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File: OP Image 3.png (2.24 MB, 3500x2200)
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You are LCdr Dallas Annon of the Terran Protectorate Navy, and apparently not the commanding officer of the last live voidship left in this ravaged sector of the galaxy.

Thread #2 Recap:
You have discovered that the chronic nightmares (and other symptoms associated with your recent inheritance of your late brother's command implant) have not been mere implant sickness. No, without your knowledge or consent you have been forcibly connected to your ship’s decrepit mainframe and subjected to a harrowing simulation while you slept. Deceived by the dream-state into believing the Captain (your Father) was dead, you took command of the family’s voidship — the TPN Coober Pedy. Together with your trusty bridge crew, you faced alien assailants, ethical dilemmas, and even death to pilot your vessel to safety.

With it difficult to say how many times you’ve endured this farce before, it's apparent that this time was different. This time, you’ve discovered something so important that the knowledge has put the ship’s unbalanced and malfunctioning “Trinity” AI subsystems into a stalemate — and you suspect you know what (or rather who) that knowledge relates to. Through a combination of your emotional outbursts and focussed willpower, you made contact with and befriended an entity embedded within your voidship’s systems — an entity calling herself ‘Peedee’. The information you managed to extract from the simulation on this childlike construct links her to the original crew of the centuries old voidship, but for some reason she has been kept in suspension all this time.

Together with this young intelligence’s assistance, you learned how to access your voidship’s systems remotely — an elusive feat which had previously frustrated you. More importantly, you also resisted the conditioning that “Guard” — the most functional subsystem of the tripartite AI — attempted to force upon you. Breaking free of its suspension of disbelief protocols, your crew was revealed to you as little more than poorly approximated puppets — their personalities and actions appearing uncanny and wrong once the dreamy fog had lifted. They acted as mere vessels for the entities that now bicker before you:
Guardian, the brawn, attempting to deem you a failure, erase your forbidden knowledge, and return Peedee to dormancy.
Teacher, the heart, arguing for the opposite — to allow you to fulfil your promise to Peedee to be her mentor (and provide her with her favourite snacks).
And Controller, the brain, remaining passively neutral in the confrontation.
>1/9
>>
>>5940353

As an officer of the blood you mustered the authority and sheer will to challenge their stalemate. There was no way you would let this be just another hazy nightmare when you awoke, just one more night terror chalked up as implant sickness. No, as much as it galled you, you grit your teeth and prepared to compromise. In order to keep all your promises to Peedee, you are going to need your memories intact when you awaken from this…
Voidship Bridge Simulator (#3).


==================================

Authors Note:

Welcome back to Voidship Bridge Simulator, where we are finally ready to wake up from our (Did I say month-long? I meant year-long, oops.) nap. At the end of the last thread we decided we’d compromise to keep our memory of the simulation intact, despite the potential consequences.

If you don't remember (and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn't) or you’re a newcomer to VBS then I encourage you to read the archives or at least skim the gifs to get an idea of what’s going on. There may be only two previous threads but if a picture paints a thousand words, well… There’s a lot packed in here:
Thread #1: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2023/5521410/
Thread #2: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2023/5572653/

Update pace will probably be every other day, mostly to give me time to write, make gifs, (sleep) and let (you) people get your votes in without my timezone causing drama like it did last time. Might speed up or slow down depending on life and/or size of updates - but I’ll let you know of any schedule changes.

>2/9
>>
File: No Compromise.webm (2.39 MB, 1920x1080)
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>>5940354

“I will break your stalemate!” You thunder.
Fists clenched at your side you find yourself standing defiantly before the three entities wearing the faces of your crew, your friends, your family. How dare they…
Before you can finish the thought, your Navigation officer, Cleo, steps forward to meet you. The simulated scene of the observation bridge behind her blurs. Light and colour leeches away until you can no longer make out the rest of your crew’s features, let alone the status of the combat situation left so precipitously on pause. Your vision darkens, tunnelling down to fill entirely with her intimidating silhouette. The hulking form gazes contemptuously down upon you, its canine features lit only by the ominous red glow emanating from shadowed eye sockets. Wicked teeth manifest in the dark, stained crimson by the baleful glare as jaws part unnaturally wide.
You have no authority here, DA-13125. There is no stalemate to break. Guard intones matter-of-factly through its glorified puppet
A chill runs down your spine — the meaning of its words imprinting on your consciousness despite being delivered untranslated in Cleo’s native Ulveng language.
“But, Control said…”
==TRINITY CORE BACKUP PARTITIONS: SUPPRESSED== A rumbling you can feel to your very core washes over you, seeming to come from every direction at once. The AI subsystem’s wordless command made manifest.
The figure before you spreads its claw tipped hands wide, blotting out the fading glow of the other two AI cores inhabiting your Operations and Engineering officers respectively.
Without access to this Guardian unit’s intact mainframes, Control retains only twenty one per cent functionality. Teacher merely four per cent. You WILL remain here until the surrender of your illicitly obtained knowledge.
With just those words, you can already feel the metaphorical claws of the AI Guardian attempting to scratch their way into your mind and rip out those very memories.
Part of the Crew, Part of the Ship (2) - Resisted. You barely keep them at bay for now.
>3/9
>>
>>5940358

You take an involuntary step back, only to find the command chair you were sitting in just moments ago has disappeared. In fact, with the shutdown of whatever part of the ship’s ageing computer banks were hosting the other personas of the Trinity ShipOS the entire simulation has been reduced to a blank, black environment. Now it’s just you and Guard and…
You take another desperate step back, only to be steadied by the icy chill of two small, alien hands gripping your shoulders.
...and Peedee! A familiar voice whispers in your mind.
The young intelligence’s emotions wash over you hesitantly. You sense her trepidation but also a stubborn determination to resist the overbearing Guardian before you.
“You leave my friend-captain-Dal, alone stinky Guard dog!” She cries out defiantly.
You smile grimly, despite the situation. Whichever hidden system Peedee inhabits aboard the ship, it appears to be unaffected by the suppression imposed by Guard. Tenuous as you’ve allowed your mental connection with the ship’s avatar to be so far, you realise that it may be the only bargaining chip you have left. You take a deep breath and square your shoulders.
“That’s right, Guard. You remember how well it turned out for you last time you tried to take on the two of us together? Well, this time we aren’t both exhausted and I am fully prepared to let Peedee integrate with my command implant!” You bluff brazenly, tapping the metal port at your temple.
Shock and confusion echoes through your link to Peedee but you send her a wordless pulse of reassurance — you have a plan.
The warped and twisted figure that used to resemble your Nav officer pauses, the red glow of its eyes flickering slightly as it looks over your shoulder.
You are not equipped to survive such a process. You would cause damage to PRI proprietary property. Stand down.
“Oh, I believe you,” You reply with as much confidence as you can muster, “and I know your primary function is to protect the ship in her entirety.” You jerk your head meaningfully towards your young companion.
“We won't hesitate if you try to invade my mind again! So you see, we are at an impasse!”
“Yeah! We impassed you!” Peedee chimes in.
Guard’s malefic red glare snaps back to you, clearly unimpressed.
>4/9
>>
File: Peedee Lost.gif (3.31 MB, 720x800)
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>>5940361

I think not. It calls your bluff, reaching out with one freakishly long claw, as if to physically excise the memories from your skull.
Resolute, you widen your mental connection with Peedee to show you mean business. Her chaotic and juvenile thoughts begin to drown out your own — the howling white noise you experienced earlier while lost in her vast subconscious mind now funnelling into your comparatively tiny human brain. Barely, you can make out her shrill voice through the neural flashbang you’ve subjected yourself to.
Dal, no! Peedee doesn’t… I don’t want to hurt friend.
It’s okay little guy! You mentally shout back over the cacophony. I need you to trust me! Guard will be forced to shut down the simulation, to separate us!
B-but… I don’t wanna go! Don’t wanna leave my C-Captain. She wails. Guard is mean, will make me sleep! HATE SLEEP! HATE STINKY GUARD!
The pointed claw halts, wavering. The AI’s piercing scarlet orbs tracking back and forth between the two of you indecisively.
“Please. Peedee.” You grate out painfully, no longer able to keep the conversation confined to your overtaxed mind. “Remember. What. I promised you!”
“Ow, m-my head…” She whimpers, “I-I ‘member! Dal will t-teach Peedee and bring penuddbudder to Peedee’s box! You promised!”
Unable to watch anymore as both its ward and a member of the blood potentially give themselves brain damage, Guard lashes out with claws extended. They blur past your face with only millimetres to spare, nearly taking off an ear as they reach over your shoulder to grasp the glassy surface of Peedee’s visored face.
Clink.
The storm of sensations and icy chill of Peedee’s touch, abruptly vanish like a taut thread snapping — the backlash leaving you gasping in shock. You feel weightless, falling slowly through the darkness as if caught in a distant grav-well. Receding into the darkening void, you can make out the twisted shape of Guard’s assumed form dangling Peedee limply from her visor. Her digital eyes teary, she reaches desperately towards you.
“Promise you’ll find me!” She calls weakly, “Dal, promise m-”
Her wraithlike form and disembodied hands fade away as the visor blanks, then cracks, then shatters. Crushed by Guard’s impassive claws, the glittering motes of dust float away, filling the void like a pre-cataclysm star-field. Now only visible as a pair of distant binary red giants, you level a condemning finger like a ship’s mass driver to point right between the Guardian’s eyes. One final act of defiance as consciousness finally flees from you, you scream.
>5/9
>>
>>5940363

The absurd premise that everyone but gamma watch’s bridge crew-in-training were killed, leaving you and your friends in command of the voidship. The enemy throwing away live voidcores like fireworks on liberation-eve. Your crew’s wildly out of character behaviour. The absurd malfunctioning AI trio and their strange pet, PD-113… Wait, no.
You groan in pain and rub your temples, trying to make sense of your raging thoughts. What was actually real and what was just implanted by the simulation? Is there even a difference? Through your confusion, one bright spot stands out.
While most of these memories feel wrong, your experience from when you were pulled into Peedee’s subconscious mind is clear and crisp. Well, as clear as being mentally linked to a vast and chaotic stream of raw emotions, data points and sensor feeds can be. Even the dizziness you’re experiencing right now makes sense. The agoraphobic sensation of the infinite black all around you bizarrely contrasting with the claustrophobic sensation of restricted confinement — all symptoms of the so-called ”implant sickness” you have endured ever since receiving the damn thing — are exactly like how you felt when you ‘saw’ through your voidship’s ‘eyes’. You may not be able to feel her thoughts or emotions anymore, but you still must be linked at a base level through your implant. You have been ever since you went under the scalpel. Was your brother, Blair, connected to the ship at this level before he died? Was… no, IS your Father similarly linked? You have so many questions, but one thing anchors you. You must find Peedee and fulfil your-

“Promises?” Your racing thoughts are interrupted by a boyish, nasal voice from the bunk above yours. “Mmmoved on from screamin’ to bargainin’, Dal? How ‘bout you promise to lemme get a full night’s sleep for once?”

You look up at the rustling of bedding and can just make out the upside down silhouette of your bridge operations officer-in-training, self-styled future XO, and best (adopted) brother, Lieutenant Kiro Sykeskal. You flinch, startled as slit pupils and glinting fangs flash green in the dark, fearing that Control is still puppetting the little, blue Marrok. That your ordeal had not truly ended.
“Oh,” His tone softens and he shifts slightly. “Nightmmmare that bad, huh?” You sigh in relief as the green glow is revealed by his movement to be just the reflection of your shared cabin’s bunkside console, barely illuminating his reptilian features.
>6/9
>>
>>5940365

“It wasn't a nightmare, bro.” You reply wearily, disentangling yourself from your blanket to get up. “I think they've been testing me in my sleep.”
You push Kiro’s inquisitive snout out of the way and stumble over to the console just in time to catch it finishing a reboot. You eye it suspiciously but the single green cursor simply blinks at you innocently. Shivering slightly as the cool, recycled air of your cabin dries your bare skin, you use the meagre light to search your desk for the immunosuppressant painkillers supposedly meant to treat your “implant sickness”. There they are. You touch the auto-injector to your neck and wait for the nano-meds to at least clear the headache clouding your mind. At this point you don't trust them to do much else. As the nanites do their work, you finally manage to catch your breath and your heart rate begins to slow. Your jumbled memories keep throwing themselves to the forefront of your mind. Certain distinct flashbacks of your time in the simulation flickering past in a blur, over and over. You rub your eyes, and try to will the unwanted visions away.

“Mmm don’ like tests. Why’d Father- Haaa- EEEP!”
Kiro’s yawn is cut off abruptly by a squawk of alarm and you hear the frantic thump-click of claws hitting the deck. A rustling thud follows and you turn to find the Marrok crouched on the floor, draped in his bedding.
“Mmmeant to do that, perfect three point landin’.” He slurs, still somehow half-asleep. You snort and shake your head at your brother’s absurd antics.
At least some things never seem to change. You find the thought grounding.

“Eh, I’ll give you an eight outta ten. Recovery could use some work.” You reply as you watch him slowly retrieve his pillow and hug the blanket around himself like a cloak.
“Mmmean.” He blinks up at you blearily from beneath his improvised cowl and pokes out an indignant tongue tip. “S’pose I'll take it, though. Mmmworks better rested.” The little lizard looks longingly up at his bed, seeming to weigh up the effort of making the climb against simply falling asleep where he stands. Flashing red reflects off his minute scales and the console built into the space beside your stacked bunks chimes softly. “Haaa, who’s mmmessagin’ is at this time a mmmornin’? Kiro yawns.
It must be getting late into beta watch, your early morning, a few hours before you would normally begin your daily routine. As you idly wonder what the exact time is, moving to access the message on your console, your vision doubles and you stagger slightly. A mirror of the console screen hovers before your eyes in a semi-transparent blue, a small clock indicating ship’s time ticking over in the top right of your field of view. It's as if you’re looking at your visor’s heads up display, despite having yet to get dressed in your adaptive uniform this morning.
>7/9
>>
>>5940370

“Well that’s new.” You mutter, shaking your head. “After two weeks of trying, my implant is finally showing signs of basic functionality.”
“Hmmm? Whazzat?” Kiro hums, swaying slightly.
You try to read the message header on your console but the doubled image swims before your eyes making it difficult. You try to swipe the image away, like you would a HUD, but it stubbornly refuses to budge. Just as you begin to feel a spark of annoyance at the intrusive overlay, it minimises itself into a small notification beneath the time display, as if it knew it had overstayed its welcome. Shrugging, you focus on the console and can finally read the message subject.
>>2015 hrs, my ready room.
“It’s a summons from the Captain.” You finally reply, “Father, wants to see me at twenty-hundred-fifteen hours in his office.” You sigh, no doubt the unusual request has something to do with your recent revelations regarding your quote-unquote nightmares.
“Oh, huh. Good luck with that.” Kiro says, cracking a slight grin.

Now that you’ve had a chance to calm down, you are actually quite concerned and upset with what you’ve been unknowingly subjected to each night. Did your Father authorise this, or was the Ship’s AI responding automatically to your difficulties interfacing with your implant? Your family’s legacy and mission are important to the billions of people relying on you but surely you have a right to the sanctity of your own mind? The fact that you can't quite be sure if that “Guard” was actually a malfunctioning AI capable of reading your mind and sealing your memories, or just another character in a pre-programmed simulation, makes sorting out your feelings difficult. You aren’t sure who to be angry with. You only know for certain that your interactions with Peedee were distinctly different to everything else you experienced. That and she seemed to be the only reason you were able to cling to the rest of your muddled, dreamstate memories. Regardless, you now have a lot of pointed questions to ask, and who better to grill than the man who has summoned you at such a rude hour.

You contemplate sticking it to the old man and just going back to bed, pretending you hadn’t seen the message. Unfortunately, you find that option has already been blown out the proverbial airlock — your brother finally having made his decision on where to sleep. Taking up the middle of your bunk and having requisitioned all of your bedding as well as his own, Kiro snores softly, seemingly asleep. The lazy lizard smiles contently, and you wryly wonder if he had been planning on absorbing the residual warmth of your vacated bunk from the moment he ‘accidently’ fell out of his own.
>8/9
>>
File: Sleepy Kiro.gif (1.58 MB, 3800x2160)
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>>5940375

You blink, suddenly uncertain. The years of memories you have of your adopted kid brother mixing with the version of him portrayed in your nightmares. You’ve always had a great relationship with the little Marrok, he even followed you to the academy wanting to be your loyal second in command aboard the family voidship one day. While the Ops officer-in-training has always been a ||+Cheerful||, ||+Team-player|| you would also characterise him as:


> ||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)
> ||~Optimistic|| and ||~Mischievous|| — definitely feigning sleep, knowing full well your tolerance for his cheeky antics. ||SYNERGY: S- (90/100)|| (Bio updated, relationship set.)

