Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26122431/Archive:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Joker%20QuestEquipment FAQ:http://pastebin.com/9C1rxEMS(Corrected Starting HP.)Player List:http://pastebin.com/rRSM6LgWTwitter: https://twitter.com/JokerQuestOPRecap: You are ANON, the RED JOKER. In our last instalment, you ventured into the FLOODED DISTRICT, in search of ARGENT PROMINENCE'S missing team - Only to encounter ALURA UNE.
To the Argus System, the fibrous mass before you - All writhing vines and snaking tendrils, a black flower of suppurating decay - is a multi-part horror. Your sonar pings, the milimeter-wave lighting up your sensors with targeting data: The fleshy black petals curling around the swollen tumour of the ovary, mishapen bulges pressing against the seething surface - The individual filaments that twist towards you, swaying to some secret rhythm - The organic obscenity of the stigma's inner ring, a maw ringed with razor teeth.Violet flechettes have gouged and scarred your crimson plate, tiny shards smoldering with internal fires: Needle-thin fragments spiking your cuirass and greaves, smoke rising as they melt away. The air hums with the dull drone of metallic wings, the remnants of EXEC-SWARM gnawing at the swaying abdomination before you: Dozens more crushed and incinerated, twitching away the last of their brief lives.The Tempest Scrander whirrs at your back, the charging elements in your fists pulsing with heat - The Graviton Cannon's generator swarming with neon lines, the capacitators spinning as they gather charge. On your left arm, the Sinistral's light flickers, cycling back to strength - Dimming ever-so-slightly as power is diverted, the ghost steel casting a surreal white radiance that only serves to make the darkness dirty."Aaah, what should I do? Joker-kun is being mean to me..." Alura - Alura *Une's* - lilting voice echoes from the cramped confines, as a thicket of vines lifts her up before you: It's hard to tell where she ends and the growth begins, coiling brambles slithering beneath her dress, crossing and shifting where her legs should be. Even her hair has a life of it's own - It moves with a slow, oily ripple, individual strands extending upwards and into the infinite dark. Then, very softly: "Joker-kun...You're a *bully*." (Continued)
>>26321452The ground trembles, as the whole suppurating shape drags itself forward, the walls groaning at the peristaltic motion. Alura raises her pale hands - Silver pins glinting between her fingers, bright and lethal as stilettos. Underfoot, the floor *ripples* uneasily - Bulging outwards, then falling...-Like the first beat of a palpitating heart.HP: 123.4%COBALT BOOSTER: 64%ASSAULT SHROUD: 88%METER: 19%RIFLE BITS: 5/5 ACTIVEARGUS SYSTEM: ACTIVESINISTRAL: ACTIVEGRAVITON CANNON PRIMEDYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26321493Fuck. Looks like it's time to start blasting. Back away, and fire our Graviton Cannon at the bitch. Maybe we collapse the tunnel on her?
>>26321493FIRE! Fire the Gravition Cannon, keep our distance, when we're not firing the Graviton cannon at her unload with the Tau Gun.After that use a Cobalt Boosted Phalanx Chain Mine on her, all that fire and life tracking ought to ruin her day.Fire is our best friend.
'lo OP, glad to see you've recovered. Jetlag+sickness is the worst.>>26321493Joker has the Graviton Cannon in hand, it'd be a shame not to use it. Target the center, pull the switch. Get mobile after firing, no need to be a stationary target.
>>26321493Oh Hell.The C'hauliflower is getting ready to make it's move. And we're still poisoned. We have enough shroud left for another Swarm, but that'll put us dangerously low... shit. "You're a sneaky little thing! You tried to take me from behind! You're the bully in this! I was defending myself, dear!"Lessee. The thing is trying to protect it's Plant Horror-thing. Shoot the Gravitron cannon at the eggsack.
Good to see you up and about again OP. I took the liberty of archiving the thread already so that asshole doesn't get a chance.>>26321493FULL IMPACT CANNON! FIRE!
>>26321826>C'hauliflowerAbsolutely perfect.>The thing is trying to protect it's Plant Horror-thing.Not quite by my reading. Remember Grand Fisher? Alura's human form is the lure. The fleshy mass is "her" real body.
>>26322002> "You're a sneaky little thing! You tried to take me from behind! You're the bully in this! I was defending myself, dear!"She pouts - Actually *pouts* - but her words are lost in a flurry of lashing vines and black-barbed blossoms: For it's great mass, the warped *thing* is deceptively fast - It rills towards you, tendrils stretching across the distance, unfurling itself in a tangled blur of violence...-But you level the Graviton Cannon, and wrench the trigger. It doesn't fire a projectile. It isn't like any gun you've ever seen before. Instead, everything before you is simply - *crushed*. There's distinct sound, a solid kick of impact - An invisible weight smashing down, a great hammer falling. The ground cracks, an instant crater erupting with the moist, slick sounds of plant mass being mulched...Sickeningly *organic*, a pressure-wave shrieking back at you- ...As overhead, the bulging tumour *bursts*. Not completely, and not at all once; But the effect is like an anvil coming down on an overripe fruit.(Continued)
>>26322002>Grand FisherShould've had more screen time. But yeah. I get your meaning.
>>26322002>>26322062And I had the impression the eldritchian plant horror was protecting an eggsack from last thread. What with her desire to see her project come to fruition.
>>26322009Jets of unspeakable fluids gush out from new rents in the surface, as the organ is *compressed* and *crushed* and *warped* by powerful gravimetric forces - The air trembling beneath the blast, black clouds boiling outwards from the impact zone."No~!" Alura shrieks, her lovely features twisted to ugliness - "You're *spoiling* it...You're spoiling *everything*~!"You get the Sinistral up in time - The force field flaring as the fingertips of her outstretched right hand branch *outwards*, like a bare tree tipped with silver spikes; Sparks fly, as the impacts drive you back, three needle-sharp points shrilling as they grind against the surface of your ghost-steel shield.She's *changing*, right in front of you. A ring of bright red lines her black pupils, her spine bulging outwards with new growths; Something *bursts*, and the air fills with motes of choking pollen...-Red warning lights igniting on your HUD.Your limbs groan, acutators and servoes protesting as you keep your arms up - A sudden tremble in the myomer fibres that make up your armour's musculature. The plates on your left arm, your right leg, begin to *bulge* outwards, squirming to reluctant life...As you trigger the Graviton Cannon again. This time, the crater appears on the side wall - Alura slams into it, her form momentarily compressed...A shrill "Nnnnghh~!!!" wrenched from her throat, as she rills like a half-crushed insect. Horribly, you can see plant matter running down her cheek, one arm unravelling into tendrils...And then the lashing vines slash across your helmet, raking their thorns across your cuirass - Coiling around the Sinistral's flickering field, beginning to *constrict*...Fighting to *crush* it, as you keep your shield up.HP: 114.2%COBALT BOOSTER: 69%ASSAULT SHROUD: 80%METER: 27%RIFLE BITS: 5/5 ACTIVEYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26322182Collapse the shield and hit her with it's concussion wave to buy us time. Recharge the shield with 5% of our meter. Hit her with the Cannon *again* then get in a better firing position to drive her back into the wall before she can recover. Those interceptors better be chewing through our new Plant-fu.If that doesn't kill her or bring her very close to death, then we have ourselves leverage. We can extort her for her life for information and then kill her anyway.
>>26322182Oh no she doesn't. Cobalt Boost the shield and give her another Graviton blast. Unless boosting requires the Sinistral have a charging element to itself. In that case, drop the Graviton Cannon and start shooting her center of mass with the off-hand Vulcan.
>>26322182Grab onto the vines on our helmet with one hand and activate EXEC_CONSUME.Overload the Sinistral and then bring it back with 5% meter.Send a Cobalt Boosted Chain Mine at her, fire and it tracks based off of her lifesigns, that is perfect for this situation. Let her burn forever.
