|Unnatural Selection by Lagotrope|
A quest by Lagotrope that is part of the Asteroidverse. It is very complicated and confusing. Includes lots and lots of characters, and hugs.
This quest shares a timeline with Asteroid Quest, and a merged thread listing in chronological order can be found here.
|Unnatural Selection Stats and Admin logs are tracked on the wiki.|
|This article contains spoilers! You were warned.|
An exhaustive character list (google sheet) is available. Be warned, as mentioned above, there are lots. (May load slowly, and spoilers abound).
A formless, quasi-sentient blob wakes up with 9 others of its kind. There are 5 portals, and upon one being entered, it collapses, leaving 4 portals for 9 people. The rest are left presumed dead.
The blob in question is able to spend CU, taking the form of a naga, and naming herself Alison. She continues on in stages in which a portion survive to enter another stage, and the rest die. Each stage has structured mechanics, with individual turns to take actions, and possibilities to get CU along the way. In the next couple of stages, called the preliminaries, she befriends Iso, a somewhat cowardly lizard who most likely would have died early on if not for being one of Alison's earliest friends, having the first thing in common with each other with their love and practice of music.
After the preliminaries, each stage is given a safe zone, in which 30 hours may be spend without fear of death from anyone. 1ups are also given, to avoid a single fluke from killing a contestant. System-driven characters are also introduced, specifically the shop keeper, a noncontestant who sells contenders items.
Alison begins meeting others and attempts to form friendships and alliances with others, soon realizing that if multiple people enter a single exit on the same round, that exit can be overloaded, and there will be more survivors than the labeled number of exits on each stage.
Stage 2 is cleared with most of her friends alive, and their CU count is proving to give them an edge over the rest of the competition. Stage 3 has the largest number of contestants, the Recluse of whom shows Alison that by sleeping, she can speak with dead individuals of which she has directly absorbed via the appropriate ability.
Someone called the Chief has more people under his wing, and more CU that is focused on himself, making him a nearly untouchable force. With outside help and losses, Alison's party is able to defeat him, taking over much of his force, and eventually enlisting Chief to help with the menial management of a growing number of allies.
Stage 4 is when Alison begins realizing fundamental flaws in some abilities that can be used in the safe zone, between resurrection and absorption, that allow her to gain an indefinite number of CU. With warnings from that safe zone's shopkeep about raising flags for the system that drives the shopkeep's functions, simply called the System by contestants, Alison holds herself back from getting millions of CU. She still gets enough to overpower her and her trusted allies, leading to her party being an overwhelming force for stage 4.
For the rest of the safe zone, the Engineer creates a pet project of a telescope, to which Alison peers through to view visible stars of which there appear to be thousands or millions of. She sees that each star is another stage 4 safe zone, identical to hers, but with a different set of contestants. Mathematician estimates billions of deaths thus far, and eventually, when more numbers are solidifies, the total number of contestants turns into one trillion. Shopkeep, realizing there are more of him, gains his first existential crisis, and also an Alison hug.
Alison also explores an attic, finding a photo album of a neumono farm, with Likol taking the pictures. This is their first hint of the world outside of their own.
With her new CU count, stage 4 ends up being a trivial experience. Instead of being addressed by the system itself for cheating the mechanics, Alison gets the attention of the Corruptor, an entity that managed to break much of the mechanics to create the corrupted sanctuary.
The Corruptor and the Glitcher, who start showing signs of being abnormal contestants to begin with, have a corrupted version of stage 3's safe zone that the Glitcher managed to slow down time in, giving 15,000 hours for each safe zone rather than 30. This leads to the thousands of contestants living in the sanctuary to lead what is closer to a normal life.
Alison also receives the adoration of the Arbiter while the corruptor tells her that his intention is to abuse the system as much as absolutely possible, to break the system altogether, hoping that everyone will be free from the stages as a result.
One of the bottlenecks is that the corruptor shows that contestants are limited to tier one stats, while tier 2 stats are reserved for low level system entities such as the shopkeeps. The corruptor has unlocked tier 2, and much of his forces are well beyond Alison's level when she first met him. Tier 3, however, is something he has not gotten, due to his inability to gain a shopkeep's ability of Merchant. It is also prohibitively expensive at first, but gradually with continued abuse, many people enter Tier 3.
Alison is able to turn a shopkeep into the smuggler, and while she initially has reluctance about giving this to the Corruptor, she does so.
While running through re-iterated zones that the corruptor and glitcher made, the system finally shows itself as it has Judges fight Alison. They are easily taken out until an Enforcer is shown, and while defeated, Duelist, a valued ally and friend, is ripped out of the contestant zones and into the administration brackets of the system zones.
