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File 146828239746.gif - (297.89KB , 360x360 , 7-1.gif )
735275 No. 735275 ID: 13459b

Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/A_Conspiracy_of_Wasps

Discussion: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/81536.html

Previous thread: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/698817.html
Expand all images
No. 735276 ID: 13459b
File 146828256444.png - (198.32KB , 600x600 , 7-2.png )

Transfixed, you wave your arm in front of your face. You're used to seeing some pretty weird stuff, but this... this is new.
"Woahhh, weird."

Like you, Hunter is examining her form.
>"Oh good, I thought it was just me. So this is inside my mind?"
The rain and neon make the asphalt glitter like a crow's wing. A ghostly crowd meanders through the streets, filling it with quiet murmurs and shuffling footsteps. You gasp as someone walks through you, but the way the street is packed, it really has no choice. The figure ignores your discomfort and carries on its own private errand.

>"What are we looking for again?"
No. 735279 ID: dfdb1e

The damp street is full of faceless people and accusatory neon. They are the background and mean nothing until her suspect put them in the spotlight.
If she were a movie nerd I bet she would love noar detectives, but with those light I will guess she enjoy rave.
No. 735282 ID: e18721


Check out your surroundings.
No. 735286 ID: 398fe1

We need an Engine or a Lever, or both. The Engine provides energy, the Lever transfers it, or something. Shit we should've asked what the part names mean. Tch'arl won't be directly available to ask... possibly a problem. Anyway, the parts are typically things important to the person who donates them, in some way. If there's a central location in here it should be obvious if she can donate one of the parts we need.

With all the neon signs around maybe there's a power plant? What's that big monument in the background- oh my god are we literally in the movie Blade Runner?
No. 735289 ID: 358228

You want an engine? Find out what's powering all this neon. Just follow the overhead cables!
No. 735304 ID: 79a07e


This is TOTALLY Blade Runner.

Man, Hunter's mindscape is the coolest thing so far.
No. 735344 ID: 3e182c

We need a lever, we already have an engine available we just need to convince its owner to help us. We don't even know what hunter has or can do.

Lets see if we can get to the center of the city, there could be some sort of landmark there symbolic of something very personal.
No. 735638 ID: 13459b
File 146846231157.png - (213.74KB , 600x600 , 7-3.png )

"We're looking for either an 'engine' or a 'lever'. Judging by all the neon, there may be something we can use as an engine."
You notice a number of fat, vein-like cables running through the cityscape. They're lashed to the sides of buildings and crudely draped over alleys, making the neighborhood look as if it was slowly being consumed by electric kudzu.
"Let's see where those go."

>"Sounds like a plan."
Hunter takes off walking ahead of you.
No. 735639 ID: 13459b
File 146846231790.png - (111.05KB , 600x600 , 7-4.png )

The power lines converge into a thicker bundle and turn down an alley. Hunter starts to follow them inside without hesitation.

"So... you must like Blade Runner, I guess?"

She sighs.
>"I guess, yeah... though I didn't think it would be like... this is kind of embarrassing actually..."
No. 735643 ID: 398fe1

Yeah well you're a space nerd and your headspace is literally space.

Try making a stick to verify your mind bullshit works again.
No. 735646 ID: 5a893f

In fairness, this is noir as fuck too, which fits her job as a detective.
She's actually achieved her dream, she is true to herself. She should be proud... Maybe. That's just the current interpretation based on the surface.
No. 735668 ID: 9f3729

"Honestly this is pretty cool, especially given you're actually a detective."
No. 735673 ID: dfdb1e

Are the neon billboards representing her?
No. 736100 ID: 13459b
File 146864205780.png - (92.15KB , 600x471 , 7-5.png )

"Well, my head is halfway to the moon, and I'm a huge space nerd. But, I think its like that because... well I needed somewhere away from people. Its my 'safe space'. Maybe you just feel more at home someplace... like this."

Hunter continues forward with a cynical little laugh.
>"Heh, you... you're a nice guy: you wouldn't understand what drives someone like me..."

"I dunno, I think this is pretty cool, it really suits you."

>"We'll see."
No. 736101 ID: 13459b
File 146864206534.png - (111.49KB , 600x600 , 7-6.png )

You aren't sure if your abilities are back, so you test it out by imagining a stick. What appears is more like a solid bar of light. You wave it back and fourth, watching the afterimages and half expecting it to make lightsaber noises.
"Woah... this is different."
No. 736102 ID: 3663d3

i see, you follow the 'physics' of the mind you are in.in this case neon and stone.
No. 736107 ID: 350a50

"You figured out how this stuff works even faster than I did, swooping in with that dragonfly. You're kind of like Batman."
No. 736108 ID: 398fe1

...is that circuitry in the background?

OH. Blade Runner is about replicants... is this actually the drone? Or maybe she's just got some issues relating to memory and identity... or the concept of being a simulation of a person. Or maybe she wants to be an android. There are a lot of possibilities. I doubt the drone would let us into their head like this... unless, they plan to ambush and dismember us using their mind's inner defenses. Or trap us outright like Doug almost did. Maybe we're in more danger than we thought. It's not like we were awake to see her show up, and even if we were we still don't know if we can reliably detect the drone. This being its mind would explain why your constructs and forms are different than normal. Hmm, I keep calling it a drone but it's more like a robotic probe, right?

Anyway, practice making mind-bullshit constructs for a bit. See how fast you can switch between shapes. A shield-like construct would be useful. It looks like we can't specify materials in this mind, so a full suit of armor won't work this time. I guess you could still make one that doesn't cover your head, though. How durable is the solid light material? Try hitting a wall with the stick, or bending it. Make a thinner stick if you can't break it.
No. 736120 ID: dfdb1e

Diego's mind looked like a concrete corridor. My guess is that those mind spaces are related to concepts people latch onto, not feeling at home.

It's weird that we are seeing circuitry here. From all the minds we visited, some of them been people working with technology, the cop is the one with circuitry aesthetic.

Ask her what she think this place represent.
No. 736303 ID: 13459b
File 146872025027.png - (152.62KB , 600x600 , 7-7.png )

"Although, to be honest, this doesn't seem like a very 'safe space', does it? They all seem to represent something. Any ideas what all this means then?"

She sighs.
>"One thing I've learned in my time: there's no such thing as a 'safe space'. You always have to be on guard."
No. 736304 ID: 13459b
File 146872025740.png - (127.47KB , 456x600 , 7-8.png )

No. 736305 ID: 13459b
File 146872026230.png - (194.08KB , 600x600 , 7-9.png )

No. 736306 ID: 13459b
File 146872026857.png - (193.30KB , 600x600 , 7-10.png )

No. 736309 ID: dfdb1e

I was about to ask if those blurry people did something. The neon foxes took me by surprise.

Mind bullshit Deckad's blaster. See if they are as aggressive as they look.
No. 736311 ID: 398fe1

Mind bullshit only works if we know how something operates (though I wonder how the Iron Man suit worked, in that case... rule of cool?) so we should make something like... a crossbow.

Or, wait, maybe we can create something animated? Try making something like the neon creatures, except like... Diego's giant beetle.
No. 736315 ID: 3663d3

neon is light, aka LASERS
No. 736361 ID: 227a05

Wow, that always on guard thing sounds depressing. Maybe she should consider a therapist.
No. 736366 ID: 350a50

No. 736407 ID: a39b7c

She says there's no such thing as a safe place and suddenly this place becomes less safe.
We need to remind her that this is her mind and she has an incredible level of control in here.

Also correlation between fox cop and attack neon foxes?
No. 736415 ID: 9f3729

that's cynical to the point of oversimplification. not really a pertinant debate right now, but even with the transient natures of both people and situations there's still plenty of people situations and places to call "safe" for at least a little while.
No. 736443 ID: e6e9af

... well, that escalated quickly.
No. 737002 ID: 79a07e

Okay, so how to defend ourselves? If this is a noir Blade Runner-esque city, then we need to be cops...? Try forming a riot shield with that stick of yours.
No. 737099 ID: 3e182c

No. 737337 ID: 13459b
File 146906363991.png - (195.76KB , 600x600 , 7-11.png )

One of the creatures lurches forward, its limbs moving with an odd stop-motion quality as if controlled from somewhere distant. Still holding your glowing stick, you bring it down onto the creatures head and rave living the shit out of it. You feel something crunch and It erupts into a blinding, florescent shower of sparks, as if straight out of an 80s sci- fi movie.

Around you, the conduits you had been following glow fiercely and you feel a rumble cascade through the earth as if from a distant roar.
No. 737339 ID: 398fe1

There is in fact something distant controlling them, then... and we just pissed it off. Did they attack Hunter at all?

