Oh, goddammit. Let's try that again without forgetting the subject line.So, it's been a while, huh? Sorry about that, as always, but as usual the amount of disasters has been unusual. Hope you all had a good Christmas and got those upgrades you asked for. As always, I'm woefully underprepared and completely rusty. The following thread is non-canon. Let's have some fun.Prior Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/28694590/Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Maverick%20Hunter%20QuestThe IRC: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com, #MHQThe Twitter: https://twitter.com/HunterCommandYou are Major Schwarzhund, SA rank, the Black Dog of the Fourth Overland.And today is Christmas.
>>29148747You have a few stops to make--you did your shopping well in advance, and you have the customary visits to make. >Start with the gifts. Go see who's on-base.>Go and grab your gear from the shop. It's time.>To your quarters. Fetch the glasses for the Colonel.
>>29148763>To your quarters. Fetch the glasses for the Colonel.As much as I want it to be TIME, I can't help but think it should be saved for last.
>>29148785Also, fetch the festive hat.
>>29148763>>29148856>To your quarters. Fetch the glasses for the Colonel.>Also, fetch the festive hat.
>To your quarters. Fetch the glasses for the Colonel.>Also, fetch the festive hat.Oh god it's happening it's really happeningyou guyswe're gonna be Robo-Santa
HC I notice you have not announced the thread on twitter.
>>29149022Agh. No, no I didn't. This one's turning out to be an unmitigated disaster, isn't it? Missed the thread title and had to delete/repost, messed up the transparencies (I swear I got that, but oh well, this is why I leave it to ELK), and forgot the twitter.Oh well, to hell with it. Here's to unmitigated disasters!
>>29149076Hey, man. Some of the best things start out as unmitigated disasters. This concept plus your writing makes me pretty confident that this will be one of them.
BRING ON THE EGGNOG!
>>29149076When is something involving Anode NOT an unmitigated disaster?
>>29149651I dunno, the mavericks are doing well enough for themselves...Also stand by, writing. A plurality of technology failures on my end, hopefully all sorted.
>>29149234Well, thank you. Here's hoping.>>29148915>>29148856>>29148785>>29148974You decide to go from top to bottom, starting with the boss. Heading back into your room, you snag your hat--custom made with a few surprises--off the rack by the door, squaring it until your ears poke through the openings provided. Headwear now enjaunted, you pick up two old, well-used glasses from the equally old and well-used wooden tray they rest on, along with the bottle you picked out. You're in a privileged position to know Hammer Frog--in the Fourth Overland Geneva, only you and Crankshaft have served as long as he has--hell, you've served a little longer. You remember seeing him standing over Potamus's body, breathing hard, before looking up at you and looking so...tired. He's only gotten more tired, since, because you're the one who suggested he take command. Probably the cruelest thing you've ever done to him, but you both agreed he was the better man for the job. He has every right to hold it against you, but he doesn't. And that's why, every year, you do this.Repositioning the glasses between your fingers, you knock on his door with the back of your hand. "Come," he answers, same as always. "Sir," you greet. "Have a minute?""Not really," he replies, looking up at you skeptically.Breezing in anyway, you set the glasses down on his desk. "Good. Me neither.""We really shouldn't," he says. Just like every year."Too late, it's done," you reply, pouring the scotch. "No nanites, I promise."With a resigned sigh, Frog sets down the datapad he was looking over. "Still not a mixed drink man?""Never.""Too bad. I bet I could mix you a martini even you couldn't complain about.""Maybe. Try it sometime."
>>29150025Frog picks up his glass, perching it on the ends of his fingertips. "What are we doing here, Schwarz?"You shrug, leaning back in your chair after taking your own. "Paperwork. Hunting mavericks.""I mean, you and I, specifically. Cobra asks me why I don't just retire every year.""Don't know. Why not?"He chuckles grimly. "That's the question of the day, isn't it? Everyone knows I hate this job, especially you.""Yes, sir, I do." He takes a slow sip, letting it linger for a moment. "And how about you? And don't feed me that 'duty' line.""Not a line," you insist. "Never was.""You know what I mean. You're on my case enough, and the FNGs, don't work yourself to death. You've paid back your commission about thirty times now. Why not settle down?"You pause momentarily, eyeing him critically before taking a long sip yourself to fill the silence. "Another duty."Frog frowns. "Go on.""To... us. Not you, or the hunters, or the Fourth. To... the next generation. And the one after that.""That's another duty you can pursue 'til you die without getting any closer to, you know," he warns.You look down at your glass for a moment, admiring the beautiful amber color of the 2096. "Yeah.""Just checking. Okay, next question, Schwarz. And it's not 'why me' this time.""That's a first," you observe, nursing the drink."Today's a good day for firsts," he replies. "Think I'll be here next year?"You snort. "A lot of people can kill Hammer Frog. None are going to get the chance. You'll outlast us all.""People say that about you. 'People are dumb,'" he adds, just as you do. Heh."Not afraid to die. It'll happen. This year, the next, tomorrow...job's done, duty continues.""Well then," Frog says, raising his glass. "To the next generation.""To the next generation," you agree, clinking them together.One tradition down.>Hit the machine shop.>Get your Saint Nicholas on.
>>29150048>Hit the machine shop.
>>29150048>>Get your Saint Nicholas on.If we're lucky people leave shots out for the Yule Dog.
>>29150222>Hit the machine shop.Where else do we get the reploid-deer with anti-gravity antlers?
>>29150048>Hit the machine shop.Lets do this.
>>29150114>>29150222>>29150239>>29150602You put in an order, like you do every year, about a month back. It's an easy job, but no sense rushing them. The Fourth doesn't have much for machining, but you're in with the shop in the main building. You'll have to make two trips, and he could have shipped them over, but you always like meeting him to thank him for his time.The jog gives you some time to think out your route--you're going to have to hope you can catch most everybody on base--Tanker's out, of course, but that's what the box by his door's for. Crankshaft is out for the day, spending the evening with Yuzuki and some of her relatives. The rest are all up in the air. Tungsten greets you the same way he always does as you walk into his garage--a thrown oilrag and a big, hearty handshake. "Mornin', Major. Happy Christmas, and all that.""Same," you reply gruffly. "How's things?"He sets aside what he was doing (some sort of custom work on a met, it looks like) and heads to the back, motioning for you to follow him. "Not too bad, all things considerin'. Everyone's always waitin' for the mavs to pull something today.""Doubt they will." "Yeah, not lately. Not worth the risk just to send a crappy message, right?" You grunt in agreement as he flips open a small footlocker. "Here you go, man, should fit right in, quick eject if things go pear-shaped in a hurry." You look them over, nodding in satisfaction, before tucking them away. Meanwhile, Tungsten pulls out a wrapped bundle. "Big order on these this year, huh?"
>>29150689"Few new faces." You explain. "Plus Max." "Ah, yeah, how's he doing?""He's doing." You never were one much for small talk. Makes you feel like a fish out of water. "Lots of business.""Yeah, I bet. All right, same as always, no charge."You grin at that. "Then twice that sent to the supply commission, same as always. Gonna make your move?""Soon, soon," he says. "Still haven't worked up the nerve to ask him." "You always say that.""I dunno, ace," he shrugs. "Feels like this might be my year. Maybe during the ball drop?" "Maybe. Good luck, Warrant Officer. And try the docks when you do.""I'll do that, Major. Thanks again."Hefting the bundle, you had back outside.>Get his share to Max. Might catch Conda there.>Go track down your target. It's time for the best Hunt of the year.>Hold off on using the kit just yet. Give out some gifts first.
>>29150709>Get his share to Max. Might catch Conda there.>Hold off on using the kit just yet. Give out some gifts first.Big surprise for the end; that's how it always works.
>>29150709>>Get his share to Max. Might catch Conda there.
>>29150732I will support this course of action.
>>29150709>>Get his share to Max. Might catch Conda there.All other business must be completed before The Hunt can begin.
>>29150709>Get his share to Max. Might catch Conda there.
>>29150732>>29150779>>29150803>>29150813>>29150890You decide to dole out the rest of the kit first before you get started. The trip back isn't long--just enough for the clock to tick over from morning to noon.And, of course, for the insanity to begin.It begins, as you expected, with India. Balancing top a captured Snow Rider's jet ski, she carves a trail of ice across the grounds, as a group of Lanceteamers cheer and hoot her ghost-riding. Under each arm she has what appears to be a t-shirt cannon, firing fistfuls of coinage out into the crowd like a zenny blunderbuss.Girl's getting close to horning in on your racket. "ALMS ACRIMBO," she hoots, before locking eyes with you from a distance. Wordlessly, she nudges the controls with her foot, gunning the engine.You size her up from a hundred yards away, eyes locked, with the challenge made and the gauntlet thrown. You adjust your gear across your back--need to be careful not to drop any.>A decade too early, pilot. It's on.>Let her do it her way. You'll do it yours.>Other?
