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File: CLEANER.jpg (77 KB, 762x762)
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Your name? Nicole Smith. Occupation? Cleaner, a deniable asset used by massive megacorporations called the Alphabet Companies and anyone else willing to pay you to do a job for them. Such as your Handler, the person giving you the jobs and making sure you can feed yourself at the end of the day.

Which is good. Since not a lot of jobs are willing to hire a schizophrenic woman with anomalous abilities and four voices constantly screaming in her head. You make do, however. After all, how else are you going to survive in the City? You either find a job and do what you need to in order to survive or you die in the endless, twisting streets of the biggest City humanity has ever built (or may ever build).

The last few missions you've been on have been wild but manageable so far. You first managed to rectify a payment oversight with a casino your Handler was sponsoring without having to kill anyone or rob the place blind. In the process, you manage to make friends with two of their employees and managed to save the business from the owner's sheer incompetence in running a casino.

You also managed to kill a Silver Agent and stopped a Cleaner named Ashton from hunting you by calling off the bounty on you. While Ashton may still be a threat later, you managed to get some interesting information out of the fed and the man in the TV who speaks to you. Yes, you talk to your TV, he gives you valuable information. Don't question it.

You're almost finished with your latest mission, which is helping X-Corp (a militaristic Alphabet Company assigned with protecting the City from outside threats) get new recruits. After interrogating a Silver Agent they had locked and finding out their main issue with training recruits, you went through a hellish course with Kiara and bonded as allies in the process.

Now, you're busy showing off your anomalous powers by going through the mental training course. All in all, your life has been busy as hell and you're ready for it to all wind down for a moment. Though, is that possible? Or will it be endless jobs until you're crushed under the weight of the Powers that Be in this City?

One day. You'll get what you want. Somewhere safe with your friends. Nobody to hunt you down. No horrible jobs to grind you into the dirt. No need to consume copious drugs and stitch your body back together just to keep your mind and body half way stable. Someday.

Perhaps one day, you'll be a shining Star of the City that people will revere and respect. But for now? You're just Nicole.

ARCHIVE: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Cleaner
PASTEBINS:
MAIN CHARACTER SHEET (has your stats + perks, inventory, and abilities): https://pastebin.com/3y638TfK
ALLIES (contains their stats, abilities, recruitment costs, and RAPPORT): https://pastebin.com/8gdVZBPe
MECHANICS (contains the explanation of stats, how stat checks work, and some other minor rules): https://pastebin.com/A9nLYWP6
>>
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Okay. You can do this. You're only being forced to use your psychic powers, which you hardly understand yourself, under pressure. Or should you use anomalous instead of psychic? Is there a difference-

You swear you heard a footstep approaching you. You don't got time to dick around. Okay. Deep breath. With swift, precise motions you pull out the CACHE MAP and DAMAGED MAP from your inventory. Focus. You just need a way to see through the smoke. You spread them across the floor while scanning through them. How different is this building compared to the ones here, right?

Sparks of multi-colored light fly from the corners of your eyes as you try to strain your brain to see past the fog. Shit, this isn't working. This isn't working. You're only straining your head. You need something to push you over the edge. You don't want to do this but fuck it! With a bit of telekinetic help, you toss an UNMARKED VIAL into your hand and down it in one go.

It's thick, mushy, reminds you of curled milk that's been out in the sun for too long. As you force the liquid down your throat, it burns your tongue and throat and for a moment, you swear your teeth were going to melt if you didn't swallow it as quickly as you did.

You cough blood onto the floor below. FUCK. Yet as quickly as you did that, you feel your mouth patch itself up.
>-1 MAX FLESH UNTIL YOU REST OR UVX REGENERATES IT. FLESH DAMAGE NEGATED BY REGENERATION

Your head immediately explodes into the worst cluster headache you've ever experienced. Your body gives up on you as you send yourself reeling to the floor, a thick foam tinted green from the A-Energy in the vial oozing out of your mouth. It hurts to even think, let alone do anything else.
>-1 RESTRAINT, -1 COGIZANCE AND -1 MAX RESTRAINT UNTIL YOU REST or UVX REGENERATES THE LOSTSTATS

Through sheer force of will, you force yourself into a crawling position to be able to read the maps. Then it clicks almost immediately. Through pain, it all makes sense now. Your vision twists on itself as you see...something you didn't quite expect. It's hard to explain even to yourself.

Around you, the layout of the room is laid out in a bright yellow hue that's visible even through the haze. Everything inside of the room is clear as day to you. The room you're in is small, cramped, probably only enough to hold the three people inside comfortably.

There's a desk to the north of you, a chair a few feet away from that, two shelves with lit incense candles on them, and the padded section of floor you're on. It's all highlighted in this weird yellow hue that makes it impossible to NOT notice these nearby objects.

That and you notice that there's a hidden safe underneath the padded section of floor. Somehow, a whisper in your mind tells you the code to it and that there's a non-lethal sensor installed. You lift up the padded mat you're sitting on and with some quick hand movements, you pry the safe open and pull what's inside of it.
>>
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A slip of paper reading "EX".

You pocket it for now, noticing a beep coming from the desk. Interesting. The room can't be any bigger than 130 square feet so it's clear he can't be THAT hidden in here. Now, you can only see the layout of the room but there's only two hiding spots you can see. Behind the desk and behind one of the shelves.

You doubt he's at the desk so, picking randomly, you decide to go with the right shelf. Right is right.

You lunge forward with vicious intent. As you do so, you swear you saw the smoke in the room swirling around your arm as you did so, clearing your vision just enough to see the shocked look on Sebastian's face. For a moment, your vision shifts. You see...yourself, foam still dripping from your mouth and a crazed smile on your face. Lunging towards you. You can see the shocked look on your face as you process this vision, are you seeing through his eyes-

Before you have time to process it, your vision clears as you grab him by the collar and pull him over with your MECHANICAL ARMSLEEVE improved grip. The smoke clears the moment you do so.

"H-huh." <"My head feels funny. I swore I was...lunging at myself? How does that work?> he's clearly shaken by whatever you just did. The two of you just stare awkwardly at each other while Kiara stops mid-repair. She seems to be doing better, at least.
>KIARA FLESH: 2/3!

You take a moment to process what just happened. Huh. You look over at Kiara and with some effort, you focus...and for a moment, you see yourself and Sebastian standing nearby one of the nearby shelves. Your vision is tinted with a weird light cyan hue to it, like you're looking through a security camera instead of human eyes. Then your vision returns back to normal.

The awkward silence lingers as everyone in the room stares at everyone else. You pull out the slip of paper and hand it to Sebastian. He takes it.

ONE MAIN POWER AND ONE SIDEPOWER UNLOCKED!
>WHISPERS OF THE CITY (FREE/1): The City whispers to you and you shall listen to it. You will passively gain more loot when exploring abandoned buildings or when searching through your supply cache. You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to gain the layout of the room you're currently in and a rough layout of the adjacent rooms. Most safes, passages, or other hidden knickknacks in the room will be revealed to you and you'll get a +2d6 COGNIZANCE modifier to figuring out how to open them.
>SIGHTJACKING (MIND READ SIDEPOWER, 1 RESTRAINT): For 1 RESTRAINT, you may attempt a DC 18 (modified by target's mental resistance) WILLPOWER check to temporarily see through the eyes of another person within a small radius around you. In addition to seeing what they're going and doing, you'll get a solid glimpse at their inventory and what special abilities they have.
>TELEKINESIS, PUPPETEERING, and MIND READ have also been temporarily boosted by UNMARKED VIAL! Those abilities will be listed later.

"Well!" Sebastian claps. "You found me! And the EX paper! N-nice!"
>>
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<"She scares me she fucking scares me let's get her out of her ASAP!"> "L-let's get you through your next course! Where do you want to go next?" There's a palpable buzz of fear and, at the same time, morbid excitement in his voice. Like he's staring not at a human but something exotic, feral. An abnormality even. But you're not an anomaly. You're a human, just like everyone else, right?

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Then why does no one have your powers? The only things with similar powers are anomalies and that one half corroded anomaly...or PARADIGM user?
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Would it change anything whether you were a human or not? They would still kill you for meddling with their plans.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Should you even care? The City welcomes all. The City NEEDS people and without it, what is she but useless buildings and forgotten stories?
[UNSTABLE] THEY WOULD FEAR US. WE NEED TO BE FEARED. THAT'S HOW WE'RE PROTECTED, NICOLE.

Your legs give out beneath you again. Kiara immediately rushes to pick you up. "Woah, woah, uh." She wipes at the foam still dripping from your mouth. "Yeah! Humans are, uh, weird sometimes right? Haha!" She pats you on the back while forcing you back into a standing position.

"R-right. O-oh, yeah, about the EX papers. For every one you find hidden in the course, y-you get a nice reward at the end! I-Isn't that fun!" He tries to keep his up energetic façade but it's clear he's wary of you now.

What's your second and final course? As you try to think of what to pick, you swear you see a brief vision of your two other allies, the two Company Reps, and Alex stomping over to the building you're in. You imagine that they'll barge in once the second course is underway if you don't delay them
>"MIND INTO REALITY. HOW TO MANIFEST USEFUL MENTAL CONSTRUCTS TO HELP YOU IN THE REAL WORLD!"
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
>"UNSHACKLING FROM THE PHYSICAL WORLD. HOW TO FLY FREE AND TO HAVE NO BAGGAGE HOLDING YOU DOWN!"
>"MIND OVER BODY. HOW TO POWER THROUGH EVEN THE WORST PHYSICAL ALIMENTS AND PAIN! YOUR BODY IS YOURS TO CONTROL!"

Do you tell Kiara to delay them?
>YES. You rather not horrify them, thanks.
>NO. LET'S SHOW OFF OUR PSIONIC MIGHT TO THEM.

UPGRADED POWER DESCRIPTIONS. ONCE UNMARKED VIAL WEARS OFF, YOU CAN PICK ONE TO KEEP.
>TELEKINESIS: You can now pick up large items (Around the size of a car) with the same ease as other objects. You also roll 2+WILLPOWER+VIOELNCE when throwing objects at people.
>PUPPETEER: You can use your puppeteering to help allies in a snag. You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to give an ally +2d8 to any attack, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll they make. Can only be used once per check.
>MIND READ: You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to analyze the stats and abilities of an enemy or ally. In addition, your MIND RADAR will be more accurate and detailed about what targets it detects when you use it.

Back to the grind.
>>
>>5944289
>"MIND OVER BODY. HOW TO POWER THROUGH EVEN THE WORST PHYSICAL ALIMENTS AND PAIN! YOUR BODY IS YOURS TO CONTROL!"
This could help us save people or ourselves if we're in deep shit
>NO. LET'S SHOW OFF OUR PSIONIC MIGHT TO THEM.
Duh!

And welcome back QM
>>
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
>NO. LET'S SHOW OFF OUR PSIONIC MIGHT TO THEM.

>MIND READ: You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to analyze the stats and abilities of an enemy or ally. In addition, your MIND RADAR will be more accurate and detailed about what targets it detects when you use it.
>>
>>5944289
Oh we pick a power to keep too? Sweet
>MIND READ: You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to analyze the stats and abilities of an enemy or ally. In addition, your MIND RADAR will be more accurate and detailed about what targets it detects when you use it.
Our trump card. Only Ashley knows we have it, and maybe Kiara knows about the radar bit but not the mind read
>>
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>>5944322
Eh, I was intending on saving that vote for later but fuck it, yeah. Vote for one of the listed upgrades to keep as well, anyone who votes. You'll have all three boosts applied until the UNMARKED VIAL wears off.
>>
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
>YES. You rather not horrify them, thanks.
>TELEKINESIS: You can now pick up large items (Around the size of a car) with the same ease as other objects. You also roll 2+WILLPOWER+VIOELNCE when throwing objects at people.
>>
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."

>NO. LET'S SHOW OFF OUR PSIONIC MIGHT TO THEM.

>MIND READ: You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to analyze the stats and abilities of an enemy or ally. In addition, your MIND RADAR will be more accurate and detailed about what targets it detects when you use it.
>>
>>5944368
+1
>>
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
Useful vs schizovisions?
>YES. You rather not horrify them, thanks.
>TELEKINESIS: You can now pick up large items (Around the size of a car) with the same ease as other objects. You also roll 2+WILLPOWER+VIOELNCE when throwing objects at people.
>>
>>5944436
Change
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
>YES. You rather not horrify them, thanks.
>TELEKINESIS: You can now pick up large items (Around the size of a car) with the same ease as other objects. You also roll 2+WILLPOWER+VIOELNCE when throwing objects at people.
>>
>>5944289
>"FOCUS AT ANY COST. HOW TO KEEP A LEVEL HEAD EVEN WHEN REALITY ITSELF FAILS YOU."
>YES. You rather not horrify them, thanks.
>MIND READ: You may spend 1 RESTRAINT to analyze the stats and abilities of an enemy or ally. In addition, your MIND RADAR will be more accurate and detailed about what targets it detects when you use it.
>>
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Locking in.

COURSE TO DO:
MIND OVER BODY: IkB
FOCUS: EVERYONE ELSE

DELAY OR NAH?:
YES: QKD, 6Tc, GQc, Cp5, GWO
NO: IkB, ykw

WHAT TO UPGRADE
MIND READ: ykw, ikB, GWO
TELEKINESIS: QKD, GQc, Cp5, 6Tc

So, FOCUS AT ANY COST + DELAY + TELEKINESIS UPGRADE is what wins. Let's see how you handle this course. Writing.
>>
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"Kiara." You force your throat to spit out your android friend's name. "People coming. Don't want to see me like this." A part of you DOES want to show your might off to them but frankly, it looks like you have rabies at the moment. Best to wind down from everything before you talk to them.

Kiara quickly nods her head. After making sure you can stand on your own, she rushes outside of the MENTAL COURSE BUILDING. That should buy you enough time to deal with whatever new powers you get and-

Lord above. Your head is SCREAMING! A pressure is building around the top of your head that, with every passing second, is building up more and more pressure. Feels like at any second, something is going to burst out of your head.
>-1 RESTRAINT, -1 FLESH. UVX AND UNMARKED VIAL ARE INTERACTING IN A WEIRD WAY. SOMETHING WEIRD IS HAPPENING TO YOUR BODY.

It takes you a moment to realize that the pain in your leg is gone. Neat. One horrid pain for another. Fair trade you suppose.
>TORN LIGMENT REPAIRED! +1 FLESH!
>FLESH: 3/4. RESTRAINT: 4/8.

"O-okay!" Your hands barely respond to your attempts to move them but you manage to force a clap. "L-let's do the focus on, Mr. Sebastian!" You manage to say that without slurring it so you feel like you achieved something today. Well, you suppose you already did a LOT today, but that's besides the point.

He proceeds to the second door inside the small lobby area you two stumbled out of without saying a single word. Okay. Yeah. You don't blame him. You force yourself to limp after him as you struggle to regain control of your body. He holds the door open and ushers you into the room before closing it behind you.

In stark contrast to the other room, this room is brightly illuminated in the sickly white glow of fluorescent tube lights. The faint buzz coming from them almost brings you some measure of peace from your body trying to handle the A-Energy it had to consume. The only object in the room is a plastic chair that seems remarkably uncomfortable to sit in. At the back, there's a reinforced airlock with a keypad next to it. Sebastian is standing right next to it, waiting for you to sit down.

With no other option, you do. Once you do, Sebastian clears his throat before addressing you with a stern look on his face. "I'll cut the showman act now. We both know that I'm nowhere near your level. Hell, no one here is. This is probably the first time one of our courses has manifested that kind of potential in someone."

"Then why-" You try to speak up but he immediately shushes you with a sharp "SHH!".

"We've done a more successful run of these tests before but it involved a mixture of P-Company, Z-Company, and C-Company chemicals and products to induce. We wanted to see if you could bring out latent potential without those things." He clicks his tongue. "But now? Well, you're a willing test subject. We'll use the data you provide to adjust our course to provide more satisfying results."
>>
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It's like he's a completely different man now. No longer does he yells at the top of his lungs or ramble with an ecstatic, buzzing energy. If it wasn't for the purple robe he was wearing, you would think he was a scientist or researcher. "Are you willing to help us?"

You don't really have an option here. Well, you do, but you DO want to finish the courses and you rather not piss off a military base full of people while you're inside one. You nod. "Yeah. Not like I got a choice."

"Excellent." Sebastian returns an oddly bright smile despite his obvious wariness to you. <"Good. No need for reinforcements."> He taps some sort of code into the keypad. Once the airlock opens, he immediately rushes it and just as quickly as he entered, it shuts close. You're now left alone in a brightly lit, empty room with nothing to do but to try to not pass out from the pain you're feeling.

Huh.

Only now do you realize there's an intercom speaker in one of the corners of the room. "The goal of this course is to find a way to keep your focus, regardless of what happens to you." Sebastian's voice drones out of the speaker. "To aid in this, a hallucinogen will be pumped into this room. I wouldn't bother holding your breath, it soaks into your skin."

[PERSON OF INTEREST] You immediately knock the chair over and move to put on a gas mas-

Before you can even move, your vision fails.

...

...

https://youtu.be/ABCwX_ERUmw - THE PATH

Nicole is on a path in the woods. And at the end of that path is a cabin. And in the basement of that cabin, someone is waiting for her. She is here to talk to this person. Her goal is to find out every dirty secret they have. Then she slays them. If she doesn't, she'll die. Simple, right?

"W-wait." Nicole hisses to herself. "Where am I?" She flexes her hands. She doesn't quite know what's going on. For some unexplainable reason, she feels like she's detached from herself. Of course, no one responds to her, since she is alone out here. Not even the thoughts in her head are responding to her.

Of course, it's very obvious where she is. She's in the woods. Where else would she be? She can't quite remember anything BEFORE the woods. All she knows it that her head is oddly quiet.

Now, what does Nicole do?

>Follow the path.
>Disregard the goal and turn around, walking away from the cabin. "I'm not doing this."
>She tries to remember how she got here. (COGNIZANCE DC: 11, rolling 4d6. Pass and she'll get some of her memories back.)
>"Hello? Voices? Where are you?" She tries to bring a voice back. Foolish, really. (WILLPOWER DC: 21, rolling 6d6. Succeed and one of them will return, willing to offer her advice in this weird situation.)
>Sit and wait. There's no real reason to go anywhere, right? Something about that goal she was given sounds fishy.
>She tries to use a power. That's the only thing she has access to right now... (Write in how she wants to use her powers.)
>Write in.
>>
>>5945065
>She tries to remember how she got here. (COGNIZANCE DC: 11, rolling 4d6. Pass and she'll get some of her memories back.)
QM should actually play StS more and finish it properly at least once before reading the certain hit crossover fanfic, then being unable to hold himself back from giving it a spin in his own quest writing.
>>
>>5945065
>"Hello? Voices? Where are you?" She tries to bring a voice back. Foolish, really. (WILLPOWER DC: 21, rolling 6d6. Succeed and one of them will return, willing to offer her advice in this weird situation.)
>>
>>5945065
>Nicole is on a path in the woods. And at the end of that path is a cabin. And in the basement of that cabin, someone is waiting for her. She is here to talk to this person. Her goal is to find out every dirty secret they have. Then she slays them. If she doesn't, she'll die. Simple, right?
>"W-wait." Nicole hisses to herself. "Where am I?" She flexes her hands. She doesn't quite know what's going on. For some unexplainable reason, she feels like she's detached from herself. Of course, no one responds to her, since she is alone out here. Not even the thoughts in her head are responding to her.
>Of course, it's very obvious where she is. She's in the woods. Where else would she be? She can't quite remember anything BEFORE the woods. All she knows it that her head is oddly quiet.
>Now, what does Nicole do?

Is that a Slay the Princess reference?

>"Hello? Voices? Where are you?" She tries to bring a voice back. Foolish, really. (WILLPOWER DC: 21, rolling 6d6. Succeed and one of them will return, willing to offer her advice in this weird situation.)

Yeah 100% this is a Slay the Princess reference.
>>
>>5945192
It's because of this masterpiece in progress
https://archiveofourown.org/works/51760693
>>
>>5945065
>"Hello? Voices? Where are you?" She tries to bring a voice back. Foolish, really. (WILLPOWER DC: 21, rolling 6d6. Succeed and one of them will return, willing to offer her advice in this weird situation.)
>>
>>5945065
>>She tries to remember how she got here. (COGNIZANCE DC: 11, rolling 4d6. Pass and she'll get some of her memories back.)
>>
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Aight. Two anons, roll 3d6. If the total of both equals 21, you win. You may reroll two dice rolled (but only once).
Let's see how you do.
>>5945301
I'll be honest, the fanfic was the last thing on my mind when writing the last update. It's a good read but that's besides the point.
>>
Rolled 2, 5, 4 = 11 (3d6)

>>5945647
Good writers recognize good writing. Real recognizes real. What can I say?
>>
Rolled 6, 3, 2 = 11 (3d6)

>>
Rolled 3 (1d3)

>>5945655
>>5945677
22. Barely passes. Rolling to see what voice you'll get, then writing. (Don't worry about it being a 1d3.)
>>
Dice+3d6
>>
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"Hello?" Nicole yells out. She feels like she shouldn't be THIS alone out here. In the woods. Yet that's a silly thing to worry about when there is a MONSTER to SLAY, isn't there? "Voices? I k-know I had them! Where are you?" She continues to yell out. The only noise she hears is the caw of nearby crows and the rustling of small animals through the wildlife-

>22

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Nicole. This isn't real. You're not in the woods. This is some Silver Agent style tomfuckery. Listen to me.

The fuck is a Silver Agent? You can't remember much of anything but you feel like that's important- Wait. You?

Huh? You look around. You're still in the Woods but now, you actually feel like you're...here? Before now, it was like some weird narrator was describing your actions. Best not to dwell on that.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Yeah. I don't like this either. But we're stuck here. Turn around.
[POI] Actually, first, let's condense that name a bit. I'm going to be talking a lot. We'll return back to full length later.

You do so. You notice how there's nothing there. Not in the sense of nothing of interest, it's nothing as in 'there's literally a void about fifteen feet away from where you're standing'. You rather not fuck with a void so you step as far away from it as possible.

"Well shit. What am I supposed to do, then?" You mutter to yourself. No need to hold pretenses when you're by yourself. "C'mon. Talk to me here." You feel silly doing this. You're talking to yourself. In the middle of the Woods.

[POI] We have to go to the cabin it seems. You're not supposed to be here and this place isn't real but we're on a script. I don't like it anymore than you do.

You pinch yourself. It feels real enough to you so you have no idea what the voice is on about but, well, something about what it is saying sounds true. "Then how did I get here?"

[POI] That's the thing. I don't know. Last I remembered, we blacked out and awoke here. Then some annoying narrator started talking. Then you heard me. Now we're here.

"How helpful." You hiss under your breath. With no other option, you head down the path. The cold air at your heels. You notice that you're wearing a bright orange bomber jacket. Weird, you feel like that's familiar for some reason. No time to think about it. You feel like you shouldn't be loitering here.

https://youtu.be/19Ftb8p1l5U - THEIR CABIN

You are now in front of the Cabin. At least you assume it's supposed to be the Cabin. A massive blocky structure made out of twisted metal and wood stands before you. Spiky protrusions leaking a foul, darkly colored slime the walls of it. The top of the cabin seemingly stretches on forever into the sky in a twisting spiral of metal and wood. Every few seconds, the walls of the cabin sink in before pushing back out, as if the cabin was alive and breathing.

No windows show you what's inside of it. The only thing remotely normal about the cabin is the wooden front door.
>>
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It's only now that you realize that everything nearby is soaked in a monochrome hue of greys, blacks, and whites. The only colors that break that is your jacket so far.

[POI] I know who has to be in there. I recognize his presence anywhere. Don't you?

"N-No? Who?"

[POI] Well, he, her. I suppose it depends how you perceive him. We have to talk to them regardless. Carry on.

You take a deep breath. With hesitant steps, you head to the front door of the cabin and throw it open. The inside of the cabin isn't much better than the outside. A thick layer of that same slime coats the walls and floors, preventing you from really making out any details of the room you're in. The only unslimed objects are a table, the door to the basement, and a mirror.

On the table is a pristine...shotgun? It looks more like what a child would draw if you told them to draw a shotgun. Barely looks like it's even real. You grab it anyways. Best not to go down there unarmed.
>PRISTINE SHOTGUN ACQUIRED. Only has one slug in it. Make it count.

Looking at the mirror...you see yourself. Short and messy hair, a wiry frame that's showing some signs of getting thicker with muscle, jeans, leather boots, the bomber jacket, and a pair of pink eyes staring back at a the young woman in the mirror.

[POI] You should have some shades to hide those. Must've not been brought over. Tsk. You have to hide those eyes, Nicole. I don't care how.

"How else am I going to see, jackass?" You hiss.

[POI] Point is, you're still normal looking. You're still yourself. That's good. Keep that image of yourself in the back of your head. Don't forget it.
[POI] You'll need every advantage you can to make it out of here.

Before you have time to respond, the SMELL of the slime around you hits you. It smells like curled milk, moldy fruits and mint in here. Not a good combination of smells. It's starting to seep into your boots and god this is repulsive. You immediately kick open the basement door and head down.

The staircase is slick with even more slime. Every step is like trying to wade through a quagmire. A few clean paths on the stairs tells you that the staircase is supposed to be made out of some kind of strong, reinforced metal.

[POI] If you want some advice, listen to me. Be very careful how you use that shotgun. Once you use it, it's nothing more than a worthless hunk of plastic.
[POI] Make sure you're certain on what target you use it on.

"NICOLE. WELCOME HOME." A booming voice echoes from the bottom. "I WAS BORED OF WAITING HERE."

That voice sounds familiar. You immediately rush down the stairs to see who it is, well, as fast as you can rush down it without breaking your legs. Once you arrive at the bottom, you see that you're in a very small basement made out of the same reinforced metal as the stairs. A thin layer of slime has coated every possible inch of the room.

At the back, a figure is chained to the wall by a thick iron collar around their neck.
>>
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https://youtu.be/TSjmLfdw_qo - THEM

It's you.

Well, not exactly you but it looks close enough to fool anyone at first glance. Young woman, same outfit, same wiry frame. But there's a few things about her that look WRONG.

Her mouth is filled with a set of razor sharp teeth. Her eyes keep darting around, sparkles of bright blues, greens, and pink light flickering in the corner of her eyes. Her clothing is covered in scratches and holes, barely covering up her body. Two weird growths, almost like horns, are spouting from the top of her head.

It's more like staring at an animal in a human body than anything. It's like staring at...Someone UNSTABLE.

"LOOK. NICOLE." UNSTABLE stares back at you with a wicked smirk. "THEY WANT YOU TO KILL ME. ISN'T THAT FUNNY? THEY HAD TO CHAIN ME HERE."

"W-what?" You can't quite process what's going on here. Why is there another version of you chained to the wall? Why does she look like that? Why are you HERE?

"SOMETHING ABOUT ME BEING A THREAT. BUT I'M NOT A THREAT, NICOLE. YOU NEED ME AFTER ALL." UNSTABLE struggles with the chain around her neck. She wants out. Badly. "SO BE A PAL AND BLOW THIS COLLAR OFF. HOW ABOUT THAT?"

[POI] I'm conflicted. On one hand, she is you. And we don't deserve to be trapped. On the other, fucking look at her.
[POI] She's been a threat to everything we've done since you existed. She's the reason they're after us.

"C'MON. I DOUBT WE CAN STAY HERE FOREVER." That smile it gives you is boiling your blood. It shouldn't have your face. "I'VE BEEN WITH YOU SINCE THE START. DON'T YOU OWN ME THIS MUCH? Don't you?" Her voice trails off at the end.

You take a deep breath. Fuck, what do you even do in this situation? You feel like whatever you do to her is important. But only to you, no one else.

>It is you. And you don't deserve to be trapped. Blow the collar off. Free her.
>It is you. But a fake you. A horrible you. Aim your shotgun at her and blow her head off.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Throw your shotgun away. You're going to TALK to her before you THINK about doing anything else. (You may write in any number of questions or statements to say/ask of her.)
>Keep your shotgun close to you but step closer to her. You're not doing anything until you can see you can trust her.
>Throw the shotgun away. Walk to her. Hug her. You don't know but you feel like she deserves it.
>...There may be another option. Raise the shotgun to your own chin. Pull it. See what happens.
>Write in.

>>5945682
To roll dice, you put it into options in the posting box thing. Just to clarify for later.
>>
>>5945717
>Throw the shotgun away. Walk to her. Hug her. You don't know but you feel like she deserves it.
>”You and me have been their for each other this whole time. I am not about to change that”

I’m in the mood to embrace Schizo. Also thanks, next time I’ll do that right.
>>
>>5945717
>Throw the shotgun away. Walk to her. Hug her. You don't know but you feel like she deserves it.
She likely exists because we've had a shit life.
>>
>>5945717
>She's been a threat to everything we've done since you existed. She's the reason they're after us.
Hold the phone. What did she mean by this?
>She is here to talk to this person. Her goal is to find out every dirty secret they have.
But it's herself?
>[UNSTABLE PSYCHE]
>Your mind has cracks in it and it shows. As your Restraint gets lower, your perception of the world starts decaying, the more unstable your abilities will become, and you might just totally lose control over yourself. Try to keep your head on straight.

>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Throw your shotgun away. You're going to TALK to her before you THINK about doing anything else. (You may write in any number of questions or statements to say/ask of her.)
"Was I born like this, or did some gene get switched on somewhere along the way? Or did I become like this from something else one day?"
"The weird anomalous powers I have and whatever you represent in me, they're not the same are they?"
Then backing >>5945731

I wonder how this all began? There has to be some reason since the medication works at all with UNSTABLE. If it were Nicole herself as she is, self-deluded or otherwise, then the medication would accomplish nothing because she's already completely there. What's the goal then? What do we want to do here? UNSTABLE did help out at times, but can also self-sabotage like anybody can do to themselves. If she's a non-foreign part of Nicole that simply behaves like a Disco Elysium voice character, then it stands to reason she can simply reabsorb or balance UNSTABLE out. Becomes less unstable and more stable crazy as needed or wanted. Masks are still part of people. Maybe this is happening because Nicole's still wearing New You, which is a PARADIGM. That combined with the consumed A-Energy vial and lots of power use in a short time, and the hallucinogen gas on top of it all?
>>
>>5945766
Maybe that's why? Maybe UNSTABLE exists because Nicole can't be like that all the time. Because the City sucks, and existing in it also sucks, but people are people and life finds a way.
>>
>>5945767
The only reason I want to go for the hug immediately is because I think that will increase its effects. While pausing and asking questions is more logical, I think that going for acceptance of UNSTABLE right away will have a stronger outcome there. I also think Nicole’s strongest moments are emotive (and schizo).
>>
>>5945717
>>It is you. But a fake you. A horrible you. Aim your shotgun at her and blow her head off.
>>
>>5945863
>Nicole’s strongest moments are emotive (and schizo).
Nicole has NOT had a woman moment yet either
>>
>>5945717
Changing my vote from >>5945767 to backing >>5945731
But I still wanna ask questions after if possible
>>
>>5945731
+1
>>
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There's silence between the two of you. Neither of are sure what the other is going to do.

The clattering of the cheap, fake shotgun hitting the floor breaks that silence. UNSTABLE tries her best to hide her confused expression. The only sound heard throughout the room is the two of you breathing as you slowly begin to approach her. With every step, you can feel your legs getting heavier and heavier, as if they don't want to get anywhere near this thing.

[POI] What are you doing?

You feel a hand clasp your shoulder. You can see another you in the corner of your eye. Well, the outline of one. More like a blurry shadow than anything. As if it's scared to be seen by anyone. You shove her hand off. You set your mind to this and you'll complete it. At any cost. You don't want anyone to ever stop you. Never again.

[POI] This is a bad idea. Please.

UNSTABLE is hesitating, uncertain if she should even do anything. "UH." She's not sure what you're trying to do here. Another step. You're now only a few inches away from her. Before she even has time to react, you wrap your arms around her and pull her into your embrace.

Something rips through your gut the moment you do so. You look down to see a thick, barbed growth growing out of your stomach. Reminds you of a deer antler. You look up at UNSTABLE to see that she's scared. "H-HANDS OFF! D-DON'T DO TH-"

Your hearing blanks for a moment from the throbbing headache in your head. Two growths erupt out of your head, letting fresh blood dribble down your face. You can't really see anything around you but UNSTABLE anymore. "No. You deserve this. This...hug." You clench your teeth, hissing out every syllable. More and more growths erupt across your body as you hold onto her. Your arms, shoulders, legs, stomach, head, ears, heart, lungs, liver, nerves-

"DON'T YOU DARE TO TRY COMFORT ME! IT'S...It's better that way." Despite all of this pain, you cling onto her like she's the only thing that matters.

"Look. You and me? We've been with each other this whole time." You try your best to put on a confident smile. "I'm not about to change that." Another antler erupts out of your body. Yet you cling on. You know this is the right thing to do.

[POI] LET. GO. NICOLE, SHE ONLY APPEARED WHEN WE HAD POWERS. THEY FOCUSED ON US BECAUSE WE HAD THEM.
[POI] THEY'RE HUNTING DOWN EVEYRONE WE EVER INTERACTED WITH. EVERYONE WE HAVE EVER CARED ABOUT. ALL BECAUSE OF US.
[POI] BECAUSE OF HER, EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO EVEN REMOTELY LIKES US IS BEING WATCHED BY SOME FUCKING SPOOK.
[POI] ARE YOU GOING TO LET YOUR EMOTIONS SHADOW THE REAL DANGER YOU PUT YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE OF HER?

"..." You can't see what expression UNSTABLE is making through the blood constantly flowing over your eyes. All you see is red.

You flinch when you feel the hug being returned. It feels warm. Too warm. Yet at the same time, you wouldn't have it any other way.
>>
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"Okay." Her voice still has a trace of that loud, erratic energy to it but most of it has been replaced with something else. When you feel a drop of something warm hit your shoulder, you know it isn't blood this time. It's a tear. "I'll accept your damn hug."

"Thank you."

Your body gives up underneath you. UNSTABLE comes down with you, softening your fall. The two of you are now sprawled on the slime coated floor. Something else bursts out of you. You don't have much time, you think. Yet you're not letting go. You're not.

"...I guess it's better this way. You can't get rid of me. I guess you should know that, at least."

"So what?" You mutter. You can't feel anything anymore. Just the warmth of her hugging you back and the coldness of the air around you. "I said what I said."

"I guess." You feel her shift on the floor, pulling you closer. As if trying to protect you. "We don't have much time. I guess you can ask me something. If you're deadset on this."

"Was I born like this?" You mumble. "This psionic freak? Messed up girl with four voices?"

"Sadly. It was manageable when you were younger. More innocent. But I had to be hidden. Maintained. Chained up. Medicated. I don't think..." UNSTABLE clicks her tongue. "I've ever been hugged before, even. This is new. Weird." UNSTABLE chuckles to herself. "Regardless."

"I'm the thoughts that everyone has in their darkest moments. You just had the poor luck of not being born to a rich Nest. So you couldn't let me free or to find a healthy way to manage my existence. I'm just, well, this. And I doubt I can ever be anything else."

"Will you remember this? If this world vanishes?"

"Maybe. Maybe not."

"I guess it doesn't matter." You rest your head on her chest. Your body's turning cold. "You're me. I'm you. Nothing is going to change that." Your consciousness begins to blur. "I'm fine with you not changing. Again, we've been together forever, haven't we? Even if I'm all alone, I still have you and the other three, right."

"No matter what you do, I'll be here. Even when you're alone in the dark. You can look to me for guidance."

"Good." Another growth bursts out of you. It's hard to move your mouth anymore. Yet you can still talk just fine. "I'm glad I could talk to you."

"...ME TOO. SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE." She squeezes you with her arms. You hug her as tightly as you can.

[POI] So be it.

"Yeah. See y-" Everything goes dark.

...
...
...

https://youtu.be/n5xQlrouNBU - AWAKE

The first thing you notice upon waking up is two things. One, seven silhouettes are standing around you. Two, FUCK YOUR HEAD HURTS FATHER ABOVE, HOLY SPIRIT, HOLY MOTHER. WHAT THE FUCK. Reaching up to touch your head, you feel something hard? Please don't be bone, please don't-

"Yeah." A tinny, feminine voice speaks up. "You should look at this." A mirror is held up to you.
>>
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Why are there antlers growing out of your head? You poke at them. Yep. Those aren't your mind playing tricks, those are real. They're small nub-like growths around six inches in length. You pull on one of them- OUCH OKAY THAT HURTS. You pull your hand away.

You slowly stand back up to see who's surrounding you. Your three allies, Alex, Sebastian, and the corporation reps (Quincy and Emily) are all staring at you with a shared look of confusion, concern, and fear. Mostly confusion, if you had to be honest.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Great. Now we're even more identifiable. Glowing eyes is one thing, now deer antlers?
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] To be specific, caribou. The species most adapted to cold environments. Those are the only ones where the females typically get antlers.
[UNSTABLE?] Hey. It looks cool! Fuck off!

"Do I even dare ask what the FUCK happened here?" Alex is staring down at Sebastian like he just walked into him fucking his wife. Sebastian is muttering to himself about 'this wasn't the plan' and 'oh god oh fuck'.

"I. I don't think it was what he did." You try your best to calm the situation down. "It's fine. Trust me. Don't punish him on my behalf." God, your head hurts.

>+1 FLESH. FLESH: 4/4. RESTRAINT: 4/8!
>UVX HAS WORN OFF! NEGATED THE DAMAGE YOU WOULD'VE TAKEN FROM FUCKING ANTLERS SPOUTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD.
>NEW MUTATION: ANTLERS! (+???. You have a feeling it involves your powers somehow?)
>COURSE COMPLETE! +1 MAX RESTRAINT AND WILLPOWER!

>[UNSTABLE PSYCHE] has been replaced with [UNSTABLE RESOLVE], a neutral trait!

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE]
Your mind has cracks in it and it shows. Yet, you won't let that hold you back.
The lower your RESTRAINT is, the more your perception of the world starts to decay and the more unhinged your abilities become. Yet, as your RESTRAINT lowers, UNSTABLE will occasionally temporarily unlock unique skills and abilities to help you out if the situation calls for it.
It will be a balancing act between high RESTRAINT and better self control vs low RESTRAINT but far more powerful abilities.

"Riiight." Alex shakes his head. "If you say so."

"SO. LET'S IGNORE THE DEER IN THE ROOM AND, UH. FUCK." Quincy is clearly trying to recover from something. "HOW EXACTLY SHOULD WE START THIS? WHY WERE WE SEARCHING FOR HER?"

"To ask for her opinion on what proposal we should finalize with? She did complete the courses here, right? Surely her input would be valuable?" Emily chirps out.

[UNSTABLE] LOOK. I THINK IT'S BEST WE GET OUT AND RECOVER. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A LOT, NICOLE.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Ditto. Let's make this quick.

"Alright, well, hit me with it." You prop up the chair you must've knocked over when the gas hit. You take a seat.

"I leave for one hour and this shit happens." Alexis throws her hands up in the air. "Fuck it! Yeah, okay, this is fine! Let's just get this over with."
Naomi clicks her tongue in mild disappointment. "Calm down. Let's not cause any more trouble than necessary."
>>
"I SAY THAT YOU SHOULD INTRODUCE MORE DRONES. THE UPKEEP TO KEEP THEM AROUND IS FAR EASIER THAN ANDROIDS AND, TO BE QUITE HONEST, WE CAN SHIP OVER MORE DRONES THAN HUMANS OR ANDROIDS COMBINED. OUR SHELLS ARE VERY MASS PRODUCABLE."

"While that is objectively true, your 'shells' are also made out of barely held together meat and printer paper." Emily says with the same upbeat cadence she normally has but with an underline of hatred to it. "We saw the footage of you going through the training course. We saw how many times your android saved you-"

"Wait, hold on, HER android?" Kiara stomps her foot. "I am not her goddamn property! She's my friend, not my fucking ow-" Naomi promptly covers Kiara's mouth.

"Again, older model. Please don't be angry at her." Alexis shakes her head at Kiara before turning her focus to Emily. "Continue."

"Right. So, simply put, OUR kind is more suited to protecting human life. While you can throw a million Drones at something, they'll be squashed like the bugs they are."

"YET YOUR KIND CAN'T BE HEALED BY MEDICINE. YOU MUST BE REPAIRED. THAT REQUIRES MORE RESOURCES. MORE EXPERIENCED STAFF TO REPAIR YOU. THOSE ADD UP."

"If I may have a say?" Alex says with the cadence of a question. No one bothers to interrupt him when he starts talking. "I say we just listen to how the HUMAN felt about our courses and we can improve it for our HUMAN staff."

Which one do you want to side with? You'd imagine this is the last choice you make on this mission.
>"'ve seen what Drones can do in a combat scenario, I'd say they're far more useful in case of a war." Side with Quincy. (+Q-COMPANY FAVOR, allowing you access to biological upgrades, integrated tools to improve your body, and surplus goods. X and Q-Company will become allies, unlocking useful biological combat upgrades down the line. E-Company will be annoyed by this.)
>"Frankly, without Kiara, I would've been toast. And while it costs more to repair them, they don't need to eat or sleep or breath. More efficient." Side with Emily. (+E-COMPANY FAVOR, allowing you access to a variety of useful tech gadgets and upgrades for any Android allies. X and E-Company will become allies, unlocking useful military tech down the line. Q-Company will be annoyed by this.)
>"Alex is right. I went through the courses, let's just improve them, we'll keep you two on the backburner for a later time." Side with Alex. (+X-CORP FAVOR, granting you even more access to powerful weapons, armor, and military-grade supplies. X-Company will be VERY interested in keeping you around and will offer you exclusive corporate items. E and Q-Company will feel neutral about this.)
>"Actually, let's try to work together." Try to get the three company reps to compromise. (CONNECTIONS DC: 40, rolling 11d6 with the help of your allies. Succeed and you might just be able to get favor from everyone involved and make a power trio with the companies. DC can be lowered with the right WRITE INs.)
>Write in.
>>
I think pulling compromise is the best play. That training course is the key to all this
>>
>>5946503
>"Actually, let's try to work together." Try to get the three company reps to compromise. (CONNECTIONS DC: 40, rolling 11d6 with the help of your allies. Succeed and you might just be able to get favor from everyone involved and make a power trio with the companies. DC can be lowered with the right WRITE INs.)
>The drones are most useful in the office space, this will help X company employees as well as they don’t have to be forced into office work when they have gotten too old to serve. Moreover, the office needs more people and a revamp and Q Company would provide both.
> E company would do very well with giving older models to serve as medics and support staff. X company should rely on the high level support offered by Emily.
>For X company, the combat trial should be toned down, and the mental trials seem appropriate though more resources could be given to have greater results. With better support offered by Q and E companies, X company could continue to bring a powerful force of humans with a more regulated training course.

I think the horns can be interesting, and I’m glad we did these courses. Damn it’s nice to get Nicole some upgrades. Glad we also got a positive to low restraint finally. If anyone has any problems with the write in feel free to say so. With the drones I think I have them pegged, but I’m not so sure about E company. Taking off the stringent “no harm” models is probably a good deal for them though.
>>
>>5946492
Six inches is not small nor nub-like, it's whole-ass horns.

>>5946503
>"Actually, let's try to work together."
Drones and androids aren't actually a case of quantity vs quality, they are good at different things. Sometimes the threat is so big that no amount of toughness will help and the situation calls for overwhelming numbers. Sometimes numbers simply can't be applied, and a little damage resistance goes a long way. Adaptability is the name of the game.
Moreover, some specialities lend itself to being filled by a drone or an android. Alex will know more than us, but surely he found himself wanting a tougher or a more expendable soldier for this or that position.
Finally, we think X-Corp is gearing up to fight something anomalous. Anomalies are unpredictable, and the wider range of potential measures you have to throw at them, the more likely you are to find something that's effective. Adaptability again.
>>
>>5946528
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] The fully grown antlers of a female caribou are 20 inches in length. So, they are quite small compared to what their full size is.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] That and, well, let's be honest. You rather convince yourself they're small and nub-like. Especially after the acid trip you've been on.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] ...Fuck. We're going to have to cut holes into all of our jackets and hoodies. This is going to suck.
[UNSTABLE] I WANT BIGGER HORNS. THEY LOOK COOLER.

Anywho, going to update the pastebin real quick with your new stuff.
>>
>>5946533
Based, big horns>smaller horns.

Also I’m curious if being deer related is actually a hint to our true nature. It keep coming up, whether on drugs or not. POI becoming the “common sense” voice is deeply funny too.
>>
>>5946503
>>"Actually, let's try to work together." Try to get the three company reps to compromise. (CONNECTIONS DC: 40, rolling 11d6 with the help of your allies. Succeed and you might just be able to get favor from everyone involved and make a power trio with the companies. DC can be lowered with the right WRITE INs.)

