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File 134822373859.png - (181.25KB , 700x700 , 916.png )
456418 No. 456418 ID: f09b71

"I should have left." I say that half to myself, and half to Rokoa. I'm out of witty one liners for my audience of one, so I shut up and hit the button.

Just like Pilon implied, this area is good cover from the explosion.
Expand all images
No. 456419 ID: f09b71
File 134822375393.png - (97.01KB , 900x607 , 917.png )

Rokoa cycles over the debris before the smoke clears, making me follow her fast so I don't lose her past the jammer bubble.

I almost thought I got punched when I roll through the jammer bubble. I regret everything already. 30 or so warhive neumono, mostly condensed, but they are almost silent compared to the queen. Being in sensing range of her is how I would imagine having a war flashback would feel, not as though I have had any true ones. Nonetheless, it must be like this all the time. The idea that someone like this would seek out peace would be better off as a joke's punchline.

If I were alone, I would do the sensible thing and run away and jump off this ship with the parachute on my back. As it is, without dwelling on it too much, I latch onto Rokoa's insane plan of riding straight in as a sort of mental beacon of not backing off now. Pilon, too. Even after the explosion, she is restraining herself to not shoot Pilon even if it might kill him in his condition.
No. 456420 ID: f09b71
File 134822376692.png - (53.98KB , 1259x716 , 918.png )

Rokoa seems insistant on going first. I can't imagine myself trying to contest that.

Every last one of the enemy knows that both of us are here. And the queen is daring us to come further to her.
No. 456423 ID: f2c20c

Where's Pilon on that map?

First thing's first. Refresh our memory on what equipment we have available.

Second, I desire a better idea of the floorplan! Get Rokoa to tell you what the general structure is! Are there smaller rooms between here and the main bridge? Any turrets?

We should take the most direct route, as it looks like there isn't really any way to bypass any of the enemy troops.

As soon as we get to the door right before the room the queen is, set off all your smoke grenades. Fill the room BEFORE the queen with smoke, so that they can't see you to shoot you. Then get a running start with your vehicle, attach your frags to it, pull the pins on it, and launch it at the queen herself without you on it. Explosive bike projectile!

While they are busy dealing with the bike we can snipe the shit out of the queen.
No. 456430 ID: 2f4b71

Now the grottle problem is solved, look for the nearest vent. With no way to track you, and Rokoa being a large angry distraction, you should be able to reach the main bridge unnoticed.
No. 456435 ID: 1987d1

>"I should have left."
Yes, you probably should have. Our fault really, not yours. Too late to be worried about it now.

Okay... so you're in a slightly better position than I expected. You didn't immediately come out in a huge room where everyone can shoot you. Problem is, that looks to be the next room, on the left. If does look like you have hallways or choke points to use going in, but those are less useful against people who can attack at range, and you can be attacked from behind. Also, with the bikes, you're relying on speed. Well, for the brief window you have before they're destroyed.

Best weapon choice right now is probably the explosive shotgun. Explosions damage neumono (especially ridiculously tough ones) far better than bullets, and it has the chance of disabling multiple people at once.

Are any of these people giving off readings as if they're QI? Knowing where the toughest (non-queen) people in the room are seems important.

...and Rokoa is going to fight her own now, right? It's gonna suck if she expects us to hold off everyone while she goes for the Queen. Not that 2 v everyone is much better odds, but still.
No. 456470 ID: b6edd6

Remember to take out the camera before trying anything sneaky.
No. 456473 ID: f09b71
File 134824567077.png - (59.96KB , 1259x716 , 919.png )

"Rokoa, I need a better idea of the floor plan! And are there turrets?"
>"Yeah. Two rooms each through those two doors, each one running perpendicular along the main bridge room, each with a turret. Some side room off to our right. You got smoke grenades?"
"Yeah. I may go into the vents."

Except I don't see much for vents, although I still take out the camera. The ceiling plates look solid, and I don't see any vents I could get into besides. I arm myself with the explosive shotgun for now. Rokoa and I are both going for the queen, but I expect that Rokoa will fight the rest of them if need be, if still trying to not do lethal damage.

As for the rest, they are all among the best of the hive, but only a couple of them might be QIs in the main bridge room.

Doing something crazy like putting all my frags on my bike and letting it launch itself towards the queen is tempting. I am carrying a heavy load at the moment, mismatched by Rokoa's lighter load.

Sniper Rifle | 10 Normal Shots | 10 Armor Piercing Shots | 8 Explosive Shots
1 Explosive Shotgun | 36 shots
Pistol | 56 shots
2 Plasma Blades
2 Charge of C4
3 Frag Grenades
3 Smoke Grenades
1 Grappling Hook
10 Meter Rope
1 Net
~10 hours of rations

Rokoa's Inventory:
Large Blaster Rifle (W/ Flashlight) | 50 Shots, 1 backup battery
Machine Gun | 200 Shots
Pistol | 56 shots
2 Plasma Blades
2 Frag Grenades
1 Smoke Grenades[/i]
No. 456475 ID: 886a4d

Smoke grenades would work best in the smaller room. Rokoa should be the one to throw them so hand them off to her. What you should be doing is disabline the two in the room. Use your experiance with the bugs to good effect, pistol shots to the knees are great for non-Rokoas when your trying to be non-lethal.
No. 456478 ID: e3f578

Too bad you can't just remote control the bike huh?

Try and keep the C4 on you at all times. IF you have a chance to stuff one of those or a grenade in her mouth, do it. Just shove it down her fucking throat and back off. Set the C4 for a three second timer after triggering the detonation or something, so you can use it like a grenade.
No. 456481 ID: 1987d1

...counting the turrets, we only have one shot of shotgun ammo per combatant! Dang, we really didn't bring enough. That's going to be most useful in the big room, where you can fire at groups, and unload at the Queen.

First problem is we need a way past the turrets. (Too bad we didn't CAI hack in. That would have taken them down. ...although, then they would have likely been suborned and turned on the war hive). Do we have anything strong enough to crack them? (ie, will the shotgun work?) You probably want to hit them quick, before the a techie gets Rokoa off the friendlies list. You may have a short window where she can pop up and blast one without being seen as a hostile.

Second problem is this aren't stupid zombies. These guys are gonna be armed, smart, and capable. You go in through either door on the left, and the people in the room from the right will likely flank you. Not sure we want to clear the room- could we trap them in the room, maybe using a piece of C4? (bring down the ceiling and rubble right in front of it, say).
No. 456516 ID: 4a328b

Have the bike go in with a smoke and frag grenade. The smoke to mess with the neumono in there, the frag to hopefully bust up the turret and some of the neumono.
No. 456528 ID: f09b71
File 134826616686.png - (12.20KB , 900x423 , 920.png )

"Far end of the hall, toss a smoker in and take out the turret! You're on the friendly list, right?"
>"We'll find out!" Rokoa answers.

We will get flanked no matter what. They are intending on doing that, and even the three in the long room are running forward. I move alongside Rokoa to hide from the turret in the long hall.

The queen and the bridge members are dancing between Rokoa and I, and the rest of their duties. The communicator with Pilon is still on, and I can hear everything. It is mostly shouting what I can already expect them to do. Flank, and be prepared to kill both of us. Even Rokoa, although the rest of the hive is not liking the idea of killing her. Next to Queen, it is more like a nagging feeling at the back of the hive mind. Pilon is also starting to move to us, and he can't hide that he had something to do with this. Nor can he hide the fact that although he is coming to us, it isn't to stop us.

I toss a charge of C4 into the side door to prevent at least a heavy flank. I don't know if it will cause a cave in, but the enemy sees it and they all back away behind cover. Rokoa tosses her smoke grenade in the left, and I toss a frag grenade a second later.
No. 456529 ID: f09b71
File 134826625815.png - (74.11KB , 1259x716 , 921.png )

The three in the smoked and fragged room run back into the bridge while the three in the long hallway begin sprinting to flank us. And even with the explosives, half of them are on the verge of making an attempt to rush us all together.

This is as good of a chance as any at launching my motorcycle and another C4 or any grenades into the bridge room, but I only get one shot. I have to be sure.
No. 456530 ID: 886a4d

No time to be subtle, ram the queen with the 'cycle and plug her with the shotgun if she dodges.
No. 456535 ID: 1987d1

...how the hell do we get out of this alive? Even if we kill the Queen, we're going to get swarmed. We're going to need a distraction. Maybe plug in the CAI if we get a chance? Rokoa won't like it, put that'll cause some chaos.

Rokoa needs to kill the turret before we can attempt launching a bike-bomb. It'll just get shot down.
No. 456548 ID: e3f578

Quick and fast Polo, don't give 'em time to aim. Only spray and pray from here on out.
No. 456565 ID: f09b71
File 134827906467.png - (33.14KB , 700x700 , 922.png )

The frag goes off. It might not be enough to take out the turret, so I toss Rokoa my shotgun and she takes a couple shots at it while I load up the motorcycle with a smoke grenade and the whole damn block of C4.

"Don't look this way, Rokoa, you'll give me away."
No. 456566 ID: f09b71
File 134827907827.png - (35.85KB , 700x700 , 923.png )

They don't expect it coming. But when they see it going right where I sensed the queen, they know she's in danger.
No. 456567 ID: f09b71
File 134827909169.png - (79.00KB , 1259x716 , 924.png )

And in turn, I don't expect them to leap in front and tackle the motorcycle!

If I detonate it, it would wound the queen who isn't running away from it. It would definitely kill the nearest neumono, possibly Pilon. It's a fact that I know, because it's a fact that they know and run charging in to the queen's defense anyway.
No. 456569 ID: f09b71
File 134827915941.png - (20.11KB , 700x700 , 925.png )

Rokoa gives the shotgun back to me even as I'm holding the detonator. She doesn't want the C4 to go off like this.

"Give me your hand." What she does want, is for me to get on her cycle. To get on, and trust in her. Something involving charging forward, not like that is hard to guess.
No. 456571 ID: 61e7f9

Do it faggot.
No. 456572 ID: f2c20c

We succeeded in distracting some of them, at least.

Get on, get your rifle out, and pepper the queen as she does whatever she's planning. Use AP if she's heavily armored, explosives if not. Or alternate, attempting to weaken the armor with AP ammo then doing massive damage with explosives.
No. 456578 ID: 1987d1

>I don't expect them to leap in front and tackle the motorcycle!
I totally expected it. Of course this guys are going to throw themselves on the grenade/rocket/motorcycle coming for the Queen.

...it's not like we've got any better ideas. And really, your only hope of taking out the Queen is to do so before you're overwhelmed by the others. We'll worry about finding a way not to get killed after we complete the mission. (Because if we worried about survival first we'd be running screaming from the room).

I'd say the explosive shotgun is better for gunning from a moving bike. Accuracy matters less, splash damage is more useful against a crowd, and it will take less explosions to kill the Queen than bullets.
No. 456583 ID: 886a4d

Its traditional to yell Leeeeeroy Jenkins in situations like this.
No. 456623 ID: 4a328b

I wonder if she's going to throw you. Grab her hand anyway.
No. 456625 ID: 1987d1

Polo does not know any human music memes!

This would be a nice moment for a quip though. Not coming up with anything good though.
No. 456652 ID: f09b71
File 134829211234.png - (18.52KB , 700x700 , 926.png )

If she wants to help get me out of this, then she can be my guest, considering that we've got company on our flanks. Even the ones in the opposing room are starting to get antsy, C4 or not.

So I close and latch the detonator, keeping it accessable enough on my waistband. I rearm myself with the shotgun, and grab Rokoa's hand.

She yanks me up like a ragdoll and grabs my other leg, shoving me down under her, pinning myself between her and the motorcycle.

"Wait, Rokoa, are you-"
She puts her weight down on me. I can't move.
"Are you going to do something dumb?!" Hopefully not as dumb as that question.

The meatshield ignores me and swings the throttle. Perhaps it is my life flashing before my eyes, but I am reminded of a time as a kid that I went on a roller coaster. At the apex, just before the coaster drops, I thought I saw the tracks abruptly disappear at the bottom. I was wrong, but if that was the case, then that is how I would sum up my current feelings. And with my current position... my past self would have better luck pushing the seat constraints off than I would have getting Rokoa to get off now. The other people are hopping out into our hallway, so staying is certain death.
No. 456653 ID: f09b71
File 134829213080.png - (98.49KB , 1100x741 , 927.png )

>"Kill her!" I snap out of having a mini freak out when the Queen yells that.

It goes about as well as expected, us going straight at that monstrosity of a person. Some others hesitate, and don't shoot Rokoa, queen's orders or not. But not enough to avoid Rokoa getting fucked up. She's already starting to wobble.

Yet, if nothing else, the queen shows herself to be consistent. She does not run, and she barely hides behind cover. Everything moves surprisingly slow. My life seems to still be flashing back. It brings to mind that thought I've had a couple times since this whole thing began. Queen is almost as big as the red giant that Three Stripes hung around. In the old days, this would have been hilariously pathetic, me going up against this sort of opponent.

But, in this day and age...
No. 456654 ID: f09b71
File 134829216528.png - (176.49KB , 700x700 , 928.png )

We have guns. And good aim is as big as anything.

Everyone stops firing for a brief instant while the explosion goes on. Only Rokoa is inconsistent. Pleased as punch. Also, about to fall over and unconscious.

I can't tell if that was enough to kill.
No. 456655 ID: 886a4d

It wasn't, shoot again.
No. 456656 ID: bf54a8

don't stop, for anything.
No. 456658 ID: 12c19f

Let's put it this way, Coffeecake...

No. 456659 ID: 4a328b

Keep shooting, she's probably tougher than even Rokoa.
No. 456660 ID: f2c20c

Shoot her more. Keep shooting. Don't stop until she's in pieces.
No. 456664 ID: 1987d1

Shoot again, anyways. You're not getting another chance at this. You're also surrounded, and pinned under a soon to be unconscious Rokoa. It's not like you can escape.

We now have the problem of getting you out alive. We can't count on Rokoa's force of personality saving you if she's unconscious. Pilon might be able to order you being taken alive, if anyone's still listening to him (he is complicit, after all). But otherwise, these guys are gonna kill you.

Have people moved away from the downed C4 bike? If it won't kill people (or at least you, Pilon, or Rokoa) we could blow it and flee in the confusion and smoke. Maybe drop a smoke grenade or two too. Jump through the hole in the floor if we have to- just get away. ...assuming you can get out from under the Rokoa roller-coaster to begin with, of course.
No. 456667 ID: df771b

Polo, don't stop shooting.

You are only allowed to stop shooting when she has less than...let's say 10% of her total bodymass left.
No. 456670 ID: 61e7f9

Empty the mag on her.
No. 456671 ID: 1987d1

Hmm. Actually- updated tactical analysis on the killing you. The command staff here is armed with handguns- not terribly effective against armor (although, at this range, and from a crowd, it'll get messed up). The bigger threat is getting swarmed, tackled, and or pinned (and maybe ripped apart). Rokoa's already got you pinned though!
No. 456674 ID: 2ed56b

Don't worry about anything but taking the queen out. Keep shooting until she stops moving, then shoot some more.

Once the queen is out, the others will probably stop. they were hesitant to attack Rokoa without the Queen's massive empathic force pushing them. Just end her, and don't worry about sorting the rest till later.
No. 456683 ID: f09b71
File 134829591291.png - (34.77KB , 700x700 , 929.png )

Rokoa almost goes limp, and with a gasp, lets the bike fall. She just manages to shove me off forward toward the queen, and I kick forward to land right. As much as I'd love to keep using her as a shield, her landing on me would most likely mess up my aim, and wouldn't stop them from swarming me. I still have the detonator on the C4, but the cycle is mostly between me and the exits.

I take another shot at the queen. The enemies start shooting at me instead of Rokoa as she falls. I can avoid the pain for now, but it's jarring. I keep an eye out for anyone trying to pin me, though. And that's going to happen, they all start closing in on me as I focus all my remaining attention on the queen.

So I shoot the queen a 3rd time.

I'm more certain now that I don't sense the queen.
No. 456684 ID: f09b71
File 134829592119.png - (60.38KB , 1204x796 , 930.png )

I shoot her a fourth time. By this point, I just feel like I'm tenderizing meat. I notice what I've done, and it's enough to not notice that I'm getting tackled.
No. 456686 ID: 886a4d

I'm pretty sure she won't be coming back from that, and that was Pilon tackling you.
No. 456688 ID: 6a1ec2


Damn Polo. You actually did it. I mean, damn. Those rounds were more powerful than I thought. Was it because of the close range?
No. 456690 ID: 6e44d2

What a mess.

Also, mission accomplished!
No. 456691 ID: 61e7f9

If it's not Rokoa or Pilon tackling you, see if you can get off another grenade or anything on that pile of meat.

Pistol, blade, anything else, just keep doing damage till you can't anymore.
No. 456696 ID: 1987d1

Gods, that is a great Rokoa expression.

I think it was because the round didn't detonate on impact. We didn't hit her with an explosion (which she might have survived)- we set one off inside her (that's why she has a moment to look down shocked at her chest).

That's Pilon, right? You might as well let him subdue you. It's your best chance for getting out of this room alive at this point, and it potentially gives him the cred to escape getting locked up too.
No. 456701 ID: b33427

Well, you did it Polo. Mission accomplished. There's no point in attacking any more, 'cause you have no hope of fighting your way out. It actually would lower your already paper-thin chances of living through this if you injured, and especially if you kill, any more of them. Let 'em subdue you, and see where thing go from there. To be frank, expect lots of pain in your immediate future.

I don't think that's Pilon. Pilon's torso is completely bandaged, and he's wearing bio-armor, while the tackler doesn't have either of those.
No. 456702 ID: f2c20c

Yell for them to stop shooting or you'll blow the C4.
No. 456710 ID: 1987d1

Nah. Our only way out now is to be taken alive, and hope Pilon or Emere or Rokoa or someone lets us out of the brig later. ...although, there's pretty good odds all three of them are headed there as well.

>Not Pilon?
I was just thinking he was the only guy here in white and not wearing red pjs. But you're right about the Bio armor. Suppose it could be someone else we didn't catch in previous panels.

Still, unless they're trying to crush you to death or rip you to pieces, let yourself be subdued, Polo.
No. 456714 ID: 4a328b

Rokoa will kill you if you kill any hive mates besides the queen, so no lethal force. Try the noodle trick: go limp suddenly and [hopefully] unexpectedly and wiggle out of the attacker's grip. Look for an exit.
No. 456717 ID: b33427

Oh, and get an empathic read on whoever tackled you, and the Bridge in general. If it's less than "berserker rage" you might have a slim chance of surviving this.
No. 456740 ID: f09b71
File 134830436375.png - (66.46KB , 700x700 , 931.png )

It isn't Pilon, but whoever it is, is about as big, and the strength to match. I can't reach my explosives, detonators or otherwise, and several more dogpile me. They have no intention of giving me a chance to escape.

There aren't many words that go around, but this doesn't cripple the hive's activity. Several go back to business with logistics and strategies with the research facility. Except now, they are far more in the mood to order a full retreat.

A few grab Rokoa and start dragging her out forcibly, grappling her like she was resisting instead of being a wet, bloody noodle.

And finally Pilon comes running - limping, rather - to me, telling them that I'm done. They almost snap at him, still catching on that he had some measure of influence over this. He backs off, as anything more and they may drag him out with Rokoa.

They don't go turning the shotgun on me, and I don't sense murder on their minds. It is less than berserker rage, but I am not holding my life expectancy in high regard. It is more that they don't know what else to do with me except to see me as an enemy, an outsider, and this is what they do. I confuses me, although I wish I could say that being confused is the most pain I am in right now.

Eventually, one of them brings out a pipe or something, and I don't last long.
No. 456744 ID: f09b71
File 134830449669.png - (12.88KB , 700x700 , 932.png )

Then I am staring in a room all of a sudden.

The brig. Single bed. Single toilet. One door. Hard to see, and no idea how long has passed. Felt like seconds, but I know that's wrong. I am alive, sort of. Can't complain.
No. 456746 ID: f2c20c

Get up, walk over to the door and knock on it. Ask when you'll be let out.

Also check yourself to see how damaged you are.
No. 456749 ID: 4a328b

You've got some kind of collar on.

No convenient vents or anything?

Look through the bars, don't say anything yet.
No. 456751 ID: bf54a8

look but don't make any noises. being alive is WAY more positive outcome then you hoped.
No. 456753 ID: c7dc56

Go ahead and take a nap after you check your health and guard status, god knows you deserve a rest.
No. 456754 ID: f2c20c

I think she'd sleep better if she knew that the truce held now that the Queen is gone. Our priority right now is finding that out.

Second priority is getting back home.

Third priority is maybe going down and kicking that salikai's ass before we leave. I feel like we might get roped into doing that to pay back Rokoa's hive, though. Sortof as a deal for them letting us go?
No. 456756 ID: df771b

Ponder about how fucked up your first REAL mission ended up.

