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File 128138672756.png - (63.97KB , 512x512 , title.png )
216744 No. 216744 ID: b0020f

You were sent here to infiltrate, along with another. The two of you were covert operatives, intended to permeate the planet's governments, to bend the minds of the natives to your wills, to influence their culture all the better for total assimilation into the empire.
Expand all images
>>
No. 216745 ID: b0020f
File 128138673941.png - (42.98KB , 512x512 , 1.png )
216745

It is the third year of the operation. Absolutely no success has been achieved in attempting to subtly control this planet, Earth.

The main factor that lead to this stagnation is that you simply didn't want to take over Earth.

You know exactly what will happen if you try. You will fail miserably and end up being vivisected, or you will succeed, become a hero, and end up killed for failing to meet the alarmingly high expectations you will have set for yourself.

Fortunately, you are very good at faking exactly how much progress has been made to your superiors.
>>
No. 216746 ID: b0020f
File 128138675130.png - (46.63KB , 512x512 , 2.png )
216746

You awaken from your sleep, and begin to tear the membrane of your dormancy cocoon. What is your name? And what talent was it that made your overseers choose you, you out of so many writhing larvae, so many expendable and replaceable creatures, the one worthy of becoming a planetary infiltrator?
>>
No. 216747 ID: e973f4

>>216746
Your name is...

UORIE.
>>
No. 216748 ID: 8d5850

Your name is Quiet Resolution! And your talent is hugs!
>>
No. 216749 ID: e973f4

>>216747
Oh, right, talent. No idea what talents are common in your species, bub. You're on your own for that one.
>>
No. 216751 ID: e973f4

>>216747
Also if you want to write that "Wo-ryeh" or something to make the pronunciation more obvious, feel free.

But that's your name. I will not be dissuaded.
>>
No. 216753 ID: 2044df

>>216746

Your name is Sanchez, and your talent is making friends through your Mexican cooking skills.
>>
No. 216757 ID: dad664

Kth'haQ. Or Kith for short.

You have the gift of altered sense of time. Your brain operates much faster than that of others. In laymans terms, it means that you perceive time slower than the norm, causing an almost bullet-time effect where you can react to external stimuli and events far faster than should be possible.

You are also in possession of a favorable mutation - two hearts. Working in tandem with each other, they grant you greater stamina and endurance.
>>
No. 216759 ID: e973f4

>>216757
I like these ideas.

(But Wo-ryeh is your name!)
>>
No. 216760 ID: 8bdb6a

Lalid

You have a really great voice that makes people more susceptible to whatever you have to say.
>>
No. 216761 ID: b878d8

Krythix

the ability to consume things not normally consumable without ill effects.
>>
No. 216763 ID: 526102

Tiddlywinks, and a minor empathic talent.
>>
No. 216766 ID: d560d6

>>216746
>What is your name?

Dave.

>And what talent was it that made your overseers choose you, you out of so many writhing larvae, so many expendable and replaceable creatures, the one worthy of becoming a planetary infiltrator?

You slept with the programme co-ordinator.
>>
No. 216767 ID: 491db1

Your name is Zappa.
And you have a talent.
A very special thing.
You have a digital mind wave.
>>
No. 216770 ID: c4c313

Zim, and because your madcap experimental machinery always seems to work, somehow.

Except for bees.
>>
No. 216776 ID: b0020f
File 128139740634.png - (38.33KB , 512x512 , 3.png )
216776

Your name is Woryeh. You have always been both blessed and cursed with having two hearts, which, while granting you greater stamina and endurance, have also lead to desynchronisation and periods of unconsciousness when met with sufficiently heavy blunt trauma to the torso.

As well as a mutant cardiovascular system, you also have a mutated brain. It operates faster than your peers' brains do, and allows you react to potential threats far more quickly than most. However, this does have a side-effect. Thinking at an accelerated rate produces heat, and overheating will not outright cook your brain, but will lead to temporary loss of consciousness until it cools again.

Your mutations may have lead to you being purged back when you were plucked from the pool you hatched in, but you were permitted to live. And for this incredible act of benevolence, you have been in debt to the empire ever since. At least, that's how it was explained to you.
>>
No. 216777 ID: b0020f
File 128139742053.png - (27.57KB , 512x512 , 4.png )
216777

You are not alone in this operation. There is another. Her name is Zyeryh. Like you, she has mutations that would have demanded her destruction, if not for another incredible act of benevolence forcing her into eternal obligation much as yourself.

The two of you were paired together for more than just the operation at hand. Given both of your bizarre genetic structures, your superiors had the grand and completely simple plan of forcing both of you into the same situation. The intention was for both of you to grow close to one another during the course of the mission. The resulting offspring would then be taken and studied for any further beneficial mutations.

Of course, both of you absolutely detest and loathe one another, and the only thing that has stopped you from killing one another so far is the thought of having to explain the sudden absence of the other to your superiors.
>>
No. 216778 ID: b0020f
File 128139743330.png - (49.92KB , 512x512 , 5.png )
216778

Or that's how it was working before. The moment you split the cocoon open, she is waiting for you.

She stares at you coldly.

The last time she had an expression like that, neither of you left the room with same amount of limbs you began with. Fortunately, your species has an excellent capacity for regeneration.

"They're waiting for a report. From both of us."

That doesn't make any sense. You file your reports separately to Zyeryh's reports. Then both of them are compared for discrepancies. That's how it's always worked.

"Get out now or I'll rip your mid-limbs out again."
>>
No. 216781 ID: c4c313

>>216778

Obviously they noticed you were not making sexy time and figured that if you two worked together you could experience some bonding.

This is a grand opportunity though. Though you detest the very presence of Zyeryh, this is your first opportunity to conspire with her to generate a totally trumped up report full of lies your superiors will never be able to detect. The only tricky parts are it can't provoke their direct presence, and it can't be too widely different from your previous reports.
>>
No. 216783 ID: f50bdc

well shit. go "ugh! let's get this over with" and go, quickly. fighting while a report is needed will do no one any good.
>>
No. 216788 ID: d14bbc

quickly check earth's news network and check a nearby disaster that you could have caused.

claim that it was yours and that it serves as a small step in educating the population ablut the need of a higher kind being.

also warn of this to your wife.

meanwhile, how much of a procastinator is she?
>>
No. 216790 ID: dad664

>>216778
They're waiting for you Woryeh.

In the report chamber.
>>
No. 216791 ID: e973f4

>>216778
Not a great idea to say no, so.
>>
No. 216795 ID: a594b9

You know, there's always angry sex.
>>
No. 216797 ID: d14bbc

>>216795
and bsdm.

and angry parenting.
>>
No. 216813 ID: 620bfb

Yeah, refusing can't possibly end well. May as well begrudgingly go.
>>
No. 216855 ID: c4c313

You guys do know that your species mates by ripping each other's limbs off, right?
>>
No. 216894 ID: 12b052

What kind of mutations does your forced spouse have? the same?
>>
No. 216967 ID: c2c011

>>216778
Well shit. You had better make sure your stories add up so they don't catch you lying. I would imagine that shit would be bad.
>>
No. 217005 ID: b0020f
File 128145792261.png - (44.50KB , 512x512 , 6.png )
217005

"Ugh. Let's get this over with."

You wriggle out of your dormancy cocoon and hit the metal floor hard. Of course, Zyeryh does not even try to hide the schadenfreude she feels watching you fall to the ground like that. You suppress the desire to slice her across the face or something right now in favour of planning a more appropriate revenge. Something she won't see coming. When the time is right.
>>
No. 217006 ID: b0020f
File 128145793689.png - (36.47KB , 512x512 , 7.png )
217006

While checking Earth's news network for disasters you could reasonably claim credit for sounds like a good idea, it really would not mesh with what you've been fabricating so far. You have kept so low-key that no-one is even aware of your existence, except for those you are in direct contact who act as the strings to the rest of your puppets.

Attempting to blow things up to educate the populace about the need for entities that would be able to prevent blowing things up seems, to you at least, easy to screw up.
>>
No. 217007 ID: b0020f
File 12814579498.png - (35.53KB , 512x512 , 8.png )
217007

Zyeryh's mutations are not something she is willing to discuss with you. Then again, she is not willing to discuss a lot of things with you these days. You never thought to ask her back when you were on somewhat friendlier terms, and there is no way she is willing to listen to a perfectly reasonable question like that now.

Of course, whatever her various mutations are, one of them she can't hide. Her eyes have an abnormal structure that allow her to pick up on motion even in poor lighting conditions, and you are quite honestly terrified of the idea of being in a dark room with her. So far, you've stayed out of dark places when you don't know where she is.

She has also somehow discovered the existence of your two hearts, and knows your anatomy well enough to know exactly where to strike for the quickest disable or the greatest amount of pain. Whether this is some trained skill of hers or something to do with another mutation, you have no idea.
>>
No. 217008 ID: b0020f
File 128145796479.png - (32.60KB , 512x512 , 9.png )
217008

The two of you walk to the communications room, far apart enough to be able to tolerate each other's existence, but close enough to not appear intimidated by one another.

"We need to collude and ensure what our stories are match up, or they're going to know."
"What 'stories'? I don't know what lies you've been telling them. I've been telling them exactly what's been happening."

That tone of voice. Condescension tinged with vague menace and a smug superiority, three sentences that say so much with context and yet say so little. She is so easy to hate.

But if she's been telling the truth...
>>
No. 217009 ID: b0020f
File 128145798682.png - (39.39KB , 512x512 , 10.png )
217009

You and Zyeryh used to like each other. You were good friends for a short time. Then Zyeryh realised what was going on when each and every single one of her attempts to gain influence over the planet ended in failure.

It was your sabotage, every time.

At first she was confused. You tried to explain but she didn't quite understand. Then came the polite requests to stop meddling in her plans. Then came the arguments. Anger, but still rational. Then it just built, and built, and the two of you became mortal enemies.

If she's reported your sabotage to your superiors... You are concerned about two things. Just how painful your method of execution is going to be, and why they haven't mentioned anything sooner.
>>
No. 217010 ID: b0020f
File 128145801935.png - (39.86KB , 512x512 , 11.png )
217010

You both arrive in the communications room. On the viewscreen is Praetor Raagaras. You are not able to read his species' expressions well, but he does not seem pleased.

"Infiltrator Woryeh. Infiltrator Zyeryh. It has been [three years]. Your reports have been analysed, and you each blame the other for your lack of progress. I am more inclined to believe Zyeryh, as if I was to believe Woryeh's reports, I would be living in some perpetual fungal hallucination where everything goes perfectly and without a hitch."


You stand there quietly. So does Zyeryh. When a Praetor is talking, you do not talk back unless explicitly given permission.

"So I have drawn the conclusion that, for [three years], absolutely no progress has been made. I have also been informed that there was a secondary project. A research project. While I am completely against the idea of my sector's scientists wasting their time playing matchmaker for genetic rejects, have you sent even one larval cluster to this sector?"


Neither you nor Zyeryh respond, too afraid of saying the wrong thing.

"No? What have you two been doing all this time?"


You think you should try to defend yourself somehow before Zyeryh gets a chance to ruin your reputation any further.
>>
No. 217012 ID: adf48e

>>217010
uh.

wow.

make your prayers.

the most convincing lie is that you wanted the perfect breeding/fucking grounds for your childen, and that would require the planet in a certain condition that goes a bit against how your mate wants to run/ruin/conquer it.

unfortunadely you screwed up too hard and now you two hate each other along with the possibility that both of your lives are on the line.

if you dont want to speak the truth on the last part, say it was a gift for her and you lack subtely. also shenanigans involving mating seasons.
>>
No. 217013 ID: adf48e

>>217012
also since you are going to die you could as well call a scam on keeping you both alive (as in, it would be more expensive to kill both rather that not give you work, wich you didnt did) and wanted to have a actual goal that you could choose for the empire but has been cockblocked even in the part where you cant interact with your mate because she is a frigid bitch that loves being a tool and hurting you for amusement.
>>
No. 217014 ID: c2c011

>>217010
Tell them that you have been conducting an indeepth study of mankind to make the ultimate plan for how to take them over. To make this plan possible you needed a long period of study and thus you had to make sure they couldn't notice you.

But the plan is nearing fruition now. But sadly the planning has consumed all of your time, so you missed out on the babymaking. It was hard to ignore, but the greater good demanded it from you.

And the somewhat false reports were simply to give the impression that work was progressing as planned and to make sure there was no interference from above with you plan. That's also why you keept it secret from your partner.
>>
No. 217023 ID: 4531bc

Tell it that after a long period of study, you have decided that the planets' sentient race are adorable, and that the optimal strategy for dealing with them is to cuddle.
>>
No. 217024 ID: 5f0943

>>217010
Say that the inhabitants of this world are somewhat above average intelligence level, and are therefore difficult to manipulate without proper subtly.
>>
No. 217025 ID: b7cfd0

"nothing, due to the fact that i feel any method of control would be destroyed disastrously and result in backlash for the empire. the humans have an espionage network spying on each-other, making any control of one group instantly noticed by another"
>>
No. 217026 ID: c4c313

Aw. You faked your reports. Badly. You are so dead. You knew they were checked for disparities, dawg. You were supposed to tell the truth but blame it all on Zyeryh. So about the only thing you can do now is...

Blame it all on Zyeryh.
>>
No. 217135 ID: 698a22

This is a bad time to mention it but I missed the chance to respond earlier. I think it's quite funny how you act like an old married couple.
>>
No. 217145 ID: b0020f
File 128147608570.png - (38.62KB , 512x512 , 12.png )
217145

You find your mind racing with things to say. Different plans of attack. Lies. Accusations. Excuses. Doubts. Anything to buy more time. Why didn't you leave any of Zyeryh's plans alone to begin with? You don't know. Your mind is racing and you can feel your hearts thumping.

"We wanted a better environment to raise offspring first-"
"Raise them? You're meant to send them to us for examination and research!"
"We're studying the native sapients to figure out how to conquer them and the planning and studying has taken a very long time-"
"And this was never mentioned in your reports... because?"
"It was a secret-"
"Pathetic excuse."

Zyeryh is saying nothing. She can see you're doing a fine job of ruining yourself already.

"Okay, we haven't done anything yet because the native sapients are smarter than we expected and have so many groups infiltrating one another that attempting to control one group would be regarded with suspicion by another."
"Wonderful excuse. Well done. I am impressed. If you hadn't already revealed your incompetence and failed to convince me, that excuse may have actually saved you."
>>
No. 217146 ID: b0020f
File 128147610453.png - (36.10KB , 512x512 , 13.png )
217146

"And it is this level of general incompetence that leads me to believe that Zyeryh is equally incompetent. Your reports blame Woryeh for sabotaging and ruining every plan you put into action. If you cannot cope with interference from this sorry excuse for an infiltrator, what did you hope to achieve against the civilisations of this planet?"

Zyeryh stares at the screen, mouth shaking. "What? No, it's all his fault! He had physical access to all the systems, the humans wouldn't have had that!"
"But you stated, and I will use your own words here, that your colleague is 'incapable, destructive, incompetent, and utterly idiotic.' For such an individual to sabotage each and every project you have reported, including projects that by their nature were designed to be foolproof, speaks volumes about your own level of competence."
>>
No. 217147 ID: b0020f
File 128147611780.png - (28.03KB , 512x512 , 14.png )
217147

"This leads me to conclude that either you are both drooling imbeciles who ought to have been squashed as larvae, or you are both highly competent individuals who are wasting our time and your effort over personal differences. Your efforts to fool us have not gone unnoticed, but we see potential. Potential that demands we intervene, in order to exploit it."

You and Zyeryh both keep your eyes fixed on the screen.

" From this point, you are both authorised to kill each other. The research project is a pointless waste of time, anyway. In [24 hours] I will contact this base once again. Complete control of the mission will be granted to whichever of you is still alive. I trust this situation will resolve itself."

The screen goes blank.

You look at Zyeryh. Zyeryh looks at you.

You can act faster than she can. You can react faster than she can. You have the advantage.
>>
No. 217150 ID: c2c011

>>217147
Stab her eyes out. Then rip off her limbs. After which you have time for a nice little chat with her. Get her to cooperate with your plans or you will kill her.

Get some sort of killswitch installed in her to make sure of her compliance.
>>
No. 217152 ID: dad664

>>217147
Leap back, assume defensive procedures.

"Well, we can do this one of two ways then. Either we act like adults and quit bickering like a bunch of pre-adolescent larvae, or we -both- end up as corpses. Because if I'm going down, I'm sure as hell going to make sure that you'll be following me to (insert your particular species version of an afterlife here) soon after."
>>
No. 217154 ID: e973f4

>>217147
Well, not like you have much choice, is it? Your options are "kill" and "get killed;" this isn't really a catch-22 or anything like that.
>>
No. 217159 ID: 805b7e

use upper limbs to attack eyes and use lower limbs to protect heart(s).
>>
No. 217161 ID: 5f0943

>>217152
This, and be ready for any attack that she might make.
>>
No. 217164 ID: 059120

>>217147
There is basically no positive outcome to this situation. Run away, take your chances elsewhere.
>>
No. 217188 ID: 620bfb

Flee to Mexico, start new life.
>>
No. 217208 ID: adf48e

>>217161
i has a crazy idea.

a uprising from inside.

she may be butthurt that she was also dismissed so easily. simply plot with her the downfall of the empire. this may or may not involve using earth as a lever. she also needs to consider that the possibility of her death is imminent even if her future plans suceed.

alternatively, run like fuck and attempt to raise hell from any of your contacts that she has no acess to.
>>
No. 217239 ID: c4c313

>>217164

Yes, run away! They'll never expect that!
>>
No. 217439 ID: b0020f
File 128156924926.png - (56.13KB , 512x512 , 15.png )
217439

Part of you screams to run. Screams to hide. Another part of you considers insubordination. But your overwhelming thoughts are of killing her where she stands, ending her once and for all.

You strike and impale her eyes. You shift your mid-limbs to guard your thorax, expecting her to counter by exploiting the weaknesses of your two hearts.

She doesn't counter. Whenever you have both attacked each other before, whether consciously aware of it or not, you've never attacked anything that would not heal by itself. Slices across the body surface, removal of limbs that grow back in a matter of days, nothing permanent, nothing lasting.

Eyes, though. Eyes do not regenerate.

She stumbles back, screaming in pain. She misses her opportunity. You lunge at her, and pin her to the ground.
>>
No. 217440 ID: b0020f
File 128156926219.png - (51.92KB , 512x512 , 16.png )
217440

"Stop!! Please!! I'm sorry!!"

You have had enough of her lies. You place a blade to her throat. You can feel her pulse, her heart racing in fear, her weak, pathetic single heart.

"I'll do anything! Stop! Don't kill me!"

This has to be a trick. Zyeryh has never acted so weak and submissive before. All the more reason to kill her now and...

and...

and you can't do it. You hate her. This can't be denied. But you just can't bring yourself to kill the only other individual of your kind you've known for the past three years. Not like this.

You get up and stand back from her.
>>
No. 217441 ID: b0020f
File 12815692774.png - (32.06KB , 512x512 , 17.png )
217441

She stays on the ground, waving her arms around frantically in the air.

Ah. That's why she's acting differently. You blinded her. You've taken away that advantage she had over you - her superior sight, her detection of motion even in the darkest of places. Now she can't even see. She's helpless.

"...Woryeh."

She gets up slowly, clawing at the air, stumbling towards a wall.

"Woryeh, I can't see you. Where are you?"

You don't make a sound.

"Woryeh. Come back. I can't see anything. I'm not going to hurt or kill you, but, please, come back, I need help, I don't know where I am."
"Good."

You walk off.

"Woryeh! Woryeh, come back! COME BACK!"

Indirectly killing her by leaving her to starve or dehydrate, however, is something you can cope with.
>>
No. 217442 ID: b0020f
File 128156929530.png - (36.94KB , 512x512 , 18.png )
217442

You think.

Something is gnawing away inside of you.

At first you think it might be some kind of parasite, until you realise the sensation gets worse every time you hear her call your name again.

It's guilt. Or pity. Probably both.

She would have done the same to you anyway, right? And you would have begged her for mercy and she would have just left you to die.

"WORYEH! PLEASE! I DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM ANY MORE!"

Something has to be done about the noise. With her shouting and the echoing sounds of her clumsily smacking into every piece of equipment going, it's hard to focus on a way out of your current predicament. And it's getting harder to ignore the feeling you should go help her, when clearly the most rational and entirely objective thing to do is to just let her die.

Something has to be done. Now.
>>
No. 217443 ID: 2f1528

do you have any bindings? if so then tie her upper arms so she cannot attack you. and then her into the eating area, not the food storage area though. she will need to rely on you for sustenance, she will ether forget about hating you, or beg for death.
>>
No. 217447 ID: e973f4

>>217442
Y'know, if you wanted to work with her, it'd be a lot easier now. Hell, you guys might even wind up being friends, as improbable as that probably sounds right now. :V

Oh and that guilt will never go away. Whether you kill her now or leave her to die, leaving you with only memories, or help her, leaving you with a physical reminder atop that, you're going to remember you did this for the rest of your life.

And she didn't strike back, even.
>>
No. 217449 ID: 40cb26

>>217442
That feeling.. won't go away when she dies. It will only change, become ever stronger as it slowly consumes you. She is helpless now, no matter what else she might have done you can't just leave the helpless to die and hope to be any less vile than she could have ever been.
>>
No. 217450 ID: e67080

Turn back and say "Zyeryh", then walk back. You have about 24 hours to either find a way to stabilize this, or at least find a guiltless method of killing!

As for how to say things, its time to let the megalomania flow baby! Your going to be in charge now, let it be known.
>>
No. 217452 ID: c4c313

>>217447

Heck maybe that guilt will go away. He's an alien after all.

What I want to know is why didn't you run away? When your superiors see that you are, against all expectations, the victor, they're going to destroy you anyway. They know you are disloyal to them, no matter who is alive. Defeating her serves no purpose. It only deepens your already hopeless situation.

Okay here's an idea. Be kind to her. Save her life. Treat her gently. She doesn't need to see to give you offspring. With a large enough force you might be able to defend yourself from any wrath that the empire wishes to bring down upon you for ruining their project here on Earth.
>>
No. 217457 ID: 4ae7b5

>>217452
Ahh bringing short term planning to long term goals, quite nice, I like it.