>>5946533
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] ...Fuck. We're going to have to cut holes into all of our jackets and hoodies. This is going to suck.
>>
>>5946524
+1
Kiara can back us up in the combat trial portion with her own input. Looking back:
>sounds of something whirring in the air
Sawblades in a literal meat grinder. Way too over the line. Let's not forget X Corp loses enough money for medical supplies and prosthetics as it is. Look at those poor bastards in medbay and tell me that's OK. Look at the old bastards in admin office and tell me that's OK.
>Absolute death trap of at least thirty dots each.
>FIVE DOTS TO THE LEFT
>SEVEN DOTS NORTH
Several DOZENS of killer robots guarding the paths in the dark maze portion. To much for singular soldiers or small squads of less than 10 to handle in an hour tops. Maybe if they had 2 hours or so, they could stealth through better. Either way, this part needs much MUCH less "enemy" androids for the benefit of training soldiers better.
>Trying to get recruits used to working in low light conditions, maybe?
>"Maybe it's trying to teach you to keep your guard up?"
Now I like this bit in particular. A low light environment in the combat trial is a solid section with how dark parts of the City can get. It's great for training X Corp operators. I say keep this
>"DO YOU TRUST YOUR COMRADES?"
The mind fuckery and vibe checks I also love, as they train soldiers to know their fellows and fosters teamwork. It also instills caution against anomalies and weird trickery in the City. On the other hand, the fake ally baits only matter to people with others with them here, and not to solo guys going through the gauntlet
>35:00 REMAINING
Going the dark maze took a total of 25 minutes, and that's with a flawless run through for Nicole and Kiara, and with solid knowledge of the maze beforehand due to SEEING THE FUCKING PLANS BEFORE. That's unrealistic as hell for any regular non-special soldier, human or android or drone. You're not gonna have much battlefield intel going into a new zone, are you?
>NO MAN'S LAND
Brutal, but also the only real fast way out for anybody that makes it to the flag. I say there should be more varied cover outside of fake wooden structures and cardboard buildings, to help simulate different environments. Brick, concrete, metal, pipes, maybe some offbeat materials?
>caches
Always good to have for soldier resourcefulness. Maybe adding a few to the dark areas and the meatgrinder paths is also good, if there weren't any already.
And of course
>a very small one room building where recruits would gear up but, to your dismay, seems like no one has felt it prudent to resupply the lockers with fresh equipment for the course
Somebody should ALWAYS try to keep this stocked. Maybe soldiers that keep their starting gear set through the combat trial can return them for further use by other soldiers, and get paid in extra mags for it? A reward for both not wasting gear and supplies needessly, and for succeeding with minimal expenditure.
>>
>>5946524
>>5946547
Adding a random mid of lethal and nonlethal weapons and items is also a good idea. Nicole and Kiara took pains to go nonlethal through No Man's Land specifically because we saw the absolute state of Medbay earlier, and decided not to hurt X Corp by putting more of their guys there. You're not always going to have lethals available in some environments in the City and the Wastes, so forcing soldiers to try minimizing casualties with their resources is also a good change for the combat trial
>>
>>5946547
Yeah I think your add on with mine works best. Good details on the training especially. Q company is good for throwing bodies too.

E company could also provide some androids for training as they’ll be more easily recoverable. I really feel like there’s more we could pull with E company in particular.
>>
>>5946554
Maybe part of the combat trial could be an anti-android section or there could be anti-android measures here and there? Maybe pheromone stuff for drone soldiers too.
>>
>>5946554
I keep forgetting we're here to get GIRLS to want to join X Corp too, right? Add some porno mags for girls as a combat trial reward kek
>>
Man if we only had plastic surgery on the offer for the girls.

Generally, I think the reward could also have something to do with connections or a better offer at the end of their lifespan as a soldier. Q company leaves that space open, so maybe a space for them to take that experience on their resume and work for E company? Maybe promise of leave when you win? Idk.
>>
>>5946538
https://youtu.be/ObOKkQhSemE
https://youtu.be/x2Q3Ytk-7OY
https://youtu.be/A975NU5RW_g
>>
>>5946503
>"Alex is right. I went through the courses, let's just improve them, we'll keep you two on the backburner for a later time." Side with Alex. (+X-CORP FAVOR, granting you even more access to powerful weapons, armor, and military-grade supplies. X-Company will be VERY interested in keeping you around and will offer you exclusive corporate items. E and Q-Company will feel neutral about this.)
I like X
>>
>>5946503
>"Actually, let's try to work together." Try to get the three company reps to compromise. (CONNECTIONS DC: 40, rolling 11d6 with the help of your allies. Succeed and you might just be able to get favor from everyone involved and make a power trio with the companies. DC can be lowered with the right WRITE INs.)
>>5946524
>>5946528
>>5946547
>>5946551
>>5946554
>>5946567
>>5946570
>>5946575
Support
>>
With all of the write ins, I'd say you lower the DC to 35 and you get to reroll any four dice you roll. I need three anons to roll the following
>4d6
>4d6
>3d6
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 1, 6 = 14 (4d6)

>>5947169
>>
Well, hopefully this time I did it right. Also I gotta good feeling!
>>
>>5947176
I assume you messed up and wrote Dice instead of dice. It has to be lowercase. dice+4d6 or dice+3d6
>>
Rolled 5, 3, 4, 4 = 16 (4d6)

>>5947178
Yeah that’s the problem. Thanks for the help. Man these dice better be good for how much trouble I’ve had getting them.
>>
>>5947171
>>5947179
30/35, still have 4 rerolls. We got this
>>
Finally got to my computer. glad we got decent rolls. Just one more, and even if those rolls suck we can get away with it.
>>
Rolled 5, 6, 4 = 15 (3d6)

>>5947169
>>
>>5947181
We didn't even have to use our rerolls. That's the power of good mission work done and dice gods not fucking with us
>>
>>5947182
Damn nice! We smashed that DC. Even without lowering it we had it.
>>
>>5947171
>>5947179
>>5947182
Zamn. A 45, you would've beaten the DC anyways. Tell you what, roll another 4d6. This won't affect your success or rewards on the skill check since you passed that just fine.
Consider this a "you did the work to make some compelling write ins, you deserve a small reward for that" roll. Locking in and writing regardless of what you roll.
>>
Rolled 4, 4, 3, 3 = 14 (4d6)

>>5947185
Here ya go.
>>
>>5947169
Wait, if we have rerolls left after a successful check, can we still use them to greed all in and try to get a higher result? Asking for future reference of course.
>>
>>5947210
Could just not use them and instead cash them in for a second X Corp favor?
>>
>>5947210
>>5947216
Still writing but that's what the extra 4d6 roll was for. It's for a bonus reward for managing to pass without using them. You'll see what you got when the update is out.
But I suppose to set a rule, if you are given rerolls via a write in or a creative use of an ability/item and you pass without needing them, you'll get a bonus proportional to the amount of rerolls you save.

Exact rewards will depend but an extra 2d6 might offer a small boon, 4d6 might offer a moderate boon, 6d6 is a major boon, etc (i.e some extra ammo or a small FLESH/RESTRAINT heal for a small boon, a corporate favor or unique item for moderate, a tweak to an anomalous ability or a new skill unlocked for major.)
Anyways, back to my writing cage.
>>
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"Why not try a compromise?"

It's so quiet now you could hear a pin drop. The two corporate reps and Alex are staring down at you like you insulted their mother. Alexis makes a throat cutting gesture. <"FUCK FUCK WHY DID SHE SAY THAT WE'RE FUCKED YOU DON'T SAY THAT-">

Your other allies simply back away from you, ready for something nasty to happen.

"What."
"What?"
"WHAT." If looks could kill, you'd be dead by now.

"Look. Quincy. Your drones would be useful to fill up the office cubicles in the Administration Building. To be quite blunt, your workers-" You point at Alex. "-barely want to be there. They didn't even stop some random civvies from breaking into a secured computer because they rather put a gun to their mouth than be there."

Alex immediately deflates upon hearing this. "Look. Where else would I be able to put them? It's that or throw them out-" And everyone immediately flinches when Naomi, out of the blue, slugs him across the jaw. He barely stumbles back from the impact but the shock is enough to prevent him from doing anything about it.

"W-what?" <"She's gotten so weak. Yet she still managed to stagger me.">

"Maybe. If you bothered to use their knowledge, their experience, their decades of experience? To improve your course? To get new recruits?" Naomi bares her teeth. Her one eye visible through the bandages covering her face is bloodshot red. "You wouldn't NEED us to get recruits. You wouldn't NEED Q and E-Corp. But your own INCOMPETENCE has gotten you into this situation. So let us offer a SOLUTION."

Most of the other people in the room (you now notice that Sebastian has fucking dipped) are sitting around in awkward silence. No one wants to interrupt what's going on.

"So be it. Fine. I'm fine on that front. But the course is fine-"

"BULLSHIT." You and Kiara yell in unison.

"25 minutes. That's how long it took us to go through that maze with HER powers and both of us knowing where to go. 25 FUCKING MINUTES!" You swear that Kiara was about to break her voice box with her yelling. "HOW OFTEN DO YOUR SOLDIERS GET PERFECT INTEL? AND HOW MANY ROBOTS DO YOU NEED TO PUT IN THERE? THERE WERE LIKE 70 OF THEM IN THERE! IT ISN'T THE ANTISEPTIC WAR ANYMORE, ASSHOLE!"

You decide to butt in. "Let's not even fucking mention the rewards! I got hired to get more girls yet all you give for the hardest course is porn mags? Fuck, man, offer something else for that course! Restock it too, we had NO supplies besides what I brought!" You point at yourself. Your antlers (which are ABSOLUTELY NUB LIKE SHUT UP) are throbbing in agony.

Alex grits his teeth. <"It's been a while since anyone has spoken up to me like this."> He relents with a shaky sigh. "Fine. You completed it, you had your issues. Can't fault you there."

You nod towards Naomi and Kiara. "They'll give you some advice on that end. I liked the low light conditions on the maze and most of NO MAN'S LAND, at least?"
>>
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While your two allies badger Alex with their training course suggestions, you and Alexis turn your attention to the corporate reps.

Quincy seems to be somewhat calming down from your 'compromise' comment. "IT DOES SEEM LIKE THEIR CURRENT STAFF IS UNSUITED FOR EFFICENCY. IT WOULDN'T BE HARD TO ASK THE MOTHER TO PRODUCE MORE FOR THIS COMPANY." The Mother? You faintly recall hearing something about a Mother of a Thousand Legs in Quentin's head.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] The most likely answer is the CEO of the whole Company. Though you doubt it would be a normal Drone or human. Corporate CEOs ARE usually incredibly powerful and very bizarre compared to normal people.

"ALL DEPENDS IF-"

"Absolutely not." Emily is trying her best to hold back her contempt. "You want more Drones here, that's fine by me. But I'm here to protect human life. Not a bunch of centipedes pretending to be them."

Alexis decides it's time for her to step in here. She pulls out her proof of CORPORATE OWNERSHIP before pointing at the various pins on her jacket. The two reps immediately notice this and tense up. They share the same look of fear and unease. "Listen. I get you two don't like each other." She puts the piece of paper back. "But think about it like this."

"Emily, yes?" Alexis points at the nurse android. Emily nods. "Right. I'm not remotely the military type but you two have very different applications. Simply put, both of you can benefit even if the other party works here. Quincy's drones can handle all of the boring red tape bureaucracy while YOU provide useful units to support the military, Emily."

"Right!" You jump into the conversation. "Like, look, they have robots in the training course already but what if you supplied more? Think about it. Get some models to be used to train soldiers how to deal with any rogue robots or anomalies with mechanical properties! They don't even have to harm humans! Training ranges, you know?"

"Or! More nurses, more moral support, maybe even a few shrinks? God knows that PTSD needs treatment too." Alexis nods along.

Emily sinks into her chair with an uneasy expression. She doesn't say anything but it's not like that's necessary for you. <"They're making a compelling case here.">

Quincy offers the best smile he can given his half melted face. "THAT WOULD BE A SUITABLE ARRANGEMENT. I BELIEVE ALEX WOULD KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY USE THE RESOURCES FOR THE BEST. INCLUDING TO PREVENT EXCESS HUMAN HARM, EMILY."

"S-shut up." Emily tries her best to sound angry but the conversation has worn down her preprogrammed hatred, it seems. "Fine. Fine. I don't like working with them but-" As if a switch flipped, a bright smile and chipper tone replaces her sour tone and expression. "Anything to prevent human harm!"

Alex, Naomi, and Kiara finish whatever conversation they were going on about. Alex takes a deep breath before holding out his palm. There's a nasty cut across it, leaking a fresh stream of blood.
>>
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"Don't question it." Alexis notices your confusion. "X-Corp tradition."
"Once got a nasty disease from it." Naomi nods. "Luckily, those two should be immune."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] A bloodpact. Once signed, it is incredibly hard to break. The strongest contract the City can form. Even paper contracts are nothing in comparison.

Emily grabs onto Alex's hand and shakes. Quincy tears at his own palm with a letter cutter before shaking Alex's hand. The bloodpact has been signed, it seems. The three reps nod amongst each other.

"So it is done." Alex mutters.
"INDEED. I BELIEVE WE MUST CONTACT THE HIGHER UPS ABOUT THIS NEW ARRANGEMENT." Quincy is pulling out his cellphone.
"Hopefully this isn't a mistake." Emily mutters as her LED eyes dim. <"CONTACTING CORPORATE.">

Alex then turns his attention to you and offers you three a curt nod. "Well. Your friends gave me some very interesting advice on how to fix the course for more human recruits. With those two backing us, we can push some of our less desirable jobs onto them. This is good. Thank you."

MISSION COMPLETE
REWARDS: +$629, +X-CORP FAVOR (TO ARMS), +HANDLER FAVOR, X-CORP GOONS WILL KEEP AN EYE ON YOU OVER THE FOLLOWING DAYS TO KEEP YOU SAFE.
BONUS REWARDS FOR THE COMPROMISE: +$222, +X-CORP FAVOR, +Q-CORP FAVOR (QUOTA), +E-CORP FAVOR (NUTS AND BOLTS), You felt like your action has started a chain reaction in the corporate world.

>MODERATE BOON GRANTED!
"Here." He pulls something out of his pocket and stuffs it into your hand. "For the incompetence this base has displayed, your assistance in rectifying that, and our shared goals." Glancing down at it, it's a tarnished gold metal with a piece of stripped green, white, and blue fabric tied to it. "For your service."

>X-CORP ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL ACQUIRED. (Passively grants the user a 10% discount in all X-Corp neutral and allied corporate stores and the ability to add +1d4 to any attack roll they make (once per attack). Also counts as two X-CORP FAVORS if spent.)

"If you ever need me, contact your Handler. He'll patch you in. Now. I need to deal with the boring business side of our new alliance. Mind leaving?" Alex clicks his tongue.
>You may now contact Alex in order to spend X-Corp Favors. A list of what he can offer will be provided later.

You return his curt nod with your own. You put the medal in your pocket before gesturing at your allies to follow you. The three of you promptly make a beeline out of the MENTAL TRAINING COURSE and over to the front gate leading in and out of the base. Your allies glance back at you with a flurry of emotions but most of all? Relief.

"Fuck." Kiara mutters. "That was something."
"Indeed. It was nice returning here." Naomi looks back at the base with a wistful look.
"...Can't believe it." There's an almost religious reverence in Alexis' eyes. "Never knew I could kickstart a three company bloodpact."

"Say-" Alexis touches your bomber jacket. Uh oh.
>>
It immediately shifts into a bright white business jacket. Just like the one she's wearing.
>NEW YOU (ALEXIS) FORM REVEALED. (+1 CONNECTIONS, grants user CORPORATE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT)
[CORPORATE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT] The Companies WILL know to respect you. No matter what it takes. When spending a corporate favor, you gain +6d6 to the CONNECTIONS roll instead of +4d6. You also gain +1d4 to all CONNECTIONS and CHARM rolls for every three CORPORATE favors you own.

Naomi immediately takes this chance to touch it herself. It turns into an old, tattered military jacket with an odd symbol on it. Naomi flinches on seeing this. <"My old Antiseptic War jacket?">
>NEW YOU (NAOMI) FORM REVEALED. (+1 MAX RESTRAINT, grants user TACTICAL EXPERIENCE.)
[TACTICAL EXPERIENCE] You're prepared for war. You may add +3d4 when attempting any of the following actions: Scouting a building, attacking with a firearm, preparing an ambush, creating makeshift weapons and explosives, and staying conscious through intense pain.

Kiara immediately shifts it back to the orange bomber jacket it was before.
>NEW YOU (KIARA) REOBTAINED.
>YOU MAY CHANGE WHAT FORM IT TAKES ONCE PER MISSION. THIS WILL INCREASE WITH USAGE.

"Not gonna question. Let's just go." Alexis states.

Pick three actions to use during your FREE TIME (and any free actions.)
>[KIARA ALLY] An odd, familiar buzz is in the air. Kiara is giving you puppydog eyes. Follow her. (You'll enter an ANOMALY EVENT. You might get some unique valuables if you play your cards right. A secondary vote will be called to determine what you stumble upon if you pick this.)
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 24 with your allies to decompress after everything. (Heals 2 RESTRAINT. You're likely to stumble into an old cache, a new store, or some other interesting place to return to later on your walk.)
>[NAOMI ALLY] You don't want to pry into her Silver Agent past too much but it couldn't hurt to learn about the Antiseptic War while you travel away from the base, no? (You'll get some valuable insight on how to handle yourself in combat and if you ever encounter an anomaly based on it.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>[UNSTABLE] "HEY. CAN WE TALK? PLEASE? WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. I HOPE."
>[X-CORP FAVORS] Cache in a favor before you leave. (FREE ACTION, -1 X-CORP FAVOR. Write in up to four items to get from X-Corp. You'll roll 4d100 to determine the quality and amount you get.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] WAIT! WE NEED TO SHOW THEM OUR POWERS! GO BACK! (Write in what you want to show them.)
>WRITE IN.
>>
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I apologize for the delay but it seemed like God had a sense of humor and sent a storm my way, knocking out power for a solid hour and a half RIGHT as I was finishing up the negotiation scene. That was fun.
HOPEFULLY won't happen again. In case you use the X-CORP FAVORS cache out, you have 3 Favors to use (will update the Pastebin with your new FAVOR counts), so you'll be left with 2 if you spend that.
>>
>>5947323
I don't wanna spend ANY company favor yet. We got plenty of favors banked and I want to keep that going. That NEW YOU (Alexis) sounds OP with our favors combined if we ever need to take a corporate mission again.
The moment to show powers off has passed, and I know Sebastian will talk to Alex offscreen about what he's experienced and his suspicions. We got enough fame in-base with going through the combat trial hell alive, so let's leave the "show off powers to X-Corp soldiers" to if we ever have to have them protecting us. Then they can spread the word in the base about how the crazy chick who blew the combat trial out has cool psychic powers.
As much as I'd want to go for the Naomi option, there's other good options to go with here. It does imply we could run into an abno based on the Antiseptic War with how traumatic it was for the City and the Companies. More rapport with Naomi would also be good.
Hesitant on the Kiara option, because we already got real hard anomalous in this mission at the end there. I'd rather leave it be for now, but I might be inclined if somebody makes a good enough case.
Scholar option to walk around is good because we get to see more of X Corp, and more cache loot. Maybe we can run into that spot where the captive silver agent got "scouted"?
Alexis has NEVER, not ONCE, stayed behind to not ditch us the moment a mission ended. This is a special occasion, and I really want to follow up on it.
The UNSTABLE option is very very tempting. It's one hell of a mystery box as presented. Based on the quotation there, it must be UNSTABLE wanting Nicole to talk out loud to her allies. It might make for a good moment, but the question is... before or AFTER the bar?
And of course, the bar option.
>>
>>5947323
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 24 with your allies to decompress after everything. (Heals 2 RESTRAINT. You're likely to stumble into an old cache, a new store, or some other interesting place to return to later on your walk.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>>
>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $975, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH

>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>[UPG] QUENTIN. Incredibly loyal ally who has a hard time staying dead. Poor stats and tends to freak others out. (Free if brought alone. Allies with less than 3 RAPPORT with you, sans Adam, will ask for an extra cut (30% for Alexis, +$25 for the others) to hire.)
>ADAM. A long career of working as a chef has instilled amazing levels of accuracy and technical precision. Hard worker. Tends to overcorrect when situations get dicey. (Free. No catches, he owes you.)
>ASHLEY.
>NAOMI. She has gathered a lot of experience and knowledge over the years. More than willing to teach you and your allies her tricks. Has a knack for analyzing the quirks and potential of people around her. Old age and scars have ruined her body. ($195)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)

Question everyone: What do your think my team setup and mission?

Question: Should we bring FRANK on mission too?
>>
>>5947360
That's like WAY too many people man
>>
>>5947323
>[NAOMI ALLY] You don't want to pry into her Silver Agent past too much but it couldn't hurt to learn about the Antiseptic War while you travel away from the base, no? (You'll get some valuable insight on how to handle yourself in combat and if you ever encounter an anomaly based on it.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>[UNSTABLE] "HEY. CAN WE TALK? PLEASE? WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. I HOPE."
>>
>>5947323
Fuck it I need to make my own vote
>ALEXIS
>UNSTABLE
>BAR
>>
>>5947323
I think that the Alexis option is a huge thing to grab, of course the bar is required as well. The last option I’m not 100% sure on. If it’s an anomaly like the one that got us our cool jacket then I’d be up for it. However, I also like the Unstable option. We hugged that bitch, so I want my returns on that besides admittedly cool horns.
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>[UNSTABLE] "HEY. CAN WE TALK? PLEASE? WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. I HOPE."

Also while it sucks your power went out, glad it wasn’t anything worse than that. Thanks for the update, always love these resolutions to our missions.
>>
>>5947323
>[KIARA ALLY] An odd, familiar buzz is in the air. Kiara is giving you puppydog eyes. Follow her. (You'll enter an ANOMALY EVENT. You might get some unique valuables if you play your cards right. A secondary vote will be called to determine what you stumble upon if you pick this.)
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)

>[X-CORP FAVORS] Cache in a favor before you leave. (FREE ACTION, -1 X-CORP FAVOR. Write in up to four items to get from X-Corp. You'll roll 4d100 to determine the quality and amount you get.)
Weapons and body armor
>>
>>5947323
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 24 with your allies to decompress after everything. (Heals 2 RESTRAINT. You're likely to stumble into an old cache, a new store, or some other interesting place to return to later on your walk.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>[X-CORP FAVORS] Cache in a favor before you leave. (FREE ACTION, -1 X-CORP FAVOR. Write in up to four items to get from X-Corp. You'll roll 4d100 to determine the quality and amount you get.)
>>
>>5947352
Change
>>5947323
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban place in X-Corp's district and get drunk. (You'll gain RAPPORT with NAOMI and ALEXIS and you'll get a chance to learn more about them and Kiara.)
>[UNSTABLE] "HEY. CAN WE TALK? PLEASE? WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. I HOPE."
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Huh, she actually bothered to stay this time. Ask her if there's any place she would recommend you four visit. (You'll get some more insight in the CORPORATE WORLD and how to handle yourself in it.)
>>
>>5947602
+1
Grab some armor and other protective kit
>>
BOOZE TIME: EVERYONE
SCHOLAR: EM0, ykw
ALEXIS: EVERYONE
UNSTABLE: DHO/hwm, IkB, Cp5, IkB, dfH
KIARA: QKD
NAOMI: Cp5

X-CORP FAVORS?
YES: EM0, ykw, QKD
DIDN'T PICK: DHO/hwm, IkB, Cp5, dfH

Seems like BOOZE + ALEXIS + UNSTABLE wins out. Don't worry, you'll be able to get X-Corp supplies later (you have contact with a higher up at X-Corp, after all), just not enough people voted to pick it this time around. Writing.

>>5947382
>Also while it sucks your power went out, glad it wasn’t anything worse than that.
Trust me, it could've been way worse. Last time power cut out because of a storm, I was out of internet for four days.
>>
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[UNSTABLE] LOOK. I. UH. YEAH, I WANT TO EXPLAIN MYSELF. REAL QUICK. ONCE WE'RE ON THE TRAIN.
[UNSTABLE] FEEL FREE TO DO, UH, DO OTHER THINGS FIRST. YEAH. THIS IS NEW FOR ME. SORRY.

You let out a shaky sigh. Great. Now the literal manifestation of your unstable impulses is wanting a one on one chat- Wait. You hugged this bitch. Why are you acting like you're beneath her? You slap yourself. Get your head in the game.

"Sure. In a bit." You mutter outloud.

Your allies are giving you a weird look but only Naomi's stare has any real concern to it; the other two are rather nonplussed. Like they're used to it at this point.

"So. Alexis." You snap your fingers. "The hell are you still doing here? Normally you fuck off by-" You stop yourself. "No, no, that sounds bad. I'm just shocked, you know?"

Alexis squints at you before giving you a half-hearted shrug. "You've proven yourself to be a valuable asset and someone who, despite her eccentrics, has been shockingly competent. Once was a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern." <"Certainly better than that shitty ETF pair I had to deal with. Benny and Fronk or something?">

"You should've seen her in the course! Waow! She was- Okay no need to suck her off, let's get going." The sheer whiplash in tone Kiara gave you nearly made you burst out laughing.

The four of you step onto the train that got you here. You group sits down onto the cheap, shoddy seats inside the train cabin. Learning from your mistake last time, you cling onto a nearby handrail...but the train seems to be moving slower this time. You look confused for a moment until you hear Naomi chuckling.

"Told them not to do it this time. A long time to talk and decompress is all we need right now. Isn't that right?" Naomi offers you a shaky smile. It's clear she's still uncomfortable being TOO cordial around you due to what happened with the Agent. You offer her a smile in return.

"Thank you." You nod. No need to alienate her. "So. Alexis. Got any places you could recommend us visiting? I normally go to some shitty rundown bar and get wasted but c'mon, you gotta have a better place in mind."

Alexis isn't quite sure how to react to your question at first. She looks equal parts insulted, confused, and ecstatic? "I'm not sure. To be quite honest, this is new to me. Most of my 'free time' is spent meeting new associates to work with and, don't take this the wrong way, most are VERY high ranking corporate people. Not..."

[UNSTABLE] "Worthless schizophrenics?"

"Yes." Alexis bluntly states. "Well, you're not worthless but the second one tracks. At least your horns won't be a problem in most of those places. We can pass it off as a very unique body mod."

[UNSTABLE] Your eye twitches. You felt like popping her head open like a grape but you barely have the RESTRAINT necessary to hold back.

"But there is this one place. A lot of the corporate elite go there. Just do what I do and we'll eat like queens tonight."
>>
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"Mind enlightening us with the name?" Naomi taps her foot on the floor of the train cabin. "No need to keep us in the dark."

"Oh that's rich-" Alexis clears her throat. "No. No, sorry. It's a simple place down in District 24. 'Sugar Mountain'. Small little restaurant with some of the finest dining outside of F-Corp's district. I have a membership card and a reservation that took me FIVE MONTHS to get." Her smile widens but it's clear it's somewhat forced. "You better enjoy it. Even the senior vice presidents of Alphabet Companies can't waltz in."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Sugar Mountain, huh? It's an unofficial meeting ground for C, D, F, G, L, M, S, and V-Corp corporate officials if the rumors are true. Maybe even more. You might be able to meet some VERY important people over there.

As Alexis and the others start to ramble amongst each other, a familiar voice rings in your head. Best to address the elephant in the room.

[UNSTABLE] SO. I'D LIKE TO SAY I'M SORRY.
[UNSTABLE] I CAN'T PROMISE I CAN CONTROL MYSELF BETTER. I CAN'T PROMISE YOU CAN ALWAYS RESIST ME.
[UNSTABLE] BUT I CAN PROMISE I WILL TRY MY BEST TO HELP YOU. YOU KNOW? IF YOU DIE, I DIE. ALONGSIDE THE OTHER THREE.

"It's fine." You mutter. "Look, I didn't do the hug expecting you to pay me back. I did because you needed it. Self love or something, you know?

[UNSTABLE] FAIR ENOUGH.
[UNSTABLE] LISTEN. YOU KNOW THOSE ANTLERS? THOSE ARE A PART OF YOUR TRUE SELF, ME, MADE MANIFEST. THAT'S WHY I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO HUG.
[UNSTABLE] EMBRACING ME TOO MUCH DOES THAT.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] True self? Wait, you remember that Benedict started to physically mutate when he started to succumb to his anomaly transformation...
[UNSTABLE] INDEED. YOU AND HIM ARE NOT ALL THAT DIFFERENT.

"Hey, they're cool." You tap on the antler. "No harm no foul. Feel clear headed enough. But, what do you plan on doing to help me? If you feel obligated to do so."

[UNSTABLE] WELL. ASIDE FROM HELPING YOU USE YOUR POWERS MORE, I WILL TRY TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND OTHERS LIKE ME. IT'S ONE THING TO EMBRACE YOURSELF.
[UNSTABLE] IT'S ANOTHER TO COMFORT AND EMBRACE SOMEONE GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING. I WANT YOU TO BRING COMFORT TO OTHERS LIKE ME. AND I WILL HELP YOU DO SO.

>UNSTABLE will now offer helpful advice when encountering other anomalous/UNSTABLE humans.

[UNSTABLE] AS A TOKEN OF MY GRATITUDE, HERE.

Everything goes dark.

When you next wake up, you notice that you're stumbling out of the train with the help of Kiara and Naomi. Both of them are looking at you with equal parts worry and fear. Alexis is the first one to break the silence with a short, simple cough. What the hell just happened?

"She told us." Alexis cryptically states. "You know who. Told us a LOT about what happened back at the MENTAL COURSE. About what she is. I can't pretend to understand what you're going through but she asked us to do something."

"Whuh?" You tilt your head in confusion.

"We won't hold it against you. If something happens."
>>
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>Naomi, Alexis, and Kiara will take 1 less RESTRAINT damage when UNSTABLE acts out.
>Naomi, Alexis, and Kiara will sometimes be able to heal your RESTRAINT when UNSTABLE acts out.

"Something about a safety net?" She shrugs. "Let's move on from it."

[UNSTABLE] THE OTHER ALLIES CAN LEARN LATER. BUT THEY NEEDED TO KNOW.

"U-uh. Okay?" All you can think of is that somehow, your body was highjacked for a moment. The last hour or so is a complete blur to you now. You take a look around in the more urban section of District 24. In stark contrast to a lot of other districts, it's shockingly...welcoming?

The streets and buildings are statured in bright, warm colors that remind you of summertime. Bright yellows, oranges, pinks and reds as far as your eye can see. Most of the buildings around you are decorated with equally inviting and bright decorations as well, as if they were family owned businesses instead of the soulless and nameless businesses you normally have to go to.

Most of the people passing by on the streets are remarkably healthy and clean looking. No scars, no tattoos, no one too obese or too skinny. As your group walks through the streets, most of the passersbys give you a warm smile and a polite greeting. "Hello!" "Hey!" "Welcome to X-Gamma-2!" "Enjoy your time here!" "Nice antlers!"

The cars passing by through the roads also look remarkably new and well maintained, same with the roads they're driving on. Pleasant ambience is playing in every single business you pass by and, for a moment, you thought your eyes were playing tricks on you. As you two take a right turn, you see something in the distance that shocks you.

A park. An honest to god park. With actual real grass, trees, and wild animals going through it. It's not even gated off, you could go right in there if you wanted to. A few families are walking around in there, small children playing in it like there's nothing wrong going on. No paranoia.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Yet you know this isn't a Nest. Normally Nests require extensive paperwork and going through a border more armed than fifty X-Corp bases combined.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] This is a normal District section. Maybe not even far away from the ghettos. When your Company is the one protecting the City, both inside and outside its walls?
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Corps give you a LOT of resources. And your citizens are given AMAZING peace of mind. Imagine what a NEST here must be like.

"Wow." You and Kiara mutter at the same time. Naomi is too busy wistfully watching the happy-go-lucky citizens to bother saying anything. Alexis eventually points towards a remarkably boring looking restaurant that, from the outside, looks nothing like what an unofficial Alphabet Company meeting spot would be. Yet it has the name 'SUGAR MOUNTAIN' so you know it's the right place.

As the four of you head over and enter it, you realize two things immediately.
1: WOW THAT'S A LOT OF SECURITY.
2: The outside was VERY deceiving.
>>
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A waitress with a fancy dress made out of Nouveau Fabric stands behind a small desk. Dozens of guards, disgusted as waiters, stand around her. The waitress looks up with a conceited smirk. "Do you have a reservation?"

Alexis nods. "Alexis Morozov." The smirk disappears from the waitress' face. "These three are associates. Don't mind the antlers. Body mod." The waitress nods along. She marks down something on a page in front of her before gesturing at you four to follow.

Looking around, it's a rather cozy place with an undeniable air of high class to it. Men and women of high society and high corporate status chatter around candlelit tables, eating expensive meals and washing it down with expensive wine. There's no windows in this restaurant so the only source of light comes from the candles and the massive, awe-inspiring chandlers hanging from the ceilings.

Alexis grabs you by the shoulder as your waitress shows you your table. "Listen. There's a simple way to get corporate officials on your side. Walk up to them like you know what you're doing. Like you belong. DO NOT SHOW FEAR. DO NOT FLINCH."

You glance around the nearby tables. No harm in trying.

Pick up to three officials to talk to. You'll learn more about their company, how to interact with them, and maybe even get a corporate favor or gift.
>An old man with a long, flowing beard and a very old-fashioned outfit is eating a simple meal by himself. His hands are caked in calluses. (O-CORP. An old fashioned company focused on farming, mining, and other manual labor.)
>A group of police officers are sitting around a table, chattering about how to deal with 'undesirables'. (J-CORP. The main judicial and legal power in the City.)
>A crazed woman in a fancy dress is scribbling something down on her notepad. A wild smile crosses his face. (W-CORP. An anti-anomaly company who develops tech to deal with them. Also explores abandoned districts.)
>A man very similar looking to Maruyama keeps glancing at his watch. He impatiently taps his foot, clearly waiting for someone. (T-CORP. A time-based company associated with trains and futuristic, bleeding edge tech.)
>A nun is praying at one of the tables, muttering in tongues. An oddly tense atmosphere surrounds her. (N-CORP. A religious and literature-focused company. Their religion is VERY widespread through the City.)
>A punk in deliberately obnoxious clothing props his feet up on the table. He's strumming a tune on his guitar. (M-CORP. The other main creative-focused Company besides A-Corp.)
>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
>A girl in a poncho is half passed out at her table, muttering to herself. (R-CORP. A Company who mostly operates in the vast deserts of the Wastes. Also contains anomalies.)
>You spot someone else (Write in a ALPHABET COMPANY [A-Z] to meet)
>>
>>5948350
>>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
>A girl in a poncho is half passed out at her table, muttering to herself. (R-CORP. A Company who mostly operates in the vast deserts of the Wastes. Also contains anomalies.)
>A punk in deliberately obnoxious clothing props his feet up on the table. He's strumming a tune on his guitar. (M-CORP. The other main creative-focused Company besides A-Corp.)
Seems like we have a clear specialty in anomaly handling, we should probably try and get in good with the people who do that as their business.
>>
>>5948350
Stay safe, hopefully your internet doesn’t go out anytime soon. Fun update, it’s interesting to see Unstable take a bigger part in the “real world” as it were. Also Alexis took us to a great spot, nice of her.

>A crazed woman in a fancy dress is scribbling something down on her notepad. A wild smile crosses his face. (W-CORP. An anti-anomaly company who develops tech to deal with them. Also explores abandoned districts.)
First off this seems nearly perfect for us. Like these hit two of our major buttons.
>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
I am really on the anomaly train, since we found out more about our nature and how close we are to an anomaly for sure. Also studying sounds better than containment.
>A man very similar looking to Maruyama keeps glancing at his watch. He impatiently taps his foot, clearly waiting for someone. (T-CORP. A time-based company associated with trains and futuristic, bleeding edge tech.)
I am only doing this one for Maruyama connections, whether they be just getting a foothold or getting a job we can take him on to help him get promoted. I think we really connected to him the film mission and want to hang with him again.

Just to check, it’s not the time for saying what we want to say to the officials. It’s just choosing who to talk to right?
>>
>>5948350
>A group of police officers are sitting around a table, chattering about how to deal with 'undesirables'. (J-CORP. The main judicial and legal power in the City.)
>A man very similar looking to Maruyama keeps glancing at his watch. He impatiently taps his foot, clearly waiting for someone. (T-CORP. A time-based company associated with trains and futuristic, bleeding edge tech.)
>A nun is praying at one of the tables, muttering in tongues. An oddly tense atmosphere surrounds her. (N-CORP. A religious and literature-focused company. Their religion is VERY widespread through the City.)
>>
>>5948350
>A crazed woman in a fancy dress is scribbling something down on her notepad. A wild smile crosses his face. (W-CORP. An anti-anomaly company who develops tech to deal with them. Also explores abandoned districts.)
WOW! She's just like Nicole!
>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
Darkness Corp, I assume?
>You spot someone else (Write in a ALPHABET COMPANY [A-Z] to meet)
Let's get interesting. C Corp?
>>
>>5948350
>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
>An old man with a long, flowing beard and a very old-fashioned outfit is eating a simple meal by himself. His hands are caked in calluses. (O-CORP. An old fashioned company focused on farming, mining, and other manual labor.)
>A group of police officers are sitting around a table, chattering about how to deal with 'undesirables'. (J-CORP. The main judicial and legal power in the City.)
>>
>>5948403
>Just to check, it’s not the time for saying what we want to say to the officials. It’s just choosing who to talk to right?
Correct. Though I doubt I'll call a vote to decide how you speak them since you're focusing on being able to talk to them in the first place without having a schizo meltdown or pissing your panties.
Would be weird to rush up to a corporate executive and scream "HEY BROTHER I NEED YOU TO GIVE ME FIFTY MILIGRAMS OF CRACK, THE NAMES OF OTHER OFFICIALS LIKE YOU, AND FIFTY FIREARMS" as the first step of communication, you know?
>>
>>5948544
Tell me what C, F, G, L, M, S, and V-Corps does
>>
>>5948574
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Hoo boy. Let's run it down real quick.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] C-Company, to your knowledge, is mostly a cosmetic and clothing based company. You know that 'Nouveau Fabric', the bulletproof kelvar like fabric? It's likely they make it. You saw a weird alternate version of one of their district sections when meeting Heart on My Sleeve.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] F-Company is a high dining and food related corp. You went there to deal with Benedict and his failing restaurant. Essentially, that's where most restaurants and junk food companies produce their products with.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] G-Company is your home company. You know that they mostly invest in all non-train based forms of travel and they're well known for exploring every single inch of the City, Wastes, and beyond. They're a minor power in the grand scheme but they offer very competitive products, letting them earn a spot as an Alphabet Company.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] L-Company is pretty new to you, honestly. You just learnt about it only a little bit ago. Apparently they make good luck charms and are associated with Light? That's about it.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] M-Company is a music related corporation that's very popular with punks, hippies, and other creatives. So there's VERY weird but in a 'dude drugs' way instead of how you're weird. Alongside A-Corp, they have a lot of big names in the City (when it comes to celebrity status, not corporate power).
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] S-Company is the main construction company in this City. If there's a building that's bigger than a one story house or a shady bar, S-Company or a shell company of theirs made it.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] ...You frankly have no clue what the fuck V-Corp is. You hate to admit it but even with your PARADIGM improved knowledge, all you know is they make VICTORY branded products which are...shoddy at best?
>>
>>5948593
>C
Cosmetic Corp
>F
Food Corp
>G
Go/Globe Corp
>L
Luck/Light Corp
>M
Music Corp
>S
Structure Corp
>V
Victory Corp?

>>5948350
Changing my vote from >>5948449 to
>W CORP
>D CORP
>write in: G CORP
Because G is the corporation in charge of Nicole's home district
>>
>>5948458
Swapping O-Corp for G-Corp
>>
>>5948350
>A crazed woman in a fancy dress is scribbling something down on her notepad. A wild smile crosses his face. (W-CORP. An anti-anomaly company who develops tech to deal with them. Also explores abandoned districts.)
>A group of police officers are sitting around a table, chattering about how to deal with 'undesirables'. (J-CORP. The main judicial and legal power in the City.)
>A nervous wreck of a woman is working on a pile of papers at her table. She looks like she's about to pass out. (D-CORP. Similar to P-Corp, contains anomalies, but aims to study and understand where they came from.)
>>
>>5948350
>G
>J
>N
>>
>>5948544
>HEY BROTHER I NEED YOU TO GIVE ME FIFTY MILIGRAMS OF CRACK
To be fair, the M Corp official punk would probably nod and pull a bag out without hesitation and with a "say no more", but he's the only guy here who would say yes
>>
>>5948350
>A group of police officers are sitting around a table, chattering about how to deal with 'undesirables'. (J-CORP. The main judicial and legal power in the City.)
>A crazed woman in a fancy dress is scribbling something down on her notepad. A wild smile crosses his face. (W-CORP. An anti-anomaly company who develops tech to deal with them. Also explores abandoned districts.)
>G-Corp
>>
QKD: G, J, N
GWO: J, W, G
IkB: W, D, G
Cp5: D, G, J
T2m: D, R, M
nnk: W, D, T
TWx: J, T, N
QVB: W, J, D

4 for G, 5 for J, 4 for W, 5 for D, 2 for N, 2 for T, one for M, and one for R.
J-Corp and D-Corp are going to be someone you're going to talk to but there's a tie between G-Corp and W-Corp. So let's call for a short tie breaker vote. Which one do you want to be your third one?

>W-CORP (Anti-anomalous tech, explores abandoned districts, known for being VERY zealous in their beliefs and mindsets. Products from them include weapons and ammo that deal specialized damage that can damage otherwise hard to hurt abnos, containment cubes to trap abnormalities, special stones that 'slow down mental corruption', and the second leading producer of psychiatric medication.)
>G-CORP (A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between. Products and services from them include all manner of exploration equipment + supplies, maps and books filled with useful info about the city...and, if you're lucky, your OWN FUCKING CAR!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH A CAR COSTS???. Also your district's home company.)

I'll leave this open for a bit while I cook myself something to eat so take your time.
>>5949001
Oh, absolutely. Though frankly you feel like he would challenge you to a snort off and you would pass out before he's buzzed.
>>
>>5949199
>>W-CORP (Anti-anomalous tech, explores abandoned districts, known for being VERY zealous in their beliefs and mindsets. Products from them include weapons and ammo that deal specialized damage that can damage otherwise hard to hurt abnos, containment cubes to trap abnormalities, special stones that 'slow down mental corruption', and the second leading producer of psychiatric medication.)
As sick as a car is, we probably want as much abnormality containing shit as possible, plus some meds never hurt.
>>
>>5949203
+1
No guarantee Nicole will ever stay in G District. Who knows where her future family will be?
>>
>>5949199
>W-CORP (Anti-anomalous tech, explores abandoned districts, known for being VERY zealous in their beliefs and mindsets. Products from them include weapons and ammo that deal specialized damage that can damage otherwise hard to hurt abnos, containment cubes to trap abnormalities, special stones that 'slow down mental corruption', and the second leading producer of psychiatric medication.)
Gotta give W corp the W. Not to mention the representative seems very Nicole like so I’m looking forward to them bouncing off of each other.
>>
>>5949203
>>5949212
>>5949217
Aight. Was gonna leave it open for longer but no need to wait when a majority like this exists. I need three anons to roll the following to see how your first impressions go. Due to Alexis being nearby, you can't TOTALLY fuck it up.

W-CORP: 1d100+15 (Similar madness. Similar interests.)
D-CORP: 1d100+7 (Not your first time dealing with a tired office worker)
J-CORP: 1d100-5 (Lacks the espirit de corps with the LAW.)

RESULTS
1-19 [ALEXIS NEARBY] [BARELY SUCCESSFUL] You'll get your foot in the door but you doubt you'll get anything more than some info on how they work and where to contact them later.
20-39: OKAY SUCCESS. You'll likely be able to get a random corporate item from them, a pleasant conversation, but that's it.
40-69: DECENT SUCCESS. You'll get a corporate item, a corporate favor, and a small bonus to interacting with their company.
70-85: MAJOR SUCCESS. You'll get a corporate catalog to buy items from them, a corporate favor, and your Handler might be able to provide you with supplies from that corp on occasion
86-100: INSANE SUCCESS. All of the boons of the previous successes combined alongside learning something about their singularity, which will offer insight into their true business model and clue you into what dark secrets they have.
>>
Rolled 85 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>>5949246
W-Corp
>>
Rolled 47 + 7 (1d100 + 7)

>>5949246
D-Corp
>>
Rolled 75 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5949246
J
>>
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>>5949249
>>5949251
>>5949260
INSANE, DECENT, AND MAJOR success. the W-Corp one is gonna be fun to write, writing.
>>
Of course the schizo girlie gets along best with the other schizo girlie. Overall pretty good rolls.
>>
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You barely have time to look around before you feel a set of eyes on the back of your neck. Turning your head ever so slightly, you see her. A woman in a dull brown yet remarkably fancy looking dress is staring at you with the same look a predator would have with a wounded prey animal. Doesn't fucking help you have deer antlers now. You take a deep breath.

Fuck it. What's the harm? No fear, go up there, DO YOUR THANG.

You walk a bit too quickly over to the mostly empty booth and force yourself to sit across from the W-Corp rep. She's a girl around your age and build (well, before you became a Cleaner) with a short, pragmatic pixie cut. A image of a "W" wrapped around in barbed wire is stitched right below the neck of her dress. A set of bright yellow eyes are staring right down at you.