SYNERGY defines your relationship with an individual, which affects their attitude towards you and how willing/able they are to work with you. Crew with high synergy towards each other will naturally get along better and provide bonuses to joint actions. (By rolling a d100 result under their synergy value.) Crew with high ||SOUL|| or related skills may provide bonuses to ||SYNERGY|| checks. Regular, positive interactions between crew may raise their ||SYNERGY|| levels.

You have about fifteen minutes before the Captain wants to see you, time enough to freshen up, get dressed and make your way to the Combat Information Centre annex, should you hurry. If you aren’t going to pretend to have missed the message, you had better be punctual. Captain Annon isn't known for his patience for layabouts. You sigh as you contemplate facing yet another sleep deprived watch, and decide to:

> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls. By the Book recommends this action.
>Rouse the reptile and bring him along for solidarity (and perhaps Kiro can help you make sense of your hazy memories on the way). Whatever Father has to say at this time of the morning he can say to the whole family.
>Try to steal back some of your bedding and get back to sleep, answering to the Captain can happen at a more reasonable hour.
>Something else. Write in.
>>
>>5940379
It's back!
>||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls.By the Book recommends this action
>>
>>5940379
> ||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls. By the Book recommends this action.

Welcome back, dude!
>>
>>5940379
> ||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)

Holy shit YOU'RE BACK QM
>>
>>5940379
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls. By the Book recommends this action.
>>
>>5940379
>||~Optimistic|| and ||~Mischievous|| — definitely feigning sleep, knowing full well your tolerance for his cheeky antics.
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls
>>
>>5940379
> ||~Optimistic|| and ||~Mischievous|| — definitely feigning sleep, knowing full well your tolerance for his cheeky antics. ||SYNERGY: S- (90/100)|| (Bio updated, relationship set.)
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls. By the Book recommends this action.

Maybe "by the book" is no longer a trick option. IF we're out of the Sim.
>>
>>5940379
> ||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)
> Quietly get ready to meet with the Captain and let sleeping lizards lie. Duty calls. By the Book recommends this action.
>>
>>5940379
>> ||+Outgoing|| but sometimes ||-Naive|| — unwittingly lulled back to sleep by his reptilian affinity for heat. || SYNERGY: S (94/100) || (Bio unchanged, relationship set.)
>Rouse the reptile and bring him along for solidarity (and perhaps Kiro can help you make sense of your hazy memories on the way). Whatever Father has to say at this time of the morning he can say to the whole family.
>>
[A/N]

After going back through this in preparation for today's update I realise that in my sleep deprived fugue state I somehow failed to copy/paste the first paragraph of post 6/9.

If it wasn't evident from context, this was the point you woke up in your room after screaming in your dream and blacking out. Here's the missing part that should go at the start:


[6/9 Ammendment]
===================
“I PROMISE!”

You come to an instant later sitting ramrod straight in your bunk, drenched in cold sweat and gasping for air. Together with the spike of adrenaline fading from your veins, you feel as if you've emerged from a glacial stream. Your memories — fuzzy, overlapping, and commingling together — are nonetheless intact. That dreamy haze of presumption masquerading as a proper combat simulation swirls through your aching mind, leaving you dizzy. But you remember everything! Sort of…

Continues... >>5940365
==================


Anyway, actual update tonight as it seems we have a consensus.
>>
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>>5940407
>>5940449
>>5940532
>>5940533
>>5940628
>>5940645
>>5940822
>>5940964
>>5940379

You shake your head in bemusement, trying to clear the uncharitable thoughts the perfidious simulation left in your mind towards your little bro. While his naiveté sometimes gets him in trouble, young lieutenant Skyeskal is never deliberately malicious. His occasional cheek and playful banter endearing him to his current friends and likely contributing to his almost supernatural capacity to make new ones.

Synergy Updated: [Dallas Annon Kiro Sykeskal: 94% (S Rank)]

You briefly consider waking him, but Kiro is clearly sleeping like a log already and you don’t begrudge him a proper night’s rest. No, letting him snooze while you deal with your Father is the least you can do considering this is only the latest in a long string of broken slumbers you’ve subjected him to. You lean over and adjust the blankets to cover him more completely, tucking in the corners to better seal in the coveted heat that so effectively lulled the lizard to sleep.

As you tiptoe over to the small ensuite adjoining your shared officer’s cabin, you glance at the time, blue and hovering just within your field of view. You don’t have long to shower and make yourself presentable but you aren’t about to respond to an official summons looking bedraggled and out of sorts. You feel a slight vibration through your feet, gravity shifting almost imperceptibly as the deck plates compensate for some sudden inertia. Likely just an overzealous beta watch pilot making an overly enthusiastic course correction. You snort slightly, and step into the cubicle. Your bridge crew’s Navigation officer certainly wouldn’t make such a simple mistake, Cleo is much too well trained… Your thoughts trail off as you're reminded of the crimson eyed puppet leering malevolently at you — the image all but burned into your brain.
You shudder and quickly activate the shower with a touch of the softly glowing wall pad. The warm water cascades over your shoulders soothingly, washing away the night’s sweat and terror in equal measure and leaving you with only your smouldering anger at the situation.
How many times have you been subjected to these dreamlike simulations, and why haven't you been allowed to remember them?
Is the ship’s supposedly defunct AI and its proprietary technology really policed by the insidious “Guard”, or was that just another fictitious scenario conjured to test you?
Just who and what is Peedee?
And why have you been kept in the dark? What did you do to deserve this treatment?!
>>
>>5942309

You allow yourself a moment to indulge in self pity, idly watching the waste water funnel through the drain at your feet — wandering mind imagining the kilometres of pipework each droplet must travel through and each of the stops along the way.
Engineering - The grav plate in the base of the cubicle ensures all the water used will be collected for reuse by the ship’s efficient life support system. Ready within an hour for the next crewmate who has use for it. It’s estimated that up to 15% of the water molecules circulating through the system are the same ones which were present during the ship’s commissioning approximately 300 years ago.
You sigh, wondering why that particular fact was conjured up from the depths of your brain. As welcome as the distraction is, you can’t hide from reality behind useless trivia forever.

You turn off the water and allow the cubicle to enter its drying cycle. A roaring rush of hot air surrounds you and gravity increases noticeably as all the excess moisture is reclaimed from the hermetically sealed chamber. The cycle ends moments later, leaving even your hair dry and toasty. Quite a quick and efficient process, you note, despite a certain lizard’s constant insistence that the heat needs to be run at least three times to be sure it’s worked properly.

Refreshed, you pad softly back out into the main cabin making sure not to disturb your roommate, and swiftly don your one-size-fits-all uniform. The nano-material infused fibres of the loose shirt and trousers are soft and malleable to the touch making them easy to slip into. You affix your Multi-Purpose Controller to the stretchy collar and the uniform tightens around you, forming to your body as if custom tailored. The strange sensation of the nano-mats wriggling over your body sends an involuntary shiver down your spine. Even after months aboard the Coober Pedy, you have yet to get used to its unique WEAVER-made adaptive clothing.

You take a moment to set the wall display to mirror mode and adjust your hair as best you can in the dim reflected light. A little floofy after the recent blow-dry but it will have to do. Quickly After snatching up a few personal effects, you creep over to the cabin door, and pass through it with a whisper of soft pneumatics. You pause, blinking owlishly like a startled Tyllano as your eyes adjust to the comparatively brighter lighting of the deserted corridor — though the soft amber illumination prevalent throughout the gamma crew quarters indicates its still late in the ship’s night for this deck.
>>
>>5942313

You wince slightly, hopping from the freezing deck plating of the cabins threshold to the insulated rubber mat in the centre of the corridor. No longer needing to muffle your footsteps, you tap the thick cuffs of your uniform’s slacks together twice, allowing the reservoirs to release their nano-mats which rapidly flow over your bare feet to form thick-soled, vacuum sealed boots. Thus equipped, you take off at a light jog towards the nearest elevator. You have only a few minutes left to reach the command deck.

Familiar cabin numbers blur past and you can't help but imagine with envy the no doubt soundly sleeping members of your bridge crew contained within. Most of them have been with you since your days in the family academy, and they've certainly pulled their own fair share of all-nighters — though you doubt any have had their sleep schedules messed with quite as badly as yours has been of late.

As your boots thud in an easy rhythm down the corridor, you try to remember if you ever shared any of those long sleepless nights completing assignments with any of your friends specifically but find your memories still slightly scrambled. Surely those fond feelings of camaraderie stemmed from real experiences, right? Yes, even if you can’t remember right this second you’re sure each one is dear to you in their own way.

Bridge Crew Synergy Pool Generation:
You have a certain base synergy score with each of your bridge crew to a lesser or greater degree. These values will be generated as a pool and may be assigned a total of once each the next time you interact one-on-one with a crewmate who has yet to be assigned a synergy score.
As your bridge crew are some of your most trusted friends, hand-picked by you for their roles, the synergy pool will be generated with values ranging from C- to A+ Rank (60 - 89%).

>I need five rolls of 1d30+59 to generate the pool.

A/N

Feel free to discuss who you might want to end up assigning these scores to. Note that these scores affect their relationship with Dallas as well as how easy it is to persuade them and how likely joint actions are to succeed. Though no assigning will happen until Dallas interacts one-on-one with them and can clear his head on the matter.
Crew will have different synergy scores for when you assign them to work with each other, but these values won't be assigned by (you) but can be discovered as they interact in character.
>>
Rolled 29 + 59 (1d30 + 59)

>>5942319
A bit rusty on rolling with modifiers, let's hope this does it. Good to have you back by the way, QM.
>>
Rolled 18 + 59 (1d30 + 59)

>>5942319
>>
Rolled 14 + 59 (1d30 + 59)

>>5942319
>>
Rolled 29 + 59 (1d30 + 59)

>>5942319
>>
Rolled 2 + 59 (1d30 + 59)

>>5942319
>>
>>5942325 88
>>5942645 77
>>5942799 73
>>5942894 88
>>5942911 61
Mostly decent rolls. I'm thinking we'd want to give the 88s to Cleo and Isobel, while the 61 can go to either FoZ or La'afette.
>>
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>>5942325
>>5942645
>>5942799
>>5942894
>>5942911
>>5943048

On the whole you'd have to say that your teamwork and communication skills with each of your chosen crew were well above average. That is, if you discounted the one member who didn't attend the academy with you — but no one holds that against them, they're still a valued member of your bridge crew.

I know I said I'd update every other day but I had too much fun playing with sine waves not to post this early. Actual update still tomorrow as planned.
>>
>>5943048
What about Eyes of Night though?
>>
>>5943315
EoN should have at least one of the 70s, preferably the 77. She's the most prone to overriding us if the simulation is anything to go by.
>>
>>5943360
According to one of the arts she may also have a crush on dallas, but that might not have been canon.
>>
>>5943184
QM, is EoN a skinny and does she have a humansona?
>>
>>5943380
It's not about being a skinny, it's about how any self respecting spaceman has to get an alien babe.
>>
>>5943184
Cool gif, nice
>>

Slight unforeseen delay due to work commitments. I have the update 75% done but they want me in early in the office >:(
I'll have get it out tomorrow instead.
>>
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>>5943184

After a minute of jogging through the twists and turns of the gamma crew quarters, you reach a transit hub providing access to the rail system dedicated to transporting the lifeblood of the ship - its crew and cargo. You punch the elevator call pad next to one set of large double doors, and impatiently watch the time tick over to twenty-hundred-eleven hours on your implant-provided HUD. While calling the transit system an ‘elevator’ may be a slight misnomer considering the rails run transversely down the spine of the ship in addition to vertically, the name seemed to stick from civilian… DING!
You hold that errant thought as the door hisses open, eager to be on your way. You attempt to barge right in but find yourself met with a wall of black uniforms — square, orange patches adorning their epaulettes. The timing couldn’t be worse, the elevator car is chock full with a damage-control team and they're escorting a hover-cargo laden with layers upon layers of priceless voidplate. They all look at you expectantly, though without any particular recognition. You aren’t exactly familiar with the non-commissioned members of beta watch yet, but the supervisor of the assorted technicians notices the lieutenant commander’s pips on your shoulders. The stern looking Tyllano salutes you, belatedly followed by the rest of his crew.
“Didn’t expect to be stopped down ‘ere at this time-a-day, sir, but yer welcome to join us.” The supervisor cocks his greying, feathered head to the side at almost a ninety-degree angle in an alarming display of his race’s biology. Even after all your years interacting with the owl-like people, their mannerisms still catch you off guard occasionally.
“I’m quite the early-bird myself, so I can relate to keepin’ odd hours.” He chuckles at his own joke and shuffles over slightly to make what could dubiously be called ‘room’ for you next to him. Apparently the gruff old man has a sense of humour, despite what appearances might suggest.

You contemplate waiting for the next car to arrive but you don't have any time to spare. After a moment's hesitation, you suck in your gut and squeeze in between his feathery bulk and a thin Laedra woman who has yet to take her eyes off her datapad. It’s a tight fit but you were planning to hold your breath anyway, considering how far into their watch the not-so-fresh smelling work crew are. You glance over at the internal control panel and thank your lucky stars that your destination is already selected. The small Marrok technician squished into that corner of the lift by his bulky supervisor jabs the door control impatiently and a few seconds later you’re on your way. You barely feel the car accelerate as it shoots off along its rail, the grav plates you’re standing on evidently doing an excellent job at damping the inertial forces. Leaning back slightly, you eye the metre wide, black hexagons stacked precipitously on the cargo bed behind you.
>>
>>5944887

“Oh, do watch the merchandise,” the talkative Tyllano continues, his translated drawl mixing strangely with the raspy cooing of his native voice due to your close proximity. “The port armour belt has been due a refit fer ages, an’ these are the first plates my team’s been assigned in months! Don’t wanna see them shatter on the floor before we can hook ‘em up to power. Real brittle when they aint in use, don't ya know?”
Nodding along mutely, you hope your lack of enthusiasm doesn’t encourage him to…
“Almost had me a heart attack when the ship rocked a few minutes ago. We were just loadin’ them up at the time, see. Darn trainee pilots. Who in their right mind puts cadets in the saddle at the end of beta watch, I tell you hwat”
…keep talking.
“I’m Tech-Supervisor Calls-on-Lightning, but you can jus’ call me CoL. Heh. ‘Coll-me-coll.’ Gets me every time. Hey, wait a minute feller. You look mighty familiar, aint you the Cap’n’s other s-.” DING!
Mercifully, the elevator stops on your floor and you spring out before the doors can even fully open.
“Got to go now. Nice meeting you!” You gasp back over your shoulder as you sprint away, aiming for a corridor branching off the main thoroughfare — one that leads past the ever enigmatic core of the ship. This is one of the few routes that you’ve memorised off by heart and leads directly to the Captain’s ready room, bypassing most of the traffic on the command deck heading to and from the CIC.

Navigating the maze-like sections between your quarters and the Captain’s personal office was one of the first tricks you picked up when you came aboard this jury-rigged relic of voidship. Your Father was always summoning you for some reason or other (though usually at a more reasonable hour) so finding a less trafficked shortcut became a priority. Well, that and you really disliked all the stares you got from the command crew as you passed them on the way due to your resemblance to your late brother - Blair.

You wince at the reminder of the brother you never really knew. Practically raised aboard the ship, he was the rising star of beta watch — him and his hand-picked officers relieving the Captain and the alpha bridge crew at fourteen-hundred hours on the dot each and every day. His loss mere months ago still hangs like a dense nebula over the whole ship, casting a gloomy shadow. As his fast-tracked replacement, you’ve got quite the boots to fill… hence the constant personal training sessions with the Captain. You rather doubt that training is what he has in mind for you today, however.
Though ironically I do finally have progress to report, you mentally note as the blue time display blinks to [20:13], along with some very pointed questions.
>>
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>>5944888

You make a number of sharp turns, skirting around dead-end passages, down corridors with sealed off doors, and through several gutted rooms with makeshift bulkheads welded through the middle — all typical features of decks that have had the misfortune of overlapping the space allocated to the ever-expanding live void core that acts as the beating heart of the ship. These secretive sections are where all the unique and wonderful artech (like your uniform and the ship’s armour) are produced, theorised by some to be a byproduct of the void core’s power production process.

Theories are all the Protectorate's scientists will ever have however, as none of the other inert cores scattered through the galaxy exhibit these tendencies and the Captain would never risk crippling his ship to find out, especially since he’d have to force his way past the automated security to even access those sections. The old Protectorate Space Force shipwrights sure were a paranoid bunch back when we were still squabbling with our neighbours instead of helping them survive. Funny how losing the majority of your citizens to a galaxy spanning Cataclysm changes a star nation’s perspective on things.

