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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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"Hurry up, Rae! We're already late!"

"Oh...my aching head..."

Your calls for urgency fall on pained ears. Rae, her neat ponytail a mess as her cap barely manages to cling to her disheveled, light brown hair, clutches her head and moans. Apparently you handle alcohol a lot better than she does. Rae scrunches her face, trying desperately to keep the morning sun out of her eyes.

"Come on, Princess," you urge.

"...How the hell are you fine?"

"Magic." Rae groans again.

As she gets on the cargo plane ("Oh god, my poor head..."), you turn to the other laggard: Yetta. She stands happily at the edge of the runway, chatting with that man you flagged down at random last night. You must have an uncanny knack for this; they're really hitting it off.

"Yetta! We've got places to be!" you yell.

"O-one second, Cleo!" she answers. She exchanges a few more words with that George fellow, smiles, then jogs over.
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"Come on, you lovebird," you tease with a smile. Yetta blushes, says nothing, then gets onboard. You follow. "We're good to go!" you inform the pilot. With a quick thumbs-up, he starts for takeoff.

The flight is largely uneventful. Dr. Wackett seems a bit down, but occupies herself with that damned clipboard again. Miranda and Yetta chat amiably. Rae spends most of it complaining about the loud engines and being jostled as she clutches her head.

"Don't forget, Rae. You have to have those specs on the Mars Strikers done today," you add to her misery.

"Oh god...why did I ever do this?" Her complaint is the only response you get.

As the plane finally comes for a landing back at the "secret" research facility, you feel excited and ready to get back to work. The back of the plane opens, forming a small ramp from which cargo (and yourselves) can be extracted. Through this new opening, you spot a particularly antsy-looking officer holding what looks like a mountain of paperwork. He's some way away, but now that the plane's being unloaded, he's started approaching. Quickly.

[ ] - What's up, Victor?
[ ] - Other – WHAT DO YOU DO?
>[x] - What's up, Victor? And can it wait until tomorrow?
>[ ] - What's up, Victor?
Let's get it over with.
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You don't see much of a way out. Besides, he'll catch up to you eventually.

"Heads up, guys. Victor's here."

"Don't worry, I'm in charge of the facility. I would be the only one to be in trouble," Dr. Wackett offers, but the lack of enthusiasm in her voice tells you she's not looking forward to taking flak from the military types.

Rae manages to ignore her suffering long enough to respond. "Don't be like that, Doc. I won't let you take the blame for my idea." Her voice caries the same tone, however.

With nothing else to do, you head down the ramp, others following. You get a few looks from the unloaders, but they turn back to their work when Dr. Wackett follows you out.

"There you all are! I've been looking for you all morning!" exclaims a nervous and irritated Victor.
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"Why, what's happened?"

"Big news. They've managed to get the sub working again."

Dr. Wackett's eyes widen in surprise. "They were messing with it without help from myself or the Martian?"

"I, uh...Yes. They did. General MacArthur is flying out here tonight to make sure they get someone that can figure out how to work it."

Rae raises an eyebrow, then flinches from the increased sunlight. "The General himself? What, he couldn't just tell us to fly someone out?"

"He's taken a personal interest in the recovered material, including the Martian."

That's just great. "When can we expect him?" you ask.

"He'll fly in this evening, so get ready to go. You'll almost certainly be flown out, Chief, along with the Martian. I imagine he'll want you too, Dr. Wackett."

You're not looking forward to this. Well, at least you have several hours until then.

>What do you do?
[ ] Say hi to Socks
[ ] Wackett seems down
[ ] Talk about guys with Yetta
[ ] Other
Tonight is the responsible character night, so, sadly no GTFO!! shenanigans
>'Sup Victor?
>[ ] Say hi to Socks
We should see to our other friend.
>[x] Say hi to Socks
We should see to our primary love interest.
[x] Wackett seems down
She's been down all of last night, too.
>[ ] Say hi to Socks
May as well give him a head's up
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>Say hi to socks
then kill more witches
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You haven't stopped in on Socks in awhile. How has he been doing? You don't imagine he'd have interacted much with any of the personnel, but it must have been boring not being able to talk to anyone for a few days.