She's not saying a single word to you. She keeps staring. Waiting for you to fuck up and sperg out. Her smile widens to show a set of slightly crooked but pearly white teeth. You return the same smile. She widens her smile even more. You do the same.

She leans forward. You do. Her eyes widen. Your eyes widen.

Both of you say nothing to each other for the longest time. Eventually, the W-Corp Rep is the first one to break. "Well, well! I didn't expect such a disgusting creature to hold itself back in my presence."

[UNSTABLE] "Takes one to know one, faggot." Your eye twitches. "At least I know what a good dress color is and it's not brown."

"At least I'm wearing a dress unlike you, dyke." Her eye twitches just like yours. "What's up with the antlers? Are you THAT much of a whore, you need handlebars? Or are you even more disgusting? One of THOSE creatures?" Every word she says is laced with equal measures malice, morbid curiosity, and amusement.

"I killed one. I forced another to give me its power. I knocked out another one. If anything, I am directly responsible with killing more of them than you." You lie through your teeth. They're not wrong in the most literal sense, at least. "With only what I had on hand. I'm not even an ETF agent. So fucking excuse me if I have weird antlers. Exposure is a bitch."

Her glare softens upon hearing your cover story. "Is that so? Any exposure to A-Energy lately? You do know that shit is made from those foul creatures, right?"

"Sadly." You keep up the persona. "Sadly."

A small frown crosses the rep's face. She leans even further over the table to sniff at you. It's only now that you realize the only thing she's been eating at this table is a single muffin for some reason? Whatever. She leans away once she's done her weird sniff thing.

"How many you hear?" She cryptically states. <[HUNTER OF THE CITY] She smells like one of them but she's not like one of them. Weird.>

[UNSTABLE] AH. ONE OF US.

"Four. You?"

"Three." She reaches for something on the seat on the side of the booth she's on. Before you realize what's she doing, she drops a handful of random objects onto the table.
>>
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A magazine with a muddy brown cover reading "HOW TO EXTERMINATE THE WASTE AROUND YOU" with pictures of generic anomalies being shot at, a bright purple gemstone glowing with a faint hue, and a handful of bullets with a yellow-green tint to their primers.

ITEMS ACQUIRED!
>W-CORP CORPORATE MAGAZINE (Contains a variety of anti-anomaly tech and other W-Corp products. Can be used during FREE TIME and the SET UP PHASE to purchase items, or for a huge upcharge, in the middle of a mission.)
>MOONSTONE (A W-Corp product that automatically triggers when you would use RESTRAINT for an ability or take RESTRAINT damage. Can negate up to three RESTRAINT loss before shattering.)
>ANTI-ANOMALY ROUNDS x3 (Can be used as PISTOL or REVOLVER ammo. When hitting an anomaly or a person with anomalous abilities with one, the target takes 2 extra FLESH and RESTRAINT damage.)

"It's been a while since I met someone who I could understand. Someone who knows what it's like to think like that. To have all of THOSE thoughts in your head." She glances around nervously. "Fight fire with fire, you know?"

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Wait, is she saying that she has abilities like us?
[PERSON OF INTEREST] No, I doubt that, given her revulsion to the anomalous. She's referring more to US.

"You need to think FASTER than them, right? More voices, more thoughts, more moments to notice the enemies approaching. Four minds is better than one. Fracture one mind. That's how we work." She mutters almost incoherently. "Tell me who your boss is. They tell me I can trust him." You hand her your phone. She quickly searches through it before tossing it back at you. "Good, good. Leave. Before they notice. Be my eyes on the ground."

"Kill those fuckers for me. Especially if they glow. Their minds, they don't FUCKING GET WHAT WE DO!"

>+2 W-CORP (EXTERMINATION) FAVORS
>-2 DC to all future skill checks when trying to talk to W-Corp.

You quickly leave before she starts having an episode. It was like looking at a fucked up reflection of yourself. So their Singularity revolves around the human mind somehow, huh? Interesting.

You decide to approach the D-Corp official next. She's...barely even awake when you check up on her. She's a thin pale woman with jet black hair, a generic white and black office uniform, and narrow eyes. She looks like she's from T-Corp's district, like Maruyama? She's currently sprawled out onto piles on piles of papers with one motto written on all of them.

""We die in the darkness so you may live in the light."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] D-Company's motto. While most of the meanings behind the Alphabet Company's letters are usually some form of double entendre or otherwise hidden, D-Company doesn't hide that their true name is Dark Operations Incorporated.

"Hello?" You shake the D-Corp Rep's shoulder. You immediately step back when she throws a punch at you. "Shénme?" The young woman glares in your direction.
>>
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"Wǒ huì dài nǐ xiàqù-" She babbles in some foreign district tongue. Yeah, whatever district she came from, it wasn't T-Corp. "...Who are you?" She immediately switches to the more universal, 'business friendly' one most people speak.

"Nicole Smith." You hold your hand out. "Simply looking for connections. You work for D-Corp, right?" You sit down at her table.

"Yue Xia. At your service." Yeah, you definitely don't recognize that naming scheme but you'd guess Yue is actually her last name. Some districts have a custom that have the last name first. T-Corp's districts have that but D-Corp?

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] You don't recall anything like this from D-Corp's district. Though you know that S and T-Corp's borders are adjacent to each other.

"Came from S Corp?" You throw out a guess.

Yue raises an eyebrow. "Correct. Regardless, I don't really have much to offer you." She looks back down at the pile of paperwork she was skimming through. "Too busy with this. Can't really talk. Sorry."

"It's fine. Just wanted to offer some help since I'm good with handling anomalies."

This immediately catches her interest. She narrows her eyes (even more than they normally were) at you. "How so? Got any proof?"

"Well, you're in cohoots with P-Corp, right? And containing anomalies too?" This gets a nod out of Yue. "Does the name 'Heart on My Sleeve' ring a bell?" You get another nod out of her. "I encountered it. Survived it. Hell, this jacket?" You point at the bomber jacket you have on. "It gave it to me."

"...You. A random civilian. Encountered an anomaly and not just survived but got a fucking PARADIGM FROM IT?!" She smashes her hand onto the table before collapsing in sheer despair. "we spent the last few hours trying to get it to react positively to anyone. we were about to ship it to p-corp so they can handle it."

"Huh? I just told it to wear a dress. It wanted to 'go to the city' or something so I told it to make a good first impression."

"Wait. Dress to go into the City?" Something clicks in her head. <"Oh. It tries to mimic whatever environment it wants to go to? It kept rambling about our facility..."> "You know, that gave us a bit of a break through. We've been trying to find out the origins of where anomalies are coming from, you see. We were established only 30 or so years ago to do this very thing."

"Do you mind telling us everything you know about anomalies, please?" Yue gestures at you to speak.

You give her a quick run down of every anomaly you've encountered and what their quirks were. She nods along, taking it all in. "So, you said you've encountered two people who either became or were going to turn into anomalies during a mental episode when they were exposed to A-Energy? Interesting. That actually fits in line with a theory I was working on..." She hums.

"We've had isolated cases happening but...hm. I have to tell the Overseers about this. If anomalous energy can turn other people into anomalies..."
>>
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She hands you a small slip of paper. Glancing down at it, it seems to be the address to some sort of coffee shop? No, wait, it's a coupon. Seems pretty exclusive by the looks of it.
>D-CORP COFFEE COUPON ACQUIRED! (Can purchase of three items of a D-Corp coffee shop near your apartment for free. Coffee purchased this way will grant temporary abilities and boons depending on the type purchased.)
>+1 D-CORP (DARKNESS) FAVOR ACQUIRED!
>-2 DC to all checks involving contacting or interacting with D-Company employees.

"Keep this between us. If word of this goes out to anyone, people will panic. P-Company needs to know about the dangers their products pose." Yue mutters. "We've already been having problems keeping up with how many anomalies are manifesting lately. And if people are intentionally, or unintentionally, being turned into them..."

"Look. This information may save lives. Thank you for your service."

"No problem. You pocket it. "Thank you for your time-" And she's already passed out. Could've gone better but eh, you don't feel like pressuring her. One last table to go. The cop table.

There's five of them sitting at a booth, chattering away and eating a platter of random breakfast foods. Despite it being late in the afternoon. All of the cops look shockingly similar to each other. Each of them is a man in their late 40s with bushy mustaches, lightly tanned skin, and a muscular body type. Each is wearing a bright orange police uniform with a pin of a hand crushing something on their breastpockets.

The only way you can tell them apart is by their hair color. Red, black, silver, blonde, and brown hair.

Mr. Brown is the first to look up at you. His mouth twists into a conceited sneer. "Missy, we're on a break right now. If someone is breaking into your house, bother us later."
Mr. Silver snorts when he sees who his partner is talking to. "Aw, don't be rude to her. She's probably looking for a lost dog or something."
Mr. Red, Black, and Blonde don't even acknowledge you aside from laughing at your expense. Hrm.

You click your tongue. Time to think of something that might impressive them. "Ace Strikers ring a bell to you?"

Mr. Red looks up from the pancake he was eating. "Those cunts? What about 'em? We tried to deal with them once they started making a fuss in I-Corp's districts but we couldn't do nothing. Something about 'company relationships' and 'not stirring the pot.'"

"I killed their leader. Crippled them. They're no longer a thing." You grin. "All me."

The table goes silent.

Mr. Black stares right at you. "Excuse me?"

"Killed him." You pull out the revolver you stole from the Boss of that syndicate and place it onto the table. All of the officers stare at it with shock and awe plastered on their face.

"Holy fucking shit." Mr. Blonde mutters to himself. "Look, kid. You saved us a lot of hassle with this. Do you know how much of a pain in the ASS it is to deal with inter-district crimes lately?"
>>
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"You gotta get a permit to operate in that District if you're working by the book, THEN you have to get approved nd assigned to the case..." Mr. Red mutters.

"And then, even after all of that, sometimes they won't let us use firearms!" Mr. Silver huffs. "Something about 'it cuts too much into our budget'. Buncha nonsense from the Head, I tell you. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO DEAL WITH THIS, NOT RANDOM BITCHES!"

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Gun permits and ammo can be VERY annoying to acquire if you're not R-Corp, J-Corp, X-Corp, or an ETF agent. And usually, it costs an arm and a leg if you aim to keep it above board.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Most of your ammo and guns were stolen from random people you killed, for instance.

"You saved us a lot of paperwork." Mr. Brown nods. "Tell you what. If you don't mind us taking credit, we'll give you a small favor. How's that?"

You shrug. "Sure, fuck it. I already got paid for doing it, you guys can take the credit."

"Excellent!" The mood in the table suddenly swings from 'what is this bitch doing here' to damn near praising you for saving them from having to do any work.
>+1 J-CORP (LAW AND ORDER) FAVOR!

They promptly throw you a bright orange catalog with a police badge on the cover and a clip of pistol ammo before promptly blabbering to themselves about what a great job they did. Huh.

No wonder why Cleaners exist if doing police work is so mired in red tape. Seems like trying to keep things in check requires way too much red tape from them to be effective...

>+6 ARMOR PIERCING PISTOL ROUNDS (Against armored targets or machines, roll an additional +3d6. Used by J-Corp to deal with high risk targets.)
>+J-CORP CATALOG (Contains a variety of training manuals and equipment to improve your combat abilities, on hire guards to keep you safe, and specialized ammo and grenade types.)
>-2 DC to all future skill checks when trying to talk to J-Corp.

Neat. You decide to head back to your table where your allies are at. Sitting down, you realize that they already ordered you something to eat. It's a juicy, medium rare steak with a glass of red wine. The steak looks way bigger and juicier than any meat you had before in your life. You look up to see Alexis flashing a smile at you.

"A reward for not fucking up. Don't worry about paying it and, please, feel free to order another one if you wish."

Fuck. You're not going to complain. As you prepare to dig into your stake, you wonder what to ask Naomi and Alexis. You already bothered Kiara with questions after the training course so you don't feel like bothering her. If she wants to say something, she will.

"Thanks." You offer your best smile to her.

Kiara looks up from the pile of pasta she's been devouring. "I always wondered why they installed fake taste buds into me." Kiara mutters. "I know now what heaven tastes like."

Naomi is busy just eating at a simple sandwich in silence. It's clear she's still a bit tense when it comes to social interactions. Hm.
>>
Select three questions to ask Naomi and Alexis, given how they're your main focus.

ALEXIS
>"So, you work with a lot of people. Cleaners. Alphabet Companies. Would you mind telling me anyone you think might be useful for me down the line?"
>"Where the hell DO you get all of your equipment? Got any shops you could recommend? You seem to be able to get a lot of stuff in a REALLY short amount of time."
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.
>"Did I do well? Mind telling me where I fucked up?" Ask her for feedback on how you handled talking to the company reps.
>"Random guess. I think you might know something about two people I know. Frank and Bennett. What do you know?" You met Frank but you don't know much about him. Knowing more about an ally you might hire later could be useful.
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her.
>Write in.

NAOMI
>"What was your history with Alex? You two seemed to have a past with each other? Did you work for X-Corp before?" Pry into her relationship with X-Corp and its officials.
>"If you don't mind me bringing down the mood, the hell is up with the Antiseptic War? My memory on it is foggy these days." You ask, just in case it's relevant in the future.
>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"So, you were an ETF agent, right? What is that like? Got any tips you can pass down to me?" Maybe she can give you some useful advice. She is a old hag, after all.
>"If you don't mind me prying-" You point at the burn scars she keeps hidden away in bandage wrap. "Where the hell did you get those? I'm curious."
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>Write in.

Sorry for the delay, had to write a lot this update. Most updates probably won't be this big.
Good job on not fucking up on your first impression rolls. Seems like being a deer schizo is remarkably charming, eh? Will update the pastebin later when I'm not bone tired.
>>
>>5949497
>"Did I do well? Mind telling me where I fucked up?" Ask her for feedback on how you handled talking to the company reps.
>"Random guess. I think you might know something about two people I know. Frank and Bennett. What do you know?" You met Frank but you don't know much about him. Knowing more about an ally you might hire later could be useful.
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her.

>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"If you don't mind me prying-" You point at the burn scars she keeps hidden away in bandage wrap. "Where the hell did you get those? I'm curious."
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>>
>>5949497
That was a good series of updates. I especially enjoyed the W corp scene, that was really fun. I hope we can recruit her or someone like her and have a schizo mission.
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.
>"Did I do well? Mind telling me where I fucked up?" Ask her for feedback on how you handled talking to the company reps.
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her. Also ask her what her favorite fancy shit is.
Naomi
>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"If you don't mind me prying-" You point at the burn scars she keeps hidden away in bandage wrap. "Where the hell did you get those? I'm curious."
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>>
>>5949497
Wohoo, I hope J-Corp taking credit for Ace Strikers gets that warcrime company off our tail.
>"Random guess. I think you might know something about two people I know. Frank and Bennett. What do you know?" You met Frank but you don't know much about him. Knowing more about an all
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>"What was your history with Alex? You two seemed to have a past with each other? Did you work for X-Corp before?" Pry into her relationship with X-Corp and its officials.
>>
>>5949497
ALEXIS
>"Did I do well? Mind telling me where I fucked up?" Ask her for feedback on how you handled talking to the company reps
First thing after we got pulled away
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.
He's our boss and he's in this silver agent shit now too. And we killed his bro's gang for him
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her.
The FOOD

I don't feel the need to ask Alexis about more useful people yet. We got plenty to work with at present.
I don't wanna ask about the free gear. I'm content with it being a mystery
Not asking about F&B either. Frank we can recruit on a mission and ask ourselves then. Bennett is still unknown...

NAOMI
>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
We we ok with Quentin, we can be ok with grandma here. Ex-Silver or not
>"What was your history with Alex? You two seemed to have a past with each other? Did you work for X-Corp before?" Pry into her relationship with X-Corp and its officials.
Recent enough it feels natural to ask this here
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
And this is because the antlers are recent too

I refuse to ask about Antiseptic War here. Not with corporate officials listening in and not in this environment. Maybe next time
Don't wanna ask her about the ETF thing either, as I'm leaning to recruiting Frank for our next mission whatever it may be
I REFUSE to ask about the bacon body either. I've seen enough burned girls in fiction to know you leave that to later
>>
>>5949497
>"Where the hell DO you get all of your equipment? Got any shops you could recommend? You seem to be able to get a lot of stuff in a REALLY short amount of time."
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her.

>"If you don't mind me bringing down the mood, the hell is up with the Antiseptic War? My memory on it is foggy these days." You ask, just in case it's relevant in the future.
>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>>
>>5949533
Change
>>5949497
>"Did I do well? Mind telling me where I fucked up?" Ask her for feedback on how you handled talking to the company reps.
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.
>Eh, no need to bore her too much with business talk. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit." Just have some normal chitchat with her. Also ask her what her favorite fancy shit is.

>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"What was your history with Alex? You two seemed to have a past with each other? Did you work for X-Corp before?" Pry into her relationship with X-Corp and its officials.
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>>
>>5949712
>J Corp takes credit openly
>K Corp immediately zeroes in on them instead
Might go horribly wrong depending on how close they were to discovering Nicole was involved. K Corp cleanup crew were there at the silver agent's corpse, and that was only a couple streets away from Nicole's apartment.

>>5949697
I think if she knew the truth, the W Corp rep might be an enemy or fierce rival instead. Nicole is gradually becoming an anomaly, while the W Corp rep and the rest of W Corp are anti-anomaly to their core. They live in two separate worlds, on two separate sides of the insanity coin. Time will tell how events and characters develop
>>
>>5949497
>"So, you work with a lot of people. Cleaners. Alphabet Companies. Would you mind telling me anyone you think might be useful for me down the line?"
>"Where the hell DO you get all of your equipment? Got any shops you could recommend? You seem to be able to get a lot of stuff in a REALLY short amount of time."
>"Say. Apparently my Handler is some rich, important fuck. You deal with rich, important fucks. Does Otto Foxtrot ring a bell?" Try to pry a bit into your Handler and his motivations through Alexis.

>"Hey. You know we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Try to make her feel welcomed in the group. She's been a useful presence and what's in the past is in the past.
>"So, you were an ETF agent, right? What is that like? Got any tips you can pass down to me?" Maybe she can give you some useful advice. She is a old hag, after all.
>"Uh, got any sewing tips for me?" You nervously laugh as you point at your Antlers. Might as well keep the conversation simple and light to make sure she feels comfortable talking with you and the others.
>>
>>5949773
That's fair enough, but I am deeply curious about W corp and their similarities to us. Even if not with her, something with W corp seems within our wheelhouse.

On K corp, I don't know how J corp claiming credit will affect things. Probably the best we can expect is a bigger delay before we have to deal with them though.
>>
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https://youtu.be/YWD2Z14w99Y - SUGAR MOUNTAIN

"So. Did I do good?" You start cutting into your steak into tiny pieces as you talk into Alexis. "Mind telling me where I fucked up? Feels like I could've done better." Putting a piece in your mouth, you can feel it almost immediately melt inside your mouth. Your body shivers from how JUICY it is. God, you never had meat this good.

[UNSTABLE] THAT'S WHAT I-

Alexis hums while she cuts into her own steak. "With the W-Corp one? No notes. You did what you could. Hell, I'll be honest, it was like you were talking to another version of yourself." She takes a small swig from a glass of bright white wine that's probably worth $300 for a single swig. "J-Corp, no comments. D-Corp? Well, you could've done better."

"How so?" Taking a sip of your own wine, you take a moment to savor it on your tongue. You make out some sort of blackcurrant and black cherry flavor from it. Pretty good.

"To be polite? Most of the people who work there are barely awake, barely conscious husks who run purely off coffee. They prefer blunt, to the point discussions. You talked a bit too long and she passed out before you could get anything more out of her." She politely but firmly tells you what faults she saw in your discussion. Huh. You guess the S-Corp thing was a waste of time.

"That company is VERY new and very underfunded so...expect a lot of that from anyone who works there?" Alexis shrugs."

"Oh, yeah! They're probably only still around because they're P-Company's biggest partner." Kiara chirps out. "I even heard rumors that the previous D-Company was 'convinced to retire' by P-Company so they could put a new power in their place."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] This tracks with an old rumor you heard of. From what you recall, old D-Corp was more focused on exploring the underground sections of the City. Supposedly they merged with something else to make W-Corp?

"And about partners and powerful people, do you know anything about Otto Foxtrot?" You throw the name out before you take another swig of wine. Your head's already feeling quite fuzzy from it.

<"Oh, that prick? Fuck me."> "Well, I've heard about him. His family has a LOT of connections with the Alphabet Companies. I think he has diplomatic immunity with all of them aside from V-Company...which, yeah, don't blame him." There it is again, V-Company, the only major blind spot you have. "I actually talked to him a few times. He's actually pleasant company all things considered."

You raise an eyebrow. "Really?"

"Yeah?" Alexis is weirdly confused by your reaction. Is she even talking about the same person you are? <"Sure, I want to blow his brains out, but I can say that with most of my associates."> "Only real issue I have with him is that he says freakshit WAY too much."

Might as well drop the present. "Yeah. Trust me, I know. I work for him."

And now the table is dead silent. All of your allies are staring at you. Uh?
>>
"Fuck me, no wonder why you're like that." Alexis snorts. "Yeah. Makes sense."
"...Pitiful. I feel sorry for you." You barely hear Naomi's muttering.
"Sorry." Kiara tries REALLY hard to hide her smirk.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean???" You try your best to hide your confused expression.

"I can't promise my information is in date but," Naomi finishes her sandwich in one, unnervingly big bite and swallow. "Isn't his family barely respect in the corporate world?"

"I believe so. No wonder why he has to rely on someone like you, no offense meant, to do tasks on his behalf." Alexis's expression is equal parts concerned, conceited, and disgusted. "Don't be shocked if he uses you to boost himself and his family name back into the spotlight. Cleaners are disposable, after all."

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Worrying. If he tries to drag too much attention to the both of you? The agents might move in. You can only hope he has the common sense to keep any power plays hidden for now.

How comforting. Wouldn't be too shocking if he tried using the existence of the Silver Agents to get the Companies on his side. Yet, from what it sounds like, they're about as powerful as an Alphabet Company if not GREATER...fuck. You'll worry about that when you talk to him later.

Naomi seems to notice the worry on your face. All she offers is a cryptic nod. "It's best to be worried." <"She's piecing it together. Good.">

"W-well then!" You try to wash away your worries with more wine and food. Soon enough, your glass and plate are empty. "Mind telling me what you'd recommend to eat here? Way out of my depth with fancy shit and, uh, still hungry."

"Mmh." Alexis waves her hand to get the attention of a waiter. "Tell you what? I'm in a morbid kind of mood. Do you have any deer on the menu today?" Oh this bitch-

The waiter nods.

"Excellent. Get me a cut of meat from it and some of the Syndie you know what." She whispers at the waiter. Before you even know it, he's gone. "I'll be honest. Most of the food here is actually pretty awful when it comes to being food."

"How so?" Your standards for restaurant food is that one Beetleburger place Q-Company owns and, like, the Bazaar of Desires or whatever you ate a few days ago.

"It's all fucking 'experience' slop!" Alexis' face contorts into a sneer of pure fucking rage. "Look at the menu!" You only now notice there's a menu still in front of you. You quickly flip through it. For every normal steak, sandwich, or plate of pasta there's...what the fuck is this? You squint at the pictures on the menu.

FLAVOR FROM 369 YEARS AGO. It's a cracked open can of that ancient 'Coca Cola' soda.
DECONSTRUCTED RASPBERRY CAKE. It's a plate with raw flour, scrambled eggs, and crushed raspberries covered in sugar.
MIDDLE AGED MAN'S DESPAIR. It's just a cup of black coffee and a pack of 'BLACK TAR' brand cigarettes

"What the fuck?"

"I know, right?" Kiara and Alexis yell out in unison.
>>
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"Look, I had to pick a place on short notice and this place is mostly for, to be frank, rich assholes who don't know any better." Alexis lets out an annoyed sigh. "I missed the days where I could just eat a fast food burger. But no, I'm obligated to go to these places."

"You care too much about how others perceive you." Naomi chimes in. "Though I suppose I am no better here."

"Yeah." You take this moment to segue into talking to Naomi about, well, yeah. "You do realize we're not going to judge you on your past, right?" Naomi flinches a bit but otherwise doesn't respond to you. "I mean, look, your presence was helpful this mission and I know the Agent was trying to mindgame us."

[SILVER INSTINCTS] "Don't act like you understand." Naomi's mouth twists into a sneer. "I respect the attempt but there's a reason I've been-"

"Sorry."

This immediately causes Naomi's anger to disappear. "I apologize too. It's just not an aspect on my past I wish to dwell on. Let alone dwell with others who know about it."

"Isn't it more helpful to have someone who understands them? I know basically nothing about them but you're more of an asset than a detriment with that knowledge." Alexis points out. Naomi can only sputter out confused, conflicted noises.

"I literally saw a sentient centipede revive corpses before and he's a valuable ally to me. C'mon. It's all in the past." You try your best to comfort Naomi.

"Word." An electric snort escapes Kiara. "And I'm a robot. Being some mysterious vague agent in the past isn't remotely as weird."

"If you say so." Naomi relaxes a bit in her chair.

"Hell, speaking about how useful you are, got any tips for uh-" You point at your antlers. "Sewing? You know? With these fucking things?"

[SILVER INSTINCTS] "Cut them off." A weird smirk crosses her face. "It can't be that hard."

You narrow your eyes at her. She shakes her head, muttering to herself about 'old habits'. "Well, it's not my first time dealing with outfit modifications. It's best that you measure the base of the horn to make sure, once it's through, there's no space for any water to leak onto your head."

"Pft, what, are horns THAT common in your old line of duty?"

"Yes." Naomi bluntly states. "You could not imagine the amount of degenerates who would use body mods to get animalistic features. I even once saw something I thought was an anomaly. A wolf that stood on two legs. But, alas, it was simply a rich mistress who belonged to a M-Company employee."

"...yeaaahhh, not my first time seeing a mod like that. Once saw a woman with a fox's head. Not sure why people get those." Soon, the conversation devolves into the four of you making fun of various freaks who invest WAY too much money into body mods. Time begins to pass by as the four of you enjoy your meals.

Naomi seems to be escaping her shell with every second that passes by and Alexis starts getting a bit too honest with you as she gets wasted on white wine.
>+1 RAPPORT WITH NAOMI AND ALEXIS!
>>
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The venison steak, as morbid of a joke as it was, was actually quite good if a bit gamey. The 'syndi-cake' Alexis ordered was a cream-filled roll which tasted okay. She said something about it being banned in five Districts for some reason?

"Fuck, you think THAT'S weird? I once heard of a guy who was hooking up with FIFTY different Drones. You would not BELIEVE how jealous those husks can get." Alexis sneers as she recounts yet another story. "There were only bones left when we found his body."

"I once knew of a Harvester who, well, 'consumed' her male partner's special part in one bite when he cheated on her. The amount of blood coming out of it was impressive." Naomi chuckles under her bandage wrap mask.

You begin to tune out all of the weird stories until, before you know it, the four of you are stumbling out of the restaurant in a drunken haze. Kiara and Alexis disappear into the streets of this section of District 24, leaving you and Naomi to wander back into the train.
>KIARA AND ALEXIS LEFT THE PARTY.

"So." You try your best to keep your focus as your vision blurs. "What's up with you and Alex? What's your history?"

"...It's a long story." Naomi whimpers out. A sad, wistful note drenches her words as she continues to mutter. "After I left the Silvers, I ran here. This used to be my home. My district. We met when I was 30 and, well, we worked together for a few decades. That's how I got these-" She gestures at her old tribal tattoos. "It used to be a tradition back in X-Corp. It was my squadron's tattoos."

"I'm guessing it didn't end well?" You mutter as the two stumble onto the train that got you here. It's empty, like it always is. All you can do as it travels back to your district is to talk with Naomi.

"No. We were the only members left after an incident I rather not speak on. Needless to say, I didn't feel like I deserved to come back here. It's been years since I talked to him directly. But, well, he owed me. So he actually gave me a Nest permit. Tried to, at least."

You raise an eyebrow. "Why the hell would you reject that? Aren't those places the best places to live in the City?"

"Yes. But, look, I don't feel comfortable explaining why I rejected it." Naomi clicks her tongue. "All I can say is this. I've been with X-Company for a long while but after what happened, I didn't feel like I deserved to be here."

There's an odd silence as the two of you wait on the empty train. Outside the train is pure darkness aside from the blips of lights from the buildings in the City. "If I could give you some advice? The only home you'll ever truly have is the home you make for yourself. You'll leave your district eventually. Especially if THEY are following you."

The train eventually stops at G-Corp's district. Before Naomi exits the train, she looks back at you for a split second. "All that matters is you survive. Anything and anyone else comes second. That's how a good person lives." How vague and ominous.
>>
Before you have time to question her, she's gone.
>NAOMI HAS LEFT THE PARTY.

Hm. You suppose she'll stay cryptic and vague about herself until you get a better bond. As you walk back to your apartment, you try your best to ignore the X-Corp agents disguised as random workers shoveling snow out of the streets.

You head back inside and immediately collapse onto the bed in an exhausted heap. When you wake up, it's still dark in your room. You feel a bit better, at least? Hard to say really.

>UNMARKED VIAL DAMAGE REMOVED!
>??? UNTIL K-CORP MAKES ITS MOVE?

Select up to three SET UP TIME ACTIONS to take.
>Take some time to mediate. Focus. (+1 MAX RESTRAINT, +1 RESTRAINT, FOR THE MISSION.)
>Best to stock up on some equipment. (Choose between NEAL'S REAL DEALS, WEIRD ANOMALOUS STORE, or ordering from the corporate catalogs. NEAL'S offers general supplies, WEIRD ANOMALOUS STORE offers niche and situational but powerful items, and the catalogs offer you unique items from W or J-Corp. You may spend multiple actions to visit/use multiple of these.)
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
>Call up Gregory to get some supplies from him (CONNECTIONS DC: 10. Pass, you'll get to select one of three pieces of decent equipment. Failure, you'll get some random trinkets with questionable usefulness. You may write in what type of supplies you want him.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Take a long, long walk around the District. (You'll roll 4d100 if you pick this. You know your home district better. Pick between ANOMALOUS, SECRETS, INFORMATION, SHOP, CACHE, or MYSTERY when picking this. You're more likely to find something in that category when rolling the dice.)
>[UNSTABLE] HEY. TV MAN. LET'S TALK TO HIM. (You'll get some random but very useful information if you pick this.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
>Call a contact you have. (Write in. Ms. Anjaro to learn about the Wastes? Ms. Wiltshire about the History of the City? One of the three Corporate Reps you visited? Alex to cache in some favors? Someone else?)
>Might as well visit that coffee shop the D-Corp rep gave you a coupon for. Go there.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
>Call Sukane to get some more SET UP TIME actions with his T-Corp connections. (FREE ACTION, -$450 per extra action. Write in how many actions to buy, if any.)
>Write in.
>>
>>5950291
>>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
Lets try and focus our telekenesis or something through them, maybe they act like focusing conduits for our powers.
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Take a long, long walk around the District. (You'll roll 4d100 if you pick this. You know your home district better. Pick between ANOMALOUS, SECRETS, INFORMATION, SHOP, CACHE, or MYSTERY when picking this. You're more likely to find something in that category when rolling the dice.)
Hmmmm, Anomalous
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
Phone call, we should establish this contact.
>>
>>5950291
>Take some time to mediate. Focus. (+1 MAX RESTRAINT, +1 RESTRAINT, FOR THE MISSION.)
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
Stuff to help us on our fishing trip mission
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
Phone Call

(From CHOOSE YOUR NEXT MISSION, NICOLE!)
>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $975, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH
We are going to do a fishing trip mission in District 19.

My team setup:
ADAM and BENEDICT help with harvest.
LEX, QUENTIN, ASHLEY on guard duty.
bring NAOMI too because ([MILITARY EXPERIENCE] While she's not a great combatant by herself, her past experiences has molded her into an excellent commander and advisor. Everyone else gains +1 VIOLENCE, +1 RESTRAINT, +1 TALENT, and +1 WILLPOWER while she's in the party. In addition, she may add 2d6 to any roll you or your allies make twice per mission.) skill boost on all our teams.

Also, we may potentially encounter an anomalies entity in District 19: "There's also this weird rumor about some sort of admiral roaming around Districts 19 through 21. Apparently he's a Color tier threat." You flinch. If he's a Color, he's WAY out of your league to deal with. "I don't know what his deal is but I would watch out for anyone wearing a buncha medals on his uniform."

No.5885279
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5850165
>>
>>5950291
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
I trust Naomi. I want to go after a nearby cache before Nicole inevitably needs to run from G District elsewhere
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
We just got them, so I want to try them. No way in hell we're going to be able to Mind Whip or anything close in one fucking day, but baby steps are initial ones.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
Phone call, to establish contact as >>5950365 said
>>
>>5950435
Change
>>5950291
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
Stuff to help us on our fishing trip mission
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
Phone Call
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
>>
>>5950291
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
PHONE
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
>For the testing, I want to focus on either using our horns as a conduit and a focus for our abilities, like a wand, or as a way to research deeper into our nature. I’m more partial to the wand attempt though.

Man, Alexis is a fun bitch. Lots of fun going on missions with her, the venison joke was great. We should also go to the movies with Kiara and maybe like Muryama soon. Oh also, could we maybe have a free action added to put the phone we took from Gregory on the charger? The old one?
>put the old phone we took from Gregory’s stash on the ancient charger (free action?)
>>
>>5950540
>Oh also, could we maybe have a free action added to put the phone we took from Gregory on the charger? The old one?
Sure. No reason not to. I'd just include that as part of whatever the final plan ends up being since there's no cost to doing it.
>>
Question everyone: which district corp should we live in if we pack up and leave the G-corp district?

Maybe X-Corp district will be our new home temporarily, or we can go nomadic routes.
>>
Also, silver agents are planning something in the X-Corp district:

"Achieve one of the following goals."
"Eliminate the Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major of this base."
"Divert their attention and resources from our operation involving a Type 4 occurring in their section. Any method allowed."
"Record and transmit any confidential plans that might hamper our operations back to HQ."

>"Divert their attention and resources from our operation involving a Type 4 occurring in their section. Any method allowed."

We haven't told the X-Corp this information yet.

No.5932897
https://boards.4chan.org/qst/thread/5893937#bottom
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>>5950553
Think we should call and tell Alex this, or will the silvers intercept it or eavesdrop?
>>
>>5950291
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Take a long, long walk around the District. (You'll roll 4d100 if you pick this. You know your home district better. Pick between ANOMALOUS, SECRETS, INFORMATION, SHOP, CACHE, or MYSTERY when picking this. You're more likely to find something in that category when rolling the dice.)
New Shop
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. (Choose between the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE or THE PHONE CALL, or both for two actions.)
Phone call
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them! (WILLPOWER DC: ???. The higher you roll, the more information you get on how they work. You may write in how you want to test them in order to affect the DC.)
>>
>>5950291
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] We have a phone number Kiara gave us a while ago, something about a contact that might know about the spooks. That and the radio. Let's fiddle with them. THE PHONE CALL
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Might as well try to see how your Antlers work. Try to experiment with them!
>Write in. Look for a new home.
>>
>>5950291
>Check out one of your old caches nearby. See what stuff you have hidden away. (You'll roll 5d100, thanks to your new power, to determine what loot you get from the cache. You may write in a general category of supply to search for to increase the odds of getting it.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Take a long, long walk around the District. (You'll roll 4d100 if you pick this. You know your home district better. Pick between ANOMALOUS, SECRETS, INFORMATION, SHOP, CACHE, or MYSTERY when picking this. You're more likely to find something in that category when rolling the dice.)
New Shop
>Might as well visit that coffee shop the D-Corp rep gave you a coupon for. Go there.
>>
ANOMALOUS ABILITIES: T2m, 9VB, IkB, O5H, QKD, Cp5
COFFEE SHOP: GWO
NEW HOME: Cp5
PERSON OF INTEREST (PHONE CALL): Cp5, QKD, O5H, 9VB, IkB, T2M
SCHOLAR OF THE CITY: T2m, QKD, GWO
CACHE: GWO, O5h, 9VB, IkB
Seems pretty solid on what to do. But before we do the absolutely insane amount of rolls, I'll ask for a small vote since SCHOLAR OF THE CITY and CACHE were pretty close. Do you want to spend $450 to get an action to do that as well or just stick to three this time?

>SCHOLAR TOO. WHY NOT? (-$450, you'll get a chance to find some interesting things around your District depending on how you luck out.)
>NAH. JUST STICK TO THE ANOMALOUS ABILITIES + PERSON OF INTEREST + CACHE (Rolls will commence for the mentioned actions.)
>>
>>5950929
>>SCHOLAR TOO. WHY NOT? (-$450, you'll get a chance to find some interesting things around your District depending on how you luck out.)
I feel like this is worth more than the $450
>>
>>5950929
>SCHOLAR TOO. WHY NOT? (-$450, you'll get a chance to find some interesting things around your District depending on how you luck out.)
Honestly a really good deal for us. Thanks Handler. Do you want a write in on what we search for? Or are you using what people put down before?
>>
>>5950945
I'll use a combination of NEW SHOP + ANOMALOUS (which is what the SCHOLAR OF THE CITY voters picked) as what you're more likely to find, so don't worry about having to add another write in.
>>
>>5950929
>SCHOLAR TOO. WHY NOT? (-$450, you'll get a chance to find some interesting things around your District depending on how you luck out.)
Arigato, T Corp-san
>>
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Time is underneath our control.
Time is nothing but a construct.
Time is nothing but a tool.
The end only occurs when we want to. We will only end when we want to.
Dark Hour Protocol activating. Readjusting current stream. Adjusting timetable.
Practical delay for our plans: 2.1 milliseconds.

...

You feel weird. Something, somewhere, you know something has changed but you can't quite put it your finger on what just happened. You check your phone. Huh, was it always 12 AM?

Whatever just happened, you probably have a few extra hours to burn. Only now do you realize that your pocket is shockingly light. You were just about to call him but it seems like whatever you planned was already done.
>-$450! $1258 left.

-------

Now onto the actual rolls. Since we have a lot to roll, here's how we're going to handle it. I need four anons to roll the following
>5d100 (CACHE)
>2d100 (first half of SCHOLAR)
>2d100 (second half of SCHOLAR)
>6d6 (WILLPOWER check, whoever rolls this may spend one charge on your AMULET to reroll any two dice.)
Using them as a focus is the most suggested course, so a DC 17 to see how well they focus your abilities (if at all) is what you'll need to beat for the WILLPOWER check.

TABLE FOR CACHE LOOT (UNCHANGED FROM NORMAL TABLE)
1-20: Consumable (self explanatory)
21-40: Defensive (armor, tasers, pepper spray, etc etc. Something to help protect you.)
41-63: Offensive (Melee weapons, molotovs, etc etc. Something meant to hurt people.)
64-81: Supportive (Counterfeit IDs, tools, advanced cameras, etc etc. Something to help you out in the field.)
82-93: Exclusive (Stolen company resources, company exclusive items, etc etc. Something that usually only highly connected people get.)
94-100: Anomalous (You're not quite sure what you'll get if you roll this.)

TABLE FOR SCHOLAR (MORE LIKELY FOR SHOP AND ANOMALOUS)

1-9: The sea of people passing by you makes you wonder how their lives are... (You'll learn more about the people living in the district. May be useful down the line.)
10-40: Oh, that's an interesting looking building! (You'll gain a new place to visit during your SETUP and FREE TIME phases.)
40-45: "Hey, miss! Come over here!" (You encounter a potential ALLY.)
46-57: A crowd of Cleaners pass by you, muttering and yelling about something. You keep an open ear. (You'll learn some advice that'll be useful for later missions.)
58-66: There's something weird about the alleyway you walked past. You decide to take another check. (You'll learn a useful secret about the City.)
67-97: The air grows thick and heavy. Your legs move on their own. You can sense something ANOMALOUS nearby. (ANOMALY ENCOUNTER)
98-100: The air grows thick and heavy. You swear the streets were crowded moments before. What's going on? (???)
>>
Rolled 76, 87 = 163 (2d100)

>>5951008
rolling scholar part 1
>>
Rolled 38, 86, 26, 60, 67 = 277 (5d100)

>>5951008
Rolling Cache
>>
Rolled 1, 5, 6, 2, 2, 6 = 22 (6d6)

>>5951008
Here we go. Max willpower!
>>
Rolled 28, 44 = 72 (2d100)

>>5951008
QUADRUPLE ANOMALY ENCOUNTER BLAST, GGGRRRRRAAAAAAHHHHHH
>>
RESULTS
CACHE: DEFENSIVE, EXCLUSIVE, DEFENSIVE, OFFENSIVE, SUPPORTIVE
SCHOLAR: ANOMALY, ANOMALY, SHOP, ALLY.
WILLPOWER: SUCCESS.
Writing.
>>
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Time nonsense aside, you have some tomfuckery of your own to do. First thing first? Testing out your new antlers. You open up your closet and, with a small sigh, you take Naomi's advice on how best to cut some horns into every piece of clothing you have with a hood. It's a slow, annoying process but you literally bought an extra two hours (you think?) so you have time to spare. Small circles of cloth and leather fall to the floor every minute or so.

After twenty minutes, you have antler-proofed all of your clothes and hats that matter. Looking down at the pile of circular cloth and leather pieces cut out of your outfits, you wonder something. No point letting these go to waste. You levitate a handful of circular leather pieces into the air with no resistance and, with a deep breath, you focus with your antlers.

You decide to try to see if they can be used as a focus. A wand, almost. After your deep breath, you begin to strain your telekinesis through your antlers to get any sort of reaction out of them. A throbbing headache unlike what you normally feel when you use your powers immediately makes itself known. You're on the right track at least.

Letting your hands rest by your sides, you try your best to focus every inch of your telekinesis through your antlers. Sparks of orange and pink energy crackle from your antlers as, suddenly...

>22. SUCCESS!

A bright flash of light erupts from the pieces of leather you were messing with. No, not just any light. They're in flames now. In the corner of your eye, you can just barely see your reflection in the bathroom mirror. Your antlers are glowing a bright orange-pink hue as the leather pieces continue to burn.

The moment you stop focusing, the pieces drop to the floor into melting heaps of burnt leather.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Leather doesn't start to melt like that until you reach 550 degrees.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Your telekinesis can damage objects but not like this. It's normally only able to crush things on par with your grip strength. So to press down on leather so hard, it heats up to 550? That's damn impressive.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Granted, this was with tiny circles of leather. A full jacket or more durable materials would require more effort.

>ANTLER ABILITY REVEALED: FOCUS (You may spend 1 FLESH, 1 RESTRAINT, or increase the DC of a power activation by +4 to temporarily boost the next power you use. This may unlock choices otherwise impossible with your regular abilities. A list has been added to MAIN CHARACTER SHEET)

Hot damn. You don't mind these things. You use your antler-focused telekinesis to ignite every loose piece of fabric and leather laying around before, with a simple thought, your phone levitates up to your ear. You dial in the number Kiara gave you and wait for someone to pick up.

"Don't say who you are. I don't need to know." A masculine voice with an electronic filter masking it responses. "I am Zeta-Zero. Friend of Camera?"
>>
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[PERSON OF INTEREST] While you can't make out much through the electronic filter, you can tell he's already suspicious of you through his voice. Can't blame him.

Camera? Must be about Kiara. "Yes."

"Good. Connection established. I assume this is about the glows, correct?"

"Yes. Targeted by them. PoI. Anomalous potential. That's all I think you need to know." You hiss out. Something who understands who you're dealing with.

"Correct. They can trace our calls, so don't say anything too specific. Zeta-Zero is used by 5367 ETF across 26 districts, for instance. Select a code name I can refer to you before this call ends."

Well then. What codename do you pick?
>NS. Your initials, first thing that came to mind.
>DEER. Some part of you feels like that's an apt codename for you.
>WILD. You're probably seen as a wild card by all of your associates, best to own up to it.
>KILLER. We already killed one of them.
>EXPLORER. Let's be factual about what we are.
>SMITH. Simple, to the point.
>No, no, something better. (Write in.)

"Here is what I can offer you. I can supply you with one of three things from them once a day. A classified document from them. The location of one of their bases. The names of people they are associated with."

"Only one of them per day?"

"Too risky until we can establish an in person connection. Need to know I can trust you first."

"Hm. I have a 'connection' with one of them. A 'wire'. Do you know what I'm talking about? I need a 'charge' for it." You mutter as you plug in that old cellphone charger into a plug in your apartment. You plug the antique cellphone in. It'll be finished charging once the Handler calls you on your mission.

"Understood. Will supply you with that as well. I found another 'connection'. Too 'unreliable' for me, might have a 'charge' for you. When the line goes quiet, whisper what you want me to deliver. I will leave in a nearby location to where you are at." Whoever this man is, he seems like he's on your side. Even though, how could he know where you're calling from?
>You'll get a battery for your SILVER WALKIE TALKIE when the Man on the Phone delivers his package.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Probably a safety measure in case a Silver called him. Can't blame him. He doesn't know you, you don't know him.

