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File: Miranda Styles #28.png (340 KB, 577x894)
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Eyes on the prize, and welcome back to Magical Girl For Hire Quest!

You are Miranda Styles, a relatively unscrupulous magical girl currently working for Silver Eye Solutions, a umbrella corporation for magical girl mercenaries such as yourself, located in scenic The Intersection, a dimensional nowhere and everywhere where you rest, recuperate, live, and get details for your next job.

You’re currently sitting in a kneeling position next to your two friends and workmates Izumi Yayoi and Lorelei Vedder, the both of which you found in a training room. You’re currently aboard a Carrier for Dynamic Methods; another Outgoer mercenary outfit you’ve been subcontracted to help fight a war with. Lorelei just the night before has shown that she’s apparently at risk for...well...involuntary body-puppeting, yourself being the example victim. Naturally, this needs to be sorted out ASAP, and it seems Lorelei agrees.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Magical%20Girl%20For%20Hire%20Quest
General Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/u/MGFHQHandler
Character Details: http://pastebin.com/9J70gqM2
Miranda's Techniques: http://pastebin.com/eTu7U2PZ
FAQ: http://pastebin.com/8unLWUjF
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MGFHandler
>>
>>1283919
“So you think it’s manageable?” You ask. You didn’t initially want to interrupt them when you found them both meditating in silence, but before you could beg off, Lorelei had apparently gotten slightly fed up with it. You’d taken that as your cue to enter.

“I’m almost certain of it,” she responds. “If I were a wagering person, I’d say it’s an involuntary development of a new ability, likely brought on by the massive amounts of mana she absorbed in the basin. With her body so naturally low on it, my guess is something was jumpstarted, perhaps...although that’s simply a theory.” Izumi hadn’t moved at all from her lotus position, although she’d at least opened her eyes. “Either way, I’m more concerned about her sleeping habits. While I’ve no doubt she can come to control it, it will take time…”

“And we don’t have that!” Lorelei complains. “I don’t like the idea of going to sleep and waking up in someone’s body!”

“We know,” Izumi says calmly. “But there’s little we can do at the moment. I can promise you that if you end up in my body I’ll do my best to direct you, and I’m sure Miranda’s already said she understands, correct?”

You nod as she turns to you. “It’s not something you caused intentionally, and you can’t control it yet. Plus, it doesn’t actually hurt. It just feels strange, like I said. If it happens to someone else…”

“Actually, about that.” Izumi interferes. “I understand that you said it better to keep it a secret, but I’m not so certain. I feel it’d be better to notify the Captain as soon as possible, just so everyone is clear about the situation should she wander into someone else’s head, so as to prevent any undue scares.”

“And start getting people suspicious of me? I dunno about that.” Lorelei looks off to the side. “It’d be bad for everyone- plus it’s just been you and her for now.”

“Mmm.” Izumi looks unimpressed, but relents. “Alright. I’m not entirely sold on it, but if it’s a solid two against one…”

“Speaking of the Captain, though, we need to get to the bridge! Briefing and stuff, right?!” Lorelei quickly pops up, and starts jogging out of the training room. She’s clearly not interested in talking much more about this for now. Izumi just sighs, getting up and walking out at a leisurely pace alongside you.

“She’s rather distraught about the whole thing- which I must admit, surprises me a bit.” she notes. “I’d have expected her to be rather excited about being able to perform such a feat, what with her penchant for acting.”

> “I’m surprised, too. Wonder why she’s so freaked out? Can't just be 'it feels gross'.”
> “Can’t say I don’t understand. Some things are just too much.”
> “If I were here, I’d already be thinking up tactical uses for it.”
> Other.
>>
>>1283922
>“Can’t say I don’t understand. Some things just don't sit well with some people - especially people like us. Bad memories, and all that.”
Hope she decides to talk to us about it, if it's something we can help her with.
>>
Gonna hold off on writing for a bit- I'll be back shortly anyway, just getting some food. That and this run was kinda last second since even though I said I'd run today, I never said when, and didn't give much heads up. So I'll give it about double the time or so.
>>
>>1283922
>> “I’m surprised, too. Wonder why she’s so freaked out? Can't just be 'it feels gross'.”
>>
>>1283922
>> “I’m surprised, too. Wonder why she’s so freaked out? Can't just be 'it feels gross'.”
>> “If I were her, I’d already be thinking up tactical uses for it.”
>>
And I'm back! Writing!
>>
>>1283922
> “I’m surprised, too. Wonder why she’s so freaked out? Can't just be 'it feels gross'.”
> “If I were here, I’d already be thinking up tactical uses for it.”

>I'm not good at this, but do you think you can persuade her to practice using the ability when she's awake? It's a silly power if it only works when she's sleeping.
>>
>>1283922
>>1284032
>>1284103
>>1284126
You were thinking along similar lines, if you were being honest. “I’m surprised, too. Wonder just why it seems to freak her out so much. Can’t really believe it’s just something like ‘it feels gross.’ Lorelei’s normally not exactly one to shy away from gore and the sort- at least from my experience with her.” Your brain spins with possibilities as you head up to the bridge.

“Perhaps so...or perhaps that is simply a quirk of personality?” Izumi offers. You have the hunch it might not quite be that… “Either way, I believe we can work it out- I’d be rather surprised if we couldn’t figure out a way to get her to induce the state at will, if she wanted to work at it.”

“She will, most likely.” you offer. “If only to stop it from happening at random.”

The rest of the walk is finished in silence as you make it up to the top section of the bridge, around the briefing table. It’s filled with various papers with tons of schematics and notes and various other paraphernalia. G’nearth is looking haggard around the eyes- it’s pretty clear he kept a late night. Lorelei’s already there, looking around at everything and nothing in what you guess is an effort to distract herself, and Thaddeus is there as well- he simply nods to you both, and resumes looking over the paper in his hands. Icey steps in only a few seconds after you, and when G’nearth sees her, he sighs in relief.

“Finally,” he rumbles out. “We can get this over with. You’ll haveta excuse my bad bedside manner for the moment, seein’ as I didn’t SEE a bedside last night or two. Wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have all this mess to sort through.” It’s clear what he’s talking about, but he still finds it in him to grin. “Seems like it mighta been worth it, though. One of the Alusian carriers linked up with us earlier this morning, and Morris and Atley transferred over. But before they did, they managed to spot somethin’ that might help you girls out. Seems like a couplea these reports make mentions of the Anais Relay. No direct statement on where it is...but apparently on one, there’s mention of an island where they resupply and get pieces of the damn thing shipped to them. Place called Lordis. It’s only two days away from here, but it’s VERY heavily guarded. We’d need to make a mass attack to get any intel out of them. I’m thinkin’ capture a VIP if we go that route, see what happens. We could get more than just intel on the Anais Relay for that. Would help our primary mission if we knocked out a major industrial base.”

cont.
>>
>>1284322
“And the other options?” Thaddeus asks neutrally.

“Well, one says something about checking residual energy output with some experimental weapons on a test island- no name, but they have coordinates. Chances are if you can get in there in time, not get blown up, and figure out what they’re up to that’ll help a lot with figuring out where the Relay is, since by all accounts they need to activate the main thing to get any chips of it to trigger properly...I think.” He shakes his head. “Somethin’ like that, anyway. Point is, you might be able to track it right to the source. It’s three days away. If you’re not all that interested in that, though...well, there’s another option- if you don’t mind the cold.”

“How cold?” Izumi asks with concern.

“There’s a location called ‘Orvis’. It’s just… COLD. All the time, apparently. Far northeast of here, about five days’ trip. Rumors have it that’s where all of Owlia’s big experiments take place. Not exactly easy to get to, mind, since it’s ridiculously defended and on the whole just plain dangerous. But the path there, from what I’m told, is wide open since everyone’s pushing the front. If you can break through patrol lines fast enough...who knows?”

You’d need to get in and handle things quick, fast, and in a hurry, since it’s basically next door to Ferrosia proper, and if and when they sound the alarm...well, yeah. Wouldn’t be fun. For you I mean, I’m sure the Ferrosians would be laughing all day. Lovely thought.

“So!” He smiles with tired eyes. “Any o’ those options strike your fancy? I should warn ya, though- you got your job, but we still got ours. We’ll send a detachment to help ya out with things if you take choice number two or three, as well as a rapid transport ship or two, but don’t expect major backup or a secure exfil out otherwise.”

Hm…you quickly look at both Lorelei and Izumi. Lorelei just shakes her head. “I’m...not really interested in getting into another clusterfuck like earlier. I say option two.”

Izumi hmms. “Perhaps, but I feel as though we could make quite the difference we were to accomplish what we’re trying to. I think we could risk meeting Owlia face to face.”

The others don’t give any suggestions themselves. Looks like it’s up to you to decide.

>We’ll join in the assault on Lordis.
>We’ll interfere in the weapons test.
>We’ll shoot directly for Orvis.
>Other
>>
>>1284325
>We’ll join in the assault on Lordis.
>>
>>1284325
>We’ll shoot directly for Orvis.
Owlia is our job more or less.
>>
>>1284325
>>We’ll shoot directly for Orvis.
The stupid dangerous missions is our thing, leave the soldiering to the soldiers.
>>
5 minute warning, folks.
>>
>>1284325
>>We’ll join in the assault on Lordis.
>>
>>1284325
>>We’ll shoot directly for Orvis.
>>
Into Orivs, AKA The Owl's Roost. Writing.

OH BOY
>>
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>>1284416
>>
So what are the chances that Owlia experimented on herself in an attempt to mimic our abilities?
>>
>>1284325
>>1284377
>>1284379
>>1284397
You look back at Lorelei, then at Izumi. They all sound like decent choices, but in your mind, if you had a chance to possibly end things quickly and efficiently, that was the path for you. “We’ll go directly for Orvis, then.” Your proclamation is met with a sound nod from Izumi and a fitful groan from Lorelei in turn. Thaddeus just raises an eyebrow in curiosity, Icey seems astonished, and the Captain?

He just laughs. “GAHAHAHA! Shouldn’t be surprised!” Well, at least he’s gotten his energy back. “I’ll get you guys set up with a strike team asap. Pretty sure even you folks wouldn’t be able to dive into a place like that all by your lonesomes!”

“We won’t be available to ferry you, if that’s the case.” Thaddeus says. “We’re soon to be approaching a point wherein you’ll have to split yourselves apart from the main force and continue on by yourselves- and you’ll likely have to fly there on your own. I suggest you get in as much flight practice as you can while we head to the rendezvous point. We’ll be reaching it in approximately 48 hours.”

G’nearth nods. “He ain’t wrong. I couldn’t tell ya what kinda defenses they got over there, but frankly? My suggestion is ta just get in fast as can be, trash as much as ya can, and get out. If ya can find Owlia ‘erself, well, hell. One big target to take down!”

The rest of the meeting goes by quickly, as the remainder of it is largely based on intel for the Lordin assault, informing you of the exact coordinates of the rendezvous point as well as expected operation times, and you’re soon dismissed afterwards. Izumi and Lorelei both keep pace with you as you leave the bridge. “Okay, what?! From what I saw, that girl’s nuts!” Lorelei complains. “I STILL haven’t figured out what your whole deal is with playing games with her.”

You open your mouth to say something, but Izumi beats you to the punch. “She thinks we can recruit her into the Intersection and thus remove a major force multiplier from their end while adding to ours.”

Lorelei gapes. “...say WHAT? How- you really think she’d go for it?”

“Maybe.” Izumi shrugs. “Might have to show off a bit, maybe see about that Cylica, but I think it’s entirely possible.”

Lorelei blinks. “...Dang. Well, how we gonna do that? I’ve paid off and tempted a couple folks in my jobs, but it usually involves a lot of tricks. Making them think they want it even if they don’t n’ stuff.”

“Already started-” before you can say much else, however, Bedhead of all people runs up to you. “Hey, now! Glad I caught ya early. Just got a ring from the Captain, says I’m s’pose ta escort ya to the flight training room and put ya all through yer paces real quick-like. C’mon, now!” He’s already leaving as quick as he came. “I can’t wait to see how y’all manage The Gaunlet!”

Lorelei goggles a bit. “The what?”

Oh joy.

>Roll 3d20 for Gauntlet. Miranda, Izumi, Lorelei in that order.
>>
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Rolled 17, 17, 17 = 51 (3d20)

>>1284609
>>
Rolled 15, 7, 7 = 29 (3d20)

>>1284609
>>
Rolled 9, 20, 12 = 41 (3d20)

>>1284609
Rolling.
>>1284615
Sorcery.
>>
>>1284615
They are going to think we have been jobbing all along.

Maybe the reason Lorelei is so shaken over her new ability isn't because of the nature of it but because of her lack of control. Some people develop good acting skills because the only way they can relate to the world without being hobbled by insecurities is from behind a mask. Any lack of control is a crack in that facade.
>>
>>1284615
Dafuck? Nice.

Anyway. Writing!
>>
>>1284615
!?
>>
>>1284654
>>1284851
Explosive dice
>>
>>1284609
>>1284615
>>1284628
>>1284620

You still remember some of the training, yourself. Flying is fun, if you’re being honest.

What’s not fun is getting chased by two teams of high-level AI pilots through a cityscape. This ‘Gauntlet’ as it was called was largely a series of dogfights against tougher and tougher enemies- and you’d managed to hit level five at least. Out of seven, so hey! However, one of your wings was damaged, your hull’s taking a beating, and there are way too many warning beeps happening right now. You quickly pull as sharp a turn as you can manage as you weave in between two skyscrapers, managing to shake one who turned too late, but the other three pilots tailing you made the turn flawlessly- your console screechs several target lock warnings, and you instantly try to yank upwards to get some altitude and bank to the right to get some space.

You don’t get the chance- you hear the missile, and before you can register there’s a flash of white….then you’re back in the VR seat.

...Damn, your hands are white knuckled right now.

There’s a set of loud claps from the spectator area, as Lorelei, Izumi, and Bedhead come out cheering. “Well, lookit you!” Bedhead crows. “You sure you ain’t a pilot in yer off-time? That was pretty dang good! Hittin’ Stage Five is tough even for the us- and boy, you hung in there pretty well!”

“It was a rather impressive display, Miranda!” Izumi compliments. “I hope you don’t mind though that I made note of a few things I figured improvement was possible on, but on the whole you looked like a pro out there.”

“No, please, I’m curious to see.” you insist. In short order, Izumi’s strapped in, and ready to go.

cont.
>>
>>1284919
And BOY, does she go. You’re not certain exactly where this came from- clearly she’s got some kind of history with flying, though, that’s for certain. She easily clears the first three levels, without even getting a scratch on her, and the fourth only has a few close calls, but even the fifth proves little trouble for her- she loops around when the targets appear, stalls vertically in a stunt that would’ve had her crash if she was a couple hundred feet lower, and twists around in a manner the bogeys can’t seem to follow well enough. They’re toasted in short order, and Lorelei is whooping it up.

The sixth stage is the one to nearly give her trouble- but even then she lucks out by managing to trap the two ‘Super Aces’ into a race between a canyon ground, and she does a similar flip trick- pulling one HELL of a one-eighty to blast them both in the face- under a minute, no less!

“Oooooh BOY!” Bedhead yells. “She managed to pull it off!” But his grin isn’t one victorious. It’s one that says there’s still a secret lying in wait. As for what it is…

‘Hello? That should be it, right-’ before she can finish, suddenly a grouping of fighters in formation are seen on the screen ahead. Eight in total. So that was the big finale?

You turn to ask, but before anything can come out suddenly there’s multiple flashes on screen as all of them are wiped out by a missile barrage, replaced by a singular fighter.

“Say hello to Kantor One, sweetheart!” Bedhead crows as Izumi desperately dips out of the way of a salvo of missiles. “Th’ best pilot ever ta come through our doors!”

Izumi doesn’t last much longer after that, sad to say. Whatever ship Kantor One is using, it’s one heck of a piece of tech, and it takes everything Izumi has to avoid its shots, much less get it in range or in lock long enough to fire any of her own. After a full minute of rolling, diving, and dodging, she’s finally taken down when a missile wrecks her wing, sending her into a death spiral, and a second splashes her.

To her credit, Izumi doesn’t seem too shaken as the canopy rises and the lights come back on, although she’s clearly breathing deeply. “That...was horrifying. The end, I mean.” She carefully gets out- her knees seem to be shaking a bit. “The rest was rather pleasant-”

“I’m next!” Lorelei yells. She’s already in before she even finished the sentence. “Let’s do this!”

You and the others just shake your heads and head back in.

cont. x2
>>
>>1284925
Lorelei, to her credit, seems to do okay, for the most part. She’s not as direct as you, nor nearly as graceful as Izumi, but she holds up well enough, her piloting style seemingly about making the fighter do as many spins and loops and rolls as possible. Bedhead has a sideways grin on his face, clearly less than impressed, but her results speak for themselves when she clears the first and second stages easily. The third stage causes her some trouble when she makes an errant loop that ends up with her right in an enemy’s sights, but she quickly shakes them off and is able to return fire. The fourth stage briefly has her in a panic, but she cleverly manages to get one of her pursuers to fly too low, and that results in them clipping some of the scenery, causing her to be able to get distance and turn the tables. The fifth stage, sadly, is where she meets her end, same as you- this time practically by her own hand, as she cuts a turn too tightly and shaves off half of the fighter chasing a bogey around a corner.

