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519551 No. 519551 ID: 184dd1

A Reality?

A Dream?

This place. You've seen it before. You've dreamed about it before. An inky void. A chair. You. That's all there's ever been in this place before. All there is now. Except...

Now, there's a woman. A confident woman. You feel something, but you can't reach out. Can't touch that woman. She needs help. NEEDS HELP-

Then the void is gone. A man. A room. A desk. Papers. Books. Familiar? Alien? You don't know. But something is changing. Something new is happening. The man scribbles away at his papers, and you wait patiently, somehow knowing nothing will change. What a thought. Nothing will change if you push. Only to wait...

Eventually, the man sets aside his pen and glances up at you, frowning slightly.

"Another is it? Kind of a waste, really, that other woman was and is doing rather well, but, I suppose, reality has its reasons. Besides, nothing changes with just one person alone. Sometimes, a different perspective is needed. Hopefully you don't die like so many of your fellows.

You name and gender, if you will. They're needed for the next step. And don't bother trying to ask me any questions, you'll learn everything you need to know soon enough."

>>>Input Command
Expand all images
>>
No. 519553 ID: 2b2eb7

Name: Alice
Gender: Guy
>>
No. 519555 ID: 888df6

Name: Guy
Gender: Dude
>>
No. 519556 ID: 2b2eb7

>>519555
this
>>
No. 519557 ID: 5fd94e

>>519555

It's like the name was made for you.
>>
No. 519558 ID: f20daf

>>519555
perfect name
>>
No. 519562 ID: 184dd1

"I'm Guy... I think."

"Hm. Your gender is obvious just from that, although you all look the same to me... ah well, moving on. What's next... ah. Yes. This. She'd asked me to change how I ask this, didn't she? Well, then... let's try this."

You suddenly find yourself in another room, empty and dark. A shadowy figure stands before you brandishing a knife. Glancing at the ground at your feet, you notice three objects. A knife, a revolver and a oddly glowing ball. You feel the need to defend yourself, yet at the same time, you know you don't have the time to grab more than one object.

You feel yourself instinctively pulled towards one, yet repulsed by another.

Which attracts your attention?

Which pushes you away?

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519565 ID: 19b3c3

...oh darn. Now that we actually know how to play the str/fin/wil choices we don't get to make them directly.

Go with the glowing ball, repulsed by the knife. I want more novel powers, and we've already got gun and knife breakers. (And that gets us +wil -str, which is a will / finesse build, something we haven't seen yet).
>>
No. 519566 ID: c31f72

Go for the ball.
>>
No. 519567 ID: 19b3c3

>will / finesse build, something we haven't seen yet
...well, technically I suppose Elizabeth and Lilith are, but they've never but a single point in fin, so they're more pure will builds. And Linda is finesse / wil (modified from finesse / str), while Raphael was either str / wil or wil / str.

Anyways, will dominant definitely biases us towards the weirder powers though, and leaves us less likely of being a normal weapon type.
>>
No. 519569 ID: d1d627

Can't argue with that selection
Grab the sphere, reject the knife...
Hey, hey guys, wouldn't it be a gasser if we were actually picking which type of breaker we were?
>>
No. 519574 ID: 184dd1

You squat down and reach for the globe, the knife seemingly disappearing from your thoughts completely, only to have the sphere merge into your body and the shadowy figure charge at you. Something wells up inside you, and you take a deep breath in before letting loose a truly deafening shout.

"HALT!"

The figure halts in place, then the scene fades again, this time to something more familiar. More personal. More tragic. This is... This is the memories of that fateful day. That horrible day. The day you lost something. The day you can never forget, no matter what you do.

You remember...

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519579 ID: 19b3c3

Oh boy. The trauma. I'm rubbish at coming up with this kind of thing though.

(If the previous choice defined build, this will define implementation. The focus and/or manifestation people receive is usually symbolically or literally shaped by their initiating trauma. ...of course, since we don't know how it will be interpreted, that makes playing for a specific result difficult).

Grade school field trip to a publicly funded museum. Which then got blown up by anti-government crazies. You made it out mostly in one piece, but you lost a lot of classmates that day.
>>
No. 519580 ID: c31f72

Ah, that day we lost our virginity to a rather good looking man in drag.
Does that count?
>>
No. 519585 ID: d1d627

That car crash, which cost me my legs, and my pride. Once, I were an athlete, hurdles, sprints, marathons, I had a talent for any of them, and had my pick...But then... a bit of rain, an ill-timed brake failure on her end, and a slight bit of innatentiveness on mine. Now, I am bound to this wheelchair, my greatest dreams as shattered as my bones were. I've become a coach, to try and help others achieve the greatness I've lost that day but...It's not the same! I want to be the one competing, not on the sidelines!
>>
No. 519606 ID: 9ddf68

the day your bother died. Your parents never really gave any time for you but your brother always made sure he was there when you needed him. Until one day he just suddenly took ill and died about a month later. The doctors never did find out what got him
>>
No. 519608 ID: d78743

>>519606
I like this one. Yeah, lost his brother.
>>
No. 519623 ID: 184dd1

Your brother. Your brother. He'd always been there for you. He'd always looked out for you. Your parents had always been working, or busy, or arguing with each other. Your brother had been the one to raise you, but that day, he'd been taken from you. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, they said he was physically healthy, no reason for him to be like that. Regardless, he'd died, and the blow had been hard. You'd become very withdrawn and unhappy, preferring to keep to yourself and avoid human contact as much as possible.

"Hm. Funny. Didn't think the world needed another one of your kind. Still, I hope you don't break like so many of your Avatar fellows. Now then, it's time you woke up, don't you think?"

The man snaps his fingers, and you blink, only to find yourself staring at the ceiling of your hotel room. You pause a moment to consider things, dredging up memories, and you quickly piece things back together. That's right. You'd been traveling thanks to your family. Your parents were finally getting their divorce, but they hadn't stopped arguing in the meantime, and you'd wanted nothing to do with them. Traveling had seemed the best option.

You sit up, doing your best to push the grogginess from your eyes, and suddenly stop as you notice someone else in the room. Is that... couldn't be... but... maybe...

"Brother?"

"Hey! How ya doin, little bro? Been awhile. Few years, I think? Looks like mom and dad are finally moving on with their lives, but hey, things happen, right?"

You can only gawk. It's... that's your brother. But... huh?

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519624 ID: d1d627

No questions.
No talking.
Just walk over, and hug him.
Then, ask him what's up, how is he back, after all this time...
inb4 someone BREAKS through the wall!
>>
No. 519625 ID: 9ddf68

"b but you're... uh, yeah I guess they are, but how are you... how have you been lately?"
>>
No. 519627 ID: 19b3c3

Oh jeeze. We went for dead relative revival? Hopefully this ends better for Guy than it did for Mark. Hmm. If our 'thing' is our brother though, what does that do for us breaking-wise? I guess it depends on how he's manifested...

>>519624
This, after about a solid minute of not moving at all and just staring.

>I hope you don't break like so many of your Avatar fellows.
He's already broken, jerk. As you should well know.
>>
No. 519632 ID: 184dd1
File 137228326284.jpg - (96.77KB , 1200x845 , Hijikata-Toshirou-anime-guys-23377142-1200-845.jpg )
519632

You stare at him in confusion for a minute, unsure of what's going on exactly. He couldn't... shouldn't... why... what...

"Hey, bro, you alright? Looking a little pale there. Like you've seen a ghost or something."

Your brother offers a wide smile, just like he used to, and your mind quickly sets itself straight. Obviously your brother is alive. Asshole doctors got him mixed up with some other patient. Idiots. You quickly rush up and hug your brother, and as you do so you feel something tug from you, leaving you feeling a little drained. Regardless, you brother moves suddenly(you suddenly realize he hadn't moved before, but hey, he didn't need to, right?) and pats your head affectionately, that smile never leaving his face.

"Aw, come on. It hasn't been THAT long since we last talked. Okay, well, maybe it has, but still. No need to go randomly hugging me. You'd better get dressed though, we're gonna have visitors soon. I gotta get ready myself, now that I think about it. Can't have my little brother dealing with the world on his own, can we?"

You quickly follow your brothers suggestion, dressing yourself in whatever you grab first, before someone bursts through the wall in an explosion rubble. You're nearly hit by a large cement piece, but the rock explodes into powder as your brother's hand lashes out and connects, pulping the offending material. You can't help but grin yourself, this is going to be amazing! Your brother's back! He'll protect you from everything, just like before!

A man picks himself up off the ground, obviously injured. He's breathing heavily, although he's somehow managed to keep hold of a large sword he has in his hands. A few other men walk in as well, smiling rather evilly.

"Come on now, Jager. You can't hope to beat all of us like that. Just give up your focus and you can live like a Normal, yeah?"

"Go fuck yourselves, you dick. You know damn well that I'm gonna keep fighting till I drop dead. At least till I find that bastard! Now move out of the way or die!"

Jager, or who you assume to be Jager, stands a little taller, sword pulled in preparation to fight. The other three that are pursuing him also ready weapons, clearly expecting a fight. A gun there, a bat, and that looks like some sort of knuckle guard? Huh.

"It's up to you to do the talking, brother of mine. I'm just here to looks out for you."

Your brother stand close by you, ready to fight off anyone looking to hurt you. Well, then, maybe you should intervene? Or maybe you could just leave. You have so many questions to ask your brother after all...

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519638 ID: d78743

So they smashed the guy into your room and seem to want to take something from him, and their smiles seem evil? Seems like what we do is pretty clear. Put on a wide grin

"I'm sure you mean three on three, don't you? Unless you think we're going to just stand-by and let you rob this guy after destroying our stuff?"
>>
No. 519642 ID: 19b3c3

Wait, wait... wait. Start to snap out of it. Blink. It couldn't have just been a mistake. You saw the body. And your brother always protected you but... that concrete just broke to dust when it hit him. What's going on? Later. You'll figure it later.

You don't know what's going on but... that guy's outnumbered? And those other guys are trying to take something from him? Screw that. Everything just went right for the first time in years (although you don't really understand how), you're not letting them sully it with something wrong.

Order them to stop.

>brother's actions
If they make their will rolls and it comes to fight, take out the gunner first. He's the biggest threat to guy. You can keep the melee weapon users contained easier, and you're a lot more dangerous than they are. Crippling them or knocking them out (breaking arms or legs, smashing them into walls, etc) is more efficient than killing, since they stay down longer that way.

>hadn't moved, felt drained
Ah, he just manifested. Unfortunately, we don't know his BP cost. So we're at 4 BP or less, now. That means Guy can't really tell the difference between manifested or not. It means we also don't know what the unmanifested avy looks like.

>No ladies on either side to give us a shallow choice
>No indication of who the factions are either
Hmm. Well played. Good thing we still have the option of supporting the underdog, and going after the party offing the most XP. :V
>>
No. 519645 ID: d1d627

Hrrm...I think we should maybe consider leaving.
Just go NOPE~! And walk away.
Alternately, we could gang up on that guy with the big sword, not like he can take on our brother, he's awesome!
>>
No. 519707 ID: 184dd1

"I think you meant three on three, right?"

You intercede, mostly because you don't think it's right for this sort of thing to be happening, and you can do something. You've got your brother, and he can apparently punch concrete(little odd, will have to ask about that). Still, you smile as friendly as you can, hoping that you can diffuse the situation a little.

"Can we just talk about it? I'm sure we can come up with a solution that everyone li-"

"Holy shit! An Avy! Where the hell did you get an Avy partner?"

"Damnit! He's not my- Wait... yeah! Partner! Right! I was supposed to draw you into a trap, so we could take you guys out! Bring it, bitches!"

The Jager person launches himself into the fray, sword lashing out surprisingly quickly, for being so big. You blink in surprise, not sure what just happened, but suddenly you find your brother in front of you, his shoulder bleeding a little as he takes a bullet meant for you.

"Get your head in the game, Guy! Time for a brawl!"

Your brother launches himself at the gun user, who backpedals only to get football tackled to the ground, your brother immediately going to town. Jager-man has the bat man dealt with, the two weapons flashing here and there to deal with each other.

That leaves you with the last one. He charges forward, sending a punch your way, and you feel it collide with your face and send you to the ground. The pain is a lot more than you'd expected, and he's a lot faster than you thought. Why is he so fast thought? There's no reason he should be that-

The man is suddenly on top of you, and you put your arms up, a feeble guard as the man starts slamming his fists into you. You'll have to do something, quick, or you feel like you could meet an early and rather unwanted end.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519714 ID: d78743

Guys faster then you, presumably stronger then you, he's on top of you, you're being pummeled, and you can't take this for very long... That's kind of overwhelming.

If there's something light enough to grab, do so and smash it into his head. If there's nothing close enough... keep one arm up to block and try and use the other to punch him in the balls?
>>
No. 519716 ID: 7e8516

Command him to stop.
>>
No. 519719 ID: d78743

>>519714
Man, I'm gonna have to get used to not calling any random guy "guy".
>>
No. 519729 ID: 19b3c3

Wait. Did neither side realize you were going to be here? It's not a turf war over recruitment resources, it's just a turf war that just so happened to come across the new guy? That's... weird.

And implausible. I don't buy it. If neither group is here for Guy, then someone set this up.

>getting punched, what do
Well, we can't active break, have no weapons, and our only ally is occupied, as is our avatar.

That leaves one option. Will roll go.

Power Word: STOP!

...assuming that works, before he can shake it off, grab a piece of the concrete that must be all over the room and bash him over the head. Good old fashioned head trauma knockout. You don't need to be super strong or fast for that.

I'm assuming at our current will and spirit level, and without a focus intended for mental influence (like George's, or the control wires) that trying for something crazy like ordering him to stop breathing or to punch himself isn't going to work.
>>
No. 519730 ID: 19b3c3

>>519719
...it is problematic. Pretty much all our opponents have been <foo> guy of one kind or another.
>>
No. 519738 ID: 184dd1

"STOP!"

The man on top of you halts a moment, confusion written on his face, but the pause does give you precious time. Precious time to smash a lump of concrete into the man's face. He rolls off you, clutching at his new wound as blood begins to pour onto the floor, and you quickly scramble to your feet, ready to fight back again. Thankfully, the man stays on the floor, clutching at his face, which gives you the time to get a few well placed kicks in to push him into unconsciousness. Then a quick look about the room to determine how the rest of your "group" is fairing.

Your brother has defeated his target easily, a pleased smile on his face as he sits on top of the unconscious man under him. He notices your attention and waves at you, his pleased smile only widening.

"Took care of him easy. You almost looked like you needed some help, but you did fine after all. This guy seems about done as well."

A decapitated head suddenly lands on the floor between you and your brother, and you glance at the source to find the rest of the man it had belonged to collapsing onto the floor. The last man, Jager, if you remember correctly, plants his own blade into the ground before unceremoniously digging through the dead man's pockets, eventually coming out with a small, rounded stick looking thing. You get the feeling that is important, but are drawn away from your thoughts by Jager.

"Hey. Thanks for the help, Avy. I'm Jager, a weapon type, in case you couldn't tell. Your avatar pretty strong too, although... you might want to work on getting it stronger quick. Things ain't easy around Central nowadays. Not with this... D7 running around, and the fixers on top of all that, although, the fixers ain't too hard to deal with. What's your name, by the way?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519745 ID: f2c20c

>>519738
Holy shit, he just killed that guy! Those guys just tried to kill you! What the fuck is going on? Who are these guys and what was that stick thing?
>>
No. 519748 ID: d1d627

And here I was worried we were about to end up fixers by going on overcomensation sword here.
"Heya Jager, I'm Guy, and this is my brother! He's totally awesome! Buuuut Avatar type? Weapon type? What's that all about? What gives?"
>>
No. 519763 ID: 19b3c3

Woo, combat resolved in a single round. We don't pull that off very often, or so easily.

Okay, we need to come up with a last name. And we need to name Guy's brother, too. ...unless having a brother he can't even name but doesn't seem to notice is supposed to be part of his weirdness.

Now that you have a moment to think, notice the weirdness again. You brother seems perfectly fine after being shot. A bunch of crazy people broke into your apartment and tried to kill and or rob some guy with a sword, and you fought them off! Something weird is going on here.

>>519745
This reaction seem appropriate, but without the panic. You're... confused, and unsure of what's happening, but you're not really worried.

I'm Guy. This is my brother, [name we hopefully come up with]. I can see the weapon but... avatar? D7? Fixers? What are you talking about? And uh, what's that? (Gesture to the looted focus). Why were these people after you?
>>
No. 519971 ID: 184dd1

You feel yourself starting to freak out. That man... he just... he just... head... what?

"Calm down, Guy. I'm here. Everything will be fine."

You glance over at your brother, whose idly hopping from one foot to the other, looking unconcerned. His calm demeanor does wonders for you as well, and you quickly calm yourself enough to reply without sounding like a child.

"Hello, Jager. I'm guy, this is-"

"Yeah. Don't have time right now, they'll be more coming soon enough. We have to get out of here. Listen, if you want, you can come with me, and I'll explain things as best I can, but we don't have much time, so you better decide fast."

The conversation seems horribly one-sided at this point, and you find yourself observing the man as he proceeds to sift through the pockets of the other two as well, coming up with two more objects, a bullet and a piece of metal. He hands these to you, before he sets about the rather grim task of continually stabbing the uncionsious men. You start to freak out a little, until you notice that they keep coming back to life, only to be stabbed again. Finally, they both stay dead, leaving you in a room with three dead bodies, you, your brother, and this Jager.

Jager starts to head for the hole in the wall, pausing only to glance over his shoulder.

"You coming?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519989 ID: 19b3c3

Hmm. They still needed chain killing even though Guy was holding their foci. Well, that answers one question, death avoidance does work at a distance. Although obviously there's a limit- Linda, Chris, and the D7 prisoners were all unable to break (and seemed to lose access to their superhuman stats) when separated from their foci. I wonder, could the ranges different? Ie, even if you're too far to chose to break, death avoidance will still work? Not really something we've tested.

Point against Jager if he's killing disabled opponents instead of just taking their foci. I suppose it looked like he had a history with those guys, and we don't really know what went down between them, but the deaths seem unnecessary to me. And he doesn't have Cass' crazy to hide behind, that was done in cold blood.

Props for giving us 2 of the 3 foci, though. (Plus combat, we should have 3-4 XP!). Although that might be more trying to win over the avy user than just playing fair, or rewarding our help.

Come to think of it, not sure what Guy's gonna do with foci. We can't tune them. Assuming avatars are still hella rare (...although, I think we might know more avy types than form types now) we're not gonna be able to trade for one. And the Doc's half a country away (and unknown to Guy) and even if we found someone else with the same kind of skills, I'm not sure modifying our brother is necessarily cool. Which leaves trading for mundane things and favors, I suppose.

>"You coming?"
(Taking note of the wrecked room and the bodies) ...well, I suppose I can't really stay here, can I.

You're not sure what you're going to do, but you have to leave anyways. Might as well hear what he has to say.
>>
No. 519994 ID: 184dd1

Experience Gained: 4

You take a long look around the room. There's really nothing here for you, and you feel like you really need to understand what's going on. Jager seems like he'd provide the best solution to finding out what this is all about.

"... Well, I suppose I can't really stay here, can I?"

You trot after your new companion, your brother falling into step behind you, and the group quickly makes its way into the streets below via a fire escape, Jager's sword somehow disappearing on the way down. Just in time to, as you see a couple of police vans pull up and storm the building, presumably to deal with the mess that is your old room. Jager takes the lead, popping off a nearby sewer grate and leading the way down. After another hour of twisting, maze-like turns and corridors, you resurface at the edge of the city, by the looks of it, in a roughly suburban area. White picket fences and cookie-cutter houses galore.

Jager leads the way to one of the houses, unlocking the door and leading the way inside. Once you're in, Jager finally seems to relax a little more, and collapses onto a couch.

"Ah! Feels good to be back in my own home. Damned gangs. Don't even realize their time is up yet. Only groups still active now are the fixers, D7 and the sewer rats."

"Um... what's all that, anyway?"

"Hm? Oh. Right. Forgot about that. Fixers don't like us, we're breakers, unless you're gonna go join up with the fixers. I guess you could if you wanted to. They're trying to fix everything, mostly by killing everyone they don't like, so... I wouldn't recommend them.

"The sewer rats are some old gang, rumor mill says they used to be allied with some big shot or whatever, but if they were, they aren't now. They tend to stick to the sewer tunnels, and keep to themselves, which is why we didn't run into any of them on the way over. Still, good source of breaker work if you're looking to get some foci, or even a bit of cash.

"D7... there's an issue. They hunt us. Breakers, fixers. Doesn't matter to them. Some secret government thing, or something. Either way, they make life difficult, and they've even got some breakers on leashes as well. Luckily haven't run into any of those types yet. Just the suits."

"Uh... foci?"

"Really? That new? Wow. You must have just woken up. Well, first thing I gotta say is that reality doesn't follow the same rules for us as for normal people. We can... bend it, a little, to suit our needs. That's why we're called breakers. Don't know where the term came from, but it is what it is. Fixers are just breakers that like to kill other breakers, thinking they'll 'fix' reality by doing it. Fat chance of that.

"Foci are those things I handed you. You can feel it, right? The... offness... they project. They aren't normal objects. You can't really use them, but you can pull at some of that oddity in the object and strengthen yourself. It's really complicated, and even I don't really understand it all, but suffice it to say, you want to collect them from anyone you beat. You'll want them especially. You avatar types are a rare breed. Although I gotta admit, a lifesize creepy doll thing really isn't as bad as some of the things I've seen."

"Doll?"

"Yeah... you know... that thing."

"That THING is not a thing! He's my brother!"

"Calm down, bro. I'm fine. Everything's cool."

"Woah! Okay. Okay. Not a thing. Gotcha..."

The conversation sort of dries up after that, both sides lapsing into silence, and you take the opportunity to mull over everything you've just heard. This can't be real, right? Can it?

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 519997 ID: d1d627

Ooook...So you HAVE seen other 'avatar types'? Why would I especially want Foci, exactly?

Aaaand...I guess I'll try and join up with you Breakers, if Bro thinks it's a good idea. What do you think brother?

(Sounds like fun, maybe we'll meet someone here who likes baseball as well. You keep your arm in and that fastball hot? Heh, I still remember my arm stinging from being the catcher for you.)

Alright then, we're in. Where too?
in brackets is brother's dialouge.
>>
No. 519999 ID: 19b3c3

Hmm. D7 is being aggressive, and what sounds like parts of Marc's organization cut off after his death. Meaning we're probably in the present, not the past. Linda and co are currently running (or fighting for control of) Sun City.

>XP allocation
1 point, get spirit to level 2. Since we've confirmed our brother looks like a creepy doll to others, we probably want to pick warped minds.

1 point, upgrade our brother with speech. I don't want him doing the creepy silent proxy thing Levi does talking through Michelle. I want him able to interact with people directly.

We probably want to purchase repair or self repair as an upgrade too, or else we'll be forced to use remanifesting to repair damage. Although it would be nice to know the difference in cost and trade offs between those two abilities (Levi had to bear wounds until Michelle repaired him, and there was a casting delay. Amelia repaired automatically each time we shot her, but what was the cost?).

Although, if our brother's manifestation cost is only 1, we don't need to purchase either, yet.

We probably want to spend a point or two on our brother's stats. Get str to 4, and maybe finesse too? Or alternatively, increase Guy's stats- get will or finesse +1 (I think like him to be able to dodge a little of what comes his way).

Thoughts?

>This can't be real, right? Can it?
Of course not. That's why he keeps saying reality is broken. Think about it again. As much as you wanted it to be a mistake, your brother died. You saw the body. And now he's back. And... that gang you fought. They moved too fast, too strong. They came back from the dead too. And your brother is punching concrete, and shrugging off bullets. No, things aren't exactly real, but that's the way they are, now.

>Trying to keep yourself under control this time
...when you look at him, you really see a doll?
>>
No. 520001 ID: d1d627

As tempting as warped minds would be, I'd think normalcy might be the better move in the long run?
Since Warped Minds takes up a spirit slot and what not, and I figure it can't hurt to at least see what's availible...
>>
No. 520006 ID: 19b3c3

>>520001
Yes, I agree normalcy might be interesting too.

As for slots... spirit 4, 5 and 10 are reserved for special powers. Slots 2, 3 and 6 are really the best for the 'basic' abilities, as better spirit powers become available later. It's also kind of important we get useful general powers before spirit gets expensive and we get stuck going through levels 4 and 5 before getting to chose again. We have a choice to make between break sight, warped minds, normality and active break. I'd say active break is a solid choice for spirit 3 (we don't want to have to wait all the way to 6 for it). Spirit 2 would be either best spent on warped minds (making our avy easy to walk around) or normality (making other situations easy). Break sight gets left out, I think. (As do higher tiers of warped, and spirit sight).

If we don't get warped minds, we could get the same effect by investing in making our avy more human like. Although we don't know how much XP that will end up costing (presumably we'd need more than 1 level of it?). If we don't get normality, we can achieve some of the same effect just by being clever and a will based character who can talk normals into things.

As for the long run, warped minds would also cover and additional avys we may get (without having to invest XP upgrading them to fit in- which may not be possible, depending on what they are). Long run normality... I'm not sure how that would stack up against a long run will stacking, actually. Cass' is pretty effective even though will is her dump stat! But would Guy even need it if he has the will to talk normals into things?
>>
No. 520141 ID: 19b3c3

All right. Based off some answers here >>/questdis/72988 about how much things cost and what they do, I'm gonna solidify my vote.

1XP Spirit two (leaning Warped minds, maybe Normality).
1XP Speech
1XP Humanlike (making our brother as alive and normal as possible is now a definite character trait).
1XP Bro str +1

I'm thinking we definitely want our brother to be strong. Hard part is going to be figuring out the balance, and how much we want to divert to finesse for speed/dodge and will for special ability powering. (And how much we want to divert to Guy's will and fin. I don't think we want to go the helpless non-com role Michelle went. At least she has the luxury of avatars she could ride).
>>
No. 520149 ID: d78743

I'm for Upgrading Spirit, grabbing Speech and Humanlike, and hanging on to the last XP for now. I think we should wait to see if we have the same options Liz had or not, but if we do I say grab Normality. If we have different options, we probably need to wait and see what they are.
>>
No. 520152 ID: 184dd1

"Why exactly would I want these foci?"

"Didn't I already tell you? You need em to get stronger. The stronger you get, the less likely someone will come along and try to steal your... brother."

You blink in response to that, but mull that over a moment before making a decision.

"I suppose I join up with you breakers. Seems like a good idea, as long as bro is fine with it."

"Course I am. I'm just here to keep an eye on you, after all."

"Alright then. That decides it. Where to?"

"Huh? Did it just... wha- and it just... huh? You know what, I'll just ignore that. Still, what do you mean, where to? I didn't say I was letting you hook up with me. Although... that might no be a bad idea... having some back up never hurt, and an avatar type on top of all that..."

Jager seems to lapse into silence, and you stare at him as he mutters to himself a moment. Then he seems to come to a decision himself, and looks up at you.

"Alright. Seems like you're new, don't really know what's going on. I'll tell you what. I'll let you hook up with me for awhile. I'm a mercenary in all this, take jobs as they come. It's a decent enough life-style, if a bit dangerous. If you're fine with that I mean. Just be aware we gotta kill people sometimes. It happens."

>>>Input Command
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No. 520163 ID: 19b3c3

Oh, whups. We forgot to say much directly relevant to the situation at hand, and didn't come to a clear consensus on XP.

>Job offer
Accept, for now. Someone to show you the ropes is a good thing, for now.

...and you can handle it people end up getting killed in a fight or something. If what you've been told is true, you're not really going to be able to avoid fights, and death. Not if you want to keep your brother. Just so long as we're not taking jobs murdering a bunch of helpless people.

>>520141
I still vote this. (Although we'll have to wait and see what spirit abilities we're given to chose between).
>>
No. 520194 ID: 184dd1

Experience Allocated:
Spirit 2
BP: 8
Brother: Speech 1 Gained
Brother: Human-Like 1 Gained

XP: 1


"Seems like a good idea to me. Alright, I'll work with you."

"That's the spirit, brother! We'll be strong in no time!"

"Heh. Well... at least your ava-... brother... seems to get the idea. Even if you don't plan on using it, strength will keep you safe. Alright! Now that we're teamed up, I should probably hand this over to you."

Jager gets up from his relaxation on the couch and drops a key into your hands. At the same time, he also hands over about a hundred dollars and what appears to be a fake ID.

"You never know when any of that will come in handy. Ah, the key is for here. The money is for whatever, although I don't have much myself. We still got plenty of time for the day, so I think now would be a good time to get us a job. I can do that on my own though. Meantime, I suggest getting yourself situated, maybe visiting the exchange. Only sewer rat that doesn't avoid outsiders. He'll take any foci you don't need off your hands, for money, information or even other foci. You should be able to find him just by heading down into the sewers and looking for the lights. They shouldn't be too far off from where we are now... you got a cellphone on you?"

"Uh. Yeah. Here, I'll give you my number."

You quickly exchange contact information with Jager, and he helps you get situated into your new home, such as it is, before he heads out, disappearing into the sewers below. You take a little more time to situate, but soon find yourself with nothing to do around the house. The entire time, your brother seems to lounge around on the couch, not really doing anything per say, just waiting patiently.

>>>Input Command
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No. 520223 ID: 19b3c3

>1XP left
Ehh, I suppose we can hold on to that for now.

>money
How much of your own do you have, anyways? If you just got out of college, you can't have much to your own name, and there's a good chance you've got a good deal of debt anyways.

Although if there's a police investigation into the mess and bodies at your hotel room, it might not be safe to access your accounts, especially if these D7 people hunting breakers are feds. Were you staying under your own name? How were you paying for the room?

(Probably a good reason to get a new phone later, too. If D7 gets our name, they'll find our phone, and then us).

>what do
Now that you have a moment to yourself (presumably not about to be interrupted by a violent gang) you can talk to your brother. Gotta be things you want to say. Let's see what he knows.

...so. You're not dead. And a doll. And you can punch through concrete and take bullets like a superhero. And all because reality is broken, somehow. (To yourself: if this is the kind of thing those fixers want to fix you definitely don't want any part of it. You don't care how you got your brother back, just that you did).

What was it like, all those years? Where were you?

After talking (I suspect we may not get many answers), we might as well see what's up with Mac this exchange place. Not much else you can do with these foci. If you're an avatar type (although it's still weird to think of your brother that way) then you guess weapon type stuff won't work for you. Not that you'd really want another... avatar. You have your brother, why would you need someone or something else? The idea makes you kind of uncomfortable.
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No. 520293 ID: 184dd1
File 137255438653.jpg - (152.47KB , 970x643 , Atmosphere2-970x643.jpg )
520293

"So... You're not dead. And can apparently punch through concrete. How?"

"Don't know, really. I remember being sick, then... stuff happened. There were... reasons, I had to disappear for awhile. Sorry about that. Didn't mean to make you worry or anything. Still, I'll tell you all about it some other time. For now, what say we go figure out what to do about these foci things. You got two already, after all."

You nod your agreement, a little skeptical of your brother for avoiding your question, but regardless, going to this exchange thing seems a good idea. You gather what things you have, and head out, Brother falling into step behind you, and you quickly descend into the sewers.

After wandering for a little while, you eventually find it. What Jager had described had seemed more like a single shop. Instead, what you found was an entire marketplace. The area is flooded with activity, people haggling and bartering everywhere. Money and foci seem to change hands almost constantly, and you're a little surprised at the place for being this open. Regardless, you quickly find yourself caught in the flow, getting pulled along with the crowd, until eventually you manage to find a quieter area where you can get your bearings. You pause to take a few deep breaths, only to find someone break into your thoughts.

"Heh. First time at the market, huh?"

You start a little, then turn to find yourself in front of a stall. The merchant behind the counter is what surprises you more than anything however.

He's an albino.

"Yeah, I know. I'm a little bit of an oddity. More so cause I'm not a breaker. Anymore. It's odd. I've met people that tell me I used to be, but... I don't know if I believe them. Regardless, I'm Daniel Tanner. Pleasure to meet you. I deal in foci and such, well... like most everybody here, I guess. Still, I'm not a sewer rat, so I'd like to think I give better deals then they do. Pleasure to meet you!"

Daniel holds out his hand, smiling kindly. His shop, such as it is, has all sorts of things in it, most of them look random at best, but you get the feeling that every one of them is... different, somehow. Are they all foci?

"Uh, hi. I'm Guy. This is my brother."

"Hey, how's it going!"

"Ooo. Nice to... huh... interesting... well, still, nice to meet you both! What can I do for you?"

>>>Input Command
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No. 520297 ID: 7e8516

Daniel! Ask him if he has any good avatar foci to trade.
>>
No. 520304 ID: 19b3c3

Well. Working in the sewers wasn't what I expected when Elizabeth said his future was bright and filled with life.

I think that puts this soundly in the future, though. Linda met with Raphael Daniel the day she woke up and took command, and it's only been a day since then. (I think? Day 1 ended with Cass' unburdening. Day 2, sometime after midday, we went out on our fixer raids. Unless I'm forgetting a time skip in there). I would think it would take more than a day to take a plane across county (Sun city is west coast, and Central is breakerverse-DC, right?) and get a business set up.