Alison takes it upon herself to get the glitcher to find a way to rescue the Duelist. Glitcher is able to manufacture a teleport device using Duelist's ghost, frozen in Alison's dreamland, as a beacon.
With corruptor's blessing as being the first to stage an offense on the system zone, Alison invades the bracket administration. The enforcer is found, and also turned onto Alison's side. With his information, it's revealed that while he and the judges were simply higher level system-entities, the high level administration are contestants in their own right. They must also do well, or they will simply be killed off as brackets merge together, and the best admins continue on.
Alison continues her invation, and the enforcer, now called the Scholar, gains resurrection via the Shop Baron, a designer of Shopkeep's inventory. With Duelist glued to him, he is able to use resurrect to remove the bond and resurrect Duelist. With the threat of Alison killing off critical administrators, she is left free to leave the bracket.
On returning, an auxiliary corrupted zone is made for Alison, and smuggler makes his residence there. With Alison's invasion, the rest of the system brackets take corruptor's presence far more seriously. Fearing retribution, Corruptor decides to go on more offensive runs.
Alison eventually decides to go back to the system and confront the main leader there, the Administrator, who was not seen the first time. The Admin, questionably named Radmin, reveals he was trying to get the system to attack corruptor from the beginning, and that Alison killing him will get them off their feet to do so, even more than they already are.
He further explained that using special keycards that are sometimes lost in stages, a contestant can also have some admin functions should they use the card inside of the admin office. Alison found a stage 6 keycard, unable to use it in the current stage 5 admin office.
She returns to the Corrupted Sanctuary, where the system's first move was to permanently delete Resurrection.
On top of the loss of resurrection, frozen time is removed, and the Sanctuary then moves in regular time. Meanwhile, Iso and Alison go on a date after Iso finally gets the nerve to ask.
Stage 5 is entered soon as a result of the flow of time. It is more or less trivial, although Freeroam is reported to have been a brutal case of traps and rather realistic battle damage.
Upon stage 5's completion, Alison enters a room that carries her to the next safe zone. It's here that a book is discovered revealing them to be entrants for a Compilation Artificial Intelligence, and internal AI system of various different personalities. Presumably, the winners of the these stages will live on in the outside world as AI's.
Alison also finds a note in the book claiming to have been written by herself, telling her not to trust the corruptor before it's too late. She locates another moat and another cave, where she finds a note supposedly written by the Recluse due to its location, saying not to let Alison delay her use of a keycard, to kill corruptor if it comes to it.
Wishing to confront the Corruptor about this note, she goes to the sanctuary. Arbiter says he will sooner side with Alison than the Corruptor, and that he found a note from Corruptor to himself saying that it denounced Alison as inevitably becoming an enemy, and to kill her before she has a chance. When one of the Corruptor's own devotees demands Alison sees the corruptor, she refuses. The safe zone is turned off, and Alison runs towards Glitcher, hoping to see if he can look into the note as soon as possible.
Glitcher explains he can look into the history of the note, and so he may be able to see how it came into existence. Upon doing so, the Glitcher becomes despondent. He requests a song, tells Alison that there is a teleporter in his cabinet, and commits suicide.
She only escapes with a couple of her allies, the left of which are left in the sanctuary. The teleport brings her to the stage 6 bracket, but Administrator 6 recognizes he would die if he fought Alison, so he simply lets her have the administrator room where she can use the keycard.
There, the main function she has is to view logs, which reveal nearly 3,000 cycles, and only occasionally does Alison leave a log for her future selves. There is already a pre-existing CAI at the end, which indicate that they are defeated, and the cycles wear off. The CAI is unable to completely destroy them, however, and the cycle is restarted, allowing another chance.
The bracket is left, and Safe Zone 6 contains King, of whom was a candidate for one of Corruptor's leaders, but did not join due to different objectives. Alison and he create a non-aggression pact, and eventually an alliance.
Using a previously abused benign loophole, Alison summons a ghost form of Corruptor to talk things over. He agrees to let her people leave the sanctuary freely and rejoin her, as he is highly apologetic.
The Glitcher shows himself in Alison's dream after being absorbed, and creates a new safe haven for Alison within her own dream. Doing so, she can keep live people safe in her house, while only a portion deal with the stages to continue on. She opts to stay out of stage 6, and offer advice with ghost summons.
Despite the stage having 10,000 entrants and only 100 exits, Alison and King overload the exits, letting the mortality rate be far less than the 99% expected.
