"Good, good! It's all working perfectly!" A chipper voice signals the end of the testing. As you maneuver to the edge of the large pool, you can see its owner walking towards you, wearing a white lab coat. Her pale-blond hair is tied in a bun, keeping it out of her bespectacled eyes. Her clipboard has many pages on it, but you suspect she's made more mental notes than physical ones. As you set your equipment on the edge of the pool, she grasps your outstretched hand and helps lift you out of the water. You spin about, taking a seated position to take off the units on your leg. "Oh that was wonderful! To finally have a Witch to test these things first hand, it's like a dream come true!" The lab woman strikes a giddy pose, like a schoolgirl who has the attention of her first crush. Her pen clatters to the floor. "Calm down, Dr. Wackett. It's not like the design wasn't tested and finalized anyway," you say, handing her her pen. The fact that she's even running these tests caught you by surprise when you first arrived. "Cleo, don't be like that!" she says, pressing her hands to her hips. "There's a big difference between reading a report and seeing something first hand! Besides, I needed to verify some figures." She said that in a calm and straightforward manner, but her eyes...Nah, you must be imagining things. She taps her clipboard thoughtfully. "Well, Doc, you got your testing curiosity satisfied?" "For now."
You've been in this facility for a couple days, somewhere more inland than Brisbane. Its location isn't secret (somewhere several hundred miles west of a place called Toowoomba); it's just in the middle of nowhere. On the surface, it looks like a seldom-used air strip where the occasional damaged plane is sent to be repaired, and it has in fact seen more use as such than its original purpose as a secluded and private research facility. However, with the escalation of the war and more recently the realization of the Harbinger's threat, the poor sleepy facility had seen a surge in activity, much to its overseer's delight. The underground rooms had finally been filled, and all sorts of engineering activities and tests now bring energy to its previously lethargic utilities. Of course, to any outside observer, nothing has changed. No one wants to attract the attention of the invaders from Mars. Said delighted overseer now brings her pen to her lips. "What I'd give to test these things myself..." Alice Wackett's eyes glimmer with intense longing. Your stomach growls.[ ] Not allowed to get wet?[ ] Let's grab some lunch.[ ] Other.
[x] Consume victuals.
>>20226270[x] Not allowed to get wet?
>>20226270[x] Let's grab some lunch.
Kota's a slut, where is my milf fapfic?>get lunch
>>20226434Fap's working on it bro. Apparently shit's hella nasty. NTR all up in everywhere.
>>20226270 "Shall we get some lunch, Doc?" you ask, peeling the helmet and back unit from your suit. "Ah, I suppose that'd be alright. Let's. The cafeteria serves a surprisingly good meat dish of some sort once a week. I've tried to figure out exactly what it is, so far I've narrowed it down to chicken and..." You grimace as Dr. Wackett goes on and on. You hand her the leg units, carrying the back unit, helmet and other parts yourself. Dropping them off with one of the men in charge with tweaking and maintaining the units, the two of you head down some dimly-lit hallways. The facility is largely underground, with numerous rooms designed for testing things like new aircraft and striker engine, aerodynamic, and durability designs. Originally planned to be a sort of genesis for the domestic industry, it was sidelined as the immediate need for aircraft split efforts between more conventional and tested aircraft designs and simply importing what was needed, leaving little for this kind of "future lab." As a result, much of the infrastructure here is dated or poorly-maintained.
>>20226591 "...so they probably fry it. But if that's how it's made, then why does it taste so...not fried, you know? "Mmhmm." The two of you take some stairs up to the surface, and find yourselves in the cafeteria. It's one of the parts of the facility that has been fully restored to its original design, and the clean walls, floors, and ceiling make it feel like an entirely different world from below. As you enter, you see Rae arguing with the poor sap stuck running the line.[ ] What's going on?[ ] You just want to eat.[ ] Other.
>>20226607[x] What's going on?Better to find out now if there's something about the food we should know, rather than later when it's already on our plate.
[x] What's going on?Victuals later, reconnoitre now!
>>20226607>[ ] What's going on?Obviously, we must stick our nose in.
>>20226607[x] What's going on?
>>20226607 Curious, you walk up with Dr. Wackett. The argument seems to be getting a little heated, drawing some attention from several of the staff at tables close to the line...and a few not so close. "...call those seconds!? I've seen better 'seconds' served on a god damned Jap boat! You can do better than this!" Rae yells at him, arms gesturing. In front of her is a tray with an admittedly small amount of meat and what barely passes for vegetables. You certainly hope they're not giving out that much for 'firsts,' or you'll be having this argument yourself several times tonight. "What's going on here?" you ask, just making sure you're not missing anything. "Oh, Cleo, help me out here! This food prude," you chuckle at this, "gave me about two mouthfuls of food my first time through. I come back to get the other three quarters of my meal, and he gives me half as much as last time!" You turn to the 'prude.' "You skimping out on the portions?" "Rationing, there's a war going on," he says flatly. This sets Rae off on another tirade.[ ] Doc, some help here?[ ] Handle this yourself.[ ] Well, there is a war going on.[ ] Other.
>>20226854>[ ] Handle this yourself."You really want a witch pissed at you?"
>>20226854Make up some bullshit about witches needing more food for MAGIC?
>>20226854[ ] Well, there is a war going on.Rae, harden the fuck up.
[x] Doc, some help here?
>strike witchesI can get behind thisanyone have a foolz link?
