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File 154414998242.png - (172.45KB , 800x800 , 152.png )
913306 No. 913306 ID: 470289

Wiki and previous threads: https://questden.org/wiki/The_Rogue

“Wait up! You’re going too fast! Max!”


“Whatever we call you, stop walking so fast. Socrates is tired.”


Expand all images
No. 913307 ID: 470289
File 154415001192.png - (195.21KB , 800x800 , 153.png )

“Sock’s a cooler name than Socrawhatever!”

“Socrates is a great name. It has tons of history behind it-”

“Stupid history! Some guy died a billion miles away and now poor Sock is stuck with a dumb name? How’s that fair?”

“We’re all named the same way dingus, of course it’s fair. You can’t just rename everyone in the Hive because you’re jealous.”

“Watch me! And I’m not jealous!”
No. 913308 ID: 470289
File 154415004079.png - (300.64KB , 1200x800 , 154.png )

“Just leave it alone, Leo.” She grimaces at Orgo using her obviously superior name. “You know what she’s like after a fight. We should just take Sock home alone. Mac can get back to the Hall herself.”

“No!” Leo shouts as I say. “I don’t need to cool off!” She shoots me a stinkeye and I flip her off.

“The Queen said we had to walk home together and that means we’re all going to walk home together, even if someone’s being a baby about it.”

I’m not being a baby, I just want to be alone right now!
No. 913309 ID: b1b4f3

No. 913310 ID: 86eb65

So what famous dead guy am I named after?

(pleasant dreams by the way.)
No. 913312 ID: afdebc

Suddenly, you're at school. And you didn't prepare for the test. And you're naked!
No. 913313 ID: 10c408

If empathy range is larger than visual range, they can just deal with you being at the extreme edge of it. That is ALL the compromise you'll give.
No. 913315 ID: 91ee5f

Ok, what happened? Did you criticize someone’s art in art class?

>walk together or walk alone?
Jeez, do you know how dangerous it is for a kid like you to be walking home by yourself?! Someone could come kidnap you and take you away from your hive!

Walk together with your hivemates!
No. 913316 ID: c1212a

...give you something to be a baby about...

Fine, you patsy-boyscout-stooge, try and keep up.
No. 913319 ID: 977456

Continue being fierce-adorable fierable!
No. 913341 ID: 2202fb

Broadcast killing intent, then take a deep breath, and calmly apologize about making fun of Socrates's name (guess you were being a hair too Machiavellian) and then tell them you need to have a few moments to yourself. Then walk away and punch a wall.
No. 913343 ID: 0c3c2c

Try and fit in more with your friends.
No. 913345 ID: e1d580

Hey I know this isn’t related but is your irl name brad because you super seem like a brad
No. 913357 ID: 2202fb

It wasn't, last i checked.
No. 913407 ID: a9af05

Did you criticize someone's art project or something?

>Alone or together?
Stay with your hivemates.
No. 913419 ID: 470289
File 154427874636.png - (241.37KB , 1000x800 , 155.png )

>So what famous dead guy am I named after?
Some soldier my mom knew, and absolutely no one else cares about.

>Suddenly, you're at school. And you didn't prepare for the test. And you're naked!
School’s over. We’re walking home from our grade’s fieldtrip to the zoo.

Some aliens said our Hive was full of weirdos because we don’t act like they’re made of glass or jump out of our seats to get them stuff when they ask. I told them off. Without punching this time, even. Then they jumped me when I was alone, and the teacher acted like I started it.

“Give you something to be a baby about…” I say under my breath.

“Do you want to eat dirt again?” She thinks I’m bluffing, and since we both know she can beat me up, I guess I am.

“I’ll stay in sight but let me walk alone.”

“What if a wild animal or something came and attacked. You’d be too far away to help.”

“There’s no wild animals this close to Queenwood.”

“Maybe there was a breakout at the zoo after we left, and something with a lot of teeth like a geffer is coming for us right now! What would you do then?”

“We’d all die, Leo. Mac being a little bit away from us wouldn’t change anything.” Leo shoots him a glare and he shrugs.

“You’re being paranoid!”

“I’m in charge so I have to be paranoid. If anything happens to you guys it’s on me.”

“You’re the oldest but that doesn’t make you the boss. It just means you suck at math and got held back.” Orgo chimes in.

Leo gives a low growl, but her empathy says she’s not going budge on me walking with everyone. My empathy makes sure she knows I’m going to be stubborn too, Orgo’s is saying he’s slightly annoyed at everyone, and Sock...
No. 913420 ID: 470289
File 154427877711.png - (157.92KB , 800x800 , 156.png )

“Mac, stay with us. Please.”

Sock’s doing the dumb pout he uses to get extra dessert and really wants us to stop fighting.
No. 913421 ID: 470289
File 154427883391.png - (163.56KB , 800x800 , 157.png )

I start walking again, but slower this time, and everyone follows me without comment for once. Sock starts talking to Leo about the songs the birds he saw were singing and she nods along even though she doesn’t really understand what he’s talking about when he says harmonic series. Orgo walks up next to me.

“What’s your problem with those guys anyway, Mac? They’re stuck up, but you can just ignore ‘em.” Orgo asks me.

“Even when they tell the other hives that we’re pansies because we live in a theater, or that we can’t afford stuff?”

“We can’t afford stuff, though. Building a Hive Compound is expensive.”

“That’s not the point! They’re tarnishing the name Storytree!” Leo’s listening and almost butts in with something snide about what I’ve been doing to our names, but it’s a totally different thing! Orgo cuts her off.

“So? They’re dumbasses. Let ‘em talk.”

“You don’t get it. If we let them talk freely then the story that everyone ends up knowing us by is theirs. We have to protect our legacy.”

“You getting beat up from fights you start whenever Leo and I aren’t looking is a pretty bad legacy.” I don’t say anything because he’s right, but it pisses me off. He scratches his ear absentmindedly before continuing.

“Listen, let’s say Leo and I beat up Jeeks and his cronies, or we got the whole hive in on it and started whaling on anyone who looked at us funny in the entire school. We’d go from the poor hive to the tribal hive, assuming we didn’t get kicked out. Which we would by the way. It’d be a different story for ‘em to tell, and just as wrong.”

“We’d have at least some respect.” I say as I kick a rock.

“Do we need respect?” He goes silent and waits for me to answer.
No. 913422 ID: 470289
File 154427886241.png - (113.20KB , 800x800 , 158.png )

Sock notices something and I look up to see a dock nearby. He wants to take a break there to look at the water, but Leo wants to keep heading home. Orgo doesn’t care where we go.
No. 913426 ID: 86eb65

I guess the only respect we need is for our art.

Go look at the water before heading back.
No. 913428 ID: 6c5a99

No playing near the water without adult supervision!
No. 913430 ID: afdebc

>“Do we need respect?” He goes silent and waits for me to answer.
Really depends on who's giving it, Mac. Not all respect is created equal.

Yeah sure, give Sock what he wants.
No. 913436 ID: 0c3c2c

Chat with Soc.
No. 913439 ID: 91ee5f

Let’s go to the dock with Sock.
No. 913449 ID: 2202fb

Will orgo to go with you and sock.


You know, they are right. Open warfare isn't the way forward. If everyone resorted to that, we would be no better than animals.
What you need to be is cunning. Strangle them in wordplay that not only makes them look bad, but also makes you look smart.


I think you need to vent a bit. Talk to Orgo about his pronouncing your name wrong and the double standard of you and sock. Tell him you want the hive to be great and awe inspiring; to show the world how wonderful the arts can truly be, and it just kills you to see people who wont give you a chance. As for yourself, you just want friends; someone to be in your corner and help you back up once the world knocks you down.


Are there any carpenters or electricians in your hive (woodcarvers, metalworkers, sculptors, stage techs, electronic artists)? If so, you could potentially start working on self improvement rather than paying someone to do it. Raw materials are a lot cheaper.
No. 913455 ID: 977456

Check Sock's eyes. If resistance is possible, resist.
No. 913457 ID: c1212a

"what the hell else do we have?"

Go with sock.
No. 913464 ID: 8d6f6d

Showing someone they hurt your pride with just words is weakness, not strength.
No. 913466 ID: 10c408

Did you miss the part where they jumped Mac after she told them off for being obnoxious little shits spreading falsehoods?
No. 913468 ID: 908948

Gotta keep moving.
No. 913474 ID: 15a025

Go with Sock and enjoy the view. It'd probably help cool the conversation a bit.
No. 913681 ID: 2842df

No, that was the point.
No. 913711 ID: 2202fb

I think i can clarify here.

They meant:
>Showing someone(mac) "they hurt your pride with just words"(i.e. beating the shit out of someone who only used words) is weakness, not strength.

Second guy thought first guy meant:
Showing someone(not mac) "they hurt your pride" with just words (i.e. trying to get back at someone who just beat the shit out of you with just words) is weakness, not strength.

Slightly ambiguous depending on how you chunk it.
No. 913712 ID: 10c408

What I meant was that if you make a claim and someone else refutes it you do NOT attack that first person. That they did so absolutely demolishes their position. Mac didn't (seemingly) attack anyone and only defended herself.
No. 913726 ID: 470289
File 154456131838.png - (226.97KB , 1000x800 , 159.png )

>Not all respect is created equal.
I know that! But it doesn’t make ignoring them any easier.

"What the hell else do we have?"

“Over a thousand years of history you don’t pay attention to?”

“I pay attention! But we aren’t tribals or in the war anymore. We gotta set ourselves apart some other way to show everyone we’re the best. Make better stories to tell. And if people don’t respect us, they won’t respect our new stories or our old ones.”

He grunts and lets the topic drop. He doesn’t agree with me, but I don’t think he has any other arguments. He’ll bring it back up later when he thinks he can win. He tries to hide it, but he hates losing even more than I do.
No. 913727 ID: 470289
File 154456135237.png - (100.36KB , 800x800 , 160.png )

>Check Sock's eyes. If resistance is possible, resist.
…It’s not possible and I don’t even try.

I tell the others I want to go to the dock with empathy and Sock lights up as we adjust our path to take us to it. The dock is kind of old, but it isn’t rotting or anything. Leo makes sure to step on it first and jump up and down a few times to test it.

“We can’t stay too long, we’re already late in getting home. And don’t get too close to the edge.”

“I’m not going to fall!”

“Don’t care. Stay near us.”

It rained yesterday so the water is kind of choppy, but Leo would be controlling even if it was a placid lake.
No. 913728 ID: 470289
File 154456143202.png - (294.91KB , 1200x800 , 161.png )

>Are there any carpenters or electricians in your hive.
Some. Whenever an adult isn’t working, they’re at the compound building stuff. It’s why we’re walking home. There isn’t anyone free to pick us up.

“Why’d you want to come down here, Sock? It’s just water.”

”It’s pretty water! It looks like one of Aunt Levran’s paintings with the buildings in the background.”

“I guess. Missing a ship sinking or the giant storm on the horizon.”

“It’s close enough!” He gets an idea and takes his backpack off. He digs through it until he finds his flute and gives it a few test whistles. “The theme is ‘River’.”

Leo and Orgo perk up at the challenge. One game our hive plays is telling stories whenever someone prompts us with a theme. After a bit for everyone to get prepared we present in order and vote on the winner. Sock’s a couple of years younger than us but he’s already won a few times against older kids, so I can’t slack off if I want to win. Leo is digging through her backpack for her sketchbook and Orgo is staring off in the distance deep in thought. He usually tells a story about one of his namesakes for this game, since he’s lucky enough to have a Hive name. I’m not sure what I should do. I could draw something, tell a story of my own, borrow Sock’s flute after his turn, or do something else. Whatever medium I pick, I also need to come up with a story to tell that fits the theme.
No. 913731 ID: 2202fb

Well, before we decide, we need to know your strengths and weaknesses. You dont ask a musician to paint a masterpiece or a sculptor to write a bestseller.

Whatever you decide (i.e. author doesnt want to give us strengths to work with), use your emotions. Feel how they flow and ride the waves like a surfer in water. Use your own feelings to breathe life into your cast and then simply let them tell their own story.
No. 913732 ID: 2202fb

Regardless of how you do however, try to have fun and relax. This is a great time to organize your thoughts and calm down.
No. 913737 ID: c1212a

I do hope you're appreciative of the work the grownups are doing.

It depends on if your fingers are messed up from punching. If they're fine, get out some paper and draw. You can make a fable that proves your point, or take the challenge seriously and drop it- I'd suggest being mature and doing the latter cuz you don't want to upset socks.
No. 913767 ID: e95cec

Well, I suspect you're best at art, so there's that. Feel free to decide differently.

Hmm, "river". Um, something metaphorical about culture getting washed away in the rising flood? Sounds depressingly serious. Um, a story from the point of view of a river? This river, perhaps? River spirits, rivers of blood, rivers of tears, space rivers, land of rivers and lakes, dams, beavers, river animals, a river hive....
No. 913776 ID: 977456

The Tale of the Lonely Merchant. Tell a story about a trader with a small boat who has to take things far from their hive, to trade for, oh, lets say warm pelts for frozen weather, that the hive needs for the children to survive. Every tribe they meet they extol a different virtue of their hive, but is mocked for being alone. And then they die moments from getting home, lamenting over each of the virtues they proclaimed, that they will never see them again, because they died alone. You wanted to go all-in for a theme of reputation, but remembered that sad endings always win. As always, try to throw in some rhyme, alliteration, and metre.
No. 913788 ID: 470289
File 154463107673.png - (148.64KB , 800x800 , 162.png )

>We need to know your strengths and weaknesses.
That’s easy, I’m good at everything. I pick things up fast like J’raine. The only weakness I can think of is violin since I only started learning last month, but I don’t have one in my backpack anyway. Whatever idea I come up with, I can do.

>Try to have fun and relax.
That’s easy, I like this game. I take out my sketchbook and sit down to doodle while ideas flow. Trying to articulate my point about our Hive sounds nice, but it doesn’t really mean much if I don’t communicate it through the art in a concise way. I’ll go with the Merchant idea for now, but I’m still not sure about the medium. I could draw it out, in which case I’d need to encapsulate everything I want to say in a single image and would need to have a good description to work off. Or I could tell a regular story which is easier but anything more complicated like making it rhyme or being creative with wordplay would take too much time if the specific embellishments don’t occur to me.

I kind of lose track of time working but eventually Sock hops up, stands in front of us and we all focus our attention on him. He takes a short bow and starts with low, repeated notes before layering in more breathy sounds. It takes me a few moments before I get what he’s doing. He’s copying the sound of lapping water and the breeze that’s around us right now. Unfortunately, the flute isn’t the right kind of instrument for the sounds water makes as it brushes against the docks. It sounds slightly off when the actual water is still in the background. He also isn’t riding the music off his empathy. He’s too excited and happy, when he should be projecting a clam and serene mood. The melody itself is good, if short, but it’s not his best work.

As soon as Sock finishes Leo puts her head down and starts scribbling more frantically. I think she misjudged how long it would take her to draw whatever she’s doing. Orgo is signaling he’s going to go next but isn’t quite ready yet.

Unless I get hit with some other inspiration that I like more, I should keep developing my current idea.
No. 913789 ID: 91ee5f

>Trying to articulate my point about our Hive sounds nice
Do not try to do that! This is supposed to be a fun activity! Don’t ruin it by trying to prove a point you had in an argument earlier!
No. 913815 ID: dd75f8

Yeaaah, probably a good point. Furthermore, it might make more sense to spend longer developing your argument before presenting it.
No. 913894 ID: c0641d

I think you should do a story. Perhaps a series of verses with varying meters and tempos to match the hive he’s encountered this time. Not sure I have any specific lines for you, but coming up with that sort of stuff manually comes a lot easier when you set out a rhythmic framework to restrict yourself by.

Something along the lines of... this? https://youtu.be/PUZn1I6llJs

You don’t have to carry this particular tune if you don’t like it (or suspect that you’d get caught- never mind, don’t think about it too hard). Perhaps open with a merchant bemoaning a lack of wind to carry his sail upstream, and supposes that he’ll just drift downstream. He’ll meet an art hive merely curious where he’s going, then another merchant hive keen on exchanging wares and a little rival ribbing. He might be egged into a race with a war hive (the frantic section), be ignored by a hive too stoned to care about anybody, and pass by a cuddle hive who want him to stay with them (the upbeat 4/4 time section), finally finishing with another art hive who ask him the same question as at the beginning (“Where are you going?”), but receiving a different answer to the one he gave the first time. If that’s too much to write in such a short time, you’re free to cut verses.
No. 919472 ID: 470289
File 154886077067.png - (119.65KB , 800x800 , 163.png )

I don’t have the time to do something too complicated, but I can start something and develop it later if it comes out decent. I won’t win with something incomplete, but that’s not a big deal. I start writing while Orgo empathetically indicates he’s about to go.

“Sock, do some punctuation for me.” Sock nods and puts his flute to his mouth again.

He closes his eyes and takes deep breaths, trying to get his empathy in the state he wants it. It takes a few minutes before he’s radiating solemnity. Sock does a few low notes to match his new mood.

“Long before her death at the Sunken Rock, Orgo the Bow, then known as Orgo the Twelfth, faced a river with her hive.”
No. 919473 ID: 470289
File 154886080656.png - (142.11KB , 800x800 , 164.png )

”We travel for weeks from our old home into new trees and dangers, both from our old enemies and our new allies. The Hive who would take the name Outrider-“

Anger. Leo and I give the customary growl and Sock blows a harsh note.

”-are the most persistent. Harassing us as we step onto their territory and long after we leave their land. From the jungle to the plains we fight to protect ourselves on the promise of those alien to us. We leave blood and bodies in our footsteps.

“We break through and see the refuge that was sworn. On the horizon we see a flag waving surrounded by trees, displaying a bullet-scarred shield. But the Outriders
- we hiss- still follow.”

No. 919474 ID: 470289
File 154886085665.png - (136.83KB , 800x800 , 165.png )

”Between us and a new home lies a gorge. Death at our backs and a new forest ahead, not quite within reach. At the bottom of the gorge a river rages between jutting rocks, frothing and promising death. And there is no bridge.

“The War Queen tells us to prepare for a fight, and we begin to clean and load the guns we had long gotten used to. Makeshift fortifications go up and we prepare to fight to the death. But…”


”When she was young, Orgo the Twelfth was arrogant. She knew the stories of Tredde Sharpeye and Roat the Stringsinger, that their skill with bows and arrows were unparalleled and their bravery matched only by other great heroes. When she was young, she thought she was better than them. Now that she was older, she knew she was better.”


”While her Hive prepares Orgo sneaks away from where the children load the guns for the coming fight. She steals away with a bevy of ropes, her bow, and her last three arrows. Her Hivemates had laughed when she refused to give up the old weapon for the new ones made of steel and rubber. They are wrong.”

No. 919476 ID: 470289
File 154886094558.png - (151.86KB , 800x800 , 166.png )

”She goes to the edge of the gorge and sights her target, a solid old tree. The distance is massive. Too far to jump, too far to throw, and too far to shoot. But Orgo squares her shoulders and takes her first shot.”


”It falls short and is lost in the waves below and the current pulls the rope from her unprepared grip.”


”She takes sight again, chastised. She hears the enemy approach in her mind. She feels her hive die around her. She takes her second shot.

“The cliff below the feels a sting as the arrowhead shatters against the stones and the shaft bounces off to join its brother below. Orgo pulls the rope back and takes her last arrow from it’s quiver. She nocks it on her bow and pulls it until the feathers tickle her cheek. She squints at the tree that will save her hive and swings her bow upwards to the clear blue sky. She lets it fly.”


”The arrow takes its time, traveling in an arc far higher than it’s siblings. The rope streaks behind it like a comet’s tail and for a moment Orgo loses it in the sun’s glare. When her eyes open and the light-spots dim she sees it embedded deep in the wood of the old tree.”

No. 919477 ID: 470289
File 154886098405.png - (129.91KB , 800x800 , 167.png )

”She ties the ropes around the rocks and trees near her and takes her journey across the gorge on the thin bride she just made, ropes slipped into her belt. Hand over hand, with the cool breeze swinging her back and forth. The journey takes minutes that feel like hours.”

Resolve. Courage.

”On the other side Orgo lets herself smile as she ties her ropes to trees to make bridges. She has given The Hive that Tells Stories at the Tree a new tale to speak, and she has given us the chance to speak it.”

Orgo closes his eyes and exudes satisfaction.
No. 919541 ID: 977456

No. 919550 ID: 631909

Slow clap. Competition or no, that was a fine story.
No. 919561 ID: 91ee5f

Well, shit. Now you’ve gotta tell a story and you still haven’t that of one!
No. 919563 ID: c0641d

Acknowledge his storytelling, but don’t stop writing your own; this isn’t lost yet - after all, the river itself figured as more a setpiece obstacle than a central theme. Maybe reduce it to just three hives encountered if you’re strapped for time. Make sure to describe how the river flows in each section to help sell the feel of transition, but other than that, most of your creative energy should be poured into making the empathy you plan on using nuanced and flowing, a transition as smooth as the shifting mood of a river itself - this won’t work if your empathy jumps to the next emotion haltingly when it should be drifting to the next destination. Don’t be afraid to ask for Sock’s fluting again. Let Leo go next while I try to solidify some real details for the dialogue - I’m thinking this will be less poetry and more natural dialogue.
No. 922093 ID: 470289
File 155052375432.png - (310.98KB , 1200x800 , 168.png )

>Slow clap.
No need, he can feel how impressed I am. Sock gives him some rapid claps while Leo is still totally spellbound by him. I don’t think I’ve heard any part of the exodus story told that quickly before. Even small parts of it can take hours, but he did it in only a few minutes without butchering it. He stripped Orgo the Bow’s story down to the bare essentials so he could focus on making it compelling with his empathy, and he mostly succeeded. I felt the story more than listened to it.

But I can do better.
No. 922095 ID: 470289
File 155052383927.png - (133.46KB , 800x800 , 169.png )

”With broken mast and sail, his old boat runs
the river’s narrow length toward home, and such
a hometown craves his wares, and he their touch,
for vessels sailing rivers carry one

and only one. Town’s workmen wonder where
he floats, and back again, pursued by greed
at every turn: the river’s pirates heed
no god nor law in suit of prizes rare.

Banks make quick graves of men and greedy fools
who heed no warning issued from the piles
of pirates’ polished bones in waters deep:

the lonely merchant’s empty ship spells doom
to thieves whose coveting turns ghostly smiles.
It’s on these rivers all alone we sleep.”

Sonnet by B. Baylor, used with permission.
No. 922096 ID: 470289
File 155052387695.png - (130.36KB , 800x800 , 170.png )

I had to cut some of my ideas to get it to fit into the classic format, but it came out pretty good. And I focused on the river a lot more than Orgo did.

”Wow, that was really good Mac!”

”Did you write that just now?” He feels suspicious. I didn’t think Orgo was the type to feel jealous.

“Of course I did!”
No. 922098 ID: 470289
File 155052391742.png - (139.88KB , 800x800 , 171.png )

“Leo, you’re up.”

My voice snaps her out of her captivation with my sonnet, and she answers me with frantic scribbling on her paper. We give her a few minutes, but I’m pretty sure she’s not actually making any progress. She’s still going back and forth between erasing and drawing, and she feels panicked.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any better, Leo, just show us already.”

“It’s not done.” She’s gritting her teeth.

“We don’t have the years it’d take for you to be satisfied with one of your dumb pictures, Leo. Just show us so we can finish up.”

Shut up Mac. I think she’s gritting her teeth.

“Yeah, shut up Mac.” He’s sending strong vibes that I’m not helping.

“This is just playing around, Leo. If you were still having fun it’d be okay, but I think you’re just worrying yourself over it now.”

Leo stops her sketching and pauses for a second. Then she gets up. I mean I basically said the same thing as Sock, but Orgo sends me a glare before I say that out loud. She takes a deep breath and flips her sketchbook over.
No. 922099 ID: 470289
File 155052396275.png - (191.81KB , 800x800 , 172-2.png )

Wow, that looks like shit.

“Hey, you’ve gotten better!”

“Yeah, I can recognize myself. I like the way you did the water.”


“Shut the fu-” She glances at Sock, “-freak up. Let’s vote and go home.”

Finally. I-
No. 922101 ID: 470289
File 155052399223.png - (192.58KB , 800x800 , 173.png )

>”You little shits!”

Jeeks! Where did he come from?
No. 922103 ID: 2202fb

you shouldn't be so mean. If you can do better, you could try to coach her on it, or maybe drawing just isnt her forte. Maybe singing, dancing, or writing might fit better.

be polite and then just leave. Dont make a stand. Definitely dont throw anyone under the damn bus.
No. 922104 ID: 2202fb

She seems one step away from tears so show compassion and dont be a bitch to her.
No. 922111 ID: c1212a

Who the fuck's talkin' to you Jeeks? We're trying to have a vote over here!
No. 922112 ID: 094652

Safety in numbers, retreat. Keep everyone from killing each other.
No. 922120 ID: b1b4f3

No. 922135 ID: 2202fb

Not this. This gets us alienated and beat up more.
No. 922330 ID: 83bf07

Sock needs to bail ASAP. You and one other can stall them for a safe get away.
No. 922331 ID: 470289
File 155060002472.png - (143.03KB , 800x800 , 174.png )

>Don’t be a bitch to her.
I’m not! Being honest with my opinion and giving constructive feedback will help her improve more than struggling to point out the few things she didn’t mess up on.

That might work if we weren’t on the wrong end of this dock. I don’t know about the others, but I can’t swim.

>Sock needs to bail ASAP. You and one other can stall them for a safe get away.
"I can hold them back while-"

“Don’t make this any worse, Mac. We're not going to leave anyone behind.”

Leo puts her sketchbook down and walks in between us and the bullies.

“We don’t want any trouble.”

>”Too bad. That green rabbit over there threw my bag in a pile of shit, and she’s gotta learn her place. You stay in our way and we’ll teach you neumono the same lesson.”
No. 922332 ID: 470289
File 155060007610.png - (157.54KB , 800x800 , 175.png )

Leo takes a second to glare back at me, but I’m just confused. I didn’t do anything to any bags, and Sock wouldn’t do something like that.
No. 922334 ID: 470289
File 155060018717.png - (110.80KB , 800x800 , 176.png )

No. 922336 ID: 465a14

Okay, here's the plan. Run for it, then beat Sock up yourself so he learns not to make trouble for his hivemates.
No. 922338 ID: 83bf07

Now is not the time to be splitting hairs. See if you can talk your way onto dry land. Promise them you'll go quietly if you can get off the dock. (Don't actually go with them)
No. 922340 ID: 465a14

actually I just realized that might be Orgo or whoever so the actual point is to beat up whoever's responsible for this situation later
No. 922344 ID: 10c408

Tell them honestly you didn't do shit to anyone's bag. Empathy proves your honesty here.