Hmm. I hope when we switch back we don't skip past the three way battle. I had been psyched to run through that.

>More so cause I'm not a breaker. Anymore.
Really? From what I'd heard so far, it doesn't seem like something you can quit without getting beat up.

>What can I do for you?
What do you have in stock? I've heard avatar types are supposed to be rare... (...and you're still kind of uncomfortable with the idea you'd need more than your brother) and I'm not sure what else would be useful.

I've got two for trade. Uh, this one makes a handgun, and this one some kind of knuckle punching thing.
>>
No. 520306 ID: d1d627

Better question: If we 'tune' a foci so we get power from it, can we still trade it?
(Bro-hey, doesn't this guy like a little like Monstrificus to you?{Monstrificus being an imaginary villian 'Bro& SideGuy' used to 'fight' when they were younger.} Maybe it's just me.)
Yea, and hey-even if he dodged the question, dying probably sucks! No reason to bother bro too much about it right?
>>
No. 520346 ID: 19b3c3

>>520306
Yes, tuned foci can be traded. Technically, any focus we took off someone without killing them stayed tuned to that person (but inaccessible) until the focus was destroyed or tuned to a new breaker. We've only ever seen someone trade a focus tuned to themself once, though. And that was only because he had nothing else to trade.

(Actually, if you read into some of Elizabeth's comments, foci may stay attuned to and/or preserve a part of a person even after their death. Which would mean there's really no such thing as untunned foci, just foci untuned to us (except maybe in rare cases, like something the Doc has just made)).

Getting XP from a focus isn't the same as attunement, though. We haven't damaged the foci by taking power from them, and we won't lose XP by giving them up now.
>>
No. 520356 ID: 184dd1

Normality Obtained

"Not a breaker anymore? It seems like you'd need to get beaten up for that to happen."

"Yeah, maybe. I don't know if I really believe the whole 'used to be a breaker thing', but if it was true, I don't remember it at all."

"Mmm. So, uh... what do you have in stock? I've heard... avatars... are kinda rare."

"Yeah. I don't have any avatars. I don't think anyone else around here does either. I've heard of a few loose ones around the city though. Untuned ones I mean. IF you want, I can look into it for one of those foci or yours. I need something to trade to get it over here, at the very least. There should be two, as far as I'm aware. If you're looking for avatars, you might try one of the D7 or fixer bases as well. They tend to collect stuff. I just so happen to know about a D7 stockpile around here, maybe for a foci of yours, I might be willing to tell you where it is."

Daniel smiles good naturally, obviously willing to help you out. You'd guess he needs some form of payment though, he can't live off of just handing stuff out for free. You glance at your brother, who just shrugs back at you. Looks like it's your decision after all.

"Ah! Before I forget. Those foci of yours can also be traded for other stuff. You need some more cash, or want to get into contact with a specific person, I can do that. I even know some breakers out west. Not that they have it any easier. I hear the fixers are on the run, but D7 is really active as well. Regardless, whatever you need, I can probably get it for you. Seems like I was fairly well known when I was breaker. If I was a breaker."

>>>Input Command
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No. 520365 ID: 19b3c3

>I hear the fixers are on the run [out west]
Yes, for reals in the future. (I really hope we get to double back and run their butts out of town ourself...).

>Get in contact with a specific person [out west]
Ha. Tempting, but no. Guy doesn't know anyone to reach out to, or have a reason to, yet. ...and even if we did contact Linda, we'd forget doing it. :V

>more cash
We should be able to get monies (or things worth monies) some other way. We got a will build and normality. We can swing something.

>D7 stockpile
...interesting. Could be source of a lot of foci, and if you're taking an avatar from a pile instead of from a breaker, it's more like you're rescuing the avy than stealing or kidnapping it. And after getting your brother back, you're not sure you could bear to take someone who means as much as he does to you away from someone else. But rescuing a lost one... you could do that.

Although I don't think Guy is anywhere near ready to hit one of their facilities. Or to deal with the heat that would likely follow. Might be worth scoping out, at least. Or saving for later.

>pay to see if Rap- Daniel can locate an avatar floating around the free market
I'd be willing to spend a focus on that. If he were able to locate one though, what would be the cost to purchase? If they're rare, you'll willing to bet the exchange isn't one to one.

(...and though looking for another focus is a good idea, the decision to tune it or not us gonna be a lot harder. Some avatar foci seem downright crazy-making, and we don't necessarily want that in our head. It's gonna be hard to decide if a new one is 'safe'.)

>Seems like I was fairly well known when I was breaker. If I was a breaker.
*Wan smile* It doesn't get awkward, drawing on contacts you aren't sure you ever had?
>>
No. 520491 ID: 184dd1

"Uh. I guess I'll hand this over than. See if you can track down ones of these avatars for me."

"You got it. I'll see what I can do. Can't be too hard, I've got all sorts of people willing to help me out. Or afraid of me. It's kind of odd really."

"Um. How many foci would it take to actually GET the avatar from you once you have it?"

"Hm? Oh. OH! Almost forgot about that. It'd depend on how strong this avy was. No worries, It'll probably be between five and six foci. Nothing you can't gather up pretty easily. At least, I'd hope you have a way to gather foci. If not, you're gonna get your ass beat pretty quick."

"Ah... no... I... I'm working with Jager..."

"Jager? Not bad. He'd a little more on the morbid side, but he's cool. Don't let him push you around too much, yeah?"

"Sure. Um... isn't it a little...awkward... drawing on contacts you don't remember?"

"A little. But still, they want to help, and I really don't remember much from before. It's like a huge block in my memories, where everything is just black. Can't help what can't be helped. Regardless, I've got your order. Anything else I can help you with?"

>>>Input Command
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No. 520547 ID: 19b3c3

Maaaan. Linda, we we get back to you, we're so mailing Raphael a care package. Just send it through one of Marc's shell corporations or something so D7 doesn't follow it for being from you.

>Anything else?
I think I'm good for the moment, thanks. (Can't think of anything else to buy, and you're not feeling up to breaking into or pissing off some shadow government thing, yet).

>When you're alone with your brother again
...does the idea bother you? You know, getting another... avatar. I'm not sure if it should bother me.
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No. 520585 ID: 17cb5e

It's not like we have any foci left to trade so unless it's something free I think this is it. Maybe we can ask about which gangs to avoid if the info is free.
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No. 520589 ID: 19b3c3

>It's not like we have any foci left to trade
We traded 1 focus to pay him to find an avatar for trade. We still have the other if we can come up with anything good to spend it on.
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No. 520754 ID: 184dd1
File 137275480963.jpg - (17.29KB , 201x300 , 2248811_1324075780000_66res_201_300.jpg )
520754

"Ah... I'm good. Thank you."

"No problem. Come back in a day or two, I'll have some results by then, I think."

You take your leave, heading back towards the entrance, taking the opportunity to talk to your brother as well.

"Hey bro... you okay... with me getting another... avatar..."

"Seems alright to me. Just don't expect me to play nice with whoever it is. They might no get along with us."

"Alright."

You make your way back up to the surface, and enter the house again to fine Jager along with some other girl, confined it seems, to a wheelchair. The girl smiles good pleasantly, while Jager just looks mildly impatient.

"Hey, Guy. Found us a job. Well, she found us a job. Ah, she's-"

"I'm Alilira. Don't really like my last name, so we'll skip that one. It's a pleasure to meet you!" The woman wheels herself closer and extends her hand, which you take and shake reflexively. You find yourself a bit surprised, and Alilira seems to notice, that smile growing a bit wider.

"Weird, huh? Wouldn't think a breaker could be someone like me. Well, I am. Just not in the way you'd think. I'm more of a support type than anything. Give me a computer and a security system, and I'll play you a digital masterpiece. It helps that Jager here can't find work without me."

"Hey! I do well enough on my own!"

"Sure. If you count living out of a cardboard box 'doing well'. Anyway, I found us a nice little easy job, something to get the new guy started off, maybe help him get stronger. Fixers found themselves a gang they want gone, but they don't have the manpower to deal with it right now. Trouble with D7 or something. They're offering $1000 cash, as well as any foci we find on the breaker gang."

"That it? Don't have anything else?"

"Weeeeell... we could try for something a bit more lucrative, but we'll be pushing it, and the fixers probably won't like us much. Sewer Rats want a Fixer base out of the way, apparently they set one up on one of the regular trade routes. We get $2000, a foci, and any we find, but... fixers are gonna be dug in, and I can't help much, since my abilites are... well... useless where there isn't any security cameras around."

"I see. Well, I say we go for lucrative, but that's just me. I already know you Lira, you want safety first. What you up for, Guy?"

"Huh? Me?"

"Yeah. You're part of the gang, now, you get fair say in this."

>>>Input Command
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No. 520768 ID: d1d627

Hrrrm. Sooo Fixer base that's dug in? Or random gang of people.
I'm thinking random gang-while we don't know how strong exactly Jager is, and wheelchair chick is support which means limited aid from her, the biggest and more concering point in my opinion is the fact that Guy...Really is just a big strong dood at the moment, as opposed to having any sort of special ability or skill he could use...
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No. 520789 ID: 19b3c3

>Fixers hiring Mercs
Now that's odd. From what little we know, they don't seem to like anyone breaking. I mean, on the one hand, getting breakers to take out breakers is part of their mission statement. On the other, they're empowering people who don't follow their ideas. That means the fixers must be hard pressed to consider this, or this gang is enough of a menance they don't care.

...we should be careful what we let them know. Long run, the fixers would either want to recruit mercs they've using (stop paying them, place them under closer supervision, and get strong people following their rules) or kill them (can't let the freelance reality-destroyers get too strong, right?).

>where go
Well, ideally we want to take the job where everyone can actually be useful (and that we can handle). Part of me is a little leery of working for the fixers (if they're out to 'fix' stuff like your brother coming back, you don't really care for their philosophy very much), but if this gang ain't saints, you don't have a problem breaking them up.

>we don't know how strong exactly Jager is
Stats up in dis! >>/questdis/73100 He looks like he's been working on upping and balancing his base stats, and he's got kind of a high BP pool for a low level fighter. Which is odd considering he hasn't invested in upgrading his weapons at all, yet. I guess he wants to be able to tank?
>>
No. 520906 ID: 184dd1

You think through the issue for a moment or two, letting the two jobs roll around in your head, before you finally answer that you'd prefer the safer, fixer sponsored job. The two others nod their acceptance, and soon enough, the group is traveling by van instead of by sewers, mainly because Lira can't access the sewers on her own. After a half hour traveling the streets of Central, you find yourself outside a simple warehouse. You frown in confusion a moment, until you see Lira roll herself out of the back of the van, wheeling towards a semi open door.

"This is my stop. I'll provide support as I can. Mostly just shutting off security cameras and the like, but I'll see if there's any electronic locks as well. Catch you guys in a bit."

Then the van is rolling again, and you move over a block or two, before Jager parks and hops out himself. You and your brother quickly follow suit, attention directed to what looks like a small apartment complex.

"This is it? Doesn't seem like much, does it Bro."

"Yeah, well. We did choose the safe job in all this. I'll take the lead, try to punch my way through. You two follow in behind me, cover my back. That work for you?"

>>>Input Command
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No. 520912 ID: 19b3c3

>Cameras, locks
Hum. I kind of hope her powerset gets broader as she grows. Her entire electronic security hacking thing is kind of narrow, and could be replaced by one person with good spirit and normality and/or active break and/or warped reality (although I suppose WR only covers 1 person, you'd need the next level of the warped skill tree for a group). And there are just tons of ways breakers could circumvent doors.

I mean, I'll grant her way of doing things looks like it would allow for more seamless control and finesse in alterations, and would probably be better suited for an actual successful stealth opp (...she can be codec girl, and Mike can be Snake :V). But I have a hard time seeing anything breaker related not ending in massive damage and violence.

>You two follow in behind me, cover my back. That work for you?
Yeah, that's about as good a plan as we got. The avatar is the most durable person to put on point, Guy's in the middle to throw will at people when and if he can, and Jager's in position to move forward and support or respond to an attack from behind. ...and actually, a tomahack can be used as a ranged weapon, so he has the option of acting as ranged support too.

Brother's combat tactics should still focus on hitting scrubs hard and fast. Aim to disable targets- break, stun, slam, dislocate, knock out, whatever. Work with Guy will-locking them possible. Not because sparing people is more moral (Guy kind of isn't in a position to care, yet, and as far as his brother is concerned, morality is following Guy and protecting him) but because it's the most efficient way to take people out of fights, and it works well with an unarmed brawler build, and we can exploit the fact that an avatar is more durable than a flesh and blood breaker close up.

>to Jager
Did the contract specify we need to make them dead, or just that we need them broken up and depowered? (Kind of dispassionate here. This whole thing hasn't struck Guy as really real yet, the morality is kind of abstract. The fact he's been withdrawn so long, and that he is and has been so focused on caring about his brother, makes it harder to care about what happens to other people. But that gang that died before seemed like they were hunting Jager. Here, you're the aggressor. That makes it sort of different, right?).
>>
No. 521118 ID: 17cb5e

>"Yeah, well. We did choose the safe job in all this. I'll take the lead, try to punch my way through. You two follow in behind me, cover my back. That work for you?"

That sounds good for now. We can adjust as needed later.

>>520912
>Did the contract specify we need to make them dead, or just that we need them broken up and depowered?

I want to find this out as well. It's probably dead though knowing fixers not like we care at this point of time.
>>
No. 521275 ID: 184dd1

"Hey. This contract. Did it specify whether we should kill them or not?"

"No. Although killing them would be preferable. Even disabled, breakers can cause trouble. Especially with D7 around."

"Ah... I see."

"Hey! We ready to do this thing?"

"Yeah. Go when you're rea-"

Your brother suddenly smashes his way through a doorway, that friendly grin never leaving his face. He seems to be treating this as more of an interesting diversion or a game then anything. Maybe you should as well...

Brother Contamination: 10/100

Regardless, you almost immediately run into two people, who look almost completely taken by surprise. Your brother wastes no time in attacking, fist smashing into the first person he comes across, and although it was a good hit, the man recovers quickly and soon the two are engaged in an almost beautiful fist fight, although you're not sure why if the man is a breaker.

The other man, however, is already drawing what looks like a boomerang looking thing. As he pulls back to toss it, a small axe looking thing hurtles over your shoulder, slamming into the man's arm and throwing off his balance. Jager quickly follows it, vaulting over you as his sword springs into being, the blade cleaving the man in half.

"Don't just stand there, stupid! Go help your brother!"

You snap out of your temporary state and head off towards your brother, who's grinning happily as he continues to trade blows. You don't know about getting involved yourself, you were never very good at fights, but then you remember that first fight you had been in. You'd told the man to stop, so maybe...

"Hey! HOLD IT!"

The man freezes in place, a look of surprise crossing his face, then your brother is on him, hands grabbing him by the sides of his face and twisting viciously, the snap of bone dropping him instantly. Behind you, Jager is dealing with his own, systematically killing him again and again. The fight is soon over, although you doubt the noise has gone unnoticed. Your cell vibrating catches you by surprise, and you check it to find a text waiting for you.

- Checked Cameras. 2 more n office. 1 other side of building.

You frown in confusion a momment, then watch in surprise as the text suddenly changes.

- 2 coming. Get ready.

You blink again, but the advice came too late, as two more people round a bunch of boxes. Everybody freezes, even your brother, and you have maybe a split second to react.

>>>Input Command
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No. 521327 ID: 19b3c3

>Even disabled, breakers can cause trouble. Especially with D7 around.
I... huh. Hadn't considered that. There are probably decent odds D7 tries to pick up depowered breakers. Which is obviously bad for the people picked up, and may be bad for us, depending on what D7 manages to do with them. There's information, obviously. As ex-breakers, they may know damaging information they can't exactly protect anymore (names, locations, details of how powers work, etc). And the potential for breaking is still there. If D7 can mad science or reality tear a way around the catch 22 of "I need a focus to tune a focus" they could harness that. ...and even if they can't, former breakers should still should have more 'stuff' to them than a normal's thread, and can be processed into raw reality. And bullets for that unmaker gun. Adds an ugly new wrinkle to the not killing enemies practice.

Although I'm not sure though that automatically means killing everyone is the right move. People kind of deserve a chance.

>He seems to be treating this as more of an interesting diversion or a game then anything. Maybe you should as well...
Tempting. You want to follow his lead, and it's so easy to fall back on letting him shape your worldview.

But as crazy as this all is... it's real right? Maybe it's not real enough for your brother- he's too close to where real broke. I mean, he was dead. But this is real to you, and it's real for the people you're fighting. It's real... to anyone who may lose them. You know what it's like to lose someone.

(Let's start waking him up, here).

>what do
Well, we don't have an overabundance of options. Guy can't fight directly, free-form breaking is highly unreliable (and not much good at spirit 2), and normality doesn't exactly have combat applications (or many against breakers. Unless you're way stronger than them, I suppose). And we don't have any information about our opponents, their weapons, or capacities.

Throw your will at the new two- get them to hesitate or hold position for just a moment. Just long enough for your brother to slam into those boxes and bring them down on top of them. They'll be knocked out or pinned, or stuck respawning in a bad position. Low level breakers may not have the str or spirit to bust or break out easily.

(Think about how it's odd you can make people do things. You guess it kind of comes with being an avatar type, having a person you 'control'? Although it doesn't exactly feel that way with him).

>next level
So getting spirit 3 and active break. We need agency, baby.

Then we need to buff stats a little, I think. Work on Guy's will, so we can do stuff to people who aren't scrubs. Get more BP maybe, so we can fuel things. Invest in Bro's stats, so normal breakers don't start taking him. (I think initially we should do str/fin for brawling. Then later we shift his build to str/wil/fin when we have or can afford to buy him special abilities to power with will).
>>
No. 521990 ID: 184dd1

You find yourself reacting first, shouting out a command with more volume than you'd intended.

"WAIT!"

Both men hesitate in surprise, blinking in confusion, then your brother and Jager descend on them with all the fury of a storm. The next thing you see is blood everywhere, not coming from Jager, who's strikes are methodical and precise, but from your brother. That smile has never dropped from his face, like the reality of it hasn't really hit him, even as he proceeds to beat his opponent into submission again and again.

You find yourself pausing, considering what you're seeing in front of you. This can't be your brother. He'd never do something like this, he'd never just beat a man to death like that, it couldn't possibly be like tha-

"Guy? You alright?"

You blink in surprise, you brother's fists covered in his enemies blood. You start to shrink away involuntarily, and you visibly see your brother glance down at his own hands and frown sadly. He shakes his head quickly, as if banishing some sort of difficult thought from his head.

"I know what it looks like. Trust me, I'll explain when we have time. For now, just focus on what needs doing right now. And try to keep your head up, yeah? Getting depressed now would be bad."

You find yourself unconsciously relaxing. You trust your brother. Maybe the only person you've ever really trusted. You have to hope he'll have a good explanation for later. Now though, you spot Jager calmly looting the deceased, muttering a little to himself as he pockets them. You frown, thinking you'd get some, but he explains without looking up from his looting, letting you know that the loot is separated later. For now, you move on, checking your phone again as it buzzes in your pocket.

- Same as before

You go over what you'd seen on the earlier texts. Two are in the offices, wherever those are, and one is on the other side of the warehouse. Maybe that's it? You relay this information to Jager, who nods in thought before focusing again.

"I'll take the one on his own. You two need the practice anyway. Combat experience goes a long way in our line of work. Be careful and don't put yourself into too dangerous a situation. You only have so many times you can die and come back to life."

You nod your understanding, then separate from Jager, heading off towards where you think the offices are. A few minutes later, you and your brother are crouched by the door, the muted voices of a man and a woman heard through the door. You can't really make out what they're saying, but you gather it to be rather angry and troubled.

"Alright bro, only us two now. Got a plan, or we going in guns blazin?"

>>>Input Command
Brother Contamination: 15
>>
No. 522058 ID: 19b3c3

>Getting depressed now would be bad.
Your brother is right that you can't fall apart. But part of you is wondering if he's lost... perspective. Has being dead meant this kind of thing doesn't bother him anymore? Or... he came back to protect you. He's what you got instead of a weapon, a sword, a bat, a gun. Does playing that role change how he sees things?

You're not sure, and you know he would never hurt you, or let anything happen to you... but maybe you need to be careful and do more of the thinking when it comes to other people. He may be in a position where it's hard to.

>loot splitting after
Yeah, that makes. Especially since we have to take Lira into account too, and we can choose to divy up the loot so that if anything is actually useful to any of you for something other than trade, that person gets it.

>plan
Hmm. We still don't have over-many options.

...does normality work on breakers? You could calm yourself down, spend a break point, and make yourself fit in here? Pass you and your brother off off as the two breakers you just beat down. That's a spirit roll, but you could throw some will behind it and try to act the roll, too. It just needs to fool them long enough so you can get in the room without them drawing weapons, and you can get close to them, and then take them out.

Knock them out and take their stuff if you can. You should... probably stop your brother from beating them to death over and over. You don't care what Jager said before, you're just stopping these guys for a job, you don't have any reason to want them dead. And you don't really like the idea of your brother being a merciless killer. If he can't see a problem with that... well, you'll just help him avoid it. If he needs you to point him in the right direction, it's the least you can do.

>15 contamination
So up, but not as much as last time.
>>
No. 522362 ID: 17cb5e

>>522058
>plan
It's either that or go gun blazin so let's go for it.
>>
No. 522722 ID: 184dd1

You take a deep breath, working to calm yourself down a little, and keep yourself from interrupting... something. You're not quite sure what your about to do, but if you can mess with reality, maybe you can...

You feel a jolt, and see something like TV static go across your vision, then nothing. You pause a moment, then take another deep breath, stand up and simply walk in.

"... Uh... Hey guys? How's everything going?"

"Hm? Oh! Donavan? What are you doing up here? Shouldn't you be down by the door? You know, guarding?"

"Guarding... right. Uh... I just needed to talk to you guys for a minute. That's all. Besides, it kinda sounded like you two were arguing."

"Yeah... well... you know how it goes... she's been a little... eh..."

"You're the one who can't make up their damn mind! We've been going out for three months now and you can't even hold my damn hand!"

"It's just... well.. I can't... can't bring myself to do it. I mean... I just... I don't want to rush things, and-"

"HOW IS HOLDING MY HAND RUSHING ANYTHING?!"

"GAH! I'm sorry!"

You stare a little dumbfounded, and you get the feeling even your brother is taken a little aback. This... is not what you were expecting. Still, the two arguing has put you both in a nice position, and with sudden bursts of violence, both are snoozing away. You pause a moment to examine the two, even as you hear the unmistakable sounds of metal against metal from elsewhere. Your brother looks about ready to continue pummeling, until you quickly stop him, telling him to keep the killing to a minimum. He makes a sort of noncomittal grunting sound, but backs off for now.

You loot the pair of their precious foci and stand just as your cell goes off again.

-Job's done. Nice going! Meet you guys back at the house!

You nod to yourself, and glance up as Jager walks into the room, weapons gone.

"Looks like you did pretty good, kid. Not dead, huh? Eh, easily remedi-"

"Can... Can we not? I mean, I'll kill if I have to... but..."

"... Alright! Alright! Damn, you're annoying. You're gonna have to get rid of the squeamishy thing you have going. Our line of work is a little violent, in case you hadn't noticed. Well... whatever. I'm sure Lira'd agree with you, anyway. Come on, let's get going."

A half-hour later. All three of you a gathered around a table, a few plates of something smelling delicious in front of you, and seven foci on the table. All of them are... weapon types... as Jager calls them, and you deduce that you shouldn't particularly care about them. Another thing you notice is that they don't particularly care about them either. It's Lira who pipes up first, halfway through the meal.

"Soooo... we doing an even split then? Two and two and two?"

"Yeah, I think that's safe. Leaves the last one though."

"Yeah. New guy should have it, though. He's weaker than you, and I don't really need them as badly, since I'm... you know."

"Alright. That settles that. Seems we're all done with dinner to, such as it is. I'll get the dishes cleaned up, why don't you two... I don't know... do something."

Jager collects the tableware and heads off towards the kitchen, while Lira settles back into her chair a little, humming happily to herself in content. She stays like that a minute or two, then suddenly turns her attention to you, a pleasant smile not unlike your brother's usual expression popping up on her face.

"Hey. Tell me about yourself, yeah?"

>>>Input Command

Experience Gained: 3
Total: 4

>>
No. 522755 ID: 19b3c3

Oh hey, that worked well. I'm going to assume that's how Aria pulled the little kid act, way back when.

...we also just saw firsthand how handling a relationship with a teammate poorly can go badly.

>Hey. Tell me about yourself, yeah?
(Nooo, our lazily constructed incomplete background finally raises its ugly head).

Not much to tell, really. Pretty normal childhood, went away to college to get away from my brother's death, got out, and now he's back, somehow. Still trying to get used to that.

>4XP
Spend 2 points to get to spirit 3.

We'll probably have the choice between active break, break sight, warped minds, and normality cloak. Of those, I would say the most valuable is active break, as it gives Guy a lot more options as a non direct combat type.

The remaining two points... I think we want to put into brother's str, so he isn't overpowered in melee next time by a breaker who's actually upped their base stats at all. (Or maybe split- up str and fin?).

Next time we can think about upping spirit again, and stacking some wil on Guy. Or giving him more BP to break with.
>>
No. 522781 ID: 5d4146

Hrrm...Guy's kinda withdrawn right?
I've got an idea for dialouge:
Guy: uhh..Well, I majored in math...
Bro: Really? When I was alive you were really into acting, what happened? (knows, but is acting the part to get us to tell the tale.)
Guy:Bro, you DIED! Everything fell apart after that! They didn't need to know!
Bro: Sorry...But I wish you had followed your dreams instead of secluding yourself...
>>
No. 523029 ID: 184dd1

"Huh? Oh... uh... Well, there's not really much to talk about really. I mean, pretty normal life, I guess, went to college, majored in math..."

"Math? Why math? I remember you being into acting!"

"Uh..."

"Acting? Really?" Lire seems to light up at that, her interest clear. Damn the big mouth on your brother. Ass didn't have to go saying that out loud. "What kind of acting?"

"Guy here used to be part of the drama club. Stage and all that. Pretty good to, if you can forgive the sibling bias."

"Haha! That's cool! I've never really gotten to do anything like that."

You find yourself awkwardly left out of the conversation, and take the opportunity to force your way back in, and direct the conversation away from yourself and your rather troubled past.

"So... uh... what about you, Alilira?"

"Just Lira is fine, it's easier to say. Let's see... I grew up pretty normal to, I guess, until... well, this. I'm over it by now, I'm one of the more... stable breakers, I guess you could say. Sure, my legs being paralyzed is pretty bad, but it's not the end of the world. I'll live. And I got these cool powers out of it. Regardless, I've always been into computers and such, even got put in jail for it for a little while. Wasn't my fault, really, the bank's security was so... subpar. Eh, well, that sums me up I guess. Not much to the story. Became a breaker. Almost got killed by some fixers. Jager came and saved me by accident, found me while he was doing a job for the rats. Let me stick with him. He can be kinda rough some time, and a little morbid, but he's really a pretty cool guy. Just don't let him walk all over you, alright?"

You nod your acceptance, and the conversation sort of just dies away. It's starting to get darker outside, but still a little early to get to bed. Maybe you should try talking to someone else? Or do you have more questions for Lira?

>>>Input Command
Spirit 3 gained: Active Break, Break Sight, Warped Minds, Normality Cloak available.
XP Remaining: 2

>>
No. 523058 ID: 23b97a

Well, looks like we achieved our goal of keeping our brother involved in the real world.

>don't let him walk all over you, alright?
Hm. Second time we've received a warning like that.

>Lira
Pff. I want to recruit her into the main group now. Stick the hacker and the precog and economic genius(es) in one room and see how badly we can abuse the system. ...although I suppose Linda's group already has more money than we know what to do with anyways.

>What do?
I wouldn't mind talking with Lira more, although I can't think of any specific questions at the moment. (Although I suppose there's a lot of basic breaker information we know Guy doesn't, yet. And Lira's been more talkative than Jager or our Bro).

Alternatively, we could take time to talk to our brother. Stuff keeps getting in the way of that, and we did have some unresolved stuff to ask him, and things he said he would explain.

>Xp
-Active break.
-Brother str+1, fin+1.

Because we want Guy to have more options, and we can't afford to neglect our brothers stats and see him get overpowered in the next fight.
>>
No. 523693 ID: 184dd1

You decide it's time to withdraw from Lira, nice as she is, you're still not very comfortable in her presence. After giving some semblance of a goodnight, you retreat to your room, closing the door to give yourself and your newly returned brother some privacy. That done, you turn to said individual, who has sat himself on a chair next to a desk and is watching you with interest. You stand there awkwardly a moment, only to have your brother chuckle.

"Come on. We both know you want to ask. So ask."

"Whe... Where have you been?"

"Weeeeell... I don't really know. I mean, I sorta do, but... I don't? It's hard to explain exactly. I know I'm not dead, very not dead, as it so happens, but at the same time... it's like the knowledge is there, but I just can't remember. I can tell you I was helping someone with something, something very important. Or maybe... no. Not relevant. Regardless, instead of dying that day, I got taken by some guys. Two of them I think. Then I'm helping with... whatever it is. Kept me drugged up, I think. Then... I don't know. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in that hotel room with you, and I know I'm a lot better at fighting than I was before. Maybe I'm part of some cloak and dagger type stuff, huh? Wouldn't that be cool."

You blink, not completely buying it. Not that your brother is lying, you don't think he is, but rather... something still seems off, a little. Regardless, you can't fault your brother for trying his best, and whatever happened, he clearly seems to believe it. You resolve to trust him. He is family, after all.

Still... do you have anything else you want to ask?

>>>Input Command

Brother Contamination: 20%
>>
No. 523694 ID: 5d4146

Ok guys. I just had a very very scary thought.
I think Mark's dead wife happened because he became aware of her being nothing more than a construct of his own mind. The problem with that, is you end up with a yesman instead of a reliable voice of reason/sanity, which is usually what you expect of the person the Avatar is based on. It becomes a perversion of what they mean to you, and that rift between what they are now and who they once were becomes a nail being hammered into your psyche until you lose your mind.
Now that said? I think we should push on this issue some more.
Ask him: What was that thing he called not relevant?
And he sounded like he wanted to say something after we saw him with blood on his fists, but the situation was too demanding. What was up with that?
I think we should break through to the truth quickly, it might prevent Avatar madness...I hope.
>>
No. 523716 ID: 23b97a

I don't think he's lying. It's just... I think what he's been through might be hard to process or describe. He died, and then he came back to you. As a weapon. Instead of a sword, or a gun, or even a magic computer wheelchair, you got your brother back.

I mean, if his spirit or consciousness had to be somewhere in the interim, it kind of makes sense it might feel like being abducted, or drugged. Not sure who would have done the abducting, though. The man from your dream, maybe? You could describe him, see if your brother recognizes him.

And we should probably talk about the violence and killing. Your brother may treat it like a game, and Jager may have his own morbid reasons, but you should put your foot down with your brother. You should exercise restraint when you can. Because crazy as this is, this is real, and you know what it feels like to lose someone. Other people shouldn't have to go through that because of you if you can avoid it. That girl today lost her jerk of a boyfriend because you and Jager didn't exercise restraint- and that didn't have to happen.

That should push back against the corruption a little, I think.

>Xp
...so are we cool with active break and bumping brother's stats? I'm not hearing anyone else on this.
>>
No. 523870 ID: 184dd1

You try describing the man you dreamt of before waking up today, seeing if maybe your brother recognizes him, but he just shakes his head. Nothing. Doesn't sound like anything from his own dreams. Maybe if he saw the man himself, he'd be able to tell you.

After a moment to pause, you open up another topic that's been bothering you.

"Um... Brother?"

"Yeah?"

"Jager may have... reasons... for killing people, but... we don't really... I don't think we should follow him in that. All that violence is... it's not something I want to get used to, really. I'm just happy enough having you back. Anybody we kill... they're lost. They don't come back. I don't think that's a good thing. So maybe we can avoid killing people so much, yeah?"

"... I'll try. But... if they threaten you, I don't care who they are. I WILL hurt them."

Your brother's eyes go sharp, and you can almost feel a cold, emotionless husk underneath his skin. He's almost... painfully sure in his dedication to protect you. Still, you shake off the sudden feeling you get from him, to simply let him do as he likes. He may not like it, but you don't want to hurt people unless you have to. No one should go through the loss of losing a loved one. For now, though, the issue is done, and you get some much needed sleep minutes later.

---------------

You wake the next day and head downstairs, your brother back to being bright and chipper, to find Jager awake and cooking, and Lira much less so, nursing a cup of coffee. As soon as you walk in, Jager sets a plate of food in front of you, and another for your brother, almost as an afterthought. Your brother tucks in happily, while you glance between your two comrades.

"So..."


"Yeah. I know, jobs. Damnit, can't even wait till I'm fully awake. Got one from the rats again, although this time someone is apparently stealing some of their food supplies, and they want that stopped. They're just offering us cash, but it's not really a dangerous mission, so it's reasonable.

"There's another fixer thing to, if you want. Something about wanting to take down a D7 base. They hired a few other mercenaries to help out, so... you know, whatever. That's another bundle of cash, and a free foci for all of us, plus whatever we loot.