Consider letting this bit of information slip next time you see Pilon or Rokoa.
No. 456757 ID: 4a328b

Psh what no. I'm pretty sure we got that Moton egg, dude. MISSION SUCCESS.
No. 456758 ID: f09b71
File 134830811557.png - (13.73KB , 700x700 , 933.png )

I move up to the door. A rib or two may be broken, but nothing major. Lots of superficial damage, though, and everything is sore enough to still make it hard to move. As usual, the brig is in a solid jammer field. I can't sense anyone, inside or out. I'd like to take a nap, but as soon as I move over, I realize Rokoa is under the covers. I just can't get away from her. No convenient vents or anything. This doesn't look like a shitty cell, my chances of a daring escape are abysmal.

>"The door is unlocked."
>"The door. It's unlocked. You can go, if you can withstand all the battery power of your collar."
"... it's an electrical collar, isn't it."
>"Glad they didn't beat the smart out of you."
"I don't suppose you know when we're getting out."
>"Not a clue."
"Or how long we were out?"
>"Long enough for them to beat us up, clean us up, possibly repeat those two steps till they got bored, get us changed and lock us in here, but not long enough for the fighting to stop on board. I still hear ruckus now and again. Oh, Pilon came by."
"What did he say? Is the truce held?"
>"Yeah, congrats. After the queen died, everything sort of fell apart, and we're trying to retreat. Still getting kicked off the planet, and we're not getting any help against the research facility. Otherwise? Not much. The hive can't make up their mind about you. See, the Queen acted violent, and it'd be in her actions to kill you. Yet she started talking about peace and wishing to settle our hive down, or at least keep us out of real nasty business. Mercenary work at best, with some ethics and morals and all that. Some of us just want to kill you out of vengeance, and some think you should live as a sign of that whole turning a new leaf a bit. In short, just about everyone is lookin' out for the old bitch, it's just a matter of if we're gonna follow her actions or her deep down wishes she talked about. You can owe Pilon the latter, as nearly everyone was leaning to the action side of things before Pilon reminded everyone about her all talk peace wishes. In death, the latter may become more important. We might have a little civil war here over you and me. Nothing deadly, just see who can beat the shit out of the other side."
"My first real mission got fucked up."
>"You can put that on your resume. 'Goes above and beyond what is expected.'"
No. 456759 ID: f2c20c

That's probably the nicest thing she's ever said to you. Thank her. Also say that Pilon said something similar to you in the shield generator room. Called you an "unbelievable son of a bitch".

Ask her if she's figured out what she thinks of you, yet.
No. 456760 ID: 4a328b


Ah well. You probably have more work to do down there anyway, so the mission's not over yet.

Assuming you get out of here alive.

How much do you know about electric collar dealies? Is it too risky to try to take off?
No. 456761 ID: 735f4f

At this point trying to escape in this condition is near impossible. I would just snuggle up with Rokoa and take a nap.
No. 456762 ID: f2c20c

...hang on. What triggers the collar, exactly? Passing through the door, or just opening it? If we can open the door to see what's out there, maybe we should.

Also, is the electrical shock meant to be lethal or more like a taser? Tasers are less painful for those with less body mass, you know...
No. 456763 ID: 085efe

Are you doing that empathic silence thing? If you are, then stop doing that.
No. 456764 ID: f09b71
File 134831155440.png - (15.26KB , 700x700 , 934.png )

>Stop being silent
The brig is in a full jamming field. Neither of us can sense each other while inside.

"... thanks. You know, for awhile, I was calling Pilon the SOB QI, because he kept calling me an unbelievable son of a bitch."

I sit back down. There is only one bed, but I do not want to share such close space with Rokoa. She can have it.

"I still have some loose ends on the mission. I do need to get out of here. Let me take a look at your collar, since I don't have a nice view on my own."
This electric collar is likely made for what it's used for, prisoners, not slaves. I doubt it has something like an explosive reaction to tampering, but looking at Rokoa's, it is well sealed and probably is made to be immune to claws and basic tools.
>"Yeah, since you're in such tip top shape."
"You're one to talk."
>"I'd know all about it. I have a whole four hearts still going, and I'm more than halfway lucid."
"How do these collars work? Do they just trigger if we walk through? And lethal or no?"
>"Just walking through. You can open the door just fine. There's only another doorway and a hallway, though. If you poke your head out, it's not too bad. It gets stronger the more you walk away. By the time you walk about 20 feet, it's supposedly crippling, and only possibly lethal then."
"I'm smaller. It may not be so bad for me."
>"Forty feet, then, unless the jailer compensated for that."
"Forget it, if there's nothing out there. We have time to kill, then. Some time ago you were uncertain what you thought of me. If we're going to spend time in the same cell, I may as well ask if that is still the case."
>"You're weird. I think I like your sort of weird. It keeps me on my toes."
"Actually, I need rest. Give me that pillow."
"Then give me the bed and keep the pillow. My neck is sore as hell, I'm not sleeping on the floor. It smells funny in here."
>"Then sleep on the bed."
"You're on it."
>"There's room."
"No there isn't."
No. 456765 ID: a8e26e

Kiss her, you fool.
No. 456766 ID: 2b7692

Welp, sleep on top of her.
No. 456767 ID: f2c20c

Yes there is, you were on it just a minute ago. She's just hogging the bed now that you got up.

But whatever. Go out and see if you can find an empty cell to sleep in within tolerable distance. Or just ask the guard for a second pillow.
No. 456769 ID: b33427

>"It smells funny in here."
Hate to say it, but that's probably you two. You haven't had a bath in weeks, and Rokoa was running around in the volcano sector for days since she probably last had a shower. It's doubtful your captors bothered to hose you down before throwing you in here. May as well open the door for some fresher air, even if you aren't going to try to run for it.

Oh, hey, here's an idea. Ask how wide the hall is, and if all the cell doors are usually left unlocked when prisoners are in them. If they are, then you could rush out and open the door on the other side. Then you might have someone other than Rokoa to talk to while in here. Heck, if it's empty, then you can take the mattress and pillow back to sleep on.

Otherwise, you're just going to have to grit and bear being spooned by Rokoa. Maybe she'll hug you, and you can be her teddy bear. Again.
No. 456774 ID: 1987d1

Well, this is what you get for joking you were going to bed with her. At least it looks like you get to be on top this time (although I suppose you might end up in a cuddle hold again).

Climb up, and use dem oversized ears as pillow / blankets.

Well, not so bad, really. At least with your coloration, you can pull off orange!

The unlocked doors and collars setup is interesting, actually. Would have made breaking in to see Rokoa a lot easier had we gone that route a thread ago.

I wonder how the poor sods from the armory feel now? You show up, save all their lives, and they let you walk. Then you assassinate their Queen. There's some serious mixed signals there.
No. 456777 ID: 61e7f9

Sleep on top of her, duh.
No. 456784 ID: 886a4d

They cleaned them up.
No. 456796 ID: 85bd72


"I like your kind of weird."
"There's room."

She's falling for you, Polo.
No. 456806 ID: 2e5d9e

Sleep on top of her. She, uh, probably won't throw you across the room if you do that, anyway.
No. 456807 ID: 4a328b

Poke your head out the door instead.
No. 456810 ID: c6ec33

Get her to lie on her side, so that you can spoon~
No. 456820 ID: 2f4b71

Huh. I wonder if the pillow fabric is sufficiently insulative that you can pack it into the collar band.
No. 456823 ID: 629257

Rokoa pillow is a go. Just lay right on top of her, you'll have trouble getting comfortable if you aren't sorta hugging though. But you DO need your sleep, so you'll just have to deal with whatever works.
No. 456824 ID: 4a328b

No hugging, just lie on your back and steal a giant ear as a pillow.
No. 456831 ID: a37243

Take a nap on top of Rokoa. You can use her butt like one of those airline pillows for your neck. And you can wrap her big, fluffy tail around you like a blanket.
No. 456877 ID: f09b71
File 134835210032.png - (3.51KB , 700x393 , 935.png )

>Sleep on top of Rokoa
I take a look out the door. The shock hits, and although it is painful, the initial distance does seem to be designed to just let me know that it means business but nothing more. about 10 feet to another room. The collar is on rather tight, though, so I don't think I'll be able to easily try and insulate it with any fabrics.

>"No luck, shrimp. The collars are designed per cell room, the brig isn't free seating. It won't go away if you enter another room."

I don't see any guards in eyesight either.
No. 456878 ID: f09b71
File 134835211285.png - (8.75KB , 700x700 , 936.png )

>Use Rokoa's ear as a pillow
Or the ground. I'll use the ground as a pillow.

.... it hurts. I'm tired, but getting kicked around, the ground is no good.
No. 456879 ID: f09b71
File 134835212768.png - (12.35KB , 700x700 , 937.png )

>No hugging

"I'm going to kick you if you touch me."
>"In your sleep?"
No. 456880 ID: f09b71
File 134835220664.png - (2.91KB , 700x700 , 938.png )

Like Rokoa said, there is the occasional sound of fighting off in the distance. The brig apparently isn't sound proof. It's unnerving. I wonder if Rakae and Rikek and the others have been picked up yet, and if I've been assumed dead. It isn't a bad assumption, really. It might be true before too long, I'm not in the clear yet.

Now it hits me just how tired I am. Rokoa looming the back of my head or not, I need to sleep in a proper bed.
No. 456882 ID: f09b71
File 134835221789.png - (10.22KB , 700x700 , 939.png )

>"Polo! Hey, Polo! It's not that hard."
"I don't have that many fingers! Let me use the calculator!"
No. 456884 ID: f09b71
File 134835228921.png - (13.46KB , 700x700 , 940.png )

>"Come on, you're 6! Everyone should know how to add by the time they're 6! In 7 years, how old will you be? Stop looking around. Look at the problem."
"67!... why do I need to know this?"
>"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
No. 456887 ID: 6e44d2

A mighty warrior!
No. 456888 ID: 1987d1

Ommydrearsweetlovinggods, kiddie Polo is adorable.

...Rokoa's not going to show up in this dream right? The jammer blocks sleep empathy too? Or is that on a different frequency? Or would physical contact override the need to broadcast? We'll have to see.

Psst! Tiny-Polo, the answer is 13!

>"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
I'll be a hero! You don't need math to beat up bad guys.
No. 456889 ID: 61e7f9

"A vicious psychopathic murderer. But I'll need to keep track of my kill count, so yeah, this is important I guess."
No. 456890 ID: f2c20c

The best, duh!

Also it's 13! You can split up 7 into little pieces and add that to 6. Like, split it up into 4 and 3, then add 4 to 6 to get 10, and then all you've got left is 3 so that makes 13! 13... an unlucky number.

Also kick behind you for no reason at all.
No. 456891 ID: e3f578

The most unique neumono around! Loved and admired by everybody, regardless of hive! A legend!
No. 456896 ID: 2ed56b

I didn't think it possible Polo could be smaller and cuter!
No. 456899 ID: 085efe

Say your goal is to become a soldier go out with a big strong Neumono!

You'll go around and have adventures!
No. 456901 ID: 04b86a

Dawwwww~ Kiddie!Polo is cute.

Adding 6 and 7 can seem a bit big, so let's break it up into something smaller. 6 can be broken up into 3+3, so first add 3 to 7 to get 10, which is a very nice number because it basically lets you start over from 0. Then just add the other 3 to the 0 in 10 to get 13.

You want to be a mighty warrior so you can protect everyone from mean war hives!
No. 456908 ID: b6edd6

A ninja!
No. 456910 ID: 085efe

Oh, say secret agent, they get the fun missions.
No. 456911 ID: 886a4d

The most sneaky Neumino ever. So I can avoid doing math.
No. 456918 ID: 085efe

I think we have a winner
No. 456919 ID: 87148f

An electrician!

.. no seriously, what >>456911 said.
No. 456931 ID: 886a4d

You should also hug your mom.
No. 456932 ID: f09b71
File 134835771956.png - (10.61KB , 700x700 , 941.png )

"I'll be a secret agent! The sneakiest neumono ever, so that I can avoid doing math!"
"Well you can either avoid doing math now, or avoid going home ever again until you finish these problems!"
"I bet you couldn't do it!"
>"Don't dare me, you know I can. I can do algebra."
"What's an algae bra?!"
>"No! Quadratic fo.. you wouldn't know, add those numbers up!"
"Uh... 7... 10... 13?"
"Where is my mom?"
>"I don't know, a lot of the adults are off at work."
No. 456933 ID: f09b71
File 134835772846.png - (14.46KB , 700x700 , 942.png )

>"Next up... graphs!"
"I know some years ago I used to say that additional was useless, and maybe it isn't, but this? What is the point of this?"
"I'm never going to use this, am I?"
>"Yes you are, because if you do all your homework by tonight, I'll take you to the firing range."
"... a real firing range? With real guns?!"
>"That's what you wanted, right?"
>"Just remember, if you don't follow every last gun safety bit, you won't ever see a gun again!"
No. 456934 ID: f09b71
File 134835773996.png - (8.04KB , 700x700 , 943.png )


>"Well, for your first shot..."
"It sucked! I hit the wrong board! This is hard!"
No. 456939 ID: 6a1ec2

If you shot the wrong target on the right, try to shoot the target on the left and then you'll get the right target.
No. 456941 ID: 1987d1

Teenage Polo's ears are too big for her head! Every age is adorable! XD

Time for practice, practice, practice. You're the determinator, Polo. You will get it done, it just takes an application of will, perseverance, and time.
No. 456947 ID: 886a4d

Don't rush. Take your time lining up the sight on the gun with the target and aim for the center mass. It is better to aim well then to shoot fast.
No. 456950 ID: f2c20c

Squeeze the trigger, don't pull it. Keep the gun straight. Brace yourself against the recoil. One part of good aim is to keep the gun stable at all times, so you KNOW where it's pointing.
No. 456963 ID: f09b71
File 134836078551.png - (12.40KB , 700x700 , 944.png )

"I'm gonna keep shooting."
>"Alright, we're going to leave. Don't use all the ammo, we do have to pay for it."
>"Goodbye, Polo."
No. 456964 ID: f09b71
File 134836086720.png - (10.25KB , 700x700 , 945.png )

No. 456965 ID: f09b71
File 134836087816.png - (17.70KB , 700x700 , 946.png )


>"Goddamn, kid. 4 headshots in a row. All you do around here is shoot. How about you take a break and join us for laps? If you're going to join the military, perfect aim isn't going to help you if you start wheezing after a half mile jog.
No. 456966 ID: bf54a8

good point.
No. 456967 ID: 61e7f9

Why would I need to jog half a mile if I can shoot half a mile?
No. 456968 ID: df771b

If you are going to be an agent, an assassin, you need to be able to run fast and run for a long time.

Grit your teeth and keep pushing if you tire yourself out, every time you do it you'll be able to go a little bit faster and a little bit longer.
No. 456969 ID: e3f578

You got coffee cake?
No. 456971 ID: 629257

Got a point there, you need to maneuver quickly to get to the point where you can actually shoot anyone. Real targets don't stand still. You may not run better than anyone else but you need to run as well as you can. Same with other physical stuff.
No. 456972 ID: 886a4d

She does have a point Polo. However as you jog imagine targets over the various things you see. Shooting well while moving is important as well. It's time to train that aim to be useful at more then firing at targets in the shooting range.

If you really want to push yourself get a pack with a couple pounds of stuff in it. Soldiers carry lots of stuff.
No. 456974 ID: 4a328b

Go for an obstacle course. You're not going to be a sprinter, probably, so why not practice scrambling over rough terrain?
No. 456975 ID: 1987d1

Yeah, you need more than just aim. Endurance and speed will be important too. You may also want to learn how to climb. And some jumping and aerial acrobatics might prove useful too.

You're also tiny. Almost anyone you end up fighting is gonna have a size advantage on you, and you won't always be facing them across the length of a firing range. You can't afford to give your opponents a bigger edge by not being physically fit.
No. 456976 ID: f2c20c

Try to think about how your arms move while running. Eventually you're going to want to practice aiming while moving.
No. 456977 ID: f09b71
File 134836251302.png - (15.37KB , 700x700 , 947.png )

"Do we have any shooting ranges with moving targets?"
>"Absolutely, but that's for official military personnel."
"I've been thinking of joining. Do they also have obstacle courses?"
>"Absolutely. All the variety you could want and then some. I think you'd do well. Keep yourself motivated, and you'd be well suited to just about anything."
No. 456978 ID: f09b71
File 134836252185.png - (8.25KB , 700x700 , 948.png )

>"Ah, hell, power went out."
No. 456980 ID: 1987d1

...is this something that normally happens? For natural, non-emergency reasons? A snow storm, an old or faulty electric system, something like that?

Pay attention to your empathy. Do you sense anything unusual? People in trouble? If this is an attack, or some kind of disaster, you'll probably sense it.

Whatever's happening, you should keep your cool, and try to find a way to help. If it's an attack, grab a weapon. If it's a disaster of some kind, help the injured or trapped. If it's just a normal power outage, well, head to areas with natural light, I guess.
No. 456988 ID: b33427

Yeah, do those things, but... Aren't you outside, in the daytime? How did the lights go out?
No. 456989 ID: 4a328b

Look up
No. 456990 ID: 886a4d

Good point. Time to wake up.
No. 456991 ID: f09b71
File 134836457473.png - (8.19KB , 700x700 , 949.png )

It looks like a normal power outage. I don't sense any empathy... at all? No one. No one is around.

>"We'll just wait it out."
"We're also outside. In the daylight."
>"Oh yeah, weird. Anyways, we've had some of our agents come scoping around for people to participate in an experimental squad. It isn't something for just anyone, but they've been interested in you. It's entirely voluntary of course, but if you choose, you'll have to learn skills at a foreign college for a few years. You really will be a loner, in a collection of hives. And after that, it'll take several years of training back here to get the real kicker, being able to turn off your empathy. Are you interested?"
No. 456992 ID: 886a4d

Definately time to wake up. Something is wrong
No. 456993 ID: 04b86a

Yeah, something's definitely up. Force your eyes open and wake up.
No. 456994 ID: 4a328b

"We'll discuss this later."
No. 456995 ID: 1987d1

>Power outage in the daytime, outside
Huh, dreamtime weirdness starting.

Huh. They're recruiting Polo for secret spy stuff before she goes through boot camp? I would have thought it was the other way around. Also, if the super secret stealth training happens here, what's the foreign mulit-hive college teach?

>interested in learning to turn off empathy?
Well... now that we're aware of the dream... not really. I already know how.
No. 456999 ID: f09b71
File 134836526041.png - (9.18KB , 700x700 , 950.png )

This could be a dream.

But I can't wake up. Wait, there's the empathy. I can sense people, now. And we're indoors after all.

>"Well? You don't have to decide now, but don't just stare into space!"
"I already know how to turn off empathy."
>"Then how come I know you're telling the truth?"
No. 457000 ID: 886a4d

Go silent.
No. 457003 ID: 4a328b

On second thought they might be trying to figure out how you go silent, so don't do that right now.

Must keep your hive's ninja skills a secret from other hives.
No. 457005 ID: 4a328b

>"Then how come I know you're telling the truth?"
"Because you felt me telling the truth when I told you I already know how to do that. You don't need a demonstration, and you're not getting one."
No. 457006 ID: 04b86a

Something seems very wrong. And he knows we're telling the truth because our empathy isn't always off. In fact, his knowledge that we're telling the truth is evidence that we know how to do it.

Don't go silent.
No. 457007 ID: 629257

Because you can't feel me right now. Are you going to keep messing around with me, or can I wake up yet?
No. 457008 ID: e3f578

Maybe you just got out into a virtual simulation by the enemy and they're scanning your memories? They're probably trying to build their own silent program from the ground up by copying your memories.

Resist remembering relevant training. Quickly now, fill your mind with nonsense and/or coffee cake!
I'm a buff baby that can dance like a man,
I can shake-ah my fanny I can shake-ah my can!
I'm a tough tootin' baby, I can punch-ah yo buns!
Punch-ah yo buns, I can punch-all yo buns!
If you're an evil witch, I will punch you for fun!
No. 457011 ID: 1987d1

>Then how come I know you're telling the truth?
Wait. The way this question is worded, it sounds like the asker knows you're telling the truth, but is confused as to how they know that.
No. 457013 ID: f09b71
File 134836627372.png - (12.39KB , 700x700 , 951.png )

There isn't some secret to know how to go silent. It's just the matter of years of discipline, and perhaps some amount of having the right mindset and talent to do so.

"I won't demonstrate it."
>"Demonstrate what?"
"... never mind."
>"So how about it? Want to join the military as a possible special unit?"
"I want to wake up."
>"You're not dreaming."
No. 457015 ID: df771b


Shoot her.

Alternatively, tear off your face.

It's a dream, and you would survive tearing your face off anyway.
No. 457017 ID: 886a4d

Yes I am. I want to wake up. Pinch yourself Polo.
No. 457019 ID: 4a328b

>This is not a dream

Then what is it, pray tell?
No. 457021 ID: 1987d1

>You're not dreaming
Yes, I am, <name>. Notice I'm suddenly all grown up?