However, we have a problem, can we actually jackboot up a kind of global defense initiative powerful enough to hold back the agents of the empire? What enemies does the empire actually have? What resources? How willing are they to act in the open to accomplish their goals?
>>
No. 217459 ID: 0b2a05

Say out loud that you'll be back within 24 hours. Tell her she should sit down before she cracks her head open on a monitor or something.
>>
No. 217470 ID: 2f1528

>>217450
>>217459
think of what to do in 24 hours before you say that you will be back.
>>
No. 217472 ID: be9b1b

>>217470
doesn't mean i support their idea. want to just get some robe and tie her up.
>>
No. 217477 ID: b0020f
File 128157529453.png - (33.67KB , 512x512 , 19.png )
217477

Guilt continues to gnaw at you.

Gnawing away. You can't stand it. You realise what you've done. You get memories resurfacing of the times when you two worked together. Happy co-operation. And then you ruined it. You ruined everything. You were too scared of failure. Too scared of success. You just wanted mediocrity. To fly under the radar.

But she wouldn't listen. She wanted to succeed. You had to stop her. You tried to convince her, but you couldn't dissuade her.
>>
No. 217478 ID: b0020f
File 128157531264.png - (29.73KB , 512x512 , 20.png )
217478

And despite the fact that you took so much away from her, all she ever did was wound and maim and injure you in ways she was fully aware would recover by themselves.

By inflicting such damage, such permanent damage, you broke the unspoken rules you had between yourselves.

"Stand still before you hit a monitor or a console. I'm coming."

You walk back up to her and hold your arm out. She touches it and immediately grabs hold of it with force. She clings to it like a frightened larva clings to its brood mother.

"You've ruined everything for me. Everything. I've worked on so much and you've ruined that for me, and you've ruined my chances of impressing the Praetors, and you've ruined my eyes. What do you want, Woryeh? What have I done to deserve this?!"
"Shall I start with the casual violence every time I happen to be in the same room with you or should I take that as something that just happens these days?"
"If I don't attack you, you attack me first! You always strike if I don't strike first! You just stabbed my eyes and I can't see and don't leave me I can't see I need you to help me you can't leave me here."

She is starting to hurt your arm with the vicelike grip she has on it now.

"Medical room. Then we need to talk."
>>
No. 217480 ID: b0020f
File 128157534919.png - (35.32KB , 512x512 , 21.png )
217480

You lead her to the medical room.

It is an awkward, tense walk. She is totally dependant upon you, and she hates this fact with a burning passion. She has reached an equilibrium where she is holding on tightly enough to cause you discomfort and pain, but not so much as to risk you leaving her behind.

Then, in the medical room, you listen to her instructions for what has to be done in order to artificially regenerate her eyes. It turns out that she has actually been fearing this happening for a while. While natural regeneration is impossible, your medical technology will make it possible to regrow her original eyes. Her original mutant eyes that see things as fast as you think things.

You understand everything she says. But do you do it? After all, she can't do it herself. She's blind. She doesn't know where the specialised equipment is. She has no choice but to trust you, because if you betray her trust, she has nothing else to turn to.
>>
No. 217481 ID: be9b1b

question yourself, who REALLY started the fights? did she really start it every time? if not then you do indeed share the blame and she deserves to have her eyes back.
>>
No. 217483 ID: 716eb0

Woryeh, in your interactions with the beings of Earth, have you never encountered the term "Tsundere"?

What have you done Woryeh? What have you done?
>>
No. 217484 ID: dad664

>>217480
Design them with a flaw. She's adept at seeing in the dark? Make her sight super-sensitive to bright light. Then you can have a little bit of private pleasure at the fact by how humiliating she'll look when she has to wear a silly looking pair of sunglasses whenever she has to go outside in the daylight.
>>
No. 217487 ID: e973f4

>>217480
Okay, question.

Would it be possible to have this "talk" before you fix her eyes? I mean, based on the way your relationship appears to be, I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to attack you as soon as you got her healed (and for that matter wouldn't put it past you to do the same), which rather completely fails to solve the underlying problem in your relationship. This is a really good opportunity for a heart-to-heart.

Of course, you have to not do anything stupidly emotional (like, I don't know, running off, or sinking something through her arm) if she says something you strongly disagree with. You guys can verbally harangue each other all you want, but you still need to talk, and getting in a physical altercation as a result of said talk is not going to help matters.

Seriously, though. It's in both of your own best interests to at least start getting this ironed out, because you'll still have the Empire to deal with.
>>
No. 217490 ID: be9b1b

>>217487
... that is a good idea, do it. work while you talk though. just don't do the last step until you are done talking.
>>
No. 217502 ID: e67080

also on the before you fix her eyes part, fi you actually do feel bad about this. You may want to start with like... an apology. Ironing out this is probably the best idea about now, or killing her and finishing the job.
>>
No. 217504 ID: c4c313

lol fix her eyes? just give her a cane. tell her to "walk it off"

Seriously man, do you understand her all that well? It's possible she was mortal enemies with an incompetent idiot, and only now does she realize that idiot isn't you. I think you should calibrate it to keep her blind, say that it's to keep you safe and to teach her a lesson. Say this way neither of us has to die. Then you can go about deliberating how to resist, or otherwise negate the hostility from this empire.

Remember even empires can be thwarted by those who convince the empire that removing you would be more trouble than it's worth.
>>
No. 217520 ID: dad664
File 128158229342.png - (3.48KB , 225x251 , ZyeryhPyrope.png )
217520

Alternatively, modify her senses to taste colors.
>>
No. 217573 ID: 1b02ed

>>217480

We should heal her eyes, but first we must come to terms. We need to reach an understanding, and for the moment she HAS to hear us out. We also can hear her out if she's willing.
>>
No. 217582 ID: c2c011

>>217480
Give her a normal set of eyes instead. And don't forget to install a killswitch on her. Something like a bomb in her spine that goes off if both your hearts stop beating.

And you can tell her of your dreams and hopes during the operation. How you just wanted to be unoticeable in the grand scheme of things and live out a life of quiet and contentment. And she was trying to ruin all of it, you had to act.
>>
No. 217626 ID: b0020f
File 128162388214.png - (38.76KB , 512x512 , 22.png )
217626

You think. Both of you have started fights before. If anyone started it, it was you. Yet another one of her plans was unfolding and turning out successfully. Rather than sabotage it and watch it crumble beneath her, as you usually had done, you were so irritated by the constant back-and-forth that you elected to just try breaking her instead of the machines she was using.

Of course, at the time you immediately regretted it and loathed yourself for what you did. You took her to the medical room as fast as you could but by then the damage had been done. She would never look at you with anything more than seething hatred again. Eventually, this stopped bothering you.

It's bothering you now, though. You've done it again. You've gone too far a second time. You'll give her back her eyes. First, though, a discussion needs to be had.
>>
No. 217627 ID: b0020f
File 128162390412.png - (29.28KB , 512x512 , 23.png )
217627

"Woryeh?" She sounds panicked. You realise you haven't really made any noise since she finished explaining. "Woryeh, are you still there?"
"Yes. I will fix your eyes after we've talked-"
"No, now! It's going to take long enough to restore them, start now!"
"We'll talk while I work, then."
"Why do you hate me?"
"I've kept trying to explain this to you. If we ever succeed in what we were sent here for, we'll be considered exceptional. And sent to do more dangerous things. Infiltrate more worlds. Over and over again until we die. Which will happen."
"But what's wrong with that?!"
"I just want to live a quiet life. Is that so wrong?"
"Well, you shouldn't have become an infiltrator!"
"We both know neither of us exactly had a choice in the matter. We could have collaborated. Made it look like the world was theirs for the taking. Watched the arrogant Praetors send their fleets straight into a completely prepared and heavily defended planet."
"We could have this world for ourselves and we could have still done that!! Think of what you can do with an entire world at your disposal! We could have done whatever we wanted!!"
"What? Why didn't you tell me you just wanted the planet for your sake and not the empire's?!"
"Oh, yes. A hero's welcome. Paraded around for all to see then thrown into an acid pool for deviating too much from the genetic baseline? No. I'll have my own planet over that any day. And why would I tell you any of my plans when you were so determined to ruin every single one of them?"
"Because I thought you were going to get us killed!"
>>
No. 217628 ID: b0020f
File 128162392731.png - (22.66KB , 512x512 , 24.png )
217628

"Why didn't you just talk to me?!"
"I did! You didn't listen!"
"Well, I'm listening now! And I'm hearing stupid Woryeh thinking stupid thoughts because he was too stupid to just try and talk to me three years ago and we could have done a lot more together since then than just hack away at each other!"
"If you weren't so smug and self-absorbed maybe you would have actually listened when I tried to talk to you! ...wait. Done a lot more together in what sense?"
"Taken over the world. Strengthened the friendship we had. I don't know. It's in the past. It's too late now. You've ruined our chances and in less than [twenty four hours] we're going to get a call from a Praetor and they're going to realise we're both still alive because we don't actually want to kill each other."

You put the last solution into her eyes, and look for a blindfold. You don't miss her eyes at all. You can certainly stand seeing her like this. Of course you can. This is just for her benefit so she doesn't get her eye remnants infected or something.

The fact you've drawn on the blindfold what her eyes used to look like and that the only other being that's going to notice is you is neither here nor there.
>>
No. 217629 ID: b0020f
File 128162394917.png - (36.71KB , 512x512 , 25.png )
217629

She sits on the table, holding on to your arm. You sit next to her.

"I don't know how to feel about you, Woryeh. You're vicious, you're contrary, you attack without provocation. And you do things like this. You do things like blind me and then decide that you can somehow try to undo it and everything will be fine again."
"You hide in the shadows and strike when my back is turned. You're the sole reason I'm scared to go in dark places. I have no idea what waits for me in there."
"What makes you think I'd do anything worse in the dark than in the open?"
"The fact I wouldn't be able to fight back as well."
She strokes your thorax. "I only need one good hit here and you're on the ground anyway. Light or dark."
"Yes. You nearly killed me that time. And then you were on the floor, trying to get my hearts to beat properly before I passed out. You're as bad as me. Trying to kill me, then changing your mind and saving my life."
>>
No. 217630 ID: b0020f
File 12816239641.png - (28.63KB , 512x512 , 26.png )
217630

"I don't really think we can apologise to each other, can we."
"No."
"Well, I can try. I'm sorry I ruined your plans. I'm sorry I attacked you all of those times. I'm sorry I attacked your eyes. I went too far there. I'm sorry. I don't know if you knew it but I thought your eyes were nice. I drew them on your blindfold for you."
"It's been three years of constant pain and fear and discomfort. You can't apologise to me enough, and I can't apologise to you enough. We've made each other's lives miserable. I don't really think there's anything we can do to change that."

You put your arms around each other's backs. She holds onto one of your mid-limbs instead, with one of hers.

You sit in silence as you sit trying to resolve a few hundred conflicting ideas and emotions relating to your relationship with Zyeryh flying through your mutant brain. You feel hungry. With all the excitement of the day so far you haven't had a chance to eat anything.

You really are not sure what to do now.
>>
No. 217631 ID: c2c011

>>217630
Go get something to eat and start plotting. See if you can't come up with a way to make one of your lifesigns go away and then you can take over the world together, lure in the fleet, annihilate it and then live a good life in peace and contentment.
>>
No. 217634 ID: 3b8693

yeah, ask if she wants to eat something and make something.
>>
No. 217635 ID: 3b8693

fake your death. vat grow a couple spare part and organs and when she gives her report she presents it as your corpse. when asked why it is mutilated she says she had some fun with it.
>>
No. 217636 ID: 6834bc

>>217630
Is there some way to trick the Praetors into thinking you're dead? Dummies or broken sensors or something? Might have to abandon the base if they're going to just send a new team to do the failed job, though.
Also, should probably say something sappy like "Even though we've made each other miserable, we can try to make up for it by making each other happy."

And then go get some food because being hungry sucks. Make sure to take Zyeryh with of course, and maybe help her eat if she's hungry. 'Cause, you know, the whole blind thing.
>>
No. 217637 ID: 47ed94

>>217626
well, how about playing dead?

this would need a accident that could have killed both of you or possibly enought tissue to make it look like you two clawed out do death.

we have around 23h to find a marriage councelor, save the earth from a alien empire and be wellcomed by earth for procastinating.

also ask what her other mutations are.
>>
No. 217638 ID: 47ed94

>>217636
>>217635
>>217637
damm. playdead-mind?

alternatively, pretend you are the winner and she died in a accident that ended most of her body.
>>
No. 217648 ID: 620bfb

You have less than twenty four hours to conquer the world and be ready when they return. Get on it.
>>
No. 217651 ID: e973f4

>>217630
Eat.

But beyond that, you guys are probably going to have to cover for the "not killing each other" thing. Any ideas on how to hide from these guys?

(That is, unless they expected you to both die and have just written the whole damn thing off.)
>>
No. 217772 ID: b0020f
File 128164642472.png - (32.76KB , 512x512 , 27.png )
217772

"Are you hungry?"
"I haven't eaten anything today. I got the message we needed to give a report together then I went looking for you."
"...want to go talk over food?"
"...sure."

You guide her to the base canteen. For a base intended for an incredibly low amount of staff (just you two) it is far too big. This worked out well when you couldn't stand each other's presence.

Your species is almost exclusively carnivorous, but fresh meat is not something readily kept in a covert base of operations. However, your species also eats fungi. So that is all there is. Piles and piles of fungi, treated with chemicals and altered to provide nutrients that regular fungi doesn't.

You sit down with Zyeryh and guide her claws to the bowl in front of her.

"Hate this. Hate being blind. Eyes can't grow back quick enough."
"I'm really, truly sorry."
"Doesn't change anything about my eyes."
>>
No. 217773 ID: b0020f
File 128164643815.png - (26.24KB , 512x512 , 28.png )
217773

"What are we going to do?"
"Well, one of us needs to be dead in roughly [20 hours]. Any ideas? You're the one with the supposedly advanced brain."
"How do you even know that?"
"I don't know. Don't know how long I got prodded and poked by instruments trying to figure out why, but I can pick up on all sorts of things about others' bodies. Wanted to do something with that talent. Then 'we should have killed you but we didn't so you owe us for life blah blah blah have fun at Earth'. I've told you this all before, right?"
"A while ago, yes. I got prodded and poked too. Weird brain and all. What are your mutations other than those, then?"
"...that's it. Freaky eyes, freaky sense of others' anatomy. Doesn't carry across species, though. Just us. Oh. I think I have a slightly better sense of taste than most but that's not exactly useful. Especially when all we have to eat is this."

She picks up some fungi and lets them tumble back into the bowl.

"Well, I've got two hearts and a weird brain. But you already knew this."
"We're both freaks. The empire considers itself tolerant to let us live. As second-class citizens. Couldn't have been born into an era when mutant features were considered blessings by the gods, could we."
>>
No. 217774 ID: b0020f
File 128164645528.png - (40.47KB , 512x512 , 29.png )
217774

"I liked it when we were friends."
"Me too. And while I like this conversation and feel pretty hopeful and optimistic that we won't go back to trying to kill each other straight away, we do need to figure out a solution to that problem. Perhaps we could use the medical vats to fake one of our deaths. Grow a corpse."
"It takes a while to grow an organ from scratch, you know. [48 hours] minimum. A full corpse, not happening."
"How are they even going to know who's dead or not?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, if they need us to give reports and take this long to pick up on three years worth of contradictory stories, they're only going to base it on whoever answers."
"And whoever answers is in charge of the- sssssssss."
"What?"
"He never said we had to kill each other. Just that he'd give control to whoever was still alive. We've done exactly what he wanted."
"Which is?"
"Either kill the other party to focus on nothing but the mission, or reconcile and refuse to kill each other and then focus on the mission. Either way, he gets what he wants."

Of course. Praetors use a variety of tactics to motivate, and they tend to favour spite. A simple mocking comment leading to the harangued proving themselves just to spite the Praetor that treated them with such disdain. The chances Raagaras said what he did, fully expecting both of you to make amends just to spite him, are pretty high. Manipulative worm that he is.

"Well, personally, out of those options I prefer reconciliation."
"So are you going to help me now?"
"Now that I know what you want, yes."

She hugs you. You fall off the side of your chair, conditioned by the past three years to react to her sudden movements defensively. She falls with you.

"We need to remember that we can work better as a team. Two of us are better than one of us."
"You hugged me."
"I know. ...I liked it. ...Want me to stop?"
"...no."

What was it you were meant to be doing again? You feel a little distracted right now. She feels so warm and smooth and soft. You feel like... like...
>>
No. 217778 ID: b0020f
File 128164646474.png - (3.60KB , 512x512 , 30.png )
217778

Like nothing else really matters.
>>
No. 217779 ID: b0020f
File 128164651828.png - (15.36KB , 512x512 , 31.png )
217779

LOCATION: GLOBAL OVERWATCH BASE KAPPA-FOUR SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN TIME: 23:03 YEAR: 2137

"Welcome aboard, sir! And may I say it is an honour to be speaking to someone with your accomplishments-"

"Let's talk about the urgent matter at hand before you start asking the man for signatures, Johnson."
>>
No. 217780 ID: b0020f
File 128164654287.png - (26.85KB , 512x512 , 32.png )
217780

"Approximately three years ago, an unidentified flying object was observed by multiple independent sources. After compiling the information and comparing it against known alien vessels, it was determined to be a scout vessel of the Rekeelid Empire."

You don't say anything, but you don't need lecturing on these alien bastards. You've had first-hand experience. One of them took your eye out. You got a new one installed with the hefty pay you got for the whole affair, though. Pretty nifty, actually. Sees better than the one your mother gave you, that's for sure.

"Initially we assumed it was just another unmanned scout vessel. It was sighted falling into the North Atlantic in October, 2134. Again, the assumption was that, like so many scout vessels encountered before, it had simply exhausted its power supply. It was recovered and dismantled. There were no traces of life support systems. We didn't realise how effective a cover-up it was until it was too late."
>>
No. 217781 ID: b0020f
File 128164655715.png - (13.67KB , 512x512 , 33.png )
217781

"Earth has been infiltrated by the Rekeelid Empire. And that is where you come in. We have detected alien transmissions coming from the North Atlantic. Worryingly close to our base of operations, to be certain."

Of course, it wasn't just your eye you lost. That was just your first encounter. That was against an inexperienced squad.

Fortunately, the wonderful technologies of full-body prosthetics and consciousness transfer are alive and well in the 2130s. All they needed was your brain and part of the spinal cord to survive, and that it did. You're goddamn invincible now.

The body you have now isn't the one you prefer - too different to your normal one. But it's a pretty nondescript one. You needed to draw as little attention as possible getting here. You kept that eye, though. It's your lucky eye.

"You will infiltrate the alien base. Once inside, you will acquire as much information as you can on their purpose on our planet, and you will sabotage the base as you feel fit to stop them. If hostiles are encountered, eliminate them. However, if you feel you can pull it off, you will be rewarded greatly for the capture of any live aliens."

"Any further questions, Agent... uh... what was your name again?"
>>
No. 217789 ID: a594b9

Hank. Hank Dunsberry.
>>
No. 217790 ID: fa329b

>>217774
agent killurded.

its a fake name anyway.
>>
No. 217793 ID: 5f0943

>>217781
Your name is Samuel.
>>
No. 217795 ID: 5eea01

Frank Horrigan
>>
No. 217797 ID: 030624

Pay Shens
>>
No. 217798 ID: c2c011

>>217781
Bond, Ian Bond.

And you're up to the task. Not only will you infiltrate and sabotage their base, but you will capture live aliens and bring them back. Because that's just how badass you are.
>>
No. 217803 ID: 620bfb

Orange
>>
No. 217810 ID: c46d7b

"what if non-hostiles are encountered? not that i expect any, but better to have orders on all possible situations then to be left without orders on an offshoot scenario.

and name's Durandal, sir."
>>
No. 217819 ID: 1b02ed

"Magnus Steel"

"Now, is there anything else you can tell me? Even guesswork would help."
>>
No. 217891 ID: c4c313

Be wary! The Reklids are here to rend you limb from limb with the terrible power of... love.
>>
No. 217959 ID: 560fa2

>>217803
No, you are Agent Pink. You didn't get to pick your own name.
>>
No. 217968 ID: 2222da

>>217959
Seconding Agent Pink. First name: Fil. With an F. Not Ph.
>>
No. 217981 ID: 701a19

>>217959
Agreed.
>>
No. 217982 ID: 5eea01

Changing vote to Magnus Steel
>>
No. 217983 ID: 5a5a6b

Magnus Steel is a worthy name.
>>
No. 217984 ID: c2c011

>>217819
Changing my vote to Magnus Steel as well.

Just make sure you still say that you're up to the task. Not only will you infiltrate and sabotage their base, but you will capture live aliens and bring them back. Because that's just how badass you are.
>>
No. 217999 ID: b0020f
File 128171000530.png - (20.38KB , 512x512 , 34.png )
217999

"Steel. Magnus Steel."

Not the name you were born with, of course, but that's neither here nor there.

"What if non-hostiles are encountered? I don't expect any, but I don't want to be paralysed by uncertainty deep in enemy territory." You consider this a valid question. They may have humans locked up in there. Of course, any alien is guaranteed to be hostile. You haven't seen a single instance that has proven otherwise.

"Good question, Agent Steel. If any non-hostiles are encountered, do as you see fit."

Well, that seems like pre-emptive blame shifting to you. You resolve to play it safe and fire only when fired upon. If they're human. Can't take chances with aliens.

"Anything else you can tell me?"
"Unfortunately, no. All we know is that there is an alien base under the ocean floor. There could be a hundred of them in there. There could be thousands."
"I'm starting to have second thoughts about this. Do I get any assistance whatsoever?"
"Come with me."
>>
No. 218000 ID: b0020f
File 128171001747.png - (31.75KB , 512x512 , 35.png )
218000

"Now, the current prosthetic body you're using. Completely unsuited to the task at hand."
"Tell me about it. I look like something from the twenties."

You see three showcased robotic bodies.

"Here, we have three of our finest examples of robotics. The Chameleon, the Shifter and the Disabler."

They whirr into life and face forwards.

"They've been rewired to be compatible as prosthetic bodies. We're also throwing this into your payment. Pick whichever you like. It's yours for the mission and yours after the mission."
"Nice."
"The Chameleon is wired with a camouflage system that can render it almost completely invisible even while in motion. Unfortunately, its sound cancelling systems leave something to be desired. The Shifter can reconfigure itself into more forms than we've ever been able to test with its modular design. The Disabler is loaded with every available piece of technology we have to counter Rekeelid Empire technology and is a solidly built machine to boot. But before you decide on that, let me show you something else."
>>
No. 218001 ID: b0020f
File 128171003417.png - (24.09KB , 512x512 , 36.png )
218001

"This is the Mark Five Tactical Deployment Multipurpose Drone, codename Delta. ...It's a long story. It has early hostile detection systems, is capable of translating known Rekeelid Empire languages, is also capable of cracking into Rekeelid Empire systems, it's combat ready, and generally useful."
"Greetings, Agent Steel."
"Hi there."
"It's also incredibly expensive, and so I strongly recommend you consider whether you want it with you down there with you or not. Of course, if it's destroyed in action, well, no price is too high to pay to ensure Earth's safety."