"Ah. Some guy named Daniel passed along some message to me. Said he wanted Guy over there to know he had his... thing... ready when he wanted to talk about a trade. I don't know what he's talking about, but whatever. Also said that other D7 base deal was still open, if you wanted to talk about that as well.

"Last, but not least, there's rumors floating around about some kinda demon or something skulking about down in the sewers. There's no set reward, but it only hunts breakers, and seems to steal their foci. No direct reward, but we might get quite the haul of foci out of it."

The room goes quiet as people think and eat, then it's time for the voting to begin. Jager wants to go kill some D7(bastards keep fucking with everyone, might as well hit em hard), Lira is more inclined to hunt down the thief(come on, easy money, we'd be done before the end of the day), which just leaves you to decide what you'd like to go do.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 523880 ID: af8414

D7 base D7 base do it do it
>>
No. 523895 ID: 23b97a

Damnit. Contamination didn't go back down an inch. Is that something that only goes up? Or takes a really big effort to counter? If that's a strait roll we've already got a 1 in 5 chance of strait up caving when our worldviews clash.

>thing... ready when he wanted to talk about a trade.
That was fast! We only have 4 untuned foci, though. We'll need to complete another mission before we have the 5 to 6 he was asking in trade.

And we'll have to see what the avy is. I'm not convinced getting another, potentially more unstable avy is a good idea before we've got Bro under control. And I have no idea how we're ever going to have enough XP to build up Guy and Bro and whoever the new person is. (...fairy?).

>missions
>sewer demon
...if it hunts breakers and takes, it's gotta be another breaker, right? Unless there's some other thing we don't know about. Problem is a solo type might be strong, we'd be hunting it in it's home turf, and there's no tech for Lira to hack.

Food thieving seems pretty low profile. We're breakers. We have any number of ways to get food.

The D7 job seems... interesting. Your brother said it might be cloak and dagger stuff, and secret branches of the government are cloak and dagger, right? (Not that that's right, but neither of you know it). Plus fed places will have stuff to hack- and that both gives Lira a way to contribute, and potentially a source of useful information (secret agencies studying us must know something worth knowing, right?). Plus, you have to admit to yourself, shutting down some evil organization hunting people sounds more appealing than turning on other breakers again just to get by.

Plus we might find a lead on Chris stuff. Not that Guy will know it when he sees it, but might be useful long term.

>XP
Last call to object! We need our stats fixed before the next mission.

-Spirit ability: active break
-1XP: Brother str+1
-1XP: Brother fin+1
>>
No. 523960 ID: 184dd1
File 137362119967.jpg - (66.52KB , 740x1164 , 66707_1343255502.jpg )
523960

You decide to side with Jager on this one, and before long, the group is heading off, using the van again to meet up with the fellow mercenaries. The meeting point is fairly standard, a bar a few miles outside the city line, and you can see all sorts of people loitering around, most breakers by the looks of it. There are very few you can bring yourself to care about, most of them just look like the typical roguish, thug type. A bit like Jager really. One oddity does pop out, however, a young woman who loiters next to a window, ignoring almost everybody else. She hums a little to herself, all while appearing to be completely harmless. Still, something tells you she might be the strongest in the room.

The woman starts a little, then turns in her chair and meets your eyes. They stay locked with yours a moment, then a smirk appears on her face and she returns to ignoring you, clearly getting the wrong idea about your attention. Regardless, things move quickly, and eventually the mercenaries are lead out to the fixer base, a short walk away, the building convincingly bland and mostly abandoned by the looks of it. Still. Something seems off. Like, why is there an abandoned shopping mall in this sort of place. The mission is simple, find and destroy as much of the complex as possible, before you are set loose by your employers. The other mercenaries, including the unknown woman, disappear into the mall, while your group of four holds back a little.

"Lira, can you get anything?"

"Mmm. Experience with D7 suggests they've got a closed grid. I'd need a hard access point to get in."

"So. We'll have to search the old fashioned way. I'll stick with Lira, guess we'll start on the first floor of this place. Guy, you take the second floor, yeah? We'll work our way from there. See if you can't find anything worth investigating, send us a text if you do. Try to avoid the other mercs, they can be a little... possessive. Especially with something special like your... brother."

You separate from your comrades, heading up to the second floor with your brother, and not seeing anyone in sight, take a quick look around. It seems there's three sections to this floor, a food court looking area, a music section, containing various musical stores, and the predictable clothing area. There seems to music of some kind coming from the music section, not something you recognize.

"Well, Guy, where should we hit up first? Can't be too hard to find this... hard point, or whatever."

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 523964 ID: 5d4146

Music. Music can be from one of two things, a performer, or a music system. Given the abandoned look of this area, I think it's the Music one, and it'll have our hard access point.
Of course, it could also have an angry breaker...Or worse
>>
No. 523988 ID: 23b97a

Yeah, music means something active, at least. Keeping the sound system playing doesn't make sense as part of an abandoned mall cover. Someone's there, or was there, or had to make the decision to turn it on.
>>
No. 524170 ID: 184dd1

You decide to check out the music section, in hopes that the music coming from it are a hardpoint, or maybe some other clue. Upon getting closer to the source, you identify rather absentmindedly that the music seems to be coming from a piano, you having some experience with the sound thanks to the occasional collaboration projects the drama club had done with the school orchestra back in high school. Regardless, upon rounding a corner and entering the store the music seems to be coming from, you find that woman from earlier, idly tapping away at a piano's keys. She looks up when come in, and she smiles at you, although you get the feeling it's more forced than genuine.

"Heeelloo~ Your that guy from earlier, back at the bar. Nice to meet you, I guess. Hm? Who's he?"

She gestures at your brother, and you quickly introduce him, and yourself once you realize that you hadn't told her your name. She takes this in without comment, seeming to be staring at you both, then that smile widens a little, looking a little more genuine.

"Ah! Cool, cool. Guy, right? Well, I'm Emily. Pleasure and all that. You trying to find some clues up here too? Could take awhile. Want to team up, maybe see if we can't find something together? It'll go faster that way, and it's not like we all won't get payed either way, right? Or do you two already have a couple of partners? If so, I apologize for sticking my nose where it ain't wanted."

You blink a little in surprise, only to have your brother sidle up next to you and whisper in your ear.

"Careful brother. I don't think she's entirely honest in her intentions..."

"Hm? What you two whispering about?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 524193 ID: 6b40ea

Huh. We're on a mission investigating a base full of secret government guys who come after breakers, and she takes a break to sit down, alone, and play the piano?

That either means she's not quite right in the head, or that she's very confident in her ability to handle whatever's here. Or both. That's reason enough to be careful around her, even without your brother's suspicion.

Music breakers always trouble.

>team up / already got a couple of partners?
I have some friends, but we're all on the same side here today, right?

We'll play it by ear. If she's legit, she's legit, if she's up to something, she has to catch the two of you off guard at the same time.
>>
No. 524406 ID: 184dd1

"I... have some friends already. But... we're all on the same side, today, right? I don't... mind teaming up with you."

"Really? Cool. I've already checked out this area, nothing much of interest. That leaves the food court and the clothing department, right? Which should we hit up first?"

"I hope you know what you're doing brother. Let's just hope she doesn't try to backstab us in the future."

Your brother seems horribly... cautious for some reason. Emily seems alright, and besides, as long as the base gets cleared, there's no reason to go backstabbing anybody. Everyone is getting paid either way. Right?

Regardless, the three of you make your way back towards the junction, and you take a look at the mall map again for no other reason then you have nothing else to look at while you decide. Emily said that the music area was clear, so that leaves the other two areas. Which should you check out next?

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 524415 ID: 991c4f

Ok, what's up brother? Do you know a reason why we shouldn't trust this woman?
I mean, ok, Avatars are valuable, but it's also the case that not alot of people can use them, either, which works both ways:It makes them rare, but also means finding a buyer is tough. So they become these weird bargaining chips unless someone knows an Avatar user.
>>
No. 524421 ID: c95833

>as long as the base gets cleared, there's no reason to go backstabbing anybody. Everyone is getting paid either way. Right?
Well, one reason for backstabbing might be the pay gets split fewer ways. And you can take the stuff of whoever's been betrayed, and blame his or her death on enemy action. So yeah, this is some incentive, if you're unscrupulous.

Another reason to backstab would be if someone is a double agent. You did hear D7 has a few breakers on leashes. Sending one to infiltrate an attack on themselves sounds appropriately cloak and dagger spy stuff to you.

...of course, we don't have any specific reason to believe she would turn on you, aside from paranoia and your brother. Who is, admittedly, acting a little weird. He didn't react this way to anyone else. So she might be up to something. Or maybe he doesn't like you being around someone strong? Or... maybe their themes clash somehow?

Although, again, all speculation. We can't exactly assume anything is wrong.

>food court, or clothing area
Hmm. If I was going to hide a computer hard point, and/or a secret entrance, where would it be?

Well, the food court is kind of wide open. I suppose some of the kitchen equipment might have been replaced with spy stuff. But the clothing area strikes me as having a lot of hiding spots. Under racks, inside displays, backrooms, secret entrances in dressing rooms, etc.
>>
No. 524876 ID: 184dd1

"I say... the clothing section, I guess?"

"Heh. Good a place to start as any."

Emily leads the way, you and your brother following along behind. You hang back a little, hoping to converse with you brother a little bit before you reach your ultimate destination, but with no luck, as Emily seems quite interested in what you talking about with your brother, and keeps glancing over her shoulder at the pair of you. Regardless, you arrive to find the place in about as good a condition as could be expected for an abandoned mall. Maybe a little better, as there doesn't seem to be an excess of dust in this place either... huh.

"Well, here we are. Not much to look at, is it?"

"No, I guess not. Still, let's hope this place gets us what we want."

"Yeah. What are we looking for, anyway? I never got told."

"A access point for a computer. It would probably be another computer, I guess."

"What, so we're just gonna hack these guy's or something?"

"Seems like."

"Huh. Okay, I guess." Emily looks a little skeptical, but seems to decide to give you the benefit of the doubt. "Soooo... Are we gonna stick together for safety, or are we gonna split up and see about covering more ground?"
>>
No. 524878 ID: 9c23dd

Ask her what she wants to do. If we trust her, we can go along with it, but if we don't trust her, we can go do the other thing.
That said, if we split up? Maybe we should check out the music area again. I find it implausible what we're looking for wouldn't be there, and this girl might be with the enemy and leading us into an ambush...
>>
No. 524879 ID: c95833

Well, the hacking is just one part. If there really is a secret base here, there should be more than just a computer network.

>split up or stay together
Well, this place seems pretty dead so far- seems reasonably safe to split up. Plus, sound should carry in an empty mall. Give a holler if anything comes up.

>>524878
I say we wait on that. If we search areas and come up with nothing, we can double back and double check the areas she cleared, to see if she missed anything / covered anything up.
>>
No. 524880 ID: 184dd1

"Well... this place seems fairly safe. And empty. I guess we could split up, if anything happens, we could just yell for each other..."

Emily nods her acceptance, then skips off deeper into a nearby store, already scanning for anything. You briefly debate keeping your brother with you, but by the time you even come to a decision, he's already disappeared off into another store, although he seems far less intent on the things around him then he is on keeping an eye on his own back. Probably doesn't want to get stabbed in the back. You take a moment to orient yourself, and then you pick a random shop and head inside.

A quick check reveals nothing, and even pushing aside thing doesn't reveal much but walls. You try the employee area's as well, but still come up with nothing. You pass by your companions occasionally as you switch stores, some getting double checked, but after an hour of searching through clothing, you feel like you really aren't going to be getting anywhere anytime soon.

As you search through yet another dressing room, you feel a sudden rather oddly placed breeze, only to suddenly feel like you can't breath. You collapse onto the floor, trying desperately to suck in air that seemingly doesn't exist, only to have it reappear again, although only just enough to keep you breathing. Decidedly not enough to yell. Then SOMETHING starts to speak, almost impossible to hear if the place wasn't silent already.

"Why are you here? For personal gain? For thrill? For those trapped underneath? Why are you here?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 524881 ID: 9c23dd

We're here to...Wait, those trapped underneath? Why are they down there?
We came looking for personal gain, but also partly out of not knowing what's going on and what we've gotten ourselves into. So far it's been ok but... if there's something else going on, we'd like to know.
>>
No. 524882 ID: c95833

Huh. Didn't expect our brother to willingly split up like that.

Well, fuck. Guy ran into a weird type before Linda. (Air manipulation?). Not 100% sure whether this is a subject, or an asshole merc, though I guess we assume enemy at this point.

>why are you here?
...understanding.

One of the motives we gave Guy in the mission choice was we might be able to learn something here, and we're explicitly searching for a hack point right now- access to data and information.

Guy didn't know about anyone trapped, and isn't really as focused on gain, even if that did factor in.

>options
If our answer doesn't buy a reprieve, we don't have many options. We haven't seen a physical form to hit with an active break. We might be able to try throwing our will at them to force them to release us, but weird types tend to be will based- so we might not make the roll.

If we have a mental connection to call out to our brother- now would be a good time to use it (although he's purely physical). There's also using an active break to make a big loud disturbance for the others to investigate, or setting our phone to make the loudest noise it can.
>>
No. 525033 ID: 184dd1

"Knowledge. I want to know... although, what, I don't know... Wait, others? What others?" You barely manage to gasp that out with your lack of air, but you do manage to get it out.

For a moment, there is no response, then air rushes back into your lungs, and you practically gulp it down. You feel the brush of a breeze, then that whispered voice again.

"Go. Return to the piano. Search the inside. What you seek lies there."

Then silence, nothing. You wait, half expecting something else to happen, then stand hesitantly. Nothing again. You frown, glancing around you for a sign of something, then give up, collecting your brother and explaining to him what happened. Try as you might, you can't find Emily anywhere, regardless of how much you search, but you eventually return to the main area, more confused. Your brother insists this means she can't be trusted, and you're not sure what to think. Still, your left with a clue and one area you haven't really searched(or someone else said they searched). You ponder your options as your brother continues muttering his misgivings about this place.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525036 ID: c95833

Return to the piano? That means that it knew we were there before. That means the wind creature has been watching us the entire time... or that it's Emily, and she's a form type.

Her disappearance either corroborates this, or it means she was already nabbed by the bad guys.

>What do?
Double back and check the piano. Either Emily missed what we're looking for, or she was hiding something from us. Or possibly this is a trap, but I don't see why something that had you in an invisible stranglehold would need to lead you to a trap.
>>
No. 525071 ID: 9c23dd

The piano is important, and I can't think of a reason not to check it out. Windy could just chain suffocate us if it wanted us dead, so presumably it's an ally. Even though it would tie into the idea that Emily is untrustworthy, and Bro is right about her. Then again...Maybe that's a thing Bro's good with?
>>
No. 525232 ID: 184dd1

Eventually, you put the matter of Emily and her possible betrayal out of you mind, focusing instead on the matter of the piano. You quickly return to the room you found Emily in and investigate the instrument, but find nothing obviously wrong with it, other than the fact that is oddly enough glued to the floor, via steel bolts punched through the legs. You try prying them off, but they refuse to budge, and in the process discover what looks to be a thin electrical cable.

Minutes later, after having called your other companions, the four of you stand around the thing, trying to figure out what to do.

"So there's no wireless connection or anything you could hook up to, Lira?"

"Nope. Nothing. Not a whisper, unless you count the cellphone, which I don't."

"Huh. That could be a problem. So then... we're stuck. We have a clue, but can't really do anything about it."

The three of you stand around looking dejected, only to have your brother pipe up.

"Um... just throwing this out there, but we don't actually care about keeping the place intact, right? So, why are we bothering with the piano at all? Why couldn't we just find out where this cable leads to, figure out if it's a door or something, then rip it open?"

Everyone, including you, turns to stare at the avatar, who puts his hands up defensively, looking a little sheepish, if your brother can look sheepish at all.

"What? Was it something I said?"

"Damnit. I didn't want to get something so obvious pointed out by a... never mind. Well, guess we should decide if we're gonna find everybody else first, or if we go in on our own?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525262 ID: c95833

Probably a musical combination, anyways. And there's way too much to mess around with that anyways, even if any of you know what you're doing musically.

Ripping the door open would work. Although if we're trying to not piss off the entire security force at once, we might be able to active break it into just opening. Or Lira might be able to actually interface with the door hardware. But yeah, failing that, if there's one thing breakers are good at, it's brute force.

Windy mentioned others trapped below. If there are people held prisoners, that means guards. Nothing against your brother or Jager, but I'm not sure the two of them are up to taking on an entire base themselves.
>>
No. 525491 ID: 184dd1

"Before we decide, why don't we... check this door first. If we can open it silently..."

"We won't have to raise an alarm or anything. Hey, good job, Guy!"

Lira flashes you a smile as Jager starts to track the cord back to its other end. A few minutes later, you end up in a room adjacent to the piano, in front of what looks like a smooth wall. Lira examines it a moment, muttering something, then turns to the rest of you.

"Alright. This thing is a door, I can see that much, but it doesn't have any external links or anything. At least, not hardware wise. But... I could connect an electrical wire to that cable running into it, and send signals along it. It's a fifty fifty shot, but I could get that door open quietly. Or I could set off a base wide alarm. Either way, it's up to you, Jags."

"Huh. I vote we try this thing. Lira, do it."

"Gotcha."

Lira manifests her electronics chair, then sets a cable of her own to puncture the one running along the floor. For a moment, there's nothing further, then...

The blaring of a siren goes off, screaming something about intruders. On the plus side, the door pops open with a hiss. On the bad side, there's a guy standing right behind it, looking very confused. Some kind of agent looking type. Jager kills him without remorse, ending the man's life in an instant, then turns to you.

"Guy! Go find some of our buddies! Leave your brother here with me, we need to keep them from getting through! Lira, get away from the DOOR!"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525495 ID: c95833

Keep them safe, Brother.

All right. We can run out of here to find help, but the other mercenaries are going to be spread out all over the mall. Going to take too long to find them all on foot.

...can we get onto the intercom? The lights and music and stuff still worked, so you'd think that would still be set up. Attention all shoppers. Battle, aisle 7, or whatever.
>>
No. 525723 ID: 184dd1

You dash off, not even really thinking about what you're going to do about getting everyone together. As you arrive back in the main walkway area again, however, an idea hits you. The lights and stuff still work. So that means the intercom system should work to. Where would that be?

A quick glance at the mall map identifies a place that says main office on the first floor, along with what you can only guess is the security office. Only place you could think to have anything like an intercom. Soon enough, you've arrived at your destination, and rapidly hunt through the various offices till you come across the intercom system, helpfully placed in front of a few security cameras. You can see your brother and Jager standing guard next to the door you'd opened up, while Lira is off to the side, staying out of sight. You notice a bunch of the other mercenaries searching through areas as well, most looking a little frustrated or bored. Well... time to fix that. You switch on the intercom and hear the blare of the system starting up.

"Um. Uh... Attention all shoppers. Battle, aisle 7... or something."

Everybody, including your Jager and your brother are looking incredibly confused. Lira, on the other hand, starts bursting out laughing alongside someone else you didn't expect to see. On one of the security cameras is Emily, who's hanging out in an electronics store by the look of it, giggling like mad. She clearly knows where the camera is as well, as she gives you a thumbs up over the thing before hopping off the counter she's sitting on and disappearing from sight again. Huh.

"I mean... um. The D7 base entrance has been found in the music section. Everyone should head over there for the job."

That goes over a little better, as all the breakers stop what they're doing and head off. You quickly join the crowd, and soon enough you arrive back with your own group, an entire crowd of breakers ready to go.

"Seems like everybody's here to join in the fun."

"Damn straight! Let's kick some ASS!"

A particularly violent sounding breaker rushes in, followed by a number of others, while Jager just sighs.

"At least somebody decided to be the cannon fodder. I'm gonna go make sure these idiots don't get themselves killed. Guy, you and your brother, keep an eye on Lira, and maybe get her to some data center or something. That should help out everybody."

Jager heads off into the complex, a few other breakers following him in. Lira sighs a little, shaking her head, then turns to you with her chair.

"Well, let's get going then. You're gonna lead the way? I mean, your brother?"

"Sure. Guy, you keep the pretty lady company while I go smash any skulls in our way."

Your brother offers you a playful wink as you quickly try to admonish him for his rather flippant attitude, but he's already set off down into the base. The two of you follow, and soon find yourself in a much larger room, combat already taking place everywhere. You can see all sorts battling it out in the room, although most of the enemy seems to be those that can't break. Normals, you think someone mentioned them being called. Either way, you need to find somewhere else to be, preferably with a computer terminal or something.

"Hey! Look at this. Convenient signs. Hey Guy, would you say we want this Data Terminal more, or this Security Center? Judging by the way things look, they're in opposite directions, so..."

You glance at Lira, but she just shrugs. It clearly doesn't matter to her which you go to. You're left with the decision, it seems.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525730 ID: c95833

>Emily
Hey, not dead or captured! That's nice. Still, weird that she either bailed on you, and that she missed or hid the piano before. Although if it were some kind of betrayal, I'm not sure why'd she'd stick around. Or if she was windy, why she went back to normal.

Not really sure what she's playing at, honestly.

>data terminal or security center?
I doubt the immediate security is capable of stopping breakers. The most dangerous thing is with the alarms blaring and the cameras running, that the base could be calling for reinforcements, or giving away your faces to the bad guys. ...it's kind of too late for that, I think, though. I suppose we could slag the base on our way out, though.

Data center might be more useful if we want information to hurt them long term, or that we could use for ourselves. We said we wanted to understand, right?

Another concern to consider might be the prisoners Windy mentioned down here. Although, I'd kind of expect we could find them through the security system or their data. Or that one of the other breakers might stumble across where they're held, first.

Data center, I think.
>>
No. 525734 ID: d78743

Well, security could be useful for watching the other breakers backs, but the real threat with it is that the enemy might be using it for the same thing. I'd like to imagine though that some of the breakers that went ahead of us were smart enough to at least head there to slag the guys watching their enemies backs.

Data center on the other hand is probably in very real danger of getting wiped and I don't imagine there are many other super hackers on our side that can stop that. So I say we head there.
>>
No. 525802 ID: 184dd1
File 137434931102.jpg - (55.80KB , 420x236 , miko anime japanese clothes 1920x1080 wallpaper_ww.jpg )
525802

"Let's head for this data center. It seems more likely to hold some sort of useful information."

"Alright. Whatever you say, brother of mine."

Your brother darts off, leading the way, and proceeds to annihilate the few agents that try to get in your way. You try to keep the utter destruction at a minimum, however... something in your mind seems to click. To understand, at least a little more, what your brother is trying to do. He wants to protect you as best he can. And these agents mean to hurt you more than anyone else in the world. So your brother ends them without remorse. You find yourself letting him do his thing for now, although some part of you still battles against the thoughts, trying to reassert morality. Or at least keep the killing to a minimum. Lira herself seems to look a little concerned, although she opts to keep whatever thoughts she's having to herself.

Brother Corruption: 25%

Still, for the most part, the breakers of this place seem busy elsewhere, and you make it to the data center without incident. Lira quickly finds herself a nice computer terminal to hook into, and starts sifting through all that data, occasionally letting out an almost evil giggle of amusement. While your brother moves to guard the door, you find yourself taking a closer look around the place, mostly stacked with servers that hum quietly. Something else you find, however, draws your immediate attention. Or more like, SOMEONE else.

The woman before you sits, perfectly still and breathtakingly beautiful in her serenity, in a room modeled after something japanese. She's dressed in some sort of priestess get up, you think, if you remember some of those Japan crazy clubs that had been around campus correctly. There's a thick pane of what looks like glass between her and the data room, and if it weren't for her calm, controlled breathing, you might have mistaken her for some kind of doll. For a moment, you find yourself simply staring. A part of you recognizes that some feels fundamentally off about her, the same way everyone you've met who's a breaker, just... more so. Maybe she's stronger than you? Regardless, you wonder if perhaps she'd be able to hear you through this glass here...

As if on cue with your thoughts, the woman's eyes slowly open and focus on you with deliberate slowness and control. She stares back at you a moment, before finally voicing her own thoughts.

"Who might you be?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525805 ID: da113d

"I am Guy. There is a raid occuring on this place, regardless of if you are here of your own will or not, you'll want to know about that."

>>Corruption increasing!
Crap! Ah...Well, see, arguing further on the whole 'it's wrong to kill' is probably the wrong point, maybe more along the lines of 'do you have to kill? Can you just disable?' I mean, I guess other breakers can come back when they die, but not everyone we're up against seems to be breakers?
>>
No. 525811 ID: c95833

...godamnit, corruption keeps going up. Nothing we've done or said seems to have slowed it, and we're already up to 1 in 4 of of caving when challenged.

>these agents mean to hurt you more than anyone else in the world
Yeah, but they're not capable of it. They're normals. In small numbers they're of little threat to you, and what threat they are can be removed by a simple injury or disabling. Slaughter is not necessary.

Protection that is required is acceptable. Beyond that, force should be applied proportional to the actual threat, not to intent.

>Who might you be?
...this is Rise Muramasa, I presume.

I'm Guy. Who are you? Are you a prisoner here?
>>
No. 525828 ID: d78743

I think Guy is going about the brother thing the wrong way.

These people who mean him harm are, well, people. Most of them will have friends and families. Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Sisters, and BROTHERS. Guy knows what a good brother does to those who mess with their sibling. Killing people he doesn't need to just puts both of them in more danger. That should be the last thing Guy's brother wants to do.
>>
No. 525842 ID: 184dd1

You find yourself momentarily distracted by thoughts of what you might say to maybe calm your brother down a little bit, but pull yourself away before you get too involved. Now is not the time to be having a heart to heart with family. Now is the time to focus on the woman currently trapped in a glass room thing.

"Uh... I'm Guy. Who are you? Why are you in... this?"

The woman regards you a moment, then she seems to bow, her body a perfectly controlled slant. You stare a little in confusion, but manage to police up your expression before she rights herself.

"An honor. I am Rise Muramasa, at your service. I am... a prisoner, I suppose. I did not suit the purpose of those here, so I am kept as additional insurance that my father and mother will continue to cooperate."

"In... surance?"

"Yes... you don't know much about Division 7, do you?"

"Um, no. Not really. I just... became like this yesterday."

"New? How... odd, to be attacking a government facility so soon after awakening. Regardless, Division 7 is a government organization dedicated to killing or enslaving breakers. Let us just say I did not take well to... enslavement. My brother and sister, on the other hand, were far more susceptible."

Rise closes her eyes and tilts her head suddenly, as if thinking. For a minute or two, all you can hear is the sounds of distant combat, the hum of the servers around you, and the occasional cackle from Lira. Then, Rise's head corrects itself, her eyes open and she stands in one practiced, fluid motion. She moves to stand in front of the glass where you are, staring you in the eyes as if to gauge your reactions.

"Do you think... you might be able to free me from this place?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525852 ID: c95833

Haha! Called it. Hello Chris' sister.

...although now I'm curious as to what kind of traumas produce broken siblings, considering how rare breakers are relative to the total population to begin with. Do they share the same initiating trauma?

>do you think you could free me?
Yeah, I think I could. They've got your focus somewhere else, right? That's why you're stuck. Hold on a moment.

Check with Lira first. Ostensibly to check if there anything in that data she's digging through to open this glass cage, or where Rise's focus is? More importantly to see if there are any records on her- to see if she's telling the truth about not being enslaved. Letting out a more powerful breaker on D7's leash would be a pretty dangerous thing.

If we can't find another means of release, we can always have our brother break her out. Or use an active break to make it open.
>>
No. 525856 ID: da113d

Ask her what her foci is. (calling it-she's got some sort of preistess wand with streamers- IDK the actual name of the thing.)
And yea, Bro can take a swing, as can Jager- but just in case, let's be careful-it might be that cage is made of break-proof material of some kind, since D7 is involved.
>>
No. 525874 ID: 184dd1

"I... think so. Hold on. Wait! Uh. What's your focus?"

"A small scabbard. Like a noda- You would not know what that is... a sword scabbard. It is small, like for a doll, but is for a sword."

"Ah... okay. I'll be right back."

You head back to where your brother and Lira are waiting, with your brother still guarding the door. Lira seems lost in her work, but you tap her gently on the shoulder to get her attention, and she seems to blink in confusion as she turns slightly to look at you. For a moment, she doesn't seem to register you, then she blinks again and all is well.

"Ah! Guy? What did you need? I'm kinda... busy. There's a lot of things to do before we leave all..."

"Uh. Right. Sorry. There's this girl over in this room back that way, and she's kinda trapped. I told her I'd let her out, but... well, I figured we could do a little check first? Since you have access to the system and everything..."

"Oh! Sure, I can do that. Who we looking for?"

"Uh... Rise... Muramasa, I think?"

"Spelled like it sounds?"

"I guess."

"Alright, give me a moment... um... this... and break through that... redirect that... aaaaaaaaaaand done. Here we are. Rise Muramasa. Also labeled Subject 31. Youngest of three siblings. Born to Jin and Sakura Muramasa. Follows some ancient sword art or something. I don't. Um... let's see... not important... not important... Ah! Currently in confinement do to fifth relapse in mind altering procedure. Seems she don't take well to be enslaved mentally. Trust me, we'll run into them eventually. Always do when dealing with D7. Anyway... um... says her focus is located in the storage room, Box 24, the key for which is in Special Agent... Mendoza's office. It seems he's also her handler, when she cares to be enslaved for any period of time. I could open up her prison to if you like. Although that'll take a few minutes, I gotta reroute a bunch of stuff and... it's complicated."

"Uh. Sure. Go ahead and do that. I'll think of something to get her focus back."

"Alright. Have fun!"

You head back to Rise as Lira starts tapping away at her chair again, and when you arrive you see the glass has removed itself. Rise, on the other hand, is sitting again, although upon seeing you approach she stands and bows to you.

"I must thank you. You have done me a great service. Perhaps now my parents will not feel quite so obligated to follow the wishes of this organization. Have you... perhaps... located my focus?"

"It's in the storage room. Box 24. Um... You know, you might want to wait around a little bit. There's others fighting out there, and... well... you uh... you might get hurt without a weapon."

Rise blinks slightly, you think because she isn't used to someone being worried quite so much about her well being, but she smiles at you pleasantly in response and proceeds to slide back into her odd little sitting position, hands resting on her lap.

"I thank you for your concern, but I would not be so worried for my well being. I may be without a weapon, but I have been taught other ways to defend myself. Again, I thank you, but I really must retrieve what is mine."

Rise bows again, then starts away. You follow, really not having much more to do, until she reaches the exit and frowns slightly at your brother as she slips by, starting off back the way you'd come. You find yourself hesitating in place, not sure where you should go or what you should do, while your brother gives you a questioning glance and Lira continues to be lost in data.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 525880 ID: c95833

Ask your brother to stay with Lira. She's helpless while doing the computer thing. Someone's gotta watch her back.

You should go with Rise. You're no fighter, but at least you can throw your voice around, and break. And come back from the dead, probably, although you're not keen to test that. Even if Rise knows how to fight, you don't think she can do any of that without a focus.

If something comes up- you've still got your cell, and he's got Lira. Communication there.
>>
No. 525920 ID: 184dd1

You hesitate for a moment more, then take off after Rise, telling your brother to stay behind and look after Lira. Your brother starts to protest, but quickly stops once he takes a look at Lira being completely oblivious. Sighing, he ends up waving you away instead, although by then you really aren't paying attention in your haste to catch up with Rise. Soon enough you're trotting along behind her, and you find the woman herself glancing curiously over her shoulder at you.

"Concerned after all?"

"Uh... A little."

"Well then, I am glad to have someone accompany on my little journey to the storage container. Shall we be off?"

The pair of you start off again, Rise leading you into the main hall once more. The fighting is still thick, and you can see your fellows battling it out with agents, some even multiples at a time, with little trouble. Even Jager seems to be almost lost in the battle, although unlike some of the others, Jager seems to be keeping an eye on some of the weaker breakers, helping them fend off attacks even as he fights his own battles. Rise observes the scene for a moment, before shaking her head and head off again. A few more turns and hallways, and Rise suddenly pauses at a door, listening attentively. You follow suit, and can just hear voices coming from behind it.

"What do you mean, we can't send out a distress signal?!"

"We just can't! Something is blocking our attempts!"

"What, you think some random ass hacker is helping a bunch of fucked up loonies!?"

"I DON'T KNOW!"

Rise seems to be thinking very hard, and she suddenly presses her lips to your ear before you really have a chance to react.

"One of those is Mendoza. My handler, I think. My memories can be a little... fuzzy. If you don't mind, I'd like to... deal with him, before we continue one."

>>>Input Command
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No. 525922 ID: 1828c7

Hrrrm...I kinda feel like she should get the nodachi first...But that's also a concealed blade, meant for surprises, if I recall the proper usage correctly.
Ask her this: Does she see herself as being able to disable ALL those guys? Because that's at LEAST a 2 on 1 fight right there, and we don't know if Mendoza was made a handler due to being a breaker, either. We're not really a fighter here, and 3 will I don't think is enough to do much more than 'stun' people.
>>
No. 525925 ID: c95833

...okay, we've been trying to stop our brother from senseless killing. But this isn't your brother. And from what you understand, this guy is responsible for trying to abuse and mindrape this girl several times over. If she wants to pay him back, or stop it from happening again... that's not your decision to make. She's entitled to it.

