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File: CLEANER.jpg (77 KB, 762x762)
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Alas, you are still Nicole Smith, a mentally ill mess of a woman with anomalous abilities. You are a Cleaner, a deniable asset used by massive megacorporations called the Alphabet Companies and anyone else willing to pay you. Such as your Handler, a member of a powerful family who hands you most of your jobs. Mostly so you can clean up messes for him.

The last week has been rough to your psyche and sense of wellbeing. During your tour of an X-Corp military base, you managed to awaken a deep and primordial part of your psyche in the form of antlers growing out of your fucking head. Luckily, you managed to finish the mission by solidifying a deal between E, Q, and X-Corp.

After hanging out with some allies, restocking your supplies, and connecting with corporate representatives, you then spent a solid week at sea. With what? To assist the Captain on it with any and all tasks during the voyage. This so happened to include hunting down an X5 anomaly, one of the most dangerous types of anomalies, called the Admiral's Game.

You managed to hunt down the Admiral's ship and bested him in a game of chess, earning his respect before he passed away. You think. You can't really tell with anomalies this powerful but you swear he's dead. You then managed to reconnect with two of your allies, Maruyama and Kiara, and hung out with them to decompress after your last mission. You noticed that Maruyama had a spark of potential that might blossom into something powerful if you nurtured it.

Your latest mission, which you have just currently started, is hunting down a member of a powerful corporate family by the name of Valentina Vanni. You were tasked with heading down to Abgrund, a small mining town in a section of W-Corp's district, to find out what happened to her. You caught a glimpse of three powerful Alphabet Company administrators on your way in who are also hunting down for her. Things might get hectic if you're not careful.

Though, that's how it is in the City. The only place you've ever truly known. Such a vast and endless stretch of streets, buildings, districts and companies, there's apparently a doppelganger of you out there as well. What her plan is, you don't know.

Your plan? You just want to survive. For you and your allies to be safe. No matter how much blood it takes.

ARCHIVE: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Cleaner
PASTEBINS:
MAIN CHARACTER SHEET (has your stats + perks + 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
INVENTORY (contains your items, consumables, weapons, etc.): https://pastebin.com/n0MH6M17
CITY INFO (General information about the Alphabet Companies and other notable entities): https://pastebin.com/ZP2JN7mT
>>
File: DEVINSHOP.jpg (293 KB, 1920x1080)
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"Max, Alexis. Go check the Mayor's Building-" You take a moment to glance back at the super shoddy mobile-home sized building. You're not actually sure if it's the Mayor's Building but hey, gotta start somewhere! "I think that's what it is. Me, Casey, and Benjamin will check out the general store to see what's going on there."

"Aw." Max huffs with a pout, crossing her arms like a spoiled brat. "Splitting me away from him? Trying to take him away from me, harpie-" She immediately loses the resolve to continue to act as she breaks character, giggling to herself. "Sure, sure. We'll be right back."
<"I never liked Krakatoas. This one is only justifying my past experiences."> "Sure." Alexis curtly nods before grabbing Max by the arm. "Let's go."

"HEY, WAIT-" And she's promptly dragged away by Alexis. You, Benjamin, and Casey watch on as Alexis drags Max away. Soon, all you can see is the faint impression of Max's blueish-grey hair and Alexis' bright white business suit.
>MAX and ALEXIS have temporarily left the party. They will make their own decisions while they're not in your party.

The three of you stand there in awkward silence before Casey breaks the silence by pointing towards the nearby General Store with a giddy, childlike smirk. "Shall we engage in the time honored activity that all humans enjoy participating in?"

[PERSON OF INTEREST] She could've said that in any other way. Is she messing with us?
[UNSTABLE] I GAVE YOU ANTLERS FOR A REASON. GUT HER.

[DELUSIONAL] "CAPTIALISM, HOY!" Benjamin doesn't wait for you two as he immediately begins rushing over to the general store. Fuck, he could've at least TRIED to draw less attention here.

You and Casey chase after him to make sure he doesn't make a fool of himself at the shop. The three of you stumble right into the General Store and, in all of the commotion, you damn near trip over each other trying to fit through the small door all at the same time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCe5Mvho55c - ANCIENT GENERAL STORE

Your first impression when you entered the shop is that you barely even call it one. The shelves are barely stocked and what few supplies are stocked seem to have been sitting there for ages. The rusted sheet metal that makes up the walls and floors is threatening to crack and burst at any second now. There's about one ancient freezer that seems like it was dredged up from the 1960s sitting in the corner, coughing and wheezing for dear life.

You walk over to see if there's even anything inside. Shockingly, there's actually still some frozen goods inside. Mostly discount C-Company ice cream and discount V-Corp sodas. You close the freezer before turning your attention to the back of the shop.

A queer looking man sits at the checkout counter. He's a tall, slim man with pale skin and long, ratty brown-blonde hair with black lipstick smeared all over his lips. A loose and ratty jacket covered in various colorful patches is draped over him.
>>
"Hehehe! Welcome, welcome." The man at the counter gestures at you three to approach. "Welcome to my shop! Call me Devin Woo! Man of the hour himself, hehehe!" A toothy smile stretches across his mouth from ear to ear. "I won't bite, no no, that's what my wife does. Nasty little wolf she is."

[MERCURICAL] Casey immediately frowns when she sees who the shop keeper is. "How disappointing. That's not how a proper businessman should look. That outfit is last century, surely a proper business owner would know better."
[GULLIBLE] "I guess he's just an employee then?" Benjamin shrugs. "If he's not the shop owner. Can't judge him that much."

Devin's smile fades ever so slightly. "I'm the shopkeeper. Only one in this damn town. Could at least give me some respect." His smile bounces back almost immediately. "Oh well! At least you're not like those high and mighty rich types that came into town a week ago- Ah, shouldn't gossip."

"Then why did you say that at all?" You try to hide how insulted you are by the blatant teasing of information.

"For my own safety. Who knows when they'll return? Or if you're one of them too? I can't quite trust you with such information. Especially that Z-Corp fella. Very fancy jacket, yes yes." Devin glances around, as if he just heard someone whispering to him. "Yes, yes, Amber. Soon enough." <[UNSTABLE] That girl in the middle seems familiar. Smells familiar. Kill her, boss?>

[UNSTABLE] Hm.

"So! What would you like to buy, madams and sir? Heh."

DEVIN WOO'S MONSTEROUS EMPERIOUM. SELECT AS MUCH AS YOU'RE WILLING TO BUY.
MONEY: $1863
BARTER SUPPLIES: 6 A-ENERGY ($350 EACH), 2 HIGH CLASS JEWELRY ($200 EACH), 7 HIGH QUALITY WHISKEY ($75 EACH), 3 C-EXTRACT ($625 EACH), 3 C-EXTRACT? ($666 EACH), FISH (MUNDANE) x6 ($25 EACH), FISH (COMMON) x9 ($125 EACH), FISH (RARE) x6 (Equal to 1 A-ENERGY), FISH PILE (VERY RARE) x2 (Equal to 3 A-ENERGY), FISH (SPECIAL) x2 (Equal to 1 C-EXTRACT)

X-CORP MEDAL DISCOUNT ACTIVATED! -10% TO ALL PRICES!

>GAS MASK AND FILTER. "We sell these for those going in the mines! Toxic fumes in there, real bad for the health." ($45 per gasmask, $18 per three filters. Each mask comes with three filters. Protects you from viruses and toxic gases.)
>MINING BUNDLE. "Comes with all the basic mining supplies!" ($225 per bundle. Contains various useful tools for mining and other cave-based exploration, such as nightvision googles, pickaxes, and other such goodies. Enough to equip one ally per bundle.
>DYNAMITE BUNDLE. "I see that H-Corp ID card. Here, have this! From Mr. Pete himself." ($157 per bundle. A highly potent explosive that can be used to quickly cave in passages, blow open barricades, or to heavily damage the structural integrity of a building.)
>POLISHED MOONSTONE CHUNK. "One of the few I have left over before the caves closed." (1 A-Energy or $450 per chunk. Has 5 in stock. Boosts the potential of the next anomalous ability you use. When used on an ally, boosts their max RESTRAINT by 1.)
>>
>POLISHED SUNSTONE CHUNK. "Super rare. I need something REAL valuable." (1 C EXTRACT + $450 per chunk, max of 3. When consumed by you or an ally, permanently boosts max FLESH by 1 and temporarily increases all stats by 2.)
>MAP FRAGMENT. "Due to recent protests, we lost most of our maps. This is all I can offer." ($63 per fragment. Offers a random segment of the caves, offering useful if somewhat questionable advice. Lowers the DC of using WHISPERS OF THE CITY when exploring the cave by 1 per fragment.)
>RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR. "Be careful. Even the best gas mask can only protect against their fumes for so long. ($499. Has three charges that slowly regenerates over time. Warns you of potential gas leaks for your own safety and to help find RAW MOONSTONE CHUNKS.)
>POWER DRILL. "Rips through everything with ease." (1 drill per $540, 1 Tank for $45. Comes with three fuel tanks. Can spend 1 tank to precisely rip through a large section of stone or to make a ATTACK ROLL of 2d8+TALENT+VIOLENCE)
>COLD TREATS. "Old classics!" (3 treats per $22. Makes your allies happier and less prone to freak out but offers no other bonuses.)
>ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. "Just in case. Shit's dangerous down there." (1 chunk per $76. Purges all non-CRIPPLING INJURY status effects, good or bad.)

What do you want to ask him about? Pick up to three.
>Ask him some questions. Anything that comes to mind, really. (Write in up to three questions to ask him about himself, the town and mines, or anything else that catches your attention.)
>[UNSTABLE] HE'S ONE OF US. TRY TO GET HIM TO 'UNDERSTAND' WE'RE JUST LIKE HIM. (WILLPOWER DC: 18, rolling 6d6 by yourself. Getting him to understand that you're on the same wavelength as him might get him to offer some valuable assistance down the line.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] He's clearly being vague and coy about the involvement of the corporate families here. Convince him you're not secret family agents and that he's safe to speak his mind. (CHARM DC: 27 (-2 from CASEY), rolling 8d6+2d3 with help of your allies. You'll likely to get some useful information about Valentina and the other corporate family members if you succeed. You may spend 1 A-Energy or a FISH PILE (RARE) to immediately succeed this check.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Good sir o' Devin, how is this town still in operation if the mines are closed? When WERE the mines closed? Oddly suspicious timing considering some rumors we heard." (CONNECTIONS DC: 30 (-2 from Casey), roll 8d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. He might slip up and say something incriminating or very, very questionable on a success.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Buddy, our companies make the same kind of products. Why would they send a Z-Corp dude to mess with you? You got some bad blood with them?" Let Benjamin pry into him about his past with Z-Corp. Is there a reason he's so suspicious about that company involving themselves in this town? (No skill check needed, thanks to the labcoat.)
(1/2)
>>
>[SEEKER OF THE CITY] "So, your job is to mine Moonstones, right? Has any company shown interest in using them? We're trying to figure out a situation involving them." You still don't have a solid motive for Vanni even being here. Something's wrong with this situation, you just know it.
>[FISH O' PLENTLY] "I got some 'surplus' that your shop might be interested in. Perhaps you'd be willing to humor us?" (Write in how many RARE, VERY RARE, or SPECIAL bundles you give him. For each bundle you give, he'll offer some secrets about the Mine, W-Company, and the people in the town. May prove VERY useful down the line. You may write in a specific kind of secret you want to know.)
>Write in.

Do you sell any of your barter supplies to him? Or use them in exchange of cash?
>YES (Write in which ones to use/sell.)
>NO.

Welcome back to the hellhole. Meant to upload this yesterday but shit sorta got in the way. Oh well, it is what it is. I feel recharged after my small break so hopefully we can keep the momentum up.
>>
>>5982956
>>RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR. "Be careful. Even the best gas mask can only protect against their fumes for so long. ($499. Has three charges that slowly regenerates over time. Warns you of potential gas leaks for your own safety and to help find RAW MOONSTONE CHUNKS.)
>POWER DRILL. "Rips through everything with ease." (1 drill per $540, 1 Tank for $45. Comes with three fuel tanks. Can spend 1 tank to precisely rip through a large section of stone or to make a ATTACK ROLL of 2d8+TALENT+VIOLENCE)
Just one and the three tanks it comes with
>GAS MASK AND FILTER. "We sell these for those going in the mines! Toxic fumes in there, real bad for the health." ($45 per gasmask, $18 per three filters. Each mask comes with three filters. Protects you from viruses and toxic gases.)
Maybe enough for the whole team? I'm not crunching numbers right now
>MINING BUNDLE. "Comes with all the basic mining supplies!" ($225 per bundle. Contains various useful tools for mining and other cave-based exploration, such as nightvision googles, pickaxes, and other such goodies. Enough to equip one ally per bundle.
Just one, we'll have the drill.
>COLD TREATS. "Old classics!" (3 treats per $22. Makes your allies happier and less prone to freak out but offers no other bonuses.)
>ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. "Just in case. Shit's dangerous down there." (1 chunk per $76. Purges all non-CRIPPLING INJURY status effects, good or bad.)
1 set of three treats, and a dose of charcoal

>[UNSTABLE] HE'S ONE OF US. TRY TO GET HIM TO 'UNDERSTAND' WE'RE JUST LIKE HIM. (WILLPOWER DC: 18, rolling 6d6 by yourself. Getting him to understand that you're on the same wavelength as him might get him to offer some valuable assistance down the line.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Buddy, our companies make the same kind of products. Why would they send a Z-Corp dude to mess with you? You got some bad blood with them?" Let Benjamin pry into him about his past with Z-Corp. Is there a reason he's so suspicious about that company involving themselves in this town? (No skill check needed, thanks to the labcoat.)
>[FISH O' PLENTLY] "I got some 'surplus' that your shop might be interested in. Perhaps you'd be willing to humor us?" (Write in how many RARE, VERY RARE, or SPECIAL bundles you give him. For each bundle you give, he'll offer some secrets about the Mine, W-Company, and the people in the town. May prove VERY useful down the line. You may write in a specific kind of secret you want to know.)
Lets give him like, 2 rare fish

Do you sell any of your barter supplies to him? Or use them in exchange of cash?
>YES (Write in which ones to use/sell.)
Lets sell all the mundane and common fish
>>
Welcome back OP

>>5982953
>past experiences
Which one triggered you this bad, Alexis?
>all humans
Yes, because Casey is totally one too
>ANTLERS FOR A REASON
Not as handlebars when finally finding that special someone?
>trip over each other
I missed this comedy

>>5982955
>that's what my wife does
What a lucky man
>those high and mighty rich types that came into town a week ago
But this is happening right now? Is this about Valentina arriving? Rich types plural... so Vanni wasn't alone?
>seems familiar. Smells familiar
That fucking doppleganger? Here?
>>
Voting

>>5982955
>>5982956
>GAS MASK AND FILTER
We already have 4 sets of these, check the inventory >>5982973. Might as well grab 1 extra for a total of 5 sets because there's 5 of us here
>DYNAMITE BUNDLE
Useful if we raid a glowie base, don't have to use it here
>POLISHED MOONSTONE CHUNK
Get 2, pay with 2 A. I don't know if that's +1 max RESTRAINT permanently, but I'm willing to get this even if it isn't
>POLISHED SUNSTONE CHUNK
Get 1, pay in 1 C that isn't from the ones Admiral gave us. This is TOO GOOD to pass up one
>RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR.
No way I'm passing this up with this mission. We can always trade this back in on our way out if we won't have to use it after this mission
>POWER DRILL
What >>5982973 said
>COLD TREATS
>ACTIVATED CHARCOAL
What >>5982973 said

>>5982956
>>5982957
>[UNSTABLE]
Clown to clown!!!
>[BENJAMIN ALLY]
No check needed? Count me in
>[FISH O' PLENTY]
2 rare, what >>5982973 said
Mine and W Corp, please.

Every option here is good, but we can still get info from the mine guards with the bribe money
>>
>>5983045
+1
I like this with what the other guy said.

Anyway, nice start and welcome back Handler. Looking forward to continuing the quest. Missed it while it was on break, hope you had time to rest.
>>
Checking the inventory for things we could use eventually
>ANTIQUE CELLPHONE
>OLD CHARGER
We could have nfo to use to deal with Roland, Max's dad, if we had used this earlier. We simply had no time, but that's OK
>RED CLOTH FRAGMENT
We got this from Gregory's chair in his camera room in the movie mission. We don't have enough for an Ensemble nor a person to use this with, but this is still important for armor
>FANCY PIRATE HAT
Not the same as the ACTING CAPTAIN HAT, which is permanently for Adam to keep. This one just says "One of your allies may like it?" which we still don't know who.
>PULSATING GEAR
Very intriguing description. I have no idea what this could be meant for
>SILVER WALKIE TALKIE
We never used this once since we got it. We went through all the trouble for it, so why not use it at some point? Problem here is on this mission only Benjamin knows about the glowies (or Max too if he told her offscreen), and we have 3 corp admins roaming around. Pretty high risk, and it doesn't seem like the silver agents have any presence here on this mining mission. Might not be worth it this time
>MEAT BAIT
We still have some from the fishing we did. If there's a creature lurking in the mines, we can put this to great effect.
>BARRICADE GRENADE x2
This might be a great substitute to game overing ourselves by blowing up the mines with us inside it. "Can block most narrow passageways" it says.
>METAL DETECTOR
Could also be useful to detect Valentina if she's trapped behind a wall or inaccessible? Combined with Max's implant radar, we can be more sure if what we found really is Valentina... or something else.
>INFLATABLE LIFEBOAT x3
Better off selling these, honestly. Will we ever need to inflate 3 whole lifeboats just to block a hallway?
>P-CORP ENERGY COUNTER
Now THIS is valuable. There's bound to be some weird shit in these mines or in the surrounding area. This along with the other detector items we have will give us an edge
>S-CORP LEDGER
We could pass it to Alexis or Max to check over, while we're together on this job
>Q-CORP DRONE PHERMONES
We never did go on that Q Corp mission. We could really put "spend a charge to make the next person you encounter completely forget you were ever there" to good use. I doubt it'll be here though, with how there's guards PLURAL at the mine exit.
>SALTRIL BRANDED ANTI PSYCHOTICS x2
Will we ever use these again, now that we have UNSTABLE RESOLVE from showing compassion to UNSTABLE in the mind vision? Might as well give them to Benedict next time
>CYANIDE PILL x1
We still have one left after Admiral?
>OIL BLACK BLOOD VIAL
"+3d6 to all checks relating to locating a human, drone, or anomaly" says we should keep this in mind down in the mine
>LALILU BRANDED PILL
OP we have 2 of them, not 1. Handler gave us 2, and we gave 1 to allies. That got used up to depanic Benedict, so we are at 2.
>E-CLASS RATIONS x4
"Useful during exploration" it says. And the mine's right over there.

That's all I got right now
>>
>>5983091
Whoops, I meant Handler gave us THREE (3) LALILU pills. ONE (1) got used on Benedict. We are left with TWO (2)
>-2 RUSTED SILVER BERRIES
>+SOMTOIN ZETA x2 (A potent psychoactive that reformats your soul. +3 CHARM, +1 WILLPOWER, +1 TALENT and CONNECTIONS temporarily on use. Radically alters how the voices in your head act while active, altering future voting options for better and worse.)
Update inventory with this next time, please.

>>5983086
I missed it too. Once we get out of the shopping and start really operating this mission, we'll be in the swing of things again.
>>
>>5983045
+1
>>
>>5982955
>GAS MASK AND FILTER. "We sell these for those going in the mines! Toxic fumes in there, real bad for the health." ($45 per gasmask, $18 per three filters. Each mask comes with three filters. Protects you from viruses and toxic gases.)
Enough for everyone
>MINING BUNDLE. "Comes with all the basic mining supplies!" ($225 per bundle. Contains various useful tools for mining and other cave-based exploration, such as nightvision googles, pickaxes, and other such goodies. Enough to equip one ally per bundle.
>POLISHED SUNSTONE CHUNK. "Super rare. I need something REAL valuable." (1 C EXTRACT + $450 per chunk, max of 3. When consumed by you or an ally, permanently boosts max FLESH by 1 and temporarily increases all stats by 2.)
>MAP FRAGMENT. "Due to recent protests, we lost most of our maps. This is all I can offer." ($63 per fragment. Offers a random segment of the caves, offering useful if somewhat questionable advice. Lowers the DC of using WHISPERS OF THE CITY when exploring the cave by 1 per fragment.)
>RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR. "Be careful. Even the best gas mask can only protect against their fumes for so long. ($499. Has three charges that slowly regenerates over time. Warns you of potential gas leaks for your own safety and to help find RAW MOONSTONE CHUNKS.)
>ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. "Just in case. Shit's dangerous down there." (1 chunk per $76. Purges all non-CRIPPLING INJURY status effects, good or bad.)
2

>[UNSTABLE] HE'S ONE OF US. TRY TO GET HIM TO 'UNDERSTAND' WE'RE JUST LIKE HIM. (WILLPOWER DC: 18, rolling 6d6 by yourself. Getting him to understand that you're on the same wavelength as him might get him to offer some valuable assistance down the line.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] He's clearly being vague and coy about the involvement of the corporate families here. Convince him you're not secret family agents and that he's safe to speak his mind. (CHARM DC: 27 (-2 from CASEY), rolling 8d6+2d3 with help of your allies. You'll likely to get some useful information about Valentina and the other corporate family members if you succeed. You may spend 1 A-Energy or a FISH PILE (RARE) to immediately succeed this check.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Good sir o' Devin, how is this town still in operation if the mines are closed? When WERE the mines closed? Oddly suspicious timing considering some rumors we heard." (CONNECTIONS DC: 30 (-2 from Casey), roll 8d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. He might slip up and say something incriminating or very, very questionable on a success.)
>>
>>5982956
>GAS MASK AND FILTER. "We sell these for those going in the mines! Toxic fumes in there, real bad for the health." ($45 per gasmask, $18 per three filters. Each mask comes with three filters. Protects you from viruses and toxic gases.)
>MINING BUNDLE. "Comes with all the basic mining supplies!" ($225 per bundle. Contains various useful tools for mining and other cave-based exploration, such as nightvision googles, pickaxes, and other such goodies. Enough to equip one ally per bundle.
>DYNAMITE BUNDLE. "I see that H-Corp ID card. Here, have this! From Mr. Pete himself." ($157 per bundle. A highly potent explosive that can be used to quickly cave in passages, blow open barricades, or to heavily damage the structural integrity of a building.)
>POLISHED MOONSTONE CHUNK. "One of the few I have left over before the caves closed." (1 A-Energy or $450 per chunk. Has 5 in stock. Boosts the potential of the next anomalous ability you use. When used on an ally, boosts their max RESTRAINT by 1.)
>RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR. "Be careful. Even the best gas mask can only protect against their fumes for so long. ($499. Has three charges that slowly regenerates over time. Warns you of potential gas leaks for your own safety and to help find RAW MOONSTONE CHUNKS.)
>ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. "Just in case. Shit's dangerous down there." (1 chunk per $76. Purges all non-CRIPPLING INJURY status effects, good or bad.)

>[UNSTABLE] HE'S ONE OF US. TRY TO GET HIM TO 'UNDERSTAND' WE'RE JUST LIKE HIM. (WILLPOWER DC: 18, rolling 6d6 by yourself. Getting him to understand that you're on the same wavelength as him might get him to offer some valuable assistance down the line.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Good sir o' Devin, how is this town still in operation if the mines are closed? When WERE the mines closed? Oddly suspicious timing considering some rumors we heard." (CONNECTIONS DC: 30 (-2 from Casey), roll 8d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. He might slip up and say something incriminating or very, very questionable on a success.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Buddy, our companies make the same kind of products. Why would they send a Z-Corp dude to mess with you? You got some bad blood with them?" Let Benjamin pry into him about his past with Z-Corp. Is there a reason he's so suspicious about that company involving themselves in this town? (No skill check needed, thanks to the labcoat.)

Welcome back QM
>>
WHAT TO BUY
RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR: rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86, Edb
POWER DRILL: rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86 (Majority picked to buy the drill without any other tanks)
GAS MASK: ALL (Buying one, since you have four already.)
MINING BUNDLE: rOJ, e3B, Edb
COLD TREATS: rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86 (Buying one bundle of three)
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86, Edb (Majority of one dose)
POLISED MOONSTONE: Buw, W2U, H86, Edb (Majority who picked this is buying two with 2 A)
POLISHED SUNSTONE: Buw, W2U, H86, e3b (Majority who picked this is buying one with 1 regular C-Extract)
DYNAMITE BUNDLE: Buw, W2U, H86, Edb
MAP FRAGMENT: e3b

UNSTABLE: EVERYONE
BENJAMIN ALLY: rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86, Edb
FISH O' PLENTLY rOJ, Buw, W2U, H86 (paying with 2 Rare Fish)
CASEY: e3b, Edb
PERSON OF INTEREST: e3b

SELL ANYTHING
ALL MUNDANE AND COMMON: rOJ
NO COMMENT: Everyone else

So, overall, the list of stuff is RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR, POWER DRILL, GAS MASK x1, MINING BUNDLE, COLD TREATS, ACTIVATED CHARCOAL, POLISHED MOONSTONE x2, POLISHED SUNSTONE x1, and DYNAMITE BUNDLE, leaving you with $299. You also spend 2 A-Energy, 1 C-Extract, and 2 Rare Fish.

Wanna see your MUNDANE and COMMON fish to recoup some of your losses?
>YES (-COMMON and MUNDANE FISH, +$1275, leaving you at $1574)
>YES AND THE LIFEBOATS (-COMMON, MUNDANE, and LIFEBOATS. You imagine you could get $200 out of the lifeboats from him thanks to the raw material they could use for other products here, so +$1475, leaving you at $1774)
>NYO, but sell the useless INFLATABLE LIFEBOATS. (-3 LIFEBOATS, +$200, leaving you at $499)
>NO. DON'T SELL ANYTHING. HOLD.

And since a majority only picked UNSTABLE as the thing to roll, I need three anons to roll 2d6.

>>5983045
To clarify, it does boost max RESTRAINT permanently. I'll leave that to a future vote to decide who gets it.
>>5983091
>OP we have 2 of them, not 1. Handler gave us 3, and we gave 1 to allies. That got used up to depanic Benedict, so we are at 2.
Ah, fair, will rectify that soon, alongside the Zeta thing, with the FAT PURCHASES you got.
>>
Rolled 1, 3 = 4 (2d6)

>>5983886
>YES AND THE LIFEBOATS (-COMMON, MUNDANE, and LIFEBOATS. You imagine you could get $200 out of the lifeboats from him thanks to the raw material they could use for other products here, so +$1475, leaving you at $1774)
>>
>>5983894
FUCKKKKKKKKKKKK
>>
Rolled 3, 3 = 6 (2d6)

>>5983886
>>
>>5983886
>YES AND THE LIFEBOATS (-COMMON, MUNDANE, and LIFEBOATS. You imagine you could get $200 out of the lifeboats from him thanks to the raw material they could use for other products here, so +$1475, leaving you at $1774)
>>
Rolled 1, 6 = 7 (2d6)

>>5983886
>those rolls
Oh no... we failed...
ANYWAY
>YES AND THE LIFEBOATS (-COMMON, MUNDANE, and LIFEBOATS. You imagine you could get $200 out of the lifeboats from him thanks to the raw material they could use for other products here, so +$1475, leaving you at $1774)
Back to the brink of BROKE and back up again
>>
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>>5983894
>>5983899
>>5983916
>4
>6
>7
>=
>17
>WILLPOWER DC: 18
>OFF BY ONE
With an outcome like this, we might as well have not even fucking bothered.
>>
>17

Well, good thing you got some resources to consoom. Pick one.
>1 CHARGE OFF YOUR ECLIPSE TALISMAN (Due to the sheer statistical improbability of rolling another two 1s, this counts as a success)
>1 PEP PILL+ (adds up to 21, another success.)
>[UNSTABLE] ACTUALLY, MAYBE FAILING MIGHT BE GOOD IN THIS SITUATION. FUCK IT, WE BALL. (Who knows what might happen?)
>>
>>5983926
>1 CHARGE OFF YOUR ECLIPSE TALISMAN (Due to the sheer statistical improbability of rolling another two 1s, this counts as a success)
>>
>>5983926
>1 CHARGE OFF YOUR ECLIPSE TALISMAN (Due to the sheer statistical improbability of rolling another two 1s, this counts as a success)
Guys, we're in a mining zone for W Corp where they have Moonstones and Sunstones. And Nicole has an Eclipse Talisman. Hmmm...
>>
>>5983886
>NYO, but sell the useless INFLATABLE LIFEBOATS. (-3 LIFEBOATS, +$200, leaving you at $499)

>>5983926
>1 CHARGE OFF YOUR ECLIPSE TALISMAN (Due to the sheer statistical improbability of rolling another two 1s, this counts as a success)
>>
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Closing it now. Three for selling Fish + Lifeboats, one for only lifeboats. Three for consuming Talisman charge. I keep these votes short so we don't drag out things 6ever.
Small error, I forgot to account for the $450 that the Sunstone asks, so you are left with $1324 instead of $1774. However, that's still a lot of money left after buying a lot of useful items, so hopefully this isn't too much of a deal.

Writing. Fifty threads of Nicole's adventures 4evermore.
>>
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>-COMMON + MUNDANE FISH, -2 RARE FISH, -2 A ENERGY, -1 C-EXCTRACT, -LIFEBOATS
>$1324 LEFT

After he slices through the inflatable lifeboats to get sheets of the material they're made out of, you place down all of your bundles of COMMON and MUNDANE FISH, two bundles of RARE FISH, 2 A-Energy and the C-Extract, and some cash as payment (and bribery)

"Hot damn, haven't gotten fish here in YEARS!" Devin flips through the bundles of fish you manage to transport over. "Wish it could've been fresh but hey! The transportations costs from T and Y-Corp ain't worth paying for fish these days." He picks them up and heads through a door behind him, likely to store them in some freezer for later.

You, Casey, and Benjamin split up to grab some various supplies from the store you bought. Why else would you give him all of that fish if it wasn't for the purpose of CAPTIALISM, after all?

Most of the items around the shop are pretty self explanatory. The power drill is a huge, bulky drill that you can barely carry, the gas mask is a gas mask, etc etc. The items that do catch your interest are the Moonstone + Sunstone chunks and the Moonstone Gas Detector.

The polished moonstone chunks, which are a dark and cloudy royal purple compared to the brighter purple of fully refined Moonstones, are about the size of a tennis ball each. Inside of the gemstone is a swirling, dark purple gas that's oddly hypnotizing to watch. Swirling, swirling, swirling.
The Sunstone Chunk you picked out is a blindingly bright orange gemstone fragment carved in the shape of a star. It BURNS to hold in your hands. You immediately have to wrap it around some spare fabric strips you had to prevent any serious damage. A bright orange glow pours out of the stone, visible even underneath the fabric covering.

Casey and Benjamin finish carrying over the MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR over to the checkout counter. It's a big, bulky aluminium box that on first blush looks more akin to a vintage air conditioning unit than a piece of mining equipment. Three screens with bright green text on a black background are plastered on the front and sides the box.

"ECLIPSE SILK CONCENTRATION: MEDIUM"
"MOONLIGHT GAS CONCENTRATION: LOW."
"DAWNLIGHT GAS CONCENTRATION: LOW."

"Probably just because of the gemstones in the shop." Benjamin mutters as he scans through the walls of incomprehensible technical jargon that fills most of the detector's screens. "Methane, Carbon Monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, Carbon Dioxide...detects those too..."

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Eclipse? Like our talisman? You absolutely don't recall W-Company advertising that they make Talismans. It's not an official product from them.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Maybe they just harvest the material if one of their leftover pieces of mining equipment can detect it. Though you don't find silk in mines, right?

>+ACTIVATED CHARCOAL, GAS MASK, MOONSTONE CHUNK x2, SUNSTONE CHUNK, RAW MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR, POWER DRILL, COLD TREATS, DYANMITE BUNDLE, MINING BUNDLE
>>
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"So! I saw you gave me some little treats like this, mmmh?" He gestures towards the fish you gave him. "Well, well, I'm not one to smack a gift like that away. What secrets do you wish to know?"

"How about about the Mines and W-Corp?"

One of his eyes twitches. "Oh, mines, mines, MINES. Nothing good down there, no no, nothing worth the infinite risk down there anymore, no. So many untapped moon, sun, dwarfstones, and eclipse silk but no no. The fumes there, the gas infinitely leaking from those things, we dug too deep, yes yes." Oh god, it's like you triggered some sort of psychoactive break in him.

"Equivalent exchange you see. The moons require you to shatter into glass, glass. Fragments. One mind is not good enough, no no, not for W-Company. Shatter, shatter, five isn't good enough. Pull the glass OUTSIDE of your head and STUFF it into another, patches up one mirror but you see, the other mirror is broken. Can't see a reflection anymore. The you there doesn't exist. That's why we had to close the mines, yes."

"Wait." You try your best to get some clarification. "Are you saying that going in there...breaks your mind? The fumes in there? How deep do you have to go for it to happen?"

Devin leans over the counter, his hands gripping tightly on the rusted metal checkout counter. "Below a thousand feet, nothing but the Lack. Pure oblivion. Oh, but they don't mind that. They don't mind when you can't even see your own reflection. Shatter, shatter, shatter. That's what they want. There's nothing of value in you for them unless you saw the Lack. Total oblivion. See, that's why we're good, Nicole-" Wait, how does he know your name?

[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] You assume the 'Lack" is metaphorical. Probably just when the concentration of gas is lethal.

"2+2 doesn't equal 4 anymore. We can see the logical gaps that the others can't. That's why W-Company likes us, yes, yes. When the stones of doubt holding you back are shattered like the mirror, yes, that's when you're free. I know some people who wanted to go back to the mine. To huff in those sweet, delicious fumes. So much, much. I want to go back too. To see the Lack. They had to close it, close it, otherwise we would wander back there."

"Been like that for two weeks now. Levels too high. Too unsafe. Feh."

A weird look crosses Benjamin's face as he processes Devin's ramblings. <"...That doesn't sound half bad. To not have to worry about 'you'...">

[PERSON OF INTEREST] The only reason someone would go down there is if they were trying to hide from something or someone.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] If she had any interest in this place, she had to know about the properties of the gasses down there beforehand...
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] The complete oblivion of the soul. Obliteration of the self. Ultimate freedom from the world around you.
[UNSTABLE] Valentina disappeared a week ago, right? Maybe she wants to obliterate herself? Or to become like us?

This complicates things severely.
>>
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If the person you're trying to recuse is intentionally trying to obliterate her brain from the gasses deep inside the cave, then you're on a time limit. Could it some sort of sick self experimentation? Or maybe she somehow didn't know and she's risking permanent brain damage by fucking around down there?

[PERSON OF INTEREST] There's no way the guards would've let her in willing, would they? Did she bribe them? Did she sneak in? Why would they let her in at all, though?
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] The way he phrased that seemed to imply that W-Company wasn't the reason it's closed if they actually ENJOY people shattering their minds. So who closed it? What's the actual reason?

After riling himself up, Devin slumps behind the counter with an exhausted, hazy frown. His calm, reasonable mask is GONE now.

"Wait." Benjamin snaps out of his funk. "Buddy, our companies make the same kind of products. Why would they send a Z-Corp dude to mess with you? You got some bad blood with them?" He pulls at the front of his labcoat, showing off the symbol of Z-Company stitched onto it. "I mean. I wasn't even informed of anything happening here. I fucking work with them, man."

Devin deflates a bit, sinking even further behind the counter. "Used to be someone before shattering. Wanted to be artist. Then coder. No no. Z-Company next option. Alas, no luck there. Bad relationship. Ran here."

"Again, if it was something important enough for Z-Company to hunt you down over, I would know." Benjamin adjusts his glasses, trying his best to process Devin's schizo speech (throwing stones in glass houses here, Nicky.) "Please. I'm not going to rat you out. Hell, Z-Company isn't even hunting you, man."

"...Came down here two months back. Wanted to get shipment of Eclipse Silk. Went down to get some for boss. Became this. Left when they saw me. Been shopkeep since."
"What a poor waste of human resources!" Casey coos out, leaning over the counter- wait is she squishing her chest against the counter like that on purpose. "Poor, poor bee! Perhaps we can offer some assistances if you tell us more?"

"Mmh." Devin doesn't seem to notice the stunt Casey is pulling but her honeyed voice seems to be enough to get something out of him. "Don't know much. Been staying in here. Quiet thoughts, time with my wife, outside is worrying. What I know is that Z-Company is trying to push in. To access mines for resources. May be asking other parties to access them too. Warned guards to keep an eye out just in case."

So, the families might not be here just for Valentina's sake but they might be on behalf of Z-Company? Seems like it was a good decision to bring Benjamin down here.

You stare at Devin. He stares back with a confused, dazed look. He glances up at the Antlers you have before staring back at you. A weird cyan swirl is inside his eyes. Spiraling in and in.

His eyes widen for the briefest of seconds as he stares into your eyes. You find yourself smiling despite not really wanting to.
>>
"Can you hear him too?" Devin whimpers like a kicked puppy.

"Her, in my case. Yes, yes I can." You nod with a smirk completely discordant with your pitying tone of voice. "Heard him scream. Something about me being familiar? Did you see me before?"

"No. Just smelled like my kind. Didn't know for sure." <[UNSTABLE]She's been shattered far longer, boss. Trust her.> "What to do if they glow?" Okay, so no doppelgangers...

[UNSTABLE] "Run them over like the niggers they are."

"Good, good. It's not bad having a friend in yourself. Is it?"

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] "Who else can you trust? They're just as much as you as you are them."

Benjamin and Casey, reasonably, have no idea how to react to you two blabbering nonsense at each other

An ear to ear smile crosses Devin's face. "I need some time to readjust myself. I'll remember you, Nicole." Despite the limited amount of words shared between you two, you felt like he owes you a favor somehow. "Now. I need a moment."

it's probably wise to let this man rest. You gather your stuff and promptly exit the store with your allies. You're not sure how long you have until something in this town begins to boil over or something bad happens to Valentina's mental state, if what Devin said could be taken at face value.

Where to head to next?
>You see three familiar corpos approaching the saloon. Perhaps it would be wise to observe them. Without Max and Alexis, they might not notice you.
>You should probably regroup with Max and Alexis at the Mayor's office. See what they found out from the mayor, tell them what your group found, etc.
>Something seriously foul is happening in those mines and the guards probably know a lot about what's going on. Time to harass-, uh, interview them.
>The crowd of miners arguing with the corpos are still wandering around the town's entrance. Weird. Check up on them.
>Head to the apartments. Perhaps you can gleam more about the living conditions here. Maybe even some clues as to why this town in specific is so interesting to corporate entities.

What do you want to do on your way over? Pick two.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Tune into the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE. Maybe some useful information about your mission is inside?
>Take a moment to talk to Casey and Benjamin. Ask for their thoughts on what you've seen so far in town. (You may write in some questions to ask them or specific topics you want to hear their thoughts on.)
>[CHARGED ANTIQUE PHONE] Check through the Antique Cellphone. You imagine there has to be some useful information about the corporate families roaming around here.
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Hey, got any idea how the fuck this works?" Hold up the PULSATING GEAR to him. He might be able to figure out how it works.
>[CASEY ALLY] Her eyes seem to be staring at the FANCY PIRATE HAT? Fuck it, time to humor her. (+RAPPORT with Casey and a glimpse into why she is the way she is.)
>Write in.

Due to some complications, had to rewrite a section. Sorry for delay.
>>
>>5984072
>The crowd of miners arguing with the corpos are still wandering around the town's entrance. Weird. Check up on them.
Befriending the miners to help solve town problems. We can get great rewards if we help the townspeople. They can give and send us daily stuff from the mine and other stuff if we solve the town problem.

>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Hey, got any idea how the fuck this works?" Hold up the PULSATING GEAR to him. He might be able to figure out how it works.
>[CASEY ALLY] Her eyes seem to be staring at the FANCY PIRATE HAT? Fuck it, time to humor her. (+RAPPORT with Casey and a glimpse into why she is the way she is.)
>>
>>5984067
>gas infinitely leaking
>Inside of the gemstone is a swirling, dark purple gas that's oddly hypnotizing
>Boosts the potential of the next anomalous ability. When used on an ally, boosts their max RESTRAINT by 1.
>Warns you of potential gas leaks for your own safety and to help find RAW MOONSTONE CHUNKS.
So the stones are only functioning if they have this gas in them? I wonder if artificial moonstones are produced by W Corp, where they simply gather the gas to contain it to a degree that it has similar properties as the real stones but without as much potency?
>Equivalent exchange
Oh no
>shatter into glass
Like the rep Wendy. Like Nicole. Like this guy.
>Pull the glass OUTSIDE of your head and STUFF it into another, patches up one mirror but you see, the other mirror is broken. Can't see a reflection anymore. The you there doesn't exist.
>you can't even see your own reflection
Any smarter anon want to decipher this ramble? I can't make sense of it
>nothing but the Lack. Pure oblivion
Wait is this a Slay the Princess thing? Is there a bird bro down there trapped without his wife? The black canary in the moon mindbreak mine?
>W-Company likes us
Putting mental illness and mindbreak to good use? Weaponizing "fictional" style multiple personality disorder to make people more competent and creative assets? W Corp has a very cool thing going if true. But why do they hate anomalies so much then? Do they see being "shattered" like Nicole is as a good thing, but where being turned into an anomaly makes you less human?
>two weeks now
So the mines have been closed this recently? Something's still off with the time discrepancy...
>weird look crosses Benjamin's face
You're still you even if you make yourself a Disco Elysium protagonist, Ben. Distorting yourself changes nothing. You have to stand on your own to feet to be able to live.
>Valentina disappeared a week ago
>intentionally trying to obliterate her brain
Bitch really wanted to mindbreak herself into nothingness. And she had a whole week to do it

>>5984068
>W-Company wasn't the reason it's closed
But this is THEIR mine. Who else has authority?
>throwing stones in glass houses here, Nicky
:^)
>squishing her chest against the counter
It's hip to-
>good decision to bring Benjamin
We still have a Z Corp Favor from way back when we saved Benjamin at the start of the quest
>weird cyan swirl is inside his eyes. Spiraling in and in
Sounds about right. I don't think we got how Wendy's eyes looked. Nicole's aren't like this, not the same

>>5984072
>shattered far longer
Since birth? UNSTABLE alluded to that before, but still unclear
>no doppelgangers
The 521 assassin guys aren't here. Small mercy
>ear to ear smile
Poor guy. He didn't mean to get mindbroken but he's been like this 1 week already.

Clearly we have a serious time limit mission on our hands
>>
>>5984127
>he's been like this 1 week already.
I am dumb, he said 2 months and I didn't read

Mine was closed down 2 weeks ago, according to Devin.
Full radio silence from Valentina for a week and a half, according to the Handler.
Valentina disappeared a week ago, according to UNSTABLE.
And just now the 3 corpo guys and Nicole's group show up. Very strange timeline
>>
>>5984072
>>5984080
Do we still have the earpiece from back when we did the Benedict and Adam fast food mission? We had Ben and Alexis with us back then too. If Alexis has the other earpiece, maybe we can still use it to contact them here? Dunno if that would be a free action
>>
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HE'S BACK.
>You should probably regroup with Max and Alexis at the Mayor's office. See what they found out from the mayor, tell them what your group found, etc.

>[CASEY ALLY] PIRATE HAT
>TALK TO BEN AND CASEY. Ask Ben if he has really really really strong painkillers or another strong downer/hallucinogen (can't suffer existential damage if you're on vacation on the dark side of the moon). Ask Casey for advice on talking down suicides and really fucking bad ideas (Valentina showdown prep (if there's anything left of her down there)).

>>5984129
>>5984127
Maybe the Lack is like antimatter coming into contact with regular matter; even time breaks down as the interaction explodes and all the anomalous energies are released.

>GLASS
Bros, I think Unstable is SOMEONE ELSE'S IDEA forcibly put into Nicole's head. She was broken one way or another (patching one mirror implies it being broken) then the fragment of another person was taken (pulling out glass) and implanted (STUFFED LIKE AN OREO).

>mfw the doppleganger is the real Nicole looking for revenge
>>
>>5984080
+1
This looks good. Getting the gear working and starting the rapport train with Casey seems smart.

On what the schizo was saying, I think part of making the Moonstones might be the fragmentation of the self.
Interesting update for sure though, we should probably find time to listen in on the silver radio soon. I have no doubt the Glowies are somehow involved here, especially with their interest in Nicole.
>>
>>5984072
>Head to the apartments. Perhaps you can gleam more about the living conditions here. Maybe even some clues as to why this town in specific is so interesting to corporate entities.

>[CASEY ALLY] Her eyes seem to be staring at the FANCY PIRATE HAT? Fuck it, time to humor her. (+RAPPORT with Casey and a glimpse into why she is the way she is.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Tune into the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE. Maybe some useful information about your mission is inside?
>>
>>5984149
The Ben suggestion is a good idea. We still have the SINNLOSCHEN "party favors" from the casino job
>SINNLÖSCHEN x2 (+2 WILLPOWER, you roll d8s when making WILLPOWER checks and -1 FLESH DAMAGE taken while active. Constantly drains your RESTRAINT while active.)
And we have the new SOMTOIN ZETA we had Ben make with those berries
>SOMTOIN ZETA x2 (A potent psychoactive that reformats your soul. +3 CHARM, +1 WILLPOWER, +1 TALENT and CONNECTIONS temporarily on use. Radically alters how the voices in your head act while active, altering future voting options for better and worse.)
"Reformats your soul" sounds fucking sick too. Let's assume we have to use all of these to survive some serious horror down there in the mines. We have 4 mind altering drugs in total. We have 5 people in the party. One person will have to face the mystery horror sober in that case.
Also interesting idea to get help from Casey. She's not a human, but that doesn't mean she hasn't had bad days. I half expect her to ramble about productivity and quotas and working happily in this case. Might not be worth it?
>antimatter
Interesting take anon
>spoiler
You're throwing out some serious ideas there. But no way Nicole would give up UNSTABLE

>>5984161
>part of making the Moonstones might be the fragmentation of the self
He literally said as much, c'mon
>I have no doubt the Glowies are somehow involved here
I disagree. I think it's just us, the corpo trio, and the mines. After so much subterfuge and multi-faction muddiness, I like a mission like this where it's clearer-cut and bare in third party involvement. Sure there's insanity and conspiracy everywhere, but the rest of the way there doesn't have to be as loaded. It reminds me of the first mission with Benjamin and the one with the Ace Strikers gang. I wonder if we'll get something similar if we go to the jew tunnels? We might decide we have had enough of spelunking for a while after these mines, and pass on it.

