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File 135327600363.png - (19.22KB , 700x700 , 651.png )
472747 No. 472747 ID: c4e5c2

So we wait. That night, no drop occurs. A whole bunch of our undercover people hang around the alleyways and bars of the drop zone. Hard to tell who is with us and who's not since it's on a need to know basis, but no group shows at the alleyway. So we skip that night. The next night, the same thing happens. Nothing.

The next day is said, by our informants, to be the last window of opportunity for the drop based on what scraps of information they were given. So it's definitely going to happen if the gold arrives at all. Jules hasn't figured out anything. He trusts Malsen, and no one else seems to be talking about us behind their back, at least not with anything we didn't already know. Lamarra seems to be minding himself, occasionally joining Jess and me. And the two or three of us do nothing but sit around, eat and drink with our own money, as our little vacation starts winding down.

And in our rooms, Jess and I just hang around and chitchat. Sometimes conspiring of how to kill Red, or try to. It usually ends up less conspiring and more vivid daydreams about elaborate, goldberg machine-esque plans that involve a spectacular demise for the fucker. Never really talk about the drop zone, though since tonight sounds like it's gonna be the big day, we may have to. Jessica's been rather worried. Well, all of us, but somethin' tells me her especially.

We have given serious thought for bailing, but getting back to Zozu homeland, nevermind the turrets, wouldn't be easy without getting seen by Maklata's men. And if abandon our orders, Maklata might have no issue with gunning us down without repercussions. I'd bet, in fact, that he hopes we run off.
Expand all images
No. 472752 ID: 70c0f2

If you'd wanted to bail, you missed your window with Whiskers.

And if you bailed, you're not thinking right if you're worried about getting back into Zozu territory. If you bail, you're essentially deserting, which would mean more than Malkata's boys will want you dead.

How about you scope out the bar for us? What's the crowd look like tonight?
No. 472753 ID: f2c20c

Oh right. Today, keep an eye out for new people coming in. If the thieves somehow manage to convince their escort to protect them in the outpost, we'll want to know the numbers, and what kind of people are in the merc group.

I don't suppose we have access to any explosives?

Ask Lamarra what he thinks about his boss, the other Salikai. What happens if Maklata gets offed? What can we expect from the new boss? Also ask what sort of field experience he's got. You can all share stories about work experiences.
No. 472755 ID: 8b9215

You, Lamarra, and Jess are the ones making the drop. Jules and Malsen stay elsewhere. We don't have to worry about Maklata's men starting a gunfight at the drop, or killing us all in one go as we are spread out.
No. 472756 ID: c33f8f

Do you still have your body armor? If not might be a good time to get some.
No. 472759 ID: f2c20c

It occurs to me that we aren't really using Jessica's hacking ability. Would it be possible for her to, for instance, hack into the others' radio so that it's fed through one of your phones? Kinda like getting a police dispatch feed or something.
No. 472765 ID: c6ec33

- Try to get body armor for *everyone*.
- See if Malsen has any idea what the plan is in terms of "making an example" of these guys.
No. 472766 ID: c4e5c2
File 135328016063.png - (10.88KB , 700x700 , 652.png )

>Scope the bar
Pretty early. It's not like we all arrive by the dozens all at once, and I don't know everyone. Some I might recognize, but for the most part it could be a patron or one of us. I'll scope it a bit before the drop zone, but it's currently late afternoon.

>I don't suppose we have access to any explosives?
I doubt they'd let us use 'em.

"Hey Lamarra, tell me about Ziril."
>"I don't actually see Ziril much. He isn't too bad, though he does work us hard."
"Decent guy to take over if Maklata gets offed?"
>"Huh? It's not like Ziril would take over everything Maklata has, most likely Maklata's stuff would get split pretty evenly to all the high up siblings. Wouldn't be that bad of Ziril took over, but he does have some signs of some megalomania, so getting more power probably wouldn't help that."
"Long as it's better than Maklata I guess. Do me a favor and find out how many people are going to be at the bar tonight. Just need a rough estimate for how many."
"I'll get Jules to keep an eye on people coming in."

>Do you still have your body armor?
Yeah. I'll be wearing it at least, don't know if everyone else can get some in decent sizes, but we'll take a look.
No. 472768 ID: c4e5c2
File 135328030812.png - (14.45KB , 700x700 , 653.png )

A few hours before the drop zone, Jess and I wash up and get ready in our rooms. Lamarra says there'll be around 20 to 30 of us in and around there at the drop zone, but at least a hundred more available for backup in farther off locations. Even ready to take over the whole damn outpost if it sounds necessary. Malsen says that making an example is still going to be to just kill the core group and be done with it according to command, nothing fancy, not even backtracing. Their escorts will most likely be left alone if they stay out of it themeslves.

Body armor was retrieved for everyone, though only vests, same as me.

"Was wondering, Jess. Think it's possible for you to do something fancy like hack our radio or somethin' so we can overhear their stuff?"
>"No, the security is too good. I know a thing or two about basics, but I'm not a hack magician. So are we all going, then?" She asks "Or will you or anyone stay behind?"
No. 472770 ID: 8b9215

"You and Lamarra are coming as backup. You two are most likely to survive if a gunfight starts. I'll be the talker. We aren't going to be getting into a fight if we can help it. Our job is to confirm it's them and locate the stuff then leave."
No. 472771 ID: 70c0f2

I'm still going. I know you don't like it, but leaving you guys on your own just so I have a chance of avenging things if it all goes south doesn't feel right to me.

Welp. We've done nothing to change the initial conditions of the clusterfuck. 20-30 Zozu in the bar to attack Karri's group, and then get killed (kind of a one sided fight, considering they'll all second generation SOBs, trained to work as a unit and bioarmored to boot vs a clump of uncoordinated and unarmored mobsters). 100 more with better equipment to lay siege to the base and trap Karri's group after.

I still think our only plan of action is ID Karri's group in the bar, and get her to turn over Piles. And if that fails, to be taken prisoner instead of killed.

No. 472772 ID: c6ec33

It's a tough choice. When you have all your eggs in one basket, you can defend yourselves together, but if you all go down, there's no one left. On the flip side, if you split up, whoever's on their own might get taken out by Maklata's goons.

If we want to split up, the two choices that come to mind are Jess and Malsen. Malsen's probably still got more trust from Maklata than anyone else, so he probably wouldn't get bumped off. Jess... we could have Jess act as a spy in the bar, or the garage, and feed us intel about who's coming in / came in tonight with the van we're expecting. Right now we have a surprising lack of intel. But Jess is more likely to get "accidentally" bumped off if any confrontation happens.

Ask Jess what she thinks. If someone were to stay behind, what would they do?
No. 472774 ID: b33427

You, Jess, and Lammara will go to the drop. Jules and Malsen will go to the bar next to the drop to watch who's showing up that isn't Zozu and report it to you. But if things blow up, they're not to open fire. Instead they should take cover, and surrender if things go badly. In fact, if things look like they're going to go sideways, our whole group should surrender.

When we go to the drop, we'll keep our hands out of our pockets, as a show that we're not about to pull guns and open fire. We are supposed to be acting like wimpy middlemen, after all.

Did Malsen get anywhere on arranging for the power to the outpost's jammer getting cut on cue? Set up a code phrase to have them cut. That might or might not be helpful in negotiating, depending on if the other group have neumono in them, and how the meet is going.

Ask Jess if we could set up a private channel for our little group of five. Something that Maklata's men couldn't listen into. You want an open microphone on that one, so we'll all hear if something goes bad.

Oh, and get Malsen a copy of the Maklata recording, and tell him the decryption key.
No. 472775 ID: 70c0f2

I think we should leave the recording where it is, for now. And keep the key to ourself!
No. 472784 ID: c4e5c2
File 135328680708.png - (11.14KB , 700x700 , 654.png )

"I'll call Malsen, you listen in...... Hey, Malsen. Can you arrange for just me, Jess and Lamarra to make the drop, or is that going to be a problem?"
>"No, that should be fine. What about me and Jules?" he says.
"Stay in the bar or around, and feed info to me about who's arriving. One in the garage, one in the bar. Let's keep an open microphone."
>"That should be fine. Count on it, and I'll be the one in the bar in case shit hits the fan. I'll call you if there's any problems with that. I'll get you three some mini earphones to hear me."
No. 472787 ID: c4e5c2
File 135328703288.png - (13.22KB , 700x700 , 655.png )

"I think we're ready, then. Got weapons, armor... Jess, is that a pipe?"
>"Yeah. It's just for keeping something nonlethal around. It's too hard to conceal though, so I don't think I'll bring it. I think I'll take a nap before we go out. You really sure you want to go? I don't thi-"
"I'm goin', Jess."
>"Alright, alright. Mind a nap, then?"
No. 472788 ID: f2c20c

...she's planning to hit you with the pipe to knock you out so you can't go. Don't let her do that.
No. 472790 ID: beeca1

Yep. Initiate hugs, then get her arms behind her back and get it away from her.
No. 472791 ID: f2c20c

Also, realize belatedly that you guys could've taken that 5-man escort with that odd neumono, and you would've been out doing that when the gold pickup went down.

We could've just been absent. Shit.
No. 472792 ID: 5d98c3

Nice try, Jess. Bless her stupid, misguided little heart. Knock HER out so SHE can't go. That'll teach her. Also, think about getting therapy for the dangerous level of reasonable paranoia you've developed in this line of work, after you knock her out.
No. 472793 ID: 425b9d

neumono are notoriously hard to knockout without having to beat them to a pulp. or headshot. & I doubt she'd like that.

for now play cautious, if anything seems off, bail if possible
No. 472794 ID: beeca1

Does that even work on neumono, with their weird nervous system and all?
No. 472795 ID: e05478


Anything can go unconscious with enough blunt force trauma and pain.

But anyway, don't attempt to knock her out, just get the FUCK out.
No. 472796 ID: c4e5c2
File 135328803155.png - (10.98KB , 700x700 , 656.png )

I move a bit closer to the door. She doesn't exactly have a look of rabid attack on her face, so I don't think she's planning on attacking me while I don't have my back turned.

"You aren't planning on hitting me with that pipe to knock me out of the meetup, are you?"
>"Walking around our hotel room with it would be a bad way to go about it, meaning I'm not going to do it... anymore. Was thinking about it, but... well, thinking it over, that's stupid. Just want you to get through this, at least. Not sure why I needed a pipe anyway. Plenty of heavy enough objects around the room. I still want to take that nap, though. And you're still too goddamn paranoid."

>Does hitting to knock out even work on neumono, with their weird nervous system and all?
Yeah, just need to hit multiple times, and the head isn't as critical a point. So it's possible, just looks more like a beatdown when it comes to application.
No. 472797 ID: beeca1

"Give me the pipe and go to sleep, then."
No. 472798 ID: c6ec33

Point out that the reason you're staying is to make sure EVERYONE gets out of this. You can't very well protect HER if you're not there, dammit.

Tell her she can take a nap, and you'll keep tabs on things as soon as the earpieces arrive.

Also, double-check with Malsen about getting armor for the 3 of you that ARE going. It shouldn't be hard to scrounge up just 2 neumono sets.

Once she relaxes a bit, give her a hug. Maybe a snug.
No. 472799 ID: f2c20c

Is it really paranoia when you're right most of the time?

Tell her you really appreciate the gesture, but you'll get through this with her, you promise. You'll take that nap, but she has to hand over the pipe first.
No. 472800 ID: 70c0f2

>you're still too goddamn paranoid
You're not paranoid if people really are out to get you. And you were thinking about it.

As much as I appreciate the sentiment though, I'd rather be trying to make sure this goes down right, than left to avenge you guys if it goes down wrong.

Might as well. Can't hurt to be rested up.
No. 472801 ID: b33427

Tell her you appreciate her looking out for you, but you're going through with this to protect all of us. You don't know how you'd live with yourself if you bailed, or was incapacitated, and everyone else got screwed over.

How about this? You, her, and Lammara will sit in the bar with Malsen, and watch who's coming in. Then fifteen minutes to the meet, you'll make a final decision on whether to go or not. Is she cool with that?

...And she couldn't think of a better way to stop you than blunt force head trauma? Slipping something into your drink would be far more effective.

Also, don't take a nap here. She just might bind and gag you, and stick you in a closet. For your own good, of course.
No. 472803 ID: c4e5c2
File 135329081484.png - (13.64KB , 700x700 , 657.png )

"I'd rather try and protect than avenge. Hand me the pipe." She does so casually enough. "Alright. Think I'll take a nap too after I get Malsen's earpiece. It ain't paranoia if people really are out to get me, and here I am, my best bud actually thinking about knocking me out."
>"S... sorry. I really wasn't going to, though."
"Yeah yeah. I appreciate the gesture." Not likin' the thought of what is, in fact, my best friend at the time clubbin' me, so I'm gonna trust her to sleep with her again even if she was thinkin' it. No harm in thought. "But really, you couldn't think of a better way than to club me?"
>"I've given it a little thought, but it was going to be a spur of the moment thing right now. I'm not exactly well versed in slipping things into your drinks anyway. I don't want to talk about it anymore, just forget it."

So we take a nap. I let Malsen know to just call me on the cell phone if he needs something urgent, but we sleep easy till 2 or 3 hours prior.
No. 472806 ID: c4e5c2
File 135329111364.png - (14.55KB , 700x700 , 658.png )

>Body armor
Jess and Lamarra each were able to get an armored vest earlier. It's not a full suit, but we shouldn't be going in looking like we plan on fighting either. Jess says she'll change when they get to the bar.

We head to the bar, when our earpieces start going off.

"Jules here. We've got ourselves a few groups coming in. Could be any of 'em, we don't have control of the outpost, so we can't inspect cargo without pissing off outpost officials and likely tipping off the gold group. And though we can't confirm it, we have a good idea of who the escort group is."
"They going to give us trouble?"
"Hope not. Can't tell who's in the original group and who's in the escort group, but unless there's fucking 40 people in the core group, the escort is also gonna hang out in the bar."
"Fucking hell... they look tough?"
"At worst, they look like they know what they're doing. Worst off for them, that is, that's our best case. Nearly a goddamn half of them are neumono too, and I don't like how they're all covered in clothes, down to gloves and shoes."
"What's wrong with that?"
They could have bio armor on the neck down. Every last goddamn one for all we know. We've reported the possibility to Maklata, and he's sending in more reinforcements, but they're several hours away so it's probably pointless. We'll be sending another couple dozen to the bar and outer alleyways in case they want to fuck us up."
>"Malsen here, we just got word as a matter of fact. We don't have IDs on all the neumono, but what looks like the ringleader is Karri, one of Pilon's kids. Don't know if Pilon himself is here, but this is going to be a real shitfest in the making."
>"Wait a second." Jess says. "Pilon is a surface scavenger, not an escort. The hell is he or his kids doing here? We're not actually gonna fight them, are we? Is the plan still on?"
>"Plan is still on." continues Malsen. "Even moreso, the word is. Pilon's taken a lot of shit from us before, and Maklata's thinking this is a prime opportunity to take 'em all out. We'd take 'em out right now, but we do wanna know why they're doing escorting our cargo, if they've got a motive or just so happened to start taking up escorts and just so happened to be in possession of our gold."
No. 472812 ID: 70c0f2

Shiiiit. All we've changed is given Zozu advance warning of what's going to go down. That means we stand to get more people killed this time round.

>Plan's still on
Please tell me we're not planning to jump them at the bar. We're not packing enough to take down a squad of bio-armored super-neumono. I'm all for getting back what's Zozu's, but that's just suicide.
No. 472814 ID: e05478

It would simply cost TOO MANY lives and resources to try and take them down about this when it's INSANELY likely that they are just muscle for the job.

We'll try to get them to handover their employers and the cargo instead.
No. 472815 ID: beeca1

Yeah, and remember to make sure the guys with the firepower know not to fire unless the deal goes south. Should we set up a signal?
No. 472819 ID: 3ae1cb

Right so I don't think anyone could blame us if we told Malkata to go fuck himself about the idea of taking them down. Father Zozu would see this as tremendous waste of resources and all of Malkata's local muscle would see this as a suicide job. All we gotta do is make sure none of our guys makes a move, because we know for sure the other team didn't come all this way out here just to start a fight. Do everything in your power to make sure none of your people moves first, even if you have to go into the bar and announce "Hey Zozu people, for the love of space jesus DON'T START A GODDAMN FIGHT, we'll get slaughtered".
No. 472821 ID: b33427

Alright, there's no way Pilon or his kids are part of Whiskers crew, or "auditioning" to join up. He, and they, are just to damn high profile, and their skills and abilities don't fit. That leaves them being the escorts, but why are they sticking around? And who are these other people that came with them in the escort? Pilon doesn't have that many non-neumono with him, does he? Is there a third-party?

This drop is looking more and more like it's going to go wrong in a big way.
No. 472823 ID: c6ec33

Point out to Malsen that your group isn't equipped for a war. Odds are high that they're just muscle, but just to make sure, no one should make a move until the hand-off is complete and the gold is safely in our possession. We don't have much authority, but we need him to make that argument for us.

Also, we need to know ASAP if shit hits the fan.