Well. You've worked with TDMDs before. They're actually pretty useful. And unerringly loyal. Surely this upgraded version can only be an improvement in every way.

"Well, I have to say, I am impressed with the toys you're offering me. Nothing like the front-line tech, but. Yeah. I'll sabotage this base for you and bring back some of the bastards alive for you guys to do whatever it is you do with them."

So, now you have to think. You need to pick one of those three bodies and then whether or not to take Delta along for the ride.
>>
No. 218006 ID: 644ca1

Normally I would say that the Chameleon should be the best pick, stealth is a good choice for a scouting mission. But since we don't know how many are down there the Shifter might be the better choice, hiding in plain sight looking like one of them until we can find the base's weakness.
>>
No. 218011 ID: c2c011

>>218001
Lets go with Shifter. While it's a bit useful to vanish in plain sight it's even better to be able to become something they would expect, like a box or something, just standing there innocently until they get close, then you morph into something offensive and snap their puny necks.

And bring the drone with you, it seems like it could be useful.
>>
No. 218013 ID: 620bfb

The shifter can likely pull off camouflage just as well as the chameleon if you're clever enough, so go with that. I also think the drone would be handy.
>>
No. 218018 ID: e973f4

Well, don't not take the drone.
>>
No. 218049 ID: a594b9

Shifter and drone!
>>
No. 218104 ID: b0020f
File 128173231098.png - (32.60KB , 512x512 , 37.png )
218104

"And yes. I'll take Delta with me. Also, I like the Shifter body best. Invisibility is useful, but being able to go from an inconspicuous box to a force to be reckoned with in seconds is something that appeals to me greatly."
"Excellent choice. I'm sure you have the sense to figure it out, but you won't be able to assume forms that require a change in mass. Unless, of course, you somehow change that mass yourself. The self-repair functionality of the Shifter allows for modules separated from the main body to be recollected and reintegrated."
"Any way for me to get more modules?"
"I'm afraid not, Steel. Not once you're in."

After about an hour, the devices that contain your consciousness are removed and placed into the modular Shifter frame. The modules are tiny. Upon thorough inspection you can see them, but from a distance you might as well be made of fluid.

You ask for your left eye to be transferred across as well, and they explain that integration into the structure of the Shifter would be almost impossible, and that each module is capable of optical detection.

This is going well already.
>>
No. 218105 ID: b0020f
File 12817323247.png - (29.39KB , 512x512 , 38.png )
218105

"Estimated arrival at site: two minutes."

Your transport speeds towards the alien base. Your new body doesn't have a heart, but if it did, it'd be beating pretty hard right now. You've survived the aliens before, but an entire base?

This is sure to be a test of every single thing you know and have tried against these aliens.

This will be your finest hour.

If you survive.
>>
No. 218106 ID: b0020f
File 128173234522.png - (33.18KB , 512x512 , 39.png )
218106

The transport vehicle moves around to the only identifiable entrance. You swim almost effortlessly to it. Gaining access proves to be difficult.

But not for Delta. It detects what operates the door, and opens it.

The entrance opens. You both slip through as Delta closes it again. You fall a short distance and hit the ground.

You're in. The room you're in is deserted. All you can hear is a low hum of machinery and electronics, and the gurgling noises that indicate the bizarre amalgamation of flesh and metal that comprises most Rekeelid Empire technology.

Now what?
>>
No. 218109 ID: 3234dd

To the nursery! Retroactive abortion time!
>>
No. 218111 ID: a594b9

>>218106
Scout. Use the fluid body to slime around on the ceilings. You can like, make little gripping suction cups and claws and shit to move on any surface!
>>
No. 218126 ID: c2c011

>>218106
Ooze form. Slide along the ground and seep through cracks and stuff. And tell Delta to integrate itself with the base security system and identify how many hostiles there are and where they're at.

And give Delta some modules from your body to create a private two way communication device with. That way it should be able to update you with information in realtime and work as a handler for you.

So lets get cracking. These alien scum won't know what hit them.
>>
No. 218155 ID: e973f4

>>218126
Yeah this is, uh, pretty much the plan, I'm thinking.
>>
No. 218172 ID: 07c61f

yes, if you manage to figure out exactly how many hostiles are here and where they are then you will have the element of surprise.
>>
No. 218264 ID: b0020f
File 128179087725.png - (23.10KB , 512x512 , 40.png )
218264

"Hey, Delta."
"Yes?"
"Can you switch to some form of private two-way communication by any chance?"

You hear a faint crackle.

[Of course.]
[Excellent. See if you can crack into the base's security system. Find out how many hostiles we have to deal with here. And where they are.]
[I estimate successful access within ten minutes, Agent Steel.]

It is not at all difficult to assume a fluid-like form. It appears to be the Shifter body's shape of least resistance. Trying to slide up walls and ceilings, however, proves to be next to impossible, given your limited experience with this body. Such fine control to form the appropriate surfaces is something you have yet to develop, but you should pick it up pretty soon.

You continue onwards.
>>
No. 218265 ID: b0020f
File 128179089338.png - (37.41KB , 512x512 , 41.png )
218265

After ten minutes of going in circles, and finding the base suspiciously empty, Delta chimes back in.
[Security system compromised. Attempting to determine number and location of entities in base.]

You wait.

[Two organisms detected. Species unknown. No further signs of life detected apart from partial organic components of Rekeelid technology. Detected in dome four.]

...Two.

Two.

That can't be right. The Rekeelid Empire is many things, but brainless is not one of them. Two aliens. Well, this is going to be simple and easy.
>>
No. 218266 ID: b0020f
File 128179092691.png - (32.49KB , 512x512 , 42.png )
218266

You head to "dome four" based on Delta's directions. If you can disable the two aliens first, you can take the rest of the mission at your own pace.

This is, quite honestly, the worst attempt at an alien invasion you have ever come across. It looks like most of your work has been done for you. There are several malfunctioning pieces of equipment, plenty of sabotaged weaponry, and a few disassembled combat drones sprinkled about the place.

You begin to wonder if someone else was sent here before you, and you were just sent to clean up after them.

You reach dome four, continuing to slide along the floors. You stop and spread against the wall when you hear voices.

[Delta! Get out of sight!]
[Confirmed.]

"҂ҊҖᐝЉ Љ҂ҊҖᕰ ᐝЉᙰ ᐝ"
"ҦЂҨᖅЋҜ Җ ҂ҊҖҖ ҊҖҦ"

Sounds like both of them, headed your way. You recognise the sounds they make and the vague silhouettes. Bladearms. Redworms. Whatever the bastards are called, it's them. Only took one of them to rend your body into pieces that day.

Suddenly, two seems a daunting number.
>>
No. 218267 ID: c2c011

>>218266
Hide. Then ask Delta to perform a realtime translation for you so you can understand what they're talking about.

Don't attack before you have the situation clear to you. Then wait and see if they split up. If they're not together then you have a greater chance against them.

And see if Delta can dig into the records of the base and see what might have been going on in here and any medical information he can find about the aliens. There might be some weakness you can take advantage of.

And don't worry about their bladearms, they might have 6 bladed limbs, but you could easily make 10 of your own now if you want. Any piece they cut off can easily be reattached to you again. Really, this time you're the stalking nightmare amongst them, not the other way around.
>>
No. 218272 ID: 701a19

>>218266
There are signs of sabotage, but no signs of combat.
If a previous infiltration job depleted the population then there would have been signs of combat, but there are not.
If a previous infiltration job had sabotaged their weapons and equipment, then they would have also attempted to kill the aliens. But again, no signs of combat.

Something is very strange here. Stay out of sight and monitor them; it may be possible to capture both the aliens and their base, which would dazzle the folks back at HQ.
>>
No. 218273 ID: 620bfb

This is odd. Stay hidden, get Delta to translate. You may be able to pick up on what's going on. If the Rekeelid Empire is as smart you say, there must be a reason there are only two of them.
>>
No. 218275 ID: e973f4

>>218266
Something is definitely the fuck wrong here. I'm going to say to try to go with the "listen in" idea.
>>
No. 218294 ID: c00244

>>218266
Is it possible that they realized they'd been detected, and most of their forces left for a different base? Or that their troops are currently dispatched on some sort of nefarious operation? You desperately need more information about this. Translation time, and if that doesn't work you might consider having Delta attempt to hack their records or otherwise gain information from their systems.
>>
No. 218309 ID: b0020f
File 128181196482.png - (28.53KB , 512x512 , 43.png )
218309

You stay hidden as a conspicuously shiny puddle on the wall and floor.

...Okay, that's not going to work. You retreat to the nearest electronic... thing you have no idea what it does, and form a similar configuration to it. Almost flawless. You are very proud of your handiwork, actually.

You don't see Delta but you do see a shimmer in the air. Wow. Cloaking. This thing is an improvement on the previous versions.

[Delta. Translate that language.]
[This language appears to be a variant of Rekeelid-3. I will begin realtime translation as soon as possible.]
>>
No. 218310 ID: b0020f
File 128181198064.png - (37.53KB , 512x512 , 44.png )
218310

You see them. They are walking closer towards you. One of them is wearing some sort of fabric around its head, and the other appears to be guiding it. The one with the fabric strip keeps clawing at the air now and then, and the two are generally moving quite slowly.

They stop where you are. The one with no fabric stares at you. You do your damned best to pretend to be a broken machine.

"Ѻϡϟᐝ҂ ѨҊҖҒ ҎᑓЉЉѮ ᗥѾ ᙰҸԆԶ"
"ЉѮ"
"Ғ ЉҎᑓ ᗥЉѮ"

It gets closer to you, the other one still clinging to its arm. It suspects something. Oh dear.
>>
No. 218311 ID: b0020f
File 128181200132.png - (28.81KB , 512x512 , 45.png )
218311

[Translation is now possible.]

They speak again.

"ᙰҸԆ ҸᙰԆЉ" [Like it's made of a lot of tiny grains.]
"Ҏᑓ ϡϟᐝᑓ ᗥҊҖ" [It's made out of tiny grains? What is it? What is it even for?]
"Զ҂Ҋᑓϟᐝ ᑓᘟ Ѿᙰᔒ ҖҒҎѾҸԆԶ Ѯ ᗥҸԆԶ ᙰ" [I have no idea. This is a waste of time. We have to go find the control room. We need to find and apprehend the intruder before it becomes a threat. Of course, if you have any better ideas I'm willing to listen.]

It turns away from you to face the other, leaning on you in the process. If you wanted to go for a surprise attack, you have the perfect opportunity.
>>
No. 218315 ID: c2c011

>>218311
Hmm, well no time like the present. And you have a perfect oppurtunity to take two live prisoners.

First of all deliver some intense blunt trauma to the torso region of the alien leaning on you, from behind make sure it doesn't notice you're there. Then follow up with taking out the eyes. Then slide away from them. Get Delta in there and have a nice little chat with them before you hand them over to your superiors.

After all the Rekalid empire usually isn't this stupid. You need to know what has been going on here. This might just be a decoy base or something. And it might be urgent, so you can't wait around for new orders.
>>
No. 218316 ID: e973f4

>>218311
Well. I think your guise of "broken and/or useless machine" is working just fine.

It is indeed tempting to take the opportunity to attack right now. But, figuring out why the hell there are only two of these things here, one of which seems to be damaged somehow, is a quite intriguing prospect, if you can, say, follow them around and hear a more useful piece of the conversation.

That and I think you might be able to capture these guys if you rig it right.
>>
No. 218318 ID: e973f4

>>218315
Or a more direct approach might work too! Your call.
>>
No. 218321 ID: 7f58b2

i have to agree. interrogation may prove useless on them, trained to die rather then divulge information. but if they don't know anyone is listening they could let something slip.
>>
No. 218322 ID: 0b2a05

They're already suspicious of you. Don't move, just wait and then spy on them, you'll have more opportunities to take prisoners later. If they're separated it'll be even easier.
>>
No. 218329 ID: a594b9

The one with the fabric is blind. Heh. Flow over and around the one that can see, constricting them and placing sharp points at their joints and other soft tissues. Shove the blind one away, lift the first one up into the air, and begin moving your captive to another location. It's time for interrogation.

Use Delta to translate as you ask what their mission is, and why there's only TWO of them here.
>>
No. 218331 ID: 644ca1

Stay hidden and keep listening, we need to know what they are up to and why there are only two of them and it is easier to eavesdrop than to interrogate.
>>
No. 218369 ID: f202ec

Now is a perfect time to incapacitate them.
They MIGHT suicide if captured, but if they do it's the same as if you had attacked to kill anyway. Which isn't so bad of an ending either, now is it?
>>
No. 218428 ID: b0020f
File 128183359135.png - (32.76KB , 512x512 , 46.png )
218428

Yes. You can easily capture them alive right now. Then you can secure the base for the Global Overwatch researchers to study to their heart's content. An entire mostly-intact Rekeelid base is not something Earth scientists are able to study often, after all.

You come up with a couple of plans of action, and decide to favour the one that reduces the risk of one of them escaping. Your body becomes more fluid. The alien leaning on you topples backwards. As you reform, you constrict it, forming blades pointing around its weak points. A hastily formed tendril is enough to throw the unsuspecting blinded one to the wall.

They did not even have time to so much as make a noise before you captured one of them and disabled the other.

This is because you are good at what you do as an infiltrator for Global Overwatch.
>>
No. 218429 ID: b0020f
File 128183361162.png - (22.52KB , 512x512 , 47.png )
218429

You just got caught by the intruder you were looking for.

This is because you could stand to be a lot better at what you do as a supposed infiltrator for the empire.

Zyeryh curls into a defensive position with her blades at the ready, frantically moving her head around as if she can somehow shake the never-ending darkness around her. "Woryeh?! Woryeh where are you?!"

Whatever the intruder is starts to drag you away from her. You then find yourself ejected onto the ground. You see the form of your captor. It is like something out of a nightmare. A formless malevolent mass, with a shape on its top appearing like the head of a human, bare of any features. You stare at it, jaw hanging.

It blots the light with its protean mass.

"Lights out, alien scum."

You feel metal smacking into your head and your torso. You feel your hearts desynchronise. The pain is nothing compared to the weakness, the fading, everything fading, completely unable to fight it.

You fall unconscious.
>>
No. 218430 ID: b0020f
File 128183362679.png - (39.46KB , 512x512 , 48.png )
218430

You regain consciousness, and your captor is looming over you. You realise you're tied up, but there's something warm against your back. You have just enough freedom to turn your head. It's Zyeryh.

You speak as quietly as you can to each other.

"I'm sorry."
"Save it for something that's actually your fault."
"If we don't make it out alive-"
"Giving up already? Do your brain thing. Think of a way out of this."

"Hqwnsdbsm dsjkdh fdjfhjhg jhwqpwpmzcpgf."
"Wejdfmsd qksjods. Qjkjdsmd sado sdkskfdmkf."

You slow down time for yourself. Already you can feel your head getting warmer than normal.

There has to be a way out of this. You're restrained with metal that must have come from your captor. You can't move or even angle your blades to cut your way free. What can you even do in a hopeless situation like this?

"What are you doing here on Earth?"
>>
No. 218433 ID: 821d4a

talk while thinking,

"what do i get for talking? if it's just 'a swift death' then i am sorry but i will need to refuse answering."
>>
No. 218434 ID: a4e573

Well, there's no real point on being dishonest with him. But if death is all there is to be rewarded then...Better they be caught off-guard.
>>
No. 218436 ID: c00244

>>218430
First, it looks like your captor is basically homogeneous in makeup; that implies that no part of him is more durable than any other. That means that the sophistication of his systems can't exceed whatever fits inside a tiny grain, though obviously they've got significant strength and processing power when working in parallel. Anything which can stop the individual grains from communicating with one another would probably stop him in his tracks- might even be fatal. Also, while a form made up of grains is probably extremely resistant to kinetic attacks, it's likely that it's significantly less so towards energy-based damage or any sort of corrosive chemical. You'll have to rely upon your knowledge of the base to come up with a location which might be able to exploit these potential weaknesses with its equipment or facilities.

Second, you appear to be under interrogation. Is the voice coming from anywhere in particular, or does your captor have any kind of defined speaking location? I suppose that there's not much reason to assume that such would be right next to critical systems, but it's a guess.

Anyway, keep the intruder talking; eventually you'll want to try and lead him into a trap somewhere else in the base. You might consider claiming something very close to the truth- that your falsified reports are standing between Earth and a total invasion, largely because you wanted a low-stress job and actually spying on anyone is a lot of work. If you're removed, they'll likely send someone actually interested in harming the planet to replace you.
>>
No. 218438 ID: a594b9

Wait, maybe we can convince him we're not loyal to the empire... say we're refugees or rebels or something. That so far you've just been studying human culture trying to find a good way to introduce yourself without exposing yourself to the risk of being captured and experimented on.

Say you just want to live in peace; you have no loyalty to the Empire who persecuted you for being different... mutated.
>>
No. 218439 ID: 701a19

>>218430
"Defecting. We want a retirement plan that's a bit more pleasant than execution for being mutants. We've spent the past three years sabotaging our own equipment and working at cross purposes so we would be ignored.
If you can grant us asylum and a decent quality of life, then we'll help you against the empire."
>>
No. 218448 ID: 40cb26

>>218430
It can't be some random threat, this thing must here because of the threat your presence suggests.

Best not to take offensive actions at all here, it's just a fast way to get yourselves killed. Honestly, giving whole truth may be your best bet. Speak calmly and ask to promise that neither of you will be hurt and you'll tell it everything. Do it slowly and clearly, details and the your rationale behind what you mean to do may be enough to convince it you aren't lying. Having this thing understand that you being on this mission and not completing it or being replaced is the best thing for its world. And by no coincidence, the best thing for the both of you. Leave out things too incriminating but be careful not to create noticeable holes to invoke doubt.

The best single thing to say after all this is "We just want to live."

>>218438
This isn't a bad story, if they believed it. But even if this one did there is no reason for the rest of them to take the chance of leaving the two of you alive, let alone by yourself here.
>>
No. 218451 ID: 3234dd

Aw shit ma bruthus. Well call me a jaded childless harpy, but maybe you two should've spent less time fucking and more time planning because shit just got real!

Incidentally I think you're tied up with pieces of that human blob thing. Might be good to try poking one with your claws.
>>
No. 218464 ID: e973f4

>>218430
I guess just answer its questions as straightforwardly and curtly as you can manage. It's probably interested in why the hell there are only two of you and why your base looks like shit.
>>
No. 218523 ID: 620bfb

Claim asylum. If you're going to defect you may as well go all the way. Just ignore the fact that they're very likely to perform many horrible experiments on you, likely ending in vivisection.
>>
No. 218543 ID: c2c011

>>218430
Time to start talking. It's not like you have any greater amount of loyalty towards the empire after all.

And who knows, maybe he's weak to species flatter. You could say that you have been sabotaging operations here because you didn't think you could outsmart mankind and you have been intruiged by their culture of tolerance and stuff and you wish to defect. Point out what a great asset you could be if they manage to get you to voluntarily cooperate. And that you're an abnormal mutant, so they wouldn't really learn alot about the empire and your species by examining you.

Also commend him on his great infiltration skill. With tech like that he could do some really impressive shit out there in space. Tell him to just imagine what the humans might learn if they had him working out there as an infiltrator, he would need a guide of course, but you would be willing to volounter yourself and Zyeryh for that.

This is mostly a play for time though. Unless he proves to be very receptive of your suggestions. If he does then maybe this could turn into something very interesting and useful.
>>
No. 218576 ID: b0020f
File 128189142429.png - (27.44KB , 512x512 , 49.png )
218576

You're being interrogated. Standard infiltrator training tells you that in the event of capture, death is preferable to revealing any of the empire's plans or the vital information that has been entrusted to you.

Except you're not really sure you have any "vital information". Zyeryh probably does. You only paid enough attention to know when to indicate you were listening. And either way, you hold your own life in far greater regard than the empire.

"Are you going to kill us after you get your answers?"
"Depends on what your answers are."

Wonderful. The position of the voice shifts. Clearly its origin is moving around you in a circle.

"Promise that you won't harm us and I promise neither of us will harm you, and we will tell you all you want to know-"
"Heard that one before."
"If you're willing to co-operate with us we're willing to co-operate with you!"

The voice is silent for a while.

"Where are the rest of you?"
"We're the only ones here. The base is a standard design. It can't be any smaller without missing vital machinery."
"What happened here?"

Inspiration strikes you.
>>
No. 218577 ID: b0020f
File 12818914388.png - (34.37KB , 512x512 , 50.png )
218577

"We've been sabotaging this base so the empire can't find us. We have been spending many years to study your culture for better integration into your society. We want to claim asylum here on Earth."
"Really."
"Really. We didn't want to get captured and subjected to experiments. We knew that's what would happen if we came here directly. We're just here because we want to live. The empire wants to execute us for what we are."

A slight pause.

"And what would that be?"
"Freak mutants. Unique in physiology."
"Okay, did you have to say that? We're going to end up on a table splayed out with tubes hooked up to us for the rest of our lives now, Woryeh! Why did you say that?!"
"Well you're the one who said do the talking!"
"Yes, and I made a mistake in assuming you'd do it right!"

You both wriggle and generally fight against each other to try and break out of the constraints.

"...wasmdnfd. Wnjnhfjd ewejfn. Jkhmbvb asds."
"Awhghfm aslsd dsm."

You feel a sting somewhere and start to lose your grasp on reality. You are really getting sick of passing out right now.
>>
No. 218578 ID: b0020f
File 128189145526.png - (45.21KB , 512x512 , 51.png )
218578

You awake. You are in an unfamiliar place. Zyeryh is next to you. Her blindfold is missing, but her eyes appear to be intact. She still doesn't seem to be able to see with them yet, though. They probably only appear fine on the outside.

You're strapped down to a table. So is she. She's breathing rapidly.

You're both covered in some variety of medical sensors and you can see surgical instruments strewn around. You feel a cold dread.

"What's going on? What's happening?! Why are we strapped down?!"

No response.