>>20226975Better. A downloadable archive. http://www.mediafire.com/?aeab9kqq3daxg47
>>20226975Oh boy. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=strike+witcheshttp://tofusaur.us/wiki/index.php?title=What_is_Strike_Witches_Quest%3F
[ ] Well, there is a war going on.
>>20226995>>20226989>>20226986Thank you all very much.
>>20226854You glance over at the Doctor. She's flipping through her notes, muttering to herself. No matter. You can handle this yourself. You turn to the man behind the counter, gripping the edge with your hand as you shift your weight. "You a fan of the Martian War Effort?" you ask in a smooth voice. "What do you mean, ma'am?" he responds, bored. "So you're being stingy with the food. Fine. Maybe the rest of the people in this place can survive on damned near nothing." He doesn't respond, still with a bored look on his face. "But Witches consume a shitload of calories when they project magic. We're here, testing and working our asses off, and you can't toss us a scoop or two more of mashed potatoes?" "We don't have a scoop to give, ma'am," he answers, gesturing to the food presented. There really is a small amount out in total. You lean in for a closer look, making sure he's not being a jackass and somehow hiding fo- Ah. There. Now that you think about it, the pocket of his apron is bulging a little...and there are several breadcrumbs on his chest...[ ] Hey, Rae, you see that?[ ] Doc, we have a problem.[ ] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?[ ] Other.
[x] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?The obvious choice.
rolled 20 = 20>>20227048>[X] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?Are we really that lewd?
>>20227048[x] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?because why not
>>20227048[x] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?Nice buns.
rolled 15 = 15>>20227071> natural 20The dice gods themselves are with us.
>>20227048[ ] Give me that bread you fat coward
>>20227048>[ ] Is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see us?>>20227071Yes. Yes we are.
>>20227048 Is he really doing what you think he's doing? He can't be, yet... "So, is that a bun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" you ask, being a little self-conscious of your current wear: the dive suit and a jacket to cover up your back. "W-what?" the young man sputters, caught a little off guard. A second too late, he realizes moving his hand to cover his pocket is incriminating."Tom, move your hand!" Dr. Wackett must have returned to reality with your comment, and she darts forward, leaning across the counter. "Let me seeee," she orders, reaching for his apron."D-dr. Wackett, please-" he begins, backing away, but she manages to get a good grip on his apron. She gives it a good tug and Tom jerks towards the counter. The sudden motion jostles the contents of his pockets...and several dinner rolls fall to the floor. "How could you!?" Dr. Wackett accuses, shock at this 'betrayal' evident in her voice. "I, uh..." You turn to Rae, preparing to say something witty, but your words die in your throat. A devilish smile dominates her face. Several minutes later, the three of you sit with full trays of food, eager to dig in. Taking a bite, you find that Dr. Wackett wasn't lying; this meat...whatever it is, actually tastes pretty good, even if you can't quite describe just what it tastes like. Behind the counter, Tom sulks.[ ] So, what've you been up to, Rae?[ ] Back at the pool, you mentioned wishing you could test them yourselves, Doc?[ ] Other.
[ ] Back at the pool, you mentioned wishing you could test them yourselves, Doc?I guess you're not sparkly?
>>20227198[x] So, what've you been up to, Rae?Also, it's snake or something, isn't it?
>>20227198>[ ] Back at the pool, you mentioned wishing you could test them yourselves, Doc?
>>20227256Seal or Dolphin would be me guess.>>20227198>[X] Other."Do we have a chessboard anywhere here. I'm getting a bit bored""Oh, never mind that for now, what have you been up to?"
>>20227198[x] Back at the pool, you mentioned wishing you could test them yourselves, Doc?
>>20227198 "So Doc," you say between mouthfuls, "what was that you were saying earlier?" "Mmmm," she replies, savoring her meal. "Whuh? Ohg, righ. Wif da Subrighker." She pauses to swallow. "I'd love to take one of those out for a spin, it seems like so much fun." Rae slams her drink on the table, finishing a hearty drink. "Ahhh!" she says in satisfaction. "If you think those things are fun, you ought to take out a pair of flight Strikers. Now there's a thrill!" "Come on, Rae. You've used Strikers what, three times?" you say, attempting to bring her down a notch. "Four. Doesn't matter. It's a thrill each time. Something about flying through the air, free of a cockpit and wings. It's really something." You have to agree. It's scary, but the two times you used them, those Mars Strikers granted you a kind of exhilaration you'd not had very often. Still, given your track record with flight, you'd take diving any day. "Oh, it doesn't matter to me. Either would be fine," Dr. Wackett says. "Then why don't you take a pair out for a spin? They don't let you take off your pants around here?" Rae asks. "Wouldn't matter, I'm afraid," she says, staring down at the table. "I don't have any magic to speak of."[ ] Really? You struck me as a witching type.[ ] Change the subject.[ ] Other.
>>20227353>[ ] Change the subject.Well, that's embarrassing.
[ ] Really? You struck me as a witching type.
>>20227353[x] Change the subject.Awkwaaaaard...>>20227330I'm sorry, would you repeat the question?
[x] Other."To speak of? So you DO have it, but can't use it?"
>>20227353[x] Really? You struck me as a witching type.
>>20227353>"Four. Doesn't matter. It's a thrill each time. Something about flying through the air, free of a cockpit and wings. It's really something."I wish I was a witch. ;_;
>>20227389Could you stop it with the dog pictures please? They're annoying.
