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File 135824484402.png - (42.91KB , 800x800 , 1.png )
485421 No. 485421 ID: 4fdf9a

Developing some lore here. This intro has four posts to it. Please keep suggestions until prompted.

They say that this place is haunted. Here, where the air carries the shrieks of grotesque, alien beasts, and where the nights are of unforgiving coldness.

I call my subordinate, Lur. It is important for him to see what I have seen.

This place is haunted. This is what I have been told by rogues and outcasts. Worthless traitors, rotting in their rusting, filthy cages. Prisoners. I had never believed a single word of it. I had beaten them for their idiocy. They say that the spirits of the dead; victims of this brutal wasteland, had carried themselves with some apparent purposelessness, screaming the songs of their death. Hopeless, lost souls.

But today... I have seen it for myself. No 'lost soul,' wandering aimlessly, but something worse. For today...
Expand all images
>>
No. 485423 ID: 4fdf9a
File 135824486621.png - (34.86KB , 800x800 , 2.png )
485423

...a dead man had tried to kill me.
>>
No. 485424 ID: 4fdf9a
File 135824488616.png - (33.35KB , 800x800 , 3.png )
485424

"Lur, we are the destroyers of no ordinary pirate. Observe this corpse. I do not understand how this is possible."

>"Perhaps, sir, it is but an illusion. Some sort of distraction by a more formidable force. Perhaps it was simply placed deliberately."

"Lur, did you yourself not engage this creature? Was I suffering a lapse in my perception of reality when you fired upon it?"

>"Then, perhaps it is just a mask; a gruesome trophy worn over the now-lifeless face of some barbarian."

I kick the head from the body. There is a sound – a brief and dry ripping – and the skull is flung from its resting place. It clacks hollowly as it hits a rock.

"No mistaking. A genuine skeleton. Notice that it wears body armour not dissimilar to ours. Much older, perhaps, though unmistakably of the same origin."

>"This is disturbing. I must at once tell of it to our superiors."
>>
No. 485425 ID: 4fdf9a
File 135824491952.png - (36.81KB , 800x800 , 4.png )
485425

Lur leaves my side and goes to our vehicle, to report our discovery.

When he returns, he is somewhat cheered.

>"We are to receive medals and promotions for our findings."

"And they do not wish to properly investigate this? They would blindly reward our confusing discovery? And what if we were to simply be liars, with the hopes of joining the ranks of the Ordination by some deceitful means?"

>"I do not know. I am sure they will know what to do. We are to meet with them at once."

"This is unusual. Perhaps we should reconsider this. And what of our patrol in this region? Are we to simply abandon it?"

>"Disobeying their instructions could mark us as treasonous. Your caution is not without merit, sir, but perhaps it is misplaced today."

What do I do?

>a) Obey these instructions and return to our superiors. It would be disobedient to ignore these instructions.

>b) Ignore the instructions and allow Lur to leave as he pleases.

>c) Ignore the instructions, and try to convince Lur that he should also ignore them.

>d) Something else.
>>
No. 485432 ID: 8014db

>>485425
stay and convince your comrade to do the same
>>
No. 485435 ID: 7cc38f

You hate traitors and a promotion is nice, go back.
>>
No. 485438 ID: 710329

We're only introduced to YOU two it would be a shame to lose your interesting stories that have only begun to nightmarish forces of licking moist the balls of the command

Get the goddamn promotions and see where this leads. Maybe you'll encounter similiar adventures later on while not risking your military career.
>>
No. 485452 ID: 05432c

I'm pretty sure they're actually going to kill us because we know too much, but that's just genre savvy speaking. Let Lur go, but follow him from a distance. If it looks legit, catch up and say you got held up or something.
>>
No. 485464 ID: f1b3ee

d) Report back in yourself and ask if you are to finish your patrol or leave immediately.

When in doubt, ask.
>>
No. 485483 ID: a19d72

A
>>
No. 485484 ID: 9a2a41
File 135828889214.png - (35.60KB , 800x800 , 5.png )
485484

>>485464

A wise suggestion.


I decide to request confirmation of these instructions.

Returning to the vehicle, I contact our outpost.

"This is L-12-18-B. Do you read?"

>"We read you 18-B."

"Requesting confirmation of orders, re: unidentified foe."

>"Roger that. You are to return here immediately. You will be then taken back to the citadel where you are to be rewarded."

"What about investigations?"

>"... Don't concern yourself with it. Return immediately. Do you copy?"

"Loud and clear, over."

***

I had better return.
>>
No. 485486 ID: 9a2a41
File 135828893018.png - (37.81KB , 800x800 , 6.png )
485486

We are not traveling for more than ten minutes before we are struck by pirate outcasts! Two of them, on motorcycles.
>>
No. 485487 ID: 9a2a41
File 135828895102.png - (29.49KB , 800x800 , 7.png )
485487

We are equipped with a flamethrower and a mounted machine gun.
>>
No. 485488 ID: be7fd9

Flamethrower seems like overkill (and typically has range and accuracy limitations, especially against agile opponents). Just mow them down with bullets. Simple, brutal efficiency.
>>
No. 485495 ID: f1b3ee

Use the machinegun, unless they are mounted in a way one of you can gun down one rider and the other can flame the second.
>>
No. 485505 ID: 518408

If you can't swivel your machinegun down far enough to hit them there, you may consider swerving to the side - hopefully running one of them over and giving you sufficient distance from the other to hit him with a machinegun.

--------

A flash of insight.

Medals are given to reward extraordinary achievements to set an example for others. Merely encountering a skeleton and shooting it is extraordinary, but hardly an achievement. There is thus an inconsistency.

Inconsistency implies error. Errors kill.

The inconsistency can be in you. This would imply you are just going mad and hallucinating, a theory given support by the fact you shot an undead. But your squadmate confirmed.

Assuming as a working hypothesis that the inconsistency is not in you, we must look at who told you this.

I don't credit your squadmate with the capability to falsify a message. Thus, your commanding officer has told you something inconsistent. The truth is consistent. Consequently, the promotion is almost certainly a lie.

Provisionally assuming this to be correct, let's analyze it further. What is its goal? A medal is joyful. It thus seems designed to dissipate mistrust and encourage you to return. And yet - as a lie, it is rather easy to discover the inconsistency. Assumption: your military hierarchy is not incompetent. Given time, they should have been able to realize that they need tell no such lie - merely say they would investigate this strange case and to return for now. They thus acted under time pressure - they did not expect this. Which is consistent with some attempt to cover it up.

In any case, returning is almost certain suicide.
>>
No. 485526 ID: 6dc5a6

Take out these fellas and report the 2nd encounter to command. DO NOT report your current position. If you get the same response you can use the corpses as evidence to convince your comrade that reporting in person is a bad idea.
>>
No. 485554 ID: 035ce3

Do not anything unnecessary, but I will advise killing one of them and keeping the other alive for questioning.
>>
No. 485575 ID: 5d98c3

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Promotions for everyone! If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Use the Machine Gun! It's FUN TACULAR! Also, on a more serious note, command will kill you if you go back. Kill these men and dress them in your armor, then burn their corpses to make it look like pirates killed you. Then steal their bikes and anything of value in the tank and blow it up. If we're gonna be paranoid, we're doing it RIGHT.
>>
No. 485595 ID: 19c141

>>485575
Ooh, you sexy minx. I like you.
>>
No. 485626 ID: 0006f5

the manner of instruction was suspicious, but that is not now. turn and brake hard, see if that creates some distance and zero in for a kill with the machine gun if it does.
>>
No. 485629 ID: 2db3a5
File 135831343722.png - (33.43KB , 800x800 , 8.png )
485629

It is easy to kill one of the bandits. By swerving into his motorcycle, he is driven beneath our treads. His body barely registers as a bump, but his motorcycle is seen hurtling away violently.
>>
No. 485630 ID: 2db3a5
File 135831345365.png - (23.52KB , 800x800 , 9.png )
485630

At this close a range, the machine gun cannot aim directly at our foes. The other bandit uses this to attach himself to our vehicle.
>>
No. 485631 ID: 0006f5

dag-nabbit dangit ! slow down to minimize catastrophe for all parties. a manhandling seems to be in order
>>
No. 485632 ID: be7fd9

Quickly draw your sidearm and begin shooting the boarder in the face before he can draw his own weapons.
>>
No. 485644 ID: 5d98c3

>>485632
Whilst shooting him in the face, swivel the gun to put him off balance. Then, while he's dodging the gun, shoot him in the face with your pistol.
>>
No. 485724 ID: 710329

Shoot him in the face with your pistol
>>
No. 485833 ID: 82d040
File 135840098728.png - (22.26KB , 800x800 , 10.png )
485833

The bandit has made a serious mistake. He is stranded on the side of the vehicle. If he falls, he will go beneath the treads, and if he clambers himself atop our vehicle, he will be shot. However, he doesn't count on the fact that Lur can simply lean forward and shoot him in his head.
>>
No. 485834 ID: 82d040
File 135840100921.png - (19.32KB , 800x800 , 11.png )
485834

We return to our outpost. Its size and permanence makes it more of a base, although that isn't important.
>>
No. 485835 ID: 82d040
File 135840105543.png - (45.42KB , 800x800 , 12.png )
485835

Lieutenant Droth talks to us.

>”Congratulations on your actions, soldiers. Our superiors are eager to reward you. I wish that I had experienced this opportunity myself. What was it that you had done, precisely?”

Before I can answer him, an inferior soldier interrupts us and reminds Droth of something urgent. The lieutenant nods and the solder leaves.

>”Ah, our superiors are making a point of meeting with you immediately. We have a transport organised for you. Please surrender your weapons, as per protocol, and make your way to the air transport.

The transport will take me to the Citadel. However, I have been thinking about this. What if there is some misunderstanding?

a) Surrender weapons, and board the craft

b) Refuse to surrender weapons, but attempt to board the craft

c) Refuse to carry out any instructions

d) Something else.
>>
No. 485837 ID: 35edd4

Okay, there is no way this is normal, even your commander is surprised and confused. They want you there ASAP and they don't want anyone to know what you saw. Is it protocol to surrender your weapons before meeting with upper management?

Regardless, inform Droth that you believe it important for the safety of the outpost that he be aware of what you saw out there, and are worried that your unusual sudden recall and inexplicable reward might incidentally delay his receipt of this information. Also, unless this would be horribly rude, that you and your subordinate require time to make yourselves presentable before meeting with the superiors, as you have only just returned from combat and are in no suitable condition.
>>
No. 485840 ID: b0d1a8

"I'll surrender one bullet, where do you want it?"
>>
No. 485841 ID: 0006f5

make sure this is indeed protocol. and nothing is stopping us from answering him. do inform him of what you encountered with as most academic observations you can divulge.

see if you can get any time to yourself before agreeing to surrender weapons and boarding
>>
No. 485842 ID: be7fd9

Okay, so we basically have the choice of resiting, being declared heretics, and being killed by or forced to kill by our comrades, or surrendering our weapons and walking into an obvious trap and pray we come out out if it alright.

What the hell, follow orders. It's what you've done your whole life anyways, and I want to see what happens.
>>
No. 485843 ID: 6dc5a6

Well since you've already driven all the way here to obvious trap go along with your orders. How long can you hold your breath and what is your pain threshold? The answer to both of these questions may become relevant extremely soon.
>>
No. 485860 ID: c3709a

>>485841
this
>>
No. 485861 ID: 70e1c0
File 135842429650.png - (30.09KB , 800x800 , 13.png )
485861

It is normal for us to relinquish arms before departure, if our journey is not for specifically military purposes.

* * *

“Sir, you requested to know what we did?”

>”Yes.”

“We fought something during our patrol. An actual, walking corpse. It was dressed in one of our uniforms, although much older. Perhaps something my grandfather, or great grandfather would have worn during his period of servitude. It shot at us, and we killed it.”

Droth laughs. His laughter dies off when he realises we aren't laughing with him.

>”I don't understand, corporal.”

“It wasn't a joke, sir. This is why we are being called in on such short notice. Perhaps they want to interview us about it or something.”

>”...Well, I am grateful for the information. I'll tell the others to keep their eyes open for your so-called corpses.”

He is obviously still not taking it very seriously.

“Sir, I am not joking. This was a genuine enemy. The body is still there, if you needed to see it yourself.”

The lieutenant sighs audibly. I get the message that he is weary of this joke.

“Sir, may we have an hour to prepare ourselves, before our departure?”

>“I am sorry, but this is not my decision to make. Your attendance has been requested with the utmost urgency.”

“Just so they can reward us? I am hesitant to admit, sir, that this is unusual behaviour. We're going to receive medals at some impromptu and highly unorthodox meeting in recognition for our 'deeds?' Why do we not receive our medals at an organised awards ceremony with genuine war heroes?”

>”Corporal, this is not up for any debate. You have been ordered to board that aircraft, and it is expected that you obey.”
>>
No. 485864 ID: 4c3f67

To obey has an alkaline nuance to it, obay anyway. Carefully disarm yourself.
>>
No. 485867 ID: be7fd9

I am uneasy, but we obey, sir.
>>
No. 485879 ID: 5d98c3

>>485861
Okeydokey! Guess we should have faked our deaths after all. Oh well! Let's go talk to the Inquisition Awards Ceremony Planners!
>>
No. 485882 ID: 47d311

Bear in mind your superiors may just as well be using an awards ceremony as cover to bring you two in and reassign you both to a different unit before you have the chance to spread word about this.

If they want to keep this a secret for some reason it would be much more effective on their part to consolidate everyone who knows about the issue into a single fighting unit out of contact with other units. That way command does not lose fighting strength by losing soldiers and may still keep their 'secret' under wraps.

Of course since you know things they don't want to get out, your new unit is probably going to be one that is sent on the most dangerous missions because dead men tell no tales. In a sense it's an execution, but at least one in which you have a chance of living through and also one that gets the shit done command really needs.
>>
No. 485887 ID: 35edd4

>>485861
"I do not know what will happen at the Citadel. Please remember what I have told you."

Then obey.
>>
No. 485901 ID: f2c20c

>>485861
Those who have said the place was haunted are all rogues and outcasts.

Perhaps that is by design. At best we can expect exile, at worst summary execution. Perhaps it would be best to escape now while we can.

I think our destination upon escape would be returning to where we found the corpse, and investigate further. Get to the bottom of this mess.
>>
No. 485956 ID: 67df7b
File 135847483902.png - (41.37KB , 800x800 , 14.png )
485956

“Well sir, before I leave, may I ask a favour of you?”

>”Very well.”

“I do not know what will happen to me at the Citadel. Please tell everybody what I have told you.”

>”What?”

“About the corpse. Tell everybody here.”

He considers my request.

>”Hmm. Very well. I will hold an assembly later today.”

“Thank you sir.”



I surrender my weapons and leave for the Citadel.
>>
No. 485958 ID: 67df7b
File 135847487153.png - (69.53KB , 800x800 , 15.png )
485958

The flight is uneventful. We land on one of the many aerial platforms that protrude from the citadel. Despite the wind at the higher levels, the citadel doesn't shudder or groan. Considering its enormous height, its construction was masterful. The metal that covers the citadel is stained in a mottled pattern of brown and black; a combination of age and acidic rain taking its toll on the aesthetics of the structure.

Beneath me, the city sprawls. It is like a huge pool of tar, with flickering lights emerging from the tops of buildings. The walls that surround us are the most impressive of all. Their size cannot be compared to anything else. Inside of them, thousands of homes, workshops and other facilities exist. Beneath the city they continue. But, down below the city is where lives are short. Criminals and pollutants fill the tunnels, and violent encounters are commonplace.

