist but i don't think that mere alisinations do all that you do. Futher more, i could, at the begining, change your apereance. That doens't sound like an alusination either. I don't think i am sick or crazy. You are somthing else, external to me.

Now on the other hand, that thing on the corner of our eye... that DOES sound like an hallucination.
No. 1030071 ID: 34dfce

I wouldn't call diamonds common. At least not natural diamonds. Sure synthetics can be produced easily, but what makes diamond jewelry valuable is natural diamonds.
No. 1030073 ID: 96c896

Nah, diamonds aren't rare on earth, not after we found the diamond mines in Africa. They're still valuable nowadays mainly due to companies carefully controlling the price to ensure it's profitable to mine them. There's no true monopoly at the moment but there isn't much competition either.
No. 1030082 ID: e5709d

Yer gonna find a way to have virtual sex with the ghost in your head. Especially once you find a way to concentrate on knockers the size of habitat domes.

For now, get some cheese.
No. 1030083 ID: 77a030
File 165071071165.png - (288.08KB , 800x600 , TQ49.png )

My first priority is to get home and sleep. I'm hungry but we got stuff at home. As for the pick, Lyvy will just have to wait. With any luck, he won't notice I don't have it.

>I recommend talking to Clay via thoughts, at least while we suspect we may be watched or monitored.
May as well. Even though I can tell that Clay prefers it when I talk out loud.

>Ask what clay is looking for. Ask what he’s hoping to find now that he’s had some time to experience the world for a bit.
What exactly do you want, Clay?
"To see the world, Dowser. I've not been around long, but the desire to find out about the universe is overwhelming. There is so much to this universe that we don't know, so many unanswered questions. You feel this way too, I'm sure of it."
Yeah. Can't argue with you there.

>Once you're not so beat and tired, maybe you can spend a bit testing to see how well they can handle various less-than-physical tasks? Beat the high score of your favorite puzzler games, see how quick one can 'math', test reaction times, memory stuff, etc. Make this whole thing work out for you both!
That sounds... interesting. If I can find a way to put clay to work, it could really be beneficial. Next time I have a free moment, I should come up with a few tests.

>Maybe you should visit a doctor and get stuff verified
Not a bad idea, but it may not be necessary. For now, it's not too big a problem, and the worst of it seems to be behind me.

>So why would someone follow us around since the worm and not do anything? This person would have wasted all the opportunities to steal or attack us. Is there anything exceptional about us that could justify the interest and effort from someone who can be invisible?
That's the part that gets me... What do I have that anybody wants? Besides maybe a rock that nobody knows I had in the first place. Is there another reason that I may be of interest?

>Try and shake your stalker before you go home.
I take a few twists and turns on my way home, trying my best to lose whoever might be on my tails. I ask clay if he sees any more movements behind us, he says we seem clear.

>have you checked yourself for bugs lately?
No... I think the only people who have been close enough to me to plant a bug would have to be those neumono. And I don't know why they would bug me. I'm not that interesting, am I?

After arriving, I open the door to the house and I am met with light, it's a good thing I didn't take my goggles off yet.

"Lyvy! Why do you have a light on in here? turn that off!"




"Dude! turn it off! You agreed to have no lights on in living room!"
No. 1030084 ID: 77a030
File 165071074079.png - (240.08KB , 800x600 , TQ50.png )

>"Huh? I - uh. hold on."
He turns off the lamp and puts it on the table, bringing down the light level to where I can take off the goggles. He brings his good arm around to grasp his old war rifle. He doesn’t go anywhere without that thing, even on the living room couch. Or his bed. He sleeps with that gun.
>"I'm sorry about that, I... - oh, wait, no I'm not. Shut up. Screw you. I didn't expect you to be back so soon."
"It didn't take long for the day to become eventful."
He starts sniffing the air and faces me. Sect are known for their keen sense of smell.
>"Why the hell do you smell like a hive of those neumono fuzzballs?"
"I may have come in contact with one or more of them. How's the arm?"
>"Still never going to heal without wax. I don't have a queen that can hook me up, so I'm still screwed."
"Did you look on the black market?"
>"Even on the black market, a small amount is overpriced. I'll just learn to live with this for the remainder of my life. And don't you dare take pity on me. I'll kick your ass."
"Did you consider getting in contact with your old queen? The one you had before you went rogue."
>"You forget how this works. I can't go back to my old hive; they’ll tear me apart and eat me and stuff. Queens especially don't treat rogues from their own hives with much respect."
No. 1030085 ID: 77a030
File 165071076773.png - (205.21KB , 800x600 , TQ51.png )

"Alright, I'm gonna go take a shower and go to bed. You can continue... whatever it was you were doing."
"Can we watch a movie first? something featuring alien worlds would be neat!"
>"Dowser. Were you at any point planning to introduce me to your new friend?"
"My new friend?"
>"You think that just because my eyesight is bad, I wouldn't notice?"
No. 1030086 ID: 96c896

What? No way, he can't possibly mean Clay, you must have been followed here. Whip around, look for an intruder, be ready to fight. Tell Lyvy to show you where the other person is, and how he knows they're there.
No. 1030087 ID: 1c6255

Ask him, just to make sure you're both talking about the same new friend, to point to you where exactly he is.

If he points to Clay, ask him if he somehow telepathically latched on you or something, because as far as you knew Clay was only in your head.
No. 1030088 ID: 2aa5f0

ask him to define friend, as in where they think your friend is, as in point, because we've been told someone has been tailing us since we had to deal with some razor worms but haven't seen shit.
No. 1030090 ID: 5eae95

Time to turn around and ask where this new friend is, if they point at Clay its time to freak out. If they don't its time to get ready to mag dump a fool with a nail gun.
No. 1030091 ID: e5709d

"... No really, I don't get it. What, can you see my imagination or something?"
No. 1030092 ID: 9a2966

Oh, hey. Your roomate's a rogue Sect. So that's cool. How does that even work? Those other drones were practically braindead. This guy appears to be somewhat more lively. Light addiction aside.

>introduce him to your friend
"Oh boy."

Pull the nailgun and turn around, with your back towards Lyvy. Think to Clay to start looking for that visual distortion. Ask Lyvy where he thinks this friend is standing right now. Get ready to dodge in case of sudden movement.

You need clarification whether Lyvy is somehow detecting Clay, or whether your invisible stalker has snuck into the room with you. If it's Clay, you... can probably calm down and say that he's sensing something weird that's happened to you. Come to think of it, that drone back then with the Heef company forces also acted a bit weird around you...

If it's not, you might be in trouble. Or someone else is, for sneaking up on you!
No. 1030093 ID: ce39da

"... Point at them. I thought I was alone."

If he doesn't point at Clay, dive-tackle the spot he indicates.

If he does point at Clay: "Huh. I... guess this is confirmation that you're not just my halucination, Clay?" Go ahead and explain that, up until we met back up with him here, we were the only one who could perceive him. "... Wait, crap, that means the hive drone that was staring at me could sense him? Unless the Heef company they were a part of didn't know what they had, this is... not good."
No. 1030096 ID: 5d9787

The bee comparison completely mess with my comprehension of everything that is established about the Sect. What even is wax for them? Where does it come from?

So he get high and sweet when he stare at a pretty light.
Lava lamps get really hot and he was holding it with his bare hand close to his face. See if he hurt himself doing this. Maybe give him a bag of ice for his hand if it look like it would help.

>new friend
Help me out with this one. You are not the first to point out my invisible stalker and I have no idea what it is or what to do about it.
No. 1030097 ID: 36784c

Tell him about your day.

You saved a neumono from a bunch of razor worms. You saw three war bosses from the Heef company leading their combined forces off of the elevators down below and the Sect Queen war boss caught you staring at her large boobs and told you to take a photo, but you sadly didn’t have a camera with you. Then you returned the neumono to his hive and they pulled you into a cuddle pile as a thank you for saving the neumono.

>new friend
Ask him to point out where your “new friend” is. You really don’t know what he’s talking about.
No. 1030098 ID: 84374e

Threat of blindness aside, Lyvy looked kinda cute staring at that lava lamp. Do you know what is up with that?

Also, based on what he said, it doesn't seem like he can hear Clay, so figuring out who and what he's sensing is rather important, especially if it isn't Clay he's picking up. Your theoretical stalker might also be in the same physical place as Clay, so have him move around a bit.
No. 1030101 ID: ba0d72

WHAT, and i can't stress this part enough, THE FUCK?
You can see clay? Wait, can ALL sects see Clay? I'm freaking out!

Wait wait, before jumping to that conclusion, what friend?
No. 1030104 ID: c92a02

Well well, sounds like that queen noticed you for more than your staring, she must get that all the time anyway. Good thing Clay looked like a Sect and not Clay at the time, unless his coloration was impossible for a bug.
Introduce your friend to your roommate and ask him if he can tell what species Clay is from looking at him. Note that your shiny rock is currently shielded so this isn't the result of giving the sect a hallucination too.
No. 1030113 ID: b01382

.....go along with it for now. Think to Clay telling him to not to interact with anything that might tip off hes not psychically real.
Yeah this is a new buddy of mine, Clay. He'll be staying with me for a bit. So about that wax, have you tried getting it through proxies so a queen doesnt bite off your head? Why not get a cybernetic arm?
No. 1030139 ID: 34dfce

Weird stupid question, and this is just briefly setting aside the possibility that they are trans or something, but Lyvy is biologically female, right? Like male buggers in hives don't really exist for very long. That or some wild shit went down at some point that removed him from the hive before the queen could mate with him (and in doing so kill him).


Put your hand on your holster and say you came alone. Follow his lead. He probably will shoot at whatever it is.

If he shoots at Clay, then we know he can see Clay. The thing is, the friend may not be Clay, in which case we need to address that.
No. 1030140 ID: 50af53

It's best to assume it probably isn't clay. Turn about and look around NOW. Ask him what he means
only after checking that is clear.

Do sect have some of senses as well? There must be some kind of mind-fuckery keeping a hive together.
No. 1030149 ID: c28082


Wait ... what? Do fuzzy buzzies have mind powers, too?
No. 1030154 ID: ba605b

Hey roommate. You doing anything tomorrow or when I wake up? If you're not then I think I got a job for us. We'll be collecting a databank if it's still there in what used to be a heavily populated razor worm nest. I'll need your help clearing them out, and maybe find another thumper. Cash is good, you interested?
No. 1030155 ID: 5d9787

Maybe it would be worth securing that databank, but we haven't be hired to retrieve it. There is no guaranty we will be well payed for this so we shouldn't promise payment to others.
Lyvy have a broken arm. What use would he have in a job that will probable involve running across a dangerous area caring something heavy? Maybe if he is a sharpshooter he could snipe worms from somewhere safe, but considering his vision is bad I wouldn't expect this kind of talent.
No. 1030156 ID: 34dfce

>hiver esp
Could use pheremones. It would explain the sharp sense of smell he has. (plus irl hiving insects do that)
No. 1030157 ID: 36784c

>what used to be a heavily populated razor worm nest
Making a lot of assumptions here. It's true that Clover killed a lot of those razorworms, but I'm pretty sure she didn't kill all of them. That is still an active razorworm nest.

It didn't used to be a heavily populated razorworm nest. It still is a heavily populated razorworm nest!
No. 1030160 ID: 77a030
File 165076495102.png - (175.44KB , 800x600 , TQ52.png )

>Oh, hey. Your roommate’s a rogue Sect. So that's cool. How does that even work? Those other drones were practically braindead. This guy appears to be somewhat more lively. Light addiction aside.
Sect Rogues are sentient, unlike regular sect drones. It usually comes as a result of a drone coming across a piece of stimuli like eating a candy bar or laughing at a joke that causes them to accidentally gain independent thought and results in subsequent separation from the queen's influence.
>Do sect have mind powers, too?
It should be noted that unlike neumono, Sect operate their hivemind using pheromones. I don't know if I'd call it mind powers, but I'd go out on a limb and say no.
>What even is wax for them? Where does it come from?
Queens secrete it from their mouths, I think. It's a substance which can heal injured sect, but queens tend to be sparing with who they give it out to. It usually isn't drones.
>Lava lamps get really hot, and he was holding it with his bare hand close to his face. See if he hurt himself doing this.
His fingers are made of some kind of chitin, I don't think they have heat or pain receptors. He looks fine, so I’ll assume he’s fine.