...but apparently my body's too beat up to let me wake up and escape the dream, and I don't really have this lucid dreaming thing down. So yeah, let's sign up for the training I already did again.
No. 457022 ID: e3f578

"Then explain to me why I was just a child a few minutes ago having trouble solving simple math? You're a figment of my mind, of course you won't admit this is a dream. I've done all this shit already. I'm on an enemy ship in space, cuddling with an honorable sociopath twice my size who is probably suffocating me with her enormous breasts."
No. 457024 ID: f2c20c

Why is she so much smaller than you, suddenly? I thought you were generally shorter than other Neumono.

Anyway, just assume that this is a simulation, somehow. There may not be any real secrets to hide, but that doesn't mean you have to cooperate. Can you sense anyone familiar nearby?
No. 457026 ID: b33427

Don't choose anything. Say you'll think on it, and sit down.

You said you could sense others here. Focus on them, and try to identify who they are. Are they familiar? Do they feel exactly the same as you remember, unchanging? Keep checking them until you find any that don't match what you remember, and go to them.
No. 457029 ID: 1987d1

I don't think we have to worry about brain hack tech, or virtual reality. The war-hive doesn't have that shit. If we're subject to that, that means we're being experimented on by the Salikai, and we never left the spire. Polo's not so secret years of learning to do "shut up" meditation is the least of her concerns if that's so.

We might have to worry about Rokoa being in here if the jammer doesn't block the channel dream-empathy operates on.
No. 457030 ID: df771b

Man, if this is some sort of simulation after all then whoever is playing with us is incompetent as all hell.
No. 457031 ID: f09b71
File 134836731534.png - (7.37KB , 700x700 , 952.png )

>Pinch yourself
O... ow. The pain is still very real. I will not tear off my face.

"If it's not a dream, what is it?"
"I'm certain I'm dreaming, Roil. Just a few years ago I was doing simple math. Minutes. Years. I'll choose later."
>"Sure, I'll come back. Until then, keep on working away on your skills."

>You're in a simulation
I've never heard of any simulation like this. It felt like years ago that I was doing that basic arithmetic. A couple years since I've gotten used to firearms.

>Do you sense anyone familiar nearby?
Yes... no? I sense my hive. Everyone, but they're all passive, not doing much, just... being. There are also a lot of unfamiliar people. But I don't see any of them, and I don't know where they are. Just that they're around.
No. 457032 ID: 7ea3a9

Aw, shit, it's the war hive doing this. Some form of subtle interogation. Stop giving out info NOW.
No. 457033 ID: f2c20c

Demand to know what's going on.
No. 457034 ID: 1987d1

Okay, you're not waking up. You're probably too exhausted anyways. You've been through a lot today. Your body needs the rest, and the chance to repair.

So... what can you do while asleep? Since you're in your hive, might as well find some comforts of home to enjoy. You've been a month behind enemy lines, and you're going to be in this cell who knows how long. Might as well enjoy yourself while you can. Go to your favorite place, find yourself some coffecake, hang with someone you like. Do something nice. No point in just redoing all your childhood training. You got that down already.
No. 457035 ID: e3f578

Do you remember yesterday? How many years ago did you meet Rokoa for the first time?
Let's just go get some coffee cake. Screw training or math or anything else. Just go and get some.
No. 457036 ID: df771b

Could it possibly be some sort of technology similar to the Zombie drone bugs?

I can't recall if the Bugs were already stored by the War Hive or if they were launched on board by the Spire denizens, I'm leaning towards them being owned by the Warhive because of how contained they were.
No. 457037 ID: 4a328b

Hey, you fell asleep on Rokoa, right? Any chance you can get in contact with her dream self and blow it up? Preferably with a gun from a distance?
No. 457038 ID: 12c32f

Focus on those you don't know try to find out who they are. If you can't you may as well try to control the dream, try exploring a volcano or anything else that won't give away info.
No. 457039 ID: 886a4d

Lets remember everything about coffeacake.
No. 457040 ID: f09b71
File 134836828769.png - (10.06KB , 700x700 , 953.png )

Something is trying to actively bring me somewhere.

I think it is other people. It does not feel like my mind is being hijacked, but I shouldn't rule out the possibility.

Still, there are lots of people somewhere else. I can go there, wherever there is. I can hang around where I'm at, too. But the cake tastes hollow, and the people don't feel alive. They only respond when I am thinking about them and for them to respond. I know that something is wrong, so I can't enjoy this much.

>How long ago did you meet Rokoa?
Who? Oh. Gotta think... minutes. Hours. Years. It's possible she could enter my dream, but it's not something one can do at will, normally.

>Were the bugs stored by the war hive?
I cannot imagine that. Rokoa, any of them should have known that, and I can't imagine that the spire would be able to learn and turn them against the hive so quickly. The armory was likely contained as well as it was, as each sector likely has tough air tight lockdowns in case of a hull breach in space.
No. 457047 ID: 1987d1

>not warhive bugs
Rokoa was also disgusted by the tech, and cited as a reason the Salikai deserved to be destroyed.

>Something is trying to actively bring me somewhere.
Alright, since in relaxation in dead dreamland isn't doing it for you, let's investigate. Maybe you're picking up sleeping war-hivers? ...or dying warhivers? Not like you've ever slept in a battlefield before. Or maybe it's some of the nanos that got on you trying to communicate or something? (inb4 Alison and co are in Polo's head).
No. 457048 ID: 629257

Well this is unusual. So you aren't dreaming, but this sure isn't your typical waking state. Maybe it's some kind of hivedream?

No sense wasting whatever opportunity this condition is presenting, go to where other are and see what is going on. In case you forgot, you just killed the queen, so maybe this will let you influence their attitudes and your fate.
No. 457049 ID: f2c20c

Alright, let's go where the lots of people are.
No. 457051 ID: 04b86a

Yeah, the Salikai only just figured out how to hijack your body. Hijacking your mind on this level should be beyond them, assuming they weren't holding back by intentionally using an control AI that didn't know what it was doing.

Well, since we have nothing else to do we may as well go see what whoever's in that other place wants. But first, jamming field or no you're in direct physical contact with Rokoa. Try to feel for her mind and if you can sense her see if you can contact her.
No. 457053 ID: b33427

Yeah, that sounds like your memories of people and things being reflected back, as an illusion of reality. They won't know or be any more than you remember.

The power outage the fake Roil mentioned may be the simulation losing power. Best find a way out of this place of echoed memories before the power comes back.

Head towards the unknown others. Try and sense what they're feeling, and if their empathic signatures are like Rokoa's hive, or the hidden hive remnants. In fact, think of Rokoa's signature and see if you can feel it. It's very strong, and you've been around her enough, it could work as a beacon.
No. 457056 ID: 085efe

Test their adaptability, go places you haven't been, or that would have lots of little details, like stores.
No. 457057 ID: e3f578

Polo try and force another time skip. Maybe that day you met three stripes. Like, ride that force that's driving you elsewhere and just overstep it. Like running down an automated walkway the way it's taking you, unlike running away the way it's taking you like you are now.
No. 457061 ID: f09b71
File 134837096422.png - (13.33KB , 700x700 , 954.png )

I walk. It feels like I walk for a long time. I stop on a store, just to see what happens. I buy some food. Nothing odd. But eventually I make it to... some sort of college. This is not where I studied, but it may be a parallel. I recognize some of the faces, as I did go to a foreign school at some point. I wasn't able to overstep it, I don't feel like there's anything past this college. I have a class to get to, as I remember enrolling. Even though I never came here specifically. This is someone elses school, and I guess I'm along for the ride.

If this is an interrogation to see my memories, then it is not doing a good job, and they will be very disappointed.
No. 457062 ID: f09b71
File 134837097466.png - (12.45KB , 700x700 , 955.png )

I don't know anyone here, as there is no one else from my hive. This is similar to my training, on one hand. Spend a lot of time away, around other hives, and get used to it while making sure I can come back without issues. My foreign school was a modern case of hives coming together, but it was only partially. Each hive became their own clique or gang.

A couple hives come in. One of them is familiar in my alternate... no, my real life. The others I have never seen before in any sense. They arrange their desks together and away from each other.

The hive that drew me here is approaching. Stomping in like they own the place. The dream is feeling real again. I will have to focus on other things even as I walk right into it. It is still hard to think clearly.
No. 457063 ID: f09b71
File 134837105296.png - (18.12KB , 700x700 , 956.png )

>"What's up NERDS?! This better be physics 101!"

I guess the warhive was the one that drew me here after all. Sleeping neumono empathy is not very strong, so I couldn't tell it was Rokoa before. Although she does look different, and she doesn't appear to notice me.
No. 457064 ID: 886a4d

Simply watch her for now. Strange how their eyes are closed though.
No. 457066 ID: e3f578

Yo, this is chem 101 bitch.
You ready to do the time?
Let's see your rhymes!
No. 457067 ID: 4a328b

Chill with the hives you've never seen before, i.e. Rokoa's dream neumono. Point to wherever the name of the class is displayed but otherwise ignore Rokoa. Act like you own the place, basically.
No. 457068 ID: df771b

Crack a smile at how utterly unsurprised you are that Rokoa and her Hive were probably the school bullies and all-around douches.
No. 457070 ID: b33427

You know that Rokoa is quite a bit older than you, so she never could have been here at this age. It's like your memories and Rokoa's are becoming partially jumbled and merged together in the dream. Donno if that's what you want or not.

For now, just say it is physics 101, and take a seat. Focus on what you remember of the class subject from when you were here, and maybe that'll ground you a bit.
No. 457071 ID: f2c20c

Keep with your hive. The other hive will just shove you away. Try to keep your interactions with Rokoa to a minimum, so she doesn't share your fate and fuck up the dream so nothing is real at all and everything is boring.

...wait. Rokoa isn't grinning like a loon. Oh dear, are we going to find out why she grins all the time?
No. 457074 ID: f09b71
File 134837301735.png - (12.52KB , 700x700 , 957.png )

>Rokoa is older
Unless she went to college far later, yes, our timelines are not exactly having a perfect matchup.

I point to the board, which unfortunately for making a fool of Rokoa, does say physics 101.

Deciding to approach one of the other hives I've never seen before, they all glare at me. They don't want me to sit with them.

>"Hey! I don't remember them letting children into college! You wanna run off to the playground, brat?" the tannish one notices me, not Rokoa.

It looks as though they're just squinting really hard to make douchebag appearances. It isn't like they need to look that tough, so far they're the biggest people in the class. It doesn't help that the fact that I first went to college before I was fully grown is reflected here, and I am even shorter than normal.
No. 457077 ID: 61e7f9

Do you have a weapon? Shiv that bitch. I'm not fucking kidding. When they start getting stabbed for being assholes is when they stop and think about what they are doing in life.
No. 457078 ID: 1987d1

...war hive high? Well, college. This is so weird.

Is anyone besides Rokoa even real? I don't know if the others would be able to penetrate the jammer.
No. 457079 ID: c4e8ee

Become huge
No. 457080 ID: 4a328b

Sure, let's go to the playground and play live-ammo hopscotch.
No. 457081 ID: 886a4d


Lets just say we're here on scholarship. Which probably is true since your military had to fund this somehow and make it look legit.
No. 457082 ID: e3f578

"They do if they're smart enough. How a big grown girl like you can act like she's still in high school and get in is the bigger mystery here."
No. 457084 ID: 2e5d9e

Respond to obnoxious with obnoxious! Insist on hanging around Rokoa's group for no particular reason.
No. 457087 ID: 886a4d

Sure lets be suicidal!
No. 457089 ID: 629257

"Not a kid, just small." If she continues to tease you, remind her that you may not be much in a brawl or much sports, but your build excels in a gunfight.
No. 457090 ID: b33427

Well, you are here partially to experience how other hives think and act. May as well start now.
No. 457091 ID: f2c20c

Errr... let's not threaten with or engage in violence unless that's something appropriate for Neumono college.

Countering with a crack about how she's a bit old for school seems about right. Or ask if there's something wrong with her eyes.
No. 457092 ID: f09b71
File 134837454587.png - (7.18KB , 700x700 , 958.png )

I do not have a weapon for experimental dream shivving. I am also not comfortable with it, as much of my sensations, such as the floor under my feet or pinching myself, feels real, and I have been beaten up enough as it is. I could not say if any others are real, or figments of a dream. If I am still in the brig, then it should just be Rokoa and I, but nevertheless.

I think very hard about being huge but it does not happen.

"I'm here on scholarship."
>"Ohhh, look at miss fancy, getting her high brow education from a scholarship!"
"It's not an uncommon occurrence if they're smart enough. How a big grown girl like you can act like she is in high school and get in is the bigger mystery here."

That gets the attention of Rokoa and... who I think is the QI Dragoon pilot?
No. 457093 ID: f09b71
File 134837459504.png - (7.16KB , 700x700 , 959.png )

In any case, the trash can just outside of class feels real, too. It is an oddly easy place to think clearer. I actually do not know how my normal silence works with a dream emission. I rarely dream with my hivemates. I think my training passively made it so, as I recall having more shared dreams as a child. They were more lucid than a normal dream, but not nearly this lucid. As I trained for silence, they got rarer, but supposedly that could be a natural occurrence that was a coincidence. Our low sample size of infiltrators is so low that it is hard to tell how it has effected our dreams. It has not been studied extensively. No matter the case, I appear to be a step past the others, not even Rokoa of which appeared to recognize me.
No. 457094 ID: 886a4d

Well nothing to do but see where this leads.
No. 457095 ID: df771b

My vote is for rigging up explosives and turning their rooms into smoking craters.

C'mon Polo, you're a commando, surely you can jurry-rig up some explosives.

Of course we won't KILL THEM, just turn their rooms into scorched holes in the wall.
No. 457096 ID: 61e7f9

Then go MAKE a shiv.
No. 457097 ID: f2c20c


Start sneaking around. Use your infiltrator training. If you feel like you want to risk breaking the link, try going silent. It's possible you might stay in the dream but become invisible.
No. 457098 ID: 4a328b

Spy on the classroom, wait for an opening to participate or see where it goes next
No. 457099 ID: 629257

I say force your way into being chummy with Rokoas war hive. Maybe they'd respect winning a contest at the gun range.
No. 457103 ID: 61e7f9

Ok, bombs sound like a better idea.
No. 457104 ID: 629257

...Well, I suppose being able to troll jocks by routinely blowing them up as some appeal. If you can't join them, beat them.
No. 457106 ID: b33427

Could be something extra in the prisoner's collars causing this. Could be the residual nanites in Rokoa. Could be just close proximity with Rokoa. Could be all, a combination, or none of the above. There's just not enough to go on, and no idea how to get out of whatever this dreamworld is.

How about doing something you'd never have done back then, and something you couldn't do back then. It might just break you out of whatever this is.

Fish around in the garbage cans for something good and rotten to throw at Rokoa's head. Put on your empathic block, sneak up into the room, and hurl it at her. Then put that endurance training to use and run like the wind.
No. 457109 ID: f2c20c

Erh, guys, keep in mind this feels VERY real. Do you want Polo to find out what it feels like to get stabbed or shot in this dream, where she can't wake up? Or hell, for her to DIE?
No. 457112 ID: f09b71
File 134837696325.png - (18.48KB , 700x700 , 960.png )

I go silent. I only have a rough idea of how it affects dreams, but I do not get disconnected. I can still sense them in class, still acting like stereotypical jocks. For all I know, they can still sense me, and just don't care. Again, I've little experience trying to use silence in a dream.

In any case, I grab a rotten banana peel out of the trashcan. I am oddly clean, no complaints. It takes a visit on Rokoa's head.
No. 457113 ID: f09b71
File 134837697383.png - (9.12KB , 700x700 , 961.png )

After putting murder on her mind, I am still able to outrun her with the headstart and lose her in the halls. It looks like silence works for hiding, at least.

I move around a bit, starting to look in other classes. It is a similar case, a mix of the war hive and fake hives. I notice the dorms. I sense Pilon inside. There is also a faculty building, and weapons and arms department nearby if I am set on getting a weapon. It won't be hard to make a shiv even if I don't find some kind of weapons depot, for self defense.

But there probably are real weapons somewhere, if this is a military college.
No. 457115 ID: 886a4d

Sure lets go see Pilon.
No. 457116 ID: f2c20c

Ahahaha, fantastic!

I really don't want us to get shot or go on a murderous rampage. Polo is not a bad kid. Just go say hi to Pilon, and see what he was like in college. I bet he was a chick magnet.
No. 457117 ID: df771b

Aside from the three we just fucked with, it's probably best to not go fucking around with other peoples dreams, considering that in the waking world they are still debating whether or not to kill us.

So I'm on the fence about visiting Pilon, but I am totally for setting their specific dorm rooms / bunk beds on fire / filling them with refuse.
No. 457118 ID: e3f578

This IS college, let's try and experiment all sorts with him!
Who was your first sweetheart anyway, if you've had one?
No. 457119 ID: 629257

Sure lets see what Pilon is up to, maybe we can get through there. The weaponry thing may not amount to a hill of beans in this place anyway.

...On the other hand, if we blow up the entire school it may forcibly end this charade of reality. Just something to keep in mind, if nothing else works out.
No. 457120 ID: 1987d1

Yeah, I'm pretty sure red is the dragoon pilot too.

Well, you're lucid dreaming, but you're unable to control anything besides your actions. As Rokoa is the only person here you know is real, seems to me you should concentrate on finding ways to fuck with her.

Pilon might be interesting, as he'll be some odd combination of Rokoa and your idealizations of him.
No. 457123 ID: f09b71
File 134837818907.png - (11.05KB , 700x700 , 962.png )

>Have you ever had a sweetheart?
I have had relations, but never a single individual that I would latch onto for the rest of my life.

I go up to Pilon's room more or less undisturbed, aside from a funny look from people hanging out in the halls. I knock on Pilon's door. I also find Rokoa's room, but one thing at a time.

>"Oh, hey! I was wondering who it was! I didn't know you came to this college. What are you doing here? Can I get you anything?"

Was he always this huge? I don't remember.
No. 457124 ID: 1987d1

>Was he always this huge?
His ears are supposed to be as big as you, not 2 to 3 times as large.

I've no idea what to ask of him, in context. You could always thank him for interceding on your behalf, in case you never see the real son of a bitch again before they have you executed.

...or you could riff with him? He's one of the few people we know who could roll with your sense of humor.
No. 457125 ID: f2c20c

Wait, I think he recognizes you. Hang on, you're this tiny because he sees you as being this tiny. Also no, you are normally much closer to his size. Even with your college self being a little smaller, he shouldn't be any bigger than Rokoa.

Tell him you're just looking around and were wondering what exactly is going on. Tell him you sure don't remember going to college with his hive.
No. 457126 ID: 2e5d9e

Good lord how the hell did he get that big.

Uhh. Well, on the plus side, he's being super friendly. Maybe you can safely ask him just what the heck is up here.
No. 457127 ID: 629257

Well... how does one approach asking if they notice reality isn't actually real? Tell him that you just arrived here and felt his presence. Ask if you can hang out sometime, as the other hives are being varying levels of assholes. And ask if he's noticed anything weird since being here.
No. 457128 ID: f2c20c

Hey, we could ask about the blackout.

Oh, and, he asked if he could get us something... respond to that with "You can get me some stilts."
No. 457129 ID: b33427

Nope, he wasn't this huge. He looks even bigger than the Red Queen here. Probably a combination of him seeing you as small, and you seeing him as big in the real world.

Say you were running away from Rokoa after throwing a banana peel on her head, and sensed him. Thought you'd come up and say "hi" to the only reasonably friendly face around and ask him what's going on. Pick his brain about what kind of things wind Rokoa up. Maybe go in together on pranking her.
No. 457130 ID: f09b71
File 134837972316.png - (7.45KB , 700x700 , 963.png )

>"Heh, I got 3 stepping stools."
"I'm just wondering what's going on, and looking around and decided to say hi. I never went to college with you guys."
>"Huh? We're here right now, going to college with you. Unless you aren't actually enrolled? I hope my hive isn't giving you a hard time, just let me know and I'll sort them out. Thanks for asking, though, but not much is going on. I was just cooking dinner."
"You also recognize me. Thank you, by the way, for interceding on my behalf."
>"Hey, don't thank me yet, until I actually stop them. And of course I recognize you, Polo. You doing alright? Let me get you something."
"You haven't noticed anything weird? Like a blackout?"
>"Huh? Last blackout I know about was months ago, but that wasn't weird. After that though, was when my hive enrolled here. But nothing weird, no. Don't let me keep you just standing there, come in, would you? I was just cooking dinner."
No. 457131 ID: c0a697

They might be in your dreams because they are imprinting on you, or at least trying to.
How often would a War Hive choose it's major leaders on combat with the previous queen?
You do have skills they would find useful.
No. 457133 ID: 6cc859

"Tell me about when we first met. I'd like to hear your perspective on it."
No. 457134 ID: bf54a8

the world you are in is not real, the only way to wake up is to kill yourself. climb to the roof, and jump off.
No. 457135 ID: 1987d1

Hmm. You're still the only one lucid. And we don't know if he's real.

Well, man's offering you dinner! Might as well go in.

...I wonder if this could be because of the regicide? The hive has lost an emotional touchstone. Could their subconsciousness all be reaching out, trying to establish some kind of new normal? You've accidentally stepped into the subconscious reorganization of the war hive.