>>20227425Okay. Though I don't know why they would be annoying. It's just a corgi with stuff on its head.
>>20227393>>20227403These two.This type of thing is exactly the type of thing that ends up being important
>>20227353Oh. Now there's something you didn't expect. It seems like every other woman you've met so far had some sparkles in the tank. You just got used to them all being Witches. Actually, now that you've got a moment to reflect...it's strange. Just a month ago you avoided Witches, rejecting the preferential treatment they typically receive, seeing them all as having a weak work ethic. Yet, here you are, not just expecting Witches, but even welcoming them, to the point of possible insensitivity. "Sorry. I didn't know." "Oh Cleo, don't worry about it! It's nothing to be sorry about!" she says, smiling once more. "Still, you struck me as a Witching type. Is that weird?" "No, not at all. In fact, my mom had a bit of magic, though she never really pursued it." She flips through her clipboard, as if the blank pages held the record of her family tree she needed. "I guess I didn't get that spark. I've always been fascinated though, which is why I'm here!" She readjusts her glasses. "Oh? What do you mean?" asks Rae, leaning back in her chair as she absentmindedly uses a toothpick. Dr. Wackett's expression suddenly cools. "I'm in charge of magical engine development, Lt. Caulders. I designed those Substrikers you're using." Rae rolls her eyes. "Yeah, a lot of use we've been getting out of those."[ ] Calm down, ladies.[ ] You designed the Substrikers?[ ] Other.
>>20227551>[X] You designed the Substrikers?You know what they say about getting caught in the middle of an argument-You don't do it.
[ ] You designed the Substrikers?
>>20227551[X] Calm down, ladies.Let's not get antagonistic, now.
>>20227551 "You designed the Substrikers?" You knew she was involved in at least the testing and management, but this is news to you. "Yeah!" Dr. Wackett's face brightens up. "We had Witches in the air, Witches on the ground, but no Witches in the sea. I decided that we needed to fix that. If Australia became the first to develop such a thing, it would certainly make us an important research hub...and if we got more attention, I could get more funding for more projects..." She wipes a bit of drool from her mouth. "But then the War started and no one wanted diving legs anymore. This place shut down its aquatics research and I had to get foreign support for the project...practically none of the testing and building happened here." "I was wondering why we were sailing back home," comments Rae. Dr. Wackett ignores her. "And then you show up with a Martian, some of their toys, and news of a threat in the water? Support is practically flooding back in!" She gazes at you with an almost frightening smile. "You've put the project back on track! We can start work on the Mk III design, incorporating whatever we can learn from those Martian models..." Rae laughs. "Hey, hold your horses. They'll cut that funding again if you can't get us down to the Harbinger's depths." Dr. Wackett spins back to Rae, a deathly glare on her face. Rae just grabs another roll and starts munching.[ ] Calm down![ ] So, you can figure out those Mars Strikers?[ ] Other.
[ ] So, you can figure out those Mars Strikers?Those two can be petty some other time. We have work to do.
>>20227804[x] So, you can figure out those Mars Strikers?Time to SCIENCE.
>>20227804[ ]OtherSo, you ready to thank me for all of that support, say around 8:00? Wear something nice.
>>20227841Science Q. Logic!
>>20227804 "So, Doc, you can figure out these Mars Strikers?" you quickly ask. She spins right back around, eager to answer. "Yes! You see, the magical engine can be thought of as just another internal combustion engine, except that in place of fuel, it uses magic, 'burning' it to focus..." She begins a long explanation of how Strikers work. Her words quickly become a dull white noise you can't even focus on, pressing in on you from all sides. You feel like you're suffocating as she stares at you, assaulting you with the joys of engineering- "Hey Tommy, get me some more food, would you?" Rae asks loudly, interrupting Dr. Wackett's train of thought. You take the chance to get a word in edgewise. "Interesting, I never knew that," you say, "but does that mean you can start figuring out how they tick now?" She pouts. "No. Your friend here was using them all day." Rae shrugs.[ ] What were you doing with those?[ ] Well, so long as you get to them.[ ] Other.
>>20227804Martion strikersEffing phone
[ ] What were you doing with those?
>>20227968[x] GOD DAMN IT, RAE. SCIENCE.Or, y'know, whichever is closest to that.
>>20227968[x] What were you doing with those?>can't post using https>browser keeps redirecting me to https>have to restart browser for every fucking postSo yeah Kotters, at least one extra guy trying to quest here.
>>20227968[x]OtherYeah so how about you come over to my place, at around 8:00, and we make things all quiet on the western front. Huh?
>>20228051...all quiet? That's not right...
>>20228081Ssshh...She's into that shit
>>20227968 "What were you doing with those, Rae?" "Hey, don't look at me. Victor said the brass wanted some flight tests done on the things. I was handy and used them before." Rae shrugs again. "Thanks, Tommy," she says sweetly as Tom drops another plate on the table. He walks off, grumbling. Now, Victor...oh yeah. The aid that brought you here a few days ago. He's still roaming around, huh? Your thoughts are interrupted by Dr. Wackett. "I keep telling them that it doesn't matter! We need to take them apart and figure out how they work! Once we start reproducing them, we can finish this war in a few weeks, to say nothing of what we could do with super-high efficiency magical engines..." she trails off as she thinks of all the research and designing she could do. "Yeah, I know. You only told me about a million times today, Doc. I'm the wrong one to be talking to! Take it up with MacArthur and friends if you have an issue," Rae answers hotly. "I already did! They wouldn't listen to me!" "So you think I can do a damned thing about it!?" "Yes, you're the one flying them! You could just hand them to me so I could get started-" "Fat chance! I'm not risking my career by disobeying an order from a General!" "If you let me figure them out, I could just make you another pair to fly-" "And how long would that take, huh?" "I won't know until I look!" They glare at each other. [ ] What do you do?