Of course if these assholes don't care about that then we're going to have a make a big scene about it to get attention from anyone else because we're not getting past them and off the dock.
No. 922345 ID: 2202fb

shoot a glare

tell them you have no idea what they are talking about. Exude honesty. Throw in some innocence.
No. 922350 ID: b970b2

...How did you get caught by surprise by those neumono? You should've sensed their empathy. And why are they so indistinct anyway?
No. 922351 ID: 2202fb

they seem to be kind of far away. They might not be close enough for it to be pervasive enough for them to notice.
No. 922358 ID: a9af05

If Orgo is responsible, then those guys need to get their eyes examined because Orgo isn't green!
No. 922361 ID: 2202fb

he is teal, which is kind of green, but it doesnt matter. Everyone is innocent till they are proven guilty and we can only do that once we solve the current crisis.

How about this. Mac, despite your innocence, just go over and get beat up. Take one for the team. Everyone will probably like you more for your self-sacrifice.
No. 922375 ID: c1212a

god dammit Orgo I don't want to hear a single word out of you about how I handle bullies until the day I drop dead

Best case scenario is to warn them off; you didn't do it, they should go bother somebody else. This will probably end in a fight though, so get ready to shove some people into the drink and book it when you have an opening.
No. 922376 ID: b1b4f3

What the fuck Orgo.
Suggest a deal: they let all of you go, and you'll teach him a lesson yourselves.
No. 922377 ID: c1212a

Almost forgot; you could try and throw some other poor bastard with green fur under the bus by blaming them, if you know any.
No. 922426 ID: 2202fb

lets not fight back, and definitely not blame it on someone else. We should try to save our integrity first rather than our physical safety. Lets just take a hit.
No. 922432 ID: c1212a

Running away while cornered on a pier didn't work, can we try confronting the problem in some capacity instead of just letting events overtake Mac & co.?
No. 922445 ID: 2202fb

Not saying we should run. Mac should go over and get the shit beat out of them. They only want Mac. Mac is also a neumono so this shouldnt cause permanent damage. This should make everyone else view Mac in a more positive light.
No. 922449 ID: c1212a

And the fact that Leo already said they'd leave nobody behind? Also the fact that Mac didn't do it?
No. 922452 ID: 2735ca

All of you jump in the river!
No. 922454 ID: 91ee5f

>They only want Mac.
No they don’t. They want Orgo.
No. 922457 ID: 977456

>teach you neumono
They are getting kind of specist there, especially for neumono. At least they look like neumono from here.

Stall them. Maybe someone else will come and scare off any violence. Nonsequitur to put them off balance.
Take a step forward, bow, and recite your story to them.
No. 922515 ID: 470289
File 155069109886.png - (248.28KB , 1000x700 , 177.png )

>Beat up whoever's responsible for this situation later.
Orgo probably did it as revenge for them beating me up earlier when no one was looking. No one is going to beat him up for that, and certainly not sell him out. I will tell him off later though after all his lecturing. He should have told us. If we didn’t stop at this dock we’d be home and safe right now.

I try to start inching Sock over to the side where the dock meets the sand that the bullies aren’t on. If we get an opening we can run and maybe get home before they catch us. Leo and Orgo catch on and try to block their view of Sock and me.

>…How did you get caught by surprise by those neumono? You should've sensed their empathy.
Neumono? Jeeks is a pomi.
No. 922518 ID: 470289
File 155069125632.png - (106.15KB , 800x800 , 178.png )

>Why are they so indistinct anyway?
They… are, aren’t they.

“I- I didn’t do anything.” I say quieter than I mean to. I don’t think they heard me.

“Mac, are you okay? You’re feeling weird.” Sock whispers.

“Look, I’ll pay for your bag. I’ll bring money to school tomorrow or-“

>“Like your shitty little hive can afford to pay me back!”
No. 922520 ID: 470289
File 155069134158.png - (277.22KB , 1000x800 , 179.png )

>We’ll take it out of your flea-bitten hides!”

Jeeks grabbing Leo jolts me out of my confusion and Orgo instantly stops snickering and goes on edge.

“Hey don’t touch her! If you want me I’ll go with you but leave them alone!”

“Shut up, Mac!"
No. 922527 ID: 556568

Mac, wake up.
No. 922528 ID: b1b4f3

He's turning grey. Get in there and stop it.
No. 922529 ID: c1212a

no, wait, there's stil a chance we could get in a circle and sing kumbaya!

Try to keep in mind that Pomi don't heal like neumo do when you kick his ass into the drink. Get a big hit in while he's busy grabbing Leo, if his goons try to intercept you just tip them off the dock, then you'll have a numbers advantage.
No. 922531 ID: 86eb65

Tackle that asshole!
No. 922535 ID: 977456

Devour their hearts and absorb their power!
No. 922583 ID: e32936

Jeeks is preoccupied with Leo, use the opening to get Sock and yourself on the bank. Tell sock to run, then attack Jeeks groupies from their flank. This will spread them out and give you, Leo, and Orgo fighting chance.

Your superior regeneration gives you a marked advantage. Even should you be injured, you will quickly heal. Not so for Jeeks and friends. They have more to lose.

Attack aggressively enough from the get-go and you should quickly dissuade them from a prolonged melee.
No. 922601 ID: 719d94

There's a beauty in the moment you realize you're dreaming. When you start noticing the details slip away, and watching one thing become another as you find yourself peering through the gaps in reality.

That realization can be a great time to wake up, but it can also be a great time to take over. Your life has undergone some big changes recently. Anything you want to do? Any people you miss? Grab the reins and dive into your subconscious.

I mean, assuming this is a dream anyway. You might just be hallucinating. Are you crazy? Done any hard drugs lately?
No. 922603 ID: 91ee5f

Grab Leo and pull him away from Jeeks! Have Orgo help you!
No. 922637 ID: a9af05

Do this!
No. 922639 ID: 2735ca

Focus their anger on you. Tackle the guy and try to slip through onto their other side.
No. 922940 ID: 15a025

There's three of them and four of you. Get up there with Orgo and give Socks a the chance to run to safety. Also body slam right into Jeeks.
No. 923082 ID: 470289
File 155104259387.png - (137.21KB , 800x800 , 180.png )

>Grab Leo and pull him away from Jeeks! Have Orgo help you!
I take a step forward to do this, but Leo is already throwing a punch into Jeeks face. She wants Sock and I to get to the bank, and Orgo gets in-between us and the other bullies.

Sock has his eyes glued to Orgo doing his best to block two guys bigger than him and stumbles as I drag him away. Once we get to the bank, I give him a running push to his back.

No. 923083 ID: 470289
File 155104262404.png - (205.70KB , 800x800 , 181.png )

Orgo is wrestling with one of them, trying to keep from being overpowered while Leo is working out all her anger on Jeeks face. Everyone is focused on fighting and has forgotten about us, but the unoccupied bully is circling around to grab Leo with his back turned towards us.
No. 923084 ID: 470289
File 155104265444.png - (130.21KB , 800x800 , 182.png )

>Anything you want to do?
Help them!

>Any people you miss?
I don’t have to miss anyone! I can fix this!

I charge in to tackle the one nearest me from behind. If I can knock him into the water, we’ll have the upper hand in numbers and-
No. 923086 ID: 470289
File 155104267436.png - (134.34KB , 800x800 , 183.png )

No. 923087 ID: 470289
File 155104269379.png - (171.55KB , 1200x800 , 184.png )

>Mac, wake up.
No. 923088 ID: 465a14

Read the note from your new girlfriend.
No. 923102 ID: b1b4f3

Realize there are some things you can't fix.
No. 923115 ID: 91ee5f

You might want to consider getting some pajamas to sleep in, since it’s probably uncomfortable to be sleeping in your normal clothes.

Also read the note that Luvi left on the table.
No. 923127 ID: fd2d31

You wouldn't have those problems with a gun.
See if Luvi's frantic friend has another one stashed in the house.
No. 923140 ID: afdebc

Read note, hug pillow.


Go take a shower or something, you must feel kinda gross after sleeping in your clothes.
No. 923142 ID: 5907f9

Breath, sit up, contemplate.

Then read that note.
No. 923143 ID: c1212a

-Find the will to move

-Read note

No. 923148 ID: 2735ca

Put your face back on, darling. All the world's a stage and all that.
No. 923156 ID: ac10e5

Hug pillow, read note
No. 923205 ID: bad12e


The hell did we eat last ...?
No. 923239 ID: 83bf07

No. 923284 ID: c0641d

Note, clothes, shower, breakfast. See if you can push your "mask" a little farther away from baseline (i.e. adding new traits and quirks like "new me likes to jog in place" or "new me laughs really hard at even the worst jokes"); I wanna see how far we can take this.
No. 923290 ID: fd2d31

Imitating Luvi isn't gonna be healthy.
No. 923291 ID: c0641d

Those were just examples. Others include "sense of humor dried by x2," "likes sour drinks," and "enjoys people-watching." All random examples... except the last one; a habit of observing many different neumonos' behavior and empathy can help us hone our craft.
No. 923317 ID: 470289
File 155113550734.png - (114.82KB , 800x800 , 185.png )

>There are some things you can't fix.
I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house with the clothes I’m wearing making up a good half of what I own in the world. It’s obvious I can’t ‘fix’ anything.

>See if you can push your "mask" a little farther.
I don’t see much point in doing this. I’ll still be me underneath, and the more I try to fake new traits the more obviously hollow I’ll come off to other neumono. Yesterday was mostly just thought control to keep me from crying; Subtraction instead of addition which doesn’t broadcast as strange.

If I had some rolling paper I would smoke some of the bitterweed Stiles left to calm down. I haven’t felt as… comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time. The memory of it is fading and dulling the stark difference between the dream and how I feel now. Which is too tired to even be properly frazzled by how weird it was.

It wasn’t a memory. Or it was more like a bunch of memories jammed together? I got beat up as a kid and hung out at a dock once or twice, but I’ve never walked home with Leo and I was alone when I went to the dock. And Jeeks was a bastard not a weird neumono-pomi hybrid. There’s a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t fit together or was just false, but I just sort of accepted it.

I’m not going to get back to sleep, but it’s still dark out. My phone, which I forgot in my pocket, says it’s about a half hour before the sun comes up. I move to the edge of the bed to read the note Luvi left for me.

Hey Mac! Sorry to sneak into your room like a creeper, but I wasn’t sure when you were going to get up and you deserve a good rest after the day you had. I might not be around when you wake up and I wanted to make sure you knew that my home is your home as long as you’re here. Feel free to use anything on the first and second floor (I set out a toothbrush and some essentials for you in the bathroom), and if you need things like extra clothes you can raid my closet. Of course, maybe I am home, in which case hope I don’t wake you up grabbing this note back! Or...

It rambles for a few more lines using more dot hearts in one place than I’ve seen before in my life.

A shower is the next thing on my docket, but before that I should decide whether to wash my clothes and wear them again today or take Luvi’s offer. Also, I guess I should figure out just what I’m going to do today. Ideally the first thing would be something to take my mind off this dream for a while.
No. 923318 ID: b1b4f3

Check Luvi's closet to see if she'd miss one set of clothes.
No. 923319 ID: 465a14

This. And today, you look for a job.
No. 923325 ID: a9af05

>You can raid my closet!
You better hope she has something in your size! Otherwise that offer won't be very helpful to you!

And you'd better also hope that she doesn't have anything with a bunch of glitter or a weird cartoon/design on it!
No. 923327 ID: bcc41d

Up and at 'em! Get a whole some breakfast! Do some basic calisthenics! Do you have a charger for your phone? Then charge it while you can. If you have phone internet - or Luvi does and you bum from her - you can do additional rogue/jobhunt research online. Check the daily news and consider whether there are any other practical recently-rogue'd tasks you should be doing.

You could also try to get in touch with Kark and Marassa again. If nothing else, helping out keeps you busy and makes you meet people.
No. 923332 ID: 2202fb

I mean, there is no shortage of guns here if you really want to give up on everything (would probably be a rather long and painful process though).
No. 923344 ID: e7848c

You're going to nab a shirt, sweatpants and towel for when your current clothes are in the washer and you get out of the shower. Write a thank you note, use your fancy handwriting and leave it in Luvi's room.
No. 923393 ID: bad12e


>Even her writing is insufferably cheery

Well, at least we know it's hers. Let's wash up, make sure our clothes aren't smelly, and ... eat, I guess.
No. 923397 ID: 91ee5f

>I haven’t felt as…comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time.
Honestly, the way you’re talking makes it sound like you haven’t had sex in a long time. So maybe if you go get laid, you’ll feel better?
No. 923457 ID: 7f0aac


I think we call this "clinical depression."


On that note, when's the last time we saw a doctor, and does being a rogue change things?
No. 923458 ID: 5176d9

Get some fresh clothes from Luvi. Yours probably haven't started to stink yet, let's keep it that way, Da?

Next on the agenda is finding something to do. I mean long term something to do. Maybe a job, maybe a hobby, maybe someone to do~.

The point is, you need a thing. Everyone has a thing. You seem to have both an aptitude and inclination towards art, so perhaps that is your thing.

You'll never know until you find it, so go find your thing.
No. 923466 ID: a9af05

Ha! You're right, it does sound like that's what she's talking about!
No. 923474 ID: fd2d31

Short term solution would be a "personal massager"
No. 923513 ID: 977456

For a longer-term solution it has been said that you can potentially double its projected life-span by getting your bunny fixed.
No. 923686 ID: ecd116

>I haven’t felt as…comfortable? Satisfied? Fulfilled? I don’t know if there’s a word for it, but I haven’t felt like that in a long time

wait do you mean in past tense as in you use too a while back? or present tense as in you are feeling it right now?
No. 923873 ID: a9af05

Why don't you go eat some ice cream? That's what sad people do to make themselves feel better, right?
No. 924021 ID: 15a025

Time to wake up with a nice warm shower Mac.
No. 924505 ID: 719d94

>you deserve a good rest after the day you had
...says the woman who just got fired that very same day. Her energy and selflessness are the stuff of legends. Also nightmares.

The sooner you get yourself a job, the sooner you'll get back on your feet, and the sooner you'll be out from under her overwhelming kindness.
No. 932311 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736265675.png - (118.98KB , 800x800 , 186.png )

>Maybe if you go get laid, you’ll feel better?
I had sex a few days ago with someone I love. Banging a stranger won’t make me feel any better.

>When's the last time we saw a doctor?
Never? When I was a kid Gh’zan gave me a check-up to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with my reflexes or general health. He does most of the medicine stuff for our hive since he was a medic in the army. But that’s pretty much it.

>Wait do you mean in past tense as in you use too a while back? or present tense as in you are feeling it right now?
As in I felt it when I wasn’t a rogue.

>Why don't you go eat some ice cream?

I’m not a kid, I’m not going to eat ice cream for breakfast. I’ll check on what Luvi has in the fridge when I go downstairs. I did have a charger in my bag, so I set that up in the guest room before I leave. Getting in touch with Kark again isn’t the worst idea, but I don’t have his number.

I knock on Luvi’s door, just in case she came back and went straight to sleep, but I’m pretty sure she’s gone which is confirmed once I enter. The room is more spartan than I imagined. There’s no pink wallpaper or big bean bag chairs or anything. Just a normal room.
No. 932312 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736273418.png - (95.32KB , 662x781 , 187.png )

I pull a shirt and some sweatpants out of her closet for immediately after I finish my shower. Luvi is smaller than me but I’m pretty sure I can fit in most of her clothes. She does have a distressing number of shirts with cartoons and stuff on it, mostly from some show called Tekbeasts, but there’s normal stuff too.
No. 932313 ID: 1ac5eb
File 155736279199.png - (162.44KB , 800x800 , 188.png )

I’m about to leave for the shower when I spy a box in the closet I didn’t notice when I opened it up. There are probably more clothes to choose from in that. It’s not taped up or anything, so I could look inside without breaking into anything.
No. 932319 ID: c1212a

Your expectations of Luvi have been subverted so many times by now I'm wondering why you're still holding on to them.

Unless you can permanently put what you find out of your head by the time you next see Luvi, I wouldn't. Besides, if it's not somewhere she won't want you snooping, it'll be somewhere you'll regret snooping, if you catch my drift.
No. 932329 ID: 91ee5f

You’re gonna end up stretching these clothes out and Luvi won’t be able to wear them anymore. She’ll just let you keep them.

The box says “Panica‘s presents” so it stands to reason that they’re either presents from Panica or presents to Panica. That means that box isn’t meant for you.
No. 932330 ID: 91ee5f
File 155736801293.png - (98.70KB , 662x781 , 86AE3BDF-C04E-4B0E-9493-97E198CC8F70.png )

Oops! Forgot to include the picture!
No. 932341 ID: 7fb87a

don't bother with the box.. She's so open about everything you could just ask her about it later with a clear conscience, and empathy.
No. 932349 ID: 977456

The important thing is a toupee. Aside from that... Dressing-gown and a towel?
No. 932363 ID: 1ed92d

It will be guns. You KNOW it will be guns. You might as well just go ask her if it's guns. It's probably just guns or sex toys.
No. 932383 ID: 2202fb

Why all Neumono be so stupid sexy thicc.


It could be sex toys for guns. I cant really post links, but in my voyages of the interwebs, i have seen tacsack gunballs, tactical dildonets, and recoil driven fleshlights.
No. 932385 ID: fd2d31

Take off all current clothing, find the fanciest hat Luvi owns, don it.
There, now you're dressed for success.
No. 932399 ID: a9af05

>I’m not a kid, I’m not going to eat ice cream for breakfast.
But you're a depressed adult! Depressed adults are allowed to eat ice cream whenever they feel sad!

>Luvi is smaller than me
That's right, you're bigger than her in both height and width.

Whatever clothes you wear, you're going to end up stretching them out, to the point that Luvi won't be able to wear them anymore.

You're gonna have to think of a way to pay her back for any clothes you take.

Don't mess with it. You might upset her and she'll kick you out. Then you'll be back at square one with no place to sleep.
No. 932401 ID: 891b91
File 155743415615.png - (216.98KB , 636x972 , cool_mac.png )

Thankfully, Luvi has enough variety in her wardrobe to allow you to express your true self!
No. 932402 ID: 891b91
File 155743424515.png - (125.03KB , 607x778 , preppy_mac.png )

(Alright, maybe Mac isn't that much of a party animal. Here's a more serious suggestion: a pair of khakis with the legs rolled up to turn them into makeshift shorts and a classy striped polo.)

>Don't mess with it. You might upset her and she'll kick you out. Then you'll be back at square one with no place to sleep.
I find it difficult to believe that Luvi gets upset about anything. Still, it's best to leave the box alone, out of respect for Luvi and the enormous kindness she's shown you. You could always ask her about it later, anyway.

>You're gonna have to think of a way to pay her back for any clothes you take.
Maybe there's some kind of favor you could do for her, or maybe you can get her a token of your appreciation once your financial situation is more stable.
No. 932409 ID: bcc41d

As tempting as it is to transfer half of Luvi's closet to the trash, remember it's impolite and you mustn't. You absolutely mustn't.

It's either something for Panica or from Panica, and it's being stored. It doesn't seem like any of your business to meddle with, especially since you seem to be covered in the clothing department already.

This outfit's nice, for example, though the shirt's a little tight-looking... maybe grab a slightly baggier backup shirt in your vest, even if it's got cartoons, in case this one tears.

>getting in touch with Kark again
Well, you know where you'll probably find him later in the day. Assuming it's not too far away from Luvi's place.
No. 932416 ID: 58b4f3

It's not your box, so you shouldn't go snooping through it.

This wouldn't be so bad, if you made a few changes to it.

Switch the colors of the heart and the shirt, except for the sleeves, and make the heart have a crack run from the top down to the middle of the heart.

>Don't throw away Levi's clothes!
Yeah, Miss Art Critic, don't throw away any of Levi's clothes, no matter how badly the cartoons are drawn.
No. 932422 ID: 91ee5f
File 155744375149.png - (101.19KB , 662x781 , 37EFAD37-2D40-4B96-85D6-3D4BB31BA196.png )

You mean like this?
No. 932423 ID: cb6404


This gets my vote.
No. 932424 ID: c8d2b2

gotta be this one
No. 932488 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155751350008.png - (167.98KB , 800x800 , 189.png )

I skip on prying into Luvi’s stuff. There were more than enough clothes in Luvi’s closet anyway. I’ll put what I picked on before I leave for the day. I finish my shower and go downstairs to get some food but I still want to take my mind off things for at least a little while, so I turn on the tv.
No. 932489 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155751354185.png - (189.89KB , 800x800 , 190.png )

>”We can open the gate again, can’t we? Gulp survived in the Green Mage’s swamp, he can survive there until we can go back to him, right?”

”That’s not how this works, sweetie. I saw him before we went through the portal. There’s… nothing left to bring back.”

>”Why are you okay with this Thrasher? I thought he was your best friend!”

The rabbit is quiet as her friend continues to sob.

>”I don’t know if I can keep doing this without him.”

”You’ll figure it out. We all will. Eventually.”

This show, Tekbeasts I assume, started playing as soon as I turned the tv on. Seems weirdly depressing for a kid’s show, but the animation looks decent. I’m not too interested in watching cartoon animals cry as I eat breakfast though. I figure out how the remote works after a minute and find some shows that sound interesting to watch.

Our Roots: My little sister’s favorite show. It retells The Ultrahive Wars our Ultras were in. It’s on the educational channel since its government funded, but it really, really shouldn’t be.
News: I should probably keep myself informed. But also, I don’t really want to watch the news.
Zorya! Warrior Queen!: This is the current Zorya adaption. I heard it’s mostly network-driven and a lot of the comic fans are outraged, but it got a second season anyway.
Sports: I never actually watched a sports channel so early. Maybe something weird will be on.
No. 932490 ID: 03b86f

Fuck it, change of scenery could probably do you good right now. Try on the sports channel.
No. 932492 ID: 891b91

Given that you're now basically without a social safety net (Luvi's nice and helpful, but she can only do so much and now she's in free-fall too), staying up-to-date on current events is probably much more important than it used to be. So if you don't watch the news now, you should try to learn what the latest headlines are at some point today.

That being said, forcing yourself to watch something you don't want to probably isn't a great way to start the day, especially given your circumstances, so let's just go with sports for now.
No. 932493 ID: 91ee5f

No. 932498 ID: 465a14

Ridiculously dangerous neumono sports time
No. 932500 ID: 0fae41

Our Roots, for science. And social studies.
No. 932502 ID: 2202fb

I kinda want to watch the news and see if any crossovers are possible.
No. 932504 ID: fd2d31

I'd be almost disappointed if it doesn't involve explosions.
No. 932506 ID: a9af05

Look at some Sports.

Maybe you'll find something you'll like and you'll become a sports fan that buys all the merchandise of your favorite team?
No. 932510 ID: 86eb65

No. 932514 ID: 977456

Ugh, these are all terrible. Turn on the news but turn the sound down so that you can ignore it. Focus on breakfast and just use the news as back-ground music unless something forces your attention.
No. 932533 ID: 1ed92d

The Sports Channel sounds like it might be fun. Who knows, maybe someone invented a sport Neumono from differing hives can play that doesn't immediately devolve into bloodsport.

....And maybe Santa Claus will fly in from Earth to dispense presents to all the good little Neumono girls and boys.
No. 932534 ID: 5ba090

No. 932548 ID: 22d3a4

News. What's wring with Our Roots? Propaganda, or just in poor taste?
No. 932561 ID: 83bf07

Gotta be responsible. Watch the news
No. 932562 ID: bcc41d

Now you've made me want to see the Neumono equivalent of pleasant, safe sports like tennis or curling.

I like this idea of watching the news, but not having to really listen to it unless it seems interesting/relevant.
No. 932566 ID: fd2d31

>Now you've made me want to see the Neumono equivalent of pleasant, safe sports like tennis or curling.
I have a feeling most of what's considered extreme sports or contact heavy sports to humans are considered safe to them.
No. 932586 ID: 6ec38e

At least check in the noise for a moment. Then hate on the new adaptation of zorya "unless it doesn't actually suck"
No. 932591 ID: cb6404


>Weird rifle.

>Always, creepily, awkwardly happy.


Could Luvi secretly be the ex Pink Ranger?!?!
No. 932612 ID: 864e49

Or a failed experiment to create the ultimate Pink Ranger?
No. 933302 ID: 15a025

No. 936166 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080848601.png - (173.13KB , 800x800 , 191.png )

>What's wrong with Our Roots? Propaganda, or just in poor taste?
It’s not the only problem with Our Roots, but a big one is Ultraking Az is a main character. The real Ultraking I mean, not the fake show version. He plays his younger self on the show. He’s not the worst actor, but the show is written like a drama and he hams up all his acting and makes things kind of hard to take serious. Plus, this is a Storytree specific problem, but my little sister always rants over anything he says about how historically inaccurate everything is or how the writers are bending the events over backwards to make him look good. She acts like the dumb educational end section at the end of each episode that goes over the actual history, but you can’t turn her off.

I think OR was meant to be propaganda, but it’s also half a vanity project, half an actual historical recreation, half insane action, and half baffling plot twists. It’s a mess of a show. A very fun mess since it’s popular, but a mess.

”Ultimate Hive fans, the Ruby League rogue they call Peace certainly isn’t being peaceful today! She’s suckered punched Tall Boy Gorn after he expertly knocked the regulation stave right out of her hands! Gorn goes in the drink and Peace is getting a talking to by the ref. She doesn’t even seem to care that she’s racked up two red flags already, and cost her adopted team six points! One more flag and the entire Monsoon hive will be disqualified! I bet now they’re regretting taking on such a maverick of a substitute player for her Emerald League debut, even if she’s already taken out three opponents by herself! The ref lets her go on her way and Peace balances her way carefully across the moat, ready to get back in the game!”
No. 936167 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080849575.png - (226.58KB , 800x800 , 192.png )

"Obern’s lance crashes into Yolea’s shield and sends her flying off her motorcycle for the third time, making her dreams of victory skid on the dirt beside her! He’s taken his third win in this bout, and with three points this best of five match ends in his favor.”

>“It was an excellent showcase of both traditional offense and defense against Yolea’s more reckless style. The old-guard schooling the young blood on how to properly Cyclejoust.”