A one word question. Normals?

Assuming she nods, we have our way in. Normality, again. Make the two of you appear to be agents- you can use some you know your brother took out even. That gets you in close, without guns drawn, and then she can do her thing. You hope. You won't be good for much than trying to word-stun people and hit them over the head. (Although, it's a control room, right? There's just the one agent and a few geeks, you'd expect).

For bonus audacity? When you come it- "Agent Mendoza, Sir! It's subject 31. She's been released."
>>
No. 526233 ID: 184dd1

You tap on Rise to get her attention then whisper into her ear.

"Normals?"

She nods in response, so you hold up a hand telling her to wait and focus on that feeling you had back at the warehouse yesterday. If you could do the same thing... The static hits your vision, but you were expecting it this time, and you feel like you're getting more and more used to the weird of what's going on. You gesture for Rise to follow you as you stand and enter the room.

There are only three people in here, an agent and two computer nerd looking people. The two geeks are tapping away furiously at something, trying to combat a cyber attack, you guess, but the agent quickly turns, a pistol sliding from its holster to point in your direction.

"Carmen?"

You almost miss your chance, but thankfully, Rise seems to have caught onto your plan, and save it a little by stumbling into you, pretending to be hurt. You grab hold of her and start to move forward again while giving your explanation.

"Mendoza. Subject 31 has escaped. Hit us before we even knew what was happening."

"DAMN IT! Did she have her sword?"

"No, I don't think so. Otherwise we would have been dead."

"Alright. That's something at least. Come on, lets get Fox in here."

The Agent, Mendoza you guess, come over to help, and as soon as he comes within her reach, Rise's hand snaps out, chopping into the man's throat with a horrible crunching sound. Whatever she did, it must have hurt. Mendoza stumbles back in surprise, but Rise herself stands and strides forward, intent on her target. Her body whips around as she kicks the man square in the face, dropping him to the floor, then she drops loots him as he struggles to breath through a crushed windpipe, retrieving his pistol. She checks the things slowly, making sure it's loaded and ready to fire, then she pumps about 3 rounds into him, ending the man's life. The entire time, you and the two geeks can only stare in shock. She finally turns back to you and seems to consider something, before kneeling next to the agent's corpse and retireving some more things, what appears to be a holster, and another clip for the handgun. She hands all this to you, smiling slightly.

"There. Now you have weapon."

She glances at the two geeks, then shrugs and leaves again, clearly not concerned. You stare at the items in your hands, then quickly follow her, not sure what to do now that your arms are full. Regardless, the issue is quickly ignored, as you arrive at the storage room and make your way inside. Rise quickly finds her box and rips it open with pure strength, retrieving what looks like a very small sheath. She closes her eyes a moment, and then the sheath seems to become much large, like something to strap along her back, and with a large blade inside. Rise seems to enjoy the feeling of having it back in her hands, but she doesn't ready herself quite yet. Instead, she leads you into another room next door, labeled the armory, which seems to be missing a great deal of guns, although there are some still scattered about. Rise finds a specific corner, where some sort of black, leather like all body suit seems to be stored. She grabs one, inspecting it, before laying it down next to her on a counter and started to strip. You quickly turn around, already feeling your face turn red. This... you were never good with this kind of scene in high school... not that... you ever... did any...

You hear a small chuckle come from where you remember Rise being, but soon enough you feel her hand on your back, and turn to find her in the form hugging material, her weapon slung across her back and nearly as tall as she is.

"It's a combat suit worn by D7 breakers. Let's us move freely. Agents tend to need to look good in their fancy suits. Ah... that reminds me. Do you think we should take anything from here?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 526250 ID: c95833

Ha! Normalizing into dead people is my new favorite trick. And giving Guy a past with acting was genius.

>hands full
Pocket the spare clip, and strap the holster on. They aren't doing you any good filling up your hands. You've never fired a gun a day in your life but... breaking makes you sort of superhuman right? Maybe you could hit something if you had to. At least you've got an emergency line of defense without your brother around. (Finesse 2, no experience? Maybe he could hit a normal. He's going to miss almost any breaker who doesn't use finesse as a dump stat, unless he gets a lucky or cheap shot in).

>take anything
Um... not sure one of those suits would fit me right.

(Guy hasn't even died yet. He hasn't been in nearly enough combat for it to occur to him that wearing body armor all the time might be a good idea, and he's not really a frontline fighter, anyways).

What about the storage boxes? Are there others here like you? Because we've either got foci out there that need restoring to prisoners, or taken away before they can be put in the hands of someone mind controlled.

Maybe grab a walkie, if they're kept in the armory. Radio communications probably aren't routed through the data center, meaning Lira doesn't own them yet. What they're saying to each other might be worth paying attention to.

Grab a grenade. You may not know how to shoot, but you know how to throw something, if it comes to that.
>>
No. 526285 ID: d78743

Guy might not want one of those suits, but what about getting one for Jaeger and his brother?
>>
No. 526286 ID: 184dd1

You blink, then frown.

"Um... not sure one of those things would fit me..."

"They can be adjusted. Like mine. Generally, find a size too big, then adjust it down."

"Ah... well... I'm not really one to put myself in danger either... still, I guess we could take a few. Jager and my brother might like them."

"Brother?"

"Yeah. You saw him with Lira... um... other people keep calling him an avatar?"

"Ah... yes... I... see."

Rise doesn't make a big deal of it, but she moves back to collect a few more suits for bringing with us. As she does so, you fumble with the items in your hands. The clip gets shoved in a convenient pocket, but the pistol and the holster... you place the pistol on a counter for the moment, while you fiddle with the holster, trying to figure out how to put the damn thing on properly. A few minutes goes by, and you think you have it, only to hear Rise sigh in something like mock frustration and feel her adjust the thing around a little. Soon enough, it fits comfortably along your side, easily hidden under a jacket or something similar if you ever acquire something like it. You recollect the pistol and place it in the holster, seeing no reason to have it on you at the moment.

"Anything else you think we would require?"

"Uh.. got any grenades? I mean, I can't really... shoot well, never fired a gun, but... throwing shouldn't be too hard, right?"

"... I think you are going to fit in nicely with the breaker community... hold on."

Rise goes off again, digging through what looks like a few boxes, before returning to you with a pair of grenades. One looks like those you see in a movie, and you get that confirmed as Rise explains that the first one kills people. The second is more of the stun variety, letting out a flash of light and a loud noise to disorient people in the area. A flashbang. She hands you both, before then asking if you're done.

"Actually... that storage room. You think there are other foci in there?"

"Others? Possibly. I would not know which boxes they are in if any, however."

"Can't hurt to take a look. Maybe you could just cut a lot of them open, and I'll check em all real quick, just to see?"

"That sounds agreeable."

The pair of you return to the storage room, and Rise sets to work, cutting open box after box with amazing precision. You check each one as quickly as you can, and come out with some 4 foci in total. Rise doesn't recognize them as being anyones, so you pocket them for now. More random junk foci really, probably confiscated from killed breakers.

Before long you are both off again, heading back the way you came. Rise seems to let you make the decisions now, so you decide heading back to Lira is the best choice. The fighting seems to have died down a little, or at least moved further into the facility, and you make it back without incident to find Lira not quite so involved with her little project and your brother looking bored.

"Hey! There you are. Your brother wouldn't say much, just that you went of with some chick he didn't know. His words, not mine. Nice to meet you, new lady. I'm Lira!"

"Rise Muramasa. I take it you were the one who released me. I thank you."

"Haha! No big deal. No. I mean that. Stop bowing at me. It wasn't that hard. Oh yeah. Jager stopped by a little after you guys left. Said that the final assault is coming up. We haven't met any breakers, really, and I can't find any records of anyone other than Rise being here. Seems like our luck isn't so great this time. Only a single focus for each of us as reward..."

"Actually... I picked these up from the storage room earlier. Four foci. I think that should cover us pretty well."

"Hey! Not bad!"

"Excuse me. There was someone else here. Another agent/breaker team. I only ever met the agent, so I do not know much about the breaker, and they were never officially assigned here so..."

"Hm? Really? That could be... Nah. Anyway, I locked down this facility. Completely took it off the network. And keep sending the all's good signal to the rest of their network. Assholes don't know what's going on at all. I think we should be almost done here. You can wait here with me, if you like. Or you could go off and help Jager. Not that he needs it."

Rise detaches herself from the group and retreats back towards where she was held earlier, where you're brother keeps his position by the door. Lira goes back to her computer screen, although she seems to be tapping away at stuff mostly out of boredom now. Wait... is that solitaire?

Regardless, if you decide to stay here, there's not much to do but talk to someone. Or you could go and help Jager. Who knows, maybe more experience in combat will help later on.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 526293 ID: b1c062

That cound be...Nah.
Bro: Wait. Who are you talking about? Because earlier my brother here got choked by some kind of talking wind that told him to check the piano. If it weren't for him? her? Dunno really, we might not have found out about Rise here.
Guy: It's not that important, is it bro?
Bro: Ever see in the movies how someone mentions something and it turns out to be relevant? This might be one of those times.
Guy: Maaaybe, OR we could join in that final assualt, get some more action in. I do have this gun now- and it'll make your job easier if I can keep myself safe when we get into trouble.
Bro: I guess, I'd rather stay here and chat, away from the fighting, but alright, if that's what you want brother.
>>
No. 526296 ID: c95833

I say we should help with finishing this up. Someone's got to do the fighting, and your brother isn't really at the same risk as the other breakers. People can't really seem to hurt him.

...maybe on the way over we could mention our own feelings about the use of force and calming him down thing.

If the two of you go, you should ask Rise to stay with Lira.

>>526293
>avatar not wanting to fight.
Pff.
>>
No. 526371 ID: 184dd1

"Uh... hey, Rise!?"

The woman comes back from around the a server, looking at you questoiningly.

"Um. I was gonna go see about helping out Jager. Was wondering if you wouldn't mind keeping an eye on Lira for me."

"I would be happy to."

"Hey! I'm not completely defenseless. I can... you know... scream at people I guess... alright, I'm defenseless."

With that sorted out, you start back down the tunnels, signaling for your brother to follow you. He falls into step with you, although he doesn't exactly look all that pleased.

"Guy. Why are we going to a place where there are a lot of people trying to kill other people?"

"You don't really seem to... get hurt as much as others when you get shot. Besides, I've got a gun now, and a little practice with it never hurt anyone. It'd be easier on you if I wasn't completely useless in a fight."

"... I don't know. I don't like this at all."

You feel the sudden pull of someone else. The desire to not go near the fighting. Like a self preservation instinct that refuses to let go of you. The pull isn't particularly weak or strong, however, and with a little force of will, you push it down. You felt a little obligated to help, and you damn well were gonna help. Besides, you're brother was well suited to this sort of thing, as far as you could tell. This was something you needed to do.

Corruption Resisted

The route to Jager's groups is littered in dead bodies, agents who gave their lives trying to stop the assault. You find yourself feeling a little sick, but push the feeling down. All those years of acting have made it a little easier to control how much your emotions are shown to others, and with your brother here, you don't want to appear weak. Eventually the pair of you arrive at your destination to find the assault group hanging back next to a door. Jager spots you and wanders over, looking a little tired and worn, although he's still ready to fight.

"Nice of you to join us. The bastards have themselves holed up in there. Some seven, maybe eight guys. All agents by the looks of them. Definitely not any breakers. My guess is they think they can hold out for reinforcements or something."

"Uh. Lira said something about hacking the system so that other branches wouldn't know about the attack."

"Huh. Makes this even easier. Or harder. Sieges aren't really my thing... anyway, every time we try to bust in, they just shoot the fuck out of us. Lost two that way, idiots thought they could brute force it."

Jager sighs, obviously trying to think of a way through this without more loss of breakers, while you brother still looks a little unhappy, although you're not sure why.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 526377 ID: c95833

>Corruption Resisted
Bout friggin time. Now to see if we can get that back down.

>self preservation, avoiding fighting
>brother still looks a little unhappy
If your brother really wanted to keep you that safe, he'd have kept you from going on this mission in the first place.

Besides, if you've learned anything in the short time you've been a breaker, it's that you need to be strong to survive. Hiding might work short term, but something stronger would find you eventually.

...we'll have to talk to him more, later.

>siege
Flash-bang time. If the door is shut, just pull the pin and active break the grenade into the middle of the room of defenders. If the door is open, pull the pin, chuck the grenade in the room (from where you won't get shot), and then break the door shut behind it. That way the bad guys get the full effect to the face, and our side is shielded from the effects.

...wouldn't hurt to cover your ears and close your eyes as it goes off, though. (Trying to avoid a repeat of Linda's performance where we flash-banged everybody, herself included).

Then all the baddies are stunned, our side can rush it and kill or knockout at will.
>>
No. 526473 ID: 184dd1

"Uh... I actually might have an idea, hold on..."

You make sure you've got the right grenade, than you move up next to the door, pop the pin and chuck the thing inside. A few of your fellow breakers back up as you do so, noticing what it looks like, but you slam the door shut manually and hunker down, shutting your eyes and covering your ears. Maybe because it's all contained in the room, but there's a dull thump as the grenade goes off, and then you hear someone start cursing and another one start screaming about being unable to see. Your brother, maybe because of your connection to him, saw your plan quickly, and is through the door before anyone else can move, already targeting someone. Jager and the rest of the breakers follow close behind, and before you can even do much, there's blood everywhere and people dead. A quick check of the room reveals nothing much of interest, and you decide against taking one of the guns lying around, as you aren't sure you really want to try using something any more violent and destructive than what you already have on hand. Hopefully, a pistol will be more than enough for you.

Regardless, the base is quickly cleared of enemies, and more than that, all presence of D7 is quickly erased. Lira downloads as much as she can before it's time to head off, which turns out to be most of the data files contained on the local servers. Mostly just this facilities concerns, but maybe they'll be something you can sell to somebody. Rise decides she'll stick with you, and Lira happily welcomes the newcomer, while Jager is noticeably more suspect of the whole thing, although that's understandable.

By the time you've collected your pay(another foci for you, and another $100 to add to your personal stash), as well as having those four foci you... fail to mention to both your employers and your fellow breakers, at least till you're safely home. Rise opts to not have any part of the divying up of foci, which leave four foci to be divided up between three people. Lira suggest giving the fourth to Jager, he did most of the fighting this time around, and you agree, seeing no reason to contest the point.

That done, it's just about 2 in the afternoon, leaving you a good chunk of time to eat up. Jager heads to the kitchen, saying something about needing to make sure he has enough to feed another mouth, while Lira retreats to the living room to go over the data some more. Rise can be found sitting in her odd little sitting position on the back porch, just staring calmly at the scenery, and your brother, of course, can be found not too far from you, keeping an eye on things.

>>>Input Command

Experience Gained: 3
>>
No. 526500 ID: da2fcd

Right. Sooo we wanted to talk to brother about:
'Staying safe versus doing what's right'
'Fighting without killing if possible'
Anything I'm missing?
Beyond that...
Bro: So, Rise, I heard from Lira that you practice some sort of Ancient sword art? Does that make you like a Samurai or something?
Guy: Why are you asking Brother? You use your fists.
Bro: Well, as long as you want to go getting in trouble instead of leaving things to me, which is what I'm here for by the way-it might be better if you learn how to fight from other people, as well as myself. And I guess I could also use some practice as well...
>>
No. 526505 ID: c95833

All right. We've got 5 foci now. Raphael Daniel's price was 5 to 6. We might be able to afford that now, although I'm still not sure if Guy is ready to handle another avy yet. We're still kind of struggling with his brother.

Also doesn't really feel like a good time to head out.

>Who talk to
It's kind of apparent we need to talk with your brother. He's got a zeal to protect you but... he needs to understand some things. I mean, as long as you're wrapped up in this, bloodshed seems inevitable, but that doesn't mean you're comfortable with wholesale slaughter. >>525805 >>525811 and >>525828 had some good ideas on how to respond to the "they want to hurt you more than anyone in the world so I'll destroy them thing".

And if we want to talk about keeping you safe, >>526377 has my ideas there.

After that, assuming we have more time we could talk to some of the others. Maybe follow up on our answer of understanding- see if Lira has found anything interesting in all that data she grabbed, maybe. And/or try to get to Rise better. Find out what she wants to do now that she's free, maybe.

If we still have time after all of that, we could always see how Jager's math worked out. (Although... you're breakers. Aren't there ways to cheap on living expenses?).

>XP
Okay, so our choice is to go for spirit 4 or work on stats, basically. And/or save one XP for the avatar we haven't traded for, yet.

Kinda torn. Not sure if we should work on our lousy and our brother's mediocre stats, or if we should try to get an interesting support ability of some kind. What's everyone else think?
>>
No. 526554 ID: bb0338

I usually stay outta the statty talk, buuuut I couldn't help but wonder...
Guy perceives himself and his brother as breakers right? What if he could gain the ability to enable his brother to wield weapon foci somehow? Like he still needs to spend any BP Guy hands him on it, but the idea is to enable his brother to not just rely on Hand to Hand...
But anyhow, I think that maybe more will on Guy. Unless we luck out and gain 'Beloved by Avatars' or something like that, I think we might need it to avoid getting overpowered by Bro. I'm fairly sure that's how it works...Could be wrong though!
>>
No. 526824 ID: 184dd1

You settle yourself a little, preparing mentally to have a rather long discussion that needs to get done, before you turn to your brother and gesture for him to follow. Retreating to your own room in the house(you're running out of space, now that you think of it. Rise and Lira are going to share maybe? Although, you wouldn't mind taking the couch...), you turn to your brother and take a deep breath before beginning.

"I don't think you need to go killing everyone."

"Guy. We've been over this."

"And I still don't think that's right. Against breakers, sure, I guess it's understandable why you'd need to kill them. But most of the people in the base weren't breakers. All of them, now that I think about it, unless you count Rise, and she's wasn't even fighting at all. Sure, I understand there's going to be bloodshed. It's kinda inevitable with what we're getting into, but that doesn't mean we have to cause this sort of thing when it's unnecessary."

Your brother, you see, for a fraction of a second gets an almost violently hard look in his eyes before it vanishes, your brother seeming to mull over your words. Still, in the end he makes some sort of vague mumbles of acceptance, which you can already tell he hasn't taken to heart. He always did that mumbling thing when he wasn't really going to listen. Still, you don't want to push too hard. Your brother can be incredibly stubborn, and you'd yet to see anyone butt heads with him and come away the clear victor. Still, you think it's safe to add a little something about the safety thing.

"Besides, brother, in the short time I've been a breaker, everything points towards the need to get stronger. I can't just hide and expect to make it out of alive for very long. Someone stronger will hunt me down and kill me."

"Now THAT is bullshit. You're perhaps in exactly the position to do just that. Instead of rushing off like an idiot towards the battle, you could have just sent me in alone. I'd have been able to deal with the situation, with no danger to you at all. AND you'd still have those four foci, unlike all the other mercenary groups. So don't you start that 'need to join in the fighting to get stronger' bull crap. You don't NEED to do anything. You've got me."

You blink in surprise, feeling the sudden weight of influence on your mind again, similar to before. Some part of you caves to the points your brother is throwing at you, but still... something doesn't seem quite right. Like something or someone is trying to make you act the way it wants. You definitely don't want that.

Brother Corruption: 30%

Still, your brother sighs a little, before shaking his head at something. He seems to be arguing a with himself, and eventually comes to a decision.

"Look, Guy. I'm just trying to look out for you, alright? IF you are gonna be doing stupid shit like running head first into a battle, at least get some proper self defense techniques or something. I see you got a gun, so maybe we can go to a gun range or something, get a little practice in. Maybe you can try asking Rise about some personal defense lessons to."

Your conversation with your brother concludes after that, your sibling choosing to clam up against any further prodding to conversation. Looks like he's thinking. You take the opportunity to head back out into the main area, but Lira seems to have disappeared somewhere, so you won't be able to check on the data at all for the moment. You do decide to head into the kitchen to check on Jager, and find him already boiling water and laying out various ingredients and the like. Still, you can't help but wonder...

"Hey Jager?"

"Yeah?"

"Since we're breakers, aren't there easy way to just cheap out on living expenses? Why worry about funds and the like?"

"If I use my power to simply cheat my way through life, how does that make me any better than a common thief? I use the money I EARN to pay for food, because I earned the right to use the money I've gained. Simply cheating my way into it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hell, I've heard of breakers back west using their powers to perform on the streets and earn money. Seems like that kind of thing would be a much better use of my power than say, robbing a bank or stealing from stores."

"Ah..."

Well... it's certainly something to think about. Anyway, it seems it'll be a bit before dinner is ready, although it really hasn't been that long. It still looks like Rise is sitting outside, or you could try looking for Lira. There was also your brother's suggestions, trying to find a firing range might not be a bad idea, especially if you plan to participate in more battles.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 526826 ID: b1c062

I think I get it. Trying to deal with Brother like he's a person, instead of a weapon builds corruption. Arguing with him gives him a chance to build on it and makes things worse. Go with the flow and don't question it.
And to help resist the corruption for next time...
Guy: What happens if I send you in, and then get attacked while you're gone? You can't be at two places at once, can you?
And besides, you're my brother. We fight TOGETHER, not just me ordering you in like some Servant!
Now, as for what to do know...I think we should talk to Rise, maybe ask her about D7, or her family.
>>
No. 526832 ID: c95833

>corruption
Ugh. Every time we confront him it just gets worse. Either we've got absolutely awful rolls, or we're going about this the right way.

>>526826 might be right. Our arguments bounce right off of him while his can affect us (are avatars 'fixed' people? Incapable of change or growth? I don't think we've successfully changed or even influenced his opinion on anything). Maybe what we need to be doing when these conflicts arise isn't talking it out, but forcing him with strength of will. That's how Marc controlled Angelica and Levi, at least (though I'm pretty sure Amelia controlled him by the end. Maybe not the best role model). No idea how it works with Michelle (you'd think she'd be completely overwhelmed- but she isn't. It seems to weave back and forth who's running who. And she never even put a single XP in will).

Your brother's right that running in head first doesn't help. Heck, you could have handed him the grenade to throw and it wouldn't have changed anything. But he's wrong if he thinks we can always just send him ahead into danger. That leaves you behind and exposed. Choosing your battles gives you some degree of control at least, and sometimes the better move is going to be putting yourself at risk. Even if he can't understand that. And besides, he needs you. The brute force solution isn't always going to be the right one.

>earning stuff
Makes sense, in a way. You could probably get whatever we needed to survive from normals, and you could probably make it so they never even knew what the were giving up. Doesn't make exploiting them right, though.

...although are there other options, you wonder? Can this power make stuff, or is it all taking, breaking, changing?

>what do
If Lira disappeared off on her own, we shouldn't bother her.

Practicing with your gun might not be a bad idea, but remember when you do you'll need to normalize to cover yourself. Make it so whoever they think you are is legally allowed to carry that weapon, you've got a carry permit, that your ID doesn't raise any alarms, and that most of all, the gun, ammunition, and serial number doesn't match the weapon stolen from and used to murder a federal agent.

I'd say later, though. Let's talk to Rise for now.
>>
No. 527264 ID: 184dd1

Thoughts float through you mind, but you never really get anywhere with them. So many possibilities, now that you're actively thinking about all this stuff. Still, this is all stuff for later. Right now, you decide to head outside and sit down next to Rise. She glances at you from her odd sitting position, bowing slightly, then turn back to gazing out at the backyard, and at nothing in particular. There's silence for awhile, you feeling a little awkward bringing up the more... personal... things you wanted to ask, and her seemingly content to just sit there, but after awhile, she suddenly breaks the silence herself.

"I must thank you again, for freeing me."

"Ah? Oh! Uh... yeah. Don't worry about it. I couldn't just leave you in there."

"Others might have."

"Uh... yeah, I guess... um... if you don't mind me asking, what do you plan on doing now?"

"I... I do not know. It has been a very long time since I had anything resembling free will at all. I... I think, if it would be alright, that I will help you for a while. I must repay my debt in some way, although I have a rather large debt to you."

"Uh, I told you not to worry about it."

"I must insist. It is a matter of personal and family pride."

"Alright... I guess... Do you mind if I ask you some questions?"

"You can ask. I can not guarantee I will have the answer."

"Fair enough. First off, what can you tell me about Division 7?"

"They are a government agency, although I do not know how much influence the government has over them. They seem to act more on their own than anything. I do know that there are... Agents, I think, but they feel... different. Not... whole. I do not know how to describe them any better than that. I felt... fear... around them. Fear more profound than anything I have ever felt before. I... do not think we have any chance if we encounter any of them."

"Really? Do you know who they are?"

"I have only met one. An Agent McCarthy. He is... no longer here, in the east. He went west, I believe, although I do not know why."

"Alright. I'll be sure to keep that in mind. And... I guess, can I ask about you're family?"

"You may. Why you would wish to know is beyond me, but I shall answer, if you like."

"Alright. Um... let me think... you mentioned you had siblings?"

"Yes. Junichi and Makoto. They are both older than me, Junichi the eldest and Makoto the middle child. My brother is... skilled at the art of the sword, but not of any truly considerable level. Makoto, however... I can only describe her as a genius when it comes to blades. Put a sword in her hands, and she turns a mere martial art into a masterpiece. Unfortunately... Division 7 turned her into a slave. Her ability suffered because of it. Someday, I hope to free her. The world is deprived without her skill."

"She's that good?"

"Before her enslavement, she defeated both my mother and father, considered masters of the blade in their own right, at the age of 13. She beat them both at the same time a year later. Saying she is a prodigy is... an understatement."

"You sound a little jealous."

"Maybe. I sometimes wish I was as skilled as her. But at least I am free."

The conversation dies down, and you both sit in silence again, although this one is significantly less awkward than the one before. You consider if you have anything else to ask, or maybe something more specific. Or you could try do something else, a quick glance at your cell states it's only 3 in the afternoon.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 527295 ID: b1c062

Well, I guess time to go practice with your guns. Bro of course will be coming along, maybe keep an eye out for Lira, but I doubt she would have made the mistake of wandering too far...Right?
>>
No. 527333 ID: c95833

>using the plural in the same context as agent McCarthy
There's more than one of these tears in reality? Fuck. Fuckshitdamn. That ain't good. And here we assumed he was running the show.

Raises the interesting question through if these tears are a preexisting thing, or if they're something people can become, the way people become breakers. I had kind of assumed the Demon was just this thing that either took control of or created D7 for it's own purpose. ...but what if D7 is making them?

>defeated two blademasters at 13
>defeated two blademasters simultaneously at 14
Goddamn, Chris. No wonder you kicked our ass. And she would have likely only had a normal's speed, then.

>Rise wants to find her sister, de-slave her
Oh. Um. That's interesting. Especially as we have her sister and wouldn't mind getting further with her deprogramming ourself. Problem is all the connecting information is out of character.

Hmm. Two ways around this, I think. Either Lyra finds something in the data we jacked (say, about subject 23 going rogue out west, and/or known associates). Then Guy remembers Daniel offered to sell information, and has contacts out west, and we ask him to look into it. Or if Lira doesn't find anything, Guy could still try Daniel as a longshot. That would set wheels in motion for eventually getting a meeting between the two.

Not something we can do immediately though. We barely either have just enough or one foci short of Daniel's price for that avatar (which I'm still uncertain about). We don't have a spare to trade for information, yet.

>anything else to ask
Hey, opportunity for us to poke at something that's been bugging me (the statistical unlikelihood of related breakers without related causes) and maybe get Guy to open up a little.

Is it... common for breaking to run in families like that? I had kind of thought my brother and I were a special case. Because of um, the avatar thing. Sort of only counts as one. He died, but I'm the one who broke.

>what else do
Firearm practice might not be a bad idea, but remember we'll need the normalize, and take your brother with you. Dunno if ammunition is gonna be a problem, we only have two clips.

...the gun's a decent holdout weapon, and should work against normals and low-level non-finesse types, but anyone with passable finesse or active break isn't going to have to worry about it. Still haven't decided where we want to stick our XP, but I'm pretty sure infesting in Guy's finesse isn't a priority right now. He needs will, spirit and BP, to make his brother stronger, and think about if we want to tune another avy yet and save an XP.

>Lira, wandering off
I wouldn't worry about it. It's not a combat situation, and she's taken care of herself longer than Guy's been around. I doubt she's getting herself in trouble, and she can always call for help electronically if anything happens.
>>
No. 527712 ID: 184dd1

"Rise? I gotta another question, if that's alright."

"Of course."

"Is it... common for breaking to run in families like that? I had kind of thought my brother and I were a special case. Because of um, the avatar thing. Sort of only counts as one. He died, but I'm the one who broke."

"I do not know what you mean by common. If you mean to ask if it is a hereditary trait of some kind, I couldn't say. My siblings and I were simply a controlled case, an experiment to find out if breaks could be artificially induced. The purpose of such is obvious, but whether or not they have satisfactory results is beyond my knowledge."

"I see... you know... I know somebody who says they have a solid information network. We could... We could see about trying to find your sister."

"... Even if I searched for her, I do not believe myself strong enough at present to best her in combat. I will not hinder any search you perform, but I... I will refrain from searching for her myself at this time."

You nod your acceptance of that, while still filing away that sliver of information. She didn't tell you NOT to look for Makoto. Just that she herself wouldn't be doing so. Regardless, you take your leave of the woman at just a little after three-thirty, and decide to maybe hunt down a shooting range of some kind. You borrow a laptop that Jager has and find a reasonably close place, and after collecting your brother you head out.

The next few hours are spent practicing with your new handgun. You find out the place sells ammo as well, and after normalizing everything into complacency, you happily spend a little money to set yourself up. After blowing through a good ten clips worth of munitions and getting a little instructions from one of the staff at the place, you feel you've familiarized yourself with the weapon somewhat. You're no crack shot, but you certainly can at least hit a non-moving target. You wash a good $200 out of your funds, but think that it is mostly worth it. You don't really spend your money on anything else, and being able to fight at least a little will be helpful in the long run.

Still, as you leave the shooting range, it's still only about five in the afternoon. You find a text from Jager stating that food will be ready at around six-thirty. Lira also sent you a text, asking to talk to you when you get the chance. There's also that note from Daniel from this morning, and you have all your foci with you...

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 527720 ID: b1c062

Hrm...Let's talk to Lira I think? I can't think of a reason Daniel would be pressing right away, unless he told us to come back at a specific time.
>>
No. 527776 ID: c95833

>deliberately created breakers
Now that is interesting. Was wondering if they were up to that. Wonder what that means for their trauma?

>Not ready to fight Chris
Luckily, you may not have to! She's not D7 loyal anymore. ...unless seeing Rise makes her crazy, or sword duels are how you say hello in their family.

Regrettably, we don't have a spare focus to pay Daniel to look into Chris right now, though. At least, not if we buy the avy. Although maybe we could get him started and pay for the info when he gets it?

>I can't think of a reason Daniel would be pressing right away
Well, avatars are kind of a hot commodity. He might not be comfortable holding on to it forever, and he may not be able to, either.

Lira said 'when you get the chance' which doesn't mean immediately pressing.

You're... still not entirely sure you're ready for another avatar (you're still kind of struggling to figure out how this works with your brother). But better to have the option than not, right? You can decide if you want it when we see it. And we can wait to tune it, if we decide we need to.

I vote Daniel.
>>
No. 528144 ID: 184dd1
File 137490966007.jpg - (218.41KB , 570x380 , Fairy-Artwork-cover.jpg )
528144

You've still got awhile till food will be ready. And Lira did say when you got the chance. Might as well head on down to the market and see what Daniel's got. The trip doesn't take very long, even with you starting somewhere else, and soon enough your weaving in between customers in the market. It doesn't seem like this place ever dies down, and you find it somewhat comforting. After a few minutes of getting your bearing, you arrive at your destination to find that it isn't Daniel tending to the shop this time. A young woman, perhaps 16, 17, is busily reading through a magazine. She doesn't even glance up as you arrive, even as she begins what you think is a rehearsed speech.

"The boss isn't in right now, had some business to attend to. Go ahead and take a look at the wares, and if you see anything you like, bring it up to me and we'll talk price. If you're expecting something specific, let me know and I'll tell you whether we got it or not..."

"Uh... yeah, alright. I'm supposed to see Daniel about an avatar?"

"An avatar?"

That gets the girl's attention, and she tosses the magazine to the side to focus on you. For a moment, she's frowning at you suspiciously, then she spots your brother, and her eyes go wide. For a moment, there's silence from everybody, then your brother offers the girl a smile and a wave.

"Hey! How's it going?"

"... Oh SHIT! It really IS an avatar! Oh SHIT! I didn't believe the boss when he said it! No way! COOL! He got any cool super powers yet?"

The girl starts poking at your brother from across the counter, who only halfheartedly bats at her fingers in a lame attempt to prevent her from touching him. You shake your head in response to her question, which seems to deflate her a little, but then she's back to being more cheerful.

"Oh well. I'm Kim, I work for the bo- I mean, Daniel. He's an okay guy, even let's a normal like me work for him. I think it's mostly cause of my dad, but I'm okay with that. Daniel gets to use my dad's contacts, I get a steady paycheck and get to see all these cool foci everyone's got. Ah! You came for the avatar, right? Daniel said you might drop by. Hold on, I think it's..."