Lur grabs my shoulder and I am startled.

>”Come on. It would be foolish to keep our superiors waiting.”

Our transport leaves after we disembark. Two Ordinators escort us from the door into the Citadel. I have never actually been inside it before. It is much as I expected.

We are greeted by a woman. Her attitude is one of extreme apathy. She is bald and pallid, but her face is not unattractive. She is clearly the host of many augmentations. There are several cables penetrating her skull, which lead to other parts of her body. Her neck and shoulders are covered in some jointed carapace, lined with sharp spines, as is typical of our cultural aesthetic. I am unsure as to whether her apathy is a result of her augmentations, or if it is just due to a common disinterest in our affairs.

>”From which sector do you originate?”

“The twelfth”

>”Please stand by.”

She walks into a room behind her desk. There are others working there. They share many of the characteristics of the woman who greeted us. None of them have regarded us since our entry.

She returns.

>”The twelfth Magistrate wishes to see you.”

This was unexpected. Lur is also surprised.

>”But madam, surely the Great Lion holds no interest in our petty activities.”

>”Regardless of what his motives are, you are to meet with him. Follow me.”

We follow the woman through many corridors. We take an elevator that reaches incredible height.
>>
No. 485959 ID: 67df7b
File 135847491657.png - (38.98KB , 800x800 , 16.png )
485959

At the end of our journey, we are decontaminated and led into a sparse room where the Great Lion stands, waiting.

His gilded armour is emblazoned with the images of many fierce lions; the patron beast of our sector. His helm is the likeness of a growling lion. A great red cloak covers his back. I am struck by his majesty.

>”I a told that you have witnessed something strange. A walking corpse. Is this correct?”

Kneeling, Lur is quick to respond.

>”Yes, my liege. It bore our uniform. We thought it a mere pirate, but it was not.”

>”Mord, was it? What do you make of this? Is what your subordinate speaks the truth?”

“Yes, my liege. I saw it myself. A corpse, no mistaking. We encountered it on our patrols in the Northern Wasteland. It was hostile to us.”

The Magistrate does not respond to this, but changes the topic entirely.

>”Tell me about yourself, Mord.”


Offer a very brief, 'general' back-story for Mord. A couple of sentences will suffice. If you need information about places or things, please ask them in the discussion thread and I will answer. If you want to make up stuff, go ahead. This quest is for the creation of lore, after all.
>>
No. 485967 ID: 6dc5a6

"There is little to say, sir. Unlike most recruits I didn't join up because I was starving. Rather I was more interested in a getting pair of boots that didn't get soggy from the acid rain. There is a reassuring rhythm to life in the service sir. Yet I am frightened that there is more out there in the wasteland than bandits and dirt."
>>
No. 486000 ID: 47d311

"Everything in my file is correct, sir.

I was born to a mother who died in childbirth and a father who died on a patrol not unlike those that I perform. I never knew them. I was brought to a place for children without parents like myself, and raised to live and die for the Magistrates on the battlefield. The children called me 'Mord' because I was conceived by a corpse, and it stuck with me when I was called to active duty having no other name for myself.

During a training exercise I was assaulted by Private Gour with a knife. He drove the blade into my chest but missed my heart, and I killed him with a shot to the head from my sidearm. When I recovered, no disciplinary action was taken against me for felling a comrade, which was unusual. Instead, I was transferred to Lieutenant Droth's command, where I have remained.

I received my promotion to Corporal by preventing the theft of one of our vehicles at the hands of a small group of raiders that had slipped past watch on our base. I fought them three to one and slew them all, receiving heavy injuries in the process. When I was awoken I was informed of my promotion, and that one of the many bullets pulled out of me had nearly pierced my heart. If such a thing as luck exists, then I count myself among the lucky."
>>
No. 486002 ID: 35edd4

"I grew up in poverty, among people who with few prospects and fewer morals. The service has been an escape for me, given my life meaning and worth. I am proud to work for the safety of our city."
>>
No. 486021 ID: 5d98c3

"I thought your armor looked really cool, so I joined up to get my own cool armor."
>>
No. 486059 ID: 0006f5

"I listened to some of the voices in my head. They've done great for me so far."
>>
No. 486118 ID: 83de40

"I earned my military status fighting in the streets since I was very young. Was part of a bike gang. We earned our shit, parts and gas by burglary and robbing. The stealing part was not so glorious, but I learned to fight very bad. That badness was noticed by one lieutenant and he conscripted me to the military in hopes of putting that bad attitude to a better use. I know everything about bikes and something about other vehicles and I listen to the voices in my head for guidance."
>>
No. 486120 ID: a478de
File 135851025164.png - (27.79KB , 800x800 , 17.png )
486120

I hesitate. This encounter has made me nervous, and I don't know what will come of it.

"Everything in my file is correct, sir.

I was born to a mother who died in childbirth and a father who died on a patrol not unlike those that I perform. I never knew them. I was brought to a place for children without parents like myself, and raised to live and die for the Magistrates on the battlefield. The children called me 'Mord' because I was conceived by a corpse, and it stuck with me when I was called to active duty having no other name for myself.

During a training exercise I was assaulted by Private Gour with a knife. He drove the blade into my chest but missed my heart, and I killed him with a shot to the head from my sidearm. When I recovered, no disciplinary action was taken against me for felling a comrade, which was unusual. Instead, I was transferred to Lieutenant Droth's command, where I have remained.

I received my promotion to Corporal by preventing the theft of one of our vehicles at the hands of a small group of raiders that had slipped past watch on our base. I fought them three to one and slew them all, receiving heavy injuries in the process. When I was awoken I was informed of my promotion, and that one of the many bullets pulled out of me had nearly pierced my heart. If such a thing as luck exists, then I count myself among the lucky.

I follow the voices in my head. Gut feeling. Something like that."


The Lion does not respond to my story immediately. In this moment I notice that Lur, and the ordinators who brought us in are no longer in the room with us. I swallow hard, and feel myself beginning to sweat.
>>
No. 486121 ID: a478de
File 135851027678.png - (50.60KB , 800x800 , 18.png )
486121

The Lion finally speaks to me again. His voice is a deep, metallic growl, heavily modulated by his mask. I see my reflection in his armour. It is like a brown stain, waiting to be cleaned away.

>”The thing that you saw - it is nothing new. You are not the first, and you will certainly not be the last soldier to bear witness to these creatures.”

I nod anxiously.

>”I am sure you are intelligent enough to have realised that you are not going to receive any sort of reward. It is not unlikely that you realised this long before you arrived. The premise on which you were invited here was not of my invention, but I was interested to speak to you.”

“Thank you, my liege.”

>”But do you know of the people that hide behind these walls? The throng of ignorant and terrified commoners? To learn of their long-deceased ancestors, back from the grave, savage and empty-minded, could drive them mad. We could not control them, and eventually our species would die. We are the last civilisation, Mord. Know that when we lose control, humankind will die.”


“So what about when a soldier learns of it?”


I am startled as the door opens again. The ordinators return into the room. Lur is not with them.


>”There is only one soldier who knows it.”

I become fearful.

>”Mord, your story has touched me. Like you, I was an orphan. You have not known life as a human, but only as a tool of battle. I cannot allow you to return to the city. However, I will not destroy you. You are hereby banished from this city, on pain of death. We will offer you some provisions, but then you must make your own way. I wish you luck, but know that luck always runs out.”

I don't know how to respond. This is a lot for me to process.
>>
No. 486122 ID: a478de
File 135851029242.png - (16.96KB , 800x1200 , PAPERDOLL.png )
486122

>”You may keep your battle armour, but, as I am sure you know, many outcasts do not take kindly to seeing this uniform.”

You are now to establish the future appearance of Mord. Know that the weather is often dangerous, and the air is heavily polluted. The design should incorporate some respirator, or similar.
>>
No. 486126 ID: 710329
File 135852096962.png - (141.74KB , 800x1200 , MORD_MASK.png )
486126

>>
No. 486141 ID: 5d98c3
File 135852733134.png - (125.43KB , 400x400 , Frank Horrigan.png )
486141

>>486122
How about this one?
>>
No. 486142 ID: 3712d7

>>486141

The One and True American Hero in this Nuclear Wasteland pls go.
>>
No. 486144 ID: ffdafe

>>486141
upvote this
>>
No. 486150 ID: f1b3ee

"Sir, a tool is only useful should it be used by someone. The plow does not sow the field until it is operated by the farmer, nor will a rifle strike down its opponent unless the trigger is pulled. Surely you have some task you wish of me, as I suspect it is not simple pity nor curiosity that has guided your hand today.

If I thought you a kind man, sir, I'd expect to be added to your staff whom no doubt knows the truth as clearly as myself. If I thought you a cruel man, I'd expect to have been shot upon returning from patrol without ever having set foot here. However, if I thought you to be a clever man, I would expect there is another purpose for my exile. The common folk, ignorant they, know nothing of what passes beyond these walls and would sooner dismiss such tales as the ravings of a madman; a crazed old soldier whose had too much to drink, than accept the horrors of the wasteland beyond.

I was born unto this world by a corpse, to serve the magistrates until I return to the corpse. Surely I have not become a mere inconvenience to be placed aside and live a life of a tool left forever to rot in the shed. What task might this one do for you, sir?"
>>
No. 486152 ID: 9cdfda

nah, I suggest we leave quietly and gratefully.

>>486141

all of my votes.
>>
No. 486153 ID: 0b214d
File 135853496072.jpg - (80.63KB , 600x421 , hellgate_specops.jpg )
486153

>>486150

"And regardless of whenether you have a task for me or not, I will attempt to seek out the reason why the dead walk out there in the wasteland. It's the least I can do."
>>
No. 486157 ID: 29654e
File 135853635556.jpg - (241.09KB , 800x1200 , mord idea.jpg )
486157

Well, here's my 5 cents. Thinking a sort of "Wanderer of the Wastes" idea with a bunch of his old armor scavenged or repurposed.
>>
No. 486158 ID: 3712d7

>>486157

Throw in a generic cow skull with a sash for extra storage / impromptu bandages and I'm sold.
>>
No. 486160 ID: 29654e

>>486157
>generic cow skull
wat
>>
No. 486161 ID: 3712d7

>>486160

I was making a joke, cow-skulls count as generic for wasteland themed-settings.

Leave it out, is what I am saying.
>>
No. 486164 ID: 62496e
File 135853774994.jpg - (28.82KB , 250x499 , Stalker_Suit_(Cropped).jpg )
486164

LET'S TRY THIS AGAIN

Would have posted the rookie armor just for the lulz that would ensue, but unfortunately it doesn't come with any sort of air filter.
>>
No. 486165 ID: 35edd4

Let's get out of here before he finds out that we arranged for our unit to find out.
>>
No. 486169 ID: 035ce3

>>486141
this
>>
No. 486183 ID: 0b214d

>>486165

Derp... congratulations Mord, you quite possibly may be the reason for the downfall of the remaining civilization.

But yes, getting the hell out would be a good idea.
>>
No. 486196 ID: 5d3ae8

Don't dally to ask for instructions, or promise to complete some task--there's no sense restricting your freedom, and you can always find a way to send a message later if you do, on your own initiative, discover something of interest.
>>
No. 486202 ID: 5d98c3

>>486183
Okay guys, we should probably tell good old Thirteenth and Forsaken Lion about that gaffe before we leave.
>>
No. 486270 ID: 134072
File 135856607705.png - (17.89KB , 800x800 , 19.png )
486270

Thank you all for your contributions.

“My liege, I accept your verdict, though I cannot bear to be cast away as a worthless thing. I implore you, please give my life purpose. I have worn this uniform proudly, and I want only to serve.”

I am silently regarded, for a moment.

>”Very well.”

He reaches behind his neck and unclips something. He hands it to me. I recognise it as his personal talisman. All of the magistrates carry one as a symbol of their position. It is a steel lion head, with rubies set into the eyes. I am honoured to touch it.

>”Had you been of a more respectable position, I would have added you to my staff. Unfortunately, your level of capability is unproven. Therefore, I will offer you a task: You will find out from where the dead come, and why. Bring this knowledge to me, and I will re-instate you into our society, but as an elite ordinator. I will let my guardians know of your mission. When you return, present this talisman to them, and they will bring you back to me. How you go about this task is your business. You are independent, henceforth.”

“Thank you, my liege, for this opportunity. However, I must confess that, at the outpost, I told of this creature to my peers. I am deeply sorry.”

The Lion nods grimly.

>”My task remains open.”
>>
No. 486271 ID: 0006f5

investigate site
>>
No. 486288 ID: b6edd6

Thank him for this opportunity to protect society.
>>
No. 486290 ID: 35edd4

Give him as proper, formal, and sincere a thanks as you can muster, accept his offer, and GTFO.
>>
No. 486295 ID: 10afd6

okay go get your stuff before another figure of authority catches wind of all this.
>>
No. 486303 ID: 455025

"I will look to complete this task or inevitably die for this society."
>>
No. 486304 ID: 0b214d

>>486270

Thank him and bid him farewell, it's time to leave before we overstay our welcome and get stabbed in the ass.
>>
No. 486306 ID: b000ba
File 135860541277.png - (28.86KB , 800x800 , 20.png )
486306

Final design is some mixture of >>486126 >>486157

I bid the Lion farewell. The ordinators silently lead me outside the room and down the elevator once again. I begin to feel afraid again; that perhaps this was only a farce, and that I am being led to my death. Though, this is not the case.

We come out of the elevator at a different floor than we entered on. One of the ordinators leaves my side and speaks to somebody. We wait while he does this. When he returns, I am led out onto another aerial platform. A short while passes and an aircraft arrives before us.

>”This transport will take you beyond our territory. Remember that you are forbidden from returning to this city.”

I am somewhat relieved at the prospect of being transported away. Although I do not know what I am going to do when I disembark from this vehicle, I surely did not want to pass through the squirming assemblage of sick and starving squatters outside of the city. I can imagine their bony, dirty hands clawing, groping at me, begging me for some salvation that I could never provide as I walk by them. The smell of their blood and their faeces, the treading on the bones of their numberless dead and the gripe of hearing the grating shrieks of their dying children.

The transport lifts from the platform and leaves the Citadel. I see it grow smaller as I get further away, and I wonder if I will ever see it again.

When the transport lands, I climb from it and find myself standing in some mess of dirt and metal. There is the carapace of some long-dead alien settled in the dirt. The wind is blowing dust everywhere, and the thick, black robes I was given to conceal myself are already becoming dirty.

There is some structure on the horizon. I am unable to make out exactly what it is at this distance. Is it just an outcast settlement, or some hive of pirates? An abandoned ruin?