“Yolea seems to be cradling her arm from her fall, but she and Obern still head towards the center of the tilt barrier to shake hands. Such sportsmanship almost brings a tear to my eye. Truly, this is one of the noblest sports.”

No. 936168 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080851078.png - (195.32KB , 800x800 , 193.png )

"Number 34 is gaining on 16, and 18 is right behind them both. But back a ways, two offroaders are taking a shortcut! Lucky 13 is gaining on 41. But 41's side passengers are taking off their seatbelts! They're grabbing onto the back, and crouching like they're going to jump! They've already expended their weapons, but they've still got their bodies! We don't know if this will work against number 13 or not, but two things are for certain, 41's driver is about to shed some weight, and ambulances are pre-emptively flying their way!"
No. 936169 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080852614.png - (96.89KB , 800x800 , 194.png )

I finish my breakfast and decide that I’ve had my fill of mindless sports reruns Once a bit of light starts leaking in through the curtains. I flip the channel to the first 24/7 news channel I can find so it can run in the background while I wash the dishes and try to decide what-

Oh hell, someone’s furious. Wait, I recognize the empathy. He starts pounding on the door.

“Luvi, wake the fuck up and get out here! Mund pulled a fast one on us!”
No. 936170 ID: 5fc3a0
File 156080853953.png - (137.04KB , 800x800 , 195.png )

Kark doesn’t seem surprised I’m opening Luvi’s door, but it might be hidden under the anger he’s radiating. He looks even more tired than when I saw him yesterday and is still wearing the same suit.

“Go wake Luvi up. And scream directly in her ear to charge her fucking phone overnight.”

“Luvi’s not here, she left before I woke up.”

Kark growls under his breath and pinches the bridge of his nose. Lots of frustration bubbles up through the anger.

“Are you okay?”

He answers with a deep sigh. “You busy?” He pauses for half a second to check my empathy. “No. Good. There’s a town hall this afternoon. We need as many rogues as we can get to come, and Luvi is one of our few sure things. Go find her and get her there by three, along with any other rogues you can wrangle. What was her fucking schedule? Forget it, you can go to Luvi’s office and ask them where she’s ended up or check their shitty housing projects. If this is a vacation day for her she’s probably volunteering at the geezer house or visiting her sister at one of those cult churches on the east side. Think it’s the one with the bird on top.”
No. 936180 ID: b1b4f3

Uh, yeah, she won't be at her office either, she got fired.
No. 936181 ID: 465a14

Probably best not to mention Luvi's situation. Ask which geezer house.
No. 936205 ID: bcc41d

Mund was the local law enforcement kingpin, as I recall. As for the issue now, I'm guessing she's trying to change some municipal law. That's a town hall thing, right? Whatever it is must be bad for rogues in order for Kark to give a shit. The question is - do you give a shit?


Oh hey, a distraction that'll keep you busy and not thinking about certain things!

And, to be fair, you owe Kark a little for dinner and the run-down on rogue life - maybe not this much, but what goes around comes around, hopefully. You need info, but first of all - exchange phone numbers. Anything he doesn't have the time to answer, he might be able text you if/when he finds time.

Possible questions to ask:

*What's the issue at hand? (and be ready to ask for a pitch summary if he tangents for too long, he seems to tend towards lecturing once he gets going)
*Town hall where?
*"Geezer's house" where? Who they?
*Any recruiting tips? Useful ones - like where people with odds of caring can be found?
*Would props help? You can whip up posters and/or protest signs, with at little time and materials. (Would give you an excuse to drop by the Artist's Loft and drop off that particular job application.)
*Oh - and would aliens count for purposes of town hall meetings? They live here too, right? (That miklik shopkeep may repay the favor - or their family might. Sounded like his father was a local storeowner.)

Possible bad news to pass on:

*Tell him Luvi got fired from her office, apparently. Yesterday.
*Tell him Luvi said youth gangs will have it in for you since you foiled a robbery and got one caught. Some kid named Jazz did a dumb. Also, you calling Luvi pissed off some Officer Glint.
*Tell him he really needs a few hours of sleep. (Or don't. Maybe don't.)
*Also, his pamphlet's design is okay, but not great, and falls short of what he wants it to do. (Definitely don't say this. Not today.)

...Oh, and leave a note for Luvi, in case you miss her.
No. 936222 ID: 094652

Ask him if her job is an essential part of the 'voting process'
and then tell him this is probably not going to matter so you'll get it done for money
No. 941717 ID: e5e15e
File 156521092727.png - (162.57KB , 800x800 , 196.png )

“Do you need Luvi for a vote?”

“Vote? Do you know what a town hall is?”

“It’s, uh… where towns elect their mayors?” His empathy tells me that this is wrong and he’s thinking something rude. He checks his watch and snarls.

“I don’t have time to school you in Civics 101, just fucking show up and pay attention.” I grab his shoulder as he turns around.

“Wait, I still have some questions.”

No. 941718 ID: e5e15e
File 156521096013.png - (138.90KB , 800x800 , 197.png )

“Geezer House?”

“Gentle Pastures. It’s where we get dumped once we’re too old to think straight. Awful fucking place, but Luvi gets off on ‘helping’ the poor bastards there. Check ORS first though.”

“I don’t think she’ll be there. She got fired yesterday.” I try not to let my guilt about that leak through my empathy.

“I’ll deal with it tomorrow.” Kark says after cursing under, well, over his breath for a minute. “Go by her office anyway. She’s soft enough to go and help out her co-workers for free.”

“Should I try and get aliens to come?”

“What? Why?” He’s confused. “Whatever, if you can find some, bring them.”

“Is there anywhere I should look in particular?”

“If I knew of a place full of engaged, politically minded rogues with no jobs chomping at the bit to go to a town hall I’d be there, not here.”

“Alright. So is this a favor or like, a…” I drop the sentence. Begging for money is harder than I assumed.

Kark narrows his eyes. “If you can find five whole chucklefucks to bring to this thing I’ll owe you something. Now are you done with the questions?”
No. 941719 ID: e5e15e
File 156521097947.png - (170.15KB , 800x800 , 198.png )

He gives me his phone number and the meeting place for the town hall before he walks off grumbling. I could try to do posters to advertise, but it’d take more than a few hours to actually finish any good ones and they wouldn’t have much time to be seen before the afternoon.

Where should I check first for Luvi, and should I walk, grab a bus, or get a taxi? Walking will take longest but getting a taxi will cost the most. Also… I noticed it this morning, but Luvi put the gun I found last night in a holster and laid it out on the kitchen table. I think I could stuff it under my pants if I wanted to bring it.
No. 941726 ID: 5985bd

Get to walking. You don't need a gun.
No. 941752 ID: bddb0f

>Kark's phone number
Social link get!

>Just show up and pay attention.
Some kind of info meet, then? Combined with voting for something? Kark's in no mood to explain, so I guess we'll find out.

Yeah, why would you need a gun? Luvi's kind, but that's ridiculous, and you're not particularly well trained with one - though perhaps you could act like you know what you're doing. Maybe Luvi prepared it for her gun-nut friend?

Anyway, plan of action. You're headed for the Office of Rogue Services first, then Gentle Pastures. Though... is today a Monday, Wednesday or Friday? Luvi's 'legally required' opening spiel mentioned them being open from ten AM to four PM on those days for drop-in consultations, and if today's a not-open day (or too early) we may want to reconsider Kark's advice. Also, do we know where the offices are? Check for the address if not - ideally get a map app of the city and a buss schedule / ticket purchase app DL'd to your phone.

Walking will take a long time, but it's free. You'll probably have to hustle a bit, mind, to get everywhere you want to go. Also, you might run into someone from that youth gang you've probably pissed off. (Huh. Maybe that's why Luvi prepared a gun? She was considering your safety?)

Taking a buss will ideally take less time at the small price of 50-something zeny, and you'll wait at buss stops and hang around other neumono on the way. This could potentially be turned to an advantage if you can pitch rogues to show up to the town hall. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Taxi is expensive, but fast and, assuming you have the right address, precise. You won't get lost, or accosted, and will have more time to spend recruiting Neumono wherever you go. I feel this is a good fallback if bussing proves less ideal than hoped.

Given the above, I think I prefer the Buss.

Hm. Recruitment idea-wise, perhaps you should consider the Rogue Dorms run by the ORS as your third destination? Though everyone there will be in a funk or worse, they probably won't have jobs getting in the way of them attending. Getting out and engaged with something might actually do them a world of good.
No. 942212 ID: 15a025

Leave the gun. It might suck a ton if slip and let that info leak out through your empathy.

I'm not sure she'd go to work after getting fired. Maybe she's visiting her sister like Kark suggested.
No. 942218 ID: a8d8b4

i don't see a real reason to get the gun. it's not like you're looking for trouble. just take a bus to ORS and see if luvi is there
No. 942226 ID: f57349

Walk, recruit people you encounter on the way.
No. 942251 ID: fd2d31

Unless you got a permit for carrying a shooty-shooty bangbang and that isn't the one with serial number conveniently removed or a stolen one, then don't bother with with the firearm.
I guess you could walk while attempting to convince groups of rogues you meet on your way to come & vote or whatever Kark wanted.
No. 946909 ID: 282e0b

definitely skip the gun, you don't need it
No. 950507 ID: e5e15e
File 157496366437.png - (117.71KB , 800x800 , 199.png )

I’ll head towards ORS first. It’ll take a little bit to get there, but that’ll let me I can chat up any rogues I find, so it’s two birds with one stone. And I’m leaving the gun. I’d probably shoot myself by accident trying to stuff it in my pants, anyway. It’s not like I’m going to get mugged.
No. 950508 ID: e5e15e
File 157496368725.png - (258.56KB , 800x800 , 200.png )

>10 minutes later.
I think I’m going to get mugged.
No. 950509 ID: 35a827

I think you need to get out into the open, rather than a alleyway (from the looks of it), is there a main road nearby you can take?

It'd be a longer route potentially but better than being mugged.
No. 950510 ID: 2202fb

Well, on the bright side, they look female so statistically, you probably arent going to get raped. Plus, if that is a weapon they are sporting in that case, it isnt something they can easily pull out. Keep walking and go towards a more crowded street. Then loop back and for fucks sake get yourself a weapon. Buy a holster or carry some pepper spray or something.
No. 950511 ID: 12b116

What's their empathy feel like? We should always bring the gun in the future
No. 950514 ID: 11cc32

How are you going to get mugged when you don't have anything to steal?
No. 950518 ID: 77e37e

Well, you're at risk of being mugged and sexually assaulted. The only defense is to mug and sexually assault her first. Grab her boob and punch her face. Or vice-versa, either way works.
No. 950524 ID: 015bf2

Why do you think so? Is it just that you're being followed? Are they giving off a 'I'm going to rob you', vibe? Could just them being a rogue that gives you that feeling. Or you're being paranoid. For all you know this is a fellow rogue you could sell on the whole town hall thing.

That said, better safe than sorry - and you don't need a gun to give yourself an edge! Just keep walking while they follow, but get out your phone. Hold it up and take a selfie shot over your shoulder of the one following you, then send it to your own e-mail account, or to Luvi or somesuch. That way you've got something to identify them with to friends and authorities if they try anything.
No. 950526 ID: 1e3468

Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything? Make them think you're not worth the trouble?
No. 950535 ID: e6f1ef

Are they threatening you with that guitar? Do you have a guitar allergy or phobia?
No. 950591 ID: 15a025

Guess it's a good thing there isn't much to rob from you? Run out into the open and try to get lost in the crowd in case there's a gun in that guitar case instead of a guitar.
No. 950648 ID: cd9a79

Be sure to keep your eyes and empathy out to make sure if there are any more of them around here. I would hardly think a neumono would mug another by themself, even if you're alone. They could have an alien accomplice.
No. 951811 ID: 0e24f3

just book it
No. 951819 ID: 864e49

Could that be another rogue from your hive?
No. 952708 ID: d3866d
File 157817967531.png - (127.53KB , 800x800 , 201.png )

>Well, you're at risk of being mugged.
I know!

>And sexually assaulted.
...I am?
No. 952709 ID: d3866d
File 157817971588.png - (217.55KB , 800x800 , 202.png )

>The only defense is to mug and sexually assault her first.
It is???
No. 952710 ID: d3866d
File 157817975249.gif - (248.40KB , 800x800 , 203.gif )

>Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything?
Yeah, that’s it. The person who’s a victim isn’t me. I’m comfortable on these streets. I walk them every day and I radiate toughness. That is the beginning and end of me.

And this bitch doesn’t know who she’s messing with.
No. 952711 ID: d3866d
File 157817978490.gif - (274.74KB , 800x800 , 204.gif )

“You trying to start something?”

>“Nothing much. Just thought you might like to share some of your cash with a fellow rogue. Solidarity and all, right? Sticking together.”
No. 952712 ID: d3866d
File 157817982359.gif - (261.34KB , 800x800 , 205.gif )

”Yeah, I get it. Stick together. Or else someone…”

No. 952713 ID: d3866d
File 157817984906.gif - (198.28KB , 800x800 , 206.gif )

“Is going to get torn apart.”
No. 952714 ID: d3866d
File 157817988030.gif - (61.75KB , 800x800 , 207anim.gif )

>Are your acting skills good enough to act tough and convince them you could kick their ass if they tried anything?
And then she takes out a knife or a gun and I get stabbed and shot or headbutted and get robbed anyway. No way am I doing that.
No. 952715 ID: d3866d
File 157817991847.png - (198.30KB , 800x800 , 208.png )

>Are they giving off a 'I'm going to rob you', vibe?
Their empathy is wavy and they’re broadcasting weird. She’s on something, but I don’t know what.

>How are you going to get mugged when you don't have anything to steal?
I brought the 3000 zeny I took out yesterday and my cellphone. That’s more than enough to get robbed of!

I speed up and take out my phone. It takes me a bit to get the map app open. I fumble a lot more with the buttons when I’m nervous. At a glance if I cut across another this small street next to this alley I’ll be out in the open at least. I snap a pic while my phone is up and I think I got a decent one. I’m trying to open my texts when I feel someone else’s empathy in the direction of the bigger streets. And I think I recognize them!
No. 952716 ID: d3866d
File 157817993694.png - (156.77KB , 800x800 , 209.png )

It’s that cop from yesterday! I’m safe!
No. 952717 ID: d3866d
File 157817997096.png - (196.68KB , 800x800 , 210.png )

>“Damn, is that Rouille? And you know him? Small fucking world, buddy.”
No. 952719 ID: 977456

Stress-induced vomit as a weapon? Nobody expects the vomit inquisition!
No. 952720 ID: 86eb65

It's just some stoned musician. You are not going to get raped.

Also you don't know how trustworthy the cop is.

Relax and see what miss handsy wants.
No. 952722 ID: b1b4f3

I think she was just going to the same place you were.
Just ask her to please not touch you, and let her go first since you're nervous.
No. 952727 ID: 015bf2

They seem high indeed - and receptive, if they're picking up on your empathy that well. Then again, I guess touch helps.

Keep walking forwards towards... Rouille? Try to break physical contact. Scrape up some annoyance and ask why they've been tailing you. It still might not be a robbery; especially if they're this comfortable around a cop. (or maybe the cop is dirty or doesn't care, but if that's the case there is very little you can do about it except for grin and bear it)

Just in case, send the picture to a cloud - if it doesn't auto-upload, that is! If it does auto-upload, just lock your phone so they can't easily delete it after they've taken it from you.
No. 952735 ID: e7848c

Wonder what she's on. Ask her how she knows the cop. Slip out of her grip if you can.
No. 952736 ID: 015bf2

Also, gonna have to admit it took me surprisingly long to process and realize that the wiggly imagination sequence was drawn by teegee. For some reason my brain went 'Oh, that's neat, Lagotrope is copying her style to differentiate between imagination and reality'.

Cool to have her chip in, though!
No. 952756 ID: 15a025

I get the feeling our musician friend probably knows this cop on bad terms. Try to build up a little annoyance and ask what they want?
No. 952775 ID: 0e24f3

We are not her "buddy", just shrug her off and walk away.
No. 953058 ID: fd2d31

Does the cop feel like he's in a powertrip mood?
if not enquire on what the hell's going on with all the tape and if you should be aware of something odd.
No. 953073 ID: 2202fb

Just figured i'd add that that cop could be compromised. Stoner might know the cop cuz the cop is willing to turn a blind eye to things.
No. 953261 ID: 8e095e

I'm not your buddy, guy!
No. 953877 ID: 470289
File 157948315907.png - (255.59KB , 1000x800 , 211.png )

>Ask her to please not touch you.
>Slip out of her grip if you can.
>Try to break physical contact.
No. 953880 ID: 470289
File 157948391539.png - (171.98KB , 800x800 , 212.png )

“Wh-what do you want?” Her grip strength is insane!

“In a minute, Spot, in a minute. I ain’t seen this jackass in, like, months! Lemme say hi and then we can get down to business.”

“Why do you know hi- wait, business?”

“Probs jail. Don’t remember. Mighta sucked his dick in an alley or something, I guess. Wait, he got a bit horny when he felt me, so I def sucked his dick. Good friend.”
No. 953881 ID: 470289
File 157948396224.png - (234.00KB , 1000x800 , 213.png )

>“Civilians aren’t allowed through. Go around.”

“Hey, Rooey Gooey,” I don’t think this chick even notices the spike of anger that cuts through the unease he’s trying to hide. “Introduce me to my new best friend Spot. And what’s with the tape and shit?”

>“Fucking leave, both of you.”
No. 953882 ID: e7848c

"Is she going to mug me?"
No. 953883 ID: 1d7c77

"I'd like to but I really don't have any input on that right now, sir."
No. 953886 ID: 465a14

Insist on calling him Gooey Rooey as you ask him what's up.
No. 953887 ID: cdabe3

No. 953888 ID: b1b4f3

Again, tell her to stop touching you.
No. 953890 ID: 0e24f3

looks like murder mystery time!
No. 953891 ID: fd2d31

Get Stoner McWeedston to blow the cops doucheflute.
That way she isn't clinging to you like saran wrap anymore, and the cop will be distracted so you can go on your merry way.
No. 953898 ID: 891b91

Calmly point out to the kind officer that using one's genitals to fraternize with the public represents an enormous conflict of interest! Even if said genitals are not enormous themselves!
No. 953905 ID: 3b7091

How about we NOT antagonize the officer and instead ask for help getting our of that iron grip?
No. 953918 ID: 015bf2

You definitely should've taken the bus.

Smile stiffly. Say you'd love to, but this person you don't know is now LITERALLY holding you captive for some reason! Can't he DO something about that? Or call someone who can? In fact, why don't he call someone to get you two out of his hair? Right now is fine.

With sad resignation in your empathy, is also fine.

Best only get lippy with him if all else fails, I think. I'm not sure if risking getting arrested is better than whatever hustle Grippy is/was going to pull! The latter might leave us penniless, but the former might leave us penniless anyway AND with a black mark on our record, if the local police are as semi-corrupt as has been suggested.
No. 953922 ID: ce39da

"I'd love to, but this person doesn't seem to want to let me."
No. 953924 ID: a0dfd2


Silently send your totally reasonable request to PLEASE GET THIS STRUNG OUT LADY AWAY FROM ME because he's a cop and he can do that for you.

Also ask if everything's okay, because sometimes the stupid question is the right one, and we're just a hapless civilian, as he so obliged to note for us.
No. 953950 ID: 75ea94

Fuck'n punch the bitch
No. 954499 ID: 509e5e
File 158006537999.png - (210.56KB , 800x800 , 214.png )

Trying out something new. Background empathy will be denoted by brackets “[]” when relevant instead of being directly described unless Mac is focusing on it. May change back depending on how it comes across.

“I’d love to leave sir, but I don’t have much input on that right now. I think I’m getting mugged.” I try to give a smile but it’s not a great one.

“By friendship. Now gimmie the skinny on the sitch, bruv.”

>“What? Are you so fucked up you’re talking nonsense now? Fuck off Gys, or I’ll put you in cuffs for consumption of narcotics in public.”

“Naaaah. I don’t do cuffs unless it’s a party. Guild rules or something.”

>“I. Will. Arrest. You.” [Serious]
No. 954500 ID: 509e5e
File 158006543320.png - (164.88KB , 800x800 , 215.png )

“You suuuure about that, homeslice? I could use a place to crash but…” [Amused]


She mimes until it’s clear Rouille doesn’t get it, and then keeps doing it. Her voice is muffled as she speaks because she won’t stop. “I’ll tell your hive about that time ya let me out of jail for a blowjob. Cops gotta be more on the ball when they’re getting blackmailed, Rooey.”

He’s furious and sputters some half-formed curses. If we were in range of any of his hivemates I might have a shot of getting out of this, but I’m obviously not that lucky. Finally, he gets his words back.

>”What the fuck do you want?”

“I just wanna know what’s up, jabroni. I’m all curious and shit, then I’ll get out of your fur.”

“Please stop touching me.”
No. 954501 ID: 509e5e
File 158006547731.png - (135.79KB , 800x800 , 216.png )

>“There was a shootout a few hours ago. Some gangers arguing over turf or something. We’re investigating, and that’s all you need to know.”

“Wow. Crazy. At least ya’ll will finally have some actual work, huh.”

“I told you what happened. Satisfied? Scram!”

>Fuck'n punch the bitch
I’m not going to punch someone in front of a cop! Especially because whenever the thought passes my mind, she squeezes hard!


>“Ugh. What do you want from her?”
No. 954502 ID: 509e5e
File 158006552368.png - (141.69KB , 800x800 , 217.png )

“I got a feeling this bird is the type who needs a grade A motherfuckin’ guitar in exchange for a measly grand,” She pauses to read me. “and a half zeny.” That’s half the cash I have on me! That is cheap for a guitar though, assuming it’s a good one.

>“And you’ll leave her alone even if she doesn’t?”

“Toooootally.” [Yup.]
No. 954504 ID: 86eb65

Ask to test the guitar and play your favorite song.
No. 954509 ID: b1b4f3

She's not gonna let you go until you at least check out the guitar, so do so. Also look inside the guitar in case she's trying to offload some goods in the cavity.
No. 954518 ID: 1d7c77

It's really not ethical to make deals with someone who's high on... something, I'm guessing. Maybe she'd regret selling it when she comes down! It could have sentimental value! That'd be super sad.
No. 954533 ID: 015bf2

How good are you at playing the guitar? Is it something you could earn money with, busking or the like, if all else fails?
No. 954534 ID: 86eb65

Buying possibly stolen items from junkies is not the best idea.
No. 954535 ID: c2f1f6

No pigs in pokes. Let's see the hardware before even deliberating.
No. 954559 ID: ce39da

[Confusion] "If that's all, why'd you drag me in front of a cop to do it?" [Fear] "I mean, I will, because I get a bad feeling about what might happen if I don't but..." [Suspecting] "Can I see the guitar at least, so I know you're not trying to scam me or something?"
No. 954562 ID: 094652

She's vulnerable to intimidation from her high. Press the haggle even further; threaten to take the officer's side and testify as a witness to her narcotics, getting her arrested for reals and hauled off to a drug-testing lab for the effects of feeding 'spicy hot dogs' to predators, if she doesn't back off and leave the guitar on the ground, so you can 'tip' her appropriately.
No. 954566 ID: ac10e5

Biggest concerns:
Do you need that cash for other legitimately important stuff right now?
Someone won't come try to repossess it as stolen property.
It actually is a good guitar and works.

The fact that she's super high and might regret this potentially is a concern but the other three are most important. Are you good with guitars even?
No. 954769 ID: 509e5e
File 158027535780.png - (167.22KB , 800x800 , 218.png )

> How good are you at playing the guitar? Is it something you could earn money with, busking or the like, if all else fails?
I’d call myself decent. Easily as good any random subway busker.

>Do you need that cash for other legitimately important stuff right now?
I need to buy food today, but I’ll have more than enough left even if I buy it. I should take out more money from the ATM sometime today anyway since my daily limit reset.

"If that's all, why'd you drag me in front of a cop to do it?" [Confusion]

“’Cuz.” She shrugs. [Felt like it]

“…let me play it first.”

“No problemo.” Gys swings the case off her shoulder and lets me go. I think she’s satisfied I’m not going to bolt now.
No. 954770 ID: 509e5e
File 158027538558.png - (176.23KB , 800x800 , 219.png )

There was a lot of padding in the case, and I can’t imagine it’s all empty space, but I didn’t see anything inside besides the instrument while it was open. The guitar, a parlor type, is a lot smaller than the case. It was probably meant for a smaller neumono than me, but it’s still comfortable to hold.

The guitar itself isn’t brand new but it’s been well taken care of. All the wear and tear I notice is just from use, not mishandling. This is worth at least four thousand zeny now and was maybe double that new. I could get used to this guitar. And having an instrument on me might make me feel more comfortable… considering.
No. 954772 ID: 509e5e
File 158027547002.png - (196.32KB , 800x800 , 220.png )

Oh jeez, this sounds good. I start picking a low and breathy melody, not really focusing on the playing so much as how it feels to play. Strumming isn’t going to be great on this, but it’s a trade-off for being better at fingerpicking. It’s not a popular style but I had an uncle who taught me how to do it. I haven’t used it in a couple of years though. It’s… nostalgic. I could get used to this guitar. And having an instrument on me might make me feel more… comfortable.

>Buying possibly stolen items from junkies is not the best idea.
> Someone won't come try to repossess it as stolen property.
I should keep this in mind as I’m deciding.

> She's vulnerable to intimidation from her high.
She just blackmailed a cop to his face so I’m pretty sure she’s not.
No. 954774 ID: 1d7c77

Play through a good song to get yourself and the other two in a better mood. Then you can ask if either of them have a bit of paper and a pen on them (the cop probably?) and do a receipt for it for you and the girl. Name, address to leave a message, phone, and what you bought for how much. If the cop doesn't have something, you and the girl can pop in somewhere to ask. Then you can buy the guitar and feel confident both that you can return it and that if this girl changes her mind and wants her guitar back she can find you.
No. 954775 ID: 12b116

Don't give her your address that's just asking to get robbed. This is very likely stolen, maybe you should say as much out loud in front of the police here.
No. 954777 ID: c2f1f6

Is nostalgia going to feel good or is it going to hurt?

Haggle first. Try to get it under 800 or something.
No. 954778 ID: 0cf4ee

Honestly this entire situation seems just a little too strange, and you will probably need the money for more important things later on, tell her thanks but you are really not interested. Also it is clear that the cop is not a huge fan of her so if you were to turn her offer down and she does not take it well, then you know there is a chance he would step in.