As the line goes silent, you whisper that you want...
>"A classified document, please." (You may add in one KEYWORD to narrow down what the document is about.)
>"A base location, please." (You may ask for one in a specific DISTRICT.)
>"Names, please." (You'll get some clues into who they associate with. They can't be working alone, after all.)

Immediately after, the line disconnects. All you can do is to wait for him to deliver the package, you suppose. You change into fur-lined boots and a thick fur-lined jacket (luckily, the holes you cut in its hood were perfectly sized to not let any snow or rain slip through) before exiting your apartment building.
>>
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The streets of District 7 (to be specific, G-ALPHA-1) are like they always are. Iced over and coated in a thick layer of powdery white snow. The dark streets are only illuminated by scattered street lamps and the occasional 24/7 open BEETLEBURGER or pawn shop. There's barely anyone outside aside from three very conspicuous men shoveling snow near your apartment.

X-Corp could be a bit more subtle, you know-

"Miss." One of the disguised soldiers calls out. "A man was running through here. Shades, leather jacket, baseball bat. He ran when he saw us. Just to inform you." Ah. Ashton was trying to pull another sneak attack on you, huh? You simply nod at them before walking away from your apartment. You decide to simply let your legs move on their own, taking you wherever they feel like.

>28

The first thing you notice on your walk through the maze of barely illuminated streets is a shop that's still open despite how late it is. "LILY'S BONES AND BLADES" is written above in blocky, blonde-yellow paint. It's a small, pa and ma looking butcher's shop that clashes hard with the rest of the buildings around it. While the other buildings around it are generic, modern aged buildings, this one is made out of mostly brick and old wood.

Racks on racks of various types of meats and sausages are visible through the window. The counter is currently being occupied by a young woman with silver-blonde hair in a green butcher's apron. She looks up from a bloody cleaver she's cleaning and stares RIGHT down at you.

Her mouth opens into a smile. There's way too many jagged, sharp teeth in her mouth. You count at least fifty razor, pearly white teeth. Humans have 32, right?

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] A Harvester, no doubt. Harvester is a term for a sub-species of human best known for cannibalistic urges and far, far too many teeth. Their blood is black due to a weird physiological quirk of their carnivore biology.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] They're rare outside of F and W-Company's districts though. Rumors say that a large amount of Human and Harvester crossbreeding in the past has resulted in razor sharp teeth being a common biological quirk in normal humans.

Despite the fact that all of that meat probably isn't regular animal meat, you feel an urge to return back here before you go back home. You keep walking.

>76, 87

And then you fall. Once you hit the floor, you realize you're no longer in your snow-bound District.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7qMUxvGzlM - HOLY LAND

Rows on rows of golden pews surround you that seemingly stretching on forever behind you. Looking up, the ceiling stretches on equally as long, disappearing into a mist of bright golden light. About a hundred feet away, you can just barely make out an alter and a confession booth. The only sound you can hear is a series of bells ringing in the distance.

As you walk over to the alter, you only now notice that the floor is coated in bright white feathers. Huh.
>>
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It doesn't take too long to arrive at the back section of the church you're in. The alter is currently being unattended and, for the most part, has nothing of value to it aside from an old N-Corp bible. Your attention turns towards the confession booth (in no small part to the ruckus that suddenly erupts from it the moment you got here).

Something bursts out of the visitor's side of the confession booth. A roughly five foot sphere of darkness surrounds whatever this entity is but you can make out just the outline of a horned man in the shadows. Its face is being covered by his hands. It's only now that you realize that the anomaly is sobbing?

"WhY? WhyYY? WhEre Is MY SalVATion? WhY AM I ForSAKEN?" It chokes out another sob. "WHY DiD SHE get To REACH HeavEN While-" It stops dead in its tracks.

"C..CarOl?" The shadowy figure stares right at you. Even though you can't see his eyes, you can sense a predator's instinct just fine. "Is ThaT YOU? I...I wantED to See yoU agaiN. To HoHolD you." His voice sounds WRONG. VILE. Like a mockery of a human voice being stretched and contorted through a throat not designed for it.

One tender moment, shared between me and her. Just this last moment, please.

"To KiSS You. T-TOUCH yoU." The shadowy figure croaks out.

"C-CC-RuRUCRUSH yoUR thROAT. DDrrRink the water in your Vveeeins." In between every sentence, it chokes out a sob that's equally parts mocking and heartbroken. "WhY? WhYY did YOU COME BACKkk?"

What sort of things will human beings do out of love?

You stumble back. W-What the fuck is this thing? It's not like the other anomalies you've met. They were passive or, hell, misguided. This one, no, this one is clearly barely holding itself back from ripping you to shreds.

Something else pokes out of the confession booth. A large eye connected to a spindly, wiry stalk slowly creeps out of the confession booth before floating above the two of you, watching. Judging.

Will Man resist the urge to sin? Or will He fall yet again due to temptation?

"WHAT SHALL YOU DO?" A voice croaks out from the eyeball. Loud. Stern. Fatherly. "WHAT SHALL YOU DO?"

You imagine that thing is an anomaly too. Did it drag you here to see what the other anomaly would do if provided with fresh meat? Fuck-

"CaROL?"


What do you do?
>"I'm sorry. It's time you move on. I'm not her." Apologize to the shadowy figure.
>[UNSTABLE] "It's okay, darling. I'm here for you." Open your arms out to it. Offer it a warm embrace. (This will hurt. Badly. But perhaps there will be beauty in the pain.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Immediately grab your Holy Candle, light it up, and hold it at the creature's face. "BEGONE, DEMON!"
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Maybe an ability will help you out in this situation! (Write in.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] You faintly recall an old N-Company ritual. Clap your hands four times and kneel at the feet of the shadowy figure and the eyeball. Pray for them.
>Write in.
>>
Due to the growing wall of text that was your main character sheet, I split the inventory section of it into its own pastebin.

https://pastebin.com/n0MH6M17 (INVENTORY)
https://pastebin.com/3y638TfK (MAIN CHARACTER SHEET, focuses on your favors + abilities + stats + implants)

Just to clarify before anyone went "WHERE THE FUCK ARE OUR ITEMS???". I'll make a pastebin about all of your knowledge on the Companies and other SCHOLAR OF THE CITY tidbits tomorrow so you have easier access to that without having to rely on archive delving to understand what the fuck A-Company does when I mention it offhandly.
>>
>>5951246
> deer
Always liked animal base codenames, and it’s apt.
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] You faintly recall an old N-Company ritual. Clap your hands four times and kneel at the feet of the shadowy figure and the eyeball. Pray for them.
Now this one is a bit harder to decide. But I think the solution lies in stopping the horned guy from doing anything and gaining the beholder lites approval. Hugging him could work too, but I’m not sure he could restrain himself. Not to mention N is the divine worshipping company, so something from them will probably work decently here. Hugging is a close second option though I think.
>>
>>5951246
>>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] You faintly recall an old N-Company ritual. Clap your hands four times and kneel at the feet of the shadowy figure and the eyeball. Pray for them.
Let the grace of god protect us.
>Codename
>Explorer
I want to avoid anything too easy for us to be traced too, Deer or Wild is a little bit on the nose.
>"A base location, please." (You may ask for one in a specific DISTRICT.)
Lets find out where there base is in our home district.
>>
>>5951251
Oh forgot to vote on the phone call.
>"A base location, please." (You may ask for one in a specific DISTRICT.)
I agree with the other voter, let’s get the home base in our district. If we are leaving soon we can take care of them before we go.
>>
>>5951266
+1
>>
>>5951266
Supporting
>>
>>5951266
+1
>>
>>5951246
We kept avoiding him in abno selects back in HELP WANTED! and in this quest, and now you finally get to use him. Feels good don't it?
>>
>>5951234
>No, no, something better.
Fish. Because there's nothing fish-related about us at all. Such a codename won't give anyone any clues.
>"A classified document, please."
Keyword: type 4
>>5951246
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Immediately grab your Holy Candle, light it up, and hold it at the creature's face. "BEGONE, DEMON!"
>>
>>5951234
>NS. Your initials, first thing that came to mind.

>"A base location, please." (You may ask for one in a specific DISTRICT.)
G

>>5951246
>>[UNSTABLE] "It's okay, darling. I'm here for you." Open your arms out to it. Offer it a warm embrace. (This will hurt. Badly. But perhaps there will be beauty in the pain.)
>>
Question, All Anon: How confident are you in our capability to cause damage to silver agent operations in our home district?

Do any your have any plans on how to cause a lot of problems for silver agent operations in our home district?
>>
>>5951368
They'll recover somehow like the metal radioactive roaches they are. But remember what TV MAN said. If we can get more photos and real evidence of them, it'll back up our case as well as Handler's. Getting enough people in power on our side and in the know with us will scare them regardless. W Corp will enemy them for making more anomalies from people. I had the idea to tell P Corp about them via Handler, but we still don't know if P Corp will go all "wow, turning people into anomalies means more energy and more work and more money for us!" or "WHAT? THEY CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL!". We don't know how much D Corp will echo P Corp's verdict either; there could be a divide with D Corp being more pro-human. Those guys have enough experience with "dark operations" to potentially hold their own.
Knowing the silvers base means potentially infiltrating or attacking them directly. Even cooler if we blow it up somehow. Ideally we do whatever we do right before we pack our bags and flee to another District.
But I had the thought with how entrenched and enmeshed the silvers are, there must be one ally of them in every corp for every potential enemy in the same corp. We can't expect a whole Wing to be fully hateful of the silver agents, as people are people and there will always be turncoats and dissenters on both sides. Even in the silver faction itself, there's defectors (Naomi) and insiders (Man on the Phone) working against them. I hope Handler, in his work to regain influence and respect for his family, doesn't end up on the wrong person's ear not knowing the corpo he's talking to is in real thick with the glowies.
>>
>>5951234
>KILLER. We already killed one of them.
>"A classified document, please." (You may add in one KEYWORD to narrow down what the document is about.

>>5951246
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Immediately grab your Holy Candle, light it up, and hold it at the creature's face. "BEGONE, DEMON!"
>>
CODE NAME
KILLER: EM0
NS: QKD
FISH: Cp5
EXPLORER: T2M, 9VB, H+a, IkB
DEER: O5H
WHAT TO ASK OF THE MAN ON THE PHONE
BASE LOCATION (HOME DISTRICT): T2m, O5h, 9VB, QKD, IkB, H+A
CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT: EM0, Cp5
WHAT DO WITH ANOMALY
PERSON OF INTEREST: EM0, Cp5
UNSTABLE: QKD
SCHOLAR: O5H, T2M, 9VB, H+A, IKB

Seems like it's obvious what wins here. Here's the document for COMPANY LORE (trademarked), at least what you immediately recall so you don't have to scratch your head when A-Z-Corp is mentioned (except for the companies you know nothing about.)
https://pastebin.com/ZP2JN7mT

Writing update now.

>>5951331
This entity? Not from this universe.
>>
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Okay. Let's hope your memory isn't playing tricks on you. You clap your hands four times. One, two, three, four. The shadowy figure tilts its head in confusion. You then fall to your knees a bit too hard for your liking before clasping your hands together and closing your eyes.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] You were never a fervent believer of N-Corp's religion but this ritual is a simple prayer meant to offer safe passage towards someone.

"WhAATTtt...arE YOU DOING, CAROL?" A hand roughly grabs you by the shoulder. A set of razor sharp claws dig into your shoulder. You grip your teeth as you feel some sort of thick liquid leaking onto your shoulder from the entity's hand. You keep your focus on the prayer. "InsULLLTING ME?! SHOWING meEEE MY SAlvvaTTTion I caann'TT REACH?!"
>-1 FLESH! 3/5 LEFT!

"I TASTedDD yoUR blOOD WATErrrrRR! I HelLDDLDDD you aSS you CriED for HElPP. YEEeeTTT YOU REtuRNEDdd. TO MOCCKkk ME WItH THEIR tonGUEs-" You suddenly feel the entity let go. "I. I. Are you doing this for me?" Its voice clears up for the briefest of moments. You hear it back away from you with heavy, hesitant footsteps. "T-To give me yoUr SalVaat-" It stops mid sentence.

This is His last chance to find his True Salvation. Shall He take it?
She won't even look at me. She doesn't want to see me like this. After what I did.

"I'm. I'm sorrRRY." FINAL FLASH OF EXISTENCE mutters out. "I'm Sorry. I'm Sorry. I'm soRRy." You open your left eye just enough to see that now, the anomaly is on its knees. Sobbing. Covering its face with its hands in a desperate attempt to hide itself away from you.

"It's okay." You mutter out before standing back up. You glance back at the eyeball staring down at you. It simply shakes itself in a rough attempt to mimic a human nod.

"I'M SorRRy I'm SORRY I'm SorrY I'm SorryYY." Final Flash keeps muttering to itself. It's curled up in the fetal position on the feather covered floor. "please forgive me pLEAse PLEASE."

"YOU REMINDED HIM OF THE LIGHT. GOOD. YOU MAY LEAVE NOW, 'CAROL'." The eyeball says with a knowing tone. "IF HE CAN PROMISE TO REACH HEAVEN WITHOUT VIOLENCE, HE MAY REACH HIS SALVATION."

"GOODBYE."
"PlEASE, don't ForGEET ME-"

Salvation is available to even the most horrid of sinners.
I wish I could hold her again. Just for a moment. Why did I do it?

https://youtu.be/XQKsSNk9Fyc - ABANDONED

You are falling again. Upside: It was only for ten feet. Downside: Landing back first onto a faux-wood table fucking hurts. Thankfully your combat bodysuit blocked THAT damage. You glance around to see you're in a small break room in the middle of some random abandoned building.

Wait, you recognize this place. This is a cache about three blocks away from that meat shop you were walking away from. Huh. The anomalies were nice enough to drop you to your next location. "Thanks." You say to the empty room.
>>
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As you get up from the table you landed on, you notice that you landed on two small trinkets. A small vial of liquid with a cross scriblled onto it and a blackened tooth leaking a foul, dark substance. They're not PARADIGMs but they seem useful enough.

TWO ITEMS ACQUIRED FROM ANOMALY ENCOUNTER!
>HOLY TEARS (A small piece of liquid with a minor yet comforting presence to it. Can be drank to grant minor RESTRAINT regeneration for a short duration. Has enough for three sips.)
>FOUL TOOTH (A canine-like fang leaking a foul substance. has three charges. Can use one charge to heal 1 FLESH and boost VIOLENCE and TALENT by 1 temporarily at the cost of temporarily increasing the frequency of UNSTABLE freakouts.)

Neato. If nothing else you can sell them later. After pocketing the trinkets, you start to search around the break room you're in. It doesn't take too long. Due to that new power you awakened back at the training course, you seem to know which spots had something hidden and which spots were a waste of time. After finding all of the hidden items here, you place them on the broken table to see what you got.

CACHE ITEMS RECOVERED
>BARRICADE GRENADE x2 (A X-Corp product made for use in the battlefield. Using one creates a small barricade that can resist small firearm fire and can block most narrow passageways. Useful if you need to slow down someone chasing you.)
>METAL DETECTOR (Has three charges, consumes one automatically when searching a cache to find an additional item. Can consume a charge in the field to detect any nearby traps like landmines or tripwires.)
>Y-CORP HANDHELD TELEPORTER (Can teleport you to any place in the City you know the exact location of after a short booting up sequence. Has one charge. Useful emergency button.)
>SHOTGUN SLUGS x4
>FLASHBANG x2 (Can be used to temporarily stun and daze a small group of enemies. Anomalies may attempt to make a FLESH check to resist this.)

You take a moment to collect your thoughts after being shoved around like an interdimensional piece of garbage. Shit, you hope that this is just a you thing and random people aren't being thrown around through weird anomalous realms like a paper bag in the wind. After settling your nerves, you exit the abandoned building. Back into the snow covered streets you understand.

It takes a moment to orient yourself but you manage to find where you're at. You start heading back to that new shop you found as you hear your phone go off. You pick it up to see it reads "3 AM". Weird, it was 12 AM when you left. You answer it-

"Hallo, hallo, miss freakshit. I got a call from some VERY interesting people today." The Handler rattles on. "A W-Corp AND J-Corp rep? Praise the Lord himself, I didn't know you could even TALK to them without pissing your panties. So, for the next...fuck if I know, you get to choose a few items from them that I negotiated for on your behalf."

"Oh, word?"

"That's besides the point, though. You know what time it is. MISSION TIME."
>>
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"Well, you caught me RIGHT as I was checking this shop, so-"

"Pft." The Handler snorts. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look. I'll rattle your ear off while you shop. You can do two things at once. Also-" He takes a deep breath before clearing his throat with a wet, MOIST cough. "Thanks. For the good job on the last mission. Heard the reports from it."

"please don't cough like that next time-"

"I'd say after that mission, you earnt my honest to god respect. Keep up the good work and you might just earn a favor outta me. Now-" He begins to rattle off. You take this time to finally step up to the butcher's shop (after walking for a few blocks) while you subconsciously note down whatever the Handler is rambling to you.

https://youtu.be/EcA24RTmnF8 - LILY'S SHOP

You're honestly shocked a butcher's shop would be open this late. The store interior is pretty damn small with only enough room for the front counter and two small tables with two chairs each. On the counter is a radio playing an old song from god knows how long ago, the 1950s? Might as well be listening to classical music with how old it is.

The woman at the front counter is the same one you saw while passing by earlier. The Harvester. Now that you're up close and personal, you can see how her skin is rough and coarse. Almost like sandpaper. The sclera of her eyes are also an odd tint of mint green that's the same as her apron. "Hey, someone left this for you. Tall man. Smelled like ash and coffee. Said to leave it for a certain girl passing by. You seemed like the type."

She places a small makeshift bag made out of butcher paper onto the counter. You quickly grab it. Opening it up, you see that there's a slip of paper with a set of coordinates on it and a walkie talkie battery. You quickly skim the paper.
"BASE LOCATED AT G-ALPHA-2, NEAR THE O-CORP BORDER. MAIN FUNCTIONALITY IS AS A HOLDING CELL FOR 'HIGH VALUED ANOMALOUS ENTITIES'. CURRENT STAFF AMOUNT: 15 AGENTS, 5 MODIFIED ANDROIDS. CODE FOR BACK ENTRANCE IS THEMOONHATEFULHOWL."
"GENERATOR ROOM IS LEFT, RIGHT, UP FROM BACK ENTRANCE. DO WHAT COMES NATURALLY, EXPLORER."

>SILVER AGENT BASE LOCATION OBTAINED (A slip of paper with the exact location of a Silver Agent base in your home district.)
>SILVER WALKIE TALKIE fully charged now! You may use it as a free action whenever you want!

You pocket the piece of paper. "So, what do you sell, uh, Lily?"

"That's my name. Don't wear it out." Lily flashes another toothy smile. "Well, take a look for yourself but before you do, an associate of mine was trying to get into contact with you. Does Wendy ring a bell?"

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Wait. Wendy. W. W-Company-

"Just hand me the catalog." You do so. Lily pulls out a sharpie and doodles something down onto one of the pages before handing it back to you. "She wanted to offer her 'services' to a like-minded person. Now, focus on the meat." She points at her menu.
>WENDY, a W-Corp rep, has been unlocked as an ally!
>>
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LILY'S BLADE AND BONES MENU. SELECT AS MUCH AS YOU'RE WILLING TO BUY
CURRENT MONEY: $1258
BARTERABLE GOODS: 2 A-ENERGY ($350 EACH), 2 HIGH CLASS JEWELRY ($200 EACH), 7 HIGH QUALITY WHISKEY ($75 EACH), 3 C-EXTRACT ($625 EACH)
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
>MEAT BAIT (Three handfuls per $50. Chunks of half rotten, wiggling meat of unknown origin. Can be used to lure animals and anomalies to and away from a location of your choice.)
>CLASS B MEAT SHIPMENT ($125 per day. The shop will ship packages of high quality meat to your apartment for each day you purchase. While shipments are developed, you'll heal 1 extra RESTRAINT and FLESH when you wake up or fall asleep at your apartment.)
>HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE. "Freshly picked from me! I regrow them!" ($300. Supposedly lucky to have this on your purchase. Once per mission, you may reroll all dice you roll on any check.)
>OIL BLACK BLOOD VIAL. "Drink up." ($111 per vial. When used, improves your sense of smell, temporarily grants you +3d6 to all checks relating to locating a human, drone, or anomaly.)
>HARVESTING KIT ($400. You unlock the ability to EXTRACT from anomalies you encounter, assuming they aren't trying to attack you, granting you access to anomalous extracts that could prove useful.)
>MEAT LOVER'S SANDWICH. "Sticks to your ribs, ha!" ($555 per. Grants +1 MAX FLESH when consumed.)
>Sell a barter item for some pocket change. (Select which one(s))
>"I don't feel hungry, thanks." Exit the store without buying anything.

CHOOSE TWO ITEMS FROM THE HANDLER.
>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)
>J-CORP RADIO (Can be used to call in emergency backup during a combat encounter. 1d4+1 J-COMPANY officers will interfere with the fight. Useful if dealing with an anomaly or someone else FAR outside your paygrade.)
>CRYO GRENADE x2 (From J-Company, made with the assistance of I-Company. Immediately freezes over most soft materials, allowing you to easily break through walls, doors, or people.)

CHOOSE YOUR MISSION, NICOLE
>[ANOMALOUS] "You remember that P-Company facility I mentioned before? They're STILL whining about not having enough employees. They're desperate, all you gotta do is work a few hours with them and you'll make BANK!" REWARD: $1765, improved relations with P-Company, the experience will help improve your and your allies stats and abilities. RISK: VERY HIGH
(1/3)
>>
>[ANOMALOUS?] "Those tunnels over District 10 are still there. No, we don't know how or where they go. We keep hearing rumors about something being down there. Investigate it, please. You're apparently able to find actual glowies, maybe you can figure this out." REWARD: $1222. That's it. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM
>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $990, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH
>[ANOMALOUS] "We got reports of a certain anomaly that's been terrorizing District 14. Some sort of big crash test dummy thing called APEX PREDATOR? Whatever it is, it's been killing a lot of people. Recontain or weaken it enough for the ETF to get." REWARD: $1345, improved favor with P-Corp, 5 A-Energy packets for recovering a high valued anomaly for P-Corp. RISK LEVEL: HIGH. Regardless of who you pick, Benjamin and Max will offer you intel to help you on this mission.
>"Low risk, easy job. C-Company needs a night guard for one of their establishments. Just keep an eye on it, everything should be fine." REWARD: $625, improved favor with C-Company, access to a C-CORP CATALOG (Offers ANOMALOUS FOOD AND DRINK, surgical tools, and clothing with unique stat boosts). RISK LEVEL: LOW.
>"O-Company is reaching out to me for the first time in, fuck, forever? There's apparently a big clusterfuck happening at one of their farms. Go down and figure out what the issue is." REWARD: $745, improved favor with O-Company, access to an O-Corp catalog (Offers better food, simple but practical tools, and soothing to the mind trinkets.). RISK LEVEL: LOW-MEDIUM
>[WARNING] "I hope you like the sun because you're going to the WASTES. Your task is to find an old artifact somewhere in that fucked up desert. Bring it back here. Intact." REWARD: $1666, 3 C-Extract, you're likely to find various rare and unique items out in there. RISK LEVEL: VERY HIGH.
>"We tried to send some poor bastards to scout out an R-Corp building that went radio silent. None of them have returned. Go in there and try to recover them if you can. See what happened to them and the former operators of the building" REWARD: $800, 'finder keeps on any loot you find', twelve revolver bullets 'to recoup costs'. RISK: MEDIUM
>[BONUS MISSION] [ANOMALOUS?] "V-Company is calling me. I'll be honest, Nicole, I don't like these guys. I hate them, in fact. Please. Do me a solid. Head over to the building they're telling me to visit them at and kill them." REWARD: $1250, +Favor with V-Company(?) and you'll earn even more of the Handler's respect, V-Company will provide you with their catalog (you know this to be certain. Despite it making NO sense). RISK LEVEL: ???

WHO TO HIRE?
>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
(2/3)
>>
>[UPG] ALEXIS. A supplier of equipment and connections. Somewhat flaky and liable to draw attention. (Will ask for a 14% cut of the reward money.)
>[UPG] QUENTIN. Incredibly loyal ally who has a hard time staying dead. Poor stats and tends to freak others out. (Free if brought alone. Max, Ashley, Naomi, Frank, Clover, Casey and Wendy will cost $35 more to hire.)
>[UPG] BENJAMIN. Fully licensed as a pharmacist and is Open Minded to the supernatural. Delusional, credulous, and naive. ($45)
>[UPG] MARUYAMA. Resilient mindset and has a way with negotiations and blending in with crowds. Emotionally and physically spent. ($95 to hire.)
>[UPG] KIARA. Fellow explorer of the City. Artificial physiology lacks the same limits as flesh and bone. Prone to making rash decisions. (Free if you pick a mission tagged [ANOMALOUS]. $100 otherwise.)
>ADAM. A long career of working as a chef has instilled amazing levels of accuracy and technical precision. Hard worker. Tends to overcorrect when situations get dicey. (Free. No catches, he owes you.)
>MAX, an Aristocrat. High in demand with the Companies and has extensive access to corporate assets. Held in contempt by other Cleaners, very sheltered. ($160 if hired without Benjamin, $80 otherwise.)
>ASHLEY. Living on the streets has instilled a powerful intuition. Has an athletic frame, with all of its benefits that brings. Desensitized and numb to violence and bloodshed. ($105)
>NAOMI. Well versed in all military matters and a great commander. Has old glowie habits she's trying to break out of.. Has a knack for analyzing the quirks and potential of people around her. Old age and scars have ruined her body. ($180)
>FRANK. His main job as an ETF agent grants incredible combat and non-combat experience and higher base stats. Has access to resources you could never hope to get by yourself. Incredibly blunt and crass, liable to piss other people off (including you). ($275)
>CLOVER. A casino manager who larps as a cowboy, has the sharpshooting skills to back it up. Unshakeable morale and has a resolute will that's hard to break. VERY stubborn. ($200)
>CASEY. Optimistic spirit lightens the mood of everyone she interacts with, very experienced at convincing people. Emotional. ($100)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
>WENDY. A W-Company rep who seems to share the same wavelength as you, will mesh well with you and will follow your commands for the most part. Feared in the corporate world. Fucking LOATHES anomalies and will take any chance she can to rip them to shreds. UNSTABLE. ($222 or +$333 if you spend a W-CORP favor while hiring her.)
>NO ONE. YOU'RE GOING ALONE.

MISSION TIME. Sorry for the pile of choices.
>>
>>5951892
>Sell 7 HIGH QUALITY WHISKEY ($525)
>HARVESTING KIT ($400. You unlock the ability to EXTRACT from anomalies you encounter, assuming they aren't trying to attack you, granting you access to anomalous extracts that could prove useful.)
>MEAT LOVER'S SANDWICH. "Sticks to your ribs, ha!" ($555 per. Grants +1 MAX FLESH when consumed.)
Anomaly Extraction, and extra flesh to actually survive extracting it.
>Two Items
>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)

>Mission
>[ANOMALOUS] "We got reports of a certain anomaly that's been terrorizing District 14. Some sort of big crash test dummy thing called APEX PREDATOR? Whatever it is, it's been killing a lot of people. Recontain or weaken it enough for the ETF to get." REWARD: $1345, improved favor with P-Corp, 5 A-Energy packets for recovering a high valued anomaly for P-Corp. RISK LEVEL: HIGH. Regardless of who you pick, Benjamin and Max will offer you intel to help you on this mission.

>Companions
>ASHLEY. Living on the streets has instilled a powerful intuition. Has an athletic frame, with all of its benefits that brings. Desensitized and numb to violence and bloodshed. ($105)
>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>[UPG] KIARA. Fellow explorer of the City. Artificial physiology lacks the same limits as flesh and bone. Prone to making rash decisions. (Free if you pick a mission tagged [ANOMALOUS]. $100 otherwise.)
>WENDY. A W-Company rep who seems to share the same wavelength as you, will mesh well with you and will follow your commands for the most part. Feared in the corporate world. Fucking LOATHES anomalies and will take any chance she can to rip them to shreds. UNSTABLE. ($222 or +$333 if you spend a W-CORP favor while hiring her.)
Alright, its Anomaly hunting time. This one seems like its not gonna be the 'redeemable' type.
>>
>>5951892
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
Buy 2
>MEAT BAIT (Three handfuls per $50. Chunks of half rotten, wiggling meat of unknown origin. Can be used to lure animals and anomalies to and away from a location of your choice.)
Buy 3
It be useful to attract a large group of fish
>CLASS B MEAT SHIPMENT ($125 per day. The shop will ship packages of high quality meat to your apartment for each day you purchase. While shipments are developed, you'll heal 1 extra RESTRAINT and FLESH when you wake up or fall asleep at your apartment.)
Buy 2
>HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE. "Freshly picked from me! I regrow them!" ($300. Supposedly lucky to have this on your purchase. Once per mission, you may reroll all dice you roll on any check.)
>OIL BLACK BLOOD VIAL. "Drink up." ($111 per vial. When used, improves your sense of smell, temporarily grants you +3d6 to all checks relating to locating a human, drone, or anomaly.)
Buy 2
>Sell a barter item for some pocket change. (Select which one(s))
2 A-energy

>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)

>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $990, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH

>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>[UPG] QUENTIN.
>ASHLEY. Living on the streets has instilled a powerful intuition. Has an athletic frame, with all of its benefits that brings. Desensitized and numb to violence and bloodshed. ($105)
>ADAM. A long career of working as a chef has instilled amazing levels of accuracy and technical precision. Hard worker. Tends to overcorrect when situations get dicey. (Free. No catches, he owes you.)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
>NAOMI. Well versed in all military matters and a great commander. Has old glowie habits she's trying to break out of.. Has a knack for analyzing the quirks and potential of people around her. Old age and scars have ruined her body. ($180)

Result spending = 392 money
>>
Don’t sell all the whiskey. Keep whiskey strictly reserved for celebration, to gain rapport, or as a gift.
Don’t sell all the jewelry because I want to give it to Benjamin so that he can gift it to Max.
Also, don’t give two tickets movie to anyone. The two-ticket movie should be given to Benjamin and Max when the opportunity arises.
>>
>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $990, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH

> try bringing back something special.

CONTAINMENT CUBE It will be very handy if we come across a anomalies stuff.
>>
>>5951923
I’d be willing to support this, but I really want to get the harvester kit for anomalies. Especially when we can probably harvest some stuff from other things and maybe even Benedict (depending on how harmful EXTRACT is).
So something like:
>buy one less oil black blood vial, one less meat chunk, sell one high class jewelry and high class whiskey.

Basically, I really think getting access to a harvester kit will be an investment that pays off going forward.
>>
>>5952034
Also, do not sell C-EXTRACT. That stuff is reserved for buying special stuff from shops or bribing literally anybody.

>Three small syringes filled with a cherry red liquid. (C-EXTRACT x3. Allows you to buy very unique items from various shops around the City or to bribe essentially anyone in the City. Has random but potent effects if injected into someone.)

No.5922008

https://boards.4chan.org/qst/thread/5893937#bottom
>>
>>5951892
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
>HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE. "Freshly picked from me! I regrow them!" ($300. Supposedly lucky to have this on your purchase. Once per mission, you may reroll all dice you roll on any check.)
>MEAT LOVER'S SANDWICH. "Sticks to your ribs, ha!" ($555 per. Grants +1 MAX FLESH when consumed.)
Only if the max flesh buff is permanent
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)
>CRYO GRENADE x2 (From J-Company, made with the assistance of I-Company. Immediately freezes over most soft materials, allowing you to easily break through walls, doors, or people.)
>[BONUS MISSION] [ANOMALOUS?] "V-Company is calling me. I'll be honest, Nicole, I don't like these guys. I hate them, in fact. Please. Do me a solid. Head over to the building they're telling me to visit them at and kill them." REWARD: $1250, +Favor with V-Company(?) and you'll earn even more of the Handler's respect, V-Company will provide you with their catalog (you know this to be certain. Despite it making NO sense). RISK LEVEL: ???
I'm curious AF

>ASHLEY. Living on the streets has instilled a powerful intuition. Has an athletic frame, with all of its benefits that brings. Desensitized and numb to violence and bloodshed. ($105)
>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
Team Violence
>>
>>5952119 #
Okay
>>5951923 #
change
>>5951894 #
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
Buy 2
>MEAT BAIT (Three handfuls per $50. Chunks of half rotten, wiggling meat of unknown origin. Can be used to lure animals and anomalies to and away from a location of your choice.)
Buy 3
It be useful to attract a large group of fish
>CLASS B MEAT SHIPMENT ($125 per day. The shop will ship packages of high quality meat to your apartment for each day you purchase. While shipments are developed, you'll heal 1 extra RESTRAINT and FLESH when you wake up or fall asleep at your apartment.)
Buy 2
>HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE. "Freshly picked from me! I regrow them!" ($300. Supposedly lucky to have this on your purchase. Once per mission, you may reroll all dice you roll on any check.)
>OIL BLACK BLOOD VIAL. "Drink up." ($111 per vial. When used, improves your sense of smell, temporarily grants you +3d6 to all checks relating to locating a human, drone, or anomaly.)
Buy 1
>HARVESTING KIT ($400. You unlock the ability to EXTRACT from anomalies you encounter, assuming they aren't trying to attack you, granting you access to anomalous extracts that could prove useful.)

>Sell a barter item for some pocket change. (Select which one(s))
2 A-energy, 1 jewelry, 1 whiskey

>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)

>"You better not get sea-sick easily, we got a crew over at District 19 who needs someone to assist them during their fishing trip. Help them harvest, protect them from any thieves, and try bringing back something special." REWARD: $990, the tough work will likely improve your FLESH and VIOLENCE stats permanently. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH

>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>[UPG] QUENTIN.
>ASHLEY. Living on the streets has instilled a powerful intuition. Has an athletic frame, with all of its benefits that brings. Desensitized and numb to violence and bloodshed. ($105)
>ADAM.
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
>NAOMI. Well versed in all military matters and a great commander. Has old glowie habits she's trying to break out of.. Has a knack for analyzing the quirks and potential of people around her. Old age and scars have ruined her body. ($180)

Result spending = 307 money
>>
>>5952130
Edit
Result spending = 257 money
>>5952121
>>5951908
Do we really need MEAT LOVER'S SANDWICH? Our FLESH is 3/5, and we have a lot of medicine supplies in our inventory.

>TRAUMA KIT x3. Oddly user friendly. Bought mostly by P-Company facilities. (Has 5 charges. Heals 1 FLESH with 1 charge. Heals a crippling injury with 2 charges. Can heal near lethal damage with 3 charges.)
>STANDARD ISSUE CLEANER MEDKIT x2 (Four charges, use 1 to heal 1 flesh, use 2 to recover someone in Critical State to half of their MAX FLESH (any ally who hits 0 FLESH enters this state. They can't do much at all in this state. Any hit after permakills them.)
>PAINKILLER BOTTLE x2 (Comes with three doses each. Grants a +2d6 bonus to any FLESH check when consumed.)
>>
>>5952130
Supporting. Thanks for the changes. Next mission we should 100% do an anomaly hunt too. Depending on how hairy this mission goes of course. With the upgrades from the fish mission we’d be in a good position to go fighting.

Also in regards to the base, we both know a bit about it and points of weakness. We can 100% do a raid and get proof of their activities before we leave this district in the future.
>>
>>5952135
Yeah agree
Bring Casey, Frank, Wendy, Benjamin, Naomi and Kiara on the anomalies hunting mission after we finish the fishing trip mission.
>>
>>5952130
Fuck it. I don't like us bringing SIX people along on a mission, especially Naomi so soon, and especially since TV MAN said to bring less people on missions so there's less silver eyes on them. But you are one stubborn and stupid autist, who refuses to delete your old posts and instead make lengthy edit posts that take up needless text space on the thread. You could simply reply to the vote post and yours and go "I'm changing X to Y" and leave it at that. You are a bothersome pest, but you seem to have a good plan for this fishing trip mission, so I'll give you my
>+1
>>
>>5952151
And please for the love of god restrain yourself on the amount of people in missions. Every person we bring along is one more person we pay for working with us. As for your pick ideas, I am still against Naomi again, and would rather not bring Benjamin along by himself despite his affinity. I'd rather bring Clover because of Casey, and keep it to 5 people instead
>>
>>5951892
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
>HARVESTING KIT ($400. You unlock the ability to EXTRACT from anomalies you encounter, assuming they aren't trying to attack you, granting you access to anomalous extracts that could prove useful.)

>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>LALILU BRANDED PILLS x3 (From W-Company. Immediately snaps a target out of a panic attack and heals their RESTRAINT by 3.)

>>5951893
>"O-Company is reaching out to me for the first time in, fuck, forever? There's apparently a big clusterfuck happening at one of their farms. Go down and figure out what the issue is." REWARD: $745, improved favor with O-Company, access to an O-Corp catalog (Offers better food, simple but practical tools, and soothing to the mind trinkets.). RISK LEVEL: LOW-MEDIUM

>ADAM. A long career of working as a chef has instilled amazing levels of accuracy and technical precision. Hard worker. Tends to overcorrect when situations get dicey. (Free. No catches, he owes you.)
>CASEY. Optimistic spirit lightens the mood of everyone she interacts with, very experienced at convincing people. Emotional. ($100)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
>>
>>5951885
>clap your hands four times
World of Horror?
>this entire event
I doubt Mr. Eye here is truly benevolent, but he did drop us off nicely and he seemed a bit straightforward in the religious test he gave

>>5951886
>HOLY TEARS
Would be nice if anybody has an episode over Nicole's UNSTABLE again. Speaking of, we should completely ditch the old and shitty antipsychotics after the UNSTABLE hug, but keep the ones Benjamin made just in case. How will we explain all this to Ashley?
>FOUL TOOTH
Good heal and Talent boost. With UNSTABLE RESOLVE from the mental hug, the increased UNSTABLE freakouts might actually benefit us
>BARRICADE GRENADE
If we're in a heavy protection mission or if Ashton is chasing us again, this buys time and breathing room
>METAL DETECTOR
Maybe if we go on that "explore the secret jew tunnels" mission?
>Y-CORP HANDHELD TELEPORTER
We could do this to immediately teleport back to X Corp, or somewhere else safe. Problem is this ditches any ally with us, so it needs to be used alone
>random people aren't being thrown around through weird anomalous realms
News flash Nicole... they are.

>>5951888
>Tall man. Smelled like ash and coffee
That could be anybody for all we know
>G-ALPHA-2, NEAR THE O-CORP BORDER
I don't think we have any allies related to O Corp
>HOLDING CELL FOR 'HIGH VALUED ANOMALOUS ENTITIES'.
Could be someone in there just like Nicole. A prison break rescue of a fellow PoI in the works?
>THEMOONHATEFULHOWL
Reminds me of Nyarlathotep
>DO WHAT COMES NATURALLY
(+)
>WENDY
The moment she realizes Nicole's becoming an anomaly, maybe, then she'll be dangerous. We can't field her with Benjamin or Benedict either

>>5951892
>>5951893
Same missions. I'm definitely curious about the V Corp one. I hope we can return to doing an "easy" or offbeat mission next time. The tunnels job is calling out to me
>>
>>5952173
>Tall man. Smelled like ash and coffee
Maybe Ashley father?

Ashley's expression softens when she hears the story. "I can relate. To the being lost part. Shit, I hardly remember my home district. I've been hopping around this fuckin' City to find...somethin'. I guess the band is the only thing I got besides this new job." She takes another swig of her drink. "Better than being with dad. Fuckin' J-Corp bootlicker."
(No.5862593)
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5850165/

The tunnel mission is screaming Alan Wake 2 collapse tunnel reference.
>>
I already got a few ideas about what is in the tunnel.
1: Smuggler
2: mutant monster
3: feral harvester
4: Explorer
5: shadowly Anomalies entity

My preparation idea if we choose the tunnel mission next time: buy extension ladder, flare, glow stick, grappling hook pistol, climbing gear, survival rope, EMP proof underground survival radio and flashlight that can stop potential anomalies screwing with our radio signal and flashlight. Also, buy a few night vision EMP proof for our friends and associates coming with us into the tunnel.
>>
>>5952190
>>5952205
The tunnel mission is based on those secret jew tunnels they found in New York City recently, but it could be anything here
>>
I’m mostly interested in doing the fishing trip cause of the upgrades to our stats and hopefully friends stats.

I think my current vague plan is to do fishing, tunnels (if the fishing trip is rough), anomaly hunting otherwise (either the doll or maybe V company), and then maybe P company or something.

Also I want Maryuma sometime soon, he was cool and we haven’t seen him since we bonded. If not a mission let’s take him to the movies when we go with Kiara.
>>
>>5952232
>upgrades to our stats and hopefully friends stats
I got nothing against it. I'm just very dead-set against 5+ allies on a mission due to what we were told about the silver agebts' observation, as well as the "too many cooks" effect. A smaller but more focused group feels more appropriate to Cleaner missions. I am totally up to discuss team setups though. For example
>Benjamin
>Max
>Frank
>Wendy
>APEX PREDATOR mission
Frank because he's ETF. Wendy because anti-anomalous company rep. Benjamin because it's his revenge on that invisible robot bastard. Max because package deal with Benjamin plus revenge for almost killing her boyfriend soon to be husband at the rate they're going :^). I'm 50/50 on including Kiara in that team composition. Again this is just an example.
>tunnels
>anomaly hunting
For tunnels, I'd go
>Kiara
>Quentin
>Clover
>Casey
But that's my take
>P Company
I have no clue who to bring with us. Could be any combo of allies with a wildcard mission like that
>Maruyama
Yeah I miss him too. We should tell him about us knowing that T Corp executive guy or whoever he was.
>movies
Would be a nice break from the action. Literally tell the Handler we're not taking a mission today. He might not get mad, maybe
>>
>>5952254
I support this setup
>>
>>5952254
If Naomi wasn’t part of the group I probably would want it to be smaller as well. But Naomi being part of the group changes the calculus for me personally because of her history.

I do understand the want for a smaller cleaner group though. If we do the tunnels I’d want maybe two or three people at most. Like Casey I’d only bring along if we had people that hated each other on the mission or were planning to deal with a mediator type mission.
>>
>>5952258
Thanks. I still believe we have a lot of potential variety for group synergy and interaction. I initially thought, but didn't post, that a good team for the fishing trip could be
>Lex
>Frank
>Max
Boisterous muscle guy who likes to fight plus boisterous muscle guy who likes to fight, plus smug rich girl who would unironically say "you mean a shrimp fried this rice?" with how sheltered she is.

>>5952260
>because of her history
And not the urge to use her as a walking statup for everyone on the team, simply standing there and saying cryptic metaphors and the occasional sadistic remark?
>two or three people at most
I agree. My logic was Kiara because fellow explorer plus ANOMALOUS? mission, Quentin because drones might have altered vision or something, Clover because his vision is augmented and because it's the underground, and Casey because I like her being there with Clover due to their history.
>only bring along if we had people that hated each other on the mission
Like Quentin and Kiara? I don't think we have had any other character combo yet where there was a real issue of people hating each other.
>mediator type mission
She'd be great if we ran into THE TUNNEL SNAKES down there
>>
Should we give Naomi a SERVICE PISTOL and ten round?
>>
>>5951894
>TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE (1 per $150. Can be used to reduce the amount of FLESH and RESTRAINT damage you take by 1 until it wears off or to instantly knock out a human on a successful attack.)
2
>OIL BLACK BLOOD VIAL. "Drink up." ($111 per vial. When used, improves your sense of smell, temporarily grants you +3d6 to all checks relating to locating a human, drone, or anomaly.)
2
>HARVESTING KIT (
$400. You unlock the ability to EXTRACT from anomalies you encounter, assuming they aren't trying to attack you, granting you access to anomalous extracts that could prove useful.)

>CONTAINMENT CUBE (From W-Company. GREATLY eases the transport progress of anomalies and other high risk captives. Can be used as mobile cover as well.)
>J-CORP RADIO (Can be used to call in emergency backup during a combat encounter. 1d4+1 J-COMPANY officers will interfere with the fight. Useful if dealing with an anomaly or someone else FAR outside your paygrade.)

>[ANOMALOUS?] "Those tunnels over District 10 are still there. No, we don't know how or where they go. We keep hearing rumors about something being down there. Investigate it, please. You're apparently able to find actual glowies, maybe you can figure this out." REWARD: $1222. That's it. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM

>[UPG] LEX. Your easily pleased muscle who has a bloodlust you need to sate. ($110)
>[UPG] KIARA. Fellow explorer of the City. Artificial physiology lacks the same limits as flesh and bone. Prone to making rash decisions. (Free if you pick a mission tagged [ANOMALOUS]. $100 otherwise.)
>ADAM. A long career of working as a chef has instilled amazing levels of accuracy and technical precision. Hard worker. Tends to overcorrect when situations get dicey. (Free. No catches, he owes you.)
>BENEDICT. A chef that's partially transformed into an anomaly. Unique half-machine, half human anatomy grants immense strength and physical resistances, has anomalous powers and abilities. Fractured mind that requires careful observation, UNSTABLE. (+$320 if you hire him. You get more money hiring him as you raise Adam's RAPPORT.)
>>
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I'll be honest the sheer amount of text I had to skim through was a LOT so if I missed something in the noise, excuse me.