>>26322318Man, I really don't wanna kill her. She's like a more horrifying version of Saya.
>>26322405Her being Saya is reason enough to kill her. We're going to prove that love doesn't "bloom" in the Red World.
>>26322539If we have her on our side, we wouldn't haft to go through all of this infighting over 'best girl' and whomever Anon should pick. No. Our new plant-fu will forcibly transform them into terrorboners for our pleasure.
>>26322318>>26322389The Sinistral's field flickers - The emitter array whining as it cycles - And then with a *BANG* like a short-fused grenade, the ghost steel explodes, a thunderclap that echoes from the walls. In these closed confines, the blast is deafeningly loud; Like confused snakes, the tendrils lashing at you at flung back by the punishing concussion - But *more* of them grab at you, a fine layer of moss beginning to grow from the surface of your left arm- >>26322389The Cobalt Boost in your chest flares with cold blue light - And the Sinistral's fizzing edge erupts in cobalt flame. With a shrill surrusation, the vines gripping the hard-light construct ignite, writhing in mindless torment; The violent expansion shearing through them in a wedge of crackling fire, racing up the surface like napalm, scads of shredded plant matter burning as you slash your way free. "It *hurttttttsssss*~!!!" Alura wails, in real distress now - Even as your Rifle Bits circle you in a defensive halo, their pencil-thin particle guns lancing and slicing through the thicket of brambles reaching out to ensnare you. She shrinks back, and the viridian horror she's part of - The horror that she *is* - seems to contract on itself, like a muscle tensing, as you swing the Graviton Cannon up to fire- And without warning, your left arm explodes in writhing life.(Continued)
>>26322632Oh shit, that poisons status effect finally kicked in. What fresh Hell is it now?
>>26322632Oh god! Maybe we can take out the organic stuff in us with EXEC_CONSUME or something like that. Because the other option I'm seeing is to set ourself on fire.
>>26322632The myomer fibres have *sprouted*, with a sudden blossom of plant growth - Screeching vines, tipped with writhing black blossoms, pushing out from the cracks in your armour. The rampant overgrowth twists over and around in mindless disarray, clutching at you, clawing at you - You stumble back, even as you hear them *sizzle* as they touch the Sinistral's field; Your left arm host to grasping parasites, the squirming sensation utterly revolting. >>26322389With one hand, you can't fire the Graviton Cannon - It thumps to the ground at your feet, a solid lead weight, as you swing your right arm up: The single-shot launcher sketching itself into existence, the whooshing roar of the missile launch momentarily drowning out all other sound- ...At nearly point-blank range, the Chain Mine slams *into* the writhing tangle that is Alura - Like a harpoon into a black heart. It spears *through* her, rocket thrust burning; Her half-crumpled form actually thrust *back*, the great petals of the growing horror curling backwards on themselves as your Interceptors slice their scalpel-beams along it's length...Then the air is filled with racing flame. The detonations overlapping, spheres of pellucid blue fire peppering the waxy black surface; One after another, unstoppably, until the great mass convulses and shudders with a dozen tiny infernos; The heat enough to momentarily white-out your visor- "Why~? Whywhywhywhy*whhhhyyyyyyy*~?"(Continued)
>>26322839It's a wailing chorus from not one, but a *score* of mouths - Horribly, you can see *faces*, mouths, pushing out of the flaming surface, as a vertical column of blue flame rises to the ceiling; The plant-horror is burning, burning, and the fire races across the suffering, suppurating mass. It *thrashes*, the spiked mouth of the stigma smashing down right before your feet - Rearing in torment, pounding a fist-sized hole in the wall - then the other way, hard enough to make the earth shake. The smell; It's like roasting hair, plastic, as fibrous flesh boils away - You can barely see, as the snaking confusion of your arm clutches at you, wrenches at you, the wild tangle probing at the cracks in your visor as your right leg spasms beneath you - Blotting out view of the seething inferno, the riling torment that rings in your ears like the howls of the damned.HP: 102.8%COBALT BOOSTER: 46%ASSAULT SHROUD: 80%METER: 11%RIFLE BITS: 4/5 ACTIVEYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26322944Cobalt Boost the Bits. Have them cut away the vines that are hounding us.
>>26322944I'm >>26322793 by the way.There are two possibilities I can think of. Either use EXEC_SWARM or EXEC_CONSUME and use that to deal with the infestation.Once that's dealt with start shooting downrange at the big thing with the Tau Gun.
>>26322622Oh Christ no, I read that doujin. SLASH AND BURN is the proper response here. Alura isn't a waifu, she's a Corrector-or-worse with the ability to assume human form programmed to display affection towards the Red Joker. Whether the programming is intentional or a side-effect of whatever imprinting process was used to create her is irrelevant because she's a literal honeytrap. Or a literal Venus flytrap if you prefer botanical metaphors.I suspect Hecate was one of Alura's "sisters" albeit one who escaped and managed to remove the worst of her programming through the Vitruvian Device she said she used.>>26322944"You should have come looking for me Alura, like Hecate did. I wouldn't have turned you away. But for all your power you don't have a bit of a soul. I'm sorry. Goodnight."EXEC_Consume, first the creepers on the arm, then mass around us.
>>26322996(Just to confirm: You're using your Rifle Bits to fire on your left arm?)
>>26322996We need to save our booster so we can Consume the infestation in our armor. Don't waste what we have left.>>26322944"Why you ask, dear? Because you tried to eat me the same way you did the other Players there. I don't take kindly to folks who can't show some common courtesy. I'm nice to those who are nice to me. You were not nice.""For what it was worth. I'm sorry."Keep blasting away with everything.
>>26323041seconding wata, for great justice. good to see you back, JQOP>>26323063vetoed
>>26323063Not him, but no, that's a terrible idea unless we want to cut the arm off entirely. The creepers are coming from inside the armor, right? Chopping off the tendrils we can see won't get rid of the plant if it's rooted well.
>>26323063>using our bits to burn out the infestationThat's almost brilliant if we weren't currently fighting off a C'hauliflower. But no. Hell no. Save the suicidal ideas for later.
>>26323063>>26323063>(Just to confirm: You're using your Rifle Bits to fire on your left arm?)>>26323077>We need to save our booster so we can Consume the infestation in our armor. Don't waste what we have left.Better idea
I'm kinda liking the gravity gun's bigger brother. Need to test the other weapons in due time.
>>26323008>>26323041Your left arm - It's *fighting* you, brambles coiling around you throat like a barbed-wire garotte - but your Helix Gauntlet clamps in place, the metal shutters irising open to reveal the smoldering violet orb of the Nihl Sphere...You don't have to activate it; Not truly. Rather, you simply stop holding it in. You can feel the cold, unalloyed *hunger* that radiates forth, like a blight - The thrashing vines slowing their frantic motion, riling in new agonies as they squirm; As if trying to pull *away* from the portions that they know are dying, withering like a time-lapse video - As you make a fist, isolating the parts of your armour with the infestation - tics of violet light coil along your limbs, drawn unerringly to the seething iris of the Nihl Sphere- Your leg nearly gives out, as the waves of unutterable chill grasp at you - White static fizzing across your visor, the glow of your Cobalt Booster dimming; Until you break the connection with an effort that sends adrenaline bursting through your brain, HUD fading in and out - A momentary weakness nearly overcoming you - as your servoes groan from the effort...-Before you, the tumorous mass of the horror has folded in upon itself; A teardrop of blue flame, gouts of burning vapor cascading down. It trembles, convulsing like a living thing - The veiny surface bulging, straining in every direction at once, as if fighting it's own destruction...>>26323146>>26323077>>26323041"I'll *find* you~!" Alura's voice is wet and gargling, coming from somewhere within the ruin - "I'll come back, and I'll *find* you-"(Continued)
>>26323357Op, i was looking over our weapons and such, now that we have enough to start making us choose options, and one weapon precludes another.The crisis arm and helix gauntlet both use our right handed(from the description of when we got ti). Are they compatable?And, regarding Charging Elements. If we turn the Sinistral on, we lose the vulcans in our left hand, correct?Since our plasma caster uses the primary systems of the caster(or so says the pastebin) does that mean we can have two out at once?What about the nova cannon?