But if you do decide to buy the guitar try to then see if you can ask some questions and read her empathy to find out if it is stolen, like: "This is a nice guitar, where did you get it?", "Why are you selling such a nice guitar?", "Do you play guitar?" and so-on.
No. 954784 ID: 1d7c77

"Address to leave a message", not "address we actually live at".
No. 954804 ID: 49a624

Not gonna lie, you could really use some comfort after what you deal with now. Just get a receipt and witness (cop) and you should go for it.

Do something for your own mental health.
No. 954806 ID: 0cde4d

This, in addition to giving you something that can at least potentially earn you some money
No. 954807 ID: e7c7d3

I'd say go for it. Worse case scenario, you resell it if it's worth what you think it is. But a bit of comfort and a way to make some change on the side or in emergencies sounds like only positives
No. 954830 ID: d832f2

Is that a circle theory sticker on the bottom of the guitar? Possibly ask her about that?
No. 954842 ID: 721c60

>But if you do decide to buy the guitar try to then see if you can ask some questions and read her empathy to find out if it is stolen, like: "This is a nice guitar, where did you get it?", "Why are you selling such a nice guitar?", "Do you play guitar?" and so-on.
I think you can outright ask "This guitar isn't hot, is it?"
No. 955254 ID: 15a025

Alright what's the catch here? Something else hiding in that case you need to get rid of or is this stolen?
No. 955255 ID: 015bf2

Well then. It's honestly a pretty decent purchase. You seem to want it for comfort factor alone. It can potentially be useful for busking. Or, hell, you could sell it again, and probably for more than you purchased it for.

The only big thing in the way is that you're honestly worried it's stolen property. Or that you're taking advantage of someone in a really drugged-up state. Can you try to poke them with empathy to see if they can assure you it's not stolen, and that no-one will come looking for this, and that they are sure they want to sell it?

As a final piece of paranoid advice, if you do pull out your wallet to pay for this, make sure you do so in a way that it can't be grabbed from your hands.
No. 955777 ID: 509e5e
File 158114574536.png - (113.58KB , 800x800 , 221.png )

> Play through a good song to get yourself and the other two in a better mood.
The cop still really wants us gone so taking the time to play a song may just make him madder than he already is.

>Is nostalgia going to feel good or is it going to hurt?
I don’t know right now.

“This is hot, right?” I ask, paying attention to her empathy.

“Nah, it’s like...“ She licks her finger and holds it up to the air. “17.3 C, dude.” [Amusement]

“I mean what’s the catch, what are you hiding?”

“Catch is fifteen hundred zeny. Plus tip if you’re feeling generous, babe.” She fucking with me. No stress or nervousness, just smartassery.

“Is this guitar actually yours to sell?”

She sighs. I think there’s a tinge of annoyance? “Yeah bud, it’s my fuckin’ guitar. I know you want it, so decision time. Yes or no, sweetcheeks?”

It didn’t feel like she was lying about it being her guitar. She’s still super sketchy, but I guess it’s not stolen or anything? And I do want this guitar.

I ask Rouille for a piece of paper and pen and he rips a page out of his notebook for me. I’m not going to give a random person my- well, Luvi’s address. I scribble down my name, number, and the price, though. I’ll just type it all into my phone later, so I have a copy.
No. 955778 ID: 509e5e
File 158114579067.png - (231.38KB , 800x800 , 222.png )

Gys snatches the zeny and receipt out of my hand.

“Nice doing business with ya, Spot.”

“Wait, before you go, where’d you get the sticker?”

“What, the circle bullshit? Walk around town long enough and you’ll find this short motherfucker who loves to give out free stuff.” She chuckles a bit as she walks off.
No. 955779 ID: 509e5e
File 158114583988.png - (141.14KB , 800x800 , 223.png )

“See ya on the flipside.”

I start packing up the guitar and making sure it’s secure and doesn’t shift in the case. I can check it for anything hidden when I’m back at Luvi’s, I just want to get out of here now.

>“Hey rogue, real quick.”
No. 955780 ID: 509e5e
File 158114589518.png - (214.61KB , 800x800 , 224.png )

>“You’re not going to speak a fucking word of this to anyone, got it? This never happened and I’m never going to see you again.” [Livid]
No. 955781 ID: 509e5e
File 158114592499.png - (154.66KB , 800x800 , 225.png )

He pushes me away and I walk away shakily. I… I’m going to get as far away from here as possible right now.
No. 955782 ID: 509e5e
File 158114596016.png - (272.00KB , 1200x800 , 226.png )

There’s like a dozen rogues standing around outside the Office of Rogue Services when I get there, all of them some mix of disgusted, irritated, and mopey.

I also remember that I forgot to try and get Gys to come to Kark’s meeting thing. Shit.
No. 955784 ID: 1ed92d

Hey, look! The government's mishandling things into a riot again! Ask why we're rioting today.
No. 955787 ID: e7c7d3

Yeah, ask what's going on. Surely Luvi wasn't the only one who worked here.
No. 955801 ID: 13059a

> Ask why we're rioting today.
You're trying to start shit huh? actually that could be entertaining.
No. 955808 ID: 015bf2

Approach a disgusted rogue - you're probably more likely to get an answer out of them than the more mopey or irritated ones. Ask why there's a gathering of rogues hanging. Ask if they've seen Luvi.

Tell them that there's a meeting that rogues should attend at the town hall this afternoon at three. Sounded like something was going down that'd be bad for rogues if people don't show up to make a stink about it.
No. 956042 ID: 29dce7
File 158148777896.png - (136.81KB , 800x800 , 227.png )

I approach one of the rogues that looks like he’s been sucking lemons.

“So, why’re we rioting today?” The look he gives says he’s not in the mood for jokes.

>“Apparently, we’re not allowed in to discuss our case until working hours. Even though it’s our fucking livelihoods on the line!” [Anger]


>”They revoked our union license.” [Irritated]

“I see.” He can tell that I don’t see.

>”Union licenses let rogues organize and register as a hive for business purposes. Without it we can’t legally work on any of our contracts. They fucked us out of our jobs, and they don’t even have the balls to face us!”

Every time he yells he turns to the doors.

“Well there’s a town hall this afternoon, maybe you can bring it up there?”

>“You think I have the time to go to a town hall while we’re trying to make sure we can eat tomorrow?”

“Uh…” This got kind of awkward. “Well, have you seen a pink neumono a little shorter than me go into the building?”

>”No, and I’ve been here since it was dark. A couple of aliens went in, that’s it.”
No. 956043 ID: 29dce7
File 158148780102.png - (138.30KB , 800x800 , 228.png )

I try the doors myself just in case to make sure they’re locked and peer through the window. The only person I can see is the pomi at the front desk.

I guess my options are to try and get inside to ask someone if they know where Luvi is or try one of the other places Kark said she might be. Gentle Pastures, the old rogue’s home, or her church her sister is at. I could also take another crack at convincing these rogues behind me to go to the town hall meeting, but I’d need a pretty good argument to convince them. Or at least a bribe or something.
No. 956050 ID: e7c7d3

Maybe try a pied piper routine? Play a calming tune so that the general empathy becomes more reasonable. Maybe then you can talk to people to go to the town hall.
No. 956057 ID: 13059a

They're only gonna have a chance to get heard at the town-hall, since it's clear they're getting stonewalled here for the time being.
No. 956058 ID: 4bea11

That front desk lady looks overwhelmed and trying to figure out where things went wrong already. She probably won't be able to help much, this is something happening further up the totem pole.

For all we know, the meeting at the town hall involves this very issue. Maybe send a message to Kark asking about it? If so, there's a ready crowd of recruits right here.
No. 956070 ID: c2f1f6

Are you all of different union hives, or can one of you stay and get stonewalled while the rest of you go to the town hall?

Then go inside and ask what happened to Luvi.
No. 956147 ID: 29dce7
File 158157026008.png - (160.56KB , 800x800 , 229.png )

>They're only gonna have a chance to get heard at the town-hall, since it's clear they're getting stonewalled here for the time being.
>For all we know, the meeting at the town hall involves this very issue. Maybe send a message to Kark asking about it?
I text Kark asking what’s in it for the rogues who come to the town hall and if there’s anything that could help with union stuff. He texts back instantly and between the cursing he gives about three actual points.

1.You get to yell at Mayor Rollas and Chief Mund to their faces.
2.Engendering solidarity between rogues in order to strengthen future political capital.
3.You can bring up issues affecting you to the local government and theoretically get them resolved but more likely get ignored to your face. Which he implies is an improvement, I think?

He says if union licensing is their issue no one local can do anything about it, because it’s not up to them. I don’t get the specifics but it’s some kind of jurisdiction issue. So, I can’t really tell these guys the town hall will help them specifically. At least not without them knowing I’m lying. I can still try to get them to come, but self-interest might be the wrong tack to take.

> Go inside and ask what happened to Luvi.
How? The doors locked and they have only let the ORS workers go inside. I can get the pomis attention by knocking maybe but I’m not sure what would convince her I’m different from the other rogues out here.

Whether I stay and keep trying to talk to people or not, I have to decide where to go next. Either the church or Gentle Pastures, since I’m pretty sure Luvi isn’t here. I can’t feel her empathy anywhere in the building.
No. 956148 ID: e7c7d3

Try the church. Less chance of running into old people with nothing better to do but waste your time
No. 956150 ID: 48ce40

Church. Possibly more friendly/charitable people around there, so at least you could do a spot of busking?
No. 956176 ID: 1ed92d

Seek the church, maybe there will be helpful missionaries there!
No. 956182 ID: 13059a

>You get to yell at Mayor Rollas and Chief Mund to their faces.
think you can whip up a guitar/vocal power ballad with that as the main theme? should influence peolpe to go to the town hall.
No. 956400 ID: 15a025

Let's go to church.
No. 956661 ID: 470289
File 158205899319.png - (138.01KB , 800x800 , 230.png )

>Think you can whip up a guitar/vocal power ballad
Not on the spot. I can just play a calming tune to break in the guitar and try out this busking thing. Make it so the trip here isn’t all for nothing. A few people might get annoyed at me, but I’m sure enough will like it.
No. 956669 ID: 470289
File 158205936758.gif - (240.45KB , 800x800 , 231-b.gif )

No. 956670 ID: 470289
File 158205938237.png - (119.91KB , 800x800 , 232.png )

No. 956671 ID: 470289
File 158205941693.png - (159.16KB , 800x800 , 233.png )

The next place to look for Luvi is the church where her sister is supposed to be. I guess maybe Luvi’s old hive goes there? Or her parents got unlucky and had two daughters go rogue. Whatever it doesn’t matter.

>”You okay, kid? You feel like you’re about to puke.” [Concern]

I put the guitar back in its case and throw it over my shoulder. I’m heading straight to where my phone says the churches should be. I shouldn’t be wasting time buying guitars and crap.
No. 956672 ID: 470289
File 158205944416.png - (170.15KB , 800x800 , 234.png )

This place is the only church in the last few blocks with a bird on top, so I’m guessing this is it. I feel two- no three neumono inside. None of them are Luvi, but hopefully one of them knows where she is.
No. 956673 ID: 470289
File 158205946952.png - (167.87KB , 800x800 , 235.png )

I find who I expect, plus a heef.

The girl praying seems disturbed and is trembling a little bit. Her empathy reminds me a bit of Gys. Not in personality, but in how wired she feels. She’s totally absorbed into her own little world.

In front is where there’s a woman excitably talking to the heef. She’s almost manic with how hard she’s gesturing, but she’s not threatening or weird, just super passionate about something.

The guy next to them feels serene. I get the sense he’s a placid person and is taking things in. He doesn’t seem to be part of the conversation but is still standing close? At least he indicates empathetically he’s willing to talk to me, unlike the others.
No. 956675 ID: e7c7d3

Approach the serene one and ask if he's seen Luvi lately.
No. 956682 ID: 977456

Eaves were made for dropping.
No. 956684 ID: c2f1f6

So what happened back there?

Talk to the guy who's willing to talk.
No. 956846 ID: 9a21f9


Pay half a mind to what's going on. Anything to distract you from... what happened.
No. 956973 ID: 86eb65

Pray to bird Jesus.
No. 957027 ID: 91ee5f

So what happened? Did you play anything or did you get stage fright and give up without doing anything?

Talk to the person that’s willing to talk.
No. 957104 ID: 15a025

Talk to the one who feels serene. Maybe they know where Luvi's at?
No. 957709 ID: 470289
File 158309939306.png - (158.08KB , 800x800 , 236.png )

>So what happened back there?
I had some trouble breathing for a minute. Things got blurry. I’m fine now.

>Did you play anything or did you get stage fright and give up without doing anything?
I didn’t play anything.

>“I’m sorry Erilet, I know I’m not making sense. I just, I know my purpose now. I haven’t been so focused in decades. It’s amazing.” [Earnest]

>“Congratulations. You’re still not talking to my flock before, during, or after service.” This heefs voice is as grating as the rest of them.

>“But we could help them even better than Erilchacht!”

>“That’s an excellent argument to convince an ordained minister of Erilchacht to allow foreign evangelists steal believers right from under them.”

>“Really?” [Eager]

No. 957710 ID: 470289
File 158309946313.png - (157.99KB , 800x800 , 237.png )

“Excuse me, do you know anyone named Luvi? She’s a really, well, happy pink neumono. Maybe she came here this morning?”

>“I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure. Is she a believer of Erilchacht? My friend Chidi may know her, in that case.”

“I… don’t know?” Is Luvi religious? I didn’t get that impression, but I’ve known her for like a day. “Her sister comes here, I think. I don’t know her name.”

>“Well, we can ask Chidi once she realizes she’s talking to a brick wall.” He chuckles.

We lapse into a silence only I feel is awkward for a minute while the heef and Chidi argue in the background. He keeps focusing on my guitar and the longer we stand here the more obvious it is he wants something from me.

>“Sorry if I’m making you feel uncomfortable,” [Considering how to phrase what he wants] “You’re a musician, correct? Are you good with that guitar?”

“Y-yeah. I mean, I’m decent.” He notices I tripped up on answering but politely ignores it. He believes that I can play at least.

>“We,” He gestures at Chidi. “are having a get-together tonight with some of our friends and I’ve been thinking some musical accompaniment could lift everyone’s spirits. Do you play at parties?” [Hopeful]
No. 957713 ID: e7c7d3

If you think you can get past your stage-fright then say yes and that your rates are low. If not, you can go and try to get past whatever block you have, but for free of course.
No. 957715 ID: 891b91

"No, only Bar Mitzvahs."

Then wonder why you're making a joke that invokes human customs and correct yourself: "Just kidding. I guess I might be available, although I need to find Luvi first." Maybe try to signal via empathy that you need some kind of reason why this would be worth your time and effort.

This is all assuming, of course, that you can manage to do the music thing without choking like you did earlier. Seems like the suppressed trauma you've got going on with your former hive might specifically have something to do with performances in general... I guess you must have royally messed up that performance you gave before you got kicked out.
No. 957716 ID: b1b4f3

Wait, why do you even have stage fright? You've been performing all your life. Have you never performed in front of non-hivemates before?
You better explain your Issues before even thinking of accepting.
No. 957717 ID: 015bf2

>Musician? Party?
Recent experience dictates you say no until you've successfully managed to busk a crowd.

Say it's been a bit since you've played, the guitar's a new purchase and you've realized you need to work through the rust. And you have some stuff that you need to get to terms with and you're not keen on being a downer or - side glance - having to deal with overeager conversion attempts.

Not that you wouldn't mind a side gig, but today's a poor time for it.

>Religion, pendant.
What religious denomination are they? Have a look at their pendants.

>What next?
The minister doesn't know Luvi, so she wasn't here recently and probably doesn't speak directly to the clergy. We can wait for Chidi, but if this goes on for more than a couple minutes, go gently bother the girl with the wired empathy. I mean, I refuse to think there's a neumono, even one who lives in their own world, who wouldn't notice Luvi's presence.

Heck, for all we know it could be Luvi's sister herself.
No. 957762 ID: 977456

Play a little first... to check that the guitar works? Yes, that is a sensible excuse.
No. 957767 ID: 094652

Ask the enthusiast if she joined a 'secret religion' (cult)). Then try to convince her to spread more than just the opening pitch, but whatever secrets she has been told.

Tell the minister you can attend, but he'll owe you one.
No. 959713 ID: 470289
File 158519377556.png - (142.09KB , 800x800 , 238.png )

>Play a little first... to check that the guitar works?
The guitar sounds fine.

>Have you never performed in front of non-hivemates before?
I have.

>You better explain your Issues before even thinking of accepting.
It's none of his business.

> Seems like the suppressed trauma you've got going on with your former hive might specifically have something to do with performances in general... I guess you must have royally messed up that performance you gave before you got kicked out.
It was my magnum opus.

>”Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you?” [Surprised]

Dumb. Stop thinking about the play. Stay in the moment.

“No! I just… only do Bar Mitzvahs!”

>“Ohh… kay?” He doesn’t get the joke. I barely get the joke.

“Sorry, I mean, yes, I do play at parties. And have low rates. But I do need to find my friend first. Today might not be the best time.”

>“Of course. We’re meeting in Ispaati Park after dark. If you do find yourself free, I would love if you could swing by…?”


>”My name’s Krieg.”

“So, you and Chidi are in the same… group?” I’m desperate to keep talking so I don’t have to think about anything.
No. 959714 ID: 470289
File 158519381123.png - (173.10KB , 800x800 , 239.png )

>“We’re Omnists.” [Placating] “And I’m not offended if you are a bit wary. As rogues it’s good to be cautious. But we strive to be a harbor for any lost souls, rogue or not.” As he speaks his necklace catches my eye.

“Is that wood burned?” I ask. “It looks different somehow, do you know how it was made?” He smiles, and I think I’m projecting as normal again.

>“Usually people just comment on the spirals. I think the artist who made mine used an acid process. Design-wise, I wish I could say it represented something like the universality of our beliefs through galaxy iconography, but I think the designer just really liked spirals.”

“Um, is it okay to say that about your religion or whatever? Don’t you have to be respectful about that stuff.”

>“We try to be open about everything in our faith. Neumono are already skeptical about us, no need to encourage it. You see-"
No. 959715 ID: 470289
File 158519385785.png - (168.31KB , 800x800 , 240.png )

>“Are you interested?” Chidi asks as she pushes herself between us. “Omnism is amazing, it’s like, better than having a hive, because you’re important.”

>“Chidi, maybe calm-” [Exasperation]

>“I’m calm! But she needs to know about how much better her life could be!” [Excitement]

>“How about before that you tell her if you know anyone named Luvi who comes here?” Krieg asks her.

>“Never heard of them!”

“She’s really happy, like all the time.” I add and her mood drops.
No. 959716 ID: 470289
File 158519390959.png - (171.92KB , 800x800 , 241.png )

>“Her?” She frowns. [Confused] “Why could you want with that freak?”

>“Chidi.” [Admonishing]

>“Sorry, Krieg. She has just as much value as I do.” She doesn’t seem to believe much in what she says though as she turns back to me. “She doesn’t come by very often. I think she’s one of Erilet Canggu’s charity cases.”
No. 959717 ID: e7c7d3

Alright, and who is Erilet Canggu? And aren't we all charity cases?
No. 959718 ID: 465a14

Why do the arms of the spirals on their pendants keep changing number? It's acid-washed wood, right? Nothing that would change shape from different angles?
No. 959719 ID: b1b4f3

Consider joining. Like get some pamphlets to read. Stay focused on finding Luvi though, ask to talk to Erilet.
No. 959721 ID: c2f1f6

I'm unfamiliar.
No. 959726 ID: 12b116

I think that's the heef cleric, if so let's ask him. If not I guess let's find out who this is. You should think about playing for them, it might be a relaxing atmosphere. Just don't go joining their cult right now
No. 959735 ID: ecd116

ask Chidi & Krieg what their life was like before and after joining the Omnists? also what are others groups/organisations opinion about the omnists beliefs and mission, and opinions about luvi and rouges in general? and if this ok to ask in, do they know that girl on the bench and why is she deeply praying for?, and who was both that one neumono & heef talking and what was that all about?
No. 959739 ID: 015bf2

Erilet seems to be the heef priest. Krieg mentioned their name earlier.

>Charity case
You don't know about that. She seems fairly well off despite being, well, literally all too happy to help others. You're genuinely grateful for her assistance so far.

Either way, there's some politics thing that's going down at Town Hall this afternoon, you're repaying a favor by running an errand to find her. Speaking of which, would they be at all interested in attending? You honestly ain't got much of a clue what it'll be all about, but apparently it's important to rogues so you were encouraged to invite anyone.

After that, thank them for their help, say you'll consider meeting at the Park and try talking to Erilet, since he must be the one who knows about Luvi and whether she's been her today.
No. 959748 ID: 465a14

Erilet is probably a title- Erilchacht, Erilet. Canggu is probably the heef's name- they said they were an ordained minister. Might as well talk to them.
No. 959960 ID: 15a025

Ask who Erilet is?
No. 964974 ID: 470289
File 158863319867.png - (147.61KB , 800x800 , 242.png )

>Why do the arms of the spirals on their pendants keep changing number? It's acid-washed wood, right? Nothing that would change shape from different angles?
It’s an optical illusion. I think each hole is angled so the appearance changes. It’s interesting.

>Erilet is probably a title- Erilchacht, Erilet. Canggu is probably the heef's name- they said they were an ordained minister.
This makes sense.

“The heef?” I ask, just to make sure.

“Yeah. They went in the back once we finished talking.” They? Oh, that girl isn’t in the pews anymore. “They’re probably in the office, red door.”

“Who was that girl on the bench? She seemed pretty into her praying.”

>”Kiki. She spends all day in here when she falls off the wagon, self-castigating. It’s like clockwork.” Chidi answers, [Dismissive]

“Also, I don’t think Luvi is a charity case. She seems pretty well off to me and she’s really helped me out.” Chidi rolls her eyes. “Anyway, before I go can I ask you what your life was like before and after joining?”

>”It was terrible! I was wandering through life like a ghost, filling myself with cheap causes and faiths, trying to become solid again! Depressed and alone all the time! But now I have a purpose and neumono to share it with! Every day we try to share the truth about neumono and all other sentient creatures and explain how we’re all walking Omni’s Journey together!”

“Uh-huh. Do you have any pamphlets or anything?”

>“We have a website.” Krieg pipes up. “Just look up Omnism and you’ll find it.”

“Well, thanks. Oh, there’s a town hall this afternoon. I’m not entirely sure what about but I was told to encourage rogues to attend.”

>”Afternoon? I should be free at least.” Krieg says. “I’d be happy to stop by.” [Sincere]

“Thank you. And I’ll really try to swing by the park later.”
No. 964976 ID: 470289
File 158863326366.png - (140.98KB , 800x800 , 243.png )

The Erilet opens the door and steps out before I even touch it. I think the glaring is just how heefs always look in real life. One wing/hand thing waves me inside.
No. 964978 ID: 470289
File 158863329858.png - (150.72KB , 800x800 , 244.png )

“How do you know Luvi and why are you looking for her?”

>[Focused on me]
No. 964981 ID: 465a14

"I live with her, punkass."
No. 964982 ID: b1b4f3

Why is the text black...?

Tell her she helped you out on your first day as a rogue so she's kindof a friend, and one of her friends asked you to relay a message so you're trying to do that.
No. 964983 ID: b1b4f3

I don't think we should give out that information!
No. 964986 ID: 91ee5f

Isn’t that Luvi in that picture on the desk?


Is there a reason why we shouldn’t mention we’re living with Luvi?
No. 964988 ID: 891b91

Keep it truthful but extremely limited. Say you're familiar with her through her social work and you're trying to follow up with her on it.

Don't mention anything else, such as living with her, what other rogues she associates with, the fact that you're staying at her place, etc. This person is either allied with Luvi somehow and looking to protect her, or she's Luvi's enemy, which means she might be your enemy in some way too.

This might seem extreme, but it seems like Luvi has some... questionable contacts.
No. 964989 ID: 891b91

>Isn’t that Luvi in that picture on the desk?
Could be, but it's hard to be sure at this distance. Even then, a photo on the desk doesn't necessarily mean this is someone to be open with.
No. 965082 ID: 12b116

She's helped us out and we're looking to follow up
No. 965084 ID: 015bf2

Say you’re... well, her charity case, you guess. She offered you a place to stay, and you were in no position to decline. Then, this morning, a rogue acquaintance called Kark came knocking, looking for Luvi. Since you owed him too, and didn’t have anything planned, you got voluntold to go looking. Apparently something will be going down at town hall this afternoon and he wants all the rogues he can gather? Luvi being a sure thing.

Is she really Luvi’s sister?
No. 966015 ID: 470289
File 158907096687.png - (110.38KB , 800x800 , 245.png )

>I don't think we should give out that information!
I’ll start of coy, at least. I can always reveal more info later, but I can’t really take it back.

“She helped me out as a social worker.” I say as I step inside. “I can’t seem to get in contact with her for any follow-up stuff, so I went looking for her.”

The heef glances over at Kiki who just kind of shrugs. “Hmm. And she told you she has a sister here in your capacity as a client?.” I’m not sure how to answer that and not lie, so the glaring and silence stretch out.

Ugh! It’s always hard to read the emotions of aliens but heef are the worst! I can’t tell what it’s thinking! Kiki is just nervous and frazzled, focusing on me insistently in a way that is really rude and she knows it.
No. 966016 ID: 470289
File 158907099756.png - (143.52KB , 800x800 , 246.png )

>Is she really Luvi’s sister?
I hope so, if only so I don’t have to go searching all over again.

I angle myself a bit to get a good look at the photo. I remember that picture from last night. The bigger one, I mean. Luvi had a copy of it on her kitchen table. The smaller one is a different picture of just her and a heef.

I figure there is a decent chance the Erilet is the same heef as in the pictures, but if I say that and I’m wrong this will get a whole lot more awkward real fast. Even worse if there are two different heefs in the picture. And I’m still not totally sure what the heef’s relationship would be to-

>“S-she’s interested in the pi-picture.” Kiki stutters. Her voice is scratchy, like she hasn’t had anything to drink in a while.

“She recognizes it?”

>”I-I think so? Maybe? Em-empathy isn’t really that cl-clear all the-"

“It’s fine Kiki. Thank you.”
No. 966017 ID: 470289
File 158907102923.png - (117.32KB , 800x800 , 247.png )

“Give me your phone. You said you tried to contact Luvi. If Luvi’s number is in it, I will accept you are acquaintances and we can discuss her. If you refuse or it is absent you will leave, immediately.”
No. 966018 ID: b1b4f3

What the fuck was that? That's possibly the worst attempt at holding back information while staying truthful that I've ever seen. You failed after the first sentence.