MISSION:
V-CORP: Cp5
O-CORP: QKD
TUNNELS: GWO
ANOMALY HUNTING: TM2
FISHING: 9VB, jM5, rgY

FISHING TIME.

WHAT TO GET FROM HANDLER:
J-CORP: GWO
LALILU: 9VB, jM5, rgY, QKD, T2M
CONTAINMENT CUBE: T2M, 9VB, jm5, rgY, Cp5, GWO, QKD,
CRYO GRENADE: Cp5

Containment cube and drugs. Noted.

WHAT TO BUY
TRANQ: 9VB, jM5, rgY, Cp5, QKD, GWO (with the majority buying 2)
MEAT BAIT: 9VB, jM5, rgY,
OIL BLACK BLOOD: GWO, 9VB, jM5, rgY (buying 1)
HARVESTING KIT: 9VB, jM5, rgY, QKD, T2m
CLASS B MEAT SHIPMENT: 9VB, jM5, rgY
HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE: 9VB, jM5, rgY, Cp5
MEAT LOVER'S SANDWICH: Cp5, T2m

The majority leans towards two TRANQ SYRINGES, one OIL BLOOD, a HARVESTING KIT, and a HARVESTER TEETH NECKLACE. Leaving you with $147.

WHAT TO SELL
7 WHISKEY: T2M
2 A-ENERGY, 1 JEWELRY, 1 WHISKEY: 9VB, jM5, rgY
DIDN'T WANT TO SELL ANYTHING: Cp5, GKD, GWO

ALLIES TO BRING
ASHLEY: T2m, 9VB, jM5, rgY, Cp5
LEX: T2m, Cp5, GWO
KIARA: T2m, GWO
WENDY: T2m
QUENTIN: 9VB, jM5, rgY
ADAM: 9VB, jM5, rgY, QKD, GWO
BENEDICT: 9VB, jM5, rgY, Cp5, QKD, GWO
NAOMI: 9VB, jM5, rgY
CASEY: QKD

The majority seems to gravity towards Ashley, Adam, and Benedict. Due to Adam bribing you to bring Benedict along, this gives you +215 (-105 from Ashley) leaving you with $362 while there's a three way tie for fourth place. I'll be honest, while you could squeeze in Lex + Quentin + Naomi with your budget
1.) I rather call a vote than to force it
2.) More than half of the players were leaning around 3-4 people so I'll decide you can bring ONE more along.

So here are the follow up votes. I'll leave this open for four to six hours, depending on how long it takes to get a majority.

Who do you want to bring along as your fourth party member?
>LEX. VIOLENCE, BLOODLUST. Fishing sounds like it needs strength and he's all strength. That and he's one of the first pals we met. We can trust him. (-$110)
>QUENTIN. FUNNY BUG MAN. He's the cheapest option and maybe you can improve his bumfuck stats by bringing him along. (-$35 due to Ashley being skeezed the fuck out by him.)
>NAOMI. FUNNY SILVER LADY. She'll offer a lot of stat buffs across the party and you get a chance to talk to her some more. Though you DID just hire her last mission. (-$180)

What do you want to do about the selling question?
>DON'T SELL ANYTHING.
>SELL THE JEWELRY AND WHISKEY BUT NOT THE A-ENERGY. THAT WEIRD ANOMALOUS SHOP OFFERS UNIQUE ITEMS FOR IT. (+$275)
>SELL THE 2 A-ENERGY, 1 JEWELRY, and 1 WHISKEY (+$975.)

And lastly, I normally wouldn't ask this but you ARE going on a fishing trip. Want to spend the money on some high quality meat bait?
>YES. (-$150 for nine handfuls worth.)
>ONLY A LITTLE. (-$50 for three handfuls worth.)
>NO.

This is almost as big as an actual update, fuck me.
>>
>>5952565
>LEX. VIOLENCE, BLOODLUST. Fishing sounds like it needs strength and he's all strength. That and he's one of the first pals we met. We can trust him. (-$110)

>DON'T SELL ANYTHING.

>YES. (-$150 for nine handfuls worth.)
>>
>>5952565
>LEX. VIOLENCE, BLOODLUST. Fishing sounds like it needs strength and he's all strength. That and he's one of the first pals we met. We can trust him. (-$110)
Quentin for another interesting mission then. I don't think centipedes can swim
>DON'T SELL ANYTHING.
I like the previous idea somebody had of stealthily giving the jewelry to Benedict to gift to Max
>YES. (-$150 for nine handfuls worth.)
We are BROKE, gentlemen
>>
>>5952565
Thanks for the hard work. We should try to find a way to make it less text heavy next time.
>LEX. VIOLENCE, BLOODLUST. Fishing sounds like it needs strength and he's all strength. That and he's one of the first pals we met. We can trust him. (-$110)

>DON'T SELL ANYTHING.
If we can get away with it, not seeking is fine. Though yeah after everything we’re gonna be a bit broke haha….

>YES. (-$150 for nine handfuls worth.)
Good for fishing, but also if we don’t use it all will come in handy another time I’d bet.
>>
Cool. Majority spotted, locking in. Update will come out when I wake up because I'm in no state to write right now with any level of quality
>>5952734
>We should try to find a way to make it less text heavy next time
Eh. Don't worry about it. It wasn't that much in the grand scheme.
>>
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"Well, well, well! Aren't you a high spender?" Lily fails to hold back her drool as she watches you dump over a thousand dollars onto the countertop. "What's the occasion?" She immediately grabs the bills with the same speed and ferocity of a predator chomping down onto a prey animal.

"Mission. Cleaner." You mutter out, still trying to keep an ear open to process whatever the Handler is rambling about.

"Ah. Fair enough. You said you wanted..." It takes a few minutes for her to prepare all of the supplies for you given the sheer amount of them you bought. You try your best not to flinch when you see her rip out a handful of teeth from her mouth like they were nothing. She quickly makes a necklace out of them and adds them to one of the two bags she prepared with your supplies.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Her teeth are already starting to regrow, you notice. Similar to the average shark, a Harvester can regenerate their teeth.
[UNSTABLE] AW CMON THEY GET COOL SHARK TRAITS AND ALL WE GET IS ANTLERS? OUR SOUL MUST SUC- WAIT. WHY AM I INSULTING MYSELF.

"Uh. Your eye normally twitches like that?" Lily's nervous expression tells you that UNSTABLE is probably going to do something silly soon.

"Don't worry. Thanks." You grab the bags.

"No problem?" Lily hesitantly chuckles. "Since you spent so much, I'll be sure to add in a LOT more items next time you come around! Been a while since I had someone spent $1261...ever!"

>-$1261. NO MONEY LEFT. ACTUALLY $3 IN DEBT.
>+HARVESTER TOOTH NECKLACE, TRANQUIZLER SYRINGE x2, OIL BLACK BLOOD, MEAT BAIT x9, HARVESTING KIT.

"Of course, of course." You mutter as you quickly head out of the store with your items in hand. The Handler is still rambling in your ear and frankly, you've tuned him out when you realize he wasn't talking about the mission for the longest time. You only realized he's actually talking to you once the ice cold snow hits your face RIGHT as he begins to yell at you.

"-so I noticed he was sniffing at the female R-Corp executive's shoes- Hey, are you paying attention? This is some JUICY corporate drama."

"Otto. Look. Just tell me what my mission is. I rather not hear about whatever weird tomfuckery is going on in your business meetings unless it's RELEVANT." You try your damn best to hide the annoyance in your voice. "Unless you're going to pay me $1261 to keep listening to all of this."

"Fuck you. I told you not to call me that." The Handler hisses over the line. You roll your eyes, "Hey, it was the best way to get your attention."

"Right, right, whatever. I'll let it slide since you've been successful the last six missions so far. You're being shipped over to S-Company's district for one simple mission. YOU MUST FISH, NICOLE. IT'S NOT A GOOD MORNING UNLESS YOU FISH, YOU SEE. MEN WILL FEAR YOU, WOMEN WILL BE JEALOUS OF YOU-" He clears his throat mid-schizophrenic (like you could judge him for that) rant. "So, lemme tell you the details of this mission. Listen up."
>>
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"I've recently been working with a S-Corp subsidiary that operates under the name 'SHRIMP SURF AND TURF'. S, U, and R-Corp have a decent amount of districts directly bordering the sea so they made a subsidiary to, well, fish there. Sometimes they find useful artifacts in that sea."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] There's no proper name given to the Sea that borders S, U, R, and a small section of V-Corp. You do know that it stretches FAR outside of the City and even past the Wastes. No one knows what's at the end of it.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Some believe that there's another City out there. Maybe even multiple Cities. Maybe through the infinite Sea, there is a place you can be safe.

"Your task? It's simple. You'll go onto one of their ships operated by a captain named Abraham. You'll work with him for a few days, I'd say around two to three, then you come back. You'll do what he says and help him with his fishing operation. That means protecting them from any invaders or entities out there, assisting them in collecting fish, and if at all possible?"

"Try to find an artifact. I won't punish you if you fail to find one, though. One: I rather only punish you if you severely fuck up during a mission. Two: If you fuck up over there, you're probably dead anyways!"

Huh. Mildly ominous warning aside, it sounds like one of your simplest missions yet. "Anything important I should take note of before I go on that ship?"

"Mr. Abraham is...very peculiar. I trust that you're able to somehow communicate with him on your level since you, from the descriptions I've been given of you by people I'm associated with, a batshit crazy schizo." He says that so casually, you almost forget he's insulting you.

"Oh. Also, this might just be a sailor's superstition but apparently, they keep rambling about a ship called The Admiral's Game. Something about blue fog and a soul piercing horn?" Despite his dismissive tone of voice, there's an ever so subtle trace of FEAR in his tone.

"Sounds like an anomaly but I wouldn't worry about it if I was you. You should be able to avoid it, right?"

"That's all I know. I'll contact the X-Corp guards to stand guard around your apartment so no one tries to track you down. Good luck." And he hangs up on you. Joy. Leave you with a message about something super ominous before hanging up. Well, at least you should be able to autopilot this for the most part.

>OPTIONAL OBJECTIVE: RETRIVE AN ANOMALOUS ARTIFACT FROM THE SEA. REWARD: $333, 2 A-ENERGY CAPSULES, Two boxes of high quality and highly sought seafood (useful for appeasing corporate entities and boosting ally RAPPORT)
>MAIN OBJECTIVE: IT'S NOT A GOOD MORNING UNLESS I'M FISHING. REWARD: $990, a permanent +1 FLESH and VIOLENCE (at minimum) to you and your allies.

Your legs begin to move on their own over to the train station. Well, nothing else to do but to call up your allies. Like some chefs to help cook any fish you catch.
>>
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It takes a while for Adam to respond. Long enough for you to board the train you always use to leave G-Corp's district. For a moment, you swear you saw a man wearing a silver suit watching you enter the train. Must've been your imagination since when you check to make sure, he's gone.

Eventually he manages to pick up. The sheer exhaustion in the man's voice tugs at your heart for a moment. In the background, you can hear some frycooks muttering while trying to repair some sort of machinery. "Hello. This is the Bazaar of Desires. No. We are NOT ABLE TO HOST A PARTY OF FIFTY IN OUR FUCKING RESTRUANT, STOP CALLING." The fry cooks muttering in the back yell out a mumbled mess of apologies to Adam.

"It's me."

His anger and exhaustion disappears the moment he hears your voice. "What can I do for you, Nicole? It's been a long day, sorry."

"I need you on a mission. We're going out fishing with a S-Corp crew. Bring Benedict along."

There's no response on the line for a moment before, to your shock, a heartfelt laugh from Adam is heard over your speaker. "Fuck. Yeah, that would be nice. It's been a long, long while since I've done anything with Benedict aside from cooking or wrangling him. Sure. I'll bring him over."

"Just, you know. Please be patient with him."
"Of course."

There's not much else to say so Adam hangs up. No complaint here, just means you can contact your other allies faster. Next up, Ashley. You haven't seen or heard from her after the Ashton incident so hopefully she's doing okay.

Just like last time, you can hear a band playing in the background. The roar of a guitar and bass, the quick beats of a drum, seems like they're doing practice again. You swear you thought you heard Ashley singing before the music abruptly stops "Huh?" You hear clothes being shuffled through before Ashley picks up the phone.

"Oh. Nicole. What's up?" The hesitation in her voice tells you that she's still recovering from what happened a day or so ago.

"Mission. Fishing. S-Corp. Probably gone from the City for 2-3 days. Would that be an issue for you and your band."

"...Hm. Our next performance isn't for two weeks anyways. Sure. I wouldn't mind a change of pace. Just let me tell Reid and Patricia about it first, okay?"

"Sure, sure. Not my place to order you around." You mutter, glancing out the window as the G-Corp train keeps trucking along. A blur of buildings passes by you as you keep heading over to S-Corp's district. "You doing okay?"

"Yeah. Don't worry. See you." She abruptly hangs up. Last one up is Lex. It's been a while. The moment you dial him up, you flinch from the high pitch yell that comes over the speaker.

"NICOLE! LONG TIME NO SEE? WHAT'S THE OCCASION. WHO ARE WE GOING TO BEAT UP, HUH, HUH?" Wow, he missed you that much, huh?

"Fishing. S-Corp-"

And the excitement in his voice dies almost immediately. "...Father Above. I knew I had to be dragged back to that fucking place one day. Why are we going there?"
>>
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"Wait, you have some personal experience with that place?" Might as well try to get some information out.

"Actually used to work with them a year or so ago. Nothing major, I was just a hired contractor. That place is just fucking awful to live and work in, ya know?" He lets out an annoyed sigh. "Doesn't help I made a lot of enemies over there. Just some advice between you and me? Never fucking learn S-Corp's dialect."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] It's a hard dialect to learn. Most people are VERY shitty speakers unless they were born and raised in S-Corp. R-Corp's dialect is a lot easier, you even know a few words. Donde esta el bano-

"Why?"

"Just don't. Those bugmen are fucking horrid to work with."

"...Ashley is coming along-"

"OKAY YEAH SEE YOU THERE." He hangs up immediately. Luckily for you, you arrived at your destination. S-ZETA-9, the section of S-Corp's district directly bordering with the Sea. You look outside the window and into the station to see that, despite S-Corp being a company tasked with construction, it's REMARKABLY shitty from a construction standpoint. Pillars are barely holding together, the rails you were traveling on are rusted hunks of junk, the tiles on the floor are cracked...

And there's a giant sea of S-Corp residents roaming around the station, packing the place like sardines. You immediately rush out of the train before they can flood the train cabin you're in. Trying to push past the sea of identical looking men and women with black hair and narrowed eyes is hell on earth and a few times, random people slap your antlers in equal parts annoyance, curiosity, and obvious scorn.

It hurts with every slap. You already hate this place. You now see what Lex was on about.

Eventually, you stumble out into the streets of S-Corp's district.

In contrast to the station you just exited, the streets are remarkably empty. The only thing around you is rows on rows of poorly constructed, sea salt encrusted buildings made out of shoddy faux-wood and stone. The streets are even cobbled with stone which, again, you would suspect that this place would have some better construction.

To the east, you can hear something. A ship's horn blaring. You assume that's where the harbor must be. Breaking into a dead sprint, you immediately rush over to it, not even caring about the weird looks that the few S-Corp residents give you as they see you galloping like...you know what.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2KbscDqnMo - THE HARBOR

The overwhelming smell of SALT, SMOKE, and SEA WATER hits your nose the moment you step into the harbor. The harbor itself is pretty small in the grand scheme. There's only a few large ships, probably five at most, sitting at the docks and a small storage warehouse with a chimney to the north but aside from that? It's just faux-wood docks coated in sea salt and crowds of burly sailors carrying cargo to and from the ships.

"YOU THERE!" A boastful, booming voice calls out to you.
>>
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An old callused husk of a man stands at a ship in the middlemost dock of the harbor. He combs through the blinding white beard clinging to his chin. His outfit is a bright blue sea captain's coat that's obviously stained with equal parts salt and tobacco ash, given the old pipe he's smoking from. "YOU'RE THE NEW CREW MEMBER MR. FOXTROT TOLD ME ABOUT, CORRECT? WELCOME ABOARD." He gestures towards his ship. "TO THE S.S. FREEDOM."

The ship looks like shit, to be quite frank. It's a salt encrusted ship that's probably barely big enough to host the crew, the captain, and your group consisting of yourself and four allies. The metal it is made out of it is an obvious cheap and shoddy steel that's long since been corroded by salt, rust, and barnacles.

You offer him a fake smile. "W-will there be enough room for five additional people? Me and my four crew mates?"

"INDEED. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ROOM ON THE S.S. FREEDOM. IT IS NO MATTER TO YOU. AH. WHERE ARE MY MANNERS?" He immediately tosses two items to you. A small black cube that fits in the palm and a bottle of pills. The cube is made out of some weird material that you don't recognize. There's a small button on the side of it.

"THAT THERE IS YOUR CONTAINMENT CUBE AND PILLS, MADAM. FROM THE MAN HIMSELF. THE CUBE EXPANDS A LOT IF YOU PUSH THE BUTTON. BEST BE CAREFUL, SO SAYETH CAPTAIN ABRAHAM!"
>+CONTAINMENT CUBE and LALILU PILLS!

You're about to say something but you're interrupted by four pairs of footsteps approaching you. You turn around to see that, thank god, your allies have managed to arrive in time.

Ashley looks about the same as she did last time you met her. Leather jacket, boots, jeans, really long red hair, baseball bat, it's all there. In her hands, she's carrying a small bag. "My bandmates told me to bring some extra food along." She awkwardly laughs. She seems tense but otherwise fine.
Adam is dressed in an old, tattered red jacket and a set of blue jeans with a pair of steel toed boots adorn his feet. The stained white shirt underneath his jacket has engine oil and grease. "Let's get this over with." He cracks his knuckles.
Lex's outfit is simple. An old bulky jacket, a Strands of Silver band tshirt (the logo is written in barely legible metal band font), some boots and a set of work jeans. His head is safely hidden away in a wool beanie he's wearing. He flashes a finger gun at you.

And then there's BENEDICT. God, he has seen better days. Two layers of bulky jackets with long sleeves, some patchwork pants and gloves, and thick steeltoed boots cover his body. It's clearly meant to hide how much of his body has been transformed. Blood, oil, and grease coats his clothing. Half of his face has been replaced by metal that's in the faint impression of a human face, like a really shoddy android model. His hair has taken on an yellow-greenish hue to it as well.

"...Hello." He chokes out.

"So." Ashley mutters, trying not to look at Benedict. "What's up with the horns."
>>
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"I was about to say!" Lex nods in agreement.
"I've seen weirder." Adam shrugs. "They're just antlers."
"...Don't judgE heR." Benedict croaks out, as if speaking at all takes incredible effort.

>ADAM, ASHLEY, BENEDICT, AND LEX HAVE JOINED THE PARTY! YOU ARE NOW BROKE AS FUCK, 0 DOLLARS LEFT.
>BENEDICT'S SHEET HAS BEEN REVEALED!

BENEDICT BAKER [SPECIAL]
RAPPORT: 0/8 (Barely recognizes you or even knows you.)
FLESH: 7
RESTRAINT: 5
VIOLENCE: 7
TALENT: 4
WILLPOWER: 4
CHARM: 0
CONNECTIONS: 0
COGNIZANCE: 3

BOONS:
[PARTIAL PARADIGM MANIFESTATION] Despite the pain he's in, you can see a spark of determination and focus in his eyes. He has access to two anomalous abilities that you may order him to use. He will also passively use them as the situation demands it.
-YESTERDAY'S PROMISE: His obsession with perfection and cooking has granted him the ability to grant bizarre powers to the things he creates. As long as he's given materials that can be consumed by a normal human, he will passively produce various items with anomalous potential to them. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to produce even more powerful items when using this ability.
-TOMORROW'S REGRET: He must procure his ingredients at any cost. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to reroll every VIOLENCE, TALENT, or FLESH dice he rolls in a check. He may spend 2 RESTRAINT to heal 3 FLESH to himself or 1 FLESH to an ally.

[MAN AND MACHINE] His body is meat and metal, taking the best from both words. BENEDICT takes -1 FLESH from all sources and is immune to disease/toxins/suffocation, ignores Crippling Injuries, and heals 1 more from all healing items.

BANES:
[FRACTURED MIND] His mind is falling apart by the second. He will have a hard time communicating with others and he has little memory or knowledge about his life before his transformation. It's also likely he'll randomly take RESTRAINT damage at any given time. Best to keep an eye on his mental state.

[UNSTABLE PSYCHE] He is just like you. A shattered psyche ready to act out. As his RESTRAINT lowers, he will begin to act out more and more, harming himself and the people around him. He's also VERY prone to outbursts due to his transformation.

INVENTORY: BLADE ARM (Permanently equipped. When attacking someone, he always inflicts a CRIPPLING INJURY on them and inflict SEVERE BLEEDING, which passively drains FLESH), INGRIDENT KIT (Filled to the brim with fresh fruits, meat, and vegetables. Enables YESTERDAY'S PROMISE).

"I'LL GIVE YOU FOUR SOME TIME TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. WHEN YOU HEAR MY HORN, YOU WILL BOARD MY SHIP." Captain Abraham proceeds to board onto his shitty S.S. FREEDOM. You turn your attention back to your allies. You might as well talk to them to see how they're doing before you do anything else.

"...Seriously, what is up with them?" Ashley points at your antlers again. "I did NOT see you with these last time I met you. It's only been a day."

"It's a long story. Trust me." You mutter. Time to talk and organize with your allies.
>>
Choose an upgrade for Lex.
>Seems like Benedict isn't the only one with a metallic upgrade. There's an obvious bulk underneath Lex's skin that clearly isn't muscle. "New implant. How does it look?" He flashes a wicked smile. (METALLIC EXOSKELETON. +2 FLESH, +1 VIOLENCE, Lex now rolls d8 with VIOLENCE checks and has a medium chance to negate FLESH damage taken by 1.)
>There's a variety of greenish-yellow tattoos covering his body. Something about how they look makes you feel a bit nervous. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?" (ANOMALOUS TATTOOS. +1 WILLPOWER, +1 RESTRAINT. Lex's attacks now do equal parts RESTRAINT and FLESH damage, allowing him to damage otherwise physical resistant entities. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to add +2d8 to any FLESH, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll he makes or assists in.)
>He's oddly well groomed, considering what he normally does for a living. "I've been trying to clean up my appearance. Just in case I need to talk, not punch." (QUIET VOICE, BIG STICK. +1 CHARM, CONNECTIONS, COGNIZANCE, and TALENT. When he makes a CHARM or CONNECTIONS roll, he may add half of his VIOLENCE dice to his roll.)

What do you want to do or say to your allies? Pick up to three non-free actions and any amount of FREE ACTIONS.
>You should probably talk to Benedict. Just to make him comfortable with being here and to check up on him. (You may add on three WRITE INs on what you want to say to him, if anything.)
>Best to get it out of the way. Explain the horn story and your new relationship with UNSTABLE to your allies.
>Try to pry whatever information about S-Corp and how their fishing operation works you can from your allies. (Write in up to three questions to ask them about S-Corp. They will try their best to answer)
>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
>"What was that whole 50 guests thing you were on about?" Just talk with Adam, try to get to know him better. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with Adam and Benedict.)
>Observe the habor you're in, just in case. (COGNIZANCE DC: 14, rolling 5d6 by yourself. Succeed and you might get some useful insight when you DO board the ship and have to work with Abraham. Failure and you just waste time.)
>Give your allies some equipment. (FREE ACTION. Write in what you want to give to your allies.)
>Best to offer Benedict something for his mind. (FREE ACTION. Give him some VIRITOXAP or SALTRIL antipsychotics? Offer him three charges of your MALTRO CIGARETTES or a dose of HOLY TEARS to offer him passive RESTRAINT regeneration? Write in.)
>Best to take something for YOUR mind. (FREE ACTION. Take an antipsychotic? Use three cigarettes or a dose of HOLY TEARS for some RESTRAINT regen?)
>Write in.

INVENTORY UPDATED: https://pastebin.com/n0MH6M17

Sorry for the delay.
>>
>>5953168
>>Seems like Benedict isn't the only one with a metallic upgrade. There's an obvious bulk underneath Lex's skin that clearly isn't muscle. "New implant. How does it look?" He flashes a wicked smile. (METALLIC EXOSKELETON. +2 FLESH, +1 VIOLENCE, Lex now rolls d8 with VIOLENCE checks and has a medium chance to negate FLESH damage taken by 1.)
>Best to get it out of the way. Explain the horn story and your new relationship with UNSTABLE to your allies.
>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
>Observe the habor you're in, just in case. (COGNIZANCE DC: 14, rolling 5d6 by yourself. Succeed and you might get some useful insight when you DO board the ship and have to work with Abraham. Failure and you just waste time.)
>>
>>5953168
>There's a variety of greenish-yellow tattoos covering his body. Something about how they look makes you feel a bit nervous. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?" (ANOMALOUS TATTOOS. +1 WILLPOWER, +1 RESTRAINT. Lex's attacks now do equal parts RESTRAINT and FLESH damage, allowing him to damage otherwise physical resistant entities. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to add +2d8 to any FLESH, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll he makes or assists in.)
Pale damage lets go!
>Try to pry whatever information about S-Corp and how their fishing operation works you can from your allies. (Write in up to three questions to ask them about S-Corp. They will try their best to answer)
>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
>"What was that whole 50 guests thing you were on about?" Just talk with Adam, try to get to know him better. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with Adam and Benedict.)
>>
>>5953168
>There's a variety of greenish-yellow tattoos covering his body. Something about how they look makes you feel a bit nervous. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?" (ANOMALOUS TATTOOS. +1 WILLPOWER, +1 RESTRAINT. Lex's attacks now do equal parts RESTRAINT and FLESH damage, allowing him to damage otherwise physical resistant entities. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to add +2d8 to any FLESH, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll he makes or assists in.)
I love the idea that he found Nicole so cool with her powers that he wanted in on them in his own way. Yes even after she Dr. Manhattaned those gangsters and traumatized Ashley a little

>Best to get it out of the way. Explain the horn story and your new relationship with UNSTABLE to your allies.
It is the right thing to do™
>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
Let's get a bit funny while we can
>You should probably talk to Benedict. Just to make him comfortable with being here and to check up on him. (You may add on three WRITE INs on what you want to say to him, if anything.)
"Do you remember anything from when you became this way? Not before, but during?"
"How have things been for you, lately? It's been a week since you got turned into this."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
>Best to offer Benedict something for his mind. (FREE ACTION. Give him some VIRITOXAP or SALTRIL antipsychotics? Offer him three charges of your MALTRO CIGARETTES or a dose of HOLY TEARS to offer him passive RESTRAINT regeneration? Write in.)
Offer him a SALTRIL pill with Adam's support. Maybe it'll help him?
>Give your allies some equipment. (FREE ACTION. Write in what you want to give to your allies.)
Give Benedict the Moonstone

I really want to take a photo of Adam and Benedict together with Memories of a Forgotten Era. Maybe it'll be something nice for them
>>
>>5953149
>There's a variety of greenish-yellow tattoos covering his body. Something about how they look makes you feel a bit nervous. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?" (ANOMALOUS TATTOOS. +1 WILLPOWER, +1 RESTRAINT. Lex's attacks now do equal parts RESTRAINT and FLESH damage, allowing him to damage otherwise physical resistant entities. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to add +2d8 to any FLESH, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll he makes or assists in.)

>Best to get it out of the way. Explain the horn story and your new relationship with UNSTABLE to your allies.
>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
>"What was that whole 50 guests thing you were on about?" Just talk with Adam, try to get to know him better. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with Adam and Benedict.)

>Give your allies some equipment. (FREE ACTION. Write in what you want to give to your allies.)
Give Benedict the Moonstone
>>
>>5953550
Add
>Best to offer Benedict something for his mind. (FREE ACTION. Give him some VIRITOXAP or SALTRIL antipsychotics? Offer him three charges of your MALTRO CIGARETTES or a dose of HOLY TEARS to offer him passive RESTRAINT regeneration? Write in.)
Give all VIRITOXAP BRANDED ANTI-PSYCHOTICS to him.
>>
>>5953168
>Seems like Benedict isn't the only one with a metallic upgrade. There's an obvious bulk underneath Lex's skin that clearly isn't muscle. "New implant. How does it look?" He flashes a wicked smile. (METALLIC EXOSKELETON. +2 FLESH, +1 VIOLENCE, Lex now rolls d8 with VIOLENCE checks and has a medium chance to negate FLESH damage taken by 1.)

>You should probably talk to Benedict. Just to make him comfortable with being here and to check up on him. (You may add on three WRITE INs on what you want to say to him, if anything.)
>"What was that whole 50 guests thing you were on about?" Just talk with Adam, try to get to know him better. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with Adam and Benedict.)
>Observe the habor you're in, just in case. (COGNIZANCE DC: 14, rolling 5d6 by yourself. Succeed and you might get some useful insight when you DO board the ship and have to work with Abraham. Failure and you just waste time.)
>Best to offer Benedict something for his mind. (FREE ACTION. Give him some VIRITOXAP or SALTRIL antipsychotics? Offer him three charges of your MALTRO CIGARETTES or a dose of HOLY TEARS to offer him passive RESTRAINT regeneration? Write in.)
Psycho pills
>>
>>5953616
VIRITOXAP stops UNSTABLE but all the other voices too
SALTRIL stops UNSTABLE but not the other voices + heals 1 RESTRAINT
>>
>>5953756
Do Benedict even have a benefits boons voice?
>>
>>5953756
That's why viritoxap is best for him.
>>
>>5953789
>>5953764
Then ok

>>5953168
Changing my vote in >>5953343 to giving him the VIRITOXAP and not SALTRIL
>>
>>5953168
>There's a variety of greenish-yellow tattoos covering his body. Something about how they look makes you feel a bit nervous. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?" (ANOMALOUS TATTOOS. +1 WILLPOWER, +1 RESTRAINT. Lex's attacks now do equal parts RESTRAINT and FLESH damage, allowing him to damage otherwise physical resistant entities. He may spend 1 RESTRAINT to add +2d8 to any FLESH, VIOLENCE, or TALENT roll he makes or assists in.)

>Wait, isn't Strands of Silver Ashley's band? Offer a smug smile to Lex. Just mess around and talk to him before you have to worry about a mission. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with him and Ashley.)
>"What was that whole 50 guests thing you were on about?" Just talk with Adam, try to get to know him better. (Gets you closer to earning another RAPPORT with Adam and Benedict.)
>Observe the habor you're in, just in case. (COGNIZANCE DC: 14, rolling 5d6 by yourself. Succeed and you might get some useful insight when you DO board the ship and have to work with Abraham. Failure and you just waste time.)
>Best to offer Benedict something for his mind. (FREE ACTION. Give him some VIRITOXAP or SALTRIL antipsychotics? Offer him three charges of your MALTRO CIGARETTES or a dose of HOLY TEARS to offer him passive RESTRAINT regeneration? Write in.)
VIRITOXAP
>Give your allies some equipment. (FREE ACTION. Write in what you want to give to your allies.)
Give Benedict the Moonstone
>>
>>5953550
Change/edit
>Best to get it out of the way. Explain the horn story and your new relationship with UNSTABLE to your allies.
Switch to
>Observe the habor you're in, just in case. (COGNIZANCE DC: 14, rolling 5d6 by yourself. Succeed and you might get some useful insight when you DO board the ship and have to work with Abraham. Failure and you just waste time.)
>>
UPGRADE
TATTOOS: gCz, dot, IkB, Cp5
EXOSKELETON: T2m, GWO

WHAT TO DO
SILVER STRANDS: gCz, dot, IkB, T2M, Cp5
50 GUESTS: Cp5, dot, GWO, gCz
OBSERVE HARBOR: T2m, GWO, O3C/dot, gCz
HORN STORY: T2m, IkB
TALK TO BENEDICT: GWO, IkB
ASK ABOUT S-CORP: Cp5
OFFER BENEDICT DRUGS: gCz, GWO, dot/427, IkB
OFFER BENEDICT MOONSTONE: dot, IkB, gCz

I'd say since half of the people felt like giving him the MOONSTONE, he'll get the moonstone. So, the winning total is TATTOOs + SILVER STRANDS + OBSERVE + 50 GUESTS + GIVE BENEDICT VIRITOXAP AND MOONSTONE

Two anons, roll the following
>2d6 (half of the COGNIZANCE ROLL
>3d6 (other half of COGNIZANCE ROLL)
>>
Rolled 3, 6 = 9 (2d6)

>>5954012
>>2d6 (half of the COGNIZANCE ROLL
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 6 = 16 (3d6)

>>5954012
>>
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25 out of 30. Waow. Yeah you succeed that, no questions here. Writing.
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Lex takes a moment to flex the new tattoos covering his body. They really aren't anything beyond weird scribbles and curved lines from a design standpoint, as if trying to mimic actual occult symbols but failing completely. Though one looks SHOCKINGLY similar to the ritual circle you saw Phillip make back at Avalon. "Found a new tattoo shop. Apparently they give me powers like yours. So I thought, why not?"
>+1 RESTRAINT, +1 WILLPOWER, +ANOMALOUS TATTOOS BOON

Adam and Ashley immediately stick their noses up at this for VERY obvious reasons.

"Why the fuck do you WANT powers like her?" Ashley points the end of the baseball bat on you. "You do realize what she DID last time we were on a mission, right?"
Adam simply glances back at Benedict (who's completely zoned out) before looking back at Lex. "..."

"Hey! She's been nothing but helpful with her powers! So why not get some myself!" Lex puffs his chest out. "I can't be ALL brawn. Gotta be brainy too."

"If you explode someone with your mind I'm going to fucking gut you." Ashley hisses out.

"Hey, hey!" You step in between the two meatheads. "I think it's neat, okay? He's just trying his best to be nice. Hell, he's wearing YOUR band tshirt. You could at least be a bit nicer to him." You flash a smug smile. "Maybe he's trying to court both of us."

Ashley scans Lex from head to toe with her eyes. Her expression is emotionless and numb, hiding what she's feeling to everyone in the room...besides you. <"I mean, depends what he's packing down there. He's not too bad looking."> "Nah. Not exactly my type."

Lex's face is caked in a bright, almost neon red blush. "I-it's really only because I do like your music, though. It's not really meant to, fuck, uh. Be. That." Your comment completely threw him off guard. <"FUCK HOW DID SHE KNOW FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK-">

>LOW RESTRAINT OUTBURST TRIGGER.

[UNSTABLE] "PFFFFT." Your mouth widens into a smile that shows WAY too many teeth, almost like a Harvester's smile. "Holy fucking shit are you guys SERIOUS? WOW. GET A ROOM." You slide over to Lex. "And heeeyyy, if she doesn't accept? You know?" Your smile widens even further. "I wouldn't mind."

[UNSTABLE] You really aren't considering it, you're messing with him.

"SHUT UP SHUT THE FUCK UP." Lex's neon blush only gets even brighter. Even Ashley gets flustered when she remembers, oh yeah, you can read her mind.
"Fuck." Ashley tries her best to hide in her leather jacket like a turtle retreating into her shell.

"Repulsive." "DiSguSting." Adam and Benedict mutter to each other.

[UNSTABLE] "Awww, c'mon, don't act like-"

Lex immediately covers your mouth. "Shut." Despite the stern tone in his voice and the fact Ashley is trying to hide in her jacket, you can see both of them sprouting bright, beaming smiles.

>0.5 RAPPORT added to Lex and Ashley!

You pry his mouth off with some minor telekinesis. "Okay but seriously, what's up with the band t-shirt?"
>>
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Lex shrugs. "Fuck, man, I just like their music. Sure, the titles suck ass-"

"Blame that on Reid. I swear that fucker actually huffs that weird liquid you find in C-Extract." Ashley interrupts him.

"Whatever. Did you bring your guitar over at least? We're going to be stuck on a boat for a few days."

"Actually, I did." Ashley reaches behind her back and in one smooth motion, she pulls out a bright silver electric guitar. You're not super knowledgeable on musical instruments but you can tell it's old, given the scratches and dents all over its body.

"Kickass!" Lex smacks Ashley on the back too hard, causing her to stumble closer to the edge of the harbor.
For a moment, you swear you saw Benedict's lifeless eyes widen upon seeing the guitar. <"...music. When's the last time..."> Weird. Something's hampering you from fully reading his mind.

"Hopefully it's not all punk nonsense. As much as I enjoy it myself, I rather not rile him up too much." Adam glances back at Benedict, who seems transfixed at the guitar.
Ashley kneels down in front of the half-anomaly half-human chef. "Do you want to listen to a song later?" She puts on a calm, soothing voice that contrasts harshly with her normal gruff and gravely tone.

It takes a moment for Benedict to respond. He slowly nods. "P-PleaS-s-eeE."

"Okay, champ." She gently pats him on the head. Benedict doesn't respond to the touch. "We'll do that later, okay?"

Lex, Adam, and even you are a bit shocked at this. She simply shrugs at the bewildered looks she's getting. "What? Did you expect me to be mean to him?" <"I really not have another person exploding incident, at least.">

"No? Just didn't expect it." Lex shrugs.
"I'm not complaining. Just unexpected." Adam nods in agreement.

"Speaking about him-" You take this moment to swerve the conversation over to Adam and Benedict. "You, uh, how to put this nicely..."

[UNSTABLE] "Acting like a completely deranged lunatic the moment I called you? That's supposed to be MY JOB, thanks."

Benedict grits his teeth. <"F-FrienD inSult..."> Adam promptly steps in between you and Benedict. "What's your point?" Shit, you should probably take some meds of your own soon. You shake your head to clear your thoughts.

"What was the whole 50 guests thing about? Don't restaurants normally have that many people on a busy day?"

The two deflate a bit when you realize what you're on about. Adam lets out a sigh before trying to get the resolve to speak. "...The last few days have been very stressful. Work's been killing me and I haven't gotten a solid eight hours of sleep for a week now. Most I get is 3-4 hours for, well."

"S-SorRy. M-My FauLt, RiighT?"

"No, no-" Adam tries his best to comfort his friend. "It's just been a lot of work lately and today, it got even worse. Someone leaked a rumor about Benedict and, well, a buncha weird 'occult' freaks wanted to have a PARTY in my fucking restaurant. 50 of them, in fact."
>>
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No one should've known about it aside from you, Benjamin, Adam, Alexis, and-

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Father Above, are they trying to harass Adam out of petty spite? For YOU fucking over their plan?
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] It's unlikely any of your friends would've leaked his existence either. And it's doubtful the alphabet companies know given he's not in containment and he's still alive.

"Fuck, man. That blows." Lex nods his head, trying his best to sound sympathetic. "What happened after?"

"I told them to fuck off. And they didn't react well at all. Had to close the restaurant early so my employees could clean up." Adam tries his hardest to hold back the obvious rage brewing in him. "Fuck, I'm half tempted just to close the business because shit like this KEEPS happening! You know WHY I wanted to run a restaurant?"

"To make people fucking happy!" He starts pacing around the harbor. "To give people something they never experienced! But no, I'm stuck behind a desk 24/7 so I can keep a business that seems to bring nothing but stress to everyone I know!"

You, Lex, and Ashley stay quiet as he continues to pace around. Benedict sheepishly looks away from Adam, still cognizant enough to feel some level of shame or pity.

"Just. You know what I want to do? I know it sounds funny but I want to move to O-Corp's district. To farm, to get away from all of this boring business shit and people who don't even acknowledge the FUCKING WORK I do to keep a business running." His teeth grind against each other, threatening to shatter at any moment. "I just want a break. Something new. I don't want to be in the City anymore. It's just-"

"Grind, grind, grind!" He throws his hands up in the air. "Why do you think I came here for a fishing trip? I get to leave this god forsaken place! I even PAID you to bring us along. It is fucking SICKENING being in this place."

"I'm SoRry." Benedict can only mutter out an apology.

"I understand but I think you're overthinking things." You feel obligated to say something. Anything. To offer a measure of comfort. "I don't like doing the jobs I do either but you know what keeps me going? It's all the little things."

"Talking to you guys. Seeing new sights, new people. Doing new things. The City blows, no one's denying that, but if you let yourself be CONSUMED by negative thoughts like that-" Benedict twitches a bit but you keep talking. "-then you're going to miss what matters."

Adam takes in a deep breath before letting out an exhausted sigh. "I really wish I could see the world like that. I really do."

"She's not wrong." Lex nods. "I'll be honest. If it wasn't for her hiring me a week or so ago, I would probably be feeling the same things you are. Just less about cooking and more about beating people up. You're complaining so much about the City but don't you have a friend to make it more tolerable?"

This seems to get through to Adam. He glances at Benedict as his face twists into a complicated mess of emotions.
>>
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<"He's been a burden to me, I'll be honest. And I hate how I view him like that."> He doesn't respond for a while. Benedict is staring up at you with a weird look you can't quite describe.

"Am I. FrienD? I. Head feels Funny. I." He can't quite put the words together to describe how he's feeling but you think you get the general idea.

"I hope so, Benedict."

Benedict tries his best to smile. "Th. That Would be Nice, Right?"

"I hope so too." Adam sighs. "I hope all of us can be friends. Thank you for, uh, I guess listening to me rant."
>+0.5 RAPPORT to ADAM and BENEDICT

"It's no problem." You nod. "Better to not let those feelings get all pent up, right?"

Ashley finally decides to respond, "We'll see. To be honest, this is just a job for me. Nothing more. Nothing less. But hey, having good coworkers is better than bad ones, righ-"

https://youtu.be/Ek0eoS5AoqY

Your chatter is immediately interrupted by the loudest god damn horn you have heard in your life. Your ears are left ringing as your allies try their best to regain their senses. You're only able to hear the captain yelling out something.

You and your allies promptly make a beeline towards the ship before he tries permanently deafening everyone in a five mile radius. You glance back behind at the harbor...

>25: SUCCESS!

And you notice something off as the five of you climb aboard the ship. In the distance, you can see a bunch of sailors having an argument near the warehouse. While you can't hear them, you can hear a few things with your MIND READ.

<"I'm not going back on that fucking ship! That asshole is a complete fucking psychopath!">
<"Those five do know they're being sent to their deaths, right? They're not returning!">
<"That ship he's searching for, he's not going to find it. If he does, I hope he never returns.">
<"I'm moving to V-Corp! At least their ships are only tasked with fishing! That S.S. FREEDOM is an ill god damn omen!">
<"I can only hope they can find the lifeboat. That mad man has hidden it somewhere. He doesn't want anyone to leave his ship on its voyage.">

Soon, you're out of range of the arguing sailors and your MIND READ. The hell could this captain actually be after that has driven away those sailors? Whatever the case is, the fact he hid the lifeboat is not a good sign at all.

As you five finally board the ship, you quickly toss Benedict over the MOONSTONE and the VIRITOXAP antipsychotics. Almost out of instinct, Benedict dry swallows one of the two pills.
>-MOONSTONE, -VIRITOXAP PILLS
>BENEDICT'S UNSTABLE BANE HAS BEEN WEAKENED.

Ashley narrows her eyes at you. You simply show her the SALTRIL pills you have. She mumbles something to herself before turning her attention elsewhere.

As your group boards the ship, your phone buzzes. You open your phone quickly so you can read it before you're stuck in the middle of the sea.
>>
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It's from Benjamin. "hey. just checking up on u. max was worried, so was i. be careful. text me when u can."
Another text message, from Maruyama. "Checking in on you. Text me back to tell me your status."

Seems like even if you don't hire them, they might still contact you from time to time to check up on you. As soon as you send a text to make sure you're not dead, you lose all signal.

https://youtu.be/LzetwZpEwhc - THE SEA

It's been an hour since you left the port. The five of you have been standing around, waiting for any sort of instruction from the captain. You're currently on the somewhat crowded, rusted deck of the ship.

The layout is pretty simple. There's a big cabin-like building in the middle of the ship, presumably where the captain and other high ranking officers sleep and steer the ship. A hatch towards the back of the ship leads to where you assume the crew, and by proxy you and your allies, will sleep at. One look down there tells you that it's going to suck sleeping down there. A hatch at the front seems to lead to the cargo storage area.

Seems like you're left to your own devices for now. Assign an action to you and your allies.