>Offer to take Lyvy to get the neumono databank from the radio tower
I would have to wait for the nuemono to put out a contract, assuming they won't try to go in and grab it themselves. If I get the go ahead, I can ask Lyvy if he is interested. I could also go in and grab it without telling the hive and keep it for myself, but that just feels dirty.

I turn around with my back to Lyvy, scanning the room with my nailgun at the ready. Using my thoughts, I ask Clay if he notices anything, but it comes up negative.
"Lyvy. Can you point to where you see this 'friend' standing?"
>"I can't see anyone. Not even you. But I do smell someone, other than yourself. They aren't even standing in this room. You want me to point at the wall?"
"Where do you think this 'friend' is standing right now?"
He sniffs the air
>"Smells like someone is outside. Not standing though. They are rather high up... Clinging to the wall possibly. I'm getting the impression that this friend of yours isn't actually a friend of yours."
>"So he wasn't talking about me - what a relief! " Yeah. My craziness is still private.
"Can you tell me what they are by your sense of smell?"
>"Let’s see... Definitely not a tobak or sect. I don't recognize it as any of the aliens I have encountered either. It's something different. Something from this world."
"I think that something has been following me."
>"What do they want?"
"I don't know..."
>"What do you plan on doing about it? If you want, I can go get them."
No. 1030161 ID: 96c896

Something from this world, but not a Tobak or sect... so it's some kind of animal. Must've gotten onto the bike when you were talking to that tribal.

Having an invisible pet sounds fun... maybe we can lure it into visibility with food? Grab some, leave it somewhere you can see, and wait.
No. 1030162 ID: ba605b

Aight time to shoot an assassin. Look for any foot tracks on the floors, walls, or ceiling.
No. 1030164 ID: c92a02

Well, they know where you live now. Tell Lyvy to go get them, and you get your gun ready.
No. 1030165 ID: ce39da

"I think I can handle it, but backup would be appreciated. Mind engaging in small-talk about a non-existent hunting job you hooked us up with as we head out? We could open-carry while acting like we don't know what's up, then."

Head outside (with goggles on), and get ready to start blasting. Trust Clay implicitly on our aim, since we already know we can't trust our eyes.
No. 1030166 ID: 96c896

Guys it's not an assassin, it had so many chances to attack already.
No. 1030170 ID: 15a025

Could you go get who or whatever it is?
No. 1030171 ID: e83330

We absolutely should take initative and go retrieve the databank in case some prosecutor gets it before them or us. Plus, there was other misc. loot there we could had taken. Some computer things, MRE's, and other stuff.
No. 1030172 ID: 96c896

OH RIGHT we have a phone! Text someone who has knowledge of the creatures on this planet, find out if they know of one that can go invisible. Could just send a global message, even.
No. 1030180 ID: 36784c

There's no need to immediately rush back down there. The nest of razor worms is enough of a deterrent to keep everyone away long enough for us to get better prepared for a return trip that may not happen for another few days or so.

There's no need to bother anyone for a problem that we can solve right now. Let's just go out there with Lyvy and take care of the situation ourselves.
No. 1030183 ID: 96c896

Finding out more about the creature will allow us to know if we can solve the problem non-violently. Or if violence will backfire.
No. 1030184 ID: 5d9787

>If you want, I can go get them.
You're a lifesaver, thanks! I had no idea how I would deal with this invisible stalker.
It hasn't done anything yet, but from what I heard it's being following me for a long time.
You shot or threaten this thing, I will try to cover you if it attack.
No. 1030193 ID: 34dfce

Is this thing sapient or do we have some sort of predator stalking us (predator in the classical sense of the word, not referring to the Neumono thing)?
No. 1030195 ID: 2aa5f0

so are their any other intelligent races on this world besides tobak and sect?

Also yeah, see if he can't help you catch this damn thing so you can get an idea on WHAT has been following you. Because from the sound of things it's been following you at least from the razor worm nest.
No. 1030200 ID: 9a2966

Getting some help to pin down your mystery stalker would be neat, but tell him to take care. You might be involved in a bigger mess (than normal)... though you're not at all sure who this could be or how they'd know!

You mean, all you did at the time you seem to have picked up this tail was to travel on vehicle through the 'shortcut' and trade Lyvy's pickaxe for a hunk of mea- uh, disregard that last bit there.

Traded a bit with a tribal, full stop, period, nothing more to it. You made money killing raiders, it's okay, you'll buy a new one. Let's focus on the stalk at wall.

But how to do it? Are you gonna lean out a window and threaten to take a potshot, or lure them in, or just walk outside, or...? What are our options here?

Oh, right, since Lyvy can't see: you do have a nailgun now.
No. 1030201 ID: 6a2a09

wait, why cant he be healed normally, like with time? Is the injury that bad, or can sect drones not heal themselves because well, theyre drones?
No. 1030203 ID: 01fe07

Ok, so we're supposed to call someone and ask them to tell us about something we haven't even seen yet? That doesn't make any sense at all.

Yeah, let's go do something with Lyvy.
No. 1030204 ID: ba0d72

We could try diplomacy, ask them what they want, warn them that we know that they are here.
I can't shake the feeling that it has to do with the rock. But we don't have on us anymore. I hope this doesn't put the neumonos in danger.
No. 1030215 ID: ba605b

Do we own a flashlight? let go outside, and kick the ass of whoever has been following us. What's the rule of killing? Can we get away with it>?
No. 1030232 ID: ba605b

You know what would be funny? If you hugged him ha ha ha just a totally practical joke right?
Right joking, so do we have any aerosol sprays? Air fresheners, cleaning sprays, a very fine powder? Anything we can throw into the hallway to find our stalker in case they're invisible. We get that, throw it, then start blasting.

Side project: it'll cost a Ton of money, probably in the five digit margins, but we could probably get some kind of brain implant to enhance our electric horn detection things and get a wireless drone for Clay to occupy.
No. 1030237 ID: 758001

Hmm. The point has been made a time or two that it hasn't attacked us yet, despite opportunity, and perhaps we shouldn't start with violence. Does Lyvy smell any other clues? Like, does this entity smell like an animal would (unwashed, maybe like dirt or poop), or like sentient species tend more to be (cleaner, perhaps accompanied by a perfume or artificial deodorizer or something)? Granted, I can't smell the species or individuals you've encountered; I'm assuming most bathe and don't smell like the wild, most of the time.
No. 1030247 ID: 96c896

"Invisible" is a very good description of a creature considering how few creatures are invisible.
No. 1030260 ID: 36784c

It might not actually be invisible. It could just be up really high above us and we never noticed it because we never bothered to look up.

Just because we don't see it, that doesn't mean it's invisible. We could be very unobservant or it's really good at hiding.
No. 1030344 ID: 77a030
File 165093235975.png - (197.61KB , 800x600 , TQ53.png )

>why can’t he be healed normally with time?
The injury isn't that bad or anything, sect drones simply can't heal by themselves - at all.

>it's not an assassin, it had so many chances to attack already.
That's true. It had every opportunity in the world, especially when I was vulnerable carrying an injured person.

>Side project: it'll cost a Ton of money, probably in the five-digit margins, but we could probably get some kind of brain implant to enhance our electric horn detection things and get a wireless drone for Clay to occupy.
Would that work? Would I even want that to work? I can think of at least 500 ways I could better spend that money – assuming I could ever earn that much.

> do we have any aerosol sprays? Air fresheners, cleaning sprays, a very fine powder? Anything we can throw into the hallway to find our stalker in case they're invisible
A good plan, but it might mess with Lyvy's senses. So far, he has been the only reliable way of detecting this thing, and I don’t want to interfere with that.

"Hey Lyvy, does it smell like a wild animal or something? Can we keep it as a pet?"
"It smells like it uses deodorant. So I'm thinking not. Also no pets, the landlord would raise rent."

"Alright Lyvy. Let's go take care of it. You go out there and I'll use my nailgun to-"
"I have a better Idea. You shut up and do what I tell you."
He shoves his rifle in my hands and shuts one of the windows and locks the door, only leaving one open window into the hallway. He crouches down below the remaining open window. He signals me to be quiet.

About ten minutes pass as nothing goes by. Lyvy's patience when committed to a task is unmatched, it almost makes his attitude bearable.

Just when I'm about to say something, he quickly reaches into the window, pulls something back through, and slams it onto the ground.


Upon the impact, an object shakes loose and becomes clearly visible. It's a pair of goggles, landing close in front of me.
No. 1030346 ID: 77a030
File 165093238284.png - (218.44KB , 800x600 , TQ54.png )

These aren't a regular pair of dimming goggles - these are dark vision goggles. Meaning that whoever wears these cannot see in the dark. I wasn't sure before, but there is only one intelligent species native to this planet that needs goggles to see in the dark. This is a Rin-Reida.

"Alright Dowser. Shoot it."
>"H-hey wait! Don't shoot it!"
I recognise the voice. This is the person who was speaking to Kellie earlier.
"What are you waiting for? It was probably following you to kill you or rob you. It's only fair we give it the same treatment."
>"G-get your hand off me! You don't know what I'm here for!"
Now that Lyvy is holding whoever this is down, I can see a bit of an outline. This person must be using some kind of stealth tech, which I didn't know existed until now. Who does she work for that gives out that kind of stuff?
"Hold on, doesn't this shoot lasers or plasma or something? Won't this blind me?"
"Close your eyes and don't be such a wuss."
>"S-seriously, don't shoot me!"
"Can't we solve this without violence?"
"Sigh. You are both lucky my other arm is injured."
No. 1030348 ID: 758001

Uh - have her turn off the invisibility thing, and ideally hand it over for safe keeping. Keep a close eye on her and possibly a gun trained on her. Ask her why she IS here. Uh...and proceed from there, I guess.
No. 1030350 ID: ba0d72

Well, we wanted to do this diplomatically, so yay for us? Also GOD DAMN your roommate is scary.

Ok, question time, but first, stealth off. Who are you, what do you want, why have you been following me all day?
No. 1030351 ID: 758001

Also, yeesh; can't heal AT ALL? That's Bad; the everyday wear and tear of normal life, the gradual accumulation of scuffs and scrapes and bruises, would slowly kill you.
No. 1030357 ID: ce39da

Not that you (read; your queen) would normally give a crap about that. When you're effectively one individual with many bodies, it makes sense to evolve resource-conservative measures like "drone bodies only expend the energy to heal when I tell them to."

"Ma'am, we have you at the advantage, so I'm gonna ask some questions. First, though, you're turning that invisibility off, or we're taking it off. Second, why were you following me?" If she tries to deny that: "Yes, you were. Since the caves, during our drive back to the elevator."
No. 1030358 ID: 90c451

I imagine it's less for little scrapes and more for major wounds, like in his case being unable to heal a broken bone. If they weren't able to heal anything then I imagine his limb would be dead because any veins that broke when he broke his arm wouldn't heal and the limb would start to rot. The sole fact it isn't amputated means he can at least heal tissue.

Either we shoot you wherever and you might die or you take off that invisibility and based on how you act we'll only shoot you in the foot, or maybe not at all.
You may be right, we don't know what you're here for, but we have some ideas, and your cooperation is the only way you're coming out of this unharmed.
No. 1030367 ID: 96c896

That is some impressive stealth tech. I wonder how much the neumono hive would pay for it...

Ask him why he's following you, and to give you one good reason why you shouldn't execute her now and sell her gear. Don't let slip that you overheard their conversation in the alley. It would be best if you kept out of that CAI nonsense, it's beyond your paygrade.
No. 1030371 ID: 5d9787

I kind of want to shot her... Fine let's ask some questions.
But don't make threats, she understand the circumstances and in case we don't kill her let's try not to hurt the ego of someone so dangerous.