>>20228130>>20228143A witch can dream, shame we lost the vote though
>>20228150"Both of you, can it. Rae, respect that a civilian scientist is in the right to want to reverse-engineer advanced tech. Believe me, I test that shit. Doc, stop telling her to disobey a superior officer."
>>20228150[ ] what do we do?Ladies you're both beautiful, now why don't we kiss and make up, say around 2000 hours?
>>20228150Let's get Socks to observer and tell us when we're going to fuck something up. He might not have much technical knowledge of the design itself be he probably has a better grasp of the underlying concepts than we do.
>>20228150Going with >>20228170
>>20228197Dude. Seriously. The problem with your dog pictures wasn't that they were pictures of a dog, it was that they were completely unrelated to your posts or the thread itself.And your filenames are just as bad.
>>20228235Hey man, you said stop posting dogs, so I did. You're the only one with a problem. Stop sperging out just because a stranger is doing something that doesn't affect you in anyway.
>>20228197>>20228235>>20228247>>20228266Let's get back to the problem at hand.how do we get these fine pieces of ass back to our bunk by 2000 hours?
>>20228170Just to post because I can, i shall post to back this.
>>20228150You sigh. What a damned headache. "Both of you, please stop acting like children. You're adults, act like it. Dr. Wackett, I expected someone of your position to understand that the military is in direct contact with the enemy every day. They probably have a better idea of what's needed when than you do, and asking an officer to disobey her superior is asking her to commit insubordination, as serious crime. Rae, though asking you to hand over the Strikers is out of line, you have to understand just what we're sitting on here. It's an incredible opportunity to study alien technology and advance our own. Give her a break, would you?" They both cross their arms and grunt, annoyed. "Do you two understand?" No response. "God dammit, you are not children! Do you understand?" "Fine." "...Yes." You lean back, satisfied. "Now, Dr. Wackett. You want to work more on the Substriker, right?" She nods her head. "Well, you can't do that and examine the Mars Strikers at the same time, and if I'm testing them then you can't use Socks to help you through it." "I'm perfectly capable of examining systems without the help of-" "The only person that might be able to keep you from ruining unique specimens of Martian Technology?"
>>20228310 Dr. Wackett has no response. "We'll finish up with the Substriker first. In the meantime, Rae, you finish up whatever the brass needs with the Mars Strikers. By the time we're finished, you'll probably be done using them. Alright guys?" They both nod. "Alright."[ ] Now where the hell are the others, anyway?[ ] What do you guys do for fun in this place?[ ] Other.
[x] What do you guys do for fun in this place?
>>20228317>[ ] Now where the hell are the others, anyway?
>>20228317[x] What do you guys do for fun in this place?
>>20228317[x] What do you guys do for fun in this place?All work and no play makes Cookie a dull girl.
>>20228317[ ]OtherNow lets go get shitfaced, I always provide better test results when I'm drunk.
>>20228317You take a swig of your milk. You've never been one for alcohol, but if this keeps up... "Now, what the hell do you guys do for fun in this place?" you demand. Dr. Wackett tilts her head at you, a curious expression on her face. "Fun?" Oh you have got to be kiddi- "I'm kidding. We've an extensive collection of books that people have kind of chucked all over the facility, various board games, several sets of cards..." She puts her pen to her mouth. "You know, we didn't really have enough people here to just sit around and play until recently, even at night. We might have some other stuff laying around that I haven't seen." "Wait, so you spent most of your days just chugging along in some god-forsaken hole, trying to keep working on a project with no funding?" Rae asks. "Yes. What of it?" "...That's serious dedication." Rae's voice carries a hint of respect for the Doctor. At any rate, Dr. Wackett doesn't take offense.[ ] Well, how's some Chess?[ ] Thirteen Cards, anyone?[ ] Other.
[ ] Now where the hell are the others, anyway?
[ ] Thirteen Cards, anyone?
>>20228419>[ ] Other."Where's everyone else, any way?"
>>20228419[x] Thirteen Cards, anyone?I don't know what that is. Let's do it. Bonus points if we make it Strip Thirteen Cards.
>>20228419Not chess, only two people can play that. Let's play cards.
>>20228487Panzer, when will we see your tanks again?
>>20228449Then get them to play cards.
>>20228419[x] Thirteen cards.Because it's not as dry as chess.
>>20228580>>20228580Ask Kota. I have no idea
>>20228630OH NO YA DON'T.
"Break out that card deck, Doc. Let's have a friendly game of Thirteen Cards." "I haven't heard of that game." She flips through her notes again, as if the answer would be in there. "Oh please, not that game again. I just lose and lose and lose," Rae complains. "The suits are stupid, too." "Come on, Rae. It's not like the suit order in Poker is any less arbitrarily chosen. Just deal with it," you say. "Here they are!" Dr. Wackett tosses a deck of cards into the center of the table. "How did you..." Rae begins, but the Doc just smiles and sets down her clipboard. "Whatever. Tommy, be a dear and clear our table, would you?" After the table is cleared, you shuffle and start dealing. The rules of the game are simple. For each round, you start with a set of cards including the lowest value card. From there, each player alternates, placing a single set of cards that matches the round-starting set in type (single, double, straight, etc.). The round ends when no one can beat the last set placed. First person to get rid of their hand wins. There are a few quirks, but that's the gist of it.