Itcher, this *might* be an opportunity for you to do something crazy....
No. 472825 ID: c4e5c2
File 135329348320.png - (12.54KB , 700x700 , 659.png )

"Don't tell me we're going to jump them at the bar. There's getting our shit back, even revenge, but then there's goddamn suicide."
>"Don't know yet. We don't know who or how many people are left in the garage, since we don't have the keys. Until further notice, just stick to the plan and get the keys to the truck with them. If nothing else, we're going to just split them up and take them out. We're going to move more of our goes closer in to them than originally planned though, so they'll be outnumbered like hell, and our reinforcements out on the surface just stepped on the gas."
"For the love of fuck, Malsen, this is goddamn suicide. Even Father Zozu would see this as a huge waste of resources. There's a whole lotta stuff that doesn't add up with Pilon's group hanging around town, and this shit could go south for everyone."
>"I'm not making the rules, so don't get uppity with me. This is a private line, so I'll say that I admit Maklata's probably going to try to use this for your guys's demise as a bonus, but there's not a goddamn thing I can do about it. And I don't know about Father Zozu, he and Pilon go way back, and it ain't friendly. Father Zozu may very well consider a huge cost here to be worth taking out half of Pilon's group to not have to worry about Pilon being as strong in the future."
"At least do me a favor and try to talk command into not making a move until the hand-off is complete. We're not made for standoffs, we'd just get killed out there."
>"Like I said, Maklata might be hoping for that. But hold on."


>"Yeah, okay. Lucky you guys, command says that as long as you're about to get the keys and all that, then we'll wait at least till you're out of harm's way."
No. 472827 ID: 70c0f2

>we'll wait at least till you're out of harm's way.
Well, great. We've now got a route where we theoretically don't get Itcher and co killed in the clusterfuck.

The problem is, how the hell do we keep Karri and co from getting killed by the rest of the Zozu forces?

No. 472830 ID: beeca1

Remember when Piles ran off? We catch him and make him get the gold back however. Probably not reasonable, but it's better than getting Karri and co killed.
No. 472831 ID: 70c0f2

How does that stop anything? Zozu wants Karri's group dead. Once Itcher's group secures the gold and capture Piles so he can be made an example of (assuming we even do that successfully) there's nothing to stop the 100 person backup from rolling in and steamrolling Karri once they leave the bar.
No. 472833 ID: beeca1

Did I miss something? Zozu wants the gold back. Karri's group had nothing to do with the theft.
No. 472834 ID: e3f578

As far as I'm concerned, Karri can take care of herself. She's fine. We'll solve her side of the clusterfuck in due time. For now, let's just solve as many troubles as we can as Itcher before we even think of saving them.

Okay, let's just do this. I think we've done all we can here for securing our asses and making shit a little sane for us. Get in, do the deal, get out all nice and covertly like a professional. Our paranoia will take care of the rest.
No. 472838 ID: b33427

Apologize to Malsen for jumping on him for something he has no control over. You're just on edge, 'cause this whole thing could go wrong in so many ways.

Well, it looks like this is it. Nothing more you can do. Take a seat at the bar with Jess and Lammara, order up some pisswater beer, and settle in to watching and listening until the meeting time.

You think that if your little group had the chance to, they'd run or defect from the Zozu Family as a group to save their lives?
No. 472840 ID: e05478


Jules is a family man yo.
No. 472845 ID: f2c20c

I think you should mention that since part of the deal is that the couriers get paid from the zeny present in the van, we need that zeny on hand when we meet them in the back, otherwise we'd have to walk with her back to the van, and that is BAD FOR OUR SURVIVAL.

So basically we want to pay Karri, have her go out of earshot, and then alert our troops. That should be safe, right? (god, Karri is going to lose even more of our dudes. this fucking sucks. All I hope is that somehow she wizens up and bails early since Zozu is putting more pressure on her. It should be far more obvious if EVEN MORE tough-looking customers enter the bar when it gets closer to the pickup time.)
No. 472846 ID: f2c20c

Pilon has given Zozu trouble in the past due to his scavenging activity. Malkata is taking this opportunity to try to settle that vendetta. There is no way for us to avoid a shootout, all we can hope to do is keep Itcher and his friends out of it. I'd also like to maybe give Karri a bit of advance warning to reduce casualties, but Itcher has next to no reason to actually DO that.

Really, the only reason Itcher would have to help Karri is if we decided that Itcher and his friends were safer hiding in the bar with Karri's remaining forces. That would probably take abandoning his post and betraying Zozu, unless we can spin it as being taken hostage, or pretending to be civilians maybe? I don't think that would work though, and besides, it wouldn't go well for us in the long run since Maklata would eventually storm the place and "accidentally" shoot us in the ensuing chaos.
No. 472852 ID: c6ec33

Yes, you missed something - Zozu *hates* Pilon for OTHER reasons and wants to take out Karri and crew as a "bonus" on top of getting the gold back. :)

Maklata's men will be swarming around here soon, and everyone stands a good chance of dying "conveniently" if we don't have a plan for GTFOing.

Itcher, do you feel any sympathy at all to Maklata's zozu guys? If not, carefully selling them out to Pilon's group in order to cause REAL chaos and thin their numbers might be a good idea.

Otherwise, you're going to need a way to stay away from them AND find a place to hide out and defend youselves against any would-be assassins. You may also want to hide the key somewhere as soon as you get it in order to use as a bargaining chip.
No. 472858 ID: a00410

Bail Bail. Your just gona git your friends dead. They are way to strong. Defection is your best chance for survival. Plus you have been screwed over by the Zozu since this started.
No. 472859 ID: e3f578

Blend in
Get the tinest buzz to mellow you out.
The tiniest fucking buzz you ever had, you hear me?
No. 472861 ID: c4e5c2
File 135329876207.png - (21.49KB , 700x700 , 660.png )

1:10 AM

Not much else to do. I sit down with Jess, an' Lamarra's already around at a table. Not long after, another goddamn dozen of us just walk in through.

>"Lamarra has an open radio. He's going to bring it for the meeting." Malsen explains.

Coming into a bar at one fucking ten in the morning, and not even drunk enough to look like they're goddamn bar hopping. Maklata might as well just say he plans on turning us all into fucking bullet holes.

Jules wasn't kidding, every single neumono comes packed in neck to toe clothing, and everyone looks stiff as a board.

Feelin' like that Pomi over there knows what's up, next to a goddamn big neumono that occasionally looks around. I'd say they stick out like a sore thumb, but we're all a body of sore assortments.

>Itcher, do you feel any sympathy at all to Maklata's zozu guys?
I ain't feeling a lot of animosity at them, but I'm past the point of bein' above sellin' them out if it means me, Jess an the others can get on out of here.
No. 472869 ID: 70c0f2

Pretty sure that's Karri there, Itcher. Maybe it's time to see if you if you can preempt this bloodbath. Talk to her?

We need to force this before Piles gets away this time, I think.
No. 472871 ID: 886a4d

Talk to that Pomi, he looks scared outta his wits, he knows that he has a death sentance over his head. Have Jess clap a hand on his shoulder to make sure he doesn't bolt. Talk just loud enough for his companion to hear. I think shes one of the escorts. We don't care about anything else but our gold. But it will be given to us no matter what. If the escorts know what best for them they'll take whatever else Whisker left them and get outta here. Zozu is going to make an example outta everyone associated with Whiskers they can catch. But the escorts can run if they are smart. It has to be now.
No. 472873 ID: c6ec33

Last time this happened, I believe Piles freaked out *in the bar* and spilled the beans on everything to Karri. If that happens again, we'll already be right here to hear it.

You both should order drinks - not enough to fuck you up; just what your bodies can process before the meet-up. And you don't have to drink them all, of course.

Also, talking to Karri is OK... in the sense that you should approach her as one bar patron to another. Talking about yourself, asking where they're from, and suggesting that the Pomi get himself a drink. He looks like he needs to calm down.
No. 472874 ID: c6ec33

Also, you both have your pins, right?
No. 472875 ID: 70c0f2

>Last time this happened, I believe Piles freaked out *in the bar* and spilled the beans on everything to Karri. If that happens again, we'll already be right here to hear it.
I'm assuming that's going to happen in any minute.

We want to intervene before. Piles has lied to Karri- told her that she'll get paid for completing this trade. Except that's not how it works- the money is in a drop box somewhere in the base. He's planning to grab it and run. If we let him leave the room, Karri won't have the option of handing the snake over to us and leaving.

No. 472877 ID: f2c20c

>goddamn big neumono
Maybe it's a trick of perspective but she doesn't look much bigger than Jess.

Alright, if you're okay with selling them out, let's do it. Uh. That's Karri, isn't it. Hmm. Just go "Sure are a lot of Zozu here tonight."
No. 472879 ID: c6ec33

Karri won't be walking away in any case...

Also, remember that Itcher only knows what he can observe. He probalby has no idea who the people next to him are; only that they're nervous as hell and, by the neumono's dress, definitely part of the group that has the Zozu gold.

Even if we get the keys from Piles, Karri will just get jumped as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

There are a few options:
- Try to calm Piles down before he freaks out.
- Intervene him when he starts spilling the beans
- Let everything play out, call Piles in to Zozu security, and let them capture him when he runs for it.

Of course, there's no guarantee that any of those will work, so we could try all 3 in sequence.
No. 472880 ID: 70c0f2

According to the people Itcher and friends captured and interrogated last chapter, the payment for the couriers is supposed to be hidden in the base where they make the delivery. The people making the delivery (Piles) should know the location- the people picking it up don't. This doesn't match with what Piles told Karri- that they would be paid by the people making the trade off in the bar.
No. 472890 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330156985.png - (16.11KB , 900x600 , 661.png )

>Also, you both have your pins, right?
Yeah, each of us do. Right under our collars.

>Get the tiniest fucking buzz you ever had

"Bartender, get me a double shot of scotch. Best you've got. And play a tune, the air's stiff."
>"Bartender. Get me a strong drink, leave the bottle." the neumono to the side says, when that Pomi starts rattling the chair with his shakes.
"Pretty good business here tonight, huh, 'tender?"
"Uh... yeah." the bartender says it all nervously. Goddamn safe assumption that every bunch in here is either the escort or Zozu. Probably a bit more on our side with the batch that just came in. Still must be more of the escorts that are just hangin' around other bars and alleys.

I turn to the others. "And greetings, you two." They both stare at me.
>"The fuck are you doing, Itcher?!" Malsen yells through the mic. "If they're not Zozu, they're probably escorts!"

Something goddamn drastic.

"So where are you guys from?" The Pomi practically jumps. But he stops shaking. Now he's just frozen like a statue.
>"Is it your business?" the big neumono asks.
"Hey, I'm just wonderin'."
>"You got business with me or something?"
No. 472893 ID: beeca1

Put your arm around Piles' shoulders, preventing him from running away, and show your pin.
No. 472894 ID: f2c20c

I think she just subtly asked if you're her contact.

Tell her it's a bit too early to talk of business. Ask what the Pomi's problem is; he looks like he's scared silly.
No. 472902 ID: 70c0f2

>"You got business with me or something?"
Yeah, I think we do. *Shows pin*.

Although really, my business is supposed to just be with a shipment of our gold, and the idiots carrying it. But then you and all your friends went and got involved, for some reason. Wanna talk about that?
No. 472907 ID: c6ec33

I suggest we don't blow our cover immediately. Unfriendly Zozu are guaranteed to be listening in, so anything blatant will likely result in exactly the excuse that Maklata needs to go in guns blazing and take everyone out, including us.

Give no hint that you are Zozu.

Just go with something along these lines:
"Perhaps I do. Word travels fast around small outposts. I hear that you may be part of an escort crew - if that's the case, I may need a group with your talents soon, if you're available. I have some important business to conclude tonight, you see, and would like to leave shortly afterwards."

Stare pointedly at the Pomi when you say this.
No. 472909 ID: f2c20c

Don't blow your cover so blatantly as >>472902 that. If we're gonna show the pin, try to do so in a way that looks accidental. Remember that you're surrounded by Zozu. They can see what you're doing.

Also don't forget Malsen can hear you. Try not to be obviously traitorous; he is probably still loyal enough to the team to act against you if it's obvious what you're trying to do.
No. 472915 ID: b33427

"Unless your business is bar crawlin', I doubt it. Had the feeling I've seen you someplace else, that's all."

Knock back your shot, trade stools with Jess, and ask the bartender to bring you that bottle of scotch he has. Pour a shot for the pomi and yourself, commenting that he looks in desperate need of a drink, and you think he could do with something better than that rotgut he got. Urge him to knock it back, and keep pouring him and you shots until he's thoroughly soused.
No. 472917 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330579216.png - (10.86KB , 700x700 , 662.png )

>"Itcher, that's fucking Karri, and a lot of our guys are startin' to give you some real odd looks."

"What's your guys' problem?"
>"I don't know. What is your problem, guy?" she asks, but the Pomi remains silent.

I can't see it clearly, but I'm pretty sure the neumono just grabbed the Pomi's hand.

"A buncha escorts came in. I figure you bunch look like one. If you've got no job lined up, I may have one. I have some important business to conclude tonight, and would like to leave shortly afterward."
>"Who's asking?"

Jessica happens to look my way, and I silently mouth spade pin, trying as subtle as I can to gesture for her to reveal it, since she can a lot easier than me. She gets the hint, and unbuttons her jacket, flicking it to flash the pin to them. Malsen isn't screamin' into the mic from the back of the bar, so I don't think anyone is thinkin' she did somethin' as crazy as she just did.
No. 472919 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330583582.png - (13.79KB , 700x700 , 663.png )

The Pomi is about as calm as a kicked ant hill. Been afraid to swap places with Jess, cause he looks like he'll scream if I breathe too hard.

>"Piles, shut your face up and drink, or I'm pouring the alcohol down your throat anyway. You, belenosian, keep talking."
No. 472921 ID: beeca1

"Piles knows where his payment has recently been cached. In return, he was to hand over the gold. Based on what I've been told of him and his behavior, I suspect he was planning to make a break for it, keep the payment, and leave you holding the figurative bag."
No. 472932 ID: 70c0f2

Good gods, I do not feel qualified to write dialog for a situation this tense this late at night.

While that's true, and probably would be the last straw for Karri, Itcher doesn't know Piles lied to Karri, or that he's planning to run.

See, thing is, I'm trying to collect a shipment coming in tonight. Collect some cargo. Maybe the idiots carrying it too. But there's this slight complication, and I'm concerned things are going to get unnecessarily violent. For everyone involved.
No. 472933 ID: f2c20c

Um, to fit this in with what we actually know, it would be more like "Your boss there looks like he's about to grab his stash in town and run."

I do actually like the idea of getting her to turn on him. It'd take eyes off of Itcher, and give those watching the impression that we're just fucking with them. We kinda need to stop dragging out this conversation though. Maybe while she's yelling at him we can tell her that Zozu is here and more are coming.

I dunno how we can keep Malsen from getting shot during the soon-to-ensue gunfight. We would want to dive behind the bar with Jess, of course.
No. 472934 ID: c6ec33

I'm still for subtlety and stealth, but we're fast running out of it as an option.

Karri and company are massively outnumbered, and if we start something NOW, the odds are high that, in a best-case scenario, we'll just end up getting stuck in here with them while they hold out for backup.

Itcher, is there any way you can pass a message to Karri secretly without drawing attention? For example, by idly writing "zozu trap" in the condensation on your glass? Or, if they have you sign bills here, give the bartender a message to give to Karri that way?

Keep up the talking about a possible job while doing this. Talk about pay, about how many people in her group, etc.
No. 472936 ID: b6edd6

Maybe mention how Piles here looks nervous enough to leave before we conclude out business here, and we wouldn't want that, now would we?
No. 472937 ID: b33427

If Itcher is going to pass a short message, he could do it by asking the barkeep for a coaster for his drink. He writes on it, and slides it with the drink on it down to Karri, saying she should try the scotch, it's surprisingly good.
No. 472938 ID: d4ad1a

How is that not painfully obvious to all the Zozu watching?
No. 472939 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330958535.png - (11.98KB , 700x700 , 664.png )

I get a napkin from the bartender. And on the napkin, I begin writing 'Zozu are in this bar right now'.

"We're all in a bit of a bind with too little time right now. You can get your guys' hidden stash in the outpost for your payment if you want."

>"The fuck do you mean, stash in the outpost? Piles, open your fuckin' mouth. You said we got payment from the cargo van!" the female neumono raises her voice uncomfortable loud.
"I-I- I mean, both? It's both, I just wanted to use cargo for simplicity, but I'd use the drop box money to repl-"

Malsen starts up again.
>"Itcher, fuckin' shut your mouth already, tryin' goddamn hard here n-"
No. 472940 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330961530.png - (54.95KB , 700x700 , 665.png )

"The fuck?! Zozu?!"
Who- the bartender?!
"The fuck is Zozu doing in my goddamn bar?!"

A lot of people are lookin' over here like we're at a podium, and the spotlight just went on.
No. 472941 ID: c4e5c2
File 135330963606.png - (19.38KB , 700x700 , 666.png )

>"Itcher, what the fuck are you doing?!" Malsen screams.
"Itcher, what the fuck are you doing?!" I also hear Malsen say on the other end of the bar.
No. 472942 ID: d4ad1a

Ah, fuck, I posted too late.
No. 472946 ID: d4ad1a

Welp. Alright. Stand up.

"Malsen, I've got this handled. Chill. Bartender, relax, we're here to help. There aren't any Zozu yet, but they're coming for this guy right here." Point to Piles.

Now look at Karri. We're gonna play off the tension between them and bluff like crazy.

"He's been planning to screw you from the start. See how nervous he is? He was gonna slip away and steal the money while leaving you to deal with Zozu backup, who are currently headed over posthaste. The delivery truck has no money in it. We're working under the direction of Whiskers. He didn't want to be responsible for the bloodbath that's about to happen. You turn over these slimy smugglers to us, we'll get them to the Zozu, and you can get out of here with your lives. If you stay and fight, you'll manage to take a lot of Zozu with you, but it'll cost your lives. Choose now. Time is running out fast."
No. 472947 ID: 70c0f2

...that's kind of crazy brilliant. I don't think we have another play, here.

Really, if this goes wrong, we're kind of fucked here though.
No. 472948 ID: 3ae1cb

Muster all the authority and confidence you have within you and say: "Wheres that scotch bartender?"