Were you in the mine cart with me? If so, why?
I didn't ask Kell but I will ask you: What do you guys use the dead bodies?
Do you have something to do with the unaffiliateds disappearances? Easy targets or something?
Why did you stalk me for so long?

Can we shot her now?
No. 1030372 ID: 5378af

Of course we don't shoot him, question why he was following you first.
No. 1030373 ID: e5709d

Look for a leg, close your eyes, count to three, and empty the chamber.
No. 1030382 ID: 994d81

With only one arm holding them there is a good chance of them simply escaping or injuring lyvy. If you are not going to shoot them at least help hold them or tie them.
No. 1030414 ID: c92a02

"Watch any good shows lately?"
First things first, get your goggles back on before they flash you. Second, figure out how to get them out of their stealth gear, starting with their tail. If they try and flee, it'll make it that much easier to chase them again.
No. 1030425 ID: 5efa65

Ixnay on the dead odybays, or we'll have to shoot her just to make sure she doesn't have us killed. It's best if she never learns we heard her conversation.
No. 1030426 ID: b01382

Honestly? Too tempted to kill. It would be so early, but we all know our landlord is an ass and would just make us pay for th3 damages...Nails would be so much better! Anyways pull off the goggles and kick her in the head to discombubulate her. Start choking her put until she falls unconscious, then bring her inside so we can tie her up and interrogate her.
Man our roommate needs some nanomachines, or some kind of miracle heal stuff. Being him must be torture.

We should probably drag her inside so prying eyes cant see nor hear.
No. 1030428 ID: 9a2966

What do we know about them?

>Who does she work for that gives out that kind of stuff?
Someone big enough to concern themselves with thinking about acquiring a CAI and doing likely illegal skeevy stuff besides. Odds are it's a criminal organization or a governmental/corporate spy faction. At least those would make sense for having acquired camo tech.

>identity of stalker
The GOOD news here is that she would not know you picked up the ore and that you can pretend you don't know how bad of news they are and that Kellie didn't blab about the CAI and that you never overheard her conversation.

>To shoot, or not to shoot
Man, we know this lady is bad news, given how she acted around Kellie and given how she literally stalked you for hours - though she has no idea you truly know about either. But... just shooting her for 'home invasion' is probably gonna bring down more (bad) attention from her organization. Just keep the gun trained roughly-ish in her direction and let Lyvy sit on her for now.

>'Cluing in'
Tell her stalking people is rude. Especially given all the indeps that have been disappearing of late, putting one on edge. Ask if you'd be right to presume she's somehow related to a certain tobak you rescued earlier today, who said his boss might get in touch. Name of...?

Also what is HER name? She can undo the cloaking thingy now, by the way! Foster a little trust! (And so you can potentially disarm her of any obvious weaponry or see if she reaches for them.) Though you'll probably want to have Lyvy release her as soon as it's 'obvious' that she's not hostile and that you've clued in on who she might be working for - Kellie's mystery employer.
No. 1030429 ID: d0382d

Help your roomie restrain her and tell him you’d like to know why she’s been following you all day. I mean she’s had MANY chances to do something bad to you if she wanted so if she not out to kill or rob you then you’d like to know WHY she is following you.
No. 1030435 ID: 77a030
File 165096918101.png - (266.33KB , 800x600 , TQ55.png )

>What do we know about Rin-Reida?
First and foremost, they come from the glades. They were the only intelligent life on this planet which could actually achieve something you could call a civilisation and culture. The had religions, agriculture, language, writing, art, all the stuff that tobaks could never hope to achieve. That was until the original mining company discovered them and completely botched the uplift, opting instead to wipe out the ones that got in the way of things. For that reason, they are almost completely justified in their universal hate of aliens. Aside from that, they have 8 eyes and 8 limbs. (tail not included) They also have the ability to climb walls. I think there's more to them, but that's about all I know.

"You know, stalking people is rude."
>"Not when the person you're following never finds out about it. You were never supposed to find out about me."
"Mind turning off the invisibility?"
>"Why? So, you can get a better shot at me?"
"A little transparency could help your case. Or in this case - opaqueness."
>"Alright. I will cooperate. But I will withhold sensitive information."

She becomes visible, as it appears panels on a suit begin blinking out. She is wearing some kind of cloaking suit after all, fairly high tech looking. It looks a bit like bio armor, but I'm not sure that's what it is. Rin-Reida are known for being flimsy, and I've come to believe that bio armor is only for fairly sturdy people.

Upon becoming mostly visible, Lyvy picks her up with his one arm and holds her up onto a wall of boxes. I considered helping Lyvy to restrain her, but he seemingly does it effortlessly with just one arm. She can barely do more than struggle. She is smaller than me and Lyvy (At around a few inches over 3 feet) so her legs are unable to touch the ground as he holds her up.

"Alright. First off - Who do you work for?"
>"I cannot say. I can only say that I am not from any company."
"What's your name?"
>"I'd rather we not become formal. Especially if you turn down our proposition."
"Were you in the tank bike with me? If so, why?"
>"Correct. I was there because I wouldn't be able to catch up with you otherwise."
"Do you have something to do with the disappearances?"
>"I cannot say."

"Why have you been following me?"
>"How did you know I was following you?"
"You're not the one asking the questions, moron."
>"Right. You got our attention back when you rescued Kellie from those raiders. We had been monitoring the mess that was the situation he had been caught in, and the other watchers and I didn't expect a third party to interfere. What we didn't expect even further was for that third party to succeed. I don't know your motive for risking your neck like that, but you had become someone worth keeping an eye on."
"You followed me to keep an eye on me?
>"Initially. It wasn't until we saw you pull off that stunt with the wild razorworm nest that we started seriously considering you."
"Considering me for what? Look, I don't want to be dragged into anything."
>"You're not going to be dragged into something if you don't want to. However, I'm not at liberty to say what you are being considered for. Not so long as buzz breath here is close enough to listen in. Speaking of which - would you kindly ask your dog to get his paw off of my neck?"
Lyvy looks at me.
"Go on. ask your 'dog' to let go. "
>"And give me my goggles. Then we can talk"
No. 1030437 ID: 2aa5f0

"please be kinder to my roommate as I do consider him a friend."

Also since it seems at this point that their are more races that see in the light than in the dark in this room it might be easier for everyone for you to put your googles on and turn Lyvy's lamp back on so everyone can see each other.
No. 1030438 ID: 90c451

Lyvy can do as he pleases, you're the one stalking us and trespassing on our property, and for what? Recruitment? If these are your recruiting practices I want nothing to with whatever shady business you're involved in.
Either way, you're not in a position to negotiate, you aren't getting your night vision goggles with that attitude, and we still haven't stopped considering to just shoot you.

We could try to get more answers, either way I think it's best we do the opposite of what she said and pick up or kick away her goggles so she can't get them, as not having the goggles puts her at a disadvantage.
No. 1030439 ID: 9a2966

>Wiped out young civilization
Wow. Yeah, corporate shittiness at its finest worst. She gets some sympathy for that alone. But also, y'know... 'bomb collar'. Extremists be extremin'.

>Dog, return goggles
If she stopped calling your friend, uh, cohabitant inappropriate things, you'd be a lot more inclined to return her darkvision goggles to her... but bah, fine. Grab them and put them back on her rude ol' noggin. Curiously nuzzle them big ol' bunny ears while you do... or, uh, accidentally brush up against them! Clearly an accident!

...tell Lyvy that hurting the Rin-Reida is off the table as she seems connected with some sorta organization related to a guy you rescued from raiders and you don't want to encourage bad blood. But... before she is fully let go, you want to hear her out, and also make a few things clear of your own. He can just keep a hand on her so she doesn't scarper before things get straightened out.

>Okay, so I'm a person of interest?
To make things clear, you did get up to some wild stuff today - but a lot of it, as they apparently saw, came down to luck and you definitely didn't do any of it alone, so it's not guaranteed that you'd want to do stuff like that every day! What you need to know is what 'person of interest' means to them. Are you being considered for employment, like Kellie suggested you might? She mentioned a proposition. You'll hear it out, but being stalked and such makes you a teensy bit leery. Feels like someone put the wrong foot forward, y'know?

>Call for peace
Kellie was also relatively vague about what he was doing and who he was working for when you rescued him, but you got the impression it was stuff that might be on the edge of good conscience... though you've no idea what that might be! It's just that he did ask to keep the raider corpses and while you didn't mind and it was none of your business, that does raise certain questions, especially given the recent disappearances of late. If she could give you proof or a guarantee that her org's not behind that, well, that would lower some of your hackles.

That said, you certainly didn't have any intention of going around sharing this information with anyone - other than bragging you saved some guy, maybe - if that was what worried her. A Tobak rescued, some raiders dead, it was all good, yeah? You'd have been happy to keep it at that and take your share of the loot once it gets sold.

For what it's worth you also apologize for the hostile reception. As an independent you ARE concerned with the vanishing of Tobaks - and becoming one - so she'll have to forgive you the hostility she's received. Just can't be too careful! Besides, if she hadn't messed up stalking you - did they really not do a background check to see that you were living with a Sect? - this situation probably wouldn't have occurred.

>How did you know I was following you
Not telling. You'd rather just emphasize that you did know, so that she knows she can't safely sneak up on you. If she and her organization wants to get to know you better, do it the regular way! Get in touch and ask! You're certainly not opposed to job propositions and such - free independent Tobak and all - though you think you may have a line on something decent with that other rescue you made. Maybe something that's a bit safer than staring down Razorwyrm maws...

Oh man, you're going to have such nightmares for a while.
No. 1030440 ID: 96c896

She can have the goggles back when she leaves. If she wants to talk in private, that's fine, but she's gonna be in the dark for the time being.
No. 1030441 ID: 9a2966

Another thing of note that seems obvious now is that the mechanic actually spotted the Rin-Reida, so he wasn't seeing a rock ghost. Weird.

Or maybe he was being affected by the rock, only a bit differently, and that enabled him to see the Rin-Reida?
No. 1030442 ID: 798908

"Being racist to my roommate is not helping your case."
No. 1030448 ID: ce39da

> Male tobak electromagnetic biology "perfect for cybernetics."
> Magic rock's properties.
> "CAI" are being made on this planet by someone.
> Kellie's group has a project involving CAI.
> Kellie's group needs male tobak corpses.
> Independents are going missing.
> Kellie's group was cooperating with raiders.
> Kellie's group has significant anti-alien/corpo sentiment by way of Rin-Reida membership.
> Kellie's group can kill (and probably has killed) tobaks within the group to keep secrets.
Honestly, we don't really need her to be forthright - we have enough pieces already to put together a big picture of sorts, as unbelievable as it's starting to look.

"I dunno if I wanna die and become part of some CAI. Heck, even if I wanted to be the base for one, I could prolly do it myself without associating with people who cooperated with raiders and probably do a lot of murdering themselves, too."

If she reacts negatively, saying something like "you need to die now," you can clap back with "that's my line, actually," and pop her (after closing your eyes).
No. 1030449 ID: f1a92a

One might want to keep the CAI knowledge stuff on the down-low, as that was one of the things they did not want spread around. What if she has active comms on?

Plus, killing her will almost certainly attract the attention of her group!
No. 1030450 ID: 2aa5f0

would we even know what any of that is in character?
No. 1030451 ID: 5d9787

Maybe I should pet my dog and tell him he is a good boy...
If you want to him to release you try to convince him, not me.
From what you just said it seems you already know where we live and about our cache. Because of the things we share by following me you got into his business as well.
Also your organization have multiple members moving around the area we work and is equipped with tech I never heard about. Beside all of that I fit the description of the disappearances you basic just admitted having something to do and you guys use tobak corpses for something.
Some of those points I could accept, but this sinister mess of shadiness don't inspire much confidence.
If there a sale pitch to make this more palatable miss no name from the unmentionable organization?
No. 1030453 ID: 34dfce

So pretty much everything about her is stuff she is not at the liberty to say.

Well, that isn't a great start to diplomacy. Tell your dog to start taking that suit off of her, restrain her, and search her for bugs.
Probably also check her mouth for cyanide (or equivalent) pills. Pupper could probably sniff it out if its there.