>Have someone use some of the MEAT BAIT you got to try catching some fish. (-2 MEAT BAIT, TALENT DC: 18. Pass and whoever's assigned will get some fish to sell later and heal some RESTRAINT or boost their MAX RESTRAINT for the mission if they're at full RESTRAINT. Failure and the sheer boredom will damage their RESTRAINT.)
>Some of the sailors are busy trying to move some heavy boxes. Have some help them with that. (VIOLENCE DC: 22. Succeed and your party will gain some approval from the crew, which may help down the line. Failure and whoever's assigned will just hurt themselves.)
>[ASHELY ONLY] "Hey. Ashley. Can a girl get some of that sweet, sweet sound?" (Everyone gains some minor RESTRAINT regeneration for the next three updates.)
>[BENEDICT ONLY] "Hey, Benedict. Go ahead and cook us something." (You and your allies will gain +1 MAX FLESH for the mission.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] You do NOT trust the captain right now. Send someone over to try talking to him and get a better read on why he actually hired you. (CHARM DC: 16 (-3 from your observation success.) Succeed and he might slip something about his actual reason for hiring you. Failure and you imagine he won't react kindly to you prying into him.)
>Have someone stand guard in case anyone tries to board the ship. (You'll be warned if anything dangerous approaches.)
>[NICOLE ONLY] Might as well meditate if nothing else. (WILLPOWER DC: 23. Succeed and you'll heal some RESTRAINT and gain +1 WILLPOWER for the rest of the mission. Failure and you just wasted an action.)
>Grab an ally of yours and just talk to them to pass the time. (Pick an ally to talk to. You'll gain another 0.5 RAPPORT with them. This consumes you and the ally's action.)
>Try to do something else. (Write in what you want to do and who to assign to it.)
>>
>>5954152
>Some of the sailors are busy trying to move some heavy boxes. Have some help them with that. (VIOLENCE DC: 22. Succeed and your party will gain some approval from the crew, which may help down the line. Failure and whoever's assigned will just hurt themselves.)
Lex
>[ASHELY ONLY] "Hey. Ashley. Can a girl get some of that sweet, sweet sound?" (Everyone gains some minor RESTRAINT regeneration for the next three updates.)
>[BENEDICT ONLY] "Hey, Benedict. Go ahead and cook us something." (You and your allies will gain +1 MAX FLESH for the mission.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] You do NOT trust the captain right now. Send someone over to try talking to him and get a better read on why he actually hired you. (CHARM DC: 16 (-3 from your observation success.) Succeed and he might slip something about his actual reason for hiring you. Failure and you imagine he won't react kindly to you prying into him.)
Nicole
>Have someone stand guard in case anyone tries to board the ship. (You'll be warned if anything dangerous approaches.)
Adam
>>
>>5954167
Supporting
>>
>>5954167
+1
>>
>>5954167
+1
Let's not forget we were explicitly told about thieves.
>>
I highly doubt a four vote majority is going to be broken so let's cut to the chase here.

I need three anons to roll the following
>3d6 (half of Lex's roll)
>3d6 (other half of Lex's roll)
>4d6 (Nicole Moment)

And we'll see what resources need to be consumed from there.
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 4 = 13 (3d6)

>>5954331
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 2 = 10 (3d6)

>>5954331
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 5, 3 = 17 (4d6)

>>5954331
Nicole is best charmer!

Also I’m liking the group so far, we’re getting some good banter.
>>
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>>5954342
>>5954384
>>5954407
Waow, you really have a habit of just BARELY passing your skill checks. 23 and 17. Aight. Writing the update, then I'll immediately pass the fuck out since it's probably going to be 7 or 8 AM when I finish writing it.
>>
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>>5954409
Zzzzzz...
>>
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"Adam, stand guard. Lex, go help those chucklefucks. Benedict, go ahead and cook us something. Ashley..." You snap your fingers and put on your best faux-District 7 accent. "Cano a girrrl get some of tat sweat-a, sweat sound-a?"

[REPRESSED UNSTABLE] Benedict's unconverted eye twitches with a darkly familiar fury. It almost vanishes immediately as he begins to grind his teeth. He lets out a sound half between a grunt and gears grinding together. "Never. Do that. Again. FECCIA."

Huh? That was honestly the most coherent his speech has been so far.

[OVERCORRECTION] "Woah, woah. Let's not cause anyone's stomachs to implode through shitty accents." Adam tries his best to calm down the situation. Neither of you are paying attention. This only makes him more nervous.

"Fetch-a? The fuck does that mean?" Lex fails to hide his smirk.

"I know a little. It meant scum. The accent was pretty horrid." Ashley does her best to explain. You visibly deflate upon hearing this, you were doing good! Right?

Adam nods, wiping away at his sweaty forehead. "Correct. Though it can also mean filth or dirt, depending on the context.

"Whatever you say. I trust that your magic words mean what they mean." Lex can't even pretend to care about this conversation. "I'll go help those dipshits." He makes his way over to the front of the ship. You can see there's six sailors trying their best to move a really big, black cube out of storage-

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Wait. Isn't that a containment cube? You suppose it's a good precaution if there's any weird entities out here.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] I don't like this, Nicole. Let's get moving.

"FeH. TheY don'T underSTAnD the PERFECTION of my MOTHER tONGue." Benedict mutters as he finds a small spot on the deck to sit down at. Ashley sits down alongside him. After tuning her guitar, she starts to play.

https://youtu.be/TK4V6vIFPGo - ASHLEY'S SONG

"Do you understand what it meant to me?" She hums to nobody in particular. "When you waltzed in with that melody?" It's clear she's just making them up on the spot so they're not super great. "To show me a glimpse of your starlight, a glimmer for a perfect life." She begins to tap her foot on the ground, trying to keep a steady beat

While the lyrics could use some work, the guitar itself and her singing is...nice. You can't really recall the last time you listened to something like this. Most of the actual song seems to be focused on the guitar itself and her singing than any actual lyrics. Her singing voice is completely different from her regular voice. It's smooth, clear, feminine. A lot better to listen to compared to the gravely tone she speaks with.

Most of the crew doesn't seem to acknowledge her singing, too busy with their own tasks to care but the few who do besides your group are nodding along to the rhythm. Adam taps his foot along to the song while he watches the sea, leaning against the rusted railing standing between him and the endless sea.
>>
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Benedict seems to have stopped mid unpacking of his cooking equipment as the song continues on. He offers a faint smile towards Ashley. "Piacevole. Un suono perfetto." He immediately picks up his speed on whatever he's cooking. Before you even have time to start heading towards the captain's quarters, he tosses you something.

It's a simple sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and some unidentifiable meat. You take a small bite and- Woah, okay, that's good. Bread's not too chewy, lettuce and tomato are fresh, the meat has a nice smoky quality to it. You give Benedict a thumbs up. "Grazie." You mutter out the only District 7 phrase you actually know.

The beaming smile coming from him could've lit up the whole god damn City. "Piacere mio." If only you knew what the fuck he was saying. Oh well. You keep pecking away at the sandwich on your walk over to the captain's quarter. Despite only being a simple sandwich, you can feel it sticking to your ribs like a good hearty breakfast.
>+1 MAX FLESH FOR MISSION. CURRENT FLESH: 3/6
>+1 RESTRAINT! CURRENT RESTRAINT: 5/9.

The Captain's Cabin isn't much to behold, let alone speak about. Aside from a hallway with four doors, each marked "CAPTAIN", "QUARTERMASTER", "FIRST MATE", and "NAVIGATOR" (which you assume is their quarters), there's a fifth door at the end leading to the helm of the ship. Entering that shows that it's, well, another cramped room. It's filled with machines, panels, and other navigation devices you can't make heads or tails of.

A man in a tattered dress shirt, a woman in a bright orange sweater, and a Drone with a dull green jumpsuit are messing around with the devices in the room to keep the ship steering in the right direction. In the middle of the room is the ship's steering wheel that's being helmed by, well, who else would it be?

You glance out of the window at the front of the helm to check on your allies, given how none of the people in here are bothering to acknowledge you yet. Adam is keeping watch for anything approaching, though not without enjoying a nice sandwich and the melody Ashley is playing.

Lex is doing his best to help the various sailors dressed in brightly striped sailor outfits at the front of the ship. It's clearly taking a lot of strain to move the heavy wooden boxes and the odd, solitary containment cube to cargo storage but the sailors seem more than happy to have him assisting.

"I don't believe I need any assistance with steering this ship, lassie." Captain Abraham barks out at you. Glancing behind you, you see he didn't even bother to look at you when he said that. Feh.

"Why did you actually hire me?"

"Was there lubber in your ears when our mutual friend-"

You quickly interrupt him. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Protect from thieves, help fish, yada yada. But don't act like I don't know what that is." You point at the containment cube Lex is trying to push down into storage. "Some of the sailors on the harbor were saying some weird things as well."
>>
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"Do you really want to know?" There's an odd hesitation in his voice. As if he's not even sure if he should be telling you this. "I'm searching for something. Something that requires the help of people who don't ask too many questions." Captain Abraham mutters what you think is a swear under his breath.

"There's nothing but fucking sea out here. Unless you're hunting for a white whale, I don't see what's so important out here but fish and water." Well, there was that one optional thing of an anomalous artifact, but what's the actual probability of finding anything here? It's all blue as far as you can see.

"Feh." The man in the dress shirt mutters. "I wish it was that. Would be a lot easier than the damned abomination he keeps rambling-"

"SILENCE, WRETCH!" Captain Abraham smashes his hand against the steering wheel. The three crewmembers in the helm quickly lower their heads in an attempt to avoid his wrath.

"What the fuck was that?" You prod at this outburst. "Why am I here, Abraham? Isn't that your role as a captain? To lead your crew to success? How am I supposed to succeed if I don't know why I'm here?"

>17. SUCCESS!

There's a tense silence in the room no one dares to break. Then, the Captain speaks. "There's something very important I'm looking out here. Somewhere in these dark, dark seas. Something that has been evading me for years now. If we don't find it, feh, so be it. That's what the cube is for."

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Wait. What was that thing the Handler was warning us about? The Admiral's Game? That does sound like an anomaly name.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Could just be an enemy ship. Maybe he's searching for another captain?

"That damned creature, pretending to be a man." Abraham tightens his grip on the ship's steering wheel. "I saw him twenty years ago. When he destroyed the ship I was first mate on.." His mouth twists into a smile with way too many razor sharp teeth. "He didn't even look at me as the rest of my crewmates were drowning around me. Thrashing like fish forced onto dry land. Struggling FOR AIR." Red blood oozes from his gums as he grind his teeth together. "I know he's out here. I know he's waiting for me to find him."

"I'll find him. I have to." A trace of doubt lingers in his voice. <"I have to. I have to."> The other crewmates are, obviously, too afraid to say anything to the rambling old man.

[UNSTABLE] TO THROW A STONE AT MY GLASS HOUSE, I THINK THIS GUY IS A NUTTER.

Before he has time to say anything else, Adam bursts right into the helm room with a look of sheer terror on his face. He was clearly in a rush given the bits of sandwich meat clinging to his shirt. "NICOLE. C'MON. HAVE TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING. CAPTAIN. SOMETHING'S APPROACHING US."

You and the captain immediately exit the helm while the other head crewmates take over the job of steering the damn ship. Various sailors are staring out to something in the distance and you notice that Ashley stopped singing a while ago.
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re05OwoZATM - ENEMY SHIP APPROACHING

A ship in the far, far distance is charging RIGHT in your direction. It's around the size of the ship you're currently on and it's moving as fast as humanly possible in your direction. Spikes and some unidentified bags are attached all over the hull of the ship and a bright, almost neon purple flag with a skull on it is proudly hung from the ship.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] It is five to six miles away at most and with the speed it's at? You'd guess you have about nine minutes tops before it collides

"AHAH. SOME THIEVES THINK THEY CAN TAKE MY CARGO? MY SUPPLIES? I THINK NOT!"

Your other allies join up with you They clearly didn't expect something to happen given how, like Adam, they're either still finishing up their meal or pulling out their equipment. Benedict's blade arm slowly slides out from underneath his makeshift jacket cloak.
>+1 MAX FLESH AND RESTRAINT REGEN TO YOUR PARTY!

"Wait, wait-" Ashley's voice is still a bit raw from her singing. "Can't we just try to outrun them? We don't need to fight."

"WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT? CREW! TO YOUR STATIONS! MAN THE STARBOARD CANNONS! GET YOUR HARPOONS READY!"

A chorus of "AYE AYES" damn near deafen you and your own crew. Shit. Okay, how do you handle this?

Due to Adam warning you in advance, you may pick two actions.

>Try to convince the crew that the captain's plan to fight a random ship instead of running is a BAD idea. (CHARM DC: 20 (-4 from Lex helping the crew), rolling 6d6 with Adam's assistance. Pass and the crew will hesitate to fight, convincing the captain to run. Your relationship with the cap will probably sour, though.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] You need to delay this ship from approaching at any cost. "LEX! GET ME THE HEAVIEST BOX FROM CARGO!" Time to use your FOCUSED TELEKINESIS. (-1 RESTRAINT, write in whether to spend 1 FLESH, RESTRAINT, or boost the successes needed by 1 as an additional cost. ATTACK ROLL: 15d6+1d4, SUCCESSES NEEDED: 10. Get the necessary successes and you'll land a critical blow on the enemy's ship, ending any fight before it can start.)
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE. IT IS THE ANSWER AND QUESTION. EMBRACE IT. (COMBAT ENCOUNTER! +1 VIOLENCE to your whole party this encounter. The Captain will respect you more if you pick this.)
>"CREW! WE SHALL DRINK!" Share some of that high quality whiskey. Should help morale regardless of what you do (-4 HIGH WHISKEY. The crew and captain will see you in a far better light, lowering DCs by 2 for the rest of the mission.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
>Write in.
>>
>>5954479
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
Wait a sec, it's been like an hour or two since we left port. This is way too soon. Did somebody else know about the Captain's mission? The neon purple flag is odd, but pirates come in all colors in this world. What gets me are those bags on the ship's hull. Why have those with the spikes? And for that matter, why would somebody put so many spikes on their ship then ram another so recklessly? You'd have that for deterrence or a last-ditch weapon, not a naval combat opener, right?

I think this is a ruse or some severely retarded man. If we fuck the roll up we have 3 Pep Pills+ for +4 COGNIZANCE added to the roll each. 7x6 is 42 and we have DC 24. We can take this easily unless dice gods rig it
>>
>>5954482
Oh we have 2 actions thanks to Adam, nice!

>>5954479
Add to my vote in >>5954482
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE. IT IS THE ANSWER AND QUESTION. EMBRACE IT. (COMBAT ENCOUNTER! +1 VIOLENCE to your whole party this encounter. The Captain will respect you more if you pick this.)
Ashley, we knew there'd be thieves and raiders. The Handler said as much, and he was right. I don't think this is the first time the Captain and his crew had to deal with pirates either.
As much as the TK option tantalizes me with those rolls and that power, Nicole is 3/6 FLESH and 5/9 RESTRAINT. I want to try to minimize losses here as much as we can. Hopefully if this IS a trick, not being cowed will be enough violence to make this fucker leave
>>
>>5954479
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE. IT IS THE ANSWER AND QUESTION. EMBRACE IT. (COMBAT ENCOUNTER! +1 VIOLENCE to your whole party this encounter. The Captain will respect you more if you pick this.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
>>
>>5954485
As for VIOLENCE
>Nicole
5 but we got weapons and guns
>Lex
6, but 7 when attacking, +1 from Spiked Brass Knuckles = 8
>Ashley
4, +1 from Baseball Bat = 5
>Adam
4, but he rolls 4 VIOLENCE + 3 RESTRAINT + 1 with his chef skill and knife
>Benedict
7, and he has his anomalous blade arm

Add 1 to all these with our fighting option, and that's a lot of overwhelming violence power. If you consider all the other stuff we have in the inventory, on top of the crew backing us up while the Captain buffs them, I think we can win this easily
>>
>>5954479
Rest well Handler, thanks for the update.
Man, I would not eat the random meat provided by our guy lmao. Last time was not so great.

That aside, glad putting Adam on lookout duty worked and damn I didn’t realize how low Nicole was health wise.
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE. IT IS THE ANSWER AND QUESTION. EMBRACE IT. (COMBAT ENCOUNTER! +1 VIOLENCE to your whole party this encounter. The Captain will respect you more if you pick this.)
I’m doing this both for “exp” and captain respect. I thought about doing the whiskey option, but I want to save those for our closer friends and I don’t think it’s necessary since this raises respect too.

>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
This is just a smart option.
>>
Question Anon: Are you on board with the captain's plan to hunt and capture the admiral? And are you confident we can take on the admiral?
>>
>>5954488
I would have thought Ashley lookout duty would be better due to her DEEP INTUITION boon, but it still worked out fine. What I'm amazed at is how quickly that antipsychotic helped Benedict
>[REPRESSED UNSTABLE] Benedict's unconverted eye twitches with a darkly familiar fury. It almost vanishes immediately as he begins to grind his teeth.
Speaking of him, I love everything between him and Adam here, especially >>5954147. Adam is being pushed to the edge by both the fallout of his best friend snapping and becoming part-anomaly, partially from Adam's own fault no less AND HE KNOWS THIS, and the silver agents harassing him indirectly. I wonder if they know and they're trying to force Adam to turn next? It'd be one hell of a tragedy if both of them end up the same way. A different sort of tragedy than how it turned out for them back in HELP WANTED!
>"Talking to you guys. Seeing new sights, new people. Doing new things. The City blows, no one's denying that, but if you let yourself be CONSUMED by negative thoughts like that-" Benedict twitches a bit but you keep talking. "-then you're going to miss what matters."
Amazing echo of that same lesson in an alternate timeline. If only Adam knew the silver agents and how they had a direct hand in all the workplace woes even before Benedict got to this point... that's a man who'd want revenge. Because who knows? If the silver agents had nothing to do with their issues, would Adam and Benedict have enjoyed their restaurant business more? Would they have had more customers and more money if the agents didn't stifle the clientele and taint the food? Or would they both still reach this point regardless, due to both of their own personal tendencies and problems as individuals? The what ifs are endless, as they always are
>>
>>5954496
I want to see things through no matter the result. I wonder if somehow the Captain himself is the Admiral but he doesn't know it, like Jeckyll and Hyde? That we could read his mind indicates he's not an anomaly, if my theory holds. We can read Benedict's but there's something impeding Nicole doing it completely.
>>
>>5954479
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] You need to delay this ship from approaching at any cost. "LEX! GET ME THE HEAVIEST BOX FROM CARGO!" Time to use your FOCUSED TELEKINESIS. (-1 RESTRAINT, write in whether to spend 1 FLESH, RESTRAINT, or boost the successes needed by 1 as an additional cost. ATTACK ROLL: 15d6+1d4, SUCCESSES NEEDED: 10. Get the necessary successes and you'll land a critical blow on the enemy's ship, ending any fight before it can start.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
>>
>>5954496
I think the captain is an important part of the story on this mission so I want a good in with him. I also think getting a buff to violence will help complete the mission. Not sure what to do with the admiral yet, but that’s mostly from lack of info that getting the captain’s trust will hopefully help rectify.
>>
>>5954479
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something's off. It's just one ship and that skull flag seems too on the nose. Try to figure out what's going on. (COGNIZANCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 with Ashley's and Adam's help. You'll confirm whether this is a trick or some overconfident fool on a success. Failure and doubt and fear will set in your heart, increasing of future COGNIZANCE DCs for the rest of the mission.)
>>
[UNSTABLE] O3C, IGB, 5w+
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Cp5, gCz, O3C, IGB, 5W+
ANOMALOUS ABILITIES: gCz

Aight. Seems fair where we're going here. Due to you being able to pick two actions, PERSON OF INTEREST + UNSTABLE wins out.

I need two anons the roll the following
>4d6 (half of COGNIZANCE roll)
>3d6 (other half of COGNIZANCE roll)
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 6, 3 = 18 (4d6)

>>5955029
>>
Rolled 5, 4, 3 = 12 (3d6)

>>5955029
>>
Coolio. Time to embrace the VIOLENCE and dehumanize yourself. Writing.
Also, to clarify something super minor that annoyed me, meant to write District 6 instead of 7 last post.
>>
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"Wait. Something's wrong." Your urge to KILL is already rising but you manage to hold it back the tiniest bit. "I still think we should kill those bastards but doesn't this seem off?"

The dozens on dozens of sailors on the dock stop in their tracks. You notice they were in the middle of preparing makeshift weaponry out of old, rusted harpoons and frayed rope. "Eh? The hell is this kid on about?"
The Captain narrows his eyes at you. "Do not spread doubt in the hearts of my mind. Do not DARE think you know better than I do, Nicole. Your horns are of that of a land animal, NOT THE S-"

You continue thinking out loud, interrupting him without thinking about it. "Aren't spikes, like, meant to be a deterrent more than a weapon? And it's only been like two hours. Why is anyone gunning after us THIS quickly?"

"Wait, yeah, that is weird." Adam clicks his tongue. "Really weird."
Ashley is rubbing her chin, clearly trying to think of what could possibly be going on here. "Wait. Adam, you didn't see any other ships, right?"
"No? I saw that one ship and, well, it looked pretty damn scary. And it IS charging at us. Though it is weird that it's alone...and I don't see anyone on it either?" Adam rapidly taps his foot on the ground. His nerves are clearly getting to him.

[DEEP INTUITION] "WAIT." Ashley's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. "I DON'T THINK IT'S THE SURFACE WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT."

>30: SUCCESS

[PERSON OF INTEREST] It's a distraction. Bright purple, spikes, ominous bags? It's meant to be spotted, to be an obvious threat.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Oh god. You remember something now. You faintly recall an old advertisement about G and X-Corp working together back at District 7. Something about a prototype for a combat submarine. That was three years ago.
[UNSTABLE] I'M TAKING CONTROL HERE. MIND READ, GO!!!!
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] HEY GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF MY CONTROLS-

>MIND READ ACTIVATED! NICOLE DOESN'T HEAL ANY RESTRAINT THIS UPDATE!

It takes a moment for you to filter through the various dots of your crew, captain, and the crew of the S.S. FREEDOM. There's five dots below the surface of the water, three moving southwest and two moving southeast.

[DEEP INTUITION] "CAPTAIN. DO YOU HAVE ANY ANTI-SUBMARINE WEAPONERY? WE NEED CREW THERE. STAT." Sheer TERROR oozes out of Ashley's voice like black tar. "WE GOT TWO MINUTES. TOPS. I CAN FEEL IT."

"Five underneath." You mutter. "Two southeast. Three southwest."

[DEEP INTUITION] "Pincer. They plan on surrounding us on all sides. The ship ramming us will only seal the deal. We need to move."

<"Hehe! Seems like these landlubbers figured out the enemy's trick. Even my crew didn't notice."> Captain Abraham's mouth contorts into a drooling, wicked smile. <"Perhaps they're not so useless after all, Otto.">

"CREW! MAN THE UNDERSIDE CANNONS! ALL FOCUS TO THE FOES UNDERNEATH THE WAVES." He immediately turns his heels away from your group, rushing back to his helm.
>>
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"WE'LL DEAL WITH THE SHIP ABOVE THE SURFACE!" You yell out to the captain as he disappears into the helm and the rest of the crew immediately heads under the dock of the ship. Leaving you and your party alone up here. The ship you're on starts to ever so slightly drift away from the decoy ship. Wait, why is the water looking we-

Pillars of water erupt out of the previously calm, quiet sea, spraying water all across the dock of the ship. You and your allies manage to avoid getting too soaked thanks to them being pretty far away from the section of dock you're on. If you focused your hearing, you swear you could hear something happening underneath the surface of the water.

"Well, they seem to be handling that just fine." Adam shrugs. "We're not really doing anything of value here, right? They're the ones actually fighting the threat. We're just stuck waiting up here."

"They have a plan B, right? The pirates or whoever. That ship is still charging at us...uh." Lex's voice cracks for a moment. "Okay fuck that's charging at us fast."

You turn your gaze over to the decoy ship. IT REALLY IS CHARGING TOWARDS YOUR SHIP AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE..

[DEEP INTUITION] "FUCKING MOVE!" Ashley screeches at the top of her lungs. Before any of your other allies knows what's going on, she shoves you behind Benedict before pushing Adam and Lex to the side with all of her adrenaline fueled might.

Good timing since something is launched right in your direction. Benedict just barely manages to raise his blade arm to guard his face and torso as a fucking massive harpoon is launched full force into him. A horrid sound of metal and meat being torn and trusted on impact fills your ears.

>-2 (REDUCED FROM 3) FLESH TO BENEDICT. TOTAL: 6/8!

Luckily, the two other harpoons launched at your group were avoided thanks to Ashley's quick thinking. As for Benedict? He looks down at the harpoon embedded deep into his torso and, without thinking about it, he brings his arm down onto the chain connecting the harpoon to the enemy ship.

CRACK!

The metal chain shatters into a million pieces with barely any effort on Benedict's part. He looks towards you and the other allies with a faint smile. "Poor. Quality. Metal. My Metal is. Perfected." He takes a deep breath in...

[WEAKENED BENE UNSTABLE] "TANTI INGREDIENTI FRESCHI DEVONO ESSERE SU QUELLA NAVE!" Before bellowing out his best attempt at a battle cry. "LASCIEREMO SOLO DIETRO LE LORO OSSA!"
[UNSTABLE] YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT HE'S SAYING BUT YOU VIBE WITH HIM HARD. "LET'S RIP AND TEAR!" YOUR VOICE YELLS OUT. IT'S NOT NEARLY AS OMINOUS SOUNDING.

The enemy ship is now adjacent to your own ship after the harpoon attack. It seems like any injury they would've inflicted to your party was an accidental bonus. Four large, rusty harpoons have embedded themselves deep into the side of the ship, preventing any escape.

And so they're able to board your ship.
>>
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF631szQ0T - THE REAL FIGHT

On board the dock of the enemy ship is a handful of grizzled men in dark royal purple naval jackets and wading pants. Their bare chests are covered in a latticework of gnarled, bright blue scars. Their expressions are clearly nervous, as if they didn't expect they would have to do this. It's clearly a desperation attack given their first plan failed.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] You faintly recall hearing something about a gang with bright blue scars. Something about them having anomalous abilities?
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] But they were only located in District 4 and 14 from what the paperwork said. Those don't even directly border District 19.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] The scars covering them remind you of the tattoos Lex has on his body. You imagine their powers are comparatively simple and brutal.

Their only weapons seem to be barely held together harpoon guns with odd marks scratched deep into their handles. They immediately raise them up at you and your allies. "I DON'T KNOW WHY THAT FREAK DIDN'T DIE BUT THE REST OF YOU! SURRENDER NOW AND WE'LL ONLY KILL HIM!"

[STEADY HANDS] Adam simply pulls out his chef's knife in one smooth motion. "You're not doing anything." His posture is relaxed, calm, focused. Like a light switch flipped in his mind that suppresses any hesitation or fear he would normally be feeling.
[NUMB + BLOODLUST] Ashley and Lex don't bother saying anything. They simply prepare their weapons and stare down at the enemies. Only difference is one looks too eager, the other looks oddly bored.
[MAN AND MACHINE] "TRY." He grabs at the harpoon chunk still imbedded in his chest and rips it out. The only sign of injury is a heavy dent in the middle of his torso. "YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED."

Your allies prepare for a fight...
>+1 VIOLENCE TO YOUR ALLIES DURING THIS FIGHT!

YOUR PARTY VS THE INVADING SHIP HAS BEGUN!
SPECIAL CONDITION: FEAR HAS SET IN (You gain an extra free action to swap equipment, give your allies equipment, or use a consumable on an ally.)

NICOLE:
8d8 WILLPOWER, FLESH 3/6, RESTRAINT 6/9 (ROLLS d8s THANKS TO ARMSLEEVE. WEAPON: BEYOND LOVE AND HATE, DEALS RESTRAINT DAMAGE ONLY.)
LEX:
8d6 VIOLENCE, FLESH 6/6, RESTRAINT 4/4 (MAY SPEND 1 RESTRAINT TO ADD 2d8 TO HIS ATTACK ROLL. WEAPON: SPIKED BRASS KNUCKLES.)
ASHLEY:
6d6 VIOLENCE, FLESH 5/5, RESTRAINT 3/3 (+1 FROM UNSTABLE VIOLENCE BOOST. WEAPON: BASEBALL BAT. USER CAN REROLL TWO VIOLENCE DICE EVERY ATTACK.)
ADAM: 9d6 VIOLENCE, FLESH 5/5 RESTRAINT 3/3 (+1 FROM UNSTABLE VIOLENCE BOOST. WEAPON: CHEF'S KNIFE. PARTIALLY IGNORES ARMOR WHEN ATTACKING, HIS BOON GRANTS A POWERFUL BOOST AS LONG AS HIS RESTRAINT IS MANAGED.)
BENEDICT: 8d6 VIOLENCE, FLESH 6/8, RESTRAINT 5/5 (+1 FROM UNSTABLE VIOLENCE BOOST. WEAPON: ARM BLADE, CAN'T BE CHANGED. INFLICTS CRIPPLING INJURIES AND SEVERE BLEEDING ON HIT. MAY REROLL ALL VIOLENCE, TALENT, OR FLESH DICE AT THE COST OF ONE RESTRAINT)
>>
Rolled 4, 4, 5, 5, 1, 6, 6, 2 = 33 (8d8)

>>5955126
Nicole
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 2, 2, 5, 6, 4, 2 = 31 (8d6)

>>5955126
Lex
>>
PIRATES A-E: 4/4 FLESH, 4/4 RESTRAINT, 5d6 VIOLENCE (+2 from HARPOON GUN. If a pirate rolls more than 4 SUCCESSES, their attack inflicts SEVERE BLEEDING on all non-Benedict allies, rapidly draining FLESH.)
SENIOR PIRATE A: 5/5 FLESH, 5/5 RESTRAINT, 8d8 VIOLENCE (+3 from ???, he's unarmed. If this unit rolls higher than 6 on four or more of their dice, a random party member takes heavy RESTRAINT damage on hit.)
SENIOR PIRATE B: 2/2 FLESH, 2/2 RESTRAINT, 3d6 TALENT (+1 from FLINTLOCK PISTOL. This unit always deal 1 FLESH damage to the unit with the least FLESH.)

What's your first move? They're clearly hesitating so you have time to do one main action and one side action before the fight without spending any resources. You might be able to learn more about them if you say the right things.

>"BENEDICT, SHOW THEM YOUR SPECIAL ABILITY!" (SIDE ACTION, -2 RESTRAINT and +3 FLESH TO BENEDICT. Lowers the DC of any speech or intimidation check by 5.)
>[UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST] Face the violence. Don't bother doing anything. Show them what FEAR means. (SIDE ACTION + MAIN ACTION. All pirates take 2 RESTRAINT damage, panicking SENIOR PIRATE B and reducing removing 1 VIOLENCE from three random normal pirates. +0.5 RAPPORT WITH LEX.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST + ASHLEY ALLY] "This is too organized to be a random pirate assault." Ashley narrows her eyes. You're liable to agree with her. Question them, see what information you can get out of them.. (SIDE ACTION: CHARM DC: 30, rolling 7d6 with the help of ADAM + ASHLEY + LEX. You'll learn some valuable information on who could've sent them on a success and insight into what the captain is doing. Failure and you'll waste valuable time.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Kill yourself. Thanks." Point a finger at one of the harpoon gunners and make him eat his own harpoon gun with PUPPETEER. (MAIN ACTION: -2 RESTRAINT, WILLPOWER DC: 22, rolling 6d6 by yourself. Success and you'll instantly kill a PIRATE, massively tilting the odds in your favor. Failure and you burn your mind out, requiring another WILLPOWER check to not UNSTABLE OUT.)
>[ADAM + BENEDICT ALLY] "You're not killing an anomaly." WIth Adam's assistant, tell them a gnarly tale about your good ol' anomaly friend...THE ART OF FLESH. Not his real name but it works for now. (MAIN ACTION. VIOLENCE DC: 68, rolling 19d6 VIOLENCE as a whole group [with BENEDICT as the one you're assisting]. Succeed and the pirates are liable to surrender here and now, earning massive respect from the crew...but also revealing Benedict's true nature.)
>"GET A CRATE. WE'LL BUY TIME!" (SIDE ACTION, CHOOSE AN ALLY TO REMOVE FROM THE FIGHT THIS TURN. UNLOCKS THE ABILITY TO SINK THEIR FUCKING SHIP WITH A CRATE LATER OR TO USE AS A POWERFUL WEAPON LATER.)
>CHANGE YOUR WEAPON TO SOMETHING MORE...VIOLENT. (SIDE ACTION. SELECT WHAT WEAPON TO EQUIP.)
>WRITE IN (Use a healing consumable as a side action? Try another plan as a main action?)

INVENTORY: https://pastebin.com/n0MH6M17
>>
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>>5955129
>>5955138
Sorry, sorry, no rolling yet. Probably should've clarified that. These dice are just to account for what you have to roll when combat starts. Due to you realizing their plan, you're given a chance to actually do something beforehand.

Also, for the failure state of ADAM + BENEDICT, you'll only motivate them to fight harder, adding 1 to all of their dice rolls.
>>
>>5955139
>CHANGE YOUR WEAPON TO SOMETHING MORE...VIOLENT. (SIDE ACTION. SELECT WHAT WEAPON TO EQUIP.)
Switch to Double Barrel Shotgun, regular
Regular rolls VIOLENCE+TALENT+2
Fedkiller rolls VIOLENCE+WILLPOWER+1
I don't wanna pull out fedkiller against these pirates
>WRITE IN (Use a healing consumable as a side action? Try another plan as a main action?)
Can we fuck with Senior Pirate B's gun with TK? As a main action? I'm willing to eat a -1 RESTRAINT to make him misfire or jam up. Being down to 5/9 RESTRAINT is something I'm ok with, but I'm surprised we have been getting UNSTABLE procs going even with RESTRAINT this high on Nicole. Weird.

I know we can diplo and try to learn a bit... but I don't want to. I want to KILL these 7 fuckers.
Senior Pirate B's "always deal 1 FLESH damage to the unit with the least FLESH" will be Nicole here because she's down to 3 while everybody else is 5 or 6. That hell training course still took its toll and we haven't recovered yet. Maybe we can in the few days of this voyage? Anyway, Senior Pirate B is priority so Nicole doesn't die. That SEVERE BLEEDING on the harpoon guns is dangerous, but "barely held together harpoon guns with odd marks scratched deep into their handles" implies they might be easily dismantled or are only good for one shot loaded. Doubt they're anomalous. Senior Pirate A has tattoos like Lex, so maybe Lex can match him? If allies get to melee where the harpoon guns are just unwieldy bayonets, it'll be like being up close past a spear's stabby end. They won't be able to maneuver well with the stick portion so they're dead meat.

I'm still willing to do UNSTABLE+BLOODLUST, just doing this so we don't have the paper knife that deals white damage against deadly ranged harpoon guns. The pirates have NOT boarded our ship yet either
>>
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>>5955169
>Can we fuck with Senior Pirate B's gun with TK? As a main action?
I say that would be a DC: 19 WILLPOWER check. -1 RESTRAINT. Succeed and you'll add 2d6 to the amount of dice your party rolls via using your telekinesis to fire it at someone while using your normal weapon while making S. Pirate B stuck with rolling a 2d6 VIOLENCE check.
Or you could make a DC 14 WILLPOWER check to just jam it. He loses -1d6 and his special ability.
Failure would just be, well, failing to disarm or jam it.
>we don't have the paper knife that deals white damage against deadly ranged harpoon guns.
I say if you spend 1 RESTRAINT, you can swap weapons via TELEKINESIS as well. So you can do UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST while getting a better weapon. Thank you for reminding me about that.

Now, I shall enter sleep land.
>>
>>5955123
>spread doubt in the hearts of my mind
Very weird way the Captain phrased this. Anybody else catch that? It might tie into this
>"I'll find him. I have to." A trace of doubt lingers in his voice. <"I have to. I have to.">
That's twice the Captain has had "doubt" associated to him. He's hyping himself up for this pursuit? Does he want the Admiral to kill him like he killed the Captain's fellow crewmates? Or does he want to join him?
>that of a land animal, NOT THE S-"
Siren? Not narwhal. Sea something?
>NICOLE DOESN'T HEAL ANY RESTRAINT THIS UPDATE!
We're still above half, no pressure
>five dots
Single-crew subs? They must be fragile or meant for stealth over firepower, maybe?

>>5955124
>she shoves you behind Benedict before pushing Adam and Lex to the side with all of her adrenaline fueled might
Ashley is too cool. Sucks Nicole has to put in work to get over her "stay on the meds because you blew somebody up on my first job with you" issue, but it is what it is. Wonder how she'll take to UNSTABLE in person when Nicole does the meeting thing earlier
>[WEAKENED BENE UNSTABLE]
If that's him weakened, I don't want to see him normal UNSTABLE

>>5955126
Hey wait a sec why doesn't Lex have UNSTABLE VIOLENCE BOOST? He's 6 base, +1 knuckles, +1 party boost = 8. He hasn't attacked yet, but it'll be +1 for 9 when he does
>>
>>5955174
Thank you

>>5955139
Changing vote from >>5955169 to
>spend 1 RESTRAINT, you can swap weapons via TELEKINESIS as well. So you can do UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST while getting a better weapon.
Swap to Double Barrel Shotgun (Normal) so Nicole has
>5 VIOLENCE base
>+1 UNSTABLE VIOLENCE boost
>7 TALENT (does this include the +1 from NEW YOU (Kiara)?)
>+2 of the shotgun
For BIG damage on those scrub pirates, which means KILLS, which means LESS HARPOONS going for our allies. The -1 VIOLENCE to 3 regular pirates means less success chances and less chances for the BLEEDING
>>
>>5955175
I'll be honest I think that's weird wording on my part back when I wrote that description MONTHS ago. It's just +1 VIOLENCE to all of his actions and the only extra VIOLENCE when spooking someone. So it's 6 + 1 (KNUCKLES) + 1 (PARTY BOOST). It would be 9 if you undertook the ADAM + BENEDICT route...

Which should make it a 20d6 given he adds +4d6, not +3d6, like I originally thought, actually. So you were right about me fucking up but in a different way. If you pick the ADAM + BENEDICT one, it would be a 20d6 instead of a 19d6.
>>
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>>5955181
To clarify why, it's because I was factoring in their VIOLENCE stat. Not their attack roll. Adam's knife doesn't actually boost his VIOLENCE, it only makes him ATTACK hard. His VIOLENCE with your UNSTABLE boost, which adds +2 to any skill check he assists it.

Ashley's VIOLENCE is 6, so it's +3. 5 so far. You have 7 VIOLENCE when intimidating people, so another +3. Lex has +4 from his 9d6 when spooking people. Add that to an 8 base of Benedict, that's 20d6.

I should probably make updates when I'm not half asleep so I don't make so many minor but important errors like this. Lesson for future me.
>>
>>5955139
>>[UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST] Face the violence. Don't bother doing anything. Show them what FEAR means. (SIDE ACTION + MAIN ACTION. All pirates take 2 RESTRAINT damage, panicking SENIOR PIRATE B and reducing removing 1 VIOLENCE from three random normal pirates. +0.5 RAPPORT WITH LEX.)
>>
>>5955178
+1
>>
>>5955139
>CHANGE YOUR WEAPON TO SOMETHING MORE...VIOLENT. (SIDE ACTION. SELECT WHAT WEAPON TO EQUIP.)
Switch to Double Barrel Shotgun
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 1, 5, 4, 5, 3, 3, 2, 2, 6, 5, 3, 6, 3, 6, 3, 3, 6, 4, 3, 6, 5 = 87 (23d6)

So, the general ideal is swap to your shotgun, then UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST. Due your RESTRAINT regeneration thanks to Ashley, you stay at 6/9 this turn.

Rolling for the normal pirates + SENIOR PIRATE B. Due to SENIOR PIRATE B panicking, he only adds 1d6.
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 2, 7, 5, 3, 6, 8 = 46 (8d8)

And for SENIOR PIRATE A...
>>
>>5955567
"Due your RESTRAINT regeneration thanks to Ashley, you stay at 6/9 this turn."
>MIND READ ACTIVATED! NICOLE DOESN'T HEAL ANY RESTRAINT THIS UPDATE!
??????????
>>
>>5955569
>If this unit rolls higher than 6 on four or more of their dice, a random party member takes heavy RESTRAINT damage on hit.
SHIT
>>
NORMAL PIRATES + SENIOR PIRATE
1, 1, 2, 2, 2 = NO SUCCESSES
3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4: 8 half successes, or 4 successes
5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6 = 9 regular successes.

TOTAL: 13 SUCCESSES. Three instincts of SEVERE BLEEDING will be applied.

SENIOR PIRATE
2 = NO SUCCESS
3 = 0.5 SUCCESS
7, 7, 7, 8, 8 = 10 SUCCESSES

TOTAL: 10.5 SUCCESSES, AN ALLY WILL TAKE HEAVY RESTRAINT DAMAGE. Rolling 1d5 to see who gets hit.
>1 = NICOLE (Will take 2 RESTRAINT damage.)
>2 = ASHLEY (will take only 1 thanks to NUMB)
>3 = LEX (Will take 2 RESTRAINT damage.)
>4 = ADAM (will take 2 RESTRAINT damage.)
>5 = BENEDICT (Will lose 2 charges out of three on his moonstone)
THRESHOLD TO BEAT: 23.5 SUCCESSES

So, I need three anons to roll the following. You may roll for two characters just to speed things up. 1-2 = NO SUCCESS, 3-4 = half a success, 5-6 = SUCCESS.
We'll see what resources we need to consume, if any, after this.

>15d6 (NICOLE'S DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN)
>8d6 (LEX'S ATTACK)
>6d6 (ASHLEY'S ATTACK)
>9d6 (ADAM'S ATTACK.)
>8d6 (BENEDICT'S ATTACK)

>>5955578
I'm talking about the "Swap to your shotgun with telekinesis" change that will happen next update. So you'll stay at 6/9 next update, assuming Nicole doesn't take the funny RESTRAINT damage
>>
Rolled 5 (1d5)

>>5955586
feh, forget to roll. Here's who takes the damage.
>>
Rolled 4, 6, 2, 5, 2, 2, 6, 3, 4, 1, 1, 3, 3, 1, 2 = 45 (15d6)

>>5955586
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 3, 4, 3, 6, 6, 1 = 31 (8d6)

>>5955591
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

>>5955586
BENEDICT!!!!
>>
Rolled 5, 6, 5, 3, 5, 4 = 28 (6d6)

>>5955586
>>
Rolled 6, 5, 1, 4, 5, 4, 1, 6 = 32 (8d6)

>>5955586
LEX COME ON YOU CAN DO IT
>>
>>5955588
Holy shit am I glad we gave that Moonstone to him. I thought we'd need it for his random RESTRAINT damage
>[FRACTURED MIND] His mind is falling apart by the second. He will have a hard time communicating with others and he has little memory or knowledge about his life before his transformation. It's also likely he'll randomly take RESTRAINT damage at any given time. Best to keep an eye on his mental state.
But instead we're scoring immediate value right here against this big pirate guy
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1 = 18 (9d6)

>>5955586
>>
>>5955611
My worst ever roll lol
>>
Rolled 4, 6, 5, 1, 6, 1, 5, 4, 1 = 33 (9d6)

>>5955586
Just caught up, whew moonstone was a great gift to Benedict. Also pirates have hands I see. Alright hopefully Adam rolls well.
>>
>>5955611
Lmao this is impressively bad bro. Pretty sure this is very statistically unlikely haha.
>>
>>5955611
1.5

>>5955618
5
>>
NICOLE: 5.5
BENEDICT: 3.5 successes. Total so far, 9.
ASHLEY: 5 successes. 14 so far.
LEX: 5 successes. 19 so far.
ADAM: 1.5 successes. 20.5 so far.

You're on the edge of victory. Pick one.
>[UNSTABLE] KILL KILL KILL! SNORT SOME WHITE POWDER, USE OUR IMPLANT, USE THE NECKLACE. WE BALL. (Reroll Nicole's attack, rolling 19d6+2d8 this time. -1 WHITE POWDER and ADRENALINE IMPLANT CHARGE)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "BENEDICT! YOUR FRIEND IS IN DANGER!!!" Appeal to the anomaly's connection to Adam. (BENEDICT will take 1d6+1 FLESH damage, possibly putting him in the CRITICAL STATE, but Adam will take 5W+'s roll instead of gCz's, resulting in you getting enough successes to win.)
>>
>>5955633
Hey don't we have rerolls for allies?
>>
>>5955633
Benedict is 4.5 successes >>5955594
>>
>>5955635
Mmh. Ashley only lets her reroll two dice, so you're statistically more likely to lose a success since your best choice is to reroll her 3 and 4.
Here's your third option.

>"FULL POWER!" Tell your allies to use their abilities. (-1 RESTRAINT from LEX, MOONSTONE shatters for Benedict, -1 CHARGE on BRICK SHITHOUSE for Lex. You roll 2d8 extra with Lex and Benedict gets a full reroll, Ashley may reroll her 3 and 4 to see if she gets a better result and Lex may reroll every 1, 2, and 3 he has rolled.)
>Write in

>>5955637
Ah, misread that. So the total would be 21.5. Thank you for correcting me.
>>
>>5955641
The crack makes Nicole take -1 FLESH damage. Can we do the adrenaline implant instead and see if the additional 2d8 can be enough? Or is it no-go and we have to pick a more drastic option here with the failure?
>>
>>5955647
Sure, if people agree to vote for that. You may pick that as an option.

Apologies if this is a bit hectic, anyone who might be reading that.
>>
>>5955651
Nah it's fine. This is some serious ultraviolence on the high seas. It's gonna get hectic and it's gonna get real.