The supplies I was given also include a tent. It is getting dark, and I have been given sufficient food to last a day or more.
>>
No. 486307 ID: 83c12a

Regardless of its nature, the structure is worth taking a closer look at. do you know if any wildlife exists in the waste, or plant life for that matter? because pirates and outcasts have to eat something. prevail they have working hydroponics? in any case lifeless dust tells you nothing of walking corpses. that structure is the first step out your journey.
>>
No. 486308 ID: e307b1

Also, your standing in a metal scrap heap? you should explore that more thoroughly.
>>
No. 486314 ID: 455025

Explore the metals, see if you can scavenge some. You might be able to make an iron spear later on. Do you have bags?
>>
No. 486320 ID: 0006f5

check out the carapace and metals. the carapace is just a carapace, but there may be binding wire or lead for making crude acid batteries with
>>
No. 486323 ID: 058d92

how long will the filter on your rebreather last, and do you have replacements? what are your arms and ammo? are you wearing any armor under those robes? and what kind of alien is it? does it have any pointy and/or venomous bits to weaponize?
>>
No. 486327 ID: 35edd4

Set up the tent. It's been a long day and you need some rest before going exploring. Plus, you can use this opportunity to review the current state and history of the world for us. Are there other cities? How big are the wastes? What's up with the alien corpse? Why is the city you hail from so destitute?
>>
No. 486329 ID: 47d311

Head for the structure and set up your tent on the side that's opposite the direction the wind is blowing. If it's too far to make it in a day you can probably make simple little barrier out of the scrap lying around.

Does your helmet have any kind of optics equipment built in or is it just a plain helmet? How close is it to night-time, and how is the visibility? If you're wearing dark robes it is probably safer to travel at night, especially since less predators are probably active at night. That is usually the case with cold-weather lands, and I am assuming this is a cold-weather land with how everyone we've met so far is dressed.

As for food it would probably be better to catch and kill something than start in on your rations, so you can save those for a bad day; assuming they won't spoil soon, of course.

How much ammunition for that gun do you have?
>>
No. 486386 ID: 10da48
File 135865028853.png - (28.32KB , 800x800 , 21.png )
486386

I inspect the scraps of metal at my feet. This looks like common debris. Amongst loose pieces of aluminium, I find some broken solar-panel, wires, and dirty, burnt-out electronics.

The alien carapace belongs to one of the more dangerous kinds, although this one poses no threat. This alien has similar proportions to humans, and so occasionally people will adapt its exoskeleton into crude body armour. I know from experience that it does a poor job of stopping bullets, although it is difficult to penetrate with only a knife. Something catches my eye in the carcass. It is some bizarre, lustrous rock. I keep the rock, and place it into one of my pouches.

I know that I can survive off of various creatures. This very alien would have once been largely edible, although specific parts must not be ingested, else one should find themselves vomiting their own liquefied viscera.

My weapon is some sort of commercial carbine. Not an expensive one, I think, but it will still put a bullet into something if it needs to. The military-issue filters are well-researched and developed. They should withstand months of continual use. I have two spares.
>>
No. 486387 ID: 10da48
File 135865032941.png - (41.79KB , 800x800 , 22.png )
486387

I decide to make my way towards the structure. Now I am closer, it is clearly a stronghold of some kind; a small, fortified village or something. There are walls all around it, and some watch towers. Due to their lack of cohesiveness, bandit strongholds are rarely of reliable construction. The very presence of a wall here causes me to feel somewhat relieved, and tells me that perhaps this is just the home of common outcasts - although it is not unknown for bandits to organise themselves into invading a settlement such as this.
>>
No. 486459 ID: 0006f5

make your way toward it. if the sun goes down before you arrive, pitch tent where you are.
>>
No. 486475 ID: 5c11b4

wait for the sun to go down and approach sneakily in the darkness.
>>
No. 486510 ID: fc9ebe

Get some shuteye and mark your dreams
>>
No. 486535 ID: 16aa1e
File 135872365872.png - (27.68KB , 800x800 , 23.png )
486535

I set up my tent for the night, and I sleep.

In my dreams, the dead rise from their tombs. They call for me.
>>
No. 486536 ID: 16aa1e
File 135872368510.png - (17.68KB , 800x800 , 24.png )
486536

When I awaken, it is daylight once again. The settlement sits silently before me.

After eating a small ration, I pack my equipment and make my way towards the settlement. As I get closer, a see that, curiously, there is nobody inside the watch towers. The gate is open partially, so I decide to investigate. I open the gate a little bit wider with my hand, and the metal groans. I am startled as a flock of birds suddenly take to flight. I bring my weapon close.
>>
No. 486537 ID: 16aa1e
File 135872371186.png - (12.12KB , 800x800 , 25.png )
486537

The settlement is abandoned. I am now convinced of this. There are no signs of human life. If bandits had killed the previous inhabitants, it is likely that they would now be occupying this place. Furthermore, there is nothing to suggest there was ever any sort of major fight here. No bodies or other debris. It is as though the inhabitants had disappeared.
>>
No. 486540 ID: b68a60

Well, check for clues and supplies in the buildings. Keep guard up.
>>
No. 486542 ID: 5c11b4

scavenge. look out for any corpses, and be ready for them to come to life.
>>
No. 486564 ID: 0006f5

probably wont find much, but what else is there to do ? worth investigating either way because of how odd this is
>>
No. 486566 ID: 6dc5a6

>>486542

You need a stick for poking corpses with, acquire one.
>>
No. 486621 ID: 4af20b

Gotta be undead shenanigans. Stay frosty.
>>
No. 486623 ID: b33427

Could be that the previous inhabitants abandoned the place 'cause it was no long viable to live in for some reason. No source of water, or food, or the bandits got too thick around here, or something else. They might have all caught a plague and just died huddled in their hovels, though you wouldn't bet on it being that simple.

The fact that bandits haven't come along and occupied this place indicates one of two things: Whatever happened to the previous inhabitants happened recently, or whatever happened to the previous inhabitants is still here, and took out any bandits that tried to move in.

Alright, enough speculation. Stick to the structures that are the best lit so you don't get any surprises from the shadows. Be on the lookout for indications for how long the site has been abandoned, and if bandits or others have been snooping around here.
>>
No. 486636 ID: 9212c7
File 135876292427.png - (26.39KB , 800x800 , 26.png )
486636

I continue to search. Most of the cabins are bare. Some have permanent fixtures, such as shelves and counters, but aside from some junk, almost everything is gone. I strongly believe there to have been a great migration from here, but why? Admittedly, the location of this settlement is poorly chosen. It is possible that the population's natural resources expired, and they simply moved on.

I hear a shuffle, and my guard is raised. I point my weapon around, looking for the source of the noise. Nothing. There is no sign of anything useful here, at all.
>>
No. 486637 ID: 9212c7
File 135876294774.png - (19.36KB , 800x800 , 27.png )
486637

Perhaps I should just leave.

Roll 1d20.
>>
No. 486638 ID: 76b151

rolled 8 = 8

The roof!
>>
No. 486640 ID: 0006f5

rolled 3, 3, 6 = 12

would these guys stash or want anything to do with human bodies ?
>>
No. 486642 ID: f707c7

rolled 1 = 1

shoot the thing, aaaaaugh
>>
No. 486644 ID: ce9195

rolled 14 = 14

there's at least two of them on you. shoot while going for the exit.
>>
No. 486648 ID: b33427

rolled 20 = 20

Turn around. Aim at creature on roof. Shoot creature until one of you is dead. If creature is killed, listen for any other creatures to determine whether to stay or to GTFO of here.
>>
No. 486654 ID: c30f6e
File 135877161963.png - (45.75KB , 800x800 , 28.png )
486654

Behind me, I hear a piece of metal creak under the weight of something. I spin around to see an alien perched on the roof of a shelter. A 'locust,' as we called them in the military. I fire on it without hesitation. It loses balance and falls face-first into the dirt below. It does not get up.
>>
No. 486655 ID: c30f6e
File 135877164226.png - (35.21KB , 800x800 , 29.png )
486655

I hear more movement now. It appears that my gunfire had drawn these creatures from wherever they were hiding. One crawls out before me, and I shoot it dead. I hear more emerging behind me. Locusts have powerful legs, and can leap long distances. They climb without much difficulty, and some have been sighted with wings.
>>
No. 486656 ID: 76b151

This is a deathtrap. We have two options. Hole up in a building or run. I say run.
>>
No. 486657 ID: 490792

They're predatory animals, catching fleeing prey is what they're built for. Charge one near cover with gun blazin, and then fight the others from a convenient position. Keep mobile but on offence.
>>
No. 486658 ID: eadc55

I say run and give yourself covering fire while doing it... This place was inhabited after all. The good side is that these wastelands seem to bear some sort of living food source.
>>
No. 486661 ID: ce9195

fire off another volley at each and then make a break for it.
>>
No. 486662 ID: b33427

Turn left, shoot any alien that way, then charge so any that come from your left have to go around or over that wall. Turn that way and fire at the first one to come around that wall, then make a run for the structures you've already cleared; You're going to have to either hole up in one, or use them as cover to keep the locusts from leaping at you. Check all corners before passing them, and watch the rooftops.

There was razor wire on top of the settlement's walls. Do you think it would stop these locusts from climbing over the walls, impede them, or do nothing at all? If it'll stop or slow them, then your goal is to get to the gate and far enough away that you can cover the gate and have line of sight on anything that comes over or around the walls.

What do you know about the intelligence and cleverness of these creatures? Do they communicate to each other and work together to hunt down prey? Will they break off chasing prey to eat their fallen brethren instead? How many are usually in a pack?
>>
No. 486720 ID: 0006f5

go to the nearest wall to reduce the number of sides they come from. hug contours, keep moving keep killing; they're counting on you to run, not attack.
>>
No. 486813 ID: 2bd3e6
File 135883056082.png - (42.88KB , 800x800 , 30.png )
486813

I back away from them steadily, shooting as many as I can. More are emerging from out of nowhere, seemingly. They chitter noisily; a sound impossible for a human to ape. Their movements are fast twitches. They raise their heads, seemingly smelling the air. They are not trying to kill me yet. They are watching me. They are only deciding how I am to be hunted. They are getting themselves into position to pounce on me. Their casualties are meaningless to them. They do not feel pain as a human does. They do not have personalities or emotions. I back into the wall of the settlement, and I move along it, trying to make for the exit. Perhaps I can close them into this settlement.
>>
No. 486814 ID: 2bd3e6
File 135883060842.png - (55.35KB , 800x800 , 31.png )
486814

As I move along, shooting and trying to get free, a locust crawls out of a drain near my feet and strikes me down.
>>
No. 486815 ID: 2bd3e6
File 135883072477.png - (3.05KB , 800x800 , 32.png )
486815

Everything goes black.

There is no need to suggest for this update, but you can if you really want to.
>>
No. 486816 ID: 0006f5

rolled 1, 3, 2 = 6

rolling for cursing the cursiest curse you can curse
>>
No. 486820 ID: 6dc5a6

Toggle your proverbial switches on and off rapidly!
>>
No. 486821 ID: 4a328b

AWAKEN AS THE UNDEAD
>>
No. 486877 ID: 710329

RIP
>>
No. 486886 ID: 62496e

>>486877
TEAR
>>
No. 486903 ID: 0b214d

>>486815

If you are dead, awaken as Undead as you have a task to complete for the Lion. If you are not dead, wake up as soon as possible.
>>
No. 487006 ID: 035ce3

>>486886
BURN
>>
No. 487028 ID: ae9d73
File 135891093236.png - (124.83KB , 800x800 , 33.png )
487028

Again I dream of the dead, calling my name. Their voices are like an icy wind, forced through their dry mouths.

>”Mord...”

I feel their skeletal hands grasp my shoulder, and they shake me.

>”Mord...”
>>
No. 487029 ID: ae9d73
File 135891095534.png - (151.52KB , 800x800 , 34.png )
487029

>”Mord!”

I open my eyes to see a mask staring down at me.

>”That's your name, right?”

I don't answer. I am confused, and my body aches terribly.

>”Damn, we wondered if you were actually coming back.”

I look at the person speaking to me. It's female, though if not for the muffled voice, it might have been hard to tell.

“Wh... What?”

>”Hey, are you a soldier or what?”
>>
No. 487031 ID: ae9d73
File 135891100926.png - (141.08KB , 800x800 , 35.png )
487031

I try to right myself, but I am in pain. There are other people with this girl. One of them is a man wearing protective robes not unlike mine. I can't see his face. The other is a large cyborg, easily two metres tall. A rotary cannon is fixed to his arm. He speaks to me now.

>”You're lucky to be alive. Those bugs were dragging you around like a rag doll.”

He laughs before continuing.

>”To be honest, after we killed those things, we just wanted to see if you had anything good on your body - which you did. But since you turned out to not be dead, we let you keep 'em.”

I feel a little bit more lucid. My head is filled with questions that I would like to ask...


Questions that you need to think of.
>>
No. 487033 ID: f2c20c

First, check your body for wounds. You probably had another 'lucky' scrape with death.

Ask how they found you- the sound of gunfire perhaps? Also, may as well ask who they are. It doesn't look like you're in the settlement anymore either- check to see if you can still see it. If not, ask where you are.
>>
No. 487035 ID: 6dc5a6

Good news! There are survivors out in the wasteland who aren't bandits. Now for the bad news, you need to bury the Lion's medallion since it is extremely likely that any survivors outside of the city will have animosity towards your authoritarian leaders.

Ask for their names.
>>
No. 487037 ID: 7cf403

where are you? also, are cyborgs people or is that thing just a walking death machine? oh, and thank them and ask what their names are and how they know yours.
>>
No. 487059 ID: b33427

"Why am I not dead?" 'Cause by all odds, you should be. It's more of a question to yourself, so don't expect an answer.

As for real questions, start by asking who they are, and how they know your name. Was your name written on something in your stuff? Then ask what they are, 'cause you know they aren't the common kind of Wasteland people since you aren't dead.

When you get a chance, check your gear and pack to see if you lost anything while being dragged around by those locusts. ...Oh, and if you still have that strange lustrous rock, ask them what it is.
>>
No. 487061 ID: 7b0ada

Circumstances aside, even if they are trash who were planning to loot your corpse... these people saved your life. At the very least, you should offer them thanks.

>bury the Lion's medallion
That seems impractical and problematic should Mord ever need retrieve it. Concealing it beneath our layers of clothing and armor should be sufficient.
>>
No. 487073 ID: 35edd4

>>487061
>even if they are trash who were planning to loot your corpse
Trash? Really? It wouldn't have been any use to us. They could have easily robbed us and left us to die, too, and they didn't; these are decent folk.

Thank them, and ask what happened to the settlement.
>>
No. 487075 ID: 35edd4

Also ask where they're from. They'll probably ask you the same, and you can truthfully say you're recently outcast from the city.
>>
No. 487115 ID: 710329

Ask, with a tone of gratitude in your voice, what makes it that there are decent people out here with all the toxication and locusts running out wild with no shelter and scarcity of supplies and all that is normal to man.

Do they have a shelter and ammo stockpiles? Did they butcher the locusts for food? Do they have food to spare, it's been a long time since you met the locusts and would be good for the wounds to eat something.

Do they have medical supplies?

Ask if they have your gun and that you would like it back, adding that you're a soldier just cast out of the city and don't like to just shoot people with no reason and even less those who saved you from locusts recently.

Do they know anything about these other type of aliens, how many are they and where are they or have they in general ever encountered a live one.


Ask them how do they know your name, what the hell??
>>
No. 487206 ID: d4862f
File 135898708784.png - (52.61KB , 800x800 , 36.png )
487206

Before I ask them anything, I must give my thanks to my saviours.

“Thank you for saving me. I do not know how else to express my gratitude, but I was fortunate that it was somebody so charitable who found me.”

>”It's all right, we're happy to help out.”

“My name. When I awoke, you used my name. How did you...?”

>”You're still wearing your ID tags, corporal. So you are a soldier, then?”

“No longer. I was exiled. I learned too much.”