"And you. I have a proposition for you. You leave the gold and the employers and I give you a headstart out of this clusterfuck. Just walk out of the bar."
No. 472949 ID: f2c20c

Thank you, this is great.

I was just kinda trying to get Karri to shoot first, honestly. I mean, she's not gonna be able to just walk out of here even if they cooperate. We should try to warn her in a more low-key manner so she can launch the offensive.

Uh, what delivery truck are you referring to though? We already know there IS zeny alongside the gold. Well, Itcher doesn't, but he shouldn't say there isn't any if he doesn't know, either.
No. 472951 ID: d4ad1a

I was referring to the excuse Piles was about to start on.
No. 472952 ID: b33427

Better not say you're working for Whiskers. Whiskers' men never, ever announce they work for Whiskers. That's just not their style. Instead use another major group that Whiskers might have stolen from, and would be more inclined to recover their cargo without causing a bloodbath.
No. 472956 ID: c6ec33

This is close to the right idea, but there's too much wrong with that version of the story. I might be willing to endorse this if it were fixed to be correct about money in the van (there was some, just not for them), and there's no way Whisker's guys would turn on their own applicants that easily, and there's also no way most people would ever openly admit to working with Whiskers.

If that can be fixed... sure. Maybe.

Another alternative:

Burst out laughing like a madman.

Literally no one will expect it. Everyone will temporarily forget what the fuck is going on and pay attention to you. because they don't get what's so funny. That's when you pull out this gem:

"Bahahaha. Sorry, Malsen, he fell for it! Hahahaha. I win the bet! Pay up. And don't yell at me, I won it fair and square. Oh, and sorry everyone!"

Look back to the bartender. "I can't believe you fell for that. If there were really Zozu here, most of the people in here would be dead or too scared to be here. I mean, just look - if there were really Zozu out there, what do you think they'd do to YOU for insulting them like that? You'd be one of the dead ones. But you aren't, are you?" Laugh some more.
No. 472958 ID: d4ad1a

Playing it off as a bet doesn't have the bonus of giving us the smugglers, and it makes further conversation harder, due to increased suspicion. I didn't mean to say there was no money in the van, I meant to say that payment wasn't supposed to come from there, and that's how Piles was being a squirmy bugger. Anyway, yeah, we can say we were working for some of the other people who got robbed, but we wanted to claim our stuff before Zozu swept in and claimed it all. Figured we'd save some lives along the way. Our leader is nice like that.
No. 472962 ID: c4e5c2
File 135331396126.png - (10.70KB , 700x700 , 667.png )

"Hahaha!" Hope I pull off a decent laugh considering the water just reached boiling temperature, and there ain't a lotta room for expansion before the brim's hit. "Malsen, I'll handle this, thank you! Girl, hold that thought!" She's right about ready to bark out orders. It's time to do a great bluff.

"The panicky guy here has been been planning o-"

"Itcher, you just got kill ordered! Run the fuck out of there!" Jules says over the private line.

"As I was saying, miss Neu-"
No. 472963 ID: c4e5c2
File 135331397294.png - (50.56KB , 700x700 , 668.png )

No. 472965 ID: c4e5c2
File 135331404771.png - (33.88KB , 700x700 , 669.png )

>Dive behind the bar
That instantly becomes the most prudent idea. Jess agrees. It sounds like a fucking bomb went off followed by the firing of every weapon in conventional warfare.

Just wanted to try some lines, too. Fuckin' asshole situation.
No. 472966 ID: c6ec33

Ask the bartender if he's got a panic room / button / secret exit. Because you're probably going to need one of those pretty soon.
No. 472967 ID: d4ad1a

Well, this has gone tits-up. We kind of blew things for Itcher, huh. I feel bad. We made him look dumb in front of Whiskers, too. That's the worst part.

Alright, damage control. Let's not get killed.
No. 472968 ID: f2c20c

Wait for the gunfire to end before asking who won. If Karri did (of course she did) apologize for stirring shit up, but if they waited any longer they would've been far far outnumbered. Also, say that maybe we could shoot our way out if things aren't too fucked up outside the bar. Give her a rough estimate on the numbers and vehicles involved.
No. 472969 ID: f2c20c

Going tits-up was the entire plan! Fighting was unavoidable, so we needed to ensure that we controlled where the fighting happened, and had a safe place to ride it out. This bar is the best place for it.

It would've been nice to do it without being blamed for it, but oh well.
No. 472971 ID: 3ae1cb

No. 472972 ID: c4e5c2
File 135331530033.png - (31.97KB , 700x700 , 670.png )

I end up next to the bartender, who has also taken up residence in the cover. I hear.. explosions off in the distance, too.

"Hey! Don't suppose you got some panic button?!"
"As a matter of fact, I do!" I can barely hear him over the gunfire. "This place has a lotta panic rooms, since this was one big ship prepared for hull breaches! If we live past this, I'll push it!"
>"Not yet!" the escort neumono yells "Not till we get out or I shoot you myself!" the fighting in the bar is almost done within seconds, but everyone that was out in the outskirts is still fighting. Given the neumono girl seems to be sounding healthy, I figure she won. "Son of a bitch! You, informant, how many Zozu are there out there?!"
"At least a hundred, probably more, and most of them were in position to strike here!"
>"Fuckin' hell! Tank crew, blow your way out of there and... shit... damnit all, everyone keep regrouping in the bar! Tank crew is down! Tank crew is down!"

"Hey buddies who's still alive?"
"Still alive." Jules says.
No. 472974 ID: f2c20c

Tell Jules to stay alive. If he hasn't been kill ordered, do everything possible to continue not being a target. Also tell him to watch out for the turrets at "home", if he doesn't know already. It looks like he might be the only one left able to deliver the "package".
No. 472975 ID: c6ec33

Sounds like Malsen and Lamarra are probably down. We'll want to double-check once we get the chance.

A real shame, honestly. I guess they're the sacrifice that had to be made to save Karri.

Tell Jules that you're probably fucked, and he'll have to fend for himself now. It's his choice whether or not to stick his neck out to deliver the package. You won't hold it against him if he doesn't.

Also, tell Karri to get someone to radio for backup or hide out and try to get a message out before it's too late.
No. 472976 ID: c6ec33

Oh, and Jules, if Zozu asks? Every Zozu in the bar is dead, including you.
No. 472978 ID: 3ae1cb

"Right, don't shoot Jules he's a cool dude. OK other guys, take you chances out there or in here but christ don't kill me I just want to get out of this alive."
No. 472979 ID: b33427

Tell the bartender you ought to punch him in the face for being such a bleedin' idiot, shoutin' out what he did.

Quickly get up and check if Malsen is alive or not. Either way, pull the private channel communicator from him. Give Karri the particulars of the private channel, since you're in with her lot now.

Check if Lamarra is alive, and if he is patch him up enough that he's stable.

Tell Karri you might have a way out of the outpost: That elevator Whiskers had behind the Drunken Goose. Where's the Drunken Goose from here? And ask the bartender what's under the alley behind it.
No. 472981 ID: f2c20c

I dunno if we want to try to get Jules to lie and say we died. In fact, he should do whatever it takes to stay alive, even if it means ratting us out.
No. 472985 ID: c6ec33

Odds are that we're stuck in here. Zozu are approaching on all sides, so getting out alive is almost impossible. Not to mention that we're a source of intel for Karri, so she's not just going to let us walk. We also have no idea how to activate the elevator.

I suggest not telling the bartender you're going to punch him. Save it for after he's kit the panic button, and then *actually* hit him.
No. 472988 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332087428.png - (15.40KB , 700x700 , 671.png )

>Where's the Drunken Goose from here?
Not close at all. A good several blocks at least, and I'd have no idea how the alleyways connect from here to there. For all I know that just goes to a different floor, I think the Drunken Goose was on the third.

"Well if you're not fucked, Jules, just try to live. I'm probably gonna get locked down in here with Jess, I'm gonna check on Malsen and Lamarra. Do watch for the turrets at home."
>"....alright, Itcher I'm gonna cut contact with you for now, but keep me updated if something important comes up. I'll try and keep you updated out here, but I've gotta hide my shit before they search me. Good luck in there."
"Good luck out there. Do what you gotta do, even if it's ratting me out."

Jess and I get up, hands up in case people think we're the enemy. Poor old Malsen is good for show, but when it comes down to a gunfight, he just makes a real easy target. I get the earpiece from him in the chaos. Still squinting even in death.
No. 472991 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332128388.png - (24.23KB , 700x700 , 672.png )

And Lamarra... he's doesn't look hot.
>"He's fine." the girl neumono tells them, while running off to some of the windows to assist her buddies. "He one of yours!?"
"Yeah, he's cool, he's cool... if not dead, anyway."

>"I'm fine." Lamarra says. "Just playin' dead is all."
No. 472992 ID: c6ec33

Well, that turned out better than I expected.

Quickly check for any more survivors of either side. Then, get everyone back behind cover, and be ready to shoot anyone who shoots at you.

We'll just have to hunker down until Karri makes her move or the bartender flips the switch. You might as well make sure he doesn't do that TOO quickly.
No. 472993 ID: e3f578

I feel really bad, Malsen was our only friend in a hostile faction of Zozu and he just got killed because of our crazy ambitious bullshit.
Goddamn, the only way I can think about how to get out of this is through Whiskers, and I don't think she's going to help!
No. 472994 ID: fca2ae

so far things havn't gone balls up, but yeah I feel bad for malsen, he was the only "hostile" that really looked out for us
No. 472995 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332465513.png - (74.05KB , 700x700 , 673.png )

Karri helps the last few of hers inside.

>"Too fucking many! Bartender, hit the panic button!"

Those hulls do make pretty ominous noises when they close.

No. 472996 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332466719.png - (20.20KB , 700x700 , 674.png )

"That was some shit you did, yelling out the zozu were everywhere!"
No. 472997 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332468055.png - (13.02KB , 700x700 , 675.png )

>"Hey! Fucking hell, don't make me babysit your ass! Sit down, both of you, I got a lot of questions!"
"I'm cool, I'm cool." That's bio armor, alright.

Just caught myself from sayin' I lost a friend. True, Malsen was damn good, but sayin' that makes it sound like she didn't lose friends either, an' chances are she had at least one.
No. 472998 ID: c4e5c2
File 135332469605.png - (15.83KB , 700x700 , 676.png )

>"Drink." Jessica says. We hang by the bar out of the way of all those guys getting medical treatment, but the large girl comes following us.

>"Alright. My name is Karri."
"... Itcher."
>"Tell me what you know. Who are you, and what are our chances of getting out of here?"
No. 473002 ID: e3f578

We already told you what we know, about reinforcements coming and all that. That's pretty much everything we can think of. Those men we're fighting are Maklata Zozu's fellas, we're plain Zozu fellas that Maklata hates and wants to kill to tie up loose ends, Maklata originally stole the gold you have thanks to a rivalry within the family, not for monetary gain... what else is there?
Oh we incapacitated the next group to take the gold to get all this information. The gold ain't going anywhere but Zozu now, but that's fine. I suspect Whiskers will be making her own efforts to get the rest of the cargo, maybe the gold included, who knows with her. The cargo's bullshit anyway. Interrogate Piles to the secret drop if they really want the cash for their mission, tell him not to worry about blabbing, it ain't Whiskers style to kill blabbers. Ummm, yeah. That's about it. Oh, and if there's any ex-Zozu in Pile's group, we'd probably have to give them up to Zozu if any of us have a chance of not being hunted down by them.
Now how about you Karri?
No. 473005 ID: 8b9215

"Zozu, few hundred, after that gold, looking to make an example of you and your client. Accountant and secretary, don't ask. Zero."

"How the fuck did you get tangled up transporting hot cargo?"
No. 473010 ID: 70c0f2

Wow. Terrified Pomi have an awesome expression.

>We got Malsen killed!
Yeah, sucks. But as reasonable as he was, he was a loyal Zozu. The only way we couldn't have got him killed is if we managed to stop the shootout, which we botched.

>Karri's questions
Chances aren't good. The Zozu knew the gold was gonna be here, and wanted to make an example of the idiots carrying it. And when they recognized you lot as Pilon's, they only got more kill happy. Apparently you pissed them off at some point.

We're ex-Zozu now, I guess. We were some of the idiots guarding that gold, until Malkata tried to pull some fucking stupid inside job on his father, botched it, and then lost the haul to Whiskers. We got caught in the middle- on the line with Zozu for failure, and Malkata for what we knew.

Plan was to intercept the gold and the idiots carrying it here, and avoid their escort. Until they showed up with you guys, and then suddenly Zozu saw a ripe opportunity for revenge, and Malkata saw a neat way to tie off a lose end. Figured the only chance any of us had was if I warned you, and work out a deal before the trap was sprung. Didn't exactly work out.
No. 473013 ID: fca2ae

I..... I'm not sure I can watch now, put my bit in time to time, but.... we already lost one, & I actually am sad, it feels like we used him to get him killed..... but try, please, try, keep everybody alive, be cautious, be gentle, keep an escape (dosn't hafta be run away, a gap where you can walk without guard & slip off)
No. 473016 ID: fca2ae

be cautious, fact is father dosn't mind if you die tho you gave info about his underlings, his underlings are fighting between each other..... slowly...... dunno 'bout their age to neumono which is longer then human, but for this, we should be sensitive & careful, we already lost 1 & was a "hostile" but the connection we had to others, & fact is, we used him for that, he gave our trust, we got him killed
No. 473017 ID: f2c20c

Damn fool wasn't wearing his vest. It's like he didn't expect to get shot at. I still think he's a spy, but that's just due to him basically always being in the clear. He didn't get interrogated by Maklata despite being absent for the raid, didn't get interrogated by Maklata's men despite being conscious during Whisker's visit, and pretty much always served as an intermediary between us and Malkata's troops but never got in trouble for it. It's just... suspicious.

I feel like we might want to gloss over being freshly ex-Zozu until we're sure she won't shoot us for it. We can tell her we're a tax collector forced into helping with the gold recovery operation, and that'll basically be true.

Tell her about the reinforcements, ask what exactly was in the van aside from the gold, and ask what got her into this situation in the first place.
No. 473019 ID: b33427

Since whatever chances you've got of getting out of here are shrinking by the minute, open by asking Karri to rattle off every person and group she can think of she'd like to know about this situation. Oh, but ask if Whiskers has a reason to specifically not help Pilon or his kin first. When she asks why, tell her you've got Whiskers' surveillance nanobots on you. If he or his CAI is listening right now, and if he feels like it, he just might get a message to them before they catch word of what happened here through normal channels. It's a long shot, but still worth a try.

As for who you are and what you know, that'll take awhile, but it's not like any of us are going anywhere. Get a couple bottles of booze and some glasses, upright a table and chairs, and offer Karri a seat. Get Lamarra over here to share his part in this. Pour every one of you a drink, and tell Karri everything, with minor alterations to hide the bit about Whiskers being a female belenosian. Even get a video player and the recording from Jess' ear to show her Maklata's confession, you and Jess stopping Red, and the talk with Father Zozu. All three of you are going to make a (nearly) full disclosure.

When you finally get to the end, ask Karri what Pilon's kids are doing taking escort jobs. Last anyone heard, him and his crew were surface scavengers. ...He didn't die, did he?

...Oh, man. Here's a terrible thought: Red is almost certainly on his way, if not already here. With Jess now almost surely ex-Zozu, and Pilon's kids in the mix, Father Zozu has every reason to send Maklata's pet bio armored psycho out here. And when Red arrives, he's going to take a seat just outside this room, and the outpost jammer will be turned off. And then he's going to sit there and fantasize about all the horrid, unspeakable things he's going to do to everyone in here. It's going to be psychological torture for every neumono in here. Doubly so for Jess.

Don't bother interrogating Piles or his associates if they're still alive. By the time you lot get out and get someone to come back here to get the stashed payment once the heat has died down, it'll be long gone. One of Whiskers' men will have taken it back, since Piles didn't actually complete the job.
No. 473020 ID: 70c0f2

Caution is warranted, but I don't think we can afford to lie about big stuff. Karri's still pretty pissed about the sting of lies Piles gave her, and sooner or later someone outside is gonna have the smart idea to turn off the base jammer. When that happens, if we've told any whoppers (like trying to completely hide our own connection to Zozu) they'll pick up on it from Jess and Lamarra, and then we're fucked.

We can certainly downplay our involvement. We're just the people caught in the middle, trying to clear our name and stay alive.
No. 473045 ID: 1a8371

Telling the truth here should be fine. Just do it in a political way so as not to get your face shot off.

The word you're looking for is 'defector'. In short, you are former Zozu who have evidence that will take down Maklata Zozu, and Maklata suspects it and wanted you dead. However, Father Zozu has his own suspicions and would frown upon you disappearing. You were put on point for this op because Maklata wanted a convenient way to disppse of you without arousing suspicion, and a gunfight with her group was bound to happen at some point. You wanted out, and Karri's group appeared to be a better chance than sticking with the Zozu. You tried to sneak her info on the trap, but that went sour. After the bartender fucked everything up, a kill order was placed on you, so you're definitely ex-zozu now.

Of course, you hold no love for Zozu and will provide as much info as possible to get yourself out of this alive. You'll try to help Karri, too, but it should be obvious that this is a working relationship for the moment.
No. 473060 ID: c4e5c2
File 135336561606.png - (13.92KB , 700x700 , 677.png )

"Tax collector and accountant. Long series of events forced me here and defect from the Zozu. Chances aren't good. That's all I can think of, here, but I've got no attachments to Zozu, so I'll still answer anything I can. How about you? Last I checked, you guys were just doin' escorts."
>"Our circumstances changed."
"How about asking that Piles guy you were by? Seemed like he wasn't too trustworthy."

Karri points behind her. He also isn't too alive.