Well since we're going clubbing how about you make something a bit safer to use, like a spear.
No. 737340 ID: 350a50

Like Darth Maul's double-saber, but with only one blade and thus severely less likely to bisect yourself with.
No. 737356 ID: 3e182c

Or one of those Tron Disc/Ring things.
No. 737378 ID: f562b1

Wouldn't you have to know how to use a Chakram in the first place to use a Tron Disk/Neon Chakram?
No. 737411 ID: 3e182c

Oh yeah, totally...
...If this wasn't super amazing dream physics land.
No. 738223 ID: 13459b
File 146932448674.png - (280.28KB , 600x600 , 7-12.png )

You flex you imagination a little and the bar of light turns into a glowing disc, which you sling at one of the approaching neon monstrosities. Unfortunately it curves unexpectedly and misses its target, showering the area with sparks. One lunges at Hunter but she steps into the attack and seizes the creature by the throat before slinging it backwards.
No. 738224 ID: 13459b
File 146932451801.png - (240.29KB , 600x600 , 7-13.png )

You summon another glowing rod and back up against Hunter. She eyes it suspiciously.
>"How'd you do that?"

"Its all mental projection, I just imagine and focus on an idea."


"I think they're reacting to something, its like they're being controlled. Any ideas?"

>"Well, whatever they are, there's a lot of them..."
No. 738225 ID: 398fe1

They're not blocking the way to that big pyramid in the back. So go that way. Conjure up a wall to block them.
No. 738227 ID: 350a50

Or perhaps a weightless energy tower-shield.
No. 738236 ID: 3e182c

I think we're thinking too inside the box here. There's no reason why we can't cheat, we don't need a normal weapon.

Make a bunch balls of light and then just boom-headshot them all at once. Summon neon fire from the sky. Bring forth grasping death from below. Encase yourself in Glowsticks glowing, repelling armor and just walk through. Light yourself on fire in a way that only burns others but not you. Fus-Ro-Dah some motherfuckers. Make deadly radiant sawblades orbit you. Remember Doom? You remember Doom. Give yourself a BFG9000. Enough with this melee bullshit.
No. 738238 ID: 9f3729

No. 738241 ID: ea2bfa

Yell Obsolete Line: Trip to the Old Station while you do it. Don't ask why, just do it.
No. 738245 ID: 3e182c

Or do this.
I can get behind this.
Fuck it, do this too.
No. 738298 ID: f562b1

Told you you needed Chakram skill. Frisbee skill only goes so far.
Magical dream physics state that we can't do anything too complex. While Nate probably could control a "Light drone" to fly around, it'd just be one. Maybe that would work? See if you can make one fly around quick enough to bash off heads.
No. 738304 ID: 3e182c

Somehow I feel we only failed thanks to your introduction of doubt.
But your Magneto death ball thing certainly sounds promising.
No. 738334 ID: dfdb1e

Those creatures represent external treat and, curiously, are reflections of Hunter. It says something about her paranoia and recognition of her own violence to others.
Defeat them with violence should bust her confidence on overpowering enemies but should also reinforce the notion of herself as a danger to others.
Perhaps Nathan could seek a less violent alternative. Try running toward your objective keeping one eye on those things. Maybe other solutions will become clearer the more we learn about their behavior.
No. 738392 ID: a7ba4a


You're in a cyberpunk universe, whatever we do will be more accepted if it fits the narrative of the universe.

Download some parkour gear, Matrix style, and go non lethally over rooftops to the objective, Mirror's Edge style.
No. 738396 ID: ec0fef

Well, if we go full Cyberpunk, then where the hell are our swarm of wasp-shaped combat drones, and powerglove-shaped clunky controllers on our arm?
Where's our augmented bodyparts with milspec concealed armaments that are illegal in most of the corporate world?
Where's the personal jetpack that is supposed to be civilian-grade but we jailbroke it so now it can run loops across the night sky?

We're Spaceman, let's bring down with a nice exoskeleton with integrated, augmented milspec-grade armaments that's almost a mech unto itself!
No. 738428 ID: a107fd

If they're being controlled remotely, and you're in a cyberpunk setting, just disrupt the signal with an EMP grenade.
No. 738430 ID: ea2bfa

See, I still feel like we should try the train. You guys really aren't thinking outside the box. "Fuck it, let's just be boring Sci-Fi Shooter Protagonist #1361." Try to impress Hunter with some plain old imagination!

Even if not the train, try SOMETHING off the rails! Imagination razor wire, maybe?
No. 738603 ID: 79a07e


Yeah, time for a tactical retreat. Wherever that giant white building is might be good.
No. 738621 ID: 24100f

I wonder if they're responding to her expectations. She thinks she always needs to be on guard, so her mental landscape is providing a threat to be on guard against.
No. 738649 ID: 13459b
File 146949921528.png - (118.98KB , 413x600 , 7-14.png )

Your mind races:


"I'm gonna try something. Hang on."
No. 738650 ID: 13459b
File 146949922838.png - (202.45KB , 600x600 , 7-15.png )

"No, I mean, hang on to me..."

>"Oh, okay? Now what?"

"Well, this should make it g-"
No. 738651 ID: 13459b
File 146949923336.png - (122.49KB , 600x600 , 7-16.png )

No. 738653 ID: 398fe1

Don't crash! Also try the brake to see how long it takes to slow down. Also see how it turns.

If this is literally a lightbike try cutting off pursuit with the light trail.
No. 738659 ID: 9f3729

No. 738662 ID: 350a50

No. 738689 ID: dfdb1e

I love how puny Nate looks next to Hunter.

Text the curve in an open space first. Need to find out if that thing can make soft maneuvers.
No. 738699 ID: 79a07e

Yeah, really hope this thing isn't 90 degree turns only.
No. 738736 ID: a107fd

Eyes on the prize. You're trying to follow power cables back to the source, so jump/wall-run up to some power cables and start riding along them.
No. 738996 ID: 13459b
File 146967357576.png - (103.31KB , 380x600 , 7-17.png )

The city-scape smears itself into a screaming neon blur as you twitch the controls. Oddly enough there's very little sensation of acceleration, only a slight backwards tug. Your eyes struggle to contain the sensory overload while you concentrate very hard on the wall rapidly approaching you. You twitch the handle slightly and experience a moment of disorientation which causes you to twitch again.

>"What was that?"

"I think I just turned! You okay? "

>"I've got my eyes closed! I Think I'm gonna be sick!"
No. 738997 ID: 13459b
File 146967359007.png - (165.34KB , 402x800 , 7-18.png )

Another wall looms and you pull back on the handlebars.

>"The fuck was that?"

"Er... Don't worry about it! Just hold on!"
No. 739022 ID: 398fe1

Oh god. Maybe when you get on the roof you can turn it into a glider and traverse the rest of the distance by air.
No. 739031 ID: 350a50

Sounds like a solid idea.
No. 739037 ID: 3e182c

Glider? Just make the front "wheel" parallel to the ground, and the rear almost the same but facing backward at 45 degrees.
Bam. Hoverbike.
No. 739541 ID: 13459b
File 146991075111.png - (181.07KB , 600x600 , 7-19.png )

>"Okay, screw this. I'm opening my eyes...."
No. 739542 ID: 13459b
File 146991075542.png - (134.93KB , 600x600 , 7-20.png )

>"Naaaaaaate? What the fuuuuuck?"

"I don't know! These things just happen! Hang on!"
No. 739543 ID: 398fe1

Look out for those hanging wires! See if you can get above them.
No. 739544 ID: 79a07e

Hunter, this is your mind- you have more dominion in here than you might think! If NATE can do this and he's technically foreign, think about what you could manage!
No. 739549 ID: 3e182c

Do a Barrel Roll!
No. 739552 ID: 350a50

No. 739639 ID: dfdb1e

Is it too early to regret your decisions?
No. 739957 ID: 227a05

Blast off into...the place where space would be if space existed in this mind world. There are less wires that way.

(also this is hilarious)
No. 740002 ID: 79a07e

Keep clear of those wires and head towards that monolith!
No. 740069 ID: 13459b
File 147009119443.png - (165.57KB , 600x600 , 7-21.png )

You spot the hanging wires in your way and pull back on the handlebars.
"Shit! I'm going above them!"

The bike whips itself upwards and you feel it shudder. You look over your shoulder and watch as Hunter's red shape quickly drops away from you.