>>29151087>A decade too early, pilot. It's on.
>>29151087>A decade too early, pilot. It's on.Only a decade?
>A decade too early, pilot. It's on.At what point did people think it was okay to throw gauntlets at Schwarz?
>>29151087>A decade too early, pilot. It's on.Oh dear.
>>29151087>Other?She is a distraction. Make chase but don't get flanked.
>>29151128>>29151160>>29151190>>29151204Kids these days. You fly one suicide mission unarmed and unarmored, and suddenly you think you're top dog. Heh. You stand tall and turn toward her in profile, shrugging your coat loose on your shoulder, one arm hovering near the pocket."Say when," you call, answering her challenge.India gives a gleeful whoop and slides into the snowmobile, lobbing a ball of ice out in front of her and lining up her charge. She guns the engine and then takes off like a shot, barreling down on you with a half-ton of rocketing militarized sled. You can see through the glass that her hands are ready on the controls, ready to powerslide in to chase you from wherever you dodge. So you dodge up. The Mach Five this isn't--she sails right under you, and you land adroitly atop the machine. Lightly pulling off your coat, you wrap it around the windshield, nonchalantly ignoring the windshield wiper as it futilely hammers at your feet trying to dislodge you. Equally lightly, you hop off the now-blinded ski, letting India skid around on her own ice completely blind.She doesn't panic or lose control, to her credit, instead veering around on instruments and guesswork. "I SHALL NOT BE DENIED," she crows, head out the side, angling for another joust. >Yes you shall.>Yes you shall. Hard.>Other?
>>29151619>Yes you shall. Harder.
>>29151619>>Yes you shall
>>29151619So hard she'll admit her feelings.
>>29151619>>Yes you shall.
>>Yes you shall. Hardest.S rank is canon.
>>29151701>>29151706>>29151847>>29151944>>29152019You're tempted--highly tempted--to drop the hammer on her, but you decide against it. For one thing, she might act like hot shit, but now that she's gottne those upgrades and finally, finally come out of her shell, you don't want to put her off her ground game. Not when she's finally starting to act like an officer.You'd tell her she was proud if you didn't think she'd burst into flame.Instead, you wait for her once again, knowing that the jump trick won't work twice--you can practically feel her thumb hovering over the ice mortar on the stick in there--and wait. And wait. And wait.And, just a split second before she crashes straight into you, you're not there, slipping around the side, the left runner only just missing your toes. As the machine breezes by, you hold out an arm and get snagged, dragged along after it as you kip up and plant your feet on the side-step. "Oi! Off of there!" India protests.
>>29152340By way of response, you raise your buster and shoot her controls, shorting them out with a quick blast. You give her one last friendly smile before leaning backward and falling off the sled, firing a grappling hook after her. You feel it snag her neck (with an all-too-satisfying "hurk--") as you yank her from the out-of-control machine and to safety. Miserably, it lists to one side, slowing, and finally wedges itself against a wall and a corner with nothing more than a sizable dent.India is, of course, spitting nails at you as you head back over to the ailing snowmobile, dragging her in tow behind you. "Yooooooou bloody--""Merry Christmas, Lieutenant," you reply calmly, collecting your coat as it flutters loose. "Or is it Captain again?"She hisses and sputters furiously. "You'll never make me keep it! I'll be demoted again in a week! You'll see!"You toss her the coin guns from the cabin as you shift the bundle across your shoulders, not a piece out of place. "See that you do. Only thing you've beaten me at.""FffffffFFFFFF--"God, that felt good.>Head for the Pond, as planned.>Well, now seems like a good time to go with the presents instead.>Other?
>>29152355>>Head for the Pond, as planned.
>>29152355>Head for the Pond, as planned.
>>29152355>Well, now seems like a good time to go with the presents instead.Merry Schwarzmas.
>>29152968>>29152409>>29152400You look around at the cheering, clapping, whistling enlisted--a lot, but nowhere near all of them. No, you'll come back and visit their barracks later to give out their presents. No, better to just stick to the plan. Half of your success story, knowing how to structure. Leaving India behind (though not before sharply retracting your grapple, pulling her off her feet and back on her ass one last time), you make for the Pond.It's... unusually busy. Too busy for your tastes. Too loud. Still, you're here on business. Steadily, you make your way to the bar, careful to avoid stumble-drunk hunters off duty and celebrating the holiday the only way they know how. You'd probably discourage that kind of thing, if it weren't the only way you knew how, either.Oh well, you're just an old dog that hasn't learned that particular trick. There are others.Max nods to you as you step into hearing range. "Is that what I think it is?"You nod, passing over the bundle. "One's made with a surplus axe, same handle. All yours."He finds it readily, his hands wrapping around the familiar hilt of the weapon he was quite literally born holding. He wheels the implement once, twice, barely avoiding the delicate glasses perched around him by scant centimeters. You don't flinch--his control is perfect, like ever."Nice balance on this," he says. "Tungsten does good work."You grunt at that. He does, indeed. "Awful big one you've got in there.""It's for you-know-who," you explain. "That is, if he's interested."You wince as a raucous cheer goes up behind you, ears going flat against the red fabric of your cap. "You thinking what I'm thinking?" Max asks. You nod grimly.It begins."SO THERE I WAS...">Go.
>>29153244Something about shore leave in Japan with a pair of bronzed beauties, an art theft, and pulling a Spider-Man with grappling hooks across Shibuya, spooking the thief to death with the most menacing "woof" he can come up with.That's all I can think of on short notice.
>>29153244falling six, sever stories. I shove my hand right into this fuckers guts and god damn if I don't pull out a fucking pigeon.
Oh. Oh, God."STARING AT THE CEILING, JUST WONDERING HOW THE FUCK THEY GOT THEIR HANDS ON THAT MANY CONDOMS..."I'm no good at this man
>>29153244Being showered by a shipment of dragon dildoes
Rolled 6, 2, 5, 5 = 18>>29153867I see what you did there.
>>29153244...staring at the smiling face of this bright yellow ride armor...
>>29154920I see what you did there.
>>29153819>>29153867>>29153989>>29154002"--IN FREEFALL 6 STORIES UP OVER THE STREETS OF TOKYO, IN A SHOWER OF SEX SHOP PARAPHERNALIA, ELBOW DEEP IN EL POLLO NOCHE, THE NOTORIOUS GLOBETROTTING JEWEL THIEF, TRYING TO PERFORM AN EMERGENCY TRACHEOTOMY WITH A BEAM CLAW AND A NOVELTY CONDOM/AIR HORN, AND DAMN IT IF HE DOESN'T COUGH UP A LIVE CORNISH GAME HEN!""Anyway," you finish, enjoying the customary utter silence, "that's why I can never call that actress back.""Well, that did the job," Max observes. "Really pulling out all the stops today, huh?""Holiday," you shrug."Brings out the best in us. And the cornish game hens. Drink before you go?"You shake your head. "More work to do. See you around, Max." He nods, leaning on his new, festive weapon, and you turn to go."That was new," Conda greets you as you walk out the door, arms folded. "Might be a record. Care for a smoke?">Sure. On my list anyway.>Too busy. Sorry.>Other?
>>29155443>>Sure. On my list anyway.
>>29155443>Eh, why not?
>>29155443>Sure. On my list anyway.
>>29155443>Sure. On my list anyway.We never really get any face time with this guy so this will be fun.
>>29155586>>29155678>>29155792>>29155836>>29155913You nod at him. "Buying?" He flashes a pack of interrupters. "Already done." With surprising clumsiness, he fishes out a pair and offers one to you. "Only ever get the things once a year," he says almost apologetically. "Still no bloody good at it.""Not a bad thing to be bad at," you offer (as you flawlessly tear the primer with your teeth and 'light' the stick). "True enough," he mumbles around his own, finally getting it going. "Truth be told, I was thinking of switching over to cigars. The tobacco kind.""Not bad," you agree.Conda chuckles. "Oh, that's right, I forgot you did that. Eaten any cigarettes for human brats lately?""Nah. Hear he's 17 now. Looking at colleges. Still get cards every year." "Nice."It is. It really, really is. "Keep 'em on my wall."Cobra takes a deep 'drag' from the stick, resting against the Pond wall for balance. "So when'd you start?""Weisshund.""Ach, sorry," he says.You lean back, looking up at the sky. "Don't be. Got the tradition from him. Kept it after he was gone. Salvaged what I could of his memory." He'd have wanted it that way."Were you on that op?" "Helped. Big takedown."Conda looks you over, and you can tell from practice he's trying to get a read on you. "Might be out of line, but...""Ask."He hesitates a moment. "...Do you miss him?"All the time. All the fucking time."No."Conda takes the interrupter out of his mouth, turning more fully to face you. "It was tough, though, right?"You grumble. "Yeah.""Sorry if I'm prying. It's just...You're kind of a cipher, you know? Many things to many people, I guess I'd say."You shrug. Not much to say to that. "I'm asking 'cause...well, people're starting to say the same about me."