...if that's the case, you totally need to get Pilon or Rokoa to run for class president or something. You can be the regicide and kingmaker all in one!
No. 457136 ID: 629257

Sure, take him up on it. Since he knows you and all, but the timeline doesn't make any sense, you can try asking if he remembers when you first met.Either he'll remember things that don't fit, or draw a blank, or invent something.

I wonder to what degree people are dreaming here. Surely one of them should manage to be lucid as yourself if everything else is equal. Is there any kind of technique or trick involving shared dreams that you know of? A way to prove that you aren't awake, or to help another become lucid?
No. 457137 ID: 2e5d9e

If we are influencing who takes power here, Pilon is easily the most level of anyone we've met from this hive.
No. 457138 ID: f2c20c

Sure, go on in.

Can you sense any other hive members around? If so, I guess you won't really get any privacy even in the dream, huh?

The blackout he described WAS before the 'college' popped up. I think something weird happened outside the dream, which was portrayed as a "blackout" and somehow shoved you into this shared dream. Something the salikai did, probably. They could be under attack, and anyone asleep is completely disabled and unable to wake up.
No. 457140 ID: 4a328b

Hum, if you have to elaborate on the not-enrolled thing you can say you are in on scholarship starting next semester, for now you're just visiting. If he doesn't press the point don't bother saying anything, though.

Ask if you can help cook. It'll be fun, probably.
No. 457142 ID: 1987d1

Most level headed, willing to put the good of the hive before himself, a talker, and likely to get us out alive if he has the chance to.

Our goal should be steering Pilon into a position of power in the school. Pilon for President! The Son of a Bitch in chief!

We should also help Rokoa get as popular as possible. Make her reacceptance easier after her 'betrayal'.
No. 457143 ID: b6edd6

Ask him when his birthday is. Remember what he says, and ask him again when you are awake.
No. 457144 ID: b33427

May as well take his offer to step inside. Stick around and share a meal, if Rokoa doesn't barge in.

Ask him what he remembers happening right before the last blackout, and anything that happened after it other than his hive coming here.
No. 457145 ID: f09b71
File 134838141757.png - (12.07KB , 700x700 , 964.png )

I head in. He is cooking stew, and I help him, although I do have to use his stepstool. It smells real, unlike the coffee cake. Though there's still another weird smell. I nibble on one of the onions. It tastes real, too. I can sense others in their doorms, so there won't be privacy outside of my own silence.

>Is there a way to prove that you aren't awake, or to help another become lucid?
Normally it should not be that big of a deal, and normally I should be able to wake myself up.

"Tell me about when we first met."
>"Eh? Well, okay. It was when we were tourists in this hive city to prove that we could get along with other hives, or at least not murder them. We met in the grocery store just off campus. You had gotten the last piece of bread, and I was going to take it from you, but then you threw some smoke or something and set the sprinklers off to distract me and made a break for it. Later, we met near a gun shop, after I got in a really nasty fight, and I was much better about talking to you normally then. Sorry again about that first time."
"Ah, right. Say, you wouldn't happen to like the idea of running for class president or something like that, would you?"
>"Uh, Polo, there's no such thing as a student principal or president or anything. We're students."
"Oh. Okay, another question. When is your birthday?"
>"67th day of winter.
"And what was going on before the blackout?"
>"Just full of questions, huh. I was being taught basic military discipline and all that. Nothing really to talk about during that or after until now."
No. 457146 ID: f2c20c

>weird smell
Like the smell in the brig? Hmm, he was in military training as well... I think there was some sort of gas attack. Ask him if he smells something weird.

I think we should try to get him to realize he's dreaming. If that's really him and not some dream construct, then he's our best chance of getting someone awake to warn the rest of his hive.

Basically, getting him to realize he's dreaming will illustrate quite clearly that something weird is going on, because Neumono do NOT share dreams from far apart. Only you and Rokoa should have this shared dream. If he's real, shit is fucked.
No. 457147 ID: 6cc859

"Don't worry about the thing with the bread. Sure was a good thing I brought my smoke grenades to the grocery store, though, wasn't it?"
No. 457148 ID: 6a1ec2

Polo. The bugs. They have you.
No. 457150 ID: 4a328b

Had a thought:

You guys were dreaming separately until the blackout, and now you are dreaming together.

I think there was an actual black out and the jammer turned off--do you have to get everyone to wake up at the same time in a communal dream, or something?

And what's that strange smell, is it something like fire?

Try and convince Pilon he needs to help you find Rokoa, then when you're all together try to get them to wake up
No. 457152 ID: 1987d1

Huh. He's keeping up pretty well. Better than Roil, at least. Really doesn't seem to be a fake dream person. And the common blackout really makes me think something happened to dump a bunch of dreamers together.

I think we should operate under the assumption that the war-hive people here are real, for now.

The birthday check is pretty smart, but we can't do it till later.

If we want to try and get someone else to 'wake up' and go from dreaming to lucid dreaming, Rokoa is probably our best bet. We're in close proximity to her in reality, and we have the best established bond with her (even if we did hit it off with Pilon).

>No student government
Lame! There's got to be some kind of power structure we can push Pilon into.

It's not the same gas as from the shield and gravity room is it? That's one you might associate with Pilon.
No. 457154 ID: b33427

Tell him that you were outside during the day, doing laps on the track, when the blackout happened. Which you found extremely odd. Impossible, even. Ask Pilon if he finds that as odd as you do, and if he was outside when the blackout happened as well.

Yeah, let's get Rokoa in here to share a meal. It can be under the pretext of letting her know you won't be throwing any more banana peels around unless she gets full of herself and acts all high and mighty.
No. 457157 ID: f09b71
File 134838347567.png - (9.49KB , 700x700 , 965.png )

>What is the strange smell like?
.... it is hard to describe, and I could believe it to be gas. Not from the shield and gravity room, but about as uncanny.

>Do you all need to be in a communal area to wake up?
No, we should be able to wake up fine.

"I was in broad daylight when I had a blackout at the same time. It was impossible. Do you smell something weird?"
>"Just a little something, now that you mention it. Other than the stew, I mean. It isn't quite the same, but it reminds me of a kind of drug. Which is weird, I don't get the impression anyone else is up to anything like that around here."
"Uh... I'd like to get Rokoa in here."
>"Er... her? What for?"
".. please, Pilon?"
>"Yeah, okay, I'll go get her, unless you want to invite her yourself? I don't know if you two will, uh, be the best of friends at first glance. You just hang around here, you can finish the stew, right?"
"Yes. I think we're dreaming, Pilon."
>"Polo, if we were, I think I would've woken up from these stomach pains I'm having. But as it is, I think I just need something to eat."
No. 457159 ID: 61e7f9

"This is 100% a dream of some kind. Everything is wrong. Everyone feels dead. Things don't smell or taste right. I know this now, so the question is what do I do about it?"
No. 457160 ID: 4a328b

The stew won't help, but no sense in delaying him by arguing about it. Tell him to go bring Rokoa here, we'll handle the stew.
No. 457161 ID: 6a1ec2

No, no let Pilon eat. Then ask him how it tastes.
No. 457164 ID: 61e7f9

>"Polo, if we were, I think I would've woken up from these stomach pains I'm having. But as it is, I think I just need something to eat."

"Oh, where I'm from you got gored by a vernaut. I'm talking foot wide hole in your chest all the way through. You barely lived. That might be causing some stomach pains."
No. 457165 ID: 629257

I think it is a dream, and that smell is involved somehow. Eating the food might make it worse... please Pilon, get Rokoa in here. I need you to trust me."
No. 457166 ID: f2c20c

Tell him the real story. A summary, of course. We might not have much time. Then ask him how to wake up. Would uh, dying work? Or does that risk dying in real life?

We might need to get those weapons after all. Joining up with Rokoa and Pilon to shoot the fuck out of the entire hive, to wake them up. How's that for the weirdest goddamn mission ever?
No. 457168 ID: 1987d1

The stomach pains are most likely them growing back after that vernaut impaled you, and I patched you up.

"Because you are not my enemy", remember?

If that doesn't snap him out of it, nothing will. That's the single strongest and most meaningful moment we've had with him.

That was the case in Polo's solo dream. Food tastes real here in the communal dream. See the onions.
No. 457169 ID: f2c20c

Oh, and we can prove that we're dreaming via the silent thing. Nobody can do that without years of training, which you wouldn't have had at this point.
No. 457170 ID: b33427

Ask him what kind of drug does it remind him of. Is it a gas or smoke? 'Cause from what you remember, you smelled it before going to sleep, and then things stopped making sense.

Say that you really suspect his stomach pains are something much more serious than mere hunger. Ask that if could humor you, and eat slow when he gets back, just in case.
No. 457172 ID: bf54a8

kill yourself.
No. 457178 ID: bef5d2

I don't get this

What are they?

Kobolds, ninjas?
No. 457180 ID: f09b71
File 134838639555.png - (10.00KB , 700x700 , 966.png )

"Yeah, please get Rokoa in here. But first, let me tell you about my side of the story. The way it happened, was that you had a run in with a vernaut, and your stomach was completely impaled. I patched you up, because you are not my enemy."
>"No, and that's why... wait, what? That didn't happen. Besides, an impaled stomach? I think I would notice a hole in me if I had it. And, excuse me a moment. Yeah, it looks fine. Actually, it does feel a little weird, though, again now that you mention it. You know, you're saying insane things, but you don't sound insane, and something is off, but the idea of this being a dream is a bit absurd. But I don't like the idea of you being troubled with it, so I'll still do as you ask, so long as it's not harmful crazy."
"Don't worry, I'm not asking us to go jump off a cliff to die our way out of the dream. I couldn't do this silent thing if I didn't have years of training, though."
>"Yeah, but you said you've been trained from as soon as you could speak to learn how to do that."
"...one last question, what does the smell remind you of?"
>"Some kind of hallucinogen. It's very nasty stuff. It would probably be illegal, but there aren't any problems with it, considering it's not at all a good recreational drug. The smell alone shouldn't do much, although this doesn't smell quite like that. I should be able to pinpoint the other smells considering I've been trained to be drug resistant, but it's not coming to me. It's a bit worrisome, so chalk that up for another reason why I'm rolling along with your claims. I'll go get Rokoa, then."

I will not attempt to kill myself or any such bodily harm until I am absolutely sure that that would not have severe ramifications.
No. 457181 ID: f09b71
File 134838642898.png - (15.15KB , 700x700 , 967.png )

Pilon gets back, and Rokoa comes in when the stew is almost ready. She makes an almost toothless smile at me before she flops onto Pilon's couch. I swear she nearly breaks it.

"You can thank my overwhelming respect for the big lug, runt, for me not ramming that banana where the sun wouldn't shine. So what's all this about, then?"
No. 457182 ID: b3dd38

You must construct additional Pilons.
No. 457183 ID: df771b

"Either I'm insane and have memories of blood and a struggle for survival that stretch for well over a month ingrained into my skull for no particular reason, or we are all probably going to die while we are trapped in an unconscious dream."
No. 457184 ID: 629257

"We're all dreaming, wounded and under the effect of powerful hallucinogens. None of this is real but let me tell you what shit is really going down." Then proceed with storytimes. Don't know here you should start with that, probably with the first mission that lead to all this.
No. 457185 ID: 4a328b

Ask if she's had any training against drugs or knows about anything that can trap one in a dreaming state. Not pulling out the "We're dreaming and can't wake up" bit right away since she'd disbelieve it, just trying to get her to access any knowledge that could be useful to us.
No. 457187 ID: f2c20c

If this is a hallucination, then you must still have the collar on. So you aren't walking around, at least.

First, ask Rokoa if you've ever met before. Specifically, if she ever told you her name. Yet we know it, don't we? Rattle off other personal details we know about her. Then try seeing if she remembers calling you "Coffee cake".

Then ask if she remembers any of your three encounters. First, at the explosive barrel where you called her bluff and nearly killed you both. Second, at the door where you shot her friend near-fatally to make her retreat. Third, at the volcano where you engaged in a sniper duel and you came out on top merely because you hit her a few times and she didn't.

If she still doesn't remember any of that, ask her if she remembers guarding you with her body while you blew the fuck out of her queen with an explosive shotgun.
No. 457189 ID: 1987d1

Seems to me if we're going to talk them into anything, we need to turn off our silence. Let them know we're sincere.

>What's up runt
Right now I'm trying to figure out how I got trapped in this group dream with all of you, why none of us can wake up, and why I'm the only one who doesn't buy into the dream.

And if you've lost your overwhelming respect for my sort of weird or going above and beyond what's expected, I'll happily beat it back into you at our next rematch.

...I don't suppose the name Kakra means anything to you? (She shouldn't have kids yet, so maybe that will break it for her?).
No. 457190 ID: 61e7f9

"From my point a view a lot of shit is messed up. This is some kind of dream or hallucination. I'm just going to call it "my reality" to keep it simple. Pilon says we met in a grocery store and I threw a smoke grenade at him, triggered the sprinkler system, and booked it. Then later we met up after he was in a big fight near a gun store. In my reality we met as enemies while I was infiltration your war hive's mothership and was in the shield generator room and threw a smoke grenade at him and legged it. Fire suppression system went off. Later I found him after being gored through the chest by a vernaut and patched him up outside the ship's armory. Currently he says his stomach hurts a little.

Long story short, Rokoa and I killed the war hive queen to keep a truce and prevent the war hive from being destroyed by the queen in a silly last stand blaze of glory everyone dies in a massive fireball. Pilon was in on it for the prep and trying one last time to talk the queen out of it. Currently we are both in the brig. We don't know where Pilon is or what happened to him after the attack on the queen. We get along about as well as we are right now. Constantly on the verge of punching each other and tossing petty insults around.

Besides that everything here feels fake and detached. Like all the neumono here are braindead. Except you two. And this place smells like bad drugs as one of the few real smells. Hallucinogens maybe.

Also the possibility I lost my marbles from hanging out with Rokoa too much or that I'm plain crazy. I have so much information and knowledge that contradicts the current setting that I'm willing to bet this is a dream or some other false thing."

tl;dr This shit is whack, yo.
No. 457192 ID: f2c20c

Something occurred to me- if the food tastes more real here, maybe trying to wake up really hard actually DOES work. Maybe if we had all three of you doing it at once, it'll break the hallucination/dream.
No. 457193 ID: 61e7f9

"As an aside, a few things that could trip your memory if you really are the people from my reality stuck here too. Coffee cake. Kakra. You unbelievable son of a bitch. Rokoa had/has a point."
No. 457194 ID: b33427

Before going into what you remember and all that, tell Rokoa that in the interest of clearing the score for that immature banana peel incident, you'll give her one real good free punch on you. You'll even stand on the step-stools so you're high enough up so she can get a solid swing in. You just ask that she doesn't break your jaw, 'cause you have some other things to say afterwards.
No. 457196 ID: b33427

Oh, almost forgot: Ask Pilon to eat some of the stew after you're done speaking, and tell you if he feels better or worse.
No. 457199 ID: f09b71
File 134839000116.png - (11.06KB , 700x700 , 968.png )

>Fake neumono
Let me try and phrase it again, in case I thought differently before. All of the other hives feel fake and detached, but everyone from this hive feels legitimate.

"I believe that we're all under the effects of a strong hallucinogen. Do you remember our first three encounters?"
>"Hell, we've never met."
"We have."

I give her a short summation of the events both in the dream and in reality, along with some details of how Pilon and I get along, but Rokoa and I do not.

>"You believe this nutjob, Pilon?" Rokoa finishes with.
>"I'm not entirely certain, but something is off."
"Have you had any training with drug use, Rokoa?"
>"Fuck no."
"And, uh, does the name Kakra remind you of anyone?"
>"What do you know about my kid?"
"Nothing actually, just the existence of. Coffee cake ring any bells?"
>"No. Start shutting your mouth."
"If you're angry about the banana peel, that was rather immature. I'd offer you a punch, just so long as you don't break my jaw or something."

Pilon serves some of the stew.
"Pilon, just amuse me, and... eat it slow."
>"You better not have done a thing to the food. You eat it, first." Rokoa says.

I may as well amuse her. I eat a bit. Then Rokoa eats a bit, then clears it for Pilon. He eats a little bit, taking it slow just for my sake.
No. 457200 ID: f09b71
File 134839006933.png - (19.46KB , 700x700 , 969.png )

Then the pain hits him, and he falls off his chair..

>"The fuck?!" Rokoa yells, almost lunging at me with lethal intent, but Pilon is able to silently say it's not my fault. He still trusts me, even in this false reality.
>"I-I'll be fine..." Pilon says.

A beeper goes off on a nightstand that I didn't notice before, and Rokoa lifts his shirt. Bandages. Pilon is clearly shocked, as he was certain that the bandages weren't there before. There is attention on our room now. The rest of the hive is beginning to realize something is up. Someone is rushing towards us.
No. 457201 ID: df771b


Tend to Pilon as best you can, also point out to Rokoa the shock collars.

Shit's getting real yo.
No. 457202 ID: 61e7f9

Stay calm. Probably best if you just flop over on the ground for now. Reality is coming back. You should not be anywhere near Pilon. You have no idea where you are. Yell for help.
No. 457203 ID: f2c20c

The hallucination's breaking! Oh god, that means we're not in the brig anymore. Or Pilon is in the brig now? The shock collars should've killed us! They were battery-operated! Oh wait. EMP! They hit the base with an EMP, it shorted out everything, that's why the shock collars didn't kill you when you went to the college.

Wait. The college... where are we REALLY? Are we in the damn spire? Tell Rokoa to get them on alert via the empathic connection, you're gonna need to fight real soon.

We need to get weapons. Fast.
No. 457204 ID: f2c20c

Oh, wait... the beeper. We're in the medbay. Okay, they haven't taken over the ship yet, at least.

Man, I wonder how FUBAR everything is in reality?
No. 457205 ID: b33427

Just to clarify, but is it the fake hive, or the real one that's noticed something is up, and who's member is rushing towards you.

The prisoner's shock collars are visible. That means you're either still in your cell, or they were disabled somehow. Point out to Rokoa that she's wearing one, and feel your throat to confirm you're wearing one as well.

Tell Rokoa you sense someone is coming, and you don't think they're going to be friendly. You need her to be ready to pin whoever comes through that door, no matter what she sees or feels.

Grab whatever that beeping thing is, and start feeling it. If you find stuff that feels like wires or tubes, follow them, and see if they lead to any of you, especially Pilon. It may be what's keeping you in whatever this is, but it also may be a medical device that's helping Pilon, and went off when he went into pain.
No. 457206 ID: 4a328b

An alarm--is the power coming back on? Are the collars going to activate? Hopefully you aren't too far from the cells.
No. 457212 ID: f09b71
File 134839334347.png - (13.94KB , 700x700 , 970.png )

Pilon's beeper appears attached to him, another thing we didn't notice. The one coming is someone from the warhive. It turns out to be a doctor who bursts in.

>"The hell is this?! Something in his stomach? Get the fuck out, you two, I need to operate!"

She has an impressively accurate idea of what is going on.
No. 457213 ID: f09b71
File 134839335223.png - (10.56KB , 700x700 , 971.png )

Rokoa and I get pushed outside, and I take off my silence.

"We're wearing collars."
>"No we aren'.. the hell, we are?!"
"I think we should get some weapons." I feel at my collar. It is there alright.
>"Against who?"
"Just trust me, alright?! Can't you tell I'm being honest?"
>"Fuck that, you can turn off your empathy, who's to say you can't fake honesty?"

Armory, or brig... I'm betting that each one would be the weapon department and the campus police headquarters respectively. I don't want to be out of the cell if these collars go back on. Yet on the other hand, the illusion doesn't seem to be breaking at any accellerated pace, as we still look like somewhere we're not.

And slowly, it seems that there are some legitimate neumono that may not be part of the warhive. Possibly two hives? I do not recognize them, and they are faint.

>Do you know if there are respirators/biohazard suits?
It is possible, but I can't think offhand of where such a thing would be stored, given my visibility.
No. 457214 ID: bf54a8

"how long would it take to learn how how to turn off empathy? give her a moment to think "much longer then we have been here. something is fucking with us, how could the medic have gotten here without ether of us calling?"
No. 457216 ID: 04b86a

If we're in the med-bay, then there should be more medics around, and judging by the one that's treating Pilon they're probably all trained to be drug resistant. Find one and ask if they can get you and Rokoa respirators so you can start getting the drugs out of your systems. Maybe they can also remove those collars while they're at it.
No. 457217 ID: c6ec33

I second trying to find another medic to talk to. If they're not lucid enough to realize what's going on, treat them like they're the school nurse and someone pranked you.
No. 457218 ID: b33427

Say that whether or not you can fake honesty, she saw the bandages appear out of seemingly nowhere, along with the collars. You don't expect that to be enough for her to get weapons and start attacking, but isn't it enough to follow you for awhile and see if there are more things that aren't right?

>"Against who?"
She does have a point. You two can't safely identify friend or foe in your current state. Being armed would put members of the hive at risk, and would also risk them responding to you as a threat. For now, put aside getting any weapon more dangerous than a chair leg.