No. 740070 ID: 398fe1

Time for a loop. I guess her grip wasn't as strong this time.
No. 740071 ID: 3e182c

Back, Right, Back, Grab her, Then Back one more time.
No. 740075 ID: dfdb1e

That is definitely the time to regret your decisions. Dammit Nate!
Find a way to save her and then dispel this thing before you explode in your own trail.
No. 740076 ID: 90f3c0

Do a loop and catch her. Make sure not to crash into your own light trail, that would be an embarrassing mistake.
No. 740077 ID: 9f3729

do a quick corkscrew downwards. Disable the bike immediately upon turning downwards so you don't overshoot and go splat, grab her, then reactivate the bike like the coolest coolguy to ever action hero it up inside someone else's head
No. 740105 ID: f562b1

I think it may be better to just create a Light Copter. While not as quick, it's definitely safer than a Light Cycle that the passenger can't stay on.
No. 740115 ID: 79a07e

Yeah, that might work out better.
No. 740122 ID: 350a50

Or a more stable, floating platform of energy a la Static Shock.
No. 740358 ID: 13459b
File 147027220952.png - (81.27KB , 365x600 , 7-22.png )

You flip yourself into a tight U-turn and pull into a screaming thunderbolt of a dive. You watch your own light trail slice by you and try to gun it.
No. 740359 ID: 13459b
File 147027221354.png - (129.92KB , 600x600 , 7-23.png )

But you realize that the bike has no way to accelerate: it seems to move at a set speed, even when falling. Its still blisteringly fast, and as you close the gap you stretch your arm out to grab for hers; however, your head-math is telling you that the bike alone isn't enough.
Hunter swipes at your arm.
>"Come on! Just a little more!"
No. 740360 ID: dfdb1e

Here is a reasonable sequence of actions:
Jump. Grab hand. Dispel bike. Conjure parachute.
In the future let's avoid insane video game logic.
No. 740393 ID: 350a50

Wario Bike Launch to her and then create a magic bubble around you to cushion the landing.
No. 740446 ID: 09d263

>magic bubble
kinda goes against the theme and would probably not work. Think more of an electrostatic ablative field.
Or just magic up jet boots, you've had experience with it and it doesn't contradict Cyberpunk-reality.
No. 740447 ID: 3e182c

Press the "Bomb" Button. Hunter's a friendly she'll be fine.
No. 740448 ID: 398fe1

Jet boots are probably the most likely thing to work.
No. 740462 ID: a03f99

This is science fiction, we clearly aren't thinking with portals!
Create a portal gun and create a cyberpunk themed portal on the floor, or alternatively a portal 2 tractor beam on a wall you're about to go past.
No. 740465 ID: 350a50

Actually, this could work. It would also redirect our momentum to launch us back on track instead of slowing down for the light goons to catch up. Changing to this.
No. 740468 ID: 3e182c

Changing vote to portals.
No. 740584 ID: 856712

Spawn a big neon space trampoline underneath her
No. 740610 ID: e3dec4

I'm going to suggest the partially obvious. Some kind of grappling hook or reach extender.
No. 740613 ID: 91ee5f

>grappling hook
Are you fucking crazy?! Have you not seen the ending of The Amazing Spider-Man 2? The sudden stop and/or change in momentum would be enough to snap her neck and kill her!
No. 740617 ID: dfdb1e

Only if Nate were as resistant as Peter. It's far more likely that he would lose his frail hive arm.

If we are going for style maybe we can use a hang glider. Why is soo difficult to remember distinct functional steampunk flying equipments?
No. 740621 ID: e3dec4

Sorry. I was going for something utilitarian specifically because style got us into this mess.
No. 740624 ID: dfdb1e

A grappling hook would be one of the most stylish solutions, it just doesn't work well with real world physics at high speeds.
The most boring solution would probable be my first suggestion: a parachute.
So far everything Nate mind bullshit were recognizable nerdy references. With that in mind it would be appropriate for the solution to be a recognizable reference, but I can't imagine anything that won't blow in his face.
No. 740675 ID: 3e182c

What about Samus Aran's Grappling beam.
Nate could totally do that.
No. 740706 ID: 13459b
File 147050902178.png - (81.71KB , 358x600 , 7-24.png )

You throw yourself over the handlebars and feel the bike fold itself around your feet, igniting a pair of jets. You swing for Hunter's outstretched hand and...
No. 740707 ID: 13459b
File 147050902603.png - (150.76KB , 349x600 , 7-25.png )

Sail right past it.

You catch one of the wires in the chest and hang helplessly as she plummets to the ground, disappearing into the seething crowd below. They immediately start to dogpile her and she is lost in a mass of red light.

No. 740708 ID: 13459b
File 147050903272.png - (172.20KB , 600x531 , 7-26.png )

The glow starts to congeal into a single figure, who stands up and fixes you with a glare. Her body seems to flicker and twitch from position to position as if barely suppressing some kind of force.
No. 740713 ID: 398fe1

Ask her if she's alright.

While keeping a safe distance.
No. 740728 ID: 79a07e

Yeah, fuck.

Well, we know now to not be fancy. Stick to practical.
No. 740729 ID: 79a07e

Also, she's clearly not alright. Whatever happened, she's absorbed all that rage and fuckedupness.
No. 740751 ID: 3e182c

Get to a better position. Arm, armor, and prepare yourself!

She comes.
No. 740755 ID: 9f3729

Bucket of cold (neon) water.
snap her out of it
No. 740783 ID: 358228

It won't work. The good times argon.
No. 740789 ID: 350a50

Aaand, back towards the pyramid you go.
No. 740901 ID: e6e9af


What if the things aren't actually foes so much as they're the negative aspects of her own psyche that she keeps locked away ...?

> Engage Beast Mode ...
No. 741122 ID: 726a91

It's hulkbuster time! Armour up, and prepare to let Hunter wear herself out until she's in a state you can talk to her in.
No. 741125 ID: 91ee5f

Last time he used Ironman armor, he didn't wear a helmet, even after we repeatedly told him to put one on. So if he does the Hulkbuster, I hope he'll at least wear the damn helmet this time!
No. 741363 ID: 13459b
File 147086645987.png - (116.84KB , 360x600 , 7-27.png )

You let yourself fall to the ground and approach Hunter's crouched, blurred form.
"Hunter?... Are you okay?"

She faces you, clenching and unclenching her fists.
No. 741364 ID: 13459b
File 147086647375.png - (103.30KB , 367x600 , 7-28.png )

There's a flash of light and suddenly she's holding something.
"Oh.. hey, you can summon things too?"

No. 741365 ID: 398fe1

You heard the lady! Zoom away, moving erratically. Get a building between you and her ASAP and then use the breathing room to make something either much faster or more defensive.

An armored car might work fine.
No. 741366 ID: 3663d3

angled shield. then grab her arms and point them upward.
No. 741369 ID: 350a50

Energy Riot Shield, go for cover.
No. 741372 ID: 3e182c

This! Then get yourself a big gun.
I wouldn't try to take a cop in a melee.
But if you had yourself a Real weapon...
No. 741387 ID: 9f3729

I'd say smokescreen but I guess just going "Neon X" doesn't work.

No. 741392 ID: a107fd

When an officer of the law is pointing a gun at you and giving unambiguous instructions, it's generally better to play along. Maybe she just needs some space, a chance to cool off.

Get back on the lightcycle, zigzag enough that the trail is useful cover.
No. 741544 ID: 79a07e

I think shes telling you to leave her. Although Im reluctant to. Maybe leave, the double back after a second has passed and see whats happening.
No. 741557 ID: 91ee5f

She's trying and failing to stop herself, so she's telling you to run so she doesn't hurt you.
No. 741633 ID: 13459b
File 147096589034.png - (118.99KB , 600x600 , 7-29.png )

You fan your arms out and create a layer of shields. Hunter's pistol shakes as she tries to restrain herself and you back away.
No. 741634 ID: 13459b
File 147096590115.png - (148.18KB , 600x600 , 7-30.png )

You take her advice and fucking leg it towards the pyramid shaped structure. You get a half block before hearing gunshots thunder behind you. You hear the projectiles skid off of your shields and whine off into the night like angry bees.
No. 741636 ID: 398fe1

Turn into an alley, put some buildings between you and her. Then get some better transportation.
No. 741640 ID: 350a50

Yeah, get to cover and get yourself another light bike. It'll help you put some distance in, and you can't really get lost when the destination is so big.
No. 741653 ID: 3e182c


I think it's time to channel some Neo.
Be The One, Nathan.
No. 741659 ID: dfdb1e

Assuming it's not like Diego's mind bug drug case, officer Hunter seem to have a self control issue.
You could try to remind her that everything here is an extension of herself, therefor she can control the emotions that dominate her (I imagine it's mostly fear).
Of course, this may be a lie. We don't know her well enough to be sure she is able to control herself.
No. 741731 ID: 8a1e6c

Imagine yourself a cyberpunk-y bulletproof vest/trenchcoat or something
No. 741754 ID: 21f347

Gotta figure out the motivation of the things takng control of her. Where is the dragonfly anyways? Maybe that is prt of the problem
No. 741974 ID: 7dc6bc

Turn a hard right into cover, or make a shield you can strap to your back, or even just create some cyberpunk traffic between you and her.

Give it a go, but beware that insight into a emotion they cant change is basically a bad trip.
No. 742221 ID: 13459b
File 147120546709.png - (111.73KB , 269x600 , 7-31.png )

You stretch out your arms and feel the light-cycle weave itself around you before launching forward like a rocket. You drop light shields in your wake and make a bee-line for the structure.
No. 742222 ID: 13459b
File 147120548232.png - (100.34KB , 600x600 , 7-32.png )

The light-cycle passes into the darkness of the pyramid and zooms though an eerily glowing corridor. You realize you're approaching another T intersection.
No. 742223 ID: 79a07e

Hard left then.