>>29157224You look over at him. "Really?" "Yeah, I don't know either.""Does it bother you?""A bit, I guess. I'm pretty bad at people."You snort. "All are.""Maybe," he says with a nod, "maybe. But still--'round this time of year I get to thinking about it.""Family?"He shakes his head. "Not a thing. Makes me wonder sometimes if I up and fell off the Earth, would anyone notice?"You sit up straight and give him your full attention. "I would. Fourth would." "I--yeah. Thanks, Major.""Never too late to work on it. Only gets harder.""Don't I know it. I dunno, maybe this year I'll get a social skills kinda book.">Beat you to it. Merry Christmas.>Good idea. ...Gotta go kick someone's ass now.>Other?
>>29157262>>Beat you to it. Merry Christmas.
>>29157262>Beat you to it. Merry Christmas.
>>29157262>Beat you to it. Merry Christmas.All dat character developmentI wasn't expecting feels for the christmas special
>>Flash the book. "Maybe you will."
>>29157368>>29157424>>29157532>>29157775>>29158073You give him a toothy grin (only slightly less dismaying than your usual child-terrifying glower) as you pull just such a book out of your inner coat pocket. "Beat you to it. Happy Christmas.""I--cheers, Major, thank you. German efficiency, yeah?" He takes it with a grateful nod. "Damn, it's even hardcover." He runs a hand over the title (Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration for Reploids) and looks back up, a bit nervously. "Listen--about--"You hold up a hand. "Seconded your approval papers myself. Past is yours, Conda. Keep it." That's how you learned that he likes paper books, in fact."Ah, Christ, you're gonna make me tear up," Conda replies. "Well, if I had tear ducts, anyway. Thank you, Major. I really do owe you one.""No, you don't," you reply calmly, stubbing the end of the interrupter. "Enjoy your day." Well, with the first gift given, the dam may as well break on doling out the rest. >Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them. (Specify)>Wander or lurk. Let them come to you. Someone always does.>Other?
>>29159359>>Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them. (Specify)Go find Anode.
>>29159359>Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them. (Specify)Emerald.
>>29159359>Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them. (Specify)Anode. He shouldn't be too hard to find, he's probably doing a Christmas movie marathon. With drinking. He isn't going to see it coming.
>>29159359>>Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them.Seven
>>29159591Gonna vote Seven as well.
>>29159359>>Go hunt someone down. Christmas the shit out of them. (Specify)Anode.If control shifts to someone else, we must always see what the regular protagonist is doing without us whispering in his ear.
>>29160466>>29159568>>29159427You decide to check on the new guy first. What a handful he's been. If he's not getting himself killed, he's getting himself in hot water with the brass. He reminds you of you, when you had Weiss to do the responsible things. You don't doubt he'll grow up--he's already showing signs of it--and your gut tells you that he's going to be a damn fine officer once he's made it through his first year. You think of yourself as a realist, but you force yourself to think of that as a "when," not an "if." On a brighter note, he's just the right brand of insanity for what the Fourth really needed--he got India involved after two years and gave Em someone to spend time with that isn't you or his boss.Anode isn't in his room (though he ran Christmas Vacation last night, to a moderately receptive audience), and you're just coming from the Pond, meaning he's either in the lab or Who Knows Where. Fortunately, he's also loud as hell. "Hey, Em," you hear him call. "What's in my hand?"Hesitantly, you hear your would-be understudy reply, concern in his voice. "...Is it cha--""IT'S CHAFF," Anode bellows, and round the corner just in time to see him throwing two fistfuls of chaff into Em's face. Kid's been playing around with deweaponizing his VWES entities. It's...well, it's been a process.Anode looks up in time to see you mid-throw, silvery foil glittering in the air like confetti at a parade. Em is staggering around, sensor-blind, double birds raised high as he stumbles, flipping off everything in the hopes Anode's one of them. His optics start working again juuuust in time to focus and register on you. The two of them both stare at you like deer in the headlights, eyes wide. A deathly silence falls over them.>Boo.>...Boys.>Other?
>>29161383>Em is staggering around, sensor-blind, double birds raised high as he stumblesThis image made me laugh
Stand by, I've submitted this post about fifty times now and the spam detection won't stop rejecting it no matter what I change.Need to stop after this anyway, though we're not quite done. Unfortunately (for a given definition of unfortunately) tomorrow is our first brewday in a month, as well. We'll work something out.
>>29161455>>29161484>>29162254>>29162515You glance back and forth between them, silently thankful that the state-owned lab that produced you decided to make your default, calm, measured facial expression settle somewhere in a range between unnerving and terrifying.And then, you scowl.The responses are, as always, both instant and terribly, terribly gratifying. Anode takes a faltering step backwards as Em starts murmuring "OhgodI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadie." You give a low sigh, voice rumbling low in the back of your throat, as if you just got home to the sight of grandma's ashes upended across the floor. You brush some of the chaff from your shoulder lightly, the slightest move making the two of them flinch away reflexively.Oh, yes, you are a bastard.You look once more from face to face, admiring the deep, existential terror you've inspired in your victims since roughly forever. "So," you begin, drinking in the mortal panic.>...The hunt is on. Sixty seconds' head start.>...I got you both something. (Feel free to suggest ideas for what Schwarz got)>Other?
Holy living fuck, the word SCOWLING was the one that was holding it up. Okay, that was a fun hour, I am officially done with that horseshit for a night. More either tomorrow or the day after, with anything resembling good fortune.
>>29163373>...I got you both something. (Feel free to suggest ideas for what Schwarz got)For Anode, maybe a plasma globe.
>>29163458I agree.Em gets a book on metallurgy in the medieval period.
>>29163373I'd say a collection of High Tension, Electrical Hazard and High Voltage Signs in English, German and French.
>>29163373Obviously we give Anode a do it yourself repair kitAnd Em gets a nerf sword
Okay, thread's archived for safety and I'm gonna try to get some sleep. Feel free to continue discussing/voting/talking shop/whatever....Stupid spam filter.
>>29163914Not only that.. we need to get him batman band-aids too.Also nerf SWORDS for Em. Obviously. Guy will likely wreck the first one in a day.
>>29164053Take it easy and late happy holidays/early happy new year
Saving this from page 10
Happy New Year and hope your Christmases were all good.Maybe we could get Anode a do it yourself repairs and building kit, see if he tries making his own met or what chaos he gets up to. Em gets nerf swords and perhaps some new parts to mess with in sabers.
>>29163833This, in addition to whatever other ideas. Because this is wonderful.
>>29169724But give them a headstart first.
>>29173445Yeah I dunno.
>>29176710Longer it lives, more likely we get more fun antics.
Hunter, just in general, how much is a met, anyway? Or other mechaniloids that could be considered pet tier? Just wondering.
I live! Back home tonight, need a good hard sleep, and with luck I can resume in the morning.>>29178737I'll need to confirm with CL for specifics, but on your paycheck it wouldn't be terribly much, especially if it wasn't a combat model.
>>29182381Does it count as a combat model if it's equipped with a nerf gunWhat about a water gun
>>29182381Guess I need to keep this alive thenDon't worry, my body has long since transcended the need for sleep. I shall keep vigil.
>>29163373A gift for Anode? Anode loves movies, so...>Die Hard Marathon.
You guys are the best. Thanks for putting up with the delay. Stand by, shenanigans shall be afoot.
Nah, see, for Anode - what you do is get him a 20XX series Bubble Bat named 'Sergeant Jacket', to go with Lt. Full-Metool.Because BATS. Emerald gets that Saber Zero gave you that one time as a nod for saving his ass. Not like you use it anyway.
>>29163458>>29163747>>29163833>>29163914>>29165662>>29169451>>29169768>room decorations and repair kit for Anode>sword and sword accessories for EmYou keep up the glower for just a few more seconds, long enough for each of their brief little lives to run through their heads, before you crack a grin. "Merry Christmas. Hey Em, catch."You reach into your long-abused coat and pull out a long hollow, cheap plastic sword and toss it to him. He catches it, a bit surprised. "What, really? Hey, why does this have--" He answers his own question as he pushes the emitter and feels the distinctive crackle of the magnetic envelope of a real beam saber. "Whoa!"You grin, tossing him two more. "Envelope in that one, emitter in this, projector in third. Mix and match, good material grade. Toys still work," you add almost as an afterthought.Truth be told, you'd considered getting him the parts for a decent buster, maybe even an upgraded LIFE cell to go with it--but you know that would have just caused a fight. You'll get right back on his case tomorrow, but not tonight. Not Christmas. Same goes for Anode. "And you," you say, turning to him, "have some new stuff waiting in your room. Along with something more--" Aaaand he's gone. He's not faster than Dodo, but damn it if he doesn't try. "Something more...?" Em asks, looking after him with a grin."Repair kit, guidebook, parts. DIY catalog. Circled the best pieces to build a civ met.""Nice. So, hey, is that...?"You rattle the bag. "Yep.""Pretty big bundle this year.""Yep.""Why, you thinking of getting Anode in on it?""Might be." Em grins. "Well, I'm ready if you are, old timer.">One condition: Grab one of the busters.>Not now. Wait for Anode. Drop off more gifts.>Other?