>>5984072
Fuck it, voting
>You see three familiar corpos approaching the saloon. Perhaps it would be wise to observe them. Without Max and Alexis, they might not notice you.
Why yes I am deliberately causing a 4 way tie for the hell of it
>[CASEY ALLY] Her eyes seem to be staring at the FANCY PIRATE HAT? Fuck it, time to humor her. (+RAPPORT with Casey and a glimpse into why she is the way she is.)
We are at 0 RAPPORT, let's get that going
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Tune into the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE. Maybe some useful information about your mission is inside?
I think even though we are far from the glowies here, it's safe enough for a first attempt at listening in
>>
>>5984080
Change/edit
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Hey, got any idea how the fuck this works?" Hold up the PULSATING GEAR to him. He might be able to figure out how it works.
Switch to
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Tune into the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE. Maybe some useful information about your mission is inside?
>>
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There's a lot of things to do and not a lot of time. Though time seems to be...weird here, given all of the inconsistent timelines given. To be fair, Devin might not be totally accurate with how long he's been here. He was rambling a lot of incoherent nonsense

[PERSON OF INTEREST] The thing that doesn't make sense is that he was apparently here two months ago. Yet the levels were already that lethal? Yet Valentina was gone for a week and a half, as confirmed by our Handler. Yet our groups are only coming here now? That doesn't make any sense.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Time dilation is an issue in T-Company's district but that's three whole districts away and the Handler said there was no anomalous tomfuckery happening around here, right?
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] I don't really sense anything myself.
[UNSTABLE] YOU KNOW HOW SOMETIMES, YOU BLACK OUT, NICOLE? BECAUSE OF ME? AND YOU DON'T KNOW HOW LONG IT'S BEEN?
[UNSTABLE] NOW, IF SOMEONE WHO ONLY WENT DOWN THERE ONCE ENDED UP HAVING A PIECE LIKE ME, IMAGINE HOW BADLY THE MINERS HERE WERE AFFECTED. OR HELL, PROLONGED EXPOSURE HERE.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Fuck, is everyone here brain damaged by the fumes from the mines? Are we going to get any valuable information out of anyone here? Is this mission already a bust if SHE'S been down there for god knows how long.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Not necessarily. They only said there was no COMMUNICATIONS for a week and a half and this was the last place they saw her at. If the mines were already closed, she could've spent time trying to negotiate a way in-

"Nicole?" Benjamin shakes you by the shoulder. You're immediately snapped out of your dazed internal monologue. "You, uh, you were mumbling to yourself. What's on your mind?"

"Timeline shit. Doesn't make sense. Corpos not being here until WE arrived, the mines being closed right around the time she disappeared..."

"If they felt like it was important enough to come down here, maybe they tried sending others down here but got stonewalled? The miners were REALLY ornery about them being here." Benjamin half heartedly shrugs.
"Week and a half ago?" Casey hums. "Closed for two weeks. Could be lie. Could be closed when she went down there."

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Wait. Could she be stuck there because they're keeping her there for whatever reason? Maybe Devin was wrong about when it closed, he wasn't in the right state of mind.

Fuck, something about this is really starting to skeeze you out. You need more information but the four implications of what happened here are NOT good. A murder, a suicide, a dumbass rich girl accidentally brain melting herself, maybe even a kidnapping.

Something clicks in your head though. Huh, you still have that old earpiece and so does Benjamin. You pull it out of your INVENTORY. Benjamin quickly does the same. Might as well do a quick check in on Max and Alexis-

"Listen." Max's voice whispers over the earpiece. "Mayor's been acting weird. Won't give a straight answer."
>>
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"We'll try to make him crack soon. We'll meet up with you soon." And that's all you get from her. Benjamin can't help but to look worried at the cryptic response but, given he can't do anything, he just looks back at you. You nod and gesture at them to follow you.

Casey keeps staring at you with those beady, yellow eyes. An intense, VIOLENT rush of disgust and anger courses through you but you bite your tongue and restraint yourself. "What?" She seems to be staring at something you're carrying.

The fancy pirate hat? Well, you don't have a use for it. You promptly place it on her eye and by god, her eyes are sparkling like stars now. "Woaw....!" Casey giggles to herself as she adjusts the hat to properly fit on her head. "How exotic! A curiosity like this would sell for a LOT back home. Oh well!"

"Back home?" Benjamin picks up on the weird phrasing on that REAL quick. "Like, what district? Pirate hats haven't really been in style for a while."

"Mmh, you know, can't really remember, haha! Everything's been a buzz lately! I mean, blur, yes, yes." Casey stops mid step. Something about Benjamin's question is really getting under her skin by the looks of it. Nervous sweat trickles out of her like she's an ice cube in the Wastes. "I. It's better not to think too hard about these things! That's what my sisters told me?"

"Sisters? What was your family like?" Benjamin innocently asks.

"Oh, just like any other family!" Casey chirps out, seemingly glad at being given an out with explaining where she came from. "Smiles and smiles! We mostly just followed the instructions on the PDA, though."

"Wait, what? Instructions? PDA?" You start fiddling with the SILVER WALKIE TALKIE as you three chat with each other.

"Mmh hmm! Follow the orders from it and everything's A-Okay! PDA says move the bodies, don't use the bathroom during work hours, clean the workplace, report suspicious gatherings, and so on! We did that and it's all okay!"

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Sounds similar to a Drone's mindset but she has a face and, well, the only Drone with a face you've seen was half melted.

"Did it, uh, suck to move the bodies? Did you see anything that could've...messed with you?" You try to pry into her past a bit more.

"Sometimes I saw my sisters in the body bags themselves. I got sad whenever that happened!" She chirps out with way too much cheer. There's no light behind her eyes as she recounts all of this. "Oh well. The Administration told us that's what had to happen sometimes! It gets fuzzy beyond that!"

Benjamin clicks his tongue with an uncomfortable look quickly spreading across his face. "You didn't ever question what you were doing on the job? I mean, I like my bosses but seeing my own family dying in front of me..."

"Oh, sometimes things just have to happen for progress! The Administration has its reasons. I'm sure of it!" Despite the smile on her face, her words ring hollow. "After all! Not like their bodies went to waste!"
>>
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"What?" You can't help but to let out a nervous chuckle. "What do you mean?"

"It's a relief and a comfort in knowing that death brings joy through affordable commercial products!" It's not like a person is saying these words. More like the canned sounds of a prerecorded advertisement. Fucking hell, what kind of company did she work for if she's memory holing the details this much?

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] "Do you actually feel that way, Casey, or are you lying to yourself?"

The forced smile fades completely. Her expression is stone-faced now. "I don't know. I don't like thinking about these things. It's easier to not question it."

[BLIND OPTIMISM] "That's not healthy." Benjamin chides at her. "I get that it's easier to just push past it but that can't be healthy. Hell, I bet the only reason Nicole was asking was because she's worried."
[BLIND OPTIMISM] "I don't really fully get what happened but that sucks. You don't deserve that. No one does. If I saw people I cared about in bodybags where I worked...I don't think I could stomach it."

Well you wouldn't say that but you go along with what he's saying with a nod. "If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine. We're here for you, though.

Casey turns her gaze away from the two of you but you can make out the faintest bit of a smile blossoming on her face.
>+1 RAPPORT WITH CASEY!
>CASEY NOW HAS FANCY PIRATE HAT EQUIPPED (+???. Benefits of it will be revealed later.)

Your little chat is interrupted by your walkie talkie crackling to life. You quickly hold it up to your ear. Casey tilts her head with a confused smile while Benjamin flinches, as if he recognizes the walkie talkie. <"Where did she get that? Isn't that from one of those glowing types?">

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HM8uXVXeHk - SILVER INFO

Your ear is immediately insulted by a mess of static and garbage noise, so at least you know this thing is working. You really have to strain your ears to make out anything coming from it. As if whatever communication is happening on it is encrypted somehow. You manage to pick out a few snippets of usable information.

"...GAVE UP SEARCHING FOR VALENTINA...LOST HER ON RADAR...UNUSUAL. SHOULD'VE LEFT...W-CORP...WEEK AGO..."
"...NICOLE SMITH...ASTER KOIZUMI...VINCENT CRUZ...BENJAMIN AARON...ASHTON MILLER..."MAX". MEMBERS OF 521 ASSOCATION. TWO NICOLES...BAD SIGN."
"...ROBBERT HUXLEY...POWER PLAY WITH Z-COMPANY...ATTEMPTING TO FIND LEVERAGE...UPWARD MOMENTUM...SEARCHING FOR 'LIVING BARGAINING CHIP.'
"...ROSALIE VANNI...VAIN, WORTHLESS, REFUSES TO WORK WITH OTHERS...YET BARGAINING WITH HUXLEY...KRAKATOA? UNUSUAL. MAY THROW OTHERS UNDER...FOR RIGHT PRICE."

Then, it fades into pure static. Well, it seems like even the Silver Agents don't know where she is, so you can cross them off as being the ones to blackbag her. And if Mr. Bunny Mask is Robbert Huxley? Not a good sign, considering he's searching for Vanni.
>>
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You pocket the walkie talkie right as your group approaches the group of miners.

There's a crowd of about eight people mindlessly wandering around the edge of town, right around the sign 'welcoming' you into ABGRUND. Most of them are middle aged men in dust and dirt encrusted overalls, carrying pickaxes, with the only difference being how dark their skin is or what hair color they have. About six of them are pacing around the edge of town in circles, as if they literally have nothing else to do.

Two of the more cognizant miners approach your group. A short, bulky woman with a set of glowing violet tattoos etched all over her body and an incredibly tall, incredibly thin man with tiny beady eyes.

"Nefer seen you zree before. Vhen did you lads kome on ofer?" The woman speaks in an incredibly thick accent you can't make any sense of. Clearly born from some deep part of W-Corp. "You don't seem like ze r-r-rich type. Good. Vould'fe klubbed you ozzerwise."
"Evair since they tuld us zat minéng was a non go, zum of ur friends 'ave been loseng eet, you see." The man blabbers in an equally thick accent.

"Oh, we just came here to, uh, look for someone?"

"Zo long since ai 'ave 'aird a sane woman's voicé!" The tall man blabbers. You now notice that both of them have weird spirals in their eyes. Purple for the woman's, yellow in the man's. Weird.

Well, you might as well try talking to them. Pick three.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "We saw the argument your group had with those rich fucks. What's going on? Did they have some involvement with this town beforehand?" Try to see if there might be any 'motivation' to make Valentina disappear.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Something about the spirals in their eyes are worrying you, especially since most of the crowd seems to be mindlessly wandering around. MINDREAD the crowd to see how mentally fucked up they are.
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "We've heard some quite worrying rumors about the health of the miners here. Do you know of anyone severely injured by working down there?" It might be wise to find someone heavily exposed to the gasses down there. Might prove useful if you have to patch Valentina up.
>[CASEY ALLY + W-CORP FAVOR] "We're actually here on behalf of W-Company! The mines were shut down? How interesting! I wonder, who authorized that? We sure didn't!" With Casey's help, try to pry out WHO could've done it.
>"Got any problems you want us to solve?" Try to earn the trust of the miners (You'll get some optional objectives to complete. Completing them will earn the fresh and favor of the town, rewarding you handsomely down the line.)
>[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Given the shoddy state of this place, you wonder why this place is still operational. Try to pry into the history of this town and how it ended up like this.
>Offer the two some gifts for their 'assistance'. (Pick a BARTER SUPPLY to give them. Depending on its value, they'll offer you varying amounts of assistance or info.)
>You got something else in mind...(Write in)
>>
>>5984787
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "We've heard some quite worrying rumors about the health of the miners here. Do you know of anyone severely injured by working down there?" It might be wise to find someone heavily exposed to the gasses down there. Might prove useful if you have to patch Valentina up.
Plays into the Z Corp angle, plus info on if we need to do anything to recover Valentina. Good conversation opener
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Something about the spirals in their eyes are worrying you, especially since most of the crowd seems to be mindlessly wandering around. MINDREAD the crowd to see how mentally fucked up they are.
Get a read on the mental situation. Doing this after asking about any mining injuries might yield more context. If Valentina is like this by now, it'd be prudent to know what the situation is on the inside of their head
>"Got any problems you want us to solve?" Try to earn the trust of the miners (You'll get some optional objectives to complete. Completing them will earn the fresh and favor of the town, rewarding you handsomely down the line.)
Never dismiss side hustles especially if you can do them alongside your main job without much issue

POI option we can find out from Roland directly if we gain him as an ally, or from Rosalie if her mom's old ID is enough to shake her through her vanity. I doubt Robbert Huxley will talk much even if we get through to him and put Nicole's fist through him.
CASEY+W FAVOR option is also interesting, but we have 2 W CORP FAVOR banked already. As much as I wanna spend the resources, I get the sinking feeling we're in some shit when (not if) that W Corp rep Wendy finds out Nicole's antlers aren't augs, but her becoming anomalous. I want to clutch that W Corp Favor so Nicole isn't on the receiving end of a schizo beatdown from a mindbroken sister
SEEKER option is nice worldbuilding, but we're on a time limit. Could also get this info straight from W Corp via Wendy later, if we work with her properly
No on the barter this time
>>
>>5984791
+1
>>
>>5984783
>timeline talk
I love this bit here. Working with allies and the mind shards to solve this mystery. Thanks for incorporating that as a free action OP. This is already an interesting mission and we haven't even got to the mines yet
>that old earpiece
And thank you for incorporating this too

>>5984784
>intense, VIOLENT rush of disgust and anger
Isn't this the 2nd time Casey has had a low-level reaction from Nicole like this?
>sparkling like stars
But what are her shoes like?
>picks up on the weird phrasing on that REAL quick
Ben my boy, he's come so far
>no light behind her eyes
A consistent description we're given of Casey
>You didn't ever question what you were doing on the job?
Holy shit what a massive character development Benjamin has had since his debut in thread 1. The guy who made drugs for a gang without question or awareness, and now he's become like this.

>>5984785
>uncomfortable look
>nervous chuckle
Reminds me a lot of how things went with Quentin. I want to get Casey and Quentin on a mission together now, maybe with Kiara too. Human, Android, Drone, and "Drone" all in the same party on the same mission. Imagine the character dynamics. It'd be glorious
>faintest bit of a smile blossoming
CUTE
>Where did she get that?
Oh right, he doesn't know yet. Alexis knows about the silver agents from the Z Corp mission, so she can help us explain things to Max and Casey and Ben when the time comes. When we do the UNSTABLE reveal, she can also help out like Kiara did for Maruyama earlier.

>MEMBERS OF 521
HOLD THE FUCK UP!!!
WE WARNED OUR PARTY ABOUT THE NICILE DOPPEL BEFORE WE GOT ON THE TRAIN, AND CASEY FUCKING SAID THIS
>a boy who looks like him-" She points at Benjamin
AND RIGHT THERE THE GLOWIE SAID BEN'S NAME, AND A "MAX"
Is that it? Is somebody making copies of our characters in this assassination group? Also a reminder the glowie Nicole killed did not mention Aster Koizumi in his watchlist, and thought she'd get too dangerous knowong about Vincent Cruz. Both are the last protag choices from thread 1 that we have not seen yet.

>LIVING BARGAINING CHIP
This fucker's going to beeline for Ben on sight, calling it. Maybe taking the Z Corp coat off can help "disguise" him?
>BARGAINING
We have an easy in with Roland, since Max is right here and we have his dad Gregory on speed dial. Robbert is harder, but maybe easier to win over if we had Frank with us. I really want to get Frank on our next mission, since we never worked with him yet
>Silver Agents don't know
I called it. This is completely unrelated to them
>>
>>5984796
Anon, you and other guys here. What do you think about this mission so far, even though we still haven't reached the mines?
>>
>>5984787
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "We saw the argument your group had with those rich fucks. What's going on? Did they have some involvement with this town beforehand?" Try to see if there might be any 'motivation' to make Valentina disappear.
>[CASEY ALLY + W-CORP FAVOR] "We're actually here on behalf of W-Company! The mines were shut down? How interesting! I wonder, who authorized that? We sure didn't!" With Casey's help, try to pry out WHO could've done it.
>"Got any problems you want us to solve?" Try to earn the trust of the miners (You'll get some optional objectives to complete. Completing them will earn the fresh and favor of the town, rewarding you handsomely down the line.)
>>
>>5984791
+1
>>
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Those spirals really are rubbing you the wrong way. Can't be an UNSTABLE thing, your eyes are just bright pink. No spirals. You don't recall Wendy having any either...hm. You'll worry about it later.

"Well, as you can see, we're on behalf of Z-Company. Benjamin was sent here on their behalf and I, one of their associates, followed him here."

[DELUSIONAL] "Wait we were?" Benjamin questions with an insulting honesty. "I didn't know that."

The two cognizant miners and even Casey give him some nasty side eye given...he's literally wearing one of their jackets.

"Oh!" Benjamin gets the hint, though. "Yes, yes, sorry! My mind evades me sometimes."

"Are you lyéng to us, madémoiselle?" The tall miner is getting a bit too close to your group for comfort, especially with the pickaxe in his hand.
"Vhat a schtrange man. Imposter, like zose Fanni obsessed fools?" The short miner hisses through clenched teeth.

"Oh, no no, sir and miss!" Casey immediately jumps in to reschedule the improv trepanation. "See, our friend here is what you would call 'mentally damaged'. 'Autistic', perhaps. 'Retarded', if you wish to be medical! 'Special', in other words! He is being completely honest with his intentions but please be patient with him!"

"The fuck?"
"What did you call me?"
"Wie?"
"Quoi?"

You and the others stand around in awkward silence before the short, boxy miner lets out a deeply amused, husky laugh. "Fery funny. Okay. Speak, zen." Well! It seems like Casey's impromptu 'defense' of Benjamin was enough to get you an in with them.

Benjamin can't quite decide whether he should be laughing, crying, or seething with rage. He emotionally defaults to what you can only guess is his version of a 'professional' persona. "Thank you, miss Casey. We've heard some quite worrying rumors about the health of the miners here. Your friends over there-" He gestures towards the group of miners seemingly wandering around in circles. "-are a bit, uh, unusual."

"Consider it a charity case, due to the rather poor conditions of this town. Do you know of anyone severely injured by working down there? We've heard about the mines being closed, after all." It's shocking how quickly he got his act together. The normally bird brained pharmacist speaks with a calm, rational tone that's completely discordant to how he normally is

"Many, oui. We used to 'ave fairtay, aftair all." Forty? It said 23 on the sign, so that's a difference of 17. The implication there is...

"Don't tell our boss but a few uff our men got approfal from ze guarts zree days ago to keep miningkt. Somezzingkt about 'one in, might as vell let ozzers in'. Ve lost some to a kafe in." Three days ago? If she's implying what you think she's implying, that narrows down the timeline a bit. The cave in might've been what informed the other parties that they should move in personally?

"Someone's been messingkt around down zere lookingkt fur somezzingkt ent, vell, poof. Huge khunks uff schtone kame krumblingkt down."
>>
"Two died. Sefen transferred elsefere. R-r-rest vere hurt. Gas fumes, schtones, name it. Can't vork, nicht allowed to be labeled as population. Mayor's decree." So, eight injured? If you're doing the math correctly.

"Vairy sad dai." The tall man nods. "Pardon ur mannairs. I'm Piairré méursault. Shairt un eez roxanne, non last namé." Pierre and Roxanne? Noted. You're wondering if the beyond thick accents are a side effect...maybe? Maybe not.

"Would you happen to know where the injured are, Roxy?" Casey buzzes out with an award winning smile. "Back home, I had to know a thing or two on which bodies were ripe and which ones weren't!"

Roxanne chortles, amused by Casey's energy. "Fery funny voman you haf zere. Kome." She gesture at the three of you to follow. Before you do so, you decide it would be wise to take a quick glimpse at everyone's minds nearby.

Casey is still blank, as always.
Benjamin is crystal clear. <"Hope Max is doing okay. I don't want her getting into trouble.">
Roxanne and Pierre? You can't really make out much of anything from either of them. <"...weird lad..."> <"...coat famil...">
And the other miners who weren't even looking in your direction? Completely fucking vacant. You're going to need to check up on the others to see if they're the same as well. You note that, while the others you've seen had different colors to their spirals, all of THESE miners have the same color: Violet.

It doesn't take long for the five of you to end up at a small shack that was hidden behind two other buildings. On first glance, you can see why you didn't recognize it as anything important. It's a loosely cobbled together hut made out of scrap metal that's barely big enough to house anyone, let alone eight injured miners.

It takes a moment to duck underneath the doorway, on account of your antlers, but once you're inside you see...well. Something that you wish you could completely forget about.

The inside of the hut is incredibly cramped and dark The only source of light is a shoddy window at the back of the hut that's probably barely big enough to fit your head in through. On the floor, tightly clumped together, is the bodies of six random miners. Their only protection from the floor is some old, barely held together wool blankets and a pillow barely thicker than a seat of paper.

Benjamin's face scrunches up upon seeing this. "This can't be right. You don't even have cots for them?"

"Afraid not!" A voice calls out from the darkness. "One of my own, huh?" You narrow your eyes to adjust to the darkness inside the hut. At the far back of the hut, kneeling on front of one of the injured, is a skeletally thin man with paper thin pale skin in a doctor's labcoat.

Benjamin seems to immediately recognize him. "Kori? The hell are you doing here?"

Kori turns around to stare down at Benjamin and the posse he brought in. "Orders from my boss. Rose something. I could ask you the same."
>>
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You clear your throat. "We're here for the, uh, injured. How are they?"

"Not good. See for yourself." Kori pulls out a small white pen and clicks a button on its side. Immediately, a bright light pours out of its tip. He points it towards the various miners on the ground.

The one unifying injury amongst all of them are splotchy, dark violet bruises all over their faces and hands. While most of them are asleep or in some sort of comatose state, the ones who are awake have deep violet spirals in the pupils of their eyes, though they seem completely unresponsive towards the bright light being shined at them.

And just like last time, their minds are completely dead to you.

Benjamin and Casey kneel down in front of some of the more injured miners. With disturbing efficacy, they begin to scan over all of the possible injuries the miners have. You're not exactly skilled in the field of medicine so you'll leave them to it.

Roxanne and Pierre quickly become uncomfortable, as if staying in this hut is too much for them. Before they leave, you decide to ask them something.

"Got any problems you want us to solve?" No harm in having an optional goal. Something to strive for. After all, you want to have a perfect record as a Cleaner. "We're going to be here for a bit, after all."

"Un of ur friends went misseng three dais ago. Find zém if you can. Mail, blonde 'air, blue éyes, should respond to 'Luther'." Pierre chirps out.
"Zee mayor has peen ein real bain in zee ass und zome of us vant to leaffe. Try to get him to let us ko. Ve're, vell, pound here until zen. Contractual reazons." Roxanne blabbers out. Before you can ask why the fuck those two speak like that, they step outside of the hut. Hm. Well, you got the rough gist of what they meant.

>OPTIONAL OBJECTIVES ACQUIRED:
>FIND 'LUTHER', DEAD OR ALIVE. REWARD: $350, +FAVOR (WORKING CLASS) x2.
>NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL FOR THE MINERS WITH THE MAYOR. REWARD: +FAVOR (WORKING CLASS) x3, $500, a dripfeed of various goodies from the mining town.

As soon as they're gone, you hear your earpiece crackling to life. "Hey. We're done over here. Where are you three at?" Max whispers through the borrowed earpiece. You whisper where your location is at into your earpiece.

"Gotcha. Be there soon." You assume Benjamin heard her too, given how he's working a lot faster. After about two minutes, he gestures at you to come over to where he's kneeling at. You do so, kneeling down next to him. He holds up the arm of one of the miners he was checking up on.

On the left side of the miner is a nasty looking gash with dark violet splotches all around it. "See, I think their mental state is being heavily affected by..." He reaches a leather gloved hand into the wound and pulls out a small violet shard. "this. Watch." Almost immediately, the violet splotches begin to clear up around the wound.

"Wait, it's that simple?"

Benjamin shakes his head. He lifts up the blanket to reveal a damn gnarly sight.
>>
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A fist sized Moonstone crystal is impaled right into the miner's stomach. Despite the fact a god damn rock is stuck inside them, there's no blood leaking out of the wound. "Educated guess but you know that exchange nonsense Devin was on about?"

"What, like the stones are keeping them alive?"

"Maybe. Maybe not. Moonstones are just...weird, from my knowledge. Only W-Company knows how they work and, well, mhgh." Benjamin shrugs.

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Not like it's the first time humanity has dealt with dangerous rocks before. Radium, Uranium, you name it.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Actually, wait. Moonstones protect the mind, correct? It could be as simple as that their minds literally CAN'T be read. Though, in exchange of receiving severe brain damage, given the schizophrenic breakdowns and thick accents.

"Got any idea how we could possibly remove them? In case Valentina is injured like this?"

"Best guess? We could try chiseling chunks out while removing the smaller shards stuck in here." Hm. You could probably use your MIND READ as a defacto status scanner on her, then. Noted.
>You'll consume less resources and you'll have an easier time patching up those injured by the Mine's gas fumes or by Moonstone Contamination!

Before you can think on it more, you notice two figures standing outside the hut. Greyish blue hair, a bright white suit...ah. Max and Alexis. Both of them look bone tired, as if their talk with the mayor sapped out every bit of energy they had. Benjamin, like a dog excited to see his owner return, excitedly waves at Max. She can only offer a half hearted wave back.

>MAX AND ALEXIS HAVE REJOINED THE PARTY! BOTH HAVE TAKEN 1 RESTRAINT DAMAGE!

Alexis snorts a bit upon seeing the dog-like glee on Benjamin's eyes.
>ALEXIS REGAINS 1 RESTRAINT!
>RESTRAINT TOTAL: 2/2. MAX RESTRAINT: 2/3.

"Oh! I see you have friends. Go on then, no need to bother me." Kori gestures at you five to leave. You're about to complain otherwise but before you have a chance to, your allies head outside of the hut. Hm. You decide to follow after them for now.

Once outside of the tent, Max lets out a sigh. "So, good and bad news. Good news is that he told us some pretty information information with some 'payment'." Max winks.
>-1 BRIBE MONEY CHARGE

"Apparently, this Valentina girl arrived here last week in search of some sort of inspiration and wanted to be let into the mines, something about Moonstones and their innate potential?" Max shrugs with an obvious disinterest. "Apparently, he refused her entrance because he declared that he wouldn't let anyone into the mines unless they were from W-Company themselves."

"So, he's the one who closed the mine. Right around the time she arrived, though? That's pretty damn convenient timing. Too convenient. We heard that he closed it two weeks ago."

"Just saying what I got out of him." Max chirps out. "He said that he couldn't let anyone else down there. Something about a 'golden ticket'"
>>
Hm. Is he trying to hog something down there?

"She absolutely refused to budge, according to his word, until she eventually offered him 'something he couldn't refuse." Max continues. "What that is, we couldn't get out of him, but it was apparently valuable enough for him not to squeal to us."

"Bad news," Alexis butts into the conversation. "is that he recognized the whole greyish blue hair thing that Max had and started probing about her association with the Krakatoas. He locked up pretty quickly after we refused to answer. If I had to guess, he might've thought we were sent by the other corpos."

"We had to leave shortly after." So, Valentina offered him something he couldn't refused and he locked down the mine for his own personal reason

Hm. Well, you found some information, now all that's left is to think of where to go from here. Where to go from here?
>It might be wise to talk to the corpos themselves. Head over to the Saloon, tell Benjamin to hide his coat for now, and start a discussion with them. Maybe you share a common goal ultimately.
>Something about all of this is off. The mine was closed by the mayor, yet the miners were let in three days ago? Was the cave in even an accident? Try to interview the mine guards.
>You got some dirt on the mayor and the shady shit he's been doing. Go over there and try putting the squeeze on him yourself. For your own benefit and for the miners.
>Turn your attention back to Kori for a moment. "Look, let's cut to the chase. Why did they actually send you here? Are you going to squeal to your bosses about us?" One of the corpos sent him here. Why? (FREE ACTION, CHARM DC: 19 (-2 from CASEY, -2 from BENJAMIN), rolling 6d6+1d3 with Benjamin's help. If you succeed, you might get some helpful insight when dealing with the corpos later down the line.)
>Maybe it would be wise to just spend some time discussing with your allies. Share all of the information you found, try to connect the dots, then go from there. (You'll get some time to earn RAPPORT with Casey and Max, though the discussion might eat up a lot of your time, as helpful as it might be.)
>If whatever is down there is so important, the Mayor wants it locked up, maybe you should just...go down there already before anyone else can. Head over to the MINES and try to gain access to them.
>Write in. (Share supplies with your allies? Try to ask your allies some questions? Something else?)

Now that your party is back, do you wish to give any of them some MOONSTONE CHUNKS to permanently boost their max RESTRAINT?
>YES (If so, to who? And how many? You currently have TWO chunks.)
>NO.

Sorry for the delay. Had to deal with a bunch of vet visits with my dogs. Also to clarify, unless I state otherwise, you don't lose any FAVOR by picking a corporate favor option. You still have the Z-Company favor.
>>
>>5985856
>Wait we were?
And there's the Ben we know and love. I like how he fluctuates from being very perceptive and on-point to confused and gullible.
>Casey's impromptu 'defense'
Max would probably be nodding here
>'professional' persona
It's OK Ben, we're all retarded here
>calm, rational tone
I am starting to think it's Z Corp's training of him kicking in at times like these
>cave in
>three days ago
That's rough on these people.
>lookingkt fur somezzingkt
This is AFTER Valentina went in a week ago. Could it have been caused by her?

>>5985857
>bodies were ripe
There's no Manager to Help us here. We're on our own
>all of THESE miners have the same color: Violet
But then earlier
>weird spirals in their eyes. Purple for the woman's
We can mindread Pierre and Roxanne, but not these others. Devin in the store could also be mindread, and his spirals were cyan. Weird pattern here
>bodies of six random miners
40 originally
23 remain
17 gone
Of the 17 gone:
2 died
7 transferred out
8 injured and not counted
But right here there are 6 injured... there's 2 unaccounted for.
>Kori
Someone new?
>Rose something
It can't be Rosalie Vanni, right? They have ties to Z Corp to bring this guy here? That Robbert Huxley doesn't know?

>>5985859
>deep violet spirals
>minds are completely dead
Same as the other ones
>perfect record
Not a new record, but a "perfect" one
>FIND 'LUTHER'
That leaves 1 more miner unaccounted for... unless that's Devin because he's the shopkeep, and he also got into trouble in the mines?
>NEGOTIATE
Can we even do that now, without having gone into the mines yet? We did the training courses in X Corp before we negotiated at the end, so do we do that again here?

>>5985860
>Moonstones
That doesn't explain Devin's condition being similar to Nicole's as well as these miners.
>-1 BRIBE
Good. We got 2 more to use on those mine guards
>last week
Kinda lines up with the rest
>inspiration
Oh no she's one of THOSE
>closed the mine
That fucking Mayor
>golden ticket
Is it the thing Devin described?

>>5985865
>sent by the other corpos
Just great, now we gotta convince him... or do we?
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>>5985865
>Turn your attention back to Kori for a moment. "Look, let's cut to the chase. Why did they actually send you here? Are you going to squeal to your bosses about us?" One of the corpos sent him here. Why? (FREE ACTION, CHARM DC: 19 (-2 from CASEY, -2 from BENJAMIN), rolling 6d6+1d3 with Benjamin's help. If you succeed, you might get some helpful insight when dealing with the corpos later down the line.)
Free action, corpo insight, maybe connecting Z Corp to these events? Warning this Kori about Robbert Huxley and his Z Corp bargaining chip motivation here might be wise, and get Kori to trust us further.
>Something about all of this is off. The mine was closed by the mayor, yet the miners were let in three days ago? Was the cave in even an accident? Try to interview the mine guards.
Get info from them, then bribe money on them and go straight into the mines.
>YES
1 to Alexis, hold off on the other one.
Though I get the feeling the moonstones are a trap once we get in the mines, a PERMANENT max restraint increase is too fucking good. All this talk of gas and contamination and now with the comatose miner injuries, I am still very hesitant... We have ways to break panic like LALILU and BLESSED CHAINS, but not much. Alexis RESTRAINT being 2 max is very very troubling to me. That makes her the weakest link to SP damage, alongside Max with her 3 max RESTRAINT.

I bet this Luther guy is down there somewhere just like Valentina is. Firsthand experience with the mines alongside any evidence we find on the way there and back will help us negotiate with the Mayor when we come out, putting that fucker in his place. I hope we'll be able to remain sane enough to negotiate with him at all, but I get the impression we will be if we did so after the HELL COURSE in the X Corp military base mission. Once we get into the mines but before we go in too deep, we can take a moment to give our allies the rundown from what we know so far. Beating the corpos to the mine will be huge. The mining gear and the drill will be immense in getting past that cave-in and to where Devin and the other missing/dead must be.
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>>5985888
+1
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>>5985888
+1
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>>5985899
>>5986003
What do you guys think about this mission so far? All I'm doing is autistically point details out and explain the logic behind my choices when I vote.
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>>5986015
This mission is intriguing. Thank you for your analysis. Your posts are always useful and helpful. :D
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>>5986015
Should we somehow get a favor and a reward from three Corpo individuals while we are here?
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>>5986175
Thanks.

>>5986181
I doubt we can do that, not without losing out on other benefits or items or opportunities as a tradeoff. The easiest one we can get one from is Roland, and that's only because how involved we are with his family. We did help his father Gregory reach closure with his past fuckup and saved his life from his critical wounds. We did help rescue his daughter's boyfriend too. If he finds out all this AND gets personal confirmation from Gregory (whose phone number we still have) and Max (right here with us on this mission), there's no fucking way the Krakatoa family patriarch will not respect us. The Vannis we really don't have any in with, except the old ID card from Gregory's mission. The ID card which I explicitly wanted to hold onto just for this sort of mission and character moment, suspecting the owner was still alive after so long. Now we have no experience with any Huxley's, and the closest we have to them is Frank, but we never talked with or did anything with Frank outside of the time when we obtained him as a contact. Maybe namedropping him might do some good if we end up confronting Robbert here on this mission, but not by much.

With all that said, if trying to get favors or rewards from them means losing credit for rescuing Valentina and solving this mine mystery, then I'm against it. I'm with the Handler on this one
>"I don't know what those FUCKING COCKSUCKERS will try doing to you if they see you. Like how they fucking treated ME when I asked for ONE GOD DAMN FUCKING DINNER WITH THEIR FAMILIES!
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Considering that there's been no real votes for a while and the only votes in question all agree on the same thing, I'll just close this vote and start writing the next update. No point sitting around for 10 hours for one more +1.

Two anons, roll 3d6. Another one, roll a 1d3.
>>
Rolled 1, 3, 4 = 8 (3d6)

>>5986412
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 2 = 10 (3d6)

>>5986412
>>
Rolled 3 (1d3)

>>5986412
>>
>>5986413
>>5986414
>>5986422
21. Success. Writing.
>>
Before you really have time to think about what you're doing, you immediately rush back into the hut. Your allies follow after you since at this point, anyone who's worked with you for more than one mission just knows to go along with you.

Your sudden reentrance shocks Kori, who was busy...carving a chunk of Moonstone out of one of the six miners. "Some privacy, please? The fumes that these stones make are, well, quite intoxicating." He immediately turns his attention back to carefully chiseling the hunk of stone out of the miner's chest.

"Look, let's cut to the chase. Why did they actually send you here?" You're going to cut right through this bullshit. Every person you met here has been deranged or sketchy and this man isn't any different.

"Now, why would I tell you th-" His gaze slowly tracks over to Alexis and Max and he immediately stops speaking. <"Oh fuck."> "Hm. Again, why should I talk with a Krakatoa nearby?"

[OPTIMISTIC SPIRIT] "Because you're a good person who likes doing good things?" Casey chirps out with a cheerful, ear to ear smile. "At least I hope so!
[BLIND OPTIMISM] "Kori, man, we're both here to do a job. We're not here to fight each other. Hell, we're probably on the same page. You can trust them, you know?"

"Let's not lie, though. Are you going to squeal to your bosses about us?" You take another step towards Kori. "Look. I want to be like the others here but I can't leave in good faith until I know you're not going to backstab me."

>21! SUCCESS!

"Fuck, no, you think I actually want to be here?" Forced laughter oozes out of Kori. There's no joy to it, it's the kind of laughter a man under a LOT of pressure would let out when confronted by his boss. "No, I won't squeal. I'm only really here for the stones produced here. This place used to have, I dunno, hundreds of people working here for...something. And my boss wanted me to get some raw Moonstone samples. That's it."

"This place is a fucking lightning rod for people, huh?" Alexis mutters to herself. "Feels like every single person here is obsessed with those god damn mines."
"Tell me about it." Max fiddles with her shades to steady her nerves. "You, uh, recognized me, huh? Did, uh, dad...?"

"Fuuucck, yeah, yeah. Roland, huh?" More forced laughter fills the air. "Look. My boss has been trying to find something for the last god knows how long and I've been dragged around. Z-Company would've been pissed if I rejected a job from a Vanni so, you know, that's that. This is this."

"Surely there's another place to find Moonstones at though, right? I talked to a W-Corp employee once and she shoved one into my hand without question."

"It was a refined one probably." Kori holds up the chunk of stone he harvested from the miner. It's rough, course, and covered in cracks. A dark violet mist is seeping out of it, sinking onto the floor below. "The raw ones are pretty damn hard to get. That's what my task is. I couldn't get into the mine so..."
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"If I had to guess, she's more interested in the gas flowing out of them." He drops the chunk into a ziplock plastic bag and seals it tight. "Probably real valuable if she's working with Roland and, uh...hm. She talked about another one but I don't recall his name."

"Robert Huxley. Apparently he's also working with Z-Company?" You feel like he should probably know. "He might be looking for, well, what was the word? A 'living bargaining chip'."

[CORPORATE INSIDER] "That doesn't make any sense. Huxleys mostly work for H and W-Corp, they don't usually involve themselves in other companies." Alexis can't help to be confused at the information you found out.

[CORPORATE V.I.P.] "Wait, Z-Company? That might make a bit of sense, actually. Could be that he's trying to use this 'recovery' mission as pretense for getting some Moonstone gas?" Max offers what little information she has on hand. "He's probably working with my dad and the other Vanni solely because they'll help him get inside."

Kori's eyes could be mistaken as plates with how wide they are now. Fear is oozing out of every pore of him. "Nope, nope, I signed up for a lot of things but I didn't hear about no Huxley. Look, you want some advice? You're probably looking for that Valentina girl too, right? My boss said she plans on 'disciplining' her for disappearing."

Oh? You gesture at him to continue. "I don't know a lot of details but she left with something that they want to recover at any costs. Probably why I was sent here."

Kori quickly heads towards the exit. "Those three are going to do something REAL nasty to each other if they manage to get down there. I'll try to buy you some time. For my sake and your sake." And then, he leaves.

[CORPORATE ELITE] Alexis' walkie talkie crackles to life. Alexis picks up and messes with a few of the dials on it to tune the frequency into a noise all of you can understand. "Warning: We detected some minor seismic tremors throughout the area you're in, White Suit."

That's not good. You and your allies decide it's probably time to get a move on. Time to head to the mines. With you leading the way, the five of you make a beeline towards the mines. The few people (well, two to three to be exact) roaming around in the abandoned streets watch on with mild confusion at why the five of you are heading over THERE of all places. You don't really have time to worry about that, though.

In the rush, you toss over a Moonstone Chunk to Alexis. As if on instinct, she takes a deep huff of the gas pouring out of it before throwing the now useless rock away.
>-1 MOONSTONE CHUNK! +1 MAX RESTRAINT TO ALEXIS PERMANENTLY!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIQ6hUsMRaw - MINING ENTRANCE

It takes a while to get over there given how the town was seemingly built to be a solid mile away from their god damn mines. Perhaps there used to be other buildings here but given the decay and rust everywhere else in the town? Doubtful.
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About a solid fifty feet away is a ramshackle wooden structure built right over a massive, gaping hole in the ground. Now that you're close enough to see what it is, it seems like it's mostly just a big fuckoff platform with a lift installed in it that can go up and down. Several rusted over boxes are left laying around on the platform, presumably meant to help in harvesting.

Not like that matters right now given how it's fenced away with a long chain length fence that completely surrounds the perimeter of both the platform and the mine itself. Three armed men in the exact same outfit stand around the locked gate.

Each of them is wearing a bulky dark brown rubber protective suit that covers their whole body. The best comparison you can think of a fireman's suit if it was designed to be airtight. Gas masks connected to heavy oxygen tanks cover their faces, hiding their expressions from you. Another tank on their backs fuels their weapon of choice.

Fucking flamethrowers.

[SEEKER + CORPORATE INSIDER] Both you and Alexis immediately notice something off about them. They look less like guards for a mine and more like armed corporate soldiers. From H-Corp, to be specific. They stand out like a sore thumb, especially since well.

Using FLAMETHROWERS near a GAS FILLED MINE is retarded...unless there's a reason why they still have them?

They immediately spot you and one of them points the nozzle of their flamethrower at your group. "WE ARE ALLOWED TO USE LETHAL FORCE."

Casey blinks a few times at the sight of the flamethrowers. "Waow! Reminds me of what I had to use back home! Fire is always the most efficient way to deal with multiple bodies!"

The guard lowers their flamethrower. <"Huh. Someone who understands."> Well, seems like that's enough to get the guards to calm down for a moment.

What do you want to ask them about? Pick two.
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "We already know you let the miners in despite the conditions down there. Why? What's so fucking valuable down there?" Try to get a FUCKING STRAIGHT ANSWER as to why everyone's so interested here. (Due to Alexis and Max interviewing the Mayor, you don't need to make a skill check with this one.)
>[MAX ALLY] "Look, we're looking for a friend. A very important friend. A friend who, if we don't find, my family will raise hell. What did she tell your boss?" (-1 charge for Max's CORPORATE V.I.P boon. They'll tell you everything they know about Valentina and the actual reason she came here, including a personal item that Casey's gunthing can track.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Flamethrowers are quite an interesting weapon! Very interesting, given that they are a poor choice for a gas-filled mine! What could possibly warrant those?" Casey begins to blabber on. Let her. (CHARM DC: 27, with Casey being assisted by Alexis and Max. Succeed and you'll get some valuable information on what sort of threats are down there and what you should look out for while exploring.)
(1/2)
>>
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "I doubt you're paid enough for this but why aren't the miners being supplied with the proper equipment? Everyone here is brain damaged, brain dead, or acting all sorts of weird." You doubt it's just simple mismanagement, right?
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Alexis narrows her eyes at the guards. "Wait, flamethrowers, those masks and outfits...you're from H-Corp. Who hired you?" (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS, she autopasses this check. You'll get some very interesting information about the person who hired the guards.)
>Write in.

And how do you want to bribe them so you can get in later?
>"Here." Max holds up a briefcase filled with money. "From me, to you." (-2 BRIBE MONEY charge. No other benefits, they'll just be willing to let you in.)
>[LICENSED PHARAMICST] "Friends, friends! How long has it been since you've been able to have some fun?" Drugs! (-1 CHARGE, leaving Benjamin with two. The drugged out guards may prove to be a great distraction and source of confusion for anyone else trying to get in.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Sometimes, the bluntest option is the best option. MIND PUPPETEER them. (-2 RESTRAINT, write in whether to spend another 1 RESTRAINT or lose 1 FLESH. Thanks to your mind tricks, the guards will try their best to slow down or hinder anyone who might be following after you.)
>Hold up a normal C-Extract. "Here. Let us in and you can keep this." (-1 C-EXTRACT. The guards will be willing to give you some valuable information about the mine's layout and some extra equipment for the rare P-Company product.)

I'll update the pastebins with Casey's RAPPORT boost + Alexis' RESTRAINT boost tomorrow.
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>>5986491
>go along with you
The Jamrock Shuffle...
>carving a chunk
Everybody wants these damn rocks
>stones make
The stones produce them on their own? Why hasn't anybody made a farm of it then? Grow the rocks like crystals or something? Or maybe the gas comes from a deeper source, and the rocks absorb it on the way up to become special?
>hundreds
But there's only like 20 people left. What the fuck happened? Is this even a recent occurrence? W Corp must have been bleeding people stationed here for years, if all this disrepair is real
>rejected
So he is a Z Corp affiliate, but he's hired by a Vanni to collect the rocks here? I doubt it was Valentina who hired him, but it could be any of them. Does he know Rosalie Vanni is one of the corpo admins on-site right now?
>that's that. This is this
The man himself isn't here yet
>dark violet mist
Same as the comatose swirly-eyed miners
>sinking onto the floor
Heavier than air, whatever it is. Valuable info
>hard to get
How, if the mine is supposedly full of the damn things? Do they need to grow on contaminated people for proper rawness? Then why even have a mine like this? Why not gas contaminate random nobodies or grown human flesh, and farm the raw moonstone from them? This whole scenario we're in is crazy already. So many questions

>>5986493
>interested in the gas
The "inspiration" Valentina was searching for?
>Huxleys mostly work for H and W-Corp, they don't usually involve themselves in other companies
What?
>pretense for getting some Moonstone gas
What??
>ROBERT HUXLEY...POWER PLAY WITH Z-COMPANY...ATTEMPTING TO FIND LEVERAGE...UPWARD MOMENTUM...SEARCHING FOR 'LIVING BARGAINING CHIP'
What??? I don't fucking get any of this!
>My boss said she
"She" means it's Rosalie or her older relative Lilith Vanni, whose ID card we have. Or a different Vanni
>'disciplining' her for disappearing
Not a good sign
>left with something that they want to recover at any cost
What would it even be if Valentina reportedly "arrived here last week in search of some sort of inspiration and wanted to be let into the mines, something about Moonstones and their innate potential"? What would she bring, if she was bent on deliberately mindbreaking herself here and might not return intact?
>something REAL nasty to each other
We need to also protect Roland at all costs, or Max and Gregory will hold infinite grudge towards Nicole for it
>minor seismic tremors
After the "French" miners mentioned that cave-in, I'm very spooked. Rocks fall everyone dies is a very real event in real life
>deep huff
I will be floored if this bites us in the ass later, but come on. Bitch you only have TWO max restraint; you CANNOT be around Nicole staying like that!

>>5986500
>H-Corp
And right after the Huxley info
>Someone who understands.
Off to a good start

This mission is already a massive clusterfuck mystery.
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>>5986500
>>5986504
All of these options are too good. I cannot decide. I'd rather other people vote first and talk things over before I +1 somebody or write up a vote
>>
What in hell is going on here? Non-anomalies monster in the mines or something infectious in the mines, is that why guards are carrying flamethrowers? Rock moonstone monster or esque the things monster from the movie?
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>>5986539
I don't know, ESL anon. This is a very confusing mission, which I assume is the intended response. We won't know shit until we step into the mines and get exploring
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>>5986504
>[MAX ALLY] "Look, we're looking for a friend. A very important friend. A friend who, if we don't find, my family will raise hell. What did she tell your boss?" (-1 charge for Max's CORPORATE V.I.P boon. They'll tell you everything they know about Valentina and the actual reason she came here, including a personal item that Casey's gunthing can track.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Flamethrowers are quite an interesting weapon! Very interesting, given that they are a poor choice for a gas-filled mine! What could possibly warrant those?" Casey begins to blabber on. Let her. (CHARM DC: 27, with Casey being assisted by Alexis and Max. Succeed and you'll get some valuable information on what sort of threats are down there and what you should look out for while exploring.)