Okay, so judging by the beeping pager thing hooked up to Pilon, and the medic charging in, this is Medical. One of those two hives is most likely members of the hive from the underground spire you sensed the last time you went through Medical. I'd say seek them out, since they wouldn't have as strong a basis in the shared hallucination, and might be broken out easier. Then you can see about getting an O2 tank and mask from either the medics, or finding one on your own.

Also start to think of areas of the ship that have isolated environmental systems that you could head to as a backup plan. The shield generator room has one, and the Bridge does, or did until you blew a hole in it. Possibly the Armory, though it could be compromised by now.
No. 457219 ID: f2c20c

Tell her that she just saw something completely impossible. If she won't trust you after that, then you'll fight the enemy troops on your own. Also tell her if she won't fight, then just go to the campus police and wait in the cell, so she doesn't get killed by the collar. By all rights you should do the same, but you didn't get this far by playing it safe.

Also, I think there should be oxygen tanks/masks nearby, since we're in the medbay. The problem is SEEING them. Try pinching yourself again.

We should go to the armory and get some weapons AND ARMOR. You are not getting in a firefight without protection! No way! Then again, uh... if there are enemies here taking advantage of the hallucination, they probably secured the armory first.

Mainly I think we'd want to get to the ventilation control systems, after getting a gun of some sort. We want to vent the ship and get some fresh air in; that will fix everything. How would we do that though? The map we have doesn't list any room that sounds like that'd work. Ask Rokoa, hypothetically, if we needed to vent a ship what would be the room where that could be done?
No. 457220 ID: 04b86a

We should also add finding a jammer to our list of things to do. A respirator won't instantly cure us, but if our empathy is completely blocked we won't have other people reinforcing the specifics of our hallucinations, which should also have the benefit of making it easier for Rokoa to remember us.
No. 457221 ID: b33427

It wouldn't help with the rest of the ship, but if you two find a way to the exterior, then there's plenty of fresh air to clear your heads. Assuming the ship hasn't moved up out of the atmosphere, but that's doubtful with the power problems going on.
No. 457222 ID: 1987d1

>who's to say you can't fake honesty?

> it seems that there are some legitimate neumono that may not be part of the warhive. Possibly two hives? I do not recognize them, and they are faint.
Huh. That might be worth investigating. What other hives are around that could possibly be sucked into this dream? People from the spire's science hive? Rakae and Rikek? You'd recognize any of those, though.
No. 457232 ID: f2c20c

It's NOT a dream. It's a shared hallucination, hijacking the empathy network to keep everyone seeing the same thing. Very clever, to be frank. If Polo wasn't around, it would work perfectly and be quite possibly undetectable. She only figured it out because she had no real strong empathy network to support her intro hallucinations, before the college.
No. 457247 ID: 58396a


Ding ding ding diiiiiiiiing~!

Sounds spot-on. Looks like they've either wired us, or we're basically trapped in some kind of false reality deal. This whole nonsense is some form of brainwashing cycle to integrate us into the hive.
No. 457250 ID: 886a4d

What? I'm pretty sure its another Salikai experiment. I bet they did everything they could to exploit the Neumino link.
No. 457251 ID: 1987d1

If the warhive had freaky brainwash integration tech, they wouldn't have had such a time reintegrating Rokoa after she was kidnapped as a child.

Besides, they have a hard time seeing non-hivemembers as anything but outsiders and enemies. Even reasonable, intelligent Pilon struggled with that. Does that mindset sound like they'd go out of their way to find a way to covert people?

And the distinction between a shared dream and shared hallucination is semantics at this point.
No. 457277 ID: f09b71
File 134842666936.png - (9.22KB , 700x700 , 972.png )

Although she is giving me a tough time, she does know something is wrong, and is willing to follow me.

"We should get some respirators or bio hazard suits or something like that. Another doctor should know. Another should be around, right...?"
>"Hey, doc! Any other doctors around here?!" Rokoa yells into Pilon's room.
>"I'm on house alert with just one other, don't bug us! Get to medical ward if you've got a non emergency!"
>"Yeah, we're in the dorms after all. Let's go."
"Rokoa, hypothetically, if we were in a ship, where would a room be to vent a ship?"
>"The ventilation room? How the hell would I know?"

With that, we head to the medical ward.
No. 457278 ID: f09b71
File 134842669446.png - (10.42KB , 700x700 , 973.png )

Inside, there is a legitimate warhive neumono secretary and a disjointed neumono.

>"Hey, us two want a respirator!" Rokoa says.
>"What for?" the fake one asks.
>"For the argument of not punching your lights out"!
"Someone pranked us."

They catch that we're not just there to fool around, so they let us through without more issues.
No. 457280 ID: f09b71
File 134842676835.png - (13.51KB , 700x700 , 974.png )

We rifle through, and I locate one of the science hive members sick in bed. He is lying down, but doesn't appear too hurt.

>"The respirators aren't doing shit." says Rokoa.
"It may take a bit to get out of our system. Give it a bit." It isn't a lie. I do feel like my surroundings are getting... well, off. Something different, at least.

>"Uh... do you two need something?" the scientist asks.
No. 457281 ID: 886a4d

Nope, we got what we need.
No. 457290 ID: 1987d1

Oh, it's one of the pinkie science hive POWs.

>need something?
Uh... not really. Say, do you remember how you got here? Say... being captured by an invading hive? Or you know anything about secret Salikai R&D of hallucinogenic empathy drugs?
No. 457311 ID: 886a4d

We should wait until we're out of la-la land. For all we know he is armed to the teeth.
No. 457313 ID: f2c20c

Hey, are there others of his hive around? I'd like to point out that if we blow our cover and reveal that we're fighting against the hallucination, everything goes to shit and the invaders might start attacking before we're ready. This is because neumono who are familiar enough with eachother can empathically communicate.

In other words, anything we tell him, every nearby member of his hive will know too. Also, I'd like to point out that while Polo can go silent and hide that she's figured shit out, Rokoa can't. Don't forget that the enemy hive can sense her emotions.
No. 457314 ID: f2c20c

Er, if there aren't any other science hive members around, go ahead and ask him what he knows about hallucinogens, possibly combined with amnesiac drugs and something to hijack the empathic connection between neumono.
No. 457317 ID: 61e7f9

"We are having some wicked hallucinations right now. I don't know if you are real or not. Got any idea what the hell is going on?"
No. 457324 ID: 1987d1

>don't blow our cover to the science hive
Okay, I think it's pretty safe to assume we're still on the ship, but we've all been drugged and everybody is group hallucinating this college. The fact that the food adversely effected Pilon, and that the respirators seem to work suggests we're up and walking around hallucinating, not dream sharing.

(Although, one does wonder how we got out of the brig without being electrocuted).

In which case, the science hiver person in front of us is one of the POWs we sensed in the infirmary the last time we were here. He's not in on it, there's no cover to blow, he's lost in the illusion as well. Meaning he still retains his basic skills and knowledge, just with a different made up history attached to it. So we can get him to betray the Salikai and tell us everything he knows about hallucinogens without him even knowing it. In this fake reality, it's a perfectly innocent question.
No. 457327 ID: b33427

Since he's being effected by whatever gas is in the air, he's going to be part of the shared hallucination. Likely as a professor or faculty member, since he's from the science hive. Try going along with that when talking to him.

Say that you're here 'cause some kind of hallucinogenic gas that you science types were working on got loose, you and Rokoa got into it, and you thought he'd know how to counteract it faster than having to breath through a respirator for who knows how long.
No. 457329 ID: f09b71
File 134843830289.png - (10.41KB , 700x700 , 975.png )

"Do you remember how we got here?"
>"I suppose that I am of an engineering hive, that may or may not be as I think."
"Know anything about Salikai hallucinogen empathy drugs?"
>"Not salikai, but there is a parallel with what I do know. I am suspecting that there may be some truth to it, even though I know that many of our surroundings are not added up. That is why you came, yes? I imagine that is why you have respirators. Smart."
"Yes. Do you have any idea what's going on?"
>"I can not say with confidence that my facts are straight, so I had best not say anything. I am glad I'm not the only one who is noticing that not all of the neumono here may be real."
"There are two hives I sense besides the war hive. You, someone else. Know who the someone else is?"
>"Yes. I'll spare the incorrect details of what I know, but a few of them are behind jammers and in jail. Namely the giant one that volunteered to test out some drugs."
"Tell me what you know about the gas drug."
>"It's not as though I was the one spearheading its design. It is a bit unstable though, and loses potency quickly. If there is a such thing around us, then it has to be generated. In short, somewhere, if used, there would be a gas generator that is pumping stuff out into vents. It would not work outdoors effectively, though. But I suppose if we were indoors and got gassed, we could think that we were outdoors."
"Will the respirators work?"
>"Yes. Side effects are unknown, sometimes it takes 5 minutes to break out, sometimes weaker willed ones could be lost for days."

There are a couple others around that are of his hive. They seem just as confused, although this one appears the most lucid. Not as though that is saying much.
No. 457330 ID: 61e7f9

"Rokoa, ventilation room, where is it?"
No. 457333 ID: 886a4d

Alright, thank him. We need to get to a place which would allow someone to drug most of the ship. Most likely enviromental.
No. 457335 ID: f2c20c

Okay, sounds like we need to find the generator and destroy it. Next stop, armory. Let's get a couple plasma swords, as they are concealable and will be able to take out the generator without destroying the room it's in. Also, they are quiet. We need to rely on stealth here if we kill anyone. Look out for any jammers along the way- if we run into invaders while wearing the respirators we're in trouble... though from the sound of it, the invaders would have to be the tribals. Of note is that we can't even speak to the tribals; we don't know their language! I feel as though we are more likely to have ivaders of other species, and we might not even be able to SEE them.

Come to think of it, it's been like, an hour since the gassing happened. Why haven't they started killing people yet? Or taken over the ship and rounded everyone up in prison?
No. 457336 ID: 04b86a

Rokoa resisted a predator; weak willed, she ain't. She might just need some encouragement to start actively fighting off the effects. Thank him for his help, and tell Rokoa to start making an effort to remember where her collar and Pilon's bandages came from.

I just noticed that Polo and Rokoa's collars have vanished. Art error?
No. 457337 ID: e3f578

Somewhere along the line your collars must have been switched off. Let's take advantage of this.
Ask Rokoa where they would hide the keys to your collars on a ship. Does your face still feel hurt? You may have been under the drug for a week or so, or a few day at least.
No. 457339 ID: 1987d1

Thank the science hive guy for his help. We're off to find that generator.

If the hallucinogen fades, she'll remember. If not, we look for the university steam pipes or something.

First priority is arming ourselves. Hopefully our tiny person gear is stowed in the armory / weapons and arms department. Then we need to hunt down the fog generator.
No. 457341 ID: b33427

Thank him for the information, then go dig up another respirator for him to wear. That way, if you aren't successful in stopping the source of the gas, there'll still be someone who knows what's going on and can get others out of the hallucination.

Considering how big the ship is, there's bound to be multiple large air processors instead of one huge central one, so it's not going to be an easy matter of going to one place and destroying one big gas generator. With that in mind, the best air processor to take care of first would be the one handling Medical, since that's where the respirators and those who know how to deal with the gas are.

Since you don't know how to get to the ventilation system room in this hallucination, and the entrance is likely guarded anyway, the best route would be directly through the vents. Get a flashlight, crawl in in medical, and just keep choosing the larger vents and ducts until you reach the air processor. Rokoa can follow you by sensing you from the halls, but she's going to have to take the respirator off, since that'll draw attention.
No. 457346 ID: f09b71
File 134844331603.png - (10.96KB , 700x700 , 976.png )

Art error? Art error.

"Thank you, scientist guy. We're going to get you a respirator as well. Rokoa, ventilation room, and keys to the collars on a ship, where would the be?"
>"Like I fucking said, runt, we're in a college, how would I know? Are these collars for slaves or something?"
>"Then maybe in the damn prison?"
"Let's try to arm ourselves in the... arms department.

My face.. in here, it does not feel like it hurts, but there is some degree of awareness of soreness all around. It is gradually getting greater, for better and worse.
No. 457347 ID: f09b71
File 134844334732.png - (9.23KB , 1000x300 , 977.png )

But by the time we get to the armory, I'm seeing it for what it is. Rokoa is slowly snapping out of it, and is at a point of being dazed. Right about the point of waking up from a heavy dream, as an awkward middle ground. She'll slowly come to. We get to the armory, and if there is a place here where my things are stored, I imagine it would be these lockers.

There have been a few neumono just standing around, sometimes talking to no one. Figments of the hive's imagination I suppose. It is still a mystery as to why I have been immune to the effects. It may be the lack of my connection with Rokoa's hive using the collective mind's of everyone to perpetuate the illusion, or something having to do with silence training. A combination, perhaps.

>"Hey! Don't just ignore the teacher! You guys can't just go pilfering through people's personal property like this!"
No. 457351 ID: 886a4d

My stuff was confiscated by the teacher to make sure I was allowed to have it. I'm here to retrieve it since I recieved a note saying everything checks out.
No. 457352 ID: f2c20c

Hmm. I'm seeing a disadvantage to having no access to the hallucination. Take your mask off, have Rokoa leave hers on. She's more familiar with the ship, so she'll be able to guide us around a hell of a lot better, while we can look at the hallucination lucidly and inform her how to get things done without getting in trouble.

So basically, take off your rebreather, regain the hallucination, and ask the "teacher" where your locker is. If you're not willing to do that, tell this guy you're trying to find your locker; you're not gonna take anyone else's stuff.
No. 457354 ID: e3f578

"Some of this stuff is mine actually. Some green armor, a light blue bioarmor, an explosive shotgun, etc. If you check the inventory list, you might find some of it recently stocked. Most of that should be my stuff, or stuff I've taken previously from here and put back. I wouldn't know how recent they came to be here if they weren't mine. I'm going on a Moton hunting trip soon, Momz invited me."
No. 457355 ID: 7ea3a9

"Like I give a fuck. My stuff is in here anyway and I'm getting it back."
No. 457358 ID: 1987d1

It's okay, teach, this is my stuff. See how it's sized to me? No one else in school is this tiny.

>disadvantage to having no access to the hallucination
We're more at a disadvantage being in it, I think. We can play along without seeing.

We should cut the collars off as soon as Rokoa is lucid enough to be trusted with that kind of delicate operation.

Also: after we disable the fog emitters and save everyone (again)? You need to find a way off this ship before they all snap out of it. Better that than trusting yourself to their mercy- no telling how reliable that would be.
No. 457360 ID: 04b86a

You weren't immune, you just managed to focus on clinging to your real memories before the feedback from everyone else could overwhelm you. Not having any hivemates here likely helped, though.

"I'm 'ignoring' the teacher because we're the only three people in this room. You're hallucinating, go through one of the medical doors and grab a respirator." Even if she's reluctant to believe us, she'll at least know we're being completely honest.
No. 457361 ID: 6a1ec2

One disadvantage being that you might forget that you are in a dream at all. Somewhat mitigable by having someone nearby to keep you sharp but, try to get the guy accosting you in on it first. Instead of tripping balls yourself Polo, whisper to him that something strange is going on, and you need his help to get to the bottom of it.
No. 457363 ID: 1987d1

Actually, wait! Maybe we can get the 'teacher' to lead you to your stuff. You're a new student, and can't find your locker. It's a got a small, green outfit in it with some tools and stuff.
No. 457366 ID: b33427

Say you're here 'cause your stuff was stolen as part of a prank, but it was found, and you were told it was brought here for you to pick up. Apologize for rifling through the lockers without asking first; You're in a hurry, but that's no excuse for bad behavior. Ask him if he'll check the lockers for you, and tell him the one with the green armor in it is yours.
No. 457371 ID: 26a7c1

"There's a leaking gas tank around here somewhere. Grab a rebreather and warn the others."
No. 457380 ID: f09b71
File 134845010149.png - (21.29KB , 700x700 , 978.png )

"I've got stuff in here that is mine. Sorry for looking through other's, but I'm in a hurry."
>"Teacher's not gonna help you, so just keep on walking." Rokoa says.
"That, or help my find my things. They're small, since I'm the smallest one around."
>"We've got kids your size around here at a daycare." he says, looking up between Polo and I. He knows something is wrong, no doubt us ignoring what his figment is sayings. Eventually he looks at the locker where my things are stored.
"And last of all, there is a leaking tank. Get a respirator from the medical ward."
He stares at us, dumbfounded. In fact, the whole hive seemed to be affected, before they, and he, snaps back to attention.
>"Why haven't any officials said anything about that?"
>"We don't have time for this." Rokoa says.

I don't want to put on my bioarmor, so I just wear the green armor while Rokoa makes a valid point. I keep the helmet latched to my belt, but I'll be able to put it on and just hold my breath if I need head armor. Plus, the collar gets in the way.

>"Think I'm fine. Forget about a thing I said in there. At that age I was diving in rotten swamps to hunt crab like things, not pushing around people a quarter my size. Never been to college, but apparently it's a common thing now." Rokoa finishes. "There's ventilation stuff in the medical bay, bridge, engine room and teleporting station. The controls for all of that can be made at the bridge, if you want to get straight to it. On the other hand, I don't think you want to be around when the controls in the brig go back online and notice we're far from home. Actually, pretty sure these things have a pretty good sensor to see whether or not we're conscious, so it may not kill us. We just let the prisoners think they're gonna die, when it just keeps 'em knocked out. Never did deal with prisoners too much, myself."
No. 457383 ID: f2c20c

Oh thank god.

The gas tank is most likely in the teleport station, as that's where they would've gotten in.
No. 457384 ID: bf54a8

well unless they self destruct when removed forcefully you can cut them off.
No. 457386 ID: 886a4d

The bridge would be where the Spire troops would make a beeline for while all this would be going on. I think its our best bet to both freshen the air and stop whomever is doing it. I also bet there is an escape pod right there too.
No. 457388 ID: 085efe

Express relief at Rokoa being normal again, or what ever it is you call what she usually is.
No. 457389 ID: e3f578

Brig first, vents later.
Honestly, other people may start taking more initiative now to return to normal. Taking off those collars should be priority. The other neumono might even be capable of doing that on their own. We may just want to get off this ship and leave now, Rokoa can handle it from here and mostly redeem herself if she wants to stay. We've done a lot for her and the hive, I don't think we owe her much else in practicality, we just might get in the way now. It'll be good to prep a ship regardless, if shit starts to go bad fast, people will need to be able to bail quick.

So we should ready ALL the ships for a quick escape.
No. 457392 ID: 1987d1

Don't forget to grab your weapons, folks! Grab your extra gear (bio armor et al) and shove it in your backpack too.

>I don't think you want to be around when the controls in the brig go back online and notice we're far from home
I don't suppose we can just cut them off? We have access to plasma blades. And after we deal with this latest disaster, I'd kind of prefer to make a run for it than go back to the brig and wait around to see how merciful your hive is feeling.

> Forget about a thing I said in there.
Don't worry about it. It was a cakewalk compared to getting to know you in reality.

This sounds like sound logic. The surviving miklik infiltrators and facility troops have probably brought the CAI to the bridge and are attempting to seize control. We should probably stop that.
No. 457397 ID: f09b71
File 134845225460.png - (12.36KB , 700x700 , 979.png )

"Good to know you're back to normal."

She's quiet, and does not want to speak about it anymore. Rokoa's locker was next to mine, and we grab our weapons, and I get my bio armor.

"Can we just cut off these collars with plasma blades? Or normal stuff?"
>"If you don't mind having some molten metal in your fur. Otherwise, we can't get these collars off with a knife, unless you take your head off."
"Are there escape pods in the bridge?"
>"The people in the bridge are more of a 'go down with the ship' sort of type, so no.. It's built like a panic room, apparently a shitty one."
"I'm going to want to get off this ship before they have a chance to judge me while I'm locked in a cell. Let's go to the brig. We'll get to the bridge after that."

When we arrive, I sense the other hive. For some reason, I still open the door first and find one of the salikai's giants. It looks like her hands are tied behind her back. Despite that, as soon as Rokoa starts getting close, it gets every intention to fight her. It wants me to back off. Meanwhile, the rest of her hive appears to have holed up in the brig, trying to find a way out, but I do not know if I can convey an escape plan to them. Certainly not by language.
No. 457401 ID: f2c20c

They're likely hallucinating too anyway. There's no way to communicate and the drug will probably keep them from snapping out of it anyway, just like we saw with talking about a leaking tank.

It's really strange that you haven't met any resistance. No enemy troops at all, and these giants are just locked up... without collars... ask Rokoa if these are PoWs or if they've been planted here. Anyway just get the key to the collars and let's get to the teleport room. We should NOT abandon ship unless there is no other option. We're supposed to have a truce with this hive, and abandoning them at this point might piss them off enough to break it. Besides, Rokoa is right there. She won't take kindly to us abandoning them either.
No. 457402 ID: 1987d1

Is your silence on or off? With the war hive immobilized and disoriented by the hallucinogen, you don't really need it to sneak around. You might as well have it on for improved Rokoa relations.