Kim drops down below the counter, digging through things by the looks of it, and you sigh silently to yourself. The talkative type. Not really your kind of person, but... well, she doesn't seem like a bad person all around. Your brother seems especially disinterested, which doesn't surprise you, he'd always been popular with the ladies, but tended to prefer older women. You can't really recall the reason why. Suddenly, Kim's popped back up with a small bag, gently placing it on the table before opening it and drawing out a tiny figure, maybe only a few inches in height at best. The tiny thing is placed once again gently on the table before Kim backs up, giving you a look at it.

The thing looks a little like a fairy, with butterfly like wings sprouting from it's back. It appears to be asleep, and although tiny, you can tell that it easily fits into the "beautiful woman" category. Except for being small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. You examine it a little longer before Kim starts talking again, this time about the fairy.

"We got it from some trader downtown. Not a nice man to deal with, but he couldn't unload the thing at all, so it was no skin off his back to get paid cash for it. Daniel got as much info about this one as he could to, since he didn't want to screw you over or anything. Apparently, she's called Sidhe. Something Irish or Scottish or something like that. Anyway, her first owner was apparently a lover of fairy tales and the like, and she was born from that... and the not so good tales. Her main power is the ability to erect temporary barriers, kinda like an instant shield. They only last for a few seconds, but they can deflect pretty much anything. Our contacts also said something about her being temperamental, but I can't really speak for the truth of that. She's kinda... well, you know.

"Daniel said he's willing to start the bartering at 5 foci. I mean, come on. Look at all the effort we went into to get this for you."

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 528151 ID: acb7da

"No, no, I already paid for the procurement, we're bartering for the price of exchanging ownership of the product. 2 foci."
>>
No. 528170 ID: 2f4b71

>Sidhe
Oh dear. These aren't the happy fluttery fairies of Disney films. These are the 'angry magical wasps in human shape' type.
>>
No. 528202 ID: c95833

>Barrier fairy
Yesss.

>>528170 Yup. Gonna make things interesting.

>Brother
Huh. Wonder how the popular with the ladies thing works now. (Might have to spend more points on humanlike, actually. :V ).

...what's he think? Of the fairy. He sense anything? ...do you sense anything?

>5 foci
That was what we'd agreed on before, and it's not as if you have much else you can can do with them.

Once we're done with that transaction, maybe see about setting up the next one. Could he check with his west coast contacts if they know anything about a Makoto Muramasa? Maybe where she is? Uh... although if we gave them all the spare foci we have, we'll have to pay next time we see them, or later, in exchange for the information.

>what do with Sidhe?
We shouldn't tune her here, in the market. Kim might be disappointed, but we don't know how Sidhe's going to wake up. Her first breaker is dead, right? ...so she might not exactly be happy. Probably best that that doesn't happen in a public arena. Whatever happens should happen in a more secure place.

Might want to talk to Lira first. Fairy's probably going to keep us occupied the rest of the evening.

>XPs
I'm thinking now we tune back at the house, and then decide where to throw the last two points once we see the fairy's stats. Although I think I'm leaning +2 will for Guy.
>>
No. 528213 ID: c95833

>>528202
...although Guy doesn't know she's out west. Dangit. He just has to make a general request if Daniel can see where she is.
>>
No. 528427 ID: 184dd1

"Uh... yeah I'll-"

"No, no, I already paid for the procurement, we're bartering for the price of exchanging ownership of the product. 2 foci."

Your brother suddenly cuts in, and is obviously getting ready to enjoy himself. A fresh challenge maybe? You don't know what possessed your brother to do this, but whatever it is, he'd suddenly on a roll, and you back up to let him do his thing. Kim seems just as happy to clash with him, if anything she seems even happier knowing he's an avatar.

"Ah! But the we had to burn some bridges to get it! Besides, this is an avy we're talking about. There's only two of these things on the market. The boss went through a lot of trouble to get this thing. I want to see him get paid his due, you know? 4 foci."

"3 foci, cause you're such a nice girl, and I'll take you out on a date tomorrow. Assuming that's alright with you, Bro?"

Kim looks surprised, which is a perfect mirror of your own expression. Both of you are shocked into silence, which your Brother apparently takes as agreement, because he scoops up the avatar on the counter, places it in back in the bag and drops that into your hands.

"Alright. That settles it. Pay the girl and finish up whatever other business you got. We're outta here. Getting hungry. See you tomorrow, by the way."

Your brother excuses himself completely from the conversation, moving off to stand a few feet away and watch the crowds. You sigh a little to yourself, your brother is certainly forward, but regardless, you drag out three foci and place them on the counter. You start to draw out a fourth, but Kim quickly stops you, apparently fine with the deal. Still, as she swipes the foci off the counter, you can hear her muttering about hoping the boss doesn't find out.

"So... uh... that all I can help you with?"

"Actually... I was wondering if Daniel might be able to find someone for me?"

"Oh? I can handle that, I usually do. Who we looking for?"

"A woman, named Makoto Muramasa. She's Division 7, I think. I don't know much more than that."

"Ah. Division 7. No worries. I should be able to come up with something. I don't promise any miracles though."

"Fair enough. How much are we talking?"

"For starting it? Nothing. For getting the info later, a foci should be fine. I'm not gonna charge you if I can't find anything. That all?"

"Yeah, that's it."

"Cool. Uh... tell your brother I'll be waiting here at 10 tomorrow, alright?"

She's looking a little embarrassed, but you don't pay it any mind. Not your business. You promise to pass on the message, and then you're off, heading back home. When you arrive, food is already prepared, and the meal is eaten in silence at first. What comes soon enough, however, is Lira deciding it's time to talk.

"Hey Guy? You busy?"

"Um... I'm kinda eating, but other than that, no. Why?"

"I wanted to bring this up. I was digging through all this data here, and well... you show up in it."

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Well, not you specifically. There's a lot of mention of some Guys, capital G. There's not much to go off of, but apparently D7 was doing something with them. They weren't at the facility we screwed over though. Those ones were all in a facility somewhere inside Central Downtown. I have no idea where that is, but I thought I should let you know..."

"So what, Guy was part of Division 7 or something?"

"I don't know, Jager. Maybe they have a project the same as his name? You remember being part of D7, Guy?"

"No. I was in college for awhile. Brother came back... yesterday? Was it yesterday? Seems so much longer ago. Anyway, I don't remember being a part of D7."

"For what it is worth, I have never heard of this project either, although I was a bit... less than fully aware of other projects most of the time."

"Thanks Rise."

"Well, whatever works, I guess. I have all the other data pulled up and ready. So... anyone got any questions?"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 528458 ID: b1c062

>>Mass produced Guys.
That's an interesting thought. If they all break like our Guy here, Avatar style, that's going to change the game a bit! Avatars for all the Avi users!
On the flipside...That makes me wonder about the authenticity of THIS Guy. But then again, we'll deal with that when it comes up.
>>Bro's date
I feel like you should high-five Bro for pulling that off. Nice haggling job man! That makes me wonder if we'll need to hang around or if we can send him off on his own and spend that day on the down-low.
>>
No. 528472 ID: c95833

Well. I mean, it doesn't have to be me, right? I don't exactly have the... least generic name in the world.

>D7 Questions
Erm. Hacked right into one of their databases and we can't ask after the really good stuff due to Guy's ignorance (raw reality, the unmaker rounds, what McCarthy / the Demon / tears in reality are, etc). ...although I guess if she found something groundbreaking, she would volunteer the information.

Well, do we know what they're up to besides killing breakers and trying to mind control them? Or... do they know anything more than we do about how or why we can do what we do?

...anything in there about Rise's sister?

>Date
Huh. Wonder how that's going to work. Too bad we spent all our cash at the gun range.

>later
After dinner we should check out the fairy alone with our brother. See if either of you feel anything from it. (Might be nice to get a first warning of what we're getting into). And what he thinks.

Then if we don't have any reason not to, we go ahead and tune her and see what happens.
>>
No. 528576 ID: 184dd1

"Anything in their about plans other than mind controlling/ killing everybody?"

"Nope. Sorry. It seems that's what most facilities are up to. Very few that do much of anything else. At least, according to the records I have."

"And is there anything about a Makoto Muramasa?"

"I'm assuming Rise's sibling? Not much. She went missing awhile ago, somewhere on the west coast, but other than that, I got nothing."

"Every little bit helps. I'll see you guys later. Got something to do."

"Alright. Talk to you later."

Rise gives a small nod of farewell, and Jager is busily eating, although he gives you a small hand wave as you get up and leave the table. After you've cleaned up your dishes somewhat and have retreated to your room, you slide the avatar gently from it's bag and examine it more closely. It feels incredibly soft to the touch, much like you'd expect velvet or silk to feel. The wings especially seem fragile and prone to damage, although after a small experiment, you find them incredibly resistant to being torn. Likely helpful when it's your main means of transportation. You try feeling it out with you... less physical senses, but instead of finding something there, you find the lack of something. The moment you realize this, you feel the incredible urge to fill the gap, and without thinking, you push a little of yourself into the fairy.

Almost immediately, there's a flash of light, nearly blinding you, then you feel something else brush against your mind. Unlike your brother's feeling, which was warm and protective in some way, this one feels... not necessarily hostile, but it doesn't trust you. Regardless, as you blink the light from your eyes, you find yourself staring at the fairy, who's small wings are holding her hovering in front of your face, mere inches away.

She doesn't speak, although she certainly looks like she's suspicious of you. Perhaps in another way, however, she gets her feeling across. You somehow understand that she is confused and unsure, and you suspect explaining might do you some good. A quick rundown of how she came into your possession follows, and she is clearly frowning by the end of it, even if you can barely see her doing so. She touches down gently on your shoulder for a moment, making a soft humming sound as she does so, then she sits down resolutely and points at herself, then at you, then makes a sort demanding motion.

You get the feeling she's telling you your supposed to serve her now or something. You'd don't, however, feel any particular need to do so. Odd.

You brother is observing from a corner, and although he's not particularly hostile towards the tiny avatar, he seems wary of it for some reason. You get the feeling he's threatened, although not physically. Odd.

>>>Input Command
Experience Remaining: 2
>>
No. 528589 ID: c95833

Oh, she doesn't speak, even to you. Wasn't expecting that. Guy could hear his Brother even before we bought the speech upgrade. She's doing the Tinkerbell thing. All gestures and poses and telegraphed emotion. I like it.

>Brother wary, threatened
Well, yeah. Of course. He's supposed to be yours. He came back from the dead for you. To protect you. And now you've got someone new. Who wouldn't feel threatened in that situation?

>You're supposed to serve her now or something
You uh, don't think you can exactly do that. Counter-proposal. Would she be open to more of a partnership? Working together? (Maybe offer her a hand for an absurd different sized hand-shake).
>>
No. 529051 ID: 184dd1

"Uh. I don't think it works like that. Maybe. Erm... damn, this is hard... uh, you think we could be partners instead? Friends maybe?"

The little fairy frowns again, then picks herself up and floats to the front of your face again, she crosses her arms in mock annoyance but nods her head in agreement. Good she can do that. Doesn't seem all that hard-

Suddenly, there's a loud popping sound and the breath is knocked from you, almost like that wind thing from yesterday, only now your stomach hurts like hell. There's a musical tinkling noise coming from somewhere above you, you can only assume the fairy thing, right up until you glance up and notice your brother's hand close around the little thing and slam it into the desk, hard.

"Try that again, you little piece of shit. I dare you. I'll rip your little wings off slowly and painfully."

"Ah... *cough*... um... bro? I'm fine. Really. I just... whooo... need to catch my breath..."

"I don't like this one. Can we get rid of her?"

The little fairy is obviously not at all liking that idea. Or maybe it was the threat of violence. Regardless, she did SOMETHING to you. What you don't know, but whatever it was, it hurt. The fairy though, is giving off the same empathic signals as before, only... there was no hostility. It was more like she did it for the hilarity she found in it, and not to actually hurt you... too much. How confusing.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 529053 ID: a4b6b4

Hrrrm. She's mischievous...I think she can work, but maybe next time run it by Bro if she wants to prank you, or run it by me if she wants to prank Bro.
As far as getting rid of her...Well, considering the foci we spent GETTING her, I dunno about that.
Ask Fairy what exactly she just did though. we thought her thing was making shields? Like, isn't her powers defensive in nature? Possibly a nice compliment to Bro's desire to keep us safe.
>>
No. 529063 ID: c95833

I'm pretty sure you just had the air knocked out of you. Her power was barriers and shields right? Apparently she can hit things with them. (Fae punch!).

>Can we get rid of her?
Yesterday I would have said that's not even an option, but we just learned it's possible to untune foci. Not that we really want to, but technically, yes, we could.

...I think it would be somewhat cruel to cast her aside, trapped as a doll, just for pulling a prank, Brother. I'm all right, really.

I don't think she meant any harm. We were never the kind of brothers to pull that kind of thing, but she's a fairy, right? Different set of rules. It's just mischief for her. Or testing us, maybe.

...maybe we'll need some ground rules. Or something to keep her amused. Could you let her up?

I'm sorry about that, but this is my brother. He takes protecting me pretty seriously, okay?
>>
No. 531068 ID: 184dd1

"I think... maybe we'll need some ground rules for this friendship of ours. Could you let her up please, brother?"

"... Yeah. Alright."

He releases the tiny fairy, and she immediately darts over to you, landing lightly on your shoulder. You marvel for a moment at how light she actually is. You can barely feel her weight at all. You're a little amazed she could knock the wind out of you at all. Well... maybe not amazed at all. Everything else seems to have crazy things happen around them lately, you don't see why this one shouldn't either.

"Alright... sorry about my brother, he's a little protective is all. Still, I think we should avoid hurting me in anyway, just to avoid setting him off, yeah?"

You get a profoundly "loud" sense of agreement from the fairy, her small hands wringing nervously as she glances at the much larger avatar across the room. Still, it seems like she's agreed to not harming you at least. Hopefully. It's kinda hard to tell just off this weird emotion sensing thing. Regardless, the night is late, and you feel tired from all the antics. After setting a few ground rules with Sidhe(that was her name, wasn't it?), you turn in early for the night, finding sleep quickly.

--------------

Dream... another one? Different this time. Thoughts are swirling around you, ideas, memories, thoughts. Something tells you you've been here before. No... not here. Somewhere like here. Somewhere like here but less... distant and confusing. The inky blackness seems to roll and swirl like mist caught in a tornado. Is that even possible?

Regardless, that mist parts, and you find yourself standing alone in a room with metallic walls. Odd. This room seems so familiar, yet you've never seen it before. What is this? Why would you be here?

A wall suddenly opens up across from you, yet as you start to head towards it, a voice cuts through the silence and confusion.

"Wait! Don't go! Please! Don't go! We need you here with us! Don't go! You can't leave me here all alone!"

"I have to go. Someone has to. You'll be fine on your own. You've got the others to look after you."

Your own voice. Yet not. It's familiar again. Or maybe it isn't. You can't really tell. Why? What's going on? Who are you? This isn't you. Can't be you. You don't even know where you are. You try turning around, but you find no one. Yet as you head towards the door again, voices start to beg you again.

"Please! You know they don't care about what happens to me! I was just an experiment! I was just a trial! They never needed me! Please! If you go, I swear I'll kill myself!"

"You do that, and you'll never see me again. It's not like I'm disappearing. You'll be able to find me whenever you like. Just come looking. Goodbye, -----. See you later."

The world goes black again, and once again, the world comes crashing down on top of you-

------------

You awake with a start, the vivid dream still fresh in your mind. You're breathing heavily, and as you calm down you feel something light land on your shoulder again.

"Good... good morning, Sidhe."

You feel the response, a blossom of flowers in your mind. How you know what that feels like, you have no clue, but you know that's what she meant. You pull yourself to your feet, glancing around for your brother to find him missing. You frown, only to check the clock as you get dressed for the day and find it to already be nearly 11 in the morning. Damn. You'd slept late. You head into the living room and find a note left on the table. Picking it up and reading it seems the most intelligent thing to do, so you check it as Sidhe starts to explore her surroundings.

Guy

If you're reading this, me and Jager went out to see about finding us a new place to hide out. Our growing family is going to need more space soon, and we don't want to hang around that house too long. We dropped your brother off at the market, said he had something to take care of. Pass the message along to Rise when you see her, she wasn't up when we left either.

-Lira

Ah. That's where he went. Well... seems like you got the day to yourself then. Don't want to wander too far though. You find another note and a pile of cash as you enter the kitchen in search of an easy meal, with a note simply saying Guy on it. You'd assume it means that this is your share. A check nets you a good 1000 dollars. Huh. More than you expected.

Options for the day seem limited though. You could try going out and getting more shooting practice in you suppose. There's also maybe seeing about waiting till Rise gets up and asking if she wants to do anything. Or you could ask her to help you with self-defense. Your brother had suggested she might be able to teach you something. Or... you don't know. Having a day off seems a little anti-climactic after all this crazy stuff recently.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 531074 ID: b5df96

Well. That dream wasn't ominous at all.

Hope your brother will be fine on his own. I guess he feels he can head off a bit with Sidhe around.

Start small. Eat some breakfast, wait for Rise to wake up. The self defense doesn't seem a terrible idea. Maybe experiment some more with this emotion-communication thing some more in the meantime. ...does she need to eat? Does your brother, come to think of it.

(We could just buy her speech, but unless she shows frustration or unhappiness with this means of communication, I don't see a reason to. This way is interesting).

>XP
Okay, I think our options boil down like this:

-Save up, so we can immediately go for spirit 4 the next chance we get.
-Invest both in will. Maybe it'll help with avatar management, at least it's good for other interpersonal stuff.
-Invest in finesse. Realistically, we need a few points if we expect our gun to be at all useful against other breakers. Although I'm not sure how much XP we can afford putting into a non-manifestation weapon- there are countless ways other breakers could damage or deny the weapon to us. (Meaning we use it only as a surprise, or when it would really count. ...or we have to keep using active breaks to fix it).
-Experiment with buying an in-theme power for our brother. (Although, I think we're still kind of too low on BP to be powering abilities, and the theme is still kind of shaky enough that I'd have a hard time inventing powers).

...I'm thinking what we want to do now is go for will. It's potentially too important to pass up, and it doesn't hurt to have. And then later we put a point in two in finesse for competency, and then spirit, and then experiment with avatar upgrades.
>>
No. 531076 ID: cf8f63

Well...Hrm
Hoping we get to talk to Lira about what she wanted to mention to us soon!
For now, maybe go talk to Rise about self-defense and train with her (and perhaps let Sidhe prank her a bit to see how good she is!)
>>
No. 531084 ID: b5df96

>talk about what Lira wanted
We already did, at dinner last night. The fact that the division 7 files she stole mentioned some Guys, capitol G.
>>
No. 531838 ID: 184dd1

Experience Allocated:
Will-5


You settle yourself at the dining table, a plate of food warm and ready to eat, and find yourself observing your newest family member. The tiny fairy sets down next to the food, eying it with interest, and when you cut of a small piece and offer it to her, she takes it gently and sits herself down, nibbling at it piece by piece. You take your time to finish your breakfast, in no real hurry, and in the process experiment with this odd form of communication. You find that no matter what you try, the only real "feeling" you get from Sidhe is general emotions and "ideas" like the blossoming flowers thing from earlier. Those emotions are then given some context or direction by Sidhe through body movements and her pointing things out, or in some cases, acting them out if they are activities. It's an interesting communication method. In the process you even discover that certain "feelings" are used specifically for certain things. Good morning, for example, is the blossoming flowers feeling she gave you when you woke up.

Finishing breakfast, Rise still isn't up, so you spend some time watching something random on tv. An hour later, at about 1230, Rise is finally up, looking a bit tired. She'd dressed again in that combat uniform, likely because she doesn't have anything else to wear, but regardless, she greets you warmly before hunting in the kitchen for something to eat. You hear her go through some cabinets, then the clinking of plates, and ten minutes later, Rise has joined you in the living room, apparently having eaten in that span of time. You remain quiet for a little while, watching Sidhe dart around the room exploring, before your thoughts are interrupted by Rise.

"I hope I am not prying by saying this, but I could not help but overhear your argument with your brother yesterday, regarding your lack of safety."

"Ah... yeah. I tried practicing with the handgun you gave me yesterday, but I don't think I'm very good with it. Can't expect me to be any good in one night. I was actually hoping you'd teach me some self defense today, if you didn't mind."

"Of course not. Anything I can do to help. Shall we begin now?"

"Sure."

Rise stands again, and gestures you towards the backyard while she heads off towards her given room. She joins you outside soon enough, bringing one of those suits you looted from the D7 base with her. She hands it to you, and tells you to get dressed quickly. After getting changed, Rise helps you adjust it till is fits your body nicely, then she stands back to observe you.

"Not very physically inclined, are you?"

"Ah... yeah, no. I used to... well, let's just say I never played sports much."

"Hm. Still, you are not really out of shape. I can teach you some things, but if you want to be capable at all, you will need more than just technique. Proper execution is only aided by a good physical condition. Regardless, that can come later. Here. Place your body like so. No, like this. There. Now-"

The next 4 hours are grueling to say the least. Rise shows little remorse for the strain she's placing on your muscles, although she gives you short breaks now and then. She seems to mostly focus on techniques for avoiding or redirecting attacks directed at you, frequently demonstrating the motions on you and sending you tumbling to the ground again and again. She isn't unfair however, and she lets you use her body to practice as well, guiding you through the same motions again and again until she find herself on her back, only to repeat the process. By the time you are done, you are sore everywhere, muscled you didn't know you possessed screaming at you not to move.

"Gah. I hurt."

"Yes. That does tend to happen. Still, while I would not call you a natural, you pick up things rather quickly. Much faster than my brother, at least."

"Wait... these are techniques from your family?"

"Yes. Although really, all martial arts are similar."

"Should you be teaching me family techniques?"

"I think my father would be fine with this. If not, it is a little late to be worrying about it."

"Right... aaaah! God. I need a shower. A nice long hot shower."

"Haha... turn over."

"Huh?"

"Turn over. It will help, I assure you."

You do so, confused as you lie down on your stomach, only to feel a sudden weight on your back and pressure suddenly get pressed into your shoulder and neck. The next ten minutes are spent in utter bliss, fatigue getting massaged from your tired body by skilled fingers. When it's done, Rise rises and sits next to you again, while you drag yourself up.

"Thanks for that."

"It will help. Tomorrow we do this all again."

"What?"

"One day hardly makes a warrior. We will need to continue."

"Oh... god..."

"He has little to do with this."

Still, when you stumble into the house, you find that Lira and Jager have returned. They seem hardly enthusiastic, although they have a few things to report to you. They found somewhere new to live, and Lira will be moving all the things over tomorrow. In the meantime, there's going to be a night job, apparently some fixers are pushing a little too hard at the Sewer Rats territory, and your needed to... discourage... further encroachment. Lira won't be going on this one, no security to hack into underground, so it'll just be you and Jager, maybe Rise too, if you can get her to come. The pay is all cash, plus whatever you can loot, but there's rumor of D7 activity in the area as well so...

Regardless, there's time before that, and Lira's managed to go through even more of the data. If you have any questions regarding that, or for anyone else really, now's the time. Your brother also calls you in the time provided, saying he'll be back in an hour. He's still got to drop of the "little miss" before he can head home.

>>>Input Command
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No. 531874 ID: 41690e

Oh geeze. Poor Guy. We put the will build through physical combat training. (Hopefully that'll pay off. She focused on avoidance, so that should make our finesse count more. We'll have to invest a little in that at some point).

...at least Sidhe probably found the torment amusing.

>brother coming back from his date
Oh, we gotta ask how that went.

>talk to Lira
Yeah, why not see if there's anything else on the supposed mystery of Guy. (You don't think you're involved in anything but... anything is sort of possible with breaking, right? And D7 is all about mind control and messing with memories, so it's not like you could actually rule it out). Maybe we could ask about the general lack of enthusiasm too- what's got them down?

>bring Rise?
I don't see any reason not to. Unless we need to leave someone combat capable behind with Lira. (I suppose we could leave an avy in the house, but I doubt your brother would want you going hunting with just Sidhe. She'd built for a protection detail, but I did kind of want to bring her along, see how she does in combat).
>>
No. 532338 ID: 184dd1

"Hey, Lira, you find out anything else about this Guy project thingy?"

"No... not really, anyway. I mean, apparently someone really important was leading the whole thing, but other than that, there really wasn't much in the database. It was more like someone deliberately tried to get rid of data though, instead of just not having any. Really oddly done to, they hardly tried to cover up that they deleted all that data, but its like... they didn't use a computer or anything to do it. Even breaking leaves some traces, but I didn't catch anything at all. It's a little odd..."

"I... I see, I think. So, it could be something not a breaker?"

"I guess. But I don't know what is or isn't a breaker. What else could it be, really?"

You happen to know what it could be from talking with Rise, but you let it slide. No use getting her worried. For now though, you move on with your questions. Namely, why they seem so down, even with everything going on. Lira's response is hardly comforting.

"Ah... yeah... D7 is moving. A lot. Not changing locations at all, but... hunting. We're moving partly because of that, but... they're good. I mean, hunting us is what they do. It'll be hard to move around the city with them active, but we should be fine as long as we don't draw too much attention to ourselves. Let's just hope Rise doesn't get noticed anytime soon."

That information could hardly be called good in any way, and you feel a shiver of unease go through you. D7 is active now, and that'll make doing things much more difficult. You'll have to avoid encounters with them as much as possible for now. When you suggest possibly leaving someone here to watch Lira, however, she waves you away, ignoring the issue. She'll be fine on her own. The house has a lot of security you can't see, most of it set up by her. If anything so much as takes a step within three blocks of the place, she'll know about it.

Rise agrees readily enough to coming with you tonight, happy to be useful, although she seems uncertain regarding D7's activity. She drops into thought once your conversation is done, obviously thinking on everything that's happening. Your brother, on the other hand seems practically overflowing with energy, and when you ask about his date, he simply smiles at you.

"Way more fun than hanging around here and doing whatever it is you did. You lot need to lighten up. Get out. Live a little. Especially you, bro. Cooping yourself up in here is bad for your health."

Regardless, the next few hours are spent resting and preparing for the job tonight. Eventually, it's time to go, and the group heads out, ready to get to business. The sewers remain the safest way to travel, and your end destination anyway, so you travel down the barely lighted tunnels, passing the market, and eventually reach a slightly better lit area with two other breakers waiting for you. They nod at you before turning to Jager.

"Hey, Jags. Been awhile."

"Not long enough. What the hell do you assholes want us here for? You can do this on your own."

"Not this time. Fixers are getting worked up. They're gonna try pushing down into our territory, and we need you guys to help us hold them here until the rest of the rats can get here."

"Why not just have everybody here to begin with?"

"Because then the fixers won't move at all. We set up some traps and defensive positions, use em as you like. They should be here soon, so don't take too long to get yourself prepped."

"Yeah, yeah... Hey Guy, where are you gonna be? And what's this damn thing flitting around my head doing here?"

Sidhe seems quite intent on Jager, although the feeling your getting is one of a mischievous grin. Something tells you she's already thinking up ideas to prank your partner. Here's hoping she keeps it out of the fight at least. You ignore your partner for the moment, however, to consider your options.

Most of the "traps" are just bear traps, things set up to hinder. You suppose that makes sense, breakers aren't exactly easy to defeat in one go. Still, you'll have a few places to hide if you want to go that route. The narrow tunnels make excellent killing zones, but the area you are currently in opens up into a wide area. If you can hold them in the tunnels you'd have the advantage, but... you won't be able to bring your full force to bear, and you're the only ranged fighter by the looks of it. You'd be holding them back on your own really.

>>>Input Command
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No. 532350 ID: 41690e

>data just gone, not breaking or computers
Huh. So tears have their own way of affecting things. Makes sense they might be destruction oriented.

>only ranged fighter
...well, if you're counting your avatars as ranged weapons. I wouldn't count on your gun by itself to hold off breakers. You're not that good with it yet, and there's a decent chance a breaker will try to separate you from it or break it.

Also, don't get overconfident. You're still fairly new at this- you're not ready to pull a one-man army against competent opponents.

>she's already thinking up ideas to prank your partner
>traps
Redirect her intentions. I'm sure she can come up with some pranks to enhance the traps in place. Make them more dangerous, more lasting, or more of a hindrance, or better concealed. This is practically her element. (Illusions covering them? Irritants, allergens, poisons or drugs in the trap? Blinding or deafening flashes? Terrible smells? Something hard to get off- forcing them to waste BP getting it off and respawning? Something that explodes when you remove the trasp? There are tons of ways they could be enhanced).

Just have to make sure she gets back before the enemy starts showing up.

>tunnels or open room stand?
Choke points are a good thing. Best use of the tunnels would be to set up ambushes paired with traps. Yes, some traps can serve to bleed BP as they approach- but others can be used to leave them vulnerable to sudden attack.

Problem is the lack of places to hide. Unless someone here is good at breaking that kind of thing (really, all we need are corners or recesses to work with), or it counts as part of the prank...

If we can't bring full forces to bear, splitting up might make sense. Pick off a few, then fall back to regroup and fight the remainder in the open room?
>>
No. 532351 ID: 5663f2

Hunh.
So we're the ONE archer out of a bunch of melee breakers. Tch.
Very well.
Bro: Guy, you'll be in the back, waaay in the back.
Guy: Bro-
Bro: You've got a gun. The rest of us have fists, swords (jerks thumb at Jager, who is now holding a bloody nose and trying to swat Sidhe.)
Bro: FAIRY! It's your job to keep my brother here safe for me.
Sidhe: *surprise, questioning, Bro*
Bro: I'm gonna be in the front, other breakers behind me.
Jager, you deal with any slow, strong breakers.
Jager: Slow and strong? Why that in particular?
Bro: Because your sword looks like it could cut a man in half.
Guy, try to shoot any fast guys we start having trouble catching.
Guy: Alright then Bro.
And you two...Well, what do you fight with? I figure you two can help back me up, between the three of us no one should be getting through.
Past us three is Jager, and finally Guy and Sidhe. Sound good?
>>
No. 537720 ID: d77784

"Uh. Sidhe?"

The tiny fairy darts back over to you, hovering inches in front of your face again. It seem personal space means little to the little creature, but that is beside the point. She seems to be confused... or was that inquisitive? It's kinda hard to tell. Either way, you forge on.

"You think you can... ah... make those traps a little more... distracting. You know, just to make this a little more interesting."

The fairy suddenly brightens considerably, and a rainbow cascades into your thoughts. Joy/Excitement. Well, good to know she thinks highly of the idea. Sidhe disappears off down the corridor, searching for the traps, while the rest of you set up and get ready to fight. You volunteer yourself to be closest to the tunnel entrance at least, hoping to pop off a few shots at the attackers before retreating behind the safety of your allies. No one seems to object except your brother, who you quickly remind that you've got Sidhe now. She'll look after you... hopefully.

Regardless, you're next few minutes is spent with everyone getting ready, one of the Rats doing stretches, the other praying, Jaeger taking a nap from what it looks like, Rise waiting patiently in that odd sitting position of hers, and your brother looking vaguely annoyed. Still, you set yourself up at the entryway into the tunnel, checking the pistol in your hands. The weight is still very unfamiliar in your hands, but you understand at least the basics to hitting your target, especially with all that practice yesterday. The only thing you can hope now is that you'll be able to hit something.

The minutes tick by, and Sidhe come zipping back from her task, another burst of rainbow in your mind conveying her thoughts. You ask her to stick with you and put up her barrier when you get attacked. There's a sense of agreement, and the fairy lands on your shoulder before humming happily to herself. Soon after, the sounds of footsteps can be heard, and your allies behind you ready themselves. It's almost time. You feel yourself tensing up unconsciously, and rather offhandedly, you recall Rise telling you that it was always best to maintain a paradox of calm and tense at the same time. You steady yourself a little, taking comfort in the familiar feeling of your brother at your back and the slight weight on your shoulder, then a snap can be heard of a bear trap clamping shut, followed quickly by a scream of pain and fear.

"WHAT THE HELL!? SOMETHING GOT MY LEG! SOMETHING GOT MY LEG!"

"Jack? Jack what's wro- HOLY SHIT!"

Gunfire starts up, along with the sound of metal scraping against stone, and your hear the chiming of bells in your ear. Ah... illusions and pranks. Someone shouts that nothing's really there a minute later, and you can hear more sounds start to echo louder and louder as the enemy approaches, however, with every step, they run into new traps and further pranks, whether they be bursts of light, or the ground suddenly going slick, or on one occasion, narrated to you by the poor man's buddies, one of the traps literally leapt into the air and clamped around a man's neck. Regardless, soon enough, you see the first group stumble into view, their bodies covered in wounds. Clearly, they had not gotten through unscathed.

"What the hell was all that?!"

"How would I know? Think the higher ups knew about all that?"

"Does it matter? Let's just get some revenge for all this pain."

"Right."

Targets. People to shoot. You peer around your corner, eyeing the approaching group. Four men. Two with pistols like you. Another with a shotgun, if those look like anything from the movies you've seen. The last is holding one of the oddly standard baseball bats. Funny, you've seen a lot of those. Can't be that many people traumatized by baseball bats. Still, it's time to pick your targets. You've got fifteen rounds, plus two extra clips of the same. Better use them wisely.