(Also, wait, what's the yellow line, and what's the blue one?)
No. 742224 ID: 398fe1

Left. Try to get close to the wall, to block off Hunter's cycle.
No. 742231 ID: dfdb1e

Good thing we got this see through walls third person upper view. It would terrifying to navigate those corridors without be able to see what is beyond your sight.

Seriously, how have you not exploded yet?
No. 742262 ID: 350a50

You should have a bit of a lead now. Hop out of the lightcycle and put on some Adam Jensen mods. This is now a stealth mission.
No. 742298 ID: 3e182c

Yeah, stealth time.
Switch the cycle for one of those hover things from Re-boot.
No. 742353 ID: dfdb1e

You got to figure an excuse to become Pulseman.
No. 742977 ID: 13459b
File 147148021901.png - (154.57KB , 600x600 , 7-33.png )

You flick your bike to the left and then pull as close to the wall as possible before allowing it to disassemble itself. You duck around the corner and you hear the sound of something slamming into your light trail and shattering. You silently apologize to Hunter, hoping that she's alright.
No. 742978 ID: 13459b
File 147148023388.png - (178.82KB , 600x600 , 7-34.png )

You hastily shuffle down the hallway in a scared crouch. Your body glows brightly in the dim light, leaving you feeling extremely exposed. After a couple dozen feet you approach a number of narrow, bunker-like windows and creep closer to examine them. As you do your fingers brush against the wall and you feel them vibrate as if some vast power source were churning away within.
No. 742986 ID: 350a50

Peek through the window.
No. 743000 ID: dfdb1e

What are you waiting for? Don't you want to know what is this engine that powers Hunter's anxieties?
No. 743003 ID: 398fe1

Stick your finger in the light first. Could be dangerous to touch it.
No. 743056 ID: 8a1e6c

Make yourself a welding visor to protect your eyes
No. 743330 ID: 13459b
File 147166035261.png - (137.63KB , 600x600 , 7-35.png )

You peak over the edge of the window and shade your eyes against the glare. Once they adjust to the glare you start to pick out details. The room seems to house a massive figure, half submerged in a pool of steam and liquid. From above, a number of long rods extend and contract in a constant ballet that keeps the body suspended and controlled. The creature, sensing your gaze, clenches its fists and attempts to tear itself loose, prompting more control rods to extend.
No. 743331 ID: 1d4e27

Great. She's nuclear AND wild.
No. 743332 ID: 398fe1

...it's her anger. She has to keep it under constant check, but it also drives her forwards. It powers her, you could say.

I suspect we would have to steal this entire complex to get the "engine" we need, but that would cause terrible damage to her psyche. Or maybe there's an alternative? I wonder what would happen if we took Hunter back into your mind in her current state? She's imbued with her own anger, so maybe she would mimic that engine, to a smaller degree. Enough to complete the device?

Or maybe we could just straight up ask her inner anger for a donation.
No. 743336 ID: d7e3a5

I wonder if we can steal a chunk of her... just for a bit.
Maybe a control rod too, its calming properties could be a useful tool, and it looks like there's no shortage of them.
No. 743340 ID: 1d4e27

Todo: 1) grab a control rod 2) Grab a chunk of power to run our engine.
Find the control room/a way inside. Imagine yourself some radiation protection while you're at it. It might not be radioactive, but now that you're thinking about it that might make it so. Stop thinking about it right there so you don't go into a tailspin.
Maybe we can grab both things at once, like a control rod shishkebab.
No. 743371 ID: dfdb1e

So we got a bunch of moving structures and an aggressive entity. Each one is the engine? It may seem natural to assume it's the mechanical looking structures, but whatever those things represent is only defined by how they interact with the representation of Hunter's anger.

The engine could be her self control, struggling to keep her inner beast restrained. In this case we need to find a better way to deal with those emotions than constant repression.

The engine could be her wrath, been pumped far within her mind. So anger is her motivation. In this case we need to show her she can be motivate to act for other reasons, not everything is about fighting an enemy.

Maybe it's both. Her aggression fuel her actions, but it's the constant desire to oppose violence in herself and others that make her resolute. In this case there isn't much to be done than hope she is able to keep going by experience and rationality instead of pure passion.

I don't know if she is a caged beast or angry pursuer, but I bet she isn't an idealistic heroine. For both the first and second option we could start by separating her anger from it's restrains.
No. 743444 ID: e449bc

More short term you could steal a single control rod and jab it directly into Hunter. That might give her back some self control over her actions.
No. 743487 ID: e6e9af


Someone sure liked Eva as a kid, huh...
Get in the fucking robot.
No. 743539 ID: 350a50

Not terrible logic.
No. 743706 ID: 13459b
File 147180720964.png - (121.99KB , 600x600 , 7-36.png )

Eyeing the scene, you think getting one of those control rods might be the way to go. You still aren't sure how you're going to turn anything you've seen into a mechanism however. You spot a glow from the end of the hall you came from and decide to keep moving.
No. 743707 ID: 13459b
File 147180722307.png - (80.87KB , 600x322 , 7-37.png )

You come across an unlocked door and duck inside. The room appears to be some kind of antechamber that should allow access to the inner parts of the structure. You can feel the heat from the "core" through your feet and radiating from nearby channels and you realize you're going to need some protection if you're going to go any further. You put your ear to the door and hear someone moving in the hallway.
No. 743712 ID: 398fe1

I'm sure you're familiar with heat-resistant suits... but check inside the lockers first.

Before that, summon up a welder and weld that door shut behind you. Just welding the hinges would work, really.
No. 743749 ID: e449bc

You appear to be only able to summon one thing at a time, so yes, check to see what is local before wasting concentration on another fancy space suit.

Failing that, radiation suits aren't that different the clean suits you normally wear. Though if it's going to be the only thing you are wearing, then going for another fictional suit would be a better bet. Question is, do you go for Fallout power armor or a Darth Vader suit?
No. 743778 ID: dfdb1e

Save the Vader suit for the next time you lose body parts. Enclave power armor is way more your style anyway.
No. 743779 ID: 398fe1

...wait a minute where the fuck are Hunter's Custodians?
No. 743800 ID: 350a50

Agreed, Hellfire Armor should work well enough.
No. 743843 ID: 1d4e27

If you're feeling 'warm' already, you need imagine up some lead underpants RIGHT NOW. Curse the lack of proper signage in this place! (Ironic given all the neon signage.)
No. 743844 ID: 1d4e27

>Fallout 3 Enclave armor
Heresy. Deploy X-01 armor, stat.
No. 743859 ID: dfdb1e

I was thinking about that lovely Remnants insectoide helmet. Plus it's a reference to one of the most interesting followers.
No. 743888 ID: fc1ca8

what's moving the rods up and down?

To hell with Hellfire go for the X-01 mainly cause I wanna see Tox draw it
Neon Floating Head Power Armor
No. 743965 ID: 726a91

A miniature version of the D-Type Equipment would fit the theme well.
No. 743996 ID: d7e3a5

If we're going for Nate's style, I'd suggest a reflective clean suit like a volcano researcher, but otherwise go for the X-01 from Fallout.
No. 744100 ID: 13459b
File 147199596420.png - (98.85KB , 600x495 , 7-38.png )

You use a quick bar of light to melt the door-frame into place and hopefully seal it. Its messy and kind of noisy but looks like it should hold.
You suit up in a reflective heat-proof suit, which should give you some mobility as well as protection. You figure that if you'll need anything heavier duty, you'll swap to it later. You just hope Hunter doesn't catch up anytime soon.
No. 744101 ID: 13459b
File 147199597098.png - (107.32KB , 600x495 , 7-39.png )

No. 744102 ID: 398fe1

Damn Hunter, you scary.

Go through the door, lock it behind you. If you can't open the door I guess go up the ladder.