She at least takes it in good sport, laughing as she exits the simulation.

“Welp, I guess credit fer something, there,” Bedhead admits. “I’d suggest you ease up on the hotdoggin’, though.”

Lorelei just grins. “But I love hotdogs!”

Oy.

You all exit surprisingly sweaty, but given Bedhead’s critiques and suggestions, you think you all might just be able to handle yourselves in the real thing...of course, he did insist coming back tomorrow. You all shower and head off to relax for a bit after something that stressful. It took a surprising amount of time- it’s later afternoon now.

Aside from pilot training, over the next two days, you:

(Pick two)

>Try to figure out more about Owlia.
>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.
>Talk to some of the DM forces to get them on your strike team.
>Other

I wrote more than I was expecting to for this part.
>>
>>1284930
>Try to figure out more about Owlia.
>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.

Why contain it?
>>
>>1284930
>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.
>Talk to some of the DM forces to get them on your strike team.
>>
>>1284930
>Try to figure out more about Owlia.
>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.
This mission is going to culminate in us having to destroy a giant superweapon from the inside, isn't it?
>>
>>1284930
>>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.
>>Talk to some of the DM forces to get them on your strike team.

>>1284985
We're going to fight off a fighter plane shooting laser beams while we're at it too, spanish guitars optional
>>
>>1284930
>>Try to figure out more about Owlia.
>>Focus on getting Lorelei’s new power under control.

Lorelei's new power could be FUN if she manages to get it under control.
>>
No seriously guys, I really like Ace Combat.

Up until 6 anyway.

Getting to know people! Writing!
>>
>>1285017
Lorelei gets counter-bodyjacked with Owlia's tech, is forced to shoot down Izumi and then engage us in a 1-on-1, complete with crystal nukes reverse-engineered from our Nebula Buster and ECM systems based off our Flux Wave. I mean, at least half the setup is already in place.

Spanish guitars mandatory.
>>
>>1285046
there is no way she can do that in five days. Even if she doesn't sleeps. maybe one of them. Definitely not Lorelei's new ability, but not all of them.
>>
>>1285071
Then what is the point in trying to recruit her?
>>
>>1284930
>>1284969
>>1284985
>>1285024
You decide to try and dig up some more dirt on Owlia. She’s not exactly an enigma, but it’s you’ve yet to really get to learn anything about her besides some of her life story and some claims she’s made herself. Not really a whole lot to go by. But she used to be part of the Alusian navy, right? They should know a few somethings about the girl.

After a quick, long-rage inquiry, you get your response. As it happens, seems like the Alusians have given a decent bit of information about Owlia to the Captain after the Gable battle. Aside from what you already knew, Owlia was apparently an orphan before she was found by Atley and Morris, born on a skyland called Talfinn. They brought her into the Alusian military. Apparently even then her fascination with crystals was well known- she was labeled as ‘mildly unstable, but cognizant and controllable’. Wow, glowing. She was assigned to Atley and Morris’s team on request, okay...had a LOT of crystal technologies submitted to the council and denied for various reasons...checks out with what she said earlier. No reports of seditious behavior, astonishingly enough….ah. Now here’s something.

Apparently, she was assigned to the defense of Talfinn when Ferrosian forces attacked it in a bid to move a front. The Alusians held...barely. Seems like all should be well- but Owlia apparently utilized some of her own inventions to pull it off. Instead of being hailed as a heroine, she was found guilty of ‘utilizing illegal and unverified crystal technologies in a civilian populace.’ end result: She’d been court-martialed and drummed out of the navy

This was apparently six MONTHS before she turned on them.

Iiiiinteresting. So she was technically working with them as a civilian? Funny how Atley and Morris failed to mention that...wonder why. Considering Atley and Morris are gone now, however, you suspect there’s only one source you’ll get the answer from…

---------

Aside from pilot practice, the next day or so is also working with Lorelei to try and get her new ability under control.

Well. At this point it’s less ‘getting her powers working properly’ and more ‘getting her to work up the nerve to try to do it intentionally.’ Izumi tries to help, of course- her meditative habits and general knowledge of mentality is a big boon.

“Alright, Lorelei.” They’re both sitting cross-legged, holding hands, and staring straight into each other’s eyes. Lorelei, though, you can tell is sweating as Izumi tries to comfort her. “Now, with most abilities like this, you need to let yourself go. Don’t think about the moment, just be in the moment. Deep breaths, with me, okay? Calm and soothing. Don’t look away from my eyes, okay?” And it begins.

“Let your mind float...one...two…” soon, they manage to synchronize their breathing...the question is for how long.

>Roll 1d20, best of three for ‘Lights’!
>>
>>1285145
Having her make that stuff for us.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>1285308
Nat 1 incoming!
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>1285308
>>
>>1285308
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>1285308
goddammit. i still forget how to use dice
>>
Not bad. Writing!
>>
>>1285308
>>1285329
>>1285331
>>1285345
Her breathing holds well enough for a while, and sooner than later you can see something- like a ring of light glowing around her head- then it melts down into her eyes, now glowing with similar mana. She takes another deep breath…

...and suddenly as if a thread’s cut, she lets it out shakily, shivering badly before she leans away. “I-I-can’t, not yet, not now…” She tries to get up, but Izumi quickly places an arm on her shoulder.

“Before you leave, can you at least tell me what happened? Was there anything in particular that made you want to stop?” Izumi’s eyes are gentle, inquisitive, not demanding. It’s quick to get Lorelei to calm down, taking a few breaths- less deep than before, just enough to calm her nerves.

“It’s...it’s like I almost wasn’t sure who I was anymore.” she explains. “Like I was just a sort of...wandering spirit, but not.” She shakes her head in confusion. “Like, I knew I was me, but...I wasn’t ME. I wasn’t sure of myself, that I existed. Because I was there, but I was right THERE, but and even IF I know it’s like, some kind of projection that still doesn’t mean it’s not ME sitting there and- and-”

Izumi and yourself are careful to approach, Izumi now carefully massaging Lorelei’s shoulders. “It’s fine. We’ll think about that later, and work on it some other time, okay?” She nods slightly; at least she still wants to try. “We have a floating island to invade tomorrow, so we should get some rest for that, I think, right?” Another nod. “Right.”

The final day approaches, and you’re all led to the hangar, Bedhead talking to you the whole way. “Now, we haven’t got much intel on ‘em, but rumors have it they’ve got some crazy stuff, so you guys keep your eyes open, okay? You’ve still got a bit of a trek ahead, but keep yourselves calm and you’ll be fine. Activate the auto-cruise if you need ta take a lie down, okay?”

You nod as you hop into your chosen R-1A Screamer. The other two set up themselves, and there’s a brief pre-flight check; all systems green. Man, these ships really are easy to understand.

No time to worry about that, though- with a burst of air and thrusters hot, you three launch out of the hangar, followed closely by two transports and a handful of fighters. Hopefully this would be enough to get you in there...you don’t doubt Owlia’s sure to be surprised.

...But until then? Yeah, probably going to use that auto-cruise feature.

Someone starts playing music over the open channel. It’s some kinda slow-techno fusion stuff.

Ick. When are you gonna get there...they said five days, and it's been two, but the fighters and transports are a lot faster than that...hm. Hopefully it wouldn't be a whole three days of this...

>You spent the time talking with some of the soldiers.
>You napped most of the time.
>You just tried to amuse yourself.

>Roll 1d20. Best of three, lower is better!
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>1285763
>You spent the time talking with some of the soldiers.
Might as well work on our social skills a bit while we have nothing better to do.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d20)

>>1285763
>You spent the time talking with some of the soldiers.

>>1285778
Well, fuck.
>>
>>1285763
>You spent the time talking with some of the soldiers.
Need to flex that CHA to get ready for Owlia.
>>
>>1285778
>>1285790
Of all the times for lower to be better...
>>
>>1285778
>>1285790
...could we get SOMETHING good from this? I mean, two consecutive 20's is pretty rare.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>1285763
20 incoming! and now, everybody hates us
>You spent the time talking with some of the soldiers.
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>1285763
>You just tried to amuse yourself.
Was it ever said what Miranda's hobbies actually are?
>>
>>1285778
>>1285790

You can't tell but I'm laughing really fucking hard right now.
>>
That said, it COULD be good...from a certain point of view.
>>
>No, no, no! NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE! She uses crystal mana systems, but doesn't use crystals to EXECUTE those systems! That...how the hell can you use mana if you don't have or follow the laws of crystal physics!? You'd have to have a COMPLETELY...

>...unique...

>...genetic...

>...makeup...

>...

>...OH MY SPIRITS I'M A IDIOT!

>THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING! ELI!

>Yes, boss?

>GET ME TEST CASES THREE THROUGH SEVEN, MY SUIT, THEN START THE MASS INJECTOR, QUEUE UP THAT OLD MVI COMPENSATOR FORMULA FOR IT, THEN EVACUATE THE LAB! I'M GOING TO TRY SOMETHING REALLY STUPID, BUT IF IT WORKS IT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING.

>...Have you finally lost it, boss?

>JUST DO IT!
>>
>>1285911
it will backfire on her, I wish it would.
otherwise we're going to beat the shit out of her until she can't remember her name.
>>
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>>1285911
The imagination conjures utterly terrifying possibilities in response to this, and I can only hope that the reality just doesn't turn out to be something worse.
>>
>>1285911
Yeah, I think I'll just stop rolling tonight.

Or maybe forever.
>>
>>1285996
Think I might join you in that. But hey, nowhere to go but up, right?
>>
>>1285911
oooh, this is perfect!
>>
>>1286011
(ten minutes later after everything goes wrong)

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE
>>
>>1286035

WHAT HATH SCIENCE WROUGHT?!

On the bright side, I think this greatly reinforces the idea that she could be useful in the Intersection. Silver lining and all that.
>>
honestly, we should have looked for something like a luck charm like +10/-10 for rolls.
but that just decreases the excitement so let's see if can recover from double 20s
>>
>>1285763
>>1285778
>>1285790
>>1285827
>>1285832
“Really? They all just up and left?” It’s been close to a day now. You’d ended up trading stories when you felt like it. This one was a story across the channel about one of your more...unpredictable jobs.

“Yup,” you confirm. “Apparently seeing their boss go down took the fight out of them. They just surrendered and that was that. Always thought that one was weird. Usually when you drop a despot, their underlings tend to try for SOME kinda retribution.” It was actually kinda funny in a strange sense. “Lemme tell you, for immortal sentient rocks they’re not all that great at combat. It’s like they move in slow motion but are convinced they’re ridiculously fast. They can take a beating but that’s about it. Kinda disappointing.”

“Huh. That’s a letdown.” That sounded like one of the girls you talked to before- Lulu, you think. “One time I ended up on a job where we had to hold some kinda sacred castle against an invading demon army. We’d gotten word that they were gonna hit the place in twenty-four hours after we got there. Ended up doin’ JACK SHIT for like, four days.”

“Wow, lucky.” Lorelei remarks. “What happened?”

“Luck my tiny puckered ass!” Okay, didn’t need that image. “I mean, sure, great, no one got killed, paid for doing jilling off, whoopee. But I was ready to DO SHIT, y’know?! But nope, turns out the ENTIRE FUCKING ASSAULT ground to a halt because they were crossin’ some mountain and got wiped out due to an avalanche. Coulda had the common decency to tell us on day two. Maybe I coulda gotten drunk or something.”

Man, even when she's at room volume she's loud as heck. You didn't hear much of her earlier during the 'interview', but you're sure getting an earful now.

“I...do not think that would have been wise.” Izumi notes.

“Nope! Would’ve been more fun than fartin’ around NOT blowing holes in shit, though!” Lulu responds in a half-yell. “Wassyourname, Miranda, right? You get me, right? Shit sucks! At least gimme SOMETHIN’ to do!”

>Eh, I’m about the money. If you want to pay me to stand around, I’m a statue.
>Gotta admit, that’d piss me off a little at least…
>Well, you're pretty good at being a bullhorn at least, huh?
>Other
>>
I'm confused on how to approach on this issue.
>>
>>1286148
>Eh, I’m about the money. If you want to pay me to stand around, I’m a statue.
>>Gotta admit, that’d piss me off a little at least
>>
>>1286201
It's just jawing/characterization.

Also, 5 minute warning.
>>
>>1286148
>Gotta admit, that’d piss me off a little at least…
>But honestly, if I had a choice whenever things don't go according to plan, I'd choose to be bored instead of terrified out of my wits every time.
>>
>>1286148
>Gotta admit, that’d piss me off a little at least…
I mean, the girl's right, if something like that happened they should have told her what happened, not just leave them around without info.
>>
>>1286148
>>Eh, I’m about the money. If you want to pay me to stand around, I’m a statue.
>>Gotta admit, that’d piss me off a little at least…

money talks
>>
Aaand writing!
>>
>>1286148
>>1286269
>>1286279
>>1286218
Well, you get the feeling you’re not quiiite as gung-ho about it as she is, but you’d be lying if you didn’t feel a bit of sympathy for her. “Gotta admit, that probably WOULD piss me off a little, at least…”

Lulu barks out a laugh. “HA! SEE! I knew someone else would get it! When ya go out, you get into a mindset, y’know, and when you’re not gettin’ to INDULGE, then-”

“But at the end of the day, I’m about the money.” You finish.

“Yeah, yeah, o’course.” Lulu doesn’t seem to care. “But it’s not quite as SATISFYING, y’know? You didn’t do nothing for it, no real honest work!” Eh, you could take or leave THAT. Money’s money. “Remind me ta show you somethin’ once we get back to the carrier! Think ya might like ‘er!”

“Hush it.” a voice suddenly sounds. “Something’s not right here…”

Everyone shuts up, immediately all business. “Wait a sec...he’s right.” another voice calls. “We should be within Orvis territory right now- I can see it on the horizon.” It’s true; it’s just a speck, but it’s there, the skies darkening, and cold temperatures already registering on your system thermometer as you enter the cold front. “So where’s the welcoming committee…?”

It’s just as he says- there’s not a soul in sight- no fighters, nothing firing at you, no nothing. “Thaaaaat’s just frightening,” someone else says. “Think something happened?”

“Maybe. We should give it a fly-over first,” the first guy says. “Keep your eyes peele-”

”HELLO? HELLO? CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?” Suddenly, something comes through- loudly- on your comms. ”YOU’LL HAVE TO EXCUSE ME, I’M STILL GETTING USED TO THIS, BUT AM I ON THE RIGHT FREQUENCY? THIS IS AN OPEN CHANNEL, RIGHT?”

cont.
>>
>>1286468
oh shit, did owlia got into our channels?
>>
>>1286468
There’s silence on your end, before you hear a small ‘switch channels!’ and you quickly do just that.

“What the hell?!”

“How did she get into our channels!?”

“What’s she doing?” Questions fly, but soon enough they stop, all deciding that it’d be best to communicate- when you flip back, she’s still talking.

”SO REALLY IT’S NOT NEARLY AS DEADLY TO ME AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE- I GUESS THAT’S DUE TO CONSTANT EXPOSURE IMMUNIZATION? BUT ANYWAY-”

“Hello?” You respond.

”OHHHH, IS THAT YOU? PERFECT! OKAY, FANTASTIC, GREAT! CAN YOU DO ME A FAVOR AND CALL OFF LIKE, EVERYONE THAT’S NOT WHERE YOU’RE FROM?” Huh. That’s strange.

“Outta luck, girl,” Lorelei snarks back without warning.

”OH, REALLY? WOW, UH, OKAY! THAT’S GREAT, THOUGH! OKAY, SO I’D LOVE FOR YOU GUYS TO VISIT BECAUSE I HAVE SOMETHING AMAZING TO SHOW YOU! AND I THINK I CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTION!” It’s only then that when you get closer, you can see a large building standing apart from the massive amounts of snow and ice- and...strangely enough it seems like something’s been carved in the ground next to the landing area, words visible in blackened and blasted ground, and big enough that you can see them clearly from a very high elevation:

SUCK IT, COUNCIL!

Oh boy.

“Uhh...hey?” Lulu asks.

“Yes?” You almost don’t want to.

“THE FUCK?” Yeah, that response makes sense. You quickly switch channels again.

> “Let’s...just...go down.”
> “Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
> Try to talk to her from here. “Can’t describe it now?”
>Other
>>
I'm done for the night! Running tomorrow.

Here's hoping you say the right things.
>>
>>1286468
>> “Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways. Lets give her an offer she can't refuse.”

ok, this is our best chance to get her to our side
>>
Man... double nat 20s. Not often that happens. I decided to make things high risk, massively high reward instead of what I originally had planned.
>>
>>1286476
>“Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
I'm not sure that dialogue made much sense. Did she turn herself into a crystal or some shit?