>>5955641
>>5955633
>[UNSTABLE] KILL KILL KILL! SNORT SOME WHITE POWDER, USE OUR IMPLANT, USE THE NECKLACE. WE BALL. (Reroll Nicole's attack, rolling 19d6+2d8 this time. -1 WHITE POWDER and ADRENALINE IMPLANT CHARGE)
On second though I'm paranoid the ADRENALINE IMPLANT 2d8 will still roll double 1s on us. Fuck that. I want the full reroll. We will regen the implant charge normally and we can always score more coke later
>>
>>5955654
I’ll support this.

Our consumables do exist to be used. We should do another mission with Benjamin soon to stock up on drugs too.
We aren’t quite running low just yet but it’s a possibility.

Thought about depending on Benedict and Adam but the 1d6+1 scares me
>>
Just to speed things up so combat doesn't take forever, I'm calling it here.
One Anon, roll 19d6. Another one, roll 2d8.
>>
Rolled 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 2, 6, 3, 5, 3, 1, 3, 4, 5, 3, 1, 3, 4 = 64 (19d6)

>>5955862
>>
Rolled 2, 7 = 9 (2d8)

>>5955862
>>
1, 1, 2, 2, 2 = NO SUCCESSES
3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 = 4.5 SUCCESSES
5 5 5 5 6 = 5 SUCCESSES

2 = NO SUCCESSES
7 = 2 SUCCESSES

Total Success from Nicole: 11.5.
Total Party Success: 27.5 vs 23.5
RESULT: MODERATE SUCCESS.
RESOURCES CONSUMED: HARVESTER NECKLACE USED UP ITS ONE "REROLL ALL DICE" CHARGE THIS MISSION, -1 ADRENALINE CHARGE, -1 WHITE POWDER, -1 FLESH
WRITING.
>>
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Okay. They're planning on boarding your ship. That's obvious. Their ship is close enough for either of your groups to jump onto the other ship with ease. Only thing stopping a fight from happening is both sides trying to see what the other side does. For a split moment, you want to question them. Know why they're following you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF631szQ0Tg - VIOLENCE

But you don't care. All you do is look at Lex with a demented smirk. He returns a similar smirk. Before anyone else knows what to do, the two of you build up a running start and leap RIGHT onto the enemy ship. With some quick telekinesis, you violently stuff the WHITE POWDER into your nose and swap to your regular shotgun before you even land on the enemy ship.

[BLOODLUST + UNSTABLE] "LET'S FUCKING KILL THEM!" You and Lex say the only thing that needs to be said at this point. A perfect duo of bloodlust and violence. For one moment, the two of you are the same. Brother and sister, united in mutual bloodthrist.
>LEX RAPPORT: 5/7!
>NICOLE FLESH: 2/6!

Your heart HURTS as the powder courses through your system. You push past the pain by activating your ADRENALINE IMPLANT and in a single twitchy yet near perfect motion, you immediately fire two slugs at the torso of a nearby pirate. A plum of smoke erupts out of the barrel of your shotgun. Blood and gore erupts from the two fisted sizes holes in the area his heart was once at, splattering all over your clothes.

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] DELICIOUS. SOME EVEN GOT ONTO YOUR FACE. LET'S KEEP GOING NICOLE. WE'RE GOING TO SURVIVE. WE'LL LIVE FOREVER!
>-1 CHARGE on ADRENALINE IMPLANT, ONE LEFT. -2 SHOTGUN SLUGS.

He dies. Immediately. On the fucking spot. All he managed to do is fire his harpoon off, but your combat bodysuit managed to block his shoddy shot. The sheer shock and awe stops the other pirates from making a move at first. Their horrified expressions say all.
>-2 RESTRAINT TO EVERY PIRATE!

Your other allies take this moment of shock and awe to board the ship as well. Sadly, you're not the only one known for shock and awe. The moment your allies board the ship, the four surviving harpoon pirates aim and fire at your allies. The Senior Pirate with the flintlock? He's cowering on the floor, fucking petrified by what you did. He's no threat to you.

[DEEP INTUITION] Ashley saw it coming and managed to dodge mostly in the nick of time. The harpoon aimed at her only manages to leave a nasty scratch across her forearm.
Benedict simply takes it like a man. The harpoon sinks into his chest again but he hardly waits for the pirate to realize what's going on before charging in.
Lex and Adam? They don't manage to dodge. Adam gets hit HARD, the harpoon embedding deep into his arm. Lex gets one to the leg but, due to him being a brick shithouse, he carries on through the pain.

>-1 FLESH TO ASHLEY + BENEDICT, -2 FLESH TO LEX + ADAM
>+SEVERE BLEEDING TO LEX AND ADAM, +MINOR BLEEDING TO ASHLEY
>>
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>ASHLEY WILL LOSE 1 FLESH AT THE END OF COMBAT.
>LEX AND ADAM WILL LOSE 1 FLESH AT THE START OF EVERY TURN UNLESS TREATED.

[WEAKENED BENEDICT UNSTABLE] "MORIRE!" With one swift swing of his blade arm, he slices the arm of the pirate who hit Adam's arm clean off. It was shockingly easy for him to cut it off, with the same ease as cutting a carrot to pieces.

However, he left himself wide open, letting a wide haymaker from the tattooed pirate hit him RIGHT in the jaw. Wild sparks of purple and yellow energy flicker between his fist and Benedict's jaw. The sheer force of the punch sends Benedict stumbling back, nearly sending him overboard.

>-2 CHARGES OF MOONSTONE! 1 LEFT!
>FLESH DAMAGE NEGATED

"FUCK YOU!" Adam, despite having a harpoon stuck in his arm, tries his best to avenge his friend. He grabs onto the chain connecting the harpoon in his arm to the pirate's gun and yanks on it. While it clearly hurts like hell, he uses this to deliver a nasty but superficial slash across the pirate's chest.

"GH!" PIRATE C hisses out in pain from the impact but manages to stay standing.

While Ashley and Benedict distract PIRATE B and D, and while A is busy freaking out over his missing arm, all that's left is Lex and the tattooed pirate. The two stare each other down before they, at the same time, rush at each other with bared teeth.

https://youtu.be/mwbpWoq8cdU?si=K06E6SnhSzodgKtV - BLOODLUST

Their exchange is quick and brutal. You wouldn't say it lasted longer than five seconds but holy shit, it stopped everything else going on dead in its tracks. Neither of them are able to land a solid hit on each other. With every punch throw, the other blocks it with their own punch. Their tattoos light up brighter than neon signs, Lex's taking on a bright yellow hue while the tattooed pirates take on a navy blue and purple hue.

In the chaos, you spot the pirate with the flintlock running for his life. You doubt he'll be part of the battle anymore.

The stalemate of violence is interrupted by Lex landing a slug across SENIOR PIRATE A'S face, sending him stumbling back a foot or two away from him. Sparkles of bright yellow energy linger from the impact site alongside a minor but nasty looking bruise. SENIOR PIRATE A spits out a bloody tooth. "This will be FUN. CREW, ACTIVATE YOUR TATTOOS!"

Ashley, for her part, manages to bonk PIRATE B in the head, knocking his ass clean out before he does anything. PIRATE A, C, and D's scarred chests begin to light up a neon's blue as their eyes begin to glaze over. Pirate A's arm suddenly stops bleeding, leaving behind an armless stump behind.

Adam takes this moment of distraction to rip out the harpoon stuck in his arm, freeing him from it. A torrent of red blood splatters onto the floor from this rather foolish action. "THE FUCK ARE THEY DOING?"

The PIRATES grip tightly into their spent harpoon guns before surrounding the SENIOR PIRATE, ready to charge at his command.
>>
PIRATE A: 1/4 FLESH, 1/4 RESTRAINT, 4d6 VIOLENCE (-5 from MISSING ARM and LOW RESTRAINT, +4 from ACTIVATED SCARS and HARPOON GUN (EMPTY). DOES NOT INFLICT SEVERE BLEEDING ANYMORE. REROLLS UP TO TWO DICE HE ROLLS.)
PIRATE C + D: 2/4 FLESH, 2/4 RESTRAINT, 5d6 VIOLENCE (-2 from INJURED STATE and LOW RESTRAINT, +4 from ACTIVATED SCARS AND HARPOON GUN (EMPTY). DOES NOT INFLCIT SEVERE BLEEDING ANYMORE. THEY MAY REROLL TWO DICE THEY ROLL.)
SENIOR PIRATE: 4/5 FLESH, 2/5 RESTRAINT, 14d8 VIOLENCE (+10 from ADVANCED TATTOO POWER UP, -1 from LOW RESTRAINT. MAY REROLL UP TO FOUR DICE HE ROLLS.)

NICOLE: 19d6+1d4 VIOLENCE, 2/6 FLESH, 6/9 RESTRAINT. 7 SLUGS LEFT. VIOLENCE HAS ESCLATED, X-CORP MEDAL ACTIVATED.
LEX: 6d6 VIOLENCE (-2 from HALF FLESH, +2 FROM UNSTABLE AND KNUCKLES), 3/6 FLESH, 4/4 RESTRAINT. HAS SEVERE BLEEDING.
ADAM: 7d6 VIOLENCE (-2 from HALF FLESH, +1 from UNSTABLE), 2/5 FLESH, 3/3 RESTARINT. HAS SEVERE BLEEDING.
BENEDICT: 8d6 VIOLENCE (+1 from UNSTABLE BOOST), 5/8 FLESH, 5/5 RESTRAINT.
ASHLEY: 6d6 VIOLENCE, 4/5 FLESH, 4/4 RESTRAINT. WILL LOSE 1 FLESH AT THE END OF COMBAT.

What do you do from here, Nicole, before you fight? You may choose one MAIN ACTION, one SIDE ACTION, and give one ally a consumable for free.

MAIN + SIDE ACTION
>[UNSTABLE + BLOODLUST] FOUR VERSUS FIVE. THEY'RE CLEARLY DESPERATE. KILL THEM. (Skips to COMBAT PHASE. You and Lex gain +2d8 VIOLENCE on your attacks.)

MAIN ACTIONS:
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Fucking RUN BACK TO YOUR SHIP! THROW SOME EXPLOSIVES TO KNOCK A HOLE IN THEIR SHIP! (-2 PIPE BOMBS. TALENT DC: 33, rolling 9d6 by yourself. Pass and you'll blow a big enough hole to sink their ship and stop them from bordering your ship in time. Failure will only result in you slowing them down, removing 1 VIOLENCE and one reroll from PIRATE A, C, and D before COMBAT)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" Try to keep the SENIOR PIRATE from approaching your group. He's the main threat. PUPPETEER him. (-1 RESTRAINT, you heal back the other normally lost via ASHLEY'S SONG. WILLPOWER DC: 23, rolling 6d6. Succeed and you'll slow down him down enough to make him lose 4d8 on his attack and 3 of his rerolls. Failure and you just lose 2 RESTRAINT with no benefit.)

SIDE ACTIONS:
>"BENEDICT! PATCH ADAM UP! QUICK!" Tell Benedict to try doing anything to patch Adam up. (SIDE ACTION, -MOONSTONE. THANKS TO ASHLEY'S SONG, THAT'S ALL HE SPENDS. +1 FLESH TO ADAM and negates his SEVERE BLEEDING damage next turn.)
>THROW AN ALLY SOMETHING WITH YOUR TELEKINESIS. (SIDE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT (or 0 if you didn't use ANOMALOUS ABILITIES). Write in what to give your ally alongside your free action consumable.)

FREE ACTIONS:
>USE A CONSUMABLE! (FREE ACTION. Choose which ally to give a consumable to. You have enough time to give the selected ally a GAUZE ROLL to suppress their bleeding, UVX to regenerate their flesh, or a BROWN VIAL to boost their dice to d8s. You may also use a consumable on yourself with this action instead.)

>Write in.
>>
>>5956040
>>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" Try to keep the SENIOR PIRATE from approaching your group. He's the main threat. PUPPETEER him. (-1 RESTRAINT, you heal back the other normally lost via ASHLEY'S SONG. WILLPOWER DC: 23, rolling 6d6. Succeed and you'll slow down him down enough to make him lose 4d8 on his attack and 3 of his rerolls. Failure and you just lose 2 RESTRAINT with no benefit.)
>"BENEDICT! PATCH ADAM UP! QUICK!" Tell Benedict to try doing anything to patch Adam up. (SIDE ACTION, -MOONSTONE. THANKS TO ASHLEY'S SONG, THAT'S ALL HE SPENDS. +1 FLESH TO ADAM and negates his SEVERE BLEEDING damage next turn.)
>>
>>5956044
if we land a solid hit with the paper knife, Senior Pirate A might go insane. He's at 2/5 RESTRAINT. He's clearly more physical than mental, so we should exploit that, no? I'm seriously worried about Adam with his 2/5 FLESH and that severe bleeding on him. Lex can handle one more turn, I hope, but if he takes -2 FLESH damage then the bleeding will kill him. Either way we better get some serious loot and cred with the crew and Captain for this serious fight. There's a lot of patching up to do once we make it
>>
>>5956044
We have a FREE ACTION to consumable too. Maybe a GAUZE ROLL to Lex or Ashley?
>>
>>5956040
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" Try to keep the SENIOR PIRATE from approaching your group. He's the main threat. PUPPETEER him. (-1 RESTRAINT, you heal back the other normally lost via ASHLEY'S SONG. WILLPOWER DC: 23, rolling 6d6. Succeed and you'll slow down him down enough to make him lose 4d8 on his attack and 3 of his rerolls. Failure and you just lose 2 RESTRAINT with no benefit.)
>"BENEDICT! PATCH ADAM UP! QUICK!" Tell Benedict to try doing anything to patch Adam up. (SIDE ACTION, -MOONSTONE. THANKS TO ASHLEY'S SONG, THAT'S ALL HE SPENDS. +1 FLESH TO ADAM and negates his SEVERE BLEEDING damage next turn.)

>USE A CONSUMABLE! (FREE ACTION. Choose which ally to give a consumable to. You have enough time to give the selected ally a GAUZE ROLL to suppress their bleeding, UVX to regenerate their flesh, or a BROWN VIAL to boost their dice to d8s. You may also use a consumable on yourself with this action instead.)
Give Ashley and Lex the GAUZE ROLL
Use GAUZE ROLL on our self
>>
>>5956058
+1
>>
>>5956040
>Use TK to throw the senior pirate overboard
He can't be that much heavier than a crate.
>"BENEDICT! PATCH ADAM UP! QUICK!" Tell Benedict to try doing anything to patch Adam up. (SIDE ACTION, -MOONSTONE. THANKS TO ASHLEY'S SONG, THAT'S ALL HE SPENDS. +1 FLESH TO ADAM and negates his SEVERE BLEEDING damage next turn.)
>THROW AN ALLY SOMETHING WITH YOUR TELEKINESIS. (SIDE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT (or 0 if you didn't use ANOMALOUS ABILITIES). Write in what to give your ally alongside your free action consumable.)
>Give Ashley and Lex the GAUZE ROLL
>Use GAUZE ROLL on our self
>>
>>5956058
+1

Also nice update, brutal and bloody. A little bit of patching up and puppeteering should see us through.
>>
>>5956040
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Fucking RUN BACK TO YOUR SHIP! THROW SOME EXPLOSIVES TO KNOCK A HOLE IN THEIR SHIP! (-2 PIPE BOMBS. TALENT DC: 33, rolling 9d6 by yourself. Pass and you'll blow a big enough hole to sink their ship and stop them from bordering your ship in time. Failure will only result in you slowing them down, removing 1 VIOLENCE and one reroll from PIRATE A, C, and D before COMBAT)
>>
>>5956058
+1
>>
So, using ANOMALOUS ABILITIES, telling Benedict to heal Adam, and using three gauze rolls seems to be winning here.

To start, one Anon roll 6d6. You may reroll two dice thanks to your talisman.
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, 1 = 11 (6d6)

>>5956551
Not like this...
>>
>>5956553
Please disregard this roll, it was rigged
>>
>>5956555
Reroll two of those dice, m8. Even if you can't win, this will alter the follow up vote.
>>
>>5956553
Yeah not like that......
>>
Rolled 3, 2 = 5 (2d6)

>>5956553
Am I allowed to reroll? Well here goes!
>>
Welp. We had some truly terrible rolls recently haha…
>>
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>14
>UNSTABLE TRIGGERED!

[UNSTABLE] THIS IS FUCKING RIGGED. THE MAN PUPPETEERING US AND THE MEDIUM HE USES TO CONTACT US IS AN ASSHOLE

Your head begins to throb. What the FUCK is she on about this time-

[UNSTABLE] FUCK YOU. HERE'S YOUR VOTES. WE'RE SUCEEDING THIS CHECK. BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE PLEASANT. CHOOSE ONE PRICE TO PAY.

>-1 FLESH. KEEPING YOU AT 2/6 FLESH.
>-2 RESTRAINT (WOULD'VE BEEN THREE WITHOUT ASHLEY'S SONG, WHICH EXPIRES NEXT TURN), LEAVING YOU AT 4/9 NEXT TURN.
>YOUR ALLIES PAY THE PRICE. ALL ALLIES LOSE 1 RESTRAINT.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Don't listen to her. Accept the pain. (You'll get a unique reward after combat if you accept this, at the cost of failing this check.)

W-why not use a cons-

[UNSTABLE] NOT ENOUGH TIME. WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF COMBAT AND USING TELEKINESIS TO STUFF DRUGS INTO YOUR FACE WOULD SPEND JUST AS MUCH RESTRAINT.
[UNSTABLE] TAKE MY OFFER OR LEAVE IT.
>>
>>5956588
>-2 RESTRAINT (WOULD'VE BEEN THREE WITHOUT ASHLEY'S SONG, WHICH EXPIRES NEXT TURN), LEAVING YOU AT 4/9 NEXT TURN.
>>
>>5956588
>-2 RESTRAINT (WOULD'VE BEEN THREE WITHOUT ASHLEY'S SONG, WHICH EXPIRES NEXT TURN), LEAVING YOU AT 4/9 NEXT TURN.
While I love unique rewards I’m worried about winning here.
>>
Rolled 8, 8, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 1, 1, 3, 8 = 57 (11d8)

Three hours is long enough. Going with RESTRAINT. Now, time to roll somce dice. First off, SENIOR PIRATE A. Rolling 11d8, removing the lowest dice he rolled.
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 1, 5, 6, 3, 3, 5, 6, 2, 6, 1, 2, 6 = 54 (14d6)

10.5 Successes on him. Now, rolling for PIRATE A, C, D.
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 3, 3 = 13 (4d6)

Rerolling the 1s and two of the 2s on the normal pirates.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d4)

1, 2 = NO SUCCESS
3, 3, 3, 3 = 2 SUCCESSES
5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6 = 4 SUCCESSES

SO, the amount of successes you have to beat is 16.5 successes

Now, I need anons to roll the following. You may roll for two characters to speed things up. Rolling Nicole's 1d4 so you don't have to worry about that.

>19d6 (NICOLE)
>6d6 (LEX, may reroll all 1, 2, and 3s he rolls)
>7d6 (ADAM)
>6d6 (ASHLEY, may reroll any two dice she rolls)
>8d6 (BENEDICT)
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 5, 1, 6, 4, 6, 4, 4, 5, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 3, 4, 5, 1 = 72 (19d6)

>>5956721
>>
Wait, whoops, made a fuck up. Forget for a split second about 7s and 8s counting for two successes. He got 12.5, not 10.5.
You have to beat 18.5.

>>5956722
1, 1, 1, 2 = NO SUCCESSES
3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4 = 4 SUCCESSES
5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6 = 7 SUCCESSES.

Jesus. The power of cocaine and violence. 11 out of 18.5 to go.
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 6, 6, 5, 2 = 26 (6d6)

>>5956721
>>
Rolled 4, 5, 6, 2, 4, 6, 3 = 30 (7d6)

>>5956721
>>
Rolled 3, 3, 4, 2, 3, 1 = 16 (6d6)

>>5956721
>>
>>5956588
>-2 RESTRAINT (WOULD'VE BEEN THREE WITHOUT ASHLEY'S SONG, WHICH EXPIRES NEXT TURN), LEAVING YOU AT 4/9 NEXT TURN.
Whoops I am late from being busy

>>5956558
>>5956563
>>5956578
UNSTABLE is right that was straight up rigged

>>5956727
Did we make it, boss?
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 4, 3, 5, 4, 1, 2 = 25 (8d6)

>>5956721
I will cast the final die to atone for my failure
>>
NICOLE: 11 SUCCESSES
LEX: 4 SUCCESSES
ADAM: 4.5 SUCCESSES
ASHLEY: 2 SUCCESSES
BENEDICT: 3 SUCCESSES

TOTAL: 24.5 SUCCESSES VS 18.5 SUCCESSES
RESULT: 6 MORE SUCCESSES, OTNUMBERS THEM, SO GREAT SUCCESS. WRITING.
THE VIOLENCE HAS ESCLATED.
>>
>>5956841
OK
>>
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Every single second counts. You raise your left hand towards the Senior Pirate and immediately activate PUPPETEER. Five purple, translucent strings launch from the fingers of your hand and latch onto his legs and arms. The only person who seemingly notices them is Benedict, who slowly glances over at you. <"...other...one...like?">

The Senior Pirate tries to move through the PUPPETEER and-

He does so. Easily. Panic rushes through your battered and bruised body. He's barely being slowed down by it. Your allies are glancing at you, wondering what the FUCK you're doing. You try to focus. The strings are barely holding onto him. Shit, shit, shit. The other pirates are approaching as well, harpoon gun bayonets ready to tear your allies to shreds.

Your heart is already going a mile a minute. You got twenty seconds before you and your allies are dead. The WHITE POWDER and adrenaline overdose you're experiencing is about to make your system collapse. You still need to reload your shotgun. You still need to give them supplies. YOU'RE WASTING TIME! THINK! THINK, THINK-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe3h62MrlPE - NICOLE BREACH

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] NO ONE
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] UNDER OUR
[PERSON OF INTEREST] PROTECTION
[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] IS DYING TODAY!

>-3 RESTRAINT! 1 HEALED BY ASHLEY'S SONG! 4/9 RESTRAINT LEFT!

It's all instinct at this point. An intense buzz of energy rushes through your antlers, almost like they're being set ablaze. Every inch of your head and body HURTS. Every fiber of your nervous system, every inch of skin from head to toe, every muscle. You grind your teeth until blood begins to ooze out of your gums.

"YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" Dozens on dozens of translucent strings launch out of your palm to embed deep into the skin of the Senior Pirate. While he can't see or feel the strings, nor can your allies aside from Benedict, what CAN be seen is that the Senior Pirate stops dead in his tracks.

"W-what?" His legs refuse to budge more than a inch. A six inch thick layer of string has pinned both of his feet to the floor. "Why can't I move? WHAT THE FUCK?" His eyes immediately latch onto you. Only being able to move his finger, he points right at you. "CREW! KILL THAT WHORE! SHE'S THE ONE DOING THIS TO ME!"

"AIE AIE!"
"PUT HER HEAD ON THE WALL!"
"RIP HER TO PIECES!" The three remaining pirates immediately charge in your direction.

Shit. You haven't reloaded. You quickly do so, trying your best to do so. In your rush, a slug tumbles to the ground. Fuck, fuck-

"GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER!"
"PROTECT THE BOSS!"
"F-F-FERMATELI!"
"You owe us, Nicole."

Your allies immediately rush over to your aid, surrounding you so you can keep the Senior Pirate immobilized. Lex grabs the armless pirate by the throat and with one swift motion, he cracks it like a god damn stick before throwing them to the side. A primal part of you revels in the bloodlust being done in your name-

Focus. Reload. Focus.
>>
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A bayonet nearly gets through the wall of bodies surrounding you but you barely duck in time, only getting a small scratch to your antler.

"HARVEST." Benedict returns the favor by thrusting his blade arm in the direction of the pirate who tried attacking you. His blade arm got deflected. However, that was just what Adam wanted. With a quick thrust, he jabs his chef's knife into the pirate's throat. It slices through the flesh and fat of his neck like nothing. The pirate drops to the ground, probably bleeding out in the next minute.

The final pirate and Ashley are in a deadlock of parries and deflects. The pirate manages to leave a nasty wound across Ashley's forearm, coating his bayonet in fresh blood.
>-1 FLESH TO ASHLEY!

She returns the favor by smashing him in the leg with her baseball bat, sending him to the floor. Your three other allies quickly surround him and, well, the sounds of crunching bones and blood leaking onto the deck of the enemy ship tells you all you need to know.

Your allies stare down at the Senior Pirate, still immobile thanks to your PUPPETEER ability. His face looks more like a demon's than a man's now. Pure, utter malice radiates from the piercing glare he's giving your party. "YOU. WON'T. GET. AWAY. WITH. THAT." Suddenly, the strings start to bend and break little by little. Fuck. You got a minute at most.

You quickly toss two gauze rolls over to Lex and Ashley before yelling at Benedict. "PATCH UP ADAM! AT ANY COST! DO IT NOW!"

Lex and Ashley promptly use the gauze rolls you gave them to patch up the nasty bleeding they have. It's a super rush patch job but they'll be fine. You also take this moment to patch yourself up.

>LEX loses SEVERE BLEEDING!
>ASHLEY loses MINOR BLEEDING and heals 1 FLESH! 4/5 LEFT!
>YOU regain 1 FLESH! 3/6 LEFT!

For Benedict's part, he places his non-blade hand onto the chunk of Adam's arm still oozing a river of blood. With a painful grimace and a suppressed, pained grunt, Benedict's hand begins to glow and all of a sudden?

Adam's arm forcefully patches itself together. It's like his body forcefully stapled the wound shut with sheer, brutal force, pulling the flesh taut. It's not going to heal his SEVERE BLEEDING but it'll stop it for just long enough for actual treatment to be delivered.

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Pretty useful emergency healing, though. Especially when you don't have time to use a medkit or trauma kit. You wish you had something like that.

>ADAM heals 1 FLESH and NEGATES SEVERE BLEEDING for a turn! 3/5 FLESH LEFT!
>-MOONSTONE FROM BENEDICT

"How long, hff." Ashley tries her best to catch her breath. "Before whatever fucked up psychic shit you did stops working on him?"

"Twenty seconds. Prepare yourselves." You mutter as you're finally able to reload your shotgun. The Senior Pirate has already broken his arms free, now he's starting to free his legs.

Lex finishes wrapping his leg up with the gauze. "Good. Let's finish him, Nicky."
>>
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Adam and Benedict share one look with each other before holding up their respective blades. One knife, one arm blade. "Ai Mali Estremi, Estremi Rimedi." They mutter in unison.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] From District 6. It means "For Extreme Evils, Extreme Remedies".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QVDcKSsfB0 - FINAL BATTLE

No time to think any further. The Senior Pirate finally breaks out of his restraints. Luckily for you, his movements are slowed by the strings still stuck to his body. Bad news, he's charging RIGHT AT YOU. You barely have time to aim your gun before he's about to obliterate your jaw.

You duck out of the way, barely dodging a wild haymaker that would've shattered your skull. He takes this chance to smash you RIGHT in the gut. You raise your mechanical arm sleeve to block it but it hardly slows the punch down. You hear the arm sleeve CRACK from the impact.

Blood and vomit pour out of your mouth as you're sent stumbling back a solid three feet from the impact.
>-1 FLESH and RESTRAINT! 2/6 FLESH REMAINING! 3/9 RESTRAINT LEFT!

He quickly swings another punch over to Ashley, who tried to charge in with her baseball bat to defend you. She smashes her bat hard into his forearm before his swing sends her flying back as well. A nasty bruise is left on impact but it hardly seems to slow him down.
>-1 FLESH TO ASHLEY! RESTRAINT DAMAGE NEGATED! 3/5 FLESH LEFT!

Benedict and Adam try their best to surround him, Benedict taking the left flank and Adam with the right. The rage-fueled pirate immediately notices Benedict and manages to deflect the armblade that would've torn his gut apart...but not Adam. Adam manages to deliver a solid blow by stabbing DEEP into the thigh of the pirate. The pain is enough to distract the pirate long enough to let Benedict reposition himself.

He had to stumble away from the punch thrown his way, leaving the knife stuck in the enemy's thigh.

Lex notices this and charges in to shoulder bash the pirate. Whatever fucked up power he got from his tattoos leaves him standing perfectly upright after that...but stunned him for long enough for you to raise your shotgun up. Your hands shake from the pain and exhaustion your whole body is feeling...

BANG!
>-2 SLUGS. 5 LEFT.

But your aim was perfect. Two fist sized holes erupt across his stomach. Even with the power boost the pirate got, the sheer PAIN of your shotgun's blast sends him to his knees. With one last effort, he forces himself to his knees and begins to charge at you, ready to kill you on the spot.

Yet the only thing anyone hears is a wet, fleshy sound. Looking up, you see a tip of something sharp poking through the pirate's already fucked up stomach. Benedict is standing right behind him with his other hand clenched tightly over his shoulder.

"H-HA-HARVEST!" Benedict quickly slides his blade all throughout the pirate's stomach, pulverizing his insides like a meat grinder.
>>
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The wet, moist squelching of meat being tenderized and the agonized screams of the pirate is the only sound anyone is able to hear. At least a litre of blood pours onto the ground. The pirate is just barely able to shove Benedict away from him by throwing his bodyweight backwards.

While Benedict is no longer tearing his stomach to shreds, he's now on the ground. Barely alive. Probably bleeds out in a minute, tops.

Your party isn't taking that risk. Adam quickly yanks the blade out of the pirate's leg before driving it DEEP into his torso. Before he can even try to fight back, Lex and Ashley step in and kick him in the head as hard as he can. A single snap tells you all you need to know.

You fall to your knees.

>YOU WIN!

LOOT OBTAINED FROM PIRATES:
>HARPOON GUN x4 (ATTACK ROLL: VIOLENCE+2, HAS ONE SHOT BEFORE RELOADING BUT HAS INFINITE AMMO. INFLICTS SEVERE BLEEDING AND DEALS EXTRA FLESH DAMAGE TO SEA-BASED ENEMIES.)
>NAVY BLUE INJECTOR x3 (Seems to be what fuels their tattoos. Lex might have some use for this. When used on Lex, he rolls d8s instead of d6s on his next melee attack and heals him for 2 RESTRAINT.)
>$750
>FLINTLOCK PISTOL and 5 LEAD SHOTS (Left behind by the Senior Pirate B. ATTACK ROLL: TALENT+1. Can be used at the same time as a light melee weapon, combining their attack rolls.)
>FANCY PIRATE HAT. (Left behind by SENIOR PIRATE B. Has no practical uses but can be sold for $500. One of your ally may like it?)

You immediately fall to the floor. Your heart has finally given out on you and, frankly, your body is EXHAUSTED after everything. Before you lose consciousness, you feel someone picking you up as you hear someone proudly barking someone at your group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXDeXqTQHtg - CREW BUNKS

When you wake up, you realize four things immediately.

One, your outfit has changed. You're now in an oversized white t-shirt and some pajama pants that reek of bleach. Your combat suit and armsleeve.are missing.
Two, you're on a cot. It's a very uncomfortable cot that feels more like you're laying on a hayroll if anything else. The pillow is thinner than the socks you normally wear.
Three, you feel something tight around your chest, side, and legs. Lifting up your shirt, you see that someone has patched you up with a bunch of gauze. Seems like some was used to make a makeshift bra for you as well.
Four-

"Hey."

You turn your head to see who's talking to you. It's Lex. At least, you think it's him? You can't really see much around you thanks to the only light down here being a few crude oil lamps. The faint yellow glow of the tattoos all over this person's body tells you it's probably him.

"Yeah?" You mutter. "What happened to my clothes? Where am I?"

"We had to remove them. Too soaked in blood. Ship doc said you could've gotten a nasty infection if they stayed on. They got destroyed in the process. I carried you here after he patched you up. This is where we're supposed to sleep."
>>
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"Huh. Well, good thing I have more back at home, I guess. What time is it? We left around...I felt like it was still morning."

Lex taps his foot while humming to himself. "If I had to guess? 9 PM. Not a lot of accurate clocks here, though. It's dark out."

"Well. What happened after I passed out?"

"Everyone was dragged back to the ship. They decided to keep the enemy ship around, supposedly in case of any intel. I think the captain just wanted a trophy." Lex pauses for a moment. "Benedict sliced off that big buff guy's head."

Huh. You're not going to question that. "Where are the others?"

"They're around here. Busy trying to calm down after everything. Adam's still recovering, Benedict and Ashley are probably doing their own things to distract themselves, and I've been waiting for you."

"Fair, I guess. Did the captain say anything after we won?"

"Yeah. He gave us these." He holds out a hunk of metal- No, wait, that's not any metal. That's pure, real gold. A doubloon. "Said he wanted to wait until you got up before he gave us specialized rewards. Crew sang our praises. Buncha hollow talk but it was nice to hear."

"Well. You got some time to dick around." Lex stretches his knuckles. "Before going back to bed. I think we still got two days left on here."

>TOTAL GAUZE LEFT: 0. SEEMS LIKE THEY USED IT TO PATCH YOU UP.
>WHITE POWDER status has expired. ASHLEY'S SONG has expired from your party. BENEDICT is now unmedicated.
>Your party has been healed for 1 (2 FLESH for BENEDICT) FLESH and RESTRAINT. You've regained 1 RESTRAINT through rest.
>The CREW and CAPTAIN respect you a LOT more now. You'll get to choose a reward for each of your party members later.

>PARTY HP
NICOLE: 4/4 FLESH, 4/9 RESTRAINT
LEX: 4/6 FLESH, 4/4 RESTRAINT
ADAM: 4/5 FLESH, 3/3 RESTRAINT
ASHLEY: 4/5 FLESH, 4/4 RESTRAINT
BENEDICT: 7/8 FLESH, 5/5 RESTRAINT

"Seriously, though, are you okay?" Lex chuckles to himself. You feel like he's doing it to try soothing his own nerves. "You scared me back there. Thought you weren't going to make it."

"Yeah. I'm fine." You slowly sit up in your bed. "Where's my combat suit?"

"Ah. They're trying to repair it. Took a beating last fight. Same with the armsleeve. I doubt they'll be fully repaired but they're trying."
>-2 VIOLENCE and -2 MAX FLESH from losing your equipment. FLESH is now 4/4, VIOLENCE is now 3. You'll get them back later, though you doubt they'll be as strong.

"Fuck. Those were really useful." You lean back onto the shitty cot.

"Hey, they were going to break sooner than later. Just be glad you're alive, okay? I-" Lex lets out a sigh. "I was worried about you." You feel your heart sink at this. You can barely see his face but in the faint light, you can make out the stress evident in his eyes. They're bloodshot and red. He clearly hasn't slept any.
>>
"Shit, man. Hey, hey, I'm fine." You offer a small smile. "I'm just shocked my heart didn't explode." Lex doesn't respond. Yeah, probably not a good idea to say during everything. Well, what do you plan on doing? You got some free time to burn.

Choose four actions and any number of free actions.
>Hang out with Lex. He's clearly stressing the fuck out over you. You want to comfort him, make sure he's not going to stress himself to death.
>Hang out with Ashley. You want to get to know her more and frankly, some more music to soothe your mind would be nice.
>Hang out with Benedict. You want to check to see how he's handling himself after all of that bloodshed. Maybe get a bite?
>Hang out with Adam. You gotta give him props for managing to fight as well as he did. Maybe even try to offer some advice on how he can handle Benedict.
>Before anything else, you want to head over to the captain and try to negotiate a good reward for what you just did. (You'll get a chance to negotiate a better reward for fighting that pirate crew. You'll still get a reward even if you don't pick this.)
>Huh. They decided to drag the enemy ship along with them? Might as well investigate it to see WHY they were following you. (You'll get a chance to figure out more about what's truly going on here.)
>You just want to rest more. Take this moment to meditate and RELAX. (+2 RESTRAINT.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Yeah, no, you don't trust whatever 'repairs' they're doing. Go check up on what random retards they assigned to tinker with your shit. (You might get a chance to upgrade some of the weapons you and your crew have.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Wander around the ship. Take in all of the sights and sounds. Try to talk and meet with the crew. Learn whatever you can from them. (You'll get to learn more about the crew, where they came from, and why they're working with the Captain. Maybe even getting some intel on the captain from them.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] In case we get into another fight, let's change our NEW YOU PARADIGM to NAOMI's form. (FREE ACTION. SCHOLAR OF THE CITY will downgrade to SEEKER OF THE CITY, -1 TALENT, but you gain +1 MAX RESTRAINT and TACTICAL EXPERIENCE, detailed in >>5947323)
>Take your meds. (FREE ACTION, -1 SALTRIL, +1 RESTRAINT, DISABLES UNSTABLE WHILE KEEPING YOUR NORMAL VOICES.)
>Write in.

[/spoiler]Will update your inventory and ally pastebin later.[/spoiler]
>>
>>5956942
>Hang out with Lex. He's clearly stressing the fuck out over you. You want to comfort him, make sure he's not going to stress himself to death.
>Hang out with Benedict. You want to check to see how he's handling himself after all of that bloodshed. Maybe get a bite?
>Hang out with Adam. You gotta give him props for managing to fight as well as he did. Maybe even try to offer some advice on how he can handle Benedict.
>You just want to rest more. Take this moment to meditate and RELAX. (+2 RESTRAINT.)
>>
>>5956942
Nice fight, was a lot closer than I expected. Got some good rewards from it though which is nice.

>Hang out with Lex. He's clearly stressing the fuck out over you. You want to comfort him, make sure he's not going to stress himself to death.
Man he really needs this.
>Hang out with Benedict. You want to check to see how he's handling himself after all of that bloodshed. Maybe get a bite?
I think connecting with Benedict really matters, especially since he probably knows we are similar to him now.
>You just want to rest more. Take this moment to meditate and RELAX. (+2 RESTRAINT.)
We need to recover.
>Huh. They decided to drag the enemy ship along with them? Might as well investigate it to see WHY they were following you. (You'll get a chance to figure out more about what's truly going on here.)
Gotta get that knowledge.
>>
>>5956945
Change
>>5956979
Support
>>
>>5956979
+1
Hope Ashley's OK
>>
>>5956979
Supporting
>>
>>5956942
>Hang out with Lex. He's clearly stressing the fuck out over you. You want to comfort him, make sure he's not going to stress himself to death.
>Hang out with Benedict. You want to check to see how he's handling himself after all of that bloodshed. Maybe get a bite?
>Before anything else, you want to head over to the captain and try to negotiate a good reward for what you just did. (You'll get a chance to negotiate a better reward for fighting that pirate crew. You'll still get a reward even if you don't pick this.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Yeah, no, you don't trust whatever 'repairs' they're doing. Go check up on what random retards they assigned to tinker with your shit. (You might get a chance to upgrade some of the weapons you and your crew have.)
>>
>>5956942
>Hang out with Lex. He's clearly stressing the fuck out over you. You want to comfort him, make sure he's not going to stress himself to death.
>Before anything else, you want to head over to the captain and try to negotiate a good reward for what you just did. (You'll get a chance to negotiate a better reward for fighting that pirate crew. You'll still get a reward even if you don't pick this.)
>Huh. They decided to drag the enemy ship along with them? Might as well investigate it to see WHY they were following you. (You'll get a chance to figure out more about what's truly going on here.)
>You just want to rest more. Take this moment to meditate and RELAX. (+2 RESTRAINT.)
>>
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"Seriously." You relax as much as you can, given the shitty bed you're given. "I'm going to be fine. Maybe a bit of sleep to clear my mind."

[UNSTABLE] HEY FUCK YOU WE DON'T NEED SLEEP. GET UP.
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] We're better off exploring. Talking to people. Doing new things. Taking pictures for our newspaper.
[UNSTABLE] WE DON'T HAVE A NEWSPAPER THOUGH?
[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] We don't?

The voices in your head immediately shuts up when you see the genuine smile on Lex's face. It's not filled with bloodlust fury or any malice like you would expect a thug like him to have. "Okay. Sleep, please. I'll be watching over you. Don't want any of the sailors here to get any ideas." <"Already had to stop some fuck from sneaking up on her while she was asleep.">

"Thank you." You know you're not going to convince him otherwise and fuck, you do feel tired. You try to get as comfortable as you can on your cot, pulling the tissue thin blanket over you. Everything goes black again.

You don't sleep for long. Lex makes an annoyed tick in the back of his throat. "It's only been an hour tops. Seriously, get some sleep." Your mind feels better but yeah, you can't really sleep in this condition. Not after you rested for so long as is.
>RESTRAINT is now 6/9!

"I already slept and, look, Lex. These things are fucking uncomfortable." You slowly crawl out of the shitty cot, your sock-clad feet dangling over the edge of the bed. "I'll explore around the place, tire myself out, then I'll go to bed. I'll just be talking to some people, okay?"

Lex is obviously hesitant to approve of this but he eventually nods in agreement. He grabs onto your arms and helps you right out of the cot. Once you got your footing stabilized, you gesture at him to lead you through the dark maze that is the crew bunks. You can't see more than five feet in front of you and frankly, you rather not pull out your nightvision googles for this.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] However, they said they kept the enemy ship. If we're exploring it, the googles would be ideal there.

"Noted." You mutter outloud.
Lex snorts. "Ah. Helpful little things, aren't they? Wish I had them. I can hardly spin an apple in my head." Huh. Normally your allies rightfully judge you when you start talking to yourself. He notices the bemused expression you're giving him and only offers a shrug.

"Fuck, I ain't going to judge." That's all he has to say on the matter. Reading his mind doesn't reveal anything so you simply nod. "Frankly, the fact your eyes glow blue sometimes is weirder." Shit. Well, can't really wear shades during night time so you just hope no one else notices or figures out what that means.

He leads you out of the crew bunks, helping you to weave through the tightly patched cots and greasy, half-awake sailors trying to get a good night sleep in here. You eventually find yourself at a small set of stairs leading to a hatch. Welp, up you go.

The first thing you're hit with is a drop of rain.
>>
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Then a lot of it. You quickly scramble onto the deck of the ship, trying your best to cover yourself with your hands. Lex comes up right after you, closing the hatch behind him so the chamber below doesn't flood. "Yeah. Don't bother." Only now do you notice that Lex's clothes were already drenched before he came up here. "It's not letting up any time soon. Been like this, like, an hour since you passed out."

"Feh." You lower your arms. No point bothering there. Hopefully the gauze won't get too wet, at least. You zip up the bomber jacket still on you. You're shocked they kept it on you and, well, the fact it's perfectly intact. Benefits of being a PARADIGM, you assume.

Everything is pitch black out here. The storm roaring above you is NOT helping matters. The sky is completely blacked out with only the occasional bits of lightning briefly illuminating the night sky. The only other hints of light on the deck you're on is some sort of bonfire set up by the stern of the ship. Behind that, you can make out the faintest glimpse of the enemy ship you boarded so many hours ago.

With nowhere else you want to visit aside from the enemy ship and wherever the fuck Benedict is, you start slowly heading to the back of the ship, one arm wrapped around Lex's arm to keep your balance. "So." You decide to have some light conversation with him. "You do realize I'm not the only person who needs to take care of myself, right?"

"Yeah? Of course. There's like, what, a billion people living in the City? I mean that's like...statistics. Right?" Lex responds, confusion and exhaustion evident in his tone. He has no idea what you're on about.

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] It depends on what census you use but the latest census done by the Head places it closer to 2.4 Billion, with a 10% margin of error.

"No, dumbass. I mean you. You haven't slept at all, have you? I appreciate the help but I can handle myself fine. I have POWERS. You're just...you need to take care of yourself, man." Your words flow out in a half-annoyed, half-concerned mess of syllables. "Don't kill yourself stressing over me. Seriously."

Lex tries his best to laugh off your concern but it's clear what you said resonated with him once you hear the laugh die in his throat. "I know. I just don't know how else to react. This isn't something I'm used to, you know? Actually having a crew." He mulls over his words, trying to get his thoughts in order. "Sure. Been in a syndicate or two. Worked as a body guard for some bars. But I never really had someone I can trust like you."

"Me? Someone you trust?" You sneer. "I respect the flattery."

"Fuck off!" He gently nudges your shoulder. "Seriously though. My life felt like it's actually had a purpose since I started doing these jobs, you know? And without you, all of that disappears. Maybe it's not you specifically but just, I dunno."

"This life I'm living now feels like it matters. Like there's a point. Even if I know these jobs are just for a paycheck."
>>
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"You ever have that feeling that you're going through the motions? Doing things for the sake of it?" Lex mutters. "Guess that's what it felt like until now. Boring corpo jobs. Syndies. All of it was a slog. You're exciting, different. Sure, you're a freak but so what?" He shrugs.

You take a moment to digest what he said before you give him a solid response. "Don't act like I'm some perfect dream pixie girl for you. I'm not perfect, you know?" As much as some primal part of you WANTS to be seen as perfect. Or at least normal.

To have no flaws. To always win, to always be at the top, to always get what you want.

To always protect those around you.

"I really do respect the fact you care so much. But you also matter. I care about you too, man." You offer a faint smile.

"I know, I know, it's just-"

"Ah, ah." You interrupt him. "And you need to take care of yourself. I'm fine. I survived worse and you worrying yourself sick is going to hurt both of us. Okay?"

Lex takes a deep breath in before letting out a small, exhausted sigh. "Okay. Okay, I'll be a bit less overprotective. Can you blame me, though? You're like, uh, one of those cute. Furred things." His mind is completely blanked out from exhaustion. Fuck, when's the last time he's slept?