"Woryeh, I don't want to die like this. I don't want to die like this. I have had nightmares about this happening for years. Tell me you have a solution to get out of this."
"I'm working on it. Calm down."
"Calm down?! We've been captured and strapped down to a table and I can hear medical machines and I'm blind and I have no idea what's going to happen and I've seen what they do to aliens Woryeh I've seen it-"
"Calm down. Please. If you start panicking things are only going to get worse."
>>
No. 218579 ID: b0020f
File 128189147897.png - (26.41KB , 512x512 , 52.png )
218579

Some humans in heavily protective gear enter whatever room you're in.

One of them points to Zyeryh and says something in its incomprehensible human language.

They remove her restraints, only to put her onto a more mobile surface and cart her away from you, with twice the amount of restraints as before.

"What? What are you doing with her? Where are you taking her?! Come back! Bring her back!!"

Again, your pleas fall on deaf ears. Through your head run visions of Zyeryh being clinically dissected, her limbs removed, her organs picked over. You feel ill and have never felt a greater desire to ensure her remaining unharmed as you do now.

On the plus side, whoever the idiot was who strapped you to this table didn't even strap your blades down.

Of course, trying to break free is going to draw unwanted attention. But with the alternative being whatever they have planned, this is a risk you may have to take. Unless you have any better ideas.
>>
No. 218580 ID: 4ae7b5

>>218579
>On the plus side, whoever the idiot was who strapped you to this table didn't even strap your blades down.

That was a mistake, we are going to have to educate them as to the magnitude of this mistake, aren't we Woryeh?
>>
No. 218583 ID: e67080

Consider: they have protective gear, and know to doubly restrain you if their going to take you away. The leaving your blades free may very well be intentional, to see if your attitude flows with your story. Its not fun, but for now try remaining calm. If their testing you, you'll discover soon enough, if their stupid enough to leave you free to kill them, they will just make the same mistake later.
>>
No. 218586 ID: e973f4

>>218579
If you can break free, try to, but... be willing to give up if it looks like you're going to get attacked as a result. You're not going to help yourself or Zyeryh if you're dead.
>>
No. 218588 ID: c2c011

>>218579
Break free but don't harm anyone. Then lets go find Zyeryh. There should be something in here that might give you a chance to negotiate from a more equal standpoint.

But hey, look at things on the bright side. Neither of you are probably dead yet, and they probably already have alot of useful information on you guys from previous failed infiltration attempts.

And if you get the chance you should point out that the blobby human might make an excellent infiltrator of the empire. Of curse he will need a guide to make sure he doesn't mess up, you and Zyeryh selflessly volounter. Might be hard to convince them to let you both go though.
>>
No. 218589 ID: dad664

>>218579
Bust out of your restraints while shouting "OH YEAH!"

Then hurl something heavy at the nearest human while shouting "IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!"
>>
No. 218622 ID: 701a19

>>218579
This is a pretty good situation. You are being monitored right now, so break out of your restraints, do some stretches, then sit or lay down and wait for them to respond. When people enter the room you should ask for them to return your partner, but keep your tone polite and make no hostile or threatening moves - that means you keep your blades relaxed and still.

It is vital that you cooperate as you have no power here. Since they are perfectly capable of killing you whenever they like and decide what your quality of life will be, you need to show that you're cooperative.
>>
No. 218628 ID: 3234dd

She has had nightmares? Haven't you been steadily sabatoging your operation for the last three years straight specifically so this scenario would not occur? Hmm, maybe sabatoge wasn't the right strategy. Anyway, hindsight.

I regret to say it looks like these earth beings know a lot more about you than you of them. They can speak your language, but you cannot speak theirs. They know your physiology enough to craft specialized knockout drugs. You were completely unaware of their strange grain technology. In terms of overcoming them you're pretty much boned, in fact I'm not surprised your empire has failed to take this planet even without your sabatoge. Something must be working against these humans, perhaps reproductive rate? Star drive technology?

Whatever it is, it looks like this Earth is nearly untouchable. It's likely that's why your progenators decided to use mutants for this, as they are both unpredictable and expendable, perfect for a suicide mission.

You could break loose and start trying to bust some heads, but remember they have knockout drugs. All it takes is one undetected syringe and you better bet your blades will be restrained the second time you wake up.

On the bright side you haven't got much to lose. >>218622 seems as good a plan as any.At the very worst if you plea for her life, maybe you can stall long enough for her eyes to finish healing.
>>
No. 218630 ID: 3234dd

...at the very best, you two will be worth more to them alive than dissected.
>>
No. 218640 ID: 969e74

How long has it been? ...Bad question...You were knocked out.

The next time someone comes by that might understand you, explain that one of you is expected to report back in and you're not sure what your superior would do if neither of you showed up.
>>
No. 218647 ID: a594b9

Break free. Find her. Do not kill anyone; if you must fight, aim to disable.
>>
No. 218695 ID: b0020f
File 12819205172.png - (23.01KB , 512x512 , 53.png )
218695

You resolve to free yourself. If you avoid harming anyone, and make a point of demonstrating your desire to avoid harming anyone, what can they really hold against you apart from being on the same ball of rock as them? You've done nothing to them. Nothing. In fact, by sabotaging Zyeryh's plans, you've helped them! If humanity continues to be so ungrateful you are going to have to rethink your stance entirely.

But now is not that time. Now, you need to be as non-threatening as possible. You quietly cut yourself free. The restraints, while proving incredibly difficult to struggle against, offer near no resistance to your blades. You're free.
>>
No. 218696 ID: b0020f
File 128192055360.png - (31.91KB , 512x512 , 54.png )
218696

You need to find Zyeryh. You need to make sure they don't so much as scratch her. You sneak around in the base, treading as lightly as you can, but the clack of your claws on the floor is hard to disguise.

This place is alien to you. Cold, sterile, with not a faint hint of life around, not even in the walls. It feels like death. Cold, sterile death. You recall the laboratories you were taken to when you were younger. Even they had more life to them than this place.

You can pick up on her scent. Your species is not gifted with great olfactory senses, but given such a sterile background, you find yourself drawn to the only smell you even recognise.

You sneak around a corner. You see her. She isn't even restrained. Clustered around her are human scientists. You don't hear her saying anything.

One of them is holding some instrument you don't recognise. It doesn't look sharp. It appears to have a display, but you can't make out anything on it from here. As you continue watching, you realise she isn't moving. Then, while your hearts threaten to desynchronise from the sudden wave of emotion that hits you like a wall to the face, you realise she is moving, but in a very, very subdued fashion.

"Return to the examination room, subject R1."
>>
No. 218697 ID: b0020f
File 128192057495.png - (21.79KB , 512x512 , 55.png )
218697

You slowly turn around. There is a metal sphere filled with buzzing electricity inside of it.

"No harm will come to yourself or to your associate while you remain compliant. Return to the examination room."
"What's going on? Why are you doing this to us?"
"Subject R2 has been placed under close observation for her own health. Abnormalities in her physiology have been detected and are being monitored."
"I already said we were abnormal! I'll do whatever you humans want but I don't want me or her to be taken to pieces!"
"The health of you and your associate is of great concern to Global Overwatch. It cannot be determined how the atmospheric conditions of Earth will affect your physiologies without observation. Return to the examination room before you endanger yourself further."

It's bluffing. It has to be. You may not have set claw outside of that base for three years but you feel fine. You're not succumbing to the alien environment at all. Gravity's the same. You're breathing. The air feels weird, but you're breathing. Breathing arrhythmically, but so what.
>>
No. 218698 ID: b0020f
File 128192059082.png - (146.57KB , 512x512 , 56.png )
218698

Your hearts are beating weirdly. You feel weird. The metal sphere hangs in the air observing you, and suddenly starts blaring things in words you don't understand. What's wrong? Oxygen is oyxgen. You can breathe oxygen fine. You don't smell anything dangerous. You know the composition of Earth's atmosphere. There's nothing toxic in it. You feel your intestinal tract spasm. This is stupid. There is nothing wrong with these conditions and there is nothing wrong with you.

Blood is trickling out of your mouth. You feel increasingly faint. Heavily protected humans run into the corridor, pick you up and put you on something solid and flat. It moves. This is silly. You're completely fine. The sky is a vivid blue and everything is pretty colours. You taste blood. Your hearts are beating entirely at the wrong times. You start to think there is something seriously wrong but find yourself unable to care too much.

The shiny floaty thing is still speaking your words. "You told me that compound wouldn't have any lasting effects!"
"How was I supposed to know it'd stay in their systems like that?! We don't exactly have a large bank of alien test subjects! God damn, is this one dying? They'll have my neck if he does! Push this thing faster!"
>>
No. 218699 ID: b0020f
File 128192060364.png - (29.45KB , 512x512 , 57.png )
218699

You wake up feeling incredibly sore in every part of your body that has pain receptors. Including parts you weren't even aware could feel pain.

You're free of restraints and sensors, and on a soft surface. You start wriggling back with some anxiety when you notice something looming over you.

"So. You claim that the two of you are refugees from the Rekeelid Empire, who fled because of unjust discrimination and persecution based upon genetic differences. Do you have a name?"
"Woryeh. Her name is Zyeryh. Where is she and what exactly are you looking for or doing to her?"
"In due time. Species name?"

You feel woozy. What is your species name? And how should you approach this inevitable volley of questions?
>>
No. 218706 ID: c2c011

>>218699
Cooperate. They have shown themselves fairly willing to play nice with you. And it is possible they just saved your life.

And your survival somewhat hinges on them thinking you're useful and worth their time. Could be a good thing to point out that your superiors was waiting for a report.
>>
No. 218707 ID: 3234dd

blade... arm?

Field the questions to us of course. We're great at answering large amounts of penetrating questions.
>>
No. 218709 ID: e973f4

>>218699
Well, hey. They don't want you dead. That's useful information.

And they're even willing to trust you to not try and attack them, enough to let you walk around unrestrained. (By the by, yeah, continue non-aggression policy.)

I take it you aren't actually called Rekeelids, then. And it's presumably our job to come up with the actual answer. Buuuuuut since I got my character name picked I'll let someone else do the species. :B
>>
No. 218710 ID: e973f4

>>218709
But, right, yeah, answer the questions they ask. They're being relatively nice to you, so I don't see why you shouldn't.
>>
No. 218711 ID: 701a19

>>218699
Honestly.
Again, they have all the power here. So far they've done nothing worse than restraining and sedating the two of you (albeit with experimental drugs), so cooperate with them.

Answer a few questions, then say "All I've asked is to be with my mate. You are a pair-bonding species; you understand how terrifying it is to know know where or how she is."
>>
No. 218712 ID: dad664

You are Zzssk'Qrthkk, however in the human tongue it would be roughly translated as "Salazzarine." Your species was conquered by the Rekeelid Empire approximately seven thousand years ago and inducted as a general purpose infantry and workforce.

Politely inform the floating metal orb that you will answer its questions in due time if it will back off. Seriously. Comfort zones you binary motherfucker, do you respect them.
>>
No. 218729 ID: a594b9

How about "Chitinned"

Also, stick with the story. Only reveal that you are actually infiltrators if they have some manner of evidence. If that happens, then say you were telling the truth about everything else; you're not loyal to the Empire and will cooperate with them now that you're captured.
>>
No. 218748 ID: e17a34

GODDARNIT

why are all the interested quests so short

I'll be back in three months for maybe a few more pages of this.
>>
No. 218848 ID: e973f4

>>218712
I'm going to second Salazzarine. Just because it sounds cool.
>>
No. 218896 ID: b0020f
File 128199343892.png - (37.24KB , 512x512 , 58.png )
218896

Salazzarine. That was it. You have some strange recollections about the history of your species, and try to remember what you know. Your species was made a part of the empire (who strongly dislike the term "conquered", being one of those words likely to result in rebellion) roughly [five centuries] ago.

Your species made perfect natural soldiers for the imperial military. With your natural weapons, quick healing rate and (with outside interference) high rate of reproduction, salazzarine soldiers form the dorsal -support-structure of the military.

Salazzarine culture was suppressed, locked away, all but destroyed in favour of a new culture forced upon your ancestors by the empire. Your homeworld is almost a production line now, for both Rekeelid technology and for salazzarine soldiers. Anything too abnormal, too defective, too out of line is destroyed. This would have included you and Zyeryh. Rogue elements can lead to instability within the system. Instability can lead to collapse. Collapse will always lead to ruin. Ruin for the empire would be ruin for the salazzarine too, or that's what the propaganda stated, anyway.

But the rate of technological advancement has never been higher since the empire's arrival, and before the empire arrived the salazzarine had no interstellar, or even interplanetary means of transport. Malnutrition is almost unheard of, everyone is kept healthy and as free from disease as possible, and the salazzarine have no fear of attack from hostile aliens while the empire is there to protect their world.

But the cost for all of this was your species' future.
>>
No. 218897 ID: b0020f
File 128199346272.png - (17.90KB , 512x512 , 59.png )
218897

"Salazzarine."
"Hmm. Interesting. Thought you matched the description. We've never had live salazzarine on Earth before."
"Please. I want to see Zyeryh. You're a pair-bonding species. I know this. Surely you can understand how terrifying it is not to know where your mate is or what is happening to them. I desperately want to make sure she's okay."

The heavy-suited humans confer. The contraption above you translates indiscriminately and you catch snippets.

"-told you! Didn't I tell you? 'Anthropological bias' my ass! Some concepts arise independently across species and-"
"-you sure it's safe to have both of them in the same room unrestrained? I don't want to be the voice of paranoia here but-"
"-least we can do after nearly poisoning the thing to death-"
"-if they act up we can just shoot them up again, we just have to be quicker with the counter-agent next time-"

"Okay. Come with us. We can ask what we wanted on the way."
>>
No. 218898 ID: b0020f
File 12819934891.png - (45.84KB , 512x512 , 60.png )
218898

"I have no idea what your culture's norms are on discussing the topic, it's a minefield for most of humanity's cultures, but can you inform us on the reproductive and life cycles of your species?"
"What?"
"There's something we need to confirm."

The question does take you aback, more out of being completely unexpected than any cultural offence. You don't really know what your culture's norms are, given as you weren't really part of society for most of your life. For all you know the cultural norms for the society you should have been a part of advise or even encourage carving your prospective mate to pieces as some sort of ritual. It seems unlikely, though.

You explain that your species reproduces similarly to humans with paired couples as opposed to a system of queens, which is their first hypothesis, despite you telling them Zyeryh is your partner and that your species doesn't have a biological caste system. One of the humans clutches their head and says something about being the future target of ridicule among xenobiologists for jumping to such erroneous conclusions.

You continue explaining. Humans, you've learned, have a reproductive strategy involving a lot of invested effort into fewer offspring. Salazzarine have a different strategy. Salazzarine young begin life as tiny larvae spawned into easily defendable pools of murky water which their parents guard. They are completely mindless and feed on the microorganisms in said murky water, as well as other larvae too weak to escape. The balance for the water has to be right - too clear and they starve, too murky and they succumb to disease. Many of them die, but those that don't grow larger and become more aware. There are typically one or two larvae that survive this whole affair. Salazzarine parents feel little attachment to individual larvae until about this stage, when parenting instincts kick in with force. They grow, they eventually are able to survive outside the pool of their birth, and are raised by their parents, same as humans raise their own offspring.
>>
No. 218899 ID: b0020f
File 128199362036.png - (39.17KB , 512x512 , 61.png )
218899

"But how does your species reproduce so quickly if most of your larvae die? How do we keep getting reports of being overwhelmed by a never-ending wave of salazzarine?"

You answer the question. How you've outlined the process is how it worked for salazzarine for millenia until the arrival of the empire. The empire changed everything gradually, but now the empire exploits the spawning of many larvae. Each one of them is separated from its cluster, and moved to its own artificial pool, monitored, its pool's conditions altered so that nearly all larvae survive. With this artificial intervention, your species' rate of reproduction skyrocketed. Of course, not all larvae still survive. They're screened and only the best are allowed to grow and thrive, and more larvae from a cluster survive nonetheless.

Of course, on the surface this sounds acceptable, and means there are a lot more salazzarine. But it also means salazzarine living on the homeworld will never see their own larvae grow. They're all taken away and processed and distributed to other salazzarine to be raised, and then sent to training for their chosen career once they pupate.

If they're unlucky, they get sent to military training, and never see their surrogate parents again. Given pupation is already traumatic for young salazzarine, adding the separation from their surrogate parents is enough to break more than a few salazzarine. Perfect for the empire to rebuild their fragile minds into something loyal and dedicated.
>>
No. 218900 ID: b0020f
File 128199363675.png - (22.24KB , 512x512 , 62.png )
218900

The humans listening to you are mostly silent. They mutter to one another and the machine does not translate. You recognise their tones of voice from your studies of them. They sound shocked. Appalled. At a loss for words.

After a short pause, one of them speaks again.

"...So, uh, your species' females develop larvae as part of your reproductive process, correct?"
"Yes."
"Right. Davidson, go ahead and tell them that those aren't parasites and there's nothing to be concerned about."
"...what?"
"We didn't know what those were. Thought it was a failing or parasite-infested organ. We carted her away because we thought she needed urgent medical attention."

...what?

You see Zyeryh. She looks over to you.

"Did you kill or maim anyone on the way down here?"
"No." You walk calmly over to her instead of running to her side because that would just be embarrassing for both of you. You don't want to look like an idiot in front of the humans.
"Good. We should be fine, then."
"Are you alright?"
"I've felt worse. I mean, I have had my limbs severed before. That's pretty painful. This is just uncomfortable and vaguely menacing, but I've been talking to these guys and they're hanging on my every word. I could tell them we gargle acid before we sleep and they'd write it down in their notepads."
"...they mentioned something about you and larvae."

She's quiet for a few minutes.

"Sure, like I'm going to trust the judgement of aliens who'll believe anything I tell them. I don't feel different in the slightest."
"What have you been telling them?"
"Despite being tempted, the truth. Actually, um. I told them the truth. About why we were sent here and why we haven't done it and why we don't want to do it. The infiltration thing. I kept emphasising how little control we had over the whole thing. ...I was scared, okay? I tried to lie but I thought they'd pick up on it. Didn't realise how gullible these guys are."

You hug her, glad to see her unharmed. "Zyeryh, I'm sorry I couldn't get to you sooner." She hugs you back.
"Well, you got to me at all. What's the plan? Stay here and play along? Try to break free and get back to the base? We still need to at least acknowledge Raagaras. Stall for time. I can't think of a way to explain that we need to go report to a superior without appearing suspicious and contradictory to what we've said about not caring about the empire. Any ideas?"
>>
No. 218902 ID: e973f4

>>218900
Well, I mean. If Zyeryh already told them about the infiltration thing, then I don't see why you couldn't ask to go relay something to your superiors, so they don't try and send someone more... driven to come fix to what is their eyes your mess. As long as the Praetors can't somehow check who's in the base (and it seems to me that if they can, you've got bigger problems already) you could even offer to the humans to have somebody monitor you to make sure you don't do anything other than what you say you will. And to lend credence to your claim you could always say that the reason Zyeryh's eye was all fucked up when you got captured is because you got in a fight earlier as a result of the request by the Praetors that you relay them a message or however you want to phrase that.

After all, you guys aren't very loyal to the empire, but having them flip out and send in a kill team or whatever would be bad for both you and your [somewhere in between hosts and captors].
>>
No. 218905 ID: e973f4

>>218902
Just an addendum, and more of an observation than anything... You seem to have had some pretty deep-seated doubts about the empire for a long time, from the way you're describing these things.
>>
No. 218907 ID: a594b9

>>218900
Yes. If we don't report back, they're going to assume we killed eachother, and send another team... one that might not have as much trouble with coordination. This should be easy for the humans to believe.

We have to report back, and tell them we've reconciled. We won't tell them about the larvae though (even if she doesn't believe that she's pregnant), because obviously we want to keep them.

Of course, to keep up the illusion that you're not getting along well enough for THAT kind of thing, there should still be squabbling in the reports.

I'm undecided as to whether we completely cooperate with the humans or still try to gain influence in their government. It depends on what kind of deal they're willing to make of their own free will.
>>
No. 218911 ID: d3894c

yes, we just need to report to them that everything is still going as planned and stuff. the humans can bring stuff and make small changes to the base but they can't have any transmitting equipment.
>>
No. 218913 ID: 701a19

>>218900
For now? Cooperate.
These are scientists in a situation that occurs far less than once in a lifetime. They're noting everything you say, but don't expect them to believe your claims on faith; they're accepting information you provide because it doesn't run contrary to established information, and it advances the working model. They're going to verify everything you say as opportunities arise.
Of course, they would be unlikely to call you out on any conflicts, as that would be insulting to you and would let you know what they already know.
The short version is that you're going to be well treated, and the more cooperative you are the more leeway they'll grant you.

Continuing on, they said they've never had live Salazzarine on earth before, which strongly suggests they've examined corpses. That's very good news, as it means they have a basic understanding of your biology.

Oh, right, you were worried about dissection and vivisection. Yea, that's laughably unlikely. Completely aside from you two being a font of endless information, they have nothing to gain from it. Anything they want to know about your biology can be more easily found with noninvasive scanning, blood and waste tests, and examining their corpses.

The cost of living in their care will be examinations, endless questions, and a general lack of privacy. Nothing new there.
Your primary concern at this point is that you don't know enough to tell if your former bosses have some sort of failsafe that would let them destroy the base - or yourselves. If there isn't then tossing your lot in with them ensures your survival; the empire would need to attack earth in order to get at you, which they are clearly unwilling to do given that they sent you here in the first place.

TL;DR? Lean back and relax. Cuddle up and go to sleep.
>>
No. 218918 ID: d3894c

>>218913
that... makes sense. but the point of going back is to keep them from sending someone else to do the job, and a good chance they will be more loyal.
>>
No. 218925 ID: 3234dd

Aww Zyeryh is pregnant~
>>
No. 218931 ID: c2c011

>>218900
Tell them about your superior. Also mention that you might need to report to him and that whoever captured you can tag along to make sure nothing goes wrong. Stress the importance of the fact that you could act as a double agent here and feed false information to your superiors as a play for time.

Tell them that you might need a human corpse as well, if your superiors can get to the stuff about an infiltrator entering the base then they might need to see evidence that you dealt with whoever it was. Some bloody human limbs should be convincing enough.

But you're going to need to come up with a lie for why Zyeryh's corpse isn't there. I guess you could say that you ate her or something. Or maybe that you hated the bitch so much you incinerated her corpse.
>>
No. 219003 ID: 0555b4

Offer to work as double agents for the humans.
>>
No. 219439 ID: b0020f
File 128215099460.png - (20.16KB , 512x512 , 63.png )
219439

"I think so."

You talk to the humans. They seem willing to listen. You explain that as part of your attempts to appear loyal, you have both been answering to the Praetors and reporting regularly, faking your reports to act as a bluff that the two of you have all but taken Earth, in an effort to avoid the empire sending more loyal and dedicated infiltrators to the planet.