Also, apparently you forgot glade tobaks existed. Like the sniper from earlier, with the wide field of view nightvision goggles.
No. 1030454 ID: 34dfce

No. 1030455 ID: 0c7bf9

Goggles + lamp on, not her goggles. If this is a job offer, we’re listening.
No. 1030457 ID: 96c896

I think the only thing we know that Dowser doesn't know is the stuff we saw at the end of thread 1, with the bandit and the forehead-spike assassin.
No. 1030458 ID: 6c7010

"You know, someone who isn't involved in disapearing people would have just said no."
No. 1030460 ID: 758001

Hmm. My thoughts are:
This dude probably had a pretty good bead on it. BUT.
Do not tell her that. This does not help us, and probably kills us.
You probably don't want to be getting involved with such a company...unless it's to try taking it down from the inside. That would likely be difficult.
No. 1030461 ID: 96c896

Yeah, agreed. If we tell her and let her go, we get the forehead spike dude sent after us. If we kill her, then... well, we better hope she didn't tell anyone where she was going, because if she did then we'll get the forehead spike.
No. 1030465 ID: b01382

No, im holding onto these goggles until im sure you wont run off before i answer all my questions. Pay her down for any weapons or tools she might use against us.
Sell it to me. Give us a reason why we shouldn't kill you here and now.
No. 1030466 ID: b01382

Oooh no, giving her a means of escape by returning her vision is a no go. We're not friends with her yet, and we have no good reasons to trust her.

We can always sell the goggles if things come to a head.

We still need to get some armor.
No. 1030480 ID: ba0d72

"I do want more information, but I do not want to partake on whatever fucked up things you are doing with the missing tobaks. I want to know just enough to know how to be as far aways from you as posible.
Also, he is not a dog, nor a pet, he is my roommate, and he can do what ever he wants, so i would suggest not to piss him off. I hold no power over him.
Also, when we are done with you, we don't want to be followed anymore. And we will know if you do."
No. 1030506 ID: 77a030
File 165102612935.png - (220.40KB , 800x600 , TQ56.png )

"Please be kinder to my roommate as I do consider him a friend."
"You're not my friend. I have no friends. I'm alone and that's the way I like it."
"Right. Well, Lyvy can do as he pleases. You're the one stalking us and trespassing on our property."
>"You're the one who brought me in here! I was going to leave the moment I could confirm that this was your address."
"Regardless, I'm holding onto the goggles until I know what I want to know."
"I am not holding her while you talk for twenty minutes. My arm is getting tired."
"Can you take that suit off her? Restrain her and search her for bugs."
"Nah. I don't feel like it."
>"H-hey! I'm not wearing anything underneath this suit!"
"Is that supposed to entice me? I'm still not doing it."
"Fine. You can choose to handle this however you want."
"I will."
He lets her go and drops her to the ground. She splits all her limbs and starts climbing up the corner of the wall until she hits the ceiling, panting with exhaustion.
"What are you doing up there?"
>Staying away from you!
Lyvy looks over to me. "I'll be right back. I'm going to get the broom." He promptly leaves the room.

The stalker turns her attention to me.

"You know, someone who isn't involved in disappearing people would have just said no"
>"Look. It's complicated. It isn't just a yes or no question - there's nuance to it. The reality is much less sinister than you might think. We are not killing anyone or forcing anyone to hide."
“Likely story. “
>"Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot. I wasn't sent to hurt you, or extract information about you. Even if Kellie told you all about his BSCAI, we are not interested in harming you. Ignore my previous statement if that made no sense to you. I was just sent to find your address so that we could send someone more qualified to sign you up."
"I still don't trust you."
>"You were never supposed to meet me in the first place!"
"Do you have a sales pitch more palatable for this unmentionable organization? I'm getting the impression that whoever you guys are, you're not doing things completely lawful. Kellie took a couple raider corpses with him, I'm sure you're doing something sinister with those."
>"I have no idea what he is using corpses for. But I will tell you one thing about him - If you knew the kinds of things he does, you would never have tried to rescue him. Don't let his demeanour fool you - beneath the surface, he is a complete psycho. His assistant tries to keep him in check, even if the only way we'd assign him to the current project was under heavy surveillance. We don't force anybody to work for us, but he agreed to what the consequences of breaching his contract would be. With any luck, you never have to meet Kellie again. We'd like you for other projects. You want a sales pitch? How's this; Advanced cybernetics, unmatched medical care, money, connections and possible consideration for off world employment."
"That's a lot to think about for a job I still know so little about."
>"Give me my goggles, let me go, and we can forget this interaction happened. Trust me, it'd look embarrassing on my record. In a day, or a week, or even two weeks, you'll get a knock on the door. Someone will come in, offer you a job, and you can choose to accept or turn it down. Now, can I [i]please[i/] come down and be let go on my merry way?"
No. 1030507 ID: 96c896

Well we know she just lied about not killing anyone. Though maybe she means, not killing innocents. That raider wasn't exactly innocent. The problem is all those company troops that got forehead spiked... what we know now (though Dowser doesn't) is that this non-company organization was responsible for the massacre. ...I wonder if the "shadow" that was spotted at the fuel depot was this lady? Maybe she makes trips out there for fuel like others do.
"BSCAI"... biological systems CAI?

Anyway, we've heard enough. Let her go on her merry way.
No. 1030511 ID: ce39da

"So what I'm hearing is: There's more than one way to make a 'BSCAI' - thanks for confirming my theory about what you were doing by dropping that cool acronym, by the way; does the 'BS' stand for Bioelectromagnetic System? It sounds pretty ingenious for flying under the radar of those anti-CAI laws, assuming it works. Anyway, it's just Kellie's attempted method that's super unsavory, involves dealings with raiders, and is probably leading to a lot of independents disappearing?"

Hmm... Maybe get her to agree to make sure we don't get assigned to Kellsie in exchange for not speaking of this, assuming we do accept the actual recruiter's offer. Part of me wants to give the benefit of the doubt regarding the "guilty as fuck" elements being restricted to this guy's division. Still, I'd be wary of this being a spycraft job, given the "travel the galaxy, meet exciting new people" aspect of that pitch.
No. 1030516 ID: 5d9787

I don't know which character frustrate me more in this interaction: Levy or Dowser.
That went badly. At this point lets just do like Levy: Say fuck it! There is no need to worry about the shady organization that know our address and the place we hide our stuff.
Now that we successfully offended her with silly threats and we are pretty much guaranty of letting her go I would strongly advice to move somewhere else fast, but I got the feeling this won't be an option.
Do you want to put a cherry on top? How about insist further on her strip tease? Or don't and instead give her googles back and let her go.
Go have your well deserved unconcern rest with no fear whatsoever.
No. 1030519 ID: ba0d72

Fine, we won't get anything else from her like this. She may leave. But stop spying, we can tell if they do, as she noticed. We will wait for that knock on the door, see what is this all about. If this is shady as fuck, or has anything to do with Kellie, its a hard no.
I can't say i'm not intrigued about all this, especially since they took the trouble of "checking us out". The prospect of cybertetics and a way out of the planet do sound interesting, and I'm sure Clay will agree.
No. 1030520 ID: 96c896

Oh wait, is there some sort of central authority we can give her to? Or is this place mostly lawless and even known ultra-illegal stuff such as CAI research is glossed over?
No. 1030521 ID: 90c451

There's the neutral company, but they seem to only stop things like fights breaking out in the streets so I doubt they have a jail as they'd either just beat someone up or outright kill them. In cases like these they'd usually only show up after the intruder has killed someone or something and kill the intruder to send a message.

Take her deal, act as if this never happened, don't give any indication we know anything and let her go so long as she promises to act like this never happened and we only deal with their recruiter and not their fixer.

I repeat, don't let our suspicions slip, this can be labeled off as a simple embarrassment for her as it is but if we let slip that she's revealed any information or that we know more than she might think, or, god forbid, we're smart enough to figure it out then I have a feeling that knock on our door will be accompanied by the bang of a gun.
No. 1030524 ID: c92a02

Well we’re not going to kill her, so let her leave. It’s a lot to think about, we should do our own investigations into the company. Maybe talk to our friend the psycho programmer again.
No. 1030525 ID: 36784c

>we saw you pull off that stunt with the wild razorworm nest
At least someone saw how you killed that big razorworm with the radio tower. Now you can feel really cool about it!

“Does BSCAI stand for ‘BullShit CAI’? Because to be completely honest, all of this kinda sounds like a bunch of bullshit.”
No. 1030526 ID: 1c6255

I think we can let her go now.
No. 1030527 ID: 27dcf8

I dunno. Her speech half convinced me, but also I feel like a sucker to be so easily convinced. Plusss...
In her conversation with the programmer earlier, a few things don't quite line up. She indicated his assistant, who "tries to keep him in check", *also* wears a bomb collar and is locked in the server room. She also called programmer dude "incompetent, inept, and quite frankly, moronic", to his face, but notably not "psychotic" or anything.

>we're not going to kill her
I guess that, whether or not it would be most practical or not, I can't really imagine Dowser killing her in these circumstances. So I guess just like, don't let on you know anything else incriminating.

Also, when the job comes a callin', I'd ike to remember we're also interested in working for the neumono hive, whom I trust rather a lot more, frankly.
No. 1030529 ID: ba605b

No, i want this done now. Contact your supervisor so i can talk to em.

Levvy, wanna job or something?

Can we still go out to retrieve the databank? Fatigue be damnes if we dont take initative. Get a thermos full of coffee, you can afford to go without sleep for another day. Just go in, get the databank, get the other misc items around, and leave.

Also Levvy we say how you were blushing while looking at the lava lamp. That uh....wanna talk about it?
No. 1030531 ID: 36784c

>Can we still go out to retrieve the databank?
Dowser already said that he would have to wait for the nuemono to put out a contract to go get it, assuming the neumono won't try to go in and grab it themselves.

So, no, we’re not going to go get the databank.
No. 1030533 ID: 77a030
File 165104850148.png - (216.88KB , 800x600 , TQ57.png )

>is there some sort of central authority we can give her to? Or is this place mostly lawless and even known ultra-illegal stuff such as CAI research is glossed over?
There isn't a central authority stronger than the companies. And the companies are arguably even bigger criminals than whatever organization this person works for, because the companies have successfully been able to hide their crimes from all of the outside central authorities. They're untouchable, which is why they do whatever they want. If any of these companies know about a third-party doing CAI research, they'd want it for themselves rather than try to shut it down.

"I don't believe you people haven't killed anyone. I've seen things which disprove that."
>"I assure you, if you've seen or heard of anyone getting killed as of late, it didn't come from us. You're probably thinking of something Lak did."
"Lak? One of those raiders earlier mentioned someone with that name. Who is he?"
>"A mystery. He was around the area you were today, he took something that belonged to us, so we're trying to get it back. I can't confirm this, but my guess is that Talion came down looking for the same thing. I don't know what it is, so take it as you will.

"Fine. You can go." I extend my arm and hand her the goggles when she comes down.