...or maybe you can hide in the locker and wear something to hide your glow.
No. 744109 ID: dfdb1e

I'm curious about those lockers. Why are they even a thing? If they are unlock give a quick look inside.
Moving forward it would be nice to be able to deal with anger from a safe distance. I don't know why control panels would exist, but the same goes for lockers and they exist. Go for the door, unless it's difficult to open. If it is don't even lose your time trying, go for the hatch.
No. 744219 ID: d7e3a5

I sense a puzzle!
Check the lockers, then poke your head out through the trapdoor to get your surroundings.
Look for anything you can use to get the door open and shut it behind you, she probably cant get through it. If you see a control rod up there, nab one too.
No. 744231 ID: 726a91

Quick, freeze ray! And as many Mr. Freeze puns as you can manage in your best Austrian accent.
No. 744430 ID: 13459b
File 147217770519.png - (129.34KB , 515x600 , 7-40.png )

You rush over to the lockers and pop one open to see if there's anything useful. The only thing you find is a strange, alien-looking protective suit.
No. 744431 ID: 13459b
File 147217772106.png - (151.13KB , 600x584 , 7-41.png )

You consider putting it on, but a sound makes you reconsider. You look back at Hunter's progress at the door, and watch her arm push its way through the steel as if it were warm taffy. It bubbles off of her red hot skin and spills onto the floor where it collects in a rapidly cooling pile.
No. 744432 ID: 13459b
File 147217774021.png - (90.52KB , 600x426 , 7-42.png )

You make a run for the airlock, which slams shut behind you and you pause for a breather while the chamber cycles.
No. 744449 ID: 398fe1

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE! Wave, say hello.
No. 744451 ID: 91ee5f

*insert Metal Gear Solid "!" sound effect here*
No. 744452 ID: 350a50

"I come in peace."
No. 744481 ID: 96aa52

Point excitedly/frantically at the door you come from, while banging on the opposite door. They'll get the message, hopefully.
No. 744521 ID: dfdb1e

She have people inside her head? She shouldn't be able to project them like Doug did, so they must be either the bugs or another representation of processes in her mind shaped like people. See if you can communicate with them and how aware they seem to be.
No. 744528 ID: 1d4e27

Hide in a box!
No. 744774 ID: 13459b
File 147234817646.png - (94.31KB , 435x600 , 7-43.png )

You rush over to the opposite door and start to bang on, hoping the technicians will get the message. If anything they seem confused about your presence.
No. 744775 ID: 13459b
File 147234818183.png - (94.32KB , 511x600 , 7-44.png )

They look as if they discuss things and one of them flips a panel up, releasing the safety on a button.
No. 744776 ID: 13459b
File 147234818605.png - (136.93KB , 600x600 , 7-45.png )

A heavy explosion rocks the chamber and suddenly the technicians are flailing as they are enveloped in flames. The door blocking your path shudders and opens slightly with a mechanical whir.
No. 744777 ID: 1d4e27

They must have pressed the self destruct button! Grab what you need quickly and run!
No. 744778 ID: 398fe1

Quickly look out the door to see if it's safe to take off the suit(if it opens to radiation or something we should just go). I want to save these guys by making a fire extinguisher and breaking the glass to hose them down.
No. 744824 ID: a77bbb

I think Hunter just smashed through the security room's wall, more vulnerable than the armored airlock door.
No. 744825 ID: 398fe1

If that's the case then our effort would be better spent prying the door open.
No. 745265 ID: 13459b
File 147252684686.png - (99.62KB , 378x600 , 7-46.png )

You suck in your skinny gut and manage to squeeze yourself through the gap in the door. Behind you comes the sound of cracking glass and muffled alarms.
No. 745266 ID: 13459b
File 147252685552.png - (109.76KB , 470x600 , 7-47.png )

You stagger out into the core chamber. Surrounded by scaffolding and pinned in place, the core titan heaves herself back and forth. Unable to escape, she stops and slowly turns her head in your direction. Around her, smaller technicians scramble to respond to the emergency outside, yelling unintelligible orders to one another.
No. 745267 ID: 1d4e27

New plan: Grab the whole titan and exit Hunter's mind. There's no time to explain!
No. 745269 ID: 398fe1

Corner one of the techs and ask if there's an engine here aside from this one.
No. 745308 ID: 3e182c

It needs a giant hug!
On the order of Ten Thousand Fiery Suns!
No. 745316 ID: dfdb1e

We still aren't sure what we need to take. I'm not sure this can be solved without Hunter's help. Next time she approach try to talk to her.

Anger seem very focused on Nate. I bet it will succeed in free itself to try to kill him. That is good. When those parts got separate we will have a better idea of how they work.
No. 745319 ID: 2a7417

Free her
No. 745324 ID: 06baaa

At least we could sic her on the Alien robots construct.

And I still think that whatever is moving the rods up and down could be our Mechanism so removing her would remove Hunters anger and free up the device.
No. 745329 ID: 726a91

Shinji Nate, get in the goddamn robot Titan.
No. 745417 ID: d7e3a5

Whatever you do, don't take the reactor without the control rods.
I don't like to think what a meltdown would be like inside anyone's head.
No. 745573 ID: b073ca
File 147277372239.png - (127.75KB , 600x600 , 7-48.png )

You rush towards the giant and some of the smaller technicians move to intercept you. There's a roar followed by a blur and a squeal as one of them disappears under the giant's palm.
No. 745574 ID: b073ca
File 147277373335.png - (177.04KB , 600x600 , 7-49.png )

You pull up short and stop to reconsider your plan as the titan rears back to strike.
No. 745575 ID: 3e182c

Remember, this is all in her mind.

Keep a cool head, Nate.
No. 745576 ID: 1d4e27

Dodge left! Go around to her back!
No. 745583 ID: dfdb1e

For a moment I though she wanted Nate to free her, but by the murderous expression I guess it just like to kill anything.

The plan is simple: dance around this thing until it free itself from the rods. Also don't die.
We need to know what the rods do without the titan. Do they stop? ...keep doing the same thing? ... do something else?
No. 745624 ID: 398fe1

Optimally you'd want to get up high so she can't grab you and so you can reach the engine. That would require a change of suit though. Or weld a grappling hook or rocket boots onto the one you've got.

I'm not sure it would be a good idea to take the engine without having a solution for her anger problem. You'd wake up to a berserk Hunter and that would be extremely dangerous.
No. 745629 ID: a4cad4

Make love to the titan
I know this isn't very helpful but look at the size of this tits.
No. 745770 ID: 350a50

I hope you're good at Dark Souls, because it's time to duck and roll.
No. 745863 ID: b073ca
File 147293217783.png - (133.86KB , 600x600 , 7-50.png )

You duck and roll forward under the path of the red hot fist. Through the facemask, you can feel the heat pouring off of it as it sizzles overhead, inches from you.
No. 745864 ID: b073ca
File 147293220924.png - (143.18KB , 600x600 , 7-51.png )

You complete the roll, scramble to your feet and make a mad dash for the nearby scaffolding. reaching the top, you claw your way up the ladder, struggling to keep your footing in the awkward suit. In the center of the room the core screeches and tries to turn around, but is still partially pinned by the control rods. She vents her frustration out on anything within reach, as techs flee for safer ground.
No. 745870 ID: 398fe1

Get into the control room and interrogate one of the techs. First, we need to find out why Hunter is so angry.
No. 745871 ID: 3e182c

You know what?
Lets just find way to totally free the titan from any and all controls, and escape. Let her run amok for a while. Release all that energy. Once she's burned out, we can talk.
No. 745878 ID: 1d4e27

Good hustle out there, Nate. Get into the control room and fully retract a rod (or several) for retrieval.
No. 745912 ID: dfdb1e

I'm surprise it's restrains are so efficient.
Before continuing this destructive experiment, let's see what the technicians are willing to explain.
No. 745942 ID: 350a50

No. 746757 ID: b073ca
File 147322303613.png - (119.83KB , 600x427 , 7-52.png )

A loud sound interrupts you and you turn and watch as a section of wall collapses, spilling burning rubble and oily smoke into the pristine chamber. Hunter marches out of the flames, glowing incandescent. She waves her hands in a blind, searching fashion. She makes slow progress since floor seems to be melting and adhering to her feet, leaving glowing footprints in the steel and concrete.
No. 746758 ID: b073ca
File 147322307271.png - (100.60KB , 600x471 , 7-53.png )

You climb your way up to the catwalk and intercept a panicking tech as he tries to flee.
"What do we do? How do we stop them?"

He struggles for a moment and points towards the central pillar.
>"Uh.... we need to SCRAM! Gotta SCRAM!"
No. 746759 ID: 398fe1

SCRAM is a reactor shutdown. Alright let's go do it. ...I'm assuming there's an entrance into the central pillar.
No. 746764 ID: 4c2492

My guess is Officer Hunter has some kind of anger problem in the past.
Now let's do the SCRAM procedure, then, to cool her down. Safety Control Rod Activation Mechanism.
We better do it before she has a meltdown.

>In any reactor, a SCRAM is achieved by inserting large amounts of negative reactivity mass(es) into the midst of the fissile material.