"Hey, Victor?" you ask.

"Yes?" he says, suppressing his irritation at the informal address.

"Have you seen Socks?"

"Oh, I believe I last saw him down in one of the empty research labs, sorting through a bunch of equipment in his bags."

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Write your quest.
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You head down to the research facility, giving your comrades a wave goodbye. Trying to find your way in the underground is rather straightforward; it's not a very large or complicated layout. Each "block" is specialized in different areas: aquatics testing, aerodynamics, engines, materials, and then pure research, where the eggheads crunch through numbers and pile up papers. Taking a good look around the research block, you see several people hard at work behind desks. A few crumble up their papers in frustration and try to toss them in wastebins close by. Finally, you come to a formerly unoccupied room, occasional flashes of light brightening the small window in the door.

"Anyone here?" you ask, knocking as you open the door. Socks is hard at work with something, a ton of alien machines and delicate contraptions spread across the floor and tables. To your surprise, a fair amount of human machinery is intermixed with the Martian technology.


He doesn't answer. Oh yeah. Duh.


He turns to look at you.

[Ah, Kukyendall. I had been wondering when I might next see you.]

[ ] What's up, you nut?
[ ] Getting lonely?
[ ] Other.
>[X] What's up, you nut?
>[x] Getting lonely?
Both, unless I have to choose one.
>[x] Getting lonely?

No, what DO you mean?
Are you

[ x ] What's up, you nut?
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[Why? Getting lonely?] you joke.

[Not particularly. I am used to isolation, Kukyendall. It is not uncommon for those like myself to work independently for long periods of time. In fact, this separation has been a familiar experience for me.]

That's a shame. You tell him so.

[I do not think so. It allows me to focus on my work, achieving much more than I could have in other conditions. Overall, I think it favorably impacts my...scientific output, if you will allow so vague a metric.] Socks manipulates several tools at once, demonstrating a deftness of dexterity that humans could only dream of.

[So what have you been working on?] you ask curiously, leaning over his...well, not shoulder. Leaning over his large head to take a look at his current project.

[As you may recall, I took with me most of my research. I have numerous devices that facilitate my research, but they must be adapted for use with human power supplies and other technologies. Luckily I am quite versed in the relevant fields as well, and your technology is very similar in some respects. It has been a tedious but overall simple process. I am nearly ready to begin continuing my research.]
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[Ah, that might be a problem,] you say.

Socks turns to look at you. [What do you mean?]

You roll your eyes. [MacArthur is probably going to fly us out of here tonight. They need help understanding how to use the Sub.]

[Ah. They've yet to cut it off from the network, then?]

[I guess? I don't know, they didn't tell me much.]


Socks returns to work. [Either way, I should have the conversion equipment ready to be moved by tonight, so there will be no issue if he requires a more permanent transfer.]

[I doubt it'll be like that; they've only just put us way out here.]

[Still, the possibility is there. It has been good talking to you, Kukyendall.]

That's rather abrupt.

[ ] You're not trying to shoo me away, are you? I'm staying right here.
[ ] Same here – Go somewhere else. Where?
>[x] You're not trying to shoo me away, are you? I'm staying right here.

"Are you trying to shoo me away? Well, if you insist." Go check on Dr. Wackett.
[ x ] You're not trying to shoo me away, are you? I'm staying right here.
The abruptness, I sense something going on!
not yet, after next SWQ,


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[Hey, now. You're not trying to shoo me away, are you?]

[Of course not, Kukyendall. I merely assumed that you might have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment. We are no longer on the run; we have things we might be doing to try and bring a satisfactory end to this War.]

[Oh. Well, good, then. Because I'm staying right here,] you say, grabbing a chair.