>Hold up a normal C-Extract. "Here. Let us in and you can keep this." (-1 C-EXTRACT. The guards will be willing to give you some valuable information about the mine's layout and some extra equipment for the rare P-Company product.)
>>
>>5986525
>>hard to get
>How, if the mine is supposedly full of the damn things? Do they need to grow on contaminated people for proper rawness? Then why even have a mine like this? Why not gas contaminate random nobodies or grown human flesh, and farm the raw moonstone from them?

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] What you think he meant to say is that getting the actual raw material OUTSIDE of a mining town like this is hard. The MOONSTONE you got from Wendy was a refined product meant for commercial use. It was bright purple, not violet, and it had no gas leaking out of it.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Whatever weird effect the raw product has is what everyone is interested in. The corpos working with Z-Corp want it for something, Valentina apparently came here for inspiration from the mind altering gas...
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] That's as far as you can get. For some reason, W-Company doesn't export the raw product and people WANT it for some reason. Even if there's no justifiable explanation given how vague everyone here is about it.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] ...You're on the right track about the 'growing off people' thing, you know that much.
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>>5986547
You sure you want to give up a C-Extract when we have 2 BRIBE MONEY left?

>>5986554
Thank you for the info post. An unknown yet useful substance that is only obtained in one way or via select sources, that everybody values and wants without explanation... a chilling similarity to C-Extract itself. This is absolutely a sort of Singularity. Could it be directly related to W Corp's, as Wendy hinted at? But then why is W Corp not extremely heavy in presence and control here? The plot thickens...
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>>5986557
I want valuable information and extra equipment from the guards. I want to be prepared.
You want me to switch C-extract to Bribe Money?
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>>5986564
Maybe. It does say equipment. Maybe if we go the C-Extract option, they can throw in extra if Nicole shows the business card? In fact, FUCK IT

>>5986547
+1
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>>5986504
In addition to >>5986547 flash that business card
>H-COMPANY BUSINESS CARD (A sign of corporate approval. Can be used to access exclusive H-Company products from shops around the City.)
And maybe the lighter too so they know we're good company
>H-CORP BRANDED LIGHTER. Insanely powerful for a simple zippo lighter. (Comes with two vials. You can spend a vial to instantly ignite a flammable object or to warp something metallic. Pairs nicely with your power.)
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>>5986504
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] "We already know you let the miners in despite the conditions down there. Why? What's so fucking valuable down there?" Try to get a FUCKING STRAIGHT ANSWER as to why everyone's so interested here. (Due to Alexis and Max interviewing the Mayor, you don't need to make a skill check with this one.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Alexis narrows her eyes at the guards. "Wait, flamethrowers, those masks and outfits...you're from H-Corp. Who hired you?" (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS, she autopasses this check. You'll get some very interesting information about the person who hired the guards.)
>"Here." Max holds up a briefcase filled with money. "From me, to you." (-2 BRIBE MONEY charge. No other benefits, they'll just be willing to let you in.)
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>>5986500
>[MAX ALLY] "Look, we're looking for a friend. A very important friend. A friend who, if we don't find, my family will raise hell. What did she tell your boss?" (-1 charge for Max's CORPORATE V.I.P boon. They'll tell you everything they know about Valentina and the actual reason she came here, including a personal item that Casey's gunthing can track.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Alexis narrows her eyes at the guards. "Wait, flamethrowers, those masks and outfits...you're from H-Corp. Who hired you?" (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS, she autopasses this check. You'll get some very interesting information about the person who hired the guards.)

>>5986504
>"Here." Max holds up a briefcase filled with money. "From me, to you." (-2 BRIBE MONEY charge. No other benefits, they'll just be willing to let you in.)
>>
>>5986751
+1
>>
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You immediately hold up your H-Company Business Card towards the guards. While it's hard to make out how they're feeling thanks to the masks, you do hear them clicking and hissing to each other in some sort of incoherent language.

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Your knowledge on it is sketchy but it's a language a lot of these 'Cleansers' (you think that's the right term) soldiers use. Pressurized clicks and gas hissing in specific, distinct patterns.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] You have no idea how to translate it. You think one of them said 'cool horns;, at least.

"SPEAK."

Alexis puts down her briefcase and pulls at one of her many corporate pins: A gear spinning through a roaring fire. "You're from H-Corp. I recognize the outfits, the weapons, the masks. Why are you here? Who hired you?"

Upon seeing the pin, the tallest one's knees bend and shake but they manage to keep upright. "OUR BOSS SENT US HERE. TO STAND GUARD. WE DEALT WITH OTHERS WHO APPROACHED. WE'RE STANDING ON THEM." The Cleanser stares at the dusty ground everyone is standing on.
"Okay wow they just admitted to murder that's totally not worrisome." Benjamin tries his best to hold back a nervous laugh. Max slowly rubs Benjamin's back to hopefully soothe the bird brain's growing nerves.

"Huxley, correct?" While her other hand is rubbing Ben's back, she removes her shades to expose her grey-blue eyes. "We already know. No need to hide it, right? And you wouldn't dare try attacking ME, right?"

One of the shorter Cleansers flinches upon seeing Max's piercing grey-blue eyes. "THAT'S A KRAKATOA, BOSS! TOO RISKY, TOO RISKY, BOSS!" Huh. Is that just a genetic thing they all have?

"SILENCE." The tall Cleanser lowers their flamethrower and gestures at their other goons to do the same. "YOU ARE CORRECT. SIMPLY PUT, HE DOESN'T WANT ANYONE IN OR OUT OF HERE. WE ARE TASKED TO STOP ANYONE ENTERING OR LEAVING WITHOUT EXPRESS APPROVAL."

"But why?" You try your best to not sound too needy but you just want a straight answer "Why did he hire you? When? For what purpose? Just fucking spit something out holy shit the last hour has been nothing but vague, confusing schizophRENIC NONSENSE-" You feel your brain beginning to SEETHE. Sparks of energy begin to build up inside you. Max and Casey slowly back away from you.

[UNSTABLE] "AND I WILL FUCKING RIP SOMEONE TO SHREDS IF I HEAR ANY MORE VAGUE BULLSHIT. I WILL FUCKING EAT YOU-"

Casey interrupts you with a pat on the back and Benjamin loudly clears his throat. While Alexis treats your outburst with a professional, calm disnterest, your other allies are clearly worried about you. Your face goes flush, you did NOT expect to act out like that.

>-1 RESTRAINT TO ALL BUT ALEXIS

[OPTIMISTIC SPIRIT + BLIND OPTIMISM] "So, did you know that queen bees lay 2000 eggs per day?" "Oh! And that honey has been commonly used to treat infections!" Casey and Benjamin begin to blabber about completely random fun facts to distract everyone
>>
It proves effective, given how everyone begins to relax, including you.
>+1 RESTRAINT HEALED TO PARTY! +1 EXTRA RESTRAINT TO MAX THANKS TO BENJAMIN!

The three Cleansers have raised their flamethrowers up but after seeing that you're not going to fry them, they lower their flamethrowers.

"LOOK. WE DON'T KNOW A LOT. WE WERE HIRED TO GUARD THE MINES AND NOTHING ELSE BUT HOLY FUCK, WE GET IT. WE'LL SQUEAL." The short one nervously hisses.
"HE TOLD US TO COME HERE BEFORE HE ARRIVED SO WE COULD SCOUT OUT THE PLACE. WE EXPLORED DOWN THERE TO TRY FINDING A LARGE VEIN OF RAW MOONSTONE. WE FAILED, SO HE TOLD US TO WAIT UNTIL HE COULD ARRIVE TO FOLLOW AFTER HIM." The average sized one continues the explanation.
"HE WAS IN A PRETTY BIG HURRY FOR US TO COME DOWN HERE AND FIND IT. APPARENTLY, HE'S BEEN TRYING TO GET WITH Z-COMPANY SINCE HIS...UNCONTROLLABLE NATURE HAS BEEN STRAINING HIS FAVORS WITH W AND H-CORP." The tall one takes in a deep, painful breath. "BECAUSE HE JUST CAN'T FUCKING STOP HIMSELF FROM INTERFERRING AND FUCKING OVER THEIR OPERATIONS SO HE'S JUMPING SHIP TO ANOTHER COMPANY."

"Oh." Max can't help but laugh at that. "Oh, so that's why. He's working with Z-Company since he fucked up. Okay, wow, that's a shockingly coherent answer. I know Huxleys are violent but how bad is he?"

"BAD. THAT HORNED GIRL'S OUTBURST? IMAGINE THAT. BUT WORSE. EVERY DAY." The short one hisses with a level of exhaustion and dread that hurts to listen to.
"WE TOLD HIM HE SHOULD GET SOME GOD DAMN MEDS BUT APPARENTLY NOTHING WORKS FOR HIM ANYMORE. DRUG TOLERANCE." The middle one fiddles with a nozzle on their back. "SIDE EFFECT OF BEING AN ANTISEPTIC VET. YES. HE KEEPS RAMBLING ABOUT THIS TO US. HE'S FUCKING ANNOYING, REALLY."
"APPARENTLY HE HEARD SOMETHING ABOUT THE GAS HERE APPARENTLY HAVING POWERFUL PSYCHOACTIVE EFFECTS? SO HE'S TRYING TO GET SOME OF IT SO Z-CORP CAN...MAKE SOMETHING TO HELP HIM." Well, it doesn't take a genius to realize the man in a bunny mask has mental issues but that actually helps to piece some things together.

If he's in bad favor with W-Corp, the only other corp who makes antipsychotics and other mental issue related drugs, this is probably his best shot given that Z-Company seems interested in accessing the mines too.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Wait, he's looking for a bargaining chip for these meds he really needs, yeah? If he can't find one in the shape of Benjamin and Kori, what about Valentina? The Cleansers probably squealed to him if they let her in, yeah?

"Wait, you went down there? With those flamethrowers? Huh?" While it's not your prime focus, you're still wondering why the fuck they even have them. The three look confused at your reaction, as if they don't understand why fire doesn't solve anything. "Isn't the gas there flammable?"

"MOONSTONE GAS ISN'T. ACTUALLY SUPPRESSES FLAMES TO AN EXTENT. WE WERE JUST IN A RUSH AND COULDN'T GET OUR OTHER EQUIPMENT."
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"Well, that's cool and all." Max interrupts the ongoing conversation with a firm cough. "But we're here to look for someone." She tosses over a small parcel over to the Cleansers. The tall one catches it and opens it to see...well. A fuck ton of bribe money. "A very important friend. A friend who, if we don't find, my family will raise hell. Why did you let her in?"

The Cleansers chitter and chatter amongst each other, holding what you think is about $6000 worth of bribe money. The tall one breaks their gaze from the pile with a shrug.

"VALENTINA, YEAH? SHE KEPT BLABBERING HER FUCKING NAME TO EVERYONE IN EARSHOT. SHE CAME HERE LAST WEEK AND BADGERED US TO LET HER IN. SHE DID THIS WHOLE SOB STORY ABOUT HER FAMILY SUCKING AND SHIT LIKE THAT."
The short one takes a moment to remember something before joining the conversation. "SHE SAID SHE HEARD A RUMOR ABOUT THE GAS THE RAW STUFF PRODUCES AND SHE WANTED TO COLLECT A SAMPLE FOR HERSELF. A BIG ONE. BIG ENOUGH SO SHE COULD GROW MORE OF IT."
The average sized one is still transfixed by the money but with a shove from the tall one, they speak up as well. "WE LET HER IN BECAUSE TO BE HONEST? SHE WAS SOME DUMB TEENAGER WHO WANTED TO GET HIGH FOR CHEAP SO SHE COULD MAKE SOME DUMB ART. WE TOLD OUR BOSS ABOUT IT AND HE DIDN'T CARE, SO WE LET HER IN. SHE HAD SOME DUMBASS MINER BOYTOY COME AFTER HER AND SOME BULKY ROBOT FRIEND, SHE WOULD'VE BEEN FINE."

"Until she didn't return." You mutter to yourself. Fuck, yeah, that's not good. You can NOT let Robbert find her. Having a hostage of a powerful family member's daughter would be BAD.

"Wait, what?" Benjamin snaps out of his bee trivia induced trance. "S-sixteen? Nicole, did you know about that? We're hunting a teenager?"

...Wait, yeah, the Handler only said her name and where she was at. Nothing else. Holy shit, no wonder why everyone's charging in and why she seemingly had an actual motive to come here beyond 'the arts, bro'. Her god damn brain wasn't fully developed and now, she's probably melting her brain down there.

"Do you have anything of hers? We're here to find her." You're immediately tossed over a long, flowing scarf made of a dark blue Nouveau Fabric. "YEAH. SHE SAID TO KEEP THIS. SOME SORT OF HIGH CLASS STUFF. DIDN'T WANT IT DIRTY. WELL, OUR JOBS ARE DONE HERE AND WE TOTALLY DIDN'T SEE YOU SO..." The Cleansers take a moment to open up the gate before gesturing at you to go inside.

You and your allies decide it's probably best to rush down there before the others-

[???] "GOOD FRIENDS!" Devin yells out towards a group of three corporate executives, rushing right over to them to get in their way. "WOULD YOU LIKE A POPSICLE?"
[???] The bunny masked man huffs with obvious annoyance. "No. Move."
[???] "AH BUT YOU SEE! I THINK YOU SHOULD REALLY COME OVER HERE FOR ONE!" Devin gestures towards his shop. "I WON'T LEAVE UNTIL YOU DO!" Another man in a labcoat exits the store, approaching the corpos as well.
>>
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You snap out of that weird vision not long after. Huh, seems like your two associates are buying some time. You won't question HOW you had that vision, your brain just does funny things sometimes.

Your group steps past the now open gate to approach the wooden platform built right above the mines. The lift is right in the middle of the platform and, wow, it does not look stable at all. It's a shoddy, rusted over lift with barely held together gates to make sure you don't just get send flying to your death if you backed up too far.

Before you go down there, you pull out your five gas masks and hand four of them to your allies.
>+GAS MASK TO ALL ALLIES!

Alexis, Casey, and Benjamin manage to put on their masks with practiced and skilled motions, as if this isn't the first time any of them has worn one before.

[SHELTERED] Max, meanwhile, is struggling for her damn life to actually put it on properly. She managed to figure out that she had to remove her shades but that's about it.

"Shit, uh, haha. Yeah I can do this." She fiddles around with the straps, trying desperately to put it on while the others (including you) stare at her pitiful attempts. Benjamin eventually steps in and adjusts the straps for her so she can actually wear it. "hahathankshoneyitotallywasgonnadoitanywaysonmyownyeah."

"Of course!" Benjamin flashes a thumbs up. "But we're on a time limit, so I wanted to help!" Well, with that handled, your group steps onto the shaky lift. The mechanism to start the lift is just a simple button panel. Casey slaps the button and immediately, the gates to the lift shut. Your group begins your descent down into the mines...

Darker yet darker. Delving into the bowels of the earth with nothing else moving you forward but the promise of a payday and the hope that, ultimately, this mission will be worth it. Five minutes pass. Then ten. Then fifteen. Then who knows how long. All your allies can do is to chatter about whatever random thoughts come to mind to entertain themselves on the long, long trip down.

https://youtu.be/-2LOaw8fiEo - DARK AND QUIET

After god knows how long, the lift finally reaches the bottom. Your group steps out of the lift and, thankfully, the lift doesn't immediately start launching back to the surface. You got some time to burn down here. You take a look at your surroundings to see what you have to work with.

You're in an entrance tunnel that's clearly made to be some sort of resting area or resupply station for the miners. The stone floors and walls have been chiseled and carved into mostly flat and smooth surfaces. Aside from the path leading down, down, down into the mine, there's two sections of stone wall that have been carved out.

One section is a small resting area filled with cheap and shoddy furniture a few ancient computers on some cheap desks, and a few old TVs that are playing nothing but static. You're shocked they even get a connection down here.
>>
A musty carpet lays on the floor, clearly some failed attempt at making this place not so god damn depressing to look at. The other section has a massive clusterfuck of computers and complex machinery with wires going all over the damn place. Sitting right at the edge of the other section is several rusted over lockers, probably for resupply. The machinery grinds, churns, and beeps with a pattern you can't quite decipher.

There doesn't seem to be any visible gas here so you assume that you have to go deeper to see anything of actual value or note. What do you want to do from here, Nicole? You got some time thanks to the favor of Dori and Kevin- Pft, Devin and Kori.

Pick four actions.
>Our only goal is to find Valentina. Head down deeper, deeper, and deeper. (Consumes two actions. You'll save a lot of time by picking this, putting more distance between you and the corpos. Might also help your odds at finding Valentina in a better state.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Alexis is busy checking the computers over at the rest section. Head over to help her comb through whatever information might be on there.
>[MAX ALLY + ANTIQUE PHONE] "So, Max. I found this a while ago. Mind helping me search through it?" Take some time to analyze the data in the ANTIQUE PHONE. Max might be able to fill in whatever blanks are inside.
>[PULSATING GEAR] Complex machinery, huh? Maybe that old trinket you have could be useful here. If nothing else, you'll get some time to figure out what kind of machinery it is and what its function is.
>[CASEY ALLY] "Hey, use your weird gun thing to track this." Hand her the scarf they handed you. Might as well get her 'gun' familiarized with it before you go down there.
>It wouldn't hurt to investigate the 'rest' section. Maybe you can find some more personal belongings if Valentina was willing to toss away an expensive scarf to some random Cleansers.
>[UNSTABLE] YEAH, UH, SORRY. EVERYTHING IN THIS MISSION HAS BEEN CONFUSING AND MINDMELTING AND SHIT AND I LET MYSELF GO FOR A MOMENT. CAN I APOLOGIZE TO THEM? PLEASE?
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "Hey, Benny boy. You know what time it is, right?" "Yes, Nicole..." Drug time! (-1 CHARGE on LICENSED PHARAMCIST. Write in what kind of drug or chemical you want him to make. You may spend -2 CHARGES to ask him to make an explosive of some kind.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to take a quick mental map of the MINES. (-1 RESTRAINT, should help you with your explorations down the line.)
>Take some time to talk and hang out with your allies. You have a feeling once you start delving, you won't have time for casual chitchat. (+1 RAPPORT with two allies of your choice. Write in which ones you want to hang out with.)
>Write in. (Give an ally a MINING BUNDLE? Ask your allies something? Try to ask SEEKER something about the Alphabet Companies? Something else completely?)

Sorry for the delay.
>>
>>5987261
>Cleansers
Interesting insight into H Corp people
>A gear spinning through a roaring fire
Not like our PULSATING GEAR, surely
>dusty ground
Rip to those poor mining town folks
>rubs Benjamin's back
They're so cute together
>a genetic thing
Wonder if that started with Gregory, or even before him?
>you did NOT expect to act out like that
Is Nicole's RESTRAINT not above half? Guess all these runarounds got to her too

>>5987265
>completely random fun facts
>+1 EXTRA RESTRAINT TO MAX
Wow, both of them are synergizing well
>SCOUT OUT
That explains why Huxley wasn't so bothered or in a rush. He knows his goons are here on-site too
>CAN'T FUCKING STOP HIMSELF
The downside of being a Madness Combat man that they don't want you to know!!!
>exhaustion and dread
These 3 are lucky to be alive with a boss like that
>DRUG TOLERANCE
Offering him our 2 SALTRIL pills might be a good move if we meet, since we're not using those after embracing UNSTABLE. The nice gesture from another fellow violent and deranged maniac could get through to him. It'd also be a good way to ditch the pills we're not using ever again.
>ANTISEPTIC VET
Shit, we could have related to him better in a confrontation if we got more of that background info from Naomi. At least we still have some knowledge from Admiral and a bit from Naomi too, in case we do face him.
>bargaining chip
That's his plan? Use Valentina as living leverage against the Vannis and benefit from Z Corp?
>SUPPRESSES FLAMES TO AN EXTENT
Good to know

>>5987268
>$6000
A good use of the remaining BRIBE MONEY
>HER FAMILY SUCKING
Unsurprising
>GROW MORE OF IT
So I was right earlier
>DUMB ART
Curious...
>DUMBASS MINER BOYTOY
That's gotta be the "Luther" we need to find
>BULKY ROBOT FRIEND
That's new. If they were alive surely they would have tried to seek help for Valentina or leave for some? Unless they couldn't...
>NOT let Robbert find her
So we have to smuggle her out? Or fight Robbert. Or trick him. Or convince him. Or get around him.
>a powerful family member's daughter
Like the one we're with? Right now?
>S-sixteen
Dumbass underage rich girl in way over her head.
>dark blue Nouveau Fabric
Pairs well with the red one from Gregory.

>>5987269
>buying some time
We did good going for the store and the miners.
>isn't the first time
Surprising that Casey's done this before
>SHELTERED
Was wondering when this would trigger
>Darker yet darker
This isn't a good place for a secret lab
>long, long trip down
It'll buy us time and distance from the corpos on the way in, and later on the way out if we juke them

>>5987279
>lockers
FREE LOOT???????
>Dori and Kevin- Pft
:^)
>>
I see we have 2 ways to go about this. We either
>???
>CASEY ALLY
>GO DEEPER
>GO DEEPER
aka the mission speedrun route. Or we do
>rest section
>ALEXIS ALLY
>MAX ALLY + PHONE
>???
To make the most of combing this lobby area of MAX LOOT AND INFO before the corpo admins get here to do it. There might be something to use against the Mayor in negotiating for the miners for the side mission. PULSATING GEAR option is coming up a second time, so maybe it can do us good here? I had the idea come to me just now to do BENJAMIN ALLY and make explosives to use as a threat or dead man's switch, to force the corpos to let us go if they try and stop us from leaving. Or we use those island ingredients with the SALTRIL, to maybe make a good enough antipsychotic that it actually affects Robbert Huxley through his drug resistance?

What do you guys think? We've been having so many good options and choices lately it hurts with how pressed for time we are against Valentina's state and the corpo trio at our heels.
>>
>>5987279
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Alexis is busy checking the computers over at the rest section. Head over to help her comb through whatever information might be on there.
>[CASEY ALLY] "Hey, use your weird gun thing to track this." Hand her the scarf they handed you. Might as well get her 'gun' familiarized with it before you go down there.
>It wouldn't hurt to investigate the 'rest' section. Maybe you can find some more personal belongings if Valentina was willing to toss away an expensive scarf to some random Cleansers.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to take a quick mental map of the MINES. (-1 RESTRAINT, should help you with your explorations down the line.)
>>
>>5987324
+1
I’m curious if we can recruit Valentina Vanni after rescuing her. Also, I think Miner Boytoy (Luther) might potentially be in love with Valentina.
>>
>>5987332
>Max and Ben
>Valentina and Luther
>rich girl and scatterbrained guy
Heh
>>
>>5987342
Is Nicole's love some scatterbrained corpo heir then
>>
>>5987346
We have not come across any guy that Nicole could feasibly get with. Benjamin has Max. Lex is going to have Ashley eventually. Quentin is a bodypuppeting centipede. Maruyama is still suffering from his ex-wife who cucked him. Adam isn't that close with Nicole at all, and he has Benedict. Benedict is a brain-damaged part-anomaly, and he has Adam. Clover definitely has somebody from his circle of friends. Frank we have not worked with or heard from once since we got his info.
>>
>>5987358
>Adam isn't that close with Nicole at all,
He did see us naked though
>>
>>5987324
Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine
+1 this just to speed things up
>>
>>5987279
>Our only goal is to find Valentina. Head down deeper, deeper, and deeper. (Consumes two actions. You'll save a lot of time by picking this, putting more distance between you and the corpos. Might also help your odds at finding Valentina in a better state.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Hey, use your weird gun thing to track this." Hand her the scarf they handed you. Might as well get her 'gun' familiarized with it before you go down there.
>It wouldn't hurt to investigate the 'rest' section. Maybe you can find some more personal belongings if Valentina was willing to toss away an expensive scarf to some random Cleansers.
>>
>>5987324
+1
>>
>>5987279
>ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to take a quick mental map of the MINES. (-1 RESTRAINT, should help you with your explorations down the line.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Hey, use your weird gun thing to track this." Hand her the scarf they handed you. Might as well get her 'gun' familiarized with it before you go down there.
>Our only goal is to find Valentina. Head down deeper, deeper, and deeper. (Consumes two actions. You'll save a lot of time by picking this, putting more distance between you and the corpos. Might also help your odds at finding Valentina in a better state.)
>>
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Your first and immediate instinct is to sit down on the floor. You're not sure why, some sort of impulse to ground yourself when trying out this power? You close your eyes and with a shaky breath, you let your mind blossom and fracture. It's how it must be done. How it must always be done.
>-1 RESTRAINT! 9/10 LEFT!

Almost immediately, your mind is flooded with fragmentary, sparse visions of what lies below. Pipes stretching on for miles into a seemingly endless cavern. A tunnel that spirals deeper and deeper. A metallic fist desperately trying to punch through a jammed metal door. A chunk of bright violet crystals growing over a young woman's face. You take a moment to focus on actual LAYOUTS.

Here's what you got. You're currently at the entrance and the path forward is a deep, spiraling tunnel that eventually breaks off into four different tunnels. Two of them are caved in and the other has SOMETHING waiting down there. Some sort of cave dwelling animal. Best not to bother. Seems like it's going to take some time to travel down.

After you go through the only cleared one, you can make out the rough impression of a catwalk built over a looming pit that is at least a solid mile deep. You'll get a better idea when you go down there, at least.

You open up your eyes. Your allies have been rummaging around the two rooms at the entrance of the mine, trying to burn time or to find things of value. While you know there's no secret paths here thanks to your power, you do smell the delicious scent of HIDDEN LOOT somewhere in the Rest Room-

"Boo." JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WAIT WHO'S JESUS HUH WHAT WHO'S BEHIND YOU "Woah! Woah, calm down Nicky." Your gaze snaps immediately to the person standing behind you. It's...just Max. Her hands are raised up in mock surrender. "I was just wondering what you were doing."

"Psychic power stuff." You immediately calm down as if you weren't freaking out moments ago. "Getting a rough layout of the place." You hold out Valentina's Scarf in the rough direction of where you thought you saw Casey. Like the busy bee she is, she rushes over to grab it before returning to her own activities.

[SHELTERED] "Oh. Haha. Yeah. People have those." Max tries her best to hide her unease but it's blatant to anyone who isn't supremely autistic. "Isn't that scary? To have them? I mean, I know implants can do a lot but actual 'magic' stuff is something else."

Oh, right, you don't recall using any of your powers in front of her before. The casino mission was pretty under the radar. "Well, it's not magic-" You immediately interrupt yourself. "Well, I've had them for as long as I can bother to remember."

As you begin walking over to the REST ROOM, Max follows after you. "Wait, hold on though, why are we waiting around if you've had them this whole time?" She badgers you with a sparkling, child-like curiosity. "Can't you blow a passage to where Val is? Teleport us there? Talk to her with your mind??? C'mon, this can be a cakewalk!"
>>
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Your antlers buzz subtly as your feet brush up against a specific part of the carpet. Ripping it off the chunk with your telekinesis, you find a small safe embedded in the floor underneath. Interesting. Some subconscious part of you tells you that the code's on the computer somehow.

"One, I can't blow shit up OR teleport. Two, most of my powers mess with my brain if I use them too much so even I could do those things, it's safer for everyone involved if I used them sparingly."

Max slumps over, crossing her arms with obvious disappointment. "Is there even a point on having them if you can't use them whenever you want to? I mean, Benjamin keeps telling me about how cool your powers are and how amazing it must be to have them."

...You should probably nip that in the bud after this mission is done. Especially since you DO have a way on giving him powers. "It's not as fun as you think it is. I only do what I need to do to survive. I don't think you understand that."

[SHELTERED] Max tries to refute your point but she really can't find the words to.. <"What IS that like? I. I don't really get it. Can't pretend to."> "Sorry." She grumbles under her breath with obvious annoyance. It's clear whatever's annoying her isn't really because of you.

"Hey, don't be." You would offer a smile but, well, mask. "Just trying to explain myself."

You turn your attention over to Alexis and Benjamin, who have been fiddling around with the various computers sprawled throughout the breakroom. It's clear that most of the stuff being displayed on the screens is garbage noise. They're desperately trying to skim whatever information they can out of it. You gesture at Max to explore the REST ROOM on your behalf while you help the others.

She, alongside Casey, start to explore the room on your behalf. No need to let your allies sit around. A captain must order her crew, after all- Okay weird impulse there.

You join up with Alexis and Benjamin after shaking your head of the Admiral's residual influence. Your eyes begin to scan through all of the lines, trying to figure out some sort of method in the mess of binary and garbage noise text.

"This beaut has seen better days." Benjamin admits with a longing tone. "Hardware damage. Half the time, the screen turns into-" A multicolored haze best described as 'clown vomit' flickers on the screen for twenty solid seconds, interrupting your ability to make out anything.
"Most of the coherent stuff is just random numbers. One of them was 42-0-69, for instance." Ah! Your brain instinctually processes that as the safe code. You also fucking hate whoever picked it!

"Lemme help..." You grab onto one of the few chairs and begin the process of skimming through the piles of corrupted data to see if there's anything remotely worth keeping. About twenty minutes pass...

"I think that's about all we can get." Alexis finishes scribbling down the last bit of usable data she could find onto a sheet of loose paper.
>>
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CAVE IN REPORT - "Someone's been digging here and I know it isn't anyone on our staff. Writing this in a rush, sorry if it's fucked up. Lost some lads in a cave in today. We were in Layer 4 when we heard a massive explosion going off, gas leak maybe? Only thing I know is that it came from a deeper layer and it's someone trying to dig UPWARDS."
SAFEHOUSE CONSTRUCTION - "With everything going on, we had to make several safehouses throughout Layer 3 to 7, the bottom. We had to hide them just in case anyone invades but you can tell where one is by the color of the stone around them. Check for lighter sections of the cave walls. There should be enough supplies in there to hold someone for a week and a half. Do note that the electronic doors have a few kinks and may jam from time to time."
W-CORP MEMO - "To all Mining Towns in PHI-5, due to limited natural resources projected to still be accessible within the next five years, we are ceasing all current supply shipments. You may be provided an exception if you can triple your production by the end of the year. Do try finding a way to 'create' more MOONSTONE. You know how."
MINERAL DISCOVERY - "We found it. The motherload. Eclipse Silk, Moonstone, Sunstone, even a Voidstone vein. It's all down here. Issue is, with the supply shortages, I doubt many of us are going to make it. Joel is going to tell us to keep working until we get all of it out for the sake of that damn quota. Maybe we should try getting one of the families involved. A Vanni, maybe?"

...You don't like the implications put force by the Memo and Mineral Discovery logs. Benjamin and Alexis, while they don't have anything to say, are clearly uncomfortable by what they read as well-

[CORPORATE ELITE] Alexis' radio crackles to life. "Eye in the sky. We found another exit to your mine. You might be able to sneak through it. Whenever you find a door labeled "X-ALPHA", you're on the right track. Other exit has been abandoned due to INTENSE contamination, go STRAIGHT ahead if you pick this path." It then turns off. Hm, another thing to look out for.

You make a rush over to the safe to input the code you got from the computer. Time to see what you got...

SAFE LOOT!
>$150
>JOYVEL PILL x2 (Heals 1 RESTRAINT when used. What else can you say?)
>SUNSTONE (A refined SUNSTONE, made by W-Corp. Has three charges. You may spend a charge to add +2d8 to any dice roll you make.)

Casey and Max approach you with some various items they managed to recover from the lockers...

LOCKER LOOT!
>FUEL TANK x2 (Used by the POWER DRILL.)
>OIL LANTERN x5 (Has enough fuel for four charges. Passively lights up the environment around you. When thrown at an enemy, deal scaling fire damage equal to the amount of charges left.)
>DUST CONTAINMATED LIQUOR x3 (Has a 50% chance to heal 1 RESTRAINT and boost CHARM by 1 when used, 25% to do nothing, and 25% chance to deal 1 FLESH damage. Useful as a projectile weapon, at least.)
>DYNAMITE BUNDLE x2 (WAOW! EXPLOSIVE!)
>>
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"Now! Show me the way! My ferocious hound-" Casey holds up her snubnosed revolver. BORK! You swear your mind is playing tricks on it, did it just bark? "will make sure we do not stray! It has already sniffed the fear from the scarf and these!" She holds up two small trinkets. A pastel pink wallet and an equally pastel pink glove. Must've been Valentina's.

No time to waste. After making sure everyone has an oil lantern, your group starts the long, LONG journey into the depths of the mines. The tunnel forward begins to spiral in on itself almost immediately and any space that the tunnels once had is immediately snuffed. Your group barely fits, even after adopting a single file line.

The only thing lighting your way forward is the oil lamps (well, you have nightvision, but you plan on saving that for when you get DEEP deep). No one really feels like talking during the journey down. In the corner of your eye, you swear you saw Benjamin and Max holding each other's hands in a vague attempt to steel their nerves.

"We'll see four tunnels. I know which one to follow." You mutter out as your group keeps spiraling deeper and deeper. It feels like at least ten minutes were spent just walking in a god damn spiraling loop. Your group manages to reach the four-way split that you saw in your vision. One to the left, one to the right, one center-right, one center-left.

If you recall correct, the center-right one is the 'correct' one.

BORK!

Casey's gun begins to snarl and bark with a ferocity that almost makes everyone forget that a normal(ish) looking gun should NOT be making those noises. The barrel of the gun is pointing towards the center-left one. Casey's bug-like eyes stare right down the tunnel. "Valentina went that way." She points towards the right-most path.

"That's caved in. Already checked with my mind." Hm. Seems like you have to do a detour. With a wave of your hand, your group proceeds down the center-right tunnel before anything could possibly attack you. Another spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral, spiral-

After what feels like an eternity of walking around in a spiral, Benjamin's voice calls out to you, getting your attention. "Nicole? We're here, I think." Ah, time to investigate where you arrived at now.

https://youtu.be/grYpmDjeh5k - CATWALK LAYER

You only now realize that aside from a fifty foot long patch of mostly blank stone flooring and a ceiling that stretches up for god knows how long, there's only one thing of note in this layer. A giant, seemingly endless pit that goes down forever. You kick a loose stone down over the edge.

It takes two minutes before you hear anything hitting the bottom.

The only path forward across the pit is a large but very clunky set of rusted catwalks built right over the deep, deep pit. Taking a look around, there's no obvious way forward beyond this, so with some prodding, you and your allies carry across the very unstable looking catwalk.
>>
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Your progress is slow from hereon out. Not because of anything inherently slowing you down but because of the sheer nature of a massive fucking pit hanging right below you. With the only thing preventing your group from being paste being the rusted catwalks you're walking over. Oh well, not much you can do, best to be safe than sorry.

Your group eventually ends up at a crosswalks of sorts. In the middle of the catwalk maze is a hub circle that's wide enough and clearly durable enough to hold a handful of crates filled to the brim with something heavy. Aside from the path you just walked across, there's a fuck ton of other paths to go from here. Two west, Two east, one north, two northwest, two northeast.

You can already cross out the WEST one thanks to WHISPER OF THE CITY, you know for certain that's a dead end. Looking over at Casey, she holds her gun up. It sniffs in the air before pointing north. Alright, that narrows it down to five.

Which path do you wish to take from here, Nicole?
>Straight ahead. You can faintly make out a bright light source and some sort of machinery still churning at the other edge. You're shocked it's still working, maybe there's something valuable there.
>Northwest #1. There's something standing in the middle of that walkway. They're not looking at you but it's clear they're a miner due to their outfit.. What are they doing down here?
>Northwest #2. Your MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR is going apeshit as you approach this path. If Valentina was chasing after some moonstones, she might've gone down there.
>Northeast #1. WHISPERS OF THE CITY keeps saying that something valuable is down here but you can't really see anything down there. Just a single catwalk stretching on into the dark.
>Northeast #2. There's a lot of dust in this pathway. Dust and the lingering smell of smog and smoke. You swear you hear someone talking down there as well.
>Split your group. Explore two paths at once, regroup back here. (Your group will be split into one group of 3 and one group of 2. Assign which allies will be in quick groups and where they're being sent to.)
>>
>>5988463
>ground yourself
Same thing in real life
>let your mind blossom and fracture
W Corp has a lot to answer for
>metallic fist
That's Valentina's android companion
>jammed metal door
That's a clue
>bright violet crystals growing over a young woman's face
Not good NOT GOOD
>cave dwelling animal
Let's leave them be. We could use meat bait to get them as a distraction if corpos do show up, but I really don't want to hunt them needlessly when we're so pressed for time
>no secret paths here
Thanks for picking ANOMALOUS, anons
>busy bee she is
:^)
>don't recall using any of your powers in front of her
She doesn't know about the glowies
She doesn't know about our other missions
I think sitting down to talk about all this with the group is wise, but AFTER the mission. And NO spilling Mind Read to any of them, not yet. Best if only Ashley knows for the time being

>>5988465
>antlers buzz subtly
Horns are just a bony type of antennae
>nip that in the bud after
Exactly
>obvious annoyance
I think it's good we're getting Max on missions too, because she will become less sheltered as she experiences real life in the City, on the level Nicole and everybody else lives. Benjamin being with us every time is also good, because he can help ground Max and stop her from losing it as she learns more and more
>captain must order her crew
Admiral you're supposed to be dead, stop trying to live on through your boon
>clown vomit
It's a funny phrase huh QM?
>42-0-69
Funny
>About twenty minutes
We're still ahead. The corpo trio are still far behind us...

>>5988467
>CAVE IN
That's what the french miner duo told us
>dig UPWARDS
Foreboding
>SAFEHOUSE
We could seriously use these, if we come across any
>electronic doors jam
That can have offensive use if we bait somebody in then trap them, but risky
>ceasing all current supply shipments
Shit, W Corp themselves say the amount being low is why they cut the mining towns off. How are we supposed to negotiate for better conditions for the Mayor if W Corp themselves aren't giving any?
>triple your production
>'create' more MOONSTONE. You know how
Those bastards fucking KNOW. Are the miners just sacrificial now for more Moonstone farming?
>Voidstone
Now this is getting spicy
>getting one of the families involved
>Vanni
It's a fucking conspiracy? How is Valentina being trapped here or being mindbroken or dead supposed to benefit them? The Vannis will rain hell on them if they know, and they WILL. They would too if we didn't take this mission

1/2
>>
>>5988467
>INTENSE contamination
But Huxley or any pursuers won't necessarily know this. We can use that against them in our escape, if shit hits the fan HARD
>JOYVEL PILL x2
Not bad
>SUNSTONE
Great if we're desperate, otherwise nice to clutch
>FUEL TANK x2
Let's make good use of this power drill, shall we?
>OIL LANTERN x5
We have sources of night vision, but not enough to cover all 5 of us. That's where this is needed
>DUST CONTAINMATED LIQUOR x3
Throw this then into H CORP LIGHTER + TELEKINESIS
>DYNAMITE BUNDLE x2
I want to hold onto these to give the silver agents a real good base collapse later...

>>5988468
>pastel pink wallet/glove
Not the COOL pink Nicole has
>Your group barely fits
How did they get all those rocks out of this place at all?
>saving that for when you get DEEP deep
Thanks QM
>holding each other's hands
As good a place as any for that
>at least ten minutes
Half an hour in these mines already. Those corpos better be delayed well. I hope Devin and Kori are OK and Robbert didn't start some shit
>two minutes
That's not quite an abyss, but it is from up here
>>
>>5988473
>Split your group. Explore two paths at once, regroup back here. (Your group will be split into one group of 3 and one group of 2. Assign which allies will be in quick groups and where they're being sent to.)
Nicole + Max + Benjamin -> Northeast #1
Alexis + Casey -> Northwest #1
I think we have time to do this much before we head Straight Ahead north to where Valentina's scent is located
>>
>>5988473
>Northwest #1. There's something standing in the middle of that walkway. They're not looking at you but it's clear they're a miner due to their outfit.. What are they doing down here?
>>
>>5988473
>>Straight ahead. You can faintly make out a bright light source and some sort of machinery still churning at the other edge. You're shocked it's still working, maybe there's something valuable there.
>>
>>5988548
+1
>>
I will be abstaining as I find these tunnels 3spooky5me
>>
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"Alexis, Casey, check out that miner guy. We're going to investigate that mystery tunnel."

Alexis stares in your direction for an uncomfortably long amount of time, judging every atom of your god damn being for your suggestion. "Spilling up. In THIS place?" She holds her oil lantern right over the edge of the catwalk. Aside from your five lights, the only thing keeping this place remotely illuminated is some long-since antique light fixtures attached at the top of the cave.

To be frank, it gives the same amount of light as a dim moon during a pitch black night in the middle of winter. Hm. Maybe that's intentional? Moonstones and all.

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] From your knowledge, it's mostly a clever marketing thing with W-Company. What with the bright colors of the stones. Something about them 'shining like stars in the night sky'?

"Fine. I trust you but she WILL shoot to kill if shit goes wrong." She places a hand on Casey. "Isn't that right, Casey?"
"Yes, madam, yes! I have fifty confirmed kills with my friend!" You feel like that's a lie given her poor stats but you won't question it.
"Excellent. You three, uh, go do that." She waves a hand in the direction of the path you plan on heading down.

Your group proceeds to split up, with your group heading down the darkest tunnel while Casey and Alexis deal with the mystery man. It doesn't take long for Casey and Alexis to disappear from your sight.
>CASEY and ALEXIS have temporarily left the party!

Well, that's misleading. It's not that THEY disappeared from your sight. It's that even walking a few feet into the path you set out for yourself is drenching everything around you in an almost physical, thick layer of darkness. It only takes ten feet before the only thing preventing your group from stumbling blind is the oil lantern you have.

"What's going on?" Max can't even attempt to hide the fear in her voice as she tries her best to follow after you. "This. This feels wrong. I. Look, maybe we should go back, why are we heading down here?"
"She has to have a reason, right?" Benjamin offers you the benefit of the doubt here. "Weird how the machine isn't going off. Thought this might've been that 'voidstone' stuff mentioned. Doesn't feel anomalous either..."

"I guess it's fine then." Max chuckles like she's trying her best to laugh at a really, REALLY unfunny joke. "Yeah. Must be fine."

[BLIND OPTIMISM] "It's probably just poor lighting. We're in a massive mine hundreds on hundreds of feet below the surface. It'd be MORE shocking if it was pitch dark..."
[DELUSIONAL] "That and I can't feel the darkness staring back at me! Such a disappointment, really! I really want to grab what's in the dark by the neck and strangle it for everyone to see!"

Max makes a strangled, confused noise in the back of her throat. After her brain resets, she can't help but to laugh at the whiplash she experienced. "I think I'd have a better chance of strangling something down here. Let's not kid ourselves here."
>>
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"Get a fucking room-"

[STEADY HANDS] Your body kicks into action. Your free hand immediately reaches out and with a telekinetic pull, you pull your allies to the right side of the catwalk. Your body manages to move just enough to avoid your heart getting pierced.

Your brain manages to process why. A thin, long rusted metal spike, connected or held by some unseen figure, has been impaled into your side. If you didn't move your group in time, someone probably would've had their throats impaled by it.

[STEADY HANDS] With surgical precision, you managed to chunk of metal without causing too much damage to yourself, freeing yourself in case you have to run or fight. Your quick reaction made it so that only the tip (heh) managed to pierce you.

>-1 FLESH (ONE BLOCKED FROM COMBAT PROSTHETIC BODYSUIT)! 4/5 LEFT!

"SORRY! BUT WE CAN NOT ALLOW ANYONE DOWN THIS PATH! PLEASE TURN AROUND!" A robotic yet chipper voice blares from the darkness. You immediately hold your lantern in the direction of the voice while Max is whimpering incoherently to herself. Not like Benjamin is doing any better, thanks to his heavy breathing.
>-1 RESTRAINT TO BENJAMIN AND MAX! MAX: 2/3, BENJAMIN: 4/5

A thin puppet-like humanoid stands before you, only six feet away from your group. You thought it was an android at first but no, it's too crude. Too simple. Its body is made out of cheap, shoddy metal pipes twisted and welded together into the rough approximation of a human form. Its hands, also made out of old pipes, are just bent and twisted enough to be able to hold simple objects. Like the long metal rod it's holding.

Two beady white eyes stare back at you. "PLEASE TURN AROUND! NO ONE ASIDE FROM THOSE APPROVED BY: JOEL THE GREAT, JOEL THE WISE, JOEL THE ULTIMATE GOD SAVIOR OF THIS TOWN" The simple machine spits out. "MAY BE ALLOWED TO ENTER! PLEASE LEAVE! THE LAST APPROVED PERSON WAS: VALENTINA VANNI, WHO PASSED BY LONG BEFORE YOU DID. YOU ARE NOT. ON THE LIST."

"Did you have to FUCKING STAB ME? Was THAT your version of a warning?" You keep pressure on the bleeding wound. Your anomalously fucked up body will probably stem the bleeding soon enough but god, does it still hurt. "And, wait, Joel? Who's that? The mayor?"

"WHO ELSE?" The figure beeps out. "AND YES. YOU HAVE WEIRD HORNS. YOU WERE AN ANOMALY. EVEN THOUGH ANOMALIES HAVE NOT BEEN FOUND IN A W-CORP MINE SINCE 2211. VERY STRANGE. LEAVE? YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST?"

"I'm not sure how sentient that thing is." Benjamin steels his nerves enough to talk. "Might be one of the earliest E-Corp models. Barely more powerful than old world computers. I say we kill it."

"KILL? HOW CAN YOU KILL WHICH HAS NO LIFE?" The robot raises its arm up. "DIE-DIE-DIE." It begins to step forward...

"Uh, uh, Beta-Zeta-Kalpa!" Max mutters. The figure locks up for a moment before gesturing at you to continue speaking. You and Benjamin offer weird looks in Max's direction. She offers a confused shrug. "I heard the mayor say it!"
>>
WHISPERS OF THE CITY flashes another vision before you. You know that there's a metal door and, behind it, is a passage that will certainly lead you down Valentina's path. The only issue is how to actually get past this robot. It's slow, clunky, and not that intimidating but it is standing in the way. You rather not fight it if you have to...