Tempted to dust off and nebula buster from orbit, just to be sure.
>>
>>1286476
>“Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
Remember that not everyone can handle the levels of mana that we can, from the Intersection.
>>
We might want to get a sense of the mana levels there, use some up if they're really high in order to keep from getting too saturated.
>>
>>1286476
>“Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
And here's where we get a new coworker... or get our entire team killed. Here we go!
>>
>>1286476
>“Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
Oh boy.
>>
Oh, and to answer that one anon from earlier:

Miranda's hobbies are:

Card games (Poker and Texas Hold 'Em being her preferred games)
Training
Riding 'Red', her hovercycle
Critiquing bad movies.

Dancing to music when she's alone and in the right mood.
>>
>>1286592
Miranda Science Theater 3000? I'd read that.
>>
>>1286592
When this mission is over, let's have a SES bad movie night(?), we rent/stream some bad movies from many different worlds and eat buttery popcorn. It's a good bonding time.
>>
>>1286476
>> “Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”
>>
>>1286476
>> “Everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”

thread #27 isn't archived yet
>>
>>1287473
Now it is! Thanks for the reminder.

Might run in about an hour. Stay tuned, folks.
>>
>>1286476
>>1286491
>>1286549
>>1286562
>>1286569
>>1286573
Well. If she wanted to answer you, then...might as well give her an opportunity. You still didn’t like this, however, and you’d be a stone-cold idiot to not have at least one contingency. “Okay, everyone not Izumi and Lorelei, stay up here and be ready to bomb the place to hell in case things go sideways.”

“We got a signal?” Lulu asks.

“Probably screaming.” Lorelei quips.

“General statements of defiance or madness.” Izumi adds.

“An explosion or an outer wall getting demolished wouldn’t be surprising either.” you tack on. “Failing all that, we’ll just tell you to do it.”

Dead silence for two seconds before someone responds. “Yeah okay, sure. You go do whatever it is you’re doing.”

With that, you and your friends aim for a clear spot. The landing pad is too obvious. As you land, her voice comes through again.

”COME DOWN TO THE THIRD BASEMENT! I’LL SEE YOU IN A MINUTE!” A giggle that strikes you as well and overly excited follows as you disembark and walk up to the entrance, the large, stainless steel double doors sliding open in a mockery of welcoming.

The place is just...empty. Completely barren. You find yourself already on edge- quiet locations where there should be plenty of people has never EVER sat well with you, regardless of the circumstances. Izumi seems equally considered, and even Lorelei is keeping a careful eye out- she’s got a half-smile on, but the way her eyes move tells the real story.

”You know, you guys might be the biggest scientific oddity I’ve ever seen in my life.” You don’t flinch- she’s coming through the building intercom, and you’d be surprised if she hadn’t started talking. ”When I first saw you- like very first? I thought you were going to try and punch the crystal or something.”

The idea had crossed your mind, yes.

cont.
>>
>>1287811
”But then you do...THAT, and after I calmed down a bit, I thought maybe you had a collapsible crystal staff on you. But then I looked through footage at Gable. And then again at the islands.” By this time, you’re heading down a flight of stairs.

”I’m a girl of science, when it comes to magic. The world has rules, and everything follows those rules. Always. But you didn’t. None of you did. Do you know how much that INFURIATED me? It felt like all my life was being unraveled!” Man, this is a deep stairwell…

”But then we spoke. And I realized...I wasn’t wrong.” Ah, here we are. Third basement. You can hear her now,- almost without your headset- it’s like she’s speaking into a megaphone. ”But, if I was going to make any sense out of it... it wasn’t a matter of you fitting into MY rules.” And here’s the hallway. You can see a lot of doors leading to science stations- a great many of them half finished, apparently; simply left as is. Eerie. And the voice at the end of the hall. Typical, if effective.

”...It’s a matter of ME fitting into YOURS.” Here’s the doors. You can hear her just beyond. Lorelei looks at you with clear nerves- she’s already got her guns brandished. Izumi has one hand on her sword hilt, but otherwise simply nods when you look her way. ”And I think I pulled it off. Sorta. Kinda. Not really, but I rigged something up!” She giggles again, and you decide that that's enough time for her.

The door opens, and you see Owlia standing on the other end- in her suit, save for her helmet, revealing a shaggy, unkempt, if full mess of shoulder length black hair. She turns, and the first thing you notice is the glimmering yellow crystal shard, the size of a business card, embedded messily in her skull, her ashen-colored skin looking square at you with surprisingly bright, brown eyes and a healthy smile. She holds her hand out in a wave...and a gentle nothing of a light emits from her palm, barely there, but strong and existent. “Like I said before. I have SO MANY questions! But I guess the first would be...what ARE you?”

>...They call us Outgoers.
>We’re just mercenaries.
>It’s hard to define, really.
>Other
>>
>>1287813
>>You're a smart girl, don't trip on the finish line by asking questions- you've figured it out haven't you?
>>
>>1287813
>"Magical Girls is what we are known as."
>>
>>1287813
>It’s hard to define, really.
>I guess the lowest common denominator is that, wherever we go, we just don't belong.
>>
15 more minutes due to start of run.
>>
>>1287813
Before even that, let me ask you one in return.

Why do you think I've given you a chance to have you figure out what we are? Not many are given this opportunity in the first place, you know.
>>
>>1287813
>...They call us Outgoers.
>Other:The industry term is Magical Girls.
>>
>>1287827
That's neither true nor leading towards the effect we want.
>>
>>1287813
>You're a smart girl, don't trip on the finish line by asking questions- you've figured it out haven't you?
>... But you can call us Outgoers
>>
>>1287838
The intention was to draw a line of similarity between us and her, while remaining vague.

And I'm not sure inter-dimensional travelers whose home universes have been destroyed not belonging to whichever world they visit would be untrue.
>>
>>1287847
That's just Magical Girls, or at least the ones at SES. We haven't talked to any other Magical Girls in our profession, and the other mundane Outgoers seem to be a much broader group.
>>
>>1287847
I get what you're trying to do but that sentence is some sasuke-tier stuff. If we want to remain vague, why not
>It’s hard to define, really, the only constant is that we are always strangers.
>>
Writing.
>>
>>1287856
It's edgelord shit and Miranda has buried that part of her decades ago.
>>
Remember, for the optimal effect, Owlia has to asks us to go into the intersection, not backwards.
>>
>>1287880
None of us make a habit of writing eloquent speeches for the write ins, I don't think Handler would have written it as livejournal poetry either.
What he wrote is true but Owlia isn't the sort to be swayed by some emotional spiel but making her curious enough to wet her pants
>>
>>1287912
Then the appeal should have been to her discovery of other laws of magic and that there may be more fundamental laws, not that we're all outsiders coming together.
>>
>>1287950
that comes after saying we're outgoers. We'll let her infer that.
>>
>>1287813
You let out a huff. “Really? C’mon, now, you’re a smart one. You’re close to the end, don’t blow it now.”

The smile never leaves her face, interestingly enough. “I AM a scientist. Consider it sort of a way to test my hypothesis?”

You almost laugh, but hold it in. Now’s not quite the time for that. But still, it’s clear. The look in her eyes gives her away. “...you’ve already figured it out, haven’t you?”

“I expect I’d never be able to mail you a letter.” The look on her face dims, subtly. Like she’s content with herself in this moment rather than basking in it. “After all...you’re not from around here, like you said. Travelers, is my guess? Beings from elsewhere, as fantastical as that sounds.”

Hm. Close enough. “You can call us Outgoers.” You then motion to your friends by your side. “More specifically, though? We’re known as...Magical Girls.”

“Outgoers...Magical…?” You can see the mild confusion on her face as she takes that in. ...Then...yes…I was right.” She looks away in thought. “Some type of being that can naturally process and utilize mana without the need for crystal physics to stabilize and construct the energy- an organic life with all of that already in place! Practically the next step in evolution!” She stills, suddenly, and looks back towards you with sharp eyes. “And you WANTED me to know. You fooled everyone; the initial reports I got said you were some legendary warriors from the Far Lands. But you weren’t. Those don’t exist after all. There’s plenty in the legends about strange technologies...but nothing in those legends about superhuman beings with...unimaginable capabilities.” You can see her eyes drift off for a moment as she loses herself in fantasy.

“It’s fun to pretend, though!” Lorelei pipes up. Owlia looks at her for a moment with a strange expression on her face.

It lasts only a second or two, however, before she turns back to you. “But why? Why tell me? You’re not even on our side! You’ve been slowly but surely repelling us from Alusian space. I thought I’d try to study you, learn how you worked, but considering you practically gave it away? There must be a REASON you agreed to all this instead of just continuing on the warpath!” She narrows her eyes as her face frowns in confusion. “But there’s plenty of possibilities. Is this some sort of warning- a challenge? A test? Because if it’s a trial of my crystal mastery you want…” She holds her familiar staff up in a defensive position, not frightened, but prepared.

>...Eh, why not? See what she’s got under the hood. Might be worthwhile to see what she can do now.
> “Calm down, and think about it a bit more. Why WOULD we give you, a scholar, enough to figure out the basics?”
> “Tell you what. You tell me what you want. Right now. Think of it like a wish.”
>Other
>>
>>1287959
> “Calm down, and think about it a bit more. Why WOULD we give you, a scholar, enough to figure out the basics?”
>>
>>1287959
> “Calm down, and think about it a bit more. Why WOULD we give you, a scholar, enough to figure out the basics?”
>>
>>1287959
>“Calm down, and think about it a bit more.”
Don't even prompt her. Let her work it all out on her own.
>>
>>1287959
>> “Calm down, and think about it a bit more. Why WOULD we give you, a scholar, enough to figure out the basics?”
>>
>>1287959
> “Calm down, and think about it a bit more. You have all you need."
>>
>>1287969
Yeah, besides we have already given her enough to figure out the basics. We practically gave it away just now.
>>
Five minute warning.

Paradigm shifts can be hard to swallow.
>>
Try shifting WITH the clutch this time.

Writing!
>>
>>1287959
>>1287962
>>1287964
>>1287969
>>1287973
>>1287971
You can see Lorelei motion forward a bit, but you stop her with an outstretched hand, never taking your eyes off Owlia. “Calm down, and think on it.” She lowers the staff slightly as you continue. “Why would we? I think you can figure that out on your own.”

As soon as that sentence ends, she scowls at you; real, blooming frustration. You can see the crystal shard on her forehead light up, shimmering like a deadly sun, and she opens her mouth to say something-

-but it then gets stuck in her throat as her body freezes with dawning comprehension. You can see her face contort and her eyes widen and shrink as she puts the last pieces together; understanding, shock, disbelief, and confusion all pass through her face like a slideshow before calming back down, if only slightly.

“You want to show me something. Or rather...want me FOR something. For whatever reason, you’ve told me things you don’t normally tell anyone...something that I normally wouldn’t be able to ever learn or comprehend...because you want me to get involved in something related.” She lowers her staff entirely now as she looks at you with half understanding, half accusation. “And I bet you know that the idea of learning such secrets...is something I’d have a REALLY hard time resisting.”

You say nothing.

She just sighs and smiles in wonderment- and possibly melancholy. “You’re a being from beyond our reality, granting me the chance to learn impossible and fantastic things. It’s something I’d beat myself up over until my dying day if I refused...”

Well, then. If that’s the case, then you can ring up Sa-

“But I will if Cylica can’t come with me.” Izumi and Lorelei goggle at that.

“Yo, what?” Lorelei gawks. “You’re getting the chance of a lifetime here! Why drag your boss along with you?”

“Because she’s not JUST my boss.” Owlia says. “She and I...we have a connection. Beyond just our love for crystals. It’s something...something real.” She frowns. “I don’t care about the war, I just want my crystal knowledge to be put to good use! But I can’t just leave her. Especially not now! If she...if I just left?” She looks away. “I don’t think all the knowledge in this or any world would help cure my heartache.”

>This is a limited time offer, Owlia.
>If you can convince her...and give us the location of the Anais Relay.
>Other
>>
>>1288052
>>If you can convince her...and give us the location of the Anais Relay.
>>Other
However, YOU are responsible for her. Our landowners believe in timely payments of rent in the exact amount they request. Failure to do so will result in them kicking you out. Not to your original reality, but a place outside of any of them.

Also, she needs to be vetted as well. Your talents were something that we have interest in. She needs to either earn her own keep, have a set of useful talents of her own we could use, or you will have to be responsible for her.
>>
>>1288052
>This is a limited time offer, the very definition of "once in a lifetime" Owlia. To be frank, this is the only chance you two have to survive this conflict. Convince her before we crush you and win the war.
>>
this is the moment i regret we don't have the hypnosis crystal. would make things so much easier.
>>
>>1288095
>Knock Lorelei's lights out
>She bodyjacks Cyclist when Owlia is trying to persuade her
>Says Yes, my darling
>???
>Profit
>>
>>1288052
>This is a limited time offer, Owlia.
>Do you think Cylica would give up on ruling this place?
>>
Seems like the general idea is 'If you really want her along, you best talk quickly.'
>>
>>1288052
>Do you think Cylica would give up on ruling this place?
>your destiny belongs between the multiverses.
>>
Writing, also.
>>
I should note that Owlia shouldn't just have a responsibility to persuade Cylica to go with her, but also to persuade us that Cylica would be able to fit in at the Intersection.
>>
>>1288052
> We can let you make the offer, but what if she turns down your offer?

> Are you sure you're something more than just her access to powerful crystals?
>>
>>1288052
>>1288069
>>1288070
>>1288111
You fix her with an icy stare. “This is a limited time offer, Owlia. The very definition of ‘once in a lifetime’.”

To her credit, she holds your stare with little more than a single shake. “I know. But Cylica listens to me. If I talk to her, maybe she’ll-”

“Owlia, if she comes with us, she will HAVE to earn her keep. Do you understand that?” Your tone brooks no argument. “Your talents are something we have interest in. Something that we believe can allow you to thrive where we live. And you’re going to NEED that. For all the knowledge we can learn, there’s a price- quite literally. And the landowners do NOT take kindly to delinquent payments. If you do...” you let the threat go unmentioned. Better her imagination takes hold, in your opinion.

“I...really? It’s like that?” To her credit, she doesn’t sound as intimidated as you might’ve expected.

You nod. “She’ll need to show she has worthwhile talents as well, and YOU will be responsible for her. That said? To be frank, this is the only chance you two have to survive this conflict.” She flinches when you say that- it seems that a part of her understands that little factoid, advanced crystal magics or no.

“She...aheheheh…” Her laughing surprises you. It’s gentle, but not as panicked or as feverish as you might’ve thought. “She taught me a few things about crystal technologies that even I didn’t know. She’s great at organization, engineering...she’s brilliant in a lot of ways…and it’s funny, because before I actually joined her I remember we once talked about- well…” She shakes her head. “It’s not unimportant, buuuut maybe it’s for later.”

Hm. Curious.

After a few moments, she sighs, shaking her head as the ramifications sink in. “An empire in exchange for limitless knowledge…”

“And the ability to apply that knowledge.” Izumi puts forward. “There are many ways you could utilize your intelligence. If you’re interested.”

“...maybe.” There’s only a small smile on her face now, but she doesn’t sound so downtrodden as she focuses on you again. “I...supposed I should call her. If you don’t mind...” With that, she turns around, walking to a far setup that looks reminiscent of the hologram display you saw earlier in the other lab.

It takes only a few taps as she holds a crystal up to her face and speaks into it. “Hey, Cy?”

After a second, the stone glows, the hologram emitter suddenly showing a clear image of a young looking girl with long hair cascading down her back, her eyes sharp and narrowed, possibly by default. A high, raspy voice comes out of her mouth as she greets her apparent friend. “Owlia, daaaarling…” she purrs the word like a cat settling in the sun, and the smile at least SEEMS genuine. “How’re your experiments coming…?

She smiles guiltily. “Ah, well…” It’s then you notice she’s not facing the gem towards you- she doesn’t see you’re there.

>Stay in the room.
>Leave the room and let her talk by herself.
>Other

Will resume later tonight.
>>
>>1288207

>Stay in the room.

Can we start building up a Flux wave in case she turns us down?
>>
>>1288207
>>Stay in the room. But out of sight of the crystal.
>>
>>1288207
>Stay in the room. But out of sight of the crystal.
>Get ready to flux, signal the others to prepare
>>
>>1288207
>Leave the room, but listen in from outside.
I imagine our techniques will let us eavesdrop from far beyond the distance most would consider 'usual' or 'suspicious'.

And while the basement may be warded against explosions, I could imagine the possibility that it isn't warded against sound, for the simple reason that she'd find it harder to yell for her assistants during her experiments. Or for backup, in our case.
>>
>>1288236
>>1288207

Actually changing >>1288211 to leaving the room . . .