>>20228679 Several rounds later, you've won, leaving second place to be decided between Rae and Dr. Wackett. Several people watch intently, somehow interested in the Doctor's performance in a simple card game. As it stands, they both have two cards left. The placed card is a King of Spades. You've gotten a glance at Dr. Wackett's hand: an Ace of Hearts and an Ace of Clubs. As she's next to place a card, she'll likely win, unless Rae has any 2s.[ ] Take a look at Rae's hand[ ] Give Rae some "advice," subtly[ ] Let this play out[ ] Other
>>20228694>[ ] Let this play outIf the girl can't learn how to properly cheat, that's her problem.
>>20228622You better run it this Friday, like everyone's been telling you to
[ ] Let this play out
>>20228694[x] Let this play outCookie ain't no cheat.>>20228708motherfucker I will end you
>>20228694 You decide to let this play out. You were never much for cheating, anyway. Nervously, Dr. Wackett stares at her hand. Though both cards are aces, the suits are separated. There's really only one choice here, and you wonder if Dr. Wackett is calm enough to see it. Waiting to see her move, you notice you've become just as excited as the few other bystanders. Dr. Wackett takes a card from her hand, and places it on the pile. The Ace of Hearts. "GOD DAMMIT!" Rae yells, defeated. She tosses her hand on the table: a 4 of Clubs and an Ace of Diamonds; if Dr. Wackett had played her other Ace, she'd have lost. "I should have won at least one game by now!" The cheering crowd ignores her. After several more games of Rae losing, you all pack up. It's gotten a bit late, and the staff here wake up early, Dr. Wackett included. As you make your way back to underground room serving as your barracks of sorts, Rae stops and leans against a wall, sighing. No one else is around.[ ] What do you think of Dr. Wackett?[ ] How were the Mars Strikers?[ ] Other.
>>20228820>[ ] How were the Mars Strikers?
[ ] How were the Mars Strikers?Brass tacks time.
>>20228820[x] How were the Mars Strikers?
>>20228820[x] How were the Mars Strikers?Business time.
>>20228820 You do likewise, minus the sigh. The hallways is slightly dimmer than usual, probably to let everyone know it's night time. "How were those Mars Strikers, then?" Rae doesn't immediately respond, thinking about something. "Huh? Oh. Yeah. They were fine. Flying's always fun, so there's that. The brass are a bit demanding, though. 'Have these characteristics recorded by the 29th!' they say, dropping a huge list on me. They can't take the joy out of flying, but...they're trying their damnedest." The 29th? "Hey, what's the date today?" "Huh? Oh, I guess we haven't really had a chance or need to figure that out, huh? It's the 27th, nearly a month since we were on the Tullibee." She places her hand on her chin thoughtfully. "Hard to believe it's been that long. It seems forever ago, yet...it's like we've moved too fast." Hang on. The 27th of July is your birthday.[ ] Huh. It's my birthday.[ ] What kind of characteristics?[ ] Yeah, it's hard to believe that time keeps moving.[ ] Let's head to bed.[ ] Other.
>>20228941[x] Huh. It's my birthday.WHERE THE PRESENTS AT, RAE?
>>20228941[x] Huh. It's my birthday.PARTY TIMEEVERY GET SMASHED RIGHT NOW
>>20228941[x] Huh. It's my birthday.[x] Yeah, it's hard to believe that time keeps moving.[x] Let's head to bed.We worked through the Great Depression. Birthdays with no presents is expected.
[ ] Huh. It's my birthday.
>>20228941[ ]Huh. It's my birthday.[ ] Suddenly Corgi
>>20229029I GOT THE ICING, NOW WHERE'S THE CAKE?
>>20228941 "Huh," you say. "Hmm? What is it?" Rae asks. "It's my birthday today." "What!? You should have said something!" Rae stands straight again, looking around the hallway as if she might find a birthday present for you just laying around. "Cleo, that's not fair! Now I've about four hours or something to find you a gift!" You raise your hands, palms open. "No, no, don't worry about it." "What do you mean 'don't worry about it'!? It's your birthday! This only happens once a year, and with the War, who knows if you'll see another? Come on, I'll boss that Tommy to scrounge up a cake. God knows he's probably stashed one meant for everyone else somewhere-" "No, really, it's fine. I didn't even know until now, and I'm used to birthdays without much fanfare. It's not really important." "If it's not important, why'd you bring it up?" "Well, like you said. It's hard to believe time keeps moving like this. No matter what we do, how we feel...it keeps going."