I don't remember if she gave you her number but you don't have a choice at this point.
At least object to having your privacy invaded like that, when you could just TALK more. You are willing to be more forthcoming since it's clear that Luvi and the Erilet are friends. You were trying to protect her privacy, and you suspect she might have some enemies?
No. 966019 ID: fa2754

Fair enough. Pull up her number yourself and show the screen
No. 966020 ID: 4854ef

This is very threatening.
No. 966031 ID: 15a025

As long as you'll promise not to snoop anywhere else in my phone I'm fine with that.
No. 966032 ID: ed763f

I'm really worried what you think warrants this kind of paranoia, but here.
No. 966033 ID: 9e3bd6

Dont even bother, just leave. Luvi is clearly not here and the sooner we finish our list of places to look, the sooner we can just go back to Luvi's house and hope tomorrow is better.
No. 966061 ID: 015bf2

“Er... okay? Is this the one you have? Another acquaintance trying to get in touch said she wasn’t responding and implied she sometimes forgets keeping her phone charged, so I just went looking directly.”

You should probably have tried sending a message, if you didn’t already. Maybe Kark had the wrong number?

Don’t give him the phone, but hold it up and show him the number. In fact show him your call history from yesterday.

“I saw that picture at her place. She said it was of her old spacer crew. The guy in the back is Rocker, and the Pomi is Panic...a, I think. Those were the only two she mentioned, anyway.”
No. 966616 ID: 470289
File 158948423632.png - (120.91KB , 800x800 , 248.png )

> What the fuck was that? That's possibly the worst attempt at holding back information while staying truthful that I've ever seen. You failed after the first sentence.
I tried my best!

“I’ll show it to you but I’m not going to just hand it over.” I pull my phone out and flick up my recent calls, turning the screen to him. “Why are you being so paranoid?”

“Hex.” He answers like that explains anything. After satisfying that Luvi’s number is in my phone and I called her recently he glances at Kiki behind me again and whatever reaction she gives satisfies him. “You can put your phone away. I’m convinced you’re here for honest reasons. Where did you recognize the picture from? And your name?”

“Mac. I saw that picture at her place. She said it was of her old spacer crew. The guy in the back is Rocker, and the pomi is Panic...a, I think. Those were the only two she mentioned, anyway.”
No. 966620 ID: 470289
File 158948436811.png - (144.93KB , 800x800 , 249.png )

“Kiki, you can go.” Kiki lets off a wave of relief and hurries back toward the door as the heef pulls out his phone.

“Wait, no! I still need to talk to her.”


“I need Luvi’s sister to tell me where to find her!”

“I’m Luvi’s sister. Canggu.”
No. 966621 ID: 470289
File 158948439844.png - (88.28KB , 800x800 , 250.png )

“But you’re a-?” I bite my tongue.
No. 966622 ID: 470289
File 158948442113.png - (111.33KB , 800x800 , 251.png )

“I’m a what?”
No. 966623 ID: fa2754

"Sorry, made a bad assumption."

Pass the message along.
No. 966625 ID: 015bf2

... adopted?
No. 966626 ID: 12b116

I question the biological plausibility of this relationship. How are a Heef and a neumono sisters?
No. 966629 ID: 1ed92d

Apologize, say you thought she meant biologically.
No. 966631 ID: e2f5cc

But you're a heef. How does that work biologically? Unless we're talking metaphorical sisters in which case what you are doesn't matter.
No. 966636 ID: 86eb65

Sorry I made assumptions.
No. 966638 ID: 89ae2b

This sounds like the best course of action.
No. 966647 ID: 094652

"Good question. From what I've heard, Luvi's hive was a sack of griefers."
No. 966737 ID: 365ffb


There's no way to talk your way out of this with someone acting this way. Just say you thought she meant biological and try not to make this into a big deal.

If somehow they're biological siblings and they're still mad at you for making assumptions, that's not on you.
No. 966740 ID: 36784c

You should at least explain why you’re looking for Luvi.

A rogue named Kark said that there’s a town hall this afternoon and we need as many rogues as we can get to come. He also said that Luvi is one of our few sure things and wanted us to go find her and get her to the town hall by three.
No. 966751 ID: 015bf2

He didn’t say no to aliens attending either, though getting rogues were clearly the priority.
No. 966769 ID: 5b0071

"You're a lot different then I assumed."
Luvi's a rogue, too. If she has any blood relatives they've cast her out. Luvi's made her own family, even if it's no hive. As odd as she is, she's setting a pretty good example here. Whatever future community you become a part of, doesn't have to be exclusively neumono.
No. 966849 ID: 15a025

Yeah, agreeing on that here. We should probably explain why we're looking for her now.
No. 966889 ID: 764aca

No. 967386 ID: 470289
File 159008271289.png - (137.68KB , 800x800 , 252.png )

“Sorry, that was a bad assumption. I thought you meant like, biologically. Were you… adopted by Luvi’s old hive or…?”

“I don’t know them. We met after she got kicked out.” Canggu keeps messing with her phone, eyes glued to it. “You still haven’t actually answered why you’re looking for her.”

“Oh! A rogue named Kark said that there’s a town hall this afternoon and we need as many rogues as we can get to come. He also said that Luvi is one of our few sure things and wanted me to go find her and get her to the town hall by three. You could come if you want, I’m pretty sure it’s open to everyone.”

“Sounds like a great way to waste my time.” She puts her phone up to her… earholes? I hear a sharp screech come from the phone for a second before a gruff voice answers, but I can’t make out its words.
No. 967387 ID: 470289
File 159008272910.png - (110.62KB , 800x800 , 253.png )

“I couldn’t reach Luvi so she must be at your house. I’m calling to confirm.”

“There’s a girl here who wants to find her, so I’m sending her over. Is the entrance still mined?”

“Fine, I’ll just send her to you and you can take her down.”

“Don’t trap your shitty bunker and I wouldn’t have to.”


“She’s green, in a collared shirt, and has a black guitar case on her back. Name’s Mac. She seems to be one of Luvi’s friends so don’t fuck with her.” The voice on the other end starts saying something but Canggu ends the call and puts the phone back into her robes.
No. 967388 ID: 470289
File 159008277979.png - (118.96KB , 800x800 , 254.png )

“Rocker is at Demoiselle, five blocks east of here. You should hurry up and catch him or he’ll leave without you and you’ll have to wait until Luvi comes back herself, which could be all day.” She says.
No. 967389 ID: fa2754

Don't press your luck too much further here. Say thank you. You don't need to say anything about how this group seems rough and tumble.
No. 967390 ID: 86eb65

Thank you.

Get over there quick and find this friend.
No. 967391 ID: ed763f

d...did you say 'mined'?

I'll just go. Thanks.
No. 967393 ID: 015bf2

Thank her and get heefin', er, hoofin'. A light jog, don't do anything that jeopardizes the guitar.

>meeting Rocker, the frazzled gun (and demolition?) nutmono
Man, you're making a lot of strange acquaintances thanks to Luvi. But more acquaintances is a good thing, at least if Kark's jerk circle theory is correct. Run with it. Hopefully this won't be a wild goose chase. Probably isn't. Luvi's friends would know where she'd be.

Hopefully Rocker won't be that bad if you treat him with... something approaching the same kind of blasé disregard Luvi has for his tendencies. And let him perform a full body search or whatever else calms a rampant sense of paranoia.
No. 967415 ID: 1ed92d

Thank them politely and leave. Time to go meet the psycho who stashes guns everywhere!
No. 967418 ID: 103eae

Tell them to call back damn it! We need to show him that the guitar case has a guitar and not a fucking tommy gun in it, given how paranoid the guy seems.
No. 967657 ID: 15a025

Best get going then and ask any questions you have to "Rocker" when you meet him.
No. 968197 ID: 470289
File 159061777092.png - (114.84KB , 800x800 , 255.png )

“D… did you say ‘mined’?”

“Yes, which is why I’m sending you to that asshole instead of straight to Luvi.” She seems entirely unconcerned about this.

“If he’s that paranoid maybe you should call him back and tell him I don’t have like, a rifle in my case.” I’m not sure if I’m trying to make a joke or if this is an actual concern.

“He’s not paranoid. He just likes to kill people.” She pauses. “Well, he liked to kill neumono. He barely cared about the rest of us.”

I don’t have anything to say to that. After I’ve stared at her for almost a minute she shrugs.

“It’s fine, he hasn’t killed anyone in years. You’ll probably live even if you do pull a rifle on him.” Was that sarcasm? What’s wrong with this bird?

“Uh, thank you. I’m going now.” I’m walking straight out of this church.

“Tell Luvi I said hi.”
No. 968198 ID: 470289
File 159061780954.png - (118.94KB , 800x800 , 256.png )

I almost walk right by this building but my phone beeps and tells me I’ve arrived, even though the sign in front of Kaulo’s… ugh. That explains why I can’t feel anyone’s empathy from inside. My phone must be reading the map wrong or something. This is probably a common problem for them, so it’ll be faster if I just pop in and get directions to the right place inside.
No. 968199 ID: 470289
File 159061785744.png - (164.12KB , 800x800 , 257.png )

The lobby looks like a normal apartment lobby with a few more chairs and stuff, and I guess is relaxed atmosphere, though it’s hard to tell. There’s a couple of people waiting in the lobby and a young guy behind the desk I walk straight up to. I do not want to be stuck here any longer than I must.

“Hi, can I get directions to Demoiselle?”

>“This is it. Our boys are booked up now, but if you’re fine with a girl we have a few choices-” He notices the distressed look on my face. “Uh… are you alright?”

“I’m fine, just… I’m not here for that. I’m looking for Rocker, is he still here?” I almost hope I missed him, I think I can go my whole life without meeting the maniac.

>“Mr. Rocker went up a while ago, but thinking about it his time should probably be up now? He could be dressing or something. Unless you’re in a hurry and want to go up to the room really quick you can wait for him down here.”

I’m surprised he seems willing to just let me go up talk to a customer after walking in from the street.
No. 968201 ID: 465a14

Well, this is weird as hell. Let's do this and get it over with. Worst case Rocker tries to kill you.
No. 968202 ID: 12b116

Yes this is very weird. Let's just wait here, what's on that monitor?
No. 968205 ID: b1b4f3

The receptionist is probably good at reading your empathy to know your intentions. Just wait out here.
No. 968216 ID: e7c7d3

Ask why this place has two names. Otherwise, just wait here patiently
No. 968235 ID: 567477

Wait. Maybe they'll let you play some tunes. Got to keep that practice up, and better than just sitting and stewing.
No. 968259 ID: d186fc

Whole place seems like some sort of trap, although I doubt it is for you. Run up and find the guy before they leave through a different exit.
No. 968262 ID: 015bf2

It is strange that he'd just let her walk in, but perhaps that's less strange and more a service they provide. A walk-in service, as it were! Might even have to pay for it, heh. Doubt this is a kidnapping ring or whatnot. If so she'd just been told to 'oh yes, go in, 'Rocker' will meet you in room X' without being given the option to wait and been none the wiser.

Anyway, thank the receptionist. Mention that you weren't told much of this place, so you presumed something just now, and well, you learned recently that perhaps you should presume less and ask more. What service do they provide and what's the going rate?

(brace for sales pitch)

This. Stay in the lobby. No need to rock the boat or accidentally stumble into, uhhh, what we suspect could be going on here. Besides, you could chat up one of the other waiting neumonos and try another recruitment spiel for this afternoon's town hall.

Could break the ice with whichever one looks the most bored.
No. 968565 ID: 15a025

I'd say just wait down here. Probably best to just wait for him.
No. 973727 ID: 470289
File 159647700923.png - (138.88KB , 800x800 , 258.png )

>What's on that monitor?
Just the news.

>The receptionist is probably good at reading your empathy to know your intentions.
There’s a jammer on.
>Maybe they'll let you play some tunes.
They have that monotonous lobby music playing, so I don’t think so.

>What service do they provide and what's the going rate?
I don’t need to know the going rate because I will never ever use it.

“What’s with the different names?”

>“Well, Queen Kaulo wanted to rename it after she queened so we… did?”

“Oh, uh… good?” Queened?

>“Thanks! I really lucked out.” He sounds pleased.

“And your hive just… does it with anyone who comes in?”

>“Um… you have to pay us first, before we have sex with you? I mean, I guess you don’t have to have sex in the rooms but it’s kind of expected. Are you sure you don’t want to meet who we have available? Or just flip through our book of guys while you wait?”

“No!” I may have said that too harshly. “Anyway, thanks for the information. I’ll just wait down here.”

>”Alright. I’ll be here if you change your mind.”
No. 973728 ID: 470289
File 159647702849.png - (197.83KB , 800x800 , 259.png )

I walk around the corner to sit down to wait for a little bit. I don’t have a neighbor to strike up a conversation with, but I’m not sure I’d want to chat with the type of people who would come in here. Doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t take too long for Rocker to come out.
No. 973730 ID: 470289
File 159647713675.png - (232.58KB , 800x800 , 260.png )

I pass the time by looking up the website that Krieg mentioned. I skip examining the front page too closely and click the F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions What is Omnism? The belief that all sentient beings were seeded into the universe for the purpose of experiencing all of creation, and the geas of an Omnist is to both have and spread novel experiences throughout the galaxy for the ultimate good of all sentient races. Omnists call this ultimate good Omni. What is Omni? Omni is the intelligence of the universe. The sum of all sentient life, we are all part of Omni, and through it, part of each other. A singular whole made up of many individuals, and a whole that is trillions upon trillions discrete experiences. Understanding this dichotomy is the first step to answering ‘What is Omni?’. What do Omnists Do? Experience Life! We encourage each parish to focus heavily on community works and outings, as well as community engagement to improve the lives of all our brothers and sisters in this great universe. Any kind of lifestyle and profession can be supported through the Omnist faith, as new and novel experiences can be around any corner! Why are only rogues Omnists? Not only rogues are Omnists! Every sentient being is equal in their ability to experience, and therefore all sentient beings are equal in the omnist faith. Any race and species can join, and all are encouraged to. Rogue Neumono do make up a great portion of the omnist congregation as many find our answers about their place in the cosmic tapestry appealing. But we encourage every potential convert to treat Omnism with due skepticism, as many organizations do prey on rogue tendencies, and we vehemently condemn those practices. How are Omnists organized? Each Omnist parish is free to self-organize, but all are encouraged to eschew rigid hierarchies in pursuit of more novel ways to manage their congregations. Stance on other religions? It is completely possible to be both an Omnist and a member of another religion. Many of our members are also panpatheists, for example. No fundamental tenet of Omnism causes conflict with any other religious faith.

Jeez, there’s so many answers. I can feel my eyelids drooping as I go through it.
No. 973731 ID: 470289
File 159647717056.png - (215.89KB , 800x800 , 261.png )

No. 973732 ID: 470289
File 159647718895.png - (205.61KB , 800x800 , 262.png )

No. 973733 ID: 470289
File 159647721003.png - (127.71KB , 800x800 , 263.png )

No. 973734 ID: 470289
File 159647722501.png - (188.19KB , 800x800 , 264.png )

Rocker is uh… pretty big.
No. 973735 ID: 465a14

Good thing you aren't looking at his dong. Explain the situation to him, Luvi blah blah blah town meeting and so on.
No. 973736 ID: 1e3468

Pat his tummy to show you have no fear
No. 973739 ID: 86eb65

Wave at him.
No. 973749 ID: 101a45

And don't speak too loud. They probably want discretion.
No. 973769 ID: 45acae

"You're pretty big."
No. 973770 ID: 977456

Normally, the correct course in such situations is to vomit upon the transgressor. Sadly, that would require having eaten anything. Set the chair right and sit back down.
No. 973805 ID: 5b0071

Looks like you're in store for some Novel Experiences no matter what.
No. 973807 ID: 8fab7a


Also... wait, what? Was Rocker a teen or kneeling in that picture?

... IS this Rocker?

Well... whoever he is he's hunky. And annoyed. Glance at the watch on the wall. If this does look like Rocker, go with the obvious assumption.

"... aand you expected me to come to you, didn't you."


"I'm sorry, but... I didn't want to interrupt anything? I just need to get in touch with Luvi."

If it's NOT Rocker, he's probably flown the coop and you missed him and whoever this is is... someone else. Maybe a bouncer for the club? In that case, be intimidated. Verrrry intimidated.

"What... can I do for you?"
No. 973899 ID: fa2754

Wow, you just met and he's already got you on the floor. New record?
No. 973938 ID: ce39da

> There's a jammer on.
> "Thanks! I really lucked out." [Pleased]
> [P l e a s e d]
Jazz music stops.

"Yo. Are you Rocker, Luvi's sister?"
No. 973946 ID: 470289

No. 974230 ID: 3904ad

Pick up your phone, guitar, and sleepy self. Does this guy look like Rocker from that old photo to you? Ask what this guy's name is and if you think he is Rocker, thank him for not leaving without you. Shoot a quick glance over at the receptionist when you ask his name to see if he's maybe lying. You can tell empathy from facial expressions and body language even if there is a jammer on.
No. 974560 ID: 15a025

Looks like he sure rocked you out of that nap there.
No. 974922 ID: 4c882c

"you're a big guy..."
No. 974954 ID: fd5772

"what do they feed you?"
No. 974974 ID: 9c6850

"Jeez, you're a big, mean-lookin' cunt!"
No. 975001 ID: 470289
File 159829488084.png - (151.96KB , 800x800 , 265.png )

>Good thing you aren't looking at his dong.

>Pat his tummy to show you have no fear.
That’ll just tell him he freaked me out through empathy.

> Does this guy look like Rocker from that old photo to you?
Yeah, it’s him as far as I can tell. He’s paler red than he was in the photo though. Maybe he’s getting old?

“Big...” I clam up before I say anything else and start scrambling to my feet. “I mean, hi. I’m Mac. Are you Rock-”

He’s already walking off. I grab my guitar and fix the chair as quick as I can to follow. I shoot a glance to the receptionist, but besides looking a surprised he doesn’t seem eager to intervene.
No. 975002 ID: 470289
File 159829493387.png - (202.03KB , 800x800 , 266.png )

He doesn’t look like he’s walking fast but he has longer strides than I do so I have to scurry a bit to keep up. As soon as I’m out the jammer bubble and can feel his empathy I can tell he’s a tightly wound guy. But also he seems really unconcerned? It’s weird, he’s paying attention to everything but seems to think it’s all beneath him at the same time. He doesn’t even care if I’m following him.

"I'm sorry, I hope I interrupt anything?” I call out since he won’t let me catch up. There’s a Fat chance I did since he made me wait so long, but I doubt bringing that up will get anywhere with this guy. “I just need to get in touch with Luvi. There’s a town meeting going on later and…"

Yeah, he’s not listening at all.
No. 975003 ID: 470289
File 159829499343.png - (279.64KB , 800x800 , 267.png )

He turns a corner into an alley and by the time I catch up he’s opened… I think it’s some kind of fake door? The wood all looks a lot newer than the brick building that’s covered in graffiti. The inside is dark and it smells musty.
No. 975004 ID: 470289
File 159829506439.png - (208.73KB , 800x800 , 268.png )

I follow him inside and he turns on a small light before hopping on a rope inside a smaller room- no, it’s like an elevator shaft, I think.

“Close the fucking door.”
No. 975005 ID: 470289
File 159829509609.png - (207.54KB , 800x1200 , 269.png )

I do and Rocker starts sliding down suddenly.

“Wait! This can’t be safe! How am I supposed to get down?” He jerks to a stop and looks up at me.

“Since you’re a pussy, go ask those kids about the safe way down.” [Contempt]
No. 975006 ID: 470289
File 159829515521.png - (186.30KB , 800x1200 , 270.png )

Rocker slides down again and gets swallowed up in the darkness. I check out the shaft. That ladder is missing a few rungs but it doesn’t look too rickety. The rope has to be sturdy too if it can hold Rocker. But I don’t know if I have the upper body strength to climb all the way down on the rope. I haven’t been super active recently and I can’t even see the bottom. It just gets darker and darker and-

Rocker’s empathy disappeared! How deep is this? He’s not going to wait for me. If I don’t follow him down this shaft I don’t know how I’ll keep up. And what did he mean by asking kids for the safe way?
No. 975007 ID: e2f5cc

yeah how about no. going into a rape cave isn't worth it.
No. 975008 ID: 50af53

It may be this deep for the purposes of avoiding prying empathy.

Welp, time to suck up your fear and show pride in being a civilian member of the most durable species in known space. Down the hole.
No. 975009 ID: 86eb65

Don't climb down slide down. Nice and smooth.
No. 975010 ID: c01988

Wrap some fabric around the rope to protect your hands, and slide down.
No. 975012 ID: 094652

you don't have climbing equipment. I would recommend using climbing equipment on the rope while taking the semi-safe route down the broken ladder, but you'll just have to bail for now.
No. 975013 ID: 465a14

Remove pants to prevent further cameltoe.
No. 975014 ID: 36784c

>Rocker’s empathy disappeared! How deep is this?
You sure his empathy disappeared because it’s deep and not because there might be a jammer down there?

>What do?
You’re going to have to follow him if you don’t want to lose him.
No. 975015 ID: b1b4f3

You shouldn't be thinking of how to get down. You should be thinking of how to get back up again. If you can't climb down you won't be climbing back up, that's for sure. That said, there is apparently a safe way down, which implies there's a safe way up.

I say go outside and look around for any kids nearby, ask what the safe way is. Not because of you, but because of your guitar. If you fall, it will break before you do.
No. 975024 ID: 8fab7a

>Lost his empathy
If it was very sudden could there be a jammer down there and it's not that far actually?

If there's a safe way up, it's probably easier to find that way from down there. Mac's cred with street kids is... not great, so she may just want to take the plunge rather than risk getting extra mugged. Or losing Rocker, who's just gonna forge ahead. We don't know how much further there is to go or she could get lost down there.

As for climbing back up, she could use the ladder to make pitstops for resting. Could do that for the way down, too, or to steady herself if she doesn't trust her ability to use the rope entirely. But if she just wraps the rope around her hands and abseils down by walking on the wall it shouldn't take that much arm strength. Rope burn might be an issue, but... Mac's a Neumono. Surely she can deal with a bit of pain?

Hm. One more thing. Could leave the guitar up here, behind the false door (remember to close it!). Bit of a risk, but it was bought on cheap and it'd probably be safer here than making the way down clunkier. Check your phone, tag this location so you remember where it's at.

Heck, could check the map and see what this place is actually supposed to be.
No. 975025 ID: 831d71

Protect your new instrument, that was a very significant investment. I'd go for the ladder so long as you take it slow enough, you're pretty small so you shouldn't break anything that's not already broken. You might have to slide down the straights a little at some points but better than sliding down the cable. Think of how pinchy the strands will be on your fur, the way they coil around each other! Take the ladder and keep the cable in mind as a backup in case you feel like it's gonna fall.
No. 975079 ID: 365ffb

Grab the rope, then use the ladder. It'll help if you have a safety net of both.
No. 975080 ID: b1b4f3

Hmm yeah that could work.
No. 975196 ID: 5b0071

You're a neumono. a little rope burn won't kill you
No. 975207 ID: 977456

Some of the backstage monkeys must have played around with rope climbing. There are techniques to help, like trapping the rope side-ways between your feet and such. Others have pointed out that the ladder can be a secure foot-hold to lean against when you need a break. Just plan carefully, do a half-minute of rehearsals, and don't think about just how little reason you have to follow a terrifying uncaring giant down into a dark, hidden place where, hypothetically, nobody would ever find a body.
No. 975300 ID: a0dfd2


Inch-worm it, using your hands and feet together in an alternating set of slides and anchors. It'll be slow going and really, really strenuous, but you'll get there.
No. 975312 ID: 3904ad

Remember that this building said Block44 on it where you came in. That might be significant later. A subway line might also pass nearby underground, since you passed an entrance to one while walking.

If you look around for the stairs, it may take you too long to get down there and you could lose track of Rocker. Your guitar is probably fine where it is strapped on you right now but tighten the strap so it doesn't swing off your back. Briefly shine your phone's light down to see if the ladder goes down significantly and then stow that phone well. Take the ladder if you can and the rope if you can't do that.

I think Rocker is testing you. Maybe he wants to see how far you are willing to push yourself. Show him that his contempt was misplaced, but be smart about it. Show him some [determination].
No. 975745 ID: 15a025

Just slide down, and hope you don't get rope burn.
No. 975875 ID: 470289
File 159958627032.png - (130.23KB , 800x800 , 271.png )

>You sure his empathy disappeared because it’s deep and not because there might be a jammer down there?
If it was a jammer it would be a pretty big coincidence that he just happened to disappear at the edge of my empathy range. This hole must be super deep. And that means falling would be…

>Heck, could check the map and see what this place is actually supposed to be.
I think this building is just some property up for sale, as far as I can tell from looking it up. It looked abandoned from the outside.

>Don't think about just how little reason you have to follow a terrifying uncaring giant down into a dark, hidden place where, hypothetically, nobody would ever find a body.
Well I wasn’t thinking about that.

>Remember that this building said Block44 on it where you came in. That might be significant later.
The graffiti? I doubt it means anything.

A quick check with my phone light confirms that its way too deep for me to see anywhere past like, one story. While I’m inspecting the shaft I notice the rope goes slack again. It hasn’t been too long, but Rocker must have reached the bottom. I wonder how fast he was sliding down.

>Leave the guitar up here, behind the false door
I’m not going to let this out of my sight until I’m back at Luvi’s place. I just make sure to tighten the strap on my back so it won’t shift around while I’m climbing down.

I’d prefer to use the rope, but I’m concerned about holding on all the way to the bottom and things like rope burn if I try sliding down, though my fur would probably stop most of it? I’ll wrap the rope loosely around my waist as a makeshift safety rope while I go down the ladder. It’ll be loose so I climb down and not have it impede me, but with it that near my hands I should hopefully should have the time to grab it if I slip and keep myself from splatting on the bottom.
No. 975876 ID: 470289
File 159958630543.png - (155.18KB , 800x1200 , 272.png )

I climb down the ladder, trying to balance being careful and fast. I can’t let Rocker get too far ahead. My guitar isn’t heavy, but I start feeling its weight a bit as I get further from the light of the room above.

My eyes start adjusting but there is just not that much light down here, and I don’t want to take out my phone in case I drop it. I pass more doorways every so often. Some are broken open and filled with dirt and rocks, and others are closed with more graffiti on or near them, these ones done in luminescent paint. Sometimes there are sounds or vibrations coming from behind them, or a dull thumping.