>Damn fool wasn't wearing his vest
Yeah, neither did...
"Jess, what the hell, didn't put on your vest!"
>"Er, yeah, I was meaning to, but then things sorta happened before I remembered to change."

Well, Malsen took a shot in the head anyway. Wouldn'ta helped him, I don't think.

"And how'd you end up here, Karri?"
>"Wanted to see this cargo through the end and figure out why it had such a load of shit on it."
"Well, Zozu's probably got it now. There was more than just the gold, by the way."
>"No shit, and we know. We looked inside the cargo."
"Tell me, any groups you'd like to see come help us?"
>"My father, Pilon, will come before too long if it comes to it. I'm also part of Tin's trade hub, now. I doubt the black supernova pirates would help us, but apparently I was partially raised by their captain in my first few years. I doubt anyone else has any reason to come."
Think that'll be good enough for Whiskers to go off of if she's got any intention of doin' such a thing.
"Want me to give my life story that led up to this point?"
>"No. I'm going to defend. You two help if asked, otherwise just stay out of the way."
No. 473061 ID: c4e5c2
File 135336563352.png - (12.37KB , 700x700 , 678.png )

Once the wounded get tended to, it all seems too damn quiet. The bartender shows us around, this place spans a decent bit of room over 3 floors, sayin' that while there are multiple exits, Zozu's probably got it surrounded if they have any access to blueprints. Which I tell 'em they probably do, since they planned on taking over the outpost entirely.

Jess an' I just start usin' up the great stock of booze, mindin' ourselves and bein' available if Karri needs anything. None of the 'em mind, they don't seem too interested in drowning themselves, so they just make barricades out of tables and the like. Jules finally gives an input.

"Hey, Itcher, still alive? Anyone?"
"Still alive. Jess and Lamarra is too. Malsen, not so much."
"Damn. Coulda be 4 times as worse. Listen, they're laying down explosives all over, I'd say they were almost just going to try to cave you guys' in, but they're waiting for reinforcements. Pretty much all of Maklata's forces are going to come bearing down here."
"For some fucking gold?"
>"That's not all. Aside from another million or so in raw zeny, the cargo had some data. A lot. Like an old map laying out facilities that have been buried or otherwise lost. Real interesting. Point is, though, we've got hundreds and hundreds of more people coming in, they'll start arriving in the next couple hours."
No. 473062 ID: 5bacee

Better give Karri the news. With the number of Zozu in here doubling soon defending against a siege may not work out so well, how many days worth of supplies does this place have right now anyway?
No. 473064 ID: eb682d

What happened to Piles?
He doesn't look like he got hit, did he have a heart attack or something?
Also holy shit those eyes
No. 473070 ID: 70c0f2

Ask Jules how things are looking for him.

Welp, relay the bad news. I hope Karri has her copies of those maps still- the data could be invaluable for our long term get off this rock plans. Also hope the rescue slags the originals- Zozu getting more powerful ain't a good thing.

>Coulda be 4 times as worse
Considering 4/5 people survived, that's a fairly literal assessment!

Did Piles die of fright? I don't see a mark on him, unless he took a suicide pill or something. Which would be telling in and of itself. At least him getting it is one thing we got right this timeline.
No. 473071 ID: f2c20c

Explosives... all over the place? Like, where, outside, or on the building? If they're just placing charges to be detonated during battle like mines, then... I don't suppose we could hack the frequency of the detonators, could we?
No. 473073 ID: beeca1

Well, I suppose Piles is technically a loss. He knew where the payment is. We should've waited... although I admit money isn't much of an issue in our current circumstances.

Anyway, check him to see if heart attack or just suicide pill. Or if he just drank some poisonous booze.

Which reminds me, I should ask about differing biochemistry in ITQ.
No. 473075 ID: 70c0f2

>check him to see if heart attack or just suicide pill. Or if he just drank some poisonous booze.
Or that he's not faking. I wouldn't put it past the lying fuck, if Pomi physiology or drugs allow an induced near death state.
No. 473083 ID: 79b5a6

Seriously this. If there's any way this clown could be faking his death, we need to know.
No. 473085 ID: c4e5c2
File 135337045787.png - (17.36KB , 700x700 , 679.png )

>I don't suppose we could hack the frequency of the detonators
Don't think Jessica has the required knowledge of the specific detonators or the equipment to do somethin' like that.

"Jules, explosives all over the place like... what? Outside or on the building?"
"Everywhere they can, like they're trying to blow up the whole building in one go."
"So how're things with you?"
"Oh, you know... they searched me, but they don't seem to hold anything against me, since it was pretty clear you were doing your own thing over there. So I'm just on lookout, keepin' an eye on people comin' in. Anyway, I better shut up. See ya."

>"Did Piles die of fright or somethin'?" Jessica asks, somethin' I was wondering myself.
"Well he's doin' that freaky eye thing Pomi's do when shit gets realer than they can cope with, an' those aren't generally a good sign.. ah, wait, there's a bullet hole there. His suit does a good job of coverin' the blood is all. Yep, definitely dead."
No. 473086 ID: c4e5c2
File 135337047501.png - (11.50KB , 700x700 , 680.png )

I go over to Karri to give her the news.
"Hey, Karri. Just wonderin', you got a copy of those data maps that were in the cargo?"
>"... what's it to you?" She ain't a very good hider, that sounded like a 'yes' to me.
"Nevermind. Reinforcements are on their way, couple hours from now. Zozu reinforcements, sorry. PLus, they're laying explosives around the building, so they could come in from all angles if the building doesn't come down on us."
>"Figures- wait. How do you know that?"
No. 473088 ID: e05478

It just hit me that we told Jules to do whatever he had to in order to survive, so his information to us may be false / scripted, dude has a family after all.
No. 473089 ID: 8b9215

"I have a friend still alive outside. He's got a radio."
No. 473090 ID: f2c20c

Tell her you still have a guy on the outside, but not to worry about him, he's gonna be fine on his own. You hope.

Anyway, I think we need to get out of this building. It'd be safest to make a retreat through alleyways so that we don't get sniped out in the open. Hmmm... ask the bartender if he knows about that elevator behind the Drunken Goose. If it's a secret, maybe we can actually use it to escape?
No. 473092 ID: 70c0f2

This. He's not in a position to do much in the way of help, though.

Potentially. I'd like to think he'd have the decency to use some kind of duress code though, and I can't pick up on anything like that in his dialog.
No. 473093 ID: c4e5c2
File 135337348125.png - (16.41KB , 700x700 , 681.png )

>His information to us may be false / scripted, dude has a family after all.
I gotta keep it in mind, but that's a real weird thing to say for a scripted report.

"Friend on the outside. Also a defector." Makin' sure to shut off the earpiece again. Gotta tap my ear three times, and it'll make it do a wind down beep of sorts. Weird stuff. "Think we should get out of this building?"

>"Dunno. Bartender! Are there other buildings that can offer protection nearby?"
Absolutely. What would be the point, though?
>"It keeps them from having time to blow us up, that's the point. Itcher, can your friend be trusted?"
"Yeah. Hold on... Jules, what kind of explosives are we talking about?"
"Big blocks of C4, normal stuff really."
"Bartender, can C4 get through here?"
"Not a chance."
"Jules, apparently that stuff can't get through here."
"Well, they're going to waste it then, but they probably have better stuff coming on the way."
"And bartender, there's an elevator behind the Drunken Goose. Know anything about that?"
"There's back doors and elevators everywhere in this old ship. If you're expecting an elevator to safety, then it's not gonna be that easy, it's most likely just an old elevator that's ran out of common use." explains the bartender.
No. 473095 ID: f2c20c

It occurs to me that if Jules IS compromised, then we're in a pickle, because if we make it clear from our actions that we aren't trusting Jules, then he won't be useful to them anymore and might be killed. We should act like we trust him but never tell him what our plans are. Make it a one-way street of info; that is still useful enough for them to keep him alive, but limits the damage he can do. For instance, we just told him C4 won't work. That may have been a mistake; let's avoid giving him any more info about our situation like that.

...he said they searched him. Maybe they found his earpiece.
No. 473097 ID: 8b9215

Yeah, let's not give him any info he doesn't need.
No. 473111 ID: 35d27b

hmmmm... I am drunk, but admit you are zozu, but what your under wands you & oartners dead, we already lost one & we dind (personally) want more
No. 473112 ID: 35d27b

lemme type more english, we lost partner who heled keep us alive, abd being alive is out objective dispite a boss trying to kill us, can you follow?
No. 473115 ID: 70c0f2

That's probably prudent. In a sense it protects him, too.

Only decision to make now is how long we hold this location before moving to another place. And that's tactical, which is Karri's decision, not ours. We're just along for the ride.

Itcher has enough problems with booze without drunk headvoices, I think.

As for your point, we don't need to whine about losing people. It would be downright insulting in this situation- seeing as how we stand to die, we got a bunch of other Zozu killed, and Karri lost people too.
No. 473117 ID: a5c529

Well we could just use the service ladder..., I'm also fairly certain there should be an underground route to escape, somebody in the whole time of that ship being there should have done something of the sort so ask.
No. 473142 ID: c4e5c2
File 135339117043.png - (14.67KB , 700x700 , 682.png )

Tactical decisions, yep. Karri gets right on that. Jess' and I just keep on drinkin'. I'll hold off on keeping our going on to Jules, but it ain't like I'm the commander's right hand man. Just glad enough that she's no killing machine.

Lamarra fiddles with the radio to see if he can't get a feed back into Zozu Command's discussions, but he or Jess can only guess at random and fiddle with dials, he ain't expecting much, just seein if he wins the lotto.

Bout an hour passes by before Jules comes up.

"Hey, first wave of reinforcements came by a few helicopters to speed them up. I think Red is in there, but I'm trying to not ask too many questions."

About then we hear the bombs go off, but the panic room stays strong like the bartender claimed.
No. 473143 ID: c4e5c2
File 135339118096.png - (14.82KB , 700x700 , 683.png )

Half an hour later, I finally get that "technical difficulty" that shuts off the neumono jammer. All the neumono notice, and by the look on Jess's face, Red's around. The others don't appear particularly perturbed, at least not enough that they otherwise seem bothered. To them it seems more like if someone carried in a bad smell.

One of them does come by.

>"Does that one bug you? Seems kinda fucked up." the guy asks.
>"Yes... a lot. We have a little history. I'll be fine, but you should get back to protecting us. Yourselves."
No. 473144 ID: c4e5c2
File 135339119076.png - (14.37KB , 700x700 , 684.png )

The guy just goes and hugs her.

>"Does this help?" he asks.
>".... yes." Jess replies.
"You guys sure are cuddly."
>"It's more than that." he starts saying. "A lot of physical touch on her will make her mainly sense me, leaving less room for the guy out there. At the risk of boasting, I should hope I have a more appealing personality."
"You don't want to boast, but you think you're better than a sociopathic maniac. Pretty easy win, there."
>"Don't be rude, Itcher." Jess says. "It actually is a nice help."
"Yeah yeah, I'm just playin'. Thanks, cuddleguy, for comfortin' her."
No. 473145 ID: c4e5c2
File 135339136918.png - (17.91KB , 700x700 , 685.png )

I wander a bit, not wantin' to feel like a third wheel all of a sudden. I think Red gets sick of all the love in here and ends up movin' away, but I'm just tryin' to read those vibes. I hear the bartender looking over his maps with Karri. I come over when it looks like they're onto something.

"Right here." explains the bartender. "This is probably the best panic room, it's all close quarters, so it would be more difficult for them to take advantage of their better numbers. It's not too far, and it's especially thick on one side where the original edge of the ship is. It is much easier to defend, plus, I think there's a hospital in there."
>"Good, we'd need it by the time we actually reached that. We should move soon before they bring in the good explosives."
"Don't suppose this one has an underground exit?"
"No. Under this bar holdout is just a regular floor in the outpost. Some routes are better for fights than others, but there's no exit that the Zozu don't have access too. And there's one problem with the hospital panic room. We built our outpost more or less ignoring the panic room layout, so while most have retained their layout, this one's controls actually ended up on the outside of it.
>"What? What's the second best one?"
"We're in it. If we go to that hospital, someone will need to hit the panic button, and I don't think it'll be possible for them to come into it in time. I doubt there's a time release on it. They'll be stuck out there."
No. 473146 ID: c4e5c2
File 135339138266.png - (17.85KB , 700x700 , 686.png )

No. 473147 ID: f2c20c

Not it.
No. 473149 ID: f2c20c

Hmm, hang on. What are the controls like? It could be possible to set up a delayed presser. If we have any plastic explosive, we could tear off a tiny amount and stick that on the button.

Wait. If the controls are on the outside of the door, what's keeping our enemies from just opening up the panel and reversing the lockdown? Also, how would we get OUT afterwards?
No. 473156 ID: 9b155d

Okay, the button is outside. Presumably the actual mechanism is inside or they could just undo the lockdown. So there should be someway to trigger it from the inside if you've got the tools to access said mechanism.
No. 473158 ID: e05478

Well, shit, ask if it would be possible to set up a delay or something similar.

Also, about that comfort thing Jess is getting, makes a man feel MIGHTY inadequate, you can defend her, be turned into a bloody smear in doing so if that's what it takes, but you can't comfort her in a way that a neumono needs.

Mighty inadequate.
No. 473174 ID: 2f4b71

If it's a button or switch, we'd have to sacrifice one (projectile) gun for it's spring and sear mechanism, and find a long bit of string.
No. 473185 ID: a25bd3

we could also tape a small heavy plate of metal to the button and shoot the plate, or fasten the rear of a blowback type pistol to the face of the switch and trigger the gun with a string.
No. 473186 ID: f2c20c

...I hope Red chases us there and we get to slice him in half with the panic room door.
No. 473191 ID: c4e5c2
File 135340949418.png - (8.99KB , 700x700 , 687.png )

>Inadequate at comforting in that neumono way
Nothin' I can do about it, though.

"Possible to set up a delay on it?"
"Not to my awareness."
"What are the controls like? Hell, could tear off a tiny piece of plastic explosive and blow that on the button. And if the controls are on the outside of the door,what's keeping the zozu from just opening it right back up again?"
"Shutting the doors are made to be easier than opening them. I don't know exactly, but there'll probably be a way to keep it closed on the inside."
>"And if not?..... Nothing? There's too many ifs. That's assuming we're able to make it there in the first place, then we get to place some fickle, elaborate mechanism to flip a switch we don't know the properties of. We wait. Unless you, Itcher. Can you get your buddy on the outside to investigate this?"
"Jules. There's a panic button somewhere nearby here for another hull. You around to be able to scope it out?"
There's a good minute of no response before I hear him.
"No, sorry, I'm posted up top at lookout, and leaving would be bad."
"He says no go."
>"Then we stay."

So I go back to the booze.
No. 473192 ID: c4e5c2
File 135340960504.png - (30.25KB , 700x700 , 688.png )

Half an hour passes. Everyone's more or less quiet, just waiting for the intevitable breach.

"Hey, uh, Itcher?" Jules asks.
"Were you able to get whisker to help you out or something?"
"Hell if I know. Why?"
"A shitton of tanks bearing the Black Supernova flag are running right at us. They're going to get here right around as the bulk of the Zozu reinforcements arrive. I think that's why they're holding off on hitting you guys, they don't want to fight everyone at once. Everyone up here's kind of in a panic, now. But listen, something else just came up. The powers that be just shifted. Command isn't reporting to Maklata directly anymore, they're reporting to Maklata and Father Zozu."
"Yeah, and?"
"If we're able to take out command here, which is most likely hanging out in the outposts HQ now, we'll be able to upload all those recordings."
No. 473221 ID: e3f578

Okay, sweet, Jules, time to be as fucking covert as possible and be a pro and getting tgchan's sweet logical reasoning perspective. Can we jump now? That sounds like something that would need our help, unless we all move and synchronize to distract the HQ. Karri will have to be into it, but that WILL mean that Zozu will kick out most of Maklata's guys and bring in Ziril's hopefully.

Thing is, then you'll have to betray Karri here and that would be a little dishonorable, because Zozu will be all like "Now is the time to test your loyalty, behead the daughter of Pilon" or some shit.
No. 473224 ID: 8b9215

"Hey, Karri. Black Supernova showed up. Quite a few tanks. Don't know if it's for show but zozu is flipping out. Now is as good a time as any for a breakout."

"We can hit the command center here and it will get passed over to Zozu central HQ and we've got some info saying the son responsible for all this is a backstabbing asshole. Don't think it will stop the attack but it may cause some serious infighting."

"Oh, shit. That psychopath neumono has a personal jammer. New tech. He can go silent and still detect all of you."
No. 473225 ID: 0c2247

Naw, we can manage that just fine. We just need to bring Karri up to speed on things first. THAT'S the hard part.

If we can get the recordings to Zozu that'll take some heat off us. We tag a message along with it saying that once Maklata's forces are out of here Karri is willing to negotiate on returning the gold.

It's all spin - if the gold was recovered before the recordings got to Zozu then Maklata would have killed you to squelch you to keep the evidence from going from circumstantial to concrete. That would have been much worse for the Zozu family, so you had to work against your orders and bide your time.
No. 473230 ID: 70c0f2

Go Likisin! Papa Pilon taught the kids all about the importance of hugs and cuddling, it would seem. =D We actually accomplished one of our new timeline objectives: get Jess in with some of the nicest neumono on this rock.

>we'll be able to upload all those recordings
Hmm. Not sure the mercs are gonna be too happy risking their necks just to clear our name with Zozu.

Unless... just how bad is this intel? Could it lead to Malkata's and father Zozu's forces turning against one another? A Zozu civil war? That would certainly be worth a strike team sneaking out and taking out command.