How do you want to handle the figure?
>[MAX ALLY] "We're actually on behalf of the mayor! See, we're here to actually help this mining town out!" Let Max take the wheel for now. (CHARM DC: 33, rolling 9d6. Succeed and the robot will be convinced, joining the group as a temporary ally to assist you in exploring the mine.)
>[STEADY HAND + UNSTABLE] Pull out your revolver and shoot it. Your shot will be absolutely perfect, you know that. (-1 REVOLVER BULLET, +1 RESTRAINT TO EVERYONE FOR THE COOL SHOT. You'll save a lot of time but you'll likely alert anyone down here, for good or ill.)
>[HAS MET W-CORP BEFORE] "I'm here on behalf of Wendy, from W-Company. If she knew that you harmed a W-Company representative, you're fucked." Bluff your way forward. (CONNECTIONS DC: 25, rolling 7d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. Succeed and the robot will let you pass without any issue and will absolutely try to bribe you with information and goodies to keep you from ratting it out.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] ...Pick it up with telekinesis and just throw it down the pit. Problem solved. (-1 RESTRAINT, you might get Max and Benjamin a bit too interested in anomalous abilities, which might bite you in the ass later. However, it's easy and very time saving.)
>"We're actually here to submit some mining samples and contraband, mister! Sorry about the confusion!" Hand over some. (-POLISHED MOONSTONE CHUNK, -DUST CONTAINMATED LIQUIOR, -1 VICTORY GIN, -2 HIGH QUAILTY WHISKEY. The robot will trust you immensely now and will try its best to assist you, which includes slowing down the corpos even more once they get down here.)
>This isn't worth it. Turn back around and reconnect with Casey and Alexis.
>Write in (Ask it some questions? Try another power to get it to fuck off? Something else?)
>>
>>5989521
>shining like stars in the night sky
Muh stars of the city
>places a hand on Casey
Really acting like a big sister there, Morozov
>given her poor stats
She'll get better. Bugs evolve fast and look cool
>physical, thick layer of darkness
Voidstone road?
>that 'voidstone' stuff
>poor lighting
Nice thinking Ben
>strangling something
Not the right kind of darkness for trying things with Benjamin, Max

>>5989524
>[STEADY HANDS]
>throats impaled
Whoever voted to go with Adam's NEW YOU in mission prep, thanks a lot
>only six feet away
!!!
>THE ULTIMATE GOD SAVIOR OF THIS TOWN
We're gonna have a talk with this Mayor later
>SINCE 2211
Interesting

>>5989535
>metal door
It's this fucker
>passage that will certainly lead you down Valentina's path
So of the 5 possible "north" paths Valentina could have taken, this one's the correct one? She just decided on the one with advanced darkness? Great going, idiot
>>
This robot might know what happened to Luther, plus why they split off from Valentina. The door from the vision he was bashing his fist into was jammed, which means safehouse based on the miners' computer notes, which means LOOT. SEEKER was on the money about valuables down this way. Plus this is Valentina's route? Jackpot. The mayor might be inclined to reward us if we somehow bring this rustbucket ALL the way out back to him.
We could just turn around and take another route to Valentina without wasting too much time, but this robot isn't much for a roadblock to some brick shithouse like Robbert Huxley not to mention whatever gear and augs the other two have. We'll miss out on the safehouse too, but this isn't the only one in this mine. I doubt the VOIDSTONE and the cooler loot are up this early in the mine layers, so we're better off making progress FAST

>>5989535
Ask it about what happened to Luther
Ask it about what happened to Valentina
>[MAX ALLY] "We're actually on behalf of the mayor! See, we're here to actually help this mining town out!" Let Max take the wheel for now. (CHARM DC: 33, rolling 9d6. Succeed and the robot will be convinced, joining the group as a temporary ally to assist you in exploring the mine.)
Exploration help matters more right now. The quicker and safer we can reach Valentina and the lower layers, the better our loot and chances of making it without the corpo trio finding us. It'll be amazing if we handle this entire mine like spooks without the trio even knowing we were here
>>
>>5989535
>>[HAS MET W-CORP BEFORE] "I'm here on behalf of Wendy, from W-Company. If she knew that you harmed a W-Company representative, you're fucked." Bluff your way forward. (CONNECTIONS DC: 25, rolling 7d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. Succeed and the robot will let you pass without any issue and will absolutely try to bribe you with information and goodies to keep you from ratting it out.)
>>
>>5989555
+1
>>
>>5989535
>[HAS MET W-CORP BEFORE] "I'm here on behalf of Wendy, from W-Company. If she knew that you harmed a W-Company representative, you're fucked." Bluff your way forward. (CONNECTIONS DC: 25, rolling 7d6+2d3 with the help of your allies. Succeed and the robot will let you pass without any issue and will absolutely try to bribe you with information and goodies to keep you from ratting it out.)
>>
>>5989535
>[HAS MET W-CORP BEFORE]
>>
Thank you, voter who broke the tie.
I need three anons to roll for the following
>4d6 (half of 7d6)
>3d6 (second half of 7d6)
>2d3 (CAPTAIN'S COMMAND boon)
>>
Rolled 3, 2 = 5 (2d3)

>>5990291
I'm rolling the 2d3 because I don't trust myself with the 4d6, not after the bad rolls earlier
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 1, 3 = 11 (4d6)

>>5990291
>>
Rolled 2, 6, 4 = 12 (3d6)

>>5990291
Second Half
>>
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Father Above, the pain in your side is intensifying by the second. At least when you pull your hand away, barely any blood is trickling out and what does come out is thick and coagulated. Probably not healthy but at least you won't bleed out. Now, how to deal with this robot freak...

[UNSTABLE] WENDY. THAT OBNOXIOUS PIECE OF SHIT. I KNEW SHE COULD COME IN USEFUL.
[UNSTABLE] THROW YOUR WEIGHT AROUND. INSTILL NOTHING BUT FEAR INTO THIS BARELY SENTIENT HUSK-
[STEADY HANDS] Nicole. Focus. Steady your hands. Go for the kill.

"I'm here on behalf of Wendy, from W-Company." You clench your teeth as another surge of pain courses through your body. "I am a W-Company representative. I'm not sure Joel would like it if he realized what you did."

The mass of pipes standing before you lowers the sharp spike it's holding. "WHAT. THAT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. W-CORP REPRENSENTATIVES DO NOT VISIT THIS TOWN, AS DEEMED BY MY CREATOR." It clumsily steps forward, gears and pistons grinding together with every small movement it makes. "THAT DOES NOT. MAKE LOGICAL SENSE. ERROR LOG. ERROR-"

"She's not lying!" Max, still recovering from her shock, tries her damn best to assist you. "In fact, she's not the only corporate powerhouse here! My hus-" She pauses for a moment. <"wait what if my dad finds this thing and talks to it nope nope">

"My associate here is from Z-Corp!" She pulls at the front of Benjamin's jacket with one hand while shining her lantern on it with the other. "I'm a Krakatoa! Check my eyes!" She adjusts her lantern to show off her face.

"She's not wrong, actually! If you've been updated recently enough to know about Valentina, you must know about a rising Aaron in Z-Company's databanks, right?" Benjamin rummages through his pocket for a moment before pulling out an ID card. "Officially from Z-Corp herself."

>25! PASS!

"I. I. NEW DATA ANALYZED." The robot steps back. "W-CORP REP: INJURED. RISK TOWARDS MAYOR: HIGH, HIGH, HIGH."

"Yeah, pretty damn high." You stride over to the robot with a confident smirk. "If she knew that you harmed a W-Company representative, you're fucked. Sooo?"

"I WILL. YES. FORGET ABOUT THIS FORGET ABOUT THIS FORGET ABOUT-" Smoke begins to leak out of a gap in the robot's neck. Its speech begins to distort and crackle under the strain it's experiencing. "PLEASE DON'T INFORM YOUR COMPANY I WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW PLEASE ENJOY COMPLENTARY SAMPLE!"

A panel in its chest opens up with an audible CLUNK. A robotic hand shoots out from it with a burlap sack in its palm. Dollar bills are visibly poking out of it.

"Isn't this just bribery?" Max immediately grabs the bag from the robot's hand and starts sifting through its contents. "I'm pretty sure this is."

"IS THAT A BAD THING?"

Max stops sifting through the bag for a moment. "Not really. It's just a smart business move. Hell, I do it."
"wait what-" Benjamin is interrupted by Max before he can question what he heard.

"Anyways, Nicky, here."
>>
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Max tosses the burlap sack over to you before she leans against one of the catwalk's railings. "Tell us EVERYTHING you know about the two people you let through previously."

"I. LUTHER. VERY EFFICENT WORKER, NOT WELL LIKED BY JOEL. DEEMED AS A RISK TO OUR ABILITY TO EXTRACT MINERALS. MINERALS THAT WE NEED TO NOT UPSET YOU, W-CORP."

Benjamin can't help but to scoff at the absurdity of the robot's statement. "Wait, huh? That doesn't make a lick of sense. How can he be efficient YET a risk to your ability to produce stuff? That's like a circular triangle."

"MOST OF THE GEMS WE CREATE NEED TIME TO GESTATE. GROW. THE NATURALLY CREATED GEMS ARE MOSTLY AT THE BOTTOM. HE WAS TOO EFFICIENT AT HARVESTING AT THE BOTTOM. DEPLETING BACKUP SURPLUS. RESULTING IN MORE GESTATING REQUIRED." That doesn't really sound like an issue one worker can cause on their own? "WITHOUT GEMSTONES TO USE IN GESTATION, SUPPLIES WILL RUN OUT."

"So why did you let him through then, if you're so worried about that?" Max prods at the robot with questions. "There's something you're not telling us. What is it?"

"TWO OUTCOMES. ONE, HE BECOMES NEW SEEDBED, MORE CRYSTALS CAN BE GENERATED. TWO, HE'S ABLE TO GET MORE RAW MATERIAL, WHICH WILL BE USEFUL TO SHOW OFF TO W-COMPANY. THAT AND HE WAS ESCORTING OUR TRUE PRIZE FURTHER DOWN. NO REASON TO STOP HIM." You can't help but to feel disgusted at where this is going, given the talk of seedbeds. You can hear Max gagging behind you. The implication on where this is going isn't pleasant.

"I." Benjamin is the only one brave, or foolish, enough to ask the next question openly. "Was Valentina allowed down here because she was...prime material? As a crystal 'seedbed'? God, that's gross to say..."

"TWO OUTCOMES. ONE, SHE BECOMES PRIME SEEDBED. HER PHYSICAL MAKEUP, AS ANALYZED BY ME, WAS DEEMED HIGHLY ACCEPTABLE. TWO, SHE LEAVES AND SPREADS GOOD NEWS ON OUR TOWN, REOPENING NEW NEGOTIATIONS WITH W-CORP. NO LOSING OPTION, SO I WISHED TO ASSIST HER. SHE CLAIMED THAT SHE WISHED TO REACH THE BOTTOM. I TOLD HER WHERE."

"FROM HERE, HEAD DOWN THE LEFTMOST HALLWAY AND TAKE THE FIRST ELEVATOR. SHOULD LEAD TO LAYER 6. LUTHER FOLLOWED AFTER HER, SO THE SAME PATH SHOULD BE TAKEN. THAT IS ALL."

"You obviously know that letting a Vanni die here would cause someone to search for her, right?" Max points out the blatantly obvious. "You can't exactly expect powers WORKING WITH ALPHABET COMPANIES to just...not notice a family member disappearing."

"THAT IS NOT SOMETHING I WAS PROGRAMMED TO WORRY ABOUT. PLEASE CONTACT THE MAYOR FOR ANY FURTHER ISSUES." Yeah, this thing is a brick wall now, you got everything you got out of it. At least you got a straight shot to where she was at instead of trying to explore blindly. You got lucky.

BORK! BORK! BORK! BORK!

In the direction of where you last saw Casey and Alexis, you hear a rapid series of high pitched yelps. Immediately after, two pairs of footsteps rapidly approaching you.
>>
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Casey and Alexis are rushing over to you with fear oozing from their faces. A thick, drool-like liquid is oozing out of the barrel of Casey's gun.

"HIS FACE WAS JUST FUCKING ROCKS. GO GO GO GO GO" Alexis is clearly not built to be running as fast as she is given how much she's panting.

You and your other allies take the hint and begin to fucking book it. You gallop right past the robot blocking the way and within mere moments, you're standing right in front of a bulky metal door that's been rusted over with age. You violently yank on it with your telekinesis and with ease, it pops open, revealing a staircase that heads down for god knows how long.

You wave your allies over to head down the door. All four rush through the door remarkably quickly, leaving you as the last one. You turn to head down the door and, in the corner of your eyes, you see him. A man in a miner's uniform slowly trails down the catwalk. His face and arms have been completely caked over with bright violet and bright red gemstones.

Four bullet wounds are in his chest but it hardly seems to be slowing him down. He's not even bleeding. You head right through the metal door and slam it behind you, rushing down the staircase to meet up with your allies. You check through the bag the robot gave you to see what's inside...

BRIBERY OBTAINED!
>$150
>MOONSTONE FRAGMENT x3 (A fragment of a Moonstone. It crackles soothingly. Allows you or an ally to reroll three RESTRAINT or WILLPOWER dice when consumed.)
>SUNSTONE FRAGMENT x2 (A fragment of a Sunstone. It crackles like a roaring fire. Allows you or an ally to reroll three VIOLENCE or TALENT dice when consumed.)
>VOIDSTONE FRAGMENT (A vantablack fragment of a stone. It crackles with seething intensity. Allows you or an ally to reroll all dice rolled when consumed.)
>ECLIPSE SILK STRAND x3 (Thick, yellow strands similar to woven spider's silk. Useless on their own but when you return home, your ECLIPSE TALISMAN will be permanently upgraded.)

Neat! You pocket the goodies right as you reach the bottom of the staircase. The place you're at now is remsnicnet of a hospital or some sort of lab. The walls and floor are covered in stark white, ceramic tiles and the whole place is lit with bright white lights that buzz with that oh-so-familiar obnoxious fluorescent buzz.

Yet more hallways branch off from the long, linear hallway you're already in but you already know where to go. You gesture at your allies to follow you as you rush down the left side of the hallway you're in. Lo and behold, the leftmost hallway is in front of you. Your group charges down it but it doesn't take long at all to arrive at the elevator.

You push the button on the panel to call the elevator door. Five minutes pass and it eventually reaches your floor and opens up. Your group heads inside, hits the button for the sixth layer, and your ride down awaits. Your group is too busy panting and recovering from the running to do much...
>>
So you decide to break out the COLD TREATS.. A soda to Casey and Benjamin, some popsicles to Alexis and Max, and an ice cream sandwich for you. Yum!
>-COLD TREATS.

After enjoying your sweet treats, you prepare for the long, long ride down. In the corner of your mind, you see a vision of three people pushing past men in gas masks so they can approach a lift. Not a comforting vision as you spend the next god knows how long in the elevator.

...

https://youtu.be/mSzF3etnKoQ?si=tYiAzl6ApLS4w3K8 - LAYER 6

You're glad you had the gas masks on because once the elevator opens, a torrent of bright violet gas floods the inside of your elevator. Whatever the properties of the gas is, it doesn't seem corrosive at least since your skin barely seems affected by it.

You're now in a long, long tunnel system filled to the brim with bright purple, reddish-yellow, and vantablack crystals and gemstones. Your MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR is going off the fucking charts so you know you're getting close to wherever the 'LACK' that Devin was on about is at. Your group steps out of the elevator and, well, there's only one direction to go.

Soon, your group arrives at an impasse after only two or three minutes of walking. A massive pile of rock has blocked the way obvious way forward but to your left is a rusted metal staircase that seems to go even further down.

You imagine whatever path the rubble is blocking was regularly used by the miners, given...the arm poking out from the rubble blocking the way. Might be a more direct way to the bottom. Though the staircase might've been the easier, but way slower path that Valentina picked.

"Smell is mostly there." Casey points to a mass of pink crystals on the wall. "And through there." She points at the rubble blocking the way.

How do you proceed further?
>[WHISPER OF THE CITY + SAFEHOUSE KNOWLEDGE] A pink mass of crystals growing on the wall? Must be the location of a safehouse, investigate it.
>[POWER DRILL + MAX'S PICKAXE] Break through the rubble with your power drill. You have tanks for it, after all. (-1 FUEL TANK and Max will likely need some time to rest but you'll break through the cave in, getting you a direct path below.)
>[DYNAMITE BUNDLE] Just blow the fucking mass of rocks. Dumbass. (-1 DYNAMITE BUNDLE. Saves a lot of time and allows you to proceed deeper really quickly but it's certainly not a subtle way forward.)
>Safe is the best here. Head down the staircase, see where it takes you.
>Take some time to recover. Ask Alexis and Casey what happened, mine some stones around you, all that. (FREE ACTION, you'll give the corpos more time to catch up but you'll get some more information from your allies and a chance to get some useful gemstones.)
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Take a moment to use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to get a better map of this layer and the next one.(FREE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT. May unlock choices down the line or improve your chances in future skill checks.)
>Write in.
>>
>>5988463
A metallic fist desperately trying to punch through a jammed metal door.
Luther? Maybe he has a cybernetic hand or arm? He is in a safe house?
>>5988467
SAFEHOUSE CONSTRUCTION - "With everything going on, we had to make several safehouses throughout Layer 3 to 7, the bottom. We had to hide them just in case anyone invades but you can tell where one is by the color of the stone around them. Check for lighter sections of the cave walls. There should be enough supplies in there to hold someone for a week and a half. Do note that the electronic doors have a few kinks and may jam from time to time."
> Do note that the electronic doors have a few kinks and may jam from time to time."
>>5985859
>FIND 'LUTHER', DEAD OR ALIVE. REWARD: $350, +FAVOR (WORKING CLASS) x2.
>>5990499
>[WHISPER OF THE CITY + SAFEHOUSE KNOWLEDGE] A pink mass of crystals growing on the wall? Must be the location of a safehouse, investigate it.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Take a moment to use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to get a better map of this layer and the next one.(FREE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT. May unlock choices down the line or improve your chances in future skill checks.)
>>
>>5990499
>[WHISPER OF THE CITY + SAFEHOUSE KNOWLEDGE] A pink mass of crystals growing on the wall? Must be the location of a safehouse, investigate it.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Take a moment to use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to get a better map of this layer and the next one.(FREE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT. May unlock choices down the line or improve your chances in future skill checks.)
What >>5990513 said
Also adding onto that
>Briefly tell your allies about your visions of the corpos on their way. They got to the lift past the H Corp goons. You're still way ahead of them, but they aren't going to be stalled for long. (FREE ACTION)
>Pass a Joyvel to Alexis and/or Casey if either of them is down a RESTRAINT point. Don't let too much gas in past the mask. (FREE ACTION)
Might as well do these while we're at it. As much as I wanna pick the "get recap from Alexis and Casey and get cool rocks" choice, the free option is a "free" option with how we're spending time for the corpos to catch up. Besides, I'd rather take that robot fucker's advice and go for rock loot once we hit Layer 7 at the bottom, and not here at Layer 6. I hope we get the chance to use this super cool power drill and fuel we spent all that money on. We WILL get to use them, right bros?
>>
>>5990499
>[WHISPER OF THE CITY + SAFEHOUSE KNOWLEDGE] A pink mass of crystals growing on the wall? Must be the location of a safehouse, investigate it.
>[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Take a moment to use WHISPERS OF THE CITY to get a better map of this layer and the next one.(FREE ACTION, -1 RESTRAINT. May unlock choices down the line or improve your chances in future skill checks.)
>>
I gotta sleep because it's getting late and I'm too tired to analysis post. What I will say is all this talk of "crystal seedbeds" is some seriously dark doujin-style horror. You'd think they'd try expendable animals or drones for crystal farming, since a drone centipede can just eject out of their body most likely. Or maybe Quentin is special that way, gone rogue. I suppose it is because humans themselves are expendable animals in this setting. Can't have SHIT in this City, I swear...
>>
>>5990524
+1
>>
>>5990628
To the additional actions that is
>>
>>5990513
Goot catch, anon. I'll support this.
>>
>>5990513
Add
>Briefly tell your allies about your visions of the corpos on their way. They got to the lift past the H Corp goons. You're still way ahead of them, but they aren't going to be stalled for long. (FREE ACTION)
>Pass a Joyvel to Alexis and/or Casey if either of them is down a RESTRAINT point. Don't let too much gas in past the mask. (FREE ACTION)
Will Max get panicked?
>>
>>5990495
>DEEMED BY MY CREATOR
What if we bring the wrath of- no, W Corp insinuated they should do the human crystal harvesting plan in the first place with that memo. This has to be on purpose. I don't know if using W Corp to intimidate the Mayor into helping his miners is viable, given Nicole isn't really in with W Corp much yet outside of knowing Wendy.
>My hus-
They're not even married yet and she's this down bad for Ben. I hope they make it alive and together through the events of this quest
>what if my dad finds this thing
1 out of 5 paths, 7 if you count the two west ones that were dead ends from the platform. The corpos might not go the advanced darkness path. If they bother to talk to the bot on finding him, and the bot spills Wendy's name, things might get dicey.
>Check my eyes
We should ask Max about the eyes later
>rising Aaron in Z-Company
My boy's MAKING IT
>wait what
Ben did we not just use her BRIBE MONEY to get past the H Corp trio? And the Mayor? Hello?

>>5990496
>EFFICENT
The danger of being TOO GOOD at your job
>SEEDBED
I've seen enough doujins and h-material to know this is NEVER a good word to see in your fiction
>The implication
No surprise the two girls hearing this will react so viscerally, given the subject
>PHYSICAL MAKEUP
>HIGHLY ACCEPTABLE
These bastards are real sick, but so is W Corp for insinuating "hey we're going to give you guys ZERO SUPPLIES from now on, unless... you get us triple the crystals. You know how..." in that memo. I'm wondering how we can even help the miners out here, if their roles in the Mayor's eyes have changed from "hardworking townsfolk getting the cool rocks out for us" to "walking meat fodder for crystal farming so we aren't cut off by W Corp". But then why would the Mayor deliberately seal the mines off? Is he banking it all on Valentina being GEM'D down here and sustaining this entire operation on her? He didn't panic or realize it's falling apart when THREE whole corporate admins showed up here to personally find the rich girl? Or does he not know? Honestly at this point, Z Corp might be a better group in charge of this whole area. W Corp clearly give no shits, and Z Corp might figure out a better way to grow crystals without this insanity.
>SPREADS GOOD NEWS ON OUR TOWN
Somehow I don't think the Vanni family will see one of their young girls on the receiving end of the "mindbreak", "drugs", "crystal impregnation", and "ryona" tags (just to name a few) as anything close to good news. Especially if the corpo admin Vanni on-site personally sees what her younger relative was going through.
>You got lucky
Trusting SEEKER works out

>>5990497
>fear
A real !! TERRIFIED !! moment
>not built to be running as fast
We had no time to send her to the obstacle course back in the military base. Oh well
>bright violet and bright red gemstones
Violet is implied to be the worst, but red is interesting
>Four bullet wounds
Crystal zombies, got it. Casey's infinite ammo dog gun does no good

1/2
>>
>>5990497
>FRAGMENTS
Rerolls are worth going mining for
>ECLIPSE SILK
I called it before. I hope we can mine some more loot before we have to scramble out
>more hallways branch off
The other non-dead end catwalks at the platform must all lead here somehow, or not.

>>5990499
>COLD TREATS
I'm glad we bought these. Sharing ice cream in a mindbreak crystal gas mine elevator is a nice moment
>approach a lift
Sounds like they didn't even bother talking to the H Corp firebugs. I wonder if any of the corpos will stop to check the lobby area and find the memos on the computer, or the very recently exposed and emptied safe in the floor. I hope the tunnel beast ganks them at the 4-way intersection
>torrent of bright violet gas
It was a good idea to get enough masks for all 5 of us
>doesn't seem corrosive
Not flammable either. It's an inhalant and mental hazard more than any physical one
>the 'LACK'
I wonder if Nicole can resist it with her already being fragmented?
>the arm poking out
This is where that cave-in happened

>>5990663
I only suggested Joyvel for them in case they lost a RESTRAINT at the zombie miner. We can pass 1 to Max if Alexis and Casey are OK. Ben's fine at 4/5
>>
Question Anon: If we have the choice to upgrade, what should Casey specialize in?
I think it will be funny if we only pick the VIOLENCE upgrade option to slowly turn Casey into a bloodthirsty slaughter machine as we slowly VIOLENCE upgrade her in the future.
>>
>>5990888
Nice get.

That would be hilarious, and she does seem to be like a psychopath. Getting her to the point she makes Lex nervous would be cool. Wonder what would happen if we gave her the shit that induces abnormal powers.
>>
>>5990892
YES :D
a cute, adorable psychotic bloodthirsty killer with terrifying anomalies power who horrifically tears people apart while smiling happy. Maybe turn her into a cannibal too?
>>
>>5990892
>>5990911
Please don't. Her mind is broken as it is.
>>
>>5990934
Though I agree, I should note we're lacking on sheer violence allies. We can make that up with gear and specialization, but there's only so much we can do to bridge any gap between us and some bad motherfucker
>>
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[UNSTABLE] HEY HOW COOL WOULD IT BE IF WE TURNED CASEY INTO A MURDEROUS CANNIBAL WHEN WE GET CHUMMY WITH HER AND SHE GETS MORE POWERFUL AND SHIT!
[UNSTABLE] HELL! MAYBE EVEN GIVE HER SOME ICP SYRINGE SHIT! TURN HER INTO A GOD KILLER!
[PERSON OF INTEREST] Give the glowies even more fuel and motivation to hunt us down? That sounds GREAT. Let's not, she's already weird.

You notice Casey poking at the arm pinned under the pile of rubble with her gun like a curious child. It's a very common sight to see kids doing that when they see their first body but an adult doing it is disconcerting. Doesn't help that Benjamin is cheering her on with "woos!" and "keep poking it!"

Which only causes her to poke it more violently with her gun. Something's just not right with those two.

[STEADY HANDS] Like you're any better. How do you think I felt when I first entered your head?
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Some deep, primal part of you tells you that whatever power she might get from the ICP Energy would 'create' and 'consume' something. While you 'manipulate' and 'perceive' things.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Each person's unique psychological makeup will manifest different abilities. A manifestation of their soul, their PARA-

"Nicole?" Max calls out. Ah, right, you have things to do. No need to dwell on it right now, you can worry about it once you're out of here. Ideally in one piece. Alexis and Max are waiting by the staircase, ready to head down it.

You notice that Alexis is shaking a bit while Casey seems to have already completely recovered from what happened with the mineral zombie miner thing.
>ALEXIS RESTRAINT: 2/3

You toss her over a Joyvel. Alexis lifts up her mask and quickly throws the pill into her mouth before putting her mask back on.
>+1 RESTRAINT TO ALEXIS, 3/3! -1 JOYVEL! 1 LEFT!

"Right." You clap your hands to get Casey and Benjamin's attention. "We're going to check out...there!" You point towards the mass of pink crystals that stands out REALLY hard against the violets, vantablacks, and reds around you. "Casey said something was there. I feel like something important is here. So, help me dig. We got some time before they find us."

"Wait, they?" It's obvious that Max already knows who you're talking about but she's been trying to ignore it up until right now. "Like, THEM they? The three...?"

"Yep! They got past the guards. They're going to take a while to get down here with the rat mazes above and the lift. Don't got the best guess on their arrival but the faster we move, the better." You step over to the bright pink crystal wall and begin to bash away at it with one of your regular knives to see what's hidden behind it.

"Плoхoe чyвcтвo." Alexis mutters to herself as she moves to assist you.
"מיד!" Benjamin shouts out, joining you as well. Casey trails behind him with a silent salute.
Max is standing by the pink crystal wall with slouched shoulders and a twitchy, unstable posture. "Let's hope we can get out soon."
>>
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She takes a deep, muffled breath through her gas mask before moving to assist you as well with her pickaxe. With five people all working on tearing through the pink crystals, you rip through it in record time. Your hands feel sticky as you push through the last bits of crystals, like touching sugary candy that's soaked in water.

You are so tempted to lick them but alas, gas mask. Behind the thin layer of crystals is a door that reminds you moreso of a containment cell airlock than anything else. A bulky iron door with a rusted iron hatch wheel attached to it in front of you, with a keycard panel right next to it. Though oddly enough, the panel seems to be deactivated. Power shortage, maybe?

Written underneath the iron wheel is "USE IN CASE OF EMERGENCY'. Guess that's what you have to use to open up this door. Everyone moves in to grab onto separate parts of the hatch wheel and with your command, your party begins to turn it. It takes a LOT of force and the only one here who's decently athletic and strong is you. The airlock hatch is slowly, painfully unlocked and pulled open.

Your group immediately steps aside, keeping the hatch half-open to try limiting how many gas comes in while also making sure you don't get trapped here. Time to see what's inside the saferoom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o6EDhL1W8I - SAFEROOM

There's barely enough space for the five of you to wander around in comfortably inside of the saferoom. The walls and floors are barren, stainless steel with only the most basic of amenities for prolonged survival inside: A shelf with canned goods and can openers, a water purifier with a tank of two gallons of water attached to it, and a bed at the corner of the room with...something underneath the covers. Lined all along the top of the ceiling are vents that seem to be pumping fresh, non-contaminated air into the room.

The only other major thing of note is an opened hatch in the middle of the room, leading down somewhere. You'll probably check that out after investigating whoever is on the bed.

Seems like it's even preventing any gas from leaking into the safe room despite the door being opened. With some hesitation, you pull off your gas mask. Your allies do the same, taking a moment to enjoy what's probably the last bit of fresh air for a while. Your group takes this time to put on some fresh filters on your gas masks.
>-1 FILTER ON ALL GAS MASKS! 2 FILTERS LEFT!

Your group approaches the bed and immediately regretting that decision. Max covers her mouth and begins to dryheave while the others stare on with equal parts fear, curiosity, and pity. Laying before you is who you assume to be Luther. Or what's left.

A bulky figure with bright, blonde hair and a robot arm prosthetic replacing their left arm lays on the bed. Still draped over him is a dull brown pair of overalls and a formerly white shirt (long stained with colorful dust). That's about the only identifiable about this figure.
>>
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The right side of his body has been completely crystallized by a multicolored array of crystals and gemstones. Violets, blacks, reds and yellows, blues, you name it. Some of it has even started to meld into the bed when he lays still too long at one spot. The figure slowly forces itself out of the bed and onto its two feet. Chunks of gemstone falls off of his body and onto the ground, shattering to pieces.

He stares at you with his remaining good eye which is now a multi-colored swirl of nonsense. Despite this...he's not attacking you?

"Help. Finally came? Heh." Luther(?) bitterly laughs at a joke that only he seems to know about. "Door was locked. On other side. Tried to open. Good luck on you. Heh." He runs his robotic arm through his hair to dislodge some crystals growing out of his scalp. "She's below."

You immediately check to see if this figure is lying to you or not with a quick use of WHISPERS OF THE CITY. A quick mental map of the area flushes throughout your mind and you can make out the following details about the area around you:

-The hatch goes down for a WHILE. Leads directly to another saferoom that leads into a wide, open cave. There's a lot of interference down there, prime load of Moonstone at least. You sense some movement down there as well. Most direct path forward.
-The staircase you saw earlier leads to a partially caved in supply depot with various inactive machines meant for collecting, refining, and transporting the various stones this mine houses. The path down takes a bit longer but there's a lot of potential for supplies down there.
-The cave in you saw earlier leads directly to a mining elevator that takes you down to the bottom. Saves a LOT of time. Nothing much else to say.

"Now." Luther(?) wheezes. Every breath he lets out shoots out small, sandy crystal fragments onto the floor. He's clearly trying his best to not wheeze on you. You and your allies put your gas masks back on to avoid any contamination. "I have. Request. Once you're done here. Kill me. This. This really fucking. Hurts. Can't do it. Myself. Too much of. Coward."

"I know he's not lying about what's down there. What do you guys think? I mean, I was told to find Luther as well...dead or alive."

[LIQUDATION] "We don't have time to waste. He's a lost cause and this is frankly a mercy. Blow his brains out."
[SHELTERED] "T-there has to be a better way, right?" Max tries her damn best to not sound disgusted to be around this man. "I mean. He didn't do anything wrong. Maybe we can harvest them off him? Make things easier for him?"
[LICENSED PHARAMIST] "I could spend some time trying to find a method to reduce the contamination somewhat but it'll take some time. Time we may not have." Benjamin offers his second opinion (heh). "Might only buy him time."
[CORPORATE DOUBLESPEAK] "Let's invest into this man! We need more muscle, he's all muscle, and he's already wishing for death! No point wasting resources!" Casey cheerfully chirps out!
>>
How do you want to handle Luther?
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] Tell Benjamin to try finding a way to revert it somewhat. Ask him to become an ally after treating him. (-2 LICENSED PHARAMIST CHARGES, LEAVING YOU WITH 1. Due to overwhelming CHARM in your group and you treating him, he'll become a temporary ally.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Convince him that if he's going to die, he might as well help you! (CHARM DC: 27, rolling 8d6+2d3 with the help of Max and Casey. Succeed and he'll join as a temporary ally with far better stats than if you were to treat him, though at the cost of his condition.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] Liquidate. He's too far gone. Tell Casey to do the deed. Shot to the head. (+1 RESTRAINT to PARTY for putting him out of his misery.)
>[MAX ALLY] You have some excess medicine to put him to sleep and to soothe his mind. Offer them to him before taking some time to harvest the materials from him. (+1 MAX RESTRAINT to Max for the rest of the mission, -TRANQUILIZER SYRINGE + 2 DUST CONTAINMATED LIQUOR + 1 PAINKILLER BOTTLE. You'll keep him numbed and soothed enough to harvest some useful materials from him and to buy some time. Maybe you can save him later. Not now.)
>Take some time to ask him some questions before you do anything. (FREE ACTION. Write in up to three questions to ask him.)
>WRITE IN.

Which path do you want to use, now that you have a better sense of their benefits?
>DOWN THE HATCH. It's a direct path to another saferoom to find supplies in and a direct way towards Valentina. Might as well use it.
>THROUGH THE CAVE IN. Saves more time since the hatch takes some time to travel down. (Write in whether to use DYNAMITE or POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE to get through it)
>STAIRCASE. The supplies you detected down there are a lot more plentiful and useful than the saferoom supplies.

[UNSTABLE] Do you want to offer Casey the option to become a GOD?
>YES. WE MAY NEED IT DOWN THE LINE. (-1 ICP SYRINGE, roll 6d100 to determine what fucked up bullshit happens to her.)
>ASK HER FOR HER OPINION. GO FROM THERE.
>ABSOLUTELY NOT. NOT DURING A MISSION. TOO RISKY.

And since you're in a safe room, do you want to give the MINING BUNDLE you've been carrying this whole mission? You'll roll 4d100 to determine what supplies the person you pick gets after a target is voted on.
>CASEY
>MAX
>BENJAMIN
>ALEXIS
>UNLOAD IT FOR YOURSELF.
>YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUR ALLIES SOME OTHER SUPPLIES. (WRITE IN. MAY BE PICKED ALONGSIDE GIVING SOMEONE A BUNDLE)

Any other actions you wish to do while you're in the saferoom?
>WRITE IN
>>
>>5991138
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] Tell Benjamin to try finding a way to revert it somewhat. Ask him to become an ally after treating him. (-2 LICENSED PHARAMIST CHARGES, LEAVING YOU WITH 1. Due to overwhelming CHARM in your group and you treating him, he'll become a temporary ally.)
>THROUGH THE CAVE IN. Saves more time since the hatch takes some time to travel down. (Write in whether to use DYNAMITE or POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE to get through it)
POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE

>ASK HER FOR HER OPINION. GO FROM THERE.
Casey will become death, the destroyer of worlds.
>UNLOAD IT FOR YOURSELF.
>>
>>5991138
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] Tell Benjamin to try finding a way to revert it somewhat. Ask him to become an ally after treating him. (-2 LICENSED PHARAMIST CHARGES, LEAVING YOU WITH 1. Due to overwhelming CHARM in your group and you treating him, he'll become a temporary ally.)
Namedrop Roxanne and Pierre as the ones who asked us to find him. That'll get him motivated to live.
No chance we're using Licensed Pharmacist again this mission, other than burning the last charge to help Valentina or a real critical moment that requires it. Might as well. We can try harvesting him once we're topside, where that and fresh air will help him recover. I'm not killing him without giving a try at his state. If we all make it out alive and he sees his miner buddies that asked us to find him, maybe he'll change his mind. If he still wants to be mercy killed, then as a fellow bee of Casey's once said:
"The best thing you can do now is look at the great blue sky you'll never get to see again."
>Take some time to ask him some questions before you do anything. (FREE ACTION. Write in up to three questions to ask him.)
What happened with Valentina? Why did you split up with her?
What happened with that pipe robot? He's still back there; almost gutted us until we got past him.
Your buddies asked us to try convincing the Mayor to let them go, or at least better conditions. How are we supposed to do that if W Corp is putting pressure on him, to get people infected by the crystals to farm them?
Maybe he can give us some insight as the BEST miner they have.
>THROUGH THE CAVE IN. Saves more time since the hatch takes some time to travel down. (Write in whether to use DYNAMITE or POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE to get through it)
POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE
Fuck all the supplies and loot on the way. We're hauling ass until we secure Valentina, THEN we're grabbing those dank gems at the bottom.
>ABSOLUTELY NOT. NOT DURING A MISSION. TOO RISKY.
I disagree with >>5991228. I want to get RAPPORT up first before we bring up the subject to Casey. The bee will need to take time to sweeten that honey, understand?
>UNLOAD IT FOR YOURSELF
Everybody else has 2 FLESH 2 VIOLENCE. Ben has 3 VIOLENCE. Our party is not built for heavy mining labor. We didn't expect this when we chose this mission. It was supposed to be a simple search-and-rescue with some corpo connection dealings. Not a time limit race to secure the VIP, a crystal conspiracy, and mindfuck gas everywhere! Anyway, the POWER DRILL can be used by any allies especially if they work together to hold it or something. That could be independent of stats, so Nicole needs to use her new strength here separately.

Maybe a quick check of the P CORP ENERGY COUNTER just to be sure.
Do you guys think using 1-2 BARRICADE GRENADES here to fuck with the corpos on the way is worth spending? Or will they tell it was super recently done, know somebody else is down here ahead of them, and end up hauling ass where they might not be so hurried otherwise?
>>
>>5991228
Change
>>5991239
+1
>>
>>5991239
It just hit me. Could we use a BARRICADE GRENADE somewhere where we know the path leads to a dead end or something bad? The corpos will see the barricade and assume we went past it, so they'll break through and go on that path. They won't know it's a fucking decoy and the real path we took is a completely different one. Thoughts?
>>
>>5991239
If we get something Nicole can use to dig with, then we have a combo of
>Nicole = ??? Digging Tool from mining bundle
>Max = her own pickaxe, duh
>Alexis/Benjamin/Casey = POWER DRILL plus if we get any extra digging tool from the bundle
This way we can bust the cave in wall FASTER and haul ass faster
>>
>>5991138
>>[BENJAMIN ALLY] Tell Benjamin to try finding a way to revert it somewhat. Ask him to become an ally after treating him. (-2 LICENSED PHARAMIST CHARGES, LEAVING YOU WITH 1. Due to overwhelming CHARM in your group and you treating him, he'll become a temporary ally.)

>THROUGH THE CAVE IN. Saves more time since the hatch takes some time to travel down. (Write in whether to use DYNAMITE or POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE to get through it)

Power drill.

>ASK HER FOR HER OPINION. GO FROM THERE.

>BENJAMIN

>>5991244
That is clever if we can try it.
>>
>>5990997
Lex, Ashley, Wendy, Frank, Benedict, possibly the cowboy guy.
In fact, I propose next time we take the crush dummy mission with full combat roster and revel in violence a bit.
>>
>>5991239
Let's go with this. And if Luther becomes an ally, we can give the pickaxe to him.

>>5991244
This is a clever idea, but what if the corpos have some means of knowing where we went, like we do?
I think a better idea is to use the grenade to lock the elevator in the bottom position. The corpos can't destroy the barricade if they can't get to it.
>>
>>5991424
>Ben + Max
It's HIS revenge. I dunno if we should take Max along though. Maybe?
>Wendy
Miss "I HATE ANOMALIES" schizo, though there's a real risk of Wendy catching onto Nicole being anomalous and trying to kill her mid-mission.
>Frank
The hardass ETF guy. He might like us having come across Robbert and lived, though he might not like the truth being that we hauled ass and finished the job right under his nose.
If we're going to go 5 people against APEX PREDATOR and without Max there, it might be Lex. Lex and Frank have musclehead synergy, Nicole and Wendy have schizo chick synergy, and Ben's there because it's personal
>>
>>5991427
>give the pickaxe to him
Good call, he's the pro miner here. With his help and the POWER DRILL that wall will be gone in mere minutes. Putting him to the task when he's been GEM'D and can barely function and is begging for death isn't good, but he could be good enough to do it after Ben does his thing and we take some gems off of him to relieve his burden.
>some means of knowing where we went
If they do we won't know until we find out. We need to act carefully, but without being paralyzed by what ifs and shadowrunning. Do what comes naturally, and the quest will work itself out
>lock the elevator in the bottom position
Very interesting idea. I don't know if that'll work or if it can fuck up the elevator, but it might be worth asking when we get to Layer 7.
>>
>>5991429
Nah, no Ben. Lex, Frank, Wendy, Kiara, Ashley.
>>
>>5991441
That's way too many people. Remember what we were told. The more people on a mission with Nicole the more the glowies will take notice and watchlist allies more intently. I think the safest amount we can have with us is at most 4 allies plus Nicole for a group of 5. I like having 2-3 allies though. On top of that, I like the subtle autism we have going where Nicole almost never takes the same people with her on consecutive missions. Giving those allies a break for a day or two.
>no Ben
I want him to get his revenge. His encounter with Apex Predator is one of the first things he told us at length.
>>
>>5991138
>[CASEY ALLY] Convince him that if he's going to die, he might as well help you! (CHARM DC: 27, rolling 8d6+2d3 with the help of Max and Casey. Succeed and he'll join as a temporary ally with far better stats than if you were to treat him, though at the cost of his condition.)

>THROUGH THE CAVE IN. Saves more time since the hatch takes some time to travel down. (Write in whether to use DYNAMITE or POWER DRILL + MAX PICKAXE to get through it)
Power drill.

>ABSOLUTELY NOT. NOT DURING A MISSION. TOO RISKY.

>UNLOAD IT FOR YOURSELF
>>
>>5991429
Benny boy can also provide explosives now so that might be useful in a max violence mission. We would want to gear up if we do that one with some better arms, probably.

I also think at some point soon, Quinton needs some love. I like the little brain centipede, and he can be a meat shield if nothing else. Wonder what would happen if we gave him the ICP juice? Would it even work on him?
>>
Question Anon: If we inject Casey all of our ICP instead of just one, what do you think will happen to Casey?
>>
>>5991569
I thought going jew tunnels with Quinton, Clover, and somebody else would be interesting. We never took a mission with Frank yet either. But do we really want to go in a tunnel mission underground right after this mining race mission????? Time is running out to the big meeting of all the City's corps, which might be the best time to strike the silver agent base. Planning for that is a whole task, because I bet certain allies like Alexis will not miss it for the world. Telling out current party about the silvers, especially getting Handler to confirm it for Alexis, might be wise. If we tell Alexis about the Old B Corp link from the Admiral, it could get interesting. We didn't do it earlier this mission on the way to the mining town, and now is not the time when we need to secure Valentina
>>
>>5991138
>[BENJAMIN ALLY]
>THROUGH
The only way forward is...
>YES, GODHOOD NOW
>UNLOAD FOR YOURSELF
>>
>>5991239
+1
>>
>>5991606
Maybe on the post mission hang out we can reveal what we know about the glow niggers. We should probably bring our former silver old lady when we hit the base since she has inside info. Might want to toss a few consumables her way to boost her rapport with us before, just in case. Save as much dynamite as we can to turn the place into a crater and be ready to go to ground right after since it will be defcon 1 for them after one of their POIs bombs an office of theirs.

Could we use a non mission slot to meet up with Benny and stock up on meds or bombs for a price? Hmmm.
>>
>>5991808
Nicole has not skipped a single mission day yet. I think talking over the base hit with Handler is a must.
>>
>>5991812
We have earned his respect to a degree so I doubt he will rat out one of his better assets, so maybe just ask him to look the other way for an evening and try to bring some info back for him that could help him get a leg up on the competition?

He did help us dispose of a glowie before.
>>
RESULTS
TREAT HIM VIA BENJAMIN
GO THROUGH CAVE IN
ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR GRANTING CASEY GODHOOD (Somehow you feel that Casey is disappointed by this. Better safe than sorry.)
UNLOAD SELF FOR BUNDLE

I need two anons to roll 2d100. Here's your table of MINING BUNDLE LOOT.
1-16: POWER DRILL UPGRADE (If you roll one of these, you save some additional time when breaking through the cave in. Two, your drill will gain +1d8 when attacking from now on and will have a 25% chance to not consume a FUEL TANK on use. Three or more, you'll gain an extra use of the drill per fuel tank per POWER DRILL UPGRADE roll.)
17-37: NIGHTVISION GOOGLE UPGRADE (Your nightvision googles no longer consume an accessory slot and will automatically activate when you enter dark places. In addition, they assist you in detecting things otherwise invisible to normal human sight. If you roll this more than once, you get an additional pair of improved nightvision googles to give an ally.)
38-55: HEFTY PICKAXE (A very useful melee weapon that breaks through stone and bones with remarkable ease.)
56-74: IMPROVED GAS MASK (In addition to protecting you from toxic gases and other airborne hazards, it'll pump in low levels of adrenaline inducing fumes into your systems. +1 VIOLENCE while equipped.)
75-87: STARDUST ACCULMATOR (Passively collects MOONSTONE, VOIDSTONE, SUNSTONE, ECLIPSE SILK, STARDUST, and other cosmo-related consumables. Can be used anywhere but VASTLY improved while in W-Corp's mines.)
88-99: GRAPPLING HOOK (It's a fucking grappling hook. Comes with three air canisters. Allows you to reach areas otherwise impossible to access normally. Restores RESTRAINT on use.)
100: MYSTERY (???)

Sorry for the delayed closing of the vote. Frankly, I passed out and didn't wake up until now.
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Rolled 72, 99 = 171 (2d100)

>>5992054
Rolling
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Rolled 65, 72 = 137 (2d100)

>>5992054
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Rolled 10, 6 = 16 (2d100)

>>5992054
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RESULTS
GRAPPLING HOOK
THREE IMPROVED GAS MASKS (The two spare ones will be picked by your allies, so don't worry about who gets those)
WRITING.
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>>5992072
Meh
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>>5992081
Bro we got a Batman style grappling hook. It is so cool to use it restores restraint. Pretty nifty. The night vision upgrade would have been kino but we did pretty good. Plus the violence boost will be useful since this isn't a super combat orient group.