>>>Input Command
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No. 537736 ID: ddd0ce

Hrrm...Alright.
Shoot Shotgunner, since he's the biggest threat in the close range.
After him, comes pistols and bat boy, unless you can time shooting bat boy while fighting the other two...Which you probably can't.
After a bit, you'll probably want to fall back to the main group. The idea was to amplify the effeciency of the traps, more so than anything...
>>
No. 537740 ID: 41690e

Whoo! Traps! Go viscous little fairy. You the girl.

>enemy group
Aw fug, three gun users? That means they're all finesse types. I don't know how fast you need to get before you start being able to dodge bullets fired from not very far away, but they're likely all going to have more than Guy's 2 fin. Although I suppose there's a group of them in a hall, not a lot of room to dodge.

>Can't be that many people traumatized by baseball bats.
Well, it's not as if every breaker's weapon is that literal a representation of their injury. A lot of things could have a connection with beating the shit out of things.

>what do
All right. They have a lot of gun users. We don't that means they have the advantage at range. At least, ignoring Sidhe's shield (we don't know how much abuse it can take before breaking). I think the general idea should be to engage, do as much damage as we can quickly, and piss them off enough to basically charge into the teeth of your allies instead of hanging back.

Start shooting at the them. Prioritize the gun users over the bat (since they can reach you), and prioritize keeping the shotgun down over the others. If we assume Sidhe's shield can only take so much abuse before cracking, a shotgun hits harder than a handgun.

Kill them as many times as you can before they start closing or putting up more of a fight than you can cope with, or you have to reload (which you have to do by hand- the gun breakers can do that without a delay) and then fall back against the wall and away from the door. Hopefully they pursue, charging into the room, where you allies engage.
>>
No. 537743 ID: 41690e

Oh, and also, aim for the center of mass. No fancy shots, you're new at this. First time you're personally using a weapon on someone, actually. Try not to focus on that, though.
>>
No. 537765 ID: 2bebcb

Fighting withdrawal is indeed the order of the day.
>>
No. 538574 ID: d77784

You quickly make your decisions, focusing on center mass instead of anything fancy. You'd rather injure than miss completely. The crack of your pistol is heard in rapid succession, the one with the shotgun surprised as his chest suddenly sprouts bloody holes. His friends are equally surprised, obviously not expecting to suddenly be shot at, and as the first target drops, you manage to take out one of the handgun users before the remianing two turn on towards you. The bat guy charges down the corridor, shouting insults, before his leg is caught in another viciously hidden bear trap, and his own momentum rips his leg clean off and leaves him screaming in pain. You hear the soft tinkling giggle of Sidhe next to you, but push thougts from your mind as you fire a couple more rounds. Thankfully, it seems these ones aren't very powerful when it comes to breaking, or at least, they don't seem to be able to dodge very well. Regardless, all four are down in some way by the time your first clip is through, and as you reload your pistol. The one with the shotgun is just starting to get up.

He snaps his own weapon up as you begin to take aim however, and while he has no real hope of hitting you, the crack of the shotgun going off causes you to flinch in surprise. The extra few seconds is all his companions needed, and suddenly the ring of handgun fire can be heard ricocheting down the passage. You're nearly hit three times, but they seem to bounce of something you can't quite see, and an angry burst of reds and blacks floods your mind. Ah.

"Thanks, Sidhe."

The response is a rainbow burst, and you quickly retreat as you hear more shouting coming from further down the passage. Sounds like the fixers are getting some more friends. As you pass up your more melee oriented fellows to get to your position in the back and out of the way. Which just makes it oddly more funny when a group of about four fixers rush into the room, all gungho and ready to kill you, and are suddenly and violentely descended upon by five strong melee types. You find yourself looking after those from your own group, and watch as your brother rips the head off one, Jaeger cleaves another in two, and Rise dances past the last two(letting the rats deal with them) and takes up a position next to the entryway, whereupon another guy comes through and has his torso separated from his legs.

All in all, the effect is staggering, as the few that come into the room are brutally murdered. Still, you feel like this is way too easy for an assau-

Suddenly, the ceiling explodes inwards, and people drop inside, flashlights flooding the room with light and black suits still somehow remaining spotless. For a moment, you somehow get a flash of... nostalgia? That's... odd. Still, the issue is moot, as you hear the echoes of similar explosions everywhere. Whatever is happening it's not limited to here.

"Attention, breakers. Lay down your weapons and surrender yourselves now, or we will be forced to terminate yo-"

The suit is interrupted by the rather violent response of your brother, who's fist connects with the man's throat and sending him into a coughing fit, while he grabs the other one and hurls him straight up into the streets above.

"NOW CAN I START GETTING WORRIED ABOUT YOU, BRO?"

The clatter of gunfire can be heard, and sirens are coming from the streets above. You've no idea what's really going on right now, and you doubt your fellows do either. Unsurprisingly, there's a quick conference with your group, even the fixers backing off to confer with there own.

"So... I'm assuming the jobs off now, right?"

"Yeah. Still, I think we should head back towards the Rats hideaways. The damn D7 were never this aggressive before."

"That is... incorrect. The agents just tend to cover up major incidents. Still, they never went this active unless they were searching for something..."

You get the feeling Rise might be referring to herself, but at the same time, you notice your brother looking oddly... withdrawn. He seems to be avoiding getting involved in this discussion, instead keeping an eye on that hole in the ceiling, yet at the same time...

You shake yourself from your thoughts as Jaeger speaks up again, looking worried.

"If this was because of that assault, then my group has bigger problems. We know some rats joined in on that little raid, and if they're looking for participants in that, then..."

"Look. I know you have Lira, Jags, but going on your own will just get you all captured. Help us fend off the attacks, and we'll give you all the help we can. You know Tramp is good for it, she always is."

Jaeger, for the first time since you'd met him, seems uncertain of his direction, and both Rise and your brother are looking to you. An odd situation to get thrust into the leader role. You don't have much time either, the sound of combat is everywhere, and you can be almost certain that there's more agents up above ready to descend on your little party.

>>>Input Command
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No. 538579 ID: 8e4cdf

Oooooh...
Crazy idea- get together- mass break yourselves elsewhere.
Just get away from this area.
Team Breaker teleports, let's see D7 chase you after that!
>>
No. 538593 ID: b32a14

>nostalgia, brother looking oddly withdrawn
...dangit, was there something to what Lira said after all? Not as if you can expect a strait answer from your brother. (That's an odd feeling to get used to). It'll have to wait till later.

>what do
Okay, we have the choice of helping fight off the D7 incursion here, or leaving the rats to fend for themselves and rushing to get back to Lira. (Damn it, I knew we should have left someone with her, but she waved it off).

A good part of me wants to rush off and rescue Lira. She's a friend. Another selfish part of me wants to get to her so we don't lose all that data she has- it's looking more and more important.

The tactician in me disagrees, though. If this is a coordinated attack, we're already too late to make a difference. Either Lira's surveillance and security worked and she got away, or they already have her. By the time we get past the baddies here and make it there, it'll be over, one way or another. We'd have to run the streets, which we know aren't safe, or go through the sewers, which are being attacked already.

We're much better off helping the rats and everyone else, here. There's a lot of people at risk here, and we're going to need help finding Lira later, whether D7 gnabs her or not.

...we could send Sidhe. Zip strait up out the whole in the street and take to the skies. Provided we momentarily distract anyone on the surface from noticing, that leaves her free to watch what happens back at the house. If Lira's gotten out, or only has a small threat to deal with, Sidhe could assist directly, or if she's been gnabbed, Sidhe can float around up high and track her for us until we get the chance to rescue her. Tricky bit is we don't have long range communication, and we'd have to arrange a meet up somewhere.

>Jaeger
Where'd that extra e come from? :p

>>538579
Uh... I don't think that's an option. We've got a group of pretty low level breakers here- Guy and Jager are spirit 3 and I doubt the two rats are any better (they might be worse), assuming they'd be willing to bail on their own to help. We don't have Rise's stats, but she might be as high as 4? (I'm assuming she's currently the strongest in the party, but we've seen no evidence of a personal power, yet).

And teleportation is a big thing. Chris' is a personal power, short range, and five BP. The XP costs for avatars who get sudden appearance is kind of absurd (5XP per level!). I don't see a collaborative break getting us anywhere near the power we'd need for a precise, long range group teleport. I'd wager even trying it with our main group would have decent odds of just failing and splatting everyone involved, although if we channeled it through Chris for her affinity and forced rerolls through Nicole and Aria it might work?
>>
No. 538604 ID: 5a3c62

Given that a long range port isn't feasible, then we should fight.
We run to Lira, and if D7 doesn't know where she is before, they will after we bolt for her.
It's probably more effective to fight, D7 doesn't have a lot of breakers if I recall? And I can't help but think the normal breaker instinct is to 'run' which gets them caught. Fighting and covering each other's back probably is a more effective tactic to deal with the D7...
The problem might be making the will roll to get the fixers and breakers to fight side by side, because their aid will make things much easier then two seperate groups. Especially since you and Jäger are the big guys on the field.
>>
No. 538610 ID: b32a14

>making the will roll to get the fixers and breakers to fight side by side
Good thing Guy invested in will! And these fixers are all low level str and finesse types- everyone one of them probably has will for a dump stat.

After we've straitened out what we're doing with our allies, Guy should address the fixers in the room. You guys hate D7 more than us, right? (They funded other breakers to attack D7, after all). We can settle our differences later, when the common threat is dealt with.
>>
No. 539822 ID: d77784

"We need to stay and fight. Lira might not be able to fend them off if they get to her, but we can't do anything to help her dead either."

"Yeah... yeah, you're right. That means we've only got one option really. Ben, we're with you. Where should we be going?"

"We need to get back to the Warren. Safest place, we should be able to drive them back from there."

"Good enough. Let's move people."

Your group starts to head off, but a somewhat insane idea hits you, and you break off to waltz right up to the Fixers, who're are still looking somewhat confused.

"Hey! You guys aren't exactly on friendly terms with D7, are you?"

"No, I wouldn't say we are. Why?"

"Because it would be safer for everyone involved if we stuck together, at least for a little while."

"... You're right, I think. I also think the Rats won't exactly welcome us into there hidey holes with much enthusiasm."

"I'll deal with them. In the meantime, get your men ready to go. We can't stick around here for long."

"Alright. You heard him, you lot! We're sticking with them for awhile. Get your asses in gear and lets move!"

The Fixers start to snap back into motion, quickly moving to join your group. The hostility between the Rats and the Fixers is there, but thankfully, it seems to be overridden on both sides by the need to not get killed or caught by D7. Within moments, the group is heading deeper into the sewer tunnels. The sounds of fighting can be heard echoing from the walls, and while the Rats try to steer you away from the worst of it, you can still hear the dying all around you. You do your best to ignore it, but it still gets to you in some ways, and you feel a flash of comforting rainbows go through your head, Sidhe perhaps trying to comfort you in some way. You smile a little to yourself, the tiny fairy resting on your shoulder providing a lot more comfort than you thought she'd be capable of.

Eventually, however, you make it down into the depths of the sewers, into a brightly lit and well occupied area you'd never have thought could exist so far down into the earth, and you get your first glimpse of the Warren. The massive chamber is covered in lamps and campfires and all manner of other light sources, and even the amount of people in the place is enormous. Still, the feeling you get seem to be that most are noncombatants, as many are disappearing down into specific crevices and holes in the walls, likely to make room for the fighters. More are barricading off some of the side tunnels, forcing the enemy to come through only one tunnel, still, as your group and the fixers find an out of the way place to rest, a comment from your brother catches your attention.

"These people... the end for them is drawing near."

You can only stare at him in shock, this being nothing like what you remember your brother as, but it's Jager that responds, the anger clearly evident in his voice.

"What the hell do you mean by that?"

"Closing themselves off... there's no where to run. And the Division won't just let them leave. Easiest way would be to close of outside access completely. Starve them to death. They'd last maybe a month, with this many people. It's what... they'd do in the old days. Lay siege. And they're doing it to themselves. Leaving themselves with no way out."

... Ah shit...

"Then what do you suggest they do!?"

"I don't suggest they do anything. You seem to forget, Jager. I don't care about them. I only care about my brother. And I can get him out easily enough. Slip out during all the fighting at the beginning. He may not like it, but the little fairy knows what I'm talking about. She'd help me, if for nothing else than staying alive."

"I swear to god, you ass, if we abandon them-"

"What else do you expect me to do?! Help them?! How?! I can't fight against all those people?! And if everything follows, then with this many breakers in one place, what do you think they'll send after us?!"

It was Rise that answered that one. In a voice so quiet and full of fear that you barely caught it, and yet you still shivered.

"One of the different ones."

>>>Input Command
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No. 539826 ID: 07e3a8

...right. Then we know this strategy won't work. We can't hole up and survive a siege. And as I'm not particularly fond of plan "wait for everyone else to die and slip away in the confusion" (glare at your brother), that means we need to change our plan before it's too late.

We need to fight back, break the siege. Give the people here a chance to scatter, and evacuate. We have the advantage that they think they already know our strategy- they won't be expecting us to see the trap. There have to be key places in their offense we can hit. We have the advantage of knowing, partially, how they think (look to Rise as you say this, but wonder how much you mean yourself, and your brother).

There has to be a command structure. Take that out, we make them disorganized and confused. Suborn or impersonate it with breaking, and we can lead them to disaster.

They only have so many enslaved breakers. They'll be using them at key points in the assault. Taking them out will make this a lot harder on them.

...and all the non-combatants here. A lot of them are still breakers, right? Is breaking... cumulative? Cooperative? Additive? Even if they can't fight, or they're not strong individually, we have a lot of people here. Get them organized, working together on something. Don't make it a siege, make it buying time for whatever superweapon or distraction or counter attack they cook up. Put that power to use.

(Yes, a desperate collaborative break by a whole lot of non-coms. It's a bit of a reach, since Guy and possible no one here actually knows if collaborative breaks work, but it's not much of a stretch for him to infer it might be possible, and it's possibly the biggest card we have to play right now).

If the division hasn't already deployed one of these different ones against us, we still have a chance here.

>Jager
Pull him aside after. You're sorry for what your brother said before. He's... kind of hung up on protecting you above all else. But you're not thinking that way, all right?

...maybe he's lucky he doesn't have to listen to his sword demand he kill everything.

>Brother
We need to reason with him, too.

His initial analysis is draconian, but correct. It doesn't work long term, though. Guy is a lot safer if there are more breakers around than if we let D7 slaughter so many, capture more to brainwash and use, and leave Guy one of the few remaining for them to hunt. We can't survive against something like that alone, not forever. If he needs a reason to help you help these people, that's it.

Think of it as a down payment on risk. We're taking some risk on now in order to avoid having to deal with a much bigger payment later.
>>
No. 539847 ID: 4d99b6

Soo what should the grand break be?
I've several ideas-
Teleport Break- plain and simple. Let's see D7 catch us after we bounce ourselves across the city!
Lift Break- Flying Fortress- we break this whole underground area up into the sky. More of a creating a bastion should other breakers need help, might more useful in the long run than short though.
Banish Break- just take all of D7's forces, and break-warp them all over the place. No need to even care if they turn out alright either!
Death Break- exactly what it says on the tin.
>>
No. 539892 ID: 07e3a8

>>539847
Well, I think whatever they get up to will kind of be shaped by their own talents, especially whoever they end up channeling the break through. Who, presumably, should be a leader among them, and someone they trust, to maximize chances of this working.

I would also point out that every successful collaborative break we've done has had side effects. For instance, the Godzilla thing Elizabeth summoned was uncontrollable. And we didn't expect to make Linda nonexistent.

A mass teleport might work, except we don't really have a destination in mind. And if it fails, it'll probably tele-frag everyone involved. (Hopefully that would only kill everyone involved once, but maybe they'll end up chain killed inside solid objects?).

The floating fortress sounds a bad idea™. First off, if targets the entire area we have our non-coms. A failed roll would probably be pretty catastrophic for the hideout. A successful roll would have problems too- first off, we'd be completely cut off in the air, with no exit. We'd also be a lot easier a target (they could call in the air force to blow us out of the sky). ...also, there's no way of knowing of the thing would be sustainable. What happens if the whole thing comes crashing down?

A mass death spell also seems like a bad idea, if they lose control of the scope or aim. We could end up hurting our own people, or a ton of normal civilians.
>>
No. 539894 ID: 2f4b71

>>539822
>It's what... they'd do in the old days.
OK, he DEFINITELY knows more than he's letting on about D7.
>>
No. 539896 ID: 51a812

>>539894
No, he's talking about ancient warfare tactics. You know, sieging castles and all.

And I think a mass break to either teleport D7 away or teleport our side out would be best.
>>
No. 540235 ID: d77784

"... Ok. Uh... I... might have an idea."

Everyone turns to you, looking a bit surprised, you're brother included, before they snap out of it and watch you expectantly. Your mind is racing as it tries to fit the pieces together, and you're getting this painful throbbing in your skull that isn't helping the matter at all. Still, the plan forms in your head, and you smile a little to yourself. This had to work. It... there wasn't any other options, and you didn't want to see anyone else die. Not here.

"Uh... this is gonna sound crazy I think... um... excuse me?"

You intercept the path of one of the rats whose rushing around. You don't know if he's anyone important, but he'll do for the question you need answered.

"Is everyone here in the Warren a breaker?"

"Mostly. A few normals that wanted to stay with their loved ones, but otherwise yeah. Can I go now?"

"Yeah, thanks."

"What the hell was that about?"

"Just something I needed to know. Look, I need anyone capable of fighting to help hold off the enemy. I don't really have time to explain to everyone. I need one of the Rat leaders as well... Anyway, I need the Fixers, Jager, Brother and Rise to head over and help out best you can. The more time you can get me, the better."

"Seriously, what's going on? Because I'm not leaving your side, little broth-"

"No questions. Just go."

Your brother growls in annoyance, but apparently being the actual breaker in the relationship does come with some perks, as he reluctantly does as he's told. The others follow after him, but you have little time to talk. Still way too much to see get done. You grab the attention of another of the rats, and get him to direct you to a leader, on Carl Jenkins. The tall man is bellowing orders, shouting at his fellows to hide, at least until he notices you.

"Hm? Who are you and what do you want?"

"My name's Guy, and I don't have a lot of time. I'm trying to save as many as I can. How many breakers do you have here?"

"Wha- What does that even matter?"

"HOW MANY?!"

"I don't know. Here alone maybe a little over a hundred. Why?"

"Want to try out an idea. Do you know if people can... link their breaks together? Make one massive break with a lot of people?"

"Uh... I don't know if that's ever been tried before?"

"We're going to try it now. Get everyone you can out here. We're gonna do one massive break. We'll have to funnel it through one person I think, like a focusing lens, so we'll have to figure out who can do that but... ah... no time! Just get everybody you can!"

"Why should I-"

"NOW!"

Carl blinks in surprise, but the man begins shouting for breakers to gather in the main tunnel instead of running off to hide. They'll need some time to gather, which leaves you with time to piece your plan together a bit more.

You'll need someone to act as the focusing lens, the central point. It might result in some... unpleasant side effects, but... regardless, that issue needs taking care of. You'll also need to decide what you want to attempt. You doubt all that breaking will do any good with no intent behind it...

Damn... if only you could get rid of this damn headache...

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 540236 ID: 533dbb

Hrrm...This plan might make whoever goes through it non-existant.
I'm thinking look for a Fixer or Rat with high amounts of Spirit...But how 'aware' are breakers of things like that? I mean, it SOUNDS like they're aware of their powers and abilities, but...
Someone, a Spirit three or higher (since that's where Guy& Jager are at.) But not Guy-we've already one non-existant protagonist, we don't need two!
>>
No. 540237 ID: 51a812

>>540236
Not necessarily nonexistent. What Linda did was a more major violation of casualty than this. But we do want a strong Breaker, most likely.
>>
No. 540245 ID: 07e3a8

Just going with the omni-break, then? ...I suppose this group really doesn't have the points to go to war counterattacking D7 at the same time. Just manifestations likely puts us all in single digits.

>This plan might make whoever goes through it non-existent.
...maybe. Although there were a few special caveats that time- we broke time, we brought back people who were all the way dead (something we've had two separate outsiders confirm is supposed to be beyond the scope of what can be done via breaking), we fueled the break with raw reality, and we rewrote predetermined events / defied prophecy, keeping Elizabeth alive when she was 'supposed 'to die.

I've also been justifying the nonexistence to myself in this way: a rewrite of reality to that extent required Linda to actually step outside reality, in order to make the changes. She pulled her own thread out of the pattern. And she didn't make it all the way back in, only partially reintegrating.

Here, we're not planning on bringing anyone back, none of this is predetermined (as far as we know), and there's no raw reality. It should be is safer.

...the part that's less safe is we have way more breakers than we've ever tried to work with before. A spirit 5, 4 and 3 working in concert created Godzilla. Who the hell knows what a hundred people can do. The other problem is whoever we use as the 'lens' is going to be weaker than anyone we've tried before.

If Guy went Nonexistent we'd also have the problem that tuning spare foci to act as memory charms isn't really an option for him, being an avatar type and all.

>who use as the focus
Guy's only spirit 3, ideally we want the strongest person around bearing the load. Preferably someone who's in theme with whatever break we decide to go with for a further bonus (although I doubt we have enough people to chose from for that).

(Although Elizabeth was only Spirit 3 when she did Godzilla. Granted, she had stronger breakers focusing on her, and her weave-affinity gives her bonuses to free form breaks...)

Our choices are Guy (his idea, the protagonist), whoever leads the Rats (you'd expect the leader to be the strongest person here, and breaking to protect his or her people, and using their power might net an additional bonus?) or maybe Rise (I'm pretty confident she's at spirit 4).

>what do?
This is the really tricky part. We need an idea that is both something we think we can do, and that will accomplish our objectives.

For example: We could probably summon a giant, uncontrollable Godzilla monster. That wouldn't exactly be a good solution, though. Or we could try teleporting everyone to sun city. That would get them out of danger, but I expect the attempt would fail catastrophically (moving too much, way too far, with not enough power).

Things that might work:

A more local teleport. The problem is we'd need a safe location D7 doesn't know enough, big enough for all these people. That D7 couldn't just follow us to. Not sure we have a location that meets these criteria- this place was supposed to be the safe retreat.

Some kind of attack on the D7 forces, intended to wipe them out. The violent solution. I like them being the target of the break (rather than us) in case anything goes wrong. Problems might include how complete the attack is (did we get em all), or if the damage runs over into other people / things (potential for massive collateral damage among our forces, or civilians in the city above).

Normalize the D7 forces. Instead of trying to escape, or kill our attackers, we turn them into people who have no interest in attacking us. Think of it like turning a neuralizer on all of MiB. All the agents become normal people who don't remember joining no secret agency- all the weapons and tanks and helicopters and holes blown in the sewers just go away. Make everything normal- there never was no massive secret agency attack here. In fact, the parts of the secret agency involved in this attack never were.

Personally, I like the last approach the best. It seems the least directly dangerous to our forces, and has less risk of going out of control than a more offensive break. And it's great for fucking with whatever's left of D7. And we could get a further success bonus by trying it to an actual spirit ability.

...although then we want the focus to be someone who can actually normalize. Which brings us back to putting Guy in charge.
>>
No. 540248 ID: 51a812

The idea of making the whole attack vanish by simply normalizing it away is surprisingly nifty. But the problem here is if one of the 'differ ones' is walking around out there. That said, costing them resources and whatnot might buy us enough time to make a more clean breakaway.

That said, the teleport has the advantage of getting us away from that, if one's here. Then again, the normalizing costs them stuff and makes it so they would have to start over again on an assault, and likely get more men in. A teleport would get us a more clean immediately getaway, but normalizing would likely have more long term results. I say let's do the normalizing.

And agreed. Priority is finding someone good at breaking, overall, I think.
>>
No. 540249 ID: 51a812

>>540248
By finding someone good at breaking, I meant asking around for the best at breaking stuff. We probably want someone with Active Break and similar abilities.
>>
No. 540251 ID: 07e3a8

>But the problem here is if one of the 'differ ones' is walking around out there.
Yes, if they have a tear like McCarthy / the Demon, they would probably be unaffected by any break we through at them (although our belief that they're immune to breaking is still only an untested guess).

I'd kind of assumed that they hadn't deployed one yet. And even if they do- that's only one person. He or she couldn't take down all of us alone, and there's no reason a small group of breakers couldn't stall him or her while everyone else runs. I mean, sure, McCarthy came back every time we shot him, but bullets to the face would at least slow him down and force him to grow back.
>>
No. 540254 ID: 07e3a8

Oh, and since forgot to specify before:

Ideally, we want to push the normalize as far as it can go. Not just un-agenting all the attackers involved, but removing all the evidence and information that lead them to attack in the locations they did, wipe out the local surveillance network and any data it's ever sent anywhere else, the works. (Making the places under attack 'safe' again. Not just no attack, no reason to attack).

I want the the rest of the division to blink and wonder why they never noticed a giant hole in their organization all around anything connected to central.
>>
No. 540464 ID: d77784

An idea springs into your head while your mulling over everything for the fourth time. Previously, you'd been trying to do something that should have been relatively violent or dangerous to the targets. But what if you simply made it so the attack just... stopped. Or maybe wasn't happening. Can't have happened? You don't really know how to phrase that, but you have the idea in your head. You done stuff like that before, just not on such a... grand scale. Still, the idea was valid at least, you knew it could be done, all you needed was someone who was capable of-

"Hey! Hey you! We're all gathered! What's next?"

"Huh? Oh! I need... is someone really good at breaking reality around here?"

"... Why?"

"I... I want to try combining everyone's powers into one massive break, but we need someone to be the focus. The lens I guess you could say. Someone to actually use all that power."

"... You want someone to be the barrel of the gun?"

"Uh... yeah?"

"While also loading way too much powder into the shot?"

"I... guess so?"

"No."

"What?"

"I'm not making any of my people do it. You're crazy idea. You do it."

"But-"

"No! You want to do it, fine! But you get the dangerous job, damnit!"

"... Alright. Alright. I can do that. I can do that. Just... have everyone focus all their strength on me or something."

"Or something?"

"In case you hadn't noticed, I'm taking a big gamble here. Let's just... let's just get started."

While the massive amount of breakers gathered is somewhat skeptical about the instructions they've been given, they all soon begin to focus, aiming their strength in your direction. For your part, you close your eyes, feeling around blindly with your thoughts, trying to gather... something. At first, you get nothing. Slowly, however, you begin to feel an odd sensation in your gut, like something had lodged itself there and refused to budge. You focus on that feeling, coaxing it to grow larger, imagining tendrils of energy seeming to coalesce and form themselves deep in your stomach. The feeling grows larger and heavier, at the same time growing more difficult to control and maintain. Every second that ticks by, that ball in your stomach bucks against your will harder, trying to slip from your fingers and dissipate. You hold on however, growling in determination.

Still, you can't hold it for long, and it doesn't help that the pounding that seems to have been with you since you'd gotten here is pounding away inside your head ever louder. It's like something is trying to get your attention, trying to call to you, distract you, force you to notice it. You'd been pushing the feeling away, but now, the pounding was getting insistent. Overpowering. Almost completely unbearable. Still, you held on, if only for a few seconds more, before focusing and directing all that power welling up inside of you to the purpose you desired. Let them stop existing. The attack never happened. Everything in the city was... normal.

You feel a rush, all that focus and will pushed through you like water from through a pressure washer, and suddenly that splitting headache is so much more. You feel like you could reach out and touch someone, like the world was at your fingertips, like the rush of power was everything you could hope to dream of was within your reach. Then the cold reality of the world comes crashing down on you, and you feel your legs give out and hear the sound of hysteric bells ringing in your ears as you black out completely.

---------------

To you, it was just a blackout. A loss of consciousness. You'd get some unwanted rest, probably a worse headache, and a stern talking to from your brother, Sidhe, and Rise. To everyone else, though...

Those who had given you their strength collapsed, although more from exhaustion and lack of energy than anything. Mere seconds later the wave of breaking that exploded outwards from your body bowled everyone over, including the warriors holding the enemy at the entry way. When the chaos finally settled, the D7 agents are found to be... gone. Simply gone. Breaker energy still cracks and sparks occasionally, but somehow, for the most part anyway, there is no sign of anything happening at all.

Most curiously of all, even if no one noticed his presence, was the one man who'd survived the onslaught of normality, he's eyes glowing slightly in the sudden gloom of the repaired sewers. He seems oddly calm given the situation, although as he looks around, he grimaces in annoyance.

"Well... that's new. And very... odd. Even given all that there should be..."

The man stares off down the corridor he's in, eyeing nothing and yet everything, before a small smile forms on his lips. Without another word, he turns on his heel and starts off into the gloom, whistling a tune happily. All those agents gone, and yet... all was well.

------

You awake later, eyes blurry, to find your head resting against something soft. A quick check finds it to be a pile of pillows, and you frown in confusion, even as the throbbing in your head returns full force. You groan in pain as you struggle to sit up, only to be greeted by a cascade of rainbows in your skull and the tinkling of bells. You hear movement outside, and then light hits you in the face, doing nothing for the throbbing of your skull.

"Gah! Light! Light!"

"GUY! You alright little brother?"

"NO! LIGHT!"

"Ah! Sorry..."

Your brother gives a sheepish grin, but before he can close the door again, both Jager and Rise slide into the room as well, Rise looking considerably more relieved at you being awake then Jager, who just looks suspicious. You make no comments though, instead focusing on the fairy that fluttering around your face excitedly. Her thoughts and emotions are coming at you rapid fire, and you have troubled sorting through all her intents and ideas. Eventually, though, you calm the little thing, and she lands upon her customary place on your shoulder. You turn to your companions, and it's Rise who breaks the silence first.

"You scared us with that little stunt you pulled. Your brother over there nearly started murdering people. Are you feeling alright?"

"I did NOT nearly murder anyone... mostly..."
>>
No. 540465 ID: bd3a09

Bro flipping his lid I suppose is to be expected.
Sidhe also was not helping things it seems...I wonder what that 'throbbing' in our head was? Maybe next time we should try and find a way to break on that instead...But more importantly? Status report. What happened, tell them about the man if they don't remember, and all that jazz. We need to know what gives, and to warn them D7 might be playing a long con with us.
>>
No. 540466 ID: 07e3a8

Huh. Now I'm wondering if that normality killed and covered up every agent involved, or if they actually got normalized back to before they ever signed up. I was initially planning the later, but the language used in the descriptions would support the former as well. ...too bad we've no way to check up on that.

>non-existent
Well, the lack of a being from outside reality crashing our dreams is reassuring, though hardly definitive. Linda also didn't wake with a headache. That's a good sign- I think. Physical damage means we didn't push things far enough for meta-physical damage, I hope.

>one man who'd survived the onslaught of normality
...oh goodie, D7 does have a second tear. Unless McCarthy left Sun City for Central to lead this attack a while ago. Technically possible, but given his preoccupation with Linda, I kinda doubt it.

Good thing he didn't press on, though.

>Are you feeling alright?
Like the worst hangover of my life. I'm pretty sure now I'm nowhere near strong enough for that to have been a good idea.

...what happened? Did it work? How long have I been out?

Possible follow up question (assuming things worked, and it's been some time): did you find Lira? I don't know how far I pushed that but...
>>
No. 540985 ID: d77784

"Like... the worst hangover of my life. I'm pretty sure I'm not strong enough to do something like that completely safely... What happened? Did it work? How long was I out?"

"Slow down a little bro. You don't need to take this all in at once. Besides, we're still here, aren't we? Whatever you did worked. I guess."

"Your brother is right. Whatever you caused, all of the D7 agents are simply gone. Initial reports from the Sewer Rats around the city seem to confirm that whatever you did affected the whole city as well. D7 is just... gone."

"At least from this city. And they're already starting to move back in, if a bit more cautiously. As for how long you've been out... a few days now, I guess."

"That's... that's good to know. Is Lira alright?"

"Yeah. She called me, told me that she was getting attacked by D7, only... you did your thing, and poof. No more D7. She says she doesn't think it's safe for us to stay in the city anymore. Least, not now. I suggested we leave, head south to the LR, they don't have anyone hunting breakers down that way, but... let's just say she doesn't support my views exactly. Either way, I think we should hook back up with her before we make any major decisions."

Jager seems a little unhappy, mostly with you, given what you can see, since he seems to be glaring at you and is speaking to you in a tone suggesting hostility. Just a little. Still, he hasn't stopped talking to you, so at least he's willing to keep talking. Regardless, as you start to rise to your feet with a grunt of pain, your brother speaks up again, sounding a bit more cheerful.

"Ah! Before I forget, Kim called me up, said she had that info we were looking for. Probably made it easier to hunt down, with your whatever you did, but either way, she said if we swung by the market she'd hand it over. Said she'd rather not talk about it over the phone, although I think she just wants to flirt with me some more."

... Smug bastard. He's got that grin on his face he only uses when he knows he's got some girl hanging off his every word. Good or bad, humility is not one of your brother's strong points.

>>>Input Command
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No. 540996 ID: 07e3a8

A few days? Geeze. You've spent more of your time as a breaker asleep than awake.