>”That sucks. Life out here is harder than in that big city, I suppose.

“Where are we, and from where are you?”

>”Right now, we're standing around in the dirt in the middle of nowhere. We're from a settlement just a few kilometres West of here. That place from before was our old settlement. We left because we didn't have enough nearby resources. It happens. We came back because this old lady forgot some sentimental thing. But hey, we found some bonus food, and a friend, too.”

She laughs.

>”Oh, by the way; you never got our names.”

She points a thumb over her shoulder.

>”This is Samael. He's like, a hundred percent machine or something.

>”Eighty percent.”

She points at the other man.

>”This is Lox, and I am his sister, Lex.”

The cyborg holds out my gun.

>”You can have this back, if you promise not to shoot us.”

“Of course.”

>”Your other belongings are in your pack. We didn't find any loose items lying around the settlement. Well, except for one thing...

I remember the Lion's medallion. I pat around on my chest, and I feel panic when I don't find it there. Lox reaches into his pocket and brings it out. He passes it to me.

>“Hey, you might want to keep that hidden. Some people in our settlement might not like to see that. Here, tuck it under your armour or something. That is, if you want to come with us.”
>>
No. 487210 ID: 76b151

GO with them, we need information if we're gonna complete our task... and friends if we don't.
>>
No. 487213 ID: b33427

Feels like it's almost too good to be true, doesn't it? Ah, well. Take their offer, since the only other choice is to wander the Wastes with no idea where to go until some random critter or bandit kills you. At least this way you have a direction before the inevitable hits.

Offer to carry what you can, even though it won't be much without slowing you down to a crawl. Ask if they found whatever sentimental thing that old lady left behind. If they didn't even get to the old settlement, it'd probably be alright to search now that the locusts have been dealt with.
>>
No. 487227 ID: 47d311

Go with them. If they were planning on doing you harm they have had dozens of opportunities to do so.

Better yet, ask them about the walking dead. Living out in the wastes, they may have encountered them before, and better yet they may know something about them.

It may also do you some good to ask about the settlement you're headed to. Rough population estimate, the kinds of people there, notable figures, etc. Might also be a good idea to ask if there are any other ex-military men like you there.
>>
No. 487328 ID: 78c815

yes please.
>>
No. 487332 ID: 710329

yes, go
>>
No. 487462 ID: aff299

Even if they have ulterior motives, a population center is an excellent place to begin your search for the secret of the undead plague.
>>
No. 487474 ID: 51a410
File 135909684043.png - (40.89KB , 800x800 , 37.png )
487474

“Yes, that would be for the best.”

>”Can you walk, or do you need Sammy to carry you?”

I look at the cyborg for a moment.

“No, I think I can walk.”

I try to get to my feet. It is uncomfortable, but I manage.

* * *

We make our way West, to the new settlement. The ground between here and there is so barren. It is just dirt, occasionally marked by something interesting; the dead body of something, usually.
>>
No. 487475 ID: 51a410
File 135909686608.png - (49.83KB , 800x800 , 38.png )
487475

I decide to strike a conversation while we walk. I withdraw the unusual stone from my pocket.

“What is the nature of this stone?”

Lex ogles it.
>”Nice one. Uh, that's a kidney stone, or gallstone or something... but from an alien venom sac or whatever, I dunno. I'm not an alien doctor. It's a shiny stone, what do you want from me? You can trade with it...”

Samael comments on it.

>”It forms in some of those aliens. We use it like a special currency, I guess. Traders in most civilised settlements will accept them. A lot of nonsense hoodoo surrounds them, and people say they can curse people or something. But to me, it's just a rock Though, looking at this one, I bet you could get some nice stuff. Some folks run stalls, so you might want to run it by them tomorrow.

I am slightly shocked to see it is almost night again. For how long was I unconscious?

I change the subject.

“Pray tell; are there any other ex-military or city-banished in your settlement?”

Lox answers.

>”Yeah, there are two. Dunno why they came here, but they have their own reasons. You might want to talk to them at some point tomorrow.”

We walk for about another half-hour before we arrive.
>>
No. 487476 ID: 51a410
File 135909688543.png - (27.65KB , 800x800 , 39.png )
487476

The settlement is being constructed, still. There are many tents, although there are some permanent structures as well. Priority is being given to the construction of the wall, although there are a lot of permanent homes. Where they get all of this metal from, I do not know.

“Where will I stay? I have a tent of my own. Is there somewhere convenient that I can establish it?”

Lex answers.

>”No, no. That won't do. Uhhhh... You can stay with me and Lox, if you like. Or, I dunno. I can sleep on the floor, yeah.”

The cyborg says otherwise.

>No, he can stay at my home. I don't need to rest often, and I live alone.”

I should think of some things to accomplish tomorrow morning. I don't intend to become a permanent resident of this place.
>>
No. 487477 ID: 0006f5

talk to the ex-soldiers the first chance you can. conversation will determine what we trade things for if at all
>>
No. 487480 ID: 35edd4

>>487477
Bear in mind we don't really seem to need anything right now. Wouldn't hurt to take a look around what's on offer, but it's good to have money--or weird alien kidney stones, as the case may be--in reserve.
>>
No. 487488 ID: 45b785

Reserve some time to wander off and maybe see the ex-military. Then shut up and go to sleep in the cyborg's house. You'll get better deals next morning.
>>
No. 487510 ID: f4f33e

Sleepover at cyborgs house!

Tomorrow we should meet the other ex-soldiers to see if they know anything about the walking dead, also we could get them to help us if we told them that we and everyone who helps us solve this case will be re-instated into society.
It will probably be a lie and the lion will make them disappear. But the fact is that we need help since we almost got killed already because we were alone.
>>
No. 487529 ID: 92834e

just explore.
>>
No. 487676 ID: b33427

Find someone here who has maps or knows the lay of land around here. You're going to need to figure out where "here" is and where you "killed" that skeleton soldier, 'cause that seems like the best place to start getting to the bottom of this undead thing. It also wouldn't hurt to know what areas to avoid around here; Bandit camps, extra-toxic areas, hives of really dangerous critters, etc.

Ask around about caravans, motorized transports, or any traveling groups that might be leaving the way you want to go, or passing by. You might be able to hook up with them for a trip to whatever destination you're going to.

See what provisions you can get for that shiny stone you've got. You're going to need food, water, and ammo, at the least.

Talk to the former city-bound. Maybe they know something that could help you, or one of them might even join you for the trip.

'Course this is all for tomorrow. Right now just crawl into your bedroll at Samael's place and sleep away the aches of the day.
>>
No. 488263 ID: 11cac9
File 135935493451.png - (118.31KB , 800x800 , 40.png )
488263

I decide to visit the ex-military at the settlement, though not before I sleep.

Samael and I part ways with Lex and Lox. I thank them again.

I follow Samael to his home. It is a ramshackle house; a steel frame with many aged sheets of metal affixed to it.

The inside of Samael's house is plain and utilitarian. There is some very basic insulation placed snugly against the inside wall, tucked into the frame and forced together. The fleece of some animal. I suppose he has little need for many of the commodities that are commonplace in the lives of most normal people, although his home still has a bed, and a multi-purpose counter, presumably primarily used for the preparation of food. There are some basic keepsakes around. There are firearms and other weapons kept about, Most within arm's reach of some usual place, such as by the door and bed.

When Samael enters his home, he removes the chain gun from his arm and places it on the counter. He stands against the wall and turns to face me as I enter. When I walk in, I close the door behind me.

>”Well... welcome to my home, I guess. How are you feeling? Did you want something to eat? ”

“I am fine, thank you. But no, I would sleep instead.”

>”Suit yourself. Bed's right there.”

Samael moves to an old chair located next to his bed. The bed itself is plain. There is no pillow or blanket. Samael realises this, himself. He looks around himself for something. Finally he takes some of the fleece from the walls, and casts it onto the bed. He then takes his place on the seat. I lie on the bed and cover myself in the fleeces. They are old and ratty, and they smell terrible.
>>
No. 488264 ID: 11cac9
File 135935496103.png - (22.14KB , 800x800 , 41.png )
488264

I sleep. This time, I am not haunted by dreams. At least, none that I remember. The night is cold and the bed is uncomfortable, but I feel safe from danger.

When I awaken, I half expect to find the cyborg still located in his chair. Instead, he is working at the counter over a small gas cooker. I smell the bizarre but not-unappealing smell of cooking alien meat, tainted ever-so-slightly by a scent that suggests something might have touched the pan for too long. The sounds of my stirring upon the bed prompts Samael to turn around.

>”Good morning. How did you sleep?”

“Well enough, thank you.”

>”I've cooked up some of those bugs from yesterday. Thought you might like a decent breakfast.”

“Yes, I am hungry. Thank you for this.”

>”No worries.”

He hands me a small steel plate with the meat on it. He has also cooked me a chicken egg – an uncommon item. I thank him again and eat what he has prepared. It is bland and dry, but I have no right to complain. After many weeks of eating dry rations, it is pleasant to have somebody cook for me.

When I am finished, I take my belongings and leave Samael's house. I thank him profusely for all that he has done for me, and I set out into the settlement, looking for the ex-military personnel that supposedly reside here.
>>
No. 488265 ID: 11cac9
File 135935498469.png - (24.68KB , 800x800 , 42.png )
488265

After asking around, I find the first. I am surprised to see that she wears a tattered, though unmistakable uniform of a city ordinator. A small symbol of the antelope is printed on her breastplate. She is on a ladder, affixing some metal to the frame of the incomplete wall. Another man is supporting the bottom of the metal for her. He nods at me when I approach.

>”You from the city too, huh? What's yer name?”

“My name is Mord. And yes, I was a part of that society, although I had not participated in city life for some time.”

The ordinator interjects, having tightened the last bolt.

>”You have missed out on little, Mord. Life behind those walls is harsh, unpleasant and prison-like. Especially for the regular man. Little concern is given to the welfare of the individual. Out here, it is different. While it is unforgiving, providing for others in communities such as this is what it means to be a human. It offers a sense of accomplishment and belonging. The people here need me, and I need them.

She steps down from the ladder and offers a handshake, which I accept.

>”My name is Gryr. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mord.”

“Why did you leave the city?”

>”Stagnation. Those magistrates cling tightly to an idea condemned by the harsh nature of reality to suffer degradation, and ultimately collapse. The citizens they control are ignorant and fearful. The outside world is very frightening and dangerous now. The people should be prepared for it. If those walls were to fall today, I can confidently say that most of those people would be dead in a week. I no longer held an interest in supporting those ideals, so approximately three years ago I abandoned them. My Judicator wanted to have me killed for it. Ugly business, but enough of that. What brings you to seek me out?”

I have to take a moment to regain my train of thought.

“I would like to speak to you privately, if I might.”

The man with us gets the message and walks away, bushing dirt from his hands onto his apron.

“Have you heard the stories of the walking dead? I wish to learn more of them.”

>”Aye. As a trusted protector of that forsaken city, I was aware of many secrets. Though I had never seen one for myself, I know that the walking dead were a source of frustration and fear for the administration. Their very existence is entirely inexplicable. As far as I know, sightings are incredibly sporadic. I take it you've seen one, then? Tell me, was it aggressive?”

“Correct. We thought it was a pirate. It came too close to our patrol, and so we fired upon it when it failed to yield at our instruction. It did return fire, yes. This occurred North of here, so I believe. We were on a patrol from our base in the Northern wasteland. Toward the fringe between the dirt and the ice.”

>”You say 'we,' implying that somebody shared this experience with you?”

“Correct. My subordinate, Private Lur. I believe that he was assassinated.”

>”Well, I am sorry to say that I personally do not know a lot about this topic. I would implore you to find Sergeant Zel, to see if he knows anything about it. As an ex-soldier like you, he probably has more experience. You'll just need to remember to speak up.”

I remember that most ordinators are specially trained from childhood, with the specific intention of shaping them for that role. Very few of them are taken from the military or some other field. Gryr does not necessarily have the same outside experience that I do, although I am sure that her time surviving as an outcast has made her far more wise.
>>
No. 488266 ID: 11cac9
File 135935500301.png - (27.98KB , 800x800 , 43.png )
488266

I seek out Zel. He is easy enough to spot. He is lounging in some chair outside of a house, watching other people work.

I approach and introduce myself.

“Hello, I am Mord.”

>”What?”

“I am Mord. That is my name.”

>”Right. I'm Zel. What do you want?”

“Do you know anything about the dead?”

>”No, I've never met him.”

“Dead people!”

>”Aye, there are many.”

I get the impression that he does not know what I am saying to him. He is clearly old and deaf.

Do you know about walking corpses ?

>”How old are you, boy?”

I sigh in frustration.

“I am twenty-four years old.”

>”You've got a long life ahead of you. Don't ruin it by chasing after old secrets. Leave them be and you will be happy. I left that military forty-one years ago, and back then it was exactly the same. Do yourself a favour, and forget it. Forget that you knew anything related to it.”

“I can not.”

He nods slowly, and turns his gaze back to the workers. One of them is struggling to hold a cable, and another is expressing frustration toward him. Zel leans over the side of his chair and picks up and empty can. Unexpectedly, he throws it at the frustrated-looking one. It hits him in the shoulder. The man looks back at Zel and makes an obscene gesture. Zel chuckles to himself.

>”I won't help you, boy. I refuse to give you my knowledge when it will lead to your downfall. But if you are determined to do this, then I know someone who will be able to tell you some things.”

“Yes, I am determined.”

>”Fine. His name is Toldeg, and he lives in one of the settlements further North. He's a researcher, science-type. He likes to document all he sees. People go to him with stories and information. If he doesn't know about something, then it doesn't exist. Or it's so obscure that somebody like you shouldn't even concern yourself with it.”

“Where do I find him?”

>”What?!”

“Where?!”

>”More North-East than here.”

He takes a stick and draws a vague map in the dirt, marking obvious locations such as here and the city. It doesn't really tell me anything specific, but I get the gist of where I should be looking, in a general sense. Despite being largely unhelpful to my cause, I thank Zel for what he told me. Now I have at least a general idea of where to continue my search.

Perhaps somebody else can guide me there. The way is certainly safer when accompanied by others. Bandits are far more likely to strike a lone wanderer than a group.



Choose a partner (or none). Other suggestions also welcome.
>>
No. 488332 ID: 710329

I suggest Lex
>>
No. 488333 ID: 02f7d4

Choose ONE partner? This ain't your Fallout, boy. Never, I say NEVER go into the wilderness without at least a party of four. Enough not to get spotted and better would-be-attacker deterrent than only two people. Plus, four people are more likely to have a variety of skills. A medic aka healbot would be the most essential.
>>
No. 488347 ID: e9dc94

ask your saviours about groups who'd be willing to wander to your destination with you. maybe like a convoy or something.
>>
No. 488364 ID: 5a4bc5

If we can only bring one I suggest Samael because he's awesome
>>
No. 488429 ID: 6dc5a6

Check with your rescuers if there are any caravans that head north if not you'll have to make your own caravan and somehow get your rescuers in on this.
>>
No. 488496 ID: b33427

You might be able to form a caravan around bringing any questions the people of the settlement wished to ask Toldeg to him, along with anything else to trade with Toldeg's settlement. That is, if you can't find a caravan or group going that way already.