>>29191738>OtherNab India, divvy up the Gift Busters, Go A-Hunting for Anode. We know Em's anti-buster, but surely he can see the advantages of deploying holiday cheer from down range of a waskily wabbit.
>>29191867I'll support this.
HC, putting a tweeting that you have restarted the thread may be a good idea.
>>29192743Makes sense, doing so now.
>>29191738>Hand out gifts.>Mysteriously have one buster left over.>Well, you need a buster to go with with the sword.
>>29191867>>29191989>>29192643>>29192819You shake your head. "Soon. First, get India.""Why can't y--oh. Is that why I heard her swearing?"You smirk. "Maybe.""Thought so. All right, I'll try.""Do. Here, catch." You unfurl the bundle and throw a handful of kit at him. He catches the sticks perfectly, but the buster bounces off his shoulder and he has to roll it to catch it on his arm. "The hell?""Indulge me. Won't nag you, promise."Em eyes the thing warily, shifting the canes under the crook of his arm. "...All right, fine, but only because it's you.""Attaboy."Adjusting the thing over his arm, he taps his comms, waiting for India to pick up. "What's the plan, anyway?""Easy. Dogpile on Anode." He grins. "That ought to do it."Sure enough, once India hears, she's eager to help out, even despite the "battle" this morning. Em drops off his bundle of toy swords and comes back ready to roll, rolling one candy-cane-saber in his hand. India reluctantly takes a buster. Em leads the way to Anode's room, tugging at and adjusting his new "gun" awkwardly. Finally, at the door, you hold up a hand to your would-be fireteam.>Stack up. Breach and clear.>London calling!
>>29193076>Stack up. Breach and clear.
>>29193076>Stack up. Breach and clear.GO GO GO
>>29193076Stack up and breach, see how Anode handles us without us in his head.
>>29193076>Breach and Clear, Breach and Clear!Operation: Holly Hock is Go!Seasons Greetings you lovable nuts & bolts.
>>29193956Holy shit, that is amazing.
>>29193090>>29193318>>29193951>>29193956You quickly deliver a few hand signals, signaling Satan's Little Helpers to line up outside the door for a classic combat sweep. Em has run enough missions with you by now to return an acknowledgment via hand sign and takes position on the door, peppermint blade at the ready. India simply stares blankly at you for a moment before returning a hand sign of her own, middle finger up. You roll your eyes and she smirks, taking up position of her own accord. For a moment you thought you were going to have to try airstrip marshaling signals. With that out of the way, you stack up on the opposite side of the door, producing a special-made stielhandglocke from your kit. Em hits the door switch with his elbow as you prime it, and toss the Jingle Grenade in."What th--" Anode's confusion is cut off by a strangled cry and an explosion of ringing as about four hundred pellet-sized miniature start bouncing off every surface, the hapless rookie included, pinging wildly in a conflagration of caroling. Em rounds the corner a second later with a war cry, and India follows, whooping. You're on their heels a second later.
>>29194541By then, Anode's pinned under the combined weight of Em and India, the former wrestling into a headlock from atop his back. "HEY NODE, WHAT'S ON MY HAND?" he yells over the great jingling. Still disoriented, Anode shakes his head to examine the apparatus on Em's forearm. "Is i--what the hell IS tha--""IT'S TINSEL," he gleefully cackles, shooting Anode in the face with a puff of glittery silver strands."HACKPTFTH--" India grins wickedly and starts firing her own Glitter Cannon into him, center mass, each blast raining sparkling green and red flecks he'll be shaking out of his armor for weeks. You find you're able to sit back and enjoy your handiwork, even as you calmly fish out Anode's weapon of choice--peppermint lance, upsized. And unsharpened. You know these kids too well for that.>You're conscripted, Anode. Let's dole out gifts.>The fight is upon us. Three on one or two on two?>Other?
>>29194579>>You're conscripted, Anode. Let's dole out gifts.
>>29194579>You're conscripted, Anode. Let's dole out gifts.Source on the gif? I must know from which such insanity was spawned.
>>29194641Wish I could tell you.
>>29194579>Con~ Scrip~ Tion!>>29194641Gentlemen Broncos, I think.
>>29194579>You're conscripted, Anode. Let's dole out gifts.
Just an announcement that I got the IRC channel re-registered after some server hiccup or another killed it. Feel free to hop back in.
>>29194626>>29194641>>29194700>>29194759You toss the candy cane lance in front of Anode, standing above him at a parade rest, arms folded. He looks up at you, bewildered."Today, you resign your officer's commission and join my company," you intone carefully. "'No' is not an option.""I think that's the most words I've ever heard out of you at once," India observes, earning a glare from you. Anode slowly stands back up, examining his new weapon cautiously. "What kind of army?""A new world order, starting here and now. Our sole purpose to bring cheer and good will to this bunch of sad-sacks.""Ah, we're giving out a shitload of Christmas presents, got it." Anode looks up at Em. "So what, is he an elf o--"Em shoots him in the face with the tinsel cannon again, causing him to sputter and cough and fall back on his ass. Em pumps a few more rounds into him, each exploding with a loud PAFF of airburst holiday ordnance. "Save your ammo, soldier," India says. "He already looks more like a Christmas tree than you do."It's true, he does. Admittedly, having light-up glow lines helps a bit with that. "Focus," you declare. "Lots of targets to hit."Starting with...>India.>Seven.>Tanker.->Dodo.>Crankshaft.>Gibbon.>The Enlisted.>Other?
>>29195159>The Enlisted.They'll never see it coming.Send me a postcard from the ambush.
>>29195159>Surprise attack on India who is in the room and then onto the Enlisted.
>>29195159>IndiaShe is right there
>>29195306>>29195492>>29195536>>29195930"First order of business, we need to ensure the good cheer is properly instilled into the backbone of our leadership corps," you decide, glancing from face to face. "Em, Anode." Em gets the idea fast and grabs one of India's arms, as Anode puts it together and grabs the other. "Hey wait, what the--" she protests."India," you intone darkly, "I've been waiting a long, long time for this." You reach into your trusty coat once more as her eyes widen......And you present her with a sheaf of papers. "Dafuq?" she asks (unable to examine them, what with her arms being held). "Flight manual for a reproduction Cessna 172-R.""Uh," she blinks. "That's cool and all, but I don't own a recreational bird." You smirk and shuffle the papers around. "Yes you do," you reply, jingling the key from one claw. "The fu--" "Someone owed me a favor. Got it cheap." Ish. "Sent to Liverpool. Lab says hi."For what might be the first time in her brief, disruptive, disorderly life, the pilot has nothing to say. "Right," you say, flipping her the keys as Em and Anode let go, "That's that.""Who's our first target, chief?" Em asks.Why, it's...>
>>29196777>The Enlisted.So, Anode. I Know people. People who know armor. Threw some ideas around. Blueprints?
>>29196777The Enlisted! A large force is all the better to get the rest of the officers.
>>29196777> The EnlistedCHRISTMAS CHEER CANNONS FOR EVERYONE!
>>29197798>>29197157>>29196898>>29198468"Stack up, move out," you bark with practiced ease. The three fall into step behind you, letting you lead the way to the range. "You didn't tell us who we're hitting," Anode notes."The Enlisted."Em grabs Anode's candy cane lance and rests it across his shoulders. "Oh man, is this going to be like your E.V.S.P.s last year?""His what now?" India asks, seemingly finally catching her stride again. "Experimental Vice Sampler Packs," Em explains, beaming. "It was--what, 50 zenny of credit in the Pond, a cigar, a book, and a dice game?""Whoa, each?" 'Node asks, unbelieving. "Each," you nod."The real bitch was sorting it," Em adds. "He had me doing that while I was running supply.""At least you didn't have to wrap it," India notes. "I did," you say softly. "Leased a few industrial 'loids, reprogrammed them to take care of it.""Wait, that was you?" she asks. "I saw somebody borrowed the programming literature in the bay." Pain in the ass, that was. Expensive as all holy hell, too, but that's what the years of savings are for. "Anyway, no. No EVSPs." Em's curious, now, in no small part because he wasn't in on this one. "What'd you get them, then? Not a bunch of glitter cannons...""No. You'll see."