>>26323375And that's the last you hear from her, as you draw your arm back - Your piston-driven fist smashing through the riling inferno, your claw-tipped fingers sinking into the thing's core...Hoarfrost dappling the walls, as the Nihl Sphere begins to *feed*. The dozen metal dendrites of the Helix Gauntlet sink into their target; filaments stabbing deep, draining greedily, alien symbols flashing across your sensors- Waves of heat beat at you, as the pod begins to decay - The stuff oozing from it's crushed wounds the colour of old candle wax, running in ropy strings down the sides, pooling on the ground; Like a thin-walled brood sac, with half-seen larva incubating inside. It's collapsing on itself, as the inferno takes it's toll; The Nihl Sphere glowing like a star- ...Until something clutches as your arm in a deathgrip, and holds on. It's a desperate grasp, white-knuckled and unrelenting - Hideously strong, too, enough that you can hear the low whine of protesting servoes, hard enough to crimp the crimson plates of your armour. It doesn't pull at you, but *holds on* - The only solid object in a sickening, semi-solid bolus, already withering and dying as the blue flames begin to die out. HP: 107.2%COBALT BOOSTER: 21%ASSAULT SHROUD: 74%METER: 17%RIFLE BITS: 4/5 ACTIVEYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26323456>It doesn't pull at you, but *holds on* - The only solid object in a sickening, semi-solid bolus, already withering and dying as the blue flames begin to die out.Crisis Arm Smash.at least if is answered>>26323436>The crisis arm and helix gauntlet both use our right handed(from the description of when we got ti). Are they compatable?
>>26323456Cobalt Boosted Crisis Arm PUNCH! Because fuck her and her creepy home.
>>26323456Summon Plasma Caster, then pull it out. We might have found one of Argent's people. If not, blow it's head off and return to feeding the sphere.Also, we are going to have to find where things that go into the sphere end up. First Amalgam, then the Hellions patterning themselves on Bardiel, now Alura says she'll be back. No sir, I don't like it.
>>26323496>>26323580ill third it, as long as the gauntlet wont mess it up
>>26323436(Yes, a lot of weapons preclude the use of others. The Crisis Arm and the Helix Gauntlet aren't compatible - To activate EXEC_CONSUME, you need to make direct contact with the Gauntlet. So it's either a punching fist or a draining fist. But like in the example above, once you've punched into a target, you can turn off the Crisis Arm to use the Gauntlet's EXEC_CONSUME instead.However - The Level 2 Sinistral precludes the use of left-arm Vulcans. (Because the charging element in your left arm is already being utilized, to power the charged shield.) Your Nova Cannon's energy demands means that it uses both charging elements at once - But the weapon can be handled with one hand, leaving one arm free.Your Special Weapons are empowered by your Meter - They only need a free hand to fire. So even if you're using the Nova Cannon, you can still fire the Plasma Caster.)
>>26323456That aint good. It's trying to crush our arm before the Nihl can finish the job. If we try to pull out, The Thing in the Subway will come right out of it's cocoon.... hum.Pull the thing out. It's the only solid thing in the goopy mess. We have all of the cards if we do. If we don't, we're going to lose the arm.
>>26323626Hang on, let's not be too hasty. Let's drag the fucker out, like an abortion, and see what it is. If it's not friendly, we roast it slowly with the plasma caster.
>>26323456>>26323641>Pull the thing out. It's the only solid thing in the goopy mess.Yeah, this seems like the right course of action, especially so if it was something or someONE trapped inside the pod for the purpose of transformation.
>>26323625>Summon Plasma Caster, then pull it out. We might have found one of Argent's people. If not, blow it's head off and return to feeding the sphere.Actualy, that's a very good point.Pull them OUT first, THEN see who it is.If she is, indeed, a venus flycorrector, they may very well have caught the person we're looking for
>>26323709but JQOP is renowned for trickery. if we dont know it, consume it anyway. no-one will ever know
>>26323638>Your Nova Cannon's energy demands means that it uses both charging elements at once - But the weapon can be handled with one hand, leaving one arm free.>Your Special Weapons are empowered by your Meter - They only need a free hand to fire. So even if you're using the Nova Cannon, you can still fire the Plasma Caster.)Ah, sad. i was more hoping we could get us a fancy cowboy hat and gunsling the Nova Cannon and the Incinerator pistol at the same time whenever we get a chance to buy it.Anyway, you may want to update the next armory with 'handedness' of things, by the meter costs.
>>26323638>Your Nova Cannon's energy demands means that it uses both charging elements at once - But the weapon can be handled with one hand, leaving one arm free.Hmn.So THAT's why artifact ranged weapons are useful.
>>26323638So you're saying that if we got more charging elements we could utilize more weapons? We'd need extra hands to really take advantage of that, but dual-wielding heavy weapons is a reward of its own.Or maybe we could attach a gun to the Tempest Scrander and use it as a mobile weapons platform.Actually, speaking of, is there a way we could integrate our relics further into the armor? I don't mean strengthen them necessarily, I want to increase their synergies. Using the Assault Shroud's nanomachines to repair broken limbs, or draining the Scrander's charge to supercharge the Cobalt Booster, that sort of thing.
>>26323796>artifact ranged weapons are usefulSo are more hands. Do you even Munchkin?
>>26323815>Actually, speaking of, is there a way we could integrate our relics further into the armor? I don't mean strengthen them necessarily, I want to increase their synergies. Using the Assault Shroud's nanomachines to repair broken limbs, or draining the Scrander's charge to supercharge the Cobalt Booster, that sort of thing.Doesn't that usually happen when we level artifacts?Op's been pretty good about inter-artifact synergy, the most recent example being how the Argus System boosted other weapons with lock-on powers
>>26323740>no-one will ever knowDon't be so hasty, things CAN detect essence signatures.Anyway, pull it out. See what it is. Use the jetpack if we need to.
>>26323858Whenever we use the Crisis, we haft to start saying "Ye Not Guilty".
>>26323740But they might have important information. We should drag them out
>>26323914>>26323880ok, bring them out, but i dont trust it. corruption and all those good things. im expecting a completely different form, but still being c'hauliflour. never trust organic parasites, kill them with fire, and every planet within a lightyear gets the torch also
>>26323749(That's a very good suggestion, actually. I'll keep that in mind.)>>26323625>>26323709>>26323641Your Plasma Caster sketches itself into existence - Blocky, lethal, green tell-tales winking to life. You set your heels, and *pull*; Acutators grinding in momentary protest, a sickening sound echoing in your ears - The sound of a sucking chest wound, of a blade being pulled free...As you wrench back, you make out slate-grey fingers of composite ceramite, gripping your arm...Then further, the arching spikes of a grilled helm, the curving edges of the blades that sprout from his shoulders and back in sweeping tusks- He has no legs. The burnished silver of his form is warped, half-melted; Interlocking plates bent and buckled, revealing the fizzing circuitry and dissolved myomer fibre beneath. His remaining hand grips your armour so hard it dents the plate, as his hissing weight thumps to the ground before you; A sickly green light flickering to life in the depths of his skull.Your targeting sensors cycle. A name:PALLADIUM ROOK."Burn it-" Rook's voice is a low, fizzing rasp, a metal-on-metal scrape of agony and suffering and bone-deep, ice-cold hate. "Let it *burn*."Servoes whine as his head lolls back, focus wavering - "The...others?"[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26323962If I'm reading right, I think the heart thing we've been pulping in this thread and the cocoon sack from the last are the same thing. So this is probably one of AP's guys.