Problems, of course, is that we don't have a way out of the bar that isn't watched, the enemy is waiting outside with superior numbers, the outside is covered in explosives, and that we can't send neumono, because they'll be sensed. Kind of limits our options. Really, I'm not sure how we'd get out to even have a chance of making a surgical strike against command. Let alone how we sneak through enemy forces to get to command once we're out.

Well, pass on the news that Karri's extended family is apparently going to crash the party. If Jules thinks the video upload has a serious chance of causing something like a Zozu civil war, we can float the idea.

>Karri is willing to negotiate on returning the gold
The cargo was in the garage. Zozu forces breached there, killed the tank crew (rest in peace, guys) and already laid claim to the gold and everything else. Bargaining with a chip that's already stolen doesn't make much sense.
No. 473237 ID: 8fca75

Interesting, we should ask Karri about this.
No. 473241 ID: b33427

Relay Jules' intel to Karri, and ask her if the Black Supernova have any tricks up their sleeve she knows of that they might use here. Also share that Red is wearing 80% bio armor with an experimental integrated one-way jamming unit. So that psycho could be sitting right outside and we wouldn't know.

Ask Jules how much he thinks uploading the recording will help us here. At the least we'd need Father Zozu to order a cease fire, or we're all screwed. And that still leaves Father Zozu wanting Karri and her siblings dead. They're still stuck here. Would broadcasting Maklata's confession to everyone within range (Zozu, Black Supernova, outpost residents, etc.) as well as uploading the whole thing to Zozu command, be better for us all?

If we're going to make a run at the outpost HQ, start preparing the recording now. Completely decrypt it, then make duplicates for everyone here, plus a few more to hide here and one or two to drop along the way for scavengers to pick up. This is so it'll still get out, one way or another. Tell them all what the time code is for the start of Maklata's confession, so they can broadcast that while uploading the whole thing to Zozu command.

Still have to figure how we're going to get out of here, especially with the injured. Ask the barkeep if the safe room exits can be opened individually. Also ask what he's got here in quantity that's flammable enough to make into Molotov cocktails. Generator fuel, perhaps?
No. 473252 ID: f2c20c

Jules shouldn't know that Black Supernova are possible allies, should he? Sounds like he's telling the truth. Also, if he were compromised, he could've gone "okay, I'll go push the button" and not done it, leaving us stranded. He'd also have alerted Zozu to blockade the area.

Alright, relay this info. Personally I think we should time the attack so that we reach the HQ just before Black Supernova and the extra Zozu get here. On the other hand, we could wait for Black Supernova to actually start attacking before we do it... I'm not sure. I do think that making the timing too precise might alert them to Jules being a mole, though.

We need a layout of the HQ, a route there, and a battleplan. Jules giving us an estimate of how many troops are there would be nice too.
No. 473253 ID: b33427

Ask Jules how many and what kinds of vehicles both the Zozu here and the reinforcements have, and also what he can see the Black Supernova have. Ask Karri if she has a way to contact the Black Supernova once they're closer to the outpost.

If you haven't done so already, and before saying another thing, gather up all the Zozu communications gear and stash it someplace soundproof; Their microphones may be able to be turned on remotely. Especially the phones, and doubly so for yours, Jess', and Lamarra's. You saw what Father Zozu and Maklath could do with them, so who knows what's installed in them. Pull the batteries as well.
No. 473274 ID: c4e5c2
File 135344554036.png - (16.34KB , 700x700 , 689.png )

>Just how bad is this intel?
Despite Jess's fears, I can't imagine that Maklata's just going to get a slap on the wrist for the gross waste of resources he's tossed in on his own gaff.

>Get the dead Zozu's communication devices, disable/hide them
Looks like Karri already did something like that.

"Hey, Karri. Black Supernova's just outside. I don't think they're here to assist Zozu."
"You know, if you got no problems with it, if we can hit the HQ, I've got some pretty nasty dirt on the guy who's supposed to be spearheading this operation. If I can upload it, might not stop the attack, but it sure would create some nasty infighting. Jess, start decrypting it, make a buncha copies of at least the good stuff so it definitely gets out."
>"I can make a couple, but I don't think we're swimming in flash drives." says Jess.

"Jules, what kind of vehicles are there out there, and how many?"
"They look like they have their drilltanks, other tanks, various smaller assisting vehicles. They most likely will get air superiority, though. Zozu probably has about as many forces, but I know that the rest of the Black Supernova forces are a lot closer than the rest of our Zozu forces."
No. 473275 ID: c4e5c2
File 135344556337.png - (12.60KB , 700x700 , 690.png )

"Bartender, can the doors here be opened individually?"
"Karri, you got a way to communicate with Black Supernova if they get close enough?"
>"No. But fighting back is better, so I'll still willingly try and go for command once the pirates and Zozu start fighting. How long till that is?"
"Jules, how long?"
"Minutes, I don't know if they're going to have a stand off or not."
"Got booze strong enough to make molotov cocktails?"
"Now that you mention it, yeah, a lot."
"And Karri, that Red guy out there's got 80% bioarmor, and pretty damn tough even without."
>"That isn't good, but it isn't that bad either. A lot of us are in 70%, and there isn't a big difference between the two. Are there more like him, or is he their strongest unit?"
"Can't say, but I'm pretty sure he's important enough to have been sped up over here, so probably a lone unit. He's also got a personalized jammer. Sorta like Polo, if you've heard of her."
>"I have on occasion, yes. Alright, I think we're doing it. Just lay low if you can't fight. We move once we confirm there's enough fight out there to distract the Zozu from us, otherwise they'll just wipe the floor with us if we actually try and advance."
"Any tricks the supernova might use?"
>"I don't know them that well. We're going to start preparing those cocktails. Any other ideas before we move out?"
No. 473279 ID: 70c0f2

>Jess, start decrypting it
Ouch. Hopefully it's less painful coming out than going in.

>I have on occasion, yes
Hmm. Seems as if we hit on a sore subject.

>Red, tough
Thankfully, no matter how tough a neumono is, they can only hold up against so much concentrated weapons fire, bio-armored or no.

Not much to do but start whipping up some booze bombs. I think we're capable of fighting, but you should probably let the super-neumono in bioarmor do the heavy lifting.
No. 473282 ID: 7ea3a9

Don't you fucking dare tell Jules that they may be on our side.
No. 473283 ID: 7ea3a9

Hey, we still got our tasers? Those nearly killed him last time. Give em to Karri's people if you have em.
No. 473286 ID: beeca1

You may need to kiss Jessica's ear better again.

And distributing tazers sounds like a good idea, although we may also want smoke grenades. Can we make anything like that?
No. 473288 ID: 70c0f2

Speaking of Jules, we should probably ask him exactly where he's gonna be, and what he's going to be doing, if we want to avoid a friendly fire incident with Karri's people gunning him down.

He probably should get the hell out of our way, actually. He could join the group, but... well, his call on what he thinks is safer.

And assume Karri's group is already packing pretty good heat in the way of weaponry. I don't think they need our tasers.
No. 473290 ID: e3f578

You know we do have Itcher's drive in his ass (if he really did put it there, I have no idea), Jessica doesn't have to perform surgery. And we're surrounded by the world's oldest disinfectant.
No. 473309 ID: b33427

Pass that private channel communicator to Karri so she can talk with Jules, but remind her that there's still a small chance he's been compromised, so keep the info flow one-way as much as possible.

Ask Jules if the Zozu forces planted more explosives on the safe room after the last time, or did they forgo that and were waiting for specialized explosives? Then tell him to stick near a closet or something and hide if the fighting gets near.

In addition to high proof booze, also check what cleaning chemicals the bartender has. Karri and company may know how to mix up an incendiary bomb or two from those. Possibly smoke bombs as well.

How many neumono can Karri sense out there in the Zozu forces? Accounting for Red it'll be at least one low, possibly more if there are other "special forces" neumono out there with those experimental jamming units.

Figure there's going to be Zozu ready to chuck 'nades in as soon as the shutters are open enough to fit one through, so rig up something with a wire mesh on a stick to hold up to block the gap, and only open the shutters part way until the volley is done.

Shortly after the Black Supernova forces engage the Zozu, mass Karri and her kin on the exit farthest from the one that's closest to the route to the outpost HQ. Pop the exit shutters there part way. They throw smoke bombs or incendiaries out there, and make like they're making a push. That'll draw the Zozu forces away from the other exits. That's when the non-neumono fighters push out the HQ exit, and Karri's forces pull back and seal that exit.
No. 473314 ID: c4e5c2
File 135345720387.png - (14.16KB , 700x700 , 691.png )

"Alright Jules, you just stay out of the way. Wait, did they plant more explosives after setting off the last batch?" I tell him, after heading off to get my recording backup back.
"No, last I checked they were waitin' on the special explosives."

I don't think we got anything to make 'nades out of, and Karri's bunch looks like they're packing plenty of heat without our tazers. Plus, while two tazers chased off Red, he was still able to run pretty goddamn fast. May have been able to still take us on if his life depended on it.

Karri and some human dude make tactic plans for getting to the HQ. Probably going the low route, whatever that means. This outpost was designed by a madman.

Bout 15 minutes later, our place starts rattling when some bombs go off. Hard to tell where.

"They're already inside!"
"They're already inside, Karri."
>"Then instead of bunkering ourselves, we're going to go on the offensive. Everyone get your visors and strap them on!"
"Do you know how to make smoke bombs out of alcohol?"
>"Yes. We're doing that, too, possibly make distractions. You just stay low!"
No. 473315 ID: c4e5c2
File 135345725291.png - (17.66KB , 700x700 , 692.png )

Jess, Lamarra and I move out. Lamarra does most of the fighting of us 3, and I'm certainly not stickin' my neck out there while we're under heavy fire. Our guys are takin' hits all over the place, but they just keep on' movin.
No. 473316 ID: c4e5c2
File 135345730913.png - (27.16KB , 700x700 , 693.png )

Most of them, anyway. Sometimes someone'll fall, and if they look maybe alive they'll get carried, Jess and I end up taking one through all these corridors. No sign of red.

>"We're getting close to the HQ, Itcher! We're not going to want to stick around forever waiting on you bunch, we're going to try to fight our way out to the Supernova after stopping by the HQ! We're not gonna stick around if shit gets too hot either, alright?!"
No. 473317 ID: 70c0f2

Right, fair enough. We'll work as fast as we can. You got everything you need, Jess?
No. 473318 ID: f2c20c

If there's no sign of red yet, he's probably protecting the HQ. Expect him to be there, in fact plan for it. He's Maklata's pet, so you can bet he'll be protecting the thing most important to Maklata. The place might be entrenched, with a gun placement or something.

I don't know what we can do about it. Possibly taunt him into coming out once we get the door open. Insult his height, and the fact that nobody's ever had sex with him willingly.
No. 473322 ID: b33427

Agreed. Gettin' out of here is more important than ruining Maklata.

That there's no sign of Red is worrying. I'd say he's in the HQ, covering an entrance with an MG emplacement or something, but that's a waste of his abilities and gear. If you're lucky, he's been ordered down to fight the Black Supernova. But if you're not, he's most likely tailing you and Jess, waiting for a moment to strike. He's got a ragin' vendetta, and he's not going to let you two slip away. So keep your eyes peeled and looking behind you.
No. 473333 ID: 8b9215

Make sure you've got all the neumono. They can survive more than you'd think. Don't ever consider one dead.

Follow orders. Stick with the non-neumono. They won't do stuff that will get you and them shot up.
No. 473346 ID: c4e5c2
File 135346716876.png - (22.67KB , 945x669 , 694.png )

From the looks of it, we may have completely caught them off guard. We don't run into a huge amount of resistance to the HQ. Fortified or not, Karri's able to break through and bring me and Jess to a circular room.

"You got everything you need, Jess?"
>"Probably, yeah!"
>"It's upstairs, Itcher." Karri says. 'But Zozu has got a lot of people that are coming up from behind fast, and we don't want to get locked down here. Jessica showed me the tapes, though, and I should think that showing those tapes will fuck Zozu up from the inside, so I want to get those out. I'll help you clear out the radio room while the rest of my siblings and everyone goes fight their way out and try to come back with help. I've got plenty of ammo to last, but we most likely will have to barricade ourselves in, and it's a dangerous fucking move. You up for it?"
No. 473347 ID: f2c20c

Itcher, you have guns, right? If not, grab one of those off the ground.

Also, yes. We're up for it. This is our big chance to deliver the package.
No. 473348 ID: e05478

I'm up for anything as long as I can save my friends, my death is just an annoying result.

But you don't gotta do it Karri.
No. 473349 ID: 70c0f2

Looks like background bird guy and mister creepy eye got it.

Yeah, we've come this far. Let's get it done. Malkata doesn't deserve to walk away from this.

By the law of drama, and from your own paranoia, you know Red's gonna show now that there's only you and Karri for backup. When he does? Light him on fire with a Molotov, tase him, and then keep shooting till he dies. Which will probably take Karri unloading into him too, or possibly throwing a grenade into the fire.
No. 473351 ID: f2c20c

...have we asked if Jules knows where Red is?
No. 473352 ID: b33427

Yeah, you're up for it. Too bad Lamarra couldn't be here. Now let's go ruin Maklata's day.

Relieve the corpses of their firearms, and ask Karri if she or any of her compatriots have high explosives on them. Turning the bottom of that stairwell into a crater would really help defend.

Don't waste ammo on putting that rabid dog down. Once he's incapacitated, hand Jess a knife, and tell her to do to him what he deserves. It'll look like he went through a meat grinder afterwards.

But if you're short on time, cut his stomach open and stuff a live hand grenade in there. That is 99% certain to kill him.

Yeah, definitely check what Jules is doing as well. Hopefully he found a closet to hide in.
No. 473357 ID: 8b9215

"Hell yes."

Grab as many guns and ammo as you can after barricading the doorway.
No. 473358 ID: 8b9215

If you have a grenade or any mines you can rig up a trap to activate after they clear the barricades. Something simple like a grenade with a string on the pin. Rig it up to attack your previous position as you retreat further and they advance and take cover.
No. 473367 ID: c4e5c2
File 135347883173.png - (18.83KB , 900x645 , 695.png )

We grab the guns lying around. I still got my pistol and tazers, but submachine guns'll be better here anyway.

"How many neumono are around anyway, Karri?"
>"Too many that aren't ours, but they're all preoccupied." We enter the main radio room, where Karri makes short work of the few people that were inside."
"How many grenades do you have?"

There isn't actually much room, the stairwell goes straight into the radio room without so much as a hatch door. It's not particularly an excellent booby trap laying area either.
No. 473368 ID: c4e5c2
File 135347884230.png - (10.63KB , 700x700 , 696.png )

"Jules, do you know where Red is?" There's a moment of pause, before he turns his sound on. It's sounds of fighting out there and he seems to be in the thick of it, then the sound goes off again. Probably his way of saying he's alive but can't talk.

There are loose desks that Karri uses to make an awkward sort of horizontal bunker by covering most of the stair entrance. Jess starts uploading the video to the computers here, and I start moving 3 bodies out of the way. This looks more like a side room with a radio in it, but that's not a bad thing.

>"Goddamnit." she says, when she gets to the computer.
"That is not a thing I want you to say."
>"No, it's just, I never did get a chance to isolate the video parts that actually count. They probably have some basic video editting software on this computer, but I'll need some more time to do that, unless I just upload the whole damn section of your life. That won't go by much faster since it's gotta upload days worth of stuff, but still faster.
No. 473369 ID: 8b9215

Edit and upload. We need them to look at it and see the shit right away. Lead off with Maklata's threats.
No. 473370 ID: f2c20c

Tell her to edit it. I don't think we want to include all that sex in the tapes. Plus I don't think we want to show Zozu and Maklata what Whisker looks like.

Also can't we like, talk to Zozu right now through the computer to tell him we have the evidence and can send it to him right away? That would probably help throw the higher ups into disarray too.
No. 473373 ID: f2c20c

Wait. BETTER IDEA. If we can open a line up to Zozu, just fast-forward in the logs to the relevant conversation and play it for him. Audio should be enough, really! Tell him that we can have the visuals attached to it as well if he gives us time to prepare the file. Explain rather plainly that it includes all that sex you had with your girl and you don't think he wants to see that.
No. 473382 ID: b33427

Edit it. Pull out the segment with Maklata's all-but-a-confession and upload that first. Then upload everything from when you entered your apartment building on the night Red tried to break in onward to the end of the recording.

What kind of time code does the recording use? 'Cause you know the recording started at approximately 9:08 PM, two days before the gold heist. That should give Jess enough to jump to right around the important bits, even if she has to convert time units.

This sounds like the best plan to do while Jess is working on the video. Just don't announce it's you right away. Maklata's men could still be in charge of the comm gear on their end, and that'd give Maklata a chance to intercept the message. Since they almost certainly know the outpost HQ was being assaulted, and since the only people listening who'd know your voice are Father Zozu and Maklata, say you're the captain of the Black Supernova and you want to talk directly to Father Zozu. That should get his attention without Maklata shutting you down.
No. 473394 ID: e05478


Captain is a bit much.

Just say that you are an informant about the Outpost situation or something.
No. 473398 ID: b33427

Kinda figured those three guys Karri shot had enough time to radio back that the outpost HQ was about to fall, so it'd make sense the next message would be from the capturers. And the Captain of the Black Supernova would be big enough to warrant a direct chat. Though in this case Karri might be able to start this instead, by spitting vitriol aimed at Father Zozu over the airwaves. That might get him to respond, at which point Itcher can step in.
No. 473399 ID: f2c20c

I think they'd recognize Itcher's voice, surely.
No. 473401 ID: c4e5c2
File 135348819975.png - (9.37KB , 700x501 , 697.png )

"Yeah, Jess, go ahead and edit it. While you're on it, go ahead and tell 'em you're going to upload evidence, if those higher ups are listening. The time should begin on 9:08, the second date with Alia."