>>29198585Truth be told, you could probably head straight to the barracks, but you always try to observe a modicum of distance from the production infantry--not because of rank, but so they have something resembling a private place when they're not on duty. Of course, they're pretty much always on duty.So instead, you asked Mike--the most approachable Beret you were able to find (thanks to Anode)--and he stands by with about eight others, two Berets, three LTAs, and three LTBs. They all salute crisply, doing their level best to ignore the garland, sparkles, and tinsel bedecking your festive goon squad. "At ease," you say. "Mike." He steps forward, pulling out a datapad. "Shipment is ready to go and I talked it out with a few of the boys. We're all agreed."You pull out your own, tapping up a few commands and completing the order. "Then purchase is done. And tell them--""Merry Christmas," he nods. "Yessir. You as well.""So what? What is it?" Em asks, leaning over your shoulder (from atop India's, who sits there vaguely bemused). "The Major bought us a library for our quarters," Mike explains. "Stocked with something like two thousand titles, room for more, and a year of shipments." "Great," Em says. "You got them more work for me."You smirk thinly. "Yep.""Bastard. Nice one."India shrugs him off her shoulders and he hits the ground with a loud thump. Anode claps politely, prompting Em to tackle him from the ground with a louder crash. >Next target?
This may be a bit early for some of you or a bit late for others, but happy New Year.
>>29198614You as well. Happy New Year, MHQ.
>>29198607Crankshaft, then Tanker.
>>29198695Crankshaft and his grandkid, then Tanker.
>>29198607Seven. gotta make sure our logistics officer doesn't feel left out
>>29198607Going for Crankshaft and his kid, but if we see anyone else on our way there we do them.
>>29198695>>29198747>>29198837>>29198987"Come on. Next up is Crankshaft," you announce. "Enjoy the books.""We will, sir," Mike fires off another salute, "Thank you.""I thought Cranky was gone," Anode says, standing back up (with Em still attached)"He is. Back at MHHQ Japan for a week, since that lets him and Yuzu drop in on family," India explains."So what are we gonna do?" Em asks. "Leave it in his room?""Yeah.""So what is it, then? Disassemble a ride chaser and reassemble it whole in there? I still remember that fucking buggy in the Pond...""No," you reply, fishing out yet another piece of paper. "Driving lessons.""Er.""For Yuzuki. Stunt-driving. Would never let her not learn.""Sounds like Cranky, all right.""Did my research. He'll like this school."Anode looks over the certificates. "Huh, neat. I ought to look into that sometime.""Yes. Should.""The both of you ought. Maybe that way you two can take chasers out on a mission and not FUCKING TOTAL THEM," India suggests with all the lightness of a meteor."Yeah, yeah, blow it out your nose," Anode grumbles."Blow it out m--what?" He shrugs. "I dunno. It's something one of my Moms says.""Not the one I leave money on the nightstand for, then," India retorts. Anode whirls on his boot."Hey man, you keep my mom out of this, and I keep THIS out of your mom," he says hotly, gesturing southward.India pauses as Em breaks into giggles. "You realize I'm the only one of the four of us who actually got endo, right?" "As far as you know," you interject softly. All three stop dead and exchange glances.
>>29199417"Wait. What?" They ask in perfect unison. You just keep walking."Hold on, you can't just--""Wait a second, are you seriously--""No really, tell me, I have a bet on with Dodo--"You hold up a hand. "Never told you what I was getting Crankshaft.""Forget that! Tell us about YOUR crank--" "Ew!" You clear your throat with just a light touch of menace, getting all three to stop chattering. "Leather jacket. Custom fit. Matches Gomeister chassis. 'Famous 53s' stenciled on back.""Okay, that's not bad," India notes. "I've still got my 11th bomber. ...heh, funny story, speaking of endo, I actually decided I want to wear it whenever I--""No." You declare soundly. "Christmas.""Come on, what's Christmas without the unwrapping?" she asks with a grin."No," you repeat, turning on the growl."...Fine," she relents. "Spoilsport."Damn straight.That buys enough silence for you to get to Cranky's door and tuck the invoices into his mailbox.>Next target?
>>29199437Seven or Tanker
>>29199437Others say Seb'n, so let's go see Seb'n.
>>29199437>SevenWhy not, doubt he'll be a jerkass to Schwarz, especially today.
>>29199437When is Anode going to get the parts so he and Indy can fuck?
>>29200523Probably right before I die from a terminal case of Sudden Onset Cain Labs. I dunno, if you're in the market, you could ask her out sometime. Just keep in mind she's got her own things going on.
>>29199524>>29199587>>29199693>>29199942"Next job's the hardest," you explain. "Seven."Anode blinks. "Hoo boy.""Well, this is certainly going to be interesting," India adds.Truth be told, not too long ago you had grouped Seven and India--and not in that "fraternization" way that gets her at your throat. You were hoping that he'd come out of his shell, the same way she did. Unfortunately, he seems to have gone the opposite direction when Anode came into the picture, becoming even more withheld and retracting further into a seemingly perpetual bad day. You know why he acts the way he does, or at least you've got an inkling. Something you'd like to speak to him about, but now isn't the time. Maybe if you can build up some trust, but you're not really banking on that either. You can usually get an inkling about what people want or need, but he's thrown up the mother of all walls.Makes the little bastard pretty hard to shop for. Still, you pieced together what you know--he's practical, pragmatic, intelligent, all business. A hard-ass. You can respect that. It's the reputation you've managed to build for yourself, despite your campaign of bar stories and subtle dickery."Let me handle this," you announce, as you reach Seven's door."Good call," Em nods. "I feel like the three of us invading his space would go... not so great.""Meet me outside the lab in five," you direct. They depart, leaving you alone outside the logistics officer's door. You hit the door chime, rather than knocking. After a moment, Glacier Gibbon answers it.
>>29200726"Oh, Major," he says in that slow rumble of his. "I thought you were--""Seven?" you ask. He nods."I just got in. We were going to meet up. I keep hearing horror stories about this new guy." One more layer to the puzzle, you decide. Maybe he and Gibbon were friends, and with the regional posting..."Anode's not so bad," you say. "Not Seven's type, though.""So I'm told. You know, it's the strangest thing, but even when I come back here for check-ins, I can't seem to get ahold of the fellow..." He frowns. "He isn't... avoiding me, is he?""Don't think so," you say. "Just been ...""Busy?" Gibbon asks."Luckless. Just had him. Could take you to see him.""No, I had better not," Gibbon decides. "If Seven hasn't turned up yet, he probably got saddled with someone else's dirty laundry again. I need to get back.""Take this before you go, then," you say, producing a different gift from the one you were expecting to hand out. "Is this what I think it is?" he asks, taking the parcel. You nod. "Arctic environment print, thermal damping. Same kind I sewed into the coat.""This will work a treat," he says. "Thank you, Major."Seven's gift will just have to wait for him on his desk--another library, this one digital. Mostly war history and tactics, less fiction. Hopefully, he likes it. If Seven's capable of liking anything, that is.Well, two down, for what it's worth.>Next?>Also yes, I am a bastard
>>29200751>Tanker>Other: Conda>Other: X (via mail order)
>>29200550Not sure if I want to push this quest in that direction, but it doesn't feel too out-of-character. Lets see how things goes with Anodes usual misdemeanors.>>29200751Tanker>>29200856We already delivered Conda's present
And going to take a break here to go see Team Jerkass for New Year's. Be back later tonight, and we'll try to get the thread to survive another day.
>>29199417>>29199437Oh god this banter kills me.This is the reason I read MHQ.
>>29200550Maybe.I actually can't tell if it's just harmless flirting or if there is actual interest there. Even then, I'm not sure it's a direction I feel this quest would be suited for. Then again, since both parties are so laid back that they're basically standing on their heads, it might be able to avoid the usual drama which comes from relationships in quests.I just dunno, man. I really like all these characters and I'm totally down with you writing more complex interaction between them, though, so whatever we decide to go with in the end I'm sure you'll be able to do a great job with it.
>>29200856>spoilerI like this idea. Why not go further and give Zero something?
>>29201944I always just assumed semi-serious joke flirtation was just something that happened in a group of bros.
>>29200856I like spoilers, after Tanker and Dodo.You know, he strikes me as the type of guy that sends out Christmas cards to anyone he's remotely acquainted with.
>>29203596>>29200972>>29201944I'm fairly cool with Anode and India making the clang-clang. Hell it actually might be a good way to relieve stress if it works for Reploids like it does fleshbags and India seems the type who'd be a good fuck buddy.
>>29204237Still, just because we can, should we? Or should we just enjoy crazy without crazy sex?Should we also get gifts for the Fourth that aren't posted in Geneva, like Gamma Wolf and our soviet companion, the great Uralmash Ursa?