So we can set traps and neutralize the rest of the base.
>>
>>1288236
Oh you're right, we can easily eavesdrop from outside. Changing to move outside >>1288232
>>
>>1288211
this.
let's be ready to destroy her stuff, even kill her if it goes south.
>>
>>1288207
I think we should contact Sal, get his advice on this.

also handler, if Cylica and Owlia agree to abandoning this world, can we ask Sal to teleport them away? or is that not allowed?
>>
>>1288207
> stay in the room so she can't surprise attack us
I believe we failed to mention that neither of them would ever be able to come back here. I think she would be a rather fickle colleague, ideally we would only recruit girls how had asked Sal for help.

>>1288246
Hasn't she already evacuated the base?
>>
>>1288207
>Stay in the room.
>>
>>1288324
That's what she told us.
>>
>>1288324
>>1288373
Lorelei's "Fact or Fiction?" should have clued her in on anything amiss from Owlia.

Actually, we probably want "Fact or Fiction?" active on Owlia and Cylica's entire conversation. Does Lorelei have any restrictions on its use, or can she use it while eavesdropping from outside just fine?
>>
>>1288207
>Stay in the room.
>contact Sal for potential onboarding materials and briefing
The base is already evacuated. Stay here so that we can neutralize her as soon as we find out she won't join us.
>>
>>1288383
This sounds good, we need to get a read on her.
>>
>>1288207
>Leave the room and let her talk by herself.
>Have Lorelei get a read on her.
>>
>>1288383
Just checked the pastebin. Says that Lorelei's F or F is visually based. We'd have to stay in the room.
>>
>>1288474
>>1288236
Consider my vote changed.
>>
>>1288473 looks kind of stupid in the face of >>1288474
>>
And lo, I return. And it appears the general idea is to keep an eye on things, in more than one way. Grand! Writing.
>>
>>1288883
Well I mean there are 3 of us we don't all have to leave.
>>
>>1288207

The three of you look at each other quickly, and after a brief yet wordless debate, you all nod, moving off to a corner of the room to give her some space. You weren’t keen on the idea of leaving her entirely alone considering the scenario at the moment, but you might as well make it seem as though they’re in private.

“...so, basically, what I’m saying is...I think we need to talk.” ...Welp. Not like you haven’t heard that phrase befor-

You can’t even finish the sentence before there’s a swirl of power as large sphere of black light suddenly forms in the middle of the area, humming with power. With little fanfare, you see a robed figure step through, easily Owlia’s height, and with the same features as the person she just talked to, only in color; her hair is a deep purple, and her skin is only a few shades lighter. Clearly a teleportation spell of some sort, then.

As the portal fades, the figure stands right in front of Owlia, who’s face speaks nervous, but body language speaks something else- she starts forward for a second before pulling back, as if aborting an idea. Cylica doesn’t seem to notice, however, and when she speaks, it’s in the tone of something who’s trying desperately to be patient with one they care about. “Alright, now...PLEASE. Explain this as best you can.” She hasn’t even looked at you yet, but you know full well she’s noticed you all.

>Roll 1d20. Best of three.
>>
>>1288995
I'm not rolling this.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>1288995
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>1288995
LOVE SAVES

Also, I hope we fail than a sadly forced to kill them both here and win the mission with our excellent ploy that everyone is amazed by.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>1288995
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>1288995
Goddamn it...

>>1289020
>>1289021
Screw you guys for making me roll to fuck this up.
>>
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027
Even if you combined all those rolls together you would've had a substandard roll. RIP anon.
>>
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027
Yes!
Now do an orbital ring around both of them and cut their fucking heads off! Great success.
>>
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027

WELP.

Guess we're having a boss fight after all!
>>
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027
WELL. That went remarkably poorly! And right after we gave her those 20s... guess it's a bust then.
>>
>>1289037
>RIP anon
We are not rolling for survival but pointless diplomacy. I don't even what this unstable mad scientist on our team.
>>
>>1289038
Wait, lower is better system? Neat.
>>
>>1289050
I should've read better before dropping in. Damn it, I think I'll just leave before I do something even dumber.
>>
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027
>>1289034
Oh, I am laffin
>>
>>1289050
Yeah, fuck you. I'd rather think beyond simple profit and consider company growth.
>>
>>1289082
>someone only interested in knowledge and willing to abandon their longtime friends and go to the opposite side of a fight
>expecting her to be good for our small organization
Bringing anyone on board in a situation like this (ie, she knows nothing of what she is getting herself into) is risk, this girl seems particularly so.

What made you think I was worried about profit anyway?
>>
>>1289117
> Not wanting a mad scientist and her evil waifu

Anon. Are you somehow confused into thinking we are the good guys here?

Because we aren't.

Nothing saying we can't backstab her once she's in the intersection.
>>
>>1289117
Because you seem only concerned with completing this mission without gathering any bonuses, completing tertiary objectives, or acquiring residuals from combat zones.

And everyone at the Intersection was brought in with less information than Owlia's gotten so far, and most of them are able to making a living. With her knowledge of crystal magitech, which quite a few Intersection manufacturers use, she'd be able to find work as a technician at least.
>>
>>1289128
>Anon. Are you somehow confused into thinking we are the good guys here?
No, it is because she is unstable and SES is a small group and outgoer group polotics seems fairly cutthroat. She could scew us over easily.
>Nothing saying we can't backstab her once she's in the intersection.
Sadly, all the anons that are voted to not attack her when we first met her would vote against that.

>>1289133
>you don't want any bonuses, completing tertiary objectives, or acquiring residuals from combat zones.
Buddy, you are either replying to the wrong person or not reading my posts.
>>
>>1288995
>>1289020
>>1289021
>>1289027
“…so in short, yeah, I think this kind of knowledge would be...amazing. More than worthwhile!” Owlia gushes. “Who needs an empire that’ll constantly be fighting us and something we’ll have to spend all our time trying to keep in order, when we could learn things undreamt by man? And what’s more, actually DO something with this knowledge?”

There is a long silence from Cylica, her eyes closed...and you can already tell something’s gone wrong.

So can Owlia, as she reaches for her shoulder- only to be slapped away. “Cy…”

“You would have us throw all this away…?” Cylica says, softly. “Everything I’ve done for you, SACRIFICED for you…”

“No, no…” Owlia begs. “I just want somewhere we can just-”

“WE ARE FINE HERE!” Cylica shouts, her voice carrying throughout the room with an unnatural echo. Izumi is already drawing her sword. “I know you’ve been trying to get me to try things your way, but if it leads to this-this BETRAYAL OF PURPOSE…”

“I’m not betraying you!” Owlia says. “I swear! I love you- I just thought if maybe you wanted to get away-”

“NO! Not now! We’re too close. Even with our little setbacks, we still thrive! I WILL take our territory back, I WILL conquer Mageria, and no man, woman, or otherworldly being is going to get in my way now!” Her body crackles and sparks with energy as she turns towards you, Izumi, and Lorelei in a flourish, her anger and rage rising every second. Owlia’s face just shows concern, and despondency...but a surprising lack of fear. “I WILL create our paradise, and I need no help from the likes of YOU.” Cylica claims to you imperiously as she raises her staff.

> Welp. This is what plan B was for. ”Fire at will!”
> Scatter!
> She who strikes first! Close in asap to shut down whatever she’s starting.
> “Nope.” Magi-blast to the face.
> Other
>>
OK how shall we handle this?
there are many ways this will go:
>Kill one of them
>Kill both
>beat them unconscious
>use Owlia as hostage
>Flux wave until they fall/get knocked out then grab both as prisoners.
>somehow use nebula buster indoors
>tie them up with Orbital ring

any suggestions?
>>
Nothing's impossible just yet. I mean it's getting close, but it's not there.
>>
>>1289180
>somehow use nebula buster indoors

Okay so I'm just gonna be straight with you for once:

You really. Really. REALLY. REAAALLLY don't want to do that unless it's less than like, 10% strength, and that's just a waste of mana at that point for what you get out of it.
>>
>>1289176
>“Nope.” Magi-blast to the face.
> She who strikes first! Close in asap to shut down whatever she’s starting.
>Other: Orbital Ring around her.
>>
>>1289176
>She who strikes first! Close in asap to shut down whatever she’s starting.
End this before she can pull any fancy bullshit and we could still salvage this whole mess.
>>
>>1289176
>>1289192
Wait, does our Flux Wave still need that charge up time? How quickly could we get one off, and could Miranda direct it towards Cylica/Izumi and Lorelei get out of range of it?
>>
>>1289204
you can throw it in about 2 seconds at this point, and no, it's still indiscriminate. You haven't had THAT long to refine it.
>>
>>1289209
But can Miranda fine-tune the range so that it hits Cylica but not Izumi and Lorelei if they run away from Miranda? Or is the range also uncontrollable for now?
>>
>>1289216
Uncontrollable for now.
>>
>>1289176
>She who strikes first! Close in asap to shut down whatever she’s starting.
As far as I can tell the only reason we havn't attacked yet was in the hopes that we could recruit Owlia. It doesn't seem like that is possible at this point while still completing the job.
>>
10 minute warning because it's late and I need to do laundry.
>>
>>1289176
>>1289192
>>1289224
Can we fire two magi-blasts, a dialed-down one to her face as a distraction, and then a full power one right at Cylica's Staff?
This world has crystal-based magic, and she can't do anything without her staff and crystal armor.
>>
>>1289262
If you like.
>>
>>1289239
Handler said that we can still recruit her. It's a matter of do you do something that makes it not possible.
>>
>>1289176
Orbital ring sounds good, if that fails use flux wave. If they figured out a way to neutralize the effects of flux wave then just start blasting.

>>1289188
This makes me curious. Did miranda try that before? I just want to know that.
>>
>>1289274
I want to interrupt whatever Cylica is doing, break whatever items she uses to channel magic, and tell her that there's always someone with a bigger stick, except our bosses.
>>
Alrighty, I think I get the picture. Writing!
>>
>>1289276
I'd say blasting them a bit wouldn't hurt, by now they would have at least modified their armor with increased protection. But before that we should try nonlethal first, I don't want all this effort to be a waste unless it doesn't look like it would be possible.

Oh. And since that cylica woman is here we might as well ask what she wants to do with all this stuff. You know, the whole reason for war and yada yada, stuff like that. It can happen while fighting, it might destabilize them.
>>
>>1289176
Before she can even bring it down, already glowing with black light, you’re already leaping in action, your friends following besides you- by virtue of being the first to react you quickly stretch a hand out, firing a magi-blast straight for her. To your mild surprise, it clearly explodes before it actually connects, likely some kind of shielding? No time to wonder about that now, however- your shot’s splash did have enough in it to surprise Cylica, and she stumbles back as you hear Owlia yell in dismay.

However, she’s clearly experienced as she shifts her body, swinging her staff in a horizontal arc, the tip of it still glowing. You grab the handle close to her hand- only to immediately let go thanks to a INCREDIBLE burning sensation that rips through your arm when it makes contact. You manage to duck a retaliatory swing by sheer instinct, but It distracts you long enough for her to try to stab you with the tip of the thing as a followup- only to get parried immediately by Izumi’s sword, which you notice seems to crackle and spark with a white light when the two energies collide. Izumi looks up at the woman with an iron gaze. “Cease this. It is meaningless, and your other has given you a worthwhile option!”

“SHUT UP!” With a blast of arcane power, she erupts in dark energies for a brief time- it’s not enough to seriously injure you, but it does lift you off your feet briefly, even if you land back on them- even Owlia’s thrown back, although she lacks the acrobatic capabilities you do and ends up on her back, and Cylica doesn’t seem to notice.

A melody of gunshots ring out suddenly, and Cylica looks shocked as Lorelei unloads with her twin pistols on Owlia’s still prone form, the gunshots ricocheting along the ground, sending Owlia scrambling for cover on practically fours without her helmet. She just looks back at Cylica with a smug grin as she keeps one pistol trained on Owlia’s cover and another on Cylica herself. Cylica looks like she’s about to explode with anger.

> “You wanna try that again, Owlia?!”
> “You know you can’t win, right? The offer’s still open, but...”
> “So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
> Close in again. You’re gonna snap that damn staff in half.
> Time to call in the calvary. Bombs ahoy!
> Three on one...she can’t defend against this. She’s finished, here and now.
>Other
>>
>>1289363
> “You wanna try that again, Owlia?!”
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
> Close in again. You’re gonna snap that damn staff in half.
>Other: Energy Channel into our arms, hands, and legs, and use our energy to counteract Cylica's staff's energy.
>>
>>1289363
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
>Close in again. You’re gonna snap that damn staff in half.
make an orbital ring around Cylica and if possible Owlia, then get Izumi on the defense as we put on the offense.

and if they don't comply, time to ready that flux wave.
>>
10 minute warning...actually I might let this one lie for a bit because it's late and pick it back up tomorrow.
>>
>>1289363
>>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
>>Close in again. You’re gonna snap that damn staff in half.
>>
>>1289363
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
Get the flux wave ready for when she does anything, then we all gon on the offensive her.
>>
>>1289433
That'll hit everyone, though, including Izumi and Lorelei.
>>
>>1289376
>>1289363


I'm SURE that staff won't blow up or anything. Let's just rip it out of her hands instead?

Then Flux Wave. Power Overwhelming.
>>
>>1289463
Hmm, I suppose that is a point against it. Although Izumi is used to it...

Maybe wi should test out the efecacy of her shield be bending magi-blasts to come at her from other directions and shooting at her with our rifle.

IIRC we have the gravity flamebringer in our bag of holding too.
>>
>>1289499
Yeah let's bring out the sword
>>
>>1289363
dunno what else to do, but definitely supporting the
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
Option.
>>
>>1289363
>> Three on one...she can’t defend against this. She’s finished, here and now.
Beat her up so hard she can't even think and then try again, lorelei keeps one eye on owlia
>owlia, have you never seen this movie before?

Cyclia is conducting a war, leading armies and what else why the hell would she give this up to become a mercenary who has to worry about rent?
>>
>>1289363
>> “So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
>>
>>1289649
We should have mentioned the "live longer" thing.

Also

> Becoming a person beyond conducting wars and leading armies. Getting to be the fulcrum in battles across time and space itself.

I mean. That's like having someone come u and offer you a job as a high end consultant and you're all like "But I'm already a manager at MacDonalds".
>>
>>1289471
>>1289363

> Pull out sword

> Smash floor to bits

> "Do you really think that what you have here is power? True power? This is a one time offer to step behind he stage and become more than just a player.

> Tell you what though. Come at me with all you have and we'll consider this your final audition.

No loose ends if she continues to refuse us.
>>
>>1290079
Sorry this is me changing my vote btw

I just really don't want to break probably exploding sticks.
>>
>>1289363

> “You wanna try that again, Owlia?!”
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
>Other: Energy Channel into our arms, hands, and legs, and use our energy to counteract Cylica's staff's energy.
>>
>>1289363
>>1290079
>>1289520
>>1290089
I agree with the other anons' suggestions, we energy channel through our whole body to snatch that damn stick(or heck, fling that thing to Izumi), get Lorelei to keep an eye on them both while we pull out flamebringer +gravity sword.
Then we ask:
>“So...who ARE you doing this for? You both or just yourself?”
Then whatever her response is, we threaten her to a duel or what >>1290079 said
>>
Alright. One question. Why do you people assume that the energy channel will allow us to disarm the stick?
>>
>>1290250
The energy channel will channel our mana to our extremities; this channeled magic is meant to be damaging, and so it should cancel out the magic field put out by the staff, like Izumi's sword did.
Once that field's been cancelled, we can grab the staff and break it.
>>
>>1290200
I like this and >>1290079. Nice appeal but not being too desperate about it.
>>
>>1290315
Right, I agree with this. Do >>1290200

>>1290266
Assuming that two sources of mana that project themselves outward will negate or repel each other and putting money on ours being stronger than hers.

If the rolls are on our side and we do overpower her after saying >>1290079.
>"Defeating you, your little war here, is just a job we accepted on a whim because we haven't worked as a team in a while- you are throwing everything at us while we are just having a bonding exercise. It doesn't even pay well!
Just driving home the actual difference between us. Is it too much? If she seeks power it could sway her a little but if she is actually doing all of this for a belief or ideology it's just going to piss her off like nothing else.

>>1289363
Quick question, I got the impression that the deal-makers have no real problem with just plucking interesting people up and put them in the intersection, is that correct? I mean we could just ask Sal to put two eyes on this fight and evaluate them himself. If he thinks it'll pay off he can just take them regardless of if they want to or not.
Would that count as cheating on the job? Is there a rule against this kind of dealmaker interference?