Okay... so this must be the giant one who volunteered to test out some drugs. I'm not sure why the Salikai sent them up bound though, or what the point of dumping them in the brig is. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Our hives have a cease-fire, not a mutual assistance pact. Polo's in no way obligated to help, she want to. Because she's got friends on board, and would rather not see the whole hive get killed. And we should most certainly run for it after cleaning up this mess, and not sticking around to count on gratitude.
No. 457405 ID: f2c20c

>running after we deal with the gas
Oh, that IS a good idea. Plus, we can meet up with our friends who are still waiting for the evac, to tell them that we're gonna be going after the Salikai next, probably. When that is about to happen, we should probably negotiate terms- we won't be doing THAT mission pro bono. Alternatively, we could radio home and ask them for new orders on how to deal with the Salikai threat.
No. 457406 ID: 04b86a

This is the part where Three Stripes would start emitting peace and say "vaota", but I doubt that'll work here.

It is strange how we haven't met any enemies yet. Why would the Salikai cripple the war hive and then not do anything to it?
No. 457410 ID: eb682d

It's entirely likely their crazy scheme went horribly wrong. It seems to happen a lot to them.
No. 457411 ID: f09b71
File 134845554745.png - (11.54KB , 700x700 , 980.png )

My empathy has been more or less on ever since I was in Pilon's room.

"Rokoa, what are these ones doing here?"
>"Must've been brought up for some reason from the facility attack squads. I don't know what they're doing here."

She rushes us, but she is hallucinating after all. It tackles someone that isn't there, and headslams straight into the wall.

"Let's just.. get the damn keys and get out."
No. 457412 ID: f09b71
File 134845557417.png - (15.96KB , 700x700 , 981.png )

The others come out and start wrestling, getting the attention of the rest of the warhive. There is something morbidly humorous about the fact that eventually the giant's hive starts getting overpowered by their imagination, but I don't stick around to watch. Rokoa and I run for the bridge, cutting our collars off on the way. A damn escape is in sight. Well, it has been, but an escape with peace of conscience.

I head to the hallway with the prior explosion entrance. At the other end, I see a miklik on lookout. I can't avoid getting noticed even just from a brief poke out with my head, but he doesn't appear to be following me other than being on his guard.

>"Hey!" the miklik speaks after a moment. "Talk to me."
No. 457414 ID: 886a4d

He doesn't seem armed. Ask what he wants.
No. 457416 ID: e3f578

Why talk to you? What do we get out of it?
No. 457417 ID: f2c20c

I really wish we had access to the hallucination so that we knew how to keep our cover. We'll have to keep him talking without revealing any information, to see what the hallucination is supposed to be here.

Or we could just make something up, considering he's a miklik and thus can't SEE the hallucination. Yeah, let's just make something up. Tell him you're not up to anything, honest! Act like a guilty college student. If this is the bridge, then... ask him why he's guarding the office of administration. If this is the teleporter room, ask him why he's guarding the... uh... parking lot.
No. 457419 ID: b33427

Don't say anything. You didn't have your face out long enough for him to see you were wearing a respirator with the bad lighting here. As far as he knows, you're a hallucinating neumono.

Instead, wait there, and see if he comes to investigate. If he does, as soon as he rounds the corner, the both of you tackle him, and cover his mouth so he can't yell.
No. 457420 ID: e3f578

Something I should point out, we are far out in the atmosphere probably at the moment, if not in space. There might be a chance that some of the salikai's units may desire to defect and flee, at least the not brainwashed ones. The neumono units are unlikely to abandon the salikai thanks to family/hive ties back home under its supervision, but the miklik units and other sentient units (maybe they have sheep) either might not care too much about family and desire to go independent. OR this might be somebody from the embassy or their association, who knows.

Likely won't work, we are in armor and sneaking around with respirators on. We look very aware of the situation.
No. 457421 ID: 61e7f9

Where are your guns? I'd suggest holding him at gunpoint while Rokoa walks over to check him out.
No. 457424 ID: f09b71
File 134845777408.png - (9.32KB , 700x700 , 982.png )

"Stay quiet, Rokoa. We'll jump him and keep him at gunpoint when he gets out, I'm not sure if he got a good look at me."

>"......... I'm just security around here, but not guarding against any entry. You're welcome and encouraged to come inside."
No. 457425 ID: 886a4d

Crap, they're that confident that they've won... Welp lets go inside.
No. 457426 ID: f2c20c

Take off your mask so that he doesn't realize what's going on. Remember that the gas didn't hit you immediately. You should be able to have it off long enough to get close to him for a silent takedown, without even having to hold your breath. Just make sure to breathe through the mask for a little while afterwards, then hold your breath while peeking into the next room.
No. 457427 ID: 61e7f9

Rokoa, is he a friendly? If not just shoot his ass. He's going to come around eventually and be trying to kill you or do other harm.
No. 457435 ID: b6edd6

Ask what he is guarding against.
No. 457439 ID: 1987d1

...Salikai has the bridge and is willing to talk with Polo? We should probably leave Rokoa behind, and risk setting foot in the trap. See if we can learn something.

If anything goes wrong, we got Rokoa cavalry.

I don't think there's a point to pretending to be drugged. If we're interested in the bridge, we're obviously in possession of our faculties.
No. 457440 ID: 2e5d9e

Ask him what the fuck.
No. 457453 ID: b33427

He still thinks you're under the influence of the gas. Use that to your advantage.

Move back so he can't hear, and quickly strip out of your armor; It'll be suspicious as hell if you come out wearing that. Put the deactivated prisoner collar on if you still have it. Whisper to Rokoa that you're going to try and silently take him down. When you grab him and cover his mouth, you want Rokoa to charge out and help you haul him back out of sight. If anything goes wrong, you want her to charge in anyway and save your ass.

Breathe deeply, then take the respirator off and hand it to Rokoa, and hold your breath. Cautiously step out and start walking towards him. Say you're sorry; That you've been on edge and don't know why. Once you're close enough to silently grapple him, do so.
No. 457454 ID: 1987d1

Actually, the Salikai won't necessarily know Polo was taken prisoner, or briefed the miklik on what she was last wearing. And there's probably lots of armed/armored and drugged war hive members about- this is a battle scene (or it was). We don't need to ditch the armor, or put on the collar. All we need for that ploy to work is to remove the respirator.
No. 457458 ID: f09b71
File 134846458919.png - (9.75KB , 700x700 , 983.png )

I head out and hold my breath, except to talk as little as possible.

"So what are you guarding against? I've been on edge."
>"Making sure people don't get rowdy or anything."

He is keeping his distance, gesturing the way in. He is definitely cautious of me, and isn't going to make this easy.
No. 457459 ID: 61e7f9

"I got a job for you then." Sock him in the stomach. Signal Rokoa to attack.
No. 457461 ID: a5478c

He must think he's a bouncer of some sort, ask for directions to the ladies' room and move on
No. 457462 ID: f2c20c

If there's nobody else watching, turn back and say that it's safe for Rokoa to come out, then when the miklik turns to see who's coming, ambush him and cut his throat.
No. 457463 ID: 1987d1

Let's not kill him, yet. If there are more on the bridge, a hostage might be useful. He's not armed- or at least, he doesn't have weapons in him hands, or ready to draw off his belt.

Really, all you have to do is walk a bit past him, and then shove him towards Rokoa. You're dense and armored, he's a twig. It'll work. Then you remask while she secures the prisoner (your empathy should make it clear you don't want him dead, yet). Then we check out the bridge.
No. 457464 ID: b33427

Empathically signal Rokoa to charge, then turn at the noise and curse that she found you, and say he better be ready to do his job. When the miklik turns towards Rokoa, jump him from behind, cover his mouth to keep him from yelling, and drag him down backwards.

When Rokoa gets to you, secure the miklik, and haul him to a hiding spot to interrogate. No killing, yet.
No. 457465 ID: 886a4d

sounds good.
No. 457467 ID: f2c20c

Well, being sure where the gas tank is would probably be a good idea. Also, the war hive could maybe interrogate this guy later. If we CAN keep him from alerting anyone else I'd support a nonlethal takedown.
No. 457488 ID: f09b71
File 134847285004.png - (24.22KB , 700x700 , 984.png )

I flash the idea that it's time to strike, and Rokoa charges out.

"Shit! I hope you're ready to do your jo-"
"No good!"

He's running! Damn guys are fast, I don't even know if I'd have been able to punch him with the distance he kept before he ran.
No. 457490 ID: f2c20c

Is Rokoa faster? Pull out a gun just in case and use your best judgement.

Or maybe you can throw your knife to disable him so that Rokoa catches up before he gets anywhere?
No. 457493 ID: 886a4d

Freeze or I will kill you.
No. 457495 ID: f2c20c

Oh, yeah, we could do that. "Stop or I'll shoot" sorta thing.
No. 457496 ID: b33427

Sprint up, grab his tail, and yank him back. Even if mikliks have detachable tails, it'll pull him off-balance long enough to get a grip on his clothes. That sash thing looks like a good target.

Thing is, if Polo shouts that loud enough, any reinforcements inside will hear.
No. 457498 ID: 6a1ec2

Keep in mind that you could probably end one of these guys with your pinkie finger. Keep also in mind that these guys haven't gone extinct despite this being trufax. Grab his tail!
No. 457513 ID: f09b71
File 134848383195.png - (17.10KB , 700x700 , 985.png )

I yank on his tail. Or I try. The damn thing is flicking around fast, but on the third swipe, I manage to get it and fling him back down.
No. 457514 ID: f09b71
File 134848384085.png - (25.08KB , 700x700 , 986.png )

He swings out his pistol, dodging Rokoa's first swipe for it. He gets a shot on each of our stomaches, before she clasps his hands. I'm fine, Rokoa is... yeah, she's fine. I hear the Miklik's hand break. Despite how easy they are to kill once we get a hold of them, they've been some of the biggest pain in the asses. I don't know if it is their species, or if the salikai's environment has led their reaction speed to seem almost instantaneous to me.

>"Getting shot this much is just starting to get on my nerves. Gonna have to go in for surgery again."

I make sure to shut his mouth, but he looks calm enough. Not as though he couldn't calmly scream.
No. 457515 ID: f2c20c

Dammit, he managed to draw his weapon and fire. Gunfire will attract attention. That wouldn't happen to have been a silenced pistol would it? Start interrogation right now- make him tell you where the gas tank is. Actually, have Rokoa do that. You stand guard. Ambush any miklik that arrives, by shooting them. Put on your helmet in preparation.

Come to think of it, with Rokoa unarmored it'd probably be best if you went into combat alone period. Like, once you find out where the tank is, you go in there alone to take it out.

It's worth noting that the miklik aimed for the stomach- that is a disabling shot. He doesn't want to kill you. The mission seems to be to take the hive alive? Are you all hostages, maybe? Research subjects? That's worth questioning him about as well.
No. 457523 ID: f09b71
File 134848680974.png - (16.19KB , 700x700 , 987.png )

Rokoa starts interrogating, asking the Miklik the obvious questions of where the gas tank is, what they're trying to do here, so on.

I put my helmet on and try to see if anyone else is coming, I do not see anyone coming to the miklik's aid, but I am more questioning why someone is trying to call me as soon as I turn the goggles on. It is anonymous, but they were obviously trying to call me even before I put on the armor.

The miklik, thus far, is uncooperative despite muffled grunts of pain from whatever Rokoa is doing to him.
No. 457524 ID: 5cd436

Well we better answer that call, also we should take a look in the direction the The miklik was trying to escape.
No. 457526 ID: f09b71
File 134849150567.png - (7.50KB , 700x700 , 988.png )

The miklik was trying to escape back into the bridge. It must have merely been a lookout. I do not see anyone in the first hallway that we ran into.

I answer the call. The first thing I hear is the sound of a salikai.

>"s all well and good reasoning, but what of Polo and Rokoa?" it says.

>"A swarm would most likely kill them." The head salikai. I have still never seen these two. "I should have ordered their death when they had the chance, but it will be too costly now. I do not expect we could kill them without significant manpower losses of more than just a few arkots. We are in severe lack of non-arkot manpower, and I don't trust them not to mess up the illusion. We need to save as much as we can. Get the CAI to finish transmitting its fabrications about this hive."
>"We could just crash the ship."

>"Tempting, but they are broken as it is. Even the ones who could not teleport back are merely holding their position until the teleporters come back on. Not to say that they have received their comeuppance, they do deserve much more - yes, arkot, we are leaving the miklik to keep them busy, not as though we need more time, but it's too late - deserve much more than they've gotten. In the longrun, we're going to make a whole mess out of this hive on a political standpoint. It won't do much, but once again, we need to buy every bit of time we can get, and if we can get a single hive dealing with this damn warhive that would otherwise be doing subterranean scans for our whereabouts, then I will take it."
>"And of the science hive up there?"

>"We'll be evacuating all our pet neumono, tribals included, while they're under their own gas invention. It's worked with a damn lot less kinks than the link hijackers, but both can be improved with this data."

>"Good! I still recommend, even at high costs, killing those two. Every problem we've had involves them! Half of u-"

>"Yes, I wish I could retrack to the time she was subdued and inflict on her twice the crimes she has on us as revenge, I've thought about that, and that both of them are legitimate threats. We can't think of revenge, due or not. Tell me, do you think that out of all the neumono on our own homeworld, we just happened to run into the single most naturally monstrous soldier, and the only one who has betrayed their own link? We will have to deal with far more, and if those two alone are such a threat, we will be biting off more than we can chew. It's inevitable, but I look forward to it. Let's see, 9, then.... Yes, I-10, you've done well. Continue not telling the bitch anything. For the rest of you, the teleporters are too risky. Take an escape shuttle or several and head to sector 6-F-20-120, enact order 12. We'll find you. Better idea. CAI. Fire all the escape pods except for three. The rest of you take the remaining three. And do remember to input a new password to keep that hive busy."
No. 457528 ID: 4a328b

Kill the miklik with pretty eyes now
No. 457531 ID: 5cd436

This seems unnecessary since we can kill the Miklik any time we want so lets not rush it while it might still be useful to us.

Search the Miklik since it might have an AI node like the one we killed in front of the armory.
Also i don't see any communication device on the Miklik so we could try bluffing and telling it that the salikai are planning on abandoning them or leaving them while they crash the ship or something along those lines to make him feel trapped. Then give him a way out like promising him that we will let him go if he tells us what we want to know.
No. 457532 ID: 1987d1

Hmm. Seems pretty careless of them to be chatting up all their plans on this communication channel. They know Polo had access- they were talking to her before via it. If they think we're hallucinating though, it seems unlikely that they'd go through all this trouble to set you up.

We need to get to the bridge and pull the CAI node fast. Before it can dump our escape route, or repassword everything. Run in there and disable it. Shoot the node from across the room if you have to.
No. 457535 ID: 1987d1


>we're going to make a whole mess out of this hive on a political standpoint

They're going to launch the god-damned nukes. They've hacked the hive-ship, and there're going to have it break the truce you worked so goddamn hard to enforce! Make the war-hive everyone else's concern, and not themselves.

You need to fucking stop this. Now. Storm the bridge, shotgun the goddamn /CAI node. Forget about interrogating that miklik, you and Rokoa need to get in there now.
No. 457537 ID: 6e44d2

This this this. Kill the miklik instantly and motor. Thank God for whomever connected you to the salikais' conversation.
No. 457538 ID: 886a4d


Yup. Time to be the big damn hero.... again. No time to explain, use your link to its fullest. We might need Rokoa if they have a vernaut in there.
No. 457556 ID: 016448

Pretty much this.
No. 457557 ID: 61e7f9

"Rokoa, CAI has the ship, they are firing the nukes. Break his neck and let's move. CAI is firing the escape pods too, we've got to stop it."
No. 457558 ID: 4a328b

Before we do any talking talking let's make sure this link to the Salikai isn't two-way.

Also pretty sure the miklik has some sort of comms on him, as well.
No. 457560 ID: f2c20c

Make sure the call doesn't have audio input from your side. The CAI is secretly helping you by letting you listen in; do NOT blow their cover.

Get in that bridge. We came to the right place. Kill the miklik, destroy its communicator.
No. 457563 ID: 6a1ec2

Sigh. The Salikai might have lived if it was just Rokoa's hive they were destroying. She did annihilate their er, hive as it were, after all. Eye for an eye and such. But now shebitch Salikai queen's going after your hive, ruining everything you worked for, just nuking it on a hunch. Not that they could have reached the bridge without your help. You'd think a little gratitude maybe?

Bitch gonna die.
No. 457565 ID: 280b26

Could be the CAI or that friendly neumono we talked to on this line being sneaky. Don't know why the CAI would help us.
No. 457566 ID: 4a328b

Yeah, I doubt it's the CAI, my bet's on nervous science hive lady
No. 457568 ID: 1987d1

Korli's more likely than the CAI. It could also be the Salikai toggled their radio to "broadcast orders to all" (they are issuing orders to their infiltrators, after all) carelessly forgetting we had one of their comms, or assuming it didn't matter because Polo was drugged.

Or the really paranoid option is they knew we'd listen in and they're trying to manipulate us, but that seems rather unlikely.

As an aside: I wonder what the sheep are up to? If this drug only works on neumono, this is probably their best chance to bail on the war hive and run the hell away, especially now that their contract with the dead-Queen is null.
No. 457619 ID: b33427

You've got no time to talk to Rokoa. Start rushing the Bridge, using your link to let Rokoa know how urgent this is, and to move it. You can tell her the basics on the way in, and ask her where they'd plug in one of the CAI relays. You're going to need to know that so you can unplug it, or explosive shotgun it.

No time for sneaky. Straight run in. Don't stop for anything. Shoot anything that gets in your way.
No. 457625 ID: f09b71
File 134853007483.png - (9.52KB , 1117x246 , 989.png )

I don't see a communication device on the miklik either, bu-



She gets the idea, and finishes off the miklik with a snap of the neck before running to me.
>"He had a communication node right in his ear." she says quietly, catching up as we start getting in the hallway.

>"Our miklik is dead!" the head salikai says. "Everyone stay alert, I expect they may visit the bridge."

One door is open, while the original way I went is shut. Not as though I am stopping my run while I decide, and Rokoa notes that the CAI might be able to have seen us coming if not for the fact that I've already shot up the security cameras here.
No. 457628 ID: 886a4d

The turret you killed is through that closed door. The other one most likely is still functional and under control of the CAI. Go through the closed door.
No. 457631 ID: e3f578

Can your explosive shotgun destroy the door? If yes, apply more BOOM to this bridge.
Everything needs more BOOM, it's a goddamn redlight sale. Come one, come all, BOOM for cheap!
No. 457634 ID: f2c20c

Explode the closed door. Do not advance towards the functional turret.
No. 457639 ID: 1987d1

Godsdamnit, we have to storm the same bridge twice in one day?

We have a slight edge though. They don't seem to have realized we're monitoring their communications yet.

...is the bike with C4 still in there? We could set it off ahead of our entrance, create some havok.

We need to get through the closed door. The open one leads to a turret, and the CAI will have hacked the friendlies list. You used up your C4 in the last assault (unless you were clever enough to grab some more when reclaiming your inventory), but we can still plasma sword through.
No. 457641 ID: 886a4d

Oh I forgot about those. Sword the door, better then trying the shotgun.
No. 457642 ID: b33427

I suspect that the explosive rounds aren't going to be enough to do more than deform the right-hand door, and make it impossible to open. Remember, this Bridge is built like a safe room, so the internal doors are tougher than usual. You'd need C4 to bust them open.

However, the lights are off, which might indicate the door power is out as well. Ask Rokoa if the doors on the Bridge are designed to lockdown if there's power loss. If not, then she might be able to pry them open if they weren't bolted before the power loss.

While Rokoa checks if the right-hand door can be opened or pried, pull out your sniper rifle and take a position behind the rubble to shoot the turret. Change to night-vision, select explosive rounds, and take the shot.

If the right-hand door can be opened without explosives, then the both of you split up to come at them from two directions. Otherwise, you both go in via the turret hallway.

Do you remember where the main entrance to this section of the Bridge is, or would likely be? 'Cause reinforcements may come from that direction.
No. 457643 ID: f2c20c

Plasma swording metal is slow. We need to work fast. It's exploding the door open or going through the turret.

Maybe we should just kill the turret instead. Oh, Polo can work on killing the turret while Rokoa works on opening the other door. She shouldn't be exposed to gunfire, after all.
No. 457645 ID: 1987d1

The turret has impossible reaction time. We only cracked the last one because it wasn't willing to fire on Rokoa. A CAI suborned turret will mow down either of us now. The first one nailed our knife faster than Polo's eyes could focus. We're not going to get the chance to line up a shot with explosive ammo, and if we try and lob a grenade, it'll shoot it or us in the hand.

Exploding the door would be fine, except we lack C4, and panic room doors will be built to withstand the weaker, non-shaped charges we can bring to bear with the shotgun or grenades.