>>488265
Do you know what ideas the magistrates "cling tightly" to, anyway? What ideology drives them and the city?
>>
No. 489273 ID: 448481
File 135971095286.png - (43.43KB , 800x800 , 44.png )
489273

I decide that perhaps it is unwise to petition only one person to accompany me on this mission. A larger group would fare much better against threats. Besides of which, more people would mean a more versatile group skill-set. I decide to first ask Samael. He is obviously a powerful entity, and having his imposing presence by my side would clearly act as a deterrent for many foes.

I return to Samael's home and knock on the door. Shortly thereafter, the door opens and I am face-to-face with the cyborg.

>”Oh, Hello Mord. I didn't expect to see you so soon.”

“Greetings, Samael. I would ask a favour of you. I know you have done much for me already, but perhaps you can assist me with something else...”

>”Of course, what is it?”

“I am making a journey to meet a researcher named Toldeg, perhaps you have heard of him.”

>”Yes, he lives in a settlement further North. An eccentric type of character. What do you need me for?”

“Well, to be honest, I do not think that I am up to the task of traveling there alone. If you do not have any obligation to stay here, then I would politely ask you to accompany me there.”

>”Uh... I would like to accompany you there, Mord, but I can't. I don't answer to anybody here in this settlement, but for the sake of these people, I have a moral obligation to defend our home. For me to escort you to meet that researcher, it would mean leaving these people. It would have to benefit this community in some way. If you can find some people who need something from that settlement, then I will gladly follow you...”

“Very well. Though, it is worth mentioning that this Toldeg character allegedly knows much about the world. Would the pursuit of information be enough to sway you to my point of view?”

>”Of course. The world is a strange place. To understand it better would definitely benefit us here. If I could learn more about survival, or the nature of our alien enemies, then I could teach it to the militia here. I think that would be a good enough reason to tag along on your journey.”

I feel relieved that it did not take much persuasion to move Samael.

>”I'll gather my gear. I'll go tell the others that I am leaving for a while. Meet me by the gate when you are ready to go.”

“Thank you, Samael.”
>>
No. 489275 ID: 448481
File 135971097432.png - (37.08KB , 800x800 , 45.png )
489275

Next, I visit Lex and her brother.

I knock on their door. Nobody answers, but Lox comes around from the side of their shack. He is wiping grease off of his gloves as he approaches.

>”Hello again. Is there something you need?

“Yes. As a matter of fact, I need to travel to another village. I am to visit a researcher.”

>”Toldeg, yes?”

“Correct. I was wondering if I could ask for the support of you and your sister, during my travels.”

>”So you'll be heading through the Iron Forest, no doubt. That place is extremely dangerous. Travellers disappear in there regularly, you know.”

“I was not aware, although I am unsurprised.”

Lox exhales, and looks at the back of his hand. He stretches his gloved fingers out and then folds his arms.

>”No, I'm sorry but I don't think your plight is worth the danger.”


Lex wanders around the corner to see what is going on.


>”Hi, Corporal. What's up?”

Before I am able to explain the situation, her brother interjects.

>”Mord was just leaving.”

He stares at me. I get the message, but I press my point anyway.

“I am going to meet a researcher at another settlement. I have already convinced Samael to come along, but I need more people to increase the probability of our survival.”

Lox becomes frustrated.

>”Mord, I said no. Do not make me say it again.”

>”I'll go. It gets so boring here. I want to see the world.”

Lox looks at his sister.

>”Don't be a fool. Do you even realise how dangerous it is out there? There are people who would murder you – or worse, for any or no reason. There are unspeakably evil creatures which you are so-far lucky enough to have never witnessed. Don't risk your life for this man's goals!”

>”Why are you always doing this? You say everything is too dangerous, everything is evil. Well, guess what? We have to confront it sooner or later!”

>”Don't be so naïve. As long as you stay here, you have a far greater chance of living a long and healthy life than you ever would from trying to survive out in those hellish badlands.”

>”I don't care. I'm going.”

I stand in awkward silence as I witness their argument.

“If it is a comfort to you, Samael will also be accompanying me to my destination.”

Lox snaps venomously.

>”Get out of here! I said we are staying!”

>”You can stay if you want. I don't care. I am going with them!”

“Forgive me, I will ask somebody else.”

I feel it is best to back off. I turn around and leave, but Lex follows me. Her brother calls for her but she ignores him. I now feel some regret for the disturbance I have caused.
>>
No. 489276 ID: 448481
File 135971099099.png - (32.22KB , 800x800 , 46.png )
489276

Finally we visit Gryr. I do not know where her home is, but Lex shows me the way.

Gryr is hanging upside-down from a horizontal bar, suspended by her knees, performing some sort of meditation, I assume. She is not so entranced as to fail to notice our approach, however.

>“Hail Mord, Lex. How can I be of service?”

“I require escort to another settlement. I thought that your skills would be useful on the journey, so I have come to ask for your assistance.”

Gryr reaches up and drops down from the bar. Her landing is completely silent.

>”As a fellow ex-servant of that city, I will gladly come with you. So long as it will not keep me from here for a long time. After all, it is much safer for not only myself, but also the people in this settlement if I am here.”

“A few days, certainly. Though hopefully no longer than that.”

>”Then that is acceptable.”

“I am grateful. Please gather your belongings and meet me by the gate. I will be there shortly. Lex, please follow Gryr to the gate. If you need to take any supplies, you should collect them now.”


I excuse myself and leave.

If there is anything else I need to do in the settlement, I should do it now.
>>
No. 489289 ID: 3a3093

sell the shiny stone for some frag grenades. grenades are awesome.
>>
No. 489293 ID: 9747ef

Drama. Nice.

I'd sell the stone for food, or maybe... Can you break it into smaller stones and trade some of them for food and some of them for gear?
>>
No. 489307 ID: 0006f5

maybe get some maps ??
>>
No. 489331 ID: 66ff59

>>489276
what are our options in regards to gear? what can we get for the one stone? do we have anything else we can trade?
>>
No. 489360 ID: 02f7d4

I feel like Lex needs to be questioned a bit about her eagerness. Also, keeping an eye on her would be advisable. If she dies on the way, Lox will surely try to make any business within the settlement impossible, if not deadly. Him revealing the medallion might stir shit up with these folks. They might seem friendly and good right now, but exactly that kind of people is likely to turn on you when harm is done. Especially when you're an outsider.
>>
No. 489534 ID: 143925
File 135979879352.png - (33.83KB , 800x800 , 47.png )
489534

Perhaps I should take this mineral stone to the market. If I can get an actual map, or some miscellany to aid my journey in any way, then that would be for the best.

There is a raw meat stall. Presumably creatures hunted and prepared by the proprietor, and there is some kind of all-purpose goods stall, and that is all that I can see. I approach the general goods stall, and the attendant scrutinises me as I do. He makes no attempt to hide it.

“Greetings.”

>”You a soldier or what?”

“I am not. I am here only to trade.”

>”What have you got?”

I hand him the stone. He almost snatches it out of my hand. He starts examining it, much like I was examined moments ago.

>”It's decent. 179 grams. Where'd you get this?”

“It was collected from some alien remains, more than twenty-four hours ago. Is that not from where they all come?”

>”You sure you're not a soldier?”

“I am absolutely certain.”

>”Then why you talking like one?”

I had not considered my accent and other habits of speech. It might be wise to disguise them in the future.

“I do not know.”

He is wearing only a half-face respirator. His eyes glare over the top of it in an obvious sneer.

>”What do you want for it?”

“I thought perhaps I could use some survival supplies, a decent map of the land...”

He laughs at me.

>”Are you stupid?”

“What?”

>”There aren't any real maps out here. Nobody has time or skills for real cartography any more. You either go by a bungled and incomplete map, or you go by directions. But if you still want it, I've got something of the general area. It's missing a bunch of places, like here. But whatever, if you get lost following it, it's your problem.”

I take pause for thought. It's probably clear that I do not know what to do any more.

>”Okay, look-”

“I am looking”

He snorts. He brings a bag out from under his bench. He opens it and shuffles around in it, to remind himself of its contents.

>”I can give you this junk here. There's three grenades, a knife. Let's see... a first aid kit, but I dunno if it's complete. Some mixed bullets, dunno if any'll fit your gun. Uh, a jumping mine! Some dried rations. But as a soldier, I bet you have a bunch of those things already.”

I sigh.

>”Look, you take this bag out of here, and I'll also throw in this map and a heap of these.”

He holds up a cluster of translucent red sticks.

“What is that?”

>”Some sugary snack my woman makes. But I think it tastes like pig shit, so you might as well have it. In fact, I'm giving it to you right now, for nothing. Lucky you.”

He drops them on the bench before me.

>”Take my offer or take your stone back and get out of here.”
>>
No. 489535 ID: cfe29c

take the offer.
>>
No. 489566 ID: 02f7d4

Take the shit he's offering, but ask him why he is so eager to get rid off some of these articles. Try to make a witty remark about the candy.
>>
No. 489580 ID: 62496e

>>489566
Sounds like he just really wants to get Mord out of his face.
>>
No. 489608 ID: 02f7d4

>>489580
For a "decent" stone, that still sounds like much. "Decent" gets you a meal and cutlery, not explosives. Unless there is value to these things we do not clearly comprehend and he is ripping us off.
>>
No. 489612 ID: 528e81

He's clearly screwing us over. Take the stone back from him, take your business elsewhere.
>>
No. 489740 ID: 35edd4

>>489612
Yeah, this isn't kosher. We don't badly need supplies right now anyway; maybe the next settlement will have someone more decent. We can talk to our companions and get a better idea what this stone's worth along the way.
>>
No. 489862 ID: b33427

This deal probably screws you over totally, but it might not. How would you know? You're no trader.

For now, take the stone back, along with the free red stick things, and say you have to speak with associates first. They'll know more about the level you'd get screwed over, both because they likely know the merchant and also have more experience trading. And if you do do the deal, have Lex or Samael do it, since this guy obviously does not like anyone with a city accent.
>>
No. 489900 ID: 66ff59

>>489534
you're being screwed over. do not take the deal.

take the candy, the stone and leave.
>>
No. 490197 ID: 710329

Thanks for the candy, assured that the medical supplies you're selling are shit, no deal. I don't want to have something I don't need when I need it , rather something I don't need when I have it.
>>
No. 491544 ID: 594163
File 136038603334.png - (58.84KB , 800x800 , 48.png )
491544

Please forgive my extreme lateness. This is abnormal, and more regular updates should resume soon. By some way of apology, this update is in colour (in case you didn't notice).


I consider his offer momentarily, although I come to the realisation that I cannot accurately value this stone in my current inexperience. It might be in poor judgement to give it away for these items.

“I decline.”

>”Whatever. Catch.”

He tosses the stone underhand. It takes me by surprise and I juggle with it for a brief moment before I manage to clutch it against my chest.

“Do not do that again.”

>”I do what I want.”

I grunt at him. Before I leave to meet with the others, I take some of his snacks. I am not too proud to refuse them.

Wandering back through the settlement, I see many people working on erecting fortifications. I had not considered how much more difficult it must be for outcasts to defend themselves against threats – and how much more real those threats are to them. By contrast, bandits would be suicidal to assault a fully-operational military base, like the one at which I served. The most common occurrences were (almost always unsuccessful) thieves in the night, looking for our equipment or vehicles. It makes me feel a certain sense of smug superiority, having originated from a more powerful faction, when I now look at the outcasts struggling here. Of course, I am one of them now.
>>
No. 491545 ID: 594163
File 136038606223.png - (131.33KB , 800x800 , 49.png )
491545

I make my way to the gate, where Samael organised for us to meet. He is there, as I expected. I assume his preparations were minimal. With him stands Gryr, and they seem to be idly conversing. Next to them is Lex, and to my surprise, Lox. Judging by their body language, the siblings are arguing.

I approach, and when Lox sees me, he breaks his conversation with Lex and walks over to face me.

>”I can't make the stupid girl change her mind, and so I am coming along.”

“That is not a problem. It will be good to have another set of eyes with us.”

>”Shut up.”

I do.

>”That forest. It's a bad omen to go near it. A lot of evil there.

I don't know if that's true, but Lox seems confident in his opinion.

>”I'll say it now; if anything happens to her on your worthless journey... I will hold you personally responsible.”

He spins around and walks away.
>>
No. 491546 ID: 594163
File 136038609116.png - (155.69KB , 800x800 , 50.png )
491546

I meet the others.

>”Are you ready, Mord.”

“I believe so... Actually, I had a question first.”

>”Go ahead.”

“I had taken this stone of mine to the market, at which a man, who was quite rude, offered me some items in exchange for it. He said it weighed 179 grams. I refused the offer because I do not know how valuable the stone is. Could you please appraise it?”

>”Of course.”

I place the stone in Samael's huge hand. He brings it close to his face and studies it for a moment.

>”What were the items?”

“There was a bag with some explosives, mostly.”

Samael hands the stone back to me.

>”Not too bad. For one like this, you could get a couple of guns, maybe. I dunno. I don't normally trade with them. Some explosives isn't a bad trade, but you could also probably get better. Depends who you're dealing with.”

I hold out the candied sticks.

“Oh, and he also gave me some of these.”

>”Ugh”

Gryr comes into the conversation.

>”Do not eat those. He might have defiled them in some way. They taste dreadful, in any case.”


We are now prepared to leave the settlement.

You don't need to suggest anything here, since I intend to simply continue the story, but if you want to add anything, then go ahead.
>>
No. 491579 ID: 0006f5

of course someone unwitting doesnt have to know about the candy
>>
No. 491588 ID: c1f43a

Maybe you can feed them to locusts
>>
No. 491612 ID: 02f7d4

Congratulations, now we are in possession of means for humorous torture. If that "candy" is as foul-tasting as everyone tells us, we may force some poor sod into submission with nothing but childlike cruelty.
>>
No. 491613 ID: d39331

they're shiny, right? you can use them to tag rooms SWAT-style.
>>
No. 492197 ID: 9980ab
File 136066111088.png - (65.09KB , 800x800 , 51.png )
492197

It is still mid-morning by the time we leave the settlement. By the dubious directions offered to me by Zel, we travel Northwards. The other members of my group provide me with casual conversation and directional guidance, except for Lox, who remains consistently silent, walking a couple of metres ahead of the group.

As our progression increases, the landscape gradually shifts from the brown, flat plains of dirt and rocks, to something that would once have been lush, hilly and green. The pale, skeletal remains of dead trees cover the hills, the ground is ashen and grey, and there is a layer of smog that blocks out the sky. I keep my eyes open for trouble.

We have been travelling for about two hours when Lex asks a question.

>”How much further?”

Gryr is quick to answer.

>”One billion kilometres.”

>”Can we please take a break before we trek the other nine hundred million?”

We all seem to agree on the idea of resting for a little while, and this particular bank seems like as good a place as any to do it.

I take off my backpack and sit on it. Through the sight of my carbine, I survey our surroundings, though I see nothing of interest.

It is cold. Lex goes to heat a can of soup from her pouch. Lox snatches it from her hand.

>”Don't waste it. You'll regret it when you're actually hungry.”

>”But I am hungry, and I brought other ones, too!”

Lox passes the can back to his sister, but does not let go immediately.

>”Save it for later.”

>”Fine...”


Canned soup is quite a popular meal, especially in the military, where almost all of our ration packs were composed of various desiccated goods. Canned soup is a favourite, not only for its wholesomeness, but also because the cans have the ability to heat themselves, and so it is possible to have a hot meal at any time, without lighting a fire, and even if the can has been stored for many years.

I reach into a pocket and withdraw an energy bar, passing it to Lex.

“Here, take it.”