>"Alright. There's more than that, actually, there's all these files that were caught on the office's security cameras too, but those probably won't show much good. I've memorized where a lot of things are at, I just never had the means or reason to splice stuff till now, so I can find everything pretty fast. Just a matter of doing it."

>"This is Karri. How are you guys doing?" she asks into her microphone. "Good. I'm still hung up here."

Some people come in, but Karri's able to keep 'em from coming in, and they've got no good angle to go throwing grenades up the stairs into our little bunker.
No. 473402 ID: c4e5c2
File 135348821001.png - (11.36KB , 538x700 , 698.png )

>"Well, fuck, these speeds are slow. I told them about the incoming transmission, and the only response so far was "continue." But the lines were made for audio, not video, so I have to use some secondary lines or someshit, since we're using temporary relays to have otherwise near immediate communication."
>"I'll stay around because they probably have forces out there waiting for something to take us out with. I'd love to think that your higher ups over there told them to leave us alone for your precious surveillance tapes."
>"We can dream." Jess says. "But those neumono downstairs are keeping to themselves or leaving, so that might actually be the case... we just gotta wait.

Hopeful as that is, it does get pretty quiet. Just leaves me and Jess to daydream about the chaos that's going on back home.
No. 473403 ID: c4e5c2
File 135348822990.png - (22.24KB , 900x700 , 699.png )

Till the plasma blade hits the wall, anyway.

>"Red's here." Jessica says. Gonna assume that means he just turned his jammer off, cause that wasn't much of a warning.
No. 473406 ID: 9b155d

Does Karri have a plasmablade she can stick through a part he's already cut through to get is arm or the hilt of his plasma blade? That'd be convenient, but looks like it's too high up to pull that off. Which means he'll have an easy time tossing grenades in, and one hitting the computer stops everything. So uh... toss a grenade up where he is as soon as he finishes? Unless he just charges in we're kinda screwed.
No. 473407 ID: f2c20c

What a smug bastard. I figured he'd be sent to take us out. Ask her if she has one of those swords, or something heavier than her rifle. I don't think just two grenades will do the job here, and tagging him with them without blowing ourselves up is tricky.

Well, we can try the tazers again. I feel like he'll be expecting that though, so it will be harder to peg him with it. We need a plan to catch him by surprise with them or immobilize him for a couple seconds so we can get a clear shot.

Maybe Karri here is big enough to just grapple him, if she can avoid the sword? Maybe even take it away from him... Tell her how short Red is, but how strong.

We could try toppling something over onto him as he enters. I have no idea if there's anything even in the room that could be used as cover, much less able to get him occupied for more than a second.

Or Karri could try kicking the wall after it's partially cut out, opening a gap big enough to toss the grenades into. Or just preempt his entry and kick the wall into his face.

We could use an ETA on how long the transmission is taking, and compare that to how fast he's cutting through the wall. If the transmission's going to be sent before he's done, we could probably abandon this room and get to a more defensible position.
No. 473409 ID: f2c20c

Oh shit, if he does throw a grenade in we ARE fucked. We'll want something to block grenades with.

Maybe we should just transfer audio only?
No. 473417 ID: c4e5c2
File 135349839990.png - (90.57KB , 700x700 , 700.png )

>Transfer audio only
I would have love to have done that as an appetizer, but it doesn't help that in that very same crucial meeting, my phone showed that audio only can be faked very convincingly.

"Alright, Karri, the guys short, but stronger than anyone as idiotic as him has business being. Let's just hope he isn't smart and tosses a 'nade in."
>"Does not seem like it. I see smoke on the other side. Plus, the bastard thinks of this like a challenge to me." Karri answers.
"Jessica, ETA please."
>"I'm done splicing, it's got... I don't know, 5 minutes to upload that much, but I don't have to be around for it to work now."
"Karri, you got grenades, throw one in!"

The panel gets kicked in on our side, Karri dodges it as she shoots it, tossing a grenade in simultaneously. Smoke billows in as Karri shoots into the hole. Red tosses another smoke grenade into here at the same time as Karri's goes out there, obscuring our vision.
No. 473418 ID: c4e5c2
File 135349853308.png - (138.41KB , 700x700 , 701.png )

Karri's grenade goes off, still can't see shit, and Karri just leaps in after Red. I guess to try and press her advantage. That, and we're sittin' ducks for the shooting while in here. Karri charges in there, trying to use her gun and leaps into the smoke. Few gunshots go off, the plasma sword gets swung a couple times, but doesn't sound like it hit anything but a wall. Most of what I hear is them sounding like they're trying to bite each other's throats out in a literal fashion. Can't goddamn shoot Red either, I'd just as soon hit Karri.

>[/small]"Fuck, fuck, fuck..." Jessica says.
"Don't tell me she's losing in there."
>"I... probably! The problem is, our empathy gives each other at least a basic idea when, if not how, an opponent is going to attack! Plus the ability to tell right where to shoot, without lifting our head above cover! Red can sense Karri, but Karri can't sense Red! She's at a fucking huge disadvantage here, because it's supposed to be both or neither in a jammer field! Point is, yes, I think she is losing!"
No. 473420 ID: 886a4d

Right, time to help out. Take your gun and the tazer. We want to sneak in and avoid being seen by either. Strike asap.
No. 473421 ID: c33f8f

Time to be a big damn hero Itcher. If you are feeling dangerous you could try to get behind Red and lock him with a full nelson.
No. 473425 ID: 70c0f2

Right. Then it's time for someone Red can't sense to try shooting him. Concentrate on getting that tape up. Don't watch, so you can't give me away to him.
No. 473426 ID: e3f578

Okay, nows the time for a classic neumono DECAPPPIIIITATTTTIONNNNNNN
And he can't physically see you coming or sense you. You have the best chances. He's far too distracted with Karri.
No. 473428 ID: 70c0f2

If we can pick up the dropped plasma blade or something, I'm all for it.

Either way, if they're grappling in close melee, we're going to have to get kind of close in order to be able to slice or shoot Red without doing equal damage to Karri. Molotovs and tasers are right out unless we get em separated, regrettably.
No. 473439 ID: c4e5c2
File 135350930663.png - (183.64KB , 700x700 , 702.png )

"Just keep makin' sure that tape is coming up, Jess."

Was hopin' Karri could punch his lights out in one go. I get my taser and poke my head through.

"Fuckin, stay down!" I hear Red say, followed by a series of blows and grunts from both of them. Sounds like the fight's still goin'.

Can't see a damn thing, and can only hear their vague location. Tempted to find the plasma sword if it fell somewhere, but I'd have to go scavenging the floor two feet at a time. Smoke's startin' to clear up at least, for better or worse. I'll get my gun out too for that matter once I'm through the hole.
No. 473444 ID: 70c0f2

Well, we don't have much to work with, yet. Best plan of action I got- crouch down and start cautiously moving towards the fight, gun at the ready, feeling for the plasma blade as you go. What we do next depends on whether you find the blade, and what the situation is when you get close enough / the smoke clears enough to give you a visual on red.

If you find the plasma blade, best bet is to close and do some major damage to Red. Bioarmor won't stop that- and even if you only get one good hit on him, that could put him at enough of a disadvantage for Karri to overpower him. Take out a limb, carve out the torso, decapitate or fry the head, plasma to the groin- whatever works and presents itself as a target.

If you have to shoot- go for the head. His visor is likely broken by this point, and even if not, it's still the weakest point in the armor. Neumono may not have a centralized brain, but they still run a lot of nerves and sense data through their heads. Head wounds are painful, disorienting, and potentially disabling. Especially if you get an eye.

If he separates from Karri to come at you, feel free to hok a Molotov in his face and light him on fire.

If the jammer unit is apparent at all, it might be worth breaking it to remove his advantage.
No. 473445 ID: a25bd3

Approach where the sound is coming from as quietly as you can, sounds like Red's got Karri pinned. You see him, tase him.
No. 473446 ID: 70c0f2

The problem with the taser is that if they're still fighting, tasing one is the same as tasing both. That doesn't help. In fact, if Karri's currently hurt worse than Red, it'll hurt, because it'll take her out of the fight first.
No. 473457 ID: f2c20c

Yeah, if they're grappling what we need to do is get the plasma sword and cut Red with it. Small arms fire won't do much against bio armor and one taser wasn't enough before anyway.
No. 473471 ID: c6ec33

This is dabes
No. 473478 ID: c1826d

Plasma sword through the groin from behind would be fitting.
No. 473485 ID: beeca1

Am I going to have to ship Red/plasma sword now?

Anyways, yeah, the sword would be good if you can find it. Head is a good target.
No. 473490 ID: 70c0f2

>Am I going to have to ship Red/plasma sword now?
At least the plot would be relatively straightforward. And it certainly qualifies as slash.
No. 473492 ID: beeca1

Yeah, just posted the fic and that's more or less what happens.

...Huh. What if Red wants her to stay down because he's trying to rape her? Is he that short-sighted?
No. 473495 ID: b33427

Quietly get prone on the ground and look around for the plasma sword. Smoke rises, so there should be a gap near the floor by now, either by it's own warmth, or by the HVAC currents pulling it up. If you're lucky it won't have a drop cutoff switch, so it'll still be active and glowing.

Holster that tazer as long as Karri is grappling with Red. You'd end up shocking both of them, and with two bodies the effect will be split. With Karri injured it'll mess her up more, and also alert Red to your presence.

Dang. You should have brought two of those SMGs in here. If you could sneak up on Red, you'd be able to stick both barrels in his back and unload their magazines before he could react.

Considering Red, there's a small but not nonexistent chance he just might do that. More likely it'll be later.
No. 473496 ID: 70c0f2

Just don't waste too much time looking for the plasma sword. Yes, it's the best choice for killing him, and if he's not killing Karri with it, it's likely that he dropped it. But that's no guarantee, and we may have to resort to other weapons.
No. 473511 ID: b33427

Then a tazer and a pistol isn't going to cut it. Going to need a couple fully loaded sub-machine guns. Better pull back through the hole and grab them before going in. You can't ask Jess to hand them to you through the hole over your communicator 'cause Red might notice her mood and position change.
No. 473512 ID: 8b9215

Go Go Go Go Go
No. 473516 ID: 8b9215

Call to Jess for backup.
No. 473517 ID: 70c0f2

No. She needs to get the data up, and her empathy will just give us away to Red. Alone, Itcher might have the element of surprise.
No. 473532 ID: c4e5c2
File 135354401168.png - (204.40KB , 900x700 , 703.png )

Before going through the hole, I grab an SMG. Then once through the hole, I get my head low to try and scour it. Don't know what kind of smoke this is, but it's still damn hard to see. Not liking how the fight started sounding one sided while I try to sneak my way around.

>"Let me go you fuckin' wo-" Karri starts, getting interrupted by another hit. Karri keeps on yelling at him and making some noises, but Red's quiet.

The smoke's still lifting painfully slowly, and then I get sight of the plasma sword. Red's doing the same goddamn thing I am.
No. 473533 ID: 8b9215

Open fire, call for backup.
No. 473536 ID: e3f578

Seriously, that plasma sword is basically your only saving grace at this point since he isn't distracted anymore. Spray and pray while going for it right after the bastard. He has no guns to slow you down with. He's just going to get a big bag of hurt.
No. 473537 ID: c1826d

If you're sure that's red, fill him with lead. Grab the plasma sword when you get an opening.
No. 473538 ID: e3f578

that's most certainly Red, Karri's tail is smooth
No. 473539 ID: b5fcb9

Fire a warning shot.
No. 473540 ID: 70c0f2

...I think that's Red. It's got the thin flap styled ears instead of the poofy snow styled ones.

Open fire, dive for the sword.
No. 473541 ID: c1826d
File 135354548112.jpg - (6.26KB , 320x135 , everything.jpg )

No. 473542 ID: beeca1


Seriously though, shoot at him more and lunge for the sword.
No. 473544 ID: b33427

Before doing anything, size check what Red's shadow looks like, just to make sure it isn't somehow Karri.

If you have the tazer in your hand, open with that. Follow with the SMG on burst fire, or the pistol. Then whatever you have left. Unload everything into him. Do everything you can to slow him down and get that plasma blade into your hand first.
No. 473548 ID: c4e5c2
File 135354744612.png - (186.89KB , 700x700 , 704.png )

>Check to make sure it's not Karri
Karri's still making some noise elsewhere. The room carries sound, so it's a bit hard, but those are struggling noises, not standoff noises. Thinkin' that she's trying to get out of some bind Red put her in.

We stare at each other for that awkward second of figuring out what's going on, and I leap first before he registers. But the fucker is faster than me, even as I unload an SMG into him. Running and gunning just ain't my forte, so I'm not able to pinpoint his visor with amazing accuracy. His visor's still up, so I doubt a single shot would blow through his skull.
No. 473549 ID: c4e5c2
File 135354749362.png - (202.16KB , 700x700 , 705.png )

The shit goes by so fast I only get a few shots on him anyway before, instead of going for the plasma blade at the last second, he tackles me. That manages to knock the smg out of my grip. Felt like a brick fell out of the sky and hit my hand.

He's definitely been hurt, don't know how much of that is from me and how much is from Karri. And not hurt half enough for my liking, I know that much.
No. 473550 ID: 5bf190

Even if the bioarmour makes him stronger, it doesn't make him that much heavier, does it? He's a small fella, and those mitts probably can't grip so good. Kick him off.
No. 473551 ID: beeca1

Well, bugger.

...Use your hitherto-unrevealed prehensile feet to grab the plasma sword and bisect him?
No. 473553 ID: 8b9215

Yell for backup. Distract his fists with your face while help comes.
No. 473554 ID: e3f578

You have a lot of options here
But I'm going for tried and true so far
No. 473555 ID: 04b86a

Taze his crotch!
No. 473557 ID: 70c0f2

...okay, we're kind of fucked here. You've lost your weapon. You're no match physically for a neumono in hand to hand, let alone a particularly strong one, or one in bio armor (which is gonna blunt the force of your blows, and make his hit harder). We can't use the taser without killing ourself. I think our priority is more to keep him busy, and stay alive, until someone else intervenes.

Your pistol might be able to punch through bioarmor at point blank range (maybe?) but that's not going to be enough to stop him.

...do neumono have external balls? We've never seen, actually. That said, the groin is one of the weaker parts of the bioarmor, and it can't hurt to fight dirty. Go ahead and give him a kick.
No. 473558 ID: b33427

Tumble back and get your feet under him, and try to push him over your head. At least kick the plasma sword away so he can't just reach over for it.

Before he does something like knocking the wind out of you or choking you out, yell for Jess. Shout out to either get the plasma sword or help Karri, if you still can.

If you can, pull your pistol and fire it up through his jaw into roughly where his eyes are.

And whatever you do, do not pull his bio armor away from him with your bare hands. Unbound bio armor will absolutely kill you.
No. 473559 ID: beeca1

From Lago's drawthread, I'd say not.
No. 473560 ID: d7965f

Boy, I sure do hope this isn't something along the lines of Red being ordered by Father Zozu to restrain and extract you all and not just murder you all as ordered by Maklata.
No. 473561 ID: 70c0f2

Kappi's facing away, so it's hard to be sure. I mean, logically, we could guess a different organ is needed to make those spermatophoroids... but that's not definitive.
No. 473564 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355160255.png - (107.52KB , 700x700 , 706.png )

>Unbound bio armor will absolutely kill you.
Yes, although most modern bio armor has a little grace period in which it won't bind to another person for maybe 15 minutes or so after being pulled off, so that someone else can safely remove bioarmor. That said, it's still hard to remove if he doesn't let me.

>Bioarmor doesn't make him heavier, does it?
No, but these fucking rabbits are heavy enough on their own. Their paws and feet acting like big fins are the only reason why they don't sink like a rock when they fall in water.

>Use your hitherto-unrevealed prehensile feet to grab the plasma sword and bisect him?
My feet are most certainly not made for grasping tools, let alone my feet with shoes on them.

I try and knee him. No time for fighting fair, so I knee him in the nuts. It lands squarely on. Not quite the activity I hoped I was going to be doing, today.

Bout then is when I become one step more familiar with neumono anatomy that I don't care about, and learn that neumono don't have balls.


"Backup, I need some damn backup, help Karr-"
No. 473565 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355162699.png - (81.54KB , 700x700 , 707.png )


Fuck again.

Shoulder just got dislocated before I could reach for a tazer or somethin'. Made it look fuckin' easy too. Definitely was not made for close quarter combat. Or combat. Kinda remember why I hid behind guards while collectin' rent.

Yeah, I'm pretty fucked. Also in pain. Feels like he's about to snap the rest on my other hand. Red starts dragging me off to the side.

"I'm pretty pissed at you, Itcher! Always holding me back while working! I'm kinda glad you betrayed us, just so I can kill you!"
No. 473566 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355164399.png - (176.61KB , 700x700 , 708.png )

Red picks up my SMG, and places it at my back. Looks looks to the hole. He's got one hand around both my hands, and even with his shitty fingers, his hand is still big enough to keep mine from budgin'.

>"Wait!" Jessica yells, now at the opening. "D-don't kill him, Red!"
"I know you've got weapons, Jessica, so just toss 'em my way, or the accountant gets an injectment of lead!"
>"Fine, fine! It's me you want, right?! I'll, uh... let you, just don't hurt him!"
"Eh, I prefer it when they fight back. Well whatever, I got that other feisty one over there for that afterwards, so what the hell. Fuckin' backup never came to help me out anyway, but oh well. Good stuff."
>"Don't you fucking touch either of us!" Karri yells, but it sounds like she's not havin' any luck with whatever Red bound her with.
"Start walkin', Itcher, slowly, to the hole, once Jessica throws whatever weapons she's got on our side."
No. 473569 ID: 8b9215

If you get back to the other side of that hole, relocate your shoulder.
No. 473570 ID: 886a4d

Jess has a plan. Truet her. Do what Red says.
No. 473571 ID: 70c0f2

Well, that went about as expected. We're completely useless against Red in close quarters.