[If that is what you wish.]

Socks returns to his work in earnest, assembling complex hybrid machinery and re-arranging some of the sensitive mess of wires and components on the floor. You watch him for some time, saying nothing. It's all interesting to watch, but eventually you can't bear to stay quiet.

[So, Socks. I've been wondering.]
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[Yes, Kukyendall?] he asks, busy fiddling with some sort of display.

You swing your legs back and forth a little bit as you sit backwards on the chair, thinking about what to say. Suddenly a good question comes to mind. [Why do you call me that? Kukyendall, I mean.]

Socks looks up. [Is that not your name?]

[Well, yeah, but way back on the Harbinger I told you my name was Cleona.]

He tilts his head. [You know when we are linked we have access to some of each others' knowledge. Your name wasn't one of those things kept hidden from view, Kukyendall.]

[Yeah, but...] you trail off. Still, you're curious. [Why'd you decide to use my last name?]

[From what I have gleaned from your mind, first names are typically used by your people in informal situations, between those that feel socially close. Last names are used elsewhere, especially in military contexts.] He turns back to the display, sparks flying as he works with some obscure tool.

[Socks, I don't call Miranda or Rae by their last names.]

Again, he pauses and looks at you. [You use their first names because you are friends.] He waits a beat. [Are you saying you consider me a friend?]

[ ] Yes, you bozo
[ ] ...I guess you're right.
[x]Yes, you bozo.
Yes, you bozo.
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>[x] Yes, you bozo

Socks is pretty god damn moe.

[x] Yes you bozo.

What the hell, guy, why would you do that?
Yes, you bozo.

You have been a savior and more Socks. A darn compassionate martian besides.
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[Of course I do, you bozo!]

Socks stares at you. [That is... pleasant news.] You think you can see the barest of smiles forming on his alien lips. [Yes, thank you. I do appreciate it, Kuk-Cleona.] His mind tries out the thought tentatively, as if unsure about the repercussions...or afraid of what it might mean to use "Cleona." Before, he might have justified everything as formal cooperation necessary to save his people from continued war and incompetent leadership. It could still be business.

But now he has you, a friend. It's not business. He's now personally invested, emotionally invested.

[Yes. Cleona. It is nice to have a...friend, again.] Socks stands still, his work forgotten. You can feel his uncertainty, as if he could no longer remember what being with a friend meant.

[God dammit, Socks. What did you think we were? You save our lives several times, I risk mine for yours. You sure as hell don't do that numerous times for a stranger.]

[I...yes. Of course. It was silly of me not to see it.]

Silence passes between the two of you.

>What do you do?

[x] Touch fluffy tentacle
Ask him about Martians and birthdays. Martian year is what? 800 days?
>"Tell me about your home."
Sock him. Just lightly. Playfully, if you will. Maybe give him a light hug, too. I dunno. Then say something. Like one of these other guys are suggesting.
This. Definitely.

Have a touching moment. Maybe hug (and explain significance of hugs).

Then: "So... what's this about DISCONNECTING IT FROM THE NETWORK, OH GOD.
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You move close and give him a playful punch, reminiscent of your assault on him weeks ago. There's one key difference: you now stand across from each other, more than enemies, more than allies. You are friends.

[You god damned Martian. You're driving me mad with your cluelessness,] you joke.

[I apologize for my ignorance, K- Cleona.] Nodding, he turns back to his work.

You sit back down in your chair, leaning to get comfortable. There's something different now, an acknowledgment of personal cooperation both ways. You find yourself content to sit and watch. For the first time in a long time, you're able to simply blank your mind and not think. It's refreshing.

[There, it should be done,] Socks announces. He lifts up a rectangular device, the display you saw earlier mounted to the top side. Showing it off, he presses a button and the object comes to life. Fans whirr and the display brightens. A long wire comes out of the device, hooked up to an assortment of intricate...things...placed inside a convenient box. Another wire runs out of the box, linking up to the facility's normal electrical supply. [This is merely a small part of the instruments and devices I will use, but it is the core piece. I can begin work anywhere, now.]
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[It looks...well, what is it?]