I kinda wonder if we should by another bundle to gamble on the night vision when we leave.
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Time to open up your MINING BUNDLE-

Huh. Only three gas masks and a grappling hook. Devin fucking scammed you. Eh, that's the price you pay for trusting a schizo besides yourself. The weird thing about the gas masks is that on each side, there's a small capsule stitched into the rubber-like material that makes up the masks.

You quickly replace your current one with this new one. Suddenly, a sickly sweet smell that you can't quite put your hand on rushes through the mask. You can't help but to grin. Some primordial part of your brain is being fired up just by wearing this damn thing.

Casey and Alexis immediately rush to grab them to replace their own masks. Immediately, you can see a change in their postures and demeanors. Casey is glancing around and shaking as if she's ready to kill someone. You swear she's literally making a buzzing sound too. Alexis simply cracks her shoulders while clenching her fists.
>+1 VIOLENCE to CASEY, ALEXIS, and YOU WHILE WEARING THE GAS MASK!

You were tempted on taking this moment to inject Casey with some ICP, maybe even go all in and jab all three needles into her, but...no. Not now. Too risky. She barely knows you. Might give Benjamin the wrong idea too. You put the idea aside as you nod at Benjamin. "I think I like your idea. Go ahead and try making something. I doubt we'll get another chance to use your supplies like this."

"Fair!" Benjamin finds a corner to sit down before pulling out his lab equipment to start tinkering up some chemicals or drugs to hopefully treat Luther's affliction. The gem-encrusted man stares at Benjamin's labkit with a confused, lost expression plastered on his face. <...why me...>

Max seems to pick up on what Luther is thinking and promptly steps over to him, though she still keeps her distance for obvious reasons. "I won't pretend I understand what happened to you, how life was in this town, or even how much pain you must be in. I can't. What I do understand is that you don't think you deserve this, do you?" <"I mean, look at me. I could buy every single person in this room if I wanted to. What did I do to earn that kind of power?">

Luther stares down at the beanpole rich girl for a moment before silently nodding. Every movement he makes is followed by the cracking, shattering, and grinding of crystals rubbing against each other.

"Well, from what I see, you did nothing wrong. You were lured down here on false pretense to help out a girl who didn't know what she was doing. You don't deserve to rot away and die because of that. Maybe if there wasn't another option but we have the time! We have the resources! Just...let us do this, please?" Max clasps her hands together as she pleads with him.

[MERUCIAL] Casey suddenly snaps her attention over to Luther. Her next words are monotone and stilted. "The best thing you can do now is look at the great blue sky before you die. There is no sky here. The air is stifling. The false stars are disgusting."
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Whatever positive atmosphere Max was trying to drum up was hampered then and there but Alexis eventually relents from her original proposal with a sigh. "You know, they're not wrong. The lovey dovey and sentimental stuff doesn't sit well with me but having another person around WOULD help. Hell, if you're going to die, at least die helping us."

Luther doesn't respond at first and merely stands there as if the words you're saying are bouncing off him. Benjamin approaches him with a large vial filled with a colorless liquid and immediately splashes it onto one of the bigger crystal growths on his face.

Immediately, the crystals melt away like they were nothing more than clumps of sugar stuck to his face. "There we go! Might burn your skin a bit but we don't exactly have time to be delicate here!" Soon, Luther's face is fully visible now. His left eye takes a while to open back up but now, he can actually see out of both eyes.

Benjamin pours the rest of the vial onto Luther's shoulder and knee to loosen up the gem-encrusted joints. He then proceeds to toss two small vials over to you. "These are too small to do anything worthwhile to his body but it might be useful later." You take a look at what he handed you.
>STONE DISSOLVER x2 (A highly potent acid that only reacts to certain kinds of stones, metals, and crystals. May prove useful in treating Valentina or to destroy weapons, locks, or anything else made of metal/stone/crystals.)

"So be it." Luther's voice is a bit less distant now. He rips away at the STONE DISSOLVER clinging to his mouth. "Let's move."
>LUTHER HAS JOINED THE PARTY! STATS BELOW!

LUTHER [TEMP]
FLESH: 10
RESTRAINT: 6
VIOLENCE: 6
TALENT: 1
WILLPOWER: 6
CHARM: 1
CONNECTIONS: 0
COGNIZANCE: 2

BOON:
[STONE-ENCRUSTED] Stone over flesh. Stone over mind. Luther takes -2 FLESH damage from all sources and rolls d10 in VIOLENCE or WILLPOWER checks.

BANE:
[REFRACTED SOUL] He's not really who he used to be. Other BOONS are disabled. Most of this character's stats are reduced.

No point staying around here. You toss over one of the spare normal gas masks you have so he doesn't immediately reinfect himself. Now that his face isn't partially covered in crystals, he can actually wear the damn thing. Your group immediately rushes outside of the saferoom on your command.

Another vision flashes through your mind. A man with grey blue eyes heads down a path of smoke. A woman with a purple ponytail heads down a path filled with Moonstones. A man in a bunny mask notices a robot and a crystalized miner down one path and immediately rushes down it. You imagine he'll call for the others once he's done.

[CAPTAIN'S COMMAND + STEADY HANDS] "LET'S GET MOVING! GRAB THE HEAVIEST THING YOU CAN AND START BREAKING THROUGH THIS CAVE IN!" You pull out your power drill and immediately begin ripping into the blockage. Your grip is stabilized and steady, making sure you're drilling exactly where you need to be. You're already making quick work.
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Max immediately rushes in with her pickaxe to start hammering away at the cave in. Luther is using the massive hunk of crystal growing off his arm as a makeshift bludgeon. Your other allies have to resort to smashing it in with the heaviest rocks they can find. Casey and Alexis are actually doing shockingly decent work with their method due to the improved gas masks they're wearing. Chunks of stone are crumbling away by the second.

Benjamin pulls out one spare vial of STONE DISSOLVER and throws it right towards the weakened blockage. Seems like that was the last bit needed since in only five minutes flat, your crew manages to completely drill through the cave in. You're saving a lot of time.

Past the now dissolved and crumbled cave in is an elevator leading down right ahead of you while the tunnel seems to continue on deeper and deeper north. Casey's gun borks in the direction of the elevator and WHISPERS OF THE CITY is screaming in your head to go down there so there's no time to waste.

Your group crams into the elevator and proceeds down into the final, final layer. The next few minutes are going to be fucking agony but it'll be worth it once you're out of here. Down, down, down. Where the false stars shine.

Your head feels fuzzy. Your gas mask is working, so why are you...?

Once you eventually reach the bottom, your group spills out of the elevator so they can be freed of the can of sardines situation they were in moments ago. The place you're in is, to put it bluntly, awe-inspiring. You're in a massive cavern with a ceiling stretching on for a mile straight up. All along the walls of the cavern are massive, sheer cliffs of crystals and valuable minerals.

Right in front of your elevator is an abyss that goes far, far deeper than anyone could survive falling. Testing again by kicking a stone overboard...you don't hear anything hitting the ground.

The only way to cross the abyss is yet another massive series of catwalks that have been installed down here. In the center of the abyss is a circular platform that has eight catwalks, including the one that leads to your elevator, that are pointed in the four cardinal directions and the intercardinal between.

Working with this, you are at the south end of this makeshift compass. Only the west, north, and south one lead anywhere, the others were seemingly only built so the miners could mine away at the crystals growing. WHISPERS OF THE CITY tells you that the exit Alexis was talking about is at the northmost end and that there might be another path out of here in the westmost path and through one of the cliffsides you can now access with your GRAPPLING HOOK.

From what you can make out through WHISPERS, the west path leads back to the second layer's catwalk where you found the crystal miner and the robot while the cliffside one leads directly to the surface...but you imagine it would take a lot of time to transport everyone over there.
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You could block anyone following you down this elevator. Do you?
>YES.
>YES, AND ONE OTHER PATH (West or north?)
>NO, BUT THROW ONE DOWN ANOTHER PATH. (West or north?)
>NO TO EITHER.

That's not what interests you. What interests you is two things. One, the gas here is THICK and filled with way more colors and shades than the one on Layer 6. Violets, vantablacks, browns, greens, yellows, it's vomitworthy to look at.

Which is why Max, without you saying anything, pulls out a gas neutralizing grenade and throws it towards the center of the catwalk. It explodes immediately, sweeping the place in its own white mist. After about a minute of spouting out its own white gas, it stops. The air around the center is now completely pure and clean, allowing you to see what's in the center.
>-1 GAS NEUTRALIZING GRENADE!

It's hard to make out with only your lantern. Aside from the faint glow of the crystals around you, the only thing you can see is the bright mist. So you risk it. You lift up your mask with your breath held, quickly equip your nightvision googles, before putting your mask back on. Let's see what we have here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkuX7ybgFpI [Embed] - VALENTINA

Directly in the middle of the abyss, at the circular center of the catwalk system, is a young woman sitting on a makeshift chair that you immediately notice is made out of the parts of an android. Guess whoever that person was is long gone. Everything below the neck has been completely crystalized over with bright violet crystal, with a hypnotic spiral of bright yellow crystals right on her chest. The crystals seem to meld well with her body given how you can still make out the rough outline of her figure.

The only identifying features left is her face and general bodytype. She's a short, stocky girl with bright pink hair and soft, chubby facial features. Clearly more fitting of someone who stays in fancy high end Nests instead of the normal Districts. She stares in your group's direction with a smug smirk that seems to fade as soon as the gas is cleared from the area around here.

"Where did...that wonderful voice go?" Her voice echoes throughout the cavern, equally from the wide-open caverns and due to some innate quality of her voice now. "My inspiration is being hampered but...wait. Where am I? I was supposed to be back at the Gala by now, right?"

"Gala?" Max and Alexis whisper to each other. They nod with a mutual understanding. The others, sans Benjamin, give the two some pretty confused looks
"Family event." Max whispers. "A lot of important corporate families come to it. Happened a few weeks ago."
"I was invited there while you were on your ship trip, actually. Most of the families were fine but the Krak- Feh, not important." Alexis interrupts herself. You have to agree, there's more pressing issues.

There's a clearly dazed and confused Valentina who's not in the right state of mind to deal with now.
>>
Given that her whole body (sans her face, oddly enough) has been crystalized over. You gotta give props to Max for clearing her head with the gas grenade but you still have to figure out how to fully snap her out.

How do you want to approach Valentina?
>[LUTHER ALLY] "Grab her. We need to go." There's no time to waste here and you know Valentina will trust him. Grab and run to an exit. (Saves a lot of time and no skill checks will be required. Pick which exit [NORTH, ELEVATOR, WEST, CLIFFSIDE] to go through.)
>[MAX ALLY] It might be wise to calm her down and to try grounding her before you try leaving. Send Max over, she'll know how to handle a high class teen, right? (CHARM DC: 18 (-2 from CASEY), rolling only Max's 5d6. Max has two full dice REROLLS left. Max's experience with the various corporate families should allow her to earn Valentina's trust very easily, earning you valuable VANNI favors down the line.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "She's clearly in a critical state of contamination. We have to treat her before we do anything." He's not wrong. Spend some time patching her up. (FREE ACTION, -LAST CHARGE ON BENJAMIN'S BOON. Valentina will be partially patched up, allowing her to assist you down the line. It will take some time to do so, however.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE-" Casey is about to burst at the seams. Tell Max to toss her pickaxe to Casey and let her go to town. (FREE ACTION. Casey will quickly tire out and will have a small stat penalty for the rest of the mission but you'll get a LOT of valuables from mining down here.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Maybe it's crazy but I think we shouldn't leave yet. We should address the corpos and tell them why she was here. We need to get them on our side." ...Maybe that would be wise. Wait around for the corpos to catch up. (You'll get a chance to negotiate with the corpos and to try getting them on your side to deal with the mayor.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Something about everything this mission has been rubbing you the wrong way. How no one noticed until now. How the Mayor closed the mine despite everything going on. You want to interrogate her. Get the final pieces of what's been going on here.
>[UNSTABLE] ...FUCK IT. YOU'RE CURIOUS IF THIS 'LACK' AND 'INSPIRATION' SHIT IS ACTUALLY WORTHWHILE. LIFT UP YOUR MASK AND TAKE A DEEP, DEEP BREATH. (FREE ACTION. -2 CHARGES OFF DRIFTWOOD IDOL, -1 RESTRAINT, -1 FLESH, leaving you at 3/5 FLESH and 7/10 RESTRAINT. You might get some wonderful insight into why W-Corp is the way it is through this. You might also just take a CRIPPLING INJURY for no good reason.)
>Write in (Use an item? Ask Valentina something? Do something else?)
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>>5992143
>Block elevator
>Treat Valentina
>Let Casey mine
>Interrogate Valwntina during treatment
>Go north
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>>5992081
>>5992112
I'm just sad I rolled 99 last night and not 100 in >>5992057
On the plus side it's free +1 VIOLENCE. I can be content with that. Stardust Accumulator would be godlike, but what we got has practical use. And now we have a total of 8 gas masks for big operations... like the attack on the silver agent base

I forgot to comment on it but in >>5991133 Benjamin knows how to speak Hebrew. He might be an interesting pick for the jew tunnels mission
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>>5992180
Why do you believe there are Jews in the tunnel?
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>>5992131
>literally making a buzzing sound
Alertness pheromone
>why me
;_;
>What did I do to earn that kind of power?
When the rich person is also an actual person with actual problems behind all the money
>MERCURIAL
Thanks for incorporating the Queen Bee line

>>5992132
>sentimental stuff
Where's your two brothers and your one sister?
>STONE DISSOLVER x2
Interesting chem item
>reinfect himself
That would be hilarious if it happened, but I'm glad we have the foresight to avoid it
>immediately rushes
Fuck, Huxley is catching up to us!
>CAPTAIN'S COMMAND + STEADY HANDS
I'm glad we got the captain hat for Adam

>>5992135
>shockingly decent work
We can't swap masks now to get Ben to VIOLENCE 4, but I get the feeling we won't need to
>five minutes flat
We delayed a bunch with looting the lobby, but we're still ahead
>awe-inspiring
This cave sounds cool
>circular platform
This scene sounds exactly like a boss arena in some platformer or other game
>another path out
>access with your GRAPPLING HOOK
Already an opportunity
>take a lot of time
Nevermind

>>5992140
>gas neutralizing grenade
I forgot Max had those. She has 3 left. We'll need them for the straight path to the surface, if we'll use that one
>bright yellow crystals
That Pierre guy had yellow eye spirals before
>Valentina
Quite the description
>wonderful voice
FUCK OFF CARMEN
>innate quality
It took having 90% of her entire body becoming rocks to give her a cool echoey voice. Weak
>but the Krak-
Something to talk about later
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>>5992182
That mission is clearly based on the secret underground jew tunnels they found in New York City last month or so. Though you're right and that could be only part of the mission. The truth might be stranger than we think
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>>5992140
>YES

>>5992143
>[LUTHER ALLY] "Grab her. We need to go." There's no time to waste here and you know Valentina will trust him. Grab and run to an exit. (Saves a lot of time and no skill checks will be required. Pick which exit [NORTH, ELEVATOR, WEST, CLIFFSIDE] to go through.)
WEST
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "She's clearly in a critical state of contamination. We have to treat her before we do anything." He's not wrong. Spend some time patching her up. (FREE ACTION, -LAST CHARGE ON BENJAMIN'S BOON. Valentina will be partially patched up, allowing her to assist you down the line. It will take some time to do so, however.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE-" Casey is about to burst at the seams. Tell Max to toss her pickaxe to Casey and let her go to town. (FREE ACTION. Casey will quickly tire out and will have a small stat penalty for the rest of the mission but you'll get a LOT of valuables from mining down here.)
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>>5992140
>>5992143
>YES, AND ONE OTHER PATH (West or north?)
West. Bait the corpos into going that way and looping themselves to that layer while we take Alexis' exit out. We have those last 3 gas neutralizing grenades on Max in case of emergency
>BENJAMIN ALLY
First fucking thing we do is stabilize Valentina's condition. Plus free action
>CASEY ALLY
LOOT TIME LOOT TIME LOOT TIME LOOT TIME
https://youtube.com/watch?v=p-3e0EkvIEM
>PERSON OF INTEREST
I want to get to the bottom of this mystery so we have as much shit to hit the Mayor with after we're out
>UNSTABLE
https://youtube.com/watch?v=Bu1DdChfVak
I cannot resist. This shit takes 2 DRIFTWOOD IDOL charges but I don't think we'll be hurt enough for the remainder that we'll need to spend the last one for this mission. Combined with what Wendy slipped, plus what we found out from Devin in the shop, this might push Nicole to finally piecing together W Corp's whole gimmick. Maybe even insight into why they hate anomalies. I assume Nicole's voice characters (especially UNSTABLE RESOLVE) will help ground her during this

And then for the way out
>EXIT NORTH
We have anti-gas grenades. We have enough gas masks. We have the POWER DRILL. We can take the straight shot outta here
>Whenever you find a door labeled "X-ALPHA", you're on the right track. Other exit has been abandoned due to INTENSE contamination, go STRAIGHT ahead if you pick this path.
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>>5992195
+1
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>>5985859
>NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL FOR THE MINERS WITH THE MAYOR. REWARD: +FAVOR (WORKING CLASS) x3, $500, a dripfeed of various goodies from the mining town.
>>5992154
>>5992192
We need to interrogate Valentina Vanni in order to get blackmail stuff or something on the mayor to make him give a better deal to miners so we can get those nice bonus rewards.
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>>5992180
Oh fuck, Benny is a jew. Might be a double agent for the glow niggers! Panic time.
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>>5992232
If he has anything to him like a different Benjamin I know, he's a good guy
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>>5992290
Is that a reference to something?
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>>5992388
Hokma in Lobotomy Corp
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Seems like the general idea is to block the elevator, treat her, let Casey mine, then go north. I'll ask for one little clear up vote.

Do you want to experience the 'Lack'?
>YES.
>NO.

Do you also want to block the west path?
>YES
>NO.

>>5992186
>>5992182
>>5992232
While the inspiration is there, I'll flatly state there are not, in fact, secret jews hiding in this tunnel. Mostly just found the idea of "tunnels mysterious appearing" to be a cool mission idea.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] That and most old world religions, to your knowledge, has fallen out of fashion. Such as Judaism, Christianity, and Communism.
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>>5992924
>YES.

>YES
>>
>>5992924
>NO
>YES
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>>5992971
>TRAUMA KIT. Oddly user friendly. Bought mostly by P-Company facilities. (Has 1 charges. Heals 1 FLESH with 1 charge. Heals a crippling injury with 2 charges. Can heal near lethal damage with 3 charges.)
>PAINKILLER BOTTLE x2 (Comes with three doses each. Grants a +2d6 bonus to any FLESH check when consumed.)
>"UVX MODEL #221" (An experimental X-Corp ointment, meant for topical application. Induces FLESH regeneration when applied. May have side effects when used.)

We have medical supplies, we will be fine when we experience the LACK. We are in a good position to experience LACK.
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>>5993004
Even if we get knocked out, we have our allies with us. Luther can effortlessly carry us to safety, and the BARRICADE GRENADE we deploy to slow down corpo will buy us a lot of time for our allies carrying us to surface.
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>>5992924
I hope we interrogate Valentina too. The truth is so close at hand
>YES
Breathing in the chemicals
Breaking in the consciousness
>YES
We can buy more BARRICADE GRENADES later if we want to for the silver agent base assault

>there are not, in fact, secret jews hiding in this tunnel
I'm ok with this. I'll tone the memeing down about it with that in mind
>"tunnels mysterious appearing"
I also agree it is a very cool mission idea
>Judaism, Christianity, and Communism
Islam and Buddhism and whatever else too, I assume. Guess we won't know more until Nicole ever goes to District 14
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>>5992924
>Yes to both
>>
Coolio. Time to overdose on gas fumes. Don't worry, you'll get to interview Valentina too. It's not like Benjamin can manifest drugs in five seconds, that shit takes time.

Anywho, writing.

>>5993011
>I'll tone the memeing down about it with that in mind
I didn't particularly mind it but I rather just nip it in the bud before you start making plans for something that I frankly never planned on writing.
Besides. If I wanted secret shadow people involved in a mission, you already have Glowing Individuals Of A Silver Nature Who Are Best Dealt With Automobiles.
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>>5993045
Wait a sec... Automobiles... and Nicole currently lives in G District... where G Corp is responsible for transportation... so they make and have cars...
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>>5993048
Sooooo, make some dough or get a favor or two from them and get her a G Wagon get it so she can run down shiny feds? One with a cattle guard added on, of course.
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You pull out your two inflatable barricade grenades. Both are two small plastic balls that will quickly expand into barricades once you pull their pins. You pull them with your mind and with your STEADY HANDS, you toss them down the WEST path and into the ELEVATOR behind you.

[STEADY HANDS] Your throwing skills were boosted HEAVILY by the PARADIGM underneath your uniform. Both grenades are sent flying and land right where you want them to, blocking the paths perfectly. Two bulky, thick barricades made out of a stab and bullet-resistant material flood both of those paths. You'll delay them a bit longer than normal.
>-BARRICADE GRENADES.

You kneel down in front of Casey. "You know what? You can mine. Go ahead." You nod in Max's direction. She gets the hint and hands her pickaxe over to Casey; Both you and Max suddenly realize this is a bad idea almost immediately, like giving a young kid an energy drink with 300 mg of caffeine.

She makes a beeline RIGHT towards the end of the eastmost catwalk and begins to rip into the wall with the pickaxe she was provided. The sheer blazing speed she's mining away at can only be comparable to a god damn strip mining machine. Everyone, even Valentina, takes a moment to marvel at the sheer efficiency she's mining with.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] She's absolutely going to break her body after this.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Why do you feel like that isn't an issue for her?

Your group decides to take this moment of distraction to approach Valentina. You glance over at Alexis. "So. What was that about not liking sentimental stuff, Ms. "I have three siblings"?"
Alexis cracks her shoulders almost instinctually before side eyeing you through her gas mask. "Ceмья – этo дpyгoe. Luther is a stranger. Still is. Hopefully we didn't make a mistake."
Luther doesn't respond to this. He's completely focused on Valentina.
Max seems to faintly understand what Alexis tried to say and sighs. "I get that family is different but I dunno, I just wanted to help. I didn't want someone to die down here for no good reason."

The five of you approach Valentina. She turns her attention back to you, still on her throne made out of android parts. She crosses her legs with shocking ease given the fact that, well, they're fucking crystalized. It's almost like the crystals are a part of her instead of an abhorrent mutation or growth. Maybe that's what the robot up there talked about?

A vision flashes. A puddle of blood, crushed dust, and smoldering metal lays at a heavy metal door. A man in a plastic bunny mask yells for his comrades. He begins to rush down the stairs with a violent, single minded obsession. His fists are crackling with dazzling white fire. A powerful augment way outside of your price range.

"Who are you people? Where am I?" Valentina is glancing around the giant abyss your group is standing over. She seems more confused than scared, since she doesn't do anything as your group surrounds her.
>>
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Max immediately springs in to lie right through her teeth. "Our group is associated with your family. We've been trying to find you, and now that we have, we're getting you out of here." Well, it's a half lie if anything else. Valentina is unconvinced by this but she doesn't struggle for now. The air around the center of the platform is still clean enough to keep her somewhat grounded for a while.

"You're clearly in a critical state of contamination. We have to treat you, miss, before we do anything." Benjamin pulls out his chemistry kit, waiting for your approval. You nod towards Benjamin. He immediately goes to work on making more of that STONE DISSOLVER solvent.

"Huh. Why? I've only been here for two days. Or was it less than zero?" Valentina talks to nobody in particular. Weird, everyone in this fucking town has a beyond warped sense of time. Guess that's what happens when your brain is replaced with crystals.

"Try asking her questions, Max. Alexis. Luther, even, if you can." You pull off your gas mask and NIGHTVISION GOOGLES and start to trek over to the thick cloud of colorful gas that was only halted by Max's gas clearing grenades. Max immediately rushes over to stop you but Benjamin and Alexis grab her by the shoulder.

"She has to be doing it for a reason." Alexis hesitantly tries to calm down Max.
"She IS doing it for a reason. We'll be here to save here if need be." Benjamin gently rubs Max's shoulder. "She's not going to die. Okay?"

"I-What the actual fuck, Nicole, you know what that's going to do to you, right?" Max whines like a kicked puppy. "I don't- Benjamin would- Please, I don't want you to do this. Don't hurt yourself." <"I don't want to see someone suffer. I know my family does bad things and I want to do SOMETHING to lessen it but-">

[UNSTABLE] "Yes. But I have to know. See you in a moment. I'll be fine." Without further ado, you step past the threshold, drenching your world view in a colorful kaleidoscope of every color humanity has ever known.

https://youtu.be/X9H41sI96hU - LACK

You are not Nicole.
You are not Adam.
You are not UNSTABLE.
You are not Nicole.
You are not the Admiral.
You are not Valentina.
You are not Luther.
You are not Devin.
You are not-

You are choking on your own blood. Your lungs are seizing with a pain you can not even begin to describe. Your skull feels like it's cracking underneath the strain of your own existence. Existing hurts now on a fundamental level. It's incredibly hard to describe but it's like the gas around you is trying to suffocate more than just your lungs. It's suffocating your thoughts. Your brain. Your emotions.

Yet, somehow, you're not dissolving away. No matter how much gas pours into your body, you keep thinking. You keep existing. Black tar begins pouring out of your mouth as you keep standing in the gas pocket. It hurts. It hurts. God, it hurts. Why are you doing this? It hurts. FuckfuckwhereareyouHello?
>>
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ITHURTSTARKEEPSOOZINGOUTOFYOU.
ITCRYSTALIZESINTOHARDVANTLABLACKCRYSTALSWHENITTOUCHESYOURSKINYOUCANTBREATHYETYOUCANITHURTSITHURTS.
THEMETALONYOURANTLERSBENDSANDSNAPS.
>-1 FLESH! -1 RESTRAINT! -1 ANTLER GUARD CHARGES!

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] Yet you do not dissolve underneath the suffocating, seemingly endless gas. You are still Nicole.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] You will always exist. You can not be anything BUT Nicole. You simply refuse to be anyone else on a fundamental level. Nicole as an idea MUST exist.

Thousdans on thousands on thousands of voices begin to whisper and hiss in your ears. Men, women, old, young, everything in between. Whispering incoherent, nonsensical yet forbidden knowledge into your very being. You can't see them physically but in your mind, you can make them out.

A ball of voices constantly screaming over each other. Yelling over each other, trying to dominate the other voices. It shines so, so bright. Like a yearning star, leading you forward. Or leading you astray, maybe. So, so many faces stare down at you, begging for you to join them. To lose yourself.

Crystalized perspectives. Crystalized humanity. Crystalized memories. Crystalized thoughts. Everything that makes up a human's soul, boiled down into a gestalt consciousness. Melded together and mixed until you can't tell who is who anymore.

Perfected humanity. Something that knows all. A fragment of the universe, made manifested. Something to take the burden of human logic and thought away and to take that strain in its stead. The faces keep staring at you, begging to join it. To lose yourself. To finally rest. To know all. To be everyone. To be nobody.

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] You think you get it now. You think you get why anomalies are hated by them. Anomalies are concepts but they are wholly individual concepts. They're only what they are meant to represent.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] You can't break them down. You can't meld them together. Their perspectives are limited.
[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] Can't fit a round peg in a square hole. Only way to do so is to destroy the hole or peg.

A glimpse of their singularity lays before you. A mass of discordant thoughts, used as a conduit for equivalent exchanges and to contain knowledge. In return, gifts from the comsos are granted. Human thoughts, human being, are Warped underneath this process. A perfect source of inspiration.

>W-CORP SINGULARITY KNOWLEDGE OBTAINED. (You have a far better time understanding how W-Corp products work and how to best utilize them. You'll unlock certain dialogue choices when interacting with W-Corp officials)

You can't help but to smile. The moonstones aren't their true singularity after all. They're simply a medium. Heh. No wonder why W-Corp didn't mind people disappearing here. More fuel to burn.

You stumble out of the fog with your outfit completely drenched in your own blood and vomit. You haphazardly put your gas mask back on. Someone thin and tall rushes over to check up on you.
>>
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Your cheek suddenly stings. You suddenly become cognizant of the world around you. Max and Benjamin. Benjamin just looks disappointed at you while Max is-

Is she crying? She grabs you by the collar and shakes you with all of her strength. Given her lack of muscle, she doesn't do much to you.

"I'M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU. YOU WERE GOING FOR LIKE FORTY MINUTES WE TRIED TO SNAP YOU OUT BUT YOU WEREN'T RESPONDING HOLY FUCK WHY DID YOU DO THAT-" Her face is flushed red with rage and stress-induced worry. "DON'T DO THAT AGAIN HOLY SHIT."

"Fuck." Benjamin bitterly laughs to himself. "Fuck, what can I even say? I can respect the pursuit of knowledge but you really worried us. You worried me. I-" He tries to collect his own scattered thoughts. "I trusted you enough to let you do this. You've done a lot for me so I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Why wouldn't I?"

"I trust you. I trust Max. I want to trust everyone I meet but..." He rubs the back of his neck, trying his best to put his next statement in a way that matters.

"When you were out there, zoning out, refusing to budge no matter how hard we pulled on you? I thought you were fucking dead. And I didn't quite know what to do with that. You saved me and the fact that I couldn't return the favor? Fuck. Felt kinda worthless there."

"...sorry." That's all you can say. There's nothing else you can really say that would mean anything. You glance over at Max and simply pat her on the head. She stops shaking you for a moment and immediately goes in to hug you. Followed immediately by Benjamin. None of you want to say anything.

"don't do that again." That's all Max can choke out.
"...I trust you still. I can't help but to trust people." Benjamin laughs to himself. "Please, though. Don't worry us like that.

"I'll try not to." You feel incredibly drained after all that. "I just had to know. I really did. I'll at least warn you next time." You turn your gaze over to where Valentina is while the others keep clinging onto you. You're still on the clock and as much as you want to hug them back, you can do that after you're safe.

Casey and Alexis are doing the final touches on Valentina. Her chest and waist are still crystalized, seemingly kept there for her modesty (since you doubt her outfit survived the near full crystallization) but the rest of her body is cleansed. She has a gas mask on, ready to leave at your command.

Another vision, which you realize is your SIGHTJACKING and WHISPER OF THE CITY power working in tandem, flashes through you. An elevator filled with half melted plastic sticking to everything, making it completely useless for travel. Three figures heading down the long way to the abyss. The leader, a man in a bunny mask, is getting close to the bottom.

A barricade is barely visible at the bottom. At least another hundred feet away.

"We have to leave. They're making a beeline down here. Fucking jet it." Everyone gets the hint and prepares to move on your command.
>>
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Luther quickly picks up the still dazed Valentina. You and your other allies join up with you. Casey's gun, which she's barely holding onto thanks to her exhausted state, points forward. North time it is.
>-1 COGNIZANCE, TALENT, CHARM to CASEY for rest of the mission

You'll talk to Valentina while you start running. In your cue, your group books it down the northmost walkway. It doesn't take long to see it splitting into three paths hidden behind iron doors, each labeled with a code. You already know which one leads to the exit. X-ALPHA. You force it open with your mind and begin to head into the gas flooded exit.

Your MOONSTONE GAS DETECTOR machine is going fucking apeshit as you rush down the straight and narrow hallway. Checking it, the level of gas down here is enough to kill a regular man two times over. Though you doubt Robbert is a regular man. There's nothing around but carved stone and a straight line forward.

Your skin begins to itch and it's hard to breath in here, even through the gas mask. Your group seems to be experiencing the same symptoms. Seems like the levels are getting high enough where it actually starts fucking up with your body. Max quickly gets the hit and opens up one of her GAS NEUTRALIZING GRENADES, holding it above her. As your group runs down the hallway, the white gas purifies the air you run into, giving you a moment to breath.
>2 GAS NEUTRALIZING GRENADES LEFT!

"Valentina." You huff and wheeze as your group makes a mad dash down the hallway. "Why did you come here?" You need to know. A solid answer to shape everything together.

"Heard." Valentina tries her best to string words together. "Stuff about mining towns in W-Corp. From my family talking with W Reps. Heard a lot were being shut down or centralized. Wanted to come down and check it out. Maybe write a good review. Maybe get some inspiration. Mayor here contacted me, telling me to come down. Said that there was some inspiration in his mines."

Wait. The Mayor called HER down here? Wait, wait, wait, you have to check something.

"Wait, weren't the mines closed when you came down here?"

"Not when I came here." Valentina answers. <"Thought there were a lot of miners wandering around on top...?"> "Why do you. Ask?

Wait. It was closed two weeks ago, before she even arrived. Then it was open. Then it closed again the moment she went down there and went missing. The mayor said something about a golden ticket. The robot the mayor programmed said she was prime material...

This was a fucking set up.

[PERSON OF INTEREST] Robbert's guards were here when she went missing. He would know about her being down here too. He was looking for a bargaining chip, right?
[PERSON OF INTEREST] If the Mayor was willing to have the guards around, he must've had contact with them. Was he trying to play Robbert as well? To offer him a way back in W-Corp's favor?

You gotta get out of here. You have a god damn mayor on your shitlist.
>>
>OPTIONAL OBJECTIVE CHANGED: KILL THE MAYOR OR EXPOSE HIS SECRETS TO THE CORPOS. LET THE TOWN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED HERE. DO WHAT COMES NATURAL FROM THERE. REWARD: +FAVOR (WORKING CLASS) x3, +1 EXTRA FAVOR FROM THE THREE FAMILIES, $600, a dripfeed of various goodies from the mining town.

As soon as you think of that, you can faintly hear three people yelling at each other in the room far, far behind you. Glancing back towards the path your party is running down, you can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. You've been running for a while and you know your group has the distance advantage. You'll get out of here before the corpos can even dare to catch up with you.

But...after piecing together everything, there's another path to head down. Another choice that you can make. How do you want to handle your escape out of here?
>KEEP GOING. LEAVE THE CORPOS BEHIND. LEAVE THE TOWN BEHIND. GET VALENTINA OUT. THAT'S YOUR ONLY GOAL. YOU ARE DONE WITH THIS TOWN.
>GET OUT, MAKE A BEELINE TOWARDS THE MAYOR. YOU GOT A MAYOR TO PUBLICLY SHAME.
>GET OUT, MAKE A BEELINE TOWARDS THE MAYOR. YOU GOT A MAYOR TO PUBLICLY EXECUTE.
>TELL LUTHER AND VALENTINA TO GET OUSIDE OF HERE, LEAVE TOWN, AND HIDE. GET YOUR GROUP TO HEAD BACK TO THE CORPOS.
>GET OUTSIDE BUT WAIT FOR THE CORPOS TO LEAVE THE MINES TOO. TRY TO STRIKE UP A DISCUSSION THEN.
>WRITE IN. (Split your group up to do multiple paths at once? Suggest another plan?)

I didn't forget about the minerals Casey mined. You'll see what she got next update but she got a LOT. Just hard to fit that in alongside everything else.
Next update should hopefully not take over a day to make. Sleeping schedule has been fucked.
>>
>>5993227
>>GET OUT, MAKE A BEELINE TOWARDS THE MAYOR. YOU GOT A MAYOR TO PUBLICLY SHAME.
We even have the crystallized proof with us.
>>
>>5993228
Should we wait for the corpos to get out first? We beat them to the punch speedrunning this mission like pros, but the mission has changed. Imagine if we let all the news loose with everybody in town and the 3 corpos all there? Either way the time for speed and stealth is OVER. I'm inclined to finally face the corpos on our own terms. Valentina on our hands gives Nicole's group the upper hand in negotiation, on top of the corpos realizing how cleanly they were gotten past and the mine handled ahead of them. Knowing what we do about Robbert Huxley and his motivations, we can play him against the Mayor. Roland will be inclined to work with us because we have his daughter and his daughter's future husband as friends. Rosalie will be willing to work with us after we helped Valentina recover, as well as have her relative's ancient ID card from Gregory. Waiting for the corpos to come out also gives Nicole's group some time to rest and chat. Maybe telling them about the LACK visions and realization, as well as other stuff from this mission, will be a nice way to relax before what we're about to do
>>
>>5993227
>GET OUTSIDE BUT WAIT FOR THE CORPOS TO LEAVE THE MINES TOO. TRY TO STRIKE UP A DISCUSSION THEN.
>>
>>5993227
>GET OUT, MAKE A BEELINE TOWARDS THE MAYOR. YOU GOT A MAYOR TO PUBLICLY SHAME.
>>
>>5993228
>>5993261
Our cards are stacked in our favor, we have negotiation power here, we can negotiate the three corpos to help the town.
>>
>>5993221
>boosted HEAVILY
Thanks Adam. I think we should take NEW YOU off completely after Nicole is home. This much prolonged PARADIGM use is worrying even if this is innocuous
>stab and bullet-resistant
Great investments for the future
>bad idea
BEST IDEA
>makes a beeline
:^)
>three siblings
Thanks for incorporating this
>cracks her shoulders
Must be that enhanced gasmask thing. Second time she's done this
>part of her
Congrats?
>puddle of blood
Whose? The crystal zombie miner?
>down the stairs
Completely ignoring the cave in path, lucky us
>powerful augment
Guy's got his own fancy light source. Pricey

>>5993222
>associated with your family
She doesn't know!
>warped sense of time
Consistent for every contaminated, even the most lucid
>immediately rushes over
She's a real one
>has to be
>hesitantly
>IS
This is a great moment. Alexis and Ben have been there since the first mission in thread 1. They KNOW Nicole by now. It also shows how the two differ in their belief in her
>do SOMETHING
Max is shooting up there in the character tiers

>>5993223
>Black tar
Oh no it's that shit again
>HARDVANTLABLACKCRYSTALS
That's not VOIDSTONE. This is different.
>-1 ANTLER GUARD CHARGES!
Reminder anons we literally got them at the start of this mission thanks to Alexis
>fragment of the universe
:^)
>this entire LACK sequence
Kino but very hard to understand. Now Nicole knows the truth. W Corp Singularity is a crystallized and blended humanity Legion. "We are Legion for we are many." That's why the "personality shards" like UNSTABLE exist and can be "removed" and "implanted" like what Devin said. That's why both Nicole and Devin have their own different UNSTABLE which behave foreign while simultaneously being parts of themselves, but naturally both Nicole and Kiara have their own different SEEKER OF THE CITY via their own personal knowledge and experiences, but Kiara's isn't a third-party behaving extension of herself like Nicole's is. Nicole's UNSTABLE is both part of herself as an individual, yet at the same time not because of humanity's connection to the collective being or something. An anomaly would be like if Nicole's UNSTABLE burst out of her and became its own anomaly. It ceases to be a mere shard or offshoot, and becomes something completely external and individual and unable to be reintegrated.
I have no idea if I'm understanding it correctly though.
>>
>>5993224
>FORTY MINUTES
Worth it
>this entire Ben and Max scene
Nicole's outfit is completely fucked by vomit and all this dirt and dust and stone and whatever, but she has to return that fucking hug soon. Goddamn this scene is GOOD
>chest and waist
Crystalesque women's fashion the NEWEST CRAZE HITTING THE CITY by the Vannis?! Tune in next time!!!
>in tandem
Sightjacking putting it work
>melted plastic
I pity the miners having to clean that gunk off
>the long way
I KNEW IT
I KNEW I WAS RIGHT SUGGESTING BLOCKING THE WEST EXIT
IT WASN'T A DECOY BUT A GALAXY BRAINED DOUBLE-BLOCK
10/10

>>5993226
>Casey debuff
Worth it
>GAS NEUTRALIZING GRENADES
I am glad we picked CORPORATE ELITE for Alexis to unlock this path, and Max came with 4 of these on her own
>my family talking with W Reps
Rosalie?
>set up
I knew there had to be something fishy
>Robbert's guards
I never stopped to question them being there and connected to H Corp and Robbert. I thought Robbert sent them in to secure the site for him in advance. Not all THIS
>play Robbert
Big fucking mistake

>>5993227
>rewards
About damn time. And this isn't even the base mission reward from Handler. He's gonna LOVE hearing all this later
>yelling at each other
Get Yakety Saxed
>she got a LOT.
Quite the busy bee huh QM?
>Sleeping schedule
Get some rest
>>
>>5993227
>GET OUTSIDE BUT WAIT FOR THE CORPOS TO LEAVE THE MINES TOO. TRY TO STRIKE UP A DISCUSSION THEN
It's time to make a play that benefits everybody and makes the Mayor regret existing for the past month or so
>>
>>5993227
>>GET OUTSIDE BUT WAIT FOR THE CORPOS TO LEAVE THE MINES TOO. TRY TO STRIKE UP A DISCUSSION THEN.

If this goes bad, it wont be a fun fight with the group we have. Lets hope the power of drugs and being more pissed at the mayor than us can pull us through.
>>
>>5993402
There's no way in hell Roland fucking Krakatoa will let his daughter fight two other fellow corpos. Nicole pulls out her phone and gives Gregory a call, and him vouching for her is all she needs to get Max's dad to understand
>>
>>5993227
>>GET OUT, MAKE A BEELINE TOWARDS THE MAYOR. YOU GOT A MAYOR TO PUBLICLY EXECUTE.
>>
So what do you guys think about this mission so far?
>>
>>5993444
Nice change up from the extended Admiral mission. Finding horror in the bowels of the earth is always fun and Max being so concerned about Nicole was sweet.
>>
>>5993227
>GET OUTSIDE BUT WAIT FOR THE CORPOS TO LEAVE THE MINES TOO. TRY TO STRIKE UP A DISCUSSION THEN.
>>
>>5993629
Admiral mission was on rails there and back with the exception of the side activities. That's because we were on a ship. But right here on this job from the moment we got off that train and saw the corpos there, we intuitively decided to go for the stealth rush to Valentina. Sure we delayed here and there like splitting up at the town or casing most of the lobby, but almost every single update has served to shove us further and further into the deep. That was all by our own will and votes as the players. We chose to haul ass and almost never stop till we got to the bottom. If we had decided to work with the corpos or take it slower, there's a chance Valentina could have become unrecoverable or beyond saving. There might have been many other problems with the corpos or the Mayor interfering or not being able to get in the mine through the main way.

If we hadn't picked SIGHTJACKING as a powerup back at the military base, Nicole would not have been able to use it alongside SEEKER to get mental maps of the place and track the corpos approaching. If we hadn't picked CORPORATE ELITE for Alexis' rapport upgrade to specialize her in CONNECTIONS, we wouldn't have got the tip from her contacts about the straight exit out in the contaminated tunnel, leading us to have to go westward back to a previous layer and risk running into the corpos. if we didn't get the side task of finding Luther, we would have been more incentivized to put him out of his misery in his safehouse closet.

God I fucking love quests man. Choose your own adventure books were incredible when I was growing up.
>>
>>5993194
Is it even a good idea to own a car? How much do we have to pay to keep the car maintained? Do the cars have built-in tracking and surveillance devices that the silver agent can potentially use it to monitoring and track us by influencing G-Corp to give them access? Do you think that owning a car is too high-profile?
>>
>>5993837
It was really just a joke but yeah, in the alternate timeline far future, cars are bugged to hell and back. Even IRL they are getting there. Every new car made after 2030 has to have a remote kill switch useable by the gov't, for example and the built in GPS/OnStar has been used to track people already.

Stealing a glow nigger's SUV temporarily to plow through a crowd of them then setting it on fire is still on the table.
>>
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You want to leave. You want to gallop away, to get out of danger, to survive. To leave this god damn town behind. Yet a part of you wants to put this whole thing to rest. So something like this won't happen again. You're not quite sure why. Pity towards the town folks? Hatred towards the mayor and W-Corp for egging him on? A chance to get with the social elite?

[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] All three, really. This whole situation fucking sucks. Might as well do SOMETHING good while we're here.
[STEADY HANDS] Slice away the evil. Leave behind only what is needed.
[PERSON OF INTEREST] She was also being observed by them. Perhaps you feel like you should help her after everything she's been through.

It takes a while to get back to the surface given that you were seven layers underneath the earth and there's not much to describe during it, it's a literal straight line with nothing but lethal amounts of toxic fumes and stone walls. You begin to zone out...

You don't really know how long it took but by the time your whole group stumbles out onto the surface, it's already pretty late in the afternoon. Probably early evening if you had to be more exact. The sun has already mostly set. The sky and everything underneath it is blanketed in a blend of dark blue and orange. If you squint your eyes, you can just make out the dozens on dozens on dozens of stars that make up the night sky

You've seen stars before, you've been around in basically every District in the City (though the specifics of most of them are VERY foggy until you resist them for a mission), but something about staring up at them after everything you've been through is comforting. In the corner of your eyes, you can see everyone else staring up at the star-kissed sky. Especially Valentina and Luther.

"Thought. Never see it. 'gain." Luther pulls off his gas mask and tosses it back to you. He takes a long, deep breath to taste the fresh air above. "Fresh. Oxygen. Blue. Sky. Beautiful. As I re-remembered." His knees begin to shake and bend underneath the sheer pressure of realizing one simple truth: He's not going to die down there.

Max and Benjamin place their hands on Luther's shoulders.
"Welcome back." Benjamin gently pats his shoulder. "This is why you should never give up. So you can see this beautiful sky."
"I knew you were going to make it back home." Max flashes a toothy smile. You swear her canines are sharper than usual. Guess you never paid attention until now.

The area around this back entrance is pretty barren and plain. Aside from a few old trucks and carts that have long since rusted away beyond any semblance of usability, there's only dusty sand and the evening sky above. If you squint hard enough, you can make out the edge of the town you were just in. It's going to take a while to get back-

"Здecь!" Alexis calls out to the group in that thick District 9 dialect she keeps speaking in. She's been using it a lot, maybe the gas mask fumes are messing with her?
>>
Your group snaps its attention over to her. She's standing by one of the rusted over trucks you skimmed over. "This one still works!" She proves this by turning it on. The engine violently chokes to life while making a sound that you know a truck shouldn't be making. "Enough room if some ride on back." She jabs at the truck bed. Welp! Beats walking after everything.

You peel your gas mask off and so does everyone else, now that you have fresh air to breath. Casey and Alexis keep their VIOLENCE boosting masks while your other allies keep the spare ones you gave them. So all in all...
>Casey and Alexis have IMPROVED GAS MASK!
>Max and Benjamin have REGULAR GAS MASKS!
>You have IMPROVED GAS MASK and REGULAR GAS MASK x4!

Neat. You climb onto the back of the truck alongside Luther, Benjamin, and Max. Alexis, Casey, and Valentina take the front seats of the truck. After Casey tosses over the bag of gemstones she mined out, everyone takes a moment to make sure they're seated before Alexis starts driving the truck back to town.