>>26324075Use the argus system. It picked them up last time, if they're still intact we should be able to locate them. Pulling them out is another problem.
>>26324075"Dead. Presumably. You're the only one I've found."Stick the Nihl back into the goopy mess and finish it off."You're one lucky son of a bitch you know that? Argent sent me. We'll talk later."
>>26324075Who is your Boss? (whats something only a metallic would know? we need to confirm he's not a c'hauliflour)
>>26324075"Only one I've found. Still some of her left, but they'd have come up by now. I'll keep looking."
>>26324092it might all be c'hauliflour, and this is just an immature sprout of one
>>26324075Use the Argus system, see if there's anyone else in there.
>>26324145Think all the players know AP's real identity, he's something of a celebrity.
>>26324075>(That's a very good suggestion, actually. I'll keep that in mind.)What, the gunslinging, the artifact cowboy hat, or the armory update? ;)
>>26324171>Use the Argus system, see if there's anyone else in there.This is a good one
>>26324171>>26324138> "Only one I've found. Still some of her left, but they'd have come up by now. I'll keep looking."The Argus System scans. Milimeter-wave, sonar, radar - All three at once, like a searchlight through the wilting form. You make out...Fragments. An arm. A leg. A scatter of limbs, dissolving slowly within the unspeakable core of the suppurating, suffering horror... But nothing that still lives.At times like this, you're grateful for your helmet's unchanging face. >>26324145"Who else would...send us down here?">>26324138>>26324143> "Dead. Presumably. You're the only one I've found.""My team-" he rasps, in a voice thin, thready, even through the filter of his helmet's speakers. "I'd hoped-"Rook tries to gesture, tries to push himself upright - A futile effort, with a single arm. > "You're one lucky son of a bitch you know that? Argent sent me. We'll talk later.""Lucky-" There's something distinctly bitter in his buzzing voice. "-Not fair...To *them*-"Rook flinches, as the tumorous shape completes itself collapse. Green motes swarm around you, rising like shimmering smoke from the surface - Your wing binders closing, serenely, your Rifle Interceptors docking back in place; At your shoulders, and the small of your back. "My fault - All my *fault*-"[ ] "We'll worry about that later."[ ] "Everyone makes mistakes."[ ] "Can you get out of here?"[ ] "What happened, exactly?"[ ] "Why were you here?"[ ] "How many of you were there?"[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26324577can you get out of here?Why were you here?argent can deal with him if he can get out, but if theres anything else here, we will find it
>>26324577"You can brood over the loss all you want later. Right now, I can't guarantee that the whole damn place won't collapse on us, so it's best if we get out of here. You dying due to depression won't do good to anyone."
>>26324577"Your fault? No. Place the blame on those who set the trap. It becomes your fault only if you fail to learn from what the Smilers did here. You were here to investigate the distortion, yes? What did you find?"
>>26324577>You make out...Fragments. An arm. A leg. A scatter of limbs, dissolving slowly within the unspeakable core of the suppurating, suffering horror...Might as well bring it back. Check for things we can bring for Argent - or even artifact remains from the others.Lets see. he's grieving for his friends and team, start off with..[x]How many of you were thereand segue into"what happened and what were you after?"finish with "i'm sorry for your loss, but you're not dying on my watch. Lets get out of here."
>>26324577Punch him in the face."Get ahold of yourself. We're not out of this shit yet."Grab his shoulder and shake it."You *will* not fall apart here, Rook. You *will* not. We haft to get out of this death trap alive and debrief to Argent at what we've discovered. Only after that can you lose it, alright? Help me help you so you can live another day. So you can remember the fallen."Pull him into a fireman's carry and Scrander the fuck out of their."They wouldn't want you to break down over their deaths soons you were pulled out of their, would they Rook? No, they'd want you to get back up on your own two feet and kick some ass in their name."
>>26324577"Did you discover what caused the surge before she got you? Huh, people have been going missing in this place for years. I wonder if it was all her?"
>>26324728I don't think that's really the right way to go about this.Also, we're underground in a network of tunnels so I think flying is out.
>>26324797We went down one partially flooded subway tunnel. This dude is losing his shit and the quicker we get him out of the place that ate his bros the better for his sanity and psyche. Plus we really really need to get back to Argent and actually tell him whats what.
>>26324577[x ] Free: Its not your fault. People have been going missing here for years. We're going to get you out, but she got away. Tell me what happened, why were you here?
>>26324668> [X] How many of you were there?> [X] Why were you here?"Five-" Palladium Rook's strained voice crackles, then cuts out - "...Just a, a *scouting* run, that's all it was. And then, and *then*-">>26324665>>26324848He goes silent. "-We heard the bell. That damned bell, tolling the end of always..."If you could see his face, it'd have gone sallow. "Then - They were *all over us*. Hundreds of them, eating at the roots of the world; They came out of the *walls*. So many..."Rook's voice drifts in and out. A blurt of white noise buzzes from his throat. "The...white one was with them. And that bitch, that awful bitch, she said-" The green light flickers in his helm: "'I can use them.'""I hope - Hope where she's gone - Hope it's *hot* there...">>26324764Rook's arm is already drooping, his helm falling to the cracked cuirass of his armoured chest. "You tell him - You have to *tell* him - It leads *all the way down*, you see? *All the way down*, into hell...That's where they come *through*."He sounds like he's about to weep. (Continued)
That has to be the shittiest way to go. Slowly dissolved in an acid bath? I'll take burning alive for 500 hundred, Alex.
>>26324871>We heard the bellDon't tell me we'll haft to navigate Sen's Fortress. That place is a haven for dickwraiths.
>>26324924OP's building up to Joker slapping sense back into him. It worked for Tyrian (mostly), and we've probably got better material with Palladium here.
>>26324979does this mean we have to kill the new cardinal, who is actually an incredibly convincing trap? or will argent prominence actually turn into his original form, a giant goddess with tits the size of our armour?
>>26325010I could dig it. Or him. There is nowhere near enough fap material for either of 'em.
>>26324871is OP banned again?
>>26324989>better material with Palladium hereYou're a funny guy. I chortled when I realized that material is scattered all over the floor, the walls, the ceiling, us, and Rook.>>26325091Or internet crapped itself again.
>>26324728(My apologies: Connection went on the blink.)>>26324668There's not much left, to be honest - Scattered, half-digested limbs, fragments of scattered armour...All slowly dissolving into the gloom of the tunnel. Nothing usable, you think...-Were they looted before they died? Or was their equipment...digested, too? Neither option seems especially savory to you. "Oh god-" For a moment, Rook sounds very, very young. "They're all..." Words seem to fail him. "All of them-">>26324668>>26324728And you hit him. Not to kill, but hard enough: Your fist crashes against his helm, snapping his head back. The dull impact rings up your arm, with a *clang* of steel-on-steel; Rook manages a startled blurt of white noise, the green fires behind his mask kindled higher. "You son of a..." he begins, shaking his head to clear it; But the fluctuating green light steadies, back to a fitful green illumination. Back in the here and now.> "Can you get out of here?"Rook glances down at his remaining arm - A reflexive gesture, so fast it's entirely instinctive. He draws a deep, rasping breath; "...Not from here. Too much - interference - the signal's...">>26324728That's all you need to hear. You begin to trudge forward, one step after another - Your Argus System scanning the gloom, as you forge down the tunnel. > "No, they'd want you to get back up on your own two feet and kick some ass in their name.""Says the...Red *Joker*..." Rook manages, a pained amusement in his voice. "-No wonder...*He* likes you..."He's drifting again. Green motes of light sift from his ruptured form, like escaping streamers of neon vapor; Even as the tunnel before you forks apart - One travelling sharply to the left, the other continuing forward and to the right, sloping slightly upwards. [ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26325179slightly upwards, until we clear this interference. >you're gonna make it buddy! dont die on me here!