>Hey Salavalda, a bit attention please, I believe I found one or possibly two new assets.
>>
>>1290336
>Assuming that two sources of mana that project themselves outward will negate or repel each other and putting money on ours being stronger than hers
It's an educated guess since that's what Izumi's sword did to Cylica's staff.
Since we have more brute strength than Izumi, both physically and magically, I think the chances are in our favor.
>>
>>1290336
Direct interference in an Outgoer job via manipulating the situation simply to get better odds is very strongly frowned upon by the Ingenious, which could lead to...unfavorable things. Deal-Makers are not against picking up interesting people without their world going lights out, but it has to be voluntary. Like signing a contract. That said, if someone DOES want to jump ship, there's nothing against THAT. Just can't take them involuntarily, basically or else he gets the Board of Directors on his ass.
>>
>>1290410
Dropped my trip. Starting in 30, at any rate!
>>
>>1290411
So say that we call on Sal for his evaluation and we subdue these two, take them as captives and complete our objective. Once the job is over he can make an offer before they're beheaded or whatever then all is fine and dandy?
>>
>>12904
that goes against what is said here >>1290410 . They have to come in their own accord.
>>
>>1290422
What >>1290447 said. You can make the deal sweet, you can threaten to run them out of business, hell, you can wheedle about it, but you can't tie them up and force them to switch jobs at gunpoint.
>>
>>1290447
Were you quoting me? Him speaking to them after the job is done means he isn't interfering with the job. He can also surely make an evaluation during our fight whether or not to do so without appearing or interfering.

>>1290454
Gotcha. I figure that we ourselves don't necessarily have to be the ones to do the recruiting, so I'm trying to find a plan B. I've been trying to kill Owlia since she first appeared but it's more productive to help us succeed with the plan now.

So in essence, our job is to beat the shit out of them and Sal can't interfere during the job without everyone going legal on his ass, and he can't show up after we win because the deal (if any) would be signed under duress and thus void?

Can't win them all I suppose, I'll drink to the dice gods instead.
>>
>>1290464
>Were you quoting me?
yeah, somehow i erased the last two digits.
>>
>>1290336
>"Defeating you, your little war here, is just a job we accepted on a whim because we haven't worked as a team in a while- you are throwing everything at us while we are just having a bonding exercise. It doesn't even pay well!

I kind of like this, but instead we should phrase it more as

> you're wasting your potential on this plane. Say you did somehow conquer Mageria, what then? Sit on your throne and rot? Play around with crystals with Ophelia, knowing that for every discovery you make a dozen more you could have made go unknown - that your own "discoveries" are probably just scratching the surface of what others have already done, or are poor imitations inefficiently aping creations that have been refined and built with more complete knowledge?

> Will you simply be content to sit on top of your enemies shouting "I told you so" while we move on and forget you as just another small fish in a small pond that was unable to let go of her sour grapes to eat the feast of opportunity that came by?

> All this, assuming you somehow managed to win. Because with us here, that's unlikely. You could, hell you WERE winning. For all intents and purposes you proved yourself stronger than the people who hired us.

> But you aren't fighting them now. We are something different. You are strong, but we are beyond Strength.

> You are alone in a sea of worlds, children. There is only darkness for you, and only death for your people now we are here. This war is just another ending that we bring.We command a great and terrible magic, and we sail to a billion worlds. We sail until every light has been extinguished. You are strong, child, but I am beyond strength. I am the end, and I have come for you, Cyclia, and Owlia.

> If you wish to show me your strength, I will welcome it and show you just how far there is to go.
>>
>>1290525
Yes I stole the Lich Speech at the end.

Could Lorelei maybe do some subtle glamour to add weight to our words when we give our speech?

I would also like to add something like

> Where we can take you, there are no councils nor kings. Some serve, some lead, but willing under contracts inviolate. No-one censures results, so long as results are achieved. Want to use crystals on civilians out of necessity? Succeed and be praised.

> Want to end the war by hiring and elevating their enemy above them? They can gnash their teeth in bitterness, but they WILL pay for a completed contract.
>>
>>1289363
Right. You’re starting to get tired of this...but you’ve got one more sliver of will in you to try. “Who are you doing this for, Cylica?” you ask without preamble. She jars- just for a second, and looks to you as you light yourself up with energy, much to Cylica- and Owlia’s you notice- visible shock. your draw your sword out of your bag. “Both of you...or just yourself?”

To your surprise, she stills briefly, before growling. “Why do YOU care? To make yourself feel better before you destroy my dreams? I’ll not be pitied.”

“This isn’t pity, you one-track.” With a single swing, you strike the sword against the floor- the gravity influence in your Flamebringer causes the metal floor in the immediate spot to cave in on itself, ripping itself up in a miniature, yet powerful implosion. "Do you really think that what you have here is power? True power?” You raise an eyebrow as she eyes the hole you just made. “This is a one time offer to step behind the stage and become more than just a player. A person beyond conducting wars and leading armies. You’d get to be the fulcrum in battles across time and space itself.”

“You would be very wise to listen to your friend, and mine.” Izumi adds. “However, it is your decision, of course.”
“Bah. And the price for this would be eternal servitude, or a vow of fealty, no doubt.” Cylica spits.

“No, Cy!” Owlia speaks up. “The only price would be doing what we wanted to anyway!”

Cylica whips her head back towards Owlia in confusion and shock, and Owlia presses on. “Remember? That little thing we said we’d do if-”

“I KNOW what we said! But that was when...you can’t…” Cylica’s breathing heavily now, and she whips back to you with something less than unfettered rage. It’s like she’s caught between two great desires but can only have one...even now you’re not sure it’s sunk in that she only has the one choice, really.

“Tell you what.” You raise your sword, brimming with magical flames much like you are yourself. “Come at me with all you have...and we'll consider this your final audition. Whatever you choose at the end of it? That’s on you.”

’Salavalda.’ His full name isn’t something you use often, and you can immediately feel his presence in your head increase. ’I might have one or two new assets for us.’

”Iiiiiiiiinteresting. That’s nooooot something you tend to worry about, Miranda! If youuuuu’re saying it, then…” Yeah. He’s watching, now.

As you think on this, Cylica brandishes her staff with one hand, using the other to motion away from the general area. As she eyes you with a smoldering anger. “Owlia. Do NOT interfere. If this one seeks to test me, Lord Cylica of Ferrosia, last of my linage and greatest crystal mage to live in the modern day...they will not be found wanting!”

cont.
>>
>>1290584
The growl in her voice belies the anger and fear both present as she swings her staff forward, a blast of spherical electrical energy erupting from the tip. You’re quick to dodge, as is Izumi, and your rush forwards is met with another blast deflected by your sword as you reach out a hand yet again to grip her staff, pointing it away from you- this time the energies surge and clash, her own blackness raging against your own flaring blue-green energies. You feel no pain this time. She’s powerful magically, but physically...seems to be another matter as she desperately clashes with you, strike after strike. Your own physical force repels her easily, but to her credit she seems to have a good deal of staff training, manipulating the object in ways where it barely takes more than half a spin to deflect your wider swings as you continually push her back.

With little warning, she backs up into what seems to be another portal- you can see her smile briefly.

You’re already turning around as she leaps out of the exit behind you, staff shining darkly. You dodge, but it certainly wasn’t a bad try, and she continues swinging, her staff leaving what seems to be black trails through the air now. You notice Izumi watching carefully, as is Lorelei, who still has a gun on both opponents. After a parried stab and another ducked swing, she attempts to jab you with the butt of the staff- you grab onto it, however, and she struggles to put more force behind her push, her lightning crackling and crashing all around you- destroying what few freestanding objects remain. The lightning storm lashes out aimlessly, wildly, yet none of it touching you, protected as you are by your own mana as you shove her back with a single hand and a small, mildly annoyed frown.

With a cry, suddenly there’s a pool of blackness that surrounds her feet and yours, and before you know it it surrounds you both, leaving you in total darkness- save for your lashing energies.

You can feel SOMETHING surrounding you, buffering up against your mana flames- you find yourself having to flare it more to keep them out, however, and you can see her growing astonishment as you manage to remain unaffected. “What...is this? How are you…?”

> Knee to the gut.
> Snap the staff.
> “There’s an easy way to find out.”
> Other
>>
>>1290588
>Snap the staff.
Let's see how she does without her weapon.
>>
>>1290588
>Snap the staff.
>Other: A single word. "Mediocre."
She hasn't failed the job interview yet. Just letting her know where she currently stands in our review.
>>
>>1290588
>Snap the staff
>"Put your back into it!"

Discard our sword as well, let's make this contest "fair".
>>
>>1290588
> You are alone in a sea of worlds, children. There is only darkness for you, and only death for your people now we are here. This war is just another ending that we bring.We command a great and terrible magic, and we sail to a billion worlds. We sail until every light has been extinguished. You are strong, child, but I am beyond strength. I am the end, and I have come for you, Cyclia, and Owlia.


Lich Speech + Sun Flare while throwing her back.

I feel like her staff means something to her so I don't want to break it.
>>
>>1290592
>>1290596
>>1290621

Seriously we've been given way too many opportunities for "snap the staff" for it to not be a trap option.

Let's take it away then give it back if anything.

> Coming with us doesn't mean abandoning your past, or losing it. But it does mean moving on. Carry it with you, don't be weighed down by it.
>>
>>1290631
What if we disarm her of her staff, and throw it over to Owlia before stowing our own sword?

Yes, Owlia. See how she reacts too.
>>
>>1290588
>> Knee to the gut.
>>
>>1290588
>>1290596
I'd like to change snapping the staff to
>Other: grab the staff, pull it out of her hands, throw it towards Izumi to catch.
Don't wanna break something that could be valuable loot, and it does the job of making her fight with her own abilities just as well.
>>
Start of the run means you got 10 minutes left.
>>
>>1290644
We've got a strong surge of not snapping the staff, just taking it away. What do we do about the people that voted and left?
>>
>>1290640
Sure why not.

She's probably messed around with it already.

> A Wizards Staff has a Knob on the end!
>>
>>1290646
It's a 3-2 vote to not snap it anyways with you changing your vote.

And one vote for a knee to the gut.
>>
>>1290588
>> Other
>throw the staff to Owlia
>>
To be clear, I was >>1290592, consider my vote changed to >>1290640.

A quick 'Hold on to this for a bit.' to make our intentions clear probably wouldn't go amiss either.
>>
"No illegal materials allow in the test room. Please leave any and all devices at the door when you come in."

Writing.
>>
>>1290658
Personally I kind of like the message of taking it away roughly, then giving it back gently.

It shows that while she is weak compared to us, that we aren't disdainful of her strength or history.


Like, she's done well for her little pond, but we're so ply a bigger fish. There's no shame in losing to us.

Although there is some in refusing to face reality, and more in refusing to learn from us.

Yeah, she'll have to give up her revenge on people here. But does she really need it any more? Why let herself continue to be limited by them, instead of having the chance to become the greatest Crystal Mage like any before her.

But we would like to see what else she has.

Otherwise, if we do toss it to Owlia then it should be "Show me what YOU can do then. Show me what makes Cyclia great, not what crystals can do."
>>
>>1290679
>Otherwise, if we do toss it to Owlia then it should be "Show me what YOU can do then. Show me what makes Cyclia great, not what crystals can do."
This is fair.

We could always give it back to her for a final round after a quick bout of hand-to-hand? But we do need to evaluate her adaptability when not using her preferred weapon as well.
>>
>>1290640
Heh, sure why not.

I suppose I am late to the vote but dinner is a necessary evil
>>
>>1290690
Not to mention just being able to see how she handles being without the staff.

Like.

She was weaker than us with it anyways, so that doesn't really change things.

I wonder if we should point out that we're actually the strongest one here for pure combat, but Izumi is better trained with weapons and tech etc. and Lorelei is better at infiltration and investigation.

Like, she doesn't have to be a combat monster like us to qualify.
>>
>>1290713
>I wonder if we should point out that we're actually the strongest one here for pure combat, but Izumi is better trained with weapons and tech etc. and Lorelei is better at infiltration and investigation.
Only if she does decide to join us. Until then we still have to treat her as a potential enemy.

The passing mark was never to defeat us. It's to demonstrate the possibility for her abilities to grow to match ours, in her own way.

But still, a fair chunk of her talents seem to lie in combat, so it would be a shame if she couldn't hold her own. I can't imagine command skill and scientific curiosity would come in handy in a great deal of missions.
>>
>>1290588
You don’t answer, but you instead put more grip on the staff, shifting your hand downwards and twisting it with as much force as you feel safe- the staff almost visibly heats up and it takes efforts to hold onto it, but eventually it rips from her hands with a shout as the blackness dissipates, the both of you leaping away in opposite directions.

Cylica looks at you with naked astonishment and fury, while Owlia just looks flabbergasted and worried. You spare a glance at the staff, now that the burning stops- it’s actually nicely made, with various engravings all along the handle, and several gems inlaid in it at various points, with the crown being spiked, longer than Owlia’s own, and tipped with that black jewel. “No…” Cylica says softly.

Clearly attached to it. Without a second thought, you toss the thing over to Owlia, who catches it with a small fumble and looks at you in surprise. “Make sure she doesn’t get that for a while.”

“What?!” She looks back at Owlia, then at you. “Why would you-”

“Like I said,” you begin as you stow your own blade. “Test.” She quiets briefly...then snorts in black amusement. Owlia simply looks back and forth between the two of you, clutching the staff to herself like a precious artifact.

“You think me helpless without my staff? You may find yourself surprised.” She puts her hands up, open palmed, in front of her in what you recognize as a martial art- or possibly a variant. Soon, you can see her own hands burn with that black energy again- a light that makes it almost impossible to tell her hand placement. Her teeth are gritted and fierce as Owlia goggles in surprise. “You will realize your folly for this!”

She charges in first, to your surprise, and you’re left blocking two attacks on your forearms. It doesn’t hurt much, but it clashes against your own aura strongly, and there’s a brief numbness as she steps forward again. Compared to you, she’s slow, her attacks are telegraphed, and she’s a bit too wild in her lashings, but she moves her arms like snakes, lashing from a great number of angles, and you’re finding yourself never blocking in the same manner twice as she presses the assault you’ve granted her, every skin-to-skin touch being marked with that brief numbness. She then lashes out with a foot, a low kick skirting the edge of your own leg; her low, sharp heels visually missing, but a wave of pressure against said foot showing otherwise.

She follows this up with a strike to the chest- you cross your forearms to block it, and it’s only then you realize they feel heavier, or at the least it seems to be taking more energy to move them. Three more strikes to the hips, shoulder, and forehead in order are deflected, if barely, and a quick jab to check her movement followed by a low kick to the shins results in her smoothly moving away briefly as you reset the situation. Your aura is flaring steadily, and you wouldn’t call yourself winded...so what’s with it being harder to move- oh. Duh.

cont.
>>
>>1290781
“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised...” It still doesn’t seem that it had the intended effect; or at least not as much of one as she’d hoped as she grits her teeth in frustration- you swear they’re about to crack. Without warning, she reaches behind herself, grabbing what looks to be some kind of small device- you don’t know what that is but it reminds you of a coffee maker- and tossing the glass thing at you, in what seems to be desperation. You quickly shift to the right-

-and are blasted in the shoulder with a sudden surge of lightning; your aura seems to take most of the damage, but it still causes you to recoil in sheer surprise, and your shoulder twitches as you look beyond her to where Owlia is. She’s still holding the staff close- but looking at it in surprise and curiosity, back and forth between it and Cylica, who is smiling wickedly. “I and my staff are not so easily parted. A great strain, but quite helpful- and unique to my lineage.”

Ah. That explains the whole ‘using magic without crystals’ thing. You were about to ask about that.

>Hm. How’d you pull that off?
>Eh. Not bad, I guess.
>That’s technically cheating.
>Other
>>
>>1290785
>Eh. Not bad, I guess.
>Other: I've seen and beaten better.
Still, is this the best that this hick backwater can produce?
>>
>>1290785
>That’s technically cheating.
>"Now it's my turn."

Shoot a few quick mana blasts, zip around the arena then use a Solar flare and punch her square in the gut.
>>
>>1290785
>Other
"Not nearly as impressive as Owlia. You're apparently relying on inherited abilites that are minute compared to any of our's" *Gesture to Izumi and Lorelei*"While Owlia has invented all of her tech on her own. I wouldn't offer you an invitation out of pity if nothing else - you wouldn't make it a week with that attitude."
>>
>>1290785
>Inventive. But not what I was trying to assess. Don't show all the tricks of Cylica's staff; show me Cylica.
>>
>>1290803
Oh and also punch her in the face as hard as possible. She's a big girl, I'm sure she'll be fine.
>>
5 minute warning.
>>
>>1290785
>Eh. Not bad, I guess.
>Come on, keep up the surprises. You'll need them on the big stage.
>>
I agree that we need to tell her that depending on bloodline things instead of her own abilities, skills, and talent like Owlia is weak.
>>
>>1290785
>>Eh. Not bad, I guess.
>>That’s technically cheating.
>>
>>1290809
>>1290839
Yeah, does she not have a single original? Worrying.
>>
"Meh. Anything else?"

Writing.
>>
>>1290785
>That’s technically cheating.

With a big smile

> you're doing pretty good so far.

> Solar Flare, use it to hide launching mana blasts to hover behind her.

Tell her to turn around, then when she does use the mana blasts to knock her towards you.

Put her in a lock and give her the full shocking touch.