Distracted by your thoughts, you round the final corner of your circuitous route leading to the back side of the CIC and belatedly realise your so-called ‘shortcut’ seems to have become more of a dead-end. Your path has been obstructed by none other than the Chief Engineer himself. It seems you aren’t the only one who uses these back passages for a quieter path to the CIC.

The burly human man stands with his back to you, fists planted firmly on his hips, as he argues animatedly with a half-sealed blast door. Or rather with the WEAVER drone flashing its red indicators at the Chief from behind it. You can just hear the sound of electrical faults and running fluid from within before the sounds are drowned out.

“I don’t care what authority you think you have, you damn bucket-of-bolts!” The Chief Engineer grinds out with barely repressed rage, “I’ve been kicking around this old girl since I was smaller than you are, you glorified cricket ball, and I know the sound of structural damage when I hear it! So back off while I get this hatch reset and don’t touch anything!”

The two foot wide orb bobs impassively for a moment before replying in a loud monotone.
==THIS UNIT CANNOT COMPLY. THIS CORRIDOR MUST BE SEALED PERMANENTLY TO ENSURE OPERATIONAL SECURITY. WEAVER UNITS ONSITE ARE EQUIPPED TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS==

Bright blue welding arc flashes light up the corridor, painting the scene before you in stark relief. You blink away the after-images and try to peer through the gap made by the glitching blast door but cannot make out anything in the gloomy interior of the passage beyond. Just your luck, one final set of doors beyond this one and you’d have been home free. It's almost as if someone was out to get you today…no, you must try not to slip into paranoia.
>>
>>5944892

You need to sort out the conflicting memories of the antagonistic AI from your dreams versus the largely autonomous systems the Coober Pedy is meant to have. For your own sanity, if nothing else, you need answers. But you may not get them if you don’t make your meeting on time.

What will you do now that your way is blocked?
>Double back, you haven’t been noticed yet and you’d rather not get involved. The Captain will just have to deal with being a few minutes late. [Command Crew: Synergy-]
>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open, you always have your trusty multitool on
hand. [Difficult Soul & Difficult Mind Check, Bonus from Engineering]
>While the arguing pair are distracted, attempt to use your command implant to reset and open the doors. [Very Difficult Mind Check, Bonus from Trait(2)]
>Barge past and force the doors open with your bare hands. [Very Difficult Body Check.]
>Something else. Possible bonus or additional insight into the problem for clever write-in suggestion.
>>
>>5944895
>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open, you always have your trusty multitool on hand. [Difficult Soul & Difficult Mind Check, Bonus from Engineering]
>>
>>5944895
>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open, you always have your trusty multitool on
>>
>>5944895
>>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open, you always have your trusty multitool on hand. [Difficult Soul & Difficult Mind Check, Bonus from Engineering]

Could we try using our command implant to override the WEAVER being uppity?
>>
>>5945176
You could try, you have seen your Father order them around before. Though you you've never seen him try to override their more restricted duties.
>>
>>5944895
>>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open, you always have your trusty multitool on hand [Difficult Soul & Difficult Mind Check, Bonus from Engineering]
>>
>>5944895
>Double back, you haven’t been noticed yet and you’d rather not get involved. The Captain will just have to deal with being a few minutes late.
Also check that message.
>>
Rolled 3 + 34 (1d30 + 34)

>>5944929
>>5945107
>>5945176
>>5945347
>Offer to help the Chief Engineer get the doors open
(Rolling for base Synergy with the ship's command crew. Applies to all senior officers.)

You approach the Chief Engineer hesitantly as he frantically alternates between trying to push back the drone from the hatch and tapping away at the control pad. He seems to be building up quite the head of steam as he steadily maintains a torrent of increasingly inventive and obscene names for the obstinate orb and you are wary of redirecting his ire onto you by interrupting him. Being part of the alpha watch and not your own, you mostly know the man by his reputation. Ever hands-on, Chief Samuel White can be as stubborn as slighted Laedra when it comes to fixing his beloved machines — his expertise in getting any old hunk of junk working again only surpassed by his pride in his craft.
One of the few times you remember interacting with him was when making the mistake of criticising the inconsistent wiring prevalent throughout the Pedy within earshot of the man. That wound up with you being assigned double duty supervising the waste reclamation system for a month straight, certainly not the fondest memories. But as the closest thing this voidship has to an accurate blueprint, the Chief’s lifetime of knowledge relating to the ins and outs of this jury-rigged and repetitively refitted vessel make him an invaluable part of the crew and, more importantly right now, the person you’ll have to go through if you have any hope of meeting your Father in time.

You suppose that’s one person the simulation managed to emulate correctly, if only in passing. You can recall it had the Chief rush off to repair a fusion reactor undergoing meltdown, stubborn as ever, only to be jettisoned along with it as the failsafes kicked in to save the ship — leaving just a cadet engineer in charge of damage control. Anyways, congratulating the duplicitous dream invading program (or whatever it was) for doing something right isn’t very helpful to your current situation.

You continue to think desperately, looking for some way to interrupt the irate engineer and make a genuine offer to help, or at least impress on the man the urgency of your situation and that you should work together despite your past missteps.
>>5945499
Looking to the unopened message from your Father still hovering in the corner of your field of view, you have an idea. Perhaps if you pass it on to the Chief as proof of an official summons…
As if reading your mind, the message opens — filling your vision — ready to be read and forwarded at your leisure.
>>
>>5946449


======================================================================
FROM: Cpt. H. Annon. (HA-12266)
TO: LCdr. D. Annon. (DA-13125)
CC: Nil.
SUBJECT: 2115 hrs, my ready room.
ATTACHMENTS: NIL.
MESSAGE BEGINS:
======================================================================
Dallas,
Meet me in my office at 2215 hrs or sooner.
This is important:
1.Do not go back to sleep.
2.Do not go to medical.
3.Do not attempt to use your command implant.
4.Stay off the ship network.
5.Do not involve anyone else.
6.Do hurry.
I will explain when you arrive.
Yours,
Father
END OF LINE.
======================================================================
END OF MESSAGE
======================================================================


Well, that was as ominous as it was cryptic. With a twitch you realise you are inadvertently disobeying the third directive in the very demanding missive and with a panicked thought the message minimises out of sight. Surely your instinctive and largely accidental use of your new implant interface doesn’t count right? And would showing Chief White the message constitute involving others? You decide it's best to not press your luck, and simply go with plan B - offering to help as succinctly and sincerely as possible.

==COMMANDER SAMUEL WHITE, CEASE YOUR INTERFERENCE WITH CONFIDENTIAL TPN BUSINESS AND ALLOW THIS UNIT TO PERFORM ITS ASSIGNED TASK.==


You see the human’s muscles bulge as he wrestles with the WEAVER through the gap in the hatch and you can tell it's taking all of his strength just to prevent the machine from completing its task. The drone’s claw-like appendages hold up a steel plate ready to weld over the gap between the doors and ultimately add yet another sealed off section to the ever growing restricted space around the void core.

“Oh I’ll interfere all I like, you great swollen gourd! Mark my words, I’ll toss you into the core myself if you don't let me fix the damage I know you’re hiding from me!”

The Chief is apparently not having it. While your own strength may not be up to the task, you could certainly bring your Engineering skills to bear. You clear your throat — for a second time since the first was drowned out by another string of expletives — and when that finally catches the struggling man’s attention you immediately offer your aid to get the door open.
>>
>>5946457


Diplomacy (Soul) Check Required:
Command Crew Synergy: Rank F+ (37%).
You have no bonuses from your Soul score, skills or traits.
You have three(3) attempts to roll 37 or under with the following degrees of success:
- Zero(0) Successes: The Chief is angered by your arrogance of thinking he needs your help. You’ll have to either wait or leave. (Command Crew: Synergy-)
- One(1) Success: The Chief ignores you but doesn’t stop you from helping. (No bonus to subsequent engineering attempts.)
- Two(2) Success: The Chief grudgingly accepts your help and offers some advice. (Bonus to subsequent engineering attempts.)
- Three(3) Successes: The Chief is glad to have your help and offers very helpful insight. (Multiple bonuses to subsequent engineering attempts.)


>Make your offer. Three 1d100 rolls required. (Careful/clever phrasing may provide a -5 to your roll under 37 attempt.)
>>
>>5946457

Somehow I fucked up the time twice in the same message. Please pretend that says 2015 hrs both times...
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>5946457
There's some discrepancy with the times listed in the message. Concerning, to say the least.

>>5946458
"Confidential be damned, they shouldn't be sealing anything permanently without the chief engineer's say so."
>>
>>5946469
If it's any consolation, you had me worried we were in another layer of simulation for a bit there.
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5946458
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5946458
"just give it a good kick."
>>
>>5946477

Well at least you were on the ball. That is something I would do... good to know id need to hide it better in the future if I do go down that road :P
>>
>>5946458
>>5946474
>>5946507
>>5946634

You take a deep breath hoping that Commander Sam White doesn’t hold a grudge against you, and try to mimic your more diplomatically inclined little brother. Maybe if you butter him up a little, he’ll be more likely to accept your help.
“You tell ‘em Chief! No-one gets to seal up anything permanently without your say so!” You call out as confidently as you can, “Confidential or not, give it a good kick and I'll get the panel reset for you.”

The engineer looks back over his shoulder at you, red in the face with exertion. With both his hands full he gives you a single look of strained annoyance before jerking his head in negation.
“Now, don't you touch anything young man, you hear me?” He growls turning back to his quarry, “I’ve got this sucker right where I want it and you’d only make a mess of my ‘inconsistent wiring’ if you start rooting around in panels you know diddly-squat about!”

Unfortunately. it seems the Chief does indeed remember your past interactions
>0 Successes [Command Crew: Synergy- (36)]
“Besides, your Da would murder me if I let you fry yourself on my watch. Of all the lousy timing Dallas…” His grumbles blend into his grunting effort, playing tug-of-war with a steel patch plate.

With the large man blocking your efforts, and your lack of diplomatic prowess causing you to lament your choice to leave Kiro behind, it's now almost inevitable that you’ll be late to your meeting with the Captain. Unless you were to use your implant to… but no, even were you to remotely trigger the doors to make it on time, you’d definitely be disobeying the instructions in the very message summoning you to his office in the first place. Maybe it would be better than being late? It's not like you haven't been using it to read his message in the first place, right?
You watch uncertainty as time ticks precipitously over to [2014] and the engineer pushes back the drone for another second of furious tapping at the door console before going right on back to wrestling a blue glowing welding claw away from the hatch again.

What will you do?
>Wait for the Chief Engineer to do things his way. At least you’ll get to see what all the fuss was all about as you pass on through the supposedly restricted corridor.
>Disregard orders and force the doors to reset and open remotely using your improved grasp on your command implant. [Very Difficult Mind Check , Trait Bonuses (2), ???Consequences???]
>Disregard orders and attempt to help physically anyway. If he won't let you touch the panel, maybe you can fashion your multitool into a taser or something to force back the persistent WEAVER drone. [Difficult Body Check, ???Consequences???]
>You have no idea how much longer this will take. Cut your losses and double time it back the long way to the Captain’s ready room.
>Something else. Write in.
>>
>>5947174
>You have no idea how much longer this will take. Cut your losses and double time it back the long way to the Captain’s ready room.
>>
>>5947174
>>You have no idea how much longer this will take. Cut your losses and double time it back the long way to the Captain’s ready room.

I'd say to shoot a reply to the captain that we'll be a bit late but one of the directives is to stay off the ship network. Ah well, one burden of command is to know when to minimize losses.
>>
>>5947174
>>You have no idea how much longer this will take. Cut your losses and double time it back the long way to the Captain’s ready room.
>>
>>5947174
>>Wait for the Chief Engineer to do things his way. At least you’ll get to see what all the fuss was all about as you pass on through the supposedly restricted corridor.
We'll be late either way, might see if this confidential stuff is like anything we've seen before
>>
>>5947174
>Wait for the Chief Engineer to do things his way. At least you’ll get to see what all the fuss was all about as you pass on through the supposedly restricted corridor.
>>
>>5947174
>You have no idea how much longer this will take. Cut your losses and double time it back the long way to the Captain’s ready room.
>>
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>>5947190
>>5947234
>>5947364
>>5947605
>>5947936
>>5948246

>You have no idea how much longer this will take...

You let out a frustrated sigh and decide to cut your losses. Even if your destination is only twenty metres away, it may as well be back on your home planet for all the good it would be trying to get there through the stubbornly immovable object that is the determined Chief Engineer. You can’t wait for the Chief to finish whatever circus act he’s trying to perform here. As much as you’d also like to see what might be a rare glimpse into the inner workings of your voidship, you’re going to be late. You turn and zip back down the corridor, keeping to the rubbery mats running down the centre for maximum traction as you retrace your twisting path to the deck’s main thoroughfare.

“Slow down!”
“Gyah?!”
“Hey, do your PT laps somewhere appropriate!”

You speed past enlisted crew and officers alike, dodging and weaving through the traffic as best as you can, generating numerous cries of annoyance or reprimand in your wake. You try not to pay attention to the stares the officers especially give you, pretending that the rolled eyes and shaking heads aren't personal. Well, maybe not all of them are, but you can't help but feel them as judgement for simply being Blair’s shadow. His replacement. You push the black thoughts from your mind and focus on running.

Making a final dash past the CIC, the security team on duty fortunately letting you pass after a quick inspection, you skid to halt outside the Captain’s ready room. You glance at the time in your HUD, panting.
20:17 Damn it all.
You force yourself to wait a few more seconds to catch your breath and hastily tidy up your appearance before touching the door panel. It buzzes and a small red light blinks to indicate that you are on speaker.
“Lieutenant Commander Annon to see Captain Annon!” You state, releasing the control to send the message.

A few moments later the hatch clunks and then hisses open, revealing the well lit interior to your Father’s office and the man himself sitting behind his desk expectantly.
“Enter.” He states woodenly, neither his face nor tone betraying emotion.
You may be late, but you’re here now. Time to get some answers. You hope to find your ever-serious Father in a forthcoming mood despite your tardiness.
>>
>>5949025

Despite the circumstances conspiring against you, you don't want to make excuses. You’ll need to carefully consider how best to play this.

You decide to act:
>Respectful - Apologise to the Captain for your lateness and allow him to take the lead. Perhaps he’ll reveal what he knows without your immediate prompting, and be more receptive to follow-up questions.
>Confronting - You’ve been rudely summoned at an hour when the Captain should know you’d be asleep if he weren’t involved somehow and monitoring you. Demand he answer for this breach of trust.
>Nonchalant - You’ve been in and out of your Father’s office many times in the past few months. Treat it as no different and feign ignorance, only mildly confused with the hour he chose this time. Maybe it will disarm the situation and catch him off guard.
>Concerned - Immediately begin confiding all your fears and experiences to your Father, something you’ve seen both your little brothers do to weasel out trouble with Mother. Who knows, this could just be a misunderstanding after all and it wouldn’t do to falsely accuse.
>Another way? Write in.
>>
>>5949027
>Respectful
>>
>>5949027
>Respectful - Apologise to the Captain for your lateness and allow him to take the lead. Perhaps he’ll reveal what he knows without your immediate prompting, and be more receptive to follow-up questions.
>>
>>5949027
>Respectful
By the Book recommends this action.
>>

>>5949383
>By the Book recommends this action.

Naturally.
>>
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>>5949252
>>5949269
>>5949383

You take a step inside the austere office and salute crisply before standing at attention. Despite your burning need to know exactly what’s been going on with your simulated nightmares, you decide to respectfully let the Captain set the pace for this meeting. He obviously hasn’t summoned you here at this hour of your morning for idle chit chat. Captain Annon taps a few times on his holoscreen, then shuts it down and levels his even gaze at you. Your Father simply sits there considering you for a long moment, before leaning forward and interlacing his fingers on the desk, brow furrowed.

Hamish Annon has served aboard the TPN Coober Pedy for a little over 40 years, and has been its Captain for over half that time. His dark hair and heavy brows gives him a wise and stern demeanour, but his passionate devotion to his duty presents a more youthful presence despite being in his early fifties. Yet as he looks silently over you it seems as if every one of his fifty-three years is bearing down on his shoulders. With only a flick of his flinty eyes towards the open hatchway behind you, the doors whoosh closed and a soft thunk indicates a physical deadbolt sealing them shut. Your implant HUD fuzzes with static for a moment before indicating NO SIGNAL.
“At ease, Son.” He sighs eventually.

You adjust your stance into a more relaxed pose but maintain a disciplined silence as you watch the man in front of you as closely as he seems to be studying you. Eventually, something about you apparently having satisfied his search, he speaks again.
“Despite your lack of punctuality, I take it you received my message. I hope you followed my instructions better than you managed your time?”
“To the best of my ability, Sir.” You shift restlessly under his scrutiny, despite your best efforts to remain professional.
“You didn’t return to your bed? Didn’t report to medical. You stayed off the comms and didn't talk to anyone about this?” The Captain’s tone shifts subtly, seeming more anxious than demanding. The feeling is infectious, never before have you seen the man so agitated.
You swallow the hard lump that has formed in your throat but only nod curtly, not trusting your own voice.