You explain that you need to contact them urgently to keep this bluff going, or the empire will likely send new forces. You offer for you and Zyeryh to serve humanity in defending themselves against becoming yet another victim of the Rekeelid Empire's eternal campaign of conquest and expansion, to serve as double agents. Zyeryh is completely surprised by your proposal, emerging from the murky water from nowhere.

"I thought you said you wanted a quiet life!"
"Can we really have that when the empire's still around? Can either of us say we have any loyalty left to a regime that has treated us as experiments since birth?"
"Woryeh, if I'd seen this side of you years earlier, I would have hated you far less than I did. Why couldn't you have ever just tried to speak to me like a reasonable being- no, I'll discuss this later, but yes, double agents. I support this plan."

She speaks as quietly as she can. "For now."

"What you propose is entirely unprecedented, and none of us here have the authority to speak for Global Overwatch as a whole. We will let you contact your superiors, and when you return, we will discuss this proposal further."
>>
No. 219442 ID: b0020f
File 128215102978.png - (43.70KB , 512x512 , 64.png )
219442

You and Zyeryh are escorted back to your base blindfolded. You co-operated, given how you're at the humans' mercy, although Zyeryh wouldn't let anyone but you put a blindfold around her eyes. They verified that it wasn't some form of trick, and removed the blindfolds once your transport arrived back at your base.

The both of you race towards the communications centre. You reach the monitor room. Both of you face the monitor.

Seconds later, the many-eyed face of Raagaras appears on the monitor. He stares at the two of you, looking from one to the other, and clacks his mandibles.

"As expected. Now that the two of you have realised the value of mutual co-operation, or at least the value of you both remaining alive, I expect this planet to become a part of our empire as soon as possible."

He looks at the two of you, who have both remained silent. But the two of you are standing a little too closely together for two salazzarine who previously could not bear being in the same room together.

In fact, you have an arm wrapped around Zyeryh. Oops.

"...Additionally, I expect the larval cluster to be sent in [one week]."
>>
No. 219446 ID: b0020f
File 128215118452.png - (41.83KB , 512x512 , 65.png )
219446

He suddenly stops and looks side to side, and taps at a console at his side with his many small limbs.

"There. Don't send it if you don't want to. You've been through enough in Taarek's laboratories. You've been socially stunted to the point you need my intervention to interact properly with each other. But I know neither of you are stupid, and I know you both have the best of intentions. If you feel you're able and willing to raise your offspring, I will turn blind eyes to your doing so, and claim your mutant structures have simply rendered both of you sterile."

You have never heard any Praetor speak like this. Especially not Raagaras.

"Krakash-nalob in the pit below, it's the least you two deserve. Mention none of this to any other Praetor. Already there are prospectives, circling around me as if I were a carcass, waiting for a moment of weakness to pull me down the hierarchy and take my place. I read through reams and reams of obviously faked reports and approved them, and they consider me lazy. Overly lenient. Sympathetic to things that aren't proper citizens."

You and Zyeryh stare open mouthed at the monitor. Raagaras suddenly looks at a screen you can't see and looks back to the monitor, speaking more rapidly than before.

"I have had every faith and hope in your skills. I have ignored your stalling for time. I have covered for you. Just know that I have trust in your abilities. Work together. Live well. Do whatever you feel is right. The empire doesn't want you alive. Stay far away from it. Find somewhere, find anywhere else, find somewhere quiet, somewhere free, live happily, never contact the empire again-"
>>
No. 219447 ID: b0020f
File 128215120895.png - (61.78KB , 512x512 , 66.png )
219447

Raagaras gazes at the monitor, more blankly than usual.

Green ichor seeps out of his maw. He keels over and smacks into the console, before being pushed aside by a salazzarine, who starts licking their blades clean of ichor. Its voice marks it as female.

"My apologies, infiltrators, but there's been a change in policy. I'm Praetor Eezeree, and I'm your new overseer- oh good Kreyeh you are hideous. Hideous, ugly thing. I do apologise, infiltrator, for the mixup, but you appear to have been partnered with a horrific mutant. I'm sure we can do something about that. If you want to cover those eyes with something - Kreyeh, I can't even stand to look at it! Could you tell it to face something other than the monitor, or something?"
>>
No. 219449 ID: 3b77b9

whelp, now no one a little nice is left alive. nuking the fucks is morally acceptable.

demand proof that this was a legit take over. the fact that she doesn't know your stats means you doubt it.
>>
No. 219453 ID: 3234dd

Woryeh: exclaim that there is nothing wrong with your eyes.
>>
No. 219454 ID: ffdd45

...What a bitch.
>>
No. 219455 ID: e973f4

>>219447
If you decide to go the "arrogant, protective bastard" route, try something like "which one of us 'horrific mutants' are you talking about again, sir?"

Nnnnnot sure on whether that's a good idea, though.
>>
No. 219456 ID: 701a19

>>219447
"Ah, slave, step out of the camera's view.
My apologies; I've grown used to it, and she's not here for her looks if you catch my meaning.
I'm quite sure I couldn't complete my mission without her, shall we say, unique talents?

Unfortunately, you arrived to stop the former Praetor far too late; all my plans included excluding him from my operations, and it's past the point where I can deviate from them. Even the reports I and my slave have filed with him are utter fabrications designed to placate his treasonous leanings.
I was planning on a period of several years with little to no contact, and have already put myself in a position where I am committed to do so. This was to be my last communication with the former Praetor.
Specifically, I have recently subverted a group of humans to my bidding and be stationing some of them in this base for further indoctrination. Naturally, all sensitive technology has been sabotaged to prevent them from learning our secrets.
Accomplishing this task required that I convince the fools that I am plotting against the empire, which obviously puts me in a position where I cannot contact you without giving myself away, and will have to disable communications systems on my end in order to maintain the ruse.

Is there anything you have to tell me before I subject myself to wretched isolation for the good of the empire?"
>>
No. 219461 ID: e973f4

>>219456
... This is ballsy as hell, but it might work.

... Although Zyeryh is probably going to stab you for the "slave" comment.
>>
No. 219476 ID: c2c011

>>219447
Wow, what a fucking bastard. Ask Zyeryh to step away a bit. Then ask this new dude if the change in leadership means any changes in the mission or policy.

Hmm, lets hope overwatch can move quickly on this. The new developments might make it necessary to make things happen very quickly.
>>
No. 219482 ID: 3b77b9

>>219456
if you do this then make sure you give her a loo that says "i have a plan" so she doesn't argue with you.
>>
No. 219485 ID: a594b9

I have no idea which one of you she's talking about. She used no pronouns. Find out which one it is she thinks is hideous, then have the not-hideous one take the lead.

Or you could just go "We're both mutants, dumbass."
>>
No. 219525 ID: d9ca51

>>219456

Do it do it do it do it do it do it!
>>
No. 219535 ID: b0020f
File 128217414083.png - (35.53KB , 512x512 , 67.png )
219535

You try to mask taking a deep breath, and hope severely that what you are about to say works. Lying through your serrated jaws is one part of what being an infiltrator is all about.

"Ah. Slave, please stand to one side."

Zyeryh looks at you in confusion. You lead her out of the communication room and walk back in. She is still too confused as to what you just said. Hopefully when she realises you actually did say what she thought she heard you say, she'll realise she has to play along for this to work.

"My apologies. She's not the smartest wriggler in the pool, and she's not here for her looks. But I do need her here to, well, how shall I say it. Unwind now and then. For the sake of my focus on the mission, you understand."

"Understandable. You don't exactly have a lot of choice, so far from us. Else I'd arrange to have her taken away and provide someone in your position with someone far more attractive."

She looks at the screen and tilts her head. "Someone more befitting a handsome infiltrator like yourself. I'm sure I can be there in the flesh to attend the celebration for when you take Earth."
>>
No. 219536 ID: b0020f
File 128217415227.png - (29.56KB , 512x512 , 68.png )
219536

In less than five minutes, this salazzarine has reached Raagaras undetected, put blades through his back and, if not killed him outright, permanently wounded him, insulted your partner, and is now trying to replace her. One thing's for certain. You hate her. But there is a certain element of respect to that hate, based on the sheer tenacity she must have to take all of this in her stride, as if it took no effort.

When you realise how similar this hatred is to how your relationship with Zyeryh was for the past two years, you falter. "I, uh, er, uh..." You try to focus.

You're suddenly shunted to one side by Zyeryh. In fact, less shunted so much as thrown to the ground.

"My apologies, Praetor. You have interrupted us at a bad time. We were experimenting with biotechnological implantation, the results of which we were going to explain to your predecessor. While they are, of course, gruesome to your eyes, I assure you that mine are merely prototypical. A future version will be far less offensive. If you wish, I will blindfold myself while I explain things further."

From your view on the ground you see Eezeree look intrigued. "Biotechnological implants? My apologies, infiltrator, for jumping to such baseless accusations. Please, continue."
"My infiltrator colleage here attempted to test a prototype of a brain-enhancing implant against my advice. He is still suffering from short-term memory scrambling. The damage is non-lasting, however, and he should recover and be back to his normal self in under [24 hours]."
"So you're not a mutant, then?"
"Praetor, whatever would a mutant be doing as an infiltrator? Do my works offend you? I can destroy my research if this is so."
"Not at all. Biotechnology is one of our higher sciences."
>>
No. 219540 ID: b0020f
File 128217425519.png - (33.74KB , 512x512 , 69.png )
219540

There's a tense pause. Praetor Eezeree rests a blade on a console.

"Well, this has been fun, watching the two of you come up with lie after lie."

"Lies? Whatever do you mean, Praetor?"

"Did you expect me to target Raagaras specifically without knowing exactly what I could use against him, and more specifically, what projects he was overseeing? It has been amusing watching the two of you reel off lies as fast as you can. But you're both mutants. Woryeh, hypercognitive brain and double heart system. Zyeryh, innate understanding for the salazzarine anatomy and hypersensitive vision. As for me, my midlimbs are profoundly more developed than most."

Another pause. A pause of building anxiety, but a pause of building rage also.

"Wait. You're a mutant?! And you have the gall to call me a horrific mutant?! Well, "Praetor", if I ever see you in the flesh I am going to cleave your body into so many pieces they aren't going to be able to identify the mess of flesh and organs you'll be when I'm through with you!"
"I can assure you, I am a Praetor true, and if you weren't amusing me so much with your empty threats, I would have you put on the purge list"
"What makes you think you have any right to kill Raagaras?"
"I will rip off your limbs, tear open your abdomen and shove them into the cavity, and if there is no cavity, I will make one-"
"If it wasn't me, someone else would have done it. He was a pathetic Praetor. Weak. Lenient. The empire would collapse if it were run entirely by the likes of him."
"-and I will sever the muscles in your neck and position you so all you see is your own wreck of a body, and I will hook you up to life support so you can live to suffer the pain and agony-"
"How did someone like you become a Praetor? Shouldn't you be in a lab somewhere, hooked up to some tubes?"
"Shouldn't you be?"
"-and do nothing else, because you will be too weak to regrow, forever in a state between life and death and all you will know is pain! Pain eternal! Pain never-ending! And I will gouge out your eyes so all you know is pain and nothing else!"
"What can I say? Perhaps I'm someone's political experiment gone horrifically right. But enough idle banter, although I am rather enjoying your futile fury, Zyeryh."
>>
No. 219541 ID: b0020f
File 128217426720.png - (27.03KB , 512x512 , 70.png )
219541

The Praetor gives the most infuriating confident smile you have ever seen anyone of your species give.

"Allow me to explain why I saw fit to acquire overseer status for your mission. You're conquering Earth for the empire, right? It just so happens I am the empire. Or at least part of it, now. Earth is a pretty far away planet, hm? Far from most empire worlds. Just outside our influence. Here is what you will do. You will take the planet, and you will contact me, and only me, when you do so. I have selected a colonisation group composed of those salazzarine who are innately superior to the baseline. Earth will become our staging world. We will become something formidable. A new empire. An empire of the salazzarine. No. The better salazzarine. They call us mutants. Freaks. I call us the future. We have features they do not. We are better than them. And in time, as they sought to purge us, we will seek to purge them. You will assist me because I know this is what you desire. Revenge. Revenge for being treated as nothing. You don't have a choice"

She taps at the console with her upper and mid limbs.

"Any last vitriolic and incoherent screams and death threats against me before I leave you to fend for yourselves for the next [year]?"
>>
No. 219549 ID: 701a19

>>219541
Disconnect.

This is convenient!
You have a lot of choice here. You could arrange for this new faction to ally with humans (perhaps a Mars colony?) or arrange for it to be destroyed in one fell swoop, or even decapitate it and take it for your own. Perhaps options one and three?
Obviously, being found out has made it impossible for you to conquer the planet, so that option is off the table.

This requires deliberation with your new-found human allies. It could be very convenient.
>>
No. 219551 ID: dad664

>>219541
Humans are pretty handy with the whole genetic tinkering, Woryeh...they may be able to figure out how to bring out the positive mutant genes in your species while subduing the ones with negative side effects.

Just a thought, you know.
>>
No. 219554 ID: a594b9

Woryeh, remember that you were friends first with Zyeryh before you started to hate her (because she wouldn't let you do what you thought was best for her). Your emotions now are not the same at all.

Just go "I understand, Praetor." and as soon as communications are cut, try to calm down Zyeryh, and reassure her that you don't think she's ugly at all. Be honest with her, but flattering.

I think we shouldn't trust this new Praetor though. Sure, she's a mutant. Sure, she claims to be on 'our' side as far as wanting freedom and equality. However, this could be a deception. A play to our emotions. The fleet sent could be loyal to the empire, not to her.

A new Praetor could be waiting on the sidelines, ready to kill her at the last minute and take over the mission. That just happened now, why wouldn't it happen again?

The planet is yours. You will lead it. Any ships that are sent here will be disabled and taken over. If those inside wish to follow our leadership, then we will welcome them. If they are loyal to the empire, then we crush them.
>>
No. 219555 ID: 933980

"no" and close the connection.

good thing you got human allies. just have them build under the base, when the colony ship shows up you can subdue and screen all on board for spy stuff.
>>
No. 219568 ID: c2c011

>>219541
Hmm, this is quite the opportunity. Thank her for this chance to serve a much higher purpose and then disconnect.

You're going to have to talk things over with your new human associates though. It should be possible to come up with a compromise here. One that will benefit both you mutant salazzarines and the humans. But it's not going to be what Ezeeree expects.

She might become a threat though. Luckily there is now a thing that can infiltrate the empire and give her an offer she won't be able to refuse. With the proper training the one that captured you should be able to worm it's way into the empire and strike where it needs to. After all, it did it job very well when taking the two of you.
>>
No. 219576 ID: e973f4

>>219541
Okay yeah go ahead and disconnect. It looks like you guys went completely different directions with the cover stories, but somehow that worked out okay.

And then before we get to any future plans based on this information I'm gonna go ahead and say you prrrrrobably ought to clear things up with Zyeryh first. Something like hugging her and you're sorry but you wanted to try and cover and that was the first thing you could think of and it was stupid and insulting but her cover story was insulting and stupid too and at least they're not sending anybody to come blow up the planet, hey? Please don't hurt you, etc. I think you guys' relationship will probably work out better if you're more deferential when she's pissed, and if your relationship doesn't work out well then improving your current situation is going to be really difficult.

But beyond that, I do rather like the idea of getting the humans complicit in the New Salazzarine Empire project. They might be outside the sphere of influence of the Rekeelids, but I really can't imagine there's any love lost between them. The humans seem to trust you, so the harder part of the equation would be on Eezeree's side, but if you're reasonably savvy you ought to be able to use the gaping flaws in her personality to your advantage --- to "play" her, so to speak. (Although I'm concerned about her trustworthiness. You'll probably need to get something she wants and withhold it from her somehow; she seems like the type who might be responsive to that sort of tactic.)
>>
No. 219584 ID: 716eb0

Oh good lord that was handled poorly. *sigh* I thought I had more time to type up a suggestion full of spin but lacking in all the lies and insults.
>>
No. 219617 ID: 3234dd

Yeah, when spinning deceit, the first rule is you never lie. You can omit, sidestep, poorly word, but actual lying will get you killed. The second rule is that the first rule is a lie.

I have a better idea than Eezeree's. How about you remain loyal to your friends, and rip your enemies limb from limb, and who cares if they're salazzarine or not. Raagaras for instance was revealed to be better for the future of your children than Eezeree, because he covered for you so much in trying to defend his own position. You would be dead if not for him, ergo no kids. Eezeree on the other hand killed your ally, and proclaimed that in one year she was going to drive you headlong into war. I don't know how much she cares for the salazzarine species, but that kind of action sure as heck won't further it.

Dammit, you do not want this to escalate. If she sends a colonization group you'll have a hard time justifying yourself to the natives. It's probably better if you give the appearance that you were rendered into minute bloody flecks instead of contacting her next year. That way you will both be warning her of the power of these Earthlings, and preventing her from attempting that which has doomed so many empires in the past, a colony.

But at the same time... a colony of salazzarine like you, free from persecution and oppression... if there was only a way you could make that happen without incurring the wrath of these Earth beings.
>>
No. 219623 ID: d87897

>>219617
or we can have the humans grab the colony ship and capture everyone.
>>
No. 219624 ID: 3234dd

>>219623

That... that's so crazy it just might work.
>>
No. 219771 ID: 644ca1

CHECK THE ROOM FOR HUMAN INFILTRATORS AND LISTENING DEVICES! If they find out and you then decide to lie it will be VERY bad for you.
>>
No. 219815 ID: b0020f
File 128224169754.png - (32.51KB , 512x512 , 71.png )
219815

Before you are even able to say a single thing, Eezeree suddenly cries out in pain.

She is abruptly and violently lifted off of the ground and held by an upright Raagaras. Held with her neck between his mandibles. She appears to be bleeding, but only from surface wounds.

"What sort of incompetent fool are you? Don't you know the first rule in usurping a Praetor is to check that you've actually killed the Praetor you're trying to usurp? I was expecting someone a little more qualified for the job to take my place. This is just an insult!"
"Kreyeh. Oh Kreyeyh. Don't kill me. Please don't kill me. I'm sorry for everything I'm sorry I didn't kill you I only needed a short time-"
"Kill you? Taarek has told me of a variety of experiments he had wished to run on salazzarine, perverse and abhorrent, too horrific to be carried out even on those with their citizenry stripped from them. But you? You are my enemy, and thus, an enemy of the empire. Enemies of the empire have no rights. It is encouraged that enemies suffer. You might survive these experiments. But you'll wish you hadn't."
"No. Not the labs please not the labs I don't want to go to the labs again please not the labs oh Kreyeh I'll do anything anything you want you can kill me but not the labs not the labs NOT THE LABS"
"Apologies, infiltrators. This is not something you need to see. It might be unsettling."

The screen goes dead.
>>
No. 219816 ID: b0020f
File 128224171871.png - (44.57KB , 512x512 , 72.png )
219816

Both of you sit down quietly.

"Zyeryh, I'm sorry, that was a stupid plan, you're beautiful and your eyes are pretty and I couldn't think of anything else it was the first thing that came to mind-"
She waves a blade at you. "Next time try not to reduce me to being nothing more than your pleasure slave or whatever it was you were trying to imply."
You hug her. "I'll remember that. Well, you did say I was outright insane."
"Temporarily insane!"
"You had more time to think up a plan of attack. You shoved me to the ground, too!"
"Okay, I guess you have a point." She hugs back.

You realise how stupid you were. Yes, you hated Zyeryh. But only because she kept trying to do things you thought would get her killed. You wanted her to be safe, as well as you. You were just both too stubborn to try explaining what you were doing to each other. Maybe Raagaras was right. Maybe you're both so socially inept your reaction to the constant disagreements between you and her was to start attacking each other.

"So. That was... an interesting turn of events."
"I think. I think when we talk to the humans again we need to discuss the possibility of a salazzarine colony away from the empire. That would be a start."
"Speaking of humans..."
>>
No. 219817 ID: b0020f
File 128224174358.png - (19.29KB , 512x512 , 73.png )
219817

Zyeyryh looks around carefully.

"I am pretty sure that patch of air is not supposed to waver like that."
"Excellent observation, salazzarine Zyeryh. Please note that I am merely here on behalf of Global Overwatch to pay witness to your behaviour. As you have behaved or attempted to behave in ways that correlate to what have you told us, I have not received further instructions other than to continue monitoring the situation. Continue acting normally."

So they were spying on you the whole time. From being monitored constantly by one faceless group of distant observers to a different faceless group of distant observers. Wonderful.

You and Zyeryh are lead by the machine back to the human base. You see someone behind some form of roughly cuboid structure. They're in the same dense protective suit as everyone else, but fidgeting, as though unused to it. There are more than a few humans in far tougher looking protective gear, carrying what you recognise to be weapons. All pointed at you and Zyeryh.

You are lead to strange chairs that do not suit either of your bodies very well. The atmosphere is still tense. You regret ever leaning on that box of grains. Everything was manageable up to that point.

"Well, well, well. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the chairman of this little operation we've got going here. For security reasons, I'm not going to give you my real name, but you can call me Mr. White if you feel the need to address me by name. Fascinating. Actual live aliens on this humble ball of rock of ours."
>>
No. 219818 ID: b0020f
File 128224176045.png - (27.81KB , 512x512 , 74.png )
219818

He turns to someone else. "You really sure I have to wear this thing for the whole meeting? I can't hear myself speak? 'Contamination hazard'? What, for me or them? Both? Fine. ...Is that thing still translating?"

The machine stops translating as Mr. White continues talking to someone you can't see.

Zyeryh prods at her eyes with her blades. Salazzarine blades are complex structures, capable of sharpening, dulling and forming gripping and manipulating surfaces on the will of the salazzarine they're attached to. She rubs her eyes with her blades, entirely blunt.

"You okay?"
"Still some regenerative solutions left in there. They itch. Should be gone soon."
"...is that supposed to happen?"
"Well, either they'll be gone or I'll end up blinded permanently. For both our sakes, you should hope that's the first one."
>>
No. 219819 ID: b0020f
File 128224177785.png - (19.93KB , 512x512 , 75.png )
219819

"Right. Okay. Back to the matter at hand. If I have my sources straight, the two of you were sent here against your will to conquer our fair Earth for an empire you despise and that treats you as expendable. You would like to work for us as double agents in exchange for your safety to be guaranteed on this world."
"Correct."
"Yes."
"I was informed of a certain fact that complicates the decision. If it were just you two, then yes, absolutely, your proposal is a wonderful idea. You've even provided your own accommodation. But unfortunately, it's not just you two."