"Deer. I have antlers. That's probably what you're thinking about?"

"Yeah, beer." Lex flashes a smile. "Not sure what that has to do with antlers. Are you drunk?" Oh, the fucker's trying to be coy, huh?

"FUCK YOU." You jab him in the side with your antlers.
"OW FUCK. FUCK YOU TOO!" He punches you on the shoulder.

The two of you stare each other down with faux malice before the two of you just break out into a laughing fit, barely audible over the raging storm around you. It's a nice moment of reprieve after everything you've been through today.

"Alsoyoulookedreallyhotwhenyouwerecoveredinblood."
"WHAT."

Before you have have time to process THAT, you find yourself at the small camp sight set up at the stern of the ship. There's a huge tent firmly tied to the ground, probably big enough to hold a dozen or so people. Considering the music you're hearing, Ashley is probably in there. A bright orange glow is visible underneath the flaps of the tent, probably where the bonfire is.

Thirty or so feet away from that is a man at the very back of the ship you're on, staring into the dark sea with his legs dangling precariously over the edge. You narrow your eyes. He only has one arm so you assume it's Benedict.

Trailing behind the stern of the ship is the enemy ship. It's close enough that you'd have no problem jumping over to it. You can't make out more than that but the faint reek of blood and rot tells you that the bodies are probably still there.

"So, why are we here?" Lex looks down at you.
"I wanted to talk to Benedict. Maybe explore the ship later. Is that fine?"
Lex shrugs. "Hey. You told me not to worry, do whatever. Just, uh, be careful with Bene. He hasn't moved from that spot in hours."
>>
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The two of you approach Benedict. The many layers of clothing he wears to hide his body have been completely soaked. What little hair is still on his head is also a soaking wet mess.

"Benedict?" You softly whisper.

His head turns to glance at you before he stares back into the sea. "D-Do y-y-you ever feel like you shouldn't be alive?" His speech is slurred, you can't quite tell if his robotic body is being damaged by the rain or if he's just struggling to find his words. "L-Like you're a mo-monster? I. I Shouldn't. Shouldn't be here."

"Bene? What's up, man?" Lex tries to smile. "If it's because you're a bit weird, Nicole's-"

"No. I'm." His breathing gets ragged as he desperately tries to collect his thoughts. "I'm. Benedict. Yes. I'm. No. No. Benedict was a human. Benedict was a chef. Benedict wasn't a burden." His remaining hand grips tightly onto a nearby railing.

[FRACTURED MIND] "I. It hurts. It hurts to think. IT HURTS TO THINK!" And in one jerky motion, his hand suddenly crushes the metal railing with barely any effort. "HURTS. HURTS!"
>-1 RESTRAINT to BENEDICT! 4/5 LEFT

"Why. Why am I like this? Why?" Benedict's body is shivering, shaking, and you doubt it's because of the rain.

"Fuck." Lex can only offer a nervous look at the chef before glancing back at you.

What do you say or do with Benedict? Pick three.
>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you but I'm not a burden. No one is." Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "It's not your fault. You and Adam might've had some difficulties but what friends don't? You should be angry at THEM instead." Try to focus his anger, his loathing, his hatred towards a justifiable target.
>[UNSTABLE] "It doesn't matter what people think about you. You're still you, for better or worse." He is who he is. He can't ever change that.
>"I don't see a monster. I see a friend. I see someone who has someone who cares about him." Try to comfort him. "People care about you."
>It's risky. But you have to. Hug him. He clearly needs it.
>Write in.

And when you decide to go onto the enemy ship, what do you want to search for? Pick three.
>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
>Equipment. Weapons, ammo, whatever you can find.
>Cargo and Valuables. Anything you can sell down the line.
>Anomalous. They had anomalous tattoos, maybe they also had anomalous trinkets?
>Communication. Try to get more information about the Infinite Sea by talking to other ships. (You might encounter some weird characters if you pick this.)
>Transport. In case shit goes tits up with your ship, some lifeboats wouldn't be amiss. That SENIOR PIRATE had to leave somehow.
>Write in.
>>
>>5957832
>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
>[UNSTABLE] "It doesn't matter what people think about you. You're still you, for better or worse." He is who he is. He can't ever change that.
>"I don't see a monster. I see a friend. I see someone who has someone who cares about him." Try to comfort him. "People care about you."

>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
>Equipment. Weapons, ammo, whatever you can find.
>Cargo and Valuables. Anything you can sell down the line.
>>
>>5957838
+1
I don't want to bring up the silvers yet. Adam might be more quick on the uptake to want to help us against them, but we can't act yet. Open sea might be safe to speak about them though?
>>
>>5957844
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "It's not your fault. You and Adam might've had some difficulties but what friends don't? You should be angry at THEM instead." Try to focus his anger, his loathing, his hatred towards a justifiable target.

I have a feeling this can backfire on us.
>>
>>5957832
>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you but I'm not a burden. No one is." Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.
>"I don't see a monster. I see a friend. I see someone who has someone who cares about him." Try to comfort him. "People care about you."

>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
>Equipment. Weapons, ammo, whatever you can find.
>Transport. In case shit goes tits up with your ship, some lifeboats wouldn't be amiss. That SENIOR PIRATE had to leave somehow.
>>
>>5957832
>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you but I'm not a burden. No one is." Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.
>"I don't see a monster. I see a friend. I see someone who has someone who cares about him." Try to comfort him. "People care about you."

>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
>Equipment. Weapons, ammo, whatever you can find.
>Cargo and Valuables. Anything you can sell down the line.
>>
>>5957832
Change my vote in >>5957844 from
>Cargo/Valuables
To
>Transport
But the rest is the same

>>5957847
What, I meant we bring that up to Adam later, not to Benedict. What are you getting at?
>>
>>5957832
Good update. Man Lex is surprisingly a sweet guy. For a big burly bloodthirsty bruiser he’s quite cute as well.

>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
Fish fear me.
I want to do a write in combining Unstable and Anomalous, is that allowed?
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES+UNSTABLE] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you and I am who I am. Still Nicole, just like you’re still Benedict.”Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.
>It's risky. But you have to. Hug him. He clearly needs it.
This is altogether a more risky play with Benedict than the other plan if I’m being honest, but I think it’ll work out better if it works.
>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
The meat.
>Communication. Try to get more information about the Infinite Sea by talking to other ships. (You might encounter some weird characters if you pick this.)
>Transport. In case shit goes tits up with your ship, some lifeboats wouldn't be amiss. That SENIOR PIRATE had to leave somehow.
I want some safety backup measures, so the lifeboat. I also think pulling on this thread and getting more connections could lead to interesting things. With the lifeboat we can push the envelope a little.
>>
>>5957832
>You notice a few abandoned fishing rods nearby the tent. Collect them, hand one to Benedict, and ask him to fish with you and Lex. (-3 MEAT BAIT, you'll get some fish to cook or sell later.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you but I'm not a burden. No one is." Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.
>"I don't see a monster. I see a friend. I see someone who has someone who cares about him." Try to comfort him. "People care about you."

>Documents. You want to know why they're here, where they came from, and what their goal was.
>Equipment. Weapons, ammo, whatever you can find.
>Transport. In case shit goes tits up with your ship, some lifeboats wouldn't be amiss. That SENIOR PIRATE had to leave somehow.
>>
>>5957838
change/edit
>[UNSTABLE] "It doesn't matter what people think about you. You're still you, for better or worse." He is who he is. He can't ever change that.
Switch to
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know? I have powers like you but I'm not a burden. No one is." Revel in your mutual weirdness. You're not too different, after all.

>Cargo and Valuables. Anything you can sell down the line.
Switch to
>Transport. In case shit goes tits up with your ship, some lifeboats wouldn't be amiss. That SENIOR PIRATE had to leave somehow.
>>
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With a gentle flick and some light finger wiggling, you telekinetically pull over the fishing rods shattered by the tent. Every day, it gets a bit easier to use your powers.

Lex's eye light up like he saw a magician performing his favorite magic trick in front of him. He really is easily impressed, huh? He barely has the social awareness to stop himself from clapping, given the whole Benedict situation.

You toss him a rod and a handful of MEAT BAIT before leaning over to Benedict. You hold the same rod and MEAT BAIT in front of him. He stops shuddering for a moment to stare at the offered items with evident confusion. "HuH? F-Fish?" Ah, he knows what that is. Good.

You nod your head. "Fish. Let's fish. Okay?"

"Fuck yeah! Last time I fished was when I was still workin' back in V-Corp's district." Lex promptly sits down to the left of Benedict while you sit down to the right. "Those fucking meat employees, though? Never wanna work with them again." Huh. Weird way to phrase that.

"M-Meat." Benedict grinds his teeth. Okay, time to change the subject before he freaks out more.

"Let's just fish for now, okay? We can cook something if we find any good catches." You pat Benedict on his unconverted arm. This is enough to snap his focus back to the task at hand. You don't really know how to fish all that well, given your district was landlocked, but eh. That's not really the point of this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCZCK5_Gdbk - HUMANS, ANOMALIES, AND FISH FEAR YOU

The three of you toss your hooks into the water below. The only sound that breaks through the raging storm above the three of you is the distinct sound of Ashley's guitar in the distance. It's comforting, slow, casual. You nod your head along as you hear it. You and your two pals sit at the edge of the ship, waiting for a fish to be brave enough to take the bait.

Benedict's brows tense and furrow at at the rod in his hand. "Is. Is T-this it? This is stupid. W-where's the c-craft here? W-why?"

"It's not about the craft, bro. It's about relaxing. Something to focus on when you have nothing else to focus on." Lex responses with an oddly considerate tone in his voice. "I don't get what your issue is. I don't. Only got bits and pieces from Adam. But you need SOMETHING to do."

"B-But this is just wasting. Time. Time. I. I."

"Wasting time?" You snort. "Sure. Suppose you could say that. But beating yourself up is also wasting time. Which one feels better?"

Benedict's voice is barely audible over the rain but you manage to make out one word. "This."

"There you go then." You nod.
"You're getting there." Lex nods as well.

The three of you return to a comfortable silence. Benedict is the first one to get the attention of a fish and, with inhumane speed and strength, he reels his catch before you have time to say anything. A bright white flounder.

"Hey, not a bad first catch." You clap your hands while keeping your rod upright via telekinesis.
>>
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A small, faint smile forces itself onto Benedict's face. "Not a bad catch?" He mimics what you said.

"Yeah!" Lex's smile is almost enough to light up the dark, gloomy sky you're sitting under. "Just keep doing it like that. You'll do just fine, man."

"Do just fine." He, again, mimics what Lex said. The three of you return back to fishing. Over the next two hours, that's all you really do. Fish. You and Benedict manage to catch a decent haul of fish while Lex struggles to keep up. Can't blame him, he's just a normal human at the end of the day.

Laying all around you are small piles of fish. Flounder, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, a black marlin or two. Hell, you even found a really weird looking koi that's bright white with a single black spot on the back of it.

>FISH PILE (COMMON) x5 ACQUIRED (Low quality fish. Can be sold at any shop for $150 per pile. When cooked by Benedict, grants the person who consumed the meal the ability to reroll up to four dice on one check of their choice.)
>FISH PILE (RARE) x3 ACQUIRED (Highly sought after fish neatly piled up. Most shops are willing to take this as proxy for one A-Energy per pile. When cooked by Benedict, grants the person who consumed the meal a temporary +2 in a random stat.)
>-3 MEAT BAIT.

"That was. Nice. Nice." Benedict has slowly been relaxing over the last few hours. While admittedly, being soaked head to toe in water isn't pleasant, seeing him happy makes it worth it.

"Feh. You two are too fucking good." Lex shakes his head as he begins to pile up the fish and wrap them up into bundles.

"See? We were just hanging out like friends, Benedict."

"I'm. I'm not a friend. I'm. You know what. I am. I." His eye twitches. "I'm."

"Benedict. I don't see a monster. I've seen a dozen anomalies at this point but you know what they haven't done with me? This." You gesture at the rods you were using. "Fishing. Talking. Just hanging out. We care about you, man. Adam does. I do. Lex does. Even Ashley wanted to comfort you in her own way."

Benedict simply stares into the deep, dark abyss of the Infinite Sea. "It. Am. I. I." He can't really find the right words to say. You simply smile at him, to show him you're being sincere. "...Okay. If. If you say so. I. Didn't I. See you before?" <"Familiar. Hurts. Hurts to think about-">

"Yes. But that's not important for now." Best to distract him before his mind goes into some dark places.

As Lex finishes wrapping up the fish, he glances over to the enemy ship trailing behind the S.S FREEDOM with the help of some chains tied between the two. "I'll leave you two to talk it out. Meet me up on the pirate ship." And in one smooth jump, he jumps right over to the abandoned enemy ship.

"...Do you ever. Feel. Like you're a monster. Nicole?" Benedict stutters out like he's fighting his own mouth every time he speaks; You almost want to pity him but you know that's not the right move here.

"You're not the only person with those thoughts, you know?"
>>
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"I'm. I'm not?" Confusion oozes out of Benedict's words.

"You're not. Look at me. I got weird antlers, I got weird voices I talk to in my head, I push things with my mind and I can puppeteer bodies. I ain't normal. I have powers like you."

"So. So I wasn't seeing that?" Benedict tilts his head.

"No. Hell, probably the only person who could besides, like, another friend I knew." Your mind flashes back to Benjamin. "But I'm not a burden. No one is. I used my powers to help people. Your powers helped us. I just have a bit more control is all."

"I. I know. I. I'm jealous of. Of that. Sometimes a voice. Voice. Tells me that I'm not Benedict. That I'm. I'm something else. That I should be perfect. A master of the flesh, flesh. The art of it."

[UNSTABLE] "So what? You're still Benedict. I'm still Nicole. Even if we're both freaks, it doesn't matter how people see us or what they try to turn us into. It's how we see ourselves."
[UNSTABLE] "Do I care when I'm coated in blood? Do I care that some people are afraid of me? Sometimes, sure, but you can't base your sense of self on how others see you."

"...Then how else would I? I? I don't. I don't know what. I don't know what-"

You interrupt him with a click of your tongue. "You pick yourself up. Piece by piece. That's all you can do. I managed to go from a lonely schizophrenic to a schizo with a lot of friends." You slowly stand up. "All you got to do is try. To push past those thoughts." You offer him a hand. He glances down at it and, with little hesitation, he grabs onto it.

You can't really pull him up because WOW, turns out being half machine makes you weigh a fucking ton. But slowly, you manage to help him to this feet.

Before you even know what's going on, he pulls you into a hug. Granted, a VERY crushing hug that knocks the wind out of you and definitely dislocated something.
>-1 FLESH! 3/4 FLESH LEFT!

"Thank you." He lets go of you. Tears run down both of his eyes. His remaining human one and the LED lens on the robotic half of his face. "For. For talking. For. Not. Judging. You. I."

You simply nod. He nods back. You got the rough gist of what he said.

"...I'll talk to. To. Adam. Later. Later. Head feels. Better."
>+1.5 RAPPORT WITH BENEDICT! 2/8 NOW!

The two of you promptly jump onto the pirate ship. While you manage to roll quite gracefully despite your soaking wet socks and the slick surfaces, Benedict mostly just crashes onto the deck of the ship. He's sprawled on his side with an awkwardly bent leg with his human arm loosely hanging over his back and his blade arm laying by his side.

Lex, in his part, helps him back up before nodding at you. <"You did good, Nicole. You did real good.">
>+0.5 RAPPORT with LEX. 5.5/7 NOW.

You try your best to focus on Lex and Benedict instead of the soaked corpses laying around you on the pirate ship's upper deck. Or the fact that, yes, the headless corpse of the Senior Pirate.
>>
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Or the fact multiple precise cuts of meat have been harvested from the corpses. You put on your NIGHTVISION GOOGLES so you can get a better look of your surroundings. The only things of note here (sans the corpses) is the bridge of the ship. It's a small blocky hut that's level with the deck of the ship. Seeing no where else to investigate, you head over to it and open the door, gesturing at your allies to follow.

The bridge is pretty small and cluttered. Shelves and desks have been slammed together in a bizarre order you can't quite make heads or tails of. Rusted over communication and navigation panels are placed in between the randomly slapped together shelves and desks. It's a shock they managed to pilot this thing at all.

The only other thing of note on the bridge is a small hatch that seems to lead down into the lower sections of the ship. "Benedict, Lex? Check down there for any spare lifeboats or equipment." You point at the hatch with your antlers. "I'll check up here."

Lex flashes a thumbs up before pulling out a flashlight of his. He opens up the hatch with ease and heads down the rope ladder underneath said hatch. Benedict promptly follows after him. Once the two are gone, you start searching through the shelves and desks, trying to see what sort of documents you can find in this weirdly laid out bridge room. Seriously, why IS THERE A SHELF ON THE CEILING?!

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] It's actually shockingly quick for you. Every time you pass by specific desks or shelves, you would hear a small voiceless whisper in your ear.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] It doesn't take long to notice a pattern. It's your WHISPERS OF THE CITY power telling you where you should check.

Soon enough you've collected enough documents to hopefully get a rough idea what's going on here. There's five documents you deemed interesting enough to note down.

SHIP MEMO #1: "The safe limit for travel in the Infinite Sea is 1000 miles away from shore. Any further and we have to call off our mission. It's too risky otherwise."
SHIP MEMO #2: "Remember. W-Company told us we would be pardoned by J and X-Corp if we go on this mission. We managed to sneak the tracking device onto the S.S. FREEDOM. All we need to do is surround them and bring them back to shore. Kill a few for show but keeping them alive for questioning is the important part."
WARNING NOTICE:
"WARNING TO ALL S, T, U, AND V-CORP SHIPS. AN X5 COLOR LEVEL THREAT HAS BEEN LOCATED WITHIN THE INFINITE SEA. DO NOT APPROACH AT ANY COST, ATTEMPT TO STOP ANY SHIPS WHO ARE HEADING IN THE LAST CONFIRMED DIRECTION OF THE X5 COLOR ENTITY."
"ANY SHIPS WHO ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL AFTER IT, UNLESS APPROVED BY FOUR OUT OF SEVEN OF THE FOLLOWING CORPS, SHOULD BE ATTACKED AND BOARDED: P, W, D, X, J, L, R, G."
"WE DO NOT WANT THAT DAMNED SHIP HEADING TO OUR CITY."
EQUIPMENT LIST: "X-CORP SUBMARINE x5 (to surround enemy ship), ENGINE STALLER x2 (to prevent escape once boarded), ICP-ENERGY INJECTORS x10 (for combat use),
>>
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LIFEBOAT x7 (for our crew), Y-CORP TELEPORTER x3 (in case ADMIRAL'S GAME spots us), CYANDIE PILL x5 (in case ADMIRAL'S GAME boards.)"
SCRIBBLED NOTE: "We're not going to be able to convince Abraham to stop. I say we should just kill him. The last time we followed after him, we almost got harvested by the Mermaids and Sirens out there. I brought a flintlock to be safe. He deserves a good death."

[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] A "Color" is a specific title given to very dangerous, district spanning threats in the City. Can be applied to humans and anomalies alike. It's best to avoid Colors if you can, you'll likely die if you try fighting one. X5 is the highest rank given to a Color or Anomalous threat.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Also, the average boat out here moves at 27 miles per hour. You boarded here at 6 AM, woke up at 9 PM, and slept for another hour. 10 PM. 16 hours. We're probably already 432 miles away from shore.

21 hours. 21 hours until you reach the edge of safety. Shit, that's not good.

You quickly hide the papers when you see Lex and Benedict coming back up from wherever the FUCK the hatch in the bridge room lead to. They're carrying a variety of random garbage that, for the most part, doesn't match with the cargo list. You take a quick skim of what they manage to find...

LOOT ACQUIRED
>INFLATABLE LIFEBOAT x3 (Big enough to hold three people comfortably per lifeboat. Small enough to be hidden in your inventory until inflated.)
>NAVY BLUE INJECTOR x2 (Lex takes it, leaving him with 5.)
>CYNADIE PILL x3 (Does massive FLESH damage and does STAT damage to FLESH, TALENT, VIOLENCE, COGNIZANCE, and WILLPOWER on use. Dissolves in water easily.)
>FLINTLOCK PISTOL with 5 EXTRA LEAD SHOTS
>BUSTED Y-CORP TRANSPORTER x2 (Beyond repair. Could be used as spare parts to upgrade BENEDICT or KIARA's stats or to heal them.)
>WATERLOGGED INFINITE SEA MAP (Shows the rough locations of everything within a 1000 mile radius of the City and the edge of safety of the Infinite Sea.)
>E-CLASS RATIONS x4 (Useful for if you need to escape via the lifeboats but otherwise very poor quality rations with dehydrated meat, fruits, and bottles of water.)
>FLARE GUN x3 (Useful for getting the attention of other ships or for dealing massive fire damage to an enemy. DC 18 TALENT check to use to hit an enemy.)
>SHOTGUN SLUG x1

Before you have time to fully look through everything, an ear piercing laugh can be heard from the S.S. FREEDOM. "NICOLE! LEX! BENEDICT! I, CAPTAIN ABRAHAM, COMMAND YOU TO RETURN TO THIS SHIP! IT IS TIME FOR YOUR REWARDS, MY DEAR FRIENDS! DO YOU NOT WANT A MEDAL OF HONOR FOR YOUR GLORIOUS FIGHT-"

You begin to tune it out. You're only shocked you're managing to hear him screech from this distance while a storm is going on. You don't want him to get too suspicious so you gesture at your allies to follow you. After some close calls when trying to get back onto the S.S. FREEDOM, you head over to where you hear Abraham barking his orders from.
>>
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In the middle of the ship, underneath the tall and imposing bridge building of the ship, stands Captain Abraham and his three closest crewmates ( The QUARTERMASTER, FIRST MATE, NAVIGATOR) at a makeshift stage they made out of driftwood. Only a handful of oil lanterns lighting the stage, it casts an eerie glow across the four people on the stage.

Dozens on dozens of sailors and other crewmates on the ship surround the makeshift stage. None of them seem to remotely care about the raging storm pouring above them and soaking them to the bone. Ashley and Adam stand at the edge of the crowd, clearly uncomfortable by whatever's going on here. They seem to relax upon seeing you but that comfort is wasted away when Abraham points a finger at you.

"WHILE OUR CREW MAY HAVE DESTROYED THEIR SUBMARINES, THE DAMNATION OF THOSE BLAMPHEOUS PIRATES ULTIMATELY LIES AT YOUR FEET, NICOLE SMITH. AND FOR YOUR EXCELLENT COMBAT PROWESS, WE MUST GIVE YOU THE GREATEST PRAISE FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR US. NAY, PERHAPS MY ULTIMATE MISSION MAY BE COMPLETED WITH YOUR ASSISTANCE!" What little you can see of his eyes fills you with a sense of otherworldly dread. Bright orange irises that seem to dance along with the oil lamps burning around him.

"CREW! DO THEY NOT DESERVE A RALLYING CRY? WHY ARE YOUR LUNGS SO FULL OF AIR? WHY IS THE AIR SO QUIET? SHALL THE ONLY SOUND HEARD IN THIS RAGING STORM BE MY OWN PITIFUL CRIES? NAY, I WILL NOT ACCEPT THAT! CRY OUT, CREW! CRY LIKE THE SIRENS OF YESTER YEAR! CRY FOR THEM! CRY A GLORIOUS CHANT FOR THEM!" He stomps his foot onto the driftwood stage. <"Perhaps if we shout out loud enough, if my leadership is good enough, we can earn some respect from that damnable ship. If only. If only.">

The sheer volume of the rallying cry damn near deafens you. You and your allies immediately have to cover your ears from how fucking loud they're shouting. You and your allies share nervous glances between each other. What sort of fucking ship did you agree to get stuck on?

A crewmate grabs you by the shoulder and drags you over to the stage. You barely have time to fight before you're shoved onto the stage alongside you and your allies. "EVEN THIS LAND LUBBER WITH THE HORNS OF A DEER IS A BETTER CREWMATE THAN HALF OF YOU! SHAMEFUL. IF WE ARE TO REACH OUR ZENITH, OUR ULTIMATE GOAL, YOU MUST FOLLOW HER STANDARD!"

The screaming chorus of "AYE AYEs", "YES, CAPTAIN ABRAHAM", and other hollow and empty victory screeches fills your heart with dread. Fuck, what the hell is he using you for?

"NOW. NICOLE. IT IS TIME FOR YOUR REWARD. PLEASE. PICK YOUR REWARDS FOR YOU AND YOUR CREW. WE ARE OBLIGATED FOR YOUR GLORIOUS SERVICE TODAY!" You doubt he's going to let you go until you finish this twisted award show. Might as well get it over with.

<"Perhaps. Perhaps if she brings good luck to this crew, we won't have to face that damn ship. But who am I fooling?">

CHOOSE ONE REWARD FOR EACH CHARACTER
>>
NICOLE
>FLAMEBREATH SHOTGUN SLUGS x4 and SHOTGUN SLUG x2. "MAY YOUR WEAPON BREATH AS FURIOUSLY AS YOUR SPIRIT!" (FLAMEBREATH deals extra fire damage to enemies and makes your attacks bypass armor.)
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)

ADAM
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
>WHALEBONE KNIFE. "Kill." (Replaces his CHEF'S KNIFE. Rolls the same but on hit, Adam has a chance to heal 1 RESTRAINT or FLESH on hit.)

ASHLEY
>BOTTLE OF MERMAID WINE x3. "MAY YOUR SINGING BE AS GRAND AS THOSE MERMAIDS!" (Heals 1 RESTRAINT and boosts CHARM, TALENT, and max RESTRAINT by 1 for a short duration when used.)
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)

BENEDICT
>EVERSHARP WHETSTONE. "I SAW HOW YOU SLICED THROUGH THOSE ENEMIES. MAY YOUR BLADE BE SHARP ENOUGH TO CLEAVE THROUGH THE SEA!" (Benedict's BLADE ARM now rolls for VIOLENCE+2 in combat and can be used to destroy weak outside of combat.)
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)

LEX
>HARPOON GAUNTLET. "THOSE SPIKED KNUCKLES AREN'T USEFUL OUT HERE. HAVE THIS." (+1 VIOLENCE, +2 VIOLENCE against sea-based entities or anomalies. Inflicts various states of BLEEDING on hit, draining their FLESH over time.)
>WHALEBONE BODY ARMOR. "GODBLESS YOUR SOUL!" (Can block up to five RESTRAINT and/or FLESH damage inflicted onto Lex before breaking.)

While you're up here, you might as well ask him something. Pick up to three.
>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>[LEX ALLY] "Bro, this praise is kinda hollow. Why are you trying to put us on this pedestal?" You have to agree with Lex, it does seem really weird.
>[ADAM ALLY] "Why is your crew like that? Why are they cheering so god damn loud?" Adam questions him. It IS weird how his crew is acting. Are they in on whatever plan's going on?
>[BENEDICT ALLY] "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh?" Benedict points out. You gotta agree with him, he's clearly trying too hard here. Try to push past his bravado.
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] It's best not to rock the boat too much. Just accept your reward and head back to your room.
>You have something else to ask, say, or show to him. (Write in)
>>
>>5958484
I always love the rapport scenes with our companions. This was a really good one with Benedict and Lex. Also I’m getting a bit concerned about the anomaly ship that I’m not sure we are ready to deal with haha…
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)
Seems like a decent reward.
>WHALEBONE KNIFE. "Kill." (Replaces his CHEF'S KNIFE. Rolls the same but on hit, Adam has a chance to heal 1 RESTRAINT or FLESH on hit.)
Hopefully it’s a decent chance per strike.
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)
Hard choice, but I feel like with her NUMB trait getting rapport is valuable. The other choice is good too though.
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
Restraintrestraintrestraintrestraint
>WHALEBONE BODY ARMOR. "GODBLESS YOUR SOUL!" (Can block up to five RESTRAINT and/or FLESH damage inflicted onto Lex before breaking.)
Two good options but I like Lex with more survivability.
>[BENEDICT ALLY] "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh?" Benedict points out. You gotta agree with him, he's clearly trying too hard here. Try to push past his bravado.
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
Start with Benedict hopefully putting him off stride/popping his hype bubble. Then pressure with Ashley and whip out or trump card of info from our investigations. With our success in battle and his respect we can probably push and pressure him with some surety.
>>
>>5958484
>FLAMEBREATH SHOTGUN SLUGS x4 and SHOTGUN SLUG x2. "MAY YOUR WEAPON BREATH AS FURIOUSLY AS YOUR SPIRIT!" (FLAMEBREATH deals extra fire damage to enemies and makes your attacks bypass armor.)
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
>WHALEBONE BODY ARMOR. "GODBLESS YOUR SOUL!" (Can block up to five RESTRAINT and/or FLESH damage inflicted onto Lex before breaking.)

>[BENEDICT ALLY] "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh?" Benedict points out. You gotta agree with him, he's clearly trying too hard here. Try to push past his bravado.
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>>
>>5958484
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)

>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)

>EVERSHARP WHETSTONE. "I SAW HOW YOU SLICED THROUGH THOSE ENEMIES. MAY YOUR BLADE BE SHARP ENOUGH TO CLEAVE THROUGH THE SEA!" (Benedict's BLADE ARM now rolls for VIOLENCE+2 in combat and can be used to destroy weak outside of combat.)

>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)

>WHALEBONE BODY ARMOR. "GODBLESS YOUR SOUL!" (Can block up to five RESTRAINT and/or FLESH damage inflicted onto Lex before breaking.)

>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>[ADAM ALLY] "Why is your crew like that? Why are they cheering so god damn loud?" Adam questions him. It IS weird how his crew is acting. Are they in on whatever plan's going on?
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
>>
>>5958484
>FLAMEBREATH SHOTGUN SLUGS x4 and SHOTGUN SLUG x2. "MAY YOUR WEAPON BREATH AS FURIOUSLY AS YOUR SPIRIT!" (FLAMEBREATH deals extra fire damage to enemies and makes your attacks bypass armor.)
>WHALEBONE KNIFE. "Kill." (Replaces his CHEF'S KNIFE. Rolls the same but on hit, Adam has a chance to heal 1 RESTRAINT or FLESH on hit.)
>BOTTLE OF MERMAID WINE x3. "MAY YOUR SINGING BE AS GRAND AS THOSE MERMAIDS!" (Heals 1 RESTRAINT and boosts CHARM, TALENT, and max RESTRAINT by 1 for a short duration when used.)
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
>HARPOON GAUNTLET. "THOSE SPIKED KNUCKLES AREN'T USEFUL OUT HERE. HAVE THIS." (+1 VIOLENCE, +2 VIOLENCE against sea-based entities or anomalies. Inflicts various states of BLEEDING on hit, draining their FLESH over time.)

>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>[BENEDICT ALLY] "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh?" Benedict points out. You gotta agree with him, he's clearly trying too hard here. Try to push past his bravado.
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
>>
>>5958484
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)
Remember we are BROKE
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
He needs this he has 3 max restraint
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)
Show it off back home to the band. Ashton will love this too
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
It'll help even if he ever reverts to human
>WHALEBONE BODY ARMOR. "GODBLESS YOUR SOUL!" (Can block up to five RESTRAINT and/or FLESH damage inflicted onto Lex before breaking.)
He still needs his knuckles in the City. He needs to survive NOW

As for captain, backing the order >>5958506 wrote.
BENEDICT into ASHLEY into INVESTIGATED SHIP
>>
>>5958525
Change/edit
>FLAMEBREATH SHOTGUN SLUGS x4 and SHOTGUN SLUG x2. "MAY YOUR WEAPON BREATH AS FURIOUSLY AS YOUR SPIRIT!" (FLAMEBREATH deals extra fire damage to enemies and makes your attacks bypass armor.)
Switch to
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)
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>>5958506
Change/edit
>WHALEBONE KNIFE. "Kill." (Replaces his CHEF'S KNIFE. Rolls the same but on hit, Adam has a chance to heal 1 RESTRAINT or FLESH on hit.)
Switch to
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
People made a really good point. He needs more max restraint if he has only 3.
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>>5958781
Now don't get me wrong I like that he can heal RESTRAINT back with the Whalebone Knife. But reread it
>has a CHANCE
>restraint OR flesh
>on HIT
It's not gonna do him any good if he isn't always hitting and always in the enemy's face. Even if the captain hat is a piece of gear that gives him +2 restraint and not his own innate raised stat, it's still a good buffer against sanity damage events or attacks. Remember what happened with Quentin's reveal and then Nicole exploding a guy. Ashley's STILL reeling from that to the point it's affected almost every interaction Nicole has ever had with her from that point on.
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>>5958484
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
>HARPOON GAUNTLET. "THOSE SPIKED KNUCKLES AREN'T USEFUL OUT HERE. HAVE THIS." (+1 VIOLENCE, +2 VIOLENCE against sea-based entities or anomalies. Inflicts various states of BLEEDING on hit, draining their FLESH over time.)

>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>[BENEDICT ALLY] "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh?" Benedict points out. You gotta agree with him, he's clearly trying too hard here. Try to push past his bravado.
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
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>>5958484
>$500 and GOLDEN DOUBLOON x3 "FOR YOUR SERVICE." (Golden Doubloons may be used to unlock unique items in various shops in the City.)
>ACTING CAPTAIN HAT. "WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS CREW OF HER CREW, AS A BOSS OF YOUR OWN CREW BACK ON LAND, I GIVE THIS TO THEE." (+2 MAX RESTRAINT to Adam.)
>WHALEBONE GUITAR. "A MUSICIAN, EH? HERE." (Ashley doesn't gain any inherent benefit but she does gain +1 RAPPORT with you for your part in earning her this.)
>MESSHALL APRON. (Takes up Benedict's ARMOR slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT and +1 TALENT to him while equipped. He may offer you a reroll of all of your dice once per mission.)
>HARPOON GAUNTLET. "THOSE SPIKED KNUCKLES AREN'T USEFUL OUT HERE. HAVE THIS." (+1 VIOLENCE, +2 VIOLENCE against sea-based entities or anomalies. Inflicts various states of BLEEDING on hit, draining their FLESH over time.)

>[INVESTIGATED ENEMY SHIP] "You do realize those fucks were trying to stop you, right? What the hell is so important about your mission?" Inform him on the true reason why that ship tried following after him.
>[ADAM ALLY] "Why is your crew like that? Why are they cheering so god damn loud?" Adam questions him. It IS weird how his crew is acting. Are they in on whatever plan's going on?
>[ASHLEY ALLY] "We're just here to do a damn job. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?" Ashley grits her teeth. With the information you found, help her to pressure him into admitting his true goal to his and your crew.
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Might as well get through the awards.

You're immediately handed a small burlap sack. The sheer weight and heft of it already tells you what's inside.
>+$500! TOTAL CASH: $1250
>+3 GOLDEN DUBLOONS!

You raise an eyebrow at the Captain but he's already yelling at the rest of your allies to accept their rewards. You glance around at what they got.

Ashley is holding up a weirdly shaped electric guitar with a off-white body. You almost fooled yourself into thinking it's just wood but the dull white, almost yellowed material reminds you more of bone than anything. Ashley strums a few of the strings (which you note has a really stringy, fibrous look to them. Whale teeth maybe?) and the sound that comes out of it sounds odd in a way you can't quite describe. It's not bad though.

And the giddy smile on the normally aloof, impersonal punk tells you that she doesn't mind it either. She looks up at you with that same giddy smile and nods her head like a god damn bobblehead with how fast she's moving it. <"This guy is a fucking freak but hey. It's worth it because of this. Thanks.">

>+1 RAPPORT WITH ASHLEY!
>RAPPORT CAP BOOSTED, BOOSTING HOW MANY UPGRADES SHE CAN GET! ASHLEY'S RAPPORT 2/7 --> 3/8!

Benedict and Adam's gifts are, in contrast, a lot more boring. The messhall apron draped over the many layers of clothing Benedict is already wearing is a grease soaked apron made out of burlap and cheap plastic. The hat placed onto Adam's head is a very goofy looking captain's hat that looks like it belongs to some sort of cheap sea captain themed costume.

"My apron. Is cool. More than. Other gift." Benedict smugly taunts his friend.
"It's a fucking apron! I got a cool looking hat!" Adam taunts him in return.
"Lame. Not cool." Benedict mutters as he takes his last antipsychotic.
"Fuck off, it's cool! I look cool in it!" Adam tries lying to himself but his amused smirk tells you he's not fooling himself.
"No." Benedict bluntly responses. "But if you. Like. I. Like." The anomalous chef offers a smile to his friend.

>ADAM now has the ACTING CAPTAIN HAT (Takes up one of Adam's two accessory slots. +2 RESTRAINT while equipped, now 5/5)
>BENEDICT now has MESSHALL APRON (Takes up Benedict's armor slot. +1 MAX RESTRAINT, +1 TALENT)

Lex finishes sliding on the bulky suit of off-white, rigid armor underneath his jacket. He knocks on his chest. An audible clinking sound, almost like dice rolling, echoes out with every knock. "Not bad."
>LEX has WHALEBONE ARMOR EQUIPED. (5 charges left. Consumes 1 per RESTRAINT or FLESH damage taken.)

"NOW! CREW! IT IS TODAY THAT I ADMIT THAT WE ARE AT THE ZENITH OF OUR GOAL! TO REACH BEYOND THE SELF IMPOSED RESTRICTION OF THE CITY AND TO EMBRACE THE TRUE SCOPE OF THE INFINITE SEA! NAY-"

"Okay, sorry, I appreciate the gifts!" You yell out. "But we got some questions!"

Captain Abraham damn near snaps his own neck with how quickly he turns to glare at you. Yet with a soft, fatherly smile, he nods. "Speak."
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"You." Benedict steps closer to the captain after managing to finally dry swallow his pill. "You. You. Are just. Trying to convince yourself, huh? It's. It's."

"Obvious." You finish the statement for Benedict. "You're trying way too hard to hype everyone up."
"Cult like, really." Adam chirps in response.
"It's creepy as fuck, man." Lex hisses out.

The crew standing below the stage mutter confused questions to each other. Captain Abraham's three associates tense up at the direction this conversation is going, shaking their heads to signal you to stop.

Captain Abraham narrows his eyes at you and the chef. "CONVINCE MYSELF OF WHAT? NAY. I REJECT THIS IMPLICATION YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO SLANDER ME WITH! I AM CAPTAIN ABRAHAM! THE ONE AND ONLY CAPTAIN WHO CAN LEAD US TO VICTORY!" He turns back to his crew before shouting with an almost obsessive, religious zeal to his voice. "DOUBT IS THE MIND KILLER! THESE LAND LUBBERS DON'T UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF THE SEA. DO NOT BLAME THEM FOR THEIR IGNORANCE, CREW!"

As if his words were law, any doubt the crew had disappears immediately. A fervent, obsessive chant is about to start but is quickly stopped by Benedict slamming a heavy foot against the stage.

"A good captain. A good. Boss." Benedict's jaw struggles to work, teeth grinding against teeth. "Doesn't. Need to talk. About himself so much. Actions would speak. For him."

Captain Abraham stares blankly at Benedict. There's not a hint of expression on the man's face. The crew below and his associates stay silent as well.

"I. I know what. Like to. Not know self. But I don't. Yell what am I to. Others." Benedict forces out each word with discomfort that could only be matched by someone swallowing glass shards. "Why?"

<"Why indeed? Why am I chasing after that damnable thing? Perhaps it's the only thing I know. This salty rain. The infinite blue sea around us. That's all I can think of.">

"Great men do things that other men can not understand. I do not think lesser of you for your ignorance, Benedict. I simply do what I must for my crew." There's a small crack in his emotional armor now. Ashley decides to butt in before he can try patching it up.

"Fair." Ashley keeps her voice low and calm. "That's fair. You're doing your job. We're just here to do a job too. We're not going to deny the rewards but what's your end game here?"

"I told you already." Captain Abraham's smile widens a bit too much. "Did you not listen to my cries? To the story, the song, I tell my men? You five may not be a part of my crew officially, yes. However, my heartfelt cries are meant as much for you as they are meant for my crew after what you did."

"You're dancing around the issue, old man. Look, I don't really give a shit about whatever baggage you have but if you're doing some shit that could put OUR lives into danger, we have to know. Your crew has to know." Ashley points a callused finger towards the crew.
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"And don't act like you AREN'T doing that." You rub the bridge of your nose. "I know you're chasing after someone. Some ship. And I know it's not just any specific ship." The three high class crewmates around Captain Abraham are making throat cutting gestures, trying to get you to shut the fuck up.

Captain Abraham simply laughs. It's a deep, gravely laugh. "Why. Of course they know. We're chasing after the Admiral's Game. The crew knows. My right hand men know. Is that the issue?" Wait what. You glance back at the crew, who seem oddly confused at why this is an issue to you.

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] AN X5! THEY'RE NOT SCARED OF AN X5??

"She's listening to those old stories he's spitting out?"
"Feh. It's just some kook shit the Captain talks about."
"I mean hey. He's been a good boss so far. It can't be that bad."
The crew below the stage mutters amongst themselves. They really don't know what's going on.

"That FUCKING PIRATE SHIP WAS TRYING TO STOP YOU!" You pull out the documents and hold them up to the Captain and his three high ranking crewmates. "They were hired SPECIFICALLY to stop you from doing this, Abraham! Is it really worth it? What the hell is so important about your mission?"

Your allies crowd around to read the documents you recovered alongside the Captain and his officials. Your allies and his officials are deeply uncomfortable by what they read in the documents, muttering to each other about what they're actually heading towards. While the crew below is beyond confused at what the hell is going up on the stage.

Captain Abraham simply stares blankly at the documents with a cold, detached expression...
>HIGH ENOUGH CAPTAIN RESPECT! EVENT TRIGGERED!

Before he lets out an exhausted sigh. He turns over to his crew. "I must be honest, crew. We are heading towards a threat far beyond our understanding. Beyond the paradigm the City holds. Beyond the paradigm of rational thought. We are facing something that has destroyed many ships before us and will continue to destroy many more."

The crew, rightfully so, is horrified at the sudden lack of energy and forced hype in the captain's speech. You and your allies are also a bit put off by it. It's cold, distant, everything but his true and honest feelings on the matter stripped away.

"An X5 entity. Land lubbers known as ETF use a simple system. A, B, C, and X. 0 through 5. A and 0 being weakest. X and 5 being strongest." Captain Abraham clears his throat before continuing.

"Letter for containment difficulty, number for how threatening it is. This is something even the companies can not contain. Something even the Head is unwilling to spend resources to stop. Only the brave, foolish, and suicidal can stop it." Captain Abraham drones on. "The Admiral's Game, our hunting target, is such an entity."

"What the fuck? Didn't it take the best ETF Squad in the City to contain the last one?"
"The last one I heard about was during the Antiseptic War!"
"Can we even kill such a thing?"
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Doubt, fear, and confusion spreads throughout the crew at this sudden information. Your own allies are rightfully terrified at this and, if not for their own faith in you, they would be losing their minds over it.

"Now, you may ask. Why am I hunting such an entity? Why do I wish to see it bleed? Simple. This is how I wish to die, crew. I do not wish to rot away in that damnable City, I do not wish to be stuck fishing and transporting blood-soaked goods. I wish to die as a MAN." You only now notice there's something hidden under the sleeve of Captain Abraham's jacket. In one smooth motion, a harpoon slides out of his sleeve and into his hand.

"It nearly killed me once already. When I was naught but a greenhorn on the sea. It killed the first, and only prior, crew I was a part of. Ever since, I have heard hundreds of tales of ships being destroyed by it. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, lost to it. Perhaps even hundreds of thousands." Captain Abraham grinds his teeth. "There wasn't even anything left to bury. Only the pieces of driftwood I'm standing on right now. Thousands of good men dead. And for what?"

"Because no one else has the courage to stop that damn beast? This endless, infinite evil that haunts this sea? Nay. I shall not accept that. And I doubt most of you would accept it either. That is why I told you the name of what we were hunting but not it's true nature. Because you too would've been too afraid to stop it."

Captain Abraham points his harpoon to the north. Almost on cue, a lightning bolt strikes the area he's pointing at.

"I wish to see that damn thing bleed. I want it to remember that, I, Captain Abraham..." He smashes the blunt end of the harpoon onto the stage. "will not die a coward. That us humans are more than pawns for it to grind under its heels. I truly apologize for lying to all of you."

The only sound that can be heard is the pitter patter of rain. A violent crack of thunder echoes through the sky as Captain Abraham continues his speech.

"Now! I shall let anyone who wishes to leave this boat disembark at any time before tomorrow evening. I shall not force you to join me in my mission. However! If you stay with me! If you honor my spirit, if you wish to seek glory and riches beyond our understanding, if you wish to be something beyond the corporate drones you were in the City..."

"Cry. Cry out for my final days on this earth. Cry. For Captain Abraham."
<"Perhaps, if I can survive against his assault, he will acknowledge me. To deem me worthy of dying by his own hands. To crush my throat under his infinite hatred.">

A handful of crewmates in the crowd below immediately split from the crowd, more than willing to accept his offer to get the fuck out. The rest of them? A tangible, almost visible air of desperation surrounds the crewmates and his officials. Mad gazes, wide smiles, giddy noises that are half between laughs and cries.

Madness and obsession oozes from their smiles.
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