>>26325179We want to get out of here, right? Go up. Always up. Only idiots go down.
>>26325179What are the odds on just burning a path straight up with the Fusion Annihilator?
>>26325179Good grief, he's spilling out at the seams. Detach half of the remaining Assault Shroud, wrap him in it. Nanomachines can do everything after all; and it should make him easier to carry too.As for the paths... well, the field is called the Flooded District, so we have to get above the water table to advance. Recommend checking the Nihl Sphere while we're at it, though I suspect it'll come back "Answer unclear, ask again later".
>>26325179We went down the East tunnel. Return to the East tunnel. Hopefully the flooding does not carry over to this world."You need to hold on, okay? Just a little farther, Rook and we're out of these tunnels. You need to hang in there so you can report to Argent. Think of your duty, kiddo. Gotta live so you can celebrate being alive once we get back. Can't do that if you die on me here."
>>26325328>Good grief, he's spilling out at the seams. Detach half of the remaining Assault Shroud, wrap him in it. Nanomachines can do everything after all; and it should make him easier to carry too.Agreement. He's gonna bleed out - at least do emergency first aid. Make sure he's not poisoned or anything.
>>26325299Pretty shitty. Considering we're in a tunnel network. More than likely bring the entire thing down on us. Plus we would flash fry ourselves in the process.
>>26325398We could encase the two of us mostly in Fortress Mode to block backwash. The beam of the Annihilator can be real wide and it's not that deep undergound
>>26325398Man, we need to figure out how to manufacture Tethers. those seems awesome
>>26325179"Heh. you better hold on tight. I swear, if you die on me here, I will personally drag your ass out of the underworld. Can't have this nightmare end up as a pointless endeavor."Up-up and awaaay~
>>26325436In the real world it isn't. Who knows how far down this is in the Red, especially since it apparently connects to the central hive.
>>26325258>only idiots go downYe heath'n. Ya say 'dat ta me face 'nd see wha' happ'n.
>>26325255>>26325258Forward. Forward, and up. One step at a time.>>26325328The Assault Shroud twitches as your back, the nanomaterial etched with overlapping hexagons...It cinches tight around him, to staunch the light bleeding from his ragged limbs - Rook feels lighter, somehow. Or perhaps there's just less of him. Your Argus System sweeps the dark, hunting relentlessly for anything ahead - And any way out; The Nihl Sphere is silent, though the violet glow lights up the gloom around you.How long does this tunnel go on for, anyway? How long have you been walking?>>26325343> You're going to be all right. That's what he told you, too, back then - As a thousand thousand emberous eyes flared to life, the damnation storms swirling ever closer.> "Don't be afraid."> "It'll all be over soon.">>26325299A strange sense of deja vu overcomes you, as one moment flows into the next - The Fusion Annhilator's stark lines etching themselves into existence, an engineer's schematics of capacitators and focusing lens. Green telltales wink to life, as the barrel revolves.One charge. Two. Three."What's..." Palladium stirs, weakly. "What are you-"Don't be afraid.There's the dry clunk of mag-locks engaging - Locking you in place, bracing yourself as you raise the Fusion Annhilator...Coolant lines fuming with the pent-up weight of annhilation.>>26325436Your Assault Shroud deploys - The nanomaterial spreading, like smart fullerene - Becoming a flat, lightless black, stiffening into the overlapping barrier wave of Fortress Mode...For a long moment, you stand there, poised - The shadows flickering, guttering around you, in the wavering illumination. There's something pure about the Fusion Annhilator's light - Pure and terrible and clean, as brilliant and unquenchable as a flashlight of annhilation. You aim up, into the eternal, lightless dark...-And your fist closes on the trigger-plate.(Continued)
>>26325557Did.. did.. Joker lose to the voices in his head? Oh god we're going to die.
>>26325591On the up side, these tunnels are all organic and shit, not that space distorting crap the spire was made from. It shouldn't be able to stand up anywhere near as well.
Wish someone had supercharging the sinistral as well. We'll need all the defense we can get.
>>26325691>Wish someone had supercharging the sinistral as well. We'll need all the defense we can get.Cobalt Booster it in the middle of this. Should take care of the backblast
The violet beam that stabs forth is a thin line, widening into a nova-flare corona; It begins as ghostly motes of the purest light, dancing in the air - Lost in the gloom, as the ray expands...Feeding upon itself, upon the accumulated charge from your Meter - Vapor venting itself from your arm, as light blossoms and swells at the periphery of your vision, burning with fire too radiant for the eye, or even your sensors to hold...When the Fusion Annhilator fires, the world turns to light.********************Far, far beneath the city, the first sign is a low rumble...Like a earthquake, the tectonic plates of the Red World shifting in grumbling unrest. Then a small, bright *flash*, as the streets of Dis begin to swell, to bulge upwards...-And then the shafts of radiance, stabbing through the cracks, brighter and longer and closer...Until with a crumbling *roar*, the obsidian road of the Iron City falls in upon itself, swept away by the flaming edge of a huge expanding blast.The pillar of violet-streaked sunfire sears into the covetous heavens, illuminating the sky with inner radiance - Turning the clouds to swirls of grey silk, scorching the crimson air to nothing - A ray of unmaking light, a column reaching ever skywards, dissolving all matter in the way; A searing pillar too brilliant to behold, lingering as a scorched afterimage on every player's field of vision...-Then the shockwave hits, the weight of eons so violently displaced; The city shaking beneath the blast, all colour momentarily bleached to white.(Continued)
>>26325749Oh God, what did we just do? The aftereffects of this will be absurd.
>>26325820we made a door?
>>26325749And that's just our second tier weapon. How many fields have we wrecked with it now?I'm glad we grabbed the key when we did, I don't imagine that the drowned district will be unaffected by this.
>>26325749The chapel is cool, and very clean. The solid wood of the pews feels reassuringly firm beneath you - Golden sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows, casting prismatic afterimages. "-I see," Kotone says; She stands at the altar, regarding the marble cross - There's a soft smile...Tired, but strangely proud at the same time - on her lips, her pale hair and paler eyes making her look more ethereal than ever. Her footsteps are slow, measured, as she paces towards you - Shadows under her eyes, motes of dust drifting in the honeyed afternoon sun. "...So that's how you escaped."Her slim fingers rest lightly on the banister, trailing across it in an oddly caressing gesture. "It's like that story about the Gordian Knot..." she begins - Her voice trailing off, as she cants her head to the side; Her brow furrowing, lightly, as she bites her lips. "...If only I could remember the rest."It looks to be a wonderful day. If only your hand would stop hurting - The slow *drip* of fat droplets against the wood echoing oddly in the hall, the pain like a spike driven right through your palm.Without that, it'd be perfect. "-To do that for Palladium Rook...It's strange, isn't it? Very brave, but...Very reckless."[ ] "I'm sure you can remember, if you try."[ ] "I had to get him out."[ ] "...The Red Joker would've done the same."[ ] "-You can't always act cautiously."[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26325860And now we have shit raining down on US. Hopefully Joker is good at dodging.
>>26325887"I did what was right.. it's what He would have done.. I'm a heartless bastard, but I'm not completely without morals."
>>26325887I wonder if she wants her crucifix back.
>>26325887[X] Free"He was running out of time. I know what that's like. We both do.""I've been worried about you."
>>26325887"The city of Phrygia once hosted an oxcart tied to a post by a knot so intricate that no man could untie it. It was dedicated to Zeus in honor of an ancient king of the same name, and stories said that whoever untied the knot would receive Zeus' blessing. Alexander the Great traveled there early in his reign to try his luck, and when he too was unable to best the knot he drew his sword and cut it. Supposedly the Alexandrian solution was pleasing to Zeus, I suspect that the priests decided that telling a sword-wielding man that he'd done it wrong would be a terminal mistake."Hello Kotone. Do you think I did the right thing?"