She cautiously approaches, takes the goggles, and starts to get ready to go before stopping.
>"There's something in your voice. What's wrong?"
"I feel this went badly."
She takes off the part of her suit covering her head.
>"These suits get hot after a while. Need to let it vent. Talk to me, before your buddy finds that broom, and I go on my way."
"I successfully offended you with silly threats."
>"I... Look, Dowser... You're not a bad person, ok? I saw what you did to that alien. It takes compassion to do something like that, bringing someone who is lost back to their home and family, even if I personally despise most aliens. Besides reflecting your competency, it showed me firsthand who you really are - I knew you weren't going to shoot me. If I was armed or making threats, maybe you wouldn't have thought twice, giving me the same treatment as those raiders. I'm not afraid of you, because you're someone who acts rationally and cautiously. You know that doing something to me might have consequences."
"Whoever you guys are, you now know where I live. I have to rest easy knowing that."
>..."Look. If... If you really don't want this, I won't relay your address to the recruiter. I know you have other job opportunities you can turn to. But I need you to tell me. You are the last person I'd want to screw over."
No. 1030535 ID: d1a880

Something to consider is that if she as been following us for this long, then she either know about Clay or reported enough for someone in her company to figure it out.
And if she is the shadow at the fuel depot, she probably was there for the weird ore too.
This might be another reason they are interested in us.
No. 1030536 ID: 96c896

Tell her if she thinks her group is a good fit for a good person like you, then she can go ahead and tell them to send a real recruiter. Kindof weird that they'd want you AND someone like Kellie though. Wouldn't your mindsets conflict?
No. 1030538 ID: 90c451

If your group has the resources you say it has, whether you give them my address is insubstantial, there's tons of avenues to get information as simple as that, I'm more worried about what you learned about tailing me, I have an idea on when it started, but not on what you saw, and I'd much rather you promise what you saw, or rather, heard while tailing me is kept a secret.
No. 1030539 ID: 9a2966

>Kellie is a psychopath, no idea why he wanted the corpses
Aw, if true. But then why hire him? You'd doubt her words if she wasn't so clearly rattled and was probably letting on things she shouldn't.

>We are not the 'bad guys'
It is the case that they observed you being actively heroic and selfless twice and went 'Huh, maybe we should hire this guy?' Weird dichotomy here if they were criminals. Aw man... are they a rebel organization trying to counter or upend the rule of the corporations? That could jive. You might even be up for that given your independent alignment and dislike for the big corporations.

>Advanced cybernetics, unmatched medical care, money, connections and possible consideration for off world employment
Those are very nice and tempting things! Could a lone independent Tobak even warrant them? It's in the region of 'too good to be true' or 'How many razorwyrm maws do I gotta stare down for this?' But you'll discuss that with their rep if or when they visit. You're interested! Just skeptical and worried about the flip side.

>Missing Tobaks, it's complicated
Is it, though? There's plenty of people looking for missing persons, you know? If those Tobaks joined of their own volition, wouldn't they come back on occasion or text their associates so you'd get less missing person reports? In fact, you're surprised that isn't happening on the sly anyway. Unless there's some truly bullshit 'secrecy is all' punitive NDA going on, enforced with, like, bomb collars, or something crazy.

..nah, that'd be nuts. Bound to spread resentment, even if the benefits were awesome. Right?

>Not reveal address, not looking to screw you over here
That's both tempting and gratifying that she'd give you the choice (if it isn't just the illusion of it). Would reduce the complications in your life if you accepted. However... you do want to see the stars some day! Maybe you could do that the good and slow way through the Neumono corp - they really didn't seem bad! - and you still might, but you may as well hear out her faction's offer. At least, with the caveat that they're really not behind the bad stuff you saw. If they are, if she's gotten the impression you're a goody-two-shoes who'd object to many of the things they do, maybe she should just forget your address, yeah.

>Elevator, Heef corp, Lak
Hey, does she at least know why Lak killed all those corporate guys, or what they even were down there for? It still boggles the mind to think that only one dude did all that - who IS this guy? - even if he did use a flare gun to great effect. And does she know what was up with the excessive armed response and those detector units they had? Both the generals and that highly cyber'd merc guy had 'em.

>One more thing
Think: Clay, got any questions for her? Anything about her that we missed? She did a really weird heel turn there once she climbed down and calmed down. Is she speaking the truth or pulling a fast one, d'you think?
No. 1030540 ID: b01382

Im going to sleep with a gun by the bed now. I do not want to think about this. Sleep calls me.

I still dont lnow why our room mate was staring at the lava lamp. Is his species weak against bright lights? Thay could come in handy.
No. 1030541 ID: 6a2a09

oh yeah, what did happen to the raider that was gathering fuel? he just kinda disappeared
No. 1030543 ID: 9a2966

>Hey, does she at least know why Lak killed all those corporate guys, or what they even were down there for? It still boggles the mind to think that only one dude did all that - who IS this guy? - even if he did use a flare gun to great effect. And does she know what was up with the excessive armed response and those detector units they had? Both the generals and that highly cyber'd merc guy had 'em. Both the generals and that highly cyber'd merc guy had 'em.
Oh wait, she said she didn't know what Lak was down there for, only that he'd taken something of theirs.

Talion... must be the merc guy from the elevator, then?
No. 1030544 ID: e5709d

Tell her you don't trust her nebulous, cult-like organization, even if she's personable. Defying your corporate masters doesn't mean risking everything on a secret organization that won't even tell you why they do anything or why you should blindly trust their suspicious behavior.
No. 1030548 ID: bedd3b

Lak doesn’t care if you’re with this mysterious group or not, and support networks are handy. You don’t mind having a week to consider things, but… don’t give them your address.
No. 1030550 ID: ba0d72

We could compromise on a meeting somwhere else, istead of giving them our adress. It would help you sleep at night, and it won't cause inconveniences to your roommate. I am way too intrigued and the pros are very tempting, we just need to know the cons.
Can Clay give us some quick opinions?
No. 1030552 ID: 5d9787

I appreciate that you are addressing my concerns, I get that those guys are not meant to be the bad guys in the narrative and that the neumono hive won't steal the rock we just gave them with no outsider witness. I make those comments because I try to take those situations seriously from the character point of view, if you don't want to spent narrative time being paranoiac feel free to ignore me.

"Maybe you could pretend this didn't happen. I do appreciate job offers, I was just expecting it to start with a text message..."
"Do you want to sit down and have a glass of water and some snacks before you go? I'm really tired after everything and you must be to."
No. 1030554 ID: ce39da

"Well, I'll consider it... Oh, but one more thing: Do you know about Clay already?" She might have insight into our head-buddy if her group is working on 'BSCAI.' If she asks what you're talking about, deflect this into an opportunity to ask about the scene of the massacre you found while name-dropping G. Clay, maybe describing what you observed about the corpses. "Maybe that was what this Lak guy was doing out there? Honestly, he sounds kinda scary if he took on two corpo squads at once without backup, even if he did have the help of a flair gun."
No. 1030555 ID: 36784c

Don't mention the voice in our head. We don't want to be seen as crazy.
No. 1030556 ID: cc33be

An extremely powerful organization is courting you. This could be anything. Good, great, amazing, bad, awful, terrible, a good way to eat money, a good way to get killed by some element you don't know. She could be lying, telling the truth, telling half truths, manipulating you to an answer. I feel like she's avoiding the subject of the ore, but it could just be she doesn't know either. Literally anything is possible. It's scary being on the world your on, feeling like you could get crushed the moment someone notices you're there. Maybe the people that make up this organization feel the same. They did manage to get this many limbed cutie that hates aliens. Maybe that's a good sign for your prospects of living.

There's a saying in business. "No. But" I wouldn't refuse this, but I don't like the current situation at all. It seems to be stressing you so much that clay went completely silent. Like she said, you weren't supposed to meet her, but here you are. Maybe take the chance to get her to tell them that you'd rather receive a proper business offer. Maybe not at your front door.
No. 1030557 ID: b01382

Boop her on her spider bunny nose before she leaves! Itll be funny.
No. 1030558 ID: c28082


Ask her to wait a few days and meet up with us again, giving us time to CONSIDER the recruitment.

She might not be able to tell us what for, or even what we'll be doing, but if anything, it lets us figure out what's going on with our magic rock AND our neumono buddies. And maybe think through this with a clearer head (or at least enough to engage Clay and Fuzzy Buzzy Lyvy on the matter).
No. 1030560 ID: b01382

Fair enough, but even if we dont get the databank, theres other stuff in the building for us to loot and sell off. Money is money, and we're in dire need of some more if we ever hope to get any better gear or cybernetics in the future. Im thinking we just get 1 cyber eye. Because if we get two cybereyes, and they both crap out on us, we'd be blind. Better armor and a stealth suit would be nice too.
No. 1030561 ID: 1c6255

This could be good, but two weeks is a bit short because you have something planned for "in two weeks". Three weeks would be better.
No. 1030563 ID: a9af05

Warn her that the next person to show up better not be invisible. Otherwise Lyvy won't hesitate to shoot them.

>theres other stuff in the building for us to loot and sell off.
We'd probably need to bring two or three others with us so that we're not immediately killed by the razorworms. And because of the extra help we'd need to pay them, which would leave us with little to no money gained for ourselves when we split the loot.

I'm pretty sure Dowser wouldn't want to risk going back there if he's not going to be making much of a profit from splitting up the loot like that.
No. 1030564 ID: b01382

We'd need to bring three people minimum, thankfully we can probably get Levvy to come along. Obviously we would need to split the loot, as that would be fair. There were noted to be unused tech and boxes everywhere, so you shouldnt immediately disapprove the value of the items still there without appraising them first. They could be worth something, they could be worth little. Thats just how it goes. Thankfully our friend killed a majority of the razorworms with her railgun, so all we need now is Levvy and another thumper.
All in all, loot is still loot, and if theres something valueable there then thats just more money for us, no? Can you prove you know with absolute certainty nothing in there is worth the trouble? Because i also can't prove anything is worth anything without us checking it out.
No. 1030597 ID: a9af05

>Thankfully our friend killed a majority of the razorworms with her railgun
You don’t know that. For all we know, she could've only killed a small number of them and there's still a large number of them there.

>another thumper
Getting another one of those might end up being more expensive than whatever loot we could potentially get, which would end up with us spending more than what we'd earn from selling anything we find.
No. 1030603 ID: b01382

And you can't disprove that we didn't kill a majority of the razor worms, nor the condition of another thumper and it's costs. Hence why not? We can check that out.
No. 1030606 ID: 5d9787

This situation mean Dowser can be target by an organization with unseen agents. By professional necessity he need to move around places that are ideal for such agents to ambush him, so he is at their mercy. We may be certain the main character won't suddenly die from a surprise attack but Dowser should not be so certain. He must be aware that they could kill him or kidnap him to be part of some torturous experimentation. He should be stressed with the uncertain danger combine with the impotence of be unable to do anything to prevent it.

Whatever promises she make are only relevant if we trust her. If we trust her there is no need to refuse further association with this organization. If we don't her verbal agreement is irrelevant because she already know our address and whatever else she found out about us. Asking to meet somewhere else doesn't improve our safety.

Lyvy showed willingness to help when we needed but abandoned every concern for a slight provocation and a bit of inconvenience. I don't know why we would want to bring him along in a job that anyone else could do. Unless his skills are particularly useful for the plan just let him be edgy in his corner alone.

Why in this tense situation Dowser would be concern with the databank? Wait for the Hive to contract us. It's not our problem if they lose it to someone else because they took too much time.
No. 1030630 ID: b01382

Dude's and ex-soldier and carries a rifle around with him everywhere. He was also able to hold someone down with one arm. Despite his disabilities, he's pretty tough.

So moving has it's ups and downs. Anything we should do to improve our chances to not tie a terrible and painful death?
No. 1030643 ID: 34dfce

Idk what she is doing, but all of it is bullshit. You don't become a spy and then gush once you get caught (at least not without considerable prompting).

Not much we can do though other than have her fuck off. I'd say we should try to make a point to explore the neumono job possibility asap so we can get some protection (especially if we go the semi-autonomous branch route since that would make us important enough to protect).

At the very very least, you need to move yesterday.
No. 1030644 ID: b01382

+1 did we share contact info with he space dog people? I hope we did. If not we'll need to come back another day, else how are we going to get pinged for a job to retrieve the databanks? Assuming they haven't already sent someone out to retrieve it.
No. 1030659 ID: 77a030
File 165114106850.png - (234.97KB , 800x600 , TQ58.png )

"Do you think your group is a good fit for a 'good' person like me?"
>"If you're asking me, I would say that we are a strictly neutral organization with plenty of outside funding and resources. We primarily develop technology and run experiments, then send all the tech and data somewhere else. In the short term, you could benefit from running a job or two fetching items for us."

"Why hire Kellie if he is a Psycho?"
>"I don't know. If I had to guess, our boss thinks that his lack of consideration for others makes him perfect for the project he is assigned to. But that's just my guess."