She lifts her mask when she eats it, and I see that she is only a child.
>>
No. 492198 ID: 9980ab
File 136066113259.png - (35.23KB , 800x800 , 52.png )
492198

We relax there on the side of the hill for almost twenty minutes. After that, we are on our feet, and moving to our destination.

As we progress further to our destination, the smog in the air becomes thicker, and in the distance, we can hear gunfire and frequent explosions. A battle rages ahead. It is hard to tell at first, but as we draw closer, it becomes apparent that the military is involved. I can hear the distinctive growl of light tanks and aerial deployment craft; vehicles not possessed by other factions. An airborne attack unit flies overhead of us, and soon we hear its chain-gun roaring at something up ahead.
>>
No. 492199 ID: 9980ab
File 136066114980.png - (47.99KB , 800x800 , 53.png )
492199

As we get closer, we notice the presence of barricades. Behind them, four soldiers are surveying our approach. One of them reports us on his radio. When we draw nearer, they point their weapons at us.

>”Stop! Raise your hands!”

We comply.

>”What is the nature of your business?”

I could lie to them, possibly. The retention of most of my uniform could add credibility to any falsehood, I chance.


a) “We are a reconnaissance unit. We request entry into this zone.”

b) “We are simple travellers. We need to pass through here.”

c) “What is going on?”

d) “Stand aside or we will slaughter you all!”

e) Other (suggest a different action)
>>
No. 492213 ID: 8e66da

Go for a), but spice it up as being more of a covert explorer unit which is why you're not in your regulation uniforms.
>>
No. 492222 ID: f2c20c

You have the symbol of your leader on you.

You can use that to claim a high authority and that your mission here is classified.
>>
No. 492242 ID: f4b51f

>>492222

maybe that's not something you want everyone to know you have.

my vote's on honesty. and asking them if they need a hand with anything.
>>
No. 492250 ID: c1bb30

Sound logic here.
>>
No. 492265 ID: 0006f5

C.
>>
No. 492274 ID: 32e092

You're familiar with the rules of engagement. How will a rearguard like this react to simple apparently-friendly travelers? If you're confident they'll at least let you circle around the fight, then there's no reason to lie.
>>
No. 492334 ID: 2f4b71

>>492242
It may work if you can separate from the group before speaking to the guards.
>>
No. 492386 ID: 8e66da

>>492334
The group already knows about the pendant aside from Gryr. That would be pointless.
>>
No. 492471 ID: a616a4

>>492334

the guards shouldn't know, either. if it was me who was shown a famed possession of a high-ranking official in the hands of some lowly traveler, I'd probably assume the worst.
>>
No. 492473 ID: f1b3ee

They asked what the nature of your business was, not who you are or what your mission is or any of that stuff.

Tell them you are heading north to a wasteland settlement to contact a scientist reported to reside there. They do not need to know who you are or what items are in your possession unless they directly ask or decline you passage.

We don't need to try to bargain or lie for passage until it becomes obvious we will not get through unless we do so.
>>
No. 492938 ID: eda52c
File 136088919662.png - (36.55KB , 800x800 , 54.png )
492938

I decide that it is best to be clear with the soldiers. I do not know specifically the nature of their conflict. The most likely reason for this barricade is to stay aware of thieves, looking to steal weapons or vehicles, while the soldiers are occupied. While it seems unlikely to be easily achievable, it had occurred several times during my period of service. The other reason is, of course, to look out for enemy reinforcements. Though, due to the small amount of soldiers here, I suggest that it is the former.

“We are travellers. Please lower your weapons. We have no desire to challenge you.”

They do not lower their weapons, naturally.

>“To where do you travel, stranger, and for what reason do you bear that uniform? I see that you carry a traitor in your party. That is unfortunate.”

He signals at Gryr as he says it.

“I am an outcast. Once, I was like you, but no longer. We travel to a settlement further Northward. We seek only passage through here.”

The soldiers talk to one another.

>”You are forbidden entry at this moment. I am sure you understand the risk of thieves that we face during these times. Return to your homes.”

“Please admit us. We have walked for a long way already. What are you fighting further ahead?”

They are somewhat more at ease.

>”An infestation of beetles has wrought a mound here. We are destroying it, as to minimise the risk to our soldiers when they use this route. We have suffered many casualties, but we are told that victory is drawing nearer.”

Beetles build quickly. It is not a surprise that after several months of neglect, a somewhat monolithic structure can be built by beetles on a road, or in a building. Due to how territorial beetles are, and the dangers that they pose to military and civilian personnel, their extermination is not unwarranted.

“Can you not spare just one man to escort us through this zone?”

>”Hold for a moment, if you will.”

The soldier we are talking to turns around and talks on his radio.

>”Very well. I will take you through. Be warned; dare you betray this trust, you shall find yourself at the mercy of the 18th. It is a mistake made by none who now live.”

“It would be of poor character to do so.”

>”I am glad you understand.”

He tells the other three soldiers to wait at their post, and begins leading us.
>>
No. 492939 ID: eda52c
File 136088921819.png - (42.41KB , 800x800 , 55.png )
492939

The soldier takes us past the barricade and up the forested path for another two hundred metres. The path opens out into a more wide area, where most of the trees have been destroyed. The monolithic beetle mound is plain to see. From it crawl the 'frag beetles,' as they are called. Protected by a thick shell, these highly-territorial aliens are much larger than any standard beetle. Whether they can be biologically classified as true beetles is not for me to assert, but they bear a definite aesthetic resemblance.

There are many soldiers fighting the individual beetles at this moment, as they flee the mound. Most of the beetles – the workers – are short; half the height of a human. Despite this, they all bear the characteristic ability to burst with enough force to send their destroyed shell out in deadly shards. The beetles' massive numbers and ability to take to flight makes them a dangerous foe, should they be given time to thrive.

The bursting sound is drowned out by the repetitive fire of the light tanks, as one of the beetles explodes. The pained screams of the soldiers follow shortly after. One of them receives a large, long shard through his abdomen, like the blade of a sword. He sits on the ground, amongst the mangled body parts of his fallen allies, and his killer, not knowing what to do with it. He calls for medical attention but his voice is unheard. He pulls the shard from his belly, but then begins to bleed profusely. Mortified, he gets up and tries to go somewhere, but barely makes a few steps before he collapses in the dirt.

The tanks continue their barrage, their shots registering as large, sudden clouds of unsettled dirt, rising up off the mound. We pass a medical station. Through the window, I spy dozens of wounded soldiers lying in their stretchers. For many, those stretchers will be their death beds.
>>
No. 492940 ID: eda52c
File 136088923832.png - (32.42KB , 800x800 , 56.png )
492940

I am also interested to see the presence of the feared special operations unit. In the smoke, they look like daemons; their eyes luminescent, and the thick, heavy plates of their advanced suits lined with sharp spines and studs. Of the six soldiers, two of them carry a great bomb. Perhaps a chemical weapon, though it could be a traditional explosive.

>”They are wearing the pheromones of the beetles, to disguise themselves. They will enter into the hive and plant their weapon. It will kill the queen, and the hive will die afterwards.”

“Why are you fighting out here, then?”

>”Have you never fought these yourself? You were a soldier, correct? Their sense of territory is defined by their dangerously aggressive attitude towards everything that is not one of them. A large disturbance in their hive will drive them mad, and we are making sure that their rampages are short. Less beetles inside will also make sure that our friends make it to the queen with minimal risk.”

“Will your barrage not pose a threat to them?”

>”They are prepared for it. They are going to stop the tank fire when the unit gets inside. That is when it will become difficult for us out here.”
>>
No. 492941 ID: eda52c
File 136088925373.png - (30.83KB , 800x800 , 57.png )
492941

The soldier leads us past the opening, and down another forested path, where there is a similar barricade to the one by which we entered. As we walk past him, he counts us.

We thank him and move on.


The Iron Forest is not far away, now. On the horizon, I can see the great chimneys that earned its name. We have been walking for a long time, and the sun is disappearing.

There is movement further ahead. A staggering human, or so it seems.
>>
No. 492942 ID: 5aa752

Keep your weapons ready. Call out to him. "Hello, traveler!"

Be wary of ambush. He could be a distraction while raiders set up fire from the perimeter. Send your robot buddy along one flank and the special operative chick along the other, in the foliage, to rouse any would-be ambushers.
>>
No. 492947 ID: f1b3ee

Do not call out to him. Take a look at him through your rifle scope and quietly ask anyone else in your party with optics equipment to do the same. There may be someone in your group with better eyes than you which will negate the need to give away your position or alert anything lurking nearby.
>>
No. 492962 ID: d1efde

Something seems a bit off about that shadowy silhouette. The legs seem a bit too big and the arms too thin. But then, it is only a shadowy silhouette and you could be seeing an optical illusion.

I'm going to suggest caution. If it is a person who's perhaps injured they can wait a few minutes longer for help while you make sure this isn't a trap. You don't really have the means to save someone who'd die due to a delay of a few minutes anyway. Best to check with the scope and perhaps if possible throw a rock at something near it to see how it reacts to the sound. Your group should stay low in case you all haven't been seen yet.
>>
No. 492965 ID: f2c20c

>>492941
Could be an ambush, yeah. Could also be whatever wounded the poor sap is about to come barreling forwards to finish the job. Scope the suspect and scan the area.
>>
No. 493047 ID: 0006f5

slowly take cover. get additional pairs of eyes and opinions
>>
No. 493422 ID: de986b
File 136100043877.png - (26.69KB , 800x800 , 58.png )
493422

“Beware. This might be an ambush.”

I signal for Lex to move out of sight. She and her brother back away and sit behind a tree. I cannot adequately judge what is going on over there, even through the sight of my weapon.

Samael has better skills than me, evidently, and can clearly see what is going on.

>”The man looks like he's in pain. I dunno what's up with him.”

The man sees Samael looking at him and starts calling out.

>”Robot, help me! I need a doctor!”

He starts staggering towards us.
>>
No. 493439 ID: a2c6c2

Spread out, only you and Sam go to meet him, he may be intending something. be ready to take cover if he pulls a weapon.

Also, he's asked specifically for Sam, it its feasible he is diseased, only Sam should get close enough for physical contact.
>>
No. 493440 ID: f2c20c

Alright, advance carefully and keep an eye out for anything in the periphery.
>>
No. 493450 ID: 710329

The fact is he doesn't have a respirator. Why? He's acting psychotic and surely is in need of medical attention, but can any of us help him? No doctor is around.
>>
No. 493459 ID: 812966

don't go to him. let him come to you.
>>
No. 493641 ID: 4d1eb3
File 136106388979.png - (23.27KB , 800x800 , 59.png )
493641

>”He might be diseased.”

Samael extends one huge arm out in front of me, and gently nudges me back.

The man clambers up the embankment.

>”Thank goodness. You need to help me, please!”

>”What's wrong? Where's your respirator?”

>”What? I dunno, I left it. I think I'm infested.”

The man goes to grab Samael, but the cyborg whips his arm away.

>”Don't touch us! Where are you from?”

I do not know what they are talking about.

“Samael, what is wrong with him?”

>”He has worms. Don't get near him; they might be on his hands or clothes.”

He turns his attention back to the man.

>”How long?”

>”Uhhhh, I really don't know.”

>”What are your symptoms?”

>”Uhh, stomach bloating, aches and cramps. Seizures.”

Samael is concerned.

>”It's advanced, then. I expect there are but a few days until you succumb.”

>”Please get me to a doctor.”

I do not know what to do. We have our own agenda. Can this man even be helped?

Lox comes out from behind the tree.

>”I say we kill him right here.”

The man looks scared.

>”No! I don't want to die.”

Lox does not seem to care.

>”Once you succumb, you'll wish you had.”

Samael seems to think I am in charge of this situation.

>”Well, Mord? You're the leader here, what do you think we should do?”
>>
No. 493643 ID: 47d311

Point out to the man that there is an army cordon behind you. They may have a medic able or willing to treat him. Make the point clear that your group does not have any way of treating him and is unable to help him in such an advanced state, and that he will not survive the trip to where they are headed. His only chance of survival is to throw his lot in with the military.

Also make it a point that if he follows after you, you will execute him.
>>
No. 493648 ID: f2c20c

>>493641
Direct him to the military behind you but that he must be careful to submit himself from a distance and make it very clear that he's infested BEFORE they get close.

They are basically the only people we know of nearby that could have a medic. We certainly don't have anyone that could help, and the village we're from (which we shouldn't mention) requires going through the camp anyway.

They'll probably shoot the poor sap rather than devote direly needed doctors to saving him, but it's not like we can do anything for him other than shoot him anyway.

Also for gods' sake keep your distance from him and anywhere he's walked.
>>
No. 493673 ID: 0006f5

he can be shot by you, not shot by anybody and succumb, shot by the military, or successfully appeal for aid from the military. his best and only chance is with the military. shoot him as soon as he endangers anyone of your company
>>
No. 493676 ID: 6dc5a6

Direct him to the military cordon and shoot him in the head when his back is turned. The military will likely consider him a lost cause and shoot him anyways. This way he doesn't have to watch the soldiers come to the conclusion that he has to die.
>>
No. 493682 ID: d1efde

Strange that he lost his respirator. Also a bit strange that not having it does not seem to bother him. Don't even know what the treatment for worms is, but if they could be transferred just by touching him then even if you did take him with you and found a doctor then all of you would have to be quarantined to be sure there was no infestation.

Ask him why he is out here alone. Ask him how he became infested.


Heh, maybe he's one of the walking dead and doesn't realize it.
>>
No. 493684 ID: 35edd4

If he's contagious on contact, we can't risk hanging around him, so he can't come with us. The military is between our current location and where we came from, so even if the settlement had sufficient medical expertise available he'd have to deal with the military first anyway. Might as well point him that way.
>>
No. 493776 ID: 150412
File 136110224642.png - (35.80KB , 800x800 , 60.png )
493776

“There are no options for us. You cannot come with us. If you have a parasite infestation, you need to leave. There are military forces further up the track, in the direction from which we came. Go to them for help. They will have medical specialists there. We do not have any medical capacity beyond minor wound treatment. Go to the soldiers. Do not make sudden movements. Announce yourself to them, and approach them slowly. If you run at them crying for help, you will be gunned down. Do you understand?”

The man nods. He looks like he is on the verge of hysteria.

“Do not follow us. I am offering you a fair warning right now; do not follow us, or we will be forced to kill you ourselves.”

>”Okay, thank you! Thank you!”

I step back as the man staggers past us, and continues to stumble his way up the path. Eventually, he is out of sight.

I turn to Samael.

“They are going to shoot him like an animal.”
>>
No. 493778 ID: 710329

Try to have a deep down philosophical conversation about this situation with Samael or you might start to suffer from nightmares.
- There was nothing to be done.
- You're a soldier, not a doctor, you kill
- Is killing ethical?
- What undermines the obligation to help other beings? Cosciousness?
- Are mad people conscious of themselves and are we obliged to aid them?
- Is it worse to send a man away with a vanishing hope of healing when
- you can only secure his less painful death by an accurate shot in the head instead of a volley of agonizing bursts.
- how to avoid the philosophical porn and complete this discussion efficiently?
- What is two days of life worth?
- Should the victim be reminded that we all are going to die, unless we never were really born

Remind the victim that we are all going to face death any way so why not try to live. Warn him that he's going to be slaughtered like an animal if he follows your instructions. If it's pain he's afraid of, not death, then tell him to help himself and get slaughtered in the battle.
>>
No. 493780 ID: eaf2f5

How does someone get infected by worms? And is there a way to treat the infection? Just curious in case someone from our group does get infected at some point.