>>29204237I'd rather we didn't go with the clang clang with a coworker, fraternization and professionalism and all.
>>29204237She's a pilot with a pilot's ego. Anode may be a little kooky, but India is way out there. She treats Anode like a hot air bag would be expected to: with a massive ego and plenty of bluster while being as crass and unprofessional as possible. If she has a "sensitive" or "vulnerable" side, she's not forthcoming about it, at least around Anode.
>>29204691Say the word "feelings" around her.I dare you.
>>29204237God no. I didn't start following MHQ for IKEA reploid manufacture..
Okay, back home, fuck I need a 14-hour sleepathon, it's been so very long. Good night and happy new year, guys. If the thread dies before I can pick it back up I'll do a part 2 soon.
Awake. Ish. Turns out asking for 14 hours is a good way to get 7. Oh well, it will do.Give me a few hours to clear other stuff, I guess. Happy 2014, once again.
>>29209261Happy 2014 HC
>>29209261Happy new yearMay it be just as bland and vaguely depressing as the last.
>>29200856>>29200972>>29203633The next hardest one on your list is Tanker. You spent ages mulling over what to try to get him that he wouldn't 1: break, 2: eat, or 3: resent.You also don't think you could ever live down sending him two thousand pounds of snack cakes by truck, so that's out re: eating. Other ideas--old wrestling movies (he doesn't watch), a few spars (too much bad blood), reinforced gym equipment (already bought previous years, and space on-base is at a premium). Figuring Tanker out is even harder than Seven--he wears his heart on his sleeve, but you can't get ahold of him between his endless cycle of repairs and missions. So, you decided to take a chance. Half of the reason you do this song and dance every year is trying to encourage your fellow hunters to get outside their job. It's not healthy. Of course, anyone else who runs themselves like Tanker does would have snapped clean in two at about half his age. Hard one to figure out, Tigershark. On your way back to the labs, you fish one more thing out of your pockets--an old, worn keychain. You leave it in the command room taped to the console facing the beam-in pad, along with a handwritten note."Tanker,"This is the key to a house I bought when I was younger. I had planned to use it as a vacation spot, but I got too busy. It's in Hawaii, beach-front property, address is sent to your terminal. Give it a weekend. If you like it, the deed is yours. I won't be using it. Merry Christmas.--Schwarzhund"
>>29210646You...doubt he'll go for it. But hell, it's worth a try. It's this or renting the thing out, and your paycheck covers about two of its total mortgage per month. Either way, it just leaves Dodo.You have a lot of respect for Dodo, actually, not that he'd ever know it. You had to talk this one out with him in advance (and convince him to accept it). Unlike most of the Fourth, Dodo was a civilian, with a civilian's body. There was only so much they could do for him when he signed on. So you took him aside one day and made him an offer, which, after a few days' consideration (for him, an eternity), he accepted. On your way back to the lab, you punch up a few more commands without looking up, and make the transfer--enough money for combat endoconstruction. Breaking your own rule about bringing work back into the holiday, but it'll help him live longer, you're sure of it. Plus, maybe having a proper military chassis will help him with that inferiority complex. Okay, that's done. Way more money than you should have spent, but with a few years of danger pay and no one else to shop for, why the hell not?You make it back to the lab in time to see Anode demonstrate the sturdiness of your candy cane weapons by cracking himself in the helmet with one, which of course breaks, the length snapping off and spinning end-over-end, clattering off the wall just beside your head.Kids, you think with a tired grin. They might just be the death of you. "It's time," you announce, blithely ignoring it. "Follow me.""So what's the plan, anyway?" India asks, throwing 'Node a replacement as they file out after you. "We going on a legendary hall-decking spree?" "Nope," Em says. "This is between us.""What's 'this,' then?" Anode inquires. "'This' is our annual holiday duel," you reply, pushing open the front doors and making for the clearest area. >Pick teams. Two 1v1s, 2v2 , or 3v1 all work.
>>292106603v1, against you. Might as well let them have some fun, maybe give them a bit of hope of beating you before taking them down.
>>292106603v1.Show the whippersnappers what's what
>>29210836>>29210714>>29210692"What do you say," Em asks, "Two on two?""Three on one," you reply calmly. "Ooooooooh," Anode and India chorus. "Aren't we a little big for our britches?" India adds, folding her arms.Em grins. "Hate to admit it, but she's right. That's a pretty tall order, Schwarz, even for you." You grin back, undaunted. "Try me. Maybe this will be your year.""I almost got you last year.""You almost came close last year," you correct. "Ooooooooh!" India and Anode catcall again at that.Em looks unperturbed, for his part. Though, to be honest, he's right--Em and Anode together would be a close one. India's a wild card, and you don't doubt they're going to make you work for it.Em, as you know from your spars, is all about melee rushdown. He's fast, agile, and can get you into close quarters about every two or three volleys, all while avoiding incoming fire. India is a ground operative second and a pilot first. She's probably the lowest combat threat, both in rank and practice, but she's very cagey and perceptive--and then she has all those upgrades, to boot. And then there's Anode. His sturdiness won't really come into play here, but he's still extremely fast and strong, capable of working at all ranges. If he's smart--and he is--he'll focus on tying you up to let the other two get a crack at you. If you recall, that was how he and his sister were designed to operate. The only thing he really lacks right now is experience.
>>29211671"What are our rules here?" he asks, grabbing the last two confetti cannons and throwing them on. "Three hits and you're out," Em says. "Usually Schwarz offers to only have one hit for himself.""Not this time," you reply. "I'll make it two.""Ooh, is that an admission of vulnerability I detect?" India taunts. "Solo two As and a B untouched and then you can talk down to me," you reply, answering the challenge."Okay, people, let's get it on," Em interjects. "Thirty paces apart."Everyone takes their places. The enlisted nearby take notice and start to ring around, watching the show about to unfurl.>Strategy?
>>29211689India first, keep her between you and Em. Anode is good, but he favors ranged weaponry and it shows. He's likely to hang back and force you to stay in close quarters with Em and counting on India to exploit any openings. If he comes in, he's going to rush in and force you to be defensive, but his momentum can be easily redirected. CQC expert, he isn't.
>>29211689Reinforcing what >>29211793 said, try to keep either Anode or India between you and Em. Preferably the latter.
>>29211689Depends. What holiday gear do we have?
>>29211689Anode is probably going to rush in first, so turn that inexperience against him and use his momentum to make him eat the floor. Em won't be far behind, so be ready to counter that.India is the real problem here, I have no idea what she's going to do.
>>29211832Schwarz is going into this with a pair of tinsel cannons and his considerable range of skills, everything from hand-to-hand combat to freerunning.Anode is wielding an upsized peppermint lance (reinforced to avoid inevitably breaking during the roughhouse), as well as a pair of glitter guns. India has just the one tinsel cannon, but you don't doubt she has a few tricks up her sleeves, and you saw her tuck that broken peppermint stick away as you left the lab to use as a shiv...And lastly, Emerald relented and took along a tinsel cannon for himself, along with his customary pair of candy cane sticks.
>>29211689>>29211793 again, we also need to keep in mind that India is a pilot, and as a pilot, she will be working constantly to skew the odds in her favor and/or cheat. No pilot has ever won by fighting fair or going easy on their target. Expect every dirty trick in the book, and keep her from repositioning, after all, when dogfighting (Hah) you're most likely to be taken out by the guy you didn't even know was there.
>>29212051So precisely how Schwarz advises people to fight.
>>29211793>>29211827>>29211861The most dangerous element in any fight is the unknown variable, and right now, India's it.At the same time, she's also least likely to be a team player--she flew combat, yes, but she also flew recon, and you know she has a lone wolf tendency. Anode trained to cooperate with his sister, and a big part of your instruction to Em was how to operate with a partner, or at least without getting in their way. Speaking of, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are barreling at you side-by-side now. At least they both paid attention.Em's got you in a maneuver and Anode can catch you in the air, so you respond by barreling straight through--grabbing Anode's outstretched arm (gotta work on his stance), twisting, and hip-throwing him. You use the momentary passage of his body as a shield and blast past Em in the opposite direction, pouring on the dash. He's nimble, but when it comes to raw speed, he's actually pretty low for a front-line fighter. He saw what you were doing, to his credit, but even trying to reverse momentum early, he just doesn't have the speed to catch you. With the two of them behind you, you're clear to hit India. She doesn't panic, but she doesn't really have a chance. You wait until the last possible moment and she snaps her buster up to fire--you weave around it, one hand on the top as you spring off her, twisting around in midair to kick her in the back, sending her sprawling. Your shot hits her square between the shoulder blades, exploding into a charnel house of tinsel and holiday cheer."One," you add unhelpfully as you take off at a long, loping stride, circling back around as she hauls herself back up between Em and Anode.They charge again, this time Anode clearing the way in front of him with alternating shots from his cannons, screening his advance. Emerald wends around the side from the other side, and India follows close at hand, ready to support him with fire to limit your counter-options.>Tactics?