>>20229127 Rae rolls her eyes. "Yeah, it's amazing. Look, Cleo, tomorrow we'll find something to do for your birthday, alright? Jeez. Don't let it slip by again next year!" "Next year? Didn't you just say I might not make it?" "No reason not to hope, you lovable dope." "I'm the dope? I think we better get to bed; you've gotta have some sleep deprivation going on." Rae laughs. "Sure, sure, whatever floats your boat, birthday girl." The two of you head to your beds. It's been a decently uneventful day. You hope tomorrow will be just the same.NEXT TIME ON SUBMERSIBLE WITCHES: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONSTUESDAY, 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST
Four days laterChrichton’s feet slapped the pavement of the hangar. The alarms shrieking in his ear competed with the rumble of engines firing up.The call had come. The Martians had been sighted off the coast of Italy, between Vadina and Rome. Now, both cruisers, all three witches, all eight seaplanes, the entirety of the Paladins, and all of the raggedy Italian and French units on the base were scrambling, trying to get in the air. Letty shot past the hangar in a brown and red blur, blasting out to the ships, which were now steaming away from the shoreline as fast as their props could take them. A few tiny escort ships joined them, but they were dwarfed by the cruisers, and stayed safely to the flanks, where their 30 and 20 mm cannons could do some AA work.One of the Free French officers was already airborne, wheeled in the distance, waiting for his five squad members to join up with him. Algoud had decided that the smaller squads would launch first, so they could reach the fight faster and buy time for the larger units to arrive. Suicide, for sure, but it meant that when the Paladins hit, they would come down like the wrath of their holy monickers.The Italian half-squad of rickety monoplanes were next in the queue. Chrichton checked his panel over and over, making sure everything was in order. His radio buzzed as Beyside checked it, then went silent on the squad channel. Chrichton switched over to the base’s frequency, and immediately winced.“I repeat, all Allied combat personnel, we are hot, repeat, we are how oboe tare at Rome,” a frightened voice was saying. “We have Leviathans, five of them, and a wing of Sleds in escort, on the horizon.”
A wing. Chrichton swallowed. A full wing. Seventy two sleds. Plus five Leviathans’ worth of four needles each. Seventy two heavies and twenty interceptors. Enough air power to down a gross of Mustangs. And they only had seventeen.They were flying into hell.Beyside’s engine roared to life, jerking him free from his funk. “Paladins!” Heidmack announced over his own radio. “Let’s hear some numbers! Flight leaders, ring the bells! This is Lead, we are four at six!”“This is five, we are four at six!” Kelman said.“This is nine, we are four at six!” Smith announced.Chrichton glanced at the pilots giving thumbs-up around him. “This is thirteen, we are five at six.”“Good! Let the Italians and French get their birds out of the next before we sortie,” Heidmack ordered. A chorus of acknowledgements greeted the instruction.“Hey, Captain, do we have any word out of Levvi, Rome, Civitavecchia, Syracuse…any base but ours?” Duberstein asked.“How the fuck should I know? Wait one,” Chrichton said. He switched to the air tower. “Tower, this is Paladin Thirteen. Do we have any word from other bases or carriers in the area?”“We do, in fact, Captain, the Paladins. That is, the Papal Guard Paladins. All twenty of them, sortieing from San Grimla air base in Tuscany. Along with two squads of Mustangs from Scivetta and four squads of Italian heavy fighters from Levvi and the Skybirds from Civitavecchia,” the tower responded.
Chrichton sighed a breath of relief. So the human and alien numbers would actually be more or less even. The problem was, the Leviathans had those massive masers that could blow planes out of the sky and cook the pilots in their own blood; if they had five, they could arrange them in a ring and submerge after firing off their needles, then just fill the air where the Allies were with maser AA. And then…Rome would burn.The last non-American plane took off and Heidmack taxied onto the runway. Chrichton finished his checklist and tried to shake his fears away. As he did, though, something struck him.How had he known what the Leviathans would do? He had never seen one. Only one had ever even been seen at all, in fact, and it had been destroyed. He tried to shrug his suspicions off…this time, he couldn’t.Chrichton clenched his leather-gloved hands. What was going on? He glanced at his place in the queue of fighters and say Paladin Twelve, Kerlin, finish his taxi. He grabbed the stick and made to follow, trying to ignore the niggling suspicion in his head.Once he lifted, he circled the base a few times, gaining some altitude, as the rest of his flight deployed, and the other three flights soared off to the fight. As he waited for Duberstein to lift, his mind wandered. He couldn’t ignore the problem any longer. Somehow, he had understood the Martian chatter before. Now, he was predicting what the Leviathans would do. How the hell was he doing it?It wasn’t just a guess, either. He KNEW it, as certainly as he knew that the plane would fall if he cut the prop. He knew it as clearly as he knew the sun hurt to look at, as clear as…
…As a book. Chrichton felt a sense of complete detachment creeping into his mind. What if he hadn’t understood their words…but what they had been saying?Chrichton shook his head, sweating. “No. Not possible.” He gritted his teeth. “They’re not people. They don’t even have speech the way we do.”His radio crackled. He jumped a handspan. “Chrichton, we’re ready to deploy,” Beyside’s voice said. Sure enough, Duberstein had lifted. Flight four was ready to go.“All right…all right, Flight Four, let’s go shoot aliens,” Chrichton said, clearing his throat.“You all right, Wally?” Beyside asked.“Just nerves. This is the big one. We win, or we lose Rome.” Chrichton cleared his throat again. “Head out on Heidmack’s tail, form up on me,” he said, angling his Mustang after the now-distant Major.“You got it.” The flight formed up on his tail as his mind churned.How did he know? How did he goddamned well KNOW? Crichton squeezed his eyes shut behind his mask. It wasn’t a guess. It was CERTAINTY. A whimper of anger escaped his lips. “Why is this happening?” he whispered. His voice was strained with regret and fear. “What’s going on?”“Wallace!” A perky voice on his wing made him jump again. Luisa was hovering off of his left wing by about fifteen inches. “Are you all right?”“Fine, thanks, Major…Luisa.” Chrichton waved. “You heading in with Letty?”“Yes. The cruisers are keeping their seaplanes in reserve, since they only have a fifty cal each, and Giselle needs to be on radar duty,” Luisa said. “The Paladins, the other ones, the Papal ones, will be fighting the steam-sleds. We just need you and the other flight groups from Corsica to keep us covered and get the Marina the cover they need.”