>>1290809

To be fair, that was something unique to her.
>>
I feel I should also remind you all that in this world, normally people here can't do magic at all without being in some sort of contact with a crystal or crystal focus. If that didn't come across, apologies.
>>
>>1290870
Yeah, I remember. It's just that, we're from a place where being able to do magic without contact with crystals or a crystal focus is the norm, and I wanted the disdain to be palpable. That her uniqueness and apparent power are nothing but banal illusions when compared to the power of the place we come from. of who and what we are.
>>
>>1290785
“That so?” You rotate your shoulder- to be fair, that DID manage to sting a bit. Your aura still got most of it, though. “Eh. Not bad, I guess.”

“NOT BAD?!” Her tone is easily incredulous, and you don’t think she could get any louder. “I have spent years upon years refining these techniques, traveling to places beyond civilization’s grasp, learning the most eldritch of secrets in regards to crystal technology, and I show you this- powers that would quail any other that opposed me- all you can say is ‘not bad?!’”

“Yup. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you did have a couple clever moves there. But you’re going to need more than that on the big stage.” you shrug. “IF you still wanted to go, at least.”

“DAMN YOU TO THE WASTES OF COURSE I’M GOING!” Wow, okay. “I REFUSE TO LET YOU MOCK ME, AND I’LL LEARN EVERY SCRAP OF YOUR SO-CALLED KNOWLEDGE IF I HAVE TO TO SHUT YOU UP!”

”I liiiiike her gumption.” Of course you would, Sal.

“Then lesson one: Don’t rely on your family name, no one cares.” you shoot back. “Especially compared to things we can do already, your own skills are pretty boilerplate in comparison.”

“It’s true.” Lorelei quips. “If it were Izumi fighting you that staff would probably be in pieces by now, and if it you me you’d probably be missing a body part or maybe sleeping. You’re lucky she likes to wait folks out before she lays into ‘em. I mean, heck!” Lorelei suddenly conjures an magic arm, reaching over to Owlia’s in a blink as it snatches the staff from her unsuspecting hands, tossing it up in the air once, twice, before it vanishes, Owlia catching it again, guns in her real hands still trained on both targets. “I coulda done that whenever, just to you. If you ask me, you got a smatterin’ of potential, but as it stands you’re small-time, babe.”

“You show some skill, but your pride is your downfall,” Izumi notes. “Think for yourself, not for your family.”

“Show me what Cylica can do, not Cylica’s staff.” You press. She looks back at Lorelei, then Izumi, then you...and lastly Owlia. Her face is...you’re not quite sure how to describe it. It’s not quite fear, but not exactly anger, either. It’s like something trying to connect in her head...

>Roll 1d20, best of 3 for something.
>>
File: 1420846842042.jpg (110 KB, 1280x720)
110 KB
110 KB JPG
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>1290994
>>
Rolled 2 (1d20)

>>1290994
nat 1 incoming

>>1290870
What's the general power level of magic in the world like anyway, in terms of mana consumption?
>>
Rolled 15 (1d20)

>>1290994
Goddamn it...
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>1290994
Man, our luck has been bad lately.
>>
>>1291016
Shucks.

>>1291018
Yeouch!

>>1291021
Neat.

Writing!
>>
>>1291021
Oh wow, for once in this thread I didn't fuck things up forever!
>>
>>1291066
How unreliable of you.
>>
>>1290994
>>1291016
>>1291018
>>1291021
...And slowly, her eyes roll back over to Owlia, looking at her carefully. Owlia seems to do the same, a small smile on her face. There’s a silence of a few seconds between them, until at last she sighs, and turns to you. She still frowns, but it seems the smolder has gone out of her eyes. “I am more scientist than battlemage. I consider myself quite capable in all areas, but my skills largely lie in crystal engineering, divination and crafting illusory scenes.” Her voice is clear, if subdued somewhat now.” Effort though it make take…” And here she reaches into the folds of her cloak, pulling out a strangely shaped crystal that reminds you of a star. “I can do a great many things with crystals. I have learned many ways to manipulate their energies. And this is one of them.”

The crystal shines, a black emission coming from it that then seems to fade to a light purple, the crystal billowing grand smoke that seems to cover everything all at once as your sight is masked by it. When the smoke clears, however…

You find yourself standing in a field- the grass is old and dead, the trees are witherin under heavy clouds, with various rocks surrounding you and mountains in the distance. The wind blows roughly, ruffling your clothes. You can even hear the rumble of what sounds like an oncoming storm. “I attempted this on you earlier, in a much baser form. Due to expediency, of course.” Even despite the noise, her voice is as clear as anything as she looks around at the scenery, frowning. “All you see, all you feel, all you hear is at my will for as long as both the crystal's energies and my own mental strength lasts. Of course, with such an extreme change of scenery, that is not very long.” She’s sounding like she WANTS to be proud of it regardless, but something’s preventing her.

Still, she manages to keep her face in place well. “This is MY skill and MY research alone. If this does not whet your palate...then damn you, you had best show me how to do better so that I can do so. I cannot abide being considered a damned AMATEUR.”

>Comments?
>>
>>1291140
this is actually nice. against an unprepared foe it could be devastating.
>>
>>1291140
Y'know, in another reality I went to, there was a corrupt church faith that was brainwashing local students of the towns mage college. They used special crystals that had been previously banned due to the kingdom's laws against mind altering spells. It's a shame that I didn't think to take some back with me, but I bet that it would make for some fantastic foci for these illusions.
>>
>>1291140
"Full control of a person's sensory input. Not bad. How many people can you ensnare at a time? Can you build this kind of functionality into one-time use crystals for others to use?"
>>
>>1291140
that seems actually impressive
>>
>>1291140
>"Well, I've been trapped in magical dimensions for days filled with things trying to kill me- wizards everywhere love pocket dimensions and throwing people in them. This place is nice, quaint, but nice. This only fakes my senses and I am still in the same location physically, correct?"

Send out a Flux Wave to negate it. Flux fucks up everyone us included, hopefully the disturbance to both us and Cyclia is enough.
>>
5 minute warning.
>>
>>1291140
>I cannot abide being considered a damned AMATEUR.

>"Then you had better stay here, and stay as Lord Cylica of Ferrosia, last of your lineage and whatever the rest of it was. Because where we leave for, you WILL be an amateur. And you will have to accept that to survive."
>"What we're offering isn't some quick and easy route to power. We're only offering you a bigger pond, a new unknown world. How you use it to grow will be up to you."
>"That was part of this test. How you react to the unknown. I can't say I'm ecstatic about what I've seen. But it doesn't warrant a fail either. At least, not yet."

>"Our talents lie in different places. I can't assess your crystal-work. I CAN tell that you have put your all into it, and that you yourself know that you have a way to go. If this is your dream, and no one else's but yours, be at least proud of that much."
>"Now, how would you feel if I were to try to break your illusion right now? What would you do?"
>>
"...Alright, that's nifty."
>>
>>1291244
Oh, uh. Writing, of course.
>>
>>1291140
> This is actually nice. against an unprepared foe it could be devastating.

> Flux Wave

> Since you showed me your special skill, I figured I would show you mine. I'm not really a battle mage either. It's rare that I meet something that can force me to do more though.

> I won't call you an amateur. But you're still a beginner. There's so much farther for you to go. I can take you there if you're ready. You, and Owlia.

> You're too good for this one world.

Also

> Saaaaal, we can make a killing with this girl. Illusionary vacations. Replays of unique skills or sights. Training for combat or technical skills. If she can make settings from people's memories, the people in the Intersection would pay through the nose to see their original world's again, old friends, family left behind.

> And we could get HER TO pay US for it under the reason of growing her ability.
>>
>>1291247
>>1291252

Aw just too slow to also vote for Flux wave.
>>
>>1291140
Well, now. This was something. “Huh. Have to admit. This isn’t half bad at all. Full control of sensory input.” You kick at the grass with your feet a bit- certainly felt like it was grass, moved like it was grass. “Could be pretty useful under the right circumstances.”

“Minor alterations are easier for me.” she explains as she looks away at something in particular near you- likely Izumi, from what your memory says. “An open door, locked. A balcony that doesn’t exist. A friend where there’s an enemy.” She looks at you again. “It took a great deal of headache to figure out, and I’ve yet plans to improve it.”

“That so?” You’re tempted to walk to and lean against a tree, but you know it’s more than likely fake. “You said it was your skill and research. So can you make this for anyone to use?”

She frowns deeper, but a pointed look from you prevents anything more. “I could, yes.” Is all she answers. “Depending on your mental fortitude it may be more or less effective, however. The image must be held in your head, and strongly at that.”

“Fair enough. And the number of people that can be affected?” You ask further.

“Theoretically, limitless, were I to have a strong enough crystal and an impossibly hardy mind.” is her answer. She looks surprisingly smug about it. “I have managed to entrance an auditorium’s worth of soldiers; two hundred seeing only what I wished- even if only for some seconds.” Ooh. Not bad. Still… “So there. Impressed yet?”

You pause, for effect, before shrugging. “...Somewhat. You’ve still got some ways to go.” she opens her mouth, but you quickly interrupt.

"What we're offering isn't some quick and easy route to power. We're only offering you a bigger pond, a new unknown world. How you use it to grow will be up to you. Where we’re going? It’s NOT some cakewalk. You’ve seen how capable I am compared to you. Like it or not, you WILL be considered an ‘amateur’ for quite some time.” Cylica frowns, and you can hear a soft growl from her, before a dismissive wave of her hand. At this, the illusion vanishes; Cylica seems none the worse for wear, although you can see her hand twitch upwards briefly as she repockets the crystal. “It’s going to be a long time before you can be called a master of ANYTHING.” If that’s even possible- but you keep that thought to yourself.

“So you say,” she growls, a sneer on her face. “But between myself and Owlia, I’d not be surprised if we advanced better than even you expect. I can thrive ANYWHERE.”

“We’ll be fine, Cy. Even if it takes a while, that’s just part of the fun, if you ask me!” Owlia says, finally standing up. “There’s SO MUCH I want to try out just on principle! I want to see how the air there affects the natural mana dispersion rate..”

> Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.
> Okay, before this all happens, there’s this crystal we’ve been meaning to get to…
> I never said you passed. (What else?)
> Other
>>
Wonder if we'll be wrapping this up tonight! Back later.
>>
>>1291359
>Sal, good enough in your eyes?

>Our job is still to win this war, this audition was just a selfish whim on my part. We've still got objectives to complete, starting with the Anais Relay.
>>
>>1291359
>> Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.
>>
>>1291359
>“But between myself and Owlia, I’d not be surprised if we advanced better than even you expect. I can thrive ANYWHERE.”
That's what I'm hoping on. That's why I'm talking to you now.

Come to think of it, I never did test the limits of Owlia's abilities either, did I? One last test then, since you're so confident on what you can achieve together.

In thirty seconds, I'm going to collapse the ceiling of this room. Use whatever means you have to stop me. I'm sure this is within your capabilities. Don't disappoint me.
>>
>>1291359
>> Okay, before this all happens, there’s this crystal we’ve been meaning to get to…
>> I never said you passed. (What else?)

Take Cylica aside and ask how often she's used that last ability on Owlia. Gotta check.
>>
>>1291359
> Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.
While getting the Relay is our contract objective, I don't recall DM telling us if we should try to lengthen the contract or get it done as quickly as possible.
Getting the Relay and steamrolling the opposition might not be in the best interests of maximizing the payout.
>>
>>1291359
> Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.
>And allow me to be the first to welcome you two to the Intersection.
>>
>>1291406
Oh, of course, good idea.

>Stop me or Escape the room, survive and you pass the test.
Just to put them on their toes, it'd be pointless to actually Rocks Fall Everyone Dies now.
>>
>>1291359
> make sure they know they will never be able to return here
Which may be a problem if we can't get more crystals for them.
>>
>>1291409
Probably want it as quick as possible, considering the situation.
>>
>>1291359
> Other

"Well we still have a contract to fill here. Two things, one I assume you don't want people to know you skipped out on them so I'm going to blow this entire place up. Two, the entry fee is telling us everything we need to know to end this war quickly. Three, is there anything you think could be useful, crystal growing plans or tools etc. You aren't coming back. Finally, money still has value. It's metaphysical and we'll explain it later but I want you to transfer us the largest amount of currency you can, or sign it over to us to loot from your government."
>>
>>1291419
Naturally we'd throw up a Light Barrier, have Izumi throw up a Rajomon, have Lorelei Magic Limbs everyone out the door, or else obliterate all the relevant rocks before impact.

The point is to give them a seemingly insurmountable goal, and no discernible means to achieve it, to see how they adapt. Hell, we could throw up a Great Barrier until the timer ends just to prevent the direct approach working.

I mean, they could attack us directly and actually try to knock us out in thirty seconds, but that wouldn't reflect well on their flexibility regardless. More effective would be just impairing our ability to attack, or shielding the ceiling somehow.

They could even just say please. I would give them a pass for that, simply because it shows humility.
>>
>>1291419
>>1291406

Why? We established that we're out of their league combat wise.

And we are getting Owlia for her crystal tech skills, and just got Cyclia to prove herself to us with a non-compete skill after testing her fighting ability.

This jut seems pointless when we could pump them for info and loot instead.
>>
>>1291457
Didn't Cyclia teleport in here?

I mean we already did the "Insurmountable Obstacle" thing by wrecking Owlias crystal tech and beating Cyclia in combat like she was a little kid.

I guess I could go for

> Break her illusion with Flux Wave.

Besides we can run them through the wringer after we're back in the intersection. Kind of shifty if something goes wrong here and they get hurt.
>>
Can we not collapse the base that's filled with potential loot before we can get something good?

And it's not a test of Cylica; she has teleportation magic so any test that's about her ability to escape a collapsing room will just give her a false sense of competence and make us look stupid.
>>
You're right, I take that back. On second thought it is kinda pointless thing to do.
>>
>>1291477
> teleport
Dats tru

> break illusion
She already dispelled it
>>
>>1291477
Because the point isn't to demonstrate how much better we are than them. The point is to give them a challenge they can't easily solve, and force them to approach it laterally.

Up till now, the goal for them has always been 'beat so-and-so in combat'. And hence the direct approach of throwing all available resources at it will have worked - which is why Cylica was so frustrated when we were largely unaffected by everything she had.

Now they're going to the Intersection, where that won't work for them. So they'll have to abandon the mindset of going for total victory by brute force, in favor of expending the minimum they need to 'win'.
>>
>>1291504
Like with the war they are winning? We already know they are both brilliant minds.
>>
>>1291542
Sure, being smart doesn't necessarily mean being adaptable. I would just like to be certain.
>>
>>1291359
>Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.

Oh, and about this option:
> Okay, before this all happens, there’s this crystal we’ve been meaning to get to…
Dunno why, but I have a bad vibe coming from this, something feels like it will go wrong somewhere. This option is suggesting about the mind control crystal, right?
>>
>>1291666
...the Anais Relay. Which has been stated to be a giant crystal.
>>
>>1291681
Oh. That one. The talk about MC crystals above confused me.
>>
>>1291563
. . . We just did that by making her show us her unique magic ability that isn't from her lineage or anything but herself.

And Owlia changed her body to use mana directly.

WTF bro
>>
Aaaand I'm back and it seems that at the very least we're sending them up. I'm seeing a lot of take-backs for the collapsing ceiling test, but I'll try to fit in the other stuff. Writing!
>>
>>1291359
Oy. Well. Not much left to do here, now. ”Sal. Ready the onboarding seminar. Two for pickup.”

”Oooooooh, goodie!” Ugh. He better not have too much fun. Wouldn’t want him obsessed with them to the point of forgetting to get you jobs. And speaking of that…

“Ahem.” The two quickly turn to you, Owlia having come out entirely and starting talking lowly with Cylica. “A few last minute things. We still have a contract to fill here, so first of all there’s the manner of absconding, so to say.”

“...ah, yes.” Cylica sighs. “About that. If you knowledge base is anywhere near as large as you claim-”

“It is.” It really is.

“-then I doubt I’ll be back any time soon. It may be more prudent to fake my death than simply leave. The knowledge that I’ll have been so close...hurts. But you are right in that letting this opportunity go, having witnessed what I have, would tear at my soul.”

You nod. “Right on all counts. So I'm going to blow this entire place up after you leave, just a heads up there. You’ll be taken out by an...associate of mine.” Yeah, that’s a way to put it. “The next thing is something to make OUR lives easier. Knowing the Anais Relay.” Their faces fall at hearing that. “It was our mission to destroy the thing, so telling us where it is would REALLY help. We need to know to end this war quickly.”
“Anything else you think would help do so as well would be welcome.” Izumi adds. “The sooner we can return to assist you, the better off you’ll be.”

“Aaaah…” Cylica starts to say something, but Owlia puts her hand on her shoulder.

She smiles softly. “I told you...a kingdom for impossible knowledge.”

“That does NOT make it any easier, still.” She grouses. She turns back to you, and nods the tinest of nods. “The Anais Relay is located in the Numina Ruins, to the southwest. We uncovered it quite by chance.” As for the rest...we have several key holdings on certain skylands. Eliminate them and the logistical supply train will collapse, as will certain defensive capabilities.”