Mr. White leans forward on the desk. "Regardless of empire ethical standards, or their lack thereof, we humans of Global Overwatch don't consider it ethical in this day and age to send expectant mothers into high-risk situations. And given how you have responded when we have tried to separate the two of you in the past, you will likely cause more problems without realising than you can hope to resolve."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm more than capable. I'm a highly-trained, highly-competent infiltrator!"
"It's true. She's better than I am in most cases."
>>
No. 219820 ID: b0020f
File 128224179198.png - (19.51KB , 512x512 , 76.png )
219820

You consider raising the possibility of a salazzarine colony away from the empire. This doesn't seem the right time. He leans back into his chair and is quiet for a few minutes.

"Come back in one week. If you need any further information on humanity, which you seem to understand almost perfectly save for our languages, don't hesitate to contact us. Hell, if you need anything within reason, just ask for it. Oh, and you're living in just one dome of your base, right?"
"Yes."
"Any objections to our scientists examining the unused domes of your base?"
"They're mostly broken, but go ahead."
"Here's what we want you to do. Like I said, go back to your base for a week. Rest. Relax. Do whatever you want down there. Come back after that and we'll discuss things then."

"...why one week? Why can't we do anything now?"

No response. The machine gently bobs down in front of your face as Mr. White continues to speak to those around him.

"Please follow me."

You are beginning to loathe this thing.
>>
No. 219821 ID: b0020f
File 12822418348.png - (33.87KB , 512x512 , 77.png )
219821

Once again, you go through the rigamarole of being blindfolded and taken back to your base. You and Zyeryh walk back to your dome, as a team of humans follows before branching off to a different dome.

You both end up at the canteen again.

"I am so sick of fungi."
"I know. These flavouring compounds do nothing about that texture. Urgh."
"What I really, really would like is something with a bit more life to it." She idly scrapes at the table. "An entire planet with plenty of livestock and no clue if I'd be able to eat any part of a single one without dying horribly. What's that human expression? Water, water, everywhere..."

You feel exhausted. You have no idea how long you've been awake, but it feels too long. You don't even have much of an appetite. The two of you make your way to an unused sleeping room, electing to try sleeping in the same room for once in your lives.

"So. What are we going to do after we wake up tomorrow?"
"I have no idea. Any suggestions?"
>>
No. 219824 ID: dad664

>>219821
Ask the humans if they could find Earth-based meat which is capable of being digested by your species and not poisoning you. Offering a DNA sample might help too.

Unless you lot are Silicon based lifeforms. Then it gets tricky.
>>
No. 219825 ID: d677cc

>>219821
Iunno either. I mean, I guess you could try to do something about the bland food thing? They did say you could feel free to contact them about human stuff, after all.

And don't hold their behavior against them too much. They mean well, I think, but they seem to live for bureaucracy, and I'm sure you know how that goes.
>>
No. 219828 ID: 701a19

>>219821
I'm curious how she could be hosting larva if you've never mated. Ask her about it.
Also, this would be a fine time to ensure that comes to pass.
>>
No. 219830 ID: 10edd5

>>219828
unless they did off camera. :3c
>>
No. 219831 ID: dad664

>>219828

It happened off-camera after >>217774
>>
No. 219833 ID: c2c011

>>219828
You know you can mate without sleeping together. And for all we know salazzarine mating might be a rather short but intense thing.

>>219821
Probably time to plan a bit for the upcoming parenthood and stuff. And for a good way to explain that there might soonish be a ship arriving with potentially hostile salazzarine refugees.

That and try to figure out what the fuck is up with Raagaras and the empire at large. Shit seems a bit confusing and very conflicting right now.
>>
No. 219920 ID: 3234dd

You know what you should do?

Learn the human language.

Seriously, you hate that fucking drone for a reason, because the humans know more about you than you about them. You need to even the odds somehow, and one way is to make sure that when they think you can't understand what they're saying, that you can. Study their language, their behavior patterns, their life cycle, their societal structure, their abilities, brain functions, etc. And whatever of their technology you can get your hands on.
>>
No. 219926 ID: d677cc

>>219920
Oh, yeah, you could also try to learn their language. Dunno what you'll get down in a week but if you intend to stay here for an extended period of time it couldn't hurt.
>>
No. 220117 ID: b0020f
File 128231864884.png - (41.40KB , 512x512 , 78.png )
220117

"Perhaps we should ask the humans if there's anything we can eat on their planet that won't kill us. We should also plan to explain that there might be a ship of salazzarine on the way. And figure out that damn language of theirs."
"Wait, you don't understand it? I assumed you knew what they were saying the whole time!"
"You mean you do understand it?!"
"I never felt it was worth mentioning because I assumed you knew what they were saying! Don't worry, you didn't miss anything important. Just reams of indecipherable codewords. Looks like I'll have to teach you their language in a week. That's going to be fun."
"Hey! I'm a fast learner!"
"Let's hope you are."
"Also... I think we should head to medical after awaking."
"...Why?"
"Confirmation."

She glares at you. "I told you, Woryeh, I don't feel different. I'm completely in touch with my body. I'm sure I would feel different." She sounds unsure. "I'm sure I would. ...right?"
"I have no idea."
"I'm fine. Not different at all. Don't feel any larvae whatsoever."

The two of you build a sleeping cocoon, wriggle into it, and fall asleep next to each other.
>>
No. 220118 ID: b0020f
File 128231869089.png - (27.03KB , 512x512 , 79.png )
220118

LOCATION: SENOKESHI VESSEL "WITHOUT REGRET" ORBIT AROUND ZEPHYR XI

beep beep beep
>>
No. 220119 ID: b0020f
File 12823187145.png - (42.18KB , 512x512 , 80.png )
220119

beep beep beep
>>
No. 220120 ID: b0020f
File 12823187341.png - (62.11KB , 512x512 , 81.png )
220120

You are Ti Ru. Simply Ti Ru now. You fled your flock some time ago. Did any others survive? You don't really remember. You don't wish to remember.

The song does not sit right with you this morning. Something impedes it. Muffles it. Catastrophe. Change. Something is happening.
>>
No. 220121 ID: b0020f
File 128231874820.png - (39.90KB , 512x512 , 82.png )
220121

You complete your morning rituals as fast as you can. You remove more of your plumage as offerings to the Ancients. You can think of no others who have the power to save your doomed species. It is only a matter of time before they are all consumed by Rekeelid might.

Perhaps they will humour a poor senokeshi who has lost her flock. Perhaps.
>>
No. 220122 ID: b0020f
File 128231877526.png - (32.32KB , 512x512 , 83.png )
220122

You are at your console before long. You know who you must contact. But the order is uncertain. The song is too faint. It wavers. It lacks presence, the tone is wrong.

The salazzarine, Zyeryh. Once she contacted you for information. Now you must ask questions of her.

The ktr-ktn, Representative. Like you, isolated from the doomed, ones that also face the terrifying force of the Rekeelid fleets.

The glal, nameless. You know little of it, and find it hard to understand, but in its nonsense you can retrieve truths unlike any other.

Who first?
>>
No. 220134 ID: c2c011

>>220122
First the Ktr-Ktn, see if there has been any new developments. Then Zyeryh and see if she has any new information for you and then last the Glal and see if you can get anything useful out of it.
>>
No. 220165 ID: d677cc

>>220134
This is probably the best order to go for.
>>
No. 220204 ID: a594b9

>>220122
I like a puzzle. Let's contact the glal first. Then Zyeryh, then ktr-ktn.
>>
No. 220205 ID: a281bf

>>220204
i'm gonna have to go with this order.
>>
No. 220234 ID: 0b2a05

Glaaaaal...
>>
No. 220271 ID: b0020f
File 128234603267.png - (37.58KB , 512x512 , 84.png )
220271

The glal. The song's melody runs through you. It is the glal who you shall contact first.

Its sinuous form appears on your viewscreen.

"Ponderous. What a senokeshi would wish from one such as ourselves we find hard to understand. How strange. Senokeshi, you are Ti Ru Set, but you sound alone. Your song is a lonely one."
>>
No. 220272 ID: b0020f
File 128234605179.png - (35.12KB , 512x512 , 85.png )
220272

You touch your mask strip, as if to remember it's still there. Until you see them again. That is when you will remove it. You see perfectly through it, but none see your eyes until you feel you have redeemed yourself for your cowardice.

"Glal union."
"We have the name Collective Repetition while we are as we are. But what we are is not what we remain for long."
"Glal union, Collective Repetition. I hear dissonant cries and the tones are wrong. I feel change is approaching."
"The Rekeelid brings change to all."
"The changes the Rekeelid bring are but one, and that change is silence. The end of the senokeshi song."
"Perhaps it is time for such songs to fall into silence."
>>
No. 220273 ID: b0020f
File 128234606698.png - (23.87KB , 512x512 , 86.png )
220273

It may have answers, but the glal as a whole are not known for their tact. Your hope starts to falter, and you fight the sorrow its words drag you into.

One of the glal's heads spasms and begins to fall limply. The others catch it, and gently lower it to the ground. You do not know glal expressions, but they sing a mournful song.

A new head from the collective serves to act as the face for the union, looking at the monitor.

"Are there no such changes for the Reekelid?"
"All songs end. Collective Repetition ends. We are Numerous Beginnings. Change becomes us."
"Glal union, Numerous Beginnings. What is happening? Why does the dischord haunt me still? It harms me. I cannot sleep. My waking life is becoming an empty, hollow nothingness. What is happening?"
"Change."
"What change?"
"The new have encountered the newer. We feel it. The stolen prize returns to its masters. Liberation or extinction. Uncertain."
"Liberation or extinction? For who?"
"You interrupt your own progression, senokeshi. Do not force the questions. Simply listen to the song. Let it flow through your being. Let it become you, and let yourself become it, as we have become us, and us have become we."

It's doing that thing where it's making no sense at all again.

You try to think of suitably cryptic questions to ask it to tease more information out of its many-headed collective consciousness.
>>
No. 220277 ID: c2c011

>>220273
Lets ask it who is the herald of this change.
>>
No. 220279 ID: 010554

better worded:

what face is worn by the herald of this change?
>>
No. 220280 ID: a594b9

How might we turn the change to our own benefit? Can the change be directed towards Liberation?

How soon will the change be too great to affect the course of?
>>
No. 220287 ID: 40cb26

>>220273
From the sound of it they don't quite know either. They expect you to sit back and feel it out and wait and see. That's... not terribly useful. Or perhaps by "becoming the song" you might have a hand in how things turn out.

>>220277
This, and how you might try to herald change yourself. How to add a new, grander harmony before the silence.
>>
No. 220289 ID: dad664

>>220273
"Can a song end, but the chorus remain?"
>>
No. 220301 ID: a594b9

Oooh, ask if the change is centered around those you can contact now.
>>
No. 220474 ID: 3234dd

Is it animal, mineral or vegetable?
>>
No. 220558 ID: 7e4d77

The heretic cathedral falls, but who grasps the mask at its mantle?
>>
No. 220633 ID: b0020f
File 128242939055.png - (25.80KB , 512x512 , 87.png )
220633

"What face is worn by the herald of this change?"
"Two in number. The antagonist forces bound together. They change, and in their change, change spreads from them."
"And if this change should end our song, can its chorus not remain?"
"A different song shall be sung. One of war and battle. One of the suppressed, the ones who yearn to be free, but in time shall forget what freedom ever was."
"How can I turn the change towards liberation? Am I too late to affect its course?"
"The focus is yours. Act swiftly and without hesitation."
"Is the change centred around those I can contact at this time?"
"It is clear for all to see."

Another question forms in your mind. You don't understand it yourself, but you feel you may as well try asking it.

"The heretic cathedral falls, but who grasps the mask at its mantle?"
"The coral vortex spins. From it, we hear the sighs and sorrows of the once proud, we feel their unrest. Their mantle goes unoccupied. You know their faces, but only in your dreams and your fear, your worries. You seek to appease them in your own heretical manner. You seek them for your own selfish reasons. We are not Collective Repetition. No longer have we patience for the senokeshi. It displeases us. Begone."

Their visage fades from your screen.

You are not sure what you said to offend them. Glal are strange.
>>
No. 220634 ID: b0020f
File 128242940444.png - (34.99KB , 512x512 , 88.png )
220634

You sit alone for a while, thinking.

You have not made contact with others for a while. You have not heard senokeshi signals for a while. As the glal said, your song is a lonely one, without harmony, a single melody trying to drown out the howling silence of the empty abyss outside.

You fight the crushing loneliness and summon up your will to continue. Perhaps your actions may save all senokeshi. Perhaps the Set flock will reunite once more.
>>
No. 220635 ID: b0020f
File 128242942192.png - (28.78KB , 512x512 , 89.png )
220635

"REPRESENTATIVE greeting process detection of species senokeshi TI RU recognised sapient readjusting manner and mode of communication COMPLETE."

The ktr-krn are a curious breed. Machines of rock and metal, making their homes in hollowed chambers within asteroids, naturally able to not only survive the rigours of space but thrive in it. The gravity of planets can crush them. Atmospheres can harm and hinder them. But space, that hostile, cold void, is their home.
>>
No. 220636 ID: b0020f
File 128242943583.png - (31.46KB , 512x512 , 90.png )
220636

"REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKING. Ahem. Sorry. Representative speaking. Ti Ru, dear friend! It is good to see you are alive. My coterie is unharmed by Rekeelid vessels but we can not be so certain we will survive unscathed, yes. I am glad we are both alive. What new things have happened onboard the Without Regret?"

Hearing the name of your ship stings like a blade into your heart. A constant reminder of the times when you once were without regret. When more than one senokeshi walked these metal hallways.

"The song is changing to one of dischord and I do not know why."
"Song? Ti, my friend, I do not understand your words. What song?"
"There is something happening."
"Yes there is. There are ships destroying the homes of many of my kind far from here and capturing more of them."

The song is louder and louder in your head screaming words in languages you feel you should know, words that you just cannot grasp, eluding you, ripping at your fragile psyche, threatening to tear you apart. It is getting harder to focus.

You cannot think of how to phrase your explanations and your questions. You sink to your knees, pained, trying to think, as the song becomes violent, oppressive, cacophonous.

"Ti? Ti?! Are you alright?!"
>>
No. 220639 ID: ea460c

sing along with the song so as to ride past the violent part. once it calms then ask your questions.
>>
No. 220647 ID: c2c011

>>220636
Tell it that something momentous might be taking place.

Try to pinpoint this song and what it heralds.
>>
No. 220649 ID: a594b9

>>220636
They're killing too many. We must form an alliance against the Rekeelid. It is not wise to run.

Our main goal will be to splinter the various races that the Rekeelid control. Free them from slavery and gain them as allies. Just one successful strike in this manner will improve our chances immeasurably.

It may be wise to contact those who have yet to be affected by the Rekeelid as well. Inform them of the threat and offer assistance in guarding against their attacks.
>>
No. 220697 ID: 3234dd

>>220634

It's pretty obvious why they were upset. They're dying one after the other, and with each death I'm sure their patience grows thinner. Like one less voice in the song. By admonishing you for being selfish, it seems they were doing their best in their way, to beg for your help.
>>
No. 226461 ID: 513b59
File 128372068741.png - (69.73KB , 512x512 , 91.png )
226461

You try to sing but it is noise, patternless noise grating against your very being. You shudder in disgust as the sensation passes.

Disgust turns to desolation and fear when you realise what has happened. Senokeshi ships - perhaps an entire fleet - have just been destroyed at the hands of the Reekelid armada. The howling screams of the dying found their way into the senokeshi symphony, and the song is now all but silent.

You do everything you can not to sink to your knees and break down entirely. The emotion is not just yours - you hear and feel the mourning cries of other survivors. However, as you and the other survivors realise each other still live, the influx of resolve is enough to dispel the lingering cloud of emotion around you.
>>
No. 226463 ID: 513b59
File 128372073753.png - (23.13KB , 512x512 , 92.png )
226463

"Something momentous might be taking place."
"Such as?"
"I have just felt our ships die, and the ktr-krn perish also. I am not a diplomat, or a leader, but we must work together. We cannot face the Rekeelid divided. The moment of resistance draws near and we must unite!"
"I'm not a leader either! Not of anything more than my cluster, and I don't want to send my friends and family to their deaths!"
"Would you simply flee until you can flee no longer, straight into the waiting jaws of their fleets?"
"..."

Representative pauses.

"I will discuss this with the other representatives of other clusters."
"I wish you luck, Representative."
"Fare well, Ti Ru."
>>
No. 226464 ID: 513b59
File 128372075363.png - (42.12KB , 512x512 , 93.png )
226464

Without a moment's hesitation, you contact the salazzarine. Unlike before, your resolve is stronger than ever. You no longer strain to hear questions from the song, from the quiet whispers in your mind. The words form as fast as you can think.

"...You're not Raagaras."
"Zyeryh! I am the senokeshi, Ti Ru-"
"I know who and what you are. Speak."
"The time for the Empire to fall is fast approaching. Your kind shall live freely once more. What can you do to help this goal?"

The salazzarine stares blankly at the monitor.

"...what? ...Listen, I have far more immediate concerns to worry about than helping to take down the Empire. We're... not prisoners. Not prisoners, we're discussing things with the humans."
"Humans? The ones you mentioned you were going to conquer bloodlessly? To wage war against the Empire and free the salazzarine?"
>>
No. 226465 ID: 513b59
File 128372077787.png - (50.69KB , 512x512 , 94.png )
226465

Zyeryh nervously glances around her. "Plans change. But they don't want to kill us and they're worried about the Empire themselves. We're trying to figure out an alliance, you could say!"
"Alliance?"
"Well, as much as two salazzarine can speak for their entire species and its stunted culture under the reign of the Empire."
"I wish to be a part of this alliance. I wish to destroy that which has taken so many from me."
"Wait, what?"
"What I mean is-"

Your ship's alarms start blaring. All of them. You cut the communications and race to see what the problem is.
>>
No. 226466 ID: 513b59
File 128372080040.png - (35.65KB , 512x512 , 95.png )
226466

Reekelid vessels.

What are they doing so far out here? It doesn't matter. You can't stay here. It would be certain death. You panic. So long in uninhabited space, you were never ready for this. You ran the first time. Can you survive a second time? It doesn't matter.

You frantically set the piloting systems to take you far from here. Very far. To the source of whatever friendly transmission you last picked up.

You strap yourself into a cryogenic chamber. Not so much due to the duration of the flight as much as the things that will happen for such a fast escape. You would certainly die in the conditions such a jump would require.

You suddenly realise that, in your blind panic, you just set yourself to fly straight into a planet you know nothing of that has apparently already captured members of one alien species. How are they going to respond to you? What if they-

You're frozen.
>>
No. 226467 ID: 513b59
File 128372082464.png - (43.75KB , 512x512 , 96.png )
226467

"...and then it just ended. I think some problems on her end. I heard sirens."
"I see. Expect anything to be affected by her?"
"What, the senokeshi? I don't think she even knows what she's saying half of the time. Last time I talked to her she mentioned something about songs and harmonies. Nonsense babble from someone slowly breaking down. I'd feel more sympathetic if she hadn't ignored the advice I kept giving her a year ago."

A week has gone by. The amount of human scientists in the base has increased, but they tend to leave the pair of you alone. Surprisingly, both to you and Zyeryh, you have indeed picked up on most things relating to the language the humans use. Not all human languages, of course, simply the one the majority of the scientists use.

You don't know it enough to actually try speaking it, of course, but you know enough to get the general idea of what is being said without relying on the stupid floaty thing.
>>
No. 226469 ID: 513b59
File 128372084678.png - (29.04KB , 512x512 , 97.png )
226469

When you and Zyeryh went back to discuss becoming double agents again, you were treated to an even briefer meeting.

"Come back in a month."

Ushered back to your base, it seemed to be getting ridiculous to you. Almost suspicious. What was taking so long for them to even consider reasonable discussion?

"At this rate the Empire's going to get to Earth before we even have a chance to do anything!"
"Calm down. I'm sure they have their reasons." Else you're going to go on a bloody rampage for being made to wait this long for no reason.
"Calm down?! For all I know they're just planning to take me to pieces to see how I work! I don't feel comfortable around them. I want... I want to go home, which is irritating me!"
"We were treated worse back home."
"I know! Which is what irritates me!"

You don't say anything but you've felt a lot more irritable recently. Completely irrational, you say to yourself.
>>
No. 226470 ID: 513b59
File 128372086963.png - (31.03KB , 512x512 , 98.png )
226470

It's territorial, you realise. They're invading what you consider to be your home, and ancient drives to protect territory, in anticipation of young, are clearly starting to make themselves felt for both you and Zyeryh. But you can't exactly tell the humans to just get out of the base and leave the two of you alone. Even if they understood, would they feel it was a reasonable request? Would you and Zyeryh end up being punished for some form of insolence?

And then something else hits you. You must have fallen into the same denial as Zyeryh. In addition to having to try and peacefully co-exist with the humans lurking at the edges of your senses, as well as the possibility that any day the full force of the Empire is going to descend upon this world, you have larvae to worry about. You can't deal with all of this at once.

You sit down for a second to try and clear your mind. So lost in thought, you don't notice Zyeryh trying to guide you towards the medical room.

She waves a blade in front of your face. "Woryeh?" She looks upset.

You don't really know what to say or do right now.
>>
No. 226475 ID: 40cb26

>>226470
"Sorry, was sorting out why I feel this way... To medical, right? Let's go."
Try to do something to comfort her as you say this.
>>
No. 226486 ID: d677cc

>>226470
I'm also a little concerned that the decision is taking so long, but I don't know what you can do about that.

So about the larvae thing: how are you guys gonna deal with that, anyway?
>>
No. 226504 ID: a594b9

Tell her your territorial instinct theory.

Also I think we should (soon) start preemptively working on stuff that would help the humans fight the fleet. Keep yourselves busy. First though, off to Medical I guess. Ask what she wants.
>>
No. 226639 ID: ea2a3c

One thing you need to be is proactive. Perhaps you can bypass their security protocol and get the word out in general. That in turn would force them to start moving more quickly as their own kind put on pressure to deal with the disaster. I can see as that would backfire though... perhaps such authority subversion would be of better use convincing the world of your benevolence? I can see it all now...

TV turns on. A human sits at a table about to eat a lobster. "You say you like lobster?" the announcer declares as he tears into the carcass. Then a salazarinne grabs him and rips him apart, consuming the bloody shreds. "Well, lobster likes you!"