Assuming you can walk, and you're not ravenously hungry, we got things to do. We should collect that info before we think about leaving town. It's looking like you probably need to have a talk with Jager, seems like there's air to clear there. And then all of you are going to need to get together and figure out what you're doing (why are we running, exactly?).
>>
No. 540999 ID: df5c97

...What's this LR place you're talking about Jager?
And yea, get the info, but remind bro that however he interacts with the girl, don't forget the plan is to move outta the area soon-we might not be able to retain that relationship with D7 no-doubt gunning for answers as to what just happened.
>>
No. 541000 ID: 07e3a8

>What's this LR place you're talking about Jager?
It's the Latin Republic. Alternate universe geography. See:

>>/questdis/61193
>>
No. 541543 ID: d77784

"Alright. Alright. I think I'm good. Need a little food first thou-"

Your brother unreservedly shoves a sandwich into your open mouth, forcing you to both chomp down ravenously and almost gag at the same time. It's very confusing all in all. Still, as you try to get up and get moving, it's Rise who blocks your path, surprising you a little bit.

"You are in no condition to be moving around."

You stare at her a moment as you finish your sandwich, choosing to fill your stomach first before doing anything, then finally get to the talking bit, interested to find out what she's so concerned about.

"Why are we stopping me from leaving again?"

"You just woke up from doing something extremely dangerous, and which probably has not ever been tried before."

"Yeah. So?"

"And you are are still ALIVE."

"That's a good thing I thought."

"I am not contesting whether it is a good thing or not. I am contesting the fact that you are alive and seemingly completely unharmed by the experience."

"I still don't see why I should be questioning that. At least not right now."

"The sewer rats tried the same thing the day after the attack. Three times. All three are now either dead or insane beyond all hopes of recovery. And that was with small groups of them, not the couple of hundred you tried it with. And this is not mentioning the people who participated in your attempt. Seven literally up and evaporated in the middle of it. Gone, just like that."

"Oh..."

Well... that was... that was new. You didn't get it at all. Still, you push the thoughts from you head, letting some other piece of you consider that while you got on with your day. Now was neither the time nor the place to consider this. You had things to do.

"Rise. I understand your concern. Really, I do. But now really isn't the time for this. We have to get ready to move. I'll talk with you as much as you want when we have more time. But not now, alright?"

"... I understand."

Rise lets you through, and you're quickly swamped with breakers as you step out of your unofficial hospital room. Most just want to shake your hand or thank you for helping them. A few women try to come on to you, but fortunately or unfortunately, Rise's presence seems to dissuade them fairly quickly. Odd, given that she isn't exactly trying to get them to go away. Regardless, getting out of the Warren isn't easy, and you waste a good half hour just getting back to the entrance. After that, however, it's a quick stroll over to the market, with Jager splitting off from you halfway to go hook up with Lira. The trip is thankfully uneventful, and the market seems largely unchanged since your last visit. Upon arriving at Daniel's stall, you find the owner and Kim in heated discussion, although they cease as soon as they notice your presence slipping through the crowd.

"Ah! Uh... Guy, right? Heard you came by to pick up Sidhe there. How she working out for you? What can I help you wi-"

"MOVE! I gotta give him this info!"

"HEY! Watch it!"

"Yeah yeah. Hey! Listen to this! Apparently, out west, there's a group of breakers that got together, kinda like the Rats, only their bigger! Like the whole west coast bigger! They control all of it! It's amazing. The entire west coast of the UNA!"

"Uh... that's... good I guess?"

"Damn straight it is! Apparently, they actually choose to protect their members and any breakers in their territory. And try to keep the normals out of it to. Pretty impressive, given it only really came about within the last few weeks."

"Wait. Hold on. Stop the press."

Your brother suddenly breaks into the conversation, looking confused and a little concerned.

"You're telling me that a breaker gang set itself up, expanded, took control of, and solidified said control over the west coast, in the space of a few weeks?"

"Well, yeah. It helped they practically demolished every single fixer base there was. Almost literally raised a few of them to the ground. Killed someone important to the group to. Trevor something or other. Oh! And before I forget. That lady you were looking for, Makoto or whatever it was? Yeah, apparently she's hanging around with them now."

"What was that?"

Rise practically strangles the poor girl, but her eyes are filled with both interest and hope. Kim just lets herself get practically thrown around, even while trying to clarify her statement.

"Well. Maybe not. I mean, that's where I tracked her to, but the lady that's with this new group doesn't call herself Makoto. Her name is Chris instead. Chris uh... Wayneright I think. She looks kinda like you though, here, I even got a pic-"

"That's her! THAT'S HER!"

Rise is practically ecstatic with joy, snatching the picture from the younger woman and clutching it tightly in her hands. Almost too tightly. You let her have her moment though, and thank the pair of them. You're business concluded, with your brother managing to extricate himself from any promises with Kim, you all head back home, very pleased with the outcome, as well as a little intrigued about this new group that's sprung up. Apparently, other breakers from various regions have had a hard time deciding what to do about the organization, especially because the group, for whatever reason, has yet to call itself anything. No names for it have been adopted by the general breaker population either, even if a few have been thrown around here and there. Regardless, you return home to more arguing, this time between Lira and Jager, and both don't stop as you arrive.

"-ee the point of going through with this! If we're leaving we should just leave!"

"But we need to know! If we don't, we could have worse things happen later! And dragging something like that around isn't good for anyone!"

"Uh... what's going on here? I thought we were discussing leaving?"

"Lira wants to do a smash and grab on a fucking D7 base. I think it's a terrible idea."

"There's no one even in the damn things! We break in, take what we want from the data vaults, then immediately head elsewhere!"

"I'm still convinced the LR is the place to go!"

"But getting into the LR is going to be hell! Besides, we have no idea how to deal with the LR breakers. They could do anything!"

"And this new group out west is any better?"

"At least they are trying to protect people!"

... Well... this doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon. Not, at least, without some sort of intervention...

>>>Input Command

Experience Gained: 9

Jager Experience Gained: 3

Rise Experience Gained: 3

>>
No. 541562 ID: 07e3a8

>3 other people who attempted collaborate breaks are dead or insane
>7 of the hundred(s) who participated in our attempt up and evaporated
>Guy, a brand new and not particularly strong breaker, is magically all right
...jeeze. Wasn't expecting that.

I mean, I could see death or insanity resulting from trying to lead too big a collaborative break. But small groups should be fine, unless the leader is very weak, right? And we've never seen the donor participants affected negatively, before.

I suppose we don't know how small these test groups were. A three man gal team of average breakers summoned godzilla. And a... six(?) man team with some power boosts broke time. It could be the safe group sizes are relatively low. If they were working with say, ten or a dozen people, that might be too far.

It might also be what they tried? We've been very careful with our breaks, trying to pick things we had reason to think would work, or that fit with themes, powers, etc. If the sewer rats experimenting tried something that couldn't work, I could see a failing roll from a collaborative break having more serious consequences than a regular free form break.

It might also be the people involved, not the number. Maybe only certain breakers can safely lead collaborative breaks? Something that sets Linda and Elizabeth and Guy apart from those who couldn't.

Tl;dr- we need more information on what the rats actually did (how many people, how strong, what the break was, etc) to evaluate (maybe Rise can specify when we talk more later?). Possibly we need more experimentation too, but that's not exactly safe.

>thanks / hitting on
Huh. I would have expected a more muted reaction, considering the people who died participating, or trying to recreate it. I guess your almost dying yourself absolved you somewhat? Or the cost was so low compared to what could have been...

>loss of Trevor important
Huh. But no mention of Maria? Thought she outranked him. Or maybe the wolf-monster was just more memorable to non-fixers than the gun user.

>no name causing unease
Pff, our laziness has actual plot relevance.

...kind of makes we wonder if we should make a PR effort, though. Have Linda put some of the more entertain-y types in a room, dump some money on it, and figure out some kind of outreach to breakers outside our area of influence?

>XP
9? Wowzers, that's a lot. Gotta think on that a bit.

>What do
...I think Lira's right about D7, at least. It's not like you're going to be able to do what you did before again. We've got an opportunity, here. And remember- that attack was familiar to you. There was the mention in those other files. You did something crazy and didn't die. These guys brainwash people and mess with memories. Maybe you're missing something. It's worth getting to the bottom of.

We can worry about where to run after that.
>>
No. 541583 ID: df5c97

I think we shouldn't do it. Frankly, we only heard D7 was getting more active and agressive, chose a job AWAY from messing with them, and basically got government army swarmed. I'd rather not piss them off again, especially since we had JUST came from hitting D7 when we went to the Rats.
And besides, we were lucky to -have- a small army of breakers there for a mass break. And on top of that, we were -allowed- to escape, not actually being completely sucessful.
I think D7's playing a long game here with us, and if we do the obvious, which is go for the data while they're 'scattered' so to speak, we'll play right into their hands.
No, we run to LR or the Grand Breaker Army in the West, no more risk-taking.
>>
No. 541593 ID: 07e3a8

>>541583
Ignoring our obvious problems (the dreams, the data, some of our borther's comments, etc) that connect to D7 is taking a risk, though.
>>
No. 541792 ID: 2ac913

Point out that you remember one member of D7 not getting affected by your massive break and that it's likely they'd be protecting the base. Given what they survived, trying to tackle them is probably suicidal.
>>
No. 541797 ID: 07e3a8

>>541792
Except Guy doesn't remember that. It's out of character information from an omniscient perspective swap while he was unconscious.

And I highly doubt McCarthy or anyone like him would be willing to sit around guarding an empty base. There's too much ego involved.

And even if we run into a tear, there's only so much just one person can do. He can't guard every location (they had more than one), or every door. And even if he doesn't die right, and even if breaks don't work, bullets do, and there's nothing stopping us from running.

>why we should do this
We are literally never going to have a better opportunity to find out what D7 is all about. We pulled off a break that should have killed Guy, and several other people did die for. The data is all but undefended, and we don't have to worry about anyone trying to kill the data before we get to it- the base is unmanned. And we have a person ideally suited for data mining. Even Linda and co couldn't deliberately pull that off this neatly with the resources they have to hand.

It's worth the risk, and the risk is manageable. (If we play our XP right, say, we could use our avatar to cover our retreat running for our lives, and then recall him to safety with sudden appearance, say?).

(Possession of the data might also naturally steer us towards the west rather than the LR, once they realize the data might be valuable to them).
>>
No. 541799 ID: 2ac913

>>541797
It was? Huh, that's annoying. Think I'd rather not know in that case.
>>
No. 541806 ID: 07e3a8

>>541799
Well, the update in question did specifically note that "To you, it was just a blackout" and that "no one noticed the presence" of the man being described. To me that says Guy didn't see.

OOC information is part of the situation, anyways. We have a much better understanding of breaking and his capability that Guy did, we have information from Linda's perspective, Elizabeth's perspective, the dis thread, etc.

I mean, we can use it to influence our decisions (you can argue we don't want our people going near D7 because of the Tear). It just can't be an argument Guy makes himself.
>>
No. 541908 ID: 07e3a8

So after bouncing it around in dis, I vote we spend our XP this way:

2XP Sudden appearance upgrade for our brother
3XP Guy to spirit 4
2XP Increase Guy's BP twice
1XP Brother str +1
1XP Brother fin +1
>>
No. 544223 ID: d77784

You sigh and rub your forehead a little. You think it's funny that you're getting used to playing the mediator somewhat. And a little odd these two would be together like this, when all they seem to do is disagree about things all the time. Still, both sides have merit to them.

"Alright. So, D7 isn't going to restore itself that quickly, is it?"

"Honestly? I don't know. D7 is strong, very strong. I wouldn't be surprised if guards are already being replaced. If we go, it's gotta be now. It's the best chance we have."

"But there still might be one of those things Rise was talking about wandering around. What if we meet one of them?"

"There is little chance of that. There is, to my knowledge, only one currently in Central, and that one tends to keep to the southern sections of the city. The likely hood of encountering it are minimal."

"... You're not helping."

"I apologize, Jager. Still, it is not as dangerous as it could be. If they haven't purged the system yet, I could even get as past the automated defenses easily enough."

"St-"

"We aren't going."

Your brother suddenly butts into the conversation, looking extremely unhappy. If anything, he looks agitated, uncomfortable and irritable, things you aren't used to your brother being. Usually he's all happy smiles and cheer and such. This new him is... confusing. Very confusing. Still, at the same time, it seems like oddly nostalgic behavior. Or maybe it's just your head throbbing even harder. Hard to tell. You feel a splash of blues and greens invade your thoughts, and glance at the small fairy hovering gently next to you, looking somehow angrily concerned. It makes you smile a little, which just makes Sidhe frown even harder, but you wave it away and try your best to ignore the painful headache that just won't seem to go away.

"Brother, as much as I hold your opinion in high regard, it's not just you that get's to make them. For now... let's just take a vote or something. It'll make it easier on everybody."

Almost instantly, the sides are made clear. Lira and Rise support raiding a D7 base, Lira giving a specific one(which is located in the northern part of the city, and is identified as a research lab), and Rise suggesting that it might yield information useful for later use a bargaining chip with another group. Jager and your Brother, on the other hand, are voting to skip town as quickly as possible, your Brother not caring where, while Jager hopes to head south into the LR and put everything that's happened so far in the past and out of mind. Sidhe, for her part, seems to not care, as long as she's awake and taken care of, although you still feel those hues of blue and green splash across your mind, the feeling of concern strong whenever you give her even a moment's attention.

It looks like, in the end, it's up to you to decide.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 544225 ID: f64e84

dang it...
Long game-sleeper agent Guy is hard to plan for, because I don't KNOW what we're going to become here. It's like...If we go to any breakers, we'll get sleeper popped. If we go back to D7, we get wiped and sent back out again...
D7 it is. We need to figure out what the deal is with mass-produced Guys.
>>
No. 544226 ID: 0f6f63

Hey, Jager and your brother agree on something. The men of inaction. (No, don't taunt them, that's a bad idea).

I still think we should go. There are risks, but we sort of know what to expect. Lira's right we'll almost certainly right we'll not get this chance again (even Linda's group isn't so well positioned to hit D7, and hasn't shifted from recovering and consolidating after the Fixers, yet). Rise is the person here most familiar with the threat D7 poses, and she's willing to risk it.

And your Brother is against it. Note he doesn't say it's too dangerous, or he wants to keep you out to protect you, as would be in character. Instead he seems to be hiding something. Again. That alone is reason enough to go. You can't afford to ignore whatever hidden connection there is between you, your brother, and Division 7.

>guards already being replaced
If they're moving in new personnel, and in a rush to get set up again, that means things will be hectic and disorganized, with a lot of new faces. Should make normalizing and bluffing our way around considerably easier, if we have to.

(Well, unless we run into someone a normalize won't work on- a captive breaker who sees us for what we are, or a Tear).

>where go afterwards?
Keep our options open. Head south and west, and as we get closer to the LR border and this west coast breaker group, see if we can get better information. Something that will allow a more informed decision as to whether we keep going west, or try to cross the border to the south.

Rise will want to go west, anyways.
>>
No. 544675 ID: d77784

Experience Allocated
Guy
Spirit 4: Choose Aggressive or Defensive
BP: 20

Brother
Strength: 5
Finesse: 5
Sudden Appearance 1


"... I say we go in. We have the chance, especially if they're weakened. We hit fast, we hit hard."

Both Jager and your Brother don't look too happy. Jager drops the issue however, instead turning to Lira and getting her to bring up what she can on this base you were going to be assaulting. If he was going to do it, he was going to do it right, and with as much information as he could get. Your brother, on the other hand, is not exactly so compromising.

"Guy! We are not going in there! We can't!"

"Brother, if you can't give me more of a reason then you don't want to, then I'm going. You can stay behind if you like, but I want to know what we have to do with D7."

The headache you'd had for awhile now suddenly spikes, and you feel yourself get dizzy before almost collapsing. Your brother is the one to catch hold of you, steadying your body, even as you feel more splashes of green and blue invade your thoughts. Everyone stops what they're doing, looks of concern crossing their faces. Still, after a moment, the pain subsides, and you get back on your own feet.

"I'm fine. Just... just a headache."

"Guy, if this is something to do with that break you did-"

"We don't have time to worry about it right now. Besides, I don't think it has anything to do with that. I had it awhile before that. I think it's just... adjusting to all of this. I haven't really had any down time."

"... I hope so."

"Look, let's get this plan in motion alright? Do we know what we're going to do?"

"Yeah. This is the northernmost base. As far from that guy Rise was talking about. It's got a data vault stored inside, give me a half-hour, tops, and I should be able to download anything of importance. Rise can get us through most of the automated defenses on the way in, but the guards..."

"I can handle them. I've got this trick I can do."

"Alright. More than likely, even with this base inactive, we'll have to fight our way out anyway. There's another reason I picked this base though. This one has something to do with you, at least it might. There's a room labeled 'Guy Preparation', whatever that means. I figure you and Rise can head for that once we're inside, while me and Jager deal with this data."

"Works for me."

"Alright then. The plans set. Or as much as it can be. Let's get this over with."

It takes an hour to ready the few things everybody needs. After you do this raid, there is no coming back. You'll be hightailing it on the road. Thankfully, you'd been prepped from the road for awhile. No reason for you not to be ready now. Within that hour, you find yourself drifting off to sleep while the others ready themselves, and once again living another dream...

-----------------------

"Is the plan set?"

"As set as it's going to get."

"Are you sure you want to do this? She's not very happy about this."

"She never is when it comes to me leaving her alone. But we have no time. Whatever reality is doing, we need to figure out something. Particularly when it comes to that one."

"Yes. Her. Linda McCallahan. She's important. More so in that she's simply gone from all our data. Even the broken pets we keep can't remember a thing about her. McCarthy says he has it handled though."

"All the more reason to do this. McCarthy has never been... trustworthy... when it comes to his playing."

"True enough. All that remains is... are you sure we should be trying this. Artificial breaking? The tests on the Muramasa children were hardly-"

"Enough! Just flip the damn switch and be done with it!"

"But to try it on-"

"DO IT!"

---------------------------

You awake screaming, bursts of pain and light flooding your senses. You feel hands grasp yours, and something rings like bells next to your ears, before you quiet yourself and find everybody staring at you. You vaguely remember getting into the car, but the trip after was... was...

"You alright?"

"I... I... think... so."

"This is a bad idea, we should call it off."

"NO! No... we... I need to do this. Something... Something happened. I want to know what."

"... Alright. Rise, you're up first."

"Follow closely. We will need to move quickly."

The group follows the woman, keeping as close together as possible. Rise arrives at a door with a keypad and quickly taps a few keys before the lock disengages and lets you in. The room behind it is covered in cameras, but there seems to be little issue as you make your way inside and downstairs, where more keypads wait. Rise makes her way to each one, tapping a code into it, before gesturing everyone inside a door you almost wouldn't notice. Then you're in a corridor with stark, steel walls, and the sound of footsteps ringing against it is the only sound you hear as you make your way to a door on the opposite end. Rise halts you there, listening intently for a moment, then motions you forward.

"There... should be two guards on the other side. This is the end of my usefulness, at least for now, so from here on, it's your show. Be careful, the agents here are more than likely going to be highly suspicious. Anything other than a believable story is going to set them off."

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 544694 ID: 75a612

>Spirit 4: Choose Aggressive or Defensive
Hmm. I think the only will-based spirit 4 powers we've seen have been fear itself and unbroken will. Although we might always get something else.

I guess I'd lean aggressive? We've got Sidhe now, and we've been sort of working on building a defense. Guy could use some aggressive options in a real fight.

>dream / memory
Interesting they can remember that they don't remember. How many meta-layers to you need to buffer yourself with to be aware of the effects of nonexistence? Even the fixer leader kept forgetting her name and had to rely on Jacob.

Also interesting that at least some people in D7 realize McCarthy is crazy and have qualms about trusting him.

...and I might be wrong here, but that dialog looks like Guy was an agent who when and artificially induced breaking in himself.

>it's your show
All right. Time to make ourselves fit in. Normalize the group so we look like we belong, and we seem to have whatever paperwork the checkpoint will want, and we show up on the schedule, etc. Act confident and unconcerned.

The story is we're bring in more personnel, escorting little miss scientist to the data center (we can even allude to, or them them suggest it's part of a countermeasure after what happened when breakers got ahold of the other one). If they protest there's already someone here working on it or something, play to the divide between combat grunts and technical specialists. If the nerds want to squabble over their toys, it's not your problem. You've got your orders.

We've also got warped minds on most the party for additional wiggle room. You and Rise don't, but so long as she doesn't draw her sword and you keep Sidhe out of sight, I don't think you'll break the illusion.
>>
No. 544737 ID: 1a029e

Hrrm...Offensive=Brother Break?
Defensive=Sidhe Break?
...Offensive I think. Guy seems too much like he's got a 'bubble' around him shielding him from his current reality, but part of me wants to see how that 'Defensive' Spirit Break would manifest, ESPECIALLY with how Breakers seem to effectively be 'Glass Cannons'-stronger Breakers just have more BP/Lives to burn through, instead of being able to take hits from each other.
>>
No. 544774 ID: d77784

Confidence. You belong here. There's nothing wrong at all with you entering. Or everyone with you. You're just here to check the data stores. Upload new security systems or something. No, you ARE here to upload some new security systems. That simple. You will be fine. Alright. Let's do this.

You push the door open and enter the room, normalizing as you enter and projecting an aura of confidence that you don't really feel. You can only hope this works, cause if it doesn't you have the feeling very bad things are going to happen. Still, as always, the things you do come naturally, and acting has always been one of them. This skill comes in handy once again, as one of the two guards on duty steps forward, hand raised to stop you, other hand reaching for his gun.

"Hey! What are you-"

"Of course they didn't! They never do! Amy, didn't I tell you they'd forget to let them know!?"

You round on Rise, who's look of shock and confusion is clearly not going to be of any use in backing up your story. Thankfully, your brother is a bit more familiar with you, and has seen you act numerous times before. Ad libbing had always been a strength of yours. Or rather, "creative story making".

"As always, you're right. Please, calm yourself sir, I'll get this straightened out right away. YOU!"

Your brother rounds on the guard, immediately launching into rant about the lackluster treatment of a master technician(you). While he grabs their attention, you clue in the others, hoping their acting skills are up to the task, or that they can at least keep their mouths shut and go with it. All of them still look a little confused, but get the idea. Just run with it.

"- and another thing-"

"Please, Jimmy. We don't have all day. Just ask them the way to the server room and we can get this over with and be on our way. We DO have other clients to see."

"Right away sir! Well?! You heard the man!"

"Uh... um... down that corridor, first door on your left!"

"THANK GODS! Someone has some semblance of intelligence. We'll just be passing through now."

The group moves along, the guards on duty already returning to the dull boredom of their task, and gossiping about the "asshole and his posse". You could care less though, as you're through. Good enough. Minutes later, you've made it into the server room, and set up Lira and Jager. Lira says she only needs a half- hour to get things done, which means you had better make your own side trip fast. Rise opts to stay behind and help guard Lira, partly out of concern for them, and partly to let you confront whatever is going on by yourself. Thankfully, Lira found the base schematics for you, and ten minutes later, you've found what you're looking for. Your brother hangs back oddly as you stare at the door, and you glance back at him questioningly.

"Brother? What's up with you?"

"We... You shouldn't go in there..."

"What? Why?"

"I... You... shouldn't go in there. It'll... change everything."

"I think everything's been changed quite a bit already. A little more can't hurt."

"... You... don't understand. And... I can't explain... I... can't... remember... everything... but... don't... just... don't..."

Your brother seems to be in obvious pain, but nothing seems wrong with him on the outside. Similarly, now that you're so close to this place, pain lances through your head with every beat of your own heart. Sidhe hovers next to you, wringing her hands, blues and greens washing over your thoughts, somehow helping you stay grounded. How, you aren't sure... but... the decision needs to be made. Turn your back on this door and everything to do with it... or push forward and find out what's going on.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 544781 ID: 75a612

Okay, slow down. We have time. Most of a half hour left.

Kneel down, see to your brother. He's in pain.

Then let's think about this. Going into the room will have consequences. But what about seeing in? Or... not even seeing, directly. Just knowing about the things in there. You're a breaker. You might be able to cheat here- skirt around the edges instead of falling down the rabbit hole.

Like... we could active break part of the wall or door into transparency, a window to see into the room. Or if even seeing is too much, Sidhe looks through the peephole (who point of an avatar, really. To act in your stead). That way, whatever's in there comes filtered through a perspective that's not tied to your past, and though her odd form of communication.

(Yeah, trying to find out some of what's going on without triggering what are likely horrible memory failures. Havingitbothways, suggestor wanted Linda approved).
>>
No. 544785 ID: 1a029e

Hrrm..I like the Sidhe peeping idea, and it does seem rather like it will avoid the dangerous consequences that could result-namely, Guy finding himself torn between being a normal breaker, or going back to being an agent...
Part of me thinks that this is basically going to turn into a question of fighting Mcarthy now or later...The problem is, There's no way to tell if he works like a Breaker or if we need 'reality' powers like the Angel Avatar to deal with him.
>>
No. 544807 ID: 75a612

Oh, and to avoid the obvious pitfall here:

If we active break a viewport or something into the room, it should be one-way.
>>
No. 544940 ID: d77784

You crouch down next to your brother, trying to gauge how much pain he's actually in. It's hard to tell, though, given that your brother isn't natural. Wait... what? Your brother is... unnatural? Why would you think that? What... No! That's wrong. That... that's wrong. Your brother is your brother. There's nothing else that matters. Still, you can't tell how bad he is, especially not when you yourself are in so much pain.

Even with the pain, though, you manage to scrounge an idea up from your head. If your brother doesn't want you going in there, then...

"Sidhe? Could you... could you take a look inside for me? Please? The peephole there should work fine."

The little fairy huffs in annoyance, but flits over to the keyhole and gazes inside. For a moment, there's nothing, then the little fairy darts away, alarm, fear and uncertainty coming across your mental link. You brace yourself, prepared for anything, only to have the door flung open and find that one breaker from the D7 base raid... uh... Emily?

"Geez. Took you long enough. What are you waiting around out here for? Come on!"

The woman practically drags you in, only briefly considering your brother and completely ignoring Sidhe. For a moment, you're confused, until, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of an older man, looking vacant of emotion and completely disinterested. You start to turn towards him, only to have your attention grabbed by Emily again.

"I've been waiting for DAYS. Damn, you'd think you'd never felt curiosity before or anything. Not that it matters. Anyway, let's get you all hooked up and ready so we can get your memories back."

"Uh... Emily, right?"

"Huh? Oh! Yeah, sure, whatever makes you happy. Just hurry it up, people are going to start noticing soon, and we don't want that. Too many questions. Hurry, hurry."

Emily ushers you towards the center of the room, which you notice has what appears to be a chair with a glowing ring hanging above it. Nothing really seems overly odd, in fact, it seems rather nostalgic, but at the same time...

"Guy! Guy! No! NO! NONONONONONONO!"

Your brother is practically freaking the hell out, but he can't seem to move his body at all. It's like he's frozen up. Sidhe hovers uncertainly next to you, tinkling softly in your ear. Emily starts humming in impatience rocking on her feet as you seem to stumble towards the chair, only to stop in your tracks.

"Brother?"

"No time! Hurry up!"

"But my brother-"

"He'll be fine. Good as new once we clear up that head of yours. Now come on!"

"But..."

"For the love of- Can we just get this over with already?!"

The man in the corner suddenly seems to grow more interested in what's going on, eyes flicking upwards to lock on to you. For a moment, you feel like there's a breeze flowing through the room, even though you know there's no way for that to occur naturally. At the same time, Emily continues to look more and more irritated the more you hesitate. Still, the nostalgia you feel from that chair is almost overwhelming, yet you can't name why.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 544944 ID: 75a612

Geeze, why did the others leave you alone for this.

Okay, look- you're getting all trapped in emotions and uncertainty. That won't fly. Detach for a moment- force yourself to fall back on an analytical math problem mindset. Step one: list everything we know. Step two: see what solutions you can derive from that.

So review what just happened: what do we know?

>older man in the corner
>you feel like there's a breeze flowing through the room
Ah. We've found breezy, from before. A man with wind manipulation powers. A form type, or just an unusual weapon type? If he's a form type, that means he'll be hard to hurt. Sidhe's shield might be able to protect you from strangulation this time, though.

If he's got the wind powers, that means you have no idea what 'Emily' is capable of, unfortunately. You don't even know her name, even. The way she responded before revealed it as a lie.

>memories / nostalgia
Look, you came here to try and find out what was going on. Obviously there was something wrong. But that does not mean you do so by throwing yourself headfirst down the rabbit hole.

Emily was expecting you to show up here. She makes it sound like you were programed or conditioned to do so at one point. That's not a good thing- that means you're playing into someone else's game here. And we don't know if that's someone you can trust or a game you want to play into.

Emily's talking about restoring your memories. Cleaning up your head. You know D7 has some kind of mind control or brainwashing tech.

...so why the heck would you walk yourself right into it? You can't trust that!

Case (1)- you've already had your head messed with. But you can't trust messing with it again. Maybe this will bring back memories- but that could be good or bad (do you accept death of self to unlock a previous self?). Maybe it'll place you deeper under someone else's control, or cost you more.
Case (2)- you haven't had your head messed with- so no outcome of getting it messed with now is a good thing.

To say nothing of the fact you know this girl has lied to you before, is trying to rush you before anyone (your allies) notice, the implied threat breezy is making to get you to comply, and the one person who wants nothing more to protect you is crying out against this.

You can't trust running headlong into this.

>what do
Stop, shields up.

I came here to try and find out what was going on, not to blindly go along with it.

I barely know you, you've lied to me, and hidden things, he attacked me, and you're talking about editing my memory and cleaning my head in a place that brainwashes and enslaves people.

You're asking for a hell of a lot of trust here. You're not getting it without a lot better an explanation.

...then we see if that gets her talking, or if they try and force you.
>>
No. 544950 ID: 393e01

Stop, and break free of Emily's grip if she has one on you.
Guy: Emily, Old man Wind, can we talk about this for a second? I think I've pieced it all together. We set this up. I'd go and become a Breaker for D7, and then the three of us would hunt the Breakers. But it went wrong. I lost my memory instead, and got no foci out of it, either. So I was let go, to live an ordinary life. But then Bro here showed up, and when I started fighting, you found out, and you came for me, to bring the old me back.
But there's one thing wrong though. I don't need to look out for myself, because Brother's there to look out for me. If I'd be fine at the end of this? Then he wouldn't be freaking out.
I DO remember there being someone desperate for me to not go through with the plan originally. I also remember a 'She' that I was close too. That's you, Emily, right? Now, I know I'm not the Guy you once knew, and I won't be if I don't get in that chair. But if Brother is scared of what will happen, I'm not going to do it.
>>
No. 545155 ID: d77784

Sidhe reacts immediately as you pull away from the woman violently, practically shoving her back even as you start to back away towards your brother. A glowing circular field erects itself around you, and you notice the breeze suddenly stop as if cut off. Still, as you begin to speak you don't even try to hide the anger you feel.

"I came here to try and find out what was going on, not to blindly go along with it. I barely know you, you've lied to me, and hidden things, he attacked me, and you're talking about editing my memory and cleaning my head in a place that brainwashes and enslaves people. You're asking for a hell of a lot of trust here. You're not getting it without a lot better an explanation."

"Emily" blinks in surprise, then a pretense of civility seems to vanish. Instead of going off on some crazy rant to you, however, she turns her attention to your brother, clearly not pleased.

"This is your fault you useless scrap of reality. Can't even stay quiet long enough to let me do what I need to do. Hell, you aren't even real. Never were. Some broken thing my friend dreamed up in his head for the soul purpose of protecting and sheltering his newly shattered mind. But I don't have time for this right now. Those breakers are gonna notice something's up soon, and it'll be easier if you aren't around."

The woman starts to stride towards the prone avatar, and you react instantly, Sidhe zipping forward to erect a barrier even as you start to fly into a blind rage, aiming to tackle the woman and keep her away. But as you draw close, you suddenly get this feeling from her, like everything is... is... is gonna be alright. Something is going to fix EVERYTHING.

Then you find yourself spinning through the air, "Emily" having just roundhouse kicked you in the head, displaying a remarkable amount of strength. Way more than a normal human should have...

"Lay down and stay quiet, Jean. Once I get rid of that annoyance, we'll get you all settled in and ready to go. Then you'll be back to normal again, and everything will be fine."

"Emily" strides towards the barrier, looking determined. You can't help but find it slightly funny, and cheer a little, as the woman slams headfirst into Sidhe's barrier, an expression of astonishment on her face. She places her hand on the barrier, glaring at nothing in particular for a moment, then leans her weight forward, a smile slowly spreading across her face as you watch the barrier simply rip open like paper, allowing her through. Sidhe freaks, the barrier dropping as she loses concentration, but by that time, "Emily" has already moved on, crouching next to you brother and ignoring the small fairy entirely.

"So annoying. So pointless. This thing was a bad idea in the end after all. This whole thing was pointless too. Who cares what a breaker thinks or feels? We'll just fix the problem in our own way. First thing first, though. What to do with you?"