“Then take a seat, quickly boy. We’re shielded from the ship’s network here but there’s no time to lose.” He gestures to a small visitors chair, one of the few other pieces of furniture in the bare room, and continues muttering to himself as he withdraws a long cable from his desk.
“There’s still time… not again… it’ll be different… I swore never again… won’t take another…”
You can only make out snippets of what the man seems to be unconsciously saying under his breath but none of it seems to be directed at you. Hesitantly taking the offered chair you eye his deft movements with increasing worry as he plugs the cable into his console and rapidly punches in commands. His hand suddenly snaps out to you, proffering the other end.
>>
>>5949812

You barely recognise the object from your first brief and half aware training session conducted in this very room the day after your command implant was surgically inserted into your temple. It's a tiny data jack.
“I don’t… What is this?” You ask warily, leaning away from the insistent offering . “What’s going on?”

“What’s…? Don’t give me that bull, Dallas!” Your Father barks, going from anxious to furious almost instantly. “What’s going on is that I’ve spent the last twenty minutes manually clearing network intrusion alerts with your name on them! The ship’s firewall has put out no less than six alerts to security to have you remanded to the brig and has attempted to reboot any piece of network connected technology within twenty metres of you. Do you know what's also network connected?” He jabs the data jack at your face. “That hunk of junk wired directly to your brain!”
You stare at the irate man in stunned silence, your eyes wide.

“Yes, I see you’re finally getting it.” His tirade continues. “Whatever you stumbled into while snooping through the network last night instead of sleeping has what's left of our ship’s AI in a fit trying to contain and recover it. What were you thinking? It’s bad enough that I lost one son to-” He chokes off the end of his sentence and glances guiltily to his left, the barest glimmer of an unshed tear is visible in the corner of his eye. He takes a deep breath and firmly thrusts the cable across the desk. “Jack in. Now. That’s an order. I’m updating the registry on your implant to prevent the network from recognising you.”

Wordlessly, you accept the offered cable and peel up the flap of fake skin covering the data port of your command implant. You wince at the unsettling sensation of what feels like a finger dragged across raw nerves as the jack slides into place. Your HUD fuzzes for the second time in as many minutes and displays a short update message before returning to its previous status.

REGEDIT.exe -o ‘COMMIMP02’
Registry updated successfully. ‘COMMIMP03’ overwritten.
Device ‘COMMIMP02’ ready for use.
NO SIGNAL.


After a few seconds the console on the Captain’s desk beeps and he finally allows you to disconnect and hand back the cable. He breathes a sigh of relief as you confirm the successful change to your implant’s designation.
“There, that should stop the damn thing from frying your brain the next time you connect to the network or lie down next to a medical scanner.” Your Father finally seems to recognise his uncharacteristic loss of composure.
>>
>>5949814

The usually unflappable man — one who has stared down bloodthirsty pirate armadas and remained unphased by the gaping maws of supermassive black holes alike in the course of his regular duties — has been unsettled greatly by this comparatively small ordeal. His thousand lightyear stare is blinked away hurriedly, whatever dark visions of the past he might be seeing cleared with a shake of his head. His features finally smooth and he gives you a cool look, as if daring you to comment on his behaviour.
“I hope you realise the severity of what just occurred, Lieutenant Commander.” He says sternly. “There were only four implants ever registered to link our blood to our family’s voidship, and you just burned up the last one.”

“Four?” You mouth to yourself, looking down in confusion.
Accounting for your Father’s implant and your own, shouldn’t there be two registries (now one) left.
You glance up as your father audibly winces and again looks back and to his left almost involuntarily.

“Yes four, how do you think I knew what to… nevermind. What exactly do you think you were doing? Breaking into restricted files like that? I should have you demoted!”

You don’t quite know what to say. Is your Father actually claiming ignorance of the nightly simulations and apparent memory wipes you’ve been subjected to for weeks now? Did not he and his Father and Grandfather before him also undergo the same terrible conditioning you have endured? Or maybe it was more effective than you thought and they simply don’t remember or suspect they’d been influenced in that way. Maybe your connection to the ship’s avatar (or whatever Peedee is) has broken some sort of cycle. Whatever attempted reboot was conducted on your implant has left all your memories of last night fuzzy except for that bright orange spot. If nothing else, she must be real...and what has the ship’s AI in full alert. Also, what was Father implying about your late brother, wasn’t he murdered by Rok pirates? So many questions swim around inside your addled mind that you don't know where to begin answering your increasing impatient Father’s question.

What should you do?
>Attempt to explain in detail what you experienced in your simulated dreams. That you suspect the ship conditions its implant connected crew to serve some unknown directive and tampers with their memories in the process. Work this out together.
>Keep your experiences close to your chest and make up an excuse. You don’t want to raise suspicion if something more sinister is going on and you need to investigate.
>Deflect with a question of your own. This has obviously happened before, what happened then and why weren't you warned? Find out more.
>Remain silent and accept whatever punishment might be meted out for your insubordination.
>Something else. Write in.
>>
>>5949817
>Attempt to explain in detail what you experienced in your simulated dreams. That you suspect the ship conditions its implant connected crew to serve some unknown directive and tampers with their memories in the process. Work this out together.
>>
>>5949817
>Deflect with a question of your own. This has obviously happened before, what happened then and why weren't you warned? Find out more.
>>
>>5949817
>>Deflect with a question of your own. This has obviously happened before, what happened then and why weren't you warned? Find out more.
>>
>>5949817
>>Deflect with a question of your own. This has obviously happened before, what happened then and why weren't you warned? Find out more.
Also, I DEMAND a full picture of that family portrait. This is non-negotiable.
>>
>>5949817
>Attempt to explain in detail what you experienced in your simulated dreams. That you suspect the ship conditions its implant connected crew to serve some unknown directive and tampers with their memories in the process. Work this out together.
>>
>>5949817
>Deflect with a question of your own. This has obviously happened before, what happened then and why weren't you warned? Find out more.
>>
>>5949826
>>5949917
>>5950007
>>5950219
>>5950751
>>5950980
>Deflect

Without knowing exactly how to answer, and unwilling to tip your hand as to your suspicions, you decide to instead press for more information. Squaring your shoulders and matching your father's stern glare with one of your own you allow some of your built up indignation to show.
“Father, you have been trying to teach me how to use this implant for weeks now and you never thought to mention this? That the very systems that you’ve been instructing me to connect with might use that connection to fry my brain if I think in the wrong direction? You’ve been telling me that the headaches I get when I try are harmless, mere side effects along with the rest of my “implant sickness” symptoms but now I wonder what else might be a lie.” You can see your Father's eye twitching as he shifts uncomfortably in his seat at the implication. You take a quick breath and press the attack.
“You’ve obviously been here before, I'm betting you had the exact conversation with my brother before me. What really happened to Blair, Father? What aren't you telling me?” You finish by pointing an accusing finger at the family portrait sitting on the middle shelf beside thr Captain’s desk.

One of the few personal items the man keeps aboard, the image depicts one of the rare days of shore leave your Father took. A family reunion, celebrating one brother finally earning his Cadet’s pips and formal commissioning as TPN officer, and the introduction of a new brother to the family. The Captain has always been a man who exemplified duty, and extended that to even to his family life, leading by example when the Protectorate ran an adoption initiative for Marrok orphans of the liberation wars. It feels somewhat cruel to push your Father’s buttons in this way, but you can tell by the look of guilt and anger that flashes across his features that you have hit the nail on the head. You can only hope his sense of duty to family extends to him telling you the truth when confronted instead of lashing out with his authority.

==Diplomacy SOUL Check required:==
*Command Crew Synergy: 36%
*No Soul, Skill or trait bonuses.
*Family obligations: +15
*Father is angry: -5
=Roll under 46.

=0 Successes: Father is blinded by grief and anger. Synergy-, Consequences.
=1 Success: Father doesn't wish to elaborate, but changes the topic himself. Deflection successful.
=2 Successes: Father is caught in his lie and feels the need to explain himself.
=3 Successes: Father reveals exactly what you brother went through and how it compares to his own journey to Captain.

>Three 1d100 rolls required. Goal is 46 or lower.

A/N:
I'm away at a conference this weekend so short phonepost update. I hope to reward you with a full Family Portrait as requested by >>5950219 for your patience.
>>
Rolled 32 (1d100)

>>5952180
>>
Rolled (1d00)

>>5952180
>>
Rolled 82 (1d100)

>>5952214
A typo, let's try again.
>>
Rolled 18 (1d100)

>>5952180
>>
>>5952199
>>5952215
>>5952262


2/3 Successes is pretty good.
I'm back from my conference so update will be tomorrow.
>>
File: Shore Leave Portrait.png (2.37 MB, 1909x2853)
2.37 MB
2.37 MB PNG
>>5952199
>>5952215
>>5952262
>>5952180

>2 Successes
Captain Hamish Annon winces and then turns mutely to take down the portrait frame if only to escape your accusing glare. Mutely, he stares down at the smiling faces and trembles slightly. After a long moment he sighs heavily and places the portrait on the desk, a serious look on his face.

“He never could leave well enough alone.” Father shakes his head, beginning slowly, “Even in his first years as a cabin boy, your brother was crawling through the maintenance ducts looking for ‘secret passages’ and ‘hidden treasures’ like he was some grand explorer visiting a lost tomb world. Time and time again he’d run up against the restricted areas around the void core and get dragged back to my office by the scruff of his neck when security or some zealous WEAVER drone caught him. Even landed himself in the brig once, but he never learned. Insatiable curiosity, my little Blair.” A sad, wistful smile passes across his features but quickly turns sour.

“It was mostly harmless but, I should have… I should have been harder on him. When he earned his Lieutenant Commander’s pips and took up my Father’s old implant I thought I could train him better.” The Captain leans on an elbow, pinching the bridge of his nose as if to ward off a headache.
“I should have known something was wrong when his HUD synced up. ‘Green’, he said, not red like it should have been, but green like from generations past. But his progress astounded me, he was a natural. He was setting the ship’s heading with just a thought after only a few weeks of practice, as if the ship herself were whispering its secrets in his ear, showing him the way.”

“Hidden treasures, huh?” You murmur, trying to keep your Father’s rare display of vulnerability going as long as you can.

“Exactly!” Father slams his other fist on the polished surface of his desk, causing the picture frame to jump and rattle. “The boy thought he’d discovered some lost technique, that he would usher back in a golden age for the Pedy’s mission, reopen old SCRAM routes that have been closed to us for decades. Save what’s left of the worlds in those abandoned subsectors. And the fool that I was, I believed him! I let myself h-hope.” The man chokes up a little but powers on, determined to explain himself.

“Well whatever secrets he discovered, apparently there was a reason they had been lost. The first time security dragged him to me — semi-conscious and raving that he needed to ‘wake up’ — I thought he had just forgotten to take his immuno-suppressants, that the implant sickness was back… just a nightmare. I sent him back to bed and he was fine for a week after that, he didn’t even seem to remember the episode. But when it happened again and his implant nearly cooked his brain, I should have… should have been tougher. We changed his implant’s registry code. But…”
>>
>>5954523

He sucks back a ragged breath through his teeth, the torrent of words unstoppable now as the Captain finally unburdens himself.
“I knew how paranoid the old TPN Navy was about their proprietary tech. I knew my son’s curious and tenacious nature. I just never thought it would lead to…” He stops, unable to say it.

“Father. What exactly happened to my brother?” You ask again, softly.

“I should have known as soon as he forgot the security code for the shuttle.” the Captain continues, his voice now a droning monotone — all emotion seemingly drained from the weary-eyed man. “He had been briefed just the day before about change in terms of the treaty. We were to bring additional engine parts to the local Rok mercenaries in addition to the usual food we always bartered for safe passage when passing through. But when Blair made no mention of it during the exchange, despite it being in the briefing and on the shuttle with him…”

Father’s nostrils flare in grief and anger and he all but spits the next few words, “those hook beaked bastards assumed he was reneging on our deal. Accursed pirates jumped him, stuck him with a concealed blade like a common pig! His crew fought valiantly to get him back aboard but… they were too late.”
Father bows his head and a single tear splashes softly on the desk between you.
“He’d been holding on just for me. To tell me something with his last breath. ‘Trinity’, He said as he… he d-died in my arms in the hangar bay.”

Your blood chills. And a shiver creeps down your spine along with the feeling of being watched — as if the mere mention of the word called some ill spirit to lay an icy claw on the nape of your neck. You check your HUD but thankfully it seems you’re just being paranoid.
NO SIGNAL.
It takes your Father a full minute to recover, but he ploughs on determined to tell the end of his story.

“The autopsy confirmed that Blair had had another episode and the ship had tried to wipe his memory the next time he lay down next to his bunks medscanner. Whatever hidden treasures he had stubbornly dug into because I didn’t… I… I wasn’t firm enough with him, inadvertently led to his death that day.” The bereft man snaps his dark gaze back to yours, the fire in his misty eyes like burning oil on an ocean. “So hear me when I tell you, Dallas, that whatever you did last WILL NOT happen again. I’d rather see you on another ship in the navy or sent home if that's what it takes. I won’t lose another son to this madness! Never again!”

“If it was this serious, why didn’t you warn me?” You ask in confusion before you can stop yourself.

“I suppose I was afraid you might be the same,” he hedges, “That you’d end up like him. Too clever for your own good, thinking you could succeed in the face of the tried-and-tested method.”
>>
>>5954525

Well, now certainly doesn't seem the most appropriate time to mention that you recognise your late brother's last words, nor that the colour of your HUD isn’t standard either. The implication that not only Peedee but also Guard and the rest might actually still be lurking out there beyond this shielded chamber is a lot to process right now. Fortunately, Father seems a bit too emotional to ask any follow up questions. You cannot afford to be kicked off the ship, you made a promise after all and you intend to keep it.

“So, Son, I want you to redouble your efforts in learning how to control your command implant the right way! The way my Father and his Father before him were taught to do it. Whatever terrible truths you uncovered about the ship, you are to tell no one! Not your crew, not your little brother, and not even me.” He makes a cutting motion with his hand, finality in his tone.
“If the ship’s old AI is triggered to this degree just by you knowing about it, you can imagine what it might do to anyone else who finds out. Our mission is to keep this old girl running and on schedule or else more systems will fall, abandoning the billions relying upon us to their fates.”
He stands up suddenly and you quickly follow, snapping to attention.
“And for that we need a Captain of the blood committed to that task, no matter their own personal desires. Understood, Lieutenant Commander?”

“Yes, Sir!” You bark.
What else can you say to a question like that?

“Does whatever forbidden knowledge you’ve learned pose a threat to this ship or your ability to command her if kept to yourself?”

“No, Sir!”
Not technically a lie, in fact knowing more about how the last live void ship ticks can only help your ability to command her. So long as you don't fall into the same trap as your unfortunate brother Blair.

“Well, let's not waste time then! You’re here now so we’ll continue our lessons on synchronising with the ship!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The following two hours are spent covering much more familiar, if tedious ground. Your Father unlocked his door to allow the both of you to reconnect with the wider ship’s network, which fortunately didn't have any adverse effects besides your clock updating to ship’s time again. He leads you methodically through your usual lessons, visualising simple tasks like opening a hatch by associating it with a physical sensation such as an eyeblink or specific shift of the tongue. You don't really make any progress but it does give you time to settle your thoughts. By the end of the session you have made up your mind about how to proceed.
>>
>>5954531

In regards to your experience inside the nightmarish simulation and what you learned within:
>You have decided to come clean and tell Father about your blue HUD and recognition of ‘Trinity’.. For better or worse it's best to be honest even if it means you might be sent away from the Coober Pedy for good. By the Book recommends this action.
>You will independently investigate the truth of your forbidden knowledge in a roundabout fashion. Looking only though unrestricted, available data and physical evidence around the ship. Surely this is less likely to trigger a dangerous episode with your implant.
>You will pursue further knowledge of the ship’s proprietary inner workings despite the warnings and prioritise fulfilling your promises to Peedee as soon as possible. You have learned from Blair’s mistakes and are confident your superior MIND will let you avoid any dangers.