>>29213621If they hit eachother in crossfire, does it count as a point?If so, try to get them tangled up.
>>29213621Two on one favors the two, so if Anode is kind enough to alternate his shots I say we weave between them and go for him.
>>29213621Wheel around from the opposite side of their approach. Keep their weak side in front of you. Maintain distance and force them to commit to a different strategy.
>>29213621Watch for Anode, he's been running around and we just threw him, he has some charge so he could throw it into a Dash and accelerate faster than normal.Don't let them get to us at the same time, move away from Em and India, Anode will either have to slow his advance or be without support for a bit.If we can get them tangled up in each other's path that'd be useful, Em is acrobatic enough that he can probably tumble over or under something in his way, but Anode has a harder time with that.
>>29213858>>29213868>>29213875>>29213980You keep up the stride, circling around and forcing them to quickly re-orient to face you, expecting you to make another pass at India. And on one level, they're right to--you overcome numerical supremacy by forcing them to engage on your terms and whittling away while they're unable to muster their full force to answer. You've taken out whole convoys that way, one piece at a time, hitting the weakest member of the pack or anyone who fell behind, even for a moment.Whoops. Dog moment. Heh. You continue to keep your distance, waiting for--There it is. Anode rockets forward, breaking away to try to exploit your "caution" in avoiding the ranged fire.Unfortunately for him, he was your target. You duck and shoulder into his waist, folding him over your back and flipping him over, coiling and uncoiling like a serpent to send him on his way with his own momentum. You backdash and give him a shot to the back of the head ("Gah!"), and turn just in time for the inevitable followup.It's Em, of course, on you in a heartbeat. You redirect his opening strike with one hand and snake it around his arm, even as you bar the follow-up with the other. While he's trying to control the grapple you elbow him and turn--India knows enough not to fire into the melee, giving you the opportunity to headbutt Em, sending him stumbling back the way he came as Anode gets back up for more. You let your instincts carry you on that one, barely dodging a salvo he sends downrange--But you have to stop short, your whole body tensing to halt itself as an unexpected blast of glittery death fills the air you were dodging into.Em. He actually used his gun. You're proud of him. Anode springs at you as you're locked up, bringing the candy lance down for you. India tries to shoot behind you to cut you off from a retreat, while Em recovers and barrels back in.>Anode into Em. They're the threat.>Anode into India. Free point.>On the back foot, defense.
>>29214966Anode into India, retreat a bit, take the opportunity to handle Em.
>>29214966>Anode into India. Free point.We throw Anode at Em he might be able to just flip over him and use him as cover. He's one nimble little guy. If we get Anode into India's line of fire we have a chance to deal with Em.
>>29214966>Anode into India. Free point.What >>29215152 said.
>>29215072>Anode into India. Free point.Exploit weaknesses that arise, don't go too big.
>>29215184>Anode into India. Free point.>Psst. Behind You.
>>29217487>green hatYou are a beast with those edits. Fukken saved, and all that.
>>29215072>>29215152>>29215174>>29215184Turning to face Anode, you step in towards him, letting his swing sail over your shoulder as you snag him. Once again you throw him for a loop, straight into the shot behind you. India curses up a storm as she frags him for you. Without waiting to see, you dash away, Em hot on your heels. You hear him lunge as your dash runs out, and you turn to bat him out of the air as he collides into you, re-angling the end of his leading cane just bare inches from direct impact on your breastplate. You whirl with him in midair, pushing him off and back as you grab your coat by the lapel, rolling it off your shoulder in a practiced, fluid motion.Em catches himself at a painful-looking angle and redirects, coming back and around with a slash--you slap at it with your coat, swirling it around and pulling taught, catching his outstretched arm. You yank, he flies, jaw meeting your elbow as they pass each other by. Em tumbles loose from the longcoat as you shake it free and bat his parting shot of confetti out of the air with it. You fire back with one of your own as you take off again, which he deflects as he kips back up. This time, you head straight in, before Anode and India can get back into this--Em catches your arm and throws it over his shoulder as you fire, even as he tries to bring up his own cannon. Grabbing his en-caned arm, you grapple with him as he struggles to level his gun on your head.He fires just as you let your legs fall out from under you, dragging both of you to the ground. The second his shot fires--tinsel only just missing the tip of your red hat--you let his arm go and tuck your own buster under his chin. "Fu--"Poor kid. Should have kept his mouth closed for that. Sputtering and spitting, he coughs up holiday cheer as you twist yourself free and get distance again. Hits left:Anode: 1/3India: 2/3Emerald: 2/3Schwarz: 2/2>Next move?
>>29217654Anode and India have recovered by now, so split them up.
>>29217730Feign Anode, go for India. They'll be expecting you to try and take him out of the fight.
>>29217654Feint going after Anode and rush India, don't give her a chance to react, we want to separate her and Anode.
>>29217521I had to draw Em's helmet style over some Megaman Zero art for the right perspective for that edit. Hope it looks okay.>>29217654>Trick Em into Nailing India via Friendly Fire by Feinting for Anode.One more hit, Sparky's out of the fight, which will severely limit Em's teamwork-oriented strategies. So, he'll try to get India to cover Anode from a distance while he engages up close, I'd wager.Have the kids learned that Friendly Fire Isn't?
>>29217900>Hope it looks okay.Dude, it's wild. I love it.
>>29217730>>29217797>>29217829>>29217900While it'd be good to get Anode out of the fight--and you're pretty sure that would be game--they'll see it coming a mile away. No, better to hit India. The more time you give her, the more time she has to cook something up anyway. You speed towards Anode quickly, who skids to a halt and puts up an unusual guard--somewhere between a boxer's stance and a ready position for his lance. You put it together quickly enough--he's gotten into a buster scrap or two and likely knows what to look for. His form's a little loose but you can tell he wouldn't make it easy to get a shot off up close. No sense wasting fire from here, either. Getting a hit in on him from outside is as easy as it would ever be, without his VWES in this, but he's practically a walking force screen. You bob and weave just the same, making sure he can't line up an easy shot, even as you draw close, and then about three bounds out from the leap you abruptly re-angle and turn on India, juking around a shot. "Fuck it, smoke him!" she yells, as four busters--hers, Em's, two from 'Node--all pour it on at once. Em maneuvers to catch you crossways.Quantity has a quality all its own, true, but you've done this before. Even as the tinsel blasts scythe back and forth like anti-air fire, you weave through, between, around, across, sensing the lulls and gaps in fire from years of hard experience. Anode gives chase behind you, gaining fast, his fire getting harder and harder to dodge--
>>29219642Unfortunately, with all the explosions, he didn't notice the surprise you dropped at your feet about thirty paces back. His eyes widen and he dives away only just in time as the Jingle Grenade goes up with a whoomph, exploding into a rain of tiny, merry bells. He avoids it, but the heat's off for a second. Just long enough. India keeps up her fire as she goes to pull her peppermint shiv, aiming to stab.Em, she's not. You simply grab the thing halfway down and break it in your hand, and shoot her in the face."Why is it always the face with you?!" Em demands from across the way."Lots to break," you reply. "Works. Missed some tinsel in your teeth."By now, you have quite an audience. While you've never been one to showboat, you can tell everyone's enjoying the exercise. This is also the first time you've properly thrown down with Anode or India. Both could be good at it, with time, and a little more work before a hard shutting-down might teach them more.>Divide and conquer. Fun exercises are still exercises. >Make things interesting. Round it out to 1/1/1 before going for the finisher.>Anode: 1/3>India: 1/3>Emerald: 2/3>Schwarz: 2/2
>>29219675>Make things interesting. Round it out to 1/1/1 before going for the finisher.The ace of the Fourth isn't called "good" just because he's, y'know, good.
>>29219675>Make things interesting. Round it out to 1/1/1 before going for the finisher.Keep circlestrafing around Anode and India, let Em get into close quarters with no support. Maybe try to get him caught in crossfire.
>>29219675>Make things interesting. Round it out to 1/1/1 before going for the finisher.