What would be really nice is if you could get ahold of that colony ship somehow, the one full of mutant salazzarine. She may have been a total bitch, but her intentions could have got you some solid allies in this situation.
>>
No. 228103 ID: bab140
File 128397457965.png - (27.39KB , 512x512 , 99.png )
228103

"If it helps, I feel just as irritable as you. I think it's territorial. We consider this place our home, and we're both reacting to intruders. Because that's what they are to us, even if we try to tell ourselves otherwise."
"I knew that."

You continue walking with her to medical. "Woryeh. I'm not ready for this. There's too much happening."
"I'm sure we have time to-"
"No. We don't have any more time."
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is go get the pool set up right now." She almost snarls this, and then stops walking so much as running towards the medical room. You do likewise.
>>
No. 228104 ID: bab140
File 128397459647.png - (30.88KB , 512x512 , 100.png )
228104

Setting up the pool is amazingly simple. All you needed to do was fill it with water and dump in a container of dehydrated... stuff that was probably engineered in a lab somewhere else in the Empire.

You and Zyeryh both lie in the pool, and if you felt subtle defensive instincts before, you suddenly feel ready to kill anything that so much looks at Zyeryh strangely. It is an intensive desire to protect. It subsides quickly as you reassure yourself that neither of you are in any danger.

After lying in the pool for about an hour, Zyeryh turns to you. "...I don't know what's meant to happen, shouldn't something have happened by now?"
>>
No. 228105 ID: bab140
File 12839746203.png - (33.66KB , 512x512 , 101.png )
228105

She notices that there's a few tiny larvae crawling on you. You notice this too.

"No, no I'd say something happened."
"...oh."
"Yeah."
"...I was expecting something more noticeable for some reason."

There's an awkward pause. You gently brush the larvae back into the pool. They do not feel like children whatsoever. Just like any other insect crawling over you. You feel like you should be reacting to your own offspring with far less apathy.

"...so, is that it?"
"Well, you're not leaving this pool until I do."

With the amount of instinctual thoughts flying around your head right now, you think you'd only wander back in in a daze if you tried to leave anyway.
>>
No. 228106 ID: bab140
File 128397463446.png - (22.58KB , 512x512 , 102.png )
228106

Eventually, after some time, the two of you leave the pool.

"I... really felt like this was going to be something more significant than it was."

Zyeryh looks even more upset than before. You hug her.

"Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations, but that just felt like one large nothing, and then suddenly a bunch of larvae that feel more like pests than anything else... is there something wrong with me?"
"No, no, it's better than being attached to them. I mean, think how horrible that'd be, given what's going to happen and what they're going to do to each other."
"You need to work on trying to make others feel better, Woryeh. But I appreciate the effort."

You put a protective dome over the pool to satisfy your drive to guard it, and lead Zyeryh out of the medical room.

The floating drone tracks you both down not long after you leave the medical room.
>>
No. 228107 ID: bab140
File 128397466041.png - (26.16KB , 512x512 , 103.png )
228107

The two of you are, yet again, brought back to the human base.

"Approximately four hours ago, we intercepted an unidentified alien vessel. It did not respond to our attempts to communicate, and appeared directly inbound for our base of operations here. The vessel was disabled and brought directly to us for further study."

From the image, you think you vaguely recognise a senokeshi ship. One of several enemies or targets of the Empire before you and Zyeryh were sent here. Zyeryh is suddenly very still, staring widely at the image.

"We found one survivor inside the alien craft. Said survivor is why we bring you two to us today. Are you aware of what this species is, and what the intentions of this vessel were?"

Zyeryh talks very quietly. "Woryeh. I think they've captured Ti Ru. The senokeshi I told you about. Whatever she's doing here, she can't mean any harm... What are we going to tell them?!"
>>
No. 228108 ID: d677cc

>>228107
Not lying has worked out pretty well so far.

Just sayin'.
>>
No. 228109 ID: a594b9

>>228107
Tell them the truth. As much as you know. They are allowing you to live unharmed; you can expect the same reaction as far as Ti Ru is concerned I think.

Do you have a record of the communications feed that she sent? It would help your case.
>>
No. 228110 ID: d677cc

>>228106
Also, I mean, haven't your kind not done this the way they would naturally for, um, a while? It's understandable that your expectations might be kind of off, y'know?
>>
No. 228169 ID: 97cb33

emotions for how to handle kids is taught by your own parents, and since you didn't have any, your emotional compass is off.

anyway, tell them he is a know enemy of the empire.
>>
No. 228188 ID: c71597

>>228107
That it's another refugee from the empire, fleeing for her life in hope of some sort of safe haven and to bring warnings.

That's pretty much the truth and should make them quite friendly towards her.
>>
No. 228190 ID: d677cc

>>228188
You could probably add that she did unexpectedly contact you not long ago, but tends to be really, uh, opaque in terms of what she's saying, and got cut off, so it was not exactly clear that she was going to suddenly show up here.
>>
No. 228219 ID: ea2a3c

>>228106

Ah, the humans are rubbing off on you. You guys did fine. I think it's normal for any species to be worried about their reproductive performance. I suppose it's possible that the goop you dropped into the pool had a numbing effect or something; the Empire is good at getting you guys to have an inordinate amount of surviving offspring after all.
>>
No. 228252 ID: a594b9

>>228219
No, everything they experienced is normal. This isn't the end of the 'birthing' process. When the final larvae emerge... it will be a momentous occasion.
>>
No. 229420 ID: 04b0cf

>>228107

"That's a Senokeshi ship. If I'm not mistaken it is "WITHOUT REGRET" the vessel of Ti Ru. We've contacted her before, she's a refuge of the empire along with many of her race."

"I can't say for sure why she is here, but our last contact ended a bit...abruptly. She might be in trouble. Perhaps she came here seeking us?"
>>
No. 229424 ID: 04b0cf

Perhaps when the subject of the ship is over we can broach a few other topics. Like establishing one or two 'do not enter' areas of the base to help curb our territorial instincts. We also might want to mention that Zyeryh has given birth and the offspring are now safely in the pool so she is back to peak performance.
>>
No. 242610 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128692327030.png - (22.99KB , 512x512 , 104.png )
242610

You reply in hushed tones. "Tell them the truth. It's worked so far. If they spared us and we're self-confessed infiltrators for the Empire, or ex-infiltrators, there's no reason they'll harm her."
"Okay."

She inhales deeply. "That ship is a senokeshi ship. They are a species the Empire is seeking to add to its collection. The only survivor is the only crew member, as the rest of the crew were killed or otherwise fled from an Empire attack. Her name is Ti Ru, she's a senokeshi, and I have been in contact with her to establish how long it is until the Empire will pose a stronger threat to this world."
"This matches what we have managed to translate so far from her language."
"I don't know why she's here, but I don't think she would have come here unless she saw no other option."
"We are still investigating. She has been extremely co-operative so far, and has even attempted to assist in demonstrating how her ship works. We are currently doing our best to accommodate her and analyse her language. Fortunately, there are universals-"
"With all due respect, sir, I don't think we need to ramble at the salazzarine. They're likely familiar with most of this. I mean, that one said she knew the zenokeshy or whatever it was."
"Right. ...That pretty much concludes what we needed for, really."

"Wait, we have things we want to discuss-"

You're ushered out.
>>
No. 242611 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128692329247.png - (21.65KB , 512x512 , 105.png )
242611

"Woryeh, I don't like how things are going."
"No, really? I thought they were moving along without a hitch and that we were being treated like the upper caste!"
"Shut up! My head is still swimming with hormones and if I feel any more irritated today I will take it out on you! Violently!"
"Okay. Let's go check on the pool-"

There are humans here.

All around the base. Your cluster of it. Your living quarters.

This is exactly the thing you didn't want to happen and wanted to talk about.

Everything. They're taking everything away that isn't attached to the walls or floors or ceilings and more things that are.

You and Zyeryh give each other one mutual look of growing concern, of sudden dread, of an apprehension from a source far older than salazzarine civilisation.
>>
No. 242612 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128692330649.png - (27.34KB , 512x512 , 106.png )
242612

You both charge towards the medical centre, shunting humans to the sides. Some of them react with body language characteristic of confusion. Others seem to try to flee and shout in their stupid human languages, muffled by their stupid human suits.

You reach the medical centre-

It's empty.

The pool is empty. Not so much as a drop of water remains.

You feel a strange decoupling of your consciousness from your body as your brain swims. The room tilts. You walk carefully over to the empty pool and jab at the air every so often, expecting to tear open a membrane of a sleeping cocoon.

You turn back to look at Zyeryh. She hasn't moved. Not from where she stood, at least. She is slowly closing her arms around her body and sinking to the ground.
>>
No. 242613 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128692332162.png - (62.02KB , 512x512 , 107.png )
242613

"Oh. There you guys are. We need to check these devices for consistency with the rest of your base..."

You breathe in and out and in and out and try to calm yourself before you do something drastic. But what can you do? Can you let them get away with what they've done? To violate your agreements, to violate your territory, to take your children and casually destroy them?!

And even if you don't do anything violent right now, you are completely certain Zyeryh will in your stead. You don't think you could bring yourself to stop her if she did.

"...Uh, are you okay?"
>>
No. 242614 ID: c71597

>>242613
Don't do anything drastic until one little thing has been clarified. Ask them where your children are.
>>
No. 242615 ID: fd6d7e

GOD FUCKING DAMMIT

Why the hell did the humans come into your base? You what, they made you leave the door unlocked as a condition of negotiation? They didn't even know about the larva pool? THIS IS THE THING WHICH SHOULD NOT HAPPEN

This is a problem that can only be solved with violence. Pin this guy to the wall, by his insulating garment if possible. Try to avoid his torso and abdomen or this won't work. Demand to know where the contents of that pool went. If he doesn't know, throw him aside and leave him bleeding. That should assuage both of your need for immediate action. Then you can go hunting for someone who does.

If these humans knowingly drained the pool, there's no way in hell they would pass up a chance to preserve your larva. Thus, you can save your babies or die trying. If they unknowingly drained it, well fuck that sucks, but there's not much either of you can do about it. Just lock the door and/or tell them about it next time.
>>
No. 242616 ID: 40cdbe

"where are they?"
>>
No. 242617 ID: 701a19

>>242613
"Return. Our. Young."
>>
No. 242620 ID: d677cc

>>242613
Try to explain what is wrong, but flip the fuck out and fail to use words coherently. Don't kill anyone, though!

Then attempt it again, but a bit calmer. Repeat as necessary until your position is clarified.
>>
No. 242622 ID: c6fa0a

>>242613
Hug Zyeryh. :<

Don't assume that everything is FUBAR until you know for certain. They may have just *moved* the whole pool setup. And remember that the person here - as well as many of the other people here - are likely ignorant grunts. They probably don't know what they're doing and they shouldn't be blamed for what they were ordered to do by their (asshole) superiors.

So, that said, ask them what happened to the pool and the larva inside. And tell him that if he says anything other than "they've been safely moved somewhere", he should start running and take everyone else with him.
>>
No. 242638 ID: 1854db

Be violent, but nonlethal. I think you're allowed to freak out at this point.
>>
No. 242645 ID: c6fa0a

>>242622
>>242613

Oh, and think about this. If your babies ARE safe, you're WON'T be doing them any favors by flipping the fuck out and getting yourselves in trouble. You don't want to be locked away or dead while your babies are raised by humans or worse, do you?

You have to stay calm AT LEAST until you find out WHAT happened. If your babies really ARE toast, THEN you can flip the fuck out. Preferably after determining the exact person who you should flip the fuck out on.
>>
No. 242649 ID: a17cca

Kill.
Fucking.
EVERYTHING.
>>
No. 242652 ID: 4531bc

>>242649
No. Bad thought. That won't help. That won't bring your kids back. Ask them, they may have just moved the pool.
Plus, even in the worst case, it was just a pool, 99.9% of those larvae would've dies anyway.
>>
No. 242683 ID: 370f77

>>242615
The humans broke in almost effortlessly the first time. It's safe to say they've been coming and going as they please since then.

They may have taken you a little too much at your word about salazzar not caring about young larvae, but that doesn't matter. It's obvious they have no respect for you as sapients, and want to rob you of what little autonomy you had, and now they've gone too far.
>>
No. 242684 ID: 4531bc

>>242683
So how would retaliating benefit you? it's 2 vs. >7 billion, and sallazarine aren't daleks.
>>
No. 242685 ID: 370f77

>>242683
I'm not sure how you managed to read that as a declaration of war.

Anyway, scratch that. This is a trap. They expect you to respond with violence, and give them an excuse to imprison you.
>>
No. 242686 ID: 6815c3

"you've been nice to us so far, so I'll give you one shot to fix this..."

Violently thrust an arm at the empty pool

"TELL ME WHERE OUR CHILDREN ARE, OR WE'RE GOING TO KILL YOU ALL!"

Side note: try and hold Zyeryh back for a moment. Remind her that finding our children is more important than revenge.
>>
No. 242688 ID: 701a19

"Perhaps I should clarify. We don't bond emotionally with our children as individuals until they have winnowed down to a few survivors and moved on to the next stage of development. However, we are very protective of the brood as a whole.
We are resisting a maddening urge for violence right now, and wish for our brood to be returned immediately."
>>
No. 243930 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128718735196.png - (46.65KB , 512x512 , 108.png )
243930

A thousand different courses of action run through your mind.

"Where. Are. They."

You violently point to the empty pool. The human appears confused.

"Return. Our. Young."

With your other blade you grab at your pounding head. Something deep within the recesses of your mind screams to kill, to rip, to tear to shreds these creatures that have done this. You stab in the air towards the empty pool some more, smacking the tip of your blade. The pain does not improve your mood.

"There was only some form of fluid and some insects floating in it. I wasn't told that it was important, and someone else drained the contents for analysis!"

You scream and start hacking at the side of the pool. The human backs away to the other side of the room.

"WHERE. ARE. THEY?!"
"I don't know I'll go find my supervisor oh god don't kill me please!!"

The human runs out of the room.
>>
No. 243931 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128718738041.png - (33.82KB , 512x512 , 109.png )
243931

You spin to leap after Zyeryh and restrain her from doing anything you'll regret.

She's on the floor. Lying on her side, curled up. You reassess your approach. You run over to her and sit next to her.

"...this is all your fault."

You scoop your arms underneath her and start trying to gently lift her to a sitting position, much like your current position.

"All of it. All of it is you fault. All of it is you. You never cared about me. You only cared about me as a vessel for larvae. And when I didn't comply you just tore off my limbs over and over, and slashed me to pieces! I hate you. I hate you..."

You hug her. Most of what she's saying sounds rehearsed. It doesn't surprise you - you constructed your own monologues over the years of enmity between the two of you. The fights began too quickly for either party to even be able to deliver a long, hate-fuelled rant against the other.

But she doesn't sound certain of anything she's saying.

"I h-hate... I... you're the reason this ever happened!... they're just insects! Parasites! Why do I care?!"

She clings to you and starts making quiet whining noises. They upset you greatly. She's trying as hard as she can to make her devastated emotional state as quiet and nonintrusive as possible.
>>
No. 243933 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128718739738.png - (20.35KB , 512x512 , 110.png )
243933

"Because they're your babies and you're a good mother who cares about her larvae even this early."
"I don't know anything or what I'm doing and, and, I don't..." She whines a little louder. You can't stop yourself from making similar noises yourself. It's becoming something increasingly out of your control.

"There's nowhere we can be safe! Nowhere! Everywhere and everyone just wants to take us to pieces and see how we work and force us together and see how our larvae work and take them to pieces and it's... I can't take it anymore!"

You feel the fibres of her blades shifting into more aggressive alignments. Her dulled blades grow sharper. Her embrace begins to become slightly more painful.

"We can negotiate still!"
"It's all your fault, Woryeh! We could have had this planet! This planet! It could have been ours and this would have never happened!"
"You're digging your blades into me, Zyeryh. Stop."
"It could have been ours and we would have somewhere nice to live and safe and free of all of this and of the Empire and of being treated as experiments instead of us and-"
"Zyeryh. I'm asking you nicely. Please stop digging your blades into me-"
>>
No. 243934 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128718741825.png - (17.64KB , 512x512 , 111.png )
243934

You involuntarily yelp in pain as one of her blades digs deep enough into your body to draw blood.

You stare ahead blankly, as you try to process the fact Zyeryh seems to be turning on you right now. She's only strengthening her grip. You can feel her forcing her blades into your back more and more.

You need to do something fast before you act on your remaining desire for violence and before your old hatred for her resurfaces strongly enough for you to do something you know you will regret for the rest of your life and hers.
>>
No. 243941 ID: 1b42c5

"i promise, if i fail to get them back safely, i will take as many of them out as i can, you claim you had no idea i would do it. live on for me,, for them."
>>
No. 243944 ID: e973f4

>>243934
Tell her to calm the hell down. Any act of violence that either one of you inflicts on each other, or anyone else you might come across, is going to make you feel good for probably less than a minute, as you realize you've just mortally wounded the only other member of your species on this planet and significant other/realize the humans are totally going to just dissect you for real or something. :V
>>
No. 243946 ID: 1854db

>>243934
Angry sex is the answer.

Well actually maybe you should tell her how much you love her. That you still want to take over the world with her. You just need a chance. An advantage. We're stuck right now, forced to behave as little more than research subjects, barely even keeping in contact with them.
>>
No. 243962 ID: c71597

>>243934
You could remind her of that shapeshifting thing the humans had. That fucker could have picked you apart easily. If you had tried to carry out your orders about subjugating this planet or tried any plot for conquest you would probably just have been found out faster and died.

This situation is undoubtedly shitty, but you don't really have that fucking much of a choice at the moment. There's two of you planetside and billions of them. If or when the refugee ships get here then you might have a better position to negotiate. But at the moment you're kind of screwed.

But neither of those are probably what she wants to hear. More emotional arguments probably work better, so remind her that you love her and that this entire fucking mess is actually the fault of the empire. They're the ones that paired you together and sent you on this doomed mission.
>>
No. 243969 ID: 24a9bd

She's wrong, it isn't your fault, it's the humans. Not even the humans, it's the STUPID humans... but they're still in a position of power, you can't just kill them. You need to calm down, or you might not ever get your kids back.
>>
No. 244012 ID: fd6d7e

KISS HER YOU FOOL
>>
No. 244020 ID: c6fa0a

>>243934
Remind her that YOU care about her and your children far more than the Empire does, and far more than the ignorant humans.

Tell her that your children might still be alive, and hurting you isn't going to bring them back. If she ever wants to see them again - if she ever wants to be safe, and have a safe place to raise children, she needs to trust you and understand that for once in your long time hating each other, you both want the same thing, and you're willing to do anything to make it happen.
>>
No. 244396 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128727656485.png - (24.83KB , 512x512 , 112.png )
244396

"Please! Zyeryh! Calm down! You don't want to kill or disable me, do you? This isn't my fault! It's the Empire's fault for forcing us into this situation in the first place!"
"What if I do want to kill you for everything you've done to me?!"
"Do you?"

The fibres of her blades shift and the sharp edges dull once again. She whines again, still trying to suppress her anguish, still trying to appear more angered than desperately unhappy.

"I love you, Zyeryh. I want what's best for you, what's best for us, what's best for our children. I've always wanted what's best for us. Every time I tried to stop you in the past... I was scared you'd fail without my interference and end up killed!"
"I... I love you too, Woryeh. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry, this isn't fair. This isn't. Fair. I'm losing my mind, Woryeh. I'm trapped. I hate this maze of labs I've been stuck in all my life. The only freedom I've had has been this place and now I don't even have that any more."
"I know. I'll think of something. So will you. You're good at coming up with plans, remember?"
"Yes..."

You both hold each other for a while. You ignore the pains in your back. It's only surface damage.
>>
No. 244397 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128727657795.png - (27.32KB , 512x512 , 113.png )
244397

You suddenly realise something. Zyeryh seems agitated too.

Everyone is gone.

It's entirely silent.

You both stand, blades at the ready, circling around the room. You speak to each other as quietly as possible.

"Do we have any weapon stocks left?"
"That you didn't sabotage? There's a personal cache in my quarters. Hidden in my dormancy cocoon, actually. Maybe they'll still work-"

You both drop to the ground when a loud siren fills the base with its staccato bleeps. It appears that the base has, finally, realised there has been some form of intrusion. Only days and days too late. But there's another sound.

A more familiar sound. The communications alarm.

"- ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL - INVASION FLEET REQUIRES SITUATION REPORT - REPORT REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY -"

You both look at each other.

"...I am so close to just slitting my own throat here. It's one nightmare after another!"
"No. Calm down. I think we can do something."
>>
No. 244398 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128727659374.png - (41.32KB , 512x512 , 114.png )
244398

You close your eyes and feel your head warm as you frantically try to create and analyse as many plans for this situation as possible.

The automated alarm is triggered by a signal sent from an approaching Empire invasion, to let them know the level of opposition expected in advance. If there are no humans in the base, it would be a simple case of getting to the communications room and sending a misleading report.

If there are, they will need a lot of placating to persuade them you haven't turned on them - if they haven't already. After all, they have already taken your young away. They can't have been so stupid as to do it by mistake when they picked up on Zyeryh's state before either of you two did.

The situation is complex. You feel a sudden lancing pain as your two hearts desynchronise for a beat. You fight a growing dread that the end of your life is rapidly drawing close to you. That can't happen. Zyeryh needs you. Your children need you. All of you need to survive this. You just need to. You've come this far. You've survived all of the Empire's experiments. You've survived their scorn, their disdain, their stripping you of your every right. So has Zyeryh. You'd sooner die than let what happened to you and her happen again to your own offspring.

Your head is starting to approach uncomfortably warm.
>>
No. 244433 ID: c71597

>>244398
Well then, you need to do two things. First of all get the humans to notice that the Empire is very rapidly approaching and that you're going to attempt to lull the empire into a false sense of security.

Second thing is to lull the empire into a false sense of security. Which might be a bit difficult to do since they have had reports showing that no real progress has been made. Possibly you could play the double agent card, telling them that you have been feeding the humans with incorrect information and you're going to keep on doing so while they approach, thus making sure that the human defensive resources are not properly used and can't be focused on the real threat.

Meanwhile you do feed the humans correct information and make sure they can in fact focus on a very real threat. Or not, depending on what you feel like. But succeding in winning the empire a victory here will probably just lead to more dangerous missions, the impossibility of staying together with your partner or raising a familiy with her and no real respect or adoration for your work. So that's probably not going to be a very good thing.

But if you win a big victory for the humans they're going to be indebted to you. Which might be useful, still, you don't really have alot of leverage. But you might gain some in exchanging information about what various tech they might salvage can do.
>>
No. 244492 ID: e973f4

>>244433
Leverage. You need leverage.