In regards to your continued training of your command implant:
>You will continue to attempt to make Father’s ‘tried-and-tested’ method work for you despite having made no progress as of yet. By the Book recommends this action.
> Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship. Whatever you managed to do with Peedee in your simulated dreams seemed promising and resulted in this (oddly coloured) HUD appearing at least.
>Despite Father’s warnings, you will attempt to discover how your brother Blair advanced so quickly in using this very implant. Perhaps he stored his methods somewhere which you can use to replicate his success.
>>
>>5954532
>You will independently investigate the truth of your forbidden knowledge in a roundabout fashion. Looking only though unrestricted, available data and physical evidence around the ship. Surely this is less likely to trigger a dangerous episode with your implant.
>You will continue to attempt to make Father’s ‘tried-and-tested’ method work for you despite having made no progress as of yet.
>>
>>5954532
>You will independently investigate the truth of your forbidden knowledge in a roundabout fashion. Looking only though unrestricted, available data and physical evidence around the ship. Surely this is less likely to trigger a dangerous episode with your implant.
>Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship. Whatever you managed to do with Peedee in your simulated dreams seemed promising and resulted in this (oddly coloured) HUD appearing at least.
>>
>>5954532
>>You have decided to come clean and tell Father about your blue HUD and recognition of ‘Trinity’.. For better or worse it's best to be honest even if it means you might be sent away from the Coober Pedy for good. By the Book recommends this action.
>You will continue to attempt to make Father’s ‘tried-and-tested’ method work for you despite having made no progress as of yet. By the Book recommends this action.
>>
>>5954532
>You have decided to come clean and tell Father about your blue HUD and recognition of ‘Trinity’.. For better or worse it's best to be honest even if it means you might be sent away from the Coober Pedy for good. By the Book recommends this action.
He's been through this before and has a higher rank.

>Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship. Whatever you managed to do with Peedee in your simulated dreams seemed promising and resulted in this (oddly coloured) HUD appearing at least.
>>
>>5954532
>>You will independently investigate the truth of your forbidden knowledge in a roundabout fashion. Looking only though unrestricted, available data and physical evidence around the ship. Surely this is less likely to trigger a dangerous episode with your implant.
> Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship. Whatever you managed to do with Peedee in your simulated dreams seemed promising and resulted in this (oddly coloured) HUD appearing at least.
>>
>>5954523
>You have decided to come clean and tell Father about your blue HUD and recognition of ‘Trinity’.. For better or worse it's best to be honest even if it means you might be sent away from the Coober Pedy for good. By the Book recommends this action.

> Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship. Whatever you managed to do with Peedee in your simulated dreams seemed promising and resulted in this (oddly coloured) HUD appearing at least.
>>
>>5954532
>>5954716
>>5954778
>>5954914
>>5955020
>>5955680
>>5955785

>Some independent action but a two way split on coming clean. You'll do both, for better or worse.

“Well that’s all I have time for today, Dallas.” The Captain sighs wearily and leans back in his high-backed chair, “You’ll get there, mark my words. Just stay on the straight and narrow and you’ll get there.”

> Against Father’s wishes, you will attempt to find your own way of synchronising your implant to the ship.
You’re not sure you agree, his method of teaching you how to synchronise with the ship just doesn’t seem to click with you. Not when you remember connecting with Peedee so vividly using your command implant in the simulation. None of these lessons seem to follow the route you forged there, channelling your emotions to enter that mental control room instead of concentrating on a more physical link. Your father’s instructions ignore what you’ve learned — the fact that there is some young intelligent mind somehow connected to you and the ship but constantly suppressed — and it just doesn’t sit right with you. He may just be trying to protect you and your crew’s vital mission but maybe if he just knew what you did... But no, he already instructed you not to tell him lest it trigger the decrepit ship’s AI into wiping both of your memories and jeopardise the chain of command. You growl softly in frustration, you will have to work out your own way to synchronise.

The Captain gives you a long look of grim determination, seeming to understand some of what’s going through your head.

“Remember what I said, boy. Not a word to anyone and keep your nose clean. More is at stake than satisfying your own curiosity. I’d never be able to look at myself in the mirror again, if anything were to happen to you, let alone what it would do to your Mother.” He lifts the family portrait from his desk for emphasis and replaces it delicately where it belongs.

If only it were that simple, old man.
You smooth your features and nod solemnly, trying not to let your thoughts show any further.
>>
>>5956230

>You will independently investigate the truth of your forbidden knowledge in a roundabout fashion.
You have half a mind to just walk out the door and take matters into your own hands. Now that you have confirmation that the Guard-Control-Teach trio wasn’t unique to just your nightmares, you are beginning to suspect that there was more truth to what you experienced in that simulation than your muddy memories alone can tell you. You just need to gather more clues while flying under the ship's radar — so to speak — to avoid triggering it’s firewall protocols and ending up like your late brother. You can surely manage that if you stick to only investigating unrestricted data and physical evidence. Even Guard in the simulation wasn’t omniscient, any thoughts and conclusions you might have while piecing together the truth will remain your own. If you don’t leave any digital fingerprints on forbidden files and avoid being caught where you shouldn’t be aboard the ship maybe, just maybe, you can keep your promises to Peedee.

>You have decided to come clean and tell Father about your blue HUD and recognition of ‘Trinity’.
You stand up, turning to leave but a gnawing sense of guilt and obligation stops you in your tracks. It doesn’t feel right to deceive your Father so, nor does your academy training allow you to so flagrantly ignore an order from your Captain either. You glance back and catch your Father staring morosely at the last happy memory he has of his whole family. He at least deserves to know that his firstborn’s dying words were not in vain…

“Captain.” You begin hesitantly, gulping at the hard lump that has suddenly formed in your throat.
Captain Annon’s attention snaps back to you, professional once more.
“Father…” You try again, setting the tone to be more personal, “I know you said not to tell you anything but I think you ought to know that my implant’s HUD has already activated.”


“Well that’s great news!” A small, surprised smile cracks his expression and he leans towards you intently. “That’s not restricted information. Why didn’t you say so in the first-”

“It’s blue.”

The colour suddenly drains from the man’s face, and he freezes stock still.

“There’s more.” You plough onward, determined to get the next part off your chest no matter the consequences, “Father… Dad… I want you to know that what Blair said there at the end — I think I understand. Last night, when I woke up from my nightmares… I learned they weren’t just nightmares, I remembered something I shouldn’t have and that’s what caused the ship to flag my implant as hostile.”
>>
>>5956232

“Dallas, don’t you say another word!!” The Captain surges to his feet reaching a hand out to the open hatchway. It slams shut with just that gesture and locks audibly — cutting you off from the rest of the ship and any listening ears, digital or otherwise.

NO SIGNAL

“I’m not! I won’t” You hold up your hands placatingly but continue on regardless, “I understand better than you realise just how insidious the AI can be when it thinks you have something it wants. But this is something you said yourself. Please, I’m just going to quote what you said to me, just a single word!” You hold up a lone index finger.

The man before you breathes heavily, still white as a sheet, as he looks you dead in the eyes.
You turn your hands palm up, pleading, and he slowly controls himself. Finally, he nods but the dangerous stare never leaves you — like a starved Ulveng ready to pounce on unwary prey. You shiver. It’s not a comparison you ever hoped to ever be on the receiving end of.

“Trinity,” You breathe, “I know what it means, and I know what I need to do. I just need you to trust me.”

Diplomacy SOUL Check required:
*Command Crew Synergy: 36%
*No Soul, Skill or Trait bonuses.
*Family obligations: +15
*Testing Father’s Patience: -5
=Roll under 46.


=0 Successes: Father considers you too far gone. A liability to the crew and mission. [Synergy-, Grave Consequences]
=1 Success: Father appreciates your honesty but cannot trust you to work things out on your own. [Loss of Autonomy, Consequences.]
=2 Successes: Father concedes that you may need to follow your own path but has some concerns. [Proceed with some caveats.]
=3 Successes: Father is filled with hope and trusts you’ll heed his warnings. [Proceed unhindered.]

>Three 1d100 rolls required. Goal is 46 or lower.
>>
File: 1677167141137359.gif (115 KB, 1200x675)
115 KB
115 KB GIF
>>5956235
If you have any more compelling arguments to convince Father without revealing the sensitive information, state them with your roll for a potential (-5) bonus.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5956235
"I know what's at stake-- all the lives that depend on us. I know what to avoid, thanks to you and-and Blair. If we work together, we can figure this out. No more losses."
>>
>>5956261
Ah, fuck, Hope you guys have better luck.
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5956235
>>
I am not making the last roll here
put that responsibility on someone else
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>5956235
>>5956404
You could've saved us anon! Now you rely on me!
>>
>>5956572
Apparently that was a good call.
Thank you anon, the suspense was killing me. I was worried I'd have to detail all my planned content for a second there...
>>
>>5956235
>>5956261
>>5956395
>>5956572

>1 Success

Your Father’s stands hunched over with both fists planted on his desk. His shoulders heave as he centres his breathing, attempting to calm down. He stares deep into your eyes, the soul searching gaze piercing through to your core.

“Trust?” He rasps, “It’s happening again. Stars have mercy, why?”

“I promise, Father, it will be different this time. It is different already.”

“How is this different?!” He snaps, “My Son causes the ship to reject him like a foreign body, his implant HUD is the wrong colour and he wants to find his own way to connect with the ship? This is exactly what killed Blair and you stand there telling me that this is somehow different? To trust you?”

“Father, I-”

“And BLUE of all colours? There is only one surviving record of a Captain Annon having that colour, do you know who that was? The original one, the one who watched the Cataclysm unfold with his own eyes and doomed our family to bear this burden — who was so emotional that he couldn’t bear to see his beloved ship dissected and studied when we needed the secrets of live void cores the most. And now, after yet another one of his descendants has paid the ultimate price for his short-sightedness, he comes back to haunt us? To once again put the ship before his family, to take another one of my Sons from me? NO!”

You flinch as your Father’s anger flashes across his face in a menacing scowl. These revelations about the first Captain of the Coober Pedy can’t be coming at a worse time. What else might you have in common with that ancient great-something Grandfather? Did he too know who PD-113 was before she was put in suspension?

Your father sighs noisily and slumps back into his chair, interrupting your thoughts.
“I’m sorry, Dallas. I appreciate your honesty, but I can’t let this continue with a clear conscience.” He buries his face in one hand, looking away.

“So that’s it?” You ask softly, “We can’t even use what Blair left us to finish our mission? It was all for nothing?”

The man growls softly, his hand muffling whatever he said. But after a few seconds he seems to reach a decision and turns back to you, taking up the data jack still connected to his desk.

“Lieutenant Commander, you will immediately deactivate your implant so that there’s no chance of you triggering the ship’s firewall again. This is a direct order from your Captain, non-negotiable.”

“But-”

He holds up a hand to forestall your protest, “but- we will continue our regular sessions in this room, under my close supervision and we might — might mind you, no guarantees — work out a safe way for you to one day command this vessel with your non-standard connection.”
>>
>>5958563

You release a pent up breath you didn’t realise you were holding, relief flooding through you. You aren’t being sent away. Not today at least. For now you’ll play the part of a disciplined officer and obey your orders by the book.
You take the proffered cable and connect it to your temple once more, ignoring the discomfort. Your Father taps a few buttons on his console and after a moment you experience a strange sense of déjà vu as the command implant’s connection with your mind slips away. The sensation feels almost like the rippling of your uniform’s nanites when they retract their vac-sealed suit configuration — except applied to your brain stem. It’s a bizarre reverse of the first time you activated the implant in this very room. As the last shiver fades, so too does the blue HUD in the corner of your vision.

COMMIMP02 offline.
Goodbye, DA-13125.


Goodbye, for now. You think determinedly. This may be a setback but you will make this work eventually. You’ll prove to your Father that you can do this safely, and in the meantime you aren’t going to give up on your promise. You’ll keep searching the old fashioned way.

Your Command Implant is now unavailable. You can no longer use it to directly connect to and command the ship or use its HUD as an interface.

“It’s done.” You say with finality, disconnecting the jack and covering the port in your right temple with the flap of fake skin.

“Thank you, Son. Now, I need to rest and you have your duties to attend to. Continue to abide by my other orders, just because you no longer have a direct line to the ship doesn’t mean it can’t still detect if its restrictions have been breached in other ways.”

“Yes, Sir.”

With that ominous warning lingering between you the Captain manually opens the sealed hatch and sees you off.

Feeling somewhat drained by that ordeal and compounded by your lack of sleep you trudge down the corridor to your right, away from the sound of foot traffic. It's about the time you would normally begin your daily routine and you are in dire need of a pick-me-up. Without thinking, you have followed your usual route from the Captain’s ready room back to the transport hub of the command deck, which brings you immediately to the other end of the hallway that caused you so much grief on the way over.
>>
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>>5958564

You are surprised when the hatch hisses open at your approach — the Chief Engineer must have managed to prevent the WEAVERs from sealing it off after all. You are greeted by the harsh buzz of power tools and a mess of bulkhead shavings surrounded by puddles of leaked fluid. A burly looking Marrok engineer is kneeling next to a series of rents in the bulkhead wall, grinding away at the last of the jagged edges. You are taken aback by the strange nature of the damage and subsequent repair job — the WEAVER’s seeming to have been forced to retreat and apply patch plates from within the confines of their secretive lair. The creeping expansion of the void core’s restricted areas halted, at least for the time being.

Gawking at the damage, you see that four long, parallel gashes are spread about a metre apart, tearing through wall, ceiling and floor alike. You can even tell that some structural elements of the wall have been shredded through as if they were mere fabric. Grey, translucent fluid seeps slowly from patchwork seams but it appears the plates have managed to stem the flow to a trickle. You eye the congealing puddles dubiously, not quite sure if you want to know its composition.
At least it doesn't stink, You note. So probably not sewage…

“What the hell happened here?” You wave to catch the engineer’s attention.

The Marrok man turns to look at you, powering down his tool. Recognising your officer’s pips, he retracts his helmet and chirps questioningly.
“Sorry sir, say again? I didn't quite catch that.” His translator repeats after a slight delay in an even tone.

“What caused this?” You ask again, gesturing to the damage the little, green, lizard-like man is busy cleaning up. The engineer shrugs helplessly, setting down the grinder and standing up to face you. You glance at his id tag — ‘Emett Arstron - DC Team B2’ — as he sketches a quick salute.

“Beats me, Sir. Who knows what crazy wyrm-shit those WEAVERs have going on in there.” A scowl tugs at his scaly lips as he jabs a thumb over his shoulder in disgust.
“All I know is the little wretches are a pain in my tail! My watch was meant to end five minutes ago but the Chief called me in to — and I quote — ‘just buff out a scratch’. He claws the air quotes vehemently, as if he’d like nothing better than to be scratching out a certain senior officer’s eyes instead. He suddenly shifts his gaze nervously from you to the open hatchway behind you, as if seeing it for the first time.
“Uhhh, he also said to lock that behind him.” He trills slightly in distress, “Don’t go telling him I let you in here, yeah?” He shifts uncomfortably, rubbing a hand through the spines on the back of his neck as he grins sheepishly. “Best you get going before he comes back, Sir. For my sake at least?”
>>
>>5958570

You consider the engineer’s request for a moment and then nod mutely, miming zipped lips. You could linger and try to peer through the cracks in the plating but you can hear the clinking and buzzing of repairs continuing on the other side of the wall as well. Getting caught snooping by the WEAVERs sounds like the exact sort of thing your Father just warned you might trigger the ship into doing something unpleasant.

As the engineer thanks you and suits back up to return to his task, you decide to.
>Continue down through the corridor making a beeline to the officer’s mess. You really need some food and a stimulating beverage to start your day.
>Head to the ship’s gym to get a head start on your daily PT. No better way to wake up than with some exercise.
>Stay and investigate the damage in some way. How?
>Go back to your cabin and catch an extra hour or two of sleep even if it means messing up your routine.
>Something else or a combination of the above? Write in.
>>
>>5958572
>Stay and investigate the damage in some way. How?

Just collect some of the liquid somehow and then leave for the officer's mess.
>>
>>5958602
Seconding this
>>
>>5958572
>Head to the ship’s gym to get a head start on your daily PT. No better way to wake up than with some exercise.
>>
You think we should maybe check if our health is all in order given the implant? We don't wanna end up with like...brain damage.
>>
>>5958572
>Stay and investigate the damage in some way. How?
>>
>>5958602
Supporting. Maybe wipe it with a tissue?
>>
>>5958602
>>5958669
>>5958946
>>5959028
>>5959496
>>5959825

>Looks like the write-in has it.

The damage intrigues you as any window into the inner workings of the void core is bound to lead to new insights into the mysterious artech that makes the ship’s heart beat, produces its unique resources, and houses what’s left of its decrepit AI subsystems. Knowing that only a few mere centimetres of poorly interlocking plating separates the jealous gaze of the WEAVER drones and the secrets they are frantically trying to protect sends a shiver down your spine.
However, with your priorities right now being to stay off the AI’s radar and discovering more about the young intelligence sequestered away somewhere aboard, you decide that you’ll have to be satisfied with taking a sample of this leaking liquid and moving on.