>>29219675>Divide and conquer. Fun exercises are still exercises. Time to take out Anode
>>29219725>>29219752>>29219868By now they're making it hard on you--Anode's finally remembering his mobility, and he can outstrip you and cut you off on your moves, giving India time to get around and Em time to get close. Speaking of, it's his turn. As they re-estimate their spacing, you turn and square off with him. "You," you declare, throwing your duster back over your shoulder. "Say when."A chorus of oohs and jeers go up from the audience. India pulls a face. "Fuck me, not again." Em takes the challenge as it's given, adjusting his grip on his weapons before setting off towards you at a walk. You break into a run as the fire starts back up again, returning volleys of tinsel at Anode and India to keep them from getting a bead on you. Em leaps, and you slide under, narrowly avoiding one of his sticks impacting beside you with a sharp crack. It bounces straight up between you, and he snatches it out of the air as he re-angles and comes down on you. You skirt aside, your first shot foiled as he knocks it off-target and comes in with a high kick. You duck it and spring back, busters blazing. One cuts down the incoming fire from one side, and the other forces Em back on guard. Anode storms in right about there, aiming for where you're landing. You let yourself hit the ground rather than land on your feet, causing his broad horizontal slash to soar over your head. You sweep his leg before he can shoot you even as you palm, prime, and toss a jingle grenade in Em's direction. He kicks it straight back at you and Anode, who leaps back, firing at your retreat vectors. You turn and fire at the grenade, arresting its motion in midair with the burst of tinsel an instant before it explodes, saving you. Em bursts through the cloud of bells and confetti, bearing down hard and fast--Only to overshoot as you dash-slide under him and come back up with a buster to the back of his head. Bang, paff, execution style."One each," you grin.Who goes down first? >
>>29221214>First to make an opening.
>>29221214Emerald. Anode may be the most dangerous on paper, but Em is the one giving the most grief right now. Take him down, followed by India. Save the rookie for last. See how he works under extreme pressure.
>>29221214Get Anode out of the picture. If he's gone he can't cut us off anymore and we regain a lot of mobility against Em and India.
>>29221214>EmeraldDamn, Schwarz is a stone cold badass. Like, the baddest of asses.
>>29221281>>29221317>>29221332Sizing them up, you decide to prioritize Em again. For one, he won't expect it so quickly. Plus, while Anode's good at tying you up. he's not good at committing, whereas every time you get caught in a full melee it's a trick to disengage, and you only have so many of those. Plus, with him quite literally coming to you, he's the first target of opportunity. He'd probably be flattered, if he wasn't so pissed. As it stands, he's barreling in like a tiny green freight train again.You hop left, duck right as he swings, sidestep a forward thrust, and lean back into a reverse dash as India and Anode open fire again. India needs to pick up her damn feet, she barely maneuvers at all. You make for her, then dig in your heels, crouch, and jump, narrowly avoiding another strafe from Anode. He's somewhat surprised when you land on his shoulder and then vault, coming down on a surprised Em and tackling him to the ground. He's already ditching a cane and raising the buster, but no go--you grab the loose weapon before you skid past it and crack him across the chest with it, "cutting" him with his own blade. He's out.No time to enjoy the win. You drop the weapon and leap back off him as he tosses his own away, cursing up a storm. Only narrowly avoiding being bedecked in tinsel and glitter, you twist in the air and land on your feet beside the second, now-discarded candy cane sword. You stamp on it, flipping it up off the ground and snatching it out of the air, eyeing the other two. India chooses now to get into it properly, charging in at you with Anode. Unfortunately, she didn't really expect you to throw Em's cane straight at her, pegging her square in the forehead out of an end-over-end wheel through the air. With a satisfying 'whock' that she won't be living down any time soon, you put India right back out of the fight.
>>29223031Just you and Anode, now. He readies the lance and lays his buster over it, legs slightly bent to evade, cautious and guarded. "Fuuuuuuuuck," he groans.It's not really a hard decision from there--his ranged defense is much better than his melee, and he always leaves himself open. Without being able to trust in his armor (maybe you should give people more or less hits next year based on that), Anode's raw skill at evasion leaves much to be desired. You move in close, wait him out, and capitalize--shot to the foot, blow to the head, finisher takes him on the side. When he knows he's lost, he gives a theatrical "Nooooooo," clutching feebly at the air in his hammiest 'death' throes.Em sits up, laughing among the cheers and clapping from the onlookers. "Usually that's me dying," he says. "Good one this year. Almost had you.""Almost came close," you correct. "And it was.""I'm going to be picking tinsel and glitter out of my armor for weeks," India grumbles, looking like nothing so much as a cat preening after falling gracelessly off a ledge. Pretty apt metaphor, actually, you should look into that more. After a brief rest and going over what each of them needs to work on, you collect the mostly-emptied weapons (Anode only reluctantly turns his back over, but not before shooting Em one last time). And with that, you're done with your errands.All but the last.Night has fallen over Maverick Hunter Headquarters as you stalk through a clear, cold Winter night, atop the roof of the headquarters building. Up ahead, you can see your last Christmas tradition, waiting patiently for you like he has every year since you started.
>>29223071"Good evening, Schwarz," X greets in slightly clumsy German. After a moment's pause, he switches to English. "How was that?""Pronunciation's a bit off. Getting better," you reply. "Thank you. Cocoa?"You eye the thermos and paper cups he brought along. "Sure."The two of you don't say much on these meetings, just look up at the sky. You can infer where the stars are, not that you can see them with the light pollution. Finally, though, X breaks the silence, just as you're mentally tracing Orion. "Did you check your mail?""I did. Saw your request. Figured I'd deny it in person, sir."He nods. "I thought as much. I hope it doesn't bother you that I keep asking.""Not a bit. Flattering. Hope you don't mind the refusals.""Not a bit," he repeats, smiling. "I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't make the offer. Heaven knows you've earned it a few times over."To tell the truth, it's not even really hard any more. You took a day to consider the first--a transfer to the 17th unit--but ultimately turned it down. It was for Frog, then--he was so out of sorts and lost with his new responsibilities. Now? You've put down roots in the Fourth. You've been there as long as anyone. You and Weiss, you helped shape hunter doctrine from the start. And then he fell behind. Being honest with yourself, sometimes you think you do all this insanity on the holidays to keep yourself from thinking about old times. You always get melancholy this time of year. But you do have duty here. Looking down at your cocoa, steaming in the cool air, you have to smile at the old dog in the reflection.No, you have more than a duty to the Fourth Overland.You have a family.
And that there is the ballgame! Sorry it took so long, hope it was worth the wait and the ride. Merry Christmas and happy new year, folks.Questions, comments?
>>29223095I love that fucking dog.
>>29223139Thanks for running Hunter. This was quite an entertaining change of pace.
>>29223139It was fun. Like, really fun.You're really good at character building. Pretty much every single character in this quest is three dimensional as hell, and none of the banter or conflict feels forced at all.
>>29223139Considering that they worked together before, what does X think of Anode, and has he heard the latest news regarding his exploits?Also, since they're close friends, does Zero have an opinion of Anode, since X no doubt talks to him about practically everything?
>>29223139Is it alright if we use what was said in here as meta info to shape future choices?
>>29223350Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.>>29223645X only had the one outing with Anode, but he handled himself very well there, and didn't let the political nature of the assignment get to him. Between that and interposing himself between the hostage and the shooter in the final room, he definitely respects and appreciates Anode.As for Zero, he recognizes the name, but Anode is just one of dozens of promising, up-and-coming hunters. Neither he nor X really talk about most of them, though of course, with time, that could change.>>29223680Well, overt metagaming is overt metagaming and all, but this also provided an opportunity to show some sides of characters that Anode wouldn't ordinarily be able to see. Just try to keep it within reason, and I certainly don't see any problem with it.
>>29223139I feel kind of bad for getting Seven back that bad now.
>>29223772I kind of meant that is it ok to use Schwarz' opinions in here as basis for some of Anode's future developments.>>29223991I kind of want to de-antagonize the Anode/Seven relationship. Maybe give a sincere apology to Seven after we get back to base in canon.
>>29223991Yea, it seems to have had a rather large impact on him. It'd be nice if we could work on mending things with him, although I imagine it'll take a while.
>>29224093Sure. And you can try, but, well, Seven's a butt. Maybe a butt for good reasons, but a butt. Expect at least a modicum of buttishness before he relents, if he does.
>>29223991>>29224093>>29224154I dunno, it feels a bit out of character. All Anode knows is that Seven is kind of a dick. He's professional as hell, and I guess Anode can respect that, but at the end of the day he's not going to be somebody that's up for hanging around while off-duty.Maybe if Anode learnt about the reason that he's a dick, then he'd be more inclined to chat with him, but that's a 'what if' scenario, since it seems personal and snooping around in that sort of affair can lead to Bad Times™
>>29224766Well we did just have a near death experience. That alone is enough to justify settling the only grudge someone has against us.
>>29224845Especially since that near death experience had Seven trying to send you more support.
>>29224766I don't think we'd wind up friends, I'd just like to be able to see him around base without feeling awkward. You're right though.
>>29224766We can at least thank him for sending that backup, maybe apologize for the scale of our retribution prank. Maybe aim for friendly prank wars, ultimately.