>>26325887"Well, it's good to see you again too. It seems that I never run into you when I'm not doing something both stupid and heroic.I needed a way out, he couldn't have made it through in his state, so I decided to go for it. How bad is it out there?"
>>26325922"-I don't think you're heartless at all." There's a soft, almost reprimanding note to Kotone's voice - The soft rustle of her pale hair merging with the faint swish of her skirts. "Anon-kun...I think I'll sit with you for a while." She smooths her cassock down with a graceful gesture, as she settles into her seat; Her hands folded in her lap with practiced ease, silver hair framing her pale features, Kotone's eyes knowing and concerned at once. >>26325964"Mmmm." It's a soft sound - A wordless noise of affirmation. Somewhere, a breeze whispers through the chapel's open doors; Bringing with it the fleeting scents of autumn, of crisp leaves and rain.> "I've been worried about you."The faintest spots of color touch her cheeks. "...I've been worried about you, too," Kotone admits - With a shy note to her voice, touching slim fingers to her throat. "You seem so unhappy, sometimes..." She sighs. "-I wish I could help."The slow drip-drip-drip is a steady counterpoint to the tempo of her words. You can feel a serene warmth, pattering down onto your left knee. >>26326013"So *that's* it." She brings her hands together, in a soft clap - As momentary carefree as a child. "Ah, I remember - It's a good story." > "Do you think I did the right thing?"Kotone...hesitates. Her smile grows a little pained. "I'm...not sure what the right thing *is*, any more," she says. "-When I try to think about it, it's hard. But...It can't be wrong to save someone.">>26326013> "How bad is it out there?""...I don't know." Again that faintest pause. "But, Anon-kun...If you're here with me..."The words hang in the air, for a long moment."-I think you may be in trouble."Your left hand really aches, now.[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26326136"Yeah, I think I am. Probably don't have that long until I wake up somewhere in a fair bit of pain.Any ideas?"
>>26326136Look down at our left hand.
>>26326136"Well, I tried to cover the two of us as best I could, But I had to leave at least part of my arm exposed to fire. You know, I don't think I can stay. It may not have been enough to just open a door. I needed to fly him out of the interference.""I best my hand looks terrible. Feels terrible."
>>26326136"Trouble always follows me or I create it. I'll find a way out, somehow. If not, well... I had a good run. Just be sure to take as good a care of my predecessor as you have me.""I hate to be a bother, but do you have anything to stop the bleeding? This is really starting to *hurt*."
>>26326136"I'm always in trouble, it's nothing new. You know how that goes better than any of the others could. Kotone, if me being here means I'm in trouble, what does that say about you?"
>>26326312remind me who kotone is/was. Was she the one possibly related to the black joker?
>>26326312There's a long silence, your words lingering in the numinous air - Somewhere, you hear the rush of wings, a flock of birds stirred into sudden flight. "I-" Kotone's voice is very small, and very frail. She shakes her head, lowering her gaze; Her face lined, her throat tight. "-This is the only place I can be, now. It's...I don't want to think about what's outside.">>26326211>>26326267Your hand - The pain was oddly distant, at first; But when you look down, sharp bolts of agony stab through your fingers, an almost-hiss forced from your lungs. You can actually taste it, the sharp sip of metal - The iron tang of copper in your mouth. There's a long, needle-pointed stiletto through your palm - A stiletto capped with a splinter of violet crystal, a hair pin transfixing your flesh...Driven into place by an immense force. Half of the polished silver gleams - The other half is dark with your blood, fat droplets running down the shaft, beading on the white floor underfoot.The pain is so total, so all-consuming, it's hard to imagine it's absence. >>26326275"I...can *try*..."She takes your hand between both of hers - Your fingers feel stiff, cold, but her touch is gentle. As your fingers uncurls, dark spots dance in your field of vision...Kotone drawing a hushed breath, her fingers clasping yours."...Are you ready?"[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26326474She's the Black Joker. Attends Seisin High too, or did before running away from home. Possibly related to the Black Cardinal of the last war, almost certainly not in control of herself in the Red World.>>26326475"Pull."
>>26326475"Well, are you going to fix me or kiss me? NotthatIwouldn'tmind. In a lot of pain here. Hurry it up, please?"
>>26326526Hmn. Should we give her her cross back?
>>26326573What do you think brought us here in the first place? We hold on to it until we can give it back to the real her.
>>26326541That gets the smallest smile from her - Even as Kotone grips the impaling spike and->>26326526The world explodes in pain. It hurts more than you can imagine - The bright metal sliver shift and *slides*, and you can *feel it coming out*...The sensation of metal *in* you so profoundly wrong that nausea surges up your throat, the white phosphorus it ignites inside you burning spastic jerks through your arms and legs- Your eyes open, to darkness. Swirling darkness, a freezing cold that envelops from every side at one; Ribbons of red coiling upwards from the hole in your palm - You're underwater. You can feel your sodden clothes dragging you down, as you kick and claw your way towards the surface - Bubbles streaming before you, as the dull greenish glow overhead resolves into distinct shafts of light, like a writhing mirror, like mercury...-A concrete edge jabs into your side. You haul yourself onto it, gasping glad lungfuls of air; You're clinging to the edge of a train platform, the rest of the track entirely underwater - Shapes bobbing, floating, your body leaden and heavy, agony blistering your mind.(Continued)
>>26326677The water tastes foul - Oily. You don't know how much of it you've swallowed, and there's a *current* that tugs at you; Bearing with it rotted floating things, churning to white froth as you cling on...You can feel yourself shaking with cold, your knee finding the slab as you lock your arms around a metal strut. Your eyes, adjusted to the gloom, make out the long-dead escalators leading up to the side; The rack of coin-lockers teetering against the wall, violently askew and out-of-place (0200 - 0300, a faded plaque reads) as something soft and decaying bumps against you from the side, before it continues tumbling away with the current...[ ] Get out of here.[ ] Examine the water.[ ] Examine the lockers.[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26326731See if there's anyone else here, where's Rook? He might still be in the water so check that, then we can examine the lockers.
>>26326731examine the lockers, the get out of here
>>26326731are we still armored, or have we been kicked back to the REAL world?
>>26326771(It's the real.)
>>26326731Open 0248, check for Rook, and get out. We need medical attention, so it's to the hospital with us.
>>26326731Examine the water for Rook. No way we're leaving him there if he's still alive.
>>26326731Check self for injury. Check to see if our cellphone is a waterlogged brick. If it's not, see if we have reception and ring up Argent.Look around to take stock of our surroundings. If we see Rook, wake his fleshy self up. Check the water since we're still chillin' in it. Check the lockers for a moth eaten jacket or something. I'm assuming it's going on night. We're soaked to the bone and have a damn good chance of catching pneumonia.
>>26326798This, but rook is probably still in the water.>>26326815>If it's not, see if we have reception and ring up Argent.Thaaats a good planalso, we've been catching a LOT of stuff physically from red world incidents lately. we can possibly use the nihl sphere to open lockers, since its supposed to do things like that.