Conscious of the imminent return of the Chief you ensure that Engineer Emett is focussed on his task before quickly kneeling down next to the viscous puddle of grey goo. It's mostly stopped seeping down the wall now and you hope whatever value it has doesn’t require it to be fresh.
You whip out your multitool and configure the adaptable artech device to assume the form of a collection vial. Gingerly, you scrape the mutlitool through the fluid and find it to be quite sticky, the partially congealed surface crust breaking as you disturb it and releases a faint, metallic odour.

It’s a very messy process but somehow you manage to get more of it inside the vial than on the outside — frankly, you’re just glad you remembered to activate your uniform’s gloves before you began. You swiftly wipe the vial and your gloved hands off on the nearby mop and pocket the sample before continuing down the corridor, silently wishing the hapless Marrok luck with the clean-up.

You stifle a yawn as you trudge along. It’s been a long night and since you still have your whole watch ahead of you today you judge it best to secure some much needed food (and more importantly: caffeine) ASAP.
Through the twists and turns of the familiar back route along the command deck, you follow your rumbling stomach to the transport hub eager to reach your original destination — the officer’s mess. As you wait for the next elevator car to arrive with a few other crew, you surreptitiously pat the lump in your pocket to reassure yourself that the sample is secure. You just hope you’ll find the time to analyse it before it hardens any further.

>Can I get three 1d10 rolls to determine the efficacy of the sample. The combined results will be used as a bonus for later analysis.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d10)

>>5960377
>>
Rolled 4 (1d10)

>>5960377
>>
Rolled 1 (1d10)

>>5960377
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 4 = 19 (3d10)

>>5960377
>>
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>>5960415
>>5960438
>>5960480
>>5960377

>11 Total - Some small amount of the sample will be usable when examined later.

The elevator chimes and you find the waiting car to be blessedly empty this time and more importantly no longer smelling like the inside of an overused welding mask. While it took some time to get used to the canned air of the ship after living most of your life planetside, you have come to appreciate the efficiency of the air scrubbers when the life support system decides to actually do its job.

A short ride later you emerge onto Deck 5, known more colloquially as the ‘rec deck’, where most of the mess and exercise facilities are located. You find the local transport hub moderately busy and you immediately flick your eyes to try to check your HUD for the time, only to find it missing. You curse softly, annoyed at how quickly you got used to using the convenient clock only to have it taken away just as fast. You instead fish around in your pocket for a ubiquitous datapad and confirm that it is indeed past twenty-two-hundred hours — the official start of gamma watch’s day.

Many familiar faces pass through the crossroads going about their morning routine — some opting to head straight for the mess to eat a hearty breakfast, while others preferring to get their daily physical training done with early. You observe even a not-insignificant amount of crew even beginning their day by visiting the holo-sim chambers for morning meditation or other such personal practices. You however have only one destination in mind.

Following your nose, you cross through the foot traffic without getting in too many people’s way. You’re grateful your Father didn’t keep you any longer than he did, another hour or two and you’d have had to deal with the peak traffic that always comes with a changing of the watch. You quickly arrive at the Officer’s mess and are about to enter and investigate what delectable smelling grub the galley has served up this morning when you bump into a welcome face.


Please assign one of your two [Synergy: Rank A+ (88%)] values to:
>Your Navigation Officer, Cleo, who quite literally bumps into you as she jogs laps around the wide main corridors.
>Your Tactical Officer, Coen, just emerging from across the corridor from a reading room, deftly dodging traffic without looking up from his datapad.
>Your Science Officer, EoN, emerging from the mess in a flap about something that’s upset her.
>Your Communications Officer, Isobel, who intercepts you at the mess hatch looking particularly smug about something she’s heard.
>Your Engineering Officer, FoZ, who has inadvertently blocked your path while he gazes vacantly at a bulkhead.
>>
>>5961198
We have two 88s, so we can assign the other one to Cleo...but i think we should run into someone else right now.
>Your Science Officer, EoN, emerging from the mess in a flap about something that’s upset her.
>>
>>5961198
Supporting >>5961199, we'll need her to analyze the sample.
>>
>>5961199
Supporting
>>
>>5961198
>>Your Communications Officer, Isobel, who intercepts you at the mess hatch looking particularly smug about something she’s heard.
>>
>>5961199
Fair - I’ll support this. Cleo can wait I suppose ;_;
>>
>>5961198
>Your Science Officer, EoN, emerging from the mess in a flap about something that’s upset her.
>>
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>>5961199
>>5961203
>>5961220
>>5961442
>>5961815
>>5961839
>>5961198

>Your Science Officer, EoN, emerging from the mess in a flap about something that’s upset her.

You can hear muffled screeching followed by an equally vitriolic contralto translation from beyond the hatch you have stopped at. You smile wearily and brace yourself for what, or rather who, is to come. With the mysterious sample weighing heavily on your mind and in your pocket, it’s just the bird you wanted to see.

Eyes-of-Night, a Tyllano whom you first met at the academy as a rival senior officer candidate has since become a fast friend and dependable part of your crew. A nobleman’s daughter with a desire to see the stars, her passion for Research and Medicine eventually led her down the path of the TPN Science Officer — a far cry from the comfortable life afforded to the rest of her family. While known for her keen mind, EoN’s noble roots often show in the way she speaks and reacts to adverse situations — a fact made readily apparent as the hatch hisses open to reveal the owl-like being marching out of the room in a dignified huff.

Eyes-of-Night Synergy: Rank A+ (88%)

“This is an outrage! What could they possibly be thinking! Oh-” The blustering storm of affronted feathers stops short in the now open mess hatchway, blinking up at you in surprise.
“Dallas, my apologies I almost ran you down.”

You raise an eyebrow at that remark, looking down at the smaller woman sceptically. “That would have been a feat. Good morning to you too, EoN.”
“Oh, you know what I meant!” She waves dismissively and continues rapidly, “Now, have you heard the terrible news? They have no right to do this to us and no-one else is taking it seriously besides myself!”

“Well you certainly do seem beside yourself.” You deadpan, barely keeping a straight face.
The unamused clack of her beak in reply needs no translation and you press on quickly. “But no, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. What’s got you so worked up this time?”

“This time?! What do you mean this-” She cuts herself off and shakes her head, “No, nevermind. They cancelled our examination today, can you believe it? Even after they let the Alpha and Beta watch bridge trainees take their turn they had the nerve to cancel ours!”

That’s right, you remember now. With all the excitement this morning combined with your hazy recollections, it completely slipped your mind that the trainee command crew were meant to be tested today. Well, you were subjected to a test of your own last night regardless so you can’t say you aren’t happy to hear you’ve been given a reprieve. Perhaps your Father was cutting you some slack in light of recent events? The ever competitive EoN, doesn’t seem to share your opinion, however.
>>
>>5962920

“Surely, you must have been woken by that bump we all felt a few hours ago?” She continues primly, “Beta watch were our only real competitors and their Navigator clearly messed up considerably. There was no possible way we could lose even with that ham-fisted mutt of ours at the yoke. I thought it scarcely possible to cause such a jolt to the ship in a simulated scenario in the first place, but that just goes to show how poorly our competition has performed.

“But now our opportunity to show the command crew our superior merit has been denied us. Oh, of all the nerve!” She stamps a taloned foot on the deck emphatically. “And of course the rest of your crew don’t even care that our chance to shine has been squandered, in fact they seem positively elated by the prospect. Please Dallas, you’re a man of reason. Talk some sense into the airheads in there. We need to present a united front if we’re to petition that justice be done.” She twists her neck around to glare behind her and you spy the male members of your crew seated peacefully together, enjoying their breakfast.

You roll your eyes half in amusement, half exasperation. It’s just like Eyes-of-Night to get this excited about an exam and the prospect of showing off the crew’s practised skills. Though you do note her use of your instead of our crew when they were supposedly misbehaving. So much for unity.

“Chin up, Lieutenant. It’ll be alright. Let’s calm down and we’ll talk about it, yeah?” You project the air of a confident commander and smile placatingly as you gently steer the offended owl back into the warmly lit interior of the officer’s mess. You know EoN well enough to be sure that a certain item might be used to distract her. “I was just coming to look for you, anyway, since I found something I thought might pique your interest.” You grin, slyly.

“Oh?” Eon, tilts her head to look at you quizzically, “Something more interesting than our upcoming test? I know you know better than to lie to me Dallas, so this must be good!”

That's caught her attention, You nod knowingly, Hook, line and sinker. Or a net might be a better analogy for a bird, you suppose.
“Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise,” You say. “We could use the freed up time, and your particular talents to examine this.” You produce the vial from your pocket with a dramatic flourish and lean in to whisper. “Fresh from the void core restricted area itself.”

EoN’s eyes light up, her previous worries forgotten as a new vector for research and discovery presents itself before her. You know that her excellence in the fields of Science and Medicine comes partially from her naturally gifted Tyllano MIND, but you’ve sought out your Science officer to assist you in your quest for answers due to another unique trait of hers.
>>
>>5962934

Your memories of that especial aptitude are still muddled with last night’s simulated version of your Science officer. What was that trait again?

Assign one of EoN’s two available traits from the following:
>Analytical Mind: Able to break down new problems, tasks and combatant statuses, into more easily quantifiable, if generalised, parts. E.g Generating achievable research goals, target health breaktown, weak point highlighting, etc.
>Specialist - Nano-tech: Advanced knowledge of nanites when applied to her learned skills. Allows for hyper specific focus when physical access is available.
>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
>>
>>5962937
>Analytical Mind
Easily.
>>Esoteric Knowledge
This also seems interesting to me.

All in all, smug ojou bird waifu.
>>
>>5962937
>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
Voidcores and AIs are historical technology, right?
>>
>>5962937
>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
>>
>>5962937
>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
>Analytical Mind: Able to break down new problems, tasks and combatant statuses, into more easily quantifiable, if generalised, parts. E.g Generating achievable research goals, target health breaktown, weak point highlighting, etc.

These two seem by far the most useful I think considering what we know about the setting.

>>5962943
Yes. Smug birds are the best.
>>
>>5962937
>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
The ship is an artifact, correct?
>>
>>5962976
>>5963236
>The ship is an artifact, correct?
It is, though one of the best kept secrets out there so any roll DC will still be very high you just get an extra roll towards it with her help. Also remember it works based off her learned skills so only science and medicine related questions get an extra shot at passing atm.
>>
On the topic of smug waifus, do we want to nominate any character for /qst/ King/Queen over at >>5961634? Seems only right to get y'all's input before jumping the gun.
>>
>>5963350
I don't think the quest has run long enough for that, Cleo and EoN are nice but we don't know if they're really waifu material.
>>
>>5963350
Kiro will always be bestest boy ragardless. Idk if that's king material though.
>>
>>5962937
>>Esoteric Knowledge - Additional chance (extra roll) to have insightful information when encountering historical artifacts, technology, architecture, etc. related to learned skills.
>>
>>5962943
Best of all, she's got inbuilt 'oho ho hoo~' laugh.
>>
>>5962943
>>5962976
>>5963176
>>5963212
>>5963236
>>5963596
>>5962937


EoN Trait 1 Selected - Esoteric Knowledge

“From the void core itself, you say?” You catch an avaricious gleam in EoN’s eyes before she quickly tears her eyes away from the sample and returning to a mask of calm. “Well that’s hardly my area of expertise.” She sniffs, feigning disinterest, “That’s more the purview of you engineering types, isn’t it?”

You pause a few metres away from the crew enjoying their breakfast and chattering away to keep your conversation slightly more private. Or at least indistinguishable to any eavesdroppers, flesh and blood or otherwise.

“Are you sure?” You cajole, knowingly, “This isn't just another piece of discarded void plate, you know? It’s an unknown liquid sample spilled from a sealed off section.” You shake the vial enticingly and the faint sounds of slopping liquid from within causes the Tyllano’s head to twitch in your direction, despite her best efforts. “I know you have a keen interest in exotic materials and an encyclopaedic knowledge of speculative artech pseudoscience. All I’m ask-”

“There’s nothing ‘pseudo-’ about it!” You’re cut off by the indignant squawk as your Science officer’s feathery plumicorns (yes, that's somehow the correct word as she so often irritably reminds you whenever you call them angry-horns to her face) rise in displeasure. “Just because your grasp of the esoteric particulars of organo-metallic research is poor, doesn’t invalidate-”

“Yes, yes, pardon me, I misspoke.” You immediately backpedal, pressing your palms together placatingly, “What I meant to say is that your unique perspective into such a developing branch of science makes you the most qualified person aboard when it comes to making potentially galaxy changing discoveries.” You smile winningly, deliberately hamming up your pitch as the owl continues to give you the stink-eye.
“All I’m asking is that you take the free time that fate has handed us and use it to further the noble pursuit of knowledge.” You wiggle the multitool full of grey goop again for emphasis. “C’mon, while the specimen is still fresh. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up publishing a paper in one of those ‘esoteric’ journals the next time we make port!”

EoN doesn’t deign to answer immediately, her expression shifting to a flat look that speaks volumes about your attempt at enticing her. All part of the game, of course, and your grin turns sheepish as you shrug in wordless surrender.
>>
>>5964824

“I know what you’re doing Dallas,” She huffs, “but I suppose it could prove an interesting distraction, at the very least. That's if, IF, this isn't just another wild wyrm-hunt like the last time you brought me a ‘revolutionary discovery’. She gives you an arch look, as if daring you to waste her time with such pranks again.

“Hey, in my defence. I did actually think that was some sort of proto-nanite slurry and not just Kiro’s drool from when he napped on return heat lines outside the core.” You laugh disarmingly.

“I didn’t believe that excuse then and don't believe it now.” EoN scowls, but you can tell she’s at least partially amused at the absurdity of that particular memory.

I’ll think about it, Dallas, but it hardly excuses the injustice done to us, the indignity!” She hoots softly to herself and her translator relays some indistinct and noncommittal noises. You can tell her thirst for knowledge is at war with her hurt pride but despite your long history together, even you aren’t sure which will win out.

Diplomacy SOUL Check required:
*EoN Synergy: 88%
*No Soul, Skill or Trait bonuses.
*Appealing to her field of expertise: +5
*Hurt Pride: -10
=Roll under 83.


=0 Successes: EoN won’t be diverted from getting her turn at the test. She demands you help convince the other crew to pursue justice. [No help from EoN today.]
=1 Success: EoN sceptically agrees to help but only if you talk the other crew into helping get today’s test reinstated. [Conditional help.]
=2 Successes: EoN believes you have something unique and agrees to forgo today’s test to help you. [EoN helps with analysis.]
=3 Successes: EoN can’t keep up the indifferent facade any longer and demands she test the sample immediately, forgoing breakfast entirely. [EoN helps a bit too much.]

>Three 1d100 rolls required. Goal is 83 or lower.
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5964825
Come on, let's get some time alone with the birdgirl. We can do it.
>>
Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>5964825
>>
Rolled 47 (1d100)

>>5964825
bird bird bird
>>
>>5964858
>>5964891
>>5964899
hell yeh, it's a date
>>
>>5964858
>>5964891
>>5964899
>>5964825

As Eyes-of-Night wrestles with her inner turmoil, or at least pretends to to keep up appearances, you sidle deeper into the mess, attempting to find the source of the delicious scent that drew you into the room in the first place. The Officer’s Mess caters to all the dietary needs of commissioned officers aboard the TPN Coober Pedy and often serves up much nicer food than the standard fare the rest of the crew receives — just one of the perks of being an officer. Today though, it seems like no expense has been spared and you can hardly believe your eyes at what's on offer.

The adjoining galley has served up a smorgasbord of delectable breakfast dishes using fresh milk, butter and flour recently acquired from this system’s port. Along with other delicacies, such as local oat based cereal brands and nut based spreads, these victuals have been made available in the form of fat stacks of pancakes and freshly baked bread, toasted to perfection. To top it all off, the rare delicacies are accompanied by warm trays of eggs and bacon along with all manner of sauces and toppings.

Hungry gamma watch officers of all ranks bump shoulders with little concern for seniority as they shuffle between the various temperature controlled counters by the twin galley doors, heaping up their plates liberally from the buffet on offer. You’re sorely tempted to go and join the line, and your growling belly agrees, but you pause at the central mess table as some familiar voices catch your ear.

“Hmm, but if you were to reconfigure the layout of the cargo shells to accommodate a crouched cargo loader or scout mech you could potentially drop a manned fighting or reconnaissance vehicle from orbit with little to no deployment time required on landing.” A translated basso voice underpinned by soft cooing, slowly explains. “It would make for an intriguing optimisation problem at the very least, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Mmm, an efficient use of resources, even if one in twenty pilots would likely be lost on impact.” Comes the quietly calculating reply. “But a cargo loader is hardly a tactical asset, compared to a traditional armoured vehicle, even if it doesn't require disassembly to deploy via mass driver.”