If this does not work, we better find an axe, and a manila rope to cut.
No. 746766 ID: 398fe1

...oh, if they no longer have the ability to do it (because the control room was the destroyed room and not just a security checkpoint) then I guess we'll have to create then shoot the rods into it ourselves. Like some kind of walking dream-bullshit backup safety mechanism.
No. 746796 ID: 3e182c

do the opposite of a scram.
No. 746799 ID: 2a7417

The opposite of slamming all the rods down would be yanking them all up, also known as an atomic wedgie.
No. 746804 ID: 3e182c

That sounds amazing, lets do that!
No. 746835 ID: e10157

Let's not and say we did.
No. 746840 ID: 2a7417

Let's do and say we did.
No. 746912 ID: 350a50

Sure. Drag the Technician over and do the SCRAM.
No. 747288 ID: b073ca
File 147352792484.png - (172.55KB , 600x501 , 7-55.png )

The catwalk lurches suddenly and you peer over the edge. Hunter snarls up at you as the supports melt and drip between her fingers.
No. 747289 ID: b073ca
File 147352793318.png - (88.02KB , 420x600 , 7-54.png )

The catwalk buckles under your feet and you race into the control room. Behind you, there's a shriek as the technician goes over the side.
No. 747290 ID: b073ca
File 147352794251.png - (147.45KB , 600x600 , 7-56.png )

Inside, the central bundle of control rods actuate up and down, groaning as the core titan struggles against them. You run your eyes over the control surfaces and gauges monitoring temperature, pressure and outputs. You notice a number of alarms are showing critical alerts.
No. 747291 ID: b073ca
File 147352795227.png - (151.71KB , 501x600 , 7-57.png )

Among the many dials and buttons you finally find the one you're looking for under a protective cover.
No. 747292 ID: 71d443

But is there another big red button that retracts all rods? Can you make one?
No. 747294 ID: dfdb1e

That seem simple enough. Scram and take everything back with you. Hunter will have to find another reason to keep going.
No. 747296 ID: fc10b4

She has a ton of pent up aggression that these workers keep bottled up. Im not so sure we should Scram it, cause im assuming that Scraming the giant means bottling up her emotions again. I dont really know though. Maybe we can free the giant and just let it tire itself out?
No. 747298 ID: 398fe1


Don't warp anything back with you yet. You need to talk to Hunter once she's calmed down.
No. 747304 ID: dfdb1e

Yes, but at the same time her aggression is her moving force. The plan was to take the engine, so her aggression and motivation will be magically removed and become Nate's problem. Dealing with her bottled up emotions may sabotage the engine.
No. 747310 ID: 398fe1

That doesn't seem to be how it works...

Also I think the engine would be the thing that handles the coolant's energy. The control rod mechanism isn't needed, and neither is the fuel source. We just need the thing that moves. The turbine or whatever. The reactor can stay in SCRAM mode while the engine is part of the anti-mover. I'm guessing we can return it after we're done with the anti-mover.
No. 747315 ID: 71d443

But if the giant nuclear fox is pinned, we can't take her with us. Here's what we do: retract the rods, get the fox out of the way, then bring the rods down and take one out of its casing.
No. 747316 ID: 350a50

Press that yellow button, it looks like it might open the cover. Then slam the SCRAM.

Why would they have a 'nuclear meltdown' button?
No. 747317 ID: 71d443

Gotta have a plan for all contingencies.
No. 747319 ID: 3e182c

Except the big red one.
No. 747321 ID: 20295c

No. 747328 ID: 398fe1

>get the fox out of the way
How do you propose to do that when she's clearly going to melt down? This is essentially a nuclear reactor, guys. You don't play around with that.

Shutting it down can be reversed. If she blows the fuck up we can't reverse that.
No. 747342 ID: e6dceb

No. 747533 ID: b073ca
File 147363905524.png - (140.15KB , 448x600 , 5-58.png )

You flip the cover up and slap your hand down onto the switch. An alarm sounds and the column of control rods groans as the safety kicks in. The Titan screams in anger as they rain down upon her, piercing and pushing her underwater in an explosion of steam.
No. 747534 ID: b073ca
File 147363907366.png - (157.91KB , 600x569 , 5-59.png )

Steam continues to fill the room and the giant's struggles slow as she sinks into the pool.
No. 747536 ID: 398fe1

Is she changing color? Go check on the smaller Hunter first, then approach her giant self once she is fully cooled. See if she's alright. Maybe find out what's going on in here.

Also you can ask the giant for an engine. She should know what she can or can't give up, since she is intimately acquainted with this place.
No. 747542 ID: 486e87

Poor hunter / representation of her anger / drive hunter. We should probably restart the reactor before we leave in case it permanently affects her drive / motivation.

Hang on, have we seen a person's custodians in each of the minds we've visited? I can't remember seeing any of hunter's dragonflies here.
No. 747546 ID: 1f182b

The things that possessed hunter came from neon signs, maybe killing the power will kill them?
No. 747551 ID: dfdb1e

Time to address Hunter. You need her calm and rational, preferable by her own initiative. If talk doesn't help your last option will be use those broken rods on her.
No. 747554 ID: 71d443

Aw, crud. You broke her! Get down there and retrieve a rod, I guess.
No. 747558 ID: 3e182c

If were going to use hunter as an engine were going to need the titans power either reliably under control, or fully unleashed. Keeping it subdued this way just won't do.

Find hunter. It's time we go deeper and address the source of this angst.
No. 747559 ID: 350a50

Agreed, see from a safe distance if subduing the core titan helped her regain control at all.
No. 748009 ID: b073ca
File 147390833202.png - (134.31KB , 454x600 , 7-60.png )

You carefully climb down from the control room, using the handrail on the broken catwalk as an improvised ladder. Steam continues to fill the room, making visibility difficult and condensing on your faceplate.
No. 748010 ID: b073ca
File 147390835339.png - (162.28KB , 603x600 , 7-61.png )

You approach the pinned titan cautiously. You notice that her body has cooled to a dull metallic grey color and watch as the water around her boils gently in a cloud of bubbles.

Somewhere in the steam, you hear Hunter's voice calling.
>"......Cooollllllld, Whyyyy so coooolllld?"
No. 748011 ID: 71d443

But who is speaking, the titan or the tiny one?
No. 748015 ID: 398fe1

Step away from the hand for a moment.

Tell her sorry, you had to shut down the reactor because she was raging out of control and attacking you and her custodians. Call out to find normal-sized Hunter.
No. 748068 ID: d3768b

No. 748401 ID: b073ca
File 147420936731.png - (156.21KB , 600x515 , 7-62.png )

You slowly step away from the core and look around but the steam keeps you from seeing more than a few feet.
"...Hunter....? Where are you?"

There's the sound of a footstep shuffling and you feel someone collide with you from behind.

No. 748402 ID: b073ca
File 147420938967.png - (154.45KB , 352x600 , 7-63.png )

Together you stagger backwards and you feel your foot splash in the cooling pool.
"Hunter, stop!"

You feel yourself tip precariously before being dragged in. Your suit rapidly fills with water and you flail desperately as you watch the surface slip away from you.
No. 748412 ID: 3e182c

Woah. Chill. Relax. Concentrate.
You are not actually underwater, and your suit can be whatever you want it to be.
Make it a scuba suit. It's a scuba suit now. You can breath. Breath Nathan. Breath.
No. 748433 ID: 398fe1

Scuba suit, swim back out with her. She doesn't seem to be attacking you anymore, she's... hugging you? For warmth?

Once you're back out you can conjure up something to warm her up.
No. 748467 ID: dfdb1e

Now that she is much less dangerous they have to get somewhere safe to talk. Except, even if she isn't melting and punching, Hunter is stronger than frail Nate.
We can't give up on her. Let's hope trusting Hunter won't end badly.
No. 748510 ID: 350a50

Reshape your suit with a re-breather and hold onto Hunter.
No. 748574 ID: 18c950

Chill, but not literally. Ha, haha... ha.

Yeah, we need something good for surviving somewhere wet and cold, so it sure would be nice to be wearing something watertight and with self-contained oxygen.

Personally I'm imagining one of those big 1800s metal diving suits, but that might not be practical.
No. 748622 ID: 350a50

I'm not sure Nate is Big Daddy material.

Maybe a Big Sister suit would fit him?
No. 748657 ID: b073ca
File 147433820322.png - (177.04KB , 437x600 , 7-64.png )

You let your suit and mask fade away and, panicking slightly, wrap yourself in a heavy duty diving suit. Hunter claws ineffectively at the glass and tries to say something, issuing forth a cloud of bubbles. You feel safe for the moment, but realize that you're sinking pretty fast now and can't move your limbs easily. All the while there is a mechanical hum growing louder the further you sink.
No. 748663 ID: 71d443

Claw your way back up, slinging Hunter over one shoulder. Drop any ballast you may have conjured up.
No. 748669 ID: 3e182c

Can you make the outside of your suit warm? Maybe ring it with some glowing heating coils? Heat lamps maybe?
Light might be necessary. The Depths await.
No. 748672 ID: 398fe1

You might be heading towards the generator. The coolant is there to be heated, after all... In that case you'd want to grab it and take it with you out of here(along with Hunter, so she can regain her senses). The control rods and giant are the important things here, not the thing that produces the power from them.
No. 748810 ID: ab4ad5

Grab some buoys like a bunch of balloons and hold the rope tight. Tie yourself to hunter and ride it to the surface.