“I got it, Major, thanks,” he said, offering her a thumbs-up. She smiled at him through the canopy, fierce and confident.“Gets the blood pumping, doesn’t it?” she said.“It sure does. Hopefully more Martian than human,” Chrichton said. “What the hell color is their blood, anyway?”“Black. It has something other than iron in the cells,” Luisa said, though that that meant Chrichton couldn’t begin to guess.“Okay. Well, that, then.” Chrichton sat back in his seat. “So…any words of wisdom?”She smiled again, softer this time, and ran the fingers of her free hand over his canopy glass. “Don’t get shot.”“How profound.” Unable to keep a smile off his face, he put his hand under hers. “Likewise, Luisa.”“Thanks.” She dropped to the deck, plummeting the nearly two miles in moments, until her red pants and tail vanished against the ocean.“I hate you so much,” Garms muttered.“How much did you bet Duberstein that she was going to ride my plane to the fight?” Chrichton asked.“…Five bucks.”“You’re an idiot.”“What? It makes sense. They’d save magic if they rode there.”“Hush. Radios quiet until we get there. Don’t want to miss a tactical update.” Chrichton switched his microphone off and settled back for the flight.
As he flew, his mind reeled. His conversation with the Major had been a distraction, but now it was back in full force. Something was happening to him. He didn’t know what…but it was there. And now, he had a chance to test it.He reached for the radio button again, this time turning the dial to the Witches’ private channel. “Giselle, are you there?”“Wally? What is it? I’m trying to get these damn seaplanes in the air.”“Sorry, but can you do me a quick favor?”“In mid-air? How risqué,” she said.“Shut up. I need you to patch me – and only me – into the Martian fighters’ radio channels.”The air went silent. “…May I ask what for?” Giselle’s suddenly cautious voice asked.“It’s no secret, we’re just trying to figure out if they have reinforcements on the way.”“Uh…sure…” Giselle’s voice vanished behind a haze of static as she patched Chrichton into the feed. “Here.”The radio was quiet for a moment, before erupting in frenzied noise. “Thanks, Giselle.”“Tell me it’s useful,” Giselle said with an abruptly dark tone.“I think it will be.”“Good. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s technically illegal.”“Well…thanks,” he said. He cut the Witches’ channel and listened carefully. The animal shrieking didn’t seem to mean anything to him at all.“So…now what?” he muttered. He half-closed his eyes, listening. But…nothing. “Hmph. We’ll see how this works,” he said under his breath.
Nearly half an hour passed before Fourth Flight reached the battle. The skies ahead were as clear as a cup of water, with not a cloud in sight. Chrichton had been listening to the alien chatter the entire time, and to his relief, there seemed to be slightly fewer voices speaking, if nothing else. That meant something, right?The other Paladins were in the thick of it by then, dancing with the needles. Chrichton peered out of the plane, cursing whoever had decided not to put real radar in the Mustang. It looked like an anthill down there. The almost invisible pinpricks of Witches darting around the cloud of steam-sleds reassured him. It wasn’t over yet.“CHRICHTON! Chrichton where the HELL are you?!” Heidmack suddenly screamed. Chrichton started and hit his own radio button.“Major! Flight Four has arrived! Orders, sir?”“Save our fucking asses!” Heidmack roared. “Get down here and kill these needles!”“Yes, sir!” Chrichton turned down the alien chatter and switched to the flight channel. “Paladins! Heidmack says thread some needles! Break by wing pairs and engage. Duberstein, cover Blair and Garms.”“Yes sir!” the other four pilots said, wheeling down into the fight below. Chrichton formed up behind Beyside and flicked his safeties off.“Fuck! Vinnard’s hit! He’s bailing!” someone said.Chrichton grimaced. If they were already losing pilots…A Mustang shot past him, spitting death from its wing guns. A needle ahead rolled and banked to avoid it, and the trailing Mustang broke to follow. Chrichton took advantage of the moment of fresh air to glance at the battle head more closely.He gasped. “What?! Where the hell are all those needles coming from?!” he demanded of the air.There weren’t twenty needles in the air ahead. There were forty. And moving over the Leviathans below were twenty five glider bombs.
>>20229134writefag mating season already???
>>20229134What are you saying?