Neumono from above start slipping away from me and I begin to feel a few neumono below me. And after a little while longer I’m below even those neumono and more pop up within my range. There’s definitely people down here. More than I would have guessed, though it’s not like I ever thought about underground neumono before. Maybe my body would be found.
No. 975877 ID: 470289
File 159958633408.png - (151.64KB , 800x800 , 273.png )

I feel someone almost directly below me, and I think they’re waiting for me. After a few more minutes I see some light shining from below.
No. 975879 ID: 470289
File 159958637849.png - (348.11KB , 1200x800 , 274.png )

It’s a lot more awkward than I like to unwrap the rope and slide the last few feet to the mattress on the floor since the ladder cuts off while still in the shaft. I very much try to ignore the gun this lady is casually holding.

>“Anyone else I don’t know coming down? Yes or no. You don’t answer, you can scramble right back up.”

“It’s just me.” She snarls at that answer for some reason.

>“’It’s just me, sir.’ I’m an SPC, and I ain’t gonna take lip from a little shit-snot like you.”

“S-sorry?” There’s a tinge of irritation and I hastily add a ‘sir’ to that.

>“Why’d you come down here?”

“I just- I’m with Rocker, I just want to catch up with him. Sir.”

>“Rocker didn’t say shit about any plus one’s, so you’re sitting pretty right here until I clear you for Block 44. What’s your name, job, and age? Do you live up or down? You a milksop or did you serve? Why-”

She just keeps rattling off questions without even leaving me time to answer. She’s just wasting my time! I can feel Rocker again, and he’s moving away from me again. I can also feel someone heading toward us, but I can’t tell if that’s going to be a good thing or if it’ll just be another person to yell at me. I need to get past her.
No. 975880 ID: 465a14

Nah fuck this. Rocker and whoever this bitch is can go fuck themselves, it's kind of unfortunate with Luvi and so on but you've got other stuff to do. Climb back out.
No. 975882 ID: 8fab7a

Well, whatever you do, do not try to push your way past the armed irate neumono.


Snap to attention like you're in a military comedy skit and just start yelling the answers to the first few questions you remember.

"Mac, sir! I'm between jobs, sir! My age is 'too damn young', sir! I live up, sir, but like I'm down, sir! I'm a massive milksop, sir!"

Then midway through, switch gear to talk about you stuff.

"I'm on a simple errand, sir! I have no idea what this place is, sir! I just need to deliver a message from K to L, sir! My only escort through this place is leaving me behind, sir! On account of me being a wet blanket, sir!"

Pause. See if that stopped their rant.

"Rocker was supposed to take me to Luvi, I have a message from Kark. Rocker does not like me? I think. Sir."
No. 975883 ID: a0dfd2


Sweet heck, you're just here to see Luvi, since she's like, your former case-worker and went AWOL on you or something! Gosh.
No. 975884 ID: b1b4f3

Rocker isn't important.
Tell her you're looking for Luvi.
No. 975887 ID: 094652

Another self-important grunt. Just stand there and wait for them to make a mistake, then knock them out.
No. 976765 ID: 15a025

I'm just down here trying to find Luvi
No. 976770 ID: 36784c

Use your empathy to express how honest you are. Tell her that there’s a town hall meeting and Kark wanted you to find Luvi to get her to the meeting.
No. 976775 ID: 3904ad

I think you stumbled into a veteran's organization or a local militia's base. Tell the specialist that you are a civilian who was sent by Kark to get Luvi (and anyone else who is willing to) to attend the town hall meeting before 3-o-clock. The way Kark put things made the meeting seem like a pretty big deal, so show some [urgency] while you respectfully deliver the message. Make sure to tell her where the meeting is being held. Mention that you are currently a guest at Luvi's apartment and you're looking for employment opportunities.

Don't step off that mattress unless she tells you to and show respect.

There's a bunch of boxes stacked behind you that probably contain some sort of supplies. That and the rifle suggest that Block 44 at least has some resources. Maybe that means they have a little power/influence in the community and there will actually be a benefit from some of them being at the meeting.

Remember that Kark will owe you a favor if you get at least five people to show up. On top of that, if you get on the good side of Block 44, maybe they would be willing to offer you some sort of employment.
No. 976839 ID: 864e49

Urge to just say fuck it and leave rising.
Neither Kark nor the thing at town hall that you still know nothing about is worth all this shit.
No. 978604 ID: 470289
File 160273913229.png - (191.05KB , 800x800 , 275.png )

>Just stand there and wait for them to make a mistake, then knock them out.
She subtly shifts the shotgun and I decide to not do that.

>Nah fuck this. Rocker and whoever this bitch is can go fuck themselves, it's kind of unfortunate with Luvi and so on but you've got other stuff to do. Climb back out.
I’m so close to Luvi though. Besides, I think I know how to get past this lady.

I give my best salute, dredging up memories from boot camp last year, and channel the ‘military’ impression I learned to give there. A mix of deference, respect, and slight fear usually kept the drill instructors from yelling at me too much.

"Mac, sir!” I yell, interrupting her. I just barrel through her glare. “I'm between jobs, sir! My age is 'too damn young', sir! I live up, sir, but like I'm down, sir! I'm a massive milksop, sir!" She’s a bit surprised, and I think I sense some pleasure? Maybe at being taken ‘seriously’. Better to not think about it too much and get past her as quick as I can.

"I'm on a simple errand, sir! I have no idea what this place is, sir! I just need to deliver a message from K to L, sir! My only escort through this place is leaving me behind, sir! On account of me being a wet blanket, sir!"

>”Huh. Well… good. You’re not lying, at least.” She looks a bit awkward but swings the shotgun further away from my chest, so I think this is going well.

"Rocker was supposed to take me to Luvi. I have a message for her, but Rocker doesn’t like me and left me behind. Sir."

>”I don’t know any luvies. But Rocker didn’t break your leg so you couldn’t follow him, so he likes you just fine.” [Annoyance at someone else.] “You’re just passing through then. In and out? No loitering?”

“Yes, sir.” I keep my back so straight I think I squeeze out an extra inch of height.
No. 978605 ID: 470289
File 160273916530.png - (162.36KB , 800x800 , 276.png )

She throws a thumb towards the door and I scramble through it with a quick call of thanks, almost bumping into the guy coming towards us. He makes eye contact with the shotgun lady and a lot passes between them empathetically, and she starts radiating some light embarrassment.

>”Well, I guess I wasn’t needed as badly as I assumed.” The new guy says. “You can relax kid; the gun wasn’t loaded. Ranch ain’t allowed loaded weapons on duty ever since she had her ‘accident’.” I feel a wave of shame come from Ranch. “Still, you ain’t exactly our clientele I’m guessing, so I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“I want to! I’m just following Rocker.” The guy frowns.

>“Asshole. He knows better to bring a plus once and then leave them alone.” He sighs. “I’ll escort you out. Better for you not to wander around looking for an exit anyway. Ranch, stop having such a stick in your ass.”

>“Y-yes, sir.” Ranch’s whole demeanor changed to submissive once this guy was in view, like all her previous aggression drained out.

I don’t have much time to waste if I want to keep Rocker in range and I don’t feel like sticking around here much anyway so I follow the guy when he starts walking back.
No. 978606 ID: 470289
File 160273921529.png - (227.27KB , 800x800 , 277.png )

This place is decently filled with neumono, though it’s not packed. They all give me a side-eye until I pass by them. Strangers aren’t particularly welcome. Everyone is keeping to themselves and having quiet conversations or drinking. Except for one guy who is drunk and yelling about Ultraqueens. Everyone has decided unanimously to ignore him, except for the poor sap he caught in the conversation. The general empathy reminds me a bit of how my older hive members felt when they were reminiscing about the war.

“Is this place some kind of veteran’s organization?”

>”We’re just a club.”

“A club that’s… hiring?” It’s a longshot but I might as well ask.

>“Can you take a punch? No? Then we ain’t.”

“Oh. Well, uh, would anyone down here be interested in going to a town hall uh, up above? There’s one at three today.” He stops walking.

>“I thought that was next week? They rescheduled?”


>”Huh. Thanks for the warning kid, I was planning on going. What’s your name?”


>”Ulix.” He starts walking again.

That’s at least three people going, and there’s still hours before the meeting. I may be able to get to five after all!
No. 978607 ID: 470289
File 160273927303.png - (190.57KB , 800x800 , 278.png )

He leads me outside, or I guess out of the club. This place is way too claustrophobic to ever be considered ‘outside’. I start heading in the direction I feel Rocker’s empathy coming from. It’s like I’m in some mix of a weird, dank cave and the streets up above. There’s twists and turns all over the place and I’m out of sight of the club almost immediately.
No. 978608 ID: 470289
File 160273930234.png - (165.33KB , 800x800 , 279.png )

The air is a lot staler out of the club and everything smells a little like wet dirt. It’s a bit cool and kinda cramped too. There’s a lot of little… kiosks I guess, carved directly out of rock, as opposed to the club which seemed to actually have been built out of metal. People wander around trading and sometimes ducking into doors that I think lead to bigger areas like Block 44. It’s a lot less busy than up above, but I can’t believe there’s just… so many people living down here? I had no idea this place existed. I wonder how big it is. Just beneath the roguetown, or across all of Queenwood.
No. 978609 ID: 470289
File 160273933786.png - (216.28KB , 800x800 , 280.png )

If we were up above I think I could keep up with Rocker pretty easily, but everything down here is tunnel after tunnel. It’s like a sek hill. Lots of crisscrossing tunnels and radiating lines. I know where he is but getting there is a chore. I need to ask directions a few times and he slips out of range once or twice, and I’m lucky to catch wind of him again. It’s dawning on me that if I do lose Rocker I’m going to be completely lost down here. There is no way I can find my way back to the shaft at this point.
No. 978610 ID: 470289
File 160273935990.png - (156.58KB , 800x800 , 281.png )

The deeper I go the less dense the traffic gets, and the more neumono slip out of my range. I’ve seen aliens down here and even glimpses of some kids scurrying places, but nearly everyone I come by seems to want to be left alone. Plus, I still haven’t gotten a glimpse of Rocker, even though he feels close to me now. I’m still on his trail, going down tunnels that seem older and abandoned, but-

No. 978611 ID: 465a14

Say hi to your girlfriend and ask why Rocker brought you here.
No. 978615 ID: b1b4f3

Target detected. Engage seek mode.
No. 978616 ID: 8fab7a

Houston, we have contact. Brace for elation.

[Yes! Where?]
No. 978618 ID: fa2754

Oh thank fuck. We can almost be done with this place. I think after this little trip, you can afford to give her a hug.
No. 978631 ID: 868050

Luvi? How the fuck did you not notice her before now? Well in any case mission accomplished. Thank Rocker if you can from this range, then turn your attention to Luvi so he can get back to...whatever it is he does.
No. 979457 ID: 15a025

Bet you're glad to feel her empathy now. Start heading towards it.
No. 979474 ID: a0dfd2


I can't believe Mac is dead.

(yes, this is a shitpost, please ignore)
No. 979770 ID: 470289
File 160384150718.png - (150.67KB , 800x800 , 282.png )

[Yes! Where?]


>How the fuck did you not notice her before now?
She wasn’t in my range before! She’s coming closer now anyway. I stand around and relax a bit. I found her and this little adventure is finally over. I can go back to… what was I planning to do today anyway? I keep watch down the tunnel, but I don’t see Luvi turn the corner when I feel she should. In fact, she should be right next to me?
No. 979771 ID: 470289
File 160384153029.png - (187.53KB , 800x800 , 283.png )

I hear a small click and a high-pitched voice.

“Mac! What are you doing here?” Luvi asks under a drizzle of dirt.

“Um… looking for you. Kark needs you for a town hall.”

“What? He didn’t need to send you down here to tell me that. He really shouldn’t have!”

“He said he couldn’t reach you. Your phone was dead or something?”

“Dead?” She glances down the hole. “It’s working fine. Oh, it’s the dumb bunker again. Getting a signal in there is always a crapshoot. Anyway, you shouldn’t stand around up there. Come on down.”
No. 979772 ID: 470289
File 160384157278.png - (195.63KB , 800x800 , 284.png )

>I think after this little trip, you can afford to give her a hug.
I still remember the last Luvi hug I had. I’m good for now. Besides, squeezing myself down this trapdoor thing is hug enough. I’m surprised Rocker could fit.

>Ask why Rocker brought you here.
I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say he brought me here because it’s where Luvi is, and the heef asked him to. Even if he was kind of a dick about it.

>Thank Rocker if you can from this range
It’d be easier to just tell it to his face than try to express that on purpose at him.

“How’d you know I was here anyway? I don’t think I ever mentioned Rocker to Kark.” Luvi says. She’s wearing an apron, so she was probably cooking. Which reminds me I’m pretty hungry right now.

“He told me about the he- Canggu, I mean. And she told me how to find Rocker and he… brought me here. After a fashion.”

“Jeez! He didn’t even say you were coming. That is just like him. And you met Canny? How is she?”

“I… she looked angry? Oh, she says ‘hi’.”

“I’ll have to swing by and give her a ‘hi’ back! And don’t worry, she always looks angry. It’s part of her charm! I keep telling myself I need to visit her more often, but I don’t want to interrupt her when she’s tending her flock and all that. She does a lot of good work, but she’s always working! She needs to learn how to balance work and friends, that’s what I always tell her.”
No. 979773 ID: 470289
File 160384160107.png - (168.57KB , 800x800 , 285.png )

The ground slopes down steeply and Luvi makes small talk and I tell her the details Kark wanted her to know. I give the requisite ‘uh-huh’s’ and ‘really’s’ to her fluffier questions until we reach a metal door. Luvi walks right up to it and starts working the lever.

“Wait a second, this thing takes a little while to open.”

“So Rocker just… lives down here?”

“Lots of people do. I mean, Rocker’s the only one who lives in something this big as far as I know, but people like the freedom down here. Less people looking over your shoulder. Are you hungry? Yeah, you’re hungry. I made lunch for Rocker and I, you can join us! The big lug will just have to watch his portion sizes for once.”

The door creaks open and Luvi pulls me inside.
No. 979774 ID: 470289
File 160384167064.png - (194.35KB , 800x800 , 286.png )

The foyer is full of guns and knives and shit just laying around everywhere. I think I saw a grenade peeking out from under a crumpled newspaper. The entire place smells like metal, oil, and sweat.

“I… well if I wanted to go back to the surface do you have like, a map I could follow?”

“Oh, there’s a way straight up from here. I can take you past the mines. I don’t want to keep you if you’re busy today.”

I think spending the absolute least amount of time around Rocker as possible is the objectively right decision here. I told delivered Kark's message, I don't need to stay. Would that insult Luvi? Does she even feel offended at stuff?

On the other hand, I haven’t eaten since this morning and Luvi made a pretty good meal last night. I mean, it is free food.
No. 979778 ID: 1a8428

Food! And take out your instrument for more practice with it. I'm sure Luvi would appreciate some tunes while cooking/eating.
No. 979779 ID: 465a14

Don't you already get free food from welfare and such things. Just leave, food's not free if it risks getting you deeper into Rocker's shit.
No. 979780 ID: 8fab7a

Your financial situation is tight as it is, so it’s not like the offer isn’t appreciated.

Hrm. You still have to hunt down a few more press for the town hall. And do job hunts. But this day is half a wash anyway, so perhaps it’d just be better to take it slow.

Take lunch with Luvi and Rocker. If it gets too awkward, you can always call it quits, but as long as you avoid sensitive topics, you should probably be good for, what, half an hour of keeping them company?

It’ll be fine.
No. 979781 ID: 77cba3

Free food is free food.

As for the weapons you are underground in rogue town. If you are not armed to the teeth you are doing something wrong.
No. 979784 ID: 36784c

Stay and eat. It’s free food.
No. 979792 ID: b1b4f3

Never turn down free food.
No. 979821 ID: 651ae0

Take every advantage you can get without violating your morals. Free food.
No. 979825 ID: 868050

Free food is good food, Eat up!

Also, with the comment about having not noticed her before, I meant she noticed and reached out to you before you could do the same, despite her "unique" empathy and the fact that you were actively looking for her but not vice versa. Maybe she's much more astute than she acts.
No. 979840 ID: 094652

Conveniently take a knife and begin cutting some chicken. Ask if you can take an unloaded firearm.
No. 979989 ID: 6df3ac

Ask what the deal is with the very stained apron, kinda has a something a serial killer would wear while cutting someone up vibe, especially with all the knives around!
No. 980033 ID: fd5772

You are dirt poor. Take the food and make friends. It's not like you have a *real* job, even if you should be gathering folks for the townhall.
No. 980054 ID: 4854ef

It also lets you spite Rocker a bit by taking some of his food. Eat.
No. 980126 ID: dbd72b

What's your money situation, again? Right.

Get used to saying "yes" to free food.

Make sure you've eaten some before you gently probe into whether this is terrorists or spec ops. either way, probably wise to give the whole thing plenty of space
No. 980128 ID: 71b6be

It’s free food, and Luvi is there. She may be a lot, but she’s a friend and that counts for a lot. I’d say a meal with a friend is absolutely worth your time. Rocker doesn’t even seem that bad, gruff sure, but not outright hostile. Sitting with him doesn’t sound that bad.

Bring up some topics while you eat: like what she’s doing down there, and if she knows of any jobs that you might be able to do. Either for her, or anyone she knows.
No. 980149 ID: 15a025

Free food is free food Mac. You can't really afford to pass up on that.
No. 984139 ID: 470289
File 160861880768.png - (175.43KB , 800x800 , 287.png )

>Don't you already get free food from welfare
Her name is Luvi. But yeah, I should probably ask her at some point for specifics on like, food programs and stuff. Do I have to sign up or something?

>Also, with the comment about having not noticed her before, I meant she noticed and reached out to you before you could do the same, despite her "unique" empathy and the fact that you were actively looking for her but not vice versa. Maybe she's much more astute than she acts.
We noticed each other at about the same time. Even if you aren’t paying attention you sort of catalog empathies you feel in the back of your head. For an alien example I guess it’s like tuning out the background noise of a busy street but you’ll zero in on a voice you recognize speak up. If she did notice me before I did her it might be she has a larger range than me. It varies by neumono but only by a couple of feet or so at most.

> Ask what the deal is with the very stained apron
“I don’t want to get my clothes dirty, silly!”

>Make sure you've eaten some before you gently probe into whether this is terrorists or spec ops. either way, probably wise to give the whole thing plenty of space
Luvi doesn’t strike me as like one of those hives pissed off they lost a war twenty years ago. Rocker… it’s probably fine. As Luvi leads me through rooms all as messy or messier than the first one I decide I can stay for maybe half-an-hour. No need to stay longer than I need. Then I can go find more people for Kark’s thing after.

“Oh, don’t like, touch any of the guns. Keep away from the knives too. Best to keep your hands to yourself unless I hand you something, really! Rocker is really possessive sometimes, and it’s hard to tell what he’ll stab you for before he stabs you!” She pauses. “Wait, no, that’s a figure of speech! Don’t be all anxious! You’re not going to be stabbed. But seriously, don’t touch anything.”

“…I won’t. Do you need any help cooking?” I ask.

“I just finished actually! Thanks for offering. Let me just set up a plate for you and-” Luvi slides open a section of what I thought was a solid wall, and then slams it shut.

“Mac, stay in here for a minute please.” She cracks open the hidden door so only her face can fit inside and starts yell-whispering. I think the walls might be soundproof because I can’t make out what she’s saying, but Rocker starts feeling a lot more annoyed.

I look for someplace to put my new guitar down but eventually I just get drawn to the skull table. There’s other stuff on it, like a knife and another copy of that picture with most of the bottom left corner burned away. The skull looks bleached and clean. Well taken care of, unlike everything else in here. The bone is all gouged out near the left eye, like someone hacked at it. I just kind of stand there and stare at it after Luvi slips inside the room. After a minute her empathy calls for me to come inside.
No. 984140 ID: 470289
File 160861885219.png - (235.60KB , 1000x800 , 288.png )

“Everything’s ready Mac. Hope you’re in the mood for roast!”

“Thanks, Luvi.”

Rocker is more focused on the tablet in his hand than me. He took off that ratty trenchcoat of his and changed into shorts. A ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’ joke crosses my mind, but I wisely keep my mouth shut.
No. 984141 ID: 470289
File 160861887247.png - (162.15KB , 1000x800 , 289.png )

We sit down and have a good old awkward silence. Or well, I have an awkward silence. Luvi has a pleased silence and Rocker has a judgmental one.

“So how was your day?” Luvi finally breaks the silence, but it looks like she really wants me to move this conversation along.

Should I try to just rush through eating and leave as soon as possible? If I do talk what would I even say? Ask Rocker about the skull or something? Try to find out good places to recruit more people? Try to get Luvi to start babbling about something like normal? I kind of wonder what she’s doing down here, or if she might know any places I could go to look for jobs. Maybe I should just grab my guitar and play something quick so I can get away with not talking for a while.
No. 984142 ID: 465a14

yea just hit Luvi up about jobs and welfare and fuck off
No. 984143 ID: 89ca45

Bought a guitar. Might be good for me. Trying to meet new people and such. Still a mess though so that could take awhile to fix.
No. 984144 ID: b1b4f3

Ask about the skull. It must have some sort of sentimental value and is out in the open so it should be safe to talk about.
No. 984173 ID: dbd72b

"it was a fukkin mess. But I might be able to get something going with Kark if I can get people to this event I'm asking you to. Seemed pretty important, too."

>Maybe I should just grab my guitar and play something quick so I can get away with not talking for a while.
Just want you to think about this one. Do it if you think you can. It won't be enough to admit it, but you aren't getting a therapist. Gotta face it or you won't get there. Either way works, but you really have to admit it.
No. 984190 ID: 4c882c

"If my day is the approximate daily life of a rogue, then end me right here, right now."
No. 984245 ID: 651ae0

Tell her that it was pretty awful but you're only just starting to figure this whole rogue thing out and you at least got a guitar which makes you feel betterish
No. 984312 ID: 95e938

iirc, neumono can regenerate a head if they have someone take care of them. Who knows, it could be a (rather extreme) memento from his comrade.
No. 984664 ID: 15a025

I bought a guitar.
No. 985023 ID: 470289
File 160988665703.png - (154.71KB , 800x800 , 290.png )

"It’s been messy. If my day is the approximate daily life of a rogue, then I should probably end it right here, right now." I used to be better at making jokes.

“Oh, don’t be like that! The first days are always a bit rough. The first thing I had to do was hoof it to the nearest city all alone. I had to hide in a hole for half a day eating mushrooms because of the wildlife! How about you Rocker?”

“Hijacked a shuttle.” Luvi pauses for him to elaborate. He doesn’t.

“Anyway,” She continues. “Things always get better. I went from scavenging in the woods to owning a house and having tons of great friends. Just give yourself time to bounce back! Why don’t you tell me something good that happened today?” [Encouraging]

“I guess I bought a guitar. It is nice to have an instrument on me.”

“That’s great. I had a relaxing morning run myself,” I woke up before dawn and she was already gone so her morning run must have been real early. “And hung out with my good, good buddy Rocker. What was your favorite part of the day today, buuuuuddy?”

Rocker grunts and stuffs more food into his mouth.

“Luvi,” I start after a minute of her staring up at him like a toya. “I probably should have asked you last night but how do I apply for like… welfare and stuff.”

“Hmm?” She turns back to me. “I already put you into the system when that nice hivemate of yours called. I think his name was Sook?”

“Sock?” [Longing]

“Yeah, that’s it. Oh, maybe it’s a bit too soon for you to talk about old hivemates. Anyway, you can go to the food bank whenever you want to get your allowance, but I think you would enjoy the stuff I have at home a bit more. Speaking of, that shirt looks nice on you, I’m glad it fits.”

“It’s a bit tight, but yeah it fits fine. I hope it was okay to raid your closet.”

“Of course! Roomies should share!”

“Still. I appreciate it.”
No. 985024 ID: 470289
File 160988668561.png - (136.38KB , 800x800 , 291.png )

I take one of the final bites of my meal. It’s about time for me to leave, but I am curious about one more thing. Rocker’s been curt but he hasn’t seemed to take any more offense to any of Luvi’s prodding then he has to the fact that I’m here at all.

“Um, Rocker. I was wondering, what’s with the skull out there?”


“…trophy of what?”

“Killing my brother.”

“How’s your job search going? Make any progress?” Luvi loudly interjects. “I’’ve made a few calls to ask around on my end, but it might take a while. Oh, Rocker, do you kn-“
No. 985025 ID: 470289
File 160988673480.png - (166.51KB , 1000x800 , 292.png )

There’s a red blur in the corner of my eye and Luvi squeaks. Rocker’s hand is on Luvi’s head and she lets out a shuddering gasp as he squeezes. Surprise turns into something else for a split second before Luvi freezes and concentrates completely on a spot on the wall, her empathy emanating more amusement than normal. If I wasn’t looking at her, I wouldn’t be able to tell she’s in pain. She tries to say something, but only a wheeze gets out before Rocker’s thumb clamps her jaw up.

“Stop.” He grunts.
No. 985027 ID: 77cba3

Seems like he knows her well enough. Luvi is a very damaged person as she has told us. Makes sense that her friends are as well.

Try to not be horribly akward and focus on your food.
No. 985028 ID: b1b4f3

"I should go."
No. 985029 ID: 2748b3

No. 985033 ID: 8fab7a


Stay... composed and clamp down on any irrational fears. As much as you are able, anyway. Rocker clearly wants Luvi to shut up, so he's making her shut up. Violently perhaps, but A) you're Neumono so not the biggest deal and B) she doesn't seem particularly threatened.

Probably not the first time it's happened, if she's amused, too. Definitely don't think he'd kill or seriously hurt her over being a chatterbox - it'd have happened already, if so.

Like. A long time ago. The guy has weapons everywhere.

The question is whether you should say something or not yourself. This may be a very clear sign that the rest of the meal should be enjoyed in silence, or he could be trying to insert something into the conversation himself from the proverbial landmine you triggered in asking about... his brother's skull?

Wait for a few seconds to see what he does. If he doesn't say anything, try to lead the conversation to a swift end.

"I've... a couple leads on gig jobs, but, uh, don't worry about that now Luvi. Definitely don't bother Rocker about it, if it's a sore topic. Thanks for the meal, but I think... I should go?"

Look askance at Rocker.
No. 985051 ID: a0dfd2


I mean, we kinda knew she had some problems, but wow. And somehow I can't help but feel that this happens with regularity.