This is a good plan for leverage.
>>
No. 244503 ID: 1b42c5

also while doing that you may be able to trick a grunt into telling you where the kids are.
>>
No. 244512 ID: fd6d7e

Okay head getting hot here let's simplify things.

1) Shove human into Dormancy Cocoon
2) Demonstrate to Empire your human specimen you have captured for experimentation.
3) Beg forgiveness afterwards.

The humans owe you, so you can use that for leverage, whereas the Empire needs to feel like you're on their side and you're making progress.
>>
No. 244666 ID: 24a9bd

Don't overhead. Calm down. You need to think, but if you burn up you're going to end up unable to help anyone!
>>
No. 245187 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128735978276.png - (40.11KB , 512x512 , 115.png )
245187

You consider your actions and beckon Zyeryh over to you. Confused, she still complies. You consider throwing a human into some form of restraining device, but you'd prefer not acting in a way that can be easily interpreted as hostile.

You both race to the communications room. ...Not a single human blocks your path. Perhaps they've already noticed.

You both assume your positions in front of the screen and stare expectantly at the screen for the transmission.

A garbled, distorted image appears on the screen, met by a slightly less garbled angry yelling voice. It doesn't sound like anyone you've heard before.

"kzht YOU ARE DEAD YOU HEAR ME DEAD kzht---...---ksht LOSING SHIPS THIS FAR AWAY THIS IS INEXCUSABLE YOU WILL SUFFER FOR YOUR REBEL WAYS! SUFFER!"
>>
No. 245188 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128735980182.png - (34.63KB , 512x512 , 116.png )
245188

The transmission becomes a burst of static and is replaced with the image of a salazzarine.

"You two the ones who set this up, I presume?"

You both look at each other, thoroughly perplexed.

"Well, that's what she told me, anyway. Force the Empire to invade some heavily defended world, suffer massive losses, make the commandeering of a couple of ships slip by entirely unnoticed. You know, break off from the Empire, found a new independent colony, grow and expand, go back and save the rest of our kind, that sort of thing?"

There's a long pause.

"...What?"
"I... what?"
"You know. Eezeree. Former Praetor. Told us you two were sabotaging the Empire and we had to make sure we were on the invasion fleet. I think there's another ship full of salazzarine on the way too."

There's yet another awkward pause.

"So what do we do now?"
"Well, if you want we can probably send some transports to pick you two up if you want. If you make sure your friends down there don't shoot them to pieces."

Zyeryh wrings her blades together. "...I... I don't know. We're... there's a lot of reasons we can't leave just yet."
"It's going to be a while for the transport to get down there."
"We'll tell them."
"Okay. And, uh, thanks for the help, I guess. Even if you weren't really aware you were helping us?"

The screen goes blank.
>>
No. 245189 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128735981511.png - (26.42KB , 512x512 , 117.png )
245189

"So what do we do now? Charge directly at the aliens who stole our babies and hope they won't try to sabotage what might be the one chance we'll ever have to escape this planet alive, or just stay in the base for the rest of our lives and hope they never come back?"
"I think it's obvious what we have to do."

Zyeryh starts charging off to the base airlock.

...You had actually meant "stay in the base and hope they never come back", but Zyeryh's idea is probably a lot better.

You both run into a few suited humans who are very alarmed to see the two of you burst into the room, blades raised in imminent attack position.

"They just wanted to know what salazzarine infants were like! They're still alive! They're perfectly healthy oh god I want my arms to stay on my torso!"

Zyeryh tilts her head, her blades still raised. "If you can get us to your base, I'll consider respecting your wishes."
"Done!"
>>
No. 245190 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128735983070.png - (28.74KB , 512x512 , 118.png )
245190

It's yet another boring trip. It's a little more tense than usual. You and Zyeryh sit back in the vehicle, while the humans act as though a sudden movement will lead to their swift decapitation.

You know you shouldn't let your guard down at any moment, but this is too amusing. You slightly regret not having chosen to go with intimidation earlier.

You consider your plan of attack once you reach the human base. You know enough of the base layout to get to the room they generally tended to take you two to, and you remember where the room you found Zyeryh being poked and prodded was as well. But you have no idea what to expect. For all you know, that... thing that caught you before might be waiting to greet you once you step outside the transport vehicle.

You hold onto one of Zyeryh's blades. She tightens it around yours.

This is it. This is the moment that will define everything. This is the chance to get your young back, to make sure the transport comes down safely and to get off this remote rock you've been marooned on for three years.

You feel more than a little apprehensive.
>>
No. 245204 ID: c71597

>>245190
Only natural to be apprehensive here. But try to keep casulties to an absolute minimum here. You might still be able to salvage alot of this, if nobody has a tragic loss of limbs that is. The order to take away your kids might not have come from very far up the hierarchy and could possibly not have alot of support. Because really this is a quite retarded way to go about this from their side.

So, one thing you should do is demand a communication device to contact someone alot higher up in the organisation with. See if they know anything about that.

If they don't then you might get some help in retrieving your kids. If they do then you go in there, grab your kids and then get on the transports back to the fleet and find some planet without humans to settle. Because you really don't have enough ships to conqour and if they're a bunch of backstabbing traitorous cold blooded bastards then you're way better off at some other planet.
>>
No. 245274 ID: d677cc

>>245204
And once again the best plan I have is "go with this guy." :V
>>
No. 245352 ID: fd6d7e

Even if you lose a couple kids in this process, you can always make more. :3c
>>
No. 245360 ID: f57857

They're probably just dumb humans who want a closer look at your kids. I don't think they thought you would be offended since they were under the impression that salazzarines didn't care about their young if they're still a bunch of grubs. Just stay calm, remember that as much as you hate them you still need them.
>>
No. 245384 ID: 1854db

Make it clear that the humans can have all our tech, but we're taking our babies back. Also, let's not forget our bird ally. We should find and talk to him/her.
>>
No. 245727 ID: c6fa0a

>>245190
>get off this remote rock
I suggest you suddenly remember that Eezeree originally wanted *EARTH* to be the new salazzarine staging colony. You should probably figure out if that's still the case or if they've found a new planet since then. If it's still Earth... you're going to have some 'splainin' to do to Global Overwatch. Of course, they were watching the whole situation back then, too, so they might already know that and have something prepared.

But you can think of that more after you get your shrimp back. :)

I think >>245204 said it best. Try not to kill or overly maim anyone. Most of these people are just low-level scientists... someone obviously ordered them to do this. Find out who, and why.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Humans took your kids because they want to use you the same way the Empire does – breed you like crazy as warriors to help buff up their offensive and defensive capabilities.
>>
No. 245736 ID: 471207

if worst comes to worst, as last poster said, perhaps we should claim to have telekinetic powers that connect to the empire or something. Bluffing and such.
>>
No. 257441 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001339989.png - (36.04KB , 512x512 , 119.png )
257441

The vessel reaches its destination. The humans onboard let you go freely, helped by Zyeryh waving a claw in both a derisive farewell and a not-entirely-subtle reminder of your species' natural weapons.

"We're in."
"Yes."

You both come to the realisation you have no idea where you are. After a few anticlimactic minutes of waiting for Zyeryh to decipher the near-inscrutable text of the signs dotted around, it becomes clear that there are, strangely enough, no humans around.

At all.

You look around uneasily. The sterile, subtle chill of the air leads you to wrap an arm around Zyeryh for your warmth. And maybe hers. But yours, primarily.
>>
No. 257442 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001341850.png - (32.21KB , 512x512 , 120.png )
257442

"Labs are straight ahead. Do we walk straight into the labs, or do we go for a more diplomatic approach... ssss... Diplomacy is not likely an option given previous reception, but-"
"Zyeryh. There's no-one here."
"I know, ssh, I'm thinking! ...Wait. ...No-one?"

You both move cautiously down a corridor, with Zyeryh choosing to lead the both of you towards any area marked secret, or classified, theorising that your children are likely being kept under top security.

You meet a familiar friend. Lights sprout off its surface, which would be almost intimidating if not for their complete uselessness.

"Salazzarine detected in secure sector. Requesting assistance. Requesting assistance. Requesting assistanc-"
>>
No. 257443 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001343273.png - (26.54KB , 512x512 , 121.png )
257443

You see an opportunity unlike any other.

With a swift cleaving motion, you finally get your revenge on the irritating floating ball of annoyances and interruptions. With further motions, you rip it to pieces, tearing out as much of its circuitry and mechanisms as you can while it continues to calmly and casually call for help.
>>
No. 257444 ID: 8d7dd2
File 12900134489.png - (22.52KB , 512x512 , 122.png )
257444

"Yes! If we take out their surveillance drones we'll never know we're here! Good thinking, Woryeh!"

You hesitate for a moment.

"...Yes. Good thinking."

The two of you continue. The level of light seems to decrease as you go further.
>>
No. 257445 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001346694.png - (13.56KB , 512x512 , 123.png )
257445

There's a sealed door. You can't make out any form of controls to open it from this side.

"There's a control pad to your right."

You can't make out any form of-

"It looks like some form of scanner."

You can't see-

"Oh. I think it might be a handprint scanner."
"Well, that's useful. How do we-"

You hear Zyeryh slash at something in the dimness.

The door slides open.
>>
No. 257446 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001351747.png - (6.33KB , 512x512 , 124.png )
257446

"For some reason, it's designed to open if it loses power from its control pad. I can't even begin to imagine how any sapient creature would consider this a good design, so I can only assume it's either some form of cost cutting mechanism or this was deliberate."
"You think it might be a trap?"
"Maybe. I don't even know where we are any more. Maybe the signs I've been following have been set up specifically to guide us to a waiting cell."
"I can't see anything. I'm going to need you to guide me."
"Well, now you know what it's like."
"What?"
"Nothing. Let's go. No turning back. If they have any competence whatsoever, they'll just be waiting further back."
>>
No. 257447 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129001352978.png - (19.05KB , 512x512 , 125.png )
257447

You suddenly feel blinded by a sudden burst of light. You hear Zyeryh screech, her eyes far more sensitive than yours.

"Well, well, well. Aren't you two familiar. Care to stop and talk for a minute?"
>>
No. 257448 ID: d677cc

>>257447
Well, you haven't killed anyone; you've just broken some security measures. So, sure, since someone is actually willing to explain what's going on, I mean...
>>
No. 257450 ID: a4c096

"depends on what you want to talk about" keep your stance up, you need to wait until Zyeryh recovers from the light burst.
>>
No. 257460 ID: e674ff

One person, unarmed and all alone? He's probably a distraction for someone else to try and capture you. It would be a mistake to stand still for too long.

Just make it clear you're here for your children and you don't like to wait/be messed with right now. Any resistance he offers will be met with force.
>>
No. 257461 ID: 701a19

>>257447
Keep moving.
"Direct us to our children and we'll talk on the way. Powerful instincts make rational discourse a troublesome proposition."
>>
No. 257466 ID: 1854db

We will talk only if he's going to tell us where our children are. Then give them to us. We've had enough of humanity, and we're leaving.
>>
No. 257484 ID: c71597

>>257447
Probably not much else you can do right now. If they're even slightly competent then you won't be able to get to whoever that is or it wouldn't help you in the slightest to get to him.
>>
No. 259270 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129055910482.png - (9.22KB , 512x512 , 126.png )
259270

"We're here for our children. We're not here to talk about anything else. We're here to take our children and get off this planet and away from the likes of you."

"Sorry you feel that way. No. Wait. I'm not."

The figure rushes at you with alarming speed. You don't even have time to react before it is right in front of you.
>>
No. 259271 ID: 8d7dd2
File 12905591174.png - (20.64KB , 512x512 , 127.png )
259271

"I have heard more of your kind's excuses and pleas for mercy than you could ever, ever imagine, salazzarine. Do you know what happened when I listened?"

Zyeryh hisses and sharply pulls you to the left. The unseen weapon, or limb, or something strikes the metal wall next to you.

"They took my eye. I had hope. I had hope that not all of you were so ruthless, so cruel, so sadistic. I listened to another plea for mercy."

Zyeryh screeches and pulls you onto the ground with her. The wall above you squeals as metal scrapes against metal.

"Yet I remained convinced that an entire species could not be weighed on the actions of soldiers. Then I was captured."

Zyeryh struggles to pull you back, as you struggle to figure out where you even are in the darkness with Zyeryh shunting you around.
>>
No. 259272 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129055913164.png - (17.74KB , 512x512 , 128.png )
259272

"They cut me to pieces. They poured over every last piece of tissue they could pull from my body. All my squad found of me was my brain and my spinal cord."

The figure's tone is calm, precise, exactly matching the almost surgical precision it seems to be trying to use against you and Zyeryh. Zyeryh can see the best out of all of you here, though. You hope. She keeps pulling and moving you out of the way, but the speed at which this human - if it's even human - figure attacks is alarming.

It could kill you at any point it wanted. It's currently giving you a speech on why it would want to kill you. And you're still alive.

It's toying with you.
>>
No. 259273 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129055915015.png - (14.82KB , 512x512 , 129.png )
259273

"I wonder how it works for your people. Sent here to conquer a world with so few, sent off to succeed against all odds or die... They don't care, do they? They don't care if you live or die. It'd match what I've seen of your suicidal battle strategies, of your disregard for each other."

It stabs at where you were. Except this time you moved.

Zyeryh was right behind you.

She hadn't moved yet.

The scream she makes is deafening.
>>
No. 259278 ID: 701a19

>>259273
Shout "ZYERYH!" while grabbing her and run back to base. She needs emergency medical care, and this guy won't let that happen.
DON'T THINK! JUST DO IT! NOW!
>>
No. 259287 ID: e973f4

>>259273
Okay, this guy seriously outclasses you. I have no idea how on earth you're supposed to fight him.

So figure out if Zyeryh's okay. You can assess that reasonably well, right?
>>
No. 259300 ID: 1854db

>>259273
What the hell? WHAT THE HELL!?

You captured US, you took away our CHILDREN! Now you're killing my mate! How are you any different from those that took your eye? Kill me, then, if you want to doom humanity to the invading fleet! The rebel ship will be here soon and if we aren't there to meet it, you can be sure there will be no alliance!
>>
No. 259377 ID: c71597

>>259273
Ok, here's a chance, strike at him right now. Hopefully you can get him to back off for a little while, or maybe even hit something vital. Atleast it might give you enough time to get her out of here and back to some medical facility.
>>
No. 259379 ID: 701a19

>>259300
>>259377
Actions, not words.

You can't win this battle, so don't fight it. No suicidal tactics.
Your mate is injured, so get her help. No indifference to the lives of others.

Take her to receive treatment! Hurry!
Proving him wrong will hurt him more than anything physical you could accomplish.
>>
No. 259871 ID: a842ff

>>259300

THIS!
>>
No. 260372 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129095883157.png - (13.77KB , 512x512 , 130.png )
260372

"ZYERYH!"

You immediately step behind her, grabbing her as firmly as you can, trying to avoid her wound. She is bleeding heavily, but she's keeping her own arms clamped to her torso.

Salazzarine are quick to recover from most injuries that would potentially kill other species, but the closer an injury is to their core organs, the slower it takes for that injury to heal. If her vitals are unharmed, there is still every chance she will die of blood loss if she isn't treated soon.

You drag her away as fast as you can as she whimpers in fear and groans in pain.

"A tactical retreat? Clearly you are leagues ahead of your peers, to be able understand when a situation cannot end in your victory."

You don't respond. Words are wasted breath. You need every breath you take to get Zyeryh and yourself to safety.
>>
No. 260373 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129095884969.png - (20.62KB , 512x512 , 131.png )
260373

"What I don't understand is why you're burdening yourself with dragging the wounded along with you. How does this benefit you?"

You remain silent. Zyeryh starts talking, quietly, struggling to speak coherently.
"Woryeh, I don't want to die, I don't want to die I'm scared it hurts Woryeh please..."
"Hold on. Just hold on. Please."

It doesn't sound like you're being followed.

In fact, you can't hear anything at all apart from the sound of Zyeryh scraping against the metal floor, and her desperate babble.

You want to shout at this metal monstrosity. You want to shout and scream and slice and rip and sever, but you would only prove it right. And it would only waste precious time you need for Zyeryh.

"I'm scared, Woryeh, it's cold, I feel sick, I'm sorry, I'm sorry this happened, I am, I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault. I'm going to help you. I'm here for you, Zyeryh. Stay with me. You mean everything to me, Zyeryh, and I'm not letting you die down here while my hearts are still beating!"

It's light enough to see the long trail of blood you're leaving behind you. You had no idea she was this badly injured.
>>
No. 260374 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129095886882.png - (20.45KB , 512x512 , 132.png )
260374

In fact, you had no idea that there were going to be humans waiting at the other end of the corridor. It makes sense, of course, and you stop, lower yourself to the ground, and tightly hug Zyeryh one last time as you expect nothing more than a terrible death at their hands.

You feel slightly faint. You feel you must have overexerted yourself, that you must have pulled Zyeryh away too quickly, too long a burst of speed with no recovery. Your head feels especially warmer than normal.

"Please. Please help her. If there is anything, any shred of decency, any trace of compassion, stop my mate from bleeding to death." You can't fight back an involuntary whining noise, and just hug her tighter. They talk and you don't know their language well enough to know exactly what they say, but they sound...

They don't sound hostile. They sound... concerned.
>>
No. 260375 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129095889423.png - (28.24KB , 512x512 , 133.png )
260375

Events pass by like a blur as you find yourself next to her, suited humans doing their best to try and figure out the extent of the damage. They talk to each other and one of them arrives holding a jar, which they offer to you.

You take it. It's filled with fluid and heavier than it first seemed. Inside the slightly murky fluid swim four- no, five little red wriggling larvae. As you watch, one of them starts eating another. Four of them. It's mildly upsetting to watch, but you know that this is simply how it works before your young gain anything approaching awareness.

You at least feel relieved that you have them back. Zyeryh will be relieved too. You show her the jar as she lies on the table. Still in pain, still unsure as to whether she'll even survive to see tomorrow, she looks considerably happier to see her children still alive and unharmed. Unharmed beyond expectations, of course.

You don't question why the facility has some supply of salazzarine blood to keep Zyeryh alive. You think, after what you've been through, you'd rather not know the answer.
>>
No. 260376 ID: 8d7dd2
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260376

Eventually, you get an explanation.

The machine, Agent Steel, was tasked with ensuring that the base was not invaded by Empire forces while the majority of the human personnel were preoccupied with other affairs, including the sudden and abrupt departure of the senokeshi ship and its one occupant, Ti Ru, but mostly relating to the Empire's attempted invasion of Earth.

Your young had been taken for investigation and to ensure that they were in fact surviving in the environmental conditions present on Earth. There had apparently been an error in communication, as the initial orders involved asking the two of you for permission or at least explaining this decision at all to either of you.

You explain about the ship and the transport heading your way. After a long period of silence, followed by a sudden flurry of untranslated discussion, they agree to let it be and not to hinder your attempts to leave the planet.

They also recommend that you inform whoever is piloting the rebel ship to get as far away from Earth as possible before their ship is flagged by Earth defence fleets as a hostile.
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No. 260377 ID: 8d7dd2
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260377

You return to Zyeryh. She's bandaged and still looks to be in some pain, but far less than before.

"...I'm not sure what I was surprised by the most. The machine stabbing me or the humans doing their best to try and help me. I don't have any major organ damage that won't clear up in a day, at least."
"Did they tell you that?"

She gives you a look. "Woryeh, remember every time I've mentioned I have an unnatural level of insight into how we work? That includes me. I know exactly what's wrong with me and it's worrying but not permanent or fatal. I'll be fine. You're still going to have to help me, of course. You're carrying that jar."

She sounds like her normal self. That's both a relief to you and slightly grating at the same time. "Well, we need to get out of here pretty quickly. That transport's going to be here any moment."
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No. 260378 ID: 8d7dd2
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260378

You both sit somewhere on the surface of Base Kappa-4, surveying the night sky.

In the distance, you see bright flashes and shapes where the Empire fleet's advance is being kept in check by ships you don't recognise.

"Well, this is thrilling."
"...After what just happened, do you want exciting?"
"Point."

She shifts around uncomfortably, trying to find a position to sit in which places the least stress on the hole straight through her torso.

"You're sure you're okay?"
"I'm sure I'm not okay, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to suddenly drop dead from this. Any further to the right and I might have lost part of my digestive tract and part of a filtration gland but I was lucky."
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No. 260379 ID: 8d7dd2
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260379

She shifts over to you and hugs you. You hug her back. In the sky, you see an approaching red star. The transport is getting closer.

"What happens to us now?"
"We get taken aboard a ship filled with salazzarine who hate the empire and consider us close to heroes for somehow sabotaging the Empire by... not really doing anything."
"What if it's all just a trap and we just get sent back to go infiltrate another planet?"
"Then I guess we just actually do it, like you wanted to this time. Keep the world for ourself. Live like royalty."
"I guess. If we don't start trying to kill each other again."
"No. Chopping off each other's arms, maybe. Not such a big deal."
"You know, I think I read somewhere that there was a primitive salazzarine culture where couples used to give each other one of their arms as a pairing ritual."
"Hahahaha. Pairing through paring. ...Guess we're, I don't know, what, paired seven times over by now?"
"Seven? More like seventy!"
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No. 260380 ID: 8d7dd2
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260380

As the transport gets closer, the two of you talk and reminisce on the few good times you both shared, both early into your mission and from when you reconciled again. You both watch the jar with your larvae, now reduced to two. You both wonder what parenting will be like.

At least, you both agree, it will be better than living as a test subject for nearly all your life.

"...And if worst comes to worst, well!"
"Hmm?"
"I'm sure I can come up with a plan to resolve everything!"
"Heh. Yeah. I'm sure you can!"
"As long as you help, of course."
"Of course."
"Well, ship's here."

The two of you stand, holding the jar between you, and get ready to board the transport.
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No. 260381 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129095904248.png - (19.88KB , 512x512 , 139.png )
260381

You were sent here to infiltrate, along with Zyeryh. The two of you rejected your intended purposes, and chose to follow your own paths.

Those paths split, but eventually, those paths rejoined. And the new path you now share stretches far and promisingly in front of the both of you.

Wherever it leads is uncertain, but one thing is definite. It leads away from the Empire. It leads to a better future.

It leads to freedom.
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No. 260382 ID: 8d7dd2
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260382

- End. -
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No. 260386 ID: 1854db

d'awww!
>>
No. 260445 ID: 70e5c6

>>260382
GOOD END :D
<3
>>
No. 260470 ID: 3fb003

Cir <3
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