"I still don't trust an organization that won't tell me simple questions."
>"I'm being secretive because I can't go spilling important information to outsiders. I'm sure you can understand that. If the companies found out about us, it'd be bad to say the least."

>What does Clay think?
"I trust her. Maybe I'm not the best judge of character, but I think that she has been trying to tell the truth so far. Obviously, her circumstances and associations are shady at best, but she by herself means no harm."

"One more thing, do you know about Clay already?
She lights up
>"Wait a second, you know Gyro?"
>"Gyro Clay! The Tobak with the eye patch who works for the Talion Corporation, you know him? I had no idea! how's he doing these days? I haven't met him since back when I was a kid!"
"This is unexpected... How do you know him?"
>"Have you never turned on the TV? Everybody knows him, He's a hero! If it wasn't for his push to construct and maintain Rin-Reida reservations in the glades and having a personal hand in constructing and funding orphanages, I wouldn't be here today!"
"Wow. you hear that Dowser? Looks like I have an admirer!"
"So... You don't know... Uh - never mind."
>"He is the kind of person I always wanted to be when I grew up. Obviously, life took me in another direction, but I still admire him, nonetheless. I wish I knew how he was doing these days, he seems too tied up with his work to pay the communities a visit."
Oh god she doesn't know. She doesn't know about what happened in the refinery. That at least tells me she doesn't know about the ore.

"Right... Well, anyway, you should go. To be clear, I still don't trust you and all you've said. But the next person who shows up better not be invisible, or somebody might end up hurt at the hands of my roommate."
>"Noted. If you're still not sure about all this, send me a message on this burner account of mine. Let me know if you don't want to hear from us again in the next few days and I won't relay your address, or if you want, we can conduct a meeting at a different place. If you do consider doing a job or two for us, we may meet again. If not, goodbye."
She gives me a PDA contact number before turning her cloaking suit back on and disappearing.
No. 1030660 ID: 77a030
File 165114108033.png - (240.21KB , 800x600 , TQ59.png )

>why was our roommate staring at the lava lamp. Is his species weak against bright lights?
Sect are either calmed by bright lights, or excited by them, I always forget.

Lyvy walks into the room, with a broom. Unfortunately for him, it no longer has any use.
"Looks like she left. Her scent is lingering a bit, but she is long gone. Oh well. So, what was she talking about when she brought up you taking on raiders and razorworms?"
"You could say I had a long, strange day. Did a lot of things, met a lot of people. I even saw an entire sect hive mobilised in this huge company army coming down the elevator on my way back."
"Did you see the queen?"
"Was she hot?"
"How would I know? I'm not a sect. I can't tell what features are attractive to a you."
"You know exactly what. Universally speaking, females almost always share a distinct biological similarity. You know what it is. Nobody says it but we're all thinking it."
"Uh-huh. Anyway, I'm tired, so I'm going to have a shower and I'm going to sleep."

I have a lot to sleep on.
No. 1030665 ID: 2aa5f0

why is your apartment full of so many boxes?
No. 1030666 ID: 1c6255

You should tell her. Perhaps you should compile a message of what exactly you saw at the refinery, minus the pocket rock, but including the flare gun and suspicious wounds, and send it to that account she gave you.

>"Was she hot?"
Tell him she certainly thought she was, since she offered that you take a picture.
No. 1030667 ID: 9a2966

>Have you never turned on the TV?
Uh, good question there. You do seem to not be very concerned about politics - beyond the big picture stuff, at least!

>Have a lot to sleep on
Boy do you ever.

>Gyro Clay
Well, you have a name to the man now. Man... with the Clay revelation there, she definitely wasn't involved. Should you have... told? Hm. It's not too late. You can send a message to the PDF on the morrow to plan a meeting, if you want. Then you can decide what to let on.

Still, you got plenty to do in the near future aside from getting involved in a conspiracy. Shopping for stuff (new pickaxe), fill in your Sect buddy on the essentials of your last scavenging trip, send your contact information to Kiero and ask how he's doing (you have HIS PDF info, right, due to the emergency message?) and consider what your next job should be, if anything.

Maybe see if Axyl is managing to sell off all that computer gear stuff, so you can claim your share? He DID take the car and all. Oh, and check up on Clover if she's okay, too, maybe plan a meeting with her and figure out a way to pay back her literally heroic assistance in rescuing Kiero.

Options options.
No. 1030669 ID: 941eae

"And yes, Livvy, they were huge. She offered me an autograph but I didn't have a pen."

We should definitely agree on a different location to meet with the spider-bunny's liason. We don't want them knowing our address.
Who knows? Maybe they can offer us Sect honey on the cheap to heal Livvy.
No. 1030670 ID: 93f2ba

>Was she hot?
"In an universal kind of way? I guess so, but i'm not too much into aliens so i guess she was to short."
Kinda feel bad for her, in regards of the original Clay. I don't know how we can tell her and don't spill the beans about the rock. Maybe we should return it to the company. Might give us a reward for it.
No. 1030674 ID: 90c451

She was generous in the physical aspect, but that's where the generosity stopped. I wouldn't be asking for her number anytime soon.

As for Clay... It'll be on the news eventually if he was that famous, she can wait until then. Rather not explicitly tell anybody about brain Clay either, best not to label yourself insane. Speaking of, we should really study up on Tobak biology and psychology, I realize our bodies are wired differently but are are brains wired differently as well? Maybe it's not just your horns that pick up EM but your brain is also affected by it too.
No. 1030682 ID: 36784c

>"Was she hot?"
>"You know exactly what. Universally speaking, females almost always share a distinct biological similarity. You know what it is. Nobody says it but we're all thinking it."
Yes, she had really large breasts. She actually caught me staring at her chest and told me to take a picture, but I didn’t have a camera with me.

>I have a lot to sleep on.
Yeah. Eat, shower, then go to sleep. We’ll think of something to do tomorrow.
No. 1030685 ID: 93f2ba

We also have to wait on the results of the stone and the rewards for saving Kiero. And maybe the hive might have some work for us. I'm surte it will have somthing to do with the blackbox. It would be wierd if they don't try to retrive it again.
No. 1030686 ID: eae08b

Ignore questions about the sect and their queen. You barely interacted with them anyway.

Focus entirely on your adventures involving that special stone.
No. 1030689 ID: 34dfce

>Universal Female
Dunno, not as sensitive to pheromones as you.
But sure, she was hot, I guess (whatever makes you happy).
No. 1030690 ID: 34dfce

We hopefully will never see her again. She is bad news. You just don't act like that after spying on someone.
No. 1030693 ID: b01382

Pretty got i think? Biggest boobs ive seen in a while, very fluffy, but very domaneering attitude. I saw her use a sect's head to hold her ash tray.

Sleep with your gun near your bed. Uh, just tive your friend money to order a new pick to be delivered.
No. 1030695 ID: b01382

....yeah actually what this guy said. That is A LOT of boxes.

+1 this
No. 1030697 ID: 5d9787

I told you
No. 1030699 ID: 34dfce

I refuse to admit defeat.
No. 1030700 ID: 34dfce

Voting against telling her. It would get us further involved with things we probably don't want to be involved in. We don't want to be any more of a poi than we already are.
No. 1030701 ID: b01382

Maybe, buuuuuut

Tell her that Clay is is dead. I think he had same shotgun nail wounds as whowver has been killing people as of late.
No. 1030702 ID: 96c896

Wait, if they didn't kill those guys... and the two companies involved didn't kill those guys... who is Lak working for?
...the list of suspects is getting short. Are there any Companies left that might have wanted the ore? Is it possible that the neumonos hired Lak, and we inadvertently completed his mission?

...nah it's more likely there's someone else involved.
No. 1030708 ID: 93f2ba

I think Lak has nothing to do with it. I'm sticking with my massive paranoia theory.
No. 1030711 ID: 34dfce

Telling her Clay is dead is the one thing we should not do. Sure, we could tell her about the bodies with the wounds and how Lak could be responsible (even Dowser recognized the square pattern as being from a nail shotgun, which means anyone with a gun like that could make the pattern), and how Clay was among the bodies, but that raises several questions, such as why we were there to begin with, what else we saw there, what hand we may have had in the killings, what may have been taken, etc.

It is dangerous.
No. 1030727 ID: a9af05

>Sect Queen
Yeah, I saw her. But I couldn't get any closer to her because her whole army kept us abreast- I mean, apart! Her whole army kept us apart!

Time to go shower and sleep.
No. 1030732 ID: c92a02

My man, she was hotter than a lava lamp and twice as thick too.
Anyway, enough self-sabotaging thoughts. Later, tell her you'd like to do the meet at a different address, probably somewhere public. Would near the lift station work? Wait until you see her or her contact in person to mention Clay's dead.
Now we can rest in peace.
No. 1030735 ID: 1c6255

>why we were there to begin with
For fuel. That's not a secret.

>what else we saw there
The more detail we give, the more it looks like we're saying all we remember.

>what hand we may have had in the killings
Why would she suspect a self-report? What reason would Dowser have to self-report?

>what may have been taken
The presence of an empty carrying case should be enough of an answer. Of course we won't mention one of the stones was somewhere else.
No. 1030738 ID: bda9c9

>stripping in front of your roomate
No. 1030746 ID: fec07f

>Was she hot?
If you mean "did she have tits so large that i could have used a hollowed out one ss a sleeping bag" then yes she was "hot"
No. 1030749 ID: b01382

Are those fluffy things on his head antennas? Are those ears too? Exactly how expensive is wax for him? If only there was a way to use alien science to make synthetic wax.
No. 1030759 ID: bdef6e

I wouldn't tell her UNTIL we have solved our misterious ore problem. Right now is a bad idea precisely because we don't know who we are talking now.

The job offer is shady being generous. I would say yes, if we hadn't already other offer in the air. The good point is that if they have good healing medicine maybe we can help Lyvy's arm.
No. 1030794 ID: 34dfce

Only as lewd as you make it.
No. 1030798 ID: 34dfce

Honestly, it is probably pretty hard. The hivers are not native, so their tech should be on par with the rest of the aliens. Idk, maybe some Salikai somewhere made it, but investigating that possibility is a non-starter for a number of reasons.
No. 1030810 ID: ba605b

Ha ha you guys know what would be really funny? If Dowser and Livvy striped down to their casual clothes and slept together and spoon ha ha.
A-as a joke!
No. 1031184 ID: 77a030
File 165168143971.png - (193.97KB , 800x600 , TQ60.png )

"I'll tell you one thing about the queen Lyvy, she was hotter than that lava lamp."
>"I kind of doubt it. That lava lamp was really hot. I'll have to see for myself, so get a photo next time."

>Are those fluffy things on his head antennas? Are those ears too?
Yes, and yes. I don't think he uses the antennas much, but his ears are as good as his nose. Their overall biology is still a bit of a mystery to scientists, all animals on this planet - tobaks included - are still being studied. We may not have all the answers for a while.

>Should we have told her about what happened to Gyro?
I get the feeling that she will find out sooner rather than later. Even if I brought it up, I don't have a way to prove it. I also wouldn't want to make myself a suspect or anything like that. I still feel she deserves the truth, but I should tell her another time if she doesn't find out soon.

>why is your apartment full of so many boxes?
Lyvy and I, as well as the others that occasionally pop in, are kinda... hoarders. We pick stuff up, bring it home and store it in boxes and all that junk builds up over time. The place is a bit of a mess but so long as there is still enough walking room, I see no need to put all this extra space to waste.

>Why don't you watch TV?
It's all a bunch of corporate channels peddling their propaganda and shoddy products. And cooking shows- a lot of cooking shows. It's like, 90% cooking shows. Depending on the channel, they'll air an alien movie once a week, but we don't get much in the way of proper entertainment aside from that.

>You do seem to not be very concerned about politics beyond the big picture stuff.
Only dorks talk about politics. I'd rather spend my time digging a tunnel.

>Wait, if they didn't kill those guys... and the two companies involved didn't kill those guys... who is Lak working for?
I'd prefer not to think too far into it, whatever's going on, I've made sure not to get involved so far. I became an independent to avoid dodgy stuff, but it always seems to find me one way or another.