Offer to go elsewhere with Luvi to discuss things, so Rocker can have at laest SOME peace and quiet.
No. 985296 ID: 4c882c

Sweet baby jesus, what has that girl been through?
That ain't any kind of normal reaction, so must be a coping mechanism she developed long ago for some traumatic shit.
No. 985304 ID: 094652

We're getting a full deconstruction of 'incorruptible pure pureness' here; this isn't resistance to corruption, it's tolerance and enablement fueled by a traumatic and crippling mental injury.

Ask Rocker if now is a good time to leave, preferably without bloodstains on your shirt. In fact, you and Luvi are both bothering him so maybe you should take her with you.
No. 985390 ID: 4c882c

Waitaminute, didn't one picture in Luvi's house show her along other mercenaries, with Rocker being among them?

Trauma from becoming a rogue along with all the "some shit" she must've seen as a merc must've broken her, and her becoming a "social worker for rogues" must've been her coping mechanism, along with her forced cheery mood.
No. 985824 ID: 15a025

Looks like it might be time to wrap things up here Mac.
No. 989808 ID: 470289
File 161480361853.png - (135.58KB , 800x800 , 293.png )

[Rocker! Why? Embarrassing!]

Rocker keeps eating and his is as still as iron against Luvi’s struggling and slapping. I don’t think she could pry his fingers off if she tried. What should I do? I should…

>Looks like it might be time to wrap things up here Mac.
>Ask Rocker if now is a good time to leave, preferably without bloodstains on your shirt. In fact, you and Luvi are both bothering him so maybe you should take her with you.
>Offer to go elsewhere with Luvi to discuss things, so Rocker can have at laest SOME peace and quiet.
>I think... I should go?
“I should go. Luvi and I can leave you alone right now, sir.” I say. [Don’t scare Mac! Let go! Ignore!]

“Shut the fuck up and finish your food.” He replies flatly. [Be Nice!]. He’s not angry and even his annoyance has abated. It’s like hurting Luvi is calming him down. But he is paying attention to me now, even if his body language hasn’t changed.

[Mac, am fine! Will fix!]

I put a bite in my mouth. Then another. And another.
No. 989809 ID: 470289
File 161480365324.png - (138.17KB , 800x800 , 294.png )

Luvi is using empathy to yell at both of us, telling me to not be scared and lecturing Rocker that he’s being impolite and embarrassing. He’s not bothered by that, but he loosens his grip a little. Not enough to let her open her mouth, but she relaxes as his claws stop digging into her skin. The spikes of amusement from her subside. Her staccato slapping slows down too, but Rocker isn’t focused on that. He’s looking at the pile of clothes and crap in front of us on the table. It takes me a few seconds to see it.

[What? Wait, no! Bad, dumb test! Mac leave!]
No. 989810 ID: 470289
File 161480367776.png - (196.92KB , 1000x1000 , 295.png )

“You going for it? Or are you running?” [Dummy!]
No. 989811 ID: 470289
File 161480371496.png - (185.02KB , 1000x1000 , 296.png )

“Let me make it easy. Someone in this room is gonna bleed.” He squeezes Luvi’s head to punctuate and she snickers with the spike of empathetic delight followed by intense embarrassment and harder slapping again. “Up to you who it is. Ten seconds.”

He’s not interested in words, and he’s not going to even listen if I try to argue that this is insane. I get the impression that if I left right now, he’d let me go, but I’d be leaving Luvi here, and that wasn’t an empty threat. Luvi is trying her best to tell me what to do but she’s not saying anything actually useful, at least as far as I can understand. I just don’t know her well enough.

Rocker doesn’t think I’ll go for it. I think he’s right. I don’t think I can shoot an actual person.


[Sorry Mac! My fault! Don’t hurt her!]
No. 989812 ID: 465a14

Shoot Rocker in the gut and dick until he loses consciousness. Then leave.
No. 989813 ID: 77cba3

He said someone had to bleed that is all. The gun is just a prop.

Bite your thumb just hard enough to bleed a bit and hold it over Luvi's head so the blood drips on his hand. That should pass his wierd test game.
No. 989814 ID: fa2754

Shoot yourself on the ear. Aimed outward, of course
No. 989815 ID: b1b4f3

You don't think you can shoot a person? That's fine. Bite his arm.
No. 989816 ID: 12b116

go for it. He probably likes getting shot
No. 989819 ID: bc24cb

Hastily explain you didn't know their relationship was like that and escape?
No. 989821 ID: a979d8

Shoot Luvi.

It's the only way to be free of this madness.
No. 989822 ID: 6df3ac

Break out your guitar real quick and play something so profound and touching that he breaks down in emotion, thus defusing the situation.
Alternatively, disregard the gun, grab whatever cutlery you were eating with and stab him with it. Wildcard, bitch!
No. 989823 ID: a979d8

Actually I changed my mind just shoot him straight in the eye.

Then shoot him in the other eye.

Just shoot him. The world will not mourn his passing. Shoot him until he stops moving. Shoot him. SHOOT HIM
No. 989824 ID: a979d8

No. 989825 ID: 5a7e7b

Yell "Hands off my girlfriend!!"
No. 989826 ID: 3a3ec3

Biting his arm seems viable to me.
No. 989827 ID: cdabe3

Shoot him in the goddamn dick
No. 989828 ID: e2f5cc

Run away like the little bitch you are. Besides, I really doubt Rocker would just let Mac walk up and bite him.
No. 989829 ID: 651ae0

Take the gun. Worst comes to worst, you now have a gun. Even if it's a fake gun, but tbh this guy doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would have FAKE guns around.

Just take it and shoot him in an innocuous part of his body. And if you chicken out, shoot yourself in the tip of your ear or bite your hand or something. Something that'll bleed but heal quick.
No. 989840 ID: 094652

Shoot the ceiling until it turns into an environmental hazard.
No. 989858 ID: fbba32

Don't think of it as shooting an actual person, think of it as using him as a voluntary canvas for an art piece expressing what if feels like to be a Rogue. The fears. The frustrations. The hole ripped through your being. Your degree to which you are done with people's bullshit.
No. 989876 ID: fd5772

Think of the option least likely to make you a criminal, and do that one. You're a rogue who doesn't need this kind of trouble. You should really go now. Rocker seems like he's about to get another trophy.
No. 989887 ID: ecd116


i agree with this myself, try to draw blood on a easy to bleed and heal and also non vital part of yourself . it unarm not quick enough in 10 seconds quickly use the gun in the last few. and it rocker don't like it . you are doing the exact words of '' Someone in this room is gonna bleed '' rocker did not say who, with what weapon and how much blood . you could also take the gun and make rocker think you will shoot them in the arm that hold luvi to make them let go but you make yourself bleed when they least expected it to throw off their empathy. it probably a sink or swin kind of test to see if you are willing to risk your life to save someone or leave them to save yourself or at least to follow commands no matter what or how vauge they may be.
No. 989898 ID: 14f4b7

“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?”

He’s just busting your balls, testing your guts. No one is gonna die, someone is going to get hurt. You leave, it’s gonna be Luvi. This is some weird tribal bullshit, like a charging gorilla, all he’s looking for is whether you’re gonna stand your ground or not. I say you do. Don’t think, don’t look first, just blank your mind and grab the gun. Then immediately get out of the chair and make distance between you and him. Rack the slide of the gun, and look inside of it as you do to make sure a round is chambered. Let anger be the only thing you feel, let pure hate and a desire to save Luvi be the only thing that makes you move. Read the situation: if he wants some kind of tribute, looking for you to prove yourself, then put the gun up against the place where your ear connects to the skull. Pull the trigger. Don’t think, just do it. Then throw the severed ear towards him. Otherwise, if he starts to get up from the table or puts more pressure on Luvi, put four rounds into his gut, then two into his skull. He’s tough, it won’t kill him.
No. 989915 ID: 9a2966

Grab your utensils and jab at the arm holding Luvi.

A) They're not lethal weapons, so he might not respond with lethal force.

B) He might let go of her, and Luvi being able to talk again might unfuckle this situation somehow.

No. 989935 ID: a0dfd2


Normally I'd say that it's pretty weird to just keep a gun sitting in your laundry on the table, but like ...

... this whole place is pretty weird.

>Someone in this room is gonna bleed

Luvi kind of already is ...?
No. 989960 ID: 2e15a9

Think of it as a chance for personal growth, except you're growing into a person you never wanted to turn into. Then again, who does? Take up arms, the chance you'll kill him is like 0 so it's fine.
No. 990085 ID: 15a025

Someone's gotta bleed huh? Bite yourself hard enough to draw blood.
No. 990257 ID: ce39da

Take the gun. You're Cool Mac, like some of the badasses you played on stage. Rocker doesn't seem like the type to even dodge. Even if you're scared, you have to do this if you want him to stop. Just you and him.

And just like that, the trigger is pulled.

"You said it yourself; someone was going to bleed. I just decided it would be you."


You have your movie script.

Now; Action.
No. 990400 ID: f5b552

Know what, just snap.

Have a mental breakdown.

I am talking grabbing your head, wide eyed, tears streaming down your face (but not actually crying), with a sick grin on your face, and just screaming to whomever is within earshot about how the world is just so absolutely fucked.

It sounds bad, but once you are through it, you end up feeling an amazing sense of catharsis and honestly, you seem like you need some of that.
No. 990658 ID: 5d9e31

Punch him.

Take every ounce of frustration, anger, and loss you've built up and pour it into him until... honestly until he kicks your ass, *but that's not the point*

Yer gonna fight, you're gonna do it on *your* terms. Screw the gun and screw this psychotic asshole.
No. 994474 ID: 2748b3

Just- don't rise to it. There's only so much crazy stuff happening that you can take, and this test is pointless. What does he think he's proving, that he's big and tough enough to force people into doing something stupid?

If he really insists you do something, just tear off an ear and throw it at his face. They grow back, and that means no one has to dig bullets out of anyone.
No. 996376 ID: 470289
File 161853732151.png - (154.57KB , 800x800 , 297.png )

I go for it. Luvi gasps and starts hacking out coughs.

No. 996377 ID: 470289
File 161853734162.png - (181.44KB , 1000x800 , 298.png )

>You're Cool Mac, like some of the badasses you played on stage. Rocker doesn't seem like the type to even dodge. Even if you're scared, you have to do this if you want him to stop. Just you and him.

“H-hands off!”

He shoves her out of the way. Then he stands there. Counting off the seconds. One by one.

>And just like that, the trigger is pulled.
No. 996379 ID: 470289
File 161853736340.png - (143.67KB , 800x800 , 299.png )

>And just like that, the trigger is pulled.
No. 996380 ID: 470289
File 161853738611.png - (146.62KB , 800x800 , 300.png )

No. 996381 ID: 470289
File 161853743494.png - (160.29KB , 800x800 , 301.png )

“Was your whole hive full of pansies like you?”
No. 996382 ID: 470289
File 161853744941.png - (163.92KB , 800x800 , 302.png )

No. 996383 ID: 470289
File 161853748827.png - (129.72KB , 800x800 , 303.png )

My entire world is between my jaws. But distantly there’s this… weight?
No. 996384 ID: 470289
File 161853752266.png - (222.26KB , 800x800 , 304.png )

Then I’m on the table, half my body thinks a truck hit it, and my head pounds like it was in a vice. I don’t know what happened. I was pointing a gun and then I was laying on broken shards of plate and forks jabbing me in the side.

“How many fingers you need to play that guitar, bitch?” [Where’s knife?]
No. 996385 ID: 470289
File 161853754421.png - (173.23KB , 800x800 , 305.png )

“Ro-Rocker! Stop! Luvi rasps from behind. [That’s an order!]
No. 996386 ID: 470289
File 161853755983.png - (128.37KB , 1000x1000 , 306.png )

No. 996387 ID: 470289
File 161853757984.png - (129.82KB , 1000x1000 , 307.png )

“Well shit, why didn’t you say so sooner, Cap?”
No. 996388 ID: 465a14

You didn't even manage to fire a gun at a dude threatening to maim you and your buddies. Just go home, you're better suited for handing out flyers or finding a normal life unrelated to political movements.
No. 996389 ID: b1b4f3

Ask what you did before you got bodyslammed. Missing time is a big deal.
No. 996390 ID: 77cba3

"You are both assholes."
No. 996391 ID: c684e0

That was good Mac, really good. You moved fast, you didn’t hesitate. And you did it to help a friend. You should be proud of yourself. Obviously Luvi has more control over the situation than it originally appeared. An explanation would be nice.
No. 996392 ID: e2f5cc

No. 996399 ID: 6c85e8

What the fuck, Luvi? You could have made him stop at any time and decided to wait until this?

Glad there's ANY kind of social support for rogues, but no wonder so many of them just go off the map. How many did because of getting "help" like this.
No. 996416 ID: c48caa

As if there wasn't enough mystery behind your social worker. Don't even think about that right now. You have your breath to catch.
No. 996419 ID: cdabe3

No. 996420 ID: 094652

"Luvi, how many times does that work before he goes postal? Also, if you're his former commanding officer, why is he not wearing a shock collar right now?!"
No. 996467 ID: d7a788

Act like a miserable sack of potatoes while you try to piece together what just happened.

“Y... you - ow - had her by the throat.

He -was- just testing you. Testing to see if you’d shoot him to save Luvi? If you had the guts to shoot at all?

Why? I’m just...”

A rogue.

“... an artist. Not some scary badass. Why - ow - the fuck expect me to handle a gun and a crisis?”
No. 996525 ID: ce39da

She didn't pull the trigger, though.

"Wait... what happened after I pointed the gun at you?"

... Does Rocker still have both his thumbs?

"Is it... normal for rogues to blank out and lose time?"

You may have just gotten one giant messed-up hint for why you went rogue.
No. 996649 ID: be9cac

Also supporting this. Still think Mac should break down in wailing tears as well. She really needs some catharsis badly.
No. 996707 ID: 53560f

“She’s been mentally screaming it at you the whole time! You know what? I’m out, I came to remind Luvi about the town hall and to make sure she was okay and I’ve done that. I don’t actually need to be here anymore. Luvi please show me the way out now.”
Try not to think about how this ranks on the worst days of your life.
No. 996840 ID: 4c882c

Fuck no, telepathically channel that at both of them.
Rocker for just making bad worse just because he can, and luvi for not keeping him on a shorter leash since she apparently can.
Just because everything is shit isn't a good excuse to be purposely shit to other people without a good reason to target them specifically.
No. 997635 ID: 15a025

Luvi, job my memory here. What just happened?
No. 1006456 ID: 8fae7e
File 162739846943.png - (147.51KB , 800x800 , 308.png )

>Try not to think about how this ranks on the worst days of your life.
It’s second.

>Ask what you did before you got bodyslammed. Missing time is a big deal.
My tunnel vision is receding. I have a pretty good guess of what he did, which is pick me up over his head and throw me down like a sandbag on all these plates and forks. Except I fucking bit him. How…

>... Does Rocker still have both his thumbs?
There’s a chunk of flesh in my mouth. Not a thumb’s worth but… a lot. I spit it out. He didn’t even try to avoid losing it, he just ripped his thumb out. And I’m too angry to be disgusted I had the meat of a person whose name I know in my mouth.

>You may have just gotten one giant messed-up hint for why you went rogue.
I don’t need any hints.

>You didn't even manage to fire a gun at a dude threatening to maim you and your buddies. Just go home, you're better suited for handing out flyers
I don’t have a home! I don’t even think I have any ‘buddies’ right now. But I’ve never shot anyone before. It wasn’t until he insulted my hive…

“A-assholes.” Rocker picks his cigar up and puts it in his mouth. “Why did you hurt Luvi?” [To test me? For what?] “She was telling you to stop.”

“You’re a pussy. Now I know what you’re made of. And you know what I’m made of. Makes our relationship a lot simpler.”

“But mostly?” He puffs out a mouthful of smoke. “I did it because I felt like it. And you couldn’t stop me if you wanted to.”
No. 1006458 ID: 8fae7e
File 162739853833.png - (164.35KB , 1000x800 , 309.png )

Rocker leaves without even looking at Luvi, dripping blood down his arm. She comes to help me off the table as soon as her coughing subsides but my empathy stops her halfway.

“You could have made him stop at any time and decided to wait until this?” [Look at us!]

“I’m sorry,” She croaks. What did Rocker do to her throat while I was turned around? “He made sure I couldn’t talk so I wouldn’t stop him. But, honestly, I try not to give him direct orders.”

“Why not!”

“Well, because…” She coughs into her hand. [Embarrassed.] “I think one day he’s not going to do what I say. And then someone is going to get hurt badly, and maybe die. So, I’m real careful about pushing him too far with captain’s orders.”

“He should be put in a shock collar if he’s so dangerous!” Luvi winces. I’m yelling right in her face. Dumb, because that brute can probably hear me.

“He’s not- I mean, I couldn’t do that to him, even if he let me. Which he wouldn’t.”

“Why the fuck do you put up with him?”
No. 1006460 ID: 8fae7e
File 162739862905.png - (121.18KB , 1200x1200 , 310.png )

Her empathy is back to normal. It feels just like it did when she met me at the door. Calm and blissfully content. And just a tinge of confusion about my question.

“He’s my best friend. We need each other.”

She means every raspy word.
No. 1006461 ID: 465a14

Hmm. I don't think you have the time for a long and nuanced conversation about healthy relationships and emotional abuse, so: fuck no.
No. 1006462 ID: 2748b3

Well, if I'm honest that's the most fucked up friendship I've ever seen. It feels like Luvi is incapable of seeing the bad in people and Rocker is taking advantage of that.

Ugh. You came here for a reason, and dwelling on that asshole is probably just going to get you mad again. It might be best to just tell her Kark was asking after her and then- I don't know, something far away from Rocker.
No. 1006464 ID: 51ea55

Rocker sure has indelibly simplified the relationship. He's a fuck and you want absolutely nothing to do with him, case closed. It sounds like luvi's primary crime here is just being abused, so yeah shitty of her but at least it's the passive shittiness of things having gotten bad and out of your control and she sounds like she's not in a good position to know what to do with this shit either.
No. 1006468 ID: c48caa

Ask her to get you out of here.
No. 1006472 ID: dfbac0

She's... layered.
In all honesty, Luvi seems like more of a problem than Rocker, at least you know when he's gonna kill you.
At first I was confused why people who know here never want to be around her, you can eventually tune out an annoying hum, and given enough time you'd be fine with some odd empathy, but this is too much. She's borderline insane.
We need to find a way to move out ASAP.
No. 1006478 ID: e2f5cc

Luvi you're a fucking sociopath. You recognize that people both can and are being hurt by your refusal to call the proper authorities on rocker because of your own selfishness since you 'need him'. Mac, leave this shithole and call the swat team on these dangerously mentally unstable psychopaths immediately, and remember that Luvi is clearly insane so unless she does something completely stupid she can just plead that in court. If you really want to do something with your life you can use this case to drum up support for better mental help for rogues.
No. 1006479 ID: 9a2966

Luvi and Rocker are troubled individuals. This is nothing new for Rogues.

I don't think the best move is to take out your aggression on either of them. Especially to someone who has, after all, been as kind to us - for whatever reason - as Luvi. She does try to do good - that she didn't right here, right now, with her strange and violent long-time friend, doesn't change she's done your some real solids of late.

There's definitely a story here in Rocker and Luvi's relationship. Seems like they've been through some shit together, actually.

Mind that you're in no way obliged to dig into it or 'fix' anyone - or even put up with it in the long run - you should certainly consider abiding by their weirdness until such a time you can get your feet under you again and repay your little debt to Luvi. Remember, you could've backed out earlier. And ultimately nothing truly bad happened - you're all Neumono, you can take some damage without it becoming too serious.
No. 1006488 ID: c65507

You're setting yourself on fire so others can be warm, Luvi. Kark asked me to get you for a town hall meeting but frankly right now I do not give a bright red fuck about getting involved in anybody else's problems anymore today, and I'm leaving with or without you.
No. 1006504 ID: 6519cb

Hey, you could ask how far back they go, and if it was always this "tense".
No. 1006897 ID: 15a025

I think we need to just be blunt about why we're down here and that we want out now.
No. 1009484 ID: 646dd6
File 163081810978.png - (246.69KB , 1000x1000 , 311.png )

>It might be best to just tell her Kark was asking after her and then- I don't know, something far away from Rocker.
I already gave her Kark’s message so all I care about right now is leaving.

Luvi tries to help me up, but I wave her off. I don’t want her to touch me right now.

“I’m leaving. Now.”

“No problemo! I’ll take you out through the top. It goes straight to the streets where your phone’ll work, so you don’t need to risk getting lost underground. It can be a bit hard to navigate before you’re used to it.”
No. 1009486 ID: 646dd6
File 163081827684.png - (272.93KB , 1000x1000 , 312.png )

>There's definitely a story here in Rocker and Luvi's relationship. Seems like they've been through some shit together, actually.
I can’t say I care much about any shit she may have been through with that asshole.

I grab my guitar from where I left it as Luvi leads me through the bunker. We pass by Rocker on the way out. He’s back to treating me like I’m beneath his notice. He didn’t even bother to bandage his thumb. The only reason I’m not stopping in the bathroom to wash his taste out of my mouth is that I don’t want to spend another second here that I don’t have to.
No. 1009487 ID: 646dd6
File 163081834028.png - (256.77KB , 1000x1000 , 313.png )

Luvi leads me to a ladder she climbs first. She’s being quiet, despite her empathy telling me how much she wants to babble.

>And ultimately nothing truly bad happened - you're all Neumono, you can take some damage without it becoming too serious.
That’s what a tribal would say. I’m better than that.

We come out in what looks like a regular old basement, which fits perfectly in with the rest of the house she takes me through. Most of it is empty of furniture with peeling paint on the walls and creaky floorboards. No sign anyone lives here.
No. 1009489 ID: 646dd6
File 163081856083.png - (255.77KB , 1000x1000 , 314.png )

>I don't think the best move is to take out your aggression on either of them. Especially to someone who has, after all, been as kind to us - for whatever reason - as Luvi. She does try to do good - that she didn't right here, right now, with her strange and violent long-time friend, doesn't change she's done you some real solids of late.

I guess I should say something.

“Do you need a ride anywhere? My bike is in the back.”

“You're setting yourself on fire so others can be warm, Luvi.” Is what my brain tells me I should say. It calms things down and maybe can put a salve over this situation. Maybe I can get through to Luvi and explain to her why this whole situation is fucked up, since my empathy has failed so far.

“You're a fucking sociopath, Luvi.” Is what I actually say.

“Yeah, I know.” I think if she was normal, she’d be saying it with a resigned sigh. But she takes the hint and goes back inside without saying anything else.

I don’t need to check my phone to see its well past noon. The town hall is going to be soon, and I still need at least two more people to come to get a ‘favor’ from Kark. Do I even still care about that? If I do, I’ll need to think of someplace to go and find people willing to talk to me about it. Otherwise, the only other place to go is where Kark told me it’s happening.
No. 1009495 ID: 094652

Just go for broke. You're agitated, but you can weather threats from locals in your state.
Just give them the flyers and hold back on the threats.
No. 1009498 ID: 53560f

We can smooth things over with Luvi after we’ve calmed down. For now, let’s make sure we do something to justify this day being as arduous as it is.

Put your public speaking face on and go see if the riot is still happening so we can try to convince them to riot at the town hall instead.
The prospect of creating a bigger, more unified crowd yelling directly at the dickheads responsible for stuff has to entice a couple of them to join.
No. 1009501 ID: 2de4fd

Try to get more people. At this point your "I am done with this shit" empathy might be functionally helpful for this task. You've seen it sort of work before??
No. 1009516 ID: 6df3ac

Just look at her cute widdle face, can you really stay mad at that??
No. 1009574 ID: e2f5cc

Basically just repeating my previous post >>1006478 here. I don't know too much about law but I'm pretty sure they'd have a good case against you if you willingly choose to not inform them about a group of dangerous psychopaths, not to mention the moral issues if they kill innocents because of your inaction.

Even if you think they're all bastards, unless they're complete caricatures there's absolutely no way they'd turn a blind eye to this. Shit even if they are, this sort of op is probably the shit they dream of in the academy. If you're worried about yourself, that's what protective custody is for.
No. 1009753 ID: ce39da

Right; don't suppress the anger, but redirect it into righteous outrage as you hand out fliers.
No. 1010014 ID: c0641b


Might be best to talk to the rogue-integration agency that helped place us with Luvi, and just ask if they're aware that she was, you know, working with a group that basically just tried to murder you (and one another) for fun. And you've probably still got the fur and skin between your teeth to prove it.
No. 1010093 ID: 094652

Send by anonymous message. They must have known, Luvi isn't exactly an obscurity with her overwhelming empathy.

Give the scoop to the alien news networks. This kind of story is dramatic gold, they won't resist broadcasting because they won't get flak from the Neumono government for posting an outlandish sob story about one mentally-ill rogue. But it will raise awareness for those in the know.
No. 1010216 ID: 5a95b8

Lie to people and tell them that there's free stuff at the thing Kark wants people to show up for. He probably doesn't care if they're actually interested, he just wants numbers to make it seem like he has public support.
No. 1010265 ID: 15a025

Save and project your anger for whatever is going on in town hall.
No. 1013188 ID: 2452af
File 163468565645.png - (191.32KB , 1000x1000 , 315.png )

>Just look at her cute widdle face, can you really stay mad at that??
Yes. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cool down a little bit as I walk.

I use my phone to guide me back to the Office of Rogue Services. If nothing else there will be a big pool of people to talk to and recruit.

Or, well, I thought there would be. There are definitely still people around but the crowd from earlier is gone and the building isn’t locked anymore. I can walk right in and see my potential targets, none of whom I recognize from this morning. I’m… more tired than I should be for how early in the day it still is. I don’t want to waste my time asking everyone in here if they’re open to go to the town hall, so I just empathetically check who seems willing to put up with a few questions. Two people I can see are fine with me talking to them for a minute.

>Lie to people and tell them that there's free stuff at the thing Kark wants people to show up for. He probably doesn't care if they're actually interested, he just wants numbers to make it seem like he has public support.
There might be free food, I guess? Lying to another neumono is dumb though, because they’ll be able to tell. I suppose I could lie to aliens, but the pomi receptionist is the only one I see and Kark wasn’t too enthusiastic about convincing aliens to come anyway. I mean I won’t lie to anyone, but at least he wouldn’t instantly call me out on it.
No. 1013189 ID: 2452af
File 163468579103.png - (227.97KB , 1000x1000 , 316.png )

I approach three people to talk to before I head to the Town Hall.