Safe Zone 7 provides public contact with the administration. Alison's 7th bracket's admin, Sevener, shows herself to be unduly hostile towards Alison, most of her communication taking the form of Unpleasant Notes. Bones, a leader in Corruptor's army, shows as much hostility. There are only 19 other brackets, Alison notes from the number of stars.
The remaining administration changes the rules further, saying that anyone who does not enter stage 7 will be considered dead, thus forcing Alison's dream house to make an exodus into stage 7, although by this point, Alison has closed the difference between being dead or alive.
Beyond Corruptor and Glitcher, the Savior is told to be a 3rd outside contender with special abilities, and King reveals he was once under the Savior, but branched off, saying the savior is not much of a savior. King summons him anyway, as Alison gained a new keycard for stage 7, and wishes to see Arbiter's logs. Savior can move her to a system zone. He also claims he will save Alison's house and let everyone live at his place should anything befall Alison.
A talk with glitcher reveals he can simulate a CAI battle to help prepare Alison in the fight against the pre-existing CAI. Another button is made that will transport everyone to the simulation, pitting Alison's party against the admin's zone. She brings nearly her entire group along, believing numbers may help. King also supplies his forces, and over 4,000 contestants enter system bracket 4. The admin is able to call other brackets to reinforce to near equal numbers.
Alison hits the CAI fight switch, and with a slight numerical advantage still, she runs the vote to answer a multiple choice option of which CAI simulation to run. The belenos homeworld is chosen.
Belenosian Interlude - Threads 7, 8, 9
The location chosen takes place nearly 10,000 years in the real past, at the height of an alien's civilization's power. The belenos have typically irresponsible use of their power, and Alison's entire party takes control of a single, powerful entity, with the meta goal of either killing a specific primary leader of the world, or Sevener's own entity, called a jetal.
The simulation provides a far more free-form range of movements compared to the stages, and is ultimately completely detached from the stages she is familiar with. What occurs is a longwinded campaign to exit the belenosian simulation they start in to enter the real (simulated) belenos world to kill the Sapphire Emperor. Sevener claims that Alison and her used to work closely together, but Alison had betrayed her on a multitude of locations. She has a great edge, as Alison's number advantage proves nearly useless, and Sevener's logs have given away key secrets to the installed belenos simulations that she has taken part in over the thousands of cycles. Wanting to know more to leave behind one more log, however, she lets the simulation run all the way to the Sapphire Emperor, rather than trying to kill Alison as soon as she can.
The simulation of a simulation is successfully left, but Alison eventually comes back to the building where that simulation is stored, where Alison uploads over one million entities into herself, hoping she can bring them back ans save them, among a few others that join her on the way.
The belenos world, according to history, eventually blows itself apart to near extinction, where their civilization creates draconic anti-technology logs. The remaining biologicals fight for thousands of years against the robots and jetals, and gradually outlast the technology they created. They live a tribalistic life until humans make contact with them.
Alison and Sevener re-create the setup for the most part. Before they finish, however, Corruptor manages to bleed into the simulation and trigger an auto-lose scenario for Alison, with a simple 'sorry' for an answer.
Despite attempts to win just in case it is a bluff, Sevener is able to deliver the killing blow on Sapphire, and Corruptor did successfully make Sevener win regardless. Upon exiting the simulation, Alison is absorbed by Sevener, and talks Arbiter into showing Sevener his logs.
- Alison appears (sort of) in Boatface Adventures.
- An Alison-inspired polymorph appears in Dragon Romance.
Appearances by a select few of the very large cast Inside the Quest, sorted by the threads these appearances ran concurrent to or after.
|Part 6 Epilogue:|
|Belenosian Interlude 2:|
|Belenosian Interlude 3:|
|Part 16 Epilogue|
|Part 17 Epilogue:|
|This quest has (fan) artwork that is not safe for work. See the NSFW gallery.|
|Lewd sequel (nsfw)|
|Ysabel and Alison|
|no dithering alt|
UnS UnS UnS
A fanart spinoff with excellent coloring, dialog and plot, by Ficus. The story follows the questionably canonical adventures of an alternate Alison who takes a different approach to solving the problems she encounters, and goes rather further than hugs.
|UnS UnS UnS Part 1:||    |
|UnS UnS UnS Part 2:||   |
|UnS UnS UnS Bonus:||Bonus 1 Bonus 2 Bonus 3 Bonus 4 Bonus 5|
|UnS UnS UnS Part 3:||       |
|UnS UnS UnS Part 4:||   [20b] [20c] [20d]     [24 fix]        |
|UnS UnS UnS Part 5:||    |
|Quests by Lagotrope|