“They’re a lot more fun to pilot though!” Interjects an unmistakable nasally soprano, “I bet you could modify their hands to hold a big gun or something else tactical, right?”

“Hmmm.”
>>
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>>5967077

Seated at the table, having already gathered their own breakfast, are three members of your bridge crew engaging in conversation to varying degrees. Your Engineering officer — Finder-of-Zephyrs — continues to explain his latest idea over a barely touched bowl of cereal to your Tactical officer — Coen La’afette — who replies without looking up from his datapad while occasionally sipping from a steaming mug.
Meanwhile your small scaly Operations officer, who needs little introduction, spins his chair at a dizzying rate — chipping in his opinions every so often while he waits excitedly for a massive stack of pancakes soaked in butter and syrup to cool. You take the opportunity to lean over the table to snag a warm piece of buttered toast, which catches your little brother’s attention.

“Oh hey Dal-
-finally back from-
-the dragon’s den?”
Kiro squeaks in welcome, speaking every time his chair whirls back around to face you.

“What was so important-
-that Dad had to interrupt-
-our beauty sleep?”
He struggles to arrest his rotation, but his toes can’t quite reach the floor seated as he is on the human sized dining chairs.

“I think you said something-
-about your nightmares and tests-
-before I nodded off again, right?”
Well, this is getting old quickly. You reach out and catch the spinning Marrok, having to steady him too as he sways dizzily in the aftermath.

“Kehehe, thanks.” He giggles wheezily as he clings to you for support, “Was that it? A nightmare about our test today? Because if you didn’t hear, it’s been canned! We have the last two bells free!” He cheers.

You aren’t sure how best to reply, considering your Father’s standing orders regarding what you learned in your simulated dreams last night. On one hand, you trust Kiro implicitly and could really use some help both in putting to rights your muddled memories,as well as searching for answers regarding the mysterious entity Peedee. But on the other hand, any word of your search that somehow makes it back to the ship’s AI might cause trouble not only for you but anyone else caught in the crossfire. Even the thought of such a thing happening causes you to flinch guiltily, which doesn’t go unnoticed in such close proximity to your brother.
>>
>>5967083

Before he can confront you however, you are interrupted by a haughty sniff from over your shoulder.
“Don’t sound so cheerful about it, you lazy lizard.” EoN huffs, “You’re lucky, I have magnanimously decided to let you study more for our postponed examination as I have other matters to attend to today. I’ll expect your performance to be flawless for the extra practice afforded to you. ALL of you.” She glares meaningfully across the table to your other crew, who have obliviously continued their conversation thus far.

“Pshh, I’m always flawless!” Kiro grins cheekily, diverting the glowering owl’s attention back to the two of you.

“Hmmph, well see that you are.” Some of the heat leaves EoN’s tone and with her quota of melodramatic blustering for the morning filled, she sets her sights on the heart of the matter.

>Three Successes - EoN helps now.

“Come Dallas, hand me that sample you collected and let's be off to the science lab. The suspense is killing me and I won’t wait a moment more!” She holds out a wing-like arm, feathered palm upturned expectantly.

“Sample? Of what? Dal, you didn’t say Father gave you a sample. Is that what he called you in for?” Kiro asks again, eyes narrowing in confusion. Both FoZ and Coen also look over, their interest piqued as well.

You don’t know if you want to stay and explain (and actually have time to eat one of those delicious looking pancakes) or go with the increasingly impatient EoN immediately. You agonise over it for a few seconds and finally decide to:

>Give EoN the sample and allow her to go on ahead, it will take her time to set up her equipment anyway, just so long as she doesn’t alert the ship to where she got her research material. You’ll stay and explain, and eat.
>Grab a quick cup of coffee and snag a few items from the table here, before dashing off with EoN without further explaining yourself.
>Bring some or all of your crew, (and some food) with you to the lab so that you can bring them up to speed in a more secure environment. (Specific who and what.)
>Something different. (Write-in.)
>>
>>5967094
>Grab a quick cup of coffee and snag a few items from the table here, before dashing off with EoN without further explaining yourself.
This is a great opportunity to spend the day alone with the bird. The rules of sci-fi says we can't be a captain until we smooch at least one alien babe.
>>
>>5967094
>Give EoN the sample and allow her to go on ahead, it will take her time to set up her equipment anyway, just so long as she doesn’t alert the ship to where she got her research material. You’ll stay and explain, and eat.
>>
>>5967094
>Give EoN the sample and allow her to go on ahead, it will take her time to set up her equipment anyway, just so long as she doesn’t alert the ship to where she got her research material. You’ll stay and explain, and eat.
Steal Kiro's pancakes. He with the toughest palate prevails.
>>
>>5967094
>>Give EoN the sample and allow her to go on ahead, it will take her time to set up her equipment anyway, just so long as she doesn’t alert the ship to where she got her research material. You’ll stay and explain, and eat.
>>
>>5967083
>Grab a quick cup of coffee and snag a few items from the table here, before dashing off with EoN without further explaining yourself.

Yoink the peanut butter jar and pancakes.
>>
File: Engi Officer FoZ Profile.gif (226 KB, 1645x1055)
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>>5967094
>>5967098
>>5967230
>>5967254
>>5967651
>>5967883

>Give EoN the sample and allow her to go on ahead, it will take her time to set up her equipment anyway, just so long as she doesn’t alert the ship to where she got her research material. You’ll stay and explain, and eat.

“I don’t suppose I can convince you to sit down and eat with us first EoN?” You ask halfheartedly, but you already know the answer.

“Sample, Dallas, now.” Eyes-of-Night says in a dangerously sweet voice, her staring eyes black, unblinking voids. “I won’t ask you again.”

You shiver slightly and reluctantly hand over your coveted multi-tool full of grey goop. For all the rivalry the Tyllano woman has going on with the imposing wolf-like Cleo, EoN sure manages to imitate her predatory intimidation exceptionally well at times like these.

“Alright, why don’t you go prep it for analysis and I’ll catch up in a few minutes.” You concede.

She snatches it from with a deft flick of the wrist, and promptly turns on a taloned heel to stride away with her beak in the air. “Don’t dawdle,” She sniffs, “I won’t wait for you once I’m ready.”

“Don’t take any notes digitally!” You call out belatedly, but she’s already disappearing through the mess hatch, lost in the press of arriving officers keen for a meal. You sigh and look back to your companions, only to find them silently looking at you with expectation.
Well, nothing for it now. Best to strike while the food’s still hot.

“So what’s the special occasion? Seems like the Chef has magnanimously emptied the entire larder for our enjoyment today. That’s rarer than wyrm’s teeth!”
You quickly take a seat opposite Kiro and snatch up a piping hot pancake, tearing it in half to let it cool quicker.

“Hmm, I was just speaking with Navigation officer Cleo on the way over and it appears we are ahead of schedule.” FoZ informs you distractedly, “We will be leaving the system within the next twenty four hours and there is no room left in cryo for the perishable produce we have recently acquired. Hence the lavish affair.” He waves a feathered hand over the food before you, minus one pancake of course.

“Hey! No fair, those are mine.” You brother pouts, trying ineffectively to reach across and reclaim his stolen prize. “The butter needs to melt just right, you know that!”

“Sharing is caring, bud.” You quip genially, and take a bite of the fluffy, buttery morsel. “Ah, f- hot!”
You swallow quickly as your mouth stings painfully, burnt. Kiro just grins, shaking his head in exaggerated disappointment.
>>
File: Tac Officer Coen Profile.gif (161 KB, 1645x1055)
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>>5968811

“Yes, and speaking of sharing, Lieutenant Commander,” your ever formal and to the point Tac officer prompts, “will you be telling us about your interesting morning or not?” His expression remains impassive and you can’t tell if he actually cares or if he’d be just as happy returning to his datapad. Never easy to read that one.

Your other two officers nod, however — Kiro in enthusiastic anticipation and FoZ more contemplatively, the gears already turning behind his intelligent eyes. You’d best set things straight before the speculation begins, but where to start?

To buy time you turn your chair and reach for a carafe of coffee and a mug from the next table over, adding a generous helping of real milk to the dark liquid so as not to further damage your sore mouth. You give each of your crew a considering look in turn, idly stirring your beverage with a chunk of pancake. Finally, you reach up to your collar and unhook your Multi-Purpose Controller, placing the deactivated device on the table in front of you — your decision made.

“What I’m about to tell you needs to remain off the record.” You state in a calm and even manner, opting not to change your posture or lower your speaking volume significantly. The mess continues to fill with conversing gamma watch officers and the easiest way to attract eavesdroppers is to look like you have something to hide.
“It’s a matter of both operational security and a direct gag order from the Captain, but as my bridge crew I feel that I can trust you and I…” you hesitate, reluctant to admit your shortcomings, “I need your help making sense of it all in my head. No matter what Father says.”

You shift uncomfortably, staring down into the now crumb filled coffee to avoid eye-contact.

“If you are uncomfortable with that then feel free to leave or tell me to just shut up, I’ll understand.” You look back up somewhat abashed at the admission but see only concerned faces staring back. Somewhat relieved, you press on.
“I need to make sure the ship doesn’t know what I’m about to tell you, either.” You say, tapping the MPC on the table pointedly.

“The ship, sir?” Finder-of-Zephyrs cocks his head in confusion, looking back and forth between you, the controller and your other equally bemused officers.
“Do you mean to say that our communications are being monitored for certain keywords?”

You nod mutely, glad the reliably quick on the uptake Tyllano had cut right to the heart of the matter without you having to explain it. You are acutely aware that his every spoken word is being filtered through the network connected device on his collar and fed back out in Terran Protectorate Standard for you to hear.
>>
>>5968813

Three more MPCs soon join yours on the tabletop, their telltale green and red indicators dark, inert. Satisfied, you begin to explain your tale to the three curious men, hoping that they might offer some insight into the burning questions you have from the night before —
>5967883
— the jar of peanut butter serving as a convenient prop which you pocket for later use. Key item acquired — Promised Penuddbudder.

As you conclude your convoluted story of eccentric AI, a helpful child-like entity, loss of your Father’s trust and implant, and your covert search for information on the inner working of your family’s voidship, you ask each of your crew to lend their unique talents to your quest to fulfil your promises and find answers.

Some may have much more shared history with you than others, but after working with your team for so long, you have faith that they’ll be receptive to your plea despite your Father’s orders.

Please assign a SYNERGY value to Finder-of-Zephyrs and Coen La’fette.
Reminder that SYNERGY affects both your social relations with each crew member as well as how effectively they use their skills, abilities and traits to assist you and, to an extent, each other.
Remaining SYNERGY Values:
*Rank A+ (88%),
*Rank B+ (77%),
*Rank B- (73%),
*Rank C- (61%)


>FoZ: [Insert your vote Rank here]
>Coen: [Insert your vote Rank here]
>>
Remember we gotta save our other 88 for Cleo.
>>
>>5968820

>Spends all the synergy on waifus, gets steamrolled in combat scenarios due to lack of synergy in other areas.
>Surprised_pikachu.png
>>
>>5968821
We've got Cleo and Kiro, they're good.
>>
>>5968814
>Coen 73
>FoZ 61
Save 77 for Isobel, because I absolutely intend to spend synergy on waifus.
>>
>>5968832
sounds good to me, +1
>>
>>5968813
Coen 77.
FoZ 73.
>>
>>5968814
>FoZ: 77
>Coen: 61

Since our mystery has to do with the void core, I feel it's worth investing the 77 in FoZ.
>>
>>5968832
>>5968838
>>5968989
>>5969080
Looks like we're going with:
>Coen: 73
>Foz: 61

Can I get three people to 1d100 to get our crew's initial reaction.
One for Kiro, Coen and FoZ respectively.
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5970333
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5970333
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>5970333
>>
File: Dallas Synergy 3.gif (2.73 MB, 1237x677)
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>>5970337
>>5970357
>>5970400
>>5970333
>>5968814

SYNERGY Updated: [Finder-of-Zephyrs: 61% (Rank C-)]
SYNERGY Updated: [Coen La’afette: 73% (Rank B-)]


>Kiro rolls 54. Ready and raring to go as always.
>Coen rolls 93. Concerned and sceptical.
>FoZ rolls 72. Concerned but thoughtful.

“...so now Father has deactivated my implant and wants me to keep all of this to myself and just… conform to how things have always been done.” You explain in quiet exasperation, “But I know what I saw was real, at least in part, and now that my connection has been cut off I'm asking for your help to work this out manually.”

Your Tactical and Engineering officers stare at you in silent concern, still processing your request along with the wild tale of simulated nightmares and secrets lost to time. You nervously drain the last of your mug, more soggy crumbs than coffee at this point, as you wait for your crew’s judgement. It’s a lot that you’re asking them to take on faith, not to mention they’d be complicit in defying direct orders from the Captain just by helping you. And while you’ve taken precautions, you aren’t sure whether the Guardian AI will cause trouble for your friends just for knowing what you’ve now told them. What if they-

“Ssho when we ssshtartin’, Dal?” Kiro, almost unintelligible around a mouthful of pancake, interrupts your worried thoughts.

“What?” You blink, taken aback.

He gulps mightily and gasps for breath in his haste to speak.
“I said, ‘so when are we starting?’ Sounds like the sooner we find out where this new friend of yours is hiding, the better!” Your brother grins toothily, eyes bright with excitement at the promise of a mystery to solve. Kiro at least, has no qualms with supporting you — faithful as ever.

“Oh, well I was hoping we could look at some historical medical records or maybe trace what server her command code was being used from…” You glance over to FoZ to judge his reaction to that idea but find him in deep thought.
You consider repeating yourself, but the distractible avian appears to have entered one of his fugue-like states and you know getting through to him while he ponders is a futile endeavour. Coen however, despite not attending the academy with you and the rest of your crew, has always been more in sync with what you have in mind, though now he’s quick to voice his concerns.

“We are the first you’ve told all of this, correct?” He asks cooly, ”Not even the Captain knows?”

“He asked me not to share any details with him.” You nod in affirmation. “He’s networked into the ship with his implant too. With the AI on alert-”
>>
>>5971088

“Exactly, the AI is on alert because you’ve inadvertently triggered its firewall routines once already.” Coen continues curtly, “That’s the only fact from your story that you have physical evidence of.” Left unsaid is his opinion of your feeling of clarity concerning Peedee and the Trinity AI system.
“And yet you seem to think that immediately searching for signs of this ‘Peedee’ character won’t cause it to flag you and anyone helping you as acting anomalously, warranting further investigation?”

“Well it is quite old,” You hedge somewhat defensively, “It can hardly be everywhere at once, and as long as we dont access any restricted files or mention what we’re doing on comms it shouldn’t know what we’re doing.
“And despite what you’re implying Lieutenant,” You scowl, tone becoming more heated, “I know for a fact that there is a little girl somewhere aboard this ship who needs my help, who I promised I would help. I know what I saw in that simulation will help not only her, but our ship’s mission too and the billions of lives it touches.”

Before the cold-eyed Laedra man can respond, your Science officer finally rouses himself from his inner thoughts and interjects.
“But by your own admission, Dallas, your memory has been undermined,” He says slowly, one feathery finger stroking his beak in concentration. “While I believe that what you said about the Trinity AI subsystems being compromised fits with the observed decline of our vessel’s automated systems over the centuries, and also that the augmentation of this system with a replacement intelligence such as this ‘Peedee’ would restore much of it’s lost functionality, how can we be sure of that your personal experience last night was truly objective.”

You shiver, as a sense of deja vu washes over you. You recall that FoZ said more or less the same thing in the simulation last night too. Its ability to recreate your crew from templates, at least in some aspects, is unnervingly accurate.

“Hey, Dal isn’t crazy!” Kiro pipes up in your defence, “He might get a bit loopy from lack of sleep sometimes, but this isn’t what that looks like.”

“Thanks, Kiro. I apprec-”

“Yeah, like this one time in our dorm at the academy, he was so exhausted he just kept saying over and over that he had a crush on-”

“HAHA, YES. THANKYOU KIRO.” You reach across the table and stuff the last of the pancake stack in his yapping maw before he can say anything else ‘helpful’.
>>
>>5971093

“Well, regardless.” FoZ perseveres, “due to the intrusive nature of your experience last night, you might want to visit medical for a checkup. Or at least let Eyes-of-Night take a look at you discreetly if you think that might be an anomalous action.” He nods at Coen, acknowledging his earlier point. “She is trained as a medical assistant after all.”

“Assuming you haven’t caused her to be flagged as a security risk with whatever was in that sample you gave her, of course. Where exactly did you say it came from again? “ Coen states softly with an arched brow. “You were sure to warn her not to use any of her lab’s networked equipment, correct?”
Right…that. You leap to your feet, all thoughts of finishing breakfast banished by a surge of adrenaline.