Pomi Receptionist
I get in line to wait for the receptionist, and in the few minutes it takes to get to the front I start stewing and getting angry again. But under the anger I feel an undercurrent of frustration that just grows the more that I think about my situation. When I get to the front of the line I’ve put my situation into perspective.

>”Hi, how can I help you?”

>Might be best to talk to the rogue-integration agency that helped place us with Luvi, and just ask if they're aware that she was, you know, working with a group that basically just tried to murder you (and one another) for fun. And you've probably still got the fur and skin between your teeth to prove it.

>I don't know too much about law but I'm pretty sure they'd have a good case against you if you willingly choose to not inform them about a group of dangerous psychopaths, not to mention the moral issues if they kill innocents because of your inaction.
>Call the swat team on these dangerously mentally unstable psychopaths immediately, and remember that Luvi is clearly insane so unless she does something completely stupid she can just plead that in court. If you really want to do something with your life you can use this case to drum up support for better mental help for rogues.

I can tell this lady that their ORS’s former employee put me in a dangerous situation and have them call the police and get Rocker arrested or whatever for assault. But if I do that, I don’t think even Luvi would let me stay in her house after that. Assuming she doesn’t get taken in too. Which means I’m back to square one, with only temporary housing from the ORS available instead of the indefinite housing Luvi’s offered. What if I can’t find a job to support myself in two weeks?

No matter how angry I am is it actually a good idea to get the authorities involved? A part of me wants to. It’s not especially big but it is there. But a big part of can’t help but think of the consequences of doing so, and be scared.

>”Uh, ma’am are you okay?”

I don’t know what to say. Maybe I should just invite her to town hall as an excuse. She can’t tell I came up here thinking about something else. I guess I would need to give her a good enough reason to take her lunch break or whatever to go to it, since she’s working right now.


Bored Neumono
The first neumono I approach is sitting, reading a magazine.

>”You got any cigs, kid?” [Have a craving.]

“No, sorry.”

>“Shame. What do ya want.”

“My name’s Mac. I wanted to invite you to a town hall this afternoon.” She gives an empathetic sigh.

>”Hraim. That sounds boring as hell.”

Which isn’t her saying she won’t come. Hraim’s apathetic, but I get the feeling that’s her general vibe, and not directed particularly towards the town hall or me. She’s also a bit distracted, not with the magazine but with another neumono that’s not in the room who is focused on her too. That neumono seems insistent about something.

Do I try to talk up the town hall as interesting, or some other tactic to get her to say yes to coming?


Pink Neumono
This lady has a pretty friendly vibe and was coming out of the back.

“Hi, did you want something?”

“I wanted to ask if you were free for the next few hours. There’s a town hall starting soon and I’m trying to find some attendees from around town.”

“Sure. I took the day off anyway. I don’t like, live in this district though. Is that okay?”

I don’t know if that’s okay.
No. 1013209 ID: ce39da

> Receptionist
No need to say anything. Thinking back on it, you weren't in any (permanent) danger; yeah, Rocker's a bit unhinged in private, but permanently harming a neumono is notoriously tricky. Yeah, he's dangerous, but not that dangerous unless he gets his hands on explosives for some godforsaken reason.

Just ask him about showing up to the meeting.

> Hraim
Where's this neumono who's insisting on something? Maybe there's an avenue through them that will get someone to show up at the meeting, whether it's Hraim or their buddy.

> Pinky
"I don't know, maybe? I'm just a messenger - I guess you could ask the protest organizer when you get there."
No. 1013211 ID: 53560f

Receptionist: just ask them if they’e willing to show up. I get the feeling Kark was counting on rogues but I don’t see why he’d refuse anyone showing up.

Hraim: if she’s gonna be waiting here a while while her buddy does something then offer to fetch her a pack of smokes if she’s willing to show up to town hall later. Ask preferred brand or whatever it is she wants, otherwise, see what her friend is here for.

Pink Neumono: Third verse same as the first, Kark likely isn’t going to refuse anyone showing up and I don’t recall him specifying. Tell her there’s no reason she wouldn’t be allowed.
No. 1014733 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659672342.png - (201.25KB , 1000x1000 , 317.png )


Pomi Receptionist
> No need to say anything. Thinking back on it, you weren't in any (permanent) danger. Just ask him about showing up to the meeting.
>Just ask them if they’re willing to show up. I get the feeling Kark was counting on rogues but I don’t see why he’d refuse anyone showing up.
“Hi, I’m looking for people to attend a town hall this afternoon. I wanted to know if you would be able to attend?” I make sure to put an obvious smile on my face. Aliens like cues like that, if I remember correctly.

>“It’s a shame but I can’t. There’s just too much to get done. I hope it’s not turn out goes well though. Citizens talking to their representatives is important for the health of a community. Why, I wish we got a bit more-“ An impatient neumono coughs behind me. “Oh, I’m sorry but if that was all can you let me serve the next person in line.”

After I step away it occurs to me that maybe I could have like, appealed to her civic duty to convince her, since she seemed pretty patriotic in her answer, but the moment to ask has already passed.


>Where's this neumono who's insisting on something? Maybe there's an avenue through them that will get someone to show up at the meeting, whether it's Hraim or their buddy.

> if she’s gonna be waiting here a while while her buddy does something then offer to fetch her a pack of smokes if she’s willing to show up to town hall later. Ask preferred brand or whatever it is she wants, otherwise, see what her friend is here for.

“I have some time, I can probably go pick up something for you. Got a brand?”

>“Trying to make feel like I owe you so I’ll go to the dumb meeting.” [Curious]

“Yes.” She barks out a short laugh.

>“Blunt. I like that.”

“Enough to come?”

>“Eh.” She shrugs. “I don’t think it’d be my kind of scene.”

“What about your friend inside.” She frowns.

>“It’s... probably her kind of scene.” [Grudging Admission]

“Well, please mention it to her when she comes out. It’d really help us out to have more participants.”

She gives an exaggerated sigh but I can tell she’ll pass it along to her friend.


Pink Neumono

>Pink Neumono: Third verse same as the first, Kark likely isn’t going to refuse anyone showing up and I don’t recall him specifying. Tell her there’s no reason she wouldn’t be allowed.
"I don't know, maybe? I'm just a messenger - we can ask Kark when get there."


“He’s… the organizer, kind of? He’ll know what’s going on at least. But I can’t imagine he’d have a problem with you coming.”

>“Well, if you’re sure, then I’m all for it. Lead the way!”
No. 1014734 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659677573.png - (313.05KB , 1175x1000 , 318.png )

Vinessca waits outside with me for a minute as Hraim and her friend talk inside. We can tell they come to an understanding before they leave the building and we all start walking together.

“I’ve never been to a town hall before, what are they like? Oh, my name’s Vinessca by the way. You can call me Vin.”

“Uh…” I still don’t have an answer by the time Hraim and her friend Yvnette finish introducing themselves to her.

“Mac, don’t tell me you’ve never been to one either? Why the hell are you out panhandling for one then?” [Amused]

“Well, why are you coming?” I shoot back. “I thought it’s not your scene.”

“I can still change my mind and you’ll lose a body.”

“She’s bluffing. I’m going and Hraim is joined to my hip. And I’m definitely going. There aren’t many community events and I’ve been missing them since we left our hive. I wish ORS spent it’s time organizing those for the town instead of dragging us in for tedious interviews.” [Irritated]


“When you work for a hive there’s all sorts of regulations. Usually they aren’t too annoying, but the interviews are one of the worst ones.”

“It’s an hour of answering banal questions about if you’re mistreated or overworked or discriminated against, phrased in a dozen different ways, after you’ve already waited at least an hour in the lobby. With travel time it can be half a day wasted on bullshit.”

“Isn’t it good that they’re checking on you?”

“I’d rather have half days pay.”

“Your hive doesn’t comp you the time? Oh, no wonder you’re so annoyed.”

“What, are you salaried?” [Disbelief]

“No, I’m just a handyman, but the Foodbowl’s are really generous with me.” [Bashful]

“Huh. You sound pretty lucky.”

Vinessca keeps the conversation going talking about her job and other smalltalk and it occurs to me as we talk that these people are normal. I think they’re the only normal people I’ve met since yesterday. It’s been less than two days but it feels so much longer and I relax a little as we head towards the hall.
No. 1014736 ID: 8fae7e
File 163659695170.png - (233.59KB , 1000x1000 , 319.png )

Kark beelines towards me as soon as he feels me. He pauses once he’s close and I can feel a flash of confusion come from him for a second, before frustration and anger overtakes it again.

“If I knew you’d find the most annoying cunt on in the city I wouldn’t have asked you to look for people.”

“They all came then?”

“The cultists and the vet? Yeah.” He throws a thumb towards the building. “Everyone’s gathering inside. We’re starting soon. Grab seats if you can, should be some left.”

“You’re Kark? I wanted to ask-“

“Don’t fucking care. Go inside.”

The three of them give us some looks, which Kark ignores and I try to , and they go inside. Vinessca waves as she leaves.

“Where’s Luvi?”
No. 1014739 ID: dfbac0

You let her know about the town hall but you also just fully figured out exactly how wrong in the head she is so she might be late because she's being a living stress ball for a murderous neumono.
No. 1014745 ID: ce39da

"I found her, but I don't think her demented ex-crewmate wanted her to come."
No. 1014788 ID: 2de4fd

Doing her own thing. Can we go now? It's probably pretty clear from your empathy alone that this past interaction was not a great one.
No. 1014791 ID: 53560f

She told me that she hasn’t forgotten and will be around later. She was uncontactable because as it turns out, there’s no reception underground.
No. 1014796 ID: 094652

"She's busy getting her backside plowed by that trigger-happy boyfriend of hers. They're even worse than the cultists."
No. 1015059 ID: 15a025

Underground with no reception. What are the odds we get a good outcome here today Kark?
No. 1020332 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203722724.png - (222.51KB , 1000x1000 , 320.png )

“She was underground. No reception down there. She said she’ll be coming later.” [Don’t want to talk about it.]

“Fuck. I wanted to brief her before she spoke. Whatever. I underestimated how many people we could bring out anyway. We’ll make do.”

“What are the odds we get a good outcome here, Kark?”

“Going to be honest, the turnout being so high is already a better outcome than I anticipated.” Something almost like embarrassment pokes through his angry empathy. “We’ll see how the Q & A goes. I want you to go up first, since you’re the freshest rogue I got. Tell ‘em about your experiences. Don’t ask any questions. Statements only. Then get off the mic before they answer and let the next person go up.”

He turns and leaves before I can say anything back, yelling to someone else about something.
No. 1020333 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203724607.png - (237.12KB , 1000x1000 , 321.png )

I go inside to find a seat. People are filtering in and it looks there’s going to be a full house. There are some people currently on the stage talking to each other and glancing at the crowd. The Neumono are surprised. After listening for a few minutes, I gather they’re some of the elected officials, and pomi is the mayor of Jirak. And Jirak is, uh, here. I thought this roguetown was called Shattersteel, but it’s apparently just slang that caught on after the Shattersteel hive took over the police force. Speaking of, I don’t need to listen to any of the chatter to see that the Shattersteel queen is the big neumono on stage. She exudes authority.
No. 1020334 ID: 8fae7e
File 164203726924.png - (228.28KB , 1000x1000 , 322.png )

Once everyone who wants to has found a seat and things have quieted down a bit the mayor taps the mic to get everyone’s attention.

>“We have such a… surprising number of participants today. Which is great!”

She drones on for a while about things her administration has done for Jirak and thanks the other people on the stage for their help. I can barely keep myself paying attention. Her voice is practically calculated to bore me.

>“Well, now that we’ve broken the ice a bit, it’s time for the Q&A portion of the day. Everyone who wants to will have a chance to come up to the microphone and ask questions of the Jirak leaders and help us help you.”

Kark told me to go up first and I think he spread it around because there’s a sense that the other neumono are waiting for me to get in line first. But I didn’t actually agree to it! What would I even say?
No. 1020335 ID: 62b53b

Tell people that the breaking point was your hive not liking your play then you got kicked out and told to fuck off by the government.
No. 1020336 ID: 96c896

We don't actually know what happened that got Mac kicked out. The play caused a blackout.
No. 1020339 ID: 53560f

You can probably omit details regarding the initial ‘breaking point’ but maybe you could talk about the events that followed and led to where you are now.
Also try not to think about the fact that this is probably being broadcast or recorded and that your old hive may see it.
No. 1020347 ID: 39c55a

Keep it together. Focus on what’s happened recently. Best way through is to just get it over and done with. No need to act or overact on this one, you’ve lived a heck of a day and change, and maybe some of that -is- worth sharing. Whatever Kark wanted that’s what he’ll have to get.

Get up and introduce your stingingly monosyllabic name: Mac. You’ve recently been forced to avail yourself of the city’s rogue support services. Speak of the questionable experiences you’ve had in your short time, from good (getting found, getting support from other rogues, a place to stay, essential advice, things to do) to bad (seeming lack of support options, how awkward it’s been to seek help without a hive, finding out about the supposedly depression-inducing mess that is rogue housing - so much so that some people would rather live underground, which you got to verify today - and your crazy supportive rogue support service personnel getting fired while taking care of you). You’ve been thrust into a situation where you’re scrabbling to find steady ground, have had had several scares - moments like trying to take a step down a precarious ladder and finding a rung missing - and even so you get the distinct feeling you’ve been lucky. There were so many things you just had no idea about until...

Make it feel like you were leading up to a question but then just pause and reiterate you had no idea what it was really like being a Rogue, and you still don’t, so for now you’d like to hear what other people who have been living this way for longer have to say and yield the microphone.
No. 1020357 ID: dfbac0

Yeah, mention how it seems like most of the rogues you've met have fostered a sense of community and are willing to help out a new rogue like you, at first we were generally skeptical of well... everything, but to our pleasant surprise you weren't taken advantage of despite being a new rogue that most would see as an easy mark.
Although, it seems as if this happened less of want but of need, rogues need to be supportive of each other because nobody else supports them, everything the government seems to do to help rogues seems to do nothing, and at times detriments rogues rather than helping them.
And yeah, end it with the fact that you're still new to this and your experiences are limited, and for all you know you may be incorrect and these are just your first impressions.
No. 1020374 ID: ce39da

You should probably put on your "Calm Mac" mask for this; yes, it's exhausting, but you can't really afford to break down here (or, worse, leave an opening for it to rear its head again).

These seem like good routes to take, yeah.
No. 1032860 ID: 92c18c
File 165299330785.png - (205.23KB , 1200x1200 , 323.png )

>Try not to think about the fact that this is probably being broadcast or recorded and that your old hive may see it.
There’s a camera on me, but I put it out of my mind easily. It doesn’t matter anyway. They won’t be watching. Everyone else in the audience though…

My heartbeat speeds up and I can feel myself breathing deeper. Sweat starts to bead on my head and-

> You should probably put on your “Calm Mac” mask for this; yes, it’s exhausting, but you can’t really afford to break down here (or, worse, leave an opening for it to rear its head again).
I am in this moment, talking to these people about my new life. That’s the beginning and end of me.

“Hello. My name is Mac. I became a rogue yesterday.”
No. 1032861 ID: 92c18c
File 165299333523.png - (343.82KB , 1200x1200 , 324.png )

“I was forced to take advantage of the rogue support services and they were… questionable at best. I think the only thing the city managed to do was find me when I was first wandering around lost. All the advice I’ve gotten and the support I’ve received has been from other rogues. They’ve kept me busy and given me a roof over my head for the time being. Even if it’s hurt them, like getting fired for helping me.”

“I never really thought before about how hard it is to just… exist without a hive. Or maybe that’s wrong. I never really cared before. And now I have to. This is all new to me, and I don’t have that much experience yet. But I think I’ve been lucky so far. And that scares me a lot.”

I leave the podium and am replaced immediately. I tune their speech out though. I’m done with this. I’ve said everything I wanted to. To these people at least.

[Mac! We should talk.]

I have a lot more to say to Luvi once she’s finished going through the line. And I’ll make her listen to me this time.
No. 1032862 ID: 92c18c
File 165299338098.png - (380.19KB , 1200x1200 , 325.png )

I can finally make them listen to me! Brother Krieg is going to regret passing up this opportunity. I never knew he’d be camera shy. This is precious time to proselytize to the masses the Truth of Om. Plus, the last few speakers have just been complaining. I’m sure everyone’s tired of that by now.

“The problem with us- all of us! Is that we don’t realize just how important and central we are to the universe. Not just rogues but hivers and aliens and everyone. But Om-“

The groan from the crowd almost drowns me out even with the speaker and I have to raise my voice.

>[Ugh, she’s one of them.]

They’re dismissive for now. Obviously. So was I, at first. But planting the seed is important.

“Om’s path shows us all-“

>”Um, thank you but I don’t think this is relevant, miss. Maybe we should wrap up-“

There’s a cough and Mayor Gladsail glances at the Queen on stage and pauses. Her voice is strained when she talks again. Weird.

>”Wrap up and move to the next constituents. Many are still waiting.”

“But I’ve barely started! I have so much more to tell you!”

>[Stop talking.]
>[Get her out of here!]

Someone gets out of their chair to grab me and-
No. 1032863 ID: 92c18c
File 165299341753.png - (204.04KB , 1200x1200 , 326.png )

“Been trying to get a permanent business license for the last couple of years. Keep getting ran around. I’m stuck with the temporary one that needs to be reupped every year. I’ve been passed in a circle three separate times across four departments and your office never answered my messages, Mirai. So now that we’re in the same room, I figured I’d bring it up.” Gladsail looks like she’s been sucking lemons for an hour. Worth it to come up just to see her squirm.

>”Of course. I’d be more than happy to address your concerns, and apologize for the hardship you’ve suffered so far.”

“Glad you think that way, since I got a few war buddies who’ve been jerked around even longer than me. Gonna be a long night for all of us, I’m thinking.”
No. 1032864 ID: 92c18c
File 165299345105.png - (200.31KB , 1200x1200 , 327.png )

>[What’s wrong with her?]
>[Should be in an institution.]

“Hello, my name is Luvi!”

>[She should leave.]

“I’m not going to give my story or anything, since I was a government worker recently and that seems a bit out of line. But what I do want to say is I’m so, so happy to see the community come together like this!”

>[Hate how she feels!]

“I think this conversation will help us all get closer and work out our problems! Together!
No. 1032865 ID: 92c18c
File 165299349688.png - (207.51KB , 1200x1200 , 328.png )

Little grey guy told me to give my life story as a rogue. Fucking stupid. It’s the same as anyone else’s.

“Been rogue for five years. Shit sucks. Everyone already knows that. Nothing else to say.”

>[That’s it?]
>[Why even go up?]

Yeah, yeah, I don’t have a list of things to yell at people I don’t know. Be as mad as you want, I’m done. No, Yvnette, I don’t care if you’re disappointed. It’s your turn to bitch now if you want.
No. 1032866 ID: 92c18c
File 165299354033.png - (186.94KB , 1200x1200 , 329.png )

I guess I should be glad Hraim cared enough to stand in line for so long to begin with. I thought she would bail after the first half-hour of waiting, but she stuck it out. If she could put up with that boredom maybe her funk is breaking a bit? It even got to me a little. Gladsail looking like she’s having a conniption got old pretty quick, and checking out pretty girls for too long gets a bit awkward after a while.

“I think the problem we are all circling around is, our system doesn’t work for rogues. It’s almost a mirror of being a rogue. The organizations don’t care and will put in only the minimal effort, you have to jab it repeatedly to get it to maybe do anything, and it always runs out of energy faster than the last time.” Like Hraim. She understands what I’m saying, but doesn’t even fume like she would have a few years ago. “And the people least able to go through the effort of that cat and mouse chase are rogues, especially new ones. Thank you for your time.”

As I head back to sit with Hraim I see a cute pink neumono with an emotional personality disorder talking to Mac in the back of the auditorium. Seems heavy.

[Need help?]

[Private. Don’t come.]

Fair enough.
No. 1032867 ID: 92c18c
File 165299357436.png - (205.99KB , 1200x1200 , 330.png )

“I um, haven’t really had the same experience as most rogues here. I think my life is pretty good, actually? I have a roof over my head, friends to hang out with, food to eat. I don’t know what else I’d ask for.” Oh jeez, that’s not a popular opinion here, though Ms. Gladsail gives me a little smile.

>[What the hell?]
>[Get off the mic!]

“Anyway, yeah. Thanks!” I leave and hurry back to Yvnette and Hraim. At least they aren’t mad at what I said.
No. 1032869 ID: 92c18c
File 165299362457.png - (336.67KB , 1400x1200 , 331.png )

Spending all goddamn last night trying to find that timing bug in the code, which fucking *knew* when I was using the debugger and only wouldn’t show up then.

“…We need a responsive government, a stronger community, and people who actually give a shit in charge. You’re running this roguetown like it doesn’t have rogues in it. And you’re failing.” Gladsail’s fuming, babbling something that I don’t bother listening to. She’s gotten most of the flak today, since Mund makes sure to use her as a shield for the shittier decisions. But keeping shit off of you when it’s splashing is pretty fucking hard ain’t it?

[Frustration. You’re enjoying this.]

Immensely. I can be smug and angry at the same time, Mund. Smug that I’m fucking you so well on stage and pissed off that cunt Gysbourne pawned my goddamned guitar to someone who’d wave it in my face. Bitch is lucky it was just gathering dust in my closet. Knowing my luck, the next time I go outside I’ll see someone carrying my bedframe or bookshelves. Whatever. I’m not ruining this moment. I can multi-ta-

Mund barks. Sharp. Piercing. Everyone quiets instantly. Fuck.

”I’ve stood here and listened patiently to each and every one of you air your grievances.” She doesn’t move an inch. All she needs to do is raise her voice and every neumono here is listening. *Queens*. “You’re all right, more or less. We haven’t fixed your problems. Because we can’t. In every one of your little speeches, I never heard an ounce of introspection. How can we fix you when you can’t fix yourselves?”

She’s not even *their* queen and these assholes can’t help but look up to her the second she really starts paying them attention. Just because she’s authoritarian and little bit taller than most neumono all these rogues can’t even *think* individually anymore. Disgusting.

“When my hive came to this district it wasn’t on any Queenwood travel guides. Do you remember that? The city hid you. The law was hours away if it ever even came. It was impossible to navigate the roads here with GPS because every street mapping drone sent inside was shot out of the sky. Jirak is where rogues ended up because nowhere else would have you. Dead last in literacy, job opportunities, wealth, *everything*. Shattersteel did not have to step on a single toe to get this assignment. But I wanted it. We came and dragged Jirak kicking and screaming from the lowest ranked district into something respectable in less than a decade. Turned it from a pimple on the ass of our capital into somewhere that you can live with pride. We locked up the killers and traffickers, kicked out the thieves and addicts, and protected the truly helpless. Rogues can make something of themselves here. And if you haven’t, then blaming Mayor Gladsail might make you feel better, but it won’t change your real problem.” [You.]

Mund. You arrogant piece of shit. Not one lie but barely a hint of truth, even if you believe it. You think nothing is ever going to stick to you. Well, I bet you won’t see this coming. I break in during her pause for breath.

“You’re completely fucking right, bitch. That’s why I’m running to be the first rogue mayor.” [Try and stop me.]

Her surprise is so sweet I forget to be livid for a moment. But then it’s back to the beginning. Kili stealing my doll as a kid. Conceited little prick tore it up instead of just giving it back like I asked
No. 1032870 ID: 92c18c
File 165299365576.png - (375.69KB , 1400x1200 , 332.png )

I wish I had that bitterweed on me right now. I feel exhausted, emotionally.

“I think,” Luvi says after a few minutes of quiet. “I took advantage of you, Mac.” [Apologetic.]

How long have we been talking? The sun is starting to set, but almost everyone is still inside. Feels like something big happened in there, but I can’t bring myself to care about it right now.

“I love feeling needed. It kept me going for decades, being there for my friends and well, anyone who asked, really. But none of my friends need me anymore. Not even Rocker, I think. And they haven’t for a long time.” [Wistful.]

I told Krieg I’d do his party when he asked after my speech. I’ll just be a guitar player for a few hours or so, and that’ll be the beginning and end of me. Maybe I can turn that into something steady. Support myself.

“You don’t need me or my shit. But I needed a fresh rogue who was scared enough to cling to someone like me. So, I’m sorry.” [Yearning.]

I can tell Luvi still doesn’t get it. She reminds me of J’raine at her worst. You could explain things to her in a hundred ways and she’d nod. Repeat it back to you verbatim if you asked. Then change nothing about her behavior and be confused when you got frustrated at her. She could know something but couldn’t understand it. Her brain just repelled certain ideas like a magnet. I think Luvi’s the same. Maybe it isn’t their fault, but how much does that matter when it comes down to it?


I know what she wants me to say. Do I want to give it?
No. 1032871 ID: e07ed2

Not unconditionally, but at least say that you understand and you'd like to stick around. Have a conversation about what you two want/need out of life and each other.
No. 1032874 ID: 9a2966

Walk her further away from the crowd for what you're gonna be about to say. No need to love bomb everyone that badly. Focus on your guitar while you speak and keep your expression under control.

>Do I say it?
Need her or not, you... think being her friend is worth another shot. She did you some good, whatever her reasons. And you can solve the 'problem of her' mostly on your own, so it doesn't matter if she's able to listen or not. You can avoid Rocker in the future if he's gonna be a problem. And while her empathy is oppressive, it's not intolerable most of the time and you can always take a wander and go busking if it becomes too bad.

Frankly, yeah, you might be able to put a life back together without her involvement, but you... need someone or something to riff off of. You never were a great solo act and you don't want to get pulled into a depressive funk. Which is probably the last thing that'll happen around someone like her.

This relationship is probably not for forever, but you'll give her - and yourself - a chance and see.

>Internal reflections
While Luvi's support comes with some massive caveats and might come from a broken place and will continue to do so, it's nevertheless support you'd be without and she did put you on the right path. It's an open question where you'd be right now without her and the people she pointed you towards.

You know what's stupid, though? Like, you can't really tell her good things, encourage her much, or similar things. Or, well, it'd come at the very obvious cost of her becoming overwhelmingly happy.

Maybe that's why her friends or people around her are either aliens, sociopaths or grumpy grumps like Kark. It's sheer selection pressure - a nicer and happier Neumono, even as a rogue, might trigger her oversized happiness too often and drive her away - or be driven away.

You probably need to keep a lid on things that really set her off, at least in polite company. If you can suffer the empathy, you might be able - if willing - to let her let off happy steam in private. Maybe you can leverage that into her staying cooler in public.