Alright, then. You’ll have to worry about that soon, then. “Sounds grand. Issue number three: is there anything you think could be useful, crystal growing plans, or tools, what have you? If so, say it now or forever hold your peace.”

“My personal laboratory.” Cylica quickly says.

“Her personal laboratory.” Owlia parrots. “She has almost literally everything in it in some fashion, including some of the best crystal shapers and incubators ever to exist.”

Cylica snorts. “Of course they’re the best, I made them myself.”

cont.
>>
>>1292002
“Don’t care. Finally, money still has value. It's somewhat metaphysical, and we'll have to explain the intricacies of it later, but I want you to transfer us the largest amount of currency you can, or sign it over to us to loot from your government." They BOTH shoot up an eyebrow at that one.

Owlia just seems confused. “Are you...what?”

Cylica is less so. “That sounds quite like a scam.”

“No scam, I assure you.” Izumi states squarely as Lorelei begins laughing like a loon. “In fact, it is of the utmost seriousness. Quite literally a method of survival.” They can find nary a trace of joking or deceit on her face (and ignoring Lorelei’s giggle-snorts), Cylica sighing. "I can assign you a writ of payment confirmation that confers you the money. Would that be acceptable?”

”Soooounds like a paycheck to me! Of course it would. I’ll even be nice about it and ‘hold’ anything they might want to bring along.” “That’ll be fine. Your stuff will be brought along as well. Any last questions?”

“Are you going to be looking over our shoulder the whole time?” Cylica asks.

“Probably not,” you admit. Not that you’d even WANT to, anyway. “Once you’re there, how you make your way is your own issue.” She nods in understanding. “Well, then.”

Without preamble, Cylica turns away, staff again in hand as she creates a portal to her home. A hand goes through, and when it comes back, she has a small, yet fancy slip of paper and a pen. It takes little time for her to write down and sign what seems to be essentially a promissory note, and hands it to you.

You check it out...seems legit. Nodding, you clap your hands, sensing the conversation’s end. “If that’s all...allow me the be first to say: Welcome to the Intersection.”

And right on cue, they erupt in a flash of light, disappearing.

They’re gone.

cont. x2
>>
>>1292014
”I’m going to have faaaaaaaar too much fun with this. You keep on task while I take care of the little roundabout issues, hmmmmmm? You’rrrrre a princess, superstar! Make sure to check your FutureSight soon!” Damnit, Sal.

Lorelei just sighs...then bursts into laughter. “They’re going to be...SO freaked out for like. Months.”

“Years.” Izumi corrects with a smile on her face. “But perhaps they’ll learn. Amoral though they might be…” that smile turns into a small frown as she ponders that fact. “...oh dear.”

Lorelei just shrugs. “Eh, not my problem!” She turns to you, suddenly speaking like an interviewer. Congratulations, ‘Randa! You just recruited the boss of the enemy forces! How do you feel?”

Easy. “Like I should get a bonus for this.”

’You DO realize you get a scouting bonus for this, yeessssssss?’ ...wait, really? Well, that just brightened up your day. But for now…

“Guys, come in.” Your pilot friends need to hear about this...sort of. “Leader and Second have been neutralized. Repeat, Leader and Second have been neutralized.”

‘The fuck? How the SHIT did you manage that?!’ Lulu screams.

“We just did.” At any rate, we’ve got a mountain of intel for you incoming.”

>Rendezvous at the assigned spot.
>Head straight for the Anais Relay.
>Other
>>
>>1292020
>>Rendezvous at the assigned spot.
Time to deliver the good news.
>>
>>1292020
>>Rendezvous at the assigned spot.
>>
10 minute warning.
>>
>>1292020
>Rendezvous at the assigned spot.
Wait, signing bonus? Why were we never told of this?!

...I assume there's conditions, like they have to complete a probationary period and all. But still, this is good news.
>>
>>1292052
> Why were we never told of this?!

Sal straight up thought you knew already and just never bothered to check otherwise.
>>
>>1292055
Also I didn't want it to influence your decisions. Didn't want to make this Interdimensional Pokemon, as someone said earlier.
>>
>>1292020
>Rendezvous at the assigned spot.
Holy shit, you guys actually pulled it off.
>>
>>1292059
Y'all fuckers practically came within a hairsbreadth. Since you didn't pick the 'Try that again' option earlier, if those anons hadn't come up with the idea to tempt her with the 'big fish small pond' thing, you would've had at, at the VERY least, two more rolls and a much more involved fight to even START on her, and basically it would've been a lot of praying to the RNG gods. As it stands you came close to turning her off the idea entirely. I actually was planning out possible deaths of them.
>>
As the anon who suggested we recruit Owlia, this is the raddest possible outcome.

Can't wait for like 20 nat 1's in a row to make up for this though
>>
Writing! Back to base we go!
>>
let's not have the "let's recruit them" ideas towards any character that interests us on every mission please, 'cause this is "magical girl for hire quest", not "magical girl scouting agency quest".
>>
>>1292169
This is literally the first time we've done this. Anons have suggested we recruit people before but this is the first time it's felt at all a defensible decision. Worlds with worthwhile recruits are few and far between.
>>
>>1292169
I'm not worried about people who read quests up until this point; but I can agree with you if it concerns people who doesn't get what we are/didn't start from the archive.
>>
>>1292020
>>1292026
>>1292043
>>1292052
The laboratory is destroyed after you pick through it- there’s actually not a lot you’d consider worthwhile. A few crystals that do things you already can- a pair of them seem to be able to act as a shield, the communication gems, and one of those blasting gems. Everything seemed to have been hauled out in a hurry, because most else was either cracked or otherwise non-existent. Eh, no big loss.

You wind up giving the order to wreck the place anyway, and laser cannonfire rains down on the lab as you put the skyland in the rearview mirror, so to speak. The place is slag before it gets out of viewing range, so ideally they’ll consider that her ‘place of death’.

You wind up telling the story on the way back, much to the amazement of your contingent. They constantly ask and pepper you for questions, and you do you best to answer…

Again…

And again.

Eventually, Lorelei begs them off for you a half-second before you’re able to. The trip back beyond that is equally dull, fortunately.

When you see the carrier in the distance, you’re surprised to see it smoking a bit, and as you get closer, you notice that it’s got a few dings and dents in it. Otherwise, nothing major, but it does surprise you a bit.

“He-hey!” G’nearth suddenly comes across your comms. “I’m guessin’ you’ve managed to get things done there, eh?”

“Sure did. Cylica and Owlia aren’t going to be a problem anymore.” Quite the opposite, really.

“Well, hot dog! That’ll do us a hell of a lot of good!” G’nearth crows.

And hopefully, you more. “What’s more, we know the location of the Anais Relay. It’s in a skyland called Numina Ruins, to the southwest. Do you know where that is?”

“Think I recall the name, aye!” G’nearth confirms. “Ain’t all that far away from ‘ere, actually. Wonder how they kept it hidden.” You wonder that yourself as you land in the hangar and disembark, as do your friends. G’nearth’s there to meet you as well, and as soon as he sees you, he starts walking, clearly expecting you to follow. So you do. “We’ll set a course ASAP so you can get yer end of this deal done and get you outta here. Tell me, kiddo, how’d she go out? Rough or easy?”

>She...complained a lot.
>On the whole, it went rather painlessly.
>Arrogant to the end.
>Other
>>
>>1292258
>She...complained a lot.
>On the whole, it went rather painlessly.
>>
>>1292258
>On the whole, it went rather painlessly.

At least, in terms of what she could do to us.
>>
>>1292258
>>She...complained a lot.
>>On the whole, it went rather painlessly.
>>
5 minutes!
>>
>>1292258
>She...complained a lot.
>On the whole, it went rather painlessly.
I like how all these options are technically true.
>>
There's a dog joke here but I'm not gonna make it. Writing!
>>
Handler, if you can, please give us Owlia's and Cylica's reactions to Sal's introduction to the intersection and his form. I'm excited to know how they took it.
>>
>>1292258
Why don't we just tell him we recruited them?
>>
>>1292377
Because that's no fun.
>>
>>1292400
Erm, it would be a little fun actually, witnessing his surprise.
>>
>>1292356
I can agree with this, but why don't we save it until we finish the mission first? We can check them out after we're finished anyway.
>>
>>1292258
“Well...a lot of complaints, a lot of yelling. But on the whole, it went rather painlessly.” That was certainly a way to put it. “Things ultimately worked out.”

G’nearth chortles. “No kiddin’! You get this Relay busted up and that’ll do it for yer part.” Right. As well and good as all of this is, your assignment WAS specifically to discover and destroy the Anais Relay. “You’ll get yer pay when the rest of us wrap up. Gotta say, though, might slip ya a lil’ somethin’ extra for bein’ sportin’ enough to get rid of the big names on our behalf! Should be awful smooth sailin’ with their command structure more n’ likely in a panic now! An’ with their big fancy superweapon about ta get trashed? HA!” The force of his laugh booms down the hallway, and you nearly flinch from the volume.

“Well, glad you’re in a good mood…” Leaning AWAY from him might be in order for now…

“Oh, when I smell payday, I’m always in a good mood!” G’nearth jokes as he breathes in deep. “Best smell there is!” You can’t find yourself disagreeing, especially with knowledge of your impending bonus…

“So, got a couple days before we hit the ruins. Any plans?” He’s practically skipping.

(Pick one.)

>”Nothing in particular. Most else can wait.“ (Timeskip)
>”Lorelei’s still got some troubles. Want to get that straight.”
>”Actually, I’ve been wondering. How tough would you say your guys are in hand to hand?”
>Other

Y'know what? I feel like I can keep going for bit. I'm a lot less sleepy than I usually am.
>>
>>1292462
>>”Nothing in particular. Most else can wait.“ (Timeskip)
I'm heading off to bed myself. See you around, OP.
>>
Hm. 5 minutes left, supposedly, but if people are turning in, probably smart for me to as well. Tomorrow is another run, after all.
>>
>>1292462
Lucky for you Handler, it's noon here for me
>"Nothing in particular. Most else can wait." (Timeskip)
>>
>>1292489
Wait for my post
>>
>>1292462
>”Nothing in particular. Most else can wait.“ (Timeskip)
Other than training and helping lorelei deal with trouble if it comes up, other than that, nothing much I guess.
>>
>>1292489
>Other

We get paid to take out the Anais relay. What about if capture it instead?

Also let's sell them the trash from the laboratory. Just because it's trash to us doesn't mean these scrubs might like it.

Finally, we have the records from the other lab yes? Will they pay for a copy of those?
>>
>>1292462
Supporting >>1292504
For capturing the thing. They might be able to take up her research and create glorious free energy for the unified empire of happy fun.
>>
Seems like it's largely voting to timeskip. Writing! (Also yeah, probably wrap this up for tonight.)
>>
>>1292543
Shit nigga can we still get paid for the other things?

Could we get them to give us one of their mana engines?

And actually what is the mana situation like in the intersection?
>>
>>1292462
You shake your head. “Nothing in particular.” You’d probably be better off working privately with Lorelei and Izumi. G’nearth just chuckles, patting you on the back. “Right, then, enjoy the leisure time!” And with that he marches off, ever busy. You’re kinda impressed he can remain so jovial.

From there on, it’s clear skies. At least, for a while. You’d gotten a message from the Alusians the next day- or rather, the carrier had gotten a message stating that the Ferrosians were in a panic, for obvious reasons. The capital was already dealing with a power struggle, and early word had several individuals vying for the throne, and all giving conflicting orders, stifling forward progress. The Alusians were making the most of it, launching simultaneous quick offenses to take back smaller skylands that could then be used as outposts and staging grounds for larger assaults, or so they hoped. Good for them, you suppose.

The day after, you’d been sitting with Izumi who’d been talking your ear off about the various types of steel swords could be forged with; you’d kinda lost the plot after she started comparing carbon contents and whatnot. Soon, however, you’re saved thanks to Icey. “Boss wants you both. We’re approaching the ruins.” Finally.

“Alright!” G’nearth seemed as excited as anything to see this happen. “Here’s the skinny. In about ten or so minutes we’re gonna roll up right onto the ruins. There ain’t no one around; our guess is they wanted the location so secret they didn’t tell anyone what wasn’t on a need to know basis. So we’re gonna fly ya in, drop ya off, and wait for the cheers, yeah?”

It had seemed fine. You’d traversed the ruins fine- although large, you seen one ancient ruin, you’ve seen them all. It’d taken you down into near the center of the large skyland, but you’d made it after only one or two near missteps.

And then you actually came across the Anais Relay. The first thing through your mind?

“Wow, that’s pretty damn big.” It’s in fact absolutely GIGANTIC, easily eclipsing the size of a barn, if not larger; blood red, and pulsing with energy in an almost rhythmic manner. It was by no means smooth, cragged and growing everywhere like a frenzied bush. You could see little, small pieces of it chipped off here and there- the Ferrosians efforts, no doubt. As an experiment, you fired a magi-blast at it from a decent distance- it exploded against the side of the massive gemstone, but the stone simply glowed slightly more red as flecks of the crystal dropped. Izumi’s sword struck true, but crackled, and it was only with a heave assisted from yourself that she actually managed to cut through the thing- for all the gain of a finger-sized piece. Lorelei wasn’t even up for trying- she walked up to it, took one look, and shook her head. “Nope. Any ideas?”

Good question. Clearly it was possible to slough off small bits and pieces, but destroying the main body is going to be tougher than you thought...but how?

>What to try?
>>
>>1292585
Guys? Let's not get distracted TOO much. A bit of loot and stuff is nice but we gotta finish the relay first.
>>
>>1292644
Get an earthbreaker, or whatever its name was when we destroyed the first lab. I don't think attacking it with magic is a good idea.
>>
>>1292585
1: You're being subcontracted by Dynamic Methods. You get paid for what they're willing to pay you for.

2: Ahahahahahaha no.

3: Good?

Think I WILL turn in for the night. Also just to note; method of disposal DOES matter.
>>
Or rather, attempted method of dispoal. Night, folks! Resuming at 1 PM CST.
>>
>>1292644
>Use your sword to sculpt 1:2 scale statue of Miranda Styles.

But really, why not just dust off an nebula blast it from orbit. Sure it'll make one hell of a crater but it isn't like it is going to create a metaphyisical chain reaction in the crystal aspected mana of this world causing every crystal every to violently explode or anything. Right?

Captcha: Hell
>>
>>1292651
>>1292689
If destroying it proves to be too hard, we could always think of a way to dump it off the island somehow, couldn't we? Assuming I'm remembering things correctly, nobody actually knows what lies below the Skylands, right?

Then again, if there's anything solid way down below that might not be the best option after all.
>>
>>1292696
>>1292689
I'm thinking that the relay is some kind or magic sponge, and if we feed it a nebula buster it will literally go nuclear and vaporize anything in a 3.5 km range.
We might survive, but i doubt everything else will. The best option seems to be punching it (if izumi's attempt with the sword is any indicator) or attacking it with kinetic force, which is the same thing.
>>
>>1292652
Could we steal a mana engine?

Or can owlia build one?
>>
>>1292644
What about digging AROUND the crystal? If it isn't rooted deep, we might be able to just pull it out of the ground and dump it somewhere that won't allow it to connect to other places. Unless we're on a time limit, that is. Do we have CAP above us? Or will the mothership alert us when they detect stuff incoming?

If all else fails we should look around the ruins. If we can detect the transfer of energy connected to the relay we could try to find a control unit, if it exists. Or just blasting the ruins to hell and dumping it down into the abyss if all fails. Other than that, not much.
>>
>>1292748
stealing from another company from the intersection is a BAD idea. i don't wanna know what they do to thiefs there. But perhaps Owlia can make us something like that.
>>
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>>1292748
Dammit anon, focus! We need to rid of this crystal to finish our goal!
>>
Just drop it off the island. Use nebula and earthbreakers to tunnel it out to the edge and push it down.
>>
>>1292712
> magic sponge
I think you are on to something there. I guess we gotta ask Izumi how much conventional explosives we have. If we have enough I suggest
>use Izumi' non-magical sword to gouge holes in it and plant conventional explosives in them in and try crack it in half.
>>
>>1292644
> What to try

It's a crystal, so we can either find the shear point or we can use resonance to shatter it.

Preferably from a distance.

Can we use our Flux wave to cancel out its pulsing?

Or I suppose we could use our gravity sword to create a feedback effect siphoning off mana from it into the grav gem until it collapsed in on itself.

Or we could have Lorelei try to possess it.
>>
>>1292759
>>1292755
I thought the Mana engine belonged to the alusians?
>>
>>1292654
Hey can we still ask Owlia questions?
>>
>>1292779
Pretty sure we have been on lion bro's flagship the whole time.
>>
>>1292644
If I understand this correctly, small broken of shards are used to power the Ferrosians' equipment and those shards directly draw from the main crystal.

So... I think using a
>Fluxwave
should work
>>
>>1292834
I like the idea of trying to get Lorelei to possess it.