I take a shower and retire to my bed. I'm pretty hungry but I'm too tired to eat. My bed is still as messy and unmade as it was when I woke up in it, and it matches the rest of my messy room. I lay down, having no problem dozing off. I've had an eventful day, and I finally have time to me, myself, and I.
"Goodnight, Dowser!"
And Clay. Goodnight Clay.
No. 1031185 ID: 77a030
File 165168145162.png - (137.61KB , 800x600 , TQ61.png )

I wake up, feeling quite energized. It must have been a long nap, because I usually don't feel this good after a normal night's sleep. I put on my goggles and take a look at my PDA's contact list to see if I've received any messages, to find that I've received quite a few.

-A message from the Hive Company, they have sent me a video file. I can't open it on my piece of junk PDA because it can only send and receive strings of text. I will need to go to my computer to open it. A short message accompanies the file; "Will send more when situation is more under control."
-A message from Clover with an image file attached - again, I'll need to go to the computer to view the image.
-A message from Axyl, all words, no attachments.
-A message from one of the guys I met in the bucket excavator, the one who was watching the TV if I'm not mistaken. the whole message reads: "Wanna watch TV?"
-A message from an ID code that I do not recognize.

I look at the time on the PDA's clock showing that I was asleep for... 14 hours? Also, something smells really good. I think it's coming from the kitchen. This must be the first time ever that Lyvy made breakfast.

I should also look through my wardrobe and decide what to wear for today. And I'm thinking of something a little more casual than a jumpsuit, I may decide later.
No. 1031187 ID: 2aa5f0

Well since you already got the PDA up might as well start by reading all the text only messages and see what they have to say, then go see what you're roommate has cooked and if he'll let you have some. After that check your PC to see what the rest of your messages are, and once you get caught up on everything that happened while you were passed out see if you have free time to go hang out with movie guy or if you need to get to work because one of those messages has something you can't put off and depending on what you need to do today get dress for whatever that thing happens to be.
No. 1031189 ID: bdef6e

"Take a photo, it'll last longer!..."
"...so get a photo next time"

Destiny is telling you something Dowser, I only say.
No. 1031190 ID: 5d9787

The decision here is which message to read first. How odd...

First check on the food. You've already been absent for several hours, a few minutes of delay won't make much difference for those messages.

Then read Axyl message as you start your computer. Don't know what he might want but it should be interesting.

Next is Clover picture. Whatever it is you should send an appropriate message acknowledging it to make sure she doesn't feel ignored.

The Hive should be either something sentimental about Kiero or job related. A party or a money making opportunity, either way it interest you.

The unknown ID must be spy lady asking for your decision. If you want to tell he about her dead idol maybe invite her to meet somewhere.

We didn't get the name of the TV guys but I guess that wasn't the one wh own us money. If he is lonely something might have happened to the other one.
The TV in the middle of the ruins could be a good place to meet spy lady... Multitasking.
No. 1031191 ID: 9a2966

Check message from unrecognizable ID code (our stalker?) and Axyl first. Maybe while eating breakfast. You hunggr.

>Wanna watch TV?
Also quickly respond to this. Ask where and when, and say you'll think about it. If it's back at the previous location you're gonna have to make it fit with your schedule, though.

Was this the guy that said he'd skip on doing scavenging to stay watching movies? Sensing that fellow has a theme now, and it's movies. Heh. You could mention off-handedly that the Neumono you rescued said his hive has movie nights. Maybe they got something you can borrow or purchase and, heh, 'hook him up' with.

You can do the video and image files after those other responses and breakfast.
No. 1031192 ID: 7c0da2

Eat breakfast first and say hi to Clay. While you eat, read the text messages.
Then go to the computer to see the images, starting with the one from the Hive Company because it's kinda worrying.
No. 1031197 ID: 61d618

Street clothes are fine. Get dressed and see what smells so good!
No. 1031199 ID: 798908

it is genuinely hilarious that in the neo-future we're still somehow finding it cheaper to produce text-only analogue tech with no video functionality. Smart phones are so cheap to make and we're STILL giving contractors worse shit. amazing.
No. 1031200 ID: 5d9787

Sadly in this case fiction reflect reality.
No. 1031205 ID: 4dac42

This, but i think it's too soon to meet with the "stalker". It might be something else.
No. 1031208 ID: 96c896

Get food, read text messages. After food, view Clover's image then the hive video.
No. 1031262 ID: 34dfce

So the hivers are native? Missed that part, i guess.


Is the hive company message from the neumono hive, or the hiver hive?
No. 1031272 ID: 77a030
File 165174030120.png - (244.60KB , 800x600 , TQ62.png )

>Is the hive company message from the neumono hive?

I decide to investigate the smell before I view the video or image messages or getting dressed.

I remove my goggles, and I notice that everything around me looks tidier since I last saw it, especially in my room. Perhaps I overestimated how messy things were. I follow that good smell into the kitchen, which is also suspiciously cleaner than usual. I spot Lyvy, and he spots me.

>"Hey. I wanted to say thanks again. I know I was a bit harsh on you yesterday, so I apologize. I'm not gonna get all mushy on you just because you did this for me, but I wanted you to know that even though I'm grumpy because I'm literally falling apart and I have a short lifespan, I hate you less than most others."
"o-oh. I see. So, what are you thanking me for? I don't recall doing anything worth thanking."
>"Making breakfast, you knucklehead! And that's just one of the things. You don't have to be so modest."
"I... I did?"
>"I'm full, the rest is yours. I'm heading out now, so have a good one. The rent lady might be coming sometime today or tomorrow, I trust you'll take care of it. Catch you later."
"H-hey wait up!" I say, but It's already too late, he heads out. When is he going to be back?

I didn't even know we had this kind of food in the fridge. Where did this come from? I don't remember making it.

While I eat, I look through the messages, beginning with the text only images

The message from Axyl reads:


I reply to the TV watching tobak.
t-411108-ind: Wanna watch TV?
Dowser(you): that depends. where are you located?
Surprisingly, he replies right away. t-411108-ind: Room 216.
Dowser(you): hold on.
Dowser(you): you're right next door?
t-411108-ind: Yeah man. I live alone so I pretty much ask anyone I meet if they wanna watch TV. Watching TV alone is just kinda sad! Wouldn't you agree?
Dowser(you): huh.

I read the message from the unknown ID.
t-903528-ind: Hey. I'm the one you saw yesterday, with the robotic arm. Don't ask how I got your number. I'm leaving a message to ask if you and the neumono are ok. It's likely none of my business, but I could tell he felt very fondly of you. Feel free to ignore this message, if you would like. I just wanted to know if you are both ok.

Weird. But not as weird as this magic breakfast. Who...
No. 1031273 ID: 96c896

Get food.

Ask Clay if he made breakfast while you slept. Did he do anything else? Certainly seems handy; you'll never get caught sleeping on the job! Or maybe there's a period where both of you are asleep...
Do you normally sleep 14 hours? Or maybe Clay is making you sleep longer.

Don't respond to the cyborg until you look at the hive's video.
No. 1031275 ID: 5d9787

So Clay wasn't kidding when he said he could take over.
How much money did you spent with food?

Thank Axyl for the transaction and the ride offer. If something come up you will contact him.

Tell your neighbor that if nothing urgent come up in your mail you will pay him a visit.

Tell Mr. Robak that you both got home safely.
Ask if he work for the hive.
No. 1031276 ID: 5eae95

Time to check the computer and see the videos before giving anyone confirmation.

I am curious if it was Clay that make breakie, as while your asleep you are releasing the toxic chemicals that build up from being conscious. If your body is being run on the sub-conscious however then you can still get the bad chemicals out while clay gets stuff done. Might as well ask Clay if it was him. If it was not, then who is breaking in to clean the place up and make breakfast?
No. 1031278 ID: fec07f

So magic breakfast is probably clay taking over while we slept - creepy but at least they were helpful. We shoukd try to have a chat while we have the apartment to ourselves.

Tell spooky we don't mind him seling the stuff and thanks for the standing offer of a ride

Tell TVbak that if our schedule is free we'll be up for some social time (it's good to be friends with your neighbors)

Tell robo arm that yeah we're ok
No. 1031280 ID: 29170e

You might want to call up clay and ask if he did anything in the last 14 hours.
No. 1031281 ID: bdef6e

Tell Axyl that is ok. A good offer is what you were searching for. Thank for the offer.

Ask TV-guy if he know when something nice is going to air on tv, maybe you could watch a film or something together.

Thank t-903528-ind for his concern and tell him that the neumono is with his hive, he looked very positive even when he lost his arm and leg! Such a fighter...

About surprise breakfast... you did it didn't you Clay? Not to get angry, just for ease of mind. How much money did you use? I hope you didn't use so much we don't have enought to pay rent...
No. 1031283 ID: 30b9f6

>Get mystery food

>Slept overlong, mysterious breakfast, cleaned up room...
... wait a second. Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! CAN you hijack our body?! Uh, but thank you for the breakfast if so, real nice of him. Anything in particular happen while you were out? What was it like? Should you do some of those mental reaction tests later, like you thought of earlier? What was it like while you were sleeping, was he awake the whole time?

>Respond to: t-903528-ind
Weird. And also weird he cared enough to get your number, and could tell how the other Neumono felt. Maybe he isn't a sentient shape changing fungus, but a secret rogue after all? Send a quick message back that it's no bother, the delivery went fine, the hive was happy at the return as far as you could tell. There was a, uh, pile... and no escape.

That aside, you think Neumono are pretty cool! If he's got actual experience and tips to tell how they're feeling without having their weird telepathy thing, you'd love to know, seeing as he seems to have experience.

Name them "Mercy" in your contact list. Because 'merc', and you're a Tobak, so 'y's are very obligatory apparently, nicknames aside. Which I guess means you can call him whatever, but 'mercy' also sounds like a very ironic nickname to give a gun-toting merc.

>Respond to: Spooky
Hey, score! Yeah, it's fine, you didn't think he'd get to offload it so soon, but a little more zeny on hand is always good and you appreciate the offer for future rides. May take him up on that at some point, you can probably pool gas expenses too when you do, you don't mind. Or offer taxi fare if it's far out of his way.

>Respond to: t-411108-ind
>Is neighbor
Well, it's an interesting offer at least! You could try to join him for a movie later in the day then? You probably have some errands to get to if you're honest, so it can't be immediately. Ask him if he's got any movies with Neumono in them, or produced by Neumono. You've gotten a sort-of casual invitation to a Neumono movie night, so you're curious what that'll be like or if you'll be bored out of your gourd due to lacking allll the cultural context clues.

It strikes me that this guy, with his love for the products of alien cultures, probably shares some of your views on seeing and visiting the galaxy at large. Common ground is nice to have in potential friends. And neighbors!
No. 1031287 ID: b01382

Check the messages from Clover and the Hive Company.

...Ccclllaaaaayy? Clay what did you do? I want to know when im sleep walking. I dont appreciate not being told about this. So what he did some organizing? What has been organized?

Eat the food.

Figure out what Clay did while we were asleep.

If we haven't already purchases a new pick for Levvy then order one to be delivered.

>the movie neighbor
Was he the one we shared the info about those deas tobaks and the loot? Id say agree for the sake of collecting our share of the loot and check out his show collection.

>guy with robot arm?
Thanks? This is very sudden?
No. 1031288 ID: b01382

From the last thread

t-738128-ind(you): all right. everything is in a small warehouse portion of the office complex at the refinery. there is blood and bodies. many nailguns and goggles as well as other pieces of equipment and things I didn't check for on many bodies. the cut I want out of it is 20% of all the stuff you sell.
>t-108742-ind: aLRIGHT. THAT SOUNDS FAIR. I'LL CHECK IT OUT. Ah damn it I totally could have asked for more!

Okay so its a completely different dude then. Either he'll get back to us when / after he finds some buyers, or he ran off with our loot and we need to kick his butt.