Time to see what Casey got you. Max and Benjamin also lean in to see what the fuck you got and, well, you see no harm in doing so.
CASEY MINING LOOT! CASEY IS GOOD EMPLOYEE!
>RAW SUNSTONE CHUNK x3 (A bright red gemstone that burns your hand if you hold it for too long. Blocks up to 2 FLESH damage before shattering.)
>RAW MOONSTONE CHUNK x3 (A dark royal purple gemstone with a potent gas swirling inside of it. When used on you, allows you to use a FOCUSED ability for free. When used on an ally, they add +3d8 to their next RESTRAINT or WILLPOWER check.)
>RAW VOIDSTONE CHUNK x3 (A vantablank gemstone that seems to absorb all the light around it. When consumed, temporarily boosts all stats by 1 and heals 1 RESTRAINT + FLESH. VERY valuable when sold.)
>RAW NOVASTONE CHUNK x3 (A bright white gemstone that is waiting to blossom into a bright new star. Very Volatile. When used, it explodes with a bright white flash, adding +6d4 to your next attack and reducing the dice of all enemies by 2.)

Fucking hell, Casey really didn't want to disappoint, huh? Benjamin picks up one of the VOIDSTONE chunks with a sparkle in his eyes. He adjusts his glasses before letting out a low, clearly pleased whistle.

"Oh, so you find a gem better to look at than me, huh?" The snark coming from Max's voice is laid on a bit too thick for your liking.
"Hey, no, I just thought it looked neat!" Benjamin quickly tosses the stone back at you, clearly flustered.
"Pft. Just make sure you get me that on a ring later-"

Everyone on the back of the truck stares at Max. She realized what she said and immediately sinks to the bottom of the truck bed. "Anyways. What's the plan now?!" She desperately tries to swerve the topic to something else. Riight, you should probably tell them.

"We're going to talk to the corpos. I want to start a discussion with them. To get an arrangement that benefits all of us."

"ohfuckme." Max clenches her teeth. "ohthisisgoingtosuck."
>>
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"Hey, the idea itself isn't bad." Benjamin helps his poor wet cat of a girlfriend back into a proper sitting position. "We already have an in with two of them, right? The Vanni one, well, obvious. And we got YOU here. He has to listen to you."

"I mean- Yeah, yeah, I know, and part of it is just me not wanting him to see me out here like this but what about that Robbert guy? What if he goes fucking ballistic and tries hurting you guys?" Max reaches into her pocket to put her shades back on now that she's not wearing a gas mask.

"I fought an X5 anomaly, some random dipshit in a bunnymask is easy pickings to me!" You boast with way too much confidence given, well, you only beat him because he wanted to play a game of chess instead of nuking the ship you were on.

"wait you did fucking what." Benjamin can't even attempt to hide how shocked yet impressed he is by your statement.
"YOU FUCKING DID WHAT?!" Max, however, is way more indignant about what you said. "ARE YOU A MASOCHIST? HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE? AAAA-" She nearly reaches over to grab you by the shoulders but Alexis parks the truck right outside the entrance of the mine your group went down into, so she falls face first into your stained jacket.

"ew." Max squeaks out. You can't help but to laugh at how shy and high pitched that once compared to the slightly deep tone of voice she normally speaks with. "clean up later please."

The three Cleansers are nowhere in sight. Seems like Robbert called them off once he saw no need for them. Maybe you'll meet them later. Probably not. Now all you have to is to wait. Considering they don't know you went through the back entrance and all the other quick and easy paths back to the surface were blocked, yeaahhh.

Luther lays down on the now flat truckbed so he can stare at the sky.
Benjamin and Max chatter to each other about inane stuff to burn time.
Alexis chatters to someone over her radio about a 'successful mission' and something about a 'ETF Zeta'.
Casey and Valentina aren't making much noise. Both of them are probably asleep by now. You can't blame them, really, you're tired too.

Two hours pass, if you trust what your phone is saying. That and the sky turning into a dark, dark blue now. The moon shines overhead. Everything is barely visible with only the dim moonlight preventing the place from being pitch black.

Your crew's attention is immediately snapped over to the mine's entrance when you hear the lift slowly crawling back to the surface. You hop right out of the truck while your allies decide to stay behind for now. You don't blame them, who knows how the corpos are going to react at first?

https://youtu.be/Ru-L_cmO5Xg - CORPORATE POWER

"WE SPENT ALL THAT TIME DOWN THERE AND YOU COULDN'T EVEN FIND HER, ROBBERT?!" A high pitch, shrill voice cries out into the night sky. Narrowing your eyes, you see a woman in a long, flowing purple ponytail grabbing onto the shoulders of a man with a plastic bunny mask.
>>
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Oh god, oh fuck, they're finally here.

The three corporate reps step out of the lift and wander right outside of the mine entrance, only twenty or so feet away from your truck. You make sure that everyone is how you remembered them.

Rosaline Vanni. Short, well groomed woman. Dark violet purple uniform with pink accented lines and flowers draping over a yellow, high collared coat. Violet ponytail. Violet eyes. Check.
Roland Krakatoa. Average height, Remarkably pale skin. Grey blue eyes and hair. Loosely-buttoned grey-blue dress shirt, striped jacket, slacks and dress shoes. Check.
Robbert Huxley. Wide-shouldered, tall man with long blonde hair. Bulky brown overcoat with shoddy metal plating attached, Drab brown pants tucked into his jet black combat boots, thick leather gloves, bunny mask. Check.

All three of them quickly notice the truck patched outside of the mining entrance and more specifically, you. Robbert raises up his fists and without even saying a single word, he begins to charge right at you. His fists are crackling with a bright white fire that illuminates a solid 10 foot radius around him. Your MIND READ's stat checking ability automatically activates...

ROBBERT HUXLEY
FLESH: 32/35
VIOLENCE: 15
TALENT: 15
You don't need to read the rest of his stats to know that if he hits you, you're fucking dead. Your DRIFTWOOD IDOL would block one attack and then the next one would certainly kill y-

[CORPORATE INSIDER + CORPORATE V.I.P] "CEASE!" "STOP!" Alexis and Max hop out of the truck and make a mad dash over to you. As soon as the other corporate elites spot them, they yell nearly incoherent barks at him too.

"..." He grinds to a halt right as he was about to pulverize your face in with a blazing white punch. He cracks his shoulders almost instinctually before lowering his fist with a swift, jerky movement. It's clear he's only doing this because the others called him off and not because he wants to spare you.

Your other allies, including an exhausted Casey, quickly join you. Valentina is currently being carried by Luther's arm. She's out like a light and isn't even stirring despite the chaos going on. She's still breathing so you know she's alive at least.

"What?" Roland's eyes widen upon seeing Valentina being carried by Luther. "How the. How the fuck do you have her? We had solid, reliable intel that she was down there." He turns his gaze over to Max for a brief moment. <"I'll talk to you LATER about why you were HERE of all places, Elizabeth.">
"Give her up. Now." Rosaline clenches her fists and begins to grind her teeth. "Or else I will make sure your bloodline is purged from the City itself."
Robbert stares right at you and for a moment, you think he realizes something. "What do you want? I know you're too much of a bitch to hold her hostage." His voice is muffled by the weird mask he's wearing. <"They somehow got down there before us. How did they know? Did that god damn Mayor rat me out?">
>>
You got some ideas on how to best appease them but the question is, what direction do you want to steer this conversation in?

Pick as many options as you feel comfortable making.
>[MAX ALLY] "Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. Please." Let Max talk to her old man. (CHARM DC: 16 (-2 from CASEY), with Max rolling 5d6 by herself. Succeed and Roland will reluctantly listen to his daughter, offering to assist you in dealing with the mayor.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Ooo!" Casey begins to buzz around Rosaline. "Nice outfit! Actually, I know a lot of people back at C-Corp! Very, very good people. See-" Let Casey ramble Rosaline's ear off. Appease her by buttering up her fashion. (CHARM DC: 10, rolling only Casey's 3d6. Pass and the flattery will be enough to earn to calm her down enough to shower your party with powerful armor and equipment from C-Corp.)
>[LUTHER ALLY + FOUND OUT MAYOR'S SECRET] You have living proof of the Mayor's bullshittery and logs from the computers down there. Try to get them all three of them to agree to get this town out of its sorry and misery state. (CONNECTIONS DC: 57 (-4 from CASEY and MAX's presence), rolling 14d6+4d3. Succeed and the corpos will be beyond enraged at what happened here and will do their best to help out the town. You're very likely to receive way more resources from this town after the mission ends.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Rosaline Vanni. We're not here to hurt your daughter. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way. Don't you understand we're on the same side?" Let her talk to Rosaline. (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS and you saving Valentina, she autopasses. Rosaline will back down and will offer her assistance without question. You imagine Alexis will also get unique items from the Vannis in the future.)
>[KRAKATOA FAVOR] Dial Gregory's number and hand your phone to Roland. (-1 KRAKATOA FAVOR. Gregory's good word will be more than enough to win Roland over. If you pick this with MAX ALLY, you imagine he'll support his daughter in the future, vastly improving the gear she comes equipped with in the future.
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE MEETS VIOLENCE. ENDS BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS. PUNCH HIM. (-1 RESTRAINT, -1 FLESH, VIOLENCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 by yourself thanks to your gas mask. Succeed and your sheer autistic display of bloodlust will impress Huxley enough to offer his assistance and a H-Corp favor.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "I heard something about you needing drugs, right? I can help, man! Just help us first." Try to appeal to Huxley through the main reason he even did all of this: Drugs. (COGNIZANCE DC: 20, rolling only Benjamin's 6d6. Pass and in addition to appeasing Huxley, you imagine Benjamin will earn some major connections with Z and H-Corp down the line, permanently upgrading his abilities and what he can produce.)
>Write in (Use a consumable for a skill check? Try to negotiate them another way? Offer them something to win them over?)
>>
I am too brainfried to analysis post, but I will say this is the first time they are meeting Nicole. She is a nobody to them in this bizzare situation. I think the ideal is to win all 3 over enough, but not TOO much, then closing with the Mayor reveal. I had the thought we should have taken a photo of the shit state Valentina was in, so Rosalie could see how much we did to help treat Valentina. It'd have built a stronger case, but too late now. If Alexis explains it, maybe it'd be close enough. I want to give Rosalie the old ID card before she leaves though, but that would be after the Mayor is handled. Perhaps as a parting gift? The "call Gregory" option is a solid way to spend 1 FAVOR and has been what I was saying from the start. 5d6 DC16 for Max might be tough, but we have reroll items don't we? Huxley will be a bit different. Maybe the Admiral photos plus the H Corp Business Card can help prove Nicole's competence? I dunno if we should do the drugs help motivation or something else with him. I wonder if telling the corpos how we got to Valentina before them and we've already exfil'd the mine past them 2 hours ago might impress Huxley a little? Stealth and speed isn't quite his taste, but surely Mr. Fucksley here can appreciate a little objective yoink, a little flawless smooth operating without ANY OF THEM knowing?
Anyway, lastly I wanna say we should check our items for rerolls and benefits our allies could use, and check the rolls and DCs for these options
>>
>>5994443
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Rosaline Vanni. We're not here to hurt your daughter. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way. Don't you understand we're on the same side?" Let her talk to Rosaline
No reason not to pick this
>[MAX ALLY] "Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. Please." Let Max talk to her old man.
>[KRAKATOA FAVOR] Dial Gregory's number and hand your phone to Roland. (-1 KRAKATOA FAVOR. Gregory's good word will be more than enough to win Roland over. If you pick this with MAX ALLY, you imagine he'll support his daughter in the future, vastly improving the gear she comes equipped with in the future.
Invest in Max
>[LUTHER ALLY + FOUND OUT MAYOR'S SECRET] You have living proof of the Mayor's bullshittery and logs from the computers down there. Try to get them all three of them to agree to get this town out of its sorry and misery state.
Go big or go home
We have teeth idol and voidstone chunk to reroll a whole check, Sunstone for +2d8 and Somthoin Zeta to boost Charm and Connections (though Max would have to take it). Hopefully getting Rosalin and Roland on our side will get us bonuses for the final check too.
>>
>>5994487
We also have the fake ID for Connections, but it might not work in this particular case
>>
>>5994487
>Max would have to take it
I don't want Max to take the "reformats your soul" level of mindfucking drug, after we had a whole mission in the mindfuck mines and she saw Nicole get mindfuck gassed for 40 minutes straight, right in front of her own dad. That would be beyond retarded
>Rosalin and Roland on our side
What's your take on Robbert Huxley, after everything we got told about the Huxleys as a family and all the info we got about Robbert himself?

>>5994488
>use the fake ID on the corpo higher-ups and rich powerful family members right in front of us
Same thing as the Max drug option. Beyond retarded
>>
>>5994495
We still can take Somtoin for the Connections roll since it's collective.
>What's your take on Robbert Huxley
I think we can't get him on our side, and the best we can do is have the other two pressure him.
>Beyond retarded
I think so too.
>>
>>5994509
>we can't get him on our side
Or maybe doing so will have drawbacks. Remember what HIS OWN FUCKING GOONS said about him
>"BECAUSE HE JUST CAN'T FUCKING STOP HIMSELF FROM INTERFERING AND FUCKING OVER THEIR OPERATIONS SO HE'S JUMPING SHIP TO ANOTHER COMPANY."
>"WE TOLD HIM HE SHOULD GET SOME GOD DAMN MEDS BUT APPARENTLY NOTHING WORKS FOR HIM ANYMORE. DRUG TOLERANCE." The middle one fiddles with a nozzle on their back. "SIDE EFFECT OF BEING AN ANTISEPTIC VET. YES. HE KEEPS RAMBLING ABOUT THIS TO US. HE'S FUCKING ANNOYING, REALLY."
I think giving him both remaining SALTRIL ANTIPSYCHOTIC is a good gesture, even if it fails to help him.
>"APPARENTLY HE HEARD SOMETHING ABOUT THE GAS HERE APPARENTLY HAVING POWERFUL PSYCHOACTIVE EFFECTS? SO HE'S TRYING TO GET SOME OF IT SO Z-CORP CAN...MAKE SOMETHING TO HELP HIM."
Do you think the LACK can end up helping him in any way?
>ROSALIE VANNI...VAIN, WORTHLESS, REFUSES TO WORK WITH OTHERS
That's what the glowies said on the radio. But if we actively helped Valentina, got to her way before any of them could without any of them knowing, maybe that can be enough to pierce through Rosalie's vanity and get her listening to Nicole?
>You're probably looking for that Valentina girl too, right? My boss said she plans on 'disciplining' her for disappearing
>she left with something that they want to recover at any costs.
We have no idea what that is, nor do we even have it. I don't think we even found any mystery object with Valentina down there. Could Rosalie have found it where Nicole and party did not and recovered it offscreen? I assume once Rosalie searches Valentina and somehow finds it on her or INSIDE her, Rosalie will be calmer from here.
>>
>>5994443
Voting
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Rosaline Vanni. We're not here to hurt your daughter. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way. Don't you understand we're on the same side?" Let her talk to Rosaline.
Is it "Rosaline" or "Rosalie"? Whatever. We HAVE to open with this. The Vanni is the most distraught and tensed up of the trio. Once she calms down, the situation will improve
>[KRAKATOA FAVOR] Dial Gregory's number and hand your phone to Roland.
>[MAX ALLY] "Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. Please." Let Max talk to her old man.
Get those reroll items ready just in case Max fails. I don't trust 5d6 with our bad luck with 1s, and that DC 16 scares me. I don't know if calling Gregory will cut that DC down or give more dice, so I'm unsure if we should do the Greg call first or second. Either way works if both orders amount to the same result; I have no complaints there
>WRITE IN:
>Offer Robbert Huxley both of your SALTRIL meds. You don't really need or want them anymore after UNSTABLE RESOLVE. (-2 SALTRIL BRANDED ANTI PSYCHOTICS. There's no guarantee they will work on him with his drug tolerance, but the gesture counts even if they fail, right?)
I want to do this. A gift from Deer to Rabbit.
>WRITE IN
>Show off an ADMIRAL SHIP PHOTOGRAPH and ADMIRAL CORPSE PHOTO to Robbert Huxley.
If there's enough of a case to not do this, I will withdraw this write-in
>[LUTHER ALLY + FOUND OUT MAYOR'S SECRET] You have living proof of the Mayor's bullshittery and logs from the computers down there. Try to get them all three of them to agree to get this town out of its sorry and misery state.
This is the clincher, the closer, the piece de resistance, the coup de grace, the cherry on top. How much impact will the previous actions have on the DC or rolls? inb4 autosuccess surprise

And that's all I got. I'm clutching that Lilith Vanni ID card all the way until the end right before Rosalie or whatshername is about to leave. Checking the inventory and past threads, we did not give up the PHILLIP ID CARD or REGRETFUL NECKLACE. If we ever meet with Lilith Vanni personally, maybe we can finally pull those out.
>>
I might as well do my analysis autism now that I feel better

>>5994399
>gallop away
Oh deer
>All three
Because the City is humanity's bad, it is also humanity's good.
>VERY foggy until you resist them
Don't worry QM there's still more worldbuilding FUN (AUTISM) to come!
>Luther scene
Very touching. Fate of bee explosion is averted for good.
>canines are sharper
Ben is a lucky guy
>District 9 dialect
I Corp is Russian then. Good to know
>gas mask fumes
The VIOLENCE warms the blood like a good evening around the heater in the commieblock

>>5994403
>Casey and Alexis keep their VIOLENCE boosting masks
They don't really need it with how they're specialized, but I kinda like the way these things actually alter the characters' characters :^) so I'm OK with this
>other allies keep the spare ones
Good future investment, plus it can help them offscreen
>CASEY MINING LOOT
WOW!!! COOL!!! I bet Wendy can help us get these refined to be even COOLER!!! when we meet her again
>laid on a bit too thick
Is that a Krakatoa thing?
>on a ring later
I really really want to give one of the VOIDSTONE CHUNK to her or Ben at the end of the mission and have Nicole smile in a very cheeky knowing way, or similar

>>5994409
>YOU FUCKING DID WHAT
After the mission ends, I want Nicole to show all 4 of them the photos
>outside the entrance of the mine
Wait but "Alexis starts driving the truck back to town". I guess the back exit just took us way farther than we thought, and the mine entrance is the same direction as the town
>slightly deep tone of voice
Ben is a lucky guy
>'ETF Zeta'
Could it be the same one Nicole spoke to? Kiara's contact against the silvers? No relation to our boy Admin?

>>5994412
>MIND READ's stat checking ability
Glad you're justifying quest mechanics in-universe like ProjectMoon does, QM
>FLESH: 32/35
>VIOLENCE: 15
>TALENT: 15
Way to make us aware of where Nicole really stands in stats compared to the real higher ups controlling the City, QM. Robbert's CHARM, CONNECTIONS, and RESTRAINT must be real low in comparison. Or maybe "real low in comparison" is 8-10 which is higher than anything Nicole has barring RESTRAINT and in some cases TALENT. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck
>CORPORATE INSIDER + CORPORATE V.I.P
I am fucking glad we got that upgrade for Alexis back at the X Corp mission start. I am fucking glad we decided to bring Max along to this mission.
>Elizabeth
So her full name is Elizabeth "Max" Krakatoa. Decent name
>bloodline is purged from the City
Oh right they can do that. Didn't we get a lore tidbit in one of these threads talking about it? I forgot
>too much of a bitch to hold her hostage
Implying we even need to, or that we are
>somehow got down there before us. How did they know?
Do we tell them? Do we show off? Do we flex? Do we do it on the way to the Mayor or after he's dealt with?
>Mayor rat me out
Robbert's going to be PISSED when we tell him how everybody here was set up
>>
>>5994577
I FUCKING DELETED THIS POST YOU STUPID WEBSITE
>>
>>5994443
>[MAX ALLY] "Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. Please." Let Max talk to her old man. (CHARM DC: 16 (-2 from CASEY), with Max rolling 5d6 by herself. Succeed and Roland will reluctantly listen to his daughter, offering to assist you in dealing with the mayor.)
>[CASEY ALLY] "Ooo!" Casey begins to buzz around Rosaline. "Nice outfit! Actually, I know a lot of people back at C-Corp! Very, very good people. See-" Let Casey ramble Rosaline's ear off. Appease her by buttering up her fashion. (CHARM DC: 10, rolling only Casey's 3d6. Pass and the flattery will be enough to earn to calm her down enough to shower your party with powerful armor and equipment from C-Corp.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Rosaline Vanni. We're not here to hurt your daughter. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way. Don't you understand we're on the same side?" Let her talk to Rosaline. (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS and you saving Valentina, she autopasses. Rosaline will back down and will offer her assistance without question. You imagine Alexis will also get unique items from the Vannis in the future.)
>[KRAKATOA FAVOR] Dial Gregory's number and hand your phone to Roland. (-1 KRAKATOA FAVOR. Gregory's good word will be more than enough to win Roland over. If you pick this with MAX ALLY, you imagine he'll support his daughter in the future, vastly improving the gear she comes equipped with in the future
>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "I heard something about you needing drugs, right? I can help, man! Just help us first." Try to appeal to Huxley through the main reason he even did all of this: Drugs. (COGNIZANCE DC: 20, rolling only Benjamin's 6d6. Pass and in addition to appeasing Huxley, you imagine Benjamin will earn some major connections with Z and H-Corp down the line, permanently upgrading his abilities and what he can produce.)
Go big or go home
>>
>>5994443
>>[MAX ALLY] "Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. Please." Let Max talk to her old man. (CHARM DC: 16 (-2 from CASEY), with Max rolling 5d6 by herself. Succeed and Roland will reluctantly listen to his daughter, offering to assist you in dealing with the mayor.)
>>[CASEY ALLY] "Ooo!" Casey begins to buzz around Rosaline. "Nice outfit! Actually, I know a lot of people back at C-Corp! Very, very good people. See-" Let Casey ramble Rosaline's ear off. Appease her by buttering up her fashion. (CHARM DC: 10, rolling only Casey's 3d6. Pass and the flattery will be enough to earn to calm her down enough to shower your party with powerful armor and equipment from C-Corp.)
>>[LUTHER ALLY + FOUND OUT MAYOR'S SECRET] You have living proof of the Mayor's bullshittery and logs from the computers down there. Try to get them all three of them to agree to get this town out of its sorry and misery state. (CONNECTIONS DC: 57 (-4 from CASEY and MAX's presence), rolling 14d6+4d3. Succeed and the corpos will be beyond enraged at what happened here and will do their best to help out the town. You're very likely to receive way more resources from this town after the mission ends.)
>>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Rosaline Vanni. We're not here to hurt your daughter. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way. Don't you understand we're on the same side?" Let her talk to Rosaline. (Due to Alexis' OVERWHELMING CONNECTIONS and you saving Valentina, she autopasses. Rosaline will back down and will offer her assistance without question. You imagine Alexis will also get unique items from the Vannis in the future.)
>>[KRAKATOA FAVOR] Dial Gregory's number and hand your phone to Roland. (-1 KRAKATOA FAVOR. Gregory's good word will be more than enough to win Roland over. If you pick this with MAX ALLY, you imagine he'll support his daughter in the future, vastly improving the gear she comes equipped with in the future.
>>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE MEETS VIOLENCE. ENDS BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS. PUNCH HIM. (-1 RESTRAINT, -1 FLESH, VIOLENCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 by yourself thanks to your gas mask. Succeed and your sheer autistic display of bloodlust will impress Huxley enough to offer his assistance and a H-Corp favor.)
>>[BENJAMIN ALLY] "I heard something about you needing drugs, right? I can help, man! Just help us first." Try to appeal to Huxley through the main reason he even did all of this: Drugs. (COGNIZANCE DC: 20, rolling only Benjamin's 6d6. Pass and in addition to appeasing Huxley, you imagine Benjamin will earn some major connections with Z and H-Corp down the line, permanently upgrading his abilities and what he can produce.)

Every fucking thing.

>Pop a novastone chunk before punching Huxley. Hand out as many drugs as we need to our allies to boost relevant checks. The resource expendature will be neglible in exchange for a clean sweep.

>Use the pocketwatch to hand out shit during timestop
>>
>>5994906
+1
>>
>>5994955
>>5994906
>>5994707
we really going all in?
>>
>>5995146
Yes :D Totally will not backfire.
>>
>>5994955
Add
>Offer Robbert Huxley both of your SALTRIL meds. You don't really need or want them anymore after UNSTABLE RESOLVE. (-2 SALTRIL BRANDED ANTI PSYCHOTICS. There's no guarantee they will work on him with his drug tolerance, but the gesture counts even if they fail, right?)
>>
>>5994640 #
>They don't really need it with how they're specialized, but I kinda like the way these things actually alter the characters' characters :^) so I'm OK with this

Casey will kill
Casey will rip and tear
Casey will feast
Casey will smile
Casey will be a good Bees
Casey will become GOD
Casey will bring SALVATION
CASEY WILL MAKE EVERYONE PRODUCTIVE GOOD BEES
>>
>>5995166
Not sure if the world can handle Ascended Casey but fuck if it wouldn't be funny.
>>
>[UNSTABLE] VIOLENCE MEETS VIOLENCE. ENDS BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS END BEGINS. PUNCH HIM. (-1 RESTRAINT, -1 FLESH, VIOLENCE DC: 24, rolling 7d6 by yourself thanks to your gas mask. Succeed and your sheer autistic display of bloodlust will impress Huxley enough to offer his assistance and a H-Corp favor.)

>TRAUMA KIT. Oddly user friendly. Bought mostly by P-Company facilities. (Has 1 charges. Heals 1 FLESH with 1 charge. Heals a crippling injury with 2 charges. Can heal near lethal damage with 3 charges.)
>PAINKILLER BOTTLE x2 (Comes with three doses each. Grants a +2d6 bonus to any FLESH check when consumed.)
>"UVX MODEL #221" (An experimental X-Corp ointment, meant for topical application. Induces FLESH regeneration when applied. May have side effects when used.)
>GAUZE ROLLS x4 (Consumed on use. Can heal one FLESH, temporarily negate a crippling injury, or to heal a CRIPPLING INJURY if used with UVX.)
>"UVX MODEL #222" x2 (A experimental X-Corp ointment altered due to recent training data from a 'N.S.', meant for topical application. Applies FLESH regeneration and boosts max FLESH by 1 while active. Still has side effects when used.)
>AUTOSTIMPAK x2 (Automatically consumes when you take a CRIPPLING INJURY or fall below half FLESH. Negates a CRIPPLING INJURY or heals FLESH until you're at half FLESH.)

We have medical supplies, we will be fine when we punch him.
>>
>>5994443
FUCK IT
CHANGING MY VOTE FROM >>5994590
TO BACKING >>5994906
WITH THE "GIVE HUXLEY BOTH THE SALTRIL" WRITE-IN TOO
FUCK IT WE BALL
>>
aight let's see, closing.
ALEXIS: ALL
MAX: ALL
CASEY: Jd3, W5K, H25, Buw
KRAKATOA FAVOR: ALL
LUTHER + MAYOR SECRET: ALL
UNSTABLE: W5K, H25, Buw
BENJAMIN ALLY: JD3, W5K, H25, Buw

Welp. With that last minute switch vote and my motto of "if over half the players voted for it and I didn't place a limit, fuck it. We ball.", we're doing everything.

Four anons, roll the following. We'll save the final one depending on how your other options play out.
>6d6 (Ben's COGZNIANCE roll.)
>5d6 (Max's CHARM roll.)
>3d6 (Casey's CHARM roll.)
>7d6 (FUCK IT WE BALL VIOLENCE ROLL)

REROLLS AND ITEMS AVAILABLE FOR THESE ROLLS
Max has two charges of her boon left, which she can use to reroll all of her dice, to add 3d6 to Casey, or to be saved for the final check.
You have two pep pills+ for the COGNIZANCE roll. Per pill consumed, add 4 to the final tally.
You have a LUCK INVERTER, which can flip all dice to their opposite number (1 <--> 6, 2 <--> 5, 3 <--> 4)
Alexis has two TEMPORAL REWINDERS, which lets her reroll all 1s and 2s an ally rolls.
You have two SUNSTONE FRAGMENTS, which lets you reroll three violence dice per use.
You have an ADRENALINE IMPLANT, which lets you add 2d8 to it per charge you have left. You have two charges left and you regain one per mission.
You have a SUNSTONE, which lets you add 2d8 to any of these rolls. It has three charges.

>>5994640
>Wait but "Alexis starts driving the truck back to town". I guess the back exit just took us way farther than we thought, and the mine entrance is the same direction as the town
You had to drive back to the entrance to wait for them to come out anyways since they're not psychic. They had no reason to delve through the path only YOU knew about. From their point of view, Valentina was fucking gone and they had to cut their losses.
>Is it Rosaline or Rosalie?
Rosaline. The Silver Agents, and by proxy me, misspoke.
>Way to make us aware of where Nicole really stands in stats compared to the real higher ups controlling the City, QM.
I'll remind you and the others this since it's been a moment. These aren't even the top of the top. Still five ranks below actual corporate CEOs.
>>
>>5995306
messed up, meant to say "add 2d8 to your violence check".
>>5995166
You guys, uh, really like the idea of turning Casey into a godbug, huh? I wonder how Casey would feel if she could see this.
>>
Rolled 6, 5, 5 = 16 (3d6)

>>5995306
I'm rolling the 3d6 because I don't trust the rolls and this is the most innocuous option. Just need a 10+
>>
>>5995323
>almost max value
WOW!!! CASEY DID IT!!!!!!!

>>5995306
>drive back to the entrance to wait for them to come out anyways
Understandable
>Rosaline
OK thanks for clarifying
>These aren't even the top of the top. Still five ranks below actual corporate CEOs.
It's so fucking over
>FIVE RANKS BELOW ACTUAL CORPORATE CEOS
It had never even begun
There had never been a "back" to return to
>>
>>5995306
>>
Rolled 3, 5, 5, 1, 5, 3 = 22 (6d6)

>>5995306
>>
Rolled 1, 4, 2, 6, 1 = 14 (5d6)

>>5995306
>>
Rolled 3, 1, 4, 3, 3 = 14 (5d6)

>>5995359
Use Max's boon to reroll
>>
>>5995360
What the fuck. Someone else please reroll, I don't trust myself anymore
>>
>>5995362
Also I'm an idiot, should've used the temporal rewinder on tbe first roll...
>>
>>5995362
>>5995364
Actually, you can use a LUCK INVERTER to save your roll. 3 + 1 + 4 + 3 + 3 --> 4 + 6 + 3 + 4 + 4.
Which, since there's no reason not to, I'll count that as the option that bails you out there. -1 REROLL, -1 LUCK INVERTER. Which only leaves one anon rolling for V I O L E N C E.
>>
Rolled 3, 1, 1, 4, 6, 3, 1 = 19 (7d6)

>>5995387
>>5995306
FUCK IT! WE BALL!
>>
Rolled 1, 3, 1 = 5 (3d6)

>>5995387
I thought only Nicole could use it
>>5995390
Rewinding this shit
>>
Rolled 8, 7 = 15 (2d8)

>>5995395
Adrenaline implant go!
>>
>>5995390
>>5995395
>>5995398
36 total
>>
>>5995395
Eh, there's no reason why you can't use it since a majority of people (thanks to Buw's last second backing of the FUCK IT WE ALL vote) wanted to use the timestop watch as well. You have the spare time.

Anywho, all in all, you have spent a LUCK INVERTER, a TEMPORAL REWINDER, and an ADRENALINE IMPLANT charge to succeed all of the checks. Due to all of your successes and one of the write ins W5K successed...

The final CONNECTIONS DC has been reduced to 50. I need three anons to roll the following

>7d6 (first half)
>7d6 (second half)
>4d3 (extra dice)
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 5, 1, 4, 1, 2 = 21 (7d6)

>>5995402
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 1, 3, 4, 3, 2 = 20 (7d6)

>>5995402
>>
Rolled 1, 3, 2, 3 = 9 (4d3)

>>5995402
>>
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>>5995403
>>5995405
>>5995411
>EXACTLY
>50
>AN EXACT SUCCESS
WELL THEN.

WRITING.
>>
>>5995403
>>5995405
>>5995411

Sometimes you throw shit to the wall to see what sticks. In our case every fucking thing, and we now have a shit mona lisa
>>
>>5995536
I just got back. So we succeeded EVERYTHING?

>>5995402
Alexis consumed a Temporal Rewinder (1 of 2) which we can still deal with
Nicole consumed Adrenaline Implant charge, which regens so it's all good
Nicole consumed the Luck Inverter, which is gone for good, but it was worth it
>>
>>5995577
Fucking clean sweep. Corpo's and Mayor's in shambles.
>>
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You pull your WATERLOGGED POCKETWATCH out of your pocket and before anyone realizes what you're doing, you press your thumb down HARD on the crown at the top of the pocketwatch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8WBV2klOIw - TEN SECONDS

The clattering sound of gears grinding to a halt blares through the air before the world is washed over in a monochromatic filter. With everyone now frozen in time, it's like you're surrounded by almost a dozen highly realistic statues. Though something is off about this compared to the last time you frozen time.

Two people are looking right at you. They are seemingly still aware of what's going on, if only on a subconscious level. Benjamin and Roland. Benjamin's eyes are wide open with shock and awe while Roland's eyes narrow into cat-like slits. Neither of them seem to be conscious since your MIND READ ability detects nothing from either of them yet their eyes follow wherever you move.

Hm.

8 SECONDS.

Best to get moving. You pull out your LUCK INVERTER and immediately activate it. You'd imagine the time desync between regular time and the stopped time you're in will make it kick in right when you need it to. Then, you rush over to Alexis to pull out her TEMPORARL REWINDER from her pocket to activate that as well.

5 SECONDS.

Okay. All of the items you needed to activate are now activated. Now, you have five seconds to burn. Might as well fuck with Robbert's head. You walk right up to him and with a subconscious thought, your implant immediately pumps your body full of yummy yummy adrenaline. You slide your gas mask back on before reeling back your fist and smashing it RIGHT against his jaw.

You feel something crack on impact and you know it's not coming from him.
You throw another punch. And another. And another.
[UNSTABLE] AND ANOTHER. AND ANOTHER. AND ANOTHER. AND ANOTHER.
[UNSTABLE] FIST. SHATTERING. BONE. CRACKING. BLOOD. SPILLING. AGAIN. BEGINS. ENDS. BEGINS. ENDS. BEGINS. ENDS!!

>-1 ADRENALINE IMPLANT CHARGE
>-1 FLESH AND RESTRAINT! 2/5 FLESH LEFT! 6/10 RESTRAINT LEFT!

1 SECOND!

Right as time is about to start up again, you throw one last punch with your mangled hand. Time starts up right as your hand impacts Robbert's face (which is completely soaked in your own blood.)

TICK TOCK! Time reverts back to normal. Robbert immediately throws a wild haymaker in your direction out of pure guttural instinct from all of the timestopped punches he just felt.

[STEADY HANDS] You expected this. Your body moves just in time for it to mostly be absorbed by the bodysuit underneath your bright pink jacket and jeans. A normally lethal punch is cushioned. For now.
>2 FLESH DAMAGE BLOCKED BY COMBAT PROSTHETIC BODYSUIT! OUT OF CHARGES FOR REST OF MISSION.

Everyone immediately turns their gazes over to you and Robbert. From everyone else's perspective, Robbert's mask got completely soaked in blood and your hand got mangled to oblivion in the blink of an eye.
>>
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Robbert's mask has been partially removed by your flurry of punches, exposing a short and scraggly blonde beard caked in war-time scars and burns. He quickly readjusts his mask to fully cover his face. "Wow. Didn't expect someone to be that fast." It's clear your attacks barely put a dent in his augment infested body and by the sounds of Max's implant detector going a mile a minute, all three of the corpos are caked in them.

Guess you didn't need it when you managed to outpace them THAT badly.

"You're funny, weird deer girl thing. I like that. Got past my men, found my golden ticket before me, even managed to punch me without dying. I like the cut of your jib." He holds his hand out to you. Without any hesitation, you give him a handshake. His grip damn near shatters your hand even more but once he pulls away, he notices the anti-psychotics you gave him.

Benjamin finally snaps out of his confused daze to use this as a segway in with Mr. Huxley. "I heard something about you needing drugs, right? I can help, man! Just help us first! Look-" He pulls at the Z-CORP ELITE LABCOAT he's wearing. "I know my stuff! I'm Hepatocyte-Class! I'm able to make some of the most powerful stuff legally allowed in the City." He quickly scrounges through his pockets before pulling out a bright pink pill and tosses it towards Huxley.

Robbert stares at the three pills in his hands and immediately dry swallows them.
>-SALTRIL BRANDED ANTI PSYCHOTICS, -MYSTERY PILL FROM BENJAMIN.

For a moment, his postures relaxes and his breathing steadies. Only for a moment. That seems to be enough to impress him however. He curtly nods towards Benjamin. "What's your name, boy? Don't lie to me."

"Uh, Benjamin Aaron, siirrr..." Benjamin glances at Roland from the corner of his eye. He should be thankful that Roland is too busy being fucking bewildered by everything that happened in the last few minutes to process his name.

"I'll remember that."
>+1 GEARS OF PROGRESS (H-CORP) FAVOR.

"Now, what were we talking about again? Mind escaped me there-"

"GETTING VALENTINA BACK YOU BRAIN DEAD RETARD!!!" Rosaline screeches at the top of her lungs, now fully regaining her senses from the rampant bloodlust. "WHY DO YOU HAVE HER? WHAT'S YOUR GOAL? YOU'RE NOT GETTING A SINGLE CENT! I'LL GET K-CORP TO ERASE YOUR GOD DAMN BLOODLINE!" You can't really blame her for freaking the fuck out given the situation.

"Madam Vanni." Alexis steps forward with crossed arms and a stern look on her face. "We're not here to ransom anything out of here. We're not here to hurt her. Hell, we were sent to save her despite all of the obstacles in our way."

"BULLSHIT! I KNOW YOU WERE PLANNING ON LEAVING WITH HER WITH THAT TRUCK OF YOURS-"

"Miss." Alexis clicks her tongue with obvious annoyance. "Listen. The reason why Luther, our friend there, is carrying her? She was in such a poor state, she would've DIED if we didn't drag her out of there immediately. We even waited for you so we can talk to you three."
>>
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Rosaline, still clearly livid at what's going on, manages to calm her nerves enough to keep listening to Alexis. "Why?"

"We're on the same page. And to be fair, we did not know if we could trust the Krakatoa or Huxley, given what I and my employeer-" She nods in your direction. "-know about them. Now that we recovered the asset, we wish for a simple deal. Nothing involving Valentina. In fact, as a sign of good faith...Luther? Hand her over."

Luther does so with little complaint, handing over the unconscious Valentina over to the corpos. Rosaline quickly moves to carry the young girl in her arms and that was seemingly enough to calm down the enraged Vanni. "...I. Sorry, sorry. The last two weeks has been a lot for me." She fiddles with something on Valentina's neck before a panel opens. Even she had an augment. She pops out a small SD card before closing it up. "Good, good. What's your name?"

"Alexis Morozov."

"I'll remember that. You...did a good thing today-"

"Ooo!" Casey begins to buzz around Rosaline. "Nice outfit! Actually, I know a lot of people back at C-Corp! Very, very good people. See-" She begins to swirl around Rosaline, blabbering her ear off about the most inane bullshit possible. Robbert and Rosaline are both too busy dealing with her to say anything, leaving one last target to convince.

Roland.

He's been staring at your group, especially Max, with a cold and deeply frustrated frown and furrowed eyebrows. The prospect that a bunch of outsiders and his own daughter managed to beat him by such a wide margin has clearly stung his pride.

"This is a sick joke. All of that time having to fucking stomach those two. Having to stomach being here. And I got beaten by a girl with antlers and her god damn lackeys- And you, Elizabeth, what the HELL are you doing here?"

Max grinds her teeth at what you assume is her real name being said outloud. "It's Max. Max is a better name than Elizabeth, Dad. I'm an adult now. You can at least respect that much, no?"

"You think you can act a bit snippy to your old man over what? Having a bunch of nobodies worshipping the ground you step on? Look at them. They're pathetic. I know you can afford better than that, princess." Despite the cruel and harsh words coming out of his mouth, it's hard to really assign malice or hatred towards you and your other allies to any of them. It's nothing personal.

It's clearly moreso the fact you're hanging around Max than anything.

For a moment, you see Max ready to open her mouth to start screaming at him but then, time rewinds for a moment. Seems like your TEMPORAL REWINDER and LUCK INVERTER are kicking in now. With a moment to collect her thoughts, she begins to speak.
>-1 TEMPORAL REWINDER! -LUCK INVERTER!

"Dad, look. You can trust her. You can trust all these weirdos. I know they're not a lot to look at but isn't the fact that we managed to sneak past you and do all of this without you noticing a single thing, I dunno. Doesn't it mean something?"
>>
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"We've done so much and hell, we managed to beat you and the others! Is that not a sign that they're good enough? That I'm good enough? Good enough to know potential when I see it? That you can work with us?"

[DELUSIONAL] Benjamin is clearly trying his best to hide behind Luther as this conversation continues on. He's about ready to do something REAL bad if this conversation doesn't swerve soon.
Alexis is busy muttering to herself about 'not nobody' and 'worshipping her? feh'. You're mostly just along for the ride at this point.

"And so what? You managed to find some copper in some horseshit? You got off lucky. You have to do better than-"

"Oh, better? Better? Why would I need better when YOU. LOST." She immediately steps up to her old man and jabs her index finger right into his chest. "TO. THEM. Maybe instead of seeing them like trash, you can see them like how I see them. Useful assets. Useful people. You don't need a networth of 579.2 million like you do does to MEAN something."

[UNSTABLE] Wait he is worth how much fucking money? Why the fuck are we paying her then?
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Most of the money that corporate families own is in non-liquid assets. Real estate, equipment, non-publicly traded stocks. It's hard to directly convert that into cash on a whim.

"Feh. Fine. You got me there. I'll humor you and your little ragtag band of misfits for now-"

"Ragtag?" You can't help but to snort at that. You dial up Gregory's number and hand your phone over to Roland. Roland acts like you handed him a live grenade but when he hears a familiar voice over the line, he immediately perks up.

"Oh, hey, dad. How the fuck did this random girl have your number? Uh, pink eyes, reddish-orange-pinkish hair, looks like a schizo?" He walks away from your group just in time for Rosaline to slowly walk over to your group with Casey and Robbert in tow. Well, it's moreso that Robbert is holding Casey up like a wet cat.

"Your little yellow haired friend is quite amusing." Rosaline has an ear to ear smile across her face. "She knew so much about my outfit. The exact shade of purple it was, the specific C-Corp subdistrict I got the fabric from...it's been so long since anyone has ever noticed."

"A good outfit makes a good employee! A good employee makes a good product! A good product makes a good company! Yes, miss, yes!" Casey buzzes with what little energy she has left.

"Indeed, little bee. Your outfit isn't bad either." She looks at the honeycomb patterned tie that Casey is wearing. "So. I overheard most of your names. I'll be sure to ship some of my prime products over to you. Robbert, be a dear." Robbert proceeds to drop Casey, who flops face first onto the ground. Ouch.
>You and all of your allies on this mission will get occasional shipment drops from Rosaline! Expect a package tomorrow.

Roland soon comes back to the group with a bewildered, shell-shocked glaze in his eyes. He tosses the phone over to you, which you easily catch.
>>
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"What the actual fuck. YOU. You're the one who did THAT for my father? You? I-" He runs a hand through his grey-blue hair. "Wow. Okay, yeah. If you did THAT much for my family, I guess I can trust you with her."
>-1 KRAKATOA FAVOR! 2 LEFT!
>MAX will get far better and far more exclusive items when she joins your party!

Max flashes an ear to ear smile when she realized you managed to earn her father's approval that easily. <"I knew hanging out with you would be worth it. Benny really does have a good read on people, huh?">
>+1 RAPPORT WITH MAX! 3/8! SHE'LL GET AN UPGRADE NEXT TIME YOU HIRE HER!

"So! Lemme explain why we did all of this. You see that girl you have in your hand? This was all a fucking set up."

Everyone goes dead quiet as you begin to explain everything that's been going on. "Look. So we did some investigations around this town and we realized something. There were a lot of weird inconsistencies. Like how the mining town suddenly had its mine cloned WEEKS in advance despite this being the last place Valentina was at."

"And we even tried talking to the mayor!" Max chirps out. "But he was real cagey and started freaking out when he recognized my hair and eye color."
"Real fucking cagey. So we investigated the mines and we found out that W-Corp stopped supporting town unless they could find a way to increase how much material they could produce." Alexis adds on. She even hands over a sheet of paper towards the corpos. "Printed this out before I followed them."
"Oh! In fact, your guards were oddly allowed to work here with no complaint, Mr. Huxley!" Casey buzzes out. "So the mayor clearly knew the risks of her going down there but was willing to one: let her down there and two: let your guards stay here to begin with!"

"And...well." Benjamin pokes his head from behind Luther, who's been staring up at the sky this whole time. "This man helped escort your daughter and was left to die once the mine caved in. Supposedly he got the mayor's wrath so he wanted to take two birds out with one stone."

"...Joel. Is not a good. Man. This was. A set up. I am. Proof of that. She is. Proof of that. She. Told us that he. Called us here." Luther grinds his teeth. Every single word he speaks comes out stilted and forced. "We would've died. If not for them. Your daughter was planend. On becoming a seedbed. For this town."

"Please. Deal with the mayor. And make sure nothing like this. Happens. Again."

>50!

The corporate elites stand there in stunned silence, scanning over the papers that Alexis handed them and processing all of the obvious proof of how shady everything that's been going on in this town has been. The first one to snap is Robbert. He begins running over to the town at a breakneck pace.

Roland and Rosaline are beyond disgusted at what they've read in the papers and heard from your group. Given all of the bootlicking and people pleasing work you did, it's clear that they're actually listening to what you said.
>>
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"I'm going to rip every single fucking limb off of that mayor. Get in the truck. Now." Rosaline nods towards the big mining truck you have. There's probably barely enough room for everyone if you squeezed most of them on the back but you doubt the corpos care. Alexis, Casey, Valentina, and Rosaline squeeze into the front.

The rest of you squeeze in the back. Once you manage to arrive back at town, you see a pretty gnarly sight that you can't even begin to process.

A short, rotund man with slick greasy black hair and a patchwork jacket is currently being strangled in the middle of the town by Robbert. The rest of the town is watching with equal measures of shock, confusion, fear and...relief at the sight they're seeing

Your group and the other corpos stumble out of the truck. The rotund man soon snaps his eyes over to Valentina and his eyes widen even more.

"WAIT- ACK- I CAN EXPLAIN!" Joel Myers, the mayor of this town, desperately clings to life. "I HAD TO SAVE THE TOWN! AT ANY COST-"

A rock is soon thrown at his head by a very familiar man. Devin Blood begins to gush from the mayor's head. "YEAH RIGHT! RIGHT! YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WERE FUCKING DOING! WE HEARD IT ALL!"
Kori, who is standing right beside him, simply shakes his head in disgust.

"THIS TOWN USED TO MEAN SOMETHING! AND YOU FUCKING SULLIED IT!
"WE DID EVERYTHING YOU ASKED FOR AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAID US?!"
"RIP HIS LIMBS OFF! DRINK HIS BLOOD! FUEL THE EARTH WITH HIS BLOOD!"