>>26326739You look around - Is he there? You can't see anyone else, in the gloom; The water rushing past without ceasing, the forms bobbing on the surface like scum. For a moment, you consider yelling...Only to realize, belatedly, that you have no idea what he looks like. Not here.>>26326802You look - For a moment, one of the pulpy, rotten shapes - the dead, turned monstrous - seems to twitch...But no, that's just your imagination. It whirls past, turning on it's own axis - The water level rising, rising little by little, until it laps at your heels. The tunnel, on both sides, has becoming a rushing torrent...The tide swirling up from far, far below, bringing all the buried terrors with it. If Rook is *down there*, he's dead. If he was ever really here.>>26326739>>26326746>>26326798The lockers - Your shoes squelch, your limbs leaden with exhaustion as you stumble over to the rack. You fumble for the key, wedged into the lining of your coat...Counting to yourself, until you find the rusted lock of 0248.To your surprise, it opens on the first turn.Inside - Your sunken gaze strains to make out anything, at first...But then you see a tiny rectangle of metal, the faint gleam of plastic...-It's a casette player. An old-model one, cycling silently...It's playing, but making no sound.>>26326815> Check to see if our cellphone is a waterlogged brick.Your left hand aches too much; You reach across with your right hand, and-Your handphone is utterly soaked through. You can actually see the film of water beneath the screen: It doesn't even respond, when you press the button. So much for the warranty.[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26326677That's something to keep in mind the next time we run into something nihl-esque. You may not notice the damage they cause in the Red, but that damage will remain when you shift back to the real.>>26326739>>26326798>>26326802Hopefully his body was somewhere else and he was able to go back to it once we punched a hole in the ceiling.
(My apologies, a quick addition.)>>26326815> Check self for injury.You're bruised and cut, your muscles sore - You've taken plenty of scrapes and grazes, from being swept along by the current. Your ribs, in particular, ache...But that's all fairly minor compared to the deep wound gouged in your palm. It feels like it's gone right through, but - Blessedly - missed anything important.
>>26326898Huh. Hit stop on the recorder, bring it with us. Wonder if that was the source of the interference? Anyway, we need to leave.
>>26326918Well, at least now we have an excuse to spend time at the hospital. Still not sure how to gain entry to the coma ward. Smilers are probably all over that place.
>>26326898Eject and pocket the cassette. It's time for us to leave this joint.With that I'm done. Good show OP. 7 am here.
>>26326898Casette player? Odd thing to find. It's not on track 26 is it? Well I suppose it'd have to be 53 to keep with the numbering scheme...Grab it and go. Rising water+small confines+water already moving fast=move or die horribly.
>>26326960The terrifying thing is if we had arrived any later in the day/night, we'd be swimming with the fish monsters in these tunnels. Good thing we did. I hadn't considered the tunnels being open to the actual ocean. Groundwater is normal for subterranean structures.
>>26326947>>26326923>>26326944>>26326960You shove the recorder into a pocket, your right hand clutching the rubberized grip of the escalators as you haul yourself upwards - One step at a time, back towards light and the surface. The pain is...quite something.In armour, you've lost limbs and kept fighting. You've been shot, stabbed, burnt - Seen the snaking circuitry of your innards wrenched forth in fistfuls - and fought on all the same. You feel fragile, made of paper; The sharp edges of the uneven steps gashing at your feet.More than once, you stumble. More than once, you almost fall.But you keep going. Up the steps. Through the tunnel, hauling yourself over the safety barricade at the long-abandoned ticketing station; Paper and debris littering the ground, like fallen leaves. Water pools in your wake, sloughing from your clothes.(Continued)
>>26326981Pretty sure this is us. We did what six years of intermittent destruction and nature itself couldn't and blew up enough of the field in the Red World to have an effect on the real world. I don't think that the water is rising so much as the district is sinking.It'll be interesting to read about this one on the website. Wonder what the city'll do when this blighted district finally does the decent thing and drops off the face of the planet.
>>26327015One more flight of steps; Long-ago posters staring down at you through cracked glass, like an abandoned gallery. You can feel your pulse hammering in the back of your head, as if fever-wasps are about to hatch through your skull - Your gripping hand leaving a red smear across the walls, spreading the crimson stain through your coat. Your breath smokes, as the cold air of the night buffets you. Somewhere, there are sirens. Somewhere, you can hear the shrill noise of horns, the flash of traffic on the road.It's hard to see, through your blurring vision. A moment later, the pavement tilts beneath your shoes, making you stagger. Blinking does nothing to clear your vision.There's someone in front of you. Someone says your name. You think it might be-[ ] Asuna[ ] Hecate[ ] Kotone[ ] Mio[ ] NatsumiYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>26327035Considering Venice has been actively sinking for over half of a millennium, they'll still be praying for this place to finally implode upon itself well after their great-great-great-great-etc grand kids are born and old.
>>26327076[X] Hecate.Out of all of them, she's the most informative.Plus, y'know, Hecate.
>>26327076[x] Hecate.It's hallucination time!
>>26327088Augh. It's not Hecate. Remember the last time we had our choice? She's the null option and OP rolls to see who it is.>>26327076Realistically? Natsumi, particularly if Argent told her we were heading out here. Personally, I want it to be Asuna, because "I saw you in a dream" is a line that never gets old when the girl says it to the guy.
>>26327076>[ ] Natsumi...if we're thinking logically, at least. Argent sent us on this mission, so it wouldn't be terribly surprising if the only person we know connected to Argent (as far as him not just being Mr. Ebara goes) came looking for us, especially if what we did on the other side really WAS as attention-grabbing as we think it would've been.
>>26327116>null option, not really HecateNot seeing your point - it's a choice as to who Joker thinks is there. Choosing Hecate is as valid a choice as "guessing correctly".
Rolled 42(One moment, just checking something.)
>>26327076>[x] AsunaHahaha, time for suffering.
>>26327105Hallucinations are the spice of life![X] Hecate
>>26327076[X] HecateI believe.
>>26327141Because picking Hecate lessens our ability to determine who it is. Think of it as Anon's luck in action. He doesn't get to pick who it is, but his non-Hecate choice influences the quantum chance of his pick being here at this time.>>26327146I'm not even going to try to guess how OP arranged the ranges this time.
>>26327182This choice is not some dry calculation about our ability to control reality.It's about Joker's character. The question was "who does he think it is" not "who is it". Picking Hecate is a valid choice about his character - and honestly, in this situation it's hardly impossible for him to see another phantom and properly interact with her.
>>26327166>>26327141>>26327088>>26327105>>26327177Hecate, you think - Or maybe you say. It's hard to tell. Where is she? Why - can't you find her? You - You are the Red Joker.You can do anything. Except...> [X] HecateYou can't make sense of anything you're seeing - It's all a blur. But; Despite the cold that soaks into the very core of your being, the chill that clutches at every fibre of your being- ...You glimpse a flash of red, a clean, untroubled scent - As slender but strong arms close around you, easing you to the ground.Even through the tunneling blur of fatigue, you can make out her expression; Concern, surprise, and more than a little pity. Her hands grip your back, holding you in place - Heedless of the blood weeping from the wound in your palm, a dark trickle across the salt-cold stone. "Anon-kun, it's okay," Natsumi says - Though her voice seems to come from an infinite distance, your vision narrowing to a dark tunnel. "I'm - I'm here, now." You hear the slight catch to her words - The slight tremble to her form, as she holds you. "-You're going to be all right."JOKER QUEST EPISODE 53TO BE CONTINUED
>>26327272(Gentlemen: Apologies for the relative brevity of the last post, but it's really late on my end - And I'm utterly exhausted. As always, you've been a great audience - I hope to be able to run Joker Quest on a more regular basis, once I've adjusted to my new schedule.Good night, and god bless - I hope to see you again soon.
>>26327272Awww, Natsumi. You poor girl, you always get the short end of the stick, don't you?
>>26327281Thanks for running. Hope to hear from you soon.
>>26327281you are a gentlmenly and scholarly, as always
>>26327334Well, we've friendzoned her harder than anyone else in the entire Quest, ever. I kind of regret that sometimes, though.
>>26327370Think of it as closing off the other romantic routes. At a certain point, you're locked onto one girl's path.Or rather, the real decision is really just between Mio and hecate.
>>26327463You know, this has made me wonder if it's possible to be a VN protagonist and NOT inherently a scumbag.