It was 15 zeny to watch his movies right? Hey wait a second that's DBZ money.
No. 1031290 ID: 30b9f6

>or he ran off with our loot and we need to kick his butt
He backed off due to the bandit activity, I believe. Sensible of him!
No. 1031291 ID: b01382

I checked. I dont see anywhere that said he backed off. He said he would go check it out. We could had asked for more than 20% of the cut.
No. 1031295 ID: 9a2966

Found it, he was warned off. Post #1020455:

">Warn the guy you told about refinery loot.
I send him a message about the situation, and he understandably hesitates, but ultimately hangs back."
No. 1031296 ID: b01382

What should we do about the loot?
No. 1031297 ID: 7c0da2

Thank Clay for the breakfast. And the housekeeping. And then imagine all the embarrassing things he had time to do in 14h beside cooking and cleaning.

Send a message to Spooky, you need to get your money from him soon to pay the rent.

Also, I wonder where the cooking skills are coming from. Do you know how to cook well? Or does Clay have skills you don't?
No. 1031303 ID: 9a2966

Presumably the Heef corporate army will have found it by now!
No. 1031320 ID: 34dfce

This is kinda creepy. I almost wonder if the spiderbun did this. It would be odd and kind of stalker-ish, but I suppose that could fit the angle she switched to.

Check to make sure nothing is missing. Cleaning up could also disguise theft.

Also it is a bit late, but the food could be laced with stuff.

Read the Hive message. Lets move on the semi-autonomous branch idea.
No. 1031329 ID: 4dac42

Mistery food. I would panic. But you are alive, so just be confused?

How much was rent again?

Robot arm? From the lift? We are both ok, thanks for asking... But how did you got my contact?
No. 1031330 ID: c28082


We are not the only Dowser anymore, aren't we ...
No. 1031370 ID: b01382

Damnit I knew it all along. Clay is trying to be nice! Nice sucks! It requires effort!

Oh'ly cow, wait so clay cleaned everything? Don't know how I missed that but I guess that's a good thing for us.
>because I'm literally falling apart and I have a short lifespan
Jesus that's depressing. If only there was some flooy queen that gave her good to everyone.
No. 1031376 ID: 77a030
File 165184281709.png - (231.41KB , 800x600 , TQ63.png )

No way... There's no way that...
"Supriiiiise! It was me! Yep, yes, it was me who did the things! The chef was me all along!"
"When did- how?"
"I was controlling your body to do chef things! Like that one movie. Is that a movie? It should be. Uhhhhh- oh! right! yeah, so when you went to sleep, I was sort of able to... take the wheel! "
"Take the wheel? My body is not a car! Also, you seem... jumpy, are you ok?"
"I'm not sure! I think I'm experiencing sleep deprivation! So, I'll be clocking out soon, hah."
"So, you weren't kidding when you said you could take control."
"Hm? oh- I didn't know that for sure. I was surprised when I found out I could move your body. And can I just say, boy is it exhausting to move around! It takes so much effort, I don't know how you do it all day. I did eventually get the hang of it."
"It only took you 14 hours by the looks of it."
"There was a lot of stuff I wanted to try!"
"It's creepy that you puppeted me like that, but it could prove useful. How much money did you spend on getting this food?"
"Don't worry, I didn't spend any of your savings. I bought it all by selling locally and ethically sourced catalytic converters, I even made extra which I stashed away."
"You did that while I was asleep?"
"I did many things while you were asleep! I cleaned up a bit, talked to strangers, hung out with the neighbour - nice guy by the way - watched a bunch of TV. A cooking show even gave me the idea to make breakfast."
"Well. Thanks for the breakfast and the housekeeping, even if you took my body for a joyride. In the future, I'd like to be notified whenever I go sleepwalking again."
"I won't do it again any time soon, it takes so much effort to do stuff- like walking to places- just to get to them! Floating around in your head is more relaxing, so I'll just stick to that for now. Feel free to wake me up if you need something from me, but for now, looks like I need rest."

>Do you normally sleep 14 hours? Or maybe Clay is making you sleep longer.
I am guessing it most certainly had to do with Clay. I won’t put too much thought into if for now.

>Don't respond to the cyborg until you look at the hive's video.
Sounds good to me. I should find out more before I give a response.

I send a message to Axyl thanking him for sending zeny my way and offering a ride. I then send a message to my neighbour
Dowser(you): if you schedule is free I'd be up to hang out some time... again.
t-411108-ind:[b] Hell yeah! You have no idea how happy I am to hear that, it's been a while since I met someone else so enthusiastic about movies and shows. Sorry again that my place is kinda empty.
i was wondering, do you have movies or shows about aliens? I'm interested in learning more about them.
[b]t-411108-ind:[b] Until tobaks become capable of making films, all my stuff is alien stuff! Most of my collection is human stuff because they have been making media the longest, but I have stuff from most other aliens. Going by trends, belenosians are super into science fiction, pomi are into action-adventure stuff (usually involving pirates) and heef are really into detective noir for some reason. I have a few neumono films, but I don't see a trend so far. I just wish it wasn't so hard to obtain movies down here, my collection isn't as expansive as I wish it was.
No. 1031377 ID: 77a030
File 165184290394.png - (154.55KB , 600x600 , Paperdoll.png )

Since it seems like I might get a knock on the door from the land lady, I may as well get dressed. I'm not huge into fashion, but I may as well see what looks good. I have almost every outfit you can imagine from years of hoarding, so I should think of something comfortable to wear rather than another dusty jumpsuit.

I will go on the intranet next to view the messages from Clover and the Hive, and see if I can order stuff online like a new pick for Lyvy.

paperdoll: edit in an outfit for Dowser to wear
No. 1031379 ID: 30b9f6

>It me, I cooking all along!
Hah, I knew he'd watched a cooking show somehow. Go enjoy that food before it gets cold!

Weird that he's been using your body all this time and you don't feel tired. Oddly energized instead, right? Well, watch it if you need to take a rest. Mentally you might be fine, but your body might be clocking overtime. Maybe taking it easy and watching some movies IS a good idea.

>Catalytic converters
Huh, there's money in that? Guess he got the materials from somewhere. And somehow knew how to do it? Eh, if you know how to do it, he'd do as well. Or maybe he looked it up.

>Talked to strangers, talked enthusiastically with the neighbor
Well, if/when you encounter strangers who claim to know you, you could say you were sleep deprived and don't remember too much of it. Definitely sounds like it'll work!

>Clothes make the Tobak
Someone put this good boy in some nice casual jeans and a reddish-brown hoodie! Belenosian make for the hoodie-horn holes. Or wait, would that work with the ears? Hm.

Could just not use the hoodie, I guess? But would be nice if something fit, then you could be sliiiightly more anonymous if you need to leave the house for anything.
No. 1031380 ID: b01382

I blame space age magic sciences rocks. Maybe its a mental thing for us.

Yeah a hoodie would be a real probem with a horned race of alien
No. 1031383 ID: 2aa5f0

go nude to make a statement.
No. 1031385 ID: ce39da

Huh. The fact that you feel peppy despite Clay driving your body around for most of those 14 hours has... interesting implications about (I assume) Tobak physiology. Are your bodies just able to go way longer than your minds can without sleep, or... ooh, maybe Clay found a way to physically recharge in a way that's more direct than sleeping? Given your cybernetic-compatible insides, I'd bet there's a way to do it.

Meanwhile, your memories and learned skills/muscle memory aren't necessarily stored in the same part of the brain. If you focus, do you think you would be able to replicate this breakfast (with the right ingredients available) despite not "remembering" the time when you learned how to do that? If so, this could be huge for self-education. Given enough time, you could become a polyglot in your sleep! Or some other smart-person label!

Don't forget to set that neighbor's handle to "Movie Night" (or "Cinema" if spaces aren't allowed or you hit a character limit).

> Outfit
If you aren't planning on heading out into the caves, no need to wear any heavy-duty stuff. Keep the tank-top, but accessorize with some armbands and bracelets, and throw on some black baggy pants.
No. 1031394 ID: 4dac42

>neumono films
Neumono are into action movies and pornos. And power rangers.

>play dress
Hmmm, maybe some jeans and a short jacket. Or a hoody with holes for the horns.
No. 1031396 ID: eedbeb
File 165185598385.png - (103.92KB , 600x600 , a1.png )

lizzo met gala 2022
No. 1031399 ID: 9a2966

No. 1031404 ID: 894419
File 165185947410.png - (120.89KB , 600x600 , Untitled.png )

I made this on company time.
No. 1031408 ID: 5d9787
File 165186509053.png - (167.13KB , 600x600 , 165184290394 2.png )

I was planing to avoid the clothing choice but I can't just ignore a paperdoll.

If we are not wearing a jumpsuit today lets use a good belt and suspenders in case we need to carry heavy tools hands free.

The situation with Clay is getting concerning. What is worst is the asymmetry: he is aware of our thoughts but can keep secrets from us, he can see what we can but we are sleeping when he take control.
Eventually we will have to decide if we can really trust him unsupervised.
No. 1031411 ID: b01382

Tempting. So very, very tempting. Better save that for special occassions.

Supporting this
No. 1031412 ID: b01382

Tempting. So very, very tempting. Better save that for special occassions.

Supporting this
No. 1031433 ID: ba605b

Still dont know what in looking at here
No. 1031449 ID: 34dfce

This with
this shirt.
Also wear a satchel.
No. 1031476 ID: 2a24a2

Nudity is always a strong choice to assert dominance. But barring that, voting for
but with the Steve shirt.
No. 1031542 ID: 15a025

Tempted to try making an outfit for Dowsermyself, I'd say
has my vote for now though.
No. 1031559 ID: 151e53

This is such a good look for Dowser.
No. 1031565 ID: b01382

How much for a new PDA with the following features:
>not complete trash
>reinforced frame to survive dropping and adventures
>wireless/bluetooth/space future feature
>good front and back quality camera
>50 terabytes of storage or more
>capable of playing games and music
>battery life of lmao forever
>theft tracking feature incase someone steals and we can murder the thief
>pretty much space age tier good smartphone
>no corperate bullshit (i.e. Apple shit phones)
No. 1031567 ID: 5304cc
File 165199302079.png - (211.71KB , 599x599 , toba_001.png )

No. 1031568 ID: ee520c

I think this would go well with the goggles.
No. 1031570 ID: b01382

Changing vote to support this one. I like the outfit, but the eyes sell it for me.
No. 1031573 ID: 9a2966

This is pretty great, not gonna lie.

Not to say this one isn't cool either!

I like 'em both too much to pick a favorite, so I'll count either showing up as a win.
No. 1031601 ID: 3fbe50

Shirt from >>1031404
Pants from >>1031408
Jacket from >>1031567 opened up
No. 1031605 ID: 90c451

This one.
No. 1031619 ID: 34dfce

Changing my vote to this plus a satchel.

Plus a B͕̠͉̰̱̫̻̉ͨ͊ͣ̽e̜̘͍̖͎͇͇̓̊ͮr̰͉̣͇̮͚̎̾ͬ̍̊ͣ̚e̦͚̪̦̹̥͓͕͎̔ͯt̰̱̼͔͓ͧ͛̄̋ͯ̾̊ͨ̉ͅ
No. 1031620 ID: 34dfce

Also with an E-Ink screen so it doesn't cast light.
No. 1031622 ID: 4fe119

...Yeaaah, maybe don't wear the hat of a dead guy that turns out to have been a pretty well known and presumably liked do-gooder. I think that could upset some people. In fact, if you happen to talk wih bunny-spider again (did we get her name?), and Clay's death comes out, you might consider giving her the hat. It MIGHT help soothe possible feelings...or she might be mad you stole his hat. Still. Don't wear it.
No. 1031652 ID: 34dfce

We left that specific beret back at the stash, so this would just be a beret in general.
No. 1031661 ID: bdef6e

A misterious metal with a live mirco-organism which gives psychic powers? Then you must make an arrow-head with it and start doing poses!
No. 1031666 ID: 77a030
File 165212369447.png - (252.71KB , 800x600 , TQ64.png )

>The situation with Clay is getting conce