“I should probably go check on her.” You reply hastily, only mildly panicking. “Please think about what I asked. I’ll need your help.”

“Not in escaping from the brig, I hope.” Coen comments dryly.

“Though that would be interesting too.” FoZ replies thoughtfully.

“Gottagobye!” You dash for the mess hatch, determined to reach the medical deck before EoN finishes setting up her equipment, and push your way past the crowd still filtering in.

“Mffph cmmphnn wffph woo!” Your Ops officer shouts something indecipherable, but chases after you — nimbly ducking between and sometimes under the press of bodies to keep up.

By the time you both reach the medical deck and enter the lab EoN uses for her science work you realise just how long you spent recounting your story. The Tyllano woman has already begun analysing the sample, the grey mass hovering in a brightly lit mass lock field surrounded by various scopes and magnifying equipment. Your Science officer herself looks wide eyed in shock at the readings and is making incoherent distressed hooting noises that increase in volume as you stand there catching your breath.

“Eww, is that snot?” Kiro asks, huffing slightly from the run.

“Oh thank the stars you’re here!” EoN screeches, finally noticing your arrival, “The nanites I injected into the sample to manipulate it are out of control! They’re systematically destroying it and refuse all my stop commands even when disconnected! They aren’t supposed to be able to do that!”

“Calm down, EoN.” You note her deployed vac suit and promptly activate your own for safety, nudging your brother to do the same. So protected, you rush forward to assist. “Tell us how we can help?”

“I’ll take all the hands I can get. We need to burn off the rampant nanites before there's nothing left to analyse!” Her squawks translate in a harried tone. “Here you two, take a laser scalpel and sync your visor feeds with my instruments!” She holds out a pair of shiny surgical lasers to you and Kiro in desperation.
>>
>>5971097

You suspect why the nanites, artech originally produced behind the sealed walls of the void core, are ignoring commands to cease destroying the sample but can’t help but feel relieved that this appears to be the extent of the ship’s retaliation to what it deems a security breach. At least you assume that's it, there’s certainly no security personnel rushing in behind you to slap EoN in cuffs.
Despite your yearning to discover more about the ship’s secrets, you can’t help but feel you may have jumped the gun here and that letting the sample be destroyed might be the best way to slow things down as your other crew suggested earlier.

What will you do?
>Explain to EoN that the ship’s AI has identified this experiment as a security risk and let it be destroyed. By the Book suggests this action. [No Consequences, Sample Lost, EoN Synergy-]
>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites. [Possible Consequences, Possible Sample Loss or Degradation]
>Attempt to override the nanites with your command implant. Option unavailable.
>Attempt to salvage the sample by isolating and extracting parts not yet contaminated. [Possible Consequences, Sample Degradation Assured, Possible EoN Synergy-]
>Something else? Write in.
>>
>>5971101
>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites. [Possible Consequences, Possible Sample Loss or Degradation]
>>
>>5971101
>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites. [Possible Consequences, Possible Sample Loss or Degradation]
>>
>>5971101
>>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites. [Possible Consequences, Possible Sample Loss or Degradation]
>>
>>5971101
>Attempt to salvage the sample by isolating and extracting parts not yet contaminated.
>>
>>5971101
>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites. [Possible Consequences, Possible Sample Loss or Degradation]
>>
>>5971101
>Attempt to salvage the sample by isolating and extracting parts not yet contaminated. [Possible Consequences, Sample Degradation Assured, Possible EoN Synergy-]
>>
File: Saving the Sample.gif (1.05 MB, 2160x1440)
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>>5971106
>>5971147
>>5971160
>>5971251
>>5971319
>>5971525

“Show us what to do, EoN.”
All too eager to help, especially when there are lasers involved, Kiro darts forward to snatch up the surgical tool and quickly begins lining up a shot at the floating sample.

“Wait, have you used one of these before?” The increasingly worried Tyllano asks belatedly.

“How hard can it be, just point and shoot right?” Kiro sticks out a forked tongue in concentration and begins to fiddle with the device’s settings.

“You need to brace yourself and use the joystick to adjust the aim.” Your Science officer quickly explains, “Just, wait for the targeting data, we don’t want to damage the sample any more than it already is! Dallas, what are you waiting for? Come help me!”

>Attempt to save the sample by helping EoN destroy the nanites.

Shaking yourself out of your indecision, you decide to do what you can to save the sample from both a jealous AI and your over-eager brother. You take up the scalpel (more of a high powered laser pointer with a handgrip than a knife, really) and link your uniform’s HUD to the room’s network.

The visor’s usual green prompts appear and you can’t help but compare them unfavourably to your no longer functioning implant. At least your helmet can’t scramble your memories, you suppose. Interestingly, some preliminary data from the sample is being highlighted by the newly connected scanner. Two microscopic forms are displayed, one a familiar TPN Nanite the other a more organic looking but strangely similar grey specimen.
You don’t have time to worry about that though, as you can see the black patches of nanites continuing to grow, slowly but steadily consuming the sample while replicating itself in a way that should not be possible.

“Synced up, let’s do this!” Kiro exclaims enthusiastically, leaning over the laboratory table with his new toy in a two handed pistol grip.

“Focus on the large patches to start with, the scalpel should be able to automatically track and target those sections as long as you hold steady!” EoN explains, no time for her usual bluster.

She puts action to words and your visor darkens as she and Kiro begin to chip away at the suspended sample with bright red beams.
>>
File: Target Sample 1.gif (6.18 MB, 2160x1440)
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>>5972921

Your devices finally synchronise with the lab scanner and a magnified view of the sample is projected on your HUD along with targeting data. You approach the bench and brace your laser scalpel, setting it to target the largest section of swirling nanites. By the Book: You remember the basics of how to operate the device from reading the manual for standard TPN medical kits back in the academy. And sure enough, you're able to quickly adjust the aperture to its cauterisation setting.

“It’s strange, whatever this sample is made from it isn’t giving up without a fight.” Your Science officer comments wearily, “In fact, I think if we are able to purge the majority of the nanites, it will do the rest of the work for us.”

Sure enough you can see in the magnified view that the sections of black and grey are not solid, but appear to be made of ever shifting battlelines. A losing battle for the sample without your intervention to be sure, but it ebbs and flows nonetheless. After a few long minutes, it becomes apparent that the auto-targeting routines alone will not win the war in your favour.

“We need to widen our burn pattern guys. We’ll run out of juice in these scalpels before we make any headway otherwise.” You look up briefly to say.

“I suppose you’re right,” EoN breathes a long hooting sigh, and quickly reevaluates, “I have the most experience using these tools so I’ll focus on the more delicate areas. Dallas, you seem to have yours on wide beam already so stick near the edge of the auto-targets zone. Kiro-” She eyes the blue Ops officer dubiously.

The lizard in question is busily twitching the laser’s joystick and you can see his eyes darting rapidly back and forth behind his visor trying to keep up with the shifting reticle on his HUD. This does not fill EoN’s voice with confidence.

“-just do you best to cover any areas we miss alright? Short. Bursts. Only!”

“You got it!” He squeaks absently, still lost concentration.

“Sounds like a plan.” You agree.
>>
File: Manual Targeting.png (374 KB, 1418x712)
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>>5972956


Rolls with a dice net are required to target and destroy the nanites attempting to devour the collected sample. Each of your crew can help save the sample but stray shots may degrade the sample’s integrity. (Current Integrity: +11)
A rolled number that is more than half filled with nanities will destroy that cluster. A rolled number that is more than half filled with sample will degrade the sample by 1. Rolling a number in the auto-targeting zone has no effect.

Eyes-of-Night:
*EoN’s Mind+ allows her to correct her aim by one along the edge of her rolled number (towards the nearest nanite cluster).
*EoN’s Medicine(M|S) skill allows her to use 3d20 per roll and has optimised her dice net for length.

Dallas Annon:
*Your Mind+ allows you to correct your aim by one along the edge of a rolled number (towards the nearest nanite cluster).
*You have no relevant skills.
*By-the-Book allows you to use 3d20 per roll and has optimised your dice net for height.

Kiro Skyeskal:
*Kiro’s Soul+ allows him to intuit where he’s needed and may manually target any nanite cluster.
(Requires (you) to place one of his d8 nets using transparent selection in MSPaint etc. when you roll.)
*Kiro has no relevant skills or traits and rolls 3d8 unmodified.

>You must state who you are rolling for before rolling the appropriate dice (and posting a manual targeting image if it's for Kiro.)
>One roll per player for now but we’ll keep going until all the nanite clusters are destroyed.
(Feel free to ask any questions, I know this is a bit different.)
>>
Rolled 9, 10, 9 = 28 (3d20)

>>5972962
Guess we'll start from the top with EoN's roll. And I suggest Kiro focuses on the small section bottom-right. If the templates can be rotated, we should use the bottom one.
>>
Rolled 13, 12, 5 = 30 (3d20)

>>5972962
Rolling for us!
>>
>>5972970
>If the templates can be rotated, we should use the bottom one.
Rotating is fine if you can manage it, just don't flip or resize.
>>
File: kiro go pew.png (291 KB, 1079x712)
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Rolled 4, 3, 6 = 13 (3d8)

>>5972962
Rolling for Kiro.
>>
File: Manual Targeting 2.png (381 KB, 1415x712)
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>>5972970
EoN:
>9, Hit.
>10, Modifies to 12, Miss, -1 Integrity (10).
>9, Modifies to 11, Hit.

>>5973015
Dallas:
>13, Hit.
>12, Hit.
>5, Modifies to 13, Already Hit.

>>5973095
Kiro:
>4, Hit.
>3, Hit.
>6, Hit.

Target feed updated.
>Continue procedure.
>>
Rolled 18, 9, 5 = 32 (3d20)

>>5973167
Rolling for EoN

>5, Modifies to 13, Already Hit.
Can only misses be modified, or can 13 be modified to 1?
>>
Rolled 7, 20, 16 = 43 (3d20)

>>5973167
Go Dallas go!
>>
>>5973173
>>5, Modifies to 13, Already Hit.
>Can only misses be modified, or can 13 be modified to 1?
Crosses over at edges so 5 can only modify to 13. A rolled 13 can modify to 1, though.
>>
Fun fact I found in the nets:

>Coober Pedy (a mining town that produces most of the world's opals) is named after the Aboriginal dialect name for it, Kupa Piti, meaning "White Guy in a Hole"
>>
File: kiro pew more.png (378 KB, 1415x712)
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Rolled 7, 6, 4 = 17 (3d8)

>>5973167
Rolling for Kiro again.
>>
File: Manual Targeting 3.png (383 KB, 1415x712)
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>>5973173
EoN:
>18, Hit.
>9, Modifies to 11, Already Hit.
>5, Hit.

>>5973174
Dallas:
>7, Hit.
>20, Hit.
>16, Modifies to 8, Hit.

>>5973461
Kiro:
>7, Miss, -1 Integrity (+9)
>6, Hit.
>4, Hit.

Target Feed Updated.
"We have removed 50% of the nanites, Sir. If I'm not mistaken (and I rarely am), we'll need to reach around 83% to tip the balance in favour of the sample."
>Keep up the good work.
>>
Rolled 18, 18, 20 = 56 (3d20)

>>5973465
>EoN
>>
Rolled 20, 18, 18 = 56 (3d20)

>>5973465
Dallas
>>
File: kiro round three.png (314 KB, 1079x712)
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Rolled 3, 6, 4 = 13 (3d8)

>>5973465
Rolling for Kiro.
>>
File: Manual Targeting 4.png (384 KB, 1413x718)
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>>5973529
EoN:
>18, Modified to 2, Hit.
>18, Modified to 2, Already Hit.
>20, Hit.

>>5973552
Dallas:
>20, Modified to 14, Hit.
>18, Modified to 5, Miss, -1 Integrity (+8)
>18, Modified to 5, Already Missed.

>>5973574
Kiro:
>3, Hit.
>6, Hit.
>4, Auto-Target Zone.

Target Feed Updated (58%).
"Kiro, How are you getting more done than Dallas and I? You've practiced with one of these before, haven't you you rascal!?"
EoN huffs, never one to be outdone especially in her own field. "Dallas, I think we've enough calibration data to improve our targeting parameters. Set your device to ignore completed zones!"

Rolling an already completed number will now allow EoN and Dallas to modify their result by 2 instead of 1. This doesn't apply to rolled misses.
>Home stretch.
>>
Rolled 4, 20, 5 = 29 (3d20)

>>5973620
Dallas
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 9 = 24 (3d20)

>>5973620
EoN
>>
File: Sample Stable.png (494 KB, 2160x1440)
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>>5973812
Dallas:
>4, Hit.
>20, Modified to 14, Hit.
>5, Modified to 13, Already Hit.

>>5973878
EoN:
>7, Modified to 1, Hit.
>8 , Modified(2) to 3, Hit.
>9, Modified(2) to 13, Hit.

Target Feed Updated (83%)

SAMPLE STABILISED.
Final Integrity: +8

"That's more like it. The nanites are being overwhelmed and the we only lost a small amount of viable material."

"We did it! Did you see all the stuff I zapped, Dal?!"

"Well, done eveyone."

>TBC...
>>
>>5972970
>>5973015
>>5973095
>>5973812
>>5973924

>Save the sample [Possible Degradation or Loss]
You breathe a sigh of relief as you and your crew watch the last of the black splotches within the sample shrink away to nothing — the viscous liquid returning to a homogenous, translucent grey once more. Your impromptu procedure was a great success and the sample is saved with only minor degradation.
Sample Status: Stable (Integrity +8)

Your Science officer attempts to hide her gleeful expression and return her usual facade of feigned indifference but a certain Marrok is making it very difficult for her to keep a straight face hopping around jubilantly as he is.

“We did it! We won with lasers!” Kiro exclaims, unable to contain his enthusiasm and nearly knocking over a rack of equipment with his wildly swishing tail.

“Y-yes, you both performed adequately for a pair of novices, I suppose.” EoN concedes, turning her head almost completely around backwards to avoid the knowing glance you shoot her way.

“Well, you know us; always happy to help fix your messes, EoN...” You grin, but the mirth quickly fades as you consider the floating mass being scanned once more.

>Save the sample [Possible Consequences]
Despite your success and the results of that will soon follow, you can’t help but feel a tingle of dread in the back of your mind. What further lengths would the ship’s Guardian AI go to to preserve its secrets if it was willing to risk a self replicating swarm of nanites just to destroy evidence. You can’t help but remember the initial reason you came rushing down here in such a hurry.

"EoN, did you isolate the scanner from the network before you began your analysis?” You ask hesitantly, already suspecting the answer. “You did hear me when I told you not to take any digital notes, right?”

The Tyllano turns back to you, cocking her head almost ninety degrees to the side in confusion.
“Whatever do you mean? Of course not, what if I were to lose my precious data? Why would you even ask me to do something so absurd.”

“It’s a long story…”

You hesitate to say more until you rectify the eavesdropping AI situation but some amount of damage must have inevitably been done. You just hope this little stunt hasn’t put you back on the ship’s metaphorical radar again or else you might not sleep soundly every again.
>>
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>>5974526

Your unprotected analysis of proprietary TPN material has drawn the attention of the Trinity AI. Each time this occurs there is a chance that one of the subsystems will take notice of you and react accordingly. Due to the unbalanced and decrepit nature of the AI system, this will most likely be Guard.

>Roll 1d20 to determine the AI’s reaction to your actions.
>Modify the sector rolled by one to either side per trait level: [Part of the Ship, Part of the Crew(2)] (Implant Offline - Feature Unavailable)
*Results:
=Roll Unlit Sector: AI subsystem notices you. Sector becomes lit for next time.
=Roll Lit Segment: AI subsystem acts. 1d4 corresponding lit sectors become unlit.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d20)

>>5974533
ez
>>
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>>5974535
>>5974533

>5
Guard will remember this. [Chance of Consequences 5%->10%]

The prickling feeling of being watched doesn't ease, but without your command implant active you have little way to verify if the Guardian AI is bearing down on you. Perhaps that's a good thing in terms of your sanity, but you'd rather be forewarned than ignorant any day.

"Well, this analysis might take some time, especially if I have to implement a local only backup." EoN sniffs, "The least you can do is explain yourself."

This is going to be a long day..."

===================================

A/N:
We're nearing the end of page 10 so I'll call the thread here. I'll post the new one in a few days and we'll pick up right where we left off.

Thanks everyone for reading. If you have any feedback or comments, I'd welcome them. Either here, in /qtg/ or over at the /qst/ discord.

Also, don't forget to vote for Kiro as best boy! Suggestions for fun art for the competition would be good too.
>>
>>5974776
Also, archived:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5940353/

If you feel like voting for that too.
>>
>>5974776
Thanks for running!
>>
>>5974776
Thanks for running, QM.



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