[It is a complex...processing device. It processes mathematics and information very quickly, allowing me to focus on the larger picture. It can also organize all my notes and data.]

[That sounds impressive.]

[It is. On occasion this device mystifies even myself. Though I understand the general principles behind it, the design and manufacturing is far beyond me. I could not replace it if it were damaged.]

He presses some of the buttons on the bottom half of the device and a moving picture appears. It shows you and Rae in your cell on the Harbinger. In the bottom right, various graphs and charts appear, moving and changing as time goes on. [This is a sample of some of the data we received from observing you. From this, I will hopefully be able to devise new-]

Dr. Wackett bursts into the room, panting. "Cleona," she manages.

[ ] Is something wrong?
[ ] We were having a moment, Doc.
[ ] Glad to see you.
[ ] Other.
>Is something wrong?
What's up, Doc?
>[x] We were having a moment, Doc.

Socks was teaching us about iPhones, damn it!
>You're my friend, what did you think?
>o... of course

Socks confirmed for friendzone.
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Easily fixable if you're the girl. Just need a strategically place "Unless... you want to be more than friends?" at some point.

[x] What's up doc?
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"Is something wrong, Doc?"

"Shut. The. Door"

You quickly oblige, closing it as she stumbles all the way in. She's carrying the Mars Strikers.

"What-I mean, wasn't Rae using those?"

"Finished. I took them. Need to take a look. Before we go."

Looking out the little window in the door, you can see Rae bust into the research block, searching for Dr. Wackett. She scours the area, raising hell with the few researchers that dare to question her obnoxious presence.

Dr. Wackett is already clearing space on one of the tables, much to Socks' dismay. She sets them down and starts producing tools to take them apart from various locations on her lab coat.

[ ] Rae, she's over here!
[ ] Alright, let's take a look, Doc.
[ ] Other.
I'd say it's closer to a laptop than an iPhone. Maybe a tablet with a keyboard built-in.
[x]Alright, let's take a look

She's either found something or is on the verge of a breakthrough. She wants to get this done before the move, let's give her a hand.
>[x] excuse me but wtf r u doin

Bitch don't just waltz in on a moment without an explanation.
"She doesn't look entirely finished, Doc."

That's all I can really think to say.
[ ] Alright, let's take a look, Doc.
[]take a look
scientist gotta science!
[x] Other.
Socks, you mentioned something about a 'network'. Is that how the sub can show where everything is?
Does it... work both ways?
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You feel uneasy about Rae's frantic searching, but decide to give the Doc the benefit of the doubt. Besides, you're curious to see what she's up to.

"Alright, Doc. Let's see what you've got."

"Right." Dr. Wackett begins taking the first Mars Striker apart. It's the replica with no enhancements or modifications. Her tools find holds on seemingly-smooth plates that make up the outer body and carefully remove them. The inner workings are exposed.

[Kuk-Cleona, what is going on?] Socks asks, bewildered.

[Dr. Wackett is going to take a look at these Strikers.]

[Dr. Wackett?]

[She's the lady in charge of this facility...and a bit...eccentric, I guess. She's very enthusiastic about her work.]


"Cleona, could you please...." Dr. Wackett says, gesturing to the leg-hole of the unit.
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"Oh. Yeah, sure." You carefully insert your leg into the unit.

"Good, good..." she says, trailing off for a moment. "Ah, yes. Now, uh..." Dr. Wackett seems to have gotten a little lost...

"Come on, Doc. Slow down."

"Yes, yes, of course. Slow down." She takes a deep breath, holds it, then carefully releases. "Cleona, please engage the unit."

You slowly apply magic to the Striker, bringing it to life. Dr. Wackett carefully notes the moving parts inside the Striker, jotting her observations on the omnipresent clipboard. Socks also takes interest, carefully watching the wondrous and complex machinery.