Every single resident still left in this town has surrounded the titan of flesh and muscle that's currently strangling Joel. Makeshift torches and rusted over pickaxes are raised in the air as they watch this drawn out execution play out.

The other corpos watch on with amused smirks. Your allies can't do anything but to watch with sheer morbid delight at seeing him pay for everything that's happened.

Expect for Max and Benjamin. They just seems disappointed. <"Must it always end like this?">

Your mission is basically done, you don't have to do anything. The town will be saved by the corpos. Yet is he the only one to be blamed here? W-Corp was a real bastard for even suggesting that he should do this.

Should you let the execution go through?
>YES. IN FACT, ENCOURAGE HUXLEY! BLOOD TIME. (+1 HUXLEY FAVOR)
>YES, BUT TELL ROBBERT TO LET THE MINERS DO IT. THEY DESERVE IT. (+1 WORKING CLASS FAVOR.)
>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)
>"Robbert. Let the man down. Let's leave him in this god forsaken town. By himself." Let him wallow in his mistakes. Alone. Forgotten. W-Corp can deal with him. (+1 W-CORP FAVOR.)
>NO. You see how uncomfortable Max and Benjamin are, well, you feel a smidge of pity for him. A smidge. "Roland. Get him a job. The worst one you can get but there's no point letting a worker go to waste." (+1 KRAKATOA FAVOR, +0.5 MAX AND BENJAMIN RAPPORT.)
>Write in.
>>
>>5995630
I'm leaning to either "let the miners do it" or "mindbreak gas him at the very bottom".
>>
>>5995612
>Benjamin
How many times can you fingerbang Max in the stopped time, Ben? Do you want to find out? :^)
>and Roland
Must be some implant he has that Rosaline and Robbert do not. Something very offbeat and rare, potentially custom
>their eyes follow
Or maybe they can awaken to... something special that allows this?
>BEGINS. ENDS
No regrets here

>>5995615
>outpace them
We just decided at the start of the mission to go full corpo avoid and rush Valentina, and we made play by play to make it real
>handshake
I'm glad he acknowledges the shit we pulled to get ahead of them
>Hepatocyte-Class
Ben is no longer chopped liver
>enough to impress
Even a little effect on the drug resistant man means it got through
>K-CORP TO ERASE
Oh right it was them, they have the Erasure singularity
>PLANNING ON LEAVING
>waited for you
I'm really glad we decided to stay and confront the corpos

>>5995616
>small SD card
What photos were hidden inside?
>Max is a better name than Elizabeth
I think both are good...

>>5995619
>non-liquid assets
After all the shit in the past, there's still value in real goods and items
>live grenade
Oh right he's probably had to deal with phone bombs
>Oh, hey, dad
He got real nonchalant real quick
>ear to ear smile
Woman needed that after TWO WEEKS of her daughter missing
>Your outfit isn't bad either.
High fucking praise from a Vanni

>>5995625
>did THAT
Greg just told him everything about the movie mission, didn't he? Probably also told him not to hold a grudge for his injuries and the rest of the stuff
>stunned silence
Quite the memorable mission for them too
>breakneck pace
Haha
>beyond disgusted
Thanks for actually going with the FUCK IT WE BALL DO EVERYTHING choice, guys. I'm glad I changed my vote for backing it because we SCORED this mission

>>5995630
>The rest of you squeeze in the back.
I like this mental image, it's real funny
>Devin
He had a good UNSTABLE moment
>Kori
Oh he's still here too
>Except for Max and Benjamin
Damn...

>Yet is he the only one to be blamed here? W-Corp was a real bastard for even suggesting that he should do this.
Can we even punish W Corp for that? It was the Mayor's own decision to cling to their insinuation and do all this.
>>
>>5995630
>>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)
>>
>>5995630
>YES, BUT TELL ROBBERT TO LET THE MINERS DO IT. THEY DESERVE IT. (+1 WORKING CLASS FAVOR.)
>>
>>5995630
>NO. You see how uncomfortable Max and Benjamin are, well, you feel a smidge of pity for him. A smidge. "Roland. Get him a job. The worst one you can get but there's no point letting a worker go to waste." (+1 KRAKATOA FAVOR, +0.5 MAX AND BENJAMIN RAPPORT.)
>>
>>5995630
>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)
>>
>>5995630
Might as well...
>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)
Sorry Ben, Max. But he chose this. There was no guarantee it would work either
>>
>>5995630
>YES, BUT TELL ROBBERT TO LET THE MINERS DO IT. THEY DESERVE IT. (+1 WORKING CLASS FAVOR.)
>>
>>5995630
Let the miners do it. The working class!!!
>>
>>5995882
Change
>>5995630
>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)
I want VANNI FAVOR
>>
>>5995310
Nothing will totally go wrong with turning Casey into an eldritch god. :D
>>
>>5995630
>NO. YOU GOT A MORE EVIL SUGGESTION IN MIND. "Hey. Let's take him back to the mines, huh? Let's see how he feels." Poetic irony. (+1 VANNI FAVOR.)

>Give hime the barest means possible to possibly, maybe make it out before he is destroyed worse than death ever could. Be cause you are fair. Not because knowing he is going to struggle then instead of just laying back and accepting it makes it better.

Can we do an insane cackle while we suggest this? Also might want to fix our hand up a bit. Since we just punched a T-1000 a dozen times in the face.
>>
>>5995630
>>NO. You see how uncomfortable Max and Benjamin are, well, you feel a smidge of pity for him. A smidge. "Roland. Get him a job. The worst one you can get but there's no point letting a worker go to waste." (+1 KRAKATOA FAVOR, +0.5 MAX AND BENJAMIN RAPPORT.)
>>
>>5996180
Max and Ben will not like this. Just throw him in the mine's and be done with it.
>>
>>5996164
As fucked as our world is, maybe godbug Casey would be a bit better?

>>5996248
I am kinda thinking just getting him a job shoveling shit or what ever might be better. Part of that is for the bonus' and then thinking it might be more appropriate for him. IDK might change my vote.

Also a bit surprised Nicole didn't get entered into the King and Queen tourney. Might make sense, I am sure the glowies are keeping an eye on that...
>>
>>5996312
I personally think with how big the fucker's ego was, based on Max and Alexis' reports when they split up to talk to him at the start of the mission, in addition to his pet robot's own admissions and statements, that this fatass Mayor deserves no mercy. That's why I refuse to budge my vote in >>5995959. That slimeball knew they would send people to find Valentina, but he went along with the plan to lure her there anyway. He could have figured out some other way, or accepted that W Corp is cutting them off of supplies and scrambled to do something to help his town - but he didn't. He let the contaminated crystal zombie miners roam the town out in the open too, showing zero consideration. And now he is trying to save his own skin instead. Fuck this guy
>>
TRAP HIM IN THE MINES: IAh, 0P/, Buw, W5K
LET THE MINERS DO IT: Jd3, TjJ, zsr, mL/
NO. SPARE HIM: fUK

Seems like a tie between TRAP HIM IN THE MINES or LET THE MINERS DO IT. (also, a lot more voters than I expected.). I'll leave the vote open for another four hours and a tie breaker doesn't happen, I'll go with a compromise of the two votes.

>>5996312
>spoiler
A character from a previous quest I ran already won the Husbando Tourney so I felt like it would be double dipping.

While we wait, have this small snippet.

----

As you're thinking about how to do with the Mayor, you notice Casey suddenly snaps her attention up into the starry night sky. You raise an eyebrow at this considering she was obsessed with the dehumanizing amount of violence that's about to occur.

"If there's a god, do you think we would be able to sell him?" She chirps out. "Take his essence and mass market it towards the world? I think that would be a very efficient use of such a powerful resource. Imagine the profit margins of selling divinity in such a small, tiny package. I think that would be very neat!"

Before you can even respond to that cryptic statement, she snaps her gaze back to the mayor. Something just ain't right with her and that's coming from you.
>>
>>5996460
Well, that seems ethical, if a bit too much so. I do not recall reading anything you have written before, unless it was under a different name or my memory is getting worse than I thought.

And while having a crazy femMC is always good, having someone even nuttier is cool. Make us appreciate Nicole not wondering about sticking god on the assembly line to cut out all the good parts and sell.
>>
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>>5996510
Help Wanted, by OverseerQM, was the last quest I wrote. This quest is sorta a prequel to that but you don't have to read the previous quest at all to understand what happens here. Completely different quest, completely different cast, only really related by me writing both of them.
All that they share is the same games as inspiration, a similar setting and like one ally you met (Benedict Baker) was in the previous quest.
The MC of that quest was the dude who won the Husbando Tourney, the Administrator. So I didn't feel like doubling down since having two MCs from two quests in a very similar setting would be kinda cheap.

--------------------

Anywho, I'm not going to diddle my thumbs with this for any longer. Here's what's going to happen. You'll let the miners vent their frustrations out on the mayor but you'll interrupt them before they kill him. You'll then suggest to let him die down in the mines.

This will result in a VANNI favor and some minor boosts to the passive rewards you'll get from the miners thanks to getting the corpos to save their asses. Sounds fair? Well, hopefully it does. It's not really an important thing in the grand scheme. Locking in the vote, writing.
>>
>>5996591
Ah, I recognize the name. Will probably check it out since I have some time. Thanks. If it is like this at all, I am sure I will enjoy.
>>
>>5996591
Sounds good. Ben and Max really need to cope after how good we've had it this mission. A clean sweep and speedrun start to finish. That could have been YOU down there in the crystal impregnation mindbreak pit if Valentina wasn't lured first, Max. We have evidence from him and his robot and from the miners and from Luther and from the computer notes about how scummy this fucker is. Stop feeling sorry for him. The fuck you two mean "Must it always end like this?" when multiple times we've had the "enemy/boss" in our mission be spared?
>>
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okay wow you only now notice how much your hand hurts. you quickly wrap your mangled hand up with the last charge of your nearly empty trauma kit, no point keeping it around. Max notices you struggling to patch yourself up and immediately jabs your arm with a bulky syringe filled with a bright blue liquid: A stimpak. One of Z-Corp's most expensive healing products.

Your hand and the stab wound in your side begin to patch themselves up almost immediately. You still have to keep your wrapped up hand closed into a balled fist for now but hey, small price to pay.
>-NEARLY EMPTY TRAUMA KIT, -STIMPAK. FLESH FULLY HEALED!

You whistle towards Robbert after your quick patch job. Both him and Joel snap their heads over to you. Waiting for your judgement. Seems like your ass kissing session earlier has earnt you the defacto role of commanding these corpos for today. You imagine whatever power you have will disappear the moment your two groups head their separate ways.

"Put him down. Let the miners beat the shit out of him for me, Robbert."

"WAIT YOU CAN'T DO THIS-" Before the slimeball mayor can say anything more, he is immediately thrown onto the ground like Robbert is trying to score a perfect touchdown. The crowd of twenty something miners and other workers promptly surround him. Bloodlust and fury has seeped into their gazes and drool begins to dribble out of their mouths. Like a pack of starved pitbulls given free access to a toddler.

The next few minutes are a massacre. Pitchforks are stabbed into his side, searing his flesh like a prime porkcut. The blunt ends of their pickaxes are used to smash his teeth and head in; It's clear they only do so to prolong his suffering. Leather boots and stone-stained fists ran down on his body like balls of hail falling down from the sky.

The corpos watch the display of violence with mild amusement, as if they've seen this way too many times for it to be exciting.
Casey and Alexis are cheering on the miners with gusto and, hell, Casey is even ordering them to do specific moves like this is a fucking game of football or something. "HIT HIM IN THE SOLAR PLEXUS! THAT'LL HURT MORE!"
[SHELTERED + DELUSIONAL] Max and Benjamin just turn their backs to this, not wanting to sully their vision with this. Benjamin covers Max's ears so she doesn't have to hear the mayor's screams.

You then snap your fingers. "STOP."

The miners turn their gazes over to you. Joel is now laying in a pool of his own blood. Twitching and seizing with untold agony. Most of his teeth are gone now, replaced with bleeding gums and tooth fragments. His face is coated in black and purple bruises.

<"T-this is just an example, right? I-I can replace this! T-this is just a minor hiccup in my plans! I'll be a W-Corp Refiner any day now!">

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Replacement teeth, replacement limbs, all can be purchased for cold hard USD. A fresh set of organic pearly whites from C-Company costs only three monthly payments of $775.
>>
"Take him back to the mines. Get whatever protection you can for yourselves so you don't get infected. Take him to the bottom and leave him there."

Whatever hope was left in Joel's soul vanishes when he hears your words. The miners, while disappointed they can't just beat him to death the old fashioned way, are more than willing to do this. His limp and broken body is picked back up by five of the town's burliest miners. All he can do is fruitlessly kick and scream as he is escorted, slowly, over to the town mines.

By the time you get back home, he'll be dead or crystalized. You know that. Rosaline's smile is wide enough to put the Cheshire Cat to shame. "Well, well! I didn't take you for the poetic type. Cruel, cruel, cruel...I like it." She would be rushing over to give you a handshake or a hug if it wasn't for Valentina being held in her arms.

The townfolks that remain, Devin, and Kori bow towards you and the corporates before heading their separate ways. The only people now standing in the town square is you, your allies, and the corpos. Luther steps over to you with a curt yet polite smile and places a hand on his shoulder.

"This. Is my town. I shall not. Come with you. Thank you for everything. Nicole."

After recovering from the muffled screams she heard from Joel, Max turns her attention over to Luther. "It was the right choice. We did what we had to."

"It's no problem. Max is right, couldn't let you die when I knew people still cared for you. See you on the other side."

Luther curtly nods before turning away from your group and leaving. Who knows if you'll see him again. Perhaps you will. Perhaps not. All that's left is the realization that you WON.

>MISSION COMPLETE!
>REWARDS OBTAINED
>FAVORS: +2 VIOLENCE (HUXLEY), +2 INFLUENCE (KRAKATOA), +3 FASHIONETTE (VANNI), AND +5 COMRADE (WORKING CLASS) FAVORS!
>MONEY: $1810! YOU NOW HAVE $3434!
>PASSIVE REWARDS: You'll be given a steady stream of useful gemstones and other mined goodies from this town + supply shipments from Rosaline at the start of each day!
>STAT BOOSTS: All allies gain +1 CONNECTIONS! Max now has 6, Benjamin has 4, Alexis has 10, Casey has 5, and you have 5

"Welp. I'm fucking bored." Robbert claps his hands, ready to get out of this bumfuck town. "I got what I wanted out of this place. I expect a shipment of those Voidstones when we get this place working again, chumpasses."

"Fuck you too, Robbert." Roland hisses through clenched teeth.

"I ain't a faggot, Loland. Maybe convince a tranny to blow you later."

As the two corpos begin to bicker, all you're left with is your allies and Rosaline. "So, it's been a long day. Shall we take your group back home? Roland has some connections with T-Corp, we could get you on an express trip home."

Max immediately grimaces upon hearing 'T-Corp' and 'Express Trip' mentioned in the same breath. "I rather take the long way back home, thanks."
Your other allies are chatting to each other, waiting to see where you go from here.
>>
Pick four actions to use during your FREE TIME
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 23 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] "Alexis, dear, mind explaining some of this ledger nonsense to me?" Show her your S-CORP LEDGER to Alexis. See what she should piece together from it. (Due to her AMAZING CONNECTIONS, she'll give you a lot of valuable info on S, L, P, and R-Corp.)
>[WON OVER THE CORPOS] "Hey, look, I don't want to be imposing or anything but...know any good restaurants you can bring us too?" Hey. You deserve THIS much for helping them out. (You'll get a chance to intermingle with corporate reps from most, if not all, companies and a chance to get some connections with a variety of corporate families. That and a chance to learn more about the corpos themselves.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>[MAX ALLY] "Hey, Nicole. Mind if we just walk and talk for a while? I just need some time to really GET you." Agree to Max's proposal and wander through the mining town with her. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Max. You'll get a chance to pick her RAPPORT upgrade right now and some valuable time to learn more about Max. You might be able to lead her in a better direction in the future.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY + ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Nicole." Benjamin is staring right at you with a knowing, almost pleading look. "I know you have a way to give me powers. Please, talk to me about it." You glance at the ICP Syringe in your hand. You SHOULD probably take some time to discuss this with him and Max. (Depending on how this discussion goes, Benjamin may develop powers akin to you. Or something greater, perhaps?)
>[UNSTABLE] You notice a very, very familiar face in the pool of blood. A certain man in a sky blue suit. TV MAN!!! Walk over and LISTEN to him. (As per usual, he'll give you cryptic but very useful advice for the future.)
>[PERSON OF INTEREST] Break away from everyone and listen to your SILVER WALKIE TALKIE. (You'll get some valuable insight into what the Silver Agents are doing right now.)
>Write in.

>>5996741
Just a heads up: Help Wanted was my first quest and it was a lot sloppier and slapped together than this quest.
>>
>>5996754
First
>[MAX ALLY] "Hey, Nicole. Mind if we just walk and talk for a while? I just need some time to really GET you." Agree to Max's proposal and wander through the mining town with her. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Max. You'll get a chance to pick her RAPPORT upgrade right now and some valuable time to learn more about Max. You might be able to lead her in a better direction in the future.)
You're not UNSTABLE, Max. You have a chance to be balanced and sane without losing yourself or being soulless or anything. Make the most of that. She can still be a corpo while retaining herself, hopefully. Or maybe do something else better with that. There's still a long way to go.
Then
>[BENJAMIN ALLY + ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Nicole." Benjamin is staring right at you with a knowing, almost pleading look. "I know you have a way to give me powers. Please, talk to me about it." You glance at the ICP Syringe in your hand. You SHOULD probably take some time to discuss this with him and Max. (Depending on how this discussion goes, Benjamin may develop powers akin to you. Or something greater, perhaps?)
They have to know about the silver agents too. The whole party does, but especially these two.
And with the BEN+ANOMALOUS option
>[UNSTABLE] SAME THING AS WITH THE OTHERS, BUT I WANT TO GIVE MY SECOND OPINION ABOUT THIS TOO.
>[UNSTABLE RESOLVE] "Our powers were the main reason he decided to tag along from the first mission where we met him. He needs to know the truth, before he decides on becoming anything like us."
The informed part of making an informed decision.
And lastly...
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)
Because it's a way to relieve the weight of all these emotional heart-to-hearts with the friends

I kinda feel bad about not taking as many SCHOLAR options about wandering the City as we did before. We just have a lot of important shit to do instead, what can I say?
Alexis ally is tempting, but we can get her to look at the ledger from Admiral some other time.
No way I want to do anything more with the corpos right now. We've done our part, and anything further will be too pushy. Let's let the good taste remain with them as they go on a high note
Casey ally is EXTREMELY tempting. The moment is a poignant one, with the Stars of the City and the regular stars of the world around us. In-character too, Casey is an enigma Nicole really wants to understand.
TV MAN I would rather put off to after 1 more mission. Then it might be prudent to consult him again being closer to the Head meeting
The SILVER WALKIE TALKIE option is also a strong one. They know by now the corpos are here and the mission is over. Hmmm...

Going the full silver reveal and Old B-Corp with Alexis + Silver Walkie Talkie can also be a powerful series of options to do here. Choices choices...
>>
>>5996754
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)
>[ALEXIS ALLY] "Alexis, dear, mind explaining some of this ledger nonsense to me?" Show her your S-CORP LEDGER to Alexis. See what she should piece together from it. (Due to her AMAZING CONNECTIONS, she'll give you a lot of valuable info on S, L, P, and R-Corp.)
>[WON OVER THE CORPOS] "Hey, look, I don't want to be imposing or anything but...know any good restaurants you can bring us too?" Hey. You deserve THIS much for helping them out. (You'll get a chance to intermingle with corporate reps from most, if not all, companies and a chance to get some connections with a variety of corporate families. That and a chance to learn more about the corpos themselves.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>>
>>5996754
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 23 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.)
>[WON OVER THE CORPOS] "Hey, look, I don't want to be imposing or anything but...know any good restaurants you can bring us too?" Hey. You deserve THIS much for helping them out. (You'll get a chance to intermingle with corporate reps from most, if not all, companies and a chance to get some connections with a variety of corporate families. That and a chance to learn more about the corpos themselves.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY + ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Nicole." Benjamin is staring right at you with a knowing, almost pleading look. "I know you have a way to give me powers. Please, talk to me about it." You glance at the ICP Syringe in your hand. You SHOULD probably take some time to discuss this with him and Max. (Depending on how this discussion goes, Benjamin may develop powers akin to you. Or something greater, perhaps?)
>>
>>5996754
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 23 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] "Alexis, dear, mind explaining some of this ledger nonsense to me?" Show her your S-CORP LEDGER to Alexis. See what she should piece together from it. (Due to her AMAZING CONNECTIONS, she'll give you a lot of valuable info on S, L, P, and R-Corp.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>[MAX ALLY] "Hey, Nicole. Mind if we just walk and talk for a while? I just need some time to really GET you." Agree to Max's proposal and wander through the mining town with her. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Max. You'll get a chance to pick her RAPPORT upgrade right now and some valuable time to learn more about Max. You might be able to lead her in a better direction in the future.)
>>
>>5996754
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)
>[SCHOLAR OF THE CITY] Once you arrive somewhere more urban, take a walk around District 23 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.)
>[WON OVER THE CORPOS] "Hey, look, I don't want to be imposing or anything but...know any good restaurants you can bring us too?" Hey. You deserve THIS much for helping them out. (You'll get a chance to intermingle with corporate reps from most, if not all, companies and a chance to get some connections with a variety of corporate families. That and a chance to learn more about the corpos themselves.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>>
>>5996754
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)
>[WON OVER THE CORPOS] "Hey, look, I don't want to be imposing or anything but...know any good restaurants you can bring us too?" Hey. You deserve THIS much for helping them out. (You'll get a chance to intermingle with corporate reps from most, if not all, companies and a chance to get some connections with a variety of corporate families. That and a chance to learn more about the corpos themselves.)
>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)
>[BENJAMIN ALLY + ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Nicole." Benjamin is staring right at you with a knowing, almost pleading look. "I know you have a way to give me powers. Please, talk to me about it." You glance at the ICP Syringe in your hand. You SHOULD probably take some time to discuss this with him and Max. (Depending on how this discussion goes, Benjamin may develop powers akin to you. Or something greater, perhaps?)
>>
>[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: $1333. That's it. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM
Team setup idea: Casey, Clover, Kiara, Quentin

Do you anon want to do the tunnel mission after this?
>>
>>5996959
I guess? I don't like yet another underground mission nor taking Casey again so soon, but the tunnel mystery has grown too big and I want to see Quentin and Clover again. Plus we still have the POWER DRILL and experience from the mines. Casey will get rested by then
>>
>"I-Company has been struggling to find resources to operate their Singularity. No, I don't know what it is, but they've been badgering me to help out or they'll cut me off. I know of a part of their District that might still have some resources. Explore and recover any and all resources you can find." REWARD: $950, +FAVOR WITH I-COMPANY, I-Company will provide you with a free apartment in their District if you ever need a place to hide out at. RISK LEVE: MEDIUM.
Team setup idea: Kiara, Quentin, Benedict, Clover,

Reason: Kiara will assist us in exploring the I-district, and she has a strong resistance to cold since she is an Android. Quentin, because he might be resistant to cold too since he is bug piloted a dead corpse, and it has been a while since we saw him. Benedict is super strong, will help carry a lot of stuff, fight off any hostile individuals, and might be resistant to cold since he is a part machine. Clover will be our guard and scare off any hostile individuals.
Also, we are really good at handling the cold weather since we are half deer and we have six FUR LINED UNIFORMS in our inventory.
Clover is the only one who is not resistant to cold.

Is this a good team setup?
>>
>>5997023
Replace Benedict with Frank? The one guy we have had no interactions with outside first meeting. Getting one over on Robbert Huxley will grab his attention immediately, and we can go from there
>>
>>5997023
In addition to >>5997026 I will say I love the idea of Casey, Quentin, and Kiara all on the same mission. I simply need to overcome the autism that dictates no repeating allies on consecutive missions.
>>
>>5997026
This is a potential medium-risk mission about exploring and searching resources for I-Corp, not a high-risk combat mission. I am against bringing Frank on this mission.
>>
>>5997027
I agree
>>
>>5996959
I want to kill the crash dummy
>>
>>5997046
And I agree with you. We just need to figure things out. So assuming we maintain no consecutive allies, we are left with
>Lex
>Ashley
>Quentin
>Kiara
>Maruyama
>Adam
>Benedict
>Naomi
>Frank
>Clover
And cannot take these without breaking self-imposed restriction
>Alexis
>Max
>Benjamin
>Casey
Though in thread 1 we didn't have many allies so we had to take Alexis and Benjamin with us 2 missions in a row. We started cycling around the third mission

Speaking of thread 1 and 2, I've been scouting past unpicked missions out and spotted a few interesting ones. You might spot better or different ones if you go check yourself
>"We've received reports of an Anomaly in your District. Locate and capture A DEATH IN SPACE for transport to the nearest P-Company containment site." RISK LEVEL: High. REWARDS: $1250, improved CONNECTIONS with P-Company.
>"No one wants to go into the spooky abandoned section in District 8. It would be hilarious if a woman had more balls than them. Scout it out and report anything of interest." RISK: Medium-High REWARDS: $750 and dibs on any loot you find.
>"A few Drones went AWOL yesterday and we haven't been able to get them back. It would be cheaper to replace them but their owner is a sentimental bitch. Please handle this. My answering machine has 500 voice mails at this point." REWARD: $525, improved relationship with Q-Company, and access to some biological upgrades. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM.
>"Q-Company is having a bit of an issue. Apparently a highly valued Manager of theirs has gone missing a week ago and now all of my Drone associates are having a fucking panic attack! I need you to go investigate the office he used to manage, interrogate the people there, and find that motherfucker." REWARD: $650, improved favor with Q-Company, you'll gain access to a Q-Company corporate catalog to purchase corporate supplies from. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM.
>"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: $550, 'finder keeps on any loot you find', eight revolver bullets 'to recoup costs'. RISK: MEDIUM
>[BONUS MISSION] "This is a bit of a snorefest for everyone involved but I have a gut feeling that a rival office that works for L-Corp has been doing some incredibly shady shit with their paperwork. Get evidence of their wrong doings and file them to L-Corp." REWARD: $545, improved favor with L-Corp, L-Corp will reward you with a small residue drip feed of resources for the next three missions. RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM.
Thoughts?
There's a good amount of low risk low pay ones too. Maybe we can take one to ease up on the strain? Maruyama + Adam + Benedict and chill out on an easy money task for a day, then do the Quentin + Kiara + Casey + ???? tunnel job. Or Lex + Wendy + Frank + Ben and get revenge on APEX PREDATOR.
>>
Just for fun, I'm going back to trace our mission progress. Removing the REWARDS bits to save space

Thread 1
>"We need you to track down a pharmacist by the name of Benjamin Aaron. Z-Company keeps seething on my answering machine about wanting to pick his brains, so go ahead and do something about it." RISK: Medium-Low.
>"One of my favorite food joints has been suffering in quality lately. Mind checking it out to see what the hubba is?" RISK: Low.
Thread 1-2
>"Let's cut to the point. There's a gang of checkered jacket fucks who got REAL riled up for some reason and they vented their rage by vandalizing one of my many houses. Kill them. Make it HURT. MAKE IT HURT!" RISK: MEDIUM-HIGH.
Thread 2
>"We need someone to scout out an old section of District 1 for us. A film director friend of mine wants to know how useful it might be for a new movie he's shooting. Scout and clear it out, report your findings to us." RISK LEVEL: LOW.
Thread 3
>"An old casino I'm partnered with has been showing me some REAL shady paperwork. Rumors say that they're not properly paying my commission fee. Whether that's true or not, get us our money back from those fucking parasites." RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-LOW
Thread 3-4
>[BONUS MISSION] "Thanks to your friendly advice, I've been trying to get into X-Corp's good graces. They said that they need a more 'feminine' point of view for how their company operates. Just make it through the day in one piece." RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH.
Thread 4
>"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." RISK LEVEL: MEDIUM-HIGH
Thread 4-5
>"This normally isn't something I'd hire a Cleaner to do but hey, you do what you gotta do. A highly respected member of the Vanni family has disappeared and no one knows where the FUCK she went. Last we know, she was exploring an abandoned subsection in District 23. Find out what happened to her." RISK LEVEL: MODERATE
>>
>>5997061
>>5997048
In hindsight, we aren't getting the same low risk low pay ones because of high Handler rapport where he's trying to get us the GOOD ones now. Either way nothing's stopping us from checking the missions he gives us and discussing which one to go with, or pull one from a previous thread as a write-in. Nothing's stopping us.
>>
>>5997061 #
[BLOODLUST] Keeping him from not starting shit is going to be hard. He will try getting into fights whenever the chance shows itself unless it's suicidal. Successful CHARM checks can help curb this.
Why pick Lex to join the APEX PREDATOR mission? He is too bloodthirsty and will make a reckless decision, which will cost him and our team dearly. Won’t it be better if we pick Naomi to join the APEX PREDATOR mission since she is an antiseptic war vet and his Boons are great for the team?
>>
>>5996754
>It's tradition at this point. Travel into a more urban subdistrict under W-Corp's domain and get drunk. (You'll gain +0.5 RAPPORT with all allies. You'll also get a chance to talk to them and learn more about them.)

>[CASEY ALLY] Casey is staring up at the sky. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?" Take a moment to talk and try to understand why Casey is as weird as she is. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Casey, you'll get some valuable insight into where she actually came from, what she is, and some secrets about the City itself.)

>[BENJAMIN ALLY + ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "Nicole." Benjamin is staring right at you with a knowing, almost pleading look. "I know you have a way to give me powers. Please, talk to me about it." You glance at the ICP Syringe in your hand. You SHOULD probably take some time to discuss this with him and Max. (Depending on how this discussion goes, Benjamin may develop powers akin to you. Or something greater, perhaps?)

>[MAX ALLY] "Hey, Nicole. Mind if we just walk and talk for a while? I just need some time to really GET you." Agree to Max's proposal and wander through the mining town with her. (+0.5 RAPPORT with Max. You'll get a chance to pick her RAPPORT upgrade right now and some valuable time to learn more about Max. You might be able to lead her in a better direction in the future.)
>>
And just going to say, I like how Casey seems to be starting to be a fan favorite, to a degree, given like every choice has her. Turns out men do like mentally unstable women more.

And Robbert is fucking funny. I like this fucker. I only hope Nicole can be as cool as him one day.

Nicole's Za Warudo power might be kinda OP. Stop time boost every violence thing we have, and put a slug point-blank into both hips, the heart, and the brain and that should take down most things that still have organs or bones.
>>
>>5997082
Apex Predator is all about fighting, Bloodthirsty is the least detrimental there.
>>
>>5997132
>Casey
Even here after MANAGER, HELP! and HELP WANTED!, the allure of a bright amd disturbing worker bee in human girl form is a strong one.
>men do like mentally unstable women more
I prefer Ashley
>Robbert
He's a lot better than I expected he'd be. In fact all three of these corpos are.
>Za Warudo
It's a reward from the drowned bodies anomaly, which we lucked out on encountering in the middle of the fucking ocean and lucked out on satisfying with offerings. I doubt we could get anything this strong anywhere else
>kinda OP
Do you think none of the corpos and higher ups have anything similar? Did you not read what little we picked up of Robbert's stats? Did you not see the QM say flat out that Robbert and people on the same level as him, are 5 whole ranks below the actual company CEOs which are part of the Head? You bet every last one of them has ways to be as OP as a 10 second timestop that's only good once per mission. DIO always had The World with him able to be used; the moment something takes the stopwatch away or destroys it for good, that shit's GONE. Don't for a second assume Nicole and her allies are "strong enough" or "safe". Not when we had two people able to notice Nicole stopped time in that scene, and one of them was one of the corpo trio to boot.

>>5997134
Think an EMP nade will work on him, anomaly or not? He's a stealth robot anomaly that ganks people super fast. Now that I think of it, Benedict could try to match him. Having Bene and Wendy on the same team is not an option with how Wendy is so anti-anomaly like the rest of W Corp.
>>
>>5997134
I don’t want a blunt-force way of dealing with this because it's too risky. Also, we NEVER straight-up fight anomalies entity in this quest. Like literally every anomalies entity confrontation ends in an outsmart the anomalies entity or peacefully solving the issue with the anomalies entity instead of a straight-up fight with the anomalies entity.
>>
>>5997167
That's exactly why I want a straight fight with an anomaly. I crave violence.
>>
>>5997167
>Benedict/Art of Flesh
We talked him down and tranquilized him so he got stuck partially transformed
>Philip/Last Witness
We threw a vending machine at him didn't we? And Gregory was the one who fought him to death because it was Greg's mission too
>Heart on my Sleeve
Talked down because no need to fight there
>Eyeball confessional thing + Final Flash of Existence
That was a test of Nicole and she got through pacifying it
>Admiral
Chess was the way we fought him, then we stopped him from tooting the pale damage horn
>A Pile of Forlorn Faces
We can't exactly fight a floating pile of dead bodies bigger than the ship we were on, and the moment wasn't good for it either

I think that's all the anomalies we ever came across so far?

>>5997190
Based VIOLENCE chad. I agree with going after APEX PREDATOR, but there's still other anomalies to beat up out there
>>
>>5997194
>We threw a vending machine at him didn't we? And Gregory was the one who fought him to death because it was Greg's mission too.
We immediately ran away after throwing the vending machine at Philip. We did not go into full brawl fighting with Philip, and we didn’t fight Philip, Gregory did the "fighting". Gregory doesn’t have to roll the dice.
>>
Did we have a full-fighting brawl with the anomalies entity? like literally a face-to-face straight-up long brawl fight with an anomaly entity? No running away or tricking the anomaly entity to hold back its power. Literally, death matches fight with anomalies with absolutely no rules. Dice battle. If Admiral didn't play chess with us and he decided to straight up go full brawl and fight us, he would definitely, without a doubt, absolutely annihilate us, the team, and the ship crew.
>>
Well, speaking about her burdening Benjamin with anomalies, you might as well keep talking about them. "So, Adam, you said something about them being locked into a mindset? Mind clarifying?"

Adam waits for a waitress to refill his glass and to take another sip before responding. "Yeah. Take my advice with a grain of salt but those things aren't 'sentient' as we understand it. They have a very limited world view that only makes sense to them. You have to play along with it in order to get it to do what you want."

"Like the anomaly before cared about its appearance and blending in with others. That's all it could really think or talk about. If you refuted what it stands for, like saying that none of its outfits would appease anyone, it wouldn't know what to do and would mentally shut down." You do remember how the last anomaly you dealt with freaked out when you gave it mementos of the past. So, refuting what it stands for can be used to catch an anomaly off guard, huh?

No. 5916615
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5893937/

I think the maybe best way to fight the APEX PREDATOR is to make it play some kind games with us like we did with the Admirals Chess games. We might potentially get a nice reward from the APEX PREDATOR if we win the game and get it to go into containment. Did any of you have any idea what type of games we want to play with the APEX PREDATOR, or literally ask the APEX PREDATOR what it wants?
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>>5997251
We could play laser tag? Or shit, I doubt it would be the same as the Admiral but a war game. Or just go full pacifist and not even engage it when it attempts to attack. Be full deer mode. Need more info.

>>5997159

Oh no, I have no illusions about us being like god mode due to that one thing. I am sure some corpos have stuff to neutralize anomalous stuff around them. They have pipe hitters that can shrug off multiple 12 gauge slugs in vital areas. These are high ranking execs of the families but aside from Robbert, none are spec'd towards super violence, and I am sure he pales in comparison to an Adam Smasher equivalent I am positive they all save for a rainy day.

OP for some of our current mission level might have been better to say. An indication of us reaching another higher level of dangerous.

But if we want to make Ashley sad, it would be a pretty good trump card against someone like Ashton, if he tries to kill us again.
>>
>>5997251
Anon no, I want to use our combat buffs, we have so many gathering dust
>>
>>5997301
>none are spec'd towards super violence
They don't need to look like it to be it. Their way of violence spec must be different from Robbert's. Don't let looks fool you
>an Adam Smasher equivalent
Who's to say he doesn't have his own Adam Smasher? Or that he himself isn't one to somebody greater?
>current mission level
We progressed fast because we play well on missions and high-rapport Handler wants us to succeed as much as he does for himself. We went from flat broke to 3.4K bucks. Handler knows as well as we do that we could simply ask him to give us something easier or simpler to take it easy for a day. Check the missions we took >>5997070, they're mostly MEDIUM-HIGHs. In fact all the example interesting missions I listed in >>5997061 are all mediums except hunting A DEATH IN SPACE. I would be up for discussing past thread mission choices if you are, anon. Quality discourse and planning is always nice to have in a quest. Part of the reason I want an "easier" mission is also so that we have a mission that doesn't last an entire thread and then some, for the QM's own sake. He might hate that, but what do I know? I'm just a player enjoying this content and having fun being engaged.
>Ashton
What, we time stop him and do something to spook him away? Other than that, we still have not seen other assassin members of his 521 Association or whatever they called it. There's the 2 other protag choices, Nicole doppelganger, Benjamin doppelganger, the android Zane that he was with at the apartment ambush, and maybe one or two other people we still haven't seen or heard of. It's like Ashton has his own group of allies like Nicole does.

>>5997326
I feel the same way. I want Nicole to go out and kick some ass
>>
>>5997350
>Ashton

No more like if we meet him in the street and he tries to kill Nikky, time stop and blow his knees off and run. But that might make Ashley sad so hopefully we don't have to. Shit, if we run into him and his posse, with good enough charm rolls we might be able to recruit him and his group. Though, the doppelgängers will need to get different shcticks.

And I would need to reread some prior threads to have an in-depth conversation. I was reading them but only started to participate in the last couple of threads. It was before I realized how much fun this thing really was and was afraid it would just die, since I didn'recognize the QM.
>>
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BAR TIME: Buw, 5Xy, Jd3, TjJ, W5K
MAX ALLY: Buw, 0P/, W5K
CORPOS: IAh, Jd3, TjJ, 5Xy
ALEXIS: 0P/, 5Xy
CASEY: 5Xy, IAh, 0P/, JD3, tjJ, W5K
SEEKER (NOT SCHOLAR, FUCKED UP): IAh, 0P/, Jd3
BENJAMIN ALLY: Buw, IAh, TjJ, W5K

So, it seems like the majority agrees on BAR TIME, CASEY, BENJAMIN ALLY, and CORPOS. No Alexis, Max, or SEEKER times. Oh well. (Though you'll still get a chance to interact with Max and Alexis, of course, they'll be a valuable asset in dealing with the HIGH CLASS TOMFUCKERY you're about to endure.)

Entering my writing cage now. Fifty thousand threads of Nicole's tomfuckery. What could happen next? Will Nicole be cursed into becoming a fully anthropomorphic deer girl? Will Maruyama uncuck himself? Will the Handler ever stop being a cunt? Will Robbert reveal that he's secretly (YOU)? Will Casey finally realize that, sadly, she's a bee in a cage?

Will you realize that you're not alone?

Who knows.

>>5997350
Lemme clarify that spoiler real quick. Difficulty and the mission's actual length aren't really tied. The ship mission was a massive outlier and I intend for most threads to have two missions, maybe three if one is particularly short.
So, don't pick missions based off them being easier difficulty solely because you think it might be easier for me to write. Pick the one you actually find interesting.
>>
>>5997561
>don't pick missions based off them being easier difficulty solely because you think it might be easier for me to write. Pick the one you actually find interesting
well excuse me for the most interesting missions taking an entire thread for us to get through and for you to write out
I can't help the good shit being the good shit, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan
>ship mission was a massive outlier
I for one don't mind because we got a lot of amazing moments in the ship mission. It felt worth our time despite how long it took and how much it took out of Nicole and friends too.
>>
>>5997561
>Will Maruyama uncuck himself?

He could always put 100lbs on, lose some hair. Go full ugly bastard mode. Then he would be doing the cucking! Hahaha!

>>5997577
I did like the ship. That was when I started engaging instead of just lurking. Going maximum violence on the pirates was great, for one thing.
>>
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You got a lot of things on your mind right now but first things first, you need an in with the corpos before they leave. The moment they leave this town? Well they might as well be fucking ghosts with how hard it'll be to contact them in person.

"Stop talking about sucking cocks or whatever, Robbert. You're the only one who brought it up. Fag."

Robbert immediately snaps his head in your direction. The bloodstained mask he's wearing is making the normally quite silly looking bunny mask fucking horrifying to look at. "Say that again and I'll rip you limb from limb."

[UNSTABLE] "Try it, nigger. You don't got the balls. I'll rip your nuts off with my antlers. Try me."

Robbert is dead quiet now. Roland and Max are trying their best to hold back the gutbusting laughter in them while Rosaline, Benjamin, and Alexis watch on in horror. Casey is too busy staring up at the sky to comment on what's happening.

Robbert breaks the silence by easily laughing off the banter you threw his way. "Funny girl you got there under your payroll, Roland and tiny Roland." He nods his head towards Max and Roland, who can only offer confused 'huhs' in response. "What do you want?"

"huh what it's the other way- Okay, yeah, whatever. Know any good restaurants you can bring us to? Not to be imposing or anything but I feel like we deserve it after, well. Everything my group did." You gesture towards your various allies. "Alexis with the equipment we used, Casey and Max with negotiations and information collection, and Benjamin with patching up Valentina to begin with."

Max blushes and makes a weird squeaking noise. Huh, was simple praise like that good enough for her? That's slightly concerning. Your other allies nod and mutter in agreement.

"Mmh. Roland?" Robbert turns his gaze to the others since it's clear that he's probably not the one who would know a great high class place to eat at.
"My daughter is with them and that weird deer antler having girl helped my father out. I see no reason why not?" Roland half heartedly shrugs at the idea. "I did have a meeting with a B-Company exec later tonight but I can always reschedule.
Rosaline nods with an uncomfortable amount of enthusiasm. "Absolutely! Nothing but the best for you and your little posse! We'll be waiting by our private train at the station. Just come over when you're ready."

And without further ado, the three corpos and Valentina exit the town. Leaving you to deal with your allies and their tomfuckery before you do anything else tonight. Max and Benjamin are giving you a look that tells you that they KNOW what you know: You have a way to give Benjamin powers. The main reason he even joined. You simply point towards Casey to gesture that you want to deal with her first.

They relent for now but you can tell they're going to want a conversation with you before you go onto that train. Fair's fair. You make your way over to Casey as your other allies burn time by talking to each other. Let's see...
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Casey is staring up at the night sky with a completely blank look on her face. The pirate hat she's put on now kinda ruins the serious atmosphere that's being cultivated by her silence, though. You step over to be right beside her before you try your best to get her attention. You do this by nudging her with your antlers. You don't know why, some weird instinct.

"Hello." She acknowledges you with a simple hum but she keeps her gaze up to the stars. "You know. Do you ever wish you could...reach up there?" Casey reaches up towards the sky with her left hand. "Don't you ever wish you could return to the stars?"

"The stars?" You look up to see what she's staring up. It is a bright, starry night tonight. The lack of light population in this one specific town in this one specific subsection of W-Corp's district actually allows you to make out the various constellations in the night sky. It's awe inspiring to be sure but you don't get why she's so enthralled by them. "What about them? They're pretty but that's it."

"You don't understand." Casey's solemn tone is very off-putting considering the normally plastic, corporate cheer she speaks with. "It's not what they look like that draws me to them. It's that freedom. That allure. That prestige. Everyone looks up to the stars. Everyone knows their names. What they look like. Who they are."

She glances back at you. Tears are rolling down her face but despite that, her face is plastic. Frozen. A smile is forced across her face but there's not even a lack of light behind her eyes. It's like staring into a void.

[UNSTABLE] Nothing is behind those eyes. Just an abstraction of a person. An idea of an ideal worker.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] She's not an anomaly. The opposite of one, actually. An anomaly needs a perspective. A drive. A purpose to exist.
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] Living in the City without some sort of goal, some sort of purpose, a thin veneer to justify your existence? It obliterates the psyche. Your soul.

"A place where everyone knows your name. A place where people know YOU for you. I. I don't know." She places both of her hands on the side of her head. "It's hard to think. About this. I wasn't taught to think these things. I'm not supposed to think like this." That phrasing again...

She's not a robot, she's not an anomaly, maybe a drone? But she has a face. She speaks normally. Is she just a misguided human? Then why can't you mindread her? You need an answer.

"I don't know." You admit truthfully. "I really don't. For all I know, you just popped into existence one day. One of my powers doesn't work on you," You don't delve too much into the specifics of which one, of course. "You act super weird and cryptic about your past. Fuck, you're a walking enigma. I just don't get you."

"Maybe that's it." She wipes away at the tears rolling down her face. "Maybe what you see is all I am. This." She points at her outfit, her plastic smile, her yellow hair. Perfectly presentable: Made for a corporate ad.
>>
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"That's not okay. I'm not sure if I'm myself anymore. sometimes I just close my eyes and then find myself at an unfamiliar place several hours later. That's how I even arrived in this City. This is not my home."

"...Where did you come from, then? This is the only City I know of. Everything else was wiped away and replaced by this. There's only the INFINITE SEA, the WASTES, and here."

"Another time. Another place. I'm Drone 19344. That's what I remember. I'll probably forget this soon, like I always do. Silly ol' Casey, right?" She cryptically states. "Does it matter? No matter which City you go to, everyone speaks in empty words and template phrases. No one finds comfort in each other's words. No one knows what to do."

"Are you fine with it being that way, Casey? Do you like feeling like that? Being seen as nothing but a number from some old system that isn't even ran anymore?"

"No, it's...Fine? Pitiful? Awful?...None of these seem to fit." Casey sits down on the ground with an annoyed huff.

You sit down on the ground next to her with a worried frown. She's really been holding back all of this stress for god knows how long, huh? "Isn't it normal? To want something you can call your own? I get why you want to reach towards the stars but if it's hurting you this badly to even think about it, well, why worry about what you can't change?"

"Maybe." That's all she can offer as a response. You can't say you would have a better response in her shoes. "I just wish I could be like you. To actually be able to think these thoughts. I know I'll go back to who I was. Back to Casey. Back to who I'm meant to be."

"You're saying that, what, you're programmed to be like this?"

"It's easier. To slip on that comfortable mask. To hide these cold thoughts and shake your hand. To let you feel my flesh gripping yours. Who knows!" She bitterly chuckles to nobody in particular. "Maybe even trick someone into thinking our lifestyles are probably comparable. That's what humans are."

"We're flawed. We're born to make errors. We hurt each other because we are essentially egotistic. That's why I can act like how I'm meant to be. Casey Smith."

"...What are you, then?" You address the elephant in the room. "I really, really need to know. Human? Drone? Anomaly? What are you?"