Obviously, our life isn't worth letting Jess get raped. Especially since we're as good as dead afterwards, anyways. That said, resisting and immediately dying doesn't help her either. That means our only chance is to comply until we have a chance to do something. Anything. If we can wrench away at the last minute so Jess can open fire instead of surrendering her weapons, that would be golden.

Especially since Jess is almost certainly going to try some desperate suicide play. It's totally in character for her, and you can't let her do that. You'll have to beat her to it.

>Fuckin' backup never came to help me out anyway
That's because they don't care if you get killed.
No. 473573 ID: 886a4d

Oh hey I know a great way to distract him. Explain just exactly why you left your nice little hidey-hole. He and his boss is going down. You just gave Father Zozu everything he needs to ruin his son for good.
No. 473574 ID: beeca1

Hm. She's probably going to start shooting him when you're clear. Get ready to grab a weapon and start shooting with your good arm.
No. 473575 ID: beeca1

That sounds more like a great way to get him to kill us here and now.
No. 473576 ID: 70c0f2

I somehow don't think he'll care. Red's not into that cloak and dagger shit- he just breaks things. As far as he's concerned, he trusts his boss to take care of that shit, and expects to be fine even if he doesn't.

Besides, if everything else goes to hell, I'd like the upload at least to continue uninterrupted while Red is busy torturing, raping, and murdering everyone. ;_;
No. 473578 ID: d7965f


If Jess was going to try something like that, or had a plan to open up on him, wouldn't he sense that?

Unless he WAS lying like a bastard about the Empathy-cloak thing.
No. 473579 ID: e3f578

Tell Jess not to do this shit. He's just going to kill you anyway. But then tell Red he's a fucking pussy, he's afraid of Maklata and Zozu, and will just end up being fucking muscle for the rest of his life while more people like you will push him around and reign him in. I mean, look at him, a fucking neumono badass taking orders from salikai. Why ain't he hunting his bosses? Isn't when you take the salikai's hands for trophies you become a man? He's nothing but Maklata's little dumb bitch that fucks him in the ass every day, and then he'll be Maklata's next tax collector's bitch, and then when Maklata gets that one killed, there'll be a next one.

Face it Red, your a coward race traitor. Fears a big green meanie and can't do jack fucking shit without their sayso. Hell, I bet he wouldn't kill you if they ordered your life spared despite all you've done. What kind of man takes this shit? He's not a man, just a damn bitch.
No. 473580 ID: beeca1

Or he's just not paying attention. And after all, how much neumono can sense depends on how emotionally close they are. Red and Jess are hardly best buddies.
No. 473581 ID: 6cc859

Well, we did accomplish one thing--we kept Red from killing Karri just yet by distracting him before he got the plasma sword.
No. 473583 ID: 70c0f2

I don't think he would have taken Karri as handily as he did without an advantage.

And yeah, I assume he can tell Jess is up to something, but not what. But fuck, he wants her to fight back, and he's an arrogant evil fuck with a huge ego. He's going to call her bluff.
No. 473585 ID: b33427

Quick, think how many shots you got off from that SMG. 'Cause if you emptied the magazine right before he tackled you, he's holding a worthless gun right now. If that's the case, then right when Jess is moving to drop the guns in, mouth "fire" to her, and fall to your right. It's going to hurt like fuckin' hell with that dislocated shoulder, but it just might give Jess a window to unload on Red.

Otherwise... All you can do is follow Red's orders, bide your time, and hope that non-Zozu forces take the HQ before he's done. He's going to want to torture you psychologically and physically before killing you, and that takes time. Probably going to bind you up and make you watch at gunpoint what he does to Jess, and maybe Karri, before working you over.

When you walk to the hole look Jess in the eyes with the most sad look you've ever had and mouth "I'm sorry" to her.
No. 473588 ID: d7965f

Honestly, I don't get why Red thinks Itcher is afraid of death at this point.

Hell, he expected to die the moment he opened his mouth to Father Zozu, not to mention the..at least a week afterwards of being completely surrounded by Maklata's goons.
No. 473590 ID: beeca1

Because he's dumb and what few metaphorical brain cells he has are devoted to his cock.
No. 473591 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355739289.png - (43.34KB , 700x700 , 709.png )

>Quick, think how many shots you got off from that SMG.
Not many at all, there's still too many shots in the gun.

Jess tosses a gun and taser across the hole. I hope she's thinkin something sly that Red can't sense, cause she's certainly foolin' me.

>Explain the video upload
It's uploading on its own right now, and I'm gettin' the bad thought that Red might try to halt the upload if he realizes that's what's goin' on.

Karri goes silent, and Red and I move across the hole, I try to relocate my shoulder by pushin' down, but Red isn't having it.

"Eh, what's her problem back there? Probably just giving up. She knows she's next! Alright, Jess. Take off that top, let's see 'em."
"You're a fuckin' coward, Red! Doin' nothing but-"
"Nothin' stopping me from blowing your brains out and having my way with Jess anyway, so let me do you a favor by bein' nice about this!"

He starts tying me to one of the stairway rails just to the side of the desk blockin' the stairs.
No. 473592 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355743929.png - (87.12KB , 700x700 , 710.png )

Fuckin... gonna make me watch, goddamn. Jess doesn't look so good either, like she's distracted, but she's still fuckin' taking off her jacket.

"If you aren't naked by the time I'm done tyin' up the buzzkill, I'll rip your damn clothes off! And no funny business, I've still got a gun that's ready to go to Itcher's head!" Red yells.
"Fuckin' hell, Jess, do somethin' that ain't giving yourself up! He's gonna kill me anyway!"
"Shut up, man. About done with you anyway, and turns out she wants me to rip her... oh. Damn jammer of mine reduces the range I can sense after all. Turns out we got company! Ha, whoever it is wants to join in! Well, 50 50 chance he or she gets to!"

Great, I'm gettin' left out of the loop again. But I hear faint footsteps coming up the stairs.
No. 473593 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355748166.png - (134.01KB , 700x700 , 711.png )

"Alright, new bitch, come get some of-"


The desk practically gets launched off the stairwell. Nearly fuckin' takes my hands off with it.
No. 473594 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355752594.png - (57.95KB , 700x700 , 712.png )

Jess starts hitting the computer keys frantically. Don't know what she's doin', but Red's distracted.

Probably by the same thing I am.
No. 473595 ID: c4e5c2
File 135355755598.png - (65.64KB , 700x700 , 713.png )

No. 473596 ID: d7965f


Oh fuck.
No. 473597 ID: 886a4d

Oh hello Rokoa. Say did you know this guy said he beat you once?
No. 473599 ID: beeca1

"And apparently he thinks you want to hump him. Karri's alive, if you care at all."
No. 473600 ID: 70c0f2

...nice knowing you, Red.

Seriously, how the hell did she get here so fast?
No. 473601 ID: 8b9215

"Rokoa, meet Red. Says he beat you in a duel. One-sided fight. Don't mind me, I'll just be sitting here, not getting in the way."
No. 473602 ID: 04b86a

...Whiskers. This has to be Whiskers' doing. I don't know if she got our conversation from the Zozu security footage or what, but that's the only explanation I can think of for how Rokoa got here so fast.

"D'you mind untying me? I want to watch this."
No. 473603 ID: e3f578

Mother of god she ascended to this area like a goddamn predator licking its lips into its next delicious meal. Fucking Christ I've never seen a smile like that ever, and I've seen her sadistic smiles before!
No. 473604 ID: c7dc56

Jesus how horrifying. Scramble the hell out it's way and try to re-locate you shoulder.
No. 473605 ID: b33427

Well, that explains why Jess was distracted and Karri went silent; They sensed Rokoa.

Do not try to speak to Rokoa. Do not try to draw her attention. She's locked in on Red, and she's going to deal with him first and foremost, and nothing is going to get in her way. You'll just make her annoyed with you afterwards by talking. Just watch what happens, and only speak if spoken to.

Best guess for why Rokoa came here so quick: She saw that security camera footage of Red boasting he bested her in hand to hand combat. Either it was broadcast by Jess, Whiskers got it to her, or it came to her by another way. Probably Jess, the way she's hammering that radio gear keyboard right now. But whichever it was, she's here now, and Red's in for a world of hurt.

Keep your head down, and wait for Jess to cut you loose once she's done doing whatever she's doing. Try knocking your shoulder back into position in the meantime.
No. 473606 ID: d7965f

Yeah it's probably a HORRIBLE FUCKING IDEA to draw her attention at you.

Just sit there, try to wriggle the fuck out of your predicament, dislocate your OTHER arm if necessary, and the relocate them to go grab Jess.
No. 473607 ID: 67e3e1

Just, uh.

Just let her do her thing. Don't get talky until she starts looking a little less psycho.
No. 473608 ID: 1e9d01

I think we should try to keep relatively quiet or at least be very respectful towards Rokoa.

After all, she might hate Zozu in general, which means we could be in danger. It really wouldn't surprise me since so many other people do.
No. 473609 ID: beeca1

I admit keeping quiet at the moment sounds good, but do keep in mind Rokoa seems to dislike people she thinks are pansies, and being tied up is not exactly a good first impression.
No. 473610 ID: 5bf190

It's so nice to see a friendly, smiling face in times of trouble.
No. 473614 ID: 70c0f2

That's why after she's done ripping Red to pieces, instead of looking terrified, Itcher draws on every once of dispassionate, indifferent calm he's ever had, and issues a monosyllabic


By ways of greeting / acknowledgment. Possibly followed up a a simple

No. 473621 ID: 35037c

I guess we're about to get the show of a lifetime
No. 473624 ID: 35037c

Say this
No. 473640 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356900738.png - (55.21KB , 700x700 , 714.png )

"Heyyy, not bad. You wanna join in, huh?"
".... silent." Rokoa mutters.

Think I'm also gonna remain silent here for a minute.
No. 473641 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356903385.png - (14.33KB , 700x700 , 715.png )

Rokoa, who I'm only makin' wild guesses as to why she'd be here now, looks past the hole, ignoring us. Smoke's cleared up enough to see Karri starin' back, tied up with her own ear bands and ripped portions of her bio armor.
No. 473642 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356905158.png - (13.12KB , 594x482 , 716.png )

Jess finishes what she was doing, and steps away from the computer. Looks like, while the video's still uploadin', she spliced out other parts and is playing it back.

"Rokoa." I hear myself say on the speakers.
"Please. I beat the shit out of her a few years back. She didn't have any bio armor on then, but neither did I."
No. 473643 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356907010.png - (103.19KB , 700x700 , 717.png )

The video cuts to some other time, probably on the security camera, that I wasn't around for but Whiskers included in the files.

"Oh, yeah, I said I beat up Rokoa. Slapped her around real good, and after doin' my thing, she started crying! Just right there, breaking down and sobbin', beggin' me to stop!"
No. 473647 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356922222.png - (13.69KB , 700x700 , 718.png )

"... heh. You must have done a good job on me, 'cause I don't even remember you, shorty." Rokoa tells him.
"Yeah, I must have! Even better, now! Like that bitch back there, I can sense your shit, and you don't know what I'm doing!"

She gets a large lookin' needle and starts reaching back behind her.

"You have about one minute... actally, second thought. That your bio armor jamming you?"
"Yeah, you got a problem with it bitch?! I got the gun, so just prop your fat ass over the rail, otherwise I get some target practice! I know you want it!"
"Bio armor jamming... you're a wimp after all, but by all means, bend me over if you can make me."
"You asked for it! Bad fucking choi-"
No. 473648 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356925783.png - (75.89KB , 700x700 , 719.png )

Turns out she is fast as fuck. Red stood too close to the rails, and didn't react fast enough.
No. 473649 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356927539.png - (51.24KB , 700x700 , 720.png )

He doesn't recover before she grabs the gun next, hops the rails, and... well, what proceeds would normally sit bad in my stomach, but given the circumstances... it's pretty fuckin' glorious. I manage to pop my shoulder back in. Red's whimpers almost block out the pain.

I don't think Red gets anything more than a grazing in to Rokoa. She simples wails on the dude, proceeding to break every limb he's got, just fuckin' around with him. Assumin' she doesn't just turn on us and do the same thing she's doin' to Red, I'm pretty glad her reputation isn't doin' much to exaggerate her.
No. 473650 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356929091.png - (15.65KB , 700x700 , 721.png )

When it's all said and done, Red's crippled to the point where he's barely twitchin'.

"Goddamnit was that seriously it? Do you at least still want to fuck?
Red shakes his head.
"Well fucking hell, it was rhetorical. Tell me your pelvis at least is tough enough."
No. 473651 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356931114.png - (16.22KB , 700x700 , 722.png )

She jumps up high and.... oh boy.
No. 473653 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356933157.png - (12.72KB , 700x700 , 723.png )

The following crunch does make me cringe, though. Jess ain't cheerin' either, but I'm also pretty sure she ain't complaining.
No. 473654 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356938638.png - (38.70KB , 700x700 , 724.png )

She goes back to the stairs, and just looks around.

..."Hey." I think I manage to say it pretty not shakily.
"Hello and goodbye. I heard enough, so I think I'm done here. Capn' Nekto says hello, to the pathetic weakling of whom it may concern."
No. 473655 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356940573.png - (38.66KB , 700x700 , 725.png )

No. 473656 ID: c4e5c2
File 135356951422.png - (35.06KB , 700x700 , 726.png )

That happened. Red's still groaning.
No. 473657 ID: d7965f

Oh god my ribs.

Jesus Christ.
No. 473658 ID: 1e9d01

Advise Jess she should get the plasma sword and set both you and Karri free.

Red is still alive. Let's fix that, shall we?
No. 473659 ID: 6fb1f5

Welp. There goes that problem.

You should probably thank Jess. And get out of that bind. And let her decide what to do with Red.

... Time to deal to with Karri's mommy issues?
No. 473660 ID: 8b9215

Call up everyone on your friends list in that headset of yours and tell them to find a closet or drainage pipe to hide in because shit is about to go down on a level they can't imagine.

Taser him with both tasers then unload into him with an SMG mag or two. Then cut his head off with the plasma blade. If you can get the head portion of the bio armor off so it isn't cut, that'd be good. Untie Karri so she can join in on the fun.
No. 473661 ID: 6dc5a6

For all intents and purposes we've officially quit from Zozu. Kill Red hard, no oneliners and no last words from him.
No. 473662 ID: 1e9d01

Oh, and let's be absolutely certain he's dead.

Chop him up into bits.
No. 473665 ID: 9718f3

Kill him and take his bio armor. It's gonna be your and Jess' retirement fund.
No. 473666 ID: beeca1

Yeah, this.

And her ass really is gigantic isn't it? I almost thought Red was going to be absorbed or something.
No. 473667 ID: c1826d

Not a moment stopped or stayed she.
Not a bone unbroken remained he.
No. 473670 ID: 8b9215

head / upper torso / lower torso / left arm / right arm / left leg / right leg

That should do it.
No. 473672 ID: a5478c

Did... she just walk downstairs backwards? What's up with that?
No. 473673 ID: c4e5c2
File 135357381474.png - (14.46KB , 700x700 , 727.png )

>Did... she just walk downstairs backwards? What's up with that?
I just do not know.

Jess already goes to untie me, and I show her where the plasma sword is.

"You up for it?" I ask, gesturing to Red.
"Just don't mess up that bio armor too much, thing must be worth a fortune."
>"Good point, I'll... take it off, first. Taking off his head, then through his waist will be enough for sure."
No. 473674 ID: c4e5c2
File 135357387656.png - (57.64KB , 700x700 , 728.png )

I move over to get Karri out. She's stone silent, dunno why, but whatever. She gets her earpiece again and uses it to talk.

>"Hey, Likisin?.... yeah, I'm fuckin' alright now. What, you guys told her to come here?!.... y-yeah.... yeah, I needed goddamn help. The fuck was she doing here?!.............. alright. I'm coming back out before they come back in force. Yeah, their only tough unit they had was Red, and he's done."

"Not to intrude here, but why was Rokoa here?" I ask, hearing the plasma sword in the other room getting used by Jess, and Red's last few wheezes. Karri puts the earpiece back down and explains it to me.

>"From what I gather, Whisker contacted Black Supernova to tell them about the fiasco going on here, right as it happened, and there may have been some incentive to get him to attack Zozu, I don't know. Apparently he told Nekto just about everything he needed to know about Zozu's situation. Black Supernova has a radio that can broadcast anywhere on the asteroid, and I used that yesterday to report in to Tin's Trade Hub, which Pilon has been staying at and operates out of now. Nekto was able to look at the call history and find the trade hub's number, so he sent in a report to Tin and Pilon saying that I was in danger. They're all far away, and couldn't get to us in a good amount of time, though I'm sure the rest of my family is on their way nonetheless. Tin, though, used another communicator to call up Rokoa to get here and help the black supernova asap. She got her hive to airlift her to join up with Nekto's assault in no time. That's why she was here."

"You want a coat or somethi"
>"I'm fine."
No. 473675 ID: 8b9215

Ask Jess to make a few more cuts. Never hurts to be sure. After that follow Karri and skeddadle out of here.

Oh, right, phone your friends and tell them shit is about to go down if it hasn't already.
No. 473676 ID: b33427

Not much left to do here. Gather up weapons, the recordings (if they've finished uploading,) and any other stuff you want to take along, and get gone.

Pop on your private communicator and check in with Jules to hear how things are shaking out in the Zozu Family after your little upload hit.

Compliment Jess on her quick thinking back there, adding fuel to the Rokoa fire with the security camera footage.

Nurse along that shoulder that was dislocated, since it's going to be loose until treated. Might want to stop in the hospital section to swipe a sling, if you have time and it's on the way.