...actually though, we have multiple plasma swords. Rokoa could start at the top, Polo at the bottom. Cut through faster.
No. 457646 ID: 61e7f9

Detonate the motorbike? Just get in there as fast as you can. Where the hell are your guns?
No. 457667 ID: b33427

Yeah, you're right about the turret. Forget shooting it. You've got four plasma swords between you and Rokoa. Start slicing up the right-hand door with one in each hand; Rokoa on the top half, you on the bottom half.

May as well give it a go. If you're really lucky, it won't have been defused, and is still in the same position. Just check if you can sense any of Rokoa's hive near where it was before detonating it. Don't want to kill them if you can avoid it.
No. 457686 ID: f2c20c

Oooh, good point. I forgot how incredibly deadly the turrets are. Yeah, double plasma sword action seems like the correct thing to do.
No. 457689 ID: f09b71
File 134853780674.png - (17.09KB , 1117x246 , 990.png )

We move through. Rokoa carries a chunk of rubble to block the turret's vision while we cross, and open the other door with the plasma rifles. Rokoa does not want to go down the turret hall. The turret there, despite not being the toughest, is the sort that can snap to aim and fire before a reaction speed permits otherwise, and carrying the rubble she feels would leave her open.

We get to work opening the door. With both of us doing it, it should not take long.

>"They bypassed the turret hall, they're cutting through the closed entry with plasma." A miklik says.

I do not know if my motorbike with the C4 would still be around. Rokoa is willing to open the other door to see if they just put it off to the side in the other room.

>"Then keep an eye on the other hall, but be prepared to mow them down as soon as they pop the hole." Salikai responds. "Toss grenades in, all throughout the hall, don't give them a chance if they're going to press us!"
No. 457692 ID: 886a4d

Let Rokoa finish up while you chuck grenades through the door.
No. 457697 ID: f2c20c

Once the door's cut, back off into the room across from it (making sure there's no enemies lurking in it) and use the explosive shotgun to blow the chunk in. We let them toss grenades in, and just wait for them to explode, then move forward.

Alternatively, be ready to just deflect the grenades back to where they were thrown, like by blocking them with a piece of rubble. Thinking about it, that would be the fastest option- we'd be further in when they explode, and they would ALSO probably take out enemy troops.
No. 457699 ID: f2c20c

I don't think we have any grenades! Didn't we use them all in the assault on the queen?
No. 457705 ID: 61e7f9

You need to broadcast a message. "This is Infiltrator and Rokoa. All combat able personnel attack the bridge. This is of the utmost importance. Use all available measures. Thank me later." Get Rokoa to chime in if she is nearby.

Shoot the turret when you get in. You will get shot. Try to damage it as much as you can. Keep getting shot at till you break it. This is not an option.
No. 457706 ID: 1987d1

Hmm. They almost certainly don't seem to know were on this line, unless this is an elaborate ploy. I'm going to assume they think Korli locked your comm out, but she didn't.

>Alternatively, be ready to just deflect the grenades back to where they were thrown, like by blocking them with a piece of rubble.
I like this plan. We pop the doors, but have a piece of rubble ready right behind. As soon as the grenades start bouncing off your shield, try setting off the bike. If the war hive didn't move it or disarm it, the facility troops would have ignored it, not knowing it was a dangerous.
No. 457707 ID: 886a4d

sounds like a plan.
No. 457709 ID: 1987d1

Best part is any grenade lobber would have to be standing right next to where we left it.

I wonder how many they've got in there? Should only be a few mikliks left, we got the grottle, and the vernauts wouldn't fit through these doors.

>I don't think we have any grenades! Didn't we use them all in the assault on the queen?
We used the last 2 pieces of C4, and one smoke. We should still have 2 smokes and 3 frags, I think.
No. 457711 ID: b33427

Tell Rokoa to finish her cut, then go check the room across the hall for the C4'd bike. Tell her to shoot out any cameras so they don't know what she's doing. Slow up your cutting so you don't finish until she's finished checking. If the C4 is there, have her retrieve it, and make sure it's armed. Then Rokoa stands to the right of the door, ready to throw the C4 in.

I do like the plan to deflect their initial grenade barrage by the both of you holding the rubble over the hole. Wait a second after the door chunk falls in, so that they can pull their pins and have to throw their grenades. There's still going to be gunfire, but if you have the C4, Rokoa can lob that through the hole and you detonate it in midair.
No. 457822 ID: f2c20c

Hey, in case it comes up later, the best way for us to break the illusion would probably be making a shipwide announcement. Saying that there's a gas leak and they should all get rebreathers, maybe. Or we could be ambitious and tell everyone to apprehend any miklik they see.
No. 457832 ID: f09b71
File 134857854761.png - (9.93KB , 1117x246 , 991.png )

>Any grenades?
Although I am beating myself up over not thinking to get C4, I did stock myself with a couple of grenades again.

Rokoa takes a moment to try and look in the other room, but the door is shut. Despite that one having a passcode entry, the CAI must be denying her access, so we finish opening our door. She puts the piece of rubble against it just in time to have a couple of grenades bounce off.

>"Shit! Stupid arkots!" another miklik yells, while a couple of grenades are thrown down the other hall to our end.

I simultaneously hit my detonator to the old C4, and I hear the motorcycle in the side room blow up. It looks like they relocated it after all.
No. 457833 ID: 62bab4

Hmm. Something else we overlooked in the initial comm eavesdropping: they plan to grab the POWs on the way out. That means they're going to hit the infirmary. That's not so good. Although maybe when the scientist we gave the mask snaps out of it, he'll start working on an escape plan? He may not want to be a warhive prisoner, but he jump at the chance to not be a Salikai slave either.

Huh. Didn't realize they'd bothered to send any up. Still, they don't have their main advantage here- no reinforcements.

With all the explosions going on, seems a good chance for Rokoa to move the rubble to the side and Polo to start shooting whoever's on the other side of that door. Rokoa can draw her gun (she has one, right?) and mow down whoever comes out of the other door.

Biggest problem here is time. Since the Salikai didn't give a launch order, and was planning (future tense) what they were going to do to mess up the war hive politically, that means the CAI must not have launched the nukes yet, and probably hasn't secured access either. But we have no idea how long hacking into the launch controls will take, or how long they've been at it. Which means the CAI could finish hacking at any moment, and we have to press hard.
No. 457835 ID: 62bab4

Best weapon choice is probably your shotgun. You can take out multiple targets at once, possibly detonate incoming grenades, and you'll be prepared to blast the CAI node as soon as it enters you line of sight. You shouldn't be afraid to use your own grenades either. We need these guys dead, fast.
No. 457836 ID: 886a4d

Through the door. Priority is locating that node. Your the crack shot so give Rokoa the boomstick. She likes explosions after all. You use your rifle. No time for subtle though so explosive rounds.
No. 457838 ID: f09b71
File 134858311673.png - (20.38KB , 1259x716 , 992.png )

>"Get back!" I hear them yell.

Rokoa shoves me to the side before she gives us a chance to shoot and holds the rubble up from the explosion to protect us from the shrapnel. Mostly her unarmored self. I offer her my shotgun, but she prefers to use the machine gun on account that she thinks the machine gun should see use, and I won't be able to give a weapon that size good use.

>"Caught a glimpse." Rokoa says. "They shut the damn last door to the bridge. Gotta do the same thing."
Getting through the first door took about 20 seconds.

I just noticed that the jammer bubble to the bridge is down. It makes sense, it may have been done before, but I sense the science hiver doing something dangerous. I do not know what, and I do not like it, but I don't have his intentions felt out. He is making a spirited sprint at us, and will arrive in under a minute.


>"Just bypass it!" the salikai shouts into the comm.
>"No can do." The CAI, at least the most informative voice of the CAI, says. "There are physical nodes elsewhere that operate parts of the nukes, and it's digital magic that we got this going in the first place. It's going to stop if we stop focusing. May as well just wait it out."
>"Fine! Protect the CAI node, I don't care if the whole hive swarms you! Flank those two if they advance!"
No. 457841 ID: 886a4d

You know what? The best way to get people out of that illusion to to disrupt it with danger. And I bet that announcement was ship wide. I wonder.... can you try and reverse your training? Can you start broadcasting your feelings of danger and alarm... harder, and louder?

Anyway we need to get through that door quick. Rokoa and you start cutting, Rokoa should keep half an eye out behind you for flankers, her machine gun is better at discouraging that sorta thing.

Once you are in the bridge room ignore everything but locating the CAI node. Let Rokoa handle the arkots and mikliks.
No. 457843 ID: 62bab4

Well, good to know I read their godsdamned intentions right. Thank goodness for redundant non-networked safeguards, though. Whoever designed this ship was smart, and deserves some praise.

Too bad about the bike. If it was in the side room, that means we could have used it as a suicide charge. Again.

I really wish we hadn't let Pilon eat. Be nice if we had more than a two person team.

>Planning on flanking us.
Sounds like a good use for our grenades.

Additionally, they're trying to protect the node. As soon as you breach the bridge, you'll know where it is- the console the troops are protecting you want to slag that with the shotgun or a 'nade immediately.

>Science hiver
I don't think we should mow him down instantly. Obviously we should be prepared to do so, but he might not be here to attack us. He might be rebelling against those who've enslaved him.
No. 457848 ID: e3f578

Great, if the CAI can start the countdown instantaneously we have 40 seconds total after opening the door to damage the node, not counting the ability to abort the nuke's explosion entirely if the CAI hasn't deleted that function yet. Hopefully that is actually completely analog process it can't control beyond the abort signal it launches to the nukes, but hopefully that's an unjammable type of radio or some other vibration wave instead of a network signal.

At least, that would have been the smart thing to do when designing the system for fucking nukes.
Whoever can cut faster handles the door, someone else just cover the flank. And instead of cutting the entire door, try looking for the mechanisms that hold it shut. You could also create a small hole to spam explosive rounds through or chuck grenades in.

If you get in fully, leap into prone position and fucking hit every goddamn terminal you can see in there with your shotgun while Rokoa provide cover fire ahead, fuck the flank.
No. 457850 ID: 886a4d

>Who the hell patched us into this conversation and controlled that turret

Two choices. The science hive wants to be free and are helping us... or this is a rogue CAI (Alison!)
No. 457851 ID: f09b71
File 134858688964.png - (10.40KB , 1117x246 , 993.png )

We keep an eye out for the flank, but given the room, I end up having to keep by the original door. If they get here, they can just lob grenades into the hole, or shoot us like fish in a barrel.

A few arkots poke their heads out, but I'm able to cover fire well enough with a rifle such that they're forced to keep their distance while the seconds pass. The rest of the hive is feeling uneasy from the nuke announcement, but I wouldn't know what they heard. They aren't doing anything convenient like rushing the bridge.

>"Almost done." Rokoa says. "How do you want to handle the opening? Gonna bet they've got their big guns pointed at us right now."
No. 457852 ID: 886a4d

Grenade time. Rokoa should use one of the door panels as a shield. Its better then nothing.

As soon as possible get to a console for cover. I remember there being several int he center of the room. However remember the objective is not to get in a fire fight but to kill that CAI node, or nodes if theres more then one.
No. 457853 ID: 62bab4

>What do?
Opening with grenades sounds reasonable, as does Rokoa using the door as a shield. If possible, lift the cutout up and forward initially so you can throw the 'nades out low. Then you can start shooting. Smoke may not be advisable- it'll slow down your locating the CAI.

Pay attention to enemy formations, and to whatever the Salikai is yelling on their comms. Between the two, you'll probably get an indication of where in the room the CAI node is. Blow it the fuck up. You can fall back behind cover and clear the bridge more cautiously afterwards, but the node has to die, ASAP, before the CAI finds a way around those security measures.

I still think it could be simple incompetence. We have one of their comms, they're setting up a conference call, and they're likely running off backup equipment in the middle of a full retreat. There's enough going on there that they could have just mistakenly not blacklisted our number right.

Not that it wouldn't be nice to have someone helping us on the inside.

How far out is the science hiver? If he's close, you may want to deal with him before popping the lid.
No. 457857 ID: 61e7f9

Polo, grab a piece of whatever and hold it in front of you.

"Rokoa, I'm going to be the neumono shield this time. Use me as cover when you go in, flank right. If I'm still conscious I'll follow you. Make it count ok?"

Toss a grenade down that hallway toward the dead arkots. Should stall them a second or two. Toss anything left into the hole before you go in. Push in immediately afterwards. Don't even worry about hitting yourself with those. It's going to be nothing compared to their fire at you.
No. 457862 ID: 6e44d2

Can you block the hole you cut behind you with rubble?
No. 457866 ID: 26a7c1

A reminder, this is what our side of the bridge looks like:
No. 457869 ID: f09b71
File 134859810155.png - (20.46KB , 675x685 , 994.png )

>Can you block the hole you cut behind you with rubble?
Not in a reasonable amount of time, especially with the turret still operational. That will also

I toss one grenade into the bridge, and Rokoa holds the first door's cut out panel up against the bridge door. There weren't any clunks this time from grenades hitting the panel, but I should still keep an eye out on the first hall.

The scientist is getting close, fast. He'll be here in the matter of seconds, but as he gets closer, I am beginning to think that he is going after the salikai's minions and was merely using Rokoa and I as a beacon. He is getting more desperate as he gets closer, although something tells me it isn't because of any nukes.
No. 457870 ID: f09b71
File 134859813730.png - (45.63KB , 675x685 , 995.png )

Then I get flung aside! They have explosive ammo too! Although the carried panel may have taken a chunk of the impact, she gets hurt pretty bad for what is otherwise a direct hit.

It doesn't help me out much, either. My grenade goes off, and I swear I hear the turret fire some shots at the scientist as he runs to us.
No. 457871 ID: 886a4d

Alright blocking that fire isn't going to work. Lets hope the grenade caused some damage because otherwise this is going to suck.

Though I'm curious on what the scientist wants theres really no time for a conversation right now. Dive through the door guns blazing.
No. 457872 ID: 61e7f9

Drop a smoke grenade in the room you are in. I fear a second volley is coming your way. Retreat back out into the hallway and shoot any arkots that have taken up position there.
No. 457873 ID: 62bab4

Hmm. No Salikai helpfully shouting out orders. Too bad.

Damn. Charging is suicide, and if they can lob explosives in, this little room could become a killing chamber. You can't really retreat either, as you'd have to climb through the previous door and they're pretty much lined up.

Use what cover you can, and return fire! Explosive shotgun shots through the door, and toss a smoker. We need the cover. Maybe another frag too. Then turn and be better to deal with the scientist. He better be feeling helpful, or you're gonna have to shoot him.

Possibly want to fall back through the previous door after that, so you can deal with people trying to flank you, and the ones trying to kill you in the little room too.
No. 457877 ID: 886a4d

Ummm you do realize retreat is not an option? We give the CAI 60 uniterrupted seconds and they will launch those nukes. I can see clearing a path first but being forced to retreat is a bad idea. Get some smoke grenades out as well as frag to both force them under cover and make it so we can get into the bridge.
No. 457879 ID: c6ec33

Smoke grenades are our friend. Toss one in the other room, and one in here. Once there's a bit of smoke, lob some frag grenades in to distract them. Your goggles have infrared, right? Infrared can see through standard smoke grenades, so unless these are something special, they'll be at most a minor hindrance to you. Pop out with your sniper after tossing the frag grenades and take a pop shot at the guy with the explosive gun before they go off. Pop behind the corner for the explosion. After they go off, the smoke may have been disrupted, so wait a second before popping out again. Have Rokoa crawl out into the main area at this point. Pick off targets of the highest threat level - obviously explosive weapons, infrared goggles, etc.

If they have a LOT of guys or tough guys in there, the odds are that they'll start shooting into the hole at this point regardless of whether or not they'll hit anything, so that will be time to GTFO. Hold up the door piece as a shield and back out the door into the main area and rendezvous with the scientist.

If they DON'T have a lot of guys there, you should press the advantage as long as possible and keep picking people off through the smoke. Until Rokoa recovers enough to either aid in a charge or provide covering fire for a retreat.
No. 457880 ID: 62bab4

I only meant falling back a room and fighting them from the previous doorway. It's a slightly better defensive position then where we are now.

And it's only 60s to launch once the CAI finds a way around the security measures that stopped it last time. We don't know how long it'll take to find a fix for that, although we certainly want to hurry.

We can't just run into the room shooting like with the Queen though- we don't know where the target is this time, the enemies are toting heavier ordinance, and they aren't going to spare us this time.

That sounds good! I like using the infra-red to see through smoke.
No. 457881 ID: f2c20c

Have Rokoa find out what the scientist wants.

You get in there and deal with whatever's shooting at you.
No. 457897 ID: f09b71
File 134860471901.png - (29.64KB , 700x700 , 996.png )

"Rokoa, get in..." I trail off. She wobbles, stumbling towards the bridge side of the room. I still lunge to get the piece of door that landed where she is going, picking it up as I see where this is going. She collapses and goes out cold, making matters significantly worse. I am holding it against her that she acts as though she is at 100% when she is barely hanging on. We're at least out of direct fire, but before we had any time to recover from the blast, shots come in and begin ricocheting as the arkots and mikliks start open firing into our hole. I am still able to put in a smoke grenade over. I do not have long, but a few seconds should be a good investment with night vision should I try to get through that mess.

>"I think the big one is down!" the same miklik who spoke last says.
>"Get the other! Just a bit longer, make sure some arkots are acting as meatshields to the CAI node!" the salikai says. Nothing helpful.

The machine guns slow down, but still have intermittent shots at us as they are probably advancing forward on us. I should get in and shoot, but the scientist is on us. He's about to jump through right at us and I don't want him to turn out hostile with my back to him. I do not know if he is doing something extreme, or is just thinking it is an extreme act just to get closer to us.
No. 457898 ID: f09b71
File 134860473575.png - (37.53KB , 700x700 , 997.png )

....... it is the former. He dives right through the first door, respirator removed, looking like he is trying to relocate the entire armory's explosive room through here.

Without looking at us, he just lets out a simple 'thanks', in regards to opening the way for him, and as it turns out, giving him much needed smoke cover. He is somewhat apologetic, and I could not say if that is because of what hand he's had in what has happened, or his hand in what he is about to make happen.
No. 457899 ID: 886a4d

Oh fuck hes suicide bombing.... Hit the deck!
No. 457900 ID: 61e7f9

Throw a smoke grenade into the bridge. Start shooting through the hole as soon as he is through it. They will be slightly distracted. Shoot anyone who might stop him.

"God's speed."
No. 457901 ID: 62bab4


(Or whatever the appropriate nuemono equivalent would be. We don't have much data on your belief structures yet, but you should express the sentiment as he goes by. He is sacrificing himself for you, after all).

But yeah, hit the deck, cover Rokoa, and then be prepared to move in fast and mop up and surviving resistance after the bombs go off. Make sure to check under the pile of arkot bodies for the CAI node and that it's dead.

War hive should really consider trying to turn, or at least offering some kind of amnesty, to the other science hive prisoners. They do not like being slaves, or used as tools of attempted genocide.
No. 457902 ID: 886a4d

I agree about the smoke grenade, however thats gonna be one hell of a backblast. We want to cover Rokoa and ourselves up as soon as we chuck it.
No. 457904 ID: b6edd6

The guy is literally armed to the teeth with explosives...
No. 457914 ID: f2c20c

Holy crap. Get to cover.
No. 457917 ID: f09b71
File 134860987079.png - (12.45KB , 700x700 , 998.png )

I just wish him well. I'd throw in another smoke grenade, but he's going too quick. It is not personable, he will not hesitate to blow himself up even if he knows we will die with him. Not as though he shouldn't be. I want to shove Rokoa out of the first door to get to better cover, but he could go off at any moment, and I can only see myself dragging her like a lead ragdoll as he offs himself, right in our vision.

>"5 seconds to open the vents!" he screams as he dives through. He's wired himself to blow if he falls.
I can take some comfort in his confidence, however he managed to keep track, that there is at least that much time until the nukes go off.
>"You!" the salikai replies.
>"The vents, or your countdown cut off in 2!"
>"CAI, do it... it's done. Now --"
No. 457918 ID: f09b71
File 134860989097.png - (447.94KB , 675x685 , 999.png )

From there, my vision is limited to flashes of bright explosions as everything else goes dark.
No. 457919 ID: f09b71
File 134861001942.png - (19.51KB , 700x700 , 1000.png )

And that's how I retired to become a fish... wait, where am I.

"Rokoa, what...?"
>"We're dreaming, idiot. A real one, none of that school shit."
"... I just cannot get away from you. And normally when I realize I'm dreaming, I wake up. This is supposed to be rare anyway."
>"Bound to happen. We've been out for a week straight at least. I woke up for awhile at some point. Trust me, we both look a whole lot better in here than we do out there."
No. 457920 ID: 886a4d

You get any information while you were up?
No. 457921 ID: f2c20c

Ask her if the nukes got launched. Did that magnificent bastard make it in time? Also, a general status report would be nice.

Wait, is that Three Stripes? Is he nearby in the waking world, then?
No. 457922 ID: 04b86a

Dawww, it looks like Three Stripes is worried about you.

Ask her what we've missed out on.
No. 457923 ID: c6ec33

The most important thing to do right now is figure out why Three Stripes appears to 6" long and super cuddle-able.
No. 457924 ID: 4a328b

A week? Shit.