"Emily" pokes the prone avatar, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth as her finger seems to sink into your brother's cheek, causing the material to start unraveling like threads. Your brother screams, and you feel the backlash come across a link you can't hope to describe, pain wracking your body. Pain and... familiarity.

If you can... this is the only chance you'll have to do anything. Maybe save your brother. Maybe kill this... whatever she is. And whatever you do, it better be done fast.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 545159 ID: d2b9fe

...damnit, I think Emily is the tear. She hasn't manifested anything, and the way she broke through Sidhe's barrier reads more as negating breaking than overpowering it. That, and she's literally unraveling our brother.

>what do
We're ready for a hail Mary, here, I think. Otherwise brother dies, and Guy as good as does after she messes with his head.

We still have our gun. And we never used our grenade. Just the flash-bang.

Draw and shoot her. That won't stop her, but it should distract her momentarily from the process of killing your brother. Then throw the grenade- or active break it right to her (or into her), to make sure it counts. (Or active break to counter her from stoping the grenade, on the off chance she trys to stop it). Sidhe throws up a bubble shield around her to contain the concussive force- hopefully protecting you (although, if not, saving your brother is certainly something worth spending your first death on), and redirecting all that energy that would have escaped outwards back into pulping Emily. That won't kill her, but there will be a delay while she has to reform an entire body blown to a fine red mist.

Then Sidhe blocks Windy's attacks while you grab your brother and gtfo. If possible, have him use sudden appearance to get to your side and out the door faster. Active break to close off the passage behind you- make the door part of the wall, collapse the ceiling, anything.

Ideally, we really want to warn your allies shit is going down and you're being attacked. I doubt you really have time to text all that on your phone, so burn another BP active breaking to do that.
>>
No. 545168 ID: 92b445

...Everything's going to be alright? It's all going to be fixed?
Sonnova-We've NEVER gotten a BP readout from Guy EVER! Or a manifest cost or anything!
This isn't a Breaker! It never was a breaker! GUY WAS A CAKE ALL ALONG! A LIE!!! HE'S A FREAKING TEAR!!!!
Tell Sidhe to get out of here. Run. We're not a breaker! We're one of Them. We're a tear. D7 is producing tears in reality, and our brother was there to try and get us away from our true fate.
Tell Sidhe to run, fly away. Warn Jager, Warn Lira and Rise, tell them to contact everyone we've met and get out of dodge while they still can, as a final gift from the young breaker they took in. Because the next time they see Guy?
The hunt will be on for them.
>>
No. 545169 ID: d2b9fe

Actually, let's take this to dis. See if we can run through the conflicting theories of what's really going on, and use that to try and plan some intelligent action.

Flailing around and either attacking or running blind likely results in Guy's death (or loss of self at least) as well as our brother's.
>>
No. 545195 ID: 584efb

Are we on the lowest floor of this place? If not, active break the floor out from under her. Hell, even if so, break s pit under he. But not under Brother. At the very least, that should buy us a few seconds. Then... I wonder if we could break the air in the room to mostly be some sort of combustible gas, like propane, then Sidhe could use a prank to make a spark after putting a shield back up on Guy and Bro. That should alert everyone else that shits going down, screw with air guy, and maybe buy us some more time.
>>
No. 545200 ID: d2b9fe

Thinking it over, there are a lot of things that could go wrong with this >>545159 (it won't work right if Emily isn't a tear, or if I'm wrong about the respawn time, or if we get caught in the blast too, etc).

Alternate plan: maybe we should opt to target the chair (and the ring above it), instead. If Emily needs it to mess with your memories, destroying it should ruin what she's planning. And attacking it should at least draw her attention away from your brother.

Hey! You want me in that chair? *lob grenade*

Use a shield around it to block the wind guy from knocking it away, and counter any attempted active breaks with your own. If Emily lunges for the grenade, shoot her in the back. >>545195 Active breaking the floor under the chair and/or Emily is a good idea too, a collapse, fall, or getting buried on a lower floor will probably take longer to recover from than a mere death. Sidhe might be able to stack a prank on the grenade too- make the blast worse, or shaped, or go off on impact instead of waiting out the timer.

(Best case we could actually stack this with my original plan- bomb the chair, Emily goes for it, and blow them both to hell).

After the immediate distraction (and destruction) you need to grab your brother and get the hell out of there. Again, any active break that covers your retreat or makes you harder to follow is a good one, and warning your allies ASAP is also a good idea.

>I wonder if we could break the air in the room to mostly be some sort of combustible gas
We've never had anyone try anything like that- we don't know what kind of spirit level would be needed for a reasonable success rate.

But I'm inclined to think something that massively changes the enviroment and is that dangerous in combat is beyond what spirit 4 can do. Especially if the person with an affinity for wind tries to block it.

>realizing way too late it's the chair from the first post
...huh.
>>
No. 545404 ID: d77784

You feel utterly worthless at the moment, and especially bad because your brother is both in danger, and completely right about coming here being a bad idea. Still, if you have any hope of getting out of this alive and not... whatever the hell the crazy chick wants to do with you, then its time for some desperate measures. Very desperate measures. Lets hope this goes well.

The first step is to distract the crazy bitch away from your brother. Thankfully, you have this convenient grenade you never used. Good thing you remembered to bring it. Would have been bad if you hadn't. It's only a flash-bang, but that's better than nothing, and all you need is a distraction anyway. You prep the thing, then smirk as you toss it at the thing that seems to be most precious to the woman.

"Hey! You want me in that chair, right?"

"Emily" turns, eyes flicking for a moment to you before catching sight of the grenade. With only seconds to react, she does something you'd never have thought of doing if you weren't sure she wasn't normal. She dives for the grenade, even as the other man, let's call him Breezy for now, does almost the same thing, lunging towards the chair in a bid to protect it. You take the opportunity to basically throw yourself at your brother, grabbing hold of him and covering your eyes and ears in hopes of foregoing some of the damage. Still, as seems to be the frequent case lately, someone else comes in to help save you unexpectedly. Sidhe, still attached to your shoulder, throws up another barrier, and you barely hear a soft thump as the grenade goes off right in "Emily's" face. You pick yourself up to the muffled sound of the woman screaming curses at nothing in particularly, and you manage to drag your brother out of the room as she's flailing about on the floor, along with her partner, who seems to be utterly confused about what just happened.

As you exit the room, your brother, while still obviously in pain, seems to pull himself back together somewhat and get himself on his feet. He shakes his head to rid himself of... something, then turns to you.

"NOW can we leave?"

"Yes! Sorry about not believing you!"

"Not exactly the time for a heart to heart, little bro!"

Just as you finish your conversation and start taking off down the corridor you'd come from, the wall behind you literally seems to disintegrate, and you feel that feeling of... nostalgia... hit you again like a sledgehammer. You'd seen something like this before...

"WHAT! THE! FUCK! THAT HURT, JEAN! THAT FUCKING HURT! YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW, SO I CAN FIX YOU AND WE CAN GO BACK TO THE WAY WE WERE BEFORE!"

No one else seems to react at all to what she just said, but for some reason, you know it's not something meant to be heard in the traditional sense. It's something to be... felt. And understood. How you know, you have no clue, but you can't really bring yourself to care at the moment. Got to go, got to go, got to go!

As you reach an intersection, your brother skids to a halt glancing behind you in fear.

"So... we got some options brother of mine. We can head back to our gang and then bug out as quickly as possible, not suggested, by the way. We could head for the exit ourselves, and hightail it, which I think would be the better course of action, personally, I mean, live to fight another day and all that. Or... or we could try fighting her or something. Not sure what we'd do other than... that... but... I don't really want to do that. That isn't very fun, and that could have very bad consequences. Of course, I suppose that wouldn't really matter anymore in the end if she does whatever that chair does, but at the same time, that couldn't be much bet-"

"Brother! What the hell are you talking about?"

"Uh... That... you know... That... I... uh... can't really talk about it. Unless we do that... course, then, you'll know, and I won't really have to talk about it... Might want to hurry up on the decision making. Just my vote, if it counts, but I say we bug out. Hightail it. Be not here. The others can fend for themselves."

The walls around you are starting to... unravel... if they can be described that way. It's like they seem to be woven threads, and are just coming apart... This lady must be pissed...

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 545410 ID: d2b9fe

....we have our cell phone, right? And even if it turns out there's no tower coverage here, or whatever Emily's doing creates interference, you're a breaker. We can active break around that. And Lira's thing is tech. We don't need to get to our allies- we just need to force a message through to them (or rather, her).

"Found something bad. REALLY bad. Take what you have and get out NOW. Meet outside, or on the way out."

Reroll and commit more than one BP if you have to. Whatever's going on can't block all breaks, and the time saved getting them to start moving on their own rather than having to get to them is well worth it.

...and if your brother brings up the fact your odds are better just running rather than worrying about them- it was your vote that got them here. And does he really think you're going to do well, alone? We need friends. You're not even sure you can trust yourself anymore. ...and maybe Lira got information we can use without going crazy.

Plan everyone bugs out.

>fight her
Not sure we even have a way to do that. (Although we do have a spirit 4 ability we haven't seen yet). She's not normal, and I don't think she's a breaker, either.

The unraveling would be consistent with a tear, I think. Although the shouting in Guy's head might support her being Jean's avy? But then again, I don't think an avatar would have been stunned by a flashbang.
>>
No. 545427 ID: dc7649

Text the gang to get out of dodge while running for the hills. Tell them to just go-pack up and leave NOW. We'll figure out a plan to meet up later- for now we run- run to that breaker gang out west-a faction that large HAS to be powerful right?
>>
No. 546606 ID: d77784
File 138356968398.jpg - (181.25KB , 1024x640 , demon_woman_by_anderson17-d62o6s1.jpg )
546606

You quickly pull out your phone and tap out a text, probably the fastest text you'll ever make. You make it as small and direct as possible, then combo the text with a break, hoping it'll get through. For a moment, you feel the flicker of something, reality warping to meet your demands, only to have that feeling seemingly unravel in your hands. The text is saved, thankfully, and you take off towards the exit, even as you try texting again, hoping to see it work. This time, not only does the text not work again, but your phone almost literally unravels in your hands, like something else just ate it. You curse under your breath, and adjust your path, heading for the server room. Hopefully you can make it in time to get everyone.

As you race down the corridors, the odd feeling and the disappearing walls seem to fall behind you, although your brother seems very afraid regardless. By the time you make to your companions, you're out of breath and everyone simply stares at you confused. It's Rise who finally breaks the silence, moving forward slowly while giving you what you think is meant to be a comforting smile.

"Um, are you alri-"

"NO TIME!... Son of a- Didn't think I'd be able to run that long... We need to move.... NOW!"

"What? Wh-"

"EVIL PSYCHO CRAZY BITCH IS AFTER GUY! NOW LET'S GO!"

Your brother interjects quickly, you being out of breath making it difficult to communicate quickly, but regardless, everyone starts packing up quickly, and within moments you're already racing down the corridors to the exits. It's strangely quiet, all things considered, as you expected to find guards in your path at least, but instead all you get is a slight bree-

"Ah... Fuck."

"Wha-"

Jager is suddenly hurled through a wall an into another room, a form coalescing in front of him. You can vaguely make out some sort of body made of wind, and you get the distinct impression that this might be Mister Breezy from before, or at the very least, his doing. Regardless, as you skid to a halt to help, Sidhe suddenly throws up a barrier around the remainder of your group, and something explodes against the barrier. You watch it shatter, even as it takes all the force, and the little fairy on your shoulder shudders and lets out a horrible screeching sound that seems to stab into your very being. You get the distinct impression that she barely managed to block whatever it was, and it had hurt to do it. As you catch the little thing before she can slide from your shoulder, "Emily" steps from the shadows in front of you, looking distinctly different from before. More like her skin was literally cracking and flaking off, revealing some sort of glowing red substance. Perhaps more disturbing to you, was that you could actually feel reality dying around her, like it was simply unraveling itself. In fact, for some reason, you knew that was exactly what it was doing. Why would you know tha-

"STOP TRYING TO TAKE HIM FROM ME! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, YOU STUPID DOLL!"

The crazy psychotic bitch throws her will out, targeting your brother, and instinctively, you throw something right back, a little ball of reality. Surprisingly, when the two collide in the middle, your will pulls through, the reality you hurled out reaserrting itself and dispersing her attack. Even more surprising, it continues on and hits her square in the face, which sends her reeling in surprise, although it didn't seem to do too much to her otherwise. Still, you can't hope to win. Not with just that.

"Oh gods above..."

"Rise?"

"That's... she's one of those... things..."

"NO! NO NO NO! WE ARE NOT BROKEN! WE ARE NOT BROKEN! YOU'RE ALL THE ONES THAT ARE BROKEN! AND WE WERE SUPPOSED TO FIX YOU! JEAN WAS SUPPOSED TO FIX YOU!"

"Emily" pushes forward, undeterred by whatever you did, and as she draws closer, you see Rise and Lira suddenly collapse, looking almost like they're being strangled by something. Your brother seems unaffected, and moves to try to defend you, almost instantly locking himself into open combat with the woman, even as it looks like he's already outmatched. As you try to move to help, however, you find yourself pinned to the floor by a sudden increase in pressure around you. You glance up to find the windy figure standing over you, simply waiting. You can't leave it like this though. You've got to be able to do something. Anything.

And you feel it. In your gut. There, as always, is the power to break reality. Familiar now. Present now. It could help. If you are strong enough to break yourself more. To destroy your own mind in an attempt at freedom. A promise of strength without control.

Or... there is something else. Something new, or old, or nostalgic, or familiar, or foreign. You can't tell. Can't touch it without using it. But you can feel it, pounding away in your skull. Demanding your attention. You could use it. You could use it and save your friends. But at what cost?

"DON'T! BROTHER, NO MATTER WHAT! DO NOW TOUCH THAT!"

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 546612 ID: 65f0b0

...Destroy your mind-unleash the Giga-Breaker form. If we need a final-one liner from Guy, something like this:
This is for you, bro.

She truly is a Tear, but this is fascinating- her 'shell' of humanity seems to be cracking as her emotions drive her further into crazy-ville. At the same time, she's more and increasingly overt about her destruction of Reality. I'm HOPING that the Tears are more 'working in the shadows' then 'outright warring with reality defenders' type. The former makes a hot-head like Emily bad news for them-her going nova will make the tears quite obvious, and better yet, could cause D7 to kick em out, as well as giving dudes like The Angel, and that Skull Slugger guy from before a BIG target to hit.
'warring basically means we just went 'FINAL DESTINATION! FOX ONLY!' early, and we can only hope we're not about to get our butts kicked.
>>
No. 546627 ID: d2b9fe

>phone breaking blocked
Proof that tears can directly counter or negate breaking (although, hard to know if she was doing that deliberately, or if it was a side effect of being in cross proximity to an unraveling reality. Can't break what isn't there, after all).

Down 2 more BP. Puts us at 17 with the normalize from earlier, I think. (Not that our score really matters in these circumstances).

>reality ball
Okay, I have no idea what that was. Breaking to reassert reality where she unwove it? Countering a tear with raw reality? (If so though, where did he get it from? Stolen from his own thread?) Some weird thing that only works because Guy's apparently a breaker built on top of a memory-wiped tear?

(We still haven't died. I'm starting to wonder what would happen if we did- would Guy use death avoidance or regenerate? Might explain the D7 normalize we pulled off- it should have killed him, but he just endured).

...does confirm though that tears can have active powers. She's got some kind of ranged disruption attack.

>most the party locked down by windy
Dang it, he's pinning or strangling almost everyone, and they don't have weapons that will work against him. Sidhe might, but she's down after taking the tear's attack. I kind of doubt a quick dismiss or remainifestion will fix that, though. She's going to need time to recover.

Jager has active break, but he would have to think to use it. What would be nice is if, say, someone broke the ventilation system into overdrive and sucked breezy out of here. Give us a window of opportunity to act before he can counter it, or find a way back.

>break or... other
Break.

You don't know who Jean is, or why he chose to act the role of Guy. But this isn't acting for you anymore, it's real. You are the role. You're not interested in going back- in giving Emily what she wants. Breaking isn't about being broken- about needing to be fixed. It's about giving broken people the power to break the world back, give them what they need.

Maybe all your world's a play, but you'd rather break the rules than see the whole thing torn down.
>>
No. 546698 ID: d77784

Your decision is made before you even begin to think on it. You feel the break within your soul, the core of your being, the reality that makes you you, and you feel like you can grasp hold of it. And break yourself even more. Doing so comes with the promise of never coming back, of being as broken as one can get, but maybe, just maybe, you'll have the strength to fight this crazy bitch off. In the end, that is all you can hope for. Still, you take a moment to give one final thought to your brother, in hopes that he'll understand.

"This is for you, bro."

"Wha- NO! STO-"

The resulting explosion of reality seem to restore the environment around you, even as you feel your mind begin to warp and shift, ripping apart predefined notions of what breaking is. You see, perhaps for the only time, what you had been meant to do, both as a tear and as your new breaker form. And you also see that you'll never get to accomplish either of those tasks. Perhaps though, you can help that forgotten woman so far away by removing one of the most dangerous of her enemies, even if she'll never know of it.

Even as you find your mind begins to slip away, you focus on the task at hand. You only have a few minutes to set things right, and you know, even with everything that's happening, you'll have to sacrifice quite a bit to do it. For now though, that can come later. Now, the beast awakens, and you have a fight to get to.

"Guy? What the hell just-"

"No time, brother. We have maybe ten minutes, at most. We need to make this quick."

"... Alright. I'll believe in you. I don't know what you did, but... I feel flooded with power. And for once, I don't feel afraid of the crazy bitch."

Said crazy bitch is picking herself up from her spot on the floor, more cracks forming in her skin, and she growls in pain and rage. She's lost all semblance of humanity by this point. You can feel it. She thinks you are wrong. Knows you are wrong. If she can't fix you, then she'll erase you, like she's done to so many more.

Thankfully, you don't have a lack of power anymore.

>>>Input Command

Special Rules for this Combat:

Guy has temporarily and fatally gained the ability to utilize all three breaking manifestation types. These manifestations are not restricted to what he has on hand, instead, he may manifest at will what he desires. He may also survive Unraveling, and may break at whim. However, all uses of any of these abilities tears away at his own thread of reality, which can only be measured by feelings given in the narrative.

>>
No. 546702 ID: 6924b8

>manifest all
>burning ourselves for it.
..Let's keep this as mundane as we can.
Brother engages, we hold him solid.
For windy, IF he insists on being a pain, we manifest...Hrrm. I want to say something like 'anti-break' weapon, but that might use up reality fast to make. Then again, if Winds is tied up holding our friends down, then we can focus down Emily first, then deal with Breezy.
>>
No. 546706 ID: 584efb

...I'm thinking we manifest some sort of shockwave generating power gauntlets for our Bro, so he can keep his distance to avoid being unmade(less burning of ourselves to prevent that), he can disrupt windy with shockwaves, and hit much harder.
>>
No. 546711 ID: d2b9fe

Does this flooding with energy and restoration include Sidhe? If she's active again, her shield would be the quickest and cheapest way to free your allies from being strangled by Windy.

If she's not been revitalized, using some power or a break to help fix her is a good idea.

>fatally
...ouch. I was expecting breaking our mind to leave you a vegetable, not dead. A vegetable might still have had active avatars (just no ability to give them orders), and we might have had ways to fix a vegetable (George or the Nightmare focus, which might ave been encountered if Guy's surviving allies kept him around and continued west towards Rise's sister). Dead is not so fixable.

(Actually, I wonder if the avatars will remain active anyways? The situation is certainly fucked up enough to break normal rules, and it would kind of be fitting that Guy's last act might be to make his brother 'real').

>all three weapon types
>not limited by what's on hand
Which means, in addition to being able to manifest anything we could possibly think of, we could manifest anything we've seen any other character ever use. Which is possibly the more potent application- since we can draw on powers we already understand without the need for experimentation.

Ideally, we want to pick powers intelligently- so we get the most result using the fewest powers. Be nice if Guy's thread survived this, even if he does not.

>help her, even if she'll never know of it.
Your friends will, if they survive, and anything of your thread remains for them to remember. And Elizabeth will know. That's... something.

>possible min/maxing options
(brainstorming. Obviously, doing everything is a bad idea).

The Doctor. His power is the ability to manipulate foci / manifestations. If we tap into that we can get a cheap force multiplication- bolster or enhance our allies' weapons in such a way that they will be effective against an insubstantial foe like Windy and/or against the tear. We have spare foci (and our allies have looted spares too) that could be consumed to power this. (Dunno if such enhancements should be temporary, or toggle-able, the way manifesting an alternate ammo is? There's also the slight problem that by the normal rule of Doc modifications, upgrades are rest / lost, which might be a problem with Rise's weapon. Unless we can just burn more foci to circumvent).

The nightmare. One tactic I had actually planned for Linda if and when it came to a fight with McCarthy. If the tears are human enough to feel emotion- they're human enough to know fear. And that's a potential weakness to be exploited. (And windy is obviously not immune, either). Potentially the only way we actually know to hurt one of these things.

Twin ring? I'm not so sure about this one, but it duplicates manifestations along with wearer. Theoretically, could be used as a means to double our avatars. Although if the duped avies end up Twinda-dumb, they're not much use in combat. Not the most reliable plan.

If we really want an anti-breaking weapon, there's Linda's shotgun. Which... could probably be used to shut down Windy, but probably be useless against the tear. The blue potion might give us a little more power to burn, staving off eating through Guy's thread.

As cool as trying to game precog might be, the oracle eye probably isn't workable. Sudden use of it would be too overwhelming, and I'm not sure it would work right in close proximity to so much damage to the weave. (Hard to read the future in the threads as Emily shreds them).

If we really wanted to try and meta-game, we could try manifesting Angelica. Force the warden to help us maintain reality. She has knowledge and an understanding of the weave and reality that could make this fight easier. And if we're burning through Guy's thread, she could be forced to provide us with an alternate source of raw reality- something else to feed the fire or bolster ourself (eat Windy, maybe? Or whatever shell 'Emily' was hiding behind?). Downside is pulling her back into reality may not be possible, or might be really expensive to pull off.

>our biggest problem
We can think of all kinds of fancy ways to protect ourselves, or attack, but we don't actually know what kills a tear. I'm not sure just pumping damage will do the trick. Any insight from your new awakened perspective, Guy? How does one close or patch tear?
>>
No. 546745 ID: 2f4b71

Thinking literally, she's a tear. How do you mend a tear in reality? Sew it up. One very specific but complex break: Wrap a new reality around here. Give her a past, a life. Repair the tear by making her human.

Whether that's even possible depends on how tear effect everyone else. We've performed at least one wide-area context sensitive break, but that was harnessing a whole mass of breakers to do the fine work while we just pointed them together. This time we'd need to finesse everything.
>>
No. 546757 ID: d2b9fe

>>546745
Yeah, that's probably how one undoes or depowers or destroys a tear (if the being is the absence or damage in the weave, it's hard to say what patching it does. Turns them normal, kills them, makes them cease to exist, or erases them from the timeline the same way destroying a person's thread does). I think the problem is we need to subdue her first. It's a lot harder to sew up a moving tear, or one that can unravel the thread you're trying to use, as it were.
>>
No. 546810 ID: 2f4b71

>>546757
Probably can't erase her entirely. She's been around for a while, so has torn through a lot of reality. Fixing that perfectly is going to be nigh impossible, but just trying to sew it up it leaves an obvious patch. So that patch itself needs to fill in for the history that the tear created.

In the short term; revitalise and soup up Sidhe to allow her to contain the Tear with an inverted shield. We can then focus for a bit on helping our allies with Windy before tackling the Tear herself.
>>
No. 547187 ID: d77784

Your head throbs as you tear a piece of yourself clean from your threads, wrapping the small fairy in your hands in them and "breathing" life back into the small frame. For a moment, there's no sign of activity at all, but you can feel it. She's alive. And not just the fake life that your brother has, or that she had before, she has her own thread, constructed from threads torn from your own, and it pulses with the weight of reality. She'll last even without a wielder now, and perhaps more importantly, her own powers have amplified considerably. You hear the tinkling of bells as she awakens, and an explosion of rainbows in your mind, then the wind that seems to whip around you is suddenly cut off, and out of nowhere, there's an unnatural giggling sound, like a child possessed. There's a sudden crack, and Mr. Breezy suddenly finds himself captured inside a collapsed shield created by Sidhe. Perhaps even more helpful, is that Sidhe doesn't seem to need to centralize her shield around herself anymore.

That issue taken care of, your companions are freed from being suffocated to death, but left in no real condition to fight. Not that you would want them to in the first place. Your brother, on the other hand, seems to draw on your increased power, and as "Emily" moves forward to, preparing to hurl another ball of... whatever... your brother suddenly appears in front of her and, smiling like a maniac, smashes his fist into her face, hurling her into a backwards flip that ends with her on the ground. Almost instantly, your brother is on top of her, and his fist continually smashes into her skull, sending flakes of human "bits" hurtling off of her form and revealing more of that reddish color under her body. "Emily" can do little but take it for a few precious seconds, allowing you time to move your friends to a safer location via breaking. The burst of light that enveloped your companions seems to surprise them, but Rise seems to be the only one who reacts in time, shooting forwards to try to grab hold of you and do... something. You smile a little, happy that even now she's trying to look out for you, but you've set your course. There's little she or anyone else can do for you now.

"What is going on, Guy?"

"I'm keeping you all safe. Make your way west, Rise. You'll find your sister. I'm sure of it. Oh... take Sidhe and Mr. Breezy with you, why don't you? They'll be safe in your hands, I'm sure."

A splash of reds and greens flood your thoughts, and you get the idea that Sidhe is not happy with the proposed plan. Too bad it isn't a democracy. The light widens, encompassing the small fairy, and you find your smile widen as you let go of your connection to your second avatar. She'll be fine. You know it. You feel a sharp pain shoot through your body suddenly, you seem to be taxing yourself heavily just to keep them safe, but... it would be worth it. You hoped. Then they were gone, disappearing much farther west, safely out of the hands of this particular demon of reality.

In your lack of attention, however, your brother has been literally half-disintegrated, and yet is still smashing his free hand into the enemy. You let more of your power out of repair the damage, feeling more pain shoot through you, but for the moment, your brother can keep the enemy pinned. Now all that remains is a final plan. A final desperate attempt.

And a decision as to how you plan to attempt to "kill" your opponent.

>>>Input Command
>>
No. 547190 ID: f06271

Do we still have our gun? Shoot her in the face. Counter it if she tries to unravel her, but just shoot her in the face.
>>
No. 547196 ID: fc937d

So Guy breaks his allies the hell out of there even when not ordered to. Hmm. Good on you, I suppose. Sticking to those values even when we don't remind you of them.

...there's also an opportunity to cheat, and given them a better explanation, if you want. You could leave a break message a la Aria or Elizabeth on one of them. When they eventually notice it and activate / break it, 'you' can tell them what happened. (Assuming Lira didn't get enough of the story from the computer).

>time to finish this
Draw your gun. You took it up and practiced with it as a way to defend yourself- so you could contribute directly to a fight. Seems fitting that you use it to finish this.

Break or manifest it into something different (or so it fires something different), if that's what you need to finish the job. (Ie, change it so it actually hurts her).

...looks like our first death is gonna be our last.
>>
No. 547303 ID: d77784

You slide the pistol from it's holster, eyeing your target. She's screaming incoherently at this point, the occasional understandable word making it seem like gibberish at this point, but as you stride forward, she seems to suddenly realize you're still there, and her attention sharpens again, in a way, looking almost pleading.

"JEAN! JeAn! You're still here! Help me! Save me! There's still time. Time to fix this! Time to make everything better! Everything can be like it used to be! You and me! Together..."

"... No. We... I'm not who I used to be. And in the end, that's all that matters. I don't know who or what I was. But I am what I am... I'm sorry. But this needs to end."

You aim and fire a round right into her forehead, and she drops, surprise written on her face. Then anger. She starts to do her regeneration trick, but you put another round into her skull. Again, she starts to regenerate, but your brother smashes his fist into her face, forcing her head to the floor again. You focus a moment, ripping threads of your own reality out in order to form the pistol in your hands into a more appropriate weapon, the pistol practically humming with power, and the dull heartbeat of reality seeming to come from the weapon. For a moment before you take aim and fire again, you see an odd mix of emotions form on the woman's face. Fear. Anger. Sorrow... Relief. In that moment, you feel calm, and that throbbing in your head subsides completely, as if something inside of you is ready for what comes next. A name floats into your thoughts, and memories of a different, happier time...

"Goodbye... Isabelle. Sleep well. I'll be joining you soon enough."

You fire the weapon, and Isabelle, the round penetrating into the red material of her skull, collapses backwards, staring at nothing. For a moment, nothing seems to happen, then her body simply dissolves, and all the threads she's destroyed and consumed escape once again into the fabric of the Weave. You collapse yourself, back against the wall, and your brother joins you, sitting next to you, looking as tired as you feel.

"So, Guy... this is it, huh?"

"Yeah... this is it."

"Heh... I'm sorry."

"What do you mean?"

"I knew. I mean, I kinda knew. What you were, what you are, what you were supposed to do."

"... That's fine. I remember now, but it really doesn't matter anymore. I had a new purpose, and... that didn't work out too well either. All I've really left behind it three friends and an avatar that doesn't need a wielder anymore. I'd do that for you too, but..."

"I understand, little brother. Time to head into oblivion, huh?"

"Just about... one last thing to do, though. This gun... it'll be important, I think. Very important. So... last thing to do with what's left of my threads."

You reach out towards the weapon in your hands and condense it, wrapping it in reality and forcing it to compact into a smaller form, the bullet that clatters to the floor after that still has that heartbeat sensation, but you're too weak to pick it up. So... weak...

"Brother?"

"Yeah?"

"Were you ever... real?"

"... I'm as real as you want me to be, little brother."

"... Then... I think I'll keep on believing in this dream of mine... it was... warmer... than my reality."

"Hush, little brother. It's alright now. Time to sleep."

"... Alright... Goodnight... Brother..."
>>
No. 547304 ID: d77784

The disappearance of a single strand is barely noticed by reality or its observers. At least, by most of them. Far to the west, in the City of the Sun, a 17 year old girl jolts awake from her musing of the future to stare eastward, eyes watching intently. For a moment, there is something, a powerful influence, a changer of stories, a Weaver of Threads. Then, mere minutes later, those threads burn away, lost forever. The Weave, as always, works in mysterious ways, and with no one around, the knowing smile of the girl goes unnoticed by all.

Another piece of the puzzle has been born into reality.

-----------------------

Westward of the Capital City, in the plains of the middle states, a group of breakers appears, dazed and incredibly confused. A sound like tinkling bells catches the attention of one of them, and as the woman stands, a fairy lands on her shoulder.

"What... what happened? Where's... Who am I looking for?"

For a moment, the woman seems lost in thought, but the two with her orient themselves and interrupt her thoughts.

"Rise? Rise, we gotta go."

"Yes, you are... you are right."

"Me and Lira are headed south, towards the LR. You're free to join us..."

"No... No, I have to find my sister. She's in the west. I'll head that way."

"Alright. Maybe we'll see you again someday. Lira made a copy of the data she stole for you. You can take that with you to give to this breaker group out there. Maybe that'll convince them to help you."

"Maybe... Sidhe, where are you going to go now?"

The fairy makes no outward comment, but seems to settle more solidly on Rise's shoulder. The woman nods her acceptance, and turns east one last time, as if expecting... something... before turning away and starting her journey west. Hopefully, it would not take too long.

-----------------------

The last strands burned away as Jean sat there, staring at the remains of his original body. Guy. Huh. He felt... unhappy. Sorrow. What an odd feeling. Tears streamed down his face and he didn't know why. Regardless, this experiment had gone... unexpectedly. The death of his "sister" had been a pleasant, if unwanted, surprise. To think such a thing would happen. Regardless, to unknowingly cause so many problems... How unexpected. He'd almost been pulled back into the fake a couple of times as well. That would have ended... badly.

Still, his brothers remained unaware of his experiments, and furthermore, he was certain that this new focus laying at his feet would prove useful in the continued development of the unmaker rounds. With that, perhaps he'd be able to help her-

Jean shook his head, looking surprised. Mental contamination couldn't have... could it? This was a problem. A very large problem. If he wasn't careful, he might cause her har-

"Damn it all! All that effort and yet-"

Jean paused and took a calming breath. Perhaps... in the end, this might not be such a bad thing after all. As a tear, Jean had no purpose. No driving force behind him, at least, none that he was allowed to know. He was the youngest, after all, and was not as trusted among the others as he would like. This new, unpleasant desire in his heart, the almost physical need to help HER... it was a purpose. Something to strive for. And something to throw in the face of his siblings.

Perhaps... perhaps... perhaps...

Only time would tell in the end, after all. Jean picked himself up, brushed himself off, and bent down, picking up the focus and tossing it up into the air before catching it again and pocketing it. He might have to rip through time now. What a pleasant thought. He'd never done it before. He couldn't let Lira and Jager get to the LR with such valuable information. That was for HER and HER alone. Killing them would be pointless and painful... heh odd feeling again... but making them harmless... yes, good decision.

"So much to do. So little time."
>>
No. 547311 ID: 209211

Good god did we convert a tear to our side?
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