A Witch in a repulsive purple and yellow outfit screamed past him, hammering away at the tail of a sled with a fifty cal. He shook himself, following Beyside into the furball. Beyside was fighting smart: he had clearly opened his WEP to full, and was diving so fast that even a Martian that saw him couldn’t have done much about it. Beyside fired on a needle that had been dogging Smith’s backside, stitching the Martian with his Brownings.The needle spun away, still clearly under control. On impulse, Chrichton turned his radio back up, and listened to an alien voice yelling something. He couldn’t tell what the hell it was saying, but it was angry as hell.“BEYSIDE, BREAK LEFT!” a voice screamed. His wingman jerked his plane to the side as a flurry of purple metal tore apart the space he had been filling. Chrichton followed, ever the wingman. “You have a needle on you!” the voice – Meeker – said.“Chrichton, can you see him?” Beyside demanded. Chrichton searched the skies, and gasped as a needle flashed by, so close he could have touched it.“He’s on me now!” Chrichton yelled. “Christ, he’s in my fucking tailpipe! I’m heading for the deck!” He dove, pushing the stick as far forward as he could. Gravity pulled at him, turning his vision red and spotty. His teeth clenched. “Come on, come on…”The radio squawked. Chrichton rolled the plane to the left by a third and pulled up, breaking out of the dive so fast it knocked him dizzy. The Martian chatter picked up with yells and blubbering. “Chew on it, caviar,” Chrichton said. “Thanks for the heads-up, Beyside!” he snapped over the radio.“Uh…what heads-up?” Beyside asked. “I didn’t say a word,” he said.
>>20229306You don't know the half of it. We writefags are crazy in our little world.
Chrichton’s blood froze. Had that been the MARTIAN? “Well…whatever, it was someone. Am I clear?”“Hell no, bait-and-switch? Wait…” The plane shook with a sudden explosion. “Haha! Fuck yeah, Letty got him!” Beyside crowed.“Is she here?” Chrichton whipped around in his seat, looking for Letty’s white and yellow uniform.“She’s on your left wing!” Beyside announced. Chrichton banked left and stared as the teenaged Witch tore past him, already hammering away at a sled.A stream of tracers from a needle shot past her. Beyside and Chrichton both folded in behind the needled and fired, but the Martian fighter broke off and circled, clearly unable to compete with a Witch and two Mustangs. Beyside and Chrichton moved to follow as Letty kept on the sled.“Give him the shears!” Chrichton called, thumbing his Brownings. As he fired, the needle rolled to the right, directly into Beyside’s line of fire. Beyside walked a line of fifty caliber holes up the needle’s engine, and it flew apart at the seams.“GO TASTE THE MED!” Beyside roared.
Chrichton took the lead as Beyside paused to flip off his opponent. He twisted in his seat, the mixture of human and alien chatter filling his ears. The battle had dissolved into a brawl, as individual planes from the Italian and French reduced squads dueled with the sleds the Witches couldn’t handle, the American supersquad desperately fought off the needles, and the Leviathans inexorably steamed towards the Roman coastline.Far ahead, several tiny grey dots were resolving out of the water: Italian warships, maneuvering to fight off the Leviathans. Nobody was in range of each other yet, but they were closing fast. The Leviathans, true to his prediction, had sunk into the water, leaving their guns exposed and little else. As Chrichton watched, though, the water behind one started to bubble. He squinted, trying to spot a sub, but there was nothing.Suddenly, a needle fighter erupted from the water behind the ship, already firing its purple tracers. They tore through the wing of Captain Kelman’s plane, and it spun down to crash into the Med, ablaze.“WHOA! What the CHRIST was that?” someone yelled.“The Leviathans! They look like that because they carry needles, stored vertically! Those divots on the hull are LAUNCH PORTS! They’re goddamned pocket carriers!” Smith bit off.“Beyside, get on me, we’re taking that fucker out,” Chrichton snarled. He thumbed the selector switch on his guns over to full, activating all six guns. He lined his sights up ahead of the needle that had killed Kelman – he hadn’t seen the body, he hadn’t seen the body – and fired. The needle, clearly not having expected that, shuddered under the fire. The engine died, and it arced into the air before slamming back down onto the waves.“Got him got him! That’s another kill!” Beyside said. “Nice one, Wally!”
The radio blared a shrieking sound. Chrichton smiled tightly. That sound he knew. That was a Martian getting shot in the cockpit. Another alien started yammering about something or other, and Chrichton watched as the Leviathans started closing their formation. The voice changed, saying something else, in a clipped, precise tone, almost like it was…“Counting down…” Chrichton whispered. His eyes flew wide open as he saw the ships start to shift their maser tubes, angling every different direction.“DIVE! ALL HUMAN PILOTS, DIVE TO THE DECK, NOW!” Chrichton screamed on the broadband channel. He slammed the stick forward, diving out of the sky like a comet. To his immense relief, the sky was filled with diving airplanes, though a few stayed high. Mostly the Italians, he noted. He switched to Italian. “Men! Dive for the water! Now!” he yelled.“What’s going on, Chrichton?” Heidmack demanded.“Those huge masers on the Leviathans started tracking individual aircraft!” Chrichton replied tersely. He pulled up above the water, sighing in relief as the other planes pulled up, all around him.Sure enough, the few Italian planes that hadn’t dived down to the water suddenly exploded, all at once. Chrichton nearly vomited as a burning corpse splashed down in the water, not a hundred yards ahead of him. He pulled over the splash, staring in hopeless agony as Place, one of the Paladins who hadn’t been able to dive in time, caught fire, burning in an invisible heat ray.
I hope you all enjoyed this session of Shit Gets Real.See you next time as it gets realer.
>>20229408Rev up those videogames, SWQ (and twq) soon~
>>20229462You mean I actually have to get to writing that MC Eila story?
>>20229462>TWQ soon.>PanzerOh wait your serious? Let me laugh harder.
>>20229556So many positive feels