>>26327546Most aren't scumbags. They're just bland as fuck.Also, the past few chapters have been really harsh on us. I think this is one of the few times we've been in physical danger.
>>26328300>They're just bland as fuck.They are passive pricks that wait until everyone loves them before deciding on a girl (if they ever do).
Now, because I'm a hopeless romantic, I've been wondering...What would other routes have been like? I mean, we met Asuna first, and we decided to pursue Hecate even though Hecate was quite clearly not meant to be a love interest. I assume that Natsume's route would have plenty of friction with our bro. Even now, our interactions with her just make me feel really, really uncomfortable. I honestly like Mio, though. It's like everything becomes more cheerful whenever she's around.
>>26329312> I honestly like Mio, though. It's like everything becomes more cheerful whenever she's around.Would you say that she 'lights up your life'? Because she can do that.
>>26329363I'm just saying. After the literal succubus-girl, the fox-eared blonde with a penchant for cosplay isn't a bad idea. Especially when she clearly adores us.
>>26329411Oh damn. Oh, god damn.That's not going to end well at all.
>>26329312>>26329411So what is the backstory, anyway? I'm a newcomer to this thread, and I don't actually know any of these people.
>>26329411>succubus-girlSuccubus? Just because she was attractive and weird?Remember, we were never intended to romance her in any way. We just happened to be a suave motherfucker.Also, why the redundancy? Succubi are not male.Also, who else imagines Mio a bit like Azusa Azuki?
>>26329512Have you voted in this thread?Please read through the archives before adding to any of our decisions.Some newcomers decided to romance Mio shortly after Hecate was killed, because they didn't know we just lost our girlfriend (Hecate). I also imagine that they thought that this quest works like Mahou Shounen Quest, where all girls are a-okay with sharing and no one has any real feelings.
>>26329512Hecate was this girl we met very, very early on in the series. She actually turned up in Episode 1, spying on us from a distance, but we only actually met her when we were suffering from a nasty curse that prevented us from regenerating. We really hit it off we her, and she eventually started dating us. However, at Nara Dreamland, she was apparently killed by Bardiel. I'm fairly certain she's still alive, somehow.Mio is a tennis scholarship student at an all-girl's school, and the other girls dislike her a lot, in the petty way that girls can despise each other. Animals also dislike her. However, we were really nice to her, and she seems to have been extremely struck by us. Seriously, her dere-dere is really strong. She's also the first (and only) girl we've kissed. We were about to kiss Hecate, but then Nara Dreamland happened.
>>26329567You should also add that neither girl is normal. Hecate was effectively a Player without offensive powers. She couldn't even defend herself properly in a fight.Mio, however, can control light. So far, the most she's done is to use it to make butterflies.
>>26329591She's been sidelined for many, many chapters, now. We really should do something about that.
>>26329636Well, she IS supposed to be our girlfriend. It's kind of a dick move not to treat her well, though the irregular timeframe means that it's only been about a week.
>>26329591>>26329636>>26329766Next thread we end up in hospital and visit the coma ward. Hecate might be there.
>>26328357Depends on the VN. Usually, the MC has to somewhat pursue a certain girl in order to enter her route... though, yeah, this usually leads to the MC being a bit of a jackass.
>>26329312I still am, and forever will be routing for Kotone. The interaction we have with her feel just so.. emotional, hard to swallow and have a certain weight. That, and her being stuck in the role of a potential pseudo-antagonist makes things so damn interesting...But I'm just rambling, so excuse me.
>>26329591The fact that she's dicliked by everyone is also what makes Mio strange. We still have that "emotion control" theory going, yes?
>>26329942I actually agree with that. She doesn't seem to be romantically interested in us, however.
>>26329942But we can't. Haven't you realized? Kotone is our sister.
>>26330028This might actually be more true than it sounds. The Black Joker is the brother armour to the Red Joker. While we're unlikely to be actually related, you could say that we are in fact siblings.
>>26329981Hrm...good point. Still, I feel that building a subtle relationship of mutual dependence and trust that would gradually escalate should be possible.Even without love or any form of romance, I feel like both Jokers are incredibly compatible, seeing as both are somewhat insane and yet platonically intimate with each other as of now.>>26330028You're saying it like that would stop us. We've already established that RJ is all the way up in Kurosu Taichi-tier of being fucked up.
>>26330065Just a wild guess I came up with that to become the Red Joker a person has to give up part of themselves, for Anon it was his family.
>>26330160Was Anon's family even ever mentioned? I kinda assumed that they died in the catasthrope 6 years ago or something, but I kinda feel like this idea may make some sense in this setting.
>>26330139>We've already established that RJ is all the way up in Kurosu Taichi-tier of being fucked up.To tell the truth, I see him as being very mature for his age. Because, you know, he's had a lot of time to grow. The red world is a different matter, because you're fighting to the death there.
>>26330139>Even without love or any form of romance, I feel like both Jokers are incredibly compatible, seeing as both are somewhat insane and yet platonically intimate with each other as of now.I would prefer to go the "ass kicking double" route instead of "let's confuse another girl".We already have two perfect girls. No need to make the situation potentially deadly.
>>26330216We already have enough deathflags to warrant us a place in the Guinness records. No need to hold back nowThough, obviously, I'm not talking about making the same mistake as we did with Mio. No need to add NTR to the dish.
>>26330139It's mostly because it's a meeting of equals. We are alone and apart because of who we are. Even Natsumi, who's a player, doesn't REALLY understand us: We never let her know exactly how long we were down in hell. Hecate is closer, but she's still not like us. I highly doubt that she's the Chalice Queen, because we're starting to see other Players like her. Kotone is the only one who really gets what we are.
>>26330265>Kotone is the only one who really gets what we are.That doesn't mean that we have to fuck her.
>>26330292No one is saying that we should.
>>26330292I wasn't trying to imply that.I think we're going to have to kill her in the end.
>>26330302>>26330303Good that we are clear on that.Because some of the posts here seemed to have implied her as romantic interest.
>>26330341The point is that she can't exactly be a real romantic interest, but she can be something different.I'm kinda foreseeing a Hakomari-esque relationship.
>>26330341That ship has pretty much sailed, by this point.
>>26330194Really, after several hundred years, you stop growing more mature and loop right back around.RJ is bugfuck crazy.
>>26330839>RJ is bugfuck crazy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V4VxlsMuQ4Maybe we should do combat like this.
>>26330988Did the Rape Ape scare everyone?
>>26330436The relationship in question is one I'm taking from a certain novel.In it, the MCs are extremely close, to the point where they trust each other even more than themselves. They understand each other on the deepest level and feel rather deep and strong emotions for each other. At the same time, there is no real romance between them and yet the relationship feels more pure and powerful than any kind of love.Well, that is until the MC goes utterly yandere and shit hits the fan.
>>26333131This is called friendship. Except for the yandere part.
>>26333144Kinda hard to call it friendship when it's caused by them being forced to spend over 70 years in a supernatural closed space.
>>26334229But they experience stuff together, don't they?Friendship is marked by a close bond, formed out of suffering through all kinds of different situations.You can only truly know a person when you meet them in a situation out of the ordinary.I guess being trapped together for seventy years doesn't really leave room for experiencing any variety... But then again, being that much around a person will literally cause your minds to connect.That's why losing such a person is especially painful.
>>26330139>I feel like both Jokers are incredibly compatibleCalling it now, the quest ends in one of two ways: Red Joker and Black Joker in a death match to determine which of them assumes control of the Red World, or the Anon and Kotone descending into the pit together to face the final threat.
>>26336985Or they kill each other so nobody else can inherit their armors.
>>26338126I think it'd be better to ID lock the Red World like we did the Hollow Sun. Would end the killing game entirely, and if we could eliminate the Correctors and secure any relics that let people enter the Red World then the rest falls into place.