Bang. Bang.

"ARE YOU IN THERE, DOC?" Rae's voice booms from outside the room.

[ ] Stay silent.
[ ] Open the door.
[ ] Other.
>[ ] Open the door.
Oh fuck it
[x] Other.
"Goddamnit Rae! Trying to get some private time here!"
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"W-what?" Rae sputters in surprise. "C-Cleo!? Is that you? What the hell is going on in there?"

"What are you doing!?" Dr. Wackett whispers angrily.


"Cleo!" Rae yells, opening the door. Oh. You forgot to lock it.

Rae freezes as she sees you sitting on a table, one leg extended into a Striker, as Socks and Dr. Wackett watch intently.


[ ] Just doing some research.
[ ] Like I said. Private.
[ ] Other.
>[ ] Like I said. Private.
[x] Like I said. Private.
Right, next time she decides she's going to have some private time, we're going to barge in on her and see how she likes it.
[x] Like I said. Private.

Does Rae have no boundaries?
"Like I said. Private." You shrug your shoulders, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. To be honest, the situation isn't exactly embarrassingly incriminating. Still, Rae did just barge in after you told her you were doing something private... "Looks like this will have to wait until later, Doc."

"Whaaat!?" she whines. "But I was looking forward to...this..." Recognition flashes in her eyes. "She's found us here. Where else can we go?" Dr. Wackett's voice takes on a much more suggestive tone.

You raise your hand to her face, brushing aside what little of her pale blond hair managed to escape her bun. "Perhaps your quarters," you answer in the same tone. "And you too, Socks."

Rae's eyes widen in complete confusion. "W-what is going on!?"

"What do you think, Rae?" you answer.

"Would you like to join us? I don't like company, but if Cleo wants it..." Dr. Wackett turns to you, longingly.

"I-I'll...come back later..." Rae mutters, and leaves the room.

You laugh. "That was mean, but fun." Dr. Wackett doesn't respond, her face returning to normal with record speed.

[ ] So why is she looking for you?
[ ] Let's keep going.
[ ] Other.
[Hey, Socks. About that network. If that sub's still connected, can they track its location?]
"So, what did you do?"
"Some private research. Since you're here, care to join?"
[x] So why is she looking for you?
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"So why was she looking for you?" you ask.

"W-what?" Your question jerks Dr. Wackett back to the present. "Oh. I, uh...well...she finished testing them, don't get me wrong. She just...wanted to keep using them. For fun." She looks at the floor for a moment. "But we had a deal, remember! When she's done, I get them!"

"Well, I guess that's right. Still, that's not a very nice move."

"...I can't hold up progress because one person wants to have fun."

You sigh. "Well, do you have anything particularly important in mind?"

"Oh! Yes. That's right. Here." Dr. Wackett takes a moment to open up another Striker, the one with the enhanced performance. The inside looks very similar, but various components look larger. A few have changed shape entirely or simply weren't there at all. "Here, put it on."

You slide your other leg into the Striker, carefully shifting your weight to stay on the table. Applying a small amount of magic, the engine springs to life much more quickly, making do with much less magic. Dr. Wackett's face brightens as she scribbles some notes.

"Well, Doc? Is it good news?"

"Of course! This engine still makes use of the same basic principles! It'd take some time to figure out how to replicate it and mass produce it, but..." she trails off, a devilish smile beginning to dominate her face.
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"I think I can retrofit it to a Substriker."

That same smile infects your own face. The two of you bask in the potential of a super-charged Substriker. Socks looks at you both curiously.

[What in the world is going on, Cleona?]

[We might have just found a way to get at the Harbinger.]

[...Oh my.]


Next Wednesday, 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST. See you there!
Huzzah for progress!
Thanks Kotters. Now no more moping!
No Corsair Witches tonight folks.

Catch up for next week.

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