Wonder who is the "pathetic weakling" that Rokoa mentioned. Wouldn't think Captain Nekto would have reason to say "hello," to Red, so it couldn't be him. Is it Karri, for some reason? Wonder why Rokoa would say that about her.
No. 473681 ID: c4e5c2
File 135358875614.png - (9.63KB , 700x700 , 729.png )

I come back with Karri. Red looks pretty dead. And nude.

"Make a few more cuts just to be sure."

Jess divides the legs, and Karri uses a bit of ammo. No one survives that much. I take a look over to the computer, and the upload is finished. Father Zozu must be perusing it now if he hasn't already.

"Lamarra, Jules, you guys still good?"
>"I'm hurt, but not bad." Lamarra reports. "Still with Pilon's branch. Lot of 'em are more hurt than me, but we just got some respite."
"And I'm alive, but just goddamn barely. I saw Rokoa! Is the hive against us too or something?!"
"No, no, she's acting alone I guess. By the way, the recording of all Maklata's shit? That's about to get uploaded and transferred right to Father Zozu. That's when the bulk of Zozu's forces here are gonna get tested, whether they're honestly loyal to Maklata or to Zozu."
"Oh, that sure as hell explains sometihng. We just got an order to defend ourselves as needed seconds ago but not to press any attacks, and we're entering the negotiations with Black Supernova. Father Zozu took over this mission completely immediately, and while a lot of these guys are directly under Maklata, once that power was stripped, I don't think anyone was willing to fight against Father by rebelling. I mean, there's nothing to rebel against anyway, since they don't know what Maklata wants ever since he was pulled off the mic."
"Damn good. Be careful."
"Don't worry, I'm practically in the clear here, I found myself a hiding spot. Plus, we're sorta in an unofficial, if also uneasy, ceasefire."
No. 473682 ID: c4e5c2
File 135358878201.png - (11.36KB , 700x700 , 730.png )

"By the way, Jess, thanks for looking out for me. And good quick thinking, showing Rokoa that footage."
>"We said we'd look out for each other, didn't we?"
"Yeah, but geez, were you really gonna let Red go and do what he was gonna do with you? Dude really probably would've killed me anyway, and my life ain't worth that in the first place."
>"You idiot, you're wrong, it would've been worth it even if there was a little chance he'd let you live!"
"Man, I can barely forgive myself for getting my ass handed to me and just getting held hostage like that."
"There's no one else that ever would have done that for me though, you know. Itcher, you're really the bes-"

>"Holy crap, you lovebirds. Let's move." Karri snaps.

No. 473683 ID: c4e5c2
File 135358880268.png - (21.40KB , 700x700 , 731.png )

The ceasefire is honored, so although we scurry in the alleys, we're able to catch up to Likisin and a couple others who came out to meet us.

>"Hey, guys. Uh, Karri, why is only the to-" he says.
>"Don't fuckin' ask. Glad to see you. Is everyone...?"
>"I think all of us will make it, the greenforce took several casualties. But we just got the word, and Zozu will let us go for ceasefire, so long as they keep the cargo."
>"What about the historical maps?"
>"We'll probably be at odds with them about that later, since we all have copies of the maps now. They aren't trying anything weird like getting Supernova's radio though."

"Hey, uh, Itcher?" Jules pings me. "I'm sorta in the dark here, but we were just alerted that if possible, and if you're alive, to try and get you on our radio."
No. 473696 ID: 70c0f2

Rest in pieces, Red. Gotta say dude, for what it's worth, you earned some respect back for being crazy enough to not back down once you were face to face with Rokoa. You kept that ego stoked to the end.

The hive can airdrop Rokoa? While that's useful, that might be more of a problem in the future. Pretty sure the trade hub just used up our last mission credit with her.

>Red's bio armor
Let's not have anyone put it on. Can't be sure if it was just the power trip, but Red got noticeably less mentally stable after donning it. We should have the trade hub scientists and/or CAI examine it.

>phone for Itcher
Really. Well, we might as well take it. Not sure you want to be associated with this though, Jules. Doubt they're happy with me.
No. 473700 ID: c4e5c2
File 135360092499.png - (21.17KB , 700x700 , 732.png )

"Yeah, I'll take it." I tell Jules. "Doubt they're too happy with me, you may not want to associate with me, here."
"Nah, they sound fine I think. I still don't want to, cause you were supposed to be actin' way out of line from my own actions, so it'd look weird if I suddenly got you to turn up right as the order was given out."

Jules does give me directions. Jess an' Lamarra follow me to some Zozu that holds up a radio that's been put on speaker.

"Hello. Itcher speaking."
>"Hello. This is Father Zozu. Are Jules, Lamarra and Jessica there right now?"
"Jess' and Lamarra are, sir."
>"Bring Jules. I will wait."
Which we do wait, in uncomfortably silence, till he gets here.
>"I am glad you all answered, and although I directly requested this, I have difficulty finding the words. Although I do not know how Itcher got the bugs to record despite precautions against such very bugs, I doubt he had the means to fake such a video. Quite frankly, I am tired of this ordeal, and if we get the gold back, then I am perfectly happy to shuffle this under the rug. Now, as for where you all stand with us, although you have done some things wrong, you have also done plenty right. Jules, to my understanding, being the exception, of whom I am unaware of any treasonous behavior. For the rest, however, I can even look past those wrong doings, as you have been wronged by not just the Zozu family, but my direct descendant therein. Therefore, I am giving a full pardon, and will say that you are all welcome to come back. You need not worry about Maklata."
No. 473701 ID: ec2e47

I feel like now might be a good time to retire from that line of work. Maklata probably had some friends after all.
No. 473702 ID: 62496e

Gentlemen, I do believe we have achieved the best possible outcome.

Take the pardon, then quit as tactfully as possible.
No. 473705 ID: 70c0f2

Dude. Father Zozu's a pretty cool guy. Didn't expect this to be an option.

Everyone makes their own decisions, here. Jules is pretty much in the clear, and he has family back there. He's probably going back. Lamarra, I don't really have a read on. He's certainly got a future for his ambitions in Zozu- lots of newly vacant posts, and Ziril will be pretty happy with him for his hand in getting Malkata out of the way. Although he could have decided he really likes hanging with the pseudo hive or whatever, so I dunno.

Itcher? Whiskers was right before. You don't have much waiting for you, back in Zozu. I think now would be the time to gracefully take your leave (make sure to be polite, and thank father Zozu).

Jess is almost certainly gonna follow Itcher. And frankly, I think she's better off getting out of Zozu. And some time around non-asshole neumono will do her good. The trade hub is as good a place as any to set up base and start looking for Whiskers. You can sell your nano band and Red's suit to the CAI to research. That'll set you two up for a while.

>Gentlemen, I do believe we have achieved the best possible outcome.
I'd say we only got 98% completion or so. If we'd had been perfect, we wouldn't have gotten Malsen killed.
No. 473709 ID: 1e9d01

Tell Zozu that you are volunteering to go after Whisker and ask for full autonomy to do so.

I don't think we're gonna be able to chase her while being held down by our tax collector job.
No. 473710 ID: 70c0f2

While clever, that puts us in the awkward position of being responsible for bringing her in. I think we've had enough of trying to meet contradictory objectives.
No. 473721 ID: c4e5c2
File 135361007753.png - (17.83KB , 700x700 , 733.png )

"Well... thanks for the home, but I think I'd have to take my leave. I just don't have much goin' for me back home, and Maklata's got guys for all I know."
>"The... same." Jessica says.
>"I, though, would like to come back." mentions Lamarra."
"Same as Lamarra. Wife, kids, etcetera." Jules answers.

>"Hm... so Itcher and Jessica want to leave. Since they've been wronged by the family in an unprecedented manner, I will allow unprecedented leeway. There will be no coming back to Zozu homeland ever again, but if that is your wish, then I will not order a hunt for you. It is disappointing to me, but I will respect that wish. Now, if you all will excuse me, there is much else for me to do about this mess."

And just like that, we're free.

"Guess this is it, then."
>"Hey, Jules." Jessica says. "It's not like he forbade you or Lamarra from coming out and visiting."
"True, that. Still, that leaves me being just about the last guy who has any longetivity in the office."

The four of us say our goodbyes from there. All of us suck at long goodbyes, but like Jess said, it ain't like we'll never see each other again.
No. 473722 ID: c4e5c2
File 135361008812.png - (14.15KB , 700x700 , 734.png )

I head back with Jessica to Karri, and tell her what happened.

"I don't suppose you guys have room for two more back at your place?"
>"I get the impression they are trying to drastically upsize. We'll take you back with us. Our vehicles are basically either wrecked or not roomy enough for all of us, but Nekto will give us a lift. We're going to back out of this outpost soon, and arrange a ride from there to the trade hub. What're you two gonna do anyway?"
No. 473725 ID: 997ce7

Probably join the trade hub. Itcher is good for gathering rent (now we can finally stop that "lol you're back from a mission we asked you to do? Pay up to get in" bullshit and collect rent like reasonable sophonts, hooray), as well as being usefully paranoid.

Jessica is good with data, although I don't know if she'll want to join the trade hub.
No. 473727 ID: 70c0f2

Well, we're out of a job and broke now, and a trade hub seems a good place to start fixing that. Especially since between the two of us, Jess and I've got some super secret recording devices and experimental bio-armor to sell to your science types.

...I'm looking for someone too. Good a place as any to start.

>Jessica is good with data, although I don't know if she'll want to join the trade hub.
She's gonna follow Itcher where-ever he goes. I think the trade hub will be good for her, though. We certainly have a need for meatspace computer people, and the CAI will love her (I mean c'mon, a neumono who does computers?) and I think it'll do her good to be around non-asshole neumono for a while (Likisin seems to take a liking to her, too).

As for what work Itcher can do, it's not like it'll hurt having someone doing the books (can't automate everything through the CAI), and a paranoid has his useful applications.

>next time Itcher is alone with Jess
We may want to ask if she could tell what the hell was going on with Rokoa and Karri. Definately seemed like there was a subtext you were missing out on there.
No. 473730 ID: d7965f


I think it's much less "Likisin has taken a liking to her" and more "This chick is uncomfortable with that fuck outside, hell I'm not doing anything more productive right now anyway"
No. 473732 ID: 8b9215

"Be an accountant and secretary and live happily ever after."
No. 473734 ID: 1e9d01

If we're gonna try to sell the nanoband we'll want to warn them ahead of time that you're a walking bug.

It's also worth noting to them that once you have a lead on Whisker you're gonna chase it.
No. 473739 ID: 70c0f2

Hmm. Actually, we may not want to mention aloud what we're planning to do with the nanoband before we remove it.

We may not want to voice our connection to Whiskers, either. Karri might not be too happy with him right now. And working at the trade hub isn't like working for the mob- if Itcher needs to head out some day, he can.

We've shipped on a hell of a lot less than outright cuddling. And even if that is all it was, it's still better than the indifference or hostility she was getting from most of Zozu.
No. 473770 ID: b33427

Well, you're a damn good accountant and less good tax collector, and Jess is a secre- uh. You know, you never did get her job description. Maybe ask her now.

Ask what's it like at the trade hub. You're hoping you don't have to have goons to protect you, like in your last job. Oh, and the most important question: Do they have a good bar?

On the ride there, ask Jess if being around Rokoa is as terrifying for a neumono as you've heard.
No. 473813 ID: c4e5c2
File 135363641911.png - (11.29KB , 700x700 , 735.png )

"Well, we can pay for our rent at least. We got stuff to sell, and hey, it's a trade hub. I can work too, accountant and all. And Jess... what are you anyway, Jess?"
>"I'm a generalist computer user, really. I just help where some assistance is needed."
"Okay then. I may also chase Whisker if I get any leads, dunno if I'd go running after her blind though. You guys got a good bar?"
>"A decent bar, yeah. Alright, you two are okay. It's not like I've got the authority to take you on, but I'm sure they'd like you. We're going to board a tank, just follow us."
No. 473814 ID: c4e5c2
File 135363643661.png - (30.73KB , 700x700 , 736.png )

Jess and I end up riding in our own compartment. Those Black Supernova know how to travel nice.

"So Jess, what was with Karri and Rokoa? Couldn't help but feel there were some invisible lines I couldn't read."
>"I... don't really know. I mean, there was something there for sure. A lot of hate from Karri, but Rokoa just... ignored it, like Karri didn't exist in her eyes. Plus, Rokoa was focused on Red the entire time until, uh, cannonballing him. I think there was something there, too? But Rokoa was sure they never met, so I have no idea. And I think Karri was mad that Rokoa won, but I can't be sure. It was messed up, and I couldn't get that good clarity off them."
"Eh, dunno the history there, but I know of her an' Polo, so maybe seein' Red was kinda nostalgic, even if it wasn't a natural self jammer."
>"Yeah, that makes sense."
"Was bein' around Rokoa as scary as I've been led to believe."
>"Oh, geez, you have no idea. I have no idea how Red said those things to her. That's enough on that, though. Let's just enjoy our trip into new territory."
"Yeah, yeah. Long as they got good booze."
>"Hey, don't worry about it. If we get a good reason to celebrate and you want to bring out the good stuff, we'll have money, and we do have the cat dive pin."
No. 473816 ID: 48f315

"Speaking of how he was able to say that stuff, we might want to check the armor in case it makes you go nuts."
No. 473819 ID: 70c0f2

Right then. Let's nap and enjoy the ride. Then we can see about job interviews with Tin, introducing the CAI to it's new friend (She does computers? Yay!), and trading our tech over to the research people (we gotta remove the nano band anyways, if we're going to start hunting for whiskers, and I somehow doubt Jess needs bioarmor, or could wear an 80%, let alone one that potentially increases mental instability).

Be sure to issue a final thank you to Whiskers for helping you get out of that mess before you remove the nano band.

When we switch perspective back to the CAI, or someone in charge, let's go over things. Who did we lose on that mission? How did the other missions go? How's the base projects, etc.
No. 473820 ID: d7965f

Just enjoy the ride in silence, I guess, snuggle with her a bit after this entire ordeal, you've both earned a little silence and comfort. We can present any worries about the Bioarmor or Nanobug to the CAI or Tin when we get to the trade hub.
No. 473821 ID: cee0ad

Tell Jess to don all of her pins because she looks more badass that way, then proceed to cuddle.
No. 473825 ID: b33427

You can worry about what you two are going to do once you get to the trade hub. For now, just snuggle, rest, and enjoy the feeling of being free of the threat of Maklath.

Though, you gotta wonder what Whiskers offered to the Black Supernova to come save all your bacon. Must have been big to get them to take on Zozu.
No. 473832 ID: 8b9215

"But it looks so good on you."
No. 473838 ID: 1e9d01

I think Red was just crazy. A delusional egomaniac. That or his empathic link was lying to him, but that sounds like something they'd be able to experimentally confirm. So, he wasn't afraid of Rokoa because he just didn't get what she was really like. It's also possible he was a failed experiment by Zozu to try to remove a neumono's link, either surgically or by genetic engineering.

Ask Jess what she thinks about the nanoband. Is it a known technology but just expensive? Is there any point to keeping it intact as we go to the Trade Hub? Should we give them advance warning we're a walking bug, perhaps?

...hang on, how far is its range? Whisker has to be able to pick up its broadcast to see what it sees. I think that so long as we leave the nanoband on, Whisker will come near us every now and then to recover its recorded data. Maybe we can use this as a trap. Don't give that away until after you've removed it, of course. We shouldn't give Whisker any advance warning.
No. 473844 ID: c4e5c2
File 135364219078.png - (12.51KB , 700x700 , 737.png )

>Ask Jess what she thinks about the nanoband. Is it a known technology but just expensive?
>"No idea, I didn't know anything like that existed. I mean, things like it, sure, but nothing that couldn't be detected like that, nor with such high quality video and audio.

I'll think of what to do with it later. Don't wanna rush that decision.

"Got all your pins, by the way?"
>"Yeah, why?"
"Nothin', they just look good on you."
>"Heh, thanks."

Thinkin' I'll get a good nights rest for once in a long time.
No. 473845 ID: c4e5c2
File 135364220445.png - (22.69KB , 700x700 , 738.png )


"..... yes, send Maklata in, now."
No. 473846 ID: c4e5c2
File 135364221747.png - (17.77KB , 700x700 , 739.png )

>"... yes, father?"
"You know why you are here, do you not?"
>"..... yes."
"As you are aware, I do not kill my sons. To the best of my ability, I attempt to redirect them. This petty rivalry you and your siblings have shared, however, has sicked me. It has been tolerable up to a point, but now a line has been crossed and continued to be stamped on. Through your reckless abandon and gross incompetence, you have costed us an enormous amount of resources. It is not what I would accept, backstabbing and treachery on siblings to the point of killing very members of the family. What of Malsen, the one who honorably served you, or Red, crass in his methods, yet greatly effective? They are now dead, and for what? You not just stealing our own gold, but to cover it up to such ridiculous, inept lengths? Now.... as I have said, I do not kill my sons."
No. 473848 ID: c4e5c2
File 135364227416.png - (19.89KB , 700x700 , 740.png )

"But in light of your recent actions, you are no longer any son of mine."
No. 473853 ID: 8b9215

Suck it, dickface.
No. 473862 ID: d7965f

I like Father Zozu, I really do, sure he is a hardcore Leader, but one that is also understanding of the failures of his men and seeks to help them improve, and he also has standards.

I actually kinda feel sorry for Maklata, I really do, what was going to be a petty jab at his sibling turned into a clusterfuck that wasted a lot of resources, got a good number of his men killed, and got him executed by Father Zozu, but the way he casually tossed aside and ended the lives of not only HIS men, but everyone else that even steps into his path has me really, really not wanting to, but it's hard.
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