Or give her a breathing aid, ghost in the shell style.
No. 748812 ID: 398fe1

...oh, can you adjust the suit so there's a breathing tube you can give to Hunter? Optimally a mask on it too, which has a radio on it so she can talk to you.
No. 749404 ID: b073ca
File 147467612344.png - (203.55KB , 600x600 , 7-65.png )

You sink further into the well. At the bottom, a whirling turbine noisily pulls the warmed water into the plant's heat exchangers. Buffeted by the raging current, Hunter clings to your diving suit desperately.
You reach out your arm and just as you make contact with the machine, you close your eyes and....
No. 749405 ID: b073ca
File 147467613097.png - (248.19KB , 600x600 , 7-66.png )

Pull yourself back into your own mind. Hunter gasps.
>"Wha-? Oh, God what the fuck?"

The engine is taken out of your grasp in a halo of light, reducing it to a pure, abstract form.
No. 749406 ID: b073ca
File 147467613744.png - (144.48KB , 600x411 , 7-67.png )

It orbits you briefly and then slots itself neatly into place among the other parts of the mechanism. Understanding courses through you as it starts taking a more concrete shape in your head. It seems to be... a winch...
No. 749411 ID: 398fe1

Then use it to lock that Axle down. Unfortunately... I suspect the faulty tether will break and we'll have to get a replacement. I wonder if that black goo will work? Gonna have to sneak up on our buddy to get it, or find another mind with a tether.

Ask how Hunter is feeling. Calmer than normal? Her custodians probably won't start up the reactor again until they get a replacement turbine.
No. 749416 ID: 3abd97

>what the fuck
We're out. Sorry your head trip turned into such a head trip.
No. 749432 ID: dfdb1e

What a mess. Things were broken, things were activated, things were taken from Hunter's head.
Does she feel different? Perhaps less motivated?
No. 749530 ID: 18c950

Wow, uh... yeah that was intense. Like, she's probably part of your network now (whether she wants to be or not) but maybe you should exchange some outside-world contact info, too. You're both part of this adventure now, but taking a step back to external reality could help a lot with anchoring you two after that.

And maybe you could refer her to your shrink, if she's got anger issues so bad she worries about a meltdown.

Plus having a quick way to talk to someone who's involved with the police investigation and understands and believes all of this crazy stuff going on will help a lot with information gathering/dissemination.
No. 749553 ID: 3e182c

Hmm. I don't like this. Is the condition of the turbine similar to the rope? if so we may need to dive into hunters head again or augment the power with another engine.
Speaking of the rope, we need to go fix that.
No. 750138 ID: b073ca
File 147502726097.png - (202.50KB , 494x600 , 7-68.png )

"We're back in my head at least. Sorry, things were getting kind of intense in there. Are you okay?"

>"Yeah.. I think so."
She rubs her temples.
>"-Kind of feels like I have a tooth missing in my brain. What did you do?"

"Well, you were kind of.... melting down, like literally, so I kind of cooled things off. I'm just worried I might have done some kind of damage while we were in there. I'm still kind of figuring this whole thing out. I found one of the pieces we needed though."
You float over to the winch contraption. It has a sketchy, ghost like quality to it,making it seem incomplete. You mentally tick off parts in your head.
"Engine, spark, tether, anchor, brace...... lever. We still need a lever."
No. 750139 ID: 398fe1

Oh, right. Then I guess it's time to wake up, huh? Tell Hunter she can stay and become part of the growing network if she wants. Might be a good idea.
No. 750195 ID: 79a07e

I feel like we might need her in realspace a bit more in case we need clearance to get somewhere or to someone.
No. 750557 ID: 608984

Are our guests still in our safe place?
No. 750573 ID: b073ca
File 147534976606.png - (130.28KB , 600x538 , 7-69.png )

"If its alright with you, Im going to try bringing us back to the real world. From what it sounds like, your 'liminal form' will still have some kind of connection here."

>"So... what's that mean?"

You shrug. "Not really sure, but Diego was able to sense I was in danger earlier.... Oh man, Diego. I hope he's okay... Hang on."
You feel your mind flex slightly and bring yourself out of the Parallel.

You and Hunter stand up and take a moment to reorient yourselves: you're back in the server room, Diego's unconscious body and T'charl's CPU are stuffed into the utility trench in front of you, and you are both freezing cold.

>"Woah... jeeze, that was.... intense. Were we... really inside my consciousness?"

"Yeah. Believe me, this is all new to me too, except for the insects... "
No. 750574 ID: 398fe1

Your wasps are doing something with Diego, and hiding it from you because the probe robot has a presence inside your network and is effectively spying on you.

Do not touch Diego. Trust your wasps. Instead, go find Hiro. He might have a lever for you. If you run into Doug first, you can tell him to quit worrying about his purpose in this world- you found it. Tell him about the network. He can make a real connection with people, just like you did with his mind-clone.
No. 750576 ID: 71d443

Are you feeling different in any way. 'Cold' can be attributed to the server room for now.
No. 750627 ID: 5900b7

I'm not convinced the wasps deserve so much trust. T'charl called them parasites, as such they may be harming Diego for their own ends. I think Nate should enter Diego mind.
No. 750709 ID: 726a91

>except for the insects...
Hunter didn't have any. At all.
No. 750710 ID: 398fe1

Yes she did. She has dragonflies, insectoid outside but humanoid inside for some reason. They were the guys in the suits.
No. 750746 ID: f12dcb

Yeah, not only did Hunter have dragonflies, she figured out how to get them to help her faster than we did our wasps.
No. 750948 ID: 726a91

Not inside her own mindscape though. Unlike Diego, Anthony and Zeke who all had either a large 'guardian' insect or many smaller insects.
No. 750957 ID: 398fe1

I reiterate: Hunter's insects were in suits.
No. 751039 ID: b073ca
File 147555181575.png - (102.34KB , 581x600 , 7-70.png )

>"How does that work? Have you always been able to do that?"

"I'm not sure, it works with physical contact... Basically if I touch someone and they're not aware of it, I end up in their head. It also seems that anyone who touches me while I'm in someone's mind gets pulled in too. I've never been big on... touching people, so I don't know how long I've been able to do it."

>"Okay so.... you touched that computer and went inside and rescued an alien, am I getting that right? Then I touched you and ALSO ended up inside? And then we went into my mind to get a piece for some machine to, what, save the world?"
You nod.
"Something like that."

She stares at you blankly for a long moment.
>"Okay cool, why not?"

You cock an eyebrow at her.
"Are..... you okay? With all this?"

She huffs out a single laugh.
>"I'm dealing. So, what now?"
No. 751040 ID: b073ca
File 147555182207.png - (124.49KB , 573x600 , 7-71.png )

You kneel down.
"Can you take a look a him? I'm worried that if I touch him I'll..."

>"-End up inside? Yeah sure."
She clambers down into the trench and rolls him over.
>"Well, he's still breathing... no visible injuries. He's just out cold. Actually, speaking of cold, we should probably warm him up."
No. 751041 ID: 9f3729

Start taking off sweater, before realizing halfway through it might be better to just take him out of the cold room
No. 751042 ID: 398fe1

Alright sure, Hunter can drag him out of there and into a warmer room. I sincerely doubt he needs to be next to the computer anymore since it should be "empty" now. Makes me wonder why it's still glowing... well, regardless, we know Diego isn't communing with the alien. I'm really not sure why the wasps put him there to begin with. Maybe it was just a good place to hide from the drone while they do... whatever they're doing? Or maybe they used Diego as a lure to bring us to the computer to rescue the alien?

Anyway get him out and to a secure room. Maybe get him to Hiro, but... do not allow Hiro to tell you any sensitive information.
No. 751051 ID: 1c92a4

You need to get your boyfriend outta there, into a less refrigerated area, maybe get a blanket on him. For cuddling underneath.
No. 751060 ID: 5900b7

I though Doug put him here. There was even an elevator ants attack.
A lot happened to Diego. He got high on Zeke's mind honey, got controlled by Nate's parasitic mind wasps and is currently unconscious because of whatever Doug did to him. None of those influences should be taken lightly. I specially distrust the wasps intentions but Doug interferences can also get super messed up.
After placing Diego somewhere warm, Nate should enter his mind to see what the hell is going on there. He could be tripping balls in a torture cell wile been attacked by alien wasps from what we know.
No. 751081 ID: 398fe1

Oh, you're right. Doug must have knocked him out and left him with the computer, and of course the mindscape inside it was taken over by the mind-copy before Diego arrived.

...actually I wonder, is Diego unconscious because Doug did something to his mind, or did he just leave another mind-copy in there to keep him unconscious via the usual trance? Wait, I'm not sure that makes sense. Doug's mind-copies don't know they're copies, so one in Diego's mind wouldn't just stay there to keep him KO'd. Maybe it would be a good idea to go into Diego's head at some point, to check on him... I wish we could ask the wasps if that was a good idea or not.
No. 751092 ID: 350a50

Diego's a big boy. You'll need something to use as a stretcher so you can help Hunter carry him without accidentally doing a bad touch.
No. 751458 ID: dea742

So, Hunter was gonna make sure we didn't get locked in this room. She doesn't seem to be doing that now. Are we locked in?
No. 751907 ID: b073ca
File 147595448719.png - (147.19KB , 600x600 , 7-72.png )

"I think I know where we can take him, can you carry him?"