Also ask Samael where was the man from? Did he come from the northern settlement?
>>
No. 493790 ID: a0c700

it was his only chance. move on.
>>
No. 493797 ID: 970afb

Ask your companions if someone has opinions or doubts about this situation. This is "erode trust" material here. It's better that you all argue it out now while it's relatively safe instead of it showing its face in the most inopportune time...like when somebody needs to give you a hand while you're hanging of a ledge or something. Plus, people like when you ask them for their opinions - makes them feel special and they might like you in turn.
>>
No. 493859 ID: f2c20c

Almost certainly. However, there's nothing we can do for him. There is a very slim chance they won't kill him, and that's the best shot he's got right now... unless someone in our group knows a settlement nearby that would have a doctor that could help him?

I mean, it seems pointless to have an infested dude follow us just in case we randomly run into a doctor somewhere.
>>
No. 493887 ID: 47d311

If they know he is infested, especially the way Samuel acted, the likelihood of a settlement with a doctor helping him would be about as low as the military helping him given that these worms appear to be highly infectious considering Samuel is concerned about them possibly being on the man's clothes. This man was basically no better off than a leper; he was a dead man no matter the outcome.

It would be a good idea to address your companions to alleviate any doubts about the decision. I imagine anyone that has heard of this sort of deal understands, but someone like Lex or even Gwyr may have not come across this before.
>>
No. 494128 ID: 15a168
File 136119674605.png - (35.18KB , 800x800 , 61.png )
494128

I hope that my verdict does not disturb Gryr. I decide to ask her what she thinks of these actions. I do not think it is necessary to ask Lex, because I doubt that she is as essential to our success.

“Gryr, I hope that you are not put off by my decision to send that man away. Please understand that I have our safety in mind. I hope you don't take offence to my asking, but are you familiar with the problem that affected that man?”

>”Mord, I do not doubt that you made a rational decision, and to answer your question, no. I have not any familiarity with this condition, other than hearing its name mentioned.”

“It is an alien parasite, it enters through the mouth, or other orifices. Typically, though, the minuscule worms will be ingested orally. When infested by a parasite, death normally comes from malnutrition. Drugs are available, but an advanced parasite is harder to remove. Just make sure to be wary of them, and you will be safe. In a denser population with reduced hygiene, a parasite presence is more serious.”

>”I will be sure to remember it.”

“If we are done here, I suggest that we continue our journey.”
>>
No. 494132 ID: 5a87ab

ayyup.
>>
No. 494405 ID: 23c003

The only thing you could have offered him was a bullet to the head. At least this way he either dies with hope or the minuscule chance he gets medical attention.
>>
No. 494599 ID: 29c43e
File 136135252770.png - (97.96KB , 800x800 , 62.png )
494599

We move on. It is hours before we reach the Iron Forest, and Lex wants to take numerous breaks in-between. By the time we finally arrive, it is dusk. We come out of the dead woodland, onto a low peak, with a good view of the site.

The 'forest' stretches over the horizon. The mighty chimneys that earned its name cast long shadows over the metal field where they stand. Dividing the field are many trenches. It would be hard to know exactly what lives in them now, if anything. This enormous facility has served its purpose, and now sits as a battered reminder of more prosperous times.

It might benefit us to set up a camp on this peak, before we attempt to cross the site.

We can choose to cross the site in two ways: either above, traveling across the surface, or in the trenches.
>>
No. 494613 ID: 6e73a0

yes, do camp now.

I suggest we travel through the trenches. chances are there's stuff living down there, but at least things that see you won't be able to do so from a mile away.
>>
No. 494617 ID: eaf2f5

Yeah make camp on high ground tonight. And i am leaning towards the trenches for tomorrow just so we wont get sniped.
Are you more likely to meet bandits or monsters in the iron forest?
>>
No. 494639 ID: 0cb5f5

trenches !
>>
No. 494701 ID: 3d4b0d

You have guns- ranged weapons. All of the alien fauna so far has been melee. We've yet to run into bandits. I vote topside, maximize our advantages.

Also, do we even have artificial light?
>>
No. 494916 ID: f68126
File 136149986628.png - (25.66KB , 800x800 , 63.png )
494916

We camp, while I sleep, the dead return to me in my dreams. With pale, bony arms, they grab me and drag me down with them.

I wake with a start, and sit up. Piercing through the darkness, Samael's glowing red eyes focus on me, and he asks me if I am alright. I tell him that I am fine. I lie back down into my bedroll, and go back to sleep.
>>
No. 494918 ID: f68126
File 136149989128.png - (41.75KB , 800x800 , 64.png )
494918

By the time daylight breaks, most of us are already awake. We wait around on the peak for a while, eating and sharing our company. When this is over, we descend the peak, and take our first steps onto the broad, metal surface of the Iron Forest.

It is almost silent here. There is no wind, or rain. No civilisation to disturb the serenity. Only the caw of crows, perched on the stacks and walkways. There once was a barrier to curb our access to this place, but it has long failed. A dilapidated, wire-mesh fence trails around the border, full of holes, and bearing many other marks of decay.

We decide to enter the trench. It is not extremely deep; no more than three metres below the surface. It is approximately this wide as well, presumably to make allowance for the vehicles which would have once traveled through here. The metal floor, discoloured from the environment, clanks under our feet. Other than us, it appears to be abandoned.
>>
No. 494920 ID: f68126
File 136149990810.png - (27.51KB , 800x800 , 65.png )
494920

I notice that Lox is keeping his sister very close.

“You are superstitious of this place.”

>”A belief in the existence of evil is not superstition.”

Lex asks about the purpose of this facility, and Samael answers.

>”This was a multi-purpose facility for the research, design and production of many things. Its greatest production was the great city that we all know. Military concepts, deployable housing, cybernetics; it was all done in some measure here. I'm certain that my body was manufactured and tested here. At the even lower depths, they had created biological weapons, genetic alterations. More controversial creations. Originally it was secret, but given time, these things become more common knowledge. There are still things down there, I 'm certain. But, the chances are that they will never see the light of day.”
>>
No. 494929 ID: 3d4b0d

>>494920
Regardless, let's be on our guard. Look out for any openings. Ask Samael about his body and when or where he acquired it.

Actually, ask if that's an acceptable topic first.
>>
No. 494970 ID: 6dc5a6

Does this place have a history of automated defenses?
>>
No. 495021 ID: 83781f
File 136151563247.png - (32.42KB , 800x800 , 66.png )
495021

We start to move down the trench. I have a compass, so I can still determine which direction I need to follow in the absence of useful landmarks.


I wonder how Samael became the way he is.

“Samael, if it is not rude to do so, may I ask how you acquired that body?”

>”That's alright. I might have taken offence once, but I'm old now, and the outrage I feel now is just smouldering compared to how it once was. This is how I am, and I'm stuck this way forever. It was for the war. I was a soldier, a little bit like you, Mord, except that I was conscripted. If I understand correctly, that isn't something they do currently.”

I acknowledge it. In times of war, that changes, of course.

>”Well, I was conscripted for the great war. In attempts to further our chances at victory, they'd been working on some genetic modifications. They'd been made pretty common knowledge. A lot of the special forces guys were said to sport some basic modifications. Well, I was contacted one day, and they asked my if I wanted to undergo some genetic alterations. I was fairly young at the time, and the idea was exciting. I said yes, and they took me to a facility to have the modifications done. Apparently it took months, but they had me drugged up the whole time, so I don't remember anything about it.

>When it was over, I of course discovered that I hadn't been changed genetically. My body had been totally replaced with this machine that you see. It was a lie all along, and I was a guinea pig for them. Only my brain is still human, and that is augmented a huge amount as well. I became outraged, but I was powerless. What was I to do? Kill my creators? I would have been taken apart, so grudgingly, I fought in their battles. I killed hundreds of people during that war. A lot of it was a blur, and there are holes in my memory. I think they used to disable me between battles. Maybe for their own safety, I dunno. Anyway, one time I got lost. I don't remember much, but I was alone for a long time, maybe years. Nobody came looking for me.”

He laughs to himself.

>”I still hunger for revenge, but I think I've missed my chance. The people who made me are probably dead alr--”


There is a noise down the path somewhere. Standing silently, we listen. It sounds like laboured breathing, accompanied by some scratching, picking.
>>
No. 495031 ID: 4224e5

>>495021
How loud is Samael? Depending on that, either move as a group forward or you should scout personally. Lux would likely be the best scout, being smallest and lightest, but the ensuing argument with Lox would not be worthwhile.
>>
No. 495043 ID: f2c20c

>>495021
I think we should try to get eyes on it without alerting it to our presence.
>>
No. 495048 ID: 2f4b71

Do we have a mirror and some sort of pole? A basic periscope may be useful. Moving in the trenches obscures you from anyone on the surface, but also vice-versa. Anything big enough (or able to jump long enough to clear the trenches) has a distinct advantage from being above you.
>>
No. 495049 ID: c82be5

Don't be so attached to flesh Samel. You still have a nostalogy organ inside. You're not a monster without a biological body. How does this thing go anyways? What makes us human, the brain? Why don't we then call the brain human? The leg? You do have a leg. Don't be so hard on electromagnetic handicap. Maybe they did add something to substitute your heart as well. The thing is you're just different just like black people are... well, black. If you were so dissatisfied by your design, your makers, why didn't you end your life?
>>
No. 495061 ID: e7469d

>>495049

maybe we can talk about this after we take care of the clearly nonhuman presence near us.

draw your weapons and approach quietly. Samael shouldn't, of course, unless he doesn't make those awesome RoboCop sounds I imagine he does when he walks.
>>
No. 495064 ID: 0006f5

stick to the walls, then advance as normal
>>
No. 495128 ID: f1b3ee

Stay silent, wait.

If nothing happens after a few minutes, throw an object far down the path in the direction of the noise; perhaps an empty tin of food or a spent bullet casing. If still nothing happens, advance slowly and carefully.
>>
No. 495131 ID: b33427

If you can get up out of the trench, you could crawl over and scout out what's making that sound. You'd send Lex, but Lox would object and block her, and the last thing you need right now is drama.

Motion for everyone to remain silent and move over to the nearest wall as quietly as they can. Gesture for Samael to stand back to the wall and put his hands together so you can step up and onto his shoulder. If you have a mirror, use that to check around for possible hostiles before climbing over the top. If you don't, you'll just have to poke your head up.

Stay as low as you can and crawl a little ways over so whatever is in the trench can't see you, then crawl forward so you can get a look at it.
>>
No. 495613 ID: e5cfd5
File 136168843303.png - (32.23KB , 800x800 , 67.png )
495613

We decide to investigate the continuing sound. We lack the means to peer around corners without exposing ourselves, so I decide that it is best to clamber onto the surface, and peer over the edge. It is senseless to send Lex, because it will not be worth the ensuing argument with her brother.

I approach Samael.

“Samael, can you offer me a boost? I need to make it onto the surface.”

He complies, but Gryr volunteers to go up instead.

>”I will do it. Quite simply because I am probably better at sneaking than you are.”

I do not feel any reason to doubt her, so I stand out of the way.

The cyborg resumes his position and boosts the ordinator out of the trench.
>>
No. 495614 ID: e5cfd5
File 136168845566.png - (27.78KB , 800x800 , 68.png )
495614

She moves quickly along the surface, with her weapon at the ready. Her white armour soon falls out of sight, but not for long. A crow takes flight from that area, and disappears into the sky.

Moments pass and Gryr strolls over to us. Looking down, she silently signals to go and have a look ourselves. Gryr climbs back into the trench, and we go to look at what was causing the sound.

It is a gruesome thing.
>>
No. 495615 ID: e5cfd5
File 136168847839.png - (37.28KB , 800x800 , 69.png )
495615

A human sits against the wall. It is extremely thin, and covered in open, infected-looking sores. Some are still bleeding. The crow had been feeding on it, and had eaten its eyes, tongue, and strips of meat from its body.

However, the human is still alive. This is the source of the laboured breathing, and so it continues its dry, rasping breath. Disturbingly, grey tendrils pour from the open abdomen. They writhe ever-so-slightly, glistening in the early morning sun.

“Do not get close,” I caution the others. When I say this, the body slowly turns its head towards me. “Unless you want to end up like it.”

Evidently frightened of the body, Lex asks what is wrong with it.

“It is a victim of a parasite. These grey tentacles, not intestines, but the flesh of the mature parasite. This is the fate of the man who found us earlier, should he not be gifted with medical treatment, or death. This must be from where he came.”

>”Is he in pain?”

“It is no longer aware of its bodily condition; its human mind died long ago, but soon it will die in body, as well. Be wary now, as there may be others in better condition.”
>>
No. 495621 ID: 0006f5

how interesting the crows can stomach it. ask the others if they have dealt with contamination and quarrantine
>>
No. 495628 ID: f2c20c

I would suggest shooting the body to put it out of its misery but that serves no purpose as the mind is already gone, and would make noise that we could do without.

Also I kindof wonder if the body suddenly dying would aggro the parasites... oh. "Others in better condition"? Then, once the parasites are mature like this, they take control of the body? We would have to worry about them attempting to infect us, I gather.

Maybe we should've taken a detour. Is it not too late to steer clear of this area? It seems like a flame unit would be needed to clear the infestation around here.
>>
No. 495640 ID: 47d311

Now would be a good time to inform your group what the infection forms of these parasites look like, if they are large enough to be visible, as it appears they may be all over this area.

That being said, if parasites are the major threat it will be much safer to travel on the surface since it is much easier for a parasite to latch onto you when it can fall from height or launch itself from a wall.
>>
No. 495662 ID: b33427

Dang. Gryr's so stealthy, we keep forgetting about her.

How does a mobile host that's controlled by the parasite go about infecting others?

How fast and strong is a newly controlled host?

About how long after the parasite takes control until the host body can no longer move itself to attack?

How much of a danger is the mature parasite worm once it leaves a dead host?

Is it known if the crows are affected this way by the parasite as well, or if they are merely carriers. If they are either, it's yet another vector they get us from.

Will a parasite infected host still attack Samael, even though he can't be infected and shouldn't even register as biological?

Leave the corpse where it is, and continue on. Considering the presence of this parasite, everyone but Samael should climb out of the trench. We're going to want to be able to see them coming, even if that means they can see us.
>>
No. 495675 ID: 83304a

can the tentacles be eaten safely if grilled?
>>
No. 495760 ID: d1efde

>>495640
>>495662
I disagree with traveling on the surface as it leaves us visible to anything that is watching, including potential snipers. Bandits are a much bigger danger to us then parasites as bandits may shoot back.
>>
No. 495855 ID: b33427

>>495760
Yeah, you're right. Stay in the trench but change up formation so Samael is on point so any para-zombies along the way will attack him first, giving the rest of you time to shoot their legs out to immobilize them.
>>
No. 496080 ID: 874a6b
File 136184235023.png - (18.26KB , 800x800 , 70.png )
496080

It is best to leave this thing to die. The parasite itself cannot cause any further harm the way it is, than if it was dead. Shooting the body could enkindle unwanted attention. I is difficult to know what brought this person here. Whether he became infested here and stayed, or if he wandered here by himself.

“Samael, you are biologically immune to parasites, yes?”

>”Yeah. Though obviously, it's possible for the little grubs to crawl around on me, and risk infesting others.”