Or . . . . Could we just transfer it whole on the intersection?
>>
>>1293006
fuck. i like this idea. It should be able to be converted into motes after all.
>>
>>1292779
Honest mistake mate, but you gave me an idea. We can ask G'Nearth if he knows who designed it. If the people who developed it are around in the intersection we can go see them.

>>1293006
I want to try these
>>
>>1293104
>who designed it.
from what i can understand, the engine is just a very large Mana condenser. We might be able to tell owlia to make us one, or ask the owner of the shop we bought the first to make one for us.
>>
Howdy folks. So I'm seeing these options:

>Try to see if it's valuable.
>Flux Wave
>Request an Earthbreaker and tunnel it out to drop the sucker.

So I guess pick which one you want to try first, and I'll start writing in 30.
>>
First we should overload a fragment of the crystal with the flux wave or a magiblast to see what happens. That should give us an idea of what it would do to the relay and based upon that decide the most appropriate method of disposal.

But this is after trying to transfer it at the intersection
>>
>>1293193
>Try to see if it's valuable.
I'd like to see if we can bring it back to the Intersection and either use it or sell it there.
>>
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>>1293193
>Try to see if it's valuable.
>>
>>1293216
That made me laugh a lot more than I expected. 5 minutes.
>>
>>1293193
>>Try to see if it's valuable.

So I had another thought, radio in to G'Nearth and give him its dimensions and ask if he wants to clear space in the hangar for it, let's break it out and take it back home. If we clear a hole down to it the carrier ought to be able to lift it out, yeah?
>>
>>1293193
>>Flux Wave
>>
"So yeah, I was wondering how much I could get for this?"

"Well, I couldn't tell ya, but I know a guy, he's an expert, why don't we go to him, see what he says."

Pawn Stars used to be good.

Writing!
>>
>>1292644
>>1293212
>>1293216
>>1293240

Hm...well, if it didn’t want to just break easily, then you’d have to get rid of it some other way, right? Question is, what’s plausible…

The three of you spend a minute or two mulling it over, before you hit on an idea- simple, yet possibly more beneficial than anything else. “What if we just took it ourselves?”

Lorelei looks over at you. “Whaddya mean? Try to sell it?” She looks back at the thing, thinking it over. “I mean, sure it LOOKS valuable- pretty sure I’d never run outta jewelry, that’s for sure. But is it actually worth anything?”

Well… “One way to find out easily enough.” You take out your FutureSight; Sal DID tell you to check it sooner than later- although you get the feeling this wasn’t what he meant with it. Flipping through the features, you quickly find what you’re looking for: the ‘Assessment’ function. A quick press, and ‘please hold up to object’ it says, as a camera view shows on the screen. Right. It takes more than a little backing up, but eventually you get the whole thing in shot. A button press, aaand, okay, scanning.

“Hm. I didn’t know it had such a function.” Izumi admits. “That could make things a lot easier…”

“No kidding.” Lorelei agrees. “I see that thing could come in handy a lot…”

It takes a minute or two for the scan to finish, but with a small beep, it finally does. The output shows an image of the crystal, along with a small write-up.

The Anais Relay is a powerful mana crystal found in Mageria. It is capable of absorbing and redirecting mana in a magnified state. In Mageria, it is famed for having the unique property of being able to share its full energies between pieces of itself- even a piece as small as a marble can call upon the full available energies of the Anais Relay. The fact that it can do so at extreme distances, with only minimal loss of structural coherency results in it being shrouded in fable, although it is greatly desired only by scientists, soldiers, crystal mages, and government officials. Valued at approximately 3 Large Motes.

Huh. “Well?” Lorelei asks. “What’s the verdict?”

“Gimme a second.” Could at least ask. ”Sal, would you even want this hunk of rock?”

“Hmmm...well, considering our new friends, I suspect theeeeey might be glad to see it, but we don’t exaaaaaactly have a lot of space for it. Not to mention it’d be useless heeeeeeeere, since I can tell you now that little energy trick wouldn’t carry between universes. Since you’ve been on your gaaaaaaame as of late, I’ll take it, but if I can’t paaaaaaawn it off in due time, I do expect my motes back.”

>Might as well.
>Dunno if it’s worth the effort…
>Other
>>
>>1293282
>Dunno if it’s worth the effort…
>>
>>1293282
>Dunno if it’s worth the effort…
Would our employers like to have it?
>>
>>1293282
3 Large is less than we spent on some gear going into this... it's also not THAT big of a deal if we gotta cough it up to Sal.

>Might as well.
Even if it doesn't work as it does here, it's possible it is unique enough that Intersection scientists wants to have a look at it and learn how to replicate its ability. They have better equipment and minds than anyone on this world.
>>
>>1293282
>Might as well.
>Other
"Would you be able to sell it to the Alusians later if no one at the Intersection buys it?"
>>
>>1293298
>that little energy trick wouldn’t carry between universes

At best it is a huge mana-crystal. No special abilities.
>>
>>1293305
>>1293298
Sal could always sell it back to Forusian remnants or some other wannabe warlord, sparking another war and therefore getting us repeat business.
>>
5 minute warning.
>>
Draw. 5 minutes to break it, then I'm flipping a coin.
>>
>>1293282
>>Dunno if it’s worth the effort…
>>
>>1293308
Considering what egg sized mana crystals costs, if this stupid thing really is just a huge mana crystal we can be filthy rich if we can get a hold of something that can cut it.
>>
>>1293325
It's only worth 3 large motes. Pretty much nothing.
>>
Pass.

Writing!
>>
>>1293282
>Dunno if it’s worth the effort…
>>
>>1293330
That's why you cut it up. Or we'll just agree that the FutureSense took every possible marketing, manufacturing and sales strategy into account and arrived at that number. Either way passing it up won so no worries
>>
>>1293282
>>1293292
>>1293297
>>1293323
Nah, not worth going through all that. ”Nevermind it, then. We’ll just trash it.”

”Aaaaaaas you like.” Right then. Option two, then.

You quickly open a channel to G’nearth. “Captain, can you hear me?”

G’nearth’s rumbling voice comes in loud and clear. “Sure can. Something the matter down there?”

“This thing’s gigantic, and even our best stuff isn’t doing jack to it. How many more of those Earthcracker bombs you got? I’m thinking the best way to deal with this is to just split the skyland and drop it off the face of existence.”

“Hmmm…well, we got more o’ those, yeah. It’ll come outta your final pay, though, if’n you’re alright with that.” Wait…

Seriously?! “What?”

“Well, yeah! Our supplies for the job we contracted ya for. S’only fair, I’d say. Reimbursement!” Ngh… “Hey, better than nothin’, y’know?” To be fair, he DOES seems to sound at least vaguely sympathetic. “I’ll even put an exact number on it- Payout was gonna be sixty motes split between the lot of ya. Earthcrackers ain’t cheap ta develop, but you guys did us more than a couplea solids, so I’ll just take seven off. Still end up with fifty-three ta split, which you gotta admit is a pretty good number, eh?”

>Deal.
>No Deal.
>Haggle.
>>
>>1293366
>No Deal.
Just use Nebula Busters until the island cracks.
Fuck paying out of pocket for supplies that should have been provided.
>>
>>1293366
>No deal

we still have all those grenades and rocket launchers and the crazy beam weapon from their armory, plus our nebula.
>>
>>1293366
>Nah.
We were just giving them another option, since our default methods may cause some feedback along the Relay. Hopefully not, but you never know. Just wanted to give the heads up.
>>
Writing, by the by. Sorry.
>>
>>1293442
We still able to try the Flux wave? I like the sound of

> Every shard is capable of receiving the full power of the array

Destabilize the array, and as a bonus blow up everyone using bits of it!
>>
>>1293366
Gah. Everyone’s trying to filch you. “Eh, we’ll find a way to handle it. We’ll let you known when it’s done.” That last bit came out a bit heavier than you’d liked, but you’re pretty sure the message got across. “Also, we’re gonna need a transport. That, and you might wanna back up a bit, our way might cause some...feedback.” Yeah, feedback was a good way to put it.

“Huh? Alright. Iiiiiiif you’re sure.” Oh god, now everyone’s sounding like Sal. “Best of luck!” As it cuts off, you just sigh.

“Alright, then. We’re doing this the old fashioned way. You both still have explosives, right?” They both nod. “Good. Plant them and let's go."

“Wait, you sure that’s a good idea?” Lorelei asks, seemingly catching on. “I dunno if I wanna be anywhere NEAR this place when you’re about to try and-”

“I’ll be careful.” Hopefully.

Alright...with all that done, now you just need to get some space. A Nebula Buster here wouldn’t do you, Lorelei, or Izumi any real favors, but...well, the tunnel in wasn’t a straight line, but it was close, so maybe if you aimed it right...

“Miranda?” Hm? You look to Izumi, who has a thoughtful look on her face as you walk back to the transport. “Let me know when you’re ready. There’s something I want to do before you fire.” Huh. Okay.

It seems like only an instant before the skyland is receding from view. But not too far. “Hold it- stop here.” Alright. Breathe. In...out...focus. This one’s going to take a lot. Cracking an island apart isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. Not nowadays, anyway…

The energy flows through you again. Vibrant, excited, filling to burst. Straining, focused, building building building! “NOW!”

There’s not enough left in you to shout much else this time- it’s just a raw, primal scream of power as a glut of energy erupts from your form, the massive beam encompassing your body, your everything as it screams towards the small skyland- towards the entrance to where the Anais Crystal lay.

You feel the impact more than hear it, and it’s almost like a vacuum as the Anais Relay seems to do its best to greedily devour all the mana being fed to it. For all of a half-second, wreathed in energy, spitting mana from every bit of your body, you think it still might not be enough-

-And then you’re given more. The hows and whys are irrelevant at the moment. All you know is you have more, can use more, and more is what you give.

You suddenly hear something that sounds like the largest piece of glass breaking, mixed with metal tearing as the entire skyland seems to rumble in place. Then a horribly loud cracking noise, as suddenly mana seems to erupt from the ground in geysers, spewing out into the air as dirt, rubble, and other material is sucked inwards, into an ever-growing orb of white energy. The sphere of mana comes to encompass the entire skyland, and you can vaguely hear the transport pilot yelling something- but you can’t quite comprehend it. The power is too much.

cont.
>>
>>1293520
The entire skyland shudders, then seems to break into large masses, breaking into small clumps, breaking into pieces, breaking into dust. The skyland itself is reduced to dirt as the gravity of the manasphere is too much to withstand.

Then, for a brief moment...it ends. And what remains is actually oddly beautiful. A strange, solid, orange-red sphere of...something, something solid and pure and shimmering with an inner light. You’re not sure how you’re still standing, but you have every intention of making it count as you turn to the pilot.

“You should fly away now.” He IMMEDIATELY hits the throttle, and none too soon as the once beautiful sphere erupts into a massive explosion- even the speed you’re flying isn’t enough, and the transport quickly shuts the bay doors as you go tumbling through the air.

“”G’nearth to transport, G’nearth to transport!” you hear. “What the HELL just happened?! We felt that all the way back here!!!” You can hear various plinking and thumps against the hull of the transport as it rattles and rocks through the air, desperately trying to get straightened out. It’s more than a couple minutes before he can answer. “This is- this is transport, all seems to be well, some scratches, some bumps, no vital damage.” You can hear the disbelief and nerves in his voice. “Cause of damage was...well, uh...special units proceeded to, uh...remove the island.”

“I SAW THAT!” G’nearth roars in incredulity. “Son of a duck, man, if I’d known they were gonna do that…”

You can’t really say anything about that, though. You’re about to pass out. As you look around, you can see you’re not the only one. Izumi’s out cold, Lorelei’s gone, too (again), a...nd...ye….ah…

”My oh my, you aren’t one for half-measures, arrrrrrre you? Not to worrrrrrry, superstar…good job.”



...dammit….Sal…

JOB COMPLETE!

-PRIMARY SERVICE RENDERED- PRIMARY PAY TO BE DELIEVERED

-SECONDARY SERVICE RENDERED- BONUS PAY DELIVERED IN FULL

-TERTIARY SERVICE RENDERED- BONUS PAY DELIVERED IN FULL

= SUBTOTAL PAYMENT: 25 MOTES (LARGE)

RECRUITMENT BONUS x2: 20 MOTES (LARGE)

=TOTAL PAYMENT: 45 MOTES (LARGE) (30 OWED)

>Due to certain accomplishments, Miranda's Mana Capacity has increased to 11000!
>>
The power of the magical nuke.

Handler, what would have happened if we used an earthbreaker instead of the nebula buster?
>>
>>1293559
Well that went better than expected, especially since we all agreed multiple times not to use nebula buster.
>>
I saw >>1293381
>>1293384
and the discussion led me to think otherwise. Apologies.

Earthcracker would've just dropped it. What this did will be revealed later.
>>
>>1293586
>What this did will be revealed later.
Did it destroy magic on the planet?
>>
>>1293586
We now have magical cancer because our cells absorbed more mana than the max amount they should and now are tearing themselves apart?
>>
>>1293612
Yeaaaah, no.

It's a bit o' good, a bit o' bad. That's all I'll say for now.
>>
>>1293586
Considering the energy sharing thing, I'm guessing similar explosions at every splinter
>>
>>1293619
Is it going to affect our relationship with Dynamic Methods? Did we cause them to fail the contract, because our actions killed the Alusian Council because the captured shards of the Relay destroyed the capital?
>>
>Woooow...this place is INCREDIBLE!

>It's...not what I expected, to be certain...

>...Cy, are you scared?

>Bah, of course not. Just...I'm starting to feel very much like a student who was told to study for a test and then didn't because they expected something other than what was coming.

>...that's pretty much EXACTLY what-

>Hush, you. I never said I was intimidated. I'm just...caught out of sorts a bit. I don't know what that...THING in the sunglasses was, but at the end of it all, he said to start here at the library, and so we shall.

>I wonder if there's anyone here that might be willing to take us on as apprentices? Oh spirits, it's like I'm in a candy shop and don't know what to try first!

>Calm yourself. That Salavalda thing said that our first task is to find employment. He offered us employment with him...but I'm not entirely certain of that path.

>He DOES boss around the girl who convinced us. SHE seemed okay...

>You say that like I want to be NEAR her. But, true, his manners, though eclectic, were at the very least...accommodating. Perhaps until we can find better opportunities elsewhere. But for now...we have reading to catch up on. Grab a book, and let's get started on this 'feast of knowledge' he so promised us.

>Well, I've got a few books the little girl at the counter recommended! Fascinating dental structure, wonder if a cloaking crystal will affect her. Anyway, she said to try this one first!

>'Intersectional Values'. Likely some sort of cultural primer. Very well...
>>
>>1293647
Well, they seem like they'll do just fine.

By which I mean I will be sad if the next interlude doesn't revolve around bailing them out of the hilarious mess they've inexplicably gotten themselves into.

>>1293559
>Due to certain accomplishments, Miranda's Mana Capacity has increased to 11000!
Holy shit Izumi what did you do.
>>
>...hey, Morris?

>Sup, dude?

>...you think she went out as herself?

>...I like to think she did. Too smart to go out otherwise.

>...Yeah, that sounds nice. She let that girl go, right? Have to imagine there was a reason.

>Mhm. One last plan?

>Yeah. One last clever plan. The biggest of 'em all.

>...

>...Here's to you, Owlia. Miss ya, sister.
>>
>Oy...welp! That was a ride an' a half, but we still got work ta do! Lieutenant Icey!

>Sir!

>Prep your squad, we're anglin' for a fight in four hours when we hit the skyland of Bacaris, and I want your group as the vanguard!

>Yes, sir!

>All you folks, get yerself set an' ready to roll. WE AIN'T LETTIN' SOME THREE ETERNALLY-STARTIN'-PUBERTY KIDS DO MORE DAMAGE THAN US, ARE WE!? GET READY TO SMASH 'EM!

>YES, SIR!
>>
By the time you wake up, you find yourself in bed. Your actual bed, not the one on the carrier. Feels like it's been forever. Or maybe the cots on the carrier were just that crap. To be fair, however, you'd take whatever right now. You feel like death warmed over.

Still, how did- Sal.

"Iiiiii took the liberty. Izumi and Lorelei are safe and soooooound, too. And of coooooourse you're getting some time off. Maaaaaaybe a week sound good to you, hmm? Enjoooooooy!" Huh! Well, then.

...Okay, Sal. Maybe you're alright now and again. Maybe.

...Screw it, going back to sleep. Maybe when you wake up you all can do something relaxing.
>>
Expect an intermission thread tomorrow.
>>
Going super saiyan isn't all sunshine and roses huh
>>
>>1293699
What would using the Flux Wave have done?
>>
>>1293559
>Due to certain accomplishments, Miranda's Mana Capacity has increased to 11000!
Wait wtf I missed that part. What the hell did you do Izumi.
>>
>>1293985
A lot.

Anyway, you guys asked for bad movies.

>>1296978
>>1296978
>>1296978




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