She pulls him up by his armpits.
>"Ffffuck, he's heavy...."
She half-lifts, half-drags him out of the trench.
>"You sure you cant help?"

"Sorry. Besides, I've got a feeling we'll need this to get into Hiro's lab."
You unplug the mysterious PC and pick it up. It continues to glow, despite the power loss and feels strangely warm, despite the cold of the server room.
No. 751908 ID: b073ca
File 147595449695.png - (98.34KB , 518x600 , 7-73.png )

With a lot of shuffling and swearing Hunter manages to drag Diego out the door and down the hall. The emergency stop on the elevator is still running, so you push the button to turn it off and the doors slide shut without a fuss. You check out the elevator panel and realize you've never actually spent much time in this building. All you know is that Hiro is locked down here somewhere "built like a vault".
No. 751913 ID: 398fe1

I guess we'll try the lowest level. B2.
No. 751915 ID: 91ee5f

When did Diego get fat? He wasn't like that when he was in your apartment earlier. (At least, he doesn't look fat in those earlier pictures back in thread 4. I could be wrong though.)

>Where's Hiro?
Well, usually places "built like a vault" can be found in the basement. So, I'd guess either B1 or B2.
No. 751923 ID: 726a91

If it's got computers in it, B1. B2 is a flood risk, so any server room would be at least the next level up.
No. 751924 ID: 350a50

Makes sense.

He's not overweight, but he's certainly not skinny and he's wearing a baggy-looking sweater. With Hunter bending his torso at that angle the bulge in the belly is normal.
No. 751929 ID: 91ee5f

Ok, that makes sense. So I was imagining things.
No. 751932 ID: dea742

The server room for Cobalt is likely to need heavy cooling on top of whatever power draw the servers themselves have. If we can find a computer system that tracks that, we can locate the room for sure. Failing that, a circuit breaker might tell us where it is. I'd expect it to be the highest capacity circuit in the building.

Or we could try calling Hiro with Hunter's phone. It's been hours. Maybe he's had enough sleep.
No. 752279 ID: b073ca
File 147615868221.png - (88.11KB , 600x389 , 7-74.png )

You borrow Hunter's phone again and dial Hiro.

It rings twice and you hear him pick up, drop the phone, swear and finally answer.
>"Heyy? Whooziz?"

"Hiro, its Nate. I need your help, we need to get into your lab."

>"Wha? Wha time izzit? Jesus, Nate, dude I can't let you in."

"No listen, I think I've got something that can crack COBALT's problem. Also, Diego is with me and ..."

>Diego? Dude, you guys need ta go home if yer gonna get freaky..."

"Hiro! Diego's hurt or something, he's unconscious!"

There's a long pause,
>"Shit hang on, where are you?"

"Uh, the elevator in the data center, fourth floor."

>Oh, well shit. Just a second."
No. 752281 ID: b073ca
File 147615869952.png - (133.16KB , 514x600 , 7-75.png )

The doors close and you feel yourself start to descend.
>"Woah, where are we going?"

No. 752290 ID: 9f3729

Thanks hiro, we owe you a drink.
No. 752316 ID: 398fe1

When you get to the bottom, push the elevator panic button again to keep anyone else from getting down here.
No. 752326 ID: 3663d3

so a lever... someone bipolar? the lever/switch that controls their manic and depressive states.
No. 752331 ID: 18c950

I think if someone had a lever for that, they wouldn't be bipolar. That's a lot more roller coaster than anything else... you go up and down, but the rate at which it happens isn't something you have any control over.

And beyond that, a lever, mechanically, is just a bar and a pivot. Crowbars and seesaws are both levers. It doesn't need to be hooked to a machine in their head for us to use it that way in ours... probably?
No. 752372 ID: 398fe1

Oh and try not to think about how you saw Hunter naked inside her mind.
No. 752951 ID: b073ca
File 147641651202.png - (110.38KB , 600x449 , 7-76.png )

The elevator hums and travels for longer than should be possible. The doors slide open to reveal a poorly lit hallway of absurd length.

>"You, have to be kidding me..."
No. 752952 ID: b073ca
File 147641655772.png - (65.29KB , 600x449 , 7-77.png )

You sigh, and pick up the computer. You pull the emergency stop and set off down the hallway. Hunter hauls Diego up by his shoulders and drags him along, muttering something about his weight.

Judging by the length of the corridor, this hallway extends far beyond the boundaries of the facility, at least a hundred feet into the forest.
No. 752953 ID: b073ca
File 147641656801.png - (97.88KB , 600x600 , 7-78.png )

The end of the hall is blocked by a massive metal door and framed by a pair of cameras. To one side appears to be a retina scanner and some kind of keycard reader
No. 752954 ID: 398fe1

Wave at the camera.
No. 752959 ID: 91ee5f

Do the "Shave and a haircut" knock on the door.
No. 752961 ID: 79a07e

Do we have anything that can pass by those?

Sorry, Hunter.
No. 752962 ID: 8f2879

Why are we in Black Mesa now? Seriously though how the fuck is this place just what, so many questions.

>far beyond the boundaries of the facility, at least a hundred feet into the forest.
No. 752964 ID: 398fe1

Yeah, you caught that too huh? I bet we're directly under where the piece of satellite was found.
No. 752994 ID: dea742

No. 753507 ID: b073ca
File 147676126779.png - (104.75KB , 600x538 , 7-79.png )

You wave your hand in front of the cameras and moments later a screen flickers to life near the scanner. Hiro's exhausted face fills the frame, worry etched over his features.

>"Holy shit, what happened to Diego?"

"He's unconscious, but we're not really sure why. We thought he'd be safer here."

>[i]"Ahhhh jeeze, Nate.... I dunno man, I'm not a doctor. You know I'm supposed to be on lockdown, I'm not supposed to be letting in just anyone. It's not that I don't trust you, dude, but, like who's your friend? How do I know I can trust her?"
No. 753508 ID: 398fe1

She's a cop.
No. 753509 ID: 350a50

One of the cops investigating the crap going on around here.
No. 753511 ID: 211d83

She is a cop. But I will check her over to make sure she is not that shape shifting alien drone that is making a mess upstairs.

Then prod Hunter a bit.

Also listen and watch for any sneaky things trying to invisibly sneak down the hallway.

Hmm a pool of liquid spread in front of the door would help avoid that sort of thing.
No. 753520 ID: 5900b7

Officer Hunter? I don't think she care for bit coin economy.
Beside we need her help with the invader. You know, the reason you are in lock down.
No. 753528 ID: 398fe1

Well I mean we were just in her head. She's not the drone. On the other hand it's not like we know she can be trusted to keep quiet about what's on the other side of the door. There are other reasons to not trust someone...

I wonder if we can get Hiro to come out and grab Diego instead? Hunter can put her gun on the ground if we want to be 100% safe about this.
No. 753583 ID: dea742

So, we're focusing on Hunter right now, but how sure are we about Diego? We don't know how he got here, and we haven't checked inside his head since he disappeared. What if he's the drone? What if he's still under the influence of...whatever it was that got him to take off back in the apartment?

We're here to see if we can crack Cobalt's problem, right? We've got a transponder and our friendly alien A.I. Maybe drop those at the door for Hiro and back up just to be safe. Try to hold out here until Hunter's partner shows up. Nate might even be able to continue helping out on the Cobalt problem using his mindlink to the A.I. once it's inside.
No. 753590 ID: 350a50

That's a fair point. I'll second this. We can retreat inside if we need to, but for now let's try to fix Diego's head first.
No. 754707 ID: b073ca
File 147717544199.png - (69.30KB , 384x600 , 7-80.png )

"Her? This is officer Hunter, she's been looking in to all the weird stuff happening today."

>"Seriously? What'd you find?"

Hunter sighs and sets down Diego.
>"I don't even know where to fuckin' begin with this place; between the giant missing satellite, the dude who sent me to the phantom zone for a few hours, and the goddamn alien ghost computer. Look if you don't want to let me into your clubhouse, that's fine: my partner'll be here soon and I'm going to have to figure out how to explain how I ended up in the woods in the middle of the night."

Hiro rubs some of the sleep from his eyes and ponders this.
>" Alien ghost computer? The fuck is she talking about. Nate?"

You heft the glowing CPU up a little. You feel your spine protest.
"This one. Um, kind of hard to explain but I think it should help decode the COBALT message."
No. 754710 ID: b073ca
File 147717551512.png - (358.08KB , 2058x2290 , 7-81.png )

Hiro turn off the screen without a word and for a minute you and Hunter just look at each other uncertainly. The wall emits a series of whirs and clunks as various locks slide back. There's a creak and the door opens a crack and a pair of very tired eyes peek out from behind it.

End of Chapter 7
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