Ok, what did you pick up while you were awake, Rokoa? Still no nukes going off? Any more big unexpected attacks?
No. 457925 ID: 2e5d9e

Ask Rokoa to fill you in on where exactly you are right now, beyond "unconscious."

Then figure out why Three Stripes is here. Is that just part of the dream or is he trying to encroach on this somehow?
No. 457926 ID: 22b106

Get Rokoa to fill you in on things beside "Unconscious" we a head in a box or not?

Then figure out why Three-Stripes is here, if he's actively here or if it's just a figment of our dream where we have a tiny predator lounging with us as we fish.

Then we do what could be objectively the most important thing right now.

We dunk Rokoa.
No. 457928 ID: 62bab4

>we both look a whole lot better in here than we do out there."
I look like some kind of lanky freak.

Huh. So we're back in the brig, or the infirmary, I take it? Did you get a chance to find out any of what happened when you were awake? Like how'd the battle end? We still in orbit, or did the ship set off? Am I still on death row?

...and please tell me three stripes isn't really in here with us.
No. 457929 ID: 61e7f9

Cuddle Three Stripes and introduce Rokoa to him.

Ask what Rokoa thinks of our adventure.
No. 457931 ID: f09b71
File 134861152658.png - (10.27KB , 700x700 , 1001.png )

>Is that Three Stripes?
I think he is bigger. It is probably about as real as the muddy water I'm sitting in. Don't know why that of all things came up. Therefore there will be no cuddling.

>"All good. They didn't go off."
"Good. Where am I right now? And don't say 'a lake.' Also, are we in orbit or anything?"
>"Huddling away under some hospital covers. Our expense. And for the next question, you're in the clear, our hive will let you go. Begrudingly, I hear, but still good to go when you're good to go. We're still on the planet, by the way. Given an extension of time, since our ship is hardly space worthy after the bridge became a mad scientist's grave."

>Dunk Rokoa
"Also good. Anything else? What have I missed out on, besides your new telepathic ability?"
>"Outside world thinks you're dead, apparently. See, we didn't want to get their hopes up by saying you're on the fence, then have you die anyway. Besides, now you can go surprise your cuddlebuddies with your not being dead."
"Right. Okay. That's it?"
>"If there was anymore, they knocked me back out so they could operate. Still got a few bullets. Oh, right, Pilon ended up hanging around in the hospital too, what with his own wounds. And since he wasn't using any, he volunteered to give the supplies for a skin graft."
"...excuse me?"
>"We did catch on fire, and it was some time before they snapped out of it and found us."
No. 457932 ID: f2c20c

Haha, does that mean we're gonna be wearing Pilon's skin now? First Rokoa's, now Pilon's. Come to think of it, he could just lop off his ears to cover you, Polo. Just go ahead and make that joke. It needs to be done.

When we wake up we're gonna have to ask Pilon if we were dating in the fake college. It really really sounded like it.
No. 457933 ID: 2e5d9e

Yipes. Sounds like the both of you are lucky to be alive.

Well... now what? It would seem that you and Rokoa both are still going to be out of commission for some time.
No. 457934 ID: 886a4d

Well at least hes the right colour.
No. 457935 ID: c6ec33

Ask if this means you're going to grow ears larger than you are.

Any news on the Salikai, or the facility?
No. 457936 ID: f2c20c

OHHH and don't forget about the Salikai, and the CAI. It's been weeks- did Rokoa's hive assault them? Or did they turtle up?
No. 457937 ID: e3f578

On a scale of one to that QI we absolutely fucked up at the start of this nonsense, how are our bodies? (The one where we shot at her own gun with, horrifically maiming her in an explosion.) How is that QI now by the way? She's all right, right?
No. 457938 ID: 62bab4

>"We did catch on fire, and it was some time before they snapped out of it and found us."
Suddenly I regret bringing all my gear instead of leaving it in that nice, safe locker. (Goodbye bio armor, green armor, custom built sniper rifle. We'll miss you).

>Everyone thinks Polo's dead
Hey, works to an infiltrator's advantage!

>skin graft
...so Polo's going to wake up a different color? Or at least temporarily have a calico thing going on.

You really got under his skin! *ba-doom-pst*!

What about the Salikai? I assume they slipped away?
No. 457939 ID: 61e7f9

"When we wake up you wanna stay and hunt salikai with me? How many science hive guys do you have as POW or otherwise?"
No. 457940 ID: 61e7f9

"Oh, and it's nice to see you alive. I can't believe I'm saying that."
No. 457945 ID: 62bab4

>>skin graft
>...so Polo's going to wake up a different color? Or at least temporarily have a calico thing going on.
Wait, no, I got a better one.

"...suddenly I'm thankful I asked what shampoo he uses."

Also: ...so what the hell are we supposed to do in here?
No. 457952 ID: f09b71
File 134861470414.png - (16.45KB , 700x700 , 1002.png )

"Half of that guy's ears would be enough to cover me. Glad I asked what kind of shampoo he uses."
>"If that. It's me that'll keep him down for a bit. I wasn't wearing armor at all. Your everything is pretty much destroyed, if you didn't know."
"I assumed. Does this mean I'm going to have stupid big ears?"
>"... good joke."
"It was one."
"On a scale of 1 to that one QI I exploded the shotgun of, how do we look?"
>"QI and a half, at the start. We've moved down to half a QI."
"How is that one, by the way?"
>"Hell, she's already running around again. She's fine."
"It's been a week, but I assume the Salikai got away. I will still go after them."
>"I expect you to, because I won't be able to. Too much pressure for us to get off this place. Yeah, they got away, and caved in the tunnels behind them. Real thorough job, it's going to take a long time to find them again."
"Still good to..." see you alive. Can't finish that sentence out loud.

>What now?
I... don't know.

"So what are we supposed to do in here anyway?"
>"Never shared a dream before?"
"Not in age- what are you doing?"
No. 457953 ID: f09b71
File 134861471363.png - (17.37KB , 700x700 , 1003.png )


The lucidity of this dream is giving me the power to fully acknowledge how grody the water is. I do not think there is much to do other than wait till I can get off this ship.
No. 457954 ID: 886a4d

Nothing to do but enjoy this dream with Rokoa, play with her, fight her, kiss her. It is only a dream afterall.
No. 457955 ID: cefa80

Yes, make out. You know that some part of you really really wants to.
No. 457956 ID: 04b86a

I realize it isn't really something than can intentionally be done, but try to drag Pilon in here for that threesome you were wanting to have with him and Rokoa.
No. 457957 ID: b7169d

If it's a lucid dream, one can do anything they want here. Go nuts, enjoy coffee cake, make the skyline red and the ground blue
No. 457958 ID: 22b106

...Is this where we learn that Polo doesn't know how to have fun because she dedicated her life to becoming a surgical scalpel for the defense and offense of her Hive?
No. 457959 ID: 62bab4

Hmm. Polo being presumed dead and coming back covered in Pilon-fuzz is a pretty good cover, actually. No one outside of those who would recognize her by link would know who she is (so it would be secret to just her hive). Gives us a chance to lull the Salikai into a false sense of security before going after them.

What's happening to the science hivers? Are we talking them down with us? They could be useful in figuring out what we might be up against, especially if they hate the Salikai as much as that last one.

Yeah, coffee cake and roughhousing like idiots is pretty much all you got to do now. Have some fun. Remember, since this is a dream, your physical size doesn't actually matter. You have a chance of actually getting the best of her in this mud-wrestling match.

Have fun, try not to end up liking Rokoa too much. You're not gonna see her for a while.
No. 457960 ID: 61e7f9

"I'd really like to back you up going after the salikai. Are you sure there is no way you could stay till we kill them? I'm sure my hive would go with it. You've saved everyone twice, including me. And frankly I don't give a fuck what the other hives think of that."
No. 457961 ID: 4a328b

Can you lucid-dream the water cleaner? Dis is gwoss.
No. 457962 ID: f2c20c

Wrestling is a loss. Be the shark in the water. If you get completely sick of her you could try going silent to kick her out.
No. 457966 ID: 62bab4

Things to do when we wake up (and hopefully not timeskip past):

Check out your weird new coloration and poofy fuzziness (it'll last till your regeneration runs out of other things to fix and starts overriding it with your natural blue fuzz, I assume).

Say goodbyes to Pilon, thank the son of a bitch. You didn't know him very long, but we're gonna miss that guy.

Maybe awkardly bump into Kork and Tirrek, or any of the other QIs you beat up.

Recruit the science hivers into coming with you, to eventually save the rest of their hive. Maybe one of them worked on your armor or rifle, and knows how to build a new set?

Steal a new bioarmor on the way out. ...or maybe just ask for one. They might be happy to give you something to kill the Salikai with.
No. 457985 ID: 061a93

Well, she's naked. Be naked too.
No. 457989 ID: f09b71
File 134862180334.png - (15.07KB , 700x700 , 1004.png )

"Oh, what about the science hive?"
>"Taken away by an ultrahive collective. Same with the tribal hive we had up here."
"And I would have thought you'd have tried to stick around to fight the Salikai."
>"Of course. Too bad the hive mentality is sick of fighting. Lost a damn lot of guys in the last few month. From several thousand to maybe several hundred, if that."

I get the water clean. It is harder than it should be considering this is a joint dream and Rokoa is confident the water should be dirty for some terrible reason, but she relents.

>Try not to end up liking Rokoa too much
Of my concerns, a fate of liking Rokoa is up there with getting struck by a stray meteor. Terrible to happen, but so unlikely it is not worth worrying about.

>Be naked, kiss her
No. I do not even know why she is naked, but I have refrained from asking because I do not want to know.

I'm not so much in the mood to 'have fun', but it won't help anything to go sit and glare at Three Stripes or something. I might indulge in taking out some pent up aggression on Rokoa, if just to help pass the time.
No. 457990 ID: f09b71
File 134862181557.png - (14.99KB , 700x700 , 1005.png )

We eventually wake up around the same time, enough that we are able to get out of bed. They did not bother shaving Pilon's extra fluff off me, and I am embarrasingly uneven. I think they found it funny. I am weak and tired, but I am otherwise alright. They say I will get significantly better, and after, now that I can exercise some and eat normally.

Pilon helps me with physical therapy. I make sure to thank him for that, and everything else that he has done.

Kork, Tirrik, and some others including but not limited to the QI's I beat up visited a few times, and ultimately made a Get Well card that was a mix of well wishes, vivid threats and begrudging respect. Often all 3 from the same people.

I ask, and am given a 30% bioarmor as well.

>"We've been, well, 'encouraged' to purchase foreign repair crews to help expediate our bridge repairs and to get out of here. We'll most likely have liftoff in 4 days. You should be mostly fine, but either way, we'll have one of our guys give you a lift, and you can parachute down to your hive." he says at the end of a day.
No. 457994 ID: f2c20c

What about kissing HIM? You've got four days to hang out together. That's enough for a goodbye fling. Considering you won't ever see him again since he's going off-planet soon... Screw what the rest of his hive thinks. Or you could go on those dates outdoors, where nobody else is around to make things awkward.

Might want to do that after trimming yourself though.
No. 457995 ID: 61e7f9

Try to convince the hive to let Pilon and/or Rokoa come with you to hunt down the remaining salikai (ask if Pilon wants to, or any other volunteers for that matter). Explain it's the next thing you will be doing after you are combat able. And any help would be wonderful. Rokoa would be happier fighting than anything else.

Get in touch with whatever this "ultrahive collective" is. Ask them about who they got out, who is confirmed dead, etc.

Ask what was left of the bridge and if they could identify any of the dead. Even so little as what species they were.
No. 457996 ID: 62bab4

Oh goodness. You have to keep that card. You'll get something to stick on the mantel back home, and I'm sure the contents will weird people out (I can just imagine Rikek or Rakae going through it).

How long have you been dead by this point anyways? (ie, how long since you boarded the warship).

Pilon should at the very least get a goodbye hug. Dunno about a kiss, honestly, I think we're crushing on him a lot harder than you ever did (dem eyes, and fuzzy ears!). You two are oddly almost natural friends though. Pity about the circumstances, and that you won't see him for a long while (maybe he'll tag along when Rokoa eventually shows up for that rematch?).

Are the sheep still around, or did they get away in the confusion of the hallucinogen? If they're still on board, you should say goodbye to Emere, and thank her for the help as well.

What's an ultrahive? And we should probably visit them to talk to the science peeps before you go after the Salikai again. They might know something useful, or be interested in helping liberate the rest of their hive.
No. 457999 ID: f2c20c

It's not their hive that needs convincing, mostly. It's the rest of the hives that are pushing them off the planet.
No. 458001 ID: b33427

Ask Pilon what's Rokoa's favorite food. Then you can surprise her with it when you two have your rematch.

They probably didn't get much when they were down there, but ask Pilon if his hive could send copies of any records and data they got from the salikai's facility along to your hive and your hive's allies. Combing through it might reveal clues to where the salikai went, and if there's info in there about the research on those damn nanite neumono hijackers or the hallucinogenic gas, that'll be good for developing countermeasures.

You'll want to keep the fact that your alive as secret as you can, since it may be helpful, but you'll still have to let your hive know your alive. Is there a secure secret channel you can use to send a message back to your hive such that only a very few on their end will see it?
No. 458003 ID: f2c20c

Oh right, and ask him if you were dating in the college-hallucination.
No. 458004 ID: 62bab4

It's also kind of cruel to ask any of them to stay, since they'd be exiling themselves from their hive with no good way to get back.

>Is there a secure secret channel you can use to send a message back to your hive such that only a very few on their end will see it?
Warn them? No way. We're dropping out of the sky, walking up to whatever stunned guard comes running up to investigate the incoming warhive paratrooper, and going "hey". Cue spontaneous hysterical reunion.
No. 458006 ID: b33427

Hey, did Polo's hive already come around and pick up Rikek and Rakae? Probably not with Rokoa's hive still hanging around. Maybe Polo could go back down to the spire and wait for evac with them. They're probably wondering what the hell is going on with Rokoa's hive still around after a week, and worrying a lot.
No. 458015 ID: f09b71
File 134862640122.png - (9.16KB , 700x700 , 1006.png )

>Keep the card
I may as well have a souvenir. May as well get Pilon and Rokoa to sign it as well.

>What's an ultrahive?
A possibly misleading term for a collection of hives that have allied with each other for sake of peace in a safe nexus. They are still individual hives more than a single huge hive.

"What happened to the embassy, anyway?"
>"They escaped at some point, through one of our escape ships. We could locate it, but, it isn't worth the trouble by this point.
"What is Rokoa's favorite food?"
>"Raw meat, with epo spice."
"Never heard of the spice."
>"It's a snowland thing."
"I would still like Rokoa's, and you if you're willing, help in dealing with the Salikai. Did you guys send off any information, records, data and all that from the facility?"
>"Believe us, while you were out, the ultrahive came and pilfered through every nook and cranny. You'd have to convince the other hives to let us join in, but hey, this isn't a minor little thing, this was a global incident. There are whole armies after the salikai now. The salikai are as good as toast, but will be handled with care knowing the biological weapons they have. You won't need us."
"Anything of note in the bridge?"
>"A piece of claw there, some burnt fabric there, nothing much more than that."
"When is your birthday?"
>"67th of winter, like I said."
"Like you said. By the way, Rikek and Rakae, if you know of them, they were..."
>"Yes, they were picked up soon after we were raided properly after the nukes nearly went off. Thankfully our security camera database was not blown up, so we were able to prove that we were not, in fact, trying to nuke everything. It kept the exile as is rather than a brutal execution. Thank you for everything, by the way."
"Kneel down for a second."

I would not date him, but a kiss is not a solemn vow of partnership. That gets a rise out of others, but I hardly care.
No. 458017 ID: 61e7f9

Well, head home, get some rest, recover fully, then it's salikai hunting time.
No. 458020 ID: 62bab4


Well, that's it. I can't think of anything to do aside from final goodbyes, and maybe Rokoa teasing you for what you just did. Time to head home.

>Ultra-hive, global incident
So you don't have to organize everything yourself. That's a good deal of pressure off. Although you probably want to be involved in the eventual assault. You're gonna be nearly the only person left on the surface with combat experience against the Salikai and their creatures.

Besides, you owe those bugs some payback by this point.
No. 458023 ID: f2c20c

I predict that Rokoa will try to get her rematch just before she has to leave, assuming both of you are recovered enough for neither party to be handicapped for the fight.

Be prepared for it.
No. 458033 ID: b33427

Tell Pilon to drop you a letter from wherever his hive eventually settles, and you'll let him know how the salikai hunt turned out, and what's happening back here.

>The Ultrahive took copies of everything
Hope that means that whatever corporation, or corporations, that armed the war hive is publicly outed and gets on every neumono's shit-list forever. Any group that sells nukes, and the ballistic missiles to launch them, to someone like the Red Queen deserves to get smacked down.

Maybe you should take some of the time you have left recuperating to start writing down your record of what happened. You're going to need notes for what looks like it'll be a week long debriefing when you get back.
No. 458041 ID: 6a1ec2

No. 458053 ID: f09b71
File 134863415281.png - (58.13KB , 700x700 , 1007.png )

A day or two passes again before I'm in good enough shape to head off. I get poked fun at occasionally, partially for my odd use of the word 'coffee cake'. Apparently a lot of effort was given trying to figure out what I meant, as though it were in code. Now, to this hive, they've started saying 'sent on a coffee cake run' instead of 'a wild goose chase'.

A fear that has plagued me every other time I wake up now, as it has felt like a very long time since I have slept in an honest bed.

>Keep notes
I make a summation of everything that I can remember, from start to finish. Rokoa looks them over when I sleep or do other things, apparently interested in my side of the story, namely what she wasn't around for.
No. 458058 ID: f09b71
File 134863435681.png - (21.17KB , 700x700 , 1008.png )

A nexus pilot is brought aboard to bring me back. It has been accepted that in the interest of possibly infiltrating the new salikai home to soften their defenses or do other things, my survival will be kept as secret. It has been shown that the salikai already have some degree of satellite access of some sort, and so it is tempting to assume the possibility that they have miklik or other spies.

Rokoa and Pilon are around to see me off, the rest see me off in empathy range.

"I'll try to put in a good word and see about getting enough time for you guys to fight if you like."
>"Have you ever dealt with an ultrahive before?" Pilon asks.
>"They make up their minds first, and hold meetings to discuss second. They are good at holding peace, but are just not good listeners. They also think it may take weeks or longer to find them, and getting us an extension would be difficult like that. You can try, but I suspect we may not see each other again for a long time, unless you ever head off into space. I'll give you a galactic contact number, if you ever do get curious where we've gone."
"Thank you. Send me a letter letting me know how you guys are, sometime. Goodbye, you two."
>"Goodbye, Polo." Pilon replies.
>"Remember, I haven't forgotten our duel. You better not let yourself get careless in a few years. Till then, unless you work a diplomatic miracle, you'll have to give the salikai a reason to wish for hell for me." says Rokoa.
"Of course."
>"Now here's a present for your ride back. See ya, Coffee Cake."
"... Thank you. Goodbye, Rokoa."
No. 458060 ID: f09b71
File 134863470459.png - (220.31KB , 700x700 , 1009.png )

No. 458061 ID: 62bab4

I like it how in the end, we sort of befriended the whole damn hive by beating them up and saving them repeatedly.

Oh my goodness. That airport departure picture. It looks like they're your parents sending you away from home for the first time. XD

...goodbye, Polo. I wish it wasn't, but I have the sneaking suspicion this is the end of the intermission and we won't be seeing you for a while. Enjoy your time at home, you've earned it.
No. 458064 ID: 886a4d

Till we see you again. Good luck against those Salikai.
No. 458068 ID: f2c20c

I can just imagine the disbelief of the other members of Polo's squad.

What started out as a simple mission to recover a moton egg resulted in her being stranded behind enemy lines, but because of that she protected her hive twice from annihilation, uncovered the location of a secret biology lab, defeated multiple elite warhive members on her own, and assassinated a hive queen. Through all that, she STILL completed her original objective and brought home a moton egg.

I just wish we had also managed to keep ahold of that fucking badass suit of armor and rifle. Those would've been fantastic to research and replicate, and fit Polo perfectly.
No. 458072 ID: 62bab4

Tag on to the list of accomplishments that we then saved said warhive from destruction at least twice, befriending them practically by force. Not to mention we also kept the weak offworlder they expected to be a write off if things went south alive, and we rescued our rescue pilot too.

And I'm hoping we can get some of the liberated science hivers to fabricate us new gear. Someone designed that armor and rifle, and if we're lucky, we nabbed 'em.
No. 458073 ID: bf54a8

we need the fate of three stripes!
No. 458077 ID: 061a93

Bye, Polo! We'll miss you.
No. 458084 ID: b6edd6

Her smile is actually sane. I find that strangely touching.
No. 458089 ID: 6a1ec2
File 134863806917.jpg - (105.40KB , 700x700 , OHSHI.jpg )

No. 458090 ID: 6b9deb

Wait, what was the present?! More coffee cake?
No. 458096 ID: 006627

Best ending.
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