"A bee. Ready to leave this husk. To reach the unreachable star." You have a feeling she's not being metaphorical here. Much like how Quentin was a centipede, perhaps there really isn't anything behind that flesh but another insect. A lost bee with no queen. No hive. Completely alone. "I'm fine with that. Being Casey is fun! People like Casey!"

[UNSTABLE] Does it have to be that way?

"But do you want people to know you as that? Is it worth reaching for the stars if you aren't even who you want to be?" You lay your back on the dust-coated ground of this dead quiet mining town. "Is it?"

"Does it matter? I have no place to belong to anymore. If I didn't have my role as Casey Smith, what's left?"
>>
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"Well. You have us. You have me, Max, Alexis, Benjamin. You have Clover. You have all of my other friends. Maybe there doesn't need to be a grander purpose behind your existence. Maybe there doesn't need to be some one size fits all explanation for the world but..."

[PERSON OF INTEREST] "Maybe being a rising star that everyone sees isn't a good thing. Maybe it's fine to enjoy the simple things. To just exist in the world without worrying about who's watching."
[SEEKER OF THE CITY] "The City might seem bland and boring and suffocating but I know there's so much untapped potential in it. So many secrets. So many sights and sounds beyond the narrow point of view of what corporate likes."
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] "The stars aren't the only thing that hold importance. You don't need to reach the tiptop of corporate power or public awareness to be something important. Just by existing, you are you."
[UNSTABLE] "You can't change that, Casey. I'm Nicole. You're Casey. No matter what we are, what we do, we have that. You can't fix that. But you can't break it either."

"Sometimes, that simple fact is all I need to carry on. To continue existing."

Casey doesn't respond for the longest time. The two of you simply stare at the sky. The shifting, star-lit sky. But eventually, Casey just laughs to herself. A genuine laugh. A laugh a human would make. Not just a bee, or a drone, pretending to be one.

"Maybe you're right. I'm just Casey. Maybe that is enough."
>+0.5 RAPPORT WITH CASEY!

She slowly gets off the ground. You quickly hop off the ground alongside her. "I don't know why I was thinking those thoughts anyways. This place is REALLY weird, heh~!" She's already gone back to her usual carefree, corporate persona but you can tell there's a shift in her perspective now. A subtle, minor shift but a shift nevertheless.

"Well~! I suppose you deserve a reward for listening to lil' ol me being a doom and gloomer~!" She sticks her tongue out while tapping her head with a balled up fist. "Bleh~!"

"Wow, you really bounced back from that existential talk. Sure, hit me, what's my reward?" You cross your arms with a smirk. It's glad to see her being, well, Casey again. Even if it's really offputting given the tone of the previous conversation.

"Those stars aren't just regular stars~! I heard rumors about if you become a God of the City, you could live up there~! It would be nice to be one of those, you know~?" She coos out with an unnerving amount of lust? Adoration? Obsession? "I heard some rumors that most of the CEOs in this City are striving to become one! Which I don't blame them at all for!"

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] You faintly recall what a God of the City is. It's a term for very powerful, primordial anomalous phenomena that alters how the world works on a fundamental level. An example is the sheer fact that Anomalies exist. Or the fact that Singularities break the laws of the world as you know it. Simple, undeniable aspects of reality.
>>
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[SEEKER OF THE CITY] To become a God of the City? Shit, no one knows how to do that. Not even the CEOs of this world or the Head would know.

"How the fuck would the CEOs even attempt to do that? Yeah, becoming a godhead, sounds perfectly fucking achievable!"

"Dunno~! But if I had to guess? A lot of the companies might be trying some powerplays to completely solidify their stake in the City's marketshare~! Don't be too shocked if you get dragged into all of that~! Try killing a CEO when you can, take their divine essence! That's your best chance of surviving!" Casey proceeds to completely drop this fucking bombshell with a wink and a smile. "So! What now?"

"I. I'm going to talk to Benjamin and Max, thank you."

"Okay! You have fun!" Casey begins to head over to the train that the corpos are waiting at. "And one more thing!" Casey turns her gaze back to you. "Don't sleep with your mouth open!" She waves goodbye before wandering in the direction of the train station. "I love you."

You suppress a shudder as the sound of footsteps dies away. That girl ain't right. You feel like talking to her has left you with as many questions as were answered by her. Oh well, not something you can solve in a single day.

Best to address the other elephant in the room. Max and Benjamin are waiting by the entrance of the closed SALOON, clearly waiting for you to finish up with Casey to deal with them. Ah shit, time to bite a bullet. You quickly gall- RUN. YOU HAVE TWO FUCKING LEGS YOU RUN. God.

You quickly run over to the saloon. You peel off your pink jacket since frankly, this sweat/vomit/blood/cave dust encrusted thing is starting to stink, leaving your torso covered by a bright red collared shirt that clings a bit too tightly to you (and the combat bodysuit underneath but semantics.)

Max raises an eyebrow at this before realizing oh yeah, your jacket fucking reeks. She takes it from your hand and tosses it into the ground below. "I'll buy you a replacement for that. That thing is unsalvageable. Nice red shirt, though. What brand is it?"

"Yeah, fair. And, uh, weird anomalous clothing from that one anomaly we met back at the casino? Look, that's not important."

"Yeah." Max sighs. "Yeah. I was just trying to lighten things up before we got to the elephant in the room. Why were you holding out?"

"Do you fucking understand what it's like to be me, Max? Do you? Do you think having anomalous powers is all it's cracked up to be?" You levitate the discarded pink jacket with your mind. "Wow. I can do that. I can also do this." You reach your hand out and launch out translucent purple strings to attach to Max's body.

She tries to move but, of course, she can't. You quickly lose concertation and only use said powers for, like, five seconds at most so you didn't really burn any RESTRAINT. "Super cool, yeah? Well big fucking news flash. Do you know what's it like having four voices screaming in my damn head every day?"
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"Do you think I like being hunted down by glowniggers? Do you think I like having people like YOU and BENJAMIN on their GOD DAMN SHITLIST because you dared associating with me? Now imagine what happens if your boytoy gains the ability to-"

[DELUSIONAL] "I get it." Benjamin interrupts you. He pulls off his glasses and folds them up before handing them to Max, who promptly puts them in her pocket. "I do. It's a lot of responsibility to have powers-"

"No, you don't get it, that's the thing! Thousands on thousands of agents watch me every day because I can do silly shit like that! When I know for a fact that corporate CEOs and, fuck, even some shitty corporate administrators can do far worse!"

[UNSTABLE] "My mind fucking seethes at itself every day, I constantly have to struggle paycheck to paycheck, I get hunted down by glowniggers who hunt down everyone who threatens them or even associates with those who threaten them-" You feel your blood pressure rising by the second.

[UNSTABLE] "FUCK, Max, they tried killing your grandpa if it wasn't for me. Don't you get it? This isn't fucking child's play! This isn't playing superhero, this is a life altering decision! You don't fucking get it!"

[SHELTERED] Max tries to refute you but she can't even look you in the eye. Is- Is she crying? She removes her shades and covers her eyes, trying her best to control herself. Fuck, you probably shouldn't have been that harsh.

Benjamin is glaring at you now. Ah, shit, uh-

"No, no. I get it. Benjamin, don't get mad at her, she's right." She wipes her eyes before putting her shades on. "I can't even pretend to understand what you go through on a daily basis. "Sorry, sorry, just. Getting yelled at does that to me. Pav something."

"Palvov." Benjamin sighs. "Yeah, uh, look. Nicole. I know that, if I do this, I probably won't be the same person. I do. But I'm not stupid. I know that I'm not really much of an asset otherwise."

"What?" You're confused. Even Max is confused at the sudden self doubt that Benjamin is expressing right now.

"Look at me. I'm scrawny. I can produce a handful of chems at most. I can't fight. I can't take a hit. At most, I can hack some computers or figure out a riddle. My mind's strong. That's my best asset. Otherwise? Look at me." He points at himself. You can't say he's lying.

He's a nerdy man with a bird's nest hairdo and wears super dorky looking clothing. Grey waistcoat, red bowtie, forest green jeans, thick boots, and leather gloves. More befitting of a lab than anything else.

[BLIND OPTIMISM] "I know that this is risky. I know that it'll change me. I don't care. You know the real reason why I want these powers? It's to protect the people I care about. To show the world that I can fend for myself. That I don't need people to coddle and babysit me."

[BLIND OPTIMISM] "The main reason I even joined Z-Company is that I wanted to help people, Nicole. You don't think I know about the consequences of helping out an Alphabet Company?"
>>
"I do it anyways because it was the only option I had to help those around me. To provide for others. Whatever happens to me, whatever consequences are thrown my way, I'm ready for them." He holds his wrist out.

"...Look, Nicole." Max sheepishly rubs her shoulder. "I know I'm not very helpful either. But I'm too much of a coward to accept something like this. I doubt you'd even want to use it on me. And I'll admit, it probably feels like I'm only here because of some boytoy I'm into from your point of view."

"But take what I say very seriously: I want to help. I trust you, I understand the consequences of what will happen to him, but we've already made up our minds. We want to show the world that you can be someone without a million bucks to yourself. Without a massive corporate family backing you. Without an alphabet company providing for you."

"I envy you." Benjamin flatly admits. "I really do. That's another reason why."

"...and I envy the fact that you have the power you do without the baggage of a family name dragging every decision you make." Max bitterly laughs to herself. "I want to tell the world that I'll stick with you. With him. Through thick and thin."

[UNSTABLE] ...YOU DON'T THINK THEY'LL CHANGE THEIR MINDS. THEY KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, NICOLE. BENJAMIN MAY NOT BECOME UNSTABLE. PERHAPS HE WILL MAKE IT UNSCATCHED.
[UNSTABLE] IT'S ULTIMATELY YOUR DECISION. THEY ALREADY GAVE EXPRESS APPROVAL.

You stare at the needle in your hand. They know what they're getting into. Yet you have a decision to make. You always do.

How do you proceed from here?
>Inject the contents of the ICP Energy syringe into him. He asked for it. (-1 ICP SYRINGE, Benjamin will develop an anomalous power immediately and may even unlock a latent spark like Maruyama. You imagine his delusions will get worse, though.)
>Inject only half of the syringe into him. (-ICP SYRINGE, +HALF FULL ICP SYRINGE. Benjamin will develop a latent spark but no direct abilities for the time being. You imagine his mental state will be relatively unaffected.)
>...Inject TWO syringes into him. (-2 ICP SYRINGES. You might awaken something far more powerful than an anomalous ability out of him. Who knows what the consequences of a double dose are, though?)
>Inject a dose into him and offer one to Max. She might be a coward but you still want to give her the option. (You're not sure what choice Max will pick if you offer her this. Couldn't hurt to try, though.)
>You can't do it. You just can't. Put the syringe up and apologize.
>Write in.

yeah this update was WAY longer than I expected. Oh well, enjoy funny characters screaming into the void, I'm passing out now. aie aie aie.
Will update pastebins next update.
>>
>>5997852
>Inject the contents of the ICP Energy syringe into him. He asked for it. (-1 ICP SYRINGE, Benjamin will develop an anomalous power immediately and may even unlock a latent spark like Maruyama. You imagine his delusions will get worse, though.)
>>
>>5997852
>>Inject a dose into him and offer one to Max. She might be a coward but you still want to give her the option. (You're not sure what choice Max will pick if you offer her this. Couldn't hurt to try, though.)

Fuck it. They can be delusion psychic nutjobs together.

God I love Robbert and Nicky. Calling a dude who could pulp you a nigger to his face and threatening to rip his nuts off was great. Also Casey keeps being a best. Gonna protect that smile, even if it is plastic.
>>
>>5997852
>>Inject only half of the syringe into him. (-ICP SYRINGE, +HALF FULL ICP SYRINGE. Benjamin will develop a latent spark but no direct abilities for the time being. You imagine his mental state will be relatively unaffected.)
>>
>>5991133
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Some deep, primal part of you tells you that whatever power she might get from the ICP Energy would 'create' and 'consume' something. While you 'manipulate' and 'perceive' things.

I want to reserve the two ICPs for Casey. I get an idea of what type of anomalies ability Casey will get. I think her power is going to be capable of creating an army insect, and Casey can cannibalize any anomaly entity, human, drone, harvester, or maybe android, to get the enemy ability, and the ability enemies that get consumed by Casey will be able to give to his insect army. In short, Casey is going to be the Swarm Queen. Least what I think?

I am wondering if Casey will be able to create army insects similar to terminids or Zerg.
>>
>>5997848
Hello?
>>
>>5997852
>Inject the contents of the ICP Energy syringe into him. He asked for it. (-1 ICP SYRINGE, Benjamin will develop an anomalous power immediately and may even unlock a latent spark like Maruyama. You imagine his delusions will get worse, though.)
"Delusions get worse" doesn't mean "stay worse". Is that cope? It doesn't feel like it to me. Whatever, he asked for it and he wants this and even though we love both of these retards they are both still bent on it. Max don't hold a grudge please, your fucking husband explicitly wanted the cool superpowers
>>
>>5998050
I want to go half inject, but then he and Max might start to resent Nicole for it last minute. I refuse to let that happen, so I'm going full inject
>>
>>5997840
>Nicole and Robbert
(Rein)Deer and Rabbit. Where's the Rhino or Raven?
>simple praise
Well we know one way to keep her going at least, but that's not good

>>5997842
>nudging her with your antlers
Antennae to antennae communication
>A place where everyone knows your name
I'll drink to that
https://youtube.com/watch?v=h-mi0r0LpXo
>popped into existence one day
That's exactly what happened to her

>>5997845
>A lost bee with no queen. No hive. Completely alone
What being completely cut off from your purpose of existence does to a hiveminded being. All the humanoid bee has is what's left of her role on the outside, where the inside part is gone gone gone. It's an abstract kind of fucking despair.
>No matter which City you go to, everyone speaks in empty words and template phrases. No one finds comfort in each other's words. No one knows what to do.
As much as this sort of setting and premise is ripe for interesting scenarios and fiction, cyberpunk is a dystopia for a reason. South Korea sucks for several underlying reasons, leading to ProjectMoon's setting and story existing. Disregarding that, do you think we as people would have cyberpunk or similar fantastic or escapist fiction like this if the world we lived in was equally as interesting or not static? If the society and world we lived in and were born into was in fact straight out of some crazy storybook plot, would works of fiction like this quest and its inspirations and THEIR inspirations and so on down the chain links, even exist? Or would stories and premises and fictional tales still exist but wholly different from what we would imagine and create, being from here and not somewhere there? Perhaps we as "intelligent" beings with drives to create and imagine are hardwired to dream like this irregardless of place and setting. Even if all of humanity lived in a derivative cyberpunk hellscape like this, with the values and cultures and ideas of such a setting to be born into, they would still craft fictional stories of different and interesting times and places not like where they live in. Because humans are humans and people are people.

>>5997847
>this entire Casey talk
I'm glad enough people voted for it to go through. This was a great scene start to finish

>>5997848
>God of the City
Is that who the Head answers to?
>sheer fact that Anomalies exist
Carmen?

>>5997848
>Try killing a CEO
Sounds like a plan
>"I love you."
Goodbye
>gall- RUN
Deer brain
>clings a bit too tightly
That's kinda hot

>>5997850
>Nicole rant
Girl needed to let that out after everybody else is unburdening their issues
>glasses
They're basically married without the officiality by now
>they tried killing your grandpa
Oh shit we didn't tell her about the Gregory mission
Oh shit we didn't look at or show her Gregory's old phone
Did Gregory infodump Roland on that whole mission offscreen then? Does he know?
>Getting yelled at
Roland's not a very good dad, is he
>>
>>5997852
>BLIND OPTIMISM speech
I think Ben's too based to die or distort, not without something seriously undermining him
>feels like I'm only here because of some boytoy I'm into
Uh, well...
>envy
>envy
These two are made for each other so much it's unreal
>the baggage of a family name dragging every decision you make
I hope when Max eventually loses SHELTERED, she becomes a better person for it

A lot of amazing moments this update
>>
>>5997852
>>Inject only half of the syringe into him. (-ICP SYRINGE, +HALF FULL ICP SYRINGE. Benjamin will develop a latent spark but no direct abilities for the time being. You imagine his mental state will be relatively unaffected.)
He's already on the edge, lets not push him too far.
>>
>>5998350
>>5998003
>>5997877
>>5997999
What if we inject half into Ben and half into Max?
>>
>>5997852
Changing my vote from >>5998050 to
>Inject only half of the syringe into him. (-ICP SYRINGE, +HALF FULL ICP SYRINGE. Benjamin will develop a latent spark but no direct abilities for the time being. You imagine his mental state will be relatively unaffected.)
>>
>>5997877
Change
>>5997852
>Inject only half of the syringe into him. (-ICP SYRINGE, +HALF FULL ICP SYRINGE. Benjamin will develop a latent spark but no direct abilities for the time being. You imagine his mental state will be relatively unaffected.)
>>
FULL CONTENTS: W5K
HALF CONTENTS: TjJ, IAh, fUK, Buw

Seems definite enough, no need to sit around. Writing. They'll be a small follow up vote to this due to what you picked but it'll just be wrapped into the main update.

>>5998046
Administrator? Administrator! Administrator?
Hello?
>>
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Well, you can't just chicken out now. You got the needle out. He gave you that speech. Max gave you her own speech. It would be wrong to not give him something.

You grab onto his wrist and, with his guidance, you find the right vein to stick the syringe into. It slides in way too easily as if the syringe itself WANTS to be injected into someone. Given the act it's a very potent and rare anomalous liquid, it might as well have a will of its own.

You push down on the plunger. His veins greedily drink up the royal purple fluid flowing into his body with a yearning, begging need. You can even see it glowing in his veins as you push down a little bit harder on the plunger. A wide, ecstatic smile forces itself across Benjamin's face like a stone cracking underneath intense pressure.

...

You can't do it. Once the syringe is half empty, you pull it out with a bit too much force. Blood begins to freely dribble out of the small hole in Benjamin's forearm and for a moment, neither Max or Benjamin know how to react to you chickening out at the last moment.

You realize that the blood trickling out of his wound is a caramel brown. A mutation, if only cosmetic considering he's not immediately dead, appearing THAT quickly? It slowly turns back to red over a few seconds but yeesh, you expected it to be more subtle with a half injection.

[HIGH RAPPORT] Benjamin doesn't even seem particularly upset at this half assed injection. He simply closes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath in and out. He then immediately puts on a cheery smile. "Ah well. Can't really blame you. That kind of stuff must be rare. Maybe my body isn't ready for the full injection and you hesitated. Who knows."

He pulls out a small kid-sized bandaid that's only usable for tiny wounds from his pocket and plasters it over the injection site. "We'll see what happens from here, I suppose! Max, glasses, please?"

Max hesitantly gives him his glasses, which he promptly puts on. "Well, let's get going, huh?" Wow, he's really taking this in stride, huh? Guess he and Casey share the same attitude when it comes to problems or tough situations: Just carry on with your life.

For a moment, you swear you seem something superimposed over him. A glimpse of a spark, of his perspective, manifested.

Dull brown feathers crawling all over his arms that are stained a deep, dark crimson. Small, stunted owl-like wings growing out of his back. A tattered, heavily burnt lab coat loosely draped over his shoulders. Dark crimson flecks of blood clinging to his messy brown hair. His glasses are shattered and coated in soot and ash. Yet despite this, he's smiling without a care in the world..

As quickly as it appears, it vanishes, leaving only normal old Benjamin. You'd say that you only managed to see it for a few seconds at most but the fact it was as detailed as it was shocked you. Maruyama only had a single object in his hand and his psyche couldn't even properly imagine what it was.
>>
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[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] Yet the fact Maruyama managed to harbor a spark within himself all by himself, with no outside influence helping to kickstart it? That says a lot.
[ANOMALOUS ABILITIES] One has the resolve but lacks a proper goal. One had a goal but needed a push to properly start his development. Both are commendable.

>Benjamin gains CRIMSON SPARK! (+???. Takes time to develop, much like Maruyama.)
>You now have HALF EMPTY ICP SYRINGE! (Can be used to give +1 to all stats temporarily, temporarily overcharge a power you have, or to awaken a SPARK in someone.)

You then notice something. Max's eyes are wide open and her mouth is agape. You don't understand why at first, she's just staring at normal old Benjamin, right? "Did you see that too?"

Wait what? She saw that too? You're about to ask how but eh, not the right time. You simply nod your head. As the two of you begin to follow after him, Max keeps her head low to the ground. Her arms are crossed and it's clear she's trying very hard to muster up the resolve to say what she's about to say.

"Give me the other half of the syringe. I don't want to be a coward anymore. I don't want you to think I'm only joining your missions because of my own selfish needs. I want to show the true me to the world. To you. To Benjamin. To everyone."

Do you?
>"Go ahead. More power to you." Give it to her. You don't have much use for a half empty one.
>"I'm sorry." Don't give it to her.

Before you can really decide on a decision, you two catch up with Benjamin and the others. The three corpos are standing around in a train that's WAY more high class than any of the shit your group. It's a long, sleek train that reminds you of the bullet trains you faintly recall seeing in a visit to T-Corp two years ago. Though instead of being bright white or metallic grey, this bullet train is coated in a dark blue varnish with trails of bright pink across the sides of it.

You glance at Max. "Lemme guess. Your dad owns this train. And Vanni bullied him into doing that."

Max shakes herself out of her sour mood with a coy, smug smirk. "Wow. What clued you to it? The fact it's blue and pink? The fact they said-"

You grab her cheek like a stern grandma and firmly pinch it. "Oi. I didn't pay you $80 for nothin'. Chill it with the brat attitude." Max tries her best to squirm out of your grasp but that week on the ship and that hardcore military exercise is putting some actual muscles on your body.

Not like Lex or Benedict levels of muscles or strength but your body has been getting thicker with muscle recently.

"aw okay." Max whimpers out before immediately bouncing back with a confident smirk. "Seriously, though, yeah. Let's enjoy that dinner you bullied them into giving us." You let go of her cheek.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm just messing with ya. Let's enjoy some dinner-"

"HOLY FUCKING SHIT WE'VE BEEN WAITING WAY TOO LONG GET YOUR DYKE ASS OVER HERE, DEER GIRL."
"FUCK YOU ROBBY. I LIKE MEN, JUST LIKE YOU."
"FUCK YOU!!"
>>
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You quickly join up with your allies and the corpos and step onboard their train.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOoaplaAW-Y - TRAIN TRAIN

The first thing you notice is that the inside of the train is way too furnished and high class for your own comfort. The seats are thickly padded like a couch, the ceiling is adorned with unnecessarily fancy and tacky mood lights, high energy jazz music is playing in the background...and you only now notice that there's no windows in this train. Completely blocked out from the world for better and worse.

And there's several boxy robots with a single eye in the middle of their boxy rolling up and down the compartment you're in. One holds up a glass of high class wine up to you like it's a god damn bag of free peanuts. With some obvious hesitance, you take it before sitting down.

Max, Benjamin, and Alexis sit down next to you on the same section of highly padded seating. Casey is busy buzzing around and annoying/entertaining the corpos with her busy bee nonsense. Honestly? Good for her. She needs it after hearing her abstract despair filled rant.

"So. Nicky. I have to warn you about the kind of places my family likes going to. Alexis can fill you in on the stuff I don't know." Max's eyes are sparkling with delight. It's clear this is something she knows a lot about. "We're...creatives, for a lack of a better word. I actually wanted to do band stuff but, well, you know. Obligations."

Makes some sense, given you heard something about a Leo Krakatoa involving himself in M-Company and Gregory's whole deal. Maybe bringing her on a mission with Ashley will help get her out of her shell. Or hell, maybe do some music stuff with her and the others. "Continue?"

"A lot of their establishments are filled with psychopathic art critics that are beyond annoying." Alexis spits out like she was forcefed a rotten lemon. "That's the difference between them and the Vannis. Vannis are vain but they know what they are. High fashion, high aesthetic, fancy appearances. Krakatoas try to pretend they're more important than they are."

"wow that's kinda rude but i can't deny it." Max shrugs. "Yeah, uh, try to avoid anyone who looks like they blow smoke up their ass. They'll drag you into a fifty hour rant over why the curtains CAN'T just be blue."

"...Considering I saw Gregory's film and it was arthouse slop, yeah." You glance at Benjamin. He's mostly just been staring into thin air, completely disinterested in this conversation. Can't blame him, hearing about your future inlaws must be insufferable.

"Hey! That's my grand- yeah I can't even pretend to disagree. That whole thing was a passion project. And, uh, what did you mean about him dying if it wasn't because of you?"

"Uh. Long story short-" You take this time to explain the rough details of the movie theater mission to your three allies in hushed whispers.

"WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK." Yeah you can't blame Max's reaction to this information.
>>
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Alexis and Benjamin share a look of mutual horror at what you just described while Max processes everything you just told her. You felt like she had to know at least.

"I'm filling that away in the same area I put all of my traumatic memories, thank you." Yeah, you don't mind letting her take some time in processing that. "Well, you at least had some personal experience with one! Just...keep away from anyone who looks high and might and get right to the point. A lot of high class people are VERY picky with their time."

"Also, you stick out like a sore thumb. You need one of us to vouch for you. You decide which one-"

"OKAY RETARDS WE'RE HERE." Robbert yells from the other end of the train.
"please stop yelling like that you'll wake her up." Rosaline chides him with a hiss and a firm slap on the wrist. Valentina, now covered by a thick wool blanket, is still sleeping away on one of the cushioned seats.
"Let's get going, Elizabeth. Bring your friends along." Roland is the first one to step off the train, clearly ready to get this over with.

Max huffs but she puts on a brave face for now. Your group promptly steps out of the train as you down the glass of wine you were given in one gulp. Tastes exactly like the shit you could buy at a shady G-Corp bar. Lame.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1ZVkRtHM78 - HIGH CLASS

Your train is parked right outside a tall, stark white building that stretches up so far into the sky, you can't even see the top. Right in front of the entrance hangs a sign that reads "Délicieux". Well, you don't need to know District 3's dialect to know what that means but it seems weird to 1: Have such a simple name and 2: to see it in W-Company's district.

A solid glass wall surrounds the perimeter of the building and looking through it, you can faintly see that a lot of the other buildings here are pale, stark white. It's very reminiscent of L-Corp's district but you KNOW you're in W-Corp's district. Weird.

[SEEKER OF THE CITY] W-Corp's dialect is more guttural and angry sounding. "Ich hasse dich verdammt noch mal", for instance.

Max notices your confusion and rushes in to explain. "Ah, yeah, L and W-Corp have been working together. This is actually a neutral ground between them and a lot of the other companies. Even during dinner-"

Roland butts into the conversation. "It's never too late or early for business discussions. After all, the early bird gets the worm."
Robbert shakes his head. "Roland I don't think your kid has even seen those two animals before. Let alone you. Shut the fuck up.
"Don't we have animals right there?" She gestures towards you, Max, Casey, and Benjamin. "A deer, a cat, a bird, and a bee."

You narrow your eyes at her. "The only one of us who even remotely resembles an animal is me and look, I liked the augment. Bite me."

"Can't blame you, honestly." Roland shrugs. "It's a good way to express yourself. Not my cup of tea but my father or uncle would massively appreciate it."
>>
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"Now, Elizabeth, remember your French?" Huh, his family still remembers the old world term for it.

"Little bit." Max offers a half hearted response. "Let's just get going." Welp, your group enters the high class restaurant with no further complaint. Let's hope this is all worth it. It probably won't be.

You immediately feel out of place from just how god damn opulent this whole place is. That Sugar Mountain place was one thing but this place is in a league of its own. While the waiting room is about on par with most other sit down restaurants, one glance to the main space of the restaurant tells you you absolutely should not be here.

The main space is a wide open, opera-house style auditorium with at least five distinct floors that are filled to the brim with decorations and dinner tables with very, VERY important looking people eating a variety of food you could never hope to afford. In the center of this auditorium is a stage that currently has dozens on dozens of orchestra members meddling with their instruments.

A young, redheaded lady with tiny two inch antler nubs growing out of her head approach your group. She's in a simple white dress with a nametag reading "SUZY" attached to the front. She glances at you and nods in approval. It's clear that HER antlers are just cosmetic augments since you detect nothing anomalous from her. "Table for eight? Or are the four extra guests your assistants?"

"Fucking rude." Alexis hisses under her breath.
"Oh, oh, I would like to assist!" Casey chirps out!
"...C'mon. Am I still seen as chopped liver to your family, Max?" Benjamin overdramatically sighs.
Max can only shrug. "Sorry. Rather deal with THAT later." You assume she means their relationship. Can't blame her.

"They're guests. They did us a solid." Roland turns his gaze over to the auditorium. "Fifth floor, please."

"Excellent. Now, Mr. Huxley, I'm sure you remember our rules about bloodstained clothing-"
"Bite my ass. This is fresh deer blood."
"Duly noted, Huxley. Now, please follow me." The young lady gestures at your group to follow her.

Your group does so, heading right up a long, winding staircase that leads all of the way to the fifth floor of the auditorium. Your group is promptly seated at a large, spacious table that's lit by dozens of brightly colored L-Corp candles that already has a dozen small appetizers (freshly baked bread, fancy cheeses, etc.)

You and your four allies sits next to each other on the west side of the table while the three corpos sit at the east side of the table. Well, you got some time until dinner and the show arrives, so you can talk to your allies and intermingle with the corpos and the Alphabet Company reps.

Might be wise to talk to the Alphabet Reps to get some more staying power in the corporate sphere before talking to your allies and, well, going home. It's been a long, long day today and you're just ready to go home after all of this. Now, time to decide who's interesting enough to talk to.
>>
Pick up to four corporate officials to talk to. You'll learn more about their group, how to interact with them, and maybe even get a corporate favor or gift.
>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.)
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
>A woman coated head to toe in soot is being wiped down vigorously by several waitresses. She seems far more preoccupied by the pile of scrap metal in front of her. (H-CORP. The City's main source of raw industrial output and a major player in handling the economy. If H-Corp falls, who knows what happens to the City?)
>A generic man in a generic suit sits at a table with equally generic men in generic suits. Creepy. (V-CORP. You have no idea what this company is. Might be your first chance to learn about them.)
>A woman in a musty, grimy trucker's outfit has her feet propped up on her table. She looks like she has had just as long as a day as you had. (G-CORP. Your home Company. A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between.)
>There's just a big, spiky centipede crawling around on a table. What the fuck. (Q-CORP. A company that produces cheap labor and cheap resources to benefit the other companies. Mostly ran by literal bug men.)
>A lady very similar in appearance to Alexis is chattering with various men in gas masks. All of them are incredibly wasted. (I-CORP. A cryogenic-based company that focuses mainly on preservation efforts and assisting companies in storing very important materials.)
>A man in a bright white suit with a simple red wax seal pinned to his chest waits at his table, seemingly welcoming anyone to approach him. (L-CORP. A spiritualistic company that has a very low tolerance for anyone who slights them. Very invested in abstract concepts such as emotions, luck, and the soul.)
>A ebony-skinned man in a military uniform is clearly stressing out over something at his table. He keeps glancing around as if he expects to find someone. (ANJARO. A highly militaristic and paranoid Corporate Family that believes that 'someone' is out for them.)
>You spot someone else. (Write in a ALPHABET COMPANY [A-Z] or a type of Corporate Family (write in a KEYWORD) to find.)

Who do you wish to bring along to help you with the corpos?
>ALEXIS. She's clearly more experienced than Max and experience is what you need.
>MAX. You want to talk to her a bit more and get her to show off her skills without relying on anyone else.
>CASEY. Casey.
>TWO OF THE ABOVE (Write in who.)
>ALL THREE.
>NO ONE.
>>
>>5999146
>"Go ahead. More power to you." Give it to her. You don't have much use for a half empty one.
>>5999155
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
It definitely LEAD Maus, and he is on the target or watch list of the silver agent.
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5893937/
No.5920878
http://www.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2023/5776609/
Moth Agent Quest. Main Character is LEAD.
>A lady very similar in appearance to Alexis is chattering with various men in gas masks. All of them are incredibly wasted. (I-CORP. A cryogenic-based company that focuses mainly on preservation efforts and assisting companies in storing very important materials.)
>A man in a bright white suit with a simple red wax seal pinned to his chest waits at his table, seemingly welcoming anyone to approach him. (L-CORP. A spiritualistic company that has a very low tolerance for anyone who slights them. Very invested in abstract concepts such as emotions, luck, and the soul.)
>A ebony-skinned man in a military uniform is clearly stressing out over something at his table. He keeps glancing around as if he expects to find someone. (ANJARO. A highly militaristic and paranoid Corporate Family that believes that 'someone' is out for them.)
'Someone' = Silver agent?
>Ashley and Benjamin scoff but decide it's not worth it to argue over this point, given how Casey instantly lightens back up. "Oh! In that case, we have four associates! A Mr. Foxtort, a Mr. Sukane, a Ms. Wiltshire, and a Ms. Anjaro!" You recognize none of those names but you see Max's expression sour almost immediately.
><"Fuck, an Anjaro? Hopefully I don't have to see one of those cunts any time soon."> No.5903168
Max see to have a bad experience with Anjaro. Let’s not pick Max to vouch for us.
>And as for Ms. Anjaro, those fellas know a bit too much about the Wastes outside the City." No.5911584
>Before you plan on sending your consciousness into oblivion, you look back over at Max. "Say. I could tell you had a hissy fit over the Anjaros when they were mentioned. What the hell is their deal?"
>Max narrows her glazed eyes when she hears that name. "those bitches don't respect ya lest you're an anjaro or you got ties with r, x, or j-corp. most of them are stick-in-the-ass military types and you know how hungry for respect and obedience those types are." Duly noted. That's good to keep in mind. No.5916619
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2024/5893937/
>TWO OF THE ABOVE (Write in who.)
Alexis and Casey
>>
>>5999155
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
>A woman coated head to toe in soot is being wiped down vigorously by several waitresses. She seems far more preoccupied by the pile of scrap metal in front of her. (H-CORP. The City's main source of raw industrial output and a major player in handling the economy. If H-Corp falls, who knows what happens to the City?)
>A generic man in a generic suit sits at a table with equally generic men in generic suits. Creepy. (V-CORP. You have no idea what this company is. Might be your first chance to learn about them.)
>A woman in a musty, grimy trucker's outfit has her feet propped up on her table. She looks like she has had just as long as a day as you had. (G-CORP. Your home Company. A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between.)

>TWO OF THE ABOVE (Write in who.)
Alexis and Max
>>
>>5999155
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
>A generic man in a generic suit sits at a table with equally generic men in generic suits. Creepy. (V-CORP. You have no idea what this company is. Might be your first chance to learn about them.)
>There's just a big, spiky centipede crawling around on a table. What the fuck. (Q-CORP. A company that produces cheap labor and cheap resources to benefit the other companies. Mostly ran by literal bug men.)
>A woman in a musty, grimy trucker's outfit has her feet propped up on her table. She looks like she has had just as long as a day as you had. (G-CORP. Your home Company. A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between.)
>>
>>5999204
>Alexis and Casey
Casey specifically for Q-Corp
>>
>>5999178
if Anjaros are hostile to the Silver Agent organization. We should make alliances with Anjaros. Anjaros can help us with their military expertise to help assault the Silver Agent base in G-corp if we can persuade them to assist us.
>>
>>5999155
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
I miss MOTH AGENT. Also Nicole will be VERY interested if she hears his name, because of the glowie's watchlist
>A ebony-skinned man in a military uniform is clearly stressing out over something at his table. He keeps glancing around as if he expects to find someone. (ANJARO. A highly militaristic and paranoid Corporate Family that believes that 'someone' is out for them.)
Remember the silver agent watchlist? Remember the tidbits on the Gregory mission? We have Alex in X Corp who can vouch for Nicole if needed
>A generic man in a generic suit sits at a table with equally generic men in generic suits. Creepy. (V-CORP. You have no idea what this company is. Might be your first chance to learn about them.)
New people, new faces. Why does the Handler hate them so much? We can bust out VICTORY GIN to them and it might go over well
>A woman in a musty, grimy trucker's outfit has her feet propped up on her table. She looks like she has had just as long as a day as you had. (G-CORP. Your home Company. A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between.)
If we're going to assault a base on G Corp area, it might be prudent to establish relations
>TWO OF THE ABOVE (Write in who.)
Alexis to Anjaro
Casey to LEAD

>>5999146
>"Go ahead. More power to you." Give it to her. You don't have much use for a half empty one.
They're going together in this

>>5999190
>>5999204
>>5999205
You missed the subvote in >>5999146 lads
>>
>>5999178
Change
>>5999251
+1
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>>5999146
> Dope up Max too
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>>5999267
I'm personally hoping the VICTORY GIN offering helps account for nobody else being with Nicole there. That drink kinda sucks too with a 50% chance of 1 random stat drop. Good way to be rid of it here. As for the G Corp lady, I assume having an equally long day plus Nicole being from G District (presumably?) will help be a little less awkward. I wanted Alexis with the Anjaros because
>was there on the X Corp mission
>witnessed the silver agent
But Nicole can still pull out the X CORP MEDAL for real evidence.
As for LEAD, the reason is Casey is a bee and LEAD is a moth. And both come from the same quest setting, so it might help make Casey feel better and put LEAD in a good mood
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>>5999146
>"HOLY FUCKING SHIT WE'VE BEEN WAITING WAY TOO LONG GET YOUR DYKE ASS OVER HERE, DEER GIRL."
>"FUCK YOU ROBBY. I LIKE MEN, JUST LIKE YOU."
>"FUCK YOU!!"
What an exchange. Imagine him, Lex, Nicole, Frank, and Ashton all in the same room. Hilarity ensues
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>>5999363
No, not doing full analysis autism right now, maybe later.
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>>5999146
>"Go ahead. More power to you." Give it to her. You don't have much use for a half empty one.

>>5999155
>There's a man with a moth's head sitting at a table all by himself. He's polishing an old, bulky pistol that looks like it could kill a god. He doesn't belong here. (MAUS. From your limited knowledge, a bioengineering family highly associated with high class augments and tailormade chemical enhancers.)
>A generic man in a generic suit sits at a table with equally generic men in generic suits. Creepy. (V-CORP. You have no idea what this company is. Might be your first chance to learn about them.)
>A woman in a musty, grimy trucker's outfit has her feet propped up on her table. She looks like she has had just as long as a day as you had. (G-CORP. Your home Company. A travel and exploration based company that explores the City, the Wastes, whatever lies beyond, and everything in between.)
>A ebony-skinned man in a military uniform is clearly stressing out over something at his table. He keeps glancing around as if he expects to find someone. (ANJARO. A highly militaristic and paranoid Corporate Family that believes that 'someone' is out for them.)

>TWO OF THE ABOVE (Write in who.)
Alexis and Casey
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>>5999251
Oh wait this is for ALL THE CORPOS not just one for each. Yeah then I'm still sticking to Alexis and Casey for all 4 of the corpos here.
Amazing how we're leaving Ben and Max right there, in front of Max's dad, who will mortify both of them the moment he speaks "So Elizabeth... who's he?" Double if Rosaline Vanni butts in to tease them while Robbert is busy eating or wanders around. Maybe that H Corp lady is a contact of his.
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>>5999144
>WANTS to be injected
it says a lot about anomalous things like this
>mutation
Whatever is with him the ICP probably resonated extremely well with Ben
>HIGH RAPPORT
I imagine at lower rapport he would be pissed we backed out halfway, or betrayed. Then again, we never really got to this point where the subject of why he got into all this with us came to the forefront. We have been busy with too much shit happening, and so has he. It would have most likely always worked out like this, with or without Max here.
>Who knows
The moment he sees us inject Max with the other half, any thoughts of Nicole betraying him or having negative reasons for hesitating on the full dose to him will go flying out the fucking window
>he and Casey
It made for a nice mission of interactions with the two of them here. Alexis and Max didn't have much going on because both are in the corpo world and Alexis doesn't like Max's family much for valid reasons Max herself agrees with. Alexis and Benjamin didn't interact that much either, but that's because they were both with Nicole since mission 1 and they have previous stuff established. Alexis and Casey have been unexpectedly nice together
>manifested
That's a wicked image, I can't believe his is so detailed already

>>5999146
>wide open
Welcome to the anomalous, Max
>I want to show the true me to the world.
>To everyone.
FUCK OFF CARMEN
It would be a horrid tragedy if Max becomes an anomaly while Ben manifests PARADIGM
>Vanni bullied him
Very funny image
>grab her cheek
I love how Nicole has been evolving from paranoid schizo to competent schizo over the course of the quest. That could also be the high RESTRAINT at work, a necessary investment to cope with anomalous powers
>thicker with muscle
And yet still no bf... No one man Nicole will score with... Even Admin is going to get laid, and he's a tar-leaking coffee-addict shell of his former self in his fucking 40s

>>5999147
>no windows
MURDERS could happen on trains like these
>boxy robots
Some outdated full-body replacements these poor servants have
>busy bee
I still want to know how she'll react to and interact with Kiara and Quentin. Drones back in MANAGER, HELP! also hated androids and robots, I think? Her and Quentin are two different species of insect that don't really interact much in nature by default, so anything between them is a mystery. And we know how Kiara and Quentin will be initially after what Nicole found out at the military base from the company reps
>Leo Krakatoa
Ashley and Max huh
>completely disinterested
Being the Krakatoa girl's future husband won't be enough to protect him if he fucks up with her family. Maybe he'll find out from Max later anyway
>movie theater mission
We told them how Gregory fought his old movie tech turned anomaly and almost died. We told them the anomalous magic circle. We told them Gregory was the one who started that fire. We told them his involvement with the old Vanni back then. And then some?
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>>5999148
>mutual horror
Yeah you two know about that freezer and Benedict from before, but come on!
>traumatic memories
Ben better help her with those
>stick out
Let's not forget Nicole only has her NEW YOU ADAM jacket and combat bodysuit on
>sleeping away
I hope Val will recover
>guttural and angry
W Corp is German, but those two miners were French.
>L and W-Corp
That explains some things
>deer, a cat, a bird, and a bee
We're really collecting an animal Ensemble?
>massively appreciate
I wonder when we'll see old man Greg again?
On second thought, the Krakatoas might GRUDGELORD against Nicole if they find out the silver agents have Max targeted on their watchlist by association to Nicole, and especially after Nicole ICP'd Max to get her anomalous sparked too. They might stop or reconsider if/when they find out the silvers would have assassinated Gregory after his climactic gunfight, if Nicole hadn't patched him up from the brink. They probably wouldn't hold Nicole in contempt when they find out Max willingly wanted to be powered up after Benjamin did, and we just went along with it because she's Nicole's friend just like Ben.

>>5999149
>old world term
Interesting detail there
>orchestra
Imagine throwing somebody off 5 stories right into them...
>nods in approval
From one deer to another
>fresh deer blood
I like the deer running gags with Nicole. They aren't prevalent enough to overstay welcome or get grating. They're tasteful as is
>go home
No need for a bar this time when we're doing all THIS luxury with the corpos. There'll always be time for a bar option next mission end
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>>5999251
+1
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MOTH: ALL
ANJARO: Buw, TjJ, 5Xy, IAh
G-CORP:ALL
Q-CORP: 0P/
V-CORP: ALL
H-CORP: Jd3
WHO TO BRING
ALEXIS AND CASEY seems to be the winning move here for helping you out.
And people mostly seem to agree to drug Max up. No point waiting any more, locking in.

I need four anons to roll the following to see how your first impressions go. Why leave it up to a roll? Because these people are very important and very busy, you don't have time to sit down and have long and prolonged chats with them. Due to Alexis and Casey being nearby, you can't TOTALLY fuck it up for most of these.

>MOTH: 1d100-10 (-27 from PREDATORY INSTINCTS, +12 from UNSTABLE RESOLVE, +5 from Casey's presence. Going to be an uphill battle.)
>G-CORP: 1d100+15 (+5 from being born there, +10 from Alexis and Casey. A good, solid foundation. Should be hard to fuck up.)
>V-CORP: 1d100+10 (+10 from Casey and Alexis. Should be solid enough.)
>ANJARO: 1d100+7 (-20 from PARANOIA, +5 from Alexis and Casey's presences, +10 from X-CORP FAVOR, +12 from X-CORP MEDAL. If it wasn't for X-Corp, this would be real challenging.)

RESULTS (All slightly nudged thanks to Alexis' boons and Casey's presence)
BELOW 0 WITH MOTH: UH OH. (UH OH.)
1-17: BARELY SUCCESSFUL. You'll get your foot in the door but you doubt you'll get anything more than some info about what work they do and where to contact them later.
18-38: OKAY SUCCESS. You'll likely be able to get a random corporate item/family trinket from them, a pleasant conversation, but that's it.
39-70: DECENT SUCCESS. You'll get an corporate/family trinket, a corporate favor, and a small bonus to interacting with their company or family.
71-85: MAJOR SUCCESS. You'll get a catalog to buy items from them, a favor and an easier time handling their corp/family in the future, and your Handler might be able to provide you with supplies from that corp/family on occasion
86-100: INSANE SUCCESS. All of the boons of the previous successes combined alongside learning something about their singularity or a family secret of theirs, which will offer insight into their true business model and clue you into what dark secrets they have.
100+: ?????? SUCCESS. You'll see what happens if you get this.
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Rolled 95 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>6000057
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Rolled 76 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>6000057
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Rolled 10 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>6000057
I'll take the Moth roll, since that 95+10 should just get used for V-Corp
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Rolled 74 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>6000063
>>6000071
To roll a minus roll, since I assume is what you guys tried to do, you have to do "1d100+-10" It's weird how that's not written anywhere, though, but it's a weird quirk of dice rolling.
I'll allow a reroll in this case.
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Rolled 47 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>6000057
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>>6000076
...I'd prefer if other people had a chance to roll instead of just one anon. I dunno, call it superstition but I feel it's somehow more 'fair' that way?
But since MOTH'S roll has been a clusterfuck and my other move would've been to average yours and fUK's rolls anyways, that's fine. Just please let someone else roll.
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Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>6000057
>>6000079
I'm going in
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So which rolls go to which person? I'm kinda lost
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Rolled 13 + 7 (1d100 + 7)

>>6000057
Anjaro is the only one left isn't he?
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Felt like this would've been a lot easier if people just said what person they were rolling for but eh, fuck it, let's just carry on. Here's the rolls.

V-CORP: 105 (???)
G-CORP: 69 (DECENT)
MOTH: 37 (OKAY)
ANJARO: 20 (OKAY)

It's not important enough to get into the muck over. I'll probably make it a rule that you have to specify who you're rolling for in the future. Writing.

>>6000083
I mean, I normally go off the modifier since all of them were unique but things got fucky wucky with that.
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>>6000093
So the VICTORY GIN scored big with V Corp guys, G Corp lady talk went fine but no favor gained, LEAD saw Casey and was OK with all this, and Anjaro is way too paranoid to make much headway with on the first go. Makes sense
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