“Could you please go on point, then? If the parasite has a presence here, it would be best to not risk us.”

>”And what, it's okay to risk me? Yeah, thanks a lot.

I go to apologise, but he laughs.

>”Actually, it would be for the best if he had some kind of flamethrower... or poison gas. But we don't, so a gun will have to do. Alright, everyone behind me, then.”
>>
No. 496081 ID: 874a6b
File 136184237479.png - (27.92KB , 800x800 , 71.png )
496081

With Samael at the front of our party, we navigate the trenches of the Iron Forest. I keep a look out at the back of the group, but nothing ever appears.
>>
No. 496082 ID: 874a6b
File 136184239363.png - (25.89KB , 800x800 , 72.png )
496082

It is after a short while that we come across something of an alcove. In it, several parasite victims. Concerning, is that not all of them are so enervated as our last encountered. They are all starving, though, and I am certain that they would feed on us. There is not a need to go near them, however. Destroying them is a matter of choice, and not necessity.
>>
No. 496085 ID: 454447

It's better that we avoid conflict if we can. Could we skirt around them by going up out of the trenches?
>>
No. 496086 ID: d15f5b

Avoid, preferably up above for a short distance, unless you feel like removing the obstacle could help you when you return this way, and will not pose a significant difficulty.
>>
No. 496088 ID: d1efde

>>496082
Is this usual for there to be such a concentration of parasite victims all in so advanced a stage? Are infected driven to congregate with other infected by the parasite or is this an indication that a group had unknowingly become infected and not realized?

There seem to be few in this group that could pose a threat should you decide to kill them, but if there is a concentration of infected in this area for some reason then there could be other in better condition that would be drawn by the sound of gunfire. Better to carefully avoid.
>>
No. 496097 ID: f2c20c

>>496082
Shooting them would cause quite a bit of noise. Let's avoid that.
>>
No. 496120 ID: 0006f5

avoid
>>
No. 496290 ID: 5a3f43

yeah, avoid. mercykilling is tempting, but ending the atrocity happening here would probably reduce less than a billionth of atrocities going on around the planet right now.
>>
No. 496294 ID: 763409

Avoid them, and in the future as we keep going in the metal trenches keep an eye to where something can spot us the best, from the top of the chimneys
>>
No. 496433 ID: b33427

>>496294
Dammit. The top of one of those chimneys would be a perfect spotter's perch for a bandit. One of them gets up there, watches for travelers, then signals the other bandits. Is there any way they could get up those chimneys, or have the ladders and stairs long since fallen down?
>>
No. 496534 ID: 715f82
File 136195945943.png - (37.80KB , 800x800 , 73.png )
496534

We decide to leave the parasite victims in peace, since they do not block our route.

The great chimneys would make ideal places for bandit snipers, or lookouts. While I imagine that the access ladders would be destroyed on some, and on others, too dangerous to climb, some are certainly still accessible, and would provide an excellent view of what is happening all around. Unfortunately, it is hard to see if somebody else had this idea already. The chimney peaks are far too high, making it difficult for the naked eye to see whether somebody is perched on one. I imagine that it is easy to see anybody in the trench, from up there.

My train of thought is disrupted when one of the doors in the trench creaks. A small, but ugly-sounding voice slips out.

>”Don't be alarmed, travelers. I mean no harm to you.

From the darkness, emerges a squat figure, little more than a metre in height. When its face comes into the light, it is repulsive to behold. It is bug-eyed, and its greasy, asymmetrical face carries sharp, little teeth.

>”Please don't be alarmed. I bear no weapons.”

It bares its hands to prove its statement.

“What do you want, creature?”

>”I seek only to help you, travelers. You are lost in the maze, yes?

It coughs, and a string of thick, brown dribble trails from its malformed mouth.

“We are not lost. At least, we have approximate knowledge of our destination.”

>”And where might that be, traveler?”

“We are moving to a settlement that is said to be North of here.”

>”Ah, I know it well. I can take you there, away from these crawlers. A passage beneath the steel skin.”

“Why do you want to help us?”

>”I want a reward! Haha!”

“Is that so?”

>”All I ask is a little of your food in return. I can't eat the crawlers. No, no.”
>>
No. 496537 ID: f2c20c

>>496534
A little of our food, or us as food? For all we know there are a dozen of his friends waiting down there to gun us down and feast on our corpses. In other words, how do we know he isn't leading us to an ambush? Does anyone in our party know anything about the sort of creature this person is? Any advance reputation? Then again I mean, we have a rather large robot that wouldn't make for good eating and would be rather difficult to take down. An ambush against us would be difficult to pull off without heavy weaponry.

Anyway, do we really need a guide? Then again I suppose we could run into an ambush if we stayed on the surface. Not an easy decision.

The price of food is not a large concern I suppose. Though, we should make sure it's clear ahead of time how much he's asking for.
>>
No. 496541 ID: eaf2f5

Ask him how long ago someone else came through this way and took his offer?

We could also just offer him food for information about the surface routes, if he knows anything about them.
>>
No. 496543 ID: ca3024

ask your companions if they know what the hell this thing is. if they don't, ask it.
>>
No. 496673 ID: 4224e5

Hide his payment at the entrance, then bind him. Inform him that in the event of ambush he will be the first to die, but if you are escorted safely he will be freed and will be able to retrieve the food. Mutants may be loathsome, but they generally have a sense of self-preservation.

Not always though.
>>
No. 496683 ID: f2c20c

>>496673
That... seems a bit harsh?
>>
No. 496700 ID: 0006f5

give food and be on your merry way
>>
No. 496763 ID: 259f33
File 136204400459.png - (21.47KB , 800x800 , 74.png )
496763

After some consideration, we agree, though somewhat reluctantly, to allow the mutant to lead us.

“Very well. We will give you some food. However, you will not get it yet. We will leave it right here. We will tie your hands, and you will lead us to the way out. When we are there, we will free you, and you can then retrieve it.”

>”Ah yes, yes. Of course.”

“Know that any attempts to endanger or otherwise mislead us will result in your death. I will not hesitate. Do you understand?”

>”Ahh, yes, please. Do not fear, there is no need to make my overdue here!”

I offer two energy bars. I look to the others for contributions, but they do not seem inclined to charity. After a pause, Samael takes a small bag from his pack, and drops it down with the energy bars.

>”It's hopper meat. It's probably starting to go a little funny, so he might as well have it.”

We follow the short mutant into the darkness.
>>
No. 496764 ID: 259f33
File 136204403752.png - (24.04KB , 800x800 , 75.png )
496764

Sorry, the art here is not very good.

It is not as dark as I had initially thought. There are some lights which are somehow operational still. Perhaps this little thing had repaired them, or maybe they simply have a greater longevity than for what they are given credit.

As we follow, its phlegm-clogged throat makes it easy to hear that the mutant is breathing faster.

We are descending a set of stairs when Lox, to my left, falls over, and tumbles down the steps. I go to offer my aid when something bumps into me. It hits really hard in my chest, and almost knocks me off my feet. I tumble down the steps myself. My limbs hurt, and I can hear screaming. I feel alright, though.

It is not until I look up and see Lox, choking with a harpoon through his neck, that I realise we have been ambushed.
>>
No. 496775 ID: eaf2f5

Return fire and scream "ambush!"

Do you have any flares or some other light source with you?
>>
No. 496777 ID: 76b151

Kill the mutant first. Then return fire.
>>
No. 496781 ID: 4224e5

>>496764
Make things die good.
>>
No. 496785 ID: 713001

yeah, this was stupid. we shoulda interrogated it more.

have everyone fire and retreat. grab Lox and anyone else wounded.
>>
No. 496789 ID: d1abcc

Fools! Look what has happened! Time to die! Samael, get our revenge
>>
No. 496819 ID: b33427

...You knew this had to happen at some point. You just didn't think it'd be from such a boneheaded choice on you and the other's part. Seriously, the mutant's offer was so obviously a trap it's painful.

Alright, they're using harpoon launchers instead of guns for a reason. It may be that it's because they don't cause a muzzle flash, which would blind in the dim light down here. If may be that it's because they don't make any noise when they're fired, both for ambush reasons, but to keep anything else from being attracted to the noise. Of course, it might be they just don't have guns or ammo, but we'll go with the first two for now.

Can you estimate where those harpoons would have come from? If so, then close your eyes, fire one shot straight up to blind all lookers with the muzzle flash, then get your gun pointed in that direction and fire a burst, then move, then fire. Make sure they can't target you on the muzzle flash in case they have more harpoons ready, or their own guns. And if you happen to hear Samael's gun spin up, hit the deck and start rolling to the side before the hail of lead comes down.
>>
No. 496902 ID: f1b3ee

Harpoon implies that there is a line connected to the spear. They're not just shooting spears at you, they want to drag you somewhere. Do not stay and try to shoot at shadows like a moron; that is what they are counting on you doing.

Retreat immediately. Do not stay and allow more of your party to become injured and ensnared. Break the back haft of the harpoon in Lox's neck but leave it in. He may bleed out if you remove it here. Your armor appears to be perfectly apt at absorbing the impact of their weapons; interpose yourself between their fire and the less-protected of your group and get Lox back out into daylight. Gryr and Lex, if she is armed, can do the fighting retreat with Samuel and yourself as cover. Naturally, Samuel can fire back too.

You, however, need to focus on getting Lox and everyone else out of the ambush you marched everyone into.
>>
No. 496943 ID: 0006f5

GET OUT OF HERE
>>
No. 497016 ID: 42abe9
File 136214808641.png - (29.99KB , 800x800 , 76.png )
497016

“Return fire!”

I shout to the others, and begin firing into the darkness. I do not know if I am hitting anything. It is difficult to see in these lighting conditions. With Gryr covering me, I try to free the harpoon lodged in Lox. It is a steel cable, and I lack the tools to cut it quickly. As I try to hopelessly sever it with my knife, the cable begins to tighten, and pull on the harpoon. I make an attempt to resist, but I cannot. Lox is dragged away into the darkness.
>>
No. 497017 ID: 42abe9
File 136214810884.png - (45.95KB , 800x800 , 77.png )
497017

Samael pushes past me, his weapon whirring, ready to fire.

>”Get the girl out of here.”

“What are you doing?”

>”I'll get him, just go!”

Samael moves down the corridor. His weapon lights up, and a loud buzz fills my ears.
>>
No. 497018 ID: 42abe9
File 136214813422.png - (17.08KB , 800x800 , 78.png )
497018

I grab Lex by the arm and pull her, screaming, up and into the open. When I let go she immediately tries to rush back through the door, but Gryr is there to stop her. I stand awkwardly for a few minutes, as Gryr comforts the grieving Lex.
>>
No. 497019 ID: 42abe9
File 136214815648.png - (24.14KB , 800x800 , 79.png )
497019

When Samael finally returns through the door, he is covered in blood. Thrashing in his hand, is the mutant which deceived us, its hands still bound.

I quietly ask him about the fate of Lox.

>”It is better that he remains there. The sight wouldn't do well to his sister.”

The mutant hears him and shouts out.

>”Aha, he's bled dry! You didn't have a hope of fixin' him from the first second, haha.”

Samael shakes it violently, and it starts coughing.

>”I brought him back alive, which is more than I can say for his friends.”

It is clear that we cannot use it as a guide, but I am sure we have some use for it; a bit of payback, if nothing else.
>>
No. 497022 ID: 9747ef

Just kill him and move on. This was a stupid waste of life and time.
>>
No. 497026 ID: 710329

>>497022
This.
>>
No. 497076 ID: 95868e

Lox was right.

start from its feet and work your way up from there.
>>
No. 497082 ID: d76e43

>>497076
breack every bones in his legs, then rip of his eyesand trow it at the crawlers mercy
>>
No. 497090 ID: 0f78d1

Break its arms and crush its feet. Locate its genitalia, cut them off and stuff them down its throat. Consider allowing Lex have her vengeance against the filth. If she is too distraught for expressing her pain through violence, finish it off by throwing the creature into a parasite-infested corpse with great precision.
>>
No. 497120 ID: 47d311

Petty vengeance is not going to solve anything. Other predators may be attracted by the things cries if we waste time standing around to mutilate the thing.

Kill it and move on. The more important thing here is to ask Samuel what was down there and how many. This may not be the last time you encounter something like that.

The only possible use for that creature is to use him as bait to attract predators away from your location.
>>
No. 497138 ID: 7ddf9d
File 136218229874.png - (38.18KB , 800x800 , 80.png )
497138

I take its legs, and break them easily. It screeches in pain, before vomiting.

I ask Lex if she desires revenge upon it, but she is too distraught to look at it.

“Then we will feed it to the parasites.”

At this announcement it becomes wildly panicked, and begins begging for its life. Its pleas for mercy are ignored.

Samael and I carry the mutant to the alcove at which the group of parasites reside. Throwing it at them, the quickly realise that it is edible, and descend upon it. The mutant's screams do not go for very long, but we leave before the parasites notice us.

On the way back, I ask Samael about the mutant lair.

>”It was pretty ugly down there. We wouldn't have been their first victims. The community wasn't large, but it was developing. This is possibly why they sent that one to lead us down, rather than outright attacking us.

We are now back where this calamity began, at the door. Unfortunately, now we are lacking a man.
>>
No. 497156 ID: 4224e5

>>497016
Throw him to the parasites.
>>
No. 497162 ID: 5c667c

go in grenades blazing. maybe except Lex if she's busy crying. loot everything.
>>
No. 497167 ID: 47d311

The only reason to stop here would be to recover Lox's personal belongings before moving on. Ask Samuel if it is safe to venture down there.

Pragmatically, he had food, ammunition, and a gun with him. Sentimentally, Lex deserves something to remember her brother by.
>>
No. 497206 ID: b33427

>>497167
That, and looting anything of use from the mutant's lair. That is, if Samael cleared it out completely.
>>
No. 497232 ID: 710329

If Samael didnt' clear it out now would be the time. We should inspect the basements of this lair for supplies and clues.
>>
No. 497513 ID: 533f39
File 136232321816.png - (34.68KB , 800x800 , 81.png )
497513

A question enters my mind.

“Samael, did you notice anything of value in the mutant lair?”

>”It depends on what you think is valuable. If you like junk and human bones, then sure. It's a goldmine.”

“What about weapons? They had harpoons, did they not? Were they otherwise unarmed.”

I bear my armour to reveal a noticeable gouge in the chest.

>”Those were traps. They were fixed to a wall, with a mechanical pulley. There were mutants manning them. One was already dead, so I guess one of you guys must have hit them. The rest of them were not equipped to fight in an open assault. They carried spears fashioned out of junk, mostly. Some of them had knives, and I guess they must have got them off those crawlers. Their main advantage over you was that they didn't seem to have any problem seeing in the darkness.”

“What about Lox? His weapons, food...”

>”He was our ally. I think it would be disrespectful to loot his body, and so I won't go down there for that reason. I think he should be left in peace.”

“Very well.”

I believe that there is no reason for us to continue standing around here, so I decide that we should move. We still have several hours of daylight, and I think that we should make the most of them.
>>
No. 497514 ID: 533f39
File 136232341970.png - (39.94KB , 800x800 , 82.png )
497514

We continue deeper into the forest.


Act II will resume soon, when I think of how to begin it. For now, thank you for your participation. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this, and will continue to do so for future installments.
>>
No. 497586 ID: 3b0111

That was awesome